Originally posted by epiphinehas
No, the prophecy of seventy weeks from Daniel has already been shown to not be predictive of the event of Palm Sunday. The source of that theory was Sir Robert Anderson's "The Coming Prince," and we've since learned that Anderson fudged his math in a number of ways to get the result he wanted: one that would appear to make Daniel 9:24-27 appear to correspond to that key future event. In reality, it doesn't.
First of all, it there isn't any real evidence that the Jews (or the Babylonians, for that matter) used a calendar with 360-day years at the time when Daniel is supposed to have been written; at that point the 360-day calendar year would've been hundreds of years out of date. The concept of a 360-day "prophetic year" comes entirely from modern biblical scholars like Anderson who're trying to make bible prophecy appear to fit.
Second, even if we allow for a 360-day year, the math that gives us the figure of 173, 880 days between the two dates is simply wrong, because Anderson miscalculates the leap years:
"The first problem that is readily apparent about Anderson's scenario was his confusion about the Julian and Gregorian calendars.
'And secondly, the Julian year is 11m. 10 46s., or about the 129th part of a day, longer than the mean solar year. The Julian calendar, therefore, contains three leap years too many in four centuries, an error which had amounted to eleven days in A. D. 1752 when our English calendar was corrected by declaring the 3rd September to be the 14th September, and by introducing the Gregorian reform which reckons three secular years out of four as common years; ex. gr., 1700, 1800 and 1900 are common years, and 2000 is a leap year.'
This is true. But then why did Anderson use Gregorian years when calculating the number of days between two Julian dates? If we use Julian dates, we must use Julian years, and if we use Gregorian dates, we must use Gregorian years. We cannot mix the two calendars in the way that he proposes.
Anderson was thus 3 days off in his calculation, for there are really 173,883 days inclusive between Friday, March 14, 445 BC, and Sunday, April 6, 32 AD. Instead of adding 116 days for leap years, Anderson should have added 119, for that is precisely how many leap years there are in 476 years in the Julian calendar.
If Anderson had wanted to use Gregorian years, he should have started off with the Gregorian dates of Saturday, March 9, 445 BC, and Sunday, April 4, 32 AD (Mar. 9, 445 BC Gregorian = Mar. 14, 445 BC Julian; Apr. 4, 32 AD Gregorian = Apr. 6, 32 AD Julian). But when we add 116 days for leap years to the number of days between these two dates, we still end up with 173,883 days. Only by mixing the two calendars does it falsely appear that there are 173,880 days."
So, that puts the supposed prediction 3 days off the mark. Still pretty close, right? Except that Anderson also got the starting date wrong:
But as Nehemiah mentions the Chisleu (November) of one year, and the following Nisan (March) as being both in the same year of his master's reign, it is obvious that, as might be expected from an official of the court, he reckons from the time of the king's accession de jure, that is from July B.C. 465. The twentieth year of Artaxerxes therefore began in July B.C. 446, and the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem was given in the Nisan following. The epoch of the prophetic cycle is thus definitely fixed as in the Jewish month Nisan of the year B.C. 445. (p. 63)
Yet since Persian practice was to number the years of their kings from Nisan, not from their anniversary dates, Anderson's explanation must be wrong.
What these verses in Nehemiah really show is that the Jews, in contrast with the Persians, numbered the reigns of foreign kings from their 7th month called Tishri instead of from their 1st month called Nisan. Every 7th month, the king's regnal year increased by one. This is why Nehemiah describes the 9th month Chisleu as coming before the 1st month Nisan.
If Tishri 464 BC began the 1st year of Artaxerxes, then Tishri 445 BC began his 20th year. And that means that Nisan in his 20th year fell in 444 BC, not 445 BC. So Anderson was a year off on his starting date."
...And that's assuming you accept that the prophecy refers to the decree of Artaxerxes. There are in fact many similar decrees to which the prophecy could potentially refer, the most logical being that of Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28) from 538 BCE, a year after he conquered Babylon. But that would put the end of the 69 week (483-year) period in 55 BC, way to early. So instead Anderson uses the decree of Artaxerxes (which, by the way, was not even an actual decree like the one from Cyrus; it was a series of letters of safe passage given to Nehemiah, and a letter permitting him to cut wood toward the temple) and then he fudges the rest of his math to make it fit.
And lastly, the end date of the theory - March 6, 32 - is also wrong:
"The previous section hints at the problems we face with Anderson's ending date of April 6, 32 AD. His theory called for it to be Nisan 10. He explains it this way:
For example, in A.D. 32, the date of the true new moon, by which the Passover was regulated, was the night (10h 57m) of the 29th March. The ostensible date of the 1st Nisan, therefore, according to the phases, was the 31st March. It may have been delayed, however, till the 1st April; and in that case the 15th Nisan should apparently have fallen on Tuesday the 15th April. (p. 79)
Thus far his explanation proves that he has chosen the wrong date for the 10th of Nisan. If Nisan 15 fell on April 15, then Nisan 10 fell on April 10, not April 6.
But the calendar may have been further disturbed by intercalation. According to the scheme of the eight years' cycle, the embolismal month was inserted in the third, sixth, and eighth years, and an examination of the calendars from A.D. 22 to A D. 45 will show that A.D. 32 was the third year of such a cycle. As, therefore, the difference between the solar year and the lunar is 11 days, it would amount in three years to 33 3/4 days, and the intercalation of a thirteenth month (Ve-adar) of thirty days would leave an epact still remaining of 3 3/4 days; and the "ecclesiastical moon" being that much before the real moon, the feast day would have fallen on the Friday (11th April), exactly as the narrative of the Gospels requires. (pp. 79, 80)
If that didn't make sense, it's because it doesn't make sense. On average, the Jews would add in a 13th month 7 times every 19 years. Since this 13th month was the length of a lunar month, as Anderson admits above, there was no "epact remaining." Thus Nisan 1 would still have begun with observing the new crescent on the evening of March 31st, weather permitting.
Nisan 10 occurred at the earliest on April 10, not April 6 as Anderson supposed."
So, no, the Book of Daniel does not demonstrate any clear mathematical predictive power. It's only the fuzzy math of later Bible scholars that make it look as though it does.