Much of the prophecies in the Old Testament point forward to Jesus the true Messiah. In John 5:39 Jesus confronts the Jews and says to them:
John 5:39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Here Jesus refers to the Old Testament which reveals Him as the true Messiah. But the Jews were willingly ignorant of the spiritual significance of the prophecies pointing to Him as the coming Messiah. There is one particular prophecy that not only points to Jesus as the true Messiah, but also gives the Nation of Israel a probationary period to clean up their act, and it is found in the book of Daniel.
Daniel 9:24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
Here in Verse 24, the Jewish Nation is given a 490 year probationary period to finish transgression, to end sin, to clean up their act and to become a holy nation so that they can bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the prophecy and anoint the Most Holy. So there are two predictions made: one is for the Jewish Nation to turn fully to God and the timing of the first advent of the Messiah who is Christ.
The next verse tells us of the starting date of this prophecy and the exact time of the coming Messiah.
25 “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
In order to discover the beginning of this prophecy we have to go to the book of Ezra. It is the only Book that has the decree that restored the Nation of Israel back to their former glory. In fact, there are three decrees given in this book. The first decree was given by Cyrus in 538 BC which concerned the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. The second decree was in 519 BC by King Darius which was concerning the completion of the temple in Jerusalem. The third decree was given by King Artaxerxes in the year 457BC. This was the Decree that restored Israel back to what they were before they were taken captive in Babylon. That meant that they could now govern themselves in their own right. If you are not able to govern yourselves you cannot say that you are fully restored.
The next two verses focuses on the Messiah and the beginning of His ministry, death and the destruction of Jerusalem.
Jesus, the Anointed One was cut off from His people in the middle of the last seven of the prophecy.
26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
When Jesus died on the cross the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom indicating that the temple services were ended, and a new and living way through Jesus atonement. No longer was there any Ceremonial Laws needed. We are now saved by grace, not by observing the Ceremonial Laws.
The Ruler described in Verse 27 was the Roman General Titus, who, with his army, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.
The final Week Concerning the Jewish Nation
In the final week leading up to the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, there was certain events that happened concerning the Jewish Nation.
1. when Jesus and His disciples were coming into Jerusalem He saw a fig tree and being hungry went over to it and found nothing but leaves. so he cursed the fig tree. The fig tree represents the Nation of Israel which failed to produce fruit for God’s Kingdom. Matthew 21:18-22.
2. in the parable of the Tenants: Matthew 21:33-46. in Verse Mat 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Jesus is telling them that the Kingdom of God is about to be taken from them and given to the Gentile Nations that will produce the fruits at the harvest time.
3. In Matthew 23: 38,39: Jesus was about to leave the Temple for the last time, and Jesus says to the Jews that their House (Temple) is left to them desolate. No longer was the Shekinah Glory to inhabit the Most Holy place, thus the Temple was now just a building of no significance. He goes on to say to them that they will not see Me again until you say “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
4. When Jesus Died on the Cross in the middle of the final week the curtain which separates the Holy from the Most Holy place was torn by an unseen hand from top to bottom indicating that the Temple Services were now ended, salvation was by a new and living way. Matthew 27:50,51.
This left three and a half prophetic days (years) left to the end of the prophetic period. the final rejection by the Jewish Nation came in the year 34 AD at the Stoning of Stephen by the Jews. the Gospel of the Kingdom would now go to the Gentiles. (Acts 7:54-60)