Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sabbatical Cycles

Part 6 of Daniel's Messianic Prophesy

One of history's greatest ironies: Judaism was the pious keeper of Messianic prophecy yet blind to its fulfilment.

In Leviticus 25, we learn of a seven year cycle which has come to be known as a sabbatical cycle.  The Sons of Israel sowed and reaped in the Promised Land for six years but in the seventh year the land rested.  That seventh year was dubbed a sabbatical year.

The weeks in Daniel’s prophecy were understood by the ancient Jews to be sabbatical cycles. Moreover, the ancient Jews tried to interpret Daniel’s Messianic prophecy in terms of sabbatical cycles.

Ben Zion Wacholder is a scholar who for many years was a professor at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.  He compiled a table of sabbatical cycles based on the Julian calendar.  For example, 540/539 BC, from October 1 to September 30, was year one of a sabbatical cycle. 

According to Wacholder’s table, there were exactly 19 sabbatical cycles in the 133 years between October 1, 540 BC and October 1, 407 BC.  Furthermore, there were exactly 62 sabbatical cycles in the 434 years between October 1, 407 BC and October 1, 28 AD.

Therefore, if it is understood that the first seven weeks of Daniel’s Messianic prophecy represent 133 years reckoned from 540 BC, the sixty-nine weeks can be interpreted in terms of sabbatical cycles.


  1. Judah’s civil calendar celebrated New Year’s Day on Tishri 1. The first day of Tishri fell in late September or early October on the Gregorian calendar. Hence Tishri 1 can be equated with October 1 on our modern calendar.

  2. Read “The Messianic Seventy Weeks” including author’s comments and consider the following scenario: God’s commandment to Cyrus was delivered between late September and December 31, 540 BC. That period occurred in the Jewish year 540/539 BC which was year one of a sabbatical cycle. Christ was baptized 567 years later, in the spring of 28 AD. That period occurred in the sabbatical year 27/28 AD. There were exactly 81 sabbatical cycles between the two events as calculated by Wacholder.

  3. Related article: Type Zuckermann into my search bar.

  4. Scriptural reference: Exodus 23: 10-11