The “Going Forth” of the Commandment
Good Friday? or Good Wednesday?
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and sixty two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times” (Daniel 9:25).
To encapsulate what I have presented so far: The Lunar records of science along with the ancient historical records of the Mesopotamian region declare that a full moon was visible on the Friday April 7th, AD 30. This contradicts the common assumption of Seventh Day Adventists who, despite this evidence, are under the belief that the Moon was full on Friday April 25th, AD 31. The moon was not full on this date, but rather, it was full on the pre-ceding Wednesday of April 23rd. I have also proven through historical documentation that the date of Christ’s baptism took place in the fall of AD 26 (not AD 27). Together these two findings contradict the view held by the prophetically charged Seventh Day Adventists and the Church of God alike. All of these dates in question are based on Daniel’s 490 year calculation (See Daniel 9:25-27). Why are the dates I am presenting one year apart from interpretations given by Seventh Day Adventists? The reason is due to the fact that each interpretation has initiation points which are one year apart from the other. Otherwise they are virtually built upon the same 490 year concept.
To clarify the issue, let’s go back to the times of the early advent movement and review William Miller’s interpretation of Daniel’s prophecy. The date he set for the completion of the 2300 day (for year) sequence was at the spring equinox (April 21st) of 1843, but why? It had to do with his interpretation of the following scripture “He (Ezra) had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month.” (Ezra 7:9) The first month of the Hebrew year occurs around the time of the spring equinox. Miller used Daniel 9:25 (which is the launching point of the 490 year prophecy) as the event that would set the 2300 day prophecy (See Daniel 8:14) in motion. The Millerites believed that the earth was the “sanctuary” and it would be “cleansed” of sin at the Messiah’s return to the earth for the second time. Miller believed that this event would occur sometime between the spring equinoxes of 1843-1844. When his projection failed, the Advent movement began to flounder until S.S. Snow introduced a new interpretation. Instead of the prophecy initiating when the Jews left Babylon as Miller originally taught; Snow suggested that the prophetic clock began to tick in October of 457 B.C. shortly after the return of Ezra and the Jews from Babylon. According to Snow’s new interpretation, the “going forth to rebuild Jerusalem” pertained to the Jew’s ability to implement the Mosaic Law within the land of Israel.
The interpretation seemed good to the Millerites and a new date was set when they anticipated that the “sanctuary” of earth would be cleansed. Unlike Miller, who gave a general time frame for the end of the world; S.S. Snow believed he had found a way to pinpoint an exact time based upon the ancient method of reckoning the day of Yom Kippur (still practiced in Israel by “Karaite” Jews). According to these observations, the early Adventists believed that the cleansing of the world would take place on October 22nd 1844 (which was the day of Yom Kippur for that year). Although Snow’s theory failed miserably, October 22nd 1844 has been fastened into the minds of devoted Seventh Day Adventists for generations as absolutely true. But demands made in the prophecy of Daniel 9:25-27 require historical, biblical, and astronomical accuracy in order for its interpretation to be credible. And unfortunately, the historical, biblical and astronomical evidence presented by the Advent people thus far has proven their interpretations in this matter to be incredible. So if the years A.D. 27 and A.D. 31 are astronomically and historically incorrect; it behooves us to take a second look at Snow’s 457 B.C. initiation date and determine whether it is also inaccurate.
If one looks at the context of Daniel 9:27, it states rather clearly that the 490 year prophecy begins when the order to restore Jerusalem was issued. If this is true, then it is important to understand the date parameters of the regional years of the Persian kings which occurred from fall to fall each year. Now a bit of historical background regarding the circumstances behind Artaxerxes’ ascension to the throne is in order here. King Xerxes (Artaxerxes Father) was murdered by one of his own government officials in August of 465 B.C. and his son (Artaxerxes) ascended to the throne shortly thereafter. But the timing of Artaxerxes’ reignal year began in October of 465 B.C. and extended to the following October. We can simply do the math at this point and deduce that the decree to rebuild Jerusalem which sent Ezra and thousands of Jews back to their homeland was made between the fall of 459-458 B.C. This comes at least one year earlier than the date calculated by S.S. Snow who projected that prophecy initiated in the fall of 457 B.C.
But now let’s consider a few key events of history and learn why the King made this decree in the first place. But first I want to explain some historical facts to keep us from blend the experiences of Ezra and Nehemiah together. The facts are that Ezra and Nehemiah were not exactly contemporaries of one another. The Bible tells us that Ezra and the Jews arrived in Israel 13 years before Nehemiah. Nehemiah had already begun implementing the reforms commanded by the Persian King. Nehemiah (who would arrive 13 years later) lived in the capital city of Persia, and was burdened with all the bad news coming from the land of Israel. The King could see his concerns written on his face and after Nehemiah explained the situation, the King asked Nehemiah what he could do to help. The King was certainly willing and generous to grant Nehemiah’s request to return to Israel for a short duration and set things in order. And that’s why I think that the story of Ezra gets blended with that of Nehemiah. The Bible states nothing regarding the circumstances which contributed to decree of King Artaxerxes and his relationship with Ezra.
Unlike Nehemiah, Ezra did not live at the Capital city of Persia. Instead, he lived in Babylon which was about 225 miles away. He was a religious teacher and became somewhat of a celebrity among the Jews. It is highly probably that the works and teachings of Ezra were unknown to the King before 459 B.C. But events were taking place among the Persian Kingdom that would thrust the Jewish Priest and his people into the view of King Artaxerxes. When the previous king (Xerxes) was murdered, the Egyptians rebelled under Persian authority and went to war to thrust them out of their nation. This occurred within the first Year of King Artaxerxes reign. Soon after that, the Greeks came to help the Egyptians in their war because they despised the Persians. They aided the Egyptians by setting up supply lines along the coast of Israel to help Egypt succeed from the Persian Kingdom. The also sent their own ships filled with soldiers to fight against Persia. Artaxerxes feared that others would align with the cause of the Egyptians including the Jews living in Israel. Historical records showed the Jews had joined forces with Egypt and rebelled against other ruling Kingdoms on several occasions. It was imperative for Artaxerxes to find a way to win over the favor of the Jews. What better way to do this than to create a commandment that would increase the loyalty of the Jews to the Persians and keep them loyal!
Once the command was given, the directive was obeyed by Ezra who immediately began organizing thousands of Jews for their departure from Babylon. Therefore Ezra’s obedience to the Kings command must have occurred months before the spring of 458 B.C. These historical facts are bound to create a mental and spiritual battle in the minds of many good SDA’s and the COG who site the fall of 457 as the initiation time of the commandment. They will have to come to terms with the idea that still after 170 years of preaching the prophetic times of Daniel 8:14; the Advent people still do NOT have their interpretation right. The bits of history I am presenting will certainly be inconvenient to many. It is here that I would like to remind the Advent people of the light that was given to Ellen G. White years after the time of the Great Disappointment in 1844. “I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that the figures were as He wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until His hand was removed.” (Early Writings pg. 74) Evidence is compounding which indicates that the hidden mistake was the year 457 B.C.