The prophecy in Daniel 9: 24-27 reads:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 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 threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Daniel had been earnestly praying for his people, the Jews, who were in captivity in Babylon when he was given this vision.
It is the most amazing and accurate prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. The timeline begins in 457 BC with the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild the temple. Ezra 7:8-17 shows that the decree went out in the seventh year of the reign of Artzxerxes, so history can confirm the year.
In Bible prophecy they work on the day for a year system, Ezekiel 4:6 “…I have appointed thee each day for a year” so therefore 70 weeks, 490 days is 490 years.
This prophecy is split into three sections. Seven weeks (49 years, which is the time it took to rebuild the temple), 62 weeks (434 years) till Messiah the Prince. This takes us to the year the year AD27, which is the year that Jesus was “anointed” and began His ministry, and finally there is another week, 7 years.
It says that in the midst of the final seven years the Messiah will be “cut off, but not for himself” (showing that Jesus would die after 3 1/2 years of ministry) and would cause the “sacrifice and oblation to cease”. Jesus’ one time perfect sacrifice on Calvary put an end to the need for animal sacrifices once and for all.
What happened in the final 3 1/2 years of this prophecy? The gospel message was still preached exclusively to the Jews, but at the end of this period, Stephen was stoned, marking the final decision of the Jewish leaders to reject Christ as the Messiah and from this time on the gospel was taken to the gentiles.
This prophecy also predicted the destruction of the temple “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” which occurred in AD70, and signified the final “desolation”. The destruction of both the first and the second temple were both as a result of the people’s rejection and disobedience to God.
This event signified that the sacred appointment of the Jewish people as God’s chosen ones was forever annulled. Through Christ a new covenant was made, that all who followed Him would be called the children of God and seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
What a wonderful display of the power of God these prophecies are. To foretell almost 600 years ahead of time, when He would send His son to this world to die for our sins. How Jesus would “confirm the covenant” and cease the need for performing the sacrifices that had been put in place as a shadow of the fulfilling work of our Lord.