Question: You have said that on Nisan 1 in the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus, Nehemiah received authorization to rebuild Jerusalem and that, in keeping with Gabriel’s promise (Dn 9:25), 483 years later to the day, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey. That should have been the 1st of Nisan in A.D. 32—yet you say it was the 10th of Nisan. Isn’t this a discrepancy?
Answer: You raise an obvious point which I had never thought of before. I often say, “483 years to the day”—which would not be the case if Nehemiah received the authority to rebuild on Nisan 1, because we know that Jesus had to ride into Jerusalem on Nisan 10, the day the lambs were taken from the flock; and He had to be crucified in the “evening” of the fourteenth (Ex 12:6)—and so it happened.
While it was Nisan 1 in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (Neh:2:1) when Nehemiah petitioned the king, that could not be the date of the “commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Dn 9:25)—a fact overlooked not only by me but by Sir Robert Anderson and Josh McDowell, who quotes him in Evidence That Demands a Verdict (pp 180-81).
It is doubtful that Artaxerxes instantly wrote out the authorization the moment Nehemiah made the request. There must have been procedures to follow that would have taken time.
In verse 6 of chapter 2 Nehemiah says, “I set him a time,” obviously meaning when he was going to be ready to leave for Jerusalem. No doubt the king’s authorization would have carried that date. Nine days to prepare to go seems reasonable, making his departure and the date of the authorization the 10th of Nisan. Thus Christ’s triumphal entry to Jerusalem, 483 years later to the day, would have been on the 10th of Nisan. This is reasonable and must have been the case because Christ had to present himself to Israel on Nisan 10, the day the Passover lambs were taken from the flock and kept for four days under observation before being killed on the fourteenth, the very day that Christ was crucified—Thursday, not Friday, as we have documented.
Thanks again for bringing this to my attention.