In 2007 Dr. David Jeremiah offered a publication entitled "Unlock Prophecy." It features one of the most recognized Bible Prophecy teachers, Dr. Tim LaHaye. In the offer Dr. Jeremiah made the statement:
The 70 Weeks of Daniel, as recorded in Daniel 9:24-27, is literally the key to the prophetic word. It is the skeletal outline into which all prophetic events fit. By using this chart throughout your study of Daniel, you will be able to look back at history and trace the literal, accurate, detailed fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy and look into the future to the 70th week which is yet to be fulfilled.
I argue that this section of Scripture is truly the key to the pretribulational rapture view, but it is also misinterpreted. It is a key, but a key that will not unlock the door.
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. 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 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. (Daniel 9.25-27 KJV)
In this verse I see the best argument for a seven year tribulation period being cut in half by the breaking of a peace treaty by the Anti-Christ. However, I would like to look more closely at this passage to show why I disagree with such an argument. Beginning in verse 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. " Does this talk of the last days, or solely the return to Jerusalem and coming of Jesus as the Messiah via a birth in Bethlehem and eventual crucifixion and resurrection? I know some will say both, but I believe the coming verses may discount this if we see the Jews of today as lost, not a special saved race without Christ (as some evangelicals seem to imply and some come right out and say).
The King James Bible Commentary says the following:
Unto the Messiah the Prince defines the termination point, or terminus ad quem, of the first sixty-nine weeks of years, meaning 483 years, as expressed by the phrase shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks. The significance of the marking off of the initial seven weeks, or forty-nine years, is uncertain, though it may refer to the time Ezra and Nehemiah labored to firmly set up the new Jewish state in Jerusalem. Those days could certainly be described as troublous times.
This commentary places the Daniel 9.25 passage squarely in the OT- seven weeks probably from the rebuilding of Jerusalem under Ezra/Nehemiah, and three and a half years of ministry of Christ at the end of the seven "weeks." While I understand many prophecies end up with a primary and secondary fulfilling, this one seems too specific to me. Ezra and Nehemiah were both alive and adults around this time and historically the time of their work on Jerusalem is equivalent to the prophecy in Daniel chapter 9.25. The King James commentary supports this possibility:
The terminus of the first sixty-nine weeks was unto the Messiah the Prince (vs. 25), indicating some point in His life, not His birth, because of the chronology involved. This is usually seen as a reference to His baptism, earthly ministry, or, sometimes, Triumphal Entry.
I believe the earthly ministry is the best answer, but I believe any would work. In Daniel 9.26 it says, "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."
Here, I will want to focus on "the people" of the prince, as underlined above, because I believe the context emphasizes the people, not the prince. The Messiah, obviously Jesus, was cut off by His crucifixion and rose again to bring salvation to those who would believe.
After the Messiah is cut off, the people of the evil one, here the Romans fit the description, as being the ones who destroyed Jerusalem (historically known to be in 70 A.D.). The end was rushed in.
Now the people are the focus here, not the Anti-Christ. They destroyed the city and that happened in 70 A.D.
Daniel 9.27 continues: "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."
Who is "he?" I believe that since v.26 was in reference to the "people" of the prince who is to come, "he" would not refer to the Anti-Christ, but rather to the Messiah specified above- Jesus. The Messiah and the people are the only ones referred to above in previous related verses. And this does fit. Jesus was crucified three and a half years into his ministry and His perfect sacrifice made sacrifices unnecessary. He is the perfect Lamb of God without spot or blemish, our Passover. Once His blood was shed, forgiveness was instituted.
Now here the King James commentary disagrees with me for sure:
And he. He refers back to the prince that shall come of verse 26. It predicts the coming of the Roman Antichrist during the Tribulation Period after the Rapture of the church. He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week. The Antichrist will pledge protection of Israel for a seven-year period, but in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. After three and one half years, the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and defile their new Temple. The New Testament confirms this in II Thessalonians 2:4 where Paul declares that the Antichrist, the man of sin, will sit "in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Up until that point the Antichrist will have seemed to be Israel's protector.
As I said, I believe "and he" refers to the Messiah because the "prince that shall come" is not referred to, only the "people of" that prince.
Therefore, I do not believe a literal seven year tribulation period is prophesied in the book of Daniel, or for that matter, in the Bible. I believe that tribulation continues to grow during the end times. Furthermore, I believe Christ will come again before God pours out His wrath upon the earth.