Dispensationalism claims to have achieved that which is not humanly possible One of many clear examples of Dispensational's frequent departure from "literal interpretation" is the way they have determined the date when Daniel 9:25 was fulfilled. The verse reads, "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 three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."

Reading commentaries, it seems that Bible scholars have shed a great deal of sweat trying to determine the actual date that the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem was given. After that, more perspiration was expended calculating the number of days when the "seven weeks, and three score and two weeks," were finished. One scholar is lauded throughout the realm of Christian scholarship (at least in Dispensational circles) for having accomplished this "monumental feat"; his name was Sir Robert Anderson. His calculations to this day are accepted as correct and conclusive. Unfortunately for Bible students who really want to know the truth, he committed a number of significant blunders.

The first is that his obvious target date was the so-called Triumphal Entry, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9,

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."

Since the Triumphal Entry happened on one particular day, and since Anderson supposedly calculated the time to the very day, then he had to have a particular day that the commandment was given to rebuild the city. But what day? The Bible gives the name of the month, which was Nisan, and the year can be determined from the text, but it does not give the day. Sir Anderson had no way of knowing what day to start his calculations from, consequently he could not possibly have calculated those 69 weeks of years to the very day, as is so jubilantly reported by admiring Dispensationalists. At best, his calculations would have a margin of error equal to the number of days in the month of Nisan.

But there is no obstacle too great for dedicated Dispensationalists, including Sir Robert Anderson. How did he overcome it? Casting "literal interpretation" aside, he reached into the proverbial Dispensational magic hat, and pulled out an imaginary starting date which, wonders of all wonders, caused his calculations to fall on the exact day of the Triumphal Entry! Talk about a remarkable coincidence! In his book, The Coming Prince, Sir Anderson freely admits that he stretched the truth a bit. He writes, "The Persian edict which restored the autonomy of Judah was issued in the Jewish month of Nisan. IT MAY IN FACT HAVE BEEN DATED FROM THE 1ST OF NISAN... The seventy weeks are therefore, to be computed from the 1st of Nisan B.C. 445" (Things To Come, p 244). But who told him that "it MAY IN FACT have been dated from the 1st of Nisan?" He didn't get it from the Bible.

And, of course, the Dispensational target date of the Triumphal Entry is wrong. That is not what Daniel was prophesying. He said, "UNTO the Messiah," which the majority of Dispensational scholars misunderstand to mean, until the Messiah does something, or goes somewhere, or arrives at a certain place. That is totally erroneous. "Unto the Messiah" means until the beginning time of the Messiah, or until the time that the Messiah begins to exist.

At what time in the history of the world did Jesus begin to be the Messiah? If we can determine that day, we will have our answer to Daniel's prophecy of 9:25, no matter when the commandment to rebuild the city was given.

From the well-known fact that "Messiah" means "Anointed," we need only to find where and when, in the Bible, Jesus became either the "Messiah," or the "Anointed One."

Luke Chapter 4:

v17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

v18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath ANOINTED ME to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

v19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

v20 And he closed the book, and he gave [it] again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

v21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Of course, Dispensationalists might argue that this "anointing" must have been something else, and had nothing to do with His Messiaship, but pay no attention; they will argue with anything that does not promote or re-enforce the dispensational agenda. The truth is, He was already anointed when He preached this shortly after He returned from being tempted by Satan. He wasn't anointed by Satan, to be sure, so He must have been anointed before. Indeed, shortly before the forty days temptation, He was baptized by John, and at that time the Spirit of the Lord had descended upon Him. We therefore need seek no other proof but that the time He was anointed happened on the day of His baptism. That was the beginning of the 70th week. Most scholars agree that His ministry lasted about three and a half years before He was crucified. That happened in the midst of the 70th week, just as Daniel prophesied.

The Dispensationalist will now attempt to put us on the spot by asking us to define the remaining three and a half years, the last half of the 70th week, his confidence bolstered by the fact that the Bible does not pinpoint the end of this seventieth week (his aim is to prove by any means that indeterminate gap between the 69th and the 70th weeks). He is unaware, of course, of God's intention that Christ's ministry was to last a full seven years, ostensible though it may have been. That time, being cut short by the cross, made the other three and a half years irrelevant; things took a different direction from there, so it is understandable that any attempt to define the remaining three and a half years would be moot. Therefore the Bible is silent. The next major event would be the holocaust of A.D.70, long after the end of Daniel's 70 weeks.

Sir Anderson, who couldn't possibly have calculated "unto the Messiah," to the very day, actually missed the true date by three and a half years! Based on all the facts given by the Bible, not to mention the fact that there is a calendar error of more than three years between the Old and New Testament times, there is no way that anybody can calculate the exact time of the Messiah from the day the commandment was given. Bible scholars for many years have worked their fingers to the bone trying to do what can't be done. So forget all the efforts by celebrated mathematicians; Scripture gives us the exact day on a silver platter, so to speak. All we need is faith in the Bible, and common sense.