“Seventy weeks are determined… know therefore and understand, 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 (or open square, footnote in NKJV) shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times” (Daniel 9:24-25).
The seventy weeks are divided into three segments. The first segment is seven weeks. During this period, Jerusalem would be rebuilt.
This period starts with the “going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem”. There are four possible starting dates: (1) Cyrus’ decree 538 B.C. (Ezra 1:1-ff). Zerubbabel led a return of about 50,000 Israelites out of Persia/Babylon (Ezra 2). Restoration work began. (2) Darius’ decree 520 B.C. (Ezra 6:1-ff). The work had been opposed (Ezra 4:1-5; 5:24). Darius reissues Cyrus’ decree. The temple was completed by 516 B.C. (Daniel 6:15). (3) Artaxerxes’ decree 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:6-ff). Ezra led a return of an estimated 7,000 Israelites (Ezra 8). Spiritual restoration occurred under Ezra the scribe (Ezra 7:9-10). Some city restoration may have also occurred during this time (Ezra 9:9). (4) Artaxerxes’ decree, 445-444 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1-ff). Nehemiah accomplished the rebuilding of the city’s walls (Nehemiah 3-6). Nehemiah served as governor in the land of Judah from 445/444-433/432 B.C.
This rebuilding occurred under “troublesome times” (Daniel 9:25). The enemies of Israel: (a) ridiculed the effort (Nehemiah 2:19; 4:1-4); (b) accused them of rebellion against Persia (Nehemiah 2:19; 6:5-ff); (c) plotted violence against them (Nehemiah 6:1-3).
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 sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and until the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26).
The second segment is sixty-two weeks. This is the period between the rebuilding Jerusalem and the appearance of the Messiah.
The third segment consists of one week. During this week the Messiah would be cut off (Daniel 9:26 cf. Isaiah 53:8). He would be cut off, “but not for himself.” This sounds like Isaiah 53, “he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities… he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:4, 5, 12). Paul says, “He (God – B.H.) made Him (Jesus – B.H.) who knew no sin to be sin (sin offering – B.H.) for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
However, some understand this to mean Messiah shall “be cut off and shall have nothing” (ESV). Gary Workman commented, “Even while he lived Jesus had nowhere to lay his head. And when he died he had nothing but the sins of the world (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24)” (The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9:24-27, The Restorer, January 1993, Vol. 13 No. 1). Wayne Jackson has commented, “The meaning may be that, with the death of Christ, from the viewpoint of his generation, it appeared that he had nothing” (Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, p. 9). Dave Miller writes, “The phrase ‘and shall have nothing’ sets forth the utter rejection which Christ endured” (The Interpretation of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, term paper Harding Graduate School of Religion, p. 6).
A coming ‘prince’ is spoken of who would destroy both the city and the sanctuary (temple). This is the Roman general Titus. The “people of the prince” is the Roman army.
“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” (Daniel 9:27).
“He” refers to Jesus. He would confirm a covenant with many one week. David Vaugh Elliot comments, “This statement brings to mind Jeremiah’s prediction of a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). There is no question that Jesus brought in a new covenant. At the Last Supper, he declared, “For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remissions of sins” (Matthew 26:28). It thus seems easy to think of Jesus confirming the covenant for this first half of the week… However, what about the second half… There should be no difficulty in understanding that Jesus continued to confirm his new covenant through the work of his apostles” (Nobody Left Behind, p.96). Consider the words of Mark 16:20 and Hebrews 2:3.
The “wing” may refer to the temple. Gary Workman writes, “The wing of abomination is the pinnacle of the temple. (The word ‘pinnacle’ is literally ‘wing’ in the Greek – Matthew 4:5)” (ibid).
Abomination may refer to idolatry. Wayne Jackson said, “‘Abominations’ is frequently used of idols in the Old Testament (1 Kings 11:5; 2 Kings 23:13; Daniel 11:31; 12:11). Within this context, it doubtlessly refers to the idolatrous ensigns of the Roman armies. Josephus says that when the Romans burned the temple, they ‘brought their ensigns to the temple and set the ever against its eastern gate; and there did offer sacrifices to them…’ (Wars, VI, VI, I) Thus, the Roman armies, with their abominable idolatries, desolated the city and the holy place” (Daniel’s Seventy Weeks).
The “desolate” refers to Jerusalem’s destruction. Jesus said of Jerusalem, “Your house has left you desolate” (Matthew 23:38). Moreover, He said, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20).
The end of Israel’s sacrifice and offering was coming. Jesus took such away, in one sense, at the cross (Colossians 2:14, 16-17). The Greek verb in Colossians 2:14 is perfect tense; It stresses the permanency of the abrogation of the Law of Moses. In another sense, such was definitely removed in 70 A.D., with the destruction of the temple.