Daniel’s 70 week prophecy is one of the most important in the Bible, because it chronologically identifies who the Messiah is. In so doing, Daniel’s prophecy confirms that God inspired the writing of the Old and New Testaments—He foretelling events in Daniel as He did in Psalms that find their fulfillment in the four Gospels. Although, in studying the birth and death dates of Christ, the realization came that the three ways in which Daniel’s 70-week prophecy was being taught failed chronologically. Yet, knowing that God was the author, the prophecy had to chronologically work in some way.
Within “New Insights” you will find fresh scriptural observations that speak of Daniel’s 70 weeks and an astronomical lock to the Jewish calendar, which assist in ascertaining the years of Jesus Christ’s birth and death. Information to verify whether or not those years correspond with Daniel’s 70-week prophecy is then presented. If that prophecy points to the man we call Jesus Christ, then He is Messiah—the Son of God.
When was Christ born? When did He die? Is our b.c./a.d. calendar correct in that it places Christ’s birth in 1 b.c.? These are but a few of the dozens of questions answered, and you will find the material to be informative. Over 20 years of intensive research have brought the author to recognize new evidence, which conclusively synchronizes known factors, as well as those that are rarely considered.
There were a few subjects that had to be dealt with at the beginning of the book. The first one being the historian’s placement of Herod’s death in 4 B.C. Ascertaining Herod’s death date is important, in that according to the Bible we all know that Herod died shortly after the birth of Jesus Christ. Chapter 1 shows how a 4 B.C. death date for Herod is highly improbable. Chapter 2 demonstrates when Herod actually died and what eclipse preceded his death. An evidentiary proof excerpt from that chapter follows.
“Josephus wrote: “Now when Herod had already reigned seventeen years Caesar came into Syria.” If Herod’s reign began in late June of 37 b.c., his 17th year would have started late June of 21 b.c. and ended late June of 20 b.c. Dio recorded that it was in 20 b.c. when Caesar arrived in Syria.7 When Herod’s reign is counted from his capture of Jerusalem in 37 b.c. his 17th year of rule coincides with the spring of 20 b.c. as Dio related. Herod’s 18th year was then from July of 20 b.c. to July of 19 b.c. In Antiquities (15.11.1) Josephus stated that it was in the 18th year of Herod’s reign when he undertook a great work. That work was the reconstruction of the Jerusalem Temple complex. Josephus talked about a citadel or tower in Antiquities (15.11.4). At the end of the verse Herod had fortified “it,” the citadel, more firmly than before, “and then gave it [the citadel] the name of the Tower of Antonia.” In Wars (1.21.1) Josephus wrote: “In the fifteenth year of his reign Herod rebuilt the temple [complex].” Later in this same verse, “he [Herod]” repaired the citadel, “and he called it Antonia, in honor of Antony.” In the Antiquities reference Josephus goes into greater detail about the temple complex than he does in Wars, although clearly these references from Antiquities and Wars describe the same event; that is, they both relate that reconstruction on the temple complex had been started and that the citadel had been repaired and named Antonia. How could Herod have named the citadel Antonia in both cases, and yet it be said that Josephus recorded different events separated by three years? They are rather two references to the same event. One reference, however, does relate the event as having occurred in Herod’s 18th year and the other in his 15th year of reign. This has led some to consider the 15th-year reference to be a mistake, or perhaps to view the 15th-year reference as a time of preparation beginning three years before the actual construction in Herod’s 18th year. The Tower of Antonia is mentioned in the Book of Acts 21:34. It is there referred to as “barracks” in the NKJV and as “castle” in the KJV.
Let us examine the problem. The 18th year is from mid-20 b.c. to mid-19 b.c. This reference to the 18th year has Herod’s reign starting in late June of 37 b.c. at his capture of Jerusalem. Since the 15th year event is the same as that in the 18th, it must also identify the same year from mid-20 b.c. to mid-19 b.c., and thereby requires that the 15th year of Herod’s reign be counted from 34 b.c. That, however, cannot be true if Herod’s 37-year reign started in 40 b.c. and his 34-year reign in 37 b.c., but this is precisely a view held by many historians and proponents of Herod’s death in 4 b.c. Josephus speaks of a 37-year and a 34-year reign starting at different points in time, but he has both lengths of reign ending at Herod’s death. In Antiquities (17.8.1) Josephus related that Herod ruled 37 years from when he was declared king by the Romans. He also related that Herod ruled 34 years from when Antigonus, the last Hasmonean priestly-king of Jerusalem, was slain. These statements make perfect sense when the 18th year of Herod’s reign is counted from his capture of Jerusalem in 37 b.c. and his 15th year is counted from the slaying of Antigonus in 34 b.c. This 15th year is the only reference given by Josephus in which he counts Herod’s reign from Antigonus’ death in 34 b.c. Josephus stated that the same event, the naming of the Tower of Antonia, occurred in both the 18th and 15th years of Herod’s reign. The relationship demonstrates that the 18th year is attached to the 37-year length of reign while the 15th year is tied to the 34-year length of reign; that is, there are three years of separation between the 18th and 15th years as well as between the 37 and 34-year lengths of reign. This understanding of the 18th and 15th years alone serves to establish the year span during which Herod died . . . The 18th year from 37 b.c. is tied to Herod’s 37-year length of reign, whereas the 15th year from 34 b.c. is tied to his 34-year length of reign. The 37th year counted from the capture of Jerusalem runs from late June of 1 b.c. to late June of 1 a.d.”
Chapter 3 identifies those days on which Nisan 14, the day Christ died, could have occurred in the possible years for His death. With this information, the years of Christ’s birth, death, and length of life are ascertained in Chapter 4. The rest of Chapters 4-9 support the conclusions there determined and more. For example, when did the angel appear to Zacharias? An excerpt from chapter 6 follows.
“Referring again to the time line, “The 15th Year of Tiberius and John Comes Preaching,” it can be seen that Zacharias’ eighth course ended on 6-13-02 b.c.j., a Friday, at sunset, the beginning of Saturday. His course service, therefore, began a week earlier at sunset Friday, on 6-6-02 b.c.j. The week of Zacharias’ service corresponded to the fourth through the tenth days of the Jewish third month of Sivan. The fifth day of Sivan, the second day of his service was Pentecost―Shavuoth to the Jews, a Sunday. In Luke 1:10 is found this, “And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside [the sanctuary] at the hour of incense.” The word translated “multitude” is Strong’s number 4128 meaning “a great number.” The word comes from Strong’s number 4130 the meaning of which is “to fill up.” This multitude of people was outside the sanctuary in the outer court of the temple. As deduced from the meaning of these words, the number of people was so large that they filled up the area outside the sanctuary; that is, the outer court. The angel came to Zacharias roughly during the first half of his week of service. This is known because after his seeing the angel one reads in Luke 1:23 that there were yet days of service remaining for the course of Abijah to complete before they departed for home. There is only one reason for so many to have gathered outside the sanctuary in the month of Sivan. It was the Day of Pentecost. Josephus spoke of the numbers that gathered at the temple on Pentecost, “The coming of the multitude out of the country to Pentecost, a feast of ours so called; and when that day was come, many ten thousands of the people were gathered together about the temple,” (Ant. 14.13.4). Zacharias’ first day of service was Saturday, the day when people living in Jerusalem would come to the temple for the Saturday Sabbath service, but as indicated in Luke 1:10 it was on Pentecost when people from the whole land of Israel gathered at the temple in Jerusalem in great numbers. For this reason, it is most likely that the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias on the Day of Pentecost.”
Another example is, who the Magi may have been and why was Herod so upset by their inquiry? Here is an excerpt from chapter 9.
“Authors from antiquity relate who the magi were. From Josephus and Herodotus it is learned that the magi first appeared in the historical record during the seventh century b.c. in the Median Empire―the kingdom of the Medes having been situated in the northwestern territory of what is modern-day Iran. It will be shown that some of the magi priestly caste came to dwell within the Parthian Empire—the region of northeastern Iran of the present day. By the time of Christ’s birth, the magi, having formed the upper house of the Council of Megistanes, were purveyors of considerable power and influence whose authority extended to the election of Parthian Empire kings. What were the origins of these magi priests of Parthia?
The Assyrian Empire was seated in what are the modern-day countries of Syria and Iraq. At their zenith, in the eighth to seventh centuries b.c., the Assyrian realm included the conquered lands of Babylonia, Media, and the territory of the ten northern tribes of Israel, Arabia, Lebanon, and Egypt. Their first attack on the ten northern tribes was in 740 b.c., record of which is found in 2 Kings 15:27-31. It was in 725 b.c. when the Assyrians attacked Samaria, the capital city of the northern tribes, conquering it in 722 b.c. The Assyrians placed their Hebrew captives in the cities of the Median Empire, as recorded in 2 Kings 17:6. The Assyrian attacks continued for 65 years until 675 b.c. when the conquest of the northern tribes was complete, (Isaiah 7:8). Nearly a hundred years later, appearing for the first time just east of the Median Empire, the Parthian Empire emerged. Herodotus related that the Parthians “are a race of Medes,”1 and Josephus wrote, “. . . while the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by number,” (Ant. 11.5.2). From the foregoing, may we understand that the Parthians descended from the ten northern tribes of Israel? In about the fifth century b.c. a Parthian city named Samariane appears southeast of the Caspian Sea. Could the naming of Samariane have been in memory of Israel’s ten northern tribes’ pre-captivity capital of Samaria? Could the magi’s lineage and origins have been from the ten northern tribes of Israel? To men with such ancestry, being astrologers and king-makers in Parthia, a heavenly sign announcing the birth of a king to the Jews would certainly have been of great interest. The Bible refers to the magi in Matthew, chapter 2: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [magi] from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ 3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him,” (Matthew 2:1-3).
The magi’s arrival followed after the birth of Jesus. They came to Jerusalem in search of the king that had been born of the Jews. It was His star they saw while in the East from whence they came, and it was His star that motivated their journey to Jerusalem. Herod was troubled at the magi’s sudden appearance and inquiry regarding this “King of the Jews.” Parthia had gained control of Judea years earlier in 40 b.c., and at that incursion they had installed Antigonous as vassal king over the country. Then in early 37 b.c. they withdrew across the Euphrates River, leaving the Jewish king, Antigonous, and his people alone to battle Herod and Rome. With the aid of Sosius, Mark Antony’s general, Herod conquered Jerusalem in late June of 37 b.c. Three years following his capture of the city, Herod persuaded Mark Antony to slay the Jewish king, Antigonous, as a means to secure his throne. Antigonus had been of royal lineage, he being of Hasmonian kingly-priestly descent. Now, here were the Parthians, uninvited, and as will be seen in the company of an armed force, once again in Herod’s kingdom looking for a Jewish king. Herod would have imagined the worst; the Parthians were there to reinstate a king of Jewish lineage on what was now his throne, just as they had done once before.”
“New Insights” gives a new understanding of an old truth about Daniel’s prediction of Christ’s death to the minute. Discussion presented in this book is factually with logically reasoned analyses. Topics include the following: the life, illness, and death date of Herod the Great; the significance of Flavius Josephus’ writings pertaining to Herod’s reign; the historic roles played by the Armenians, Parthians, Thracians, Germans, Medes, and Romans; the intrigues and shifting alliances among Marc Antony, August Caesar, Herod the Great, and Cleopatra; the identification of Jubilee and Sabbatical years throughout history; the elimination of prevailing yet flawed theories surrounding the birth and death of Jesus Christ; identifying the birth and death dates of Christ; the timing and significance of the prophecy in Daniel 9, and why it points to Jesus Christ as Messiah; a better understanding of specified scriptural passages through study of the original language and the Jewish calendar; and how the prophecy of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of the New Testament meld perfectly with the timing and events of history.
Threads drawn from history, astronomy, and the Bible are components of a tapestry of such complexity that only God could be the weaver. The material is presented in a clear and complete format for easy comprehension. To this end, the process of elimination has been chosen to harmonize the known facts. Charts and time lines serve to illustrate what is possible and to eliminate the impossible. The remaining correct answers are then explained. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, through his analytical characterization of Sherlock Holmes, said it in these two ways, “Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth,” and “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains . . . must be the truth.” This sound and logical method is the process utilized to reach the conclusions found in this book. Charts are used in the book to harmonize the known facts to eliminate that which is impossible and to illustrate that which is possible. There are 46 charts in the book to provide the reader with a visual format.
It is shown that Christ’s death was prophesied to a particular day, and it is demonstrated that He did die on that very day. From this information we will clearly understand what Daniel 9:27 does or doesn’t say about the future. The extreme accuracy found in Daniel 9, when understood, allows believers to be ever so confident that we can trust in God and His control over the physical world through His power, which has been greatly underestimated.