Just recently I've been studying one of the historical 'markers' in the "70 week" prophecy. Perhaps this will be of interest to some of you.
In the 3rd chapter of Luke, the Bible gives us a time marker. The 15th year of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius, is specified as the year of Jesus’ baptism, and of His anointing with the Holy Spirit.
The 15th year of Tiberius is important to us as a people. It is one of the key dates relating to our understanding of the 2300 day prophecy.
Generally, we teach that “history says” that the 15th year of Tiberius was AD 27, but the reality is not nearly this convenient. History does not “say” as explicitly as we might hope, that the 15th year of Tiberius was AD 27. It is just not that easy to pin-point.
Now I do not doubt the correctness of the AD 27 date, and yet many historians [today it is “most” historians] do not believe that “the 15th year” was AD 27. There ARE reasonable objections to some of our prophetic teachings, and it worth being aware of these, so that when such objections are raised we don’t simply resort to contempt because we have no rational answers to give.
Let’s consider a few details.
Tiberius was adopted by Caesar Augustus when Augustus’ two surviving heirs (Lucius and Gaius) died within 18 months of each other.
Augustus, suddenly finding himself bereft of an heir, adopted Tiberius in A.D. 4 when Tiberius was 46 years old. Ten years after this, Augustus died (A.D. 14) and Tiberius became Ceasar.
The year of Augustus’ death and Tiberius’ succession is indisputably fixed at AD 14. (This AD 14 date is doubly confirmed by a Lunar eclipse which was recorded by various Roman historians, Tacitus (Annals, Bk 1, para.28), and Cassius Dio, etc., and the eclipse occurred shortly after Tiberius’ succession. (Lunar eclipses can be dated very accurately.))
If Tiberius’ ‘year-count’ began in AD 14 (the year in which his step-father Augustus died,) then his 15th year would be AD 29. We teach, however, that the 15th year of Tiberius was two years earlier, namely, A.D. 27.
Why the difference?
If the 15th year of Tiberius was indeed AD 29, then our explanation of the 2300 days, and the “70 weeks”, begins to fall apart – in the end it does not work.
So again, what reason do we have for placing Tiberius’ 15th year at the earlier point, i.e., in AD27?
A brief explanation is offered as follows:
The historian Gibbon explains that, prior to his death, Augustus “dictated a law by which the future prince [Tiberius] was invested with an authority equal to his own, over the provinces and the armies.” (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol 1. p.30.)
In “the provinces”, Tiberius had equal standing and authority with Ceasar Augustus. But it is worth pointing out, I think, that even while Augustus was still alive and technically holding superiority in Rome, “all Rome, which hated [Tiberius] for his stern puritanism, resigned itself to the fact that though Augustus was still prince [i.e. living Emperor], Tiberius had begun to rule.” (Durant vol.3 p.231.)
Judea was one of the Roman provinces in which Tiberius’ authority was equal to Ceasar Augustus’, and of course it was in Judea that Luke wrote his account – dating the baptism of Jesus in the 15th year of Tiberius.
Another relevant point is that Augustus’ health had been failing for some years, and he was “an invalid at sixty [2 B.C.]” (See, Durant vol.3, p.231)). Augustus made Tiberius his co-regent, and in Judea, the reign of Tiberius was dated – not from the death of Augustus (as would normally have been the case) – but from that time, two years prior to the death of Augustus (AD 12), when Tiberius was given legal equality with Augustus .
Legally, and for all practical purposes, Tiberius was Emperor over the province of Judea, even while Augustus was still living. His reign began in AD 12, and so the 15th year of Tiberius was indeed AD 27.
Yes Thank you Stewart for that interesting study, clearly we need to retain the year 27 marker because if we do not the whole 2300 year line is going to fall apart.
We need to accept that Tiberius was ruling Judea at the 15th year as Luke says. I accept the Bible as the true document. History has been found to have inaccuracies in it many times.
Similar points has been raised relating to the 1260 day line as there was several events in and around 538 that could be seen as marking the beginning of that line but as the pope was taken prisoner by General Bertier 1798, (and no other event fits the prophecy it must be that event) , so the start needs to be 538.
Excellent. Thanks for sharing.
In addition, it should be noted that Augustus died in 14 AD, I think in August. Our critics assume without evidence that the 15th year must start 15 years after 14 AD. But if one uses non-accession-year reckoning and a fall-to-fall calendar, Tiberius' 1st year would end on Tishri 1, 14 AD, and his 2nd year would begin at that point in time. If the 2nd year began on Tishri 1, 14 AD, then his 15th year would begin 13 years later on Tishri 1, 27 AD.
The 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar was not 29 A.D., but 27 A.D. -- if recognizing John's account as commencing Tiberius' reign at his joint reign, not sole reign. Jesus was born, not around 1 B.C., but about 3 B.C. or before. (More data on this can be found here: What Year was Jesus Born? The following article by Fowler argues for a precise date of 3 B.C. here: When Was Jesus Born.) This would make him about 30 years old in 27 A.D., not 29 A.D. Those Dispensationalists who place the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius in 29 A.D. are directly adding 15 years to the commencement of Tiberius' sole reign date of 14 A.D., but this does not allow for inclusive years. Note that 14 A.D. is the 1st year and 15 is the 2nd, 16 = 3rd, 17 = 4th, 18 = 5th, 19 = 6th, 20 = 7th, 21 = 8th, 22 = 9th, 23 = 10th, 24 = 11th, 25 = 12th, 26 = 13th, 27 = 14th and 28 A.D. is the 15th, not 29 A.D. Now while Tiberius is said to have reigned from 14 A.D. to 37 A.D., we must remember that 14 A.D. is the starting year of his sole reign. But after his adoption in 4 B.C., Tiberius was granted tribunician (legislative) power and proconsular (military) power and in 13 B.C., his powers were made equal to that of Augustus effectively making him ruling co-emperor. So when Augustus died in 14 B.C., the question of succession was not an issue as Tiberius already had the powers of emperor. The 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar using his sole reign would make the baptism of Jesus in 28 A.D. Many get 29 A.D. because they forget to use inclusive years. Thus the calculation should actually be 14 A.D. + - 1 year = 28 A.D. But this of course cannot be reconciled with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. But if you allow for the fact that he ruled jointly with Augustus for one year prior to 14 A.D., then that would make the baptism of Jesus to be one year earlier in 27 A.D. This then aligns with the other evidence for the starting date of 457 B.C. to rebuild Jerusalem.
If anyone doubt this data, you're welcome to verify it yourself in the following Encyclopedias:
Augustus: Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 16 Jun. 2009
"Although Augustus was now feeling his age, these years in association with Tiberius were marked by administrative innovations: ... and the conversion of the hitherto occasional appointment of prefect of the city (praefectus urbi) into a permanent office (AD 13). When, in the same year, the powers of Augustus were renewed for 10 years--such renewals had been granted at intervals throughout the reign--Tiberius was made his equal in every constitutional respect...."
"The death of Gaius in AD 4 initiated a flurry of activity in the household of Augustus. Tiberius was adopted as full son and heir and in turn, he was required to adopt Augustus' nephew, Germanicus, the son of his brother Drusus and Augustus' niece Antonia Minor. Along with his adoption, Tiberius received tribunician power as well as a share of Augustus's maius imperium, something that even Marcus Agrippa may never have had. In AD 7, Agrippa Postumus was disowned by Augustus and banned to the island of Planasia, to live in solitary confinement Thus, when in AD 13, the powers held by Tiberius were made equal, rather than second, to Augustus's own powers, he was for all intents and purposes a "co-princeps" with Augustus, and in the event of the latter's passing, would simply continue to rule without an interregnum or possible upheaval. Augustus died in AD 14, at the age of 76...."
As we can see, Luke would have counted from Tiberius' joint reign if we are to correctly reconcile the dates:
It was anywhere between 3 and 5 B.C. Jesus may have been exactly 30, or He may have not.
This is why Luke says, "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age"
So whether He was exactly 30 in 27 A.D. or not, all that is required at a minimal is that He was around 30. 27 A.D. also lines up with the fact that the Gospel went to the Gentiles in 34 A.D., and this was the very year that Paul was converted.
Dr. William Shea, Ph.D., perspicaciously points out:
THE END OF THE 70TH WEEK:
"We have established 457 B.C. as the beginning date for Daniel's seventy weeks. We have seen that the sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, ended in A.D. 27 with Jesus' baptism. The next questions become: When did the seventy weeks end, and what event marked its termination?
Seventy prophetic weeks equal 490 prophetic days or literal years. Simple addition tells us that if we add 490 years to 457 B.C. we reach A.D. 34. What happened in A.D. 34 to mark the conclusion of the seventy weeks? This date is too late for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus which took place three or four years earlier. Some other event must be considered.
The stoning of Stephen, described in Acts 7, is an event that has attracted considerable attention as marking the end of the seventy weeks--both for its theological significance as well as its timing. The narrative records no specific date for Stephen's death, but indirect evidence places it in A.D. 34. How do we arrive at this conclusion?
The estimated date for Stephen's martyrdom is based on the career of the apostle Paul. He was still unconverted at Stephen's death, since he stood by and held the coats of those who stoned him (see Acts 7:58). A short time later, Saul left for Damascus to persecute Christians there. On the way to Damascus he was converted from Saul the Pharisee to Paul the Christian apostle (see Acts 9:1-9). If Paul's conversion can be dated, the stoning of Stephen can also be placed within narrow limits.
In Galatians 1, Paul gives some biographical details about his career as an apostle, referring especially to his visits to Jerusalem. He made only brief and infrequent visits to Jerusalem, and he gives us some chronological information about them. He says the first visit came 3 years after his conversion (see verse 18); the second occurred 14 years after the first (see Galatians 2:1). Then shortly after his second visit to Jerusalem, Paul left on his second missionary journey which took him to Corinth (see Acts 18). While at Corinth, Paul appeared before the proconsul Gallio (see verse 12). So Paul would have stood before Gallio 17 years following his conversion (14 years between his second and first visit to Jerusalem added to the 3 years between his first Jerusalem visit and his conversion). From an inscription found in Corinth, we know that Gallio's one-year pro-consulship in Corinth occurred in A.D. 51. If the 17 years for Paul's two visits to Jerusalem are subtracted from the date of Paul's appearance before Gallio, then his conversion and Stephen's stoning should be dated to A.D. 34. (51 - 17 = 34). This date, A.D. 34 is the one New Testament scholars commonly favor for Stephen's death and paul's conversion. We can't be so precise to determine the month or day, but it is a close estimate for the year itself.
Thus this book takes the position that Daniel's seventy weeks came to an end in A.D. 34 with the stoning of Stephen and the conversion of Paul. We already discussed the theological significance of Stephen's death in the context of the last phrase of Daniel 9:24). There we said there were four areas of theological significance related to Stephen's martyrdom: (1) the gruop to whom Stephen gave his final speech--the Sanhedrin, the highest religious body in the land; (2) the form of his speech--a covenant lawsuit speech like those given by Old Testament prophets; (3) the prophetic nature of his experience at the time of his death when he looked up in vision into heaven itself; and (4) the fact that Paul's conversion has its roots in Stephen's death, so that Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, takes the place of Stephen the powerful preacher to Israel. For these reasons, Stephen's death at the end of the seventy weeks can be seen as a highly significant point of transition from the era of Israel as the elect nation of God to the era of the church." (Dr. William H. Shea, Ph.D., Daniel, pp. 160-162)
Hi @Marcos I read with interest your studies in the 70 weeks I would like to make one comment about Jesus taking up His ministry. When I was new in the faith I did study with an retired pastor including the 70 weeks. He did say to me that there was a rule in the tradition that a man could not take up the teacher ministry before he was 30 years old,
If that was true I am sure Jesus would not have done so until He was 30.
Thank You again for your informative posts
An interesting exercise would be to take 490 LEGO blocks (one for each year of this prophecy) and mark each one of the LEGO blocks with each year of the 490 years of this prophecy. Starting with 457 BC as the first block arrange them on a table 70 deep and 7 across... you know 70 x 7 = 490 Years.
You would find out two things... #1 that Jesus was crucified in AD 30 (the middle of the last week) and that AD 34 is not among the group of LEGO blocks on the table.
The way I have interpreted Daniel's 70 week prophecy is that the unit of measure that is stated is YEARS. So the starting 'YEAR' of the prophecy is 457 B.C.. Seventy times Seven YEARS (490) is the length of time God gave the Jewish nation to repent. My study of this topic convinces me that the units of time measurement are in years.. not months or days.
I suggest that it's important to note just when in 457BC the decree went into effect.
I understand that it was in the latter part (i.e. the Autumn) of that year. With this additional factor built in, the crucifixion therefore happened in the Spring of AD 31.
Each Lego block would need to be marked with Autumn/Fall of the respective year.
This prophecy is one where the Year-Day formula is clearly at work. I just cannot dismiss that and use some other formula like autumn to autumn reckoning. The bible texts speak to me clearly that 'unit of measure' is in years.
An interesting point is that many Baptists ignore the Year-Day principle and unit of measurement and drop down to measuring the prophecy in 'DAYS' from 444 or 445 B.C. to the EXACT day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. It's kind of interesting to see how they twisted the bible text to justify a Rapture in the last week that is moved into the future.
For those interested, I wrote up a several-part paper on the 70 weeks, entitled:
The 70 Weeks of Daniel 9 - Vindicating the Historical-Messianic Computation:
As you will note, I engage with a Dispensationalist teacher in there, who goes by the name of "Quasar". I go by the screenname, "Lysimachus". Please feel free to read more than just my first four parts. I respond in great depth to a number of deceptive, yet gross errors, within the Dispensational-Futurist world.
Thank you Marcos. I have been very interested to look at your material on this.
I noticed you refer to "non-accession-year reckoning". I certainly appreciate that this is important with regards to the 457BC date, but when it came to 'year-counts' of the the Roman Caesars, I am not so sure it is relevant.
In my understanding, the Jews used the Roman 'year-count', rather than their old method, in which year #1 of a ruler's reign began only after the "accession year".
You would be correct Stewart. The non-accession year reckoning would be irrelevant when it comes to 27 A.D. I need to edit that portion of it.
But for 457 B.C. it certainly would be correct.
You may be interested in reading Bob Pickle's research on this. He is an expert on calendars and the Jewish Calendar. The links to Pickle's papers at Pickle-Publishing.com will be found in the TheologyReview link I provided above.
Be blessed. :)
Alexander, may I offer a brief explanation relating to the term "non-accession"?
"Accession year" and "Non-accession year" dating methods became part of SDA jargon, in the 1950's when two professors (Siegfried Horn and Lynn Wood) wrote some papers (and a Book) on the chronology of Erza 7.
Their purpose was to establish the certainty of 457BC as the date as Artaxerxes 7th year -- the year that marked the beginning of the 2300 days and the 70 weeks.
They showed that 3 dating systems were used at that time. The Persians, the Egyptians, and the Jews all used different methods to assign 'year-numbers' to the reigns of the kings. So, as far as the Jews, Egyptians, and Persians were concerned, the 7th year of Artaxerxes reign was different.
(Even today people point to the Egyptian method to "prove" that the SDA teaching is wrong with regards to 457BC.)
Drs. Horn & Wood used a diagram to show the different methods. (I've been trying to include it in the post here, but haven't been able to do it yet.) But the main point is the "accession year", and how they treated it.
I think that with Tiberius it is somewhat different. In the Roman provinces (of which Judea was one), Tiberius reigned jointly with Augustus from A.D.12. But it is interesting to me that Tiberius "seems to have taken pains to obliterate this date [relating to the overlap with Augustus] of his government". (See, Lardner, Credibility of Gospel History p.385.) Through various 'machinations' the record of Tiberius' reign in Judea began in A.D. 12 -- Augustus was effectively removed from the picture for those 2 years when they were partners in the Empire.