What do the seventy times seven time periods in Daniel represent?
Daniel 9:24 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.
The seventy weeks represents 70x7 years = 490 years.
The start point was the decree given by the Persian king commanding the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem following the end of the Babylonian captivity.
We might reasonably suppose that the first 7 weeks (= 49 years) was the time taken to complete the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the Temple, and its outer walls. After a further 62x7 = 434 years the promised Messiah would be ‘cut off’ or killed. His ministry (solely to the Jews) from when he began preaching the gospel (which is the New Covenant) lasted 3.5 years – he was ‘cut off’ in the midst of a ‘week’ of 7 years. In his death the Law of Moses was fulfilled meaning that the sacrifice and offerings required by the Law were ‘brought to an end’ being no longer necessary.
After Jesus’ resurrection, his apostles preached solely to the Jews for another 3.5 years until the death of Stephen. From that point (the end of the 490 years) the gospel was preached to both Jew and gentile. In AD70 the Roman prince (Titus) destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. Some 60 years later the Romans removed the Jews from the land.
That ‘the one who makes desolate’ was the Romans is made clear by Jesus when he prophesies the destruction of the Temple and refers his hearers to Daniel’s prophecy, speaking of the ‘abomination that makes desolate’.
Mark 13:14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
This was the sign for those Jews who believed him to escape the subsequent destruction.
The desolation ‘poured out on the desolate’ refers to the Jews being scattered throughout the world until the ‘times of the gentiles are fulfilled’.
Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
The purpose of the seventy weeks is as follows: Seventy weeks are determined for your people (the Jews) and for your holy city (Jerusalem), To finish the transgression (of the Law by the Jews), To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity (by the sacrifice of the Messiah), To bring in everlasting righteousness (the example and commandments of Jesus Christ).
The chart below is from "Fig. 1 Historicist Computation of the Seventy Weeks":
70 Weeks = 490 Years
|7 Weeks||62 Weeks||1 Week|
|49 years||434 Years||7 years||Ongoing|
|From 457 BC, 7th year of Artaxerxes, Beginning of the 70 weeks, to 408 BC and the rebuilding of Jerusalem||From 408 BC to 27 AD - the baptism of Jesus||From 27 AD to the mid-point of the 7 years about 33.5 AD Jesus died and was raised||Gospel preached to the gentiles|
Sadly, the secular dating is uncertain but the overall time period is about right.