Despite all the remarkable evidences that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, many still believe they have sufficient grounds to doubt the biblical claims about Jesus Christ. Of these, there are basically three distinct groups: those who believe Jesus Christ was a prophet, those who believe Jesus Christ was an imposter, and those who believe Jesus Christ was a myth. According to the first group, Jesus Christ was indeed a special prophet sent by God, just like other prophets like Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad. He is passionately held in high regard as one of the greatest prophets ever, by this group, but He is nothing like the Son of God or the Saviour of the world according to them. They also do not expect any sort of Saviour from God, and their teachings forbid a belief in such. The second group believes in the coming of the Messiah, but it does not accept the divinity of Jesus Christ or regard Him as the Messiah or the Saviour of the world. A great majority of them believe the Messiah is going to come sometime in the near future, and aspects of their belief as regarding the nature of the coming of the Messiah, is interestingly comparable to the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The third group is by no means the least, and is by no way the easiest come to terms with the biblical account of Jesus Christ. This group believes the biblical account of Jesus Christ is too similar to the dying-and-rising gods’ fictions of ancient mythologies, to be true. Noteworthy in this regard is the ancient Egyptian Sun God, Horus, whose alleged mythological accounts share striking similarities with the biblical account of Jesus, with the intrinsic details of his birth, death, and resurrection, drawing the greatest interest. There are also several other mythological gods who are said to share similar accounts to that of Jesus Christ, including Mithras who was said to be born of a virgin on December 25, had twelve disciples, performed miracles, was dead for three days and resurrected, and was worshipped on Sunday. So, for this group, the account of Jesus Christ was a mere retelling of the ancient stories of these mythological gods. But is there any solid and historically accurate proof that Jesus Christ was a real Person and the Saviour of Mankind that the Bible portrays Him to be?
In the Old Testament, Bible Scholarship has shown that there are over 300 references to the Messiah alone, of which the chance of any one man fulfilling a selection of just eight of the prophecies is nigh impossible; one in one hundred billion, including the prophecy on the Messiah’s crucifixion. In his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell lists 60 Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament, including significant prophecies such as:
• He will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; fulfilled in Matthew 1:24, 25)
• He will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Matthew 2:1)
• He will enter Jerusalem on a Donkey (Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled in Luke 19:35)
• He will be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9; fulfilled in Matthew 10:4)
• He will not defend himself (Isaiah 53:7; fulfilled in Matthew 27:12)
• He will be physically tortured (Isaiah 53:5; fulfilled in Matthew 27:26)
• He will be crucified (Psalm 22:16; fulfilled in Luke 22:33)
• He will be crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; fulfilled in Matthew 27:38)
• They will divide His garments and cast lots for them (Psalm 22:18; fulfilled in John 19:23, 24)
• His bones will not be broken (Psalm 34:20; fulfilled in John 19:33)
So, to leave us in no doubt, God spoke through the prophets of old, about the coming of the Messiah and it is amazing that though it is nigh mathematically impossible for any one man to fulfill just eight of the Messianic prophecies, Jesus Christ fulfilled all the hundreds of prophecies written about him except for those left to be fulfilled at His second coming. Peter, speaking in Acts 3:18, says, “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” Also, Jesus, before His ascension to heaven, reminded His disciples of this same fact, saying, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me . . . Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:44–47).
However, the greatest prophecy and proof that leaves us in no iota of doubt that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the Saviour of the world is the prophecy in Daniel 8 and 9, which has been widely considered by Bible scholars as the Bible’s longest and most amazing prophecy, and also reemphasizes the truth that only God holds the key to the future. The prophecy which is called “The 2300 days prophecy” (Daniel 8:14), based on the time period it covers, is a significant Jewish prophecy, because it predicted the return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon to rebuilding Jerusalem which had been destroyed by the Babylonians during the time of Jeremiah. It is likewise a significant prophecy for all Christians because it also predicted the exact time the Messiah would come, the exact time the Messiah would be crucified, and the exact time the Gospel would be taken to the Gentiles, that is, the rest of the world. Amazingly too, the prophecy predicted the time when the investigative judgement will begin in heaven’s sanctuary, at the end of which the Messiah will return (more on the investigative judgement in chapter six). The return of the Messiah is the sole event that has not been fulfilled according to this prophecy; an event for which there is no specific time given. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:10 that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night”.The 2300 days prophecy is the greatest proof that leaves us in no doubt about who Jesus Christ is. Click To Tweet
So how does the 2300 days prophecy predict the exact period of the arrival of the Messiah, the exact period the Messiah would die, and the exact period when the Gospel would be taken to the Gentiles? To understand how the 2300 days prophecy makes these amazing predictions about the Messiah, we have to go to Daniel 9, where the Messianic prophecy is specifically mentioned. Although, the Messianic prophecy, also known as the seventy-week prophecy, based on the time period it covers within the 2300 days prophecy, is only discussed in Daniel 9:24–27, we see the background leading to the giving of the prophecy in the preceding verses of Daniel 9. Daniel and other Jews were in captivity at Babylon at the time, and Daniel, knowing that God had promised through the prophet Jeremiah to bring His people back from captivity after seventy years (Daniel 9:2; Jeremiah 29:10, 14; 30:1–3), prayed fervently to God to remember His promise and restore His people to their land (Daniel 9:1–19). It is in response to Daniel’s prayer that God sent the angel Gabriel to deliver to him the promise of Israel and Judah’s restoration (by this time, the nation of Israel had been divided into Israel and Judah), by the nature of the seventy-week prophecy, which then proceeds to predict the coming, death, and proclamation of the risen Messiah to the world. In doing this, God was metaphorically telling Daniel that He would not only save and restore them to their land, but He would also save their souls and restore them to everlasting life. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that there was no better time to inform His people of the coming of the Messiah than at a time when they desired to be saved to the uttermost.
In Daniel 9:24, the angel Gabriel begins to relay the prophecy to Daniel by telling him; “Seventy weeks are determined (cut off from the 2300 days) for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Parentheses Added). Then he further says, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; . . . Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week, he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering” (Daniel 9:25–27). (Parts of Daniel 9:26 and 27 also predicts the future destruction of the city of Jerusalem and its sanctuary by the Romans, referred to as the abomination of desolation, which happened in A.D. 70; the same which Jesus alluded to in Matthew 24:15–20, Luke 19:43, 44 and Luke 21:20–24).
To interpret and understand this prophecy, we must know the starting period of the seventy weeks. The key to knowing this has been provided in Daniel 9:25 where the angel Gabriel says; “From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks”. According to the book of Ezra, three decrees were given to go and rebuild Jerusalem as seen in Ezra 1, 6, and 7, but it was the last one, which king Artaxerxes gave in Ezra 7:12–26 that fully restored Israel back as a nation, as he gave them the chance to elect judges and magistrates. So, though king Cyrus and king Darius had previously given decrees to rebuild Jerusalem, it was the decree made by king Artaxerxes that fully restored Israel back as a nation and fully settled their return to Jerusalem, with Jerusalem rebuilt in 408 B. C. King Artaxerxes’ decree, according to the history books, was given in 457 B.C., and thus, represents the starting date or period of the seventy-week prophecy in Daniel 9. The book of Ezra was thus written, detailing the return of the Jews from captivity.
So if the starting date of the seventy-week prophecy is 457 B.C., this means the Messiah is supposed to appear seven weeks and sixty-two weeks from that time, after 457 B.C. However, we know that this is not the case because the rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem alone took 49 years, ending in 408 B.C., according to historical records, and the Messiah did not appear during Daniel’s time. As a matter of fact, many of the events described by the seventy-week prophecy, such as the bringing of the Gospel to the Gentiles, did not happen until hundreds of years later. Unsurprisingly, in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, God shows that in prophetic terms, a day equals a year. So if a day equals a year, it means seven weeks according to the prophecy actually means 49 years (to arrive at this, we must first convert seven weeks to days which equals 49 days), leading us to 408 B.C., which is exactly the time period it took for the temple and Jerusalem to be restored. Then, to arrive at the time when the Messiah appears, we must also convert the sixty-two weeks to arrive at the prophetic time period of 434 years (to arrive at this, we must first convert sixty-two weeks to days which equals 434 days). In B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini) dating system, we subtract, and add ‘1’ when crossing over to A.D., meaning that for us to arrive at the time when the Messiah appears, according to the seventy-week prophecy, we must subtract (434+49), that is, 483 from 457, and add the required ‘1’ when crossing over to A.D., leading us to A.D. 27. In the book of Luke, it is recorded that in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1), it came to pass that Jesus was baptized, and while He prayed, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said; “You are My Beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21, 22). The fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, according to history books, was A.D. 27 which parallels the baptism of Jesus Christ at the Jordan River and the confirmation that He was the Christ by God. It was also during this year that Jesus Christ began His ministry. This is the greatest evidence till date that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and considering that the book of Daniel was written centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ, it leaves us in no doubt whatsoever about the person of Jesus Christ.
Going further, there is one week left out of the seventy-week prophecy, and that is the week mentioned in Daniel 9:27, where it says that the Messiah “shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” As we already know, this one week must likewise be regarded in prophetic terms because we are dealing with a Bible prophecy. This means that the one week in question equally means a period of seven years. So we can now interpret the reading in Daniel 9:27 to mean that the Messiah shall confirm the covenant with many for seven years; but in the middle of the year, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. In Mark 15:38, after Jesus Christ had been crucified, we read that the veil of the sanctuary, where the priestly sacrificial rituals and offerings for sins were made, was torn in two from top to bottom. This was the veil that separated the holy place from the most holy place, and this led to the glory of God leaving the sanctuary. The death of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:27–54; Luke 23:32–47) occurred in A.D. 31, exactly three-and-a-half years from A.D. 27, confirming that Jesus Christ, whose ministry lasted for exactly three-and-a-half years, indeed brought an end to the priestly sacrifices and offerings in the middle of the week, after which He was then resurrected.
The three-and-a-half years left for which the Messiah must confirm the covenant with many was fulfilled in A.D. 34, at the death of Stephen, the martyr and disciple of Jesus Christ, who being filled with the Holy Spirit, died in a much similar manner like Jesus Christ (Acts 7:54–60). Prior, to the death of Stephen, the disciples of Jesus had been fiercely persecuted for preaching the Gospel (for confirming the covenant with many), and the persecution climaxed at the stoning of Stephen. The death of Stephen in A.D. 34 was exactly three and a half years from A.D. 31, signifying the end of the seventy-week prophecy. Remarkably, after the death of Stephen, the Gospel was taken to the Gentiles by Saul of Tarsus on the instruction of Christ who appeared to him (Acts 9:1–9; 22:17–21). This is why the angel Gabriel told Daniel that seventy weeks (490 years) were determined upon his people, that is, upon the Jews to accept the Messiah, for at the end of the seventy weeks (490 years), the Gospel must go to the Gentiles (non-Jews), and it did. The stunning accuracy of this prophecy, amongst other prophecies, is a great testament that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, a real Person in history, and is indeed a great confirmation of God’s master plan of salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ.
Friend, what are your thoughts? Kindly leave a comment below.
*The content of this post is based on my new book, “The Believer’s Dilemma: Questions that beg for answers” which is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N044LKV and Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/671686 and other major online retail stores.