Daniel 9:20–27 (NKJV)
20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, 21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:
24 “Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 “Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”
This passage can be difficult to understand and decipher. It is one of the most-referred-to passages on end times in the Bible. Daniel sees “weeks,” or periods of seven years, that transpire, leading up to the end of the earth’s existence as we know it. The command to rebuild Jerusalem, which is coming in about 445 BC, is the beginning of the 70 “weeks,” or 490 years. 49 years (7 weeks) is taken to rebuild Jerusalem, and then another 434 years (62 weeks) leads up to the death of Christ, based on the calendar year of the time. The cutting off of the Messiah is the event in Daniel’s prophecy that Christians believe is the death of Christ. Therefore, the first 69 “weeks” of Daniel’s prophecy are fulfilled, and then he begins to speak about the final week.
The final week is understood by Christians to represent the tribulation period that commences with the rapture of the church. The gap in the 70 weeks is the Church Age, where the church is formed after Jesus death, resurrection, and the Day of Pentecost. The date of the commencement of the Tribulation is not set in time, so it begins at the rapture of the church. The Antichrist will set up his rule on earth, restore temple worship and sacrifices for the Jews, and have basic peace for the first half of the week (3 1/2 years). At that time, he will break the covenant with the Jews, and the sacrifices will cease, and then the chaos of the last half of the week (3 1/2 years) will commence. At the conclusion of this “week” the Lord will come back with His saints, do battle at Armageddon, and the 1000 year reign on earth will begin.
It is amazing and comforting to know that this prophecy, given well before the timetable began, was so right on target with its timing. God can speak to His people in advance, because He has already seen tomorrow. We can trust God. His word is true and does not fail. He saw the restoration of Jerusalem before it happened. He saw the crucifixion at the formation of the earth. He knows the day and time that the rapture will occur, and he knows when the battle will take place and the reign will begin. Trust Him, He has already seen it all!