The Fourth Vision of Daniel occurs “in the first year of Darius” (Daniel 9:1) in 539 BC. Daniel is still in captivity in Babylon and is ardently praying for the Jews when the angel appears to him and gives him further revelation of things to come in the history of the Jews up to the time of the coming of the Messiah.
Notice that Daniel’s revelations progress from the First Vision (Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue), to the Second Vision (Daniel’s dream of the four great beasts), to the Third Vision (Daniel’s open vision of the ram and the he-goat). Gabriel had appeared to Daniel in the Third Vision and had even touched him physically. Now in the Fourth Vision the angel Gabriel appears again.
20. And whiles I was speaking, and 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. Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24. 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.
The man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning — Daniel had seen Gabriel previously in the Third Vision in 553 BC.
Seventy weeks of years, i.e., 490 years, are determined until the time of the coming of the Messiah, the Christ. The Hebrew word for “weeks,” shavuim, is the same as the word for “sevens.”
25. 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.
From the going forth of the commandment — From the seventh year of King Artaxerxes, in 457 BC, when by his commandment Ezra began the work of completing the restoration of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem (Ezra 7).
Seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks — From the time of 457 BC, according to the best chronology, there were just 69 weeks of years (483 years) to the baptism of Jesus Christ, in AD 27, when he first began to preach and execute the office of the Messiah.
Even in troublous times — This refers to the difficulties, obstacles and delays that the Jews met in building the city of Jerusalem, until they finally rebuilt the wall in the time of Nehemiah.
26. 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 after threescore and two weeks — Sixty-two weeks. Verse 26 does not include the “seven weeks” of verse 25, but “seven weeks” precedes the “62 weeks” to equal the “69 weeks” of verse 25. During the “seven weeks” the Temple, the streets and the wall of Jerusalem were restored.
Shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself — Christ was not cut off for himself, but as an offering to the Jews who rejected him. After 40 years (Matthew 24:34) of hearing the Gospel preached by Jesus and His witnesses, the Jewish nation was “cut off” from God together with the Temple offerings. The Hebrew word for “not for himself” can also be translated “will be no more.” The word for “cut off” here relates that the Messiah’s death cut off their relationship to God. Paul uses this same language in Romans 11 to describe both the Gentiles and Jews in their relationship with Christ as the “olive tree.”
You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:19-24 NKJV).
And the people of the prince — The Roman legions under their general, Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian.
Unto the end of the war desolations are determined — Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.
27. 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.
In the midst of the week, or, in the middle of the week. Christ preached for no more than three years or from AD 27 to 30. Then by His sacrifice on the cross He fulfilled the sacrificial requirements of the Law.
The overspreading of abominations — This refers to the “abomination of desolation,” the bringing of ensigns and standards of the pagan Romans into the Temple. Antiochus Epiphanes of the Seleucids profaned the Temple that had been rebuilt in the time of Darius I the Great. Titus, the Roman destroyer of Herod’s Temple, profaned this obsolete building in AD 70. This destruction manifested the prior profanation of the Temple by the Jews who rejected the Messiah. This made God’s justice visible to the whole world.