Bible Question:

I am intrigued by your study on Daniel 9:25-27 but I have a question on the dates. The decree went out on Nisan 1 and (7 + 62) * 7 * 360 days (173880 days) followed. Shouldn't the end date be Nisan 1 again? Since multiples of 360 days passed (the number of days in a Jewish year) we should end up back at Nisan 1. Even if leap months were inserted (and they no doubt occurred), they are still 30 day leap months which should maintain the day of the month.

Bible Answer:

You are referring to the calculation performed in the study titled, “Prophecy of Daniels’ 70 Weeks.” In that study Daniel predicted that the Messiah would die 483 biblical years after Nisan 1, 444 B.C., which is the Jewish year of 3317. Unfortunately, one cannot simply add the 483 biblical years to the Jewish year of 3317 and arrive at the correct date since the Jewish calendar is based one the moon’s cycle. That is, the Hebrew calendar is a lunar based calendar.

Our calendar, the Gregorian calendar[1], has approximately 365.24219879 days per year and every four years we add one day in the month of February to update our calendar. That is, every four years our calendar falls behind by one day and so we add one day. The Jewish calendar normally has 354 days each year.[2] In leap years an entire month is added. Sometimes the additional month is called Adar 2, Veadar or Adar I. It depends upon the author of the calendar. The leap years were calculated as follows:

The Jewish leap years are years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 of the Metonic cycle. To determine whether a year is a leap year, find the remainder when dividing the Jewish year number by 19. If the remainder is 3, 6, 8, 11, 14 or 17, the year is a leap year and an extra month, Adar I, is added, preceding Adar II (sometimes called “the real Adar”). If the remainder is zero, the year is also a leap year since year 19 of the Metonic cycle is a year exactly divisible by 19. Another way to check a specific year is to find the remainder in the following calculation: ( 7 x the Jewish year number + 1 ) / 19. If the remainder is less than 7, the year is a leap year.[3]

The following calendar illustrates the Hebrew calendars for 3792 and 3793. The calendars were generated by Abdicate.net. The Hebrew year 3793 was selected since it is the Gregorian year of A.D. 33. in which Jesus Christ died.

Jerwish Calendar 3792

Jerwish Calendar 3793

Currently, Tishrei 1 is the first day of the Jewish New Year. At the time of the prophecy Tishrei was also the first month of the Jewish New year.[4]

The average number of days per year in the Jewish calendar is 365.2468 days The actual number of days per year in the solar year is 365.2422 days. That means the Jewish calendar is taking 0.0046 days longer to change to a new year.[5] Compared to the Gregorian calendar it is lagging 0.0032 days each year. Since Daniel’s prophecy spans 483 years (69 years x 7), that means the Jewish calendar is lagging by 2.02 days, compared to the solar year, by the year 3793. The Jewish year of 3792 was a leap year, implying a correction or an update to the correct time. However, we do not know the accuracy of that update. But if we assume that the update was accurate and we add the correction of 2.02 days we obtain a corrected calendar of Nisan 3, 3793. This date corresponds to March 21, A.D. 33. If we did the calculation in the Gregorian calendar the date is April 1, A.D. 33. or Nisan 5, A.D 33 in the Jewish calendar. The discrepancy is not surprising due to known inaccuracies in the updating the of the Jewish calendar.

Conclusion:

We would encourage you to compare this information with that found in the study “Prophecy of Daniels’ 70 Weeks.” May God bless.

References:

1. The Julian calendar is used in astronomy.
2. Jewish Calendar Description (http://stevemorse.org/jcal/rules.htm)
3. http://www.abdicate.net/print.aspx?sdn=1733204
4. Horn and Wood, ‘The Fifth-century Jewish Calendar at Elephantine,’ Op. Cit. , p. 1-20.
5. http://stevemorse.org/jcal/rules.htm

Reference Links:

Peace With God
Prophecy of Daniels' 70 Weeks