This is the "time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7) so fully discussed by the Old Testament prophets. As a divinely inspired prediction, it was an old story in the days of Daniel. Daniel's contribution to the prophecy was to provide the chronology of the period of persecution. Our Lord paid special attention to this period in the future history of Israel, warning them solemnly that "when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place. ... Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains ... for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:15-21). It should be noticed that our Lord sets the beginning of this terrible persecution at the time of the placing of the "abomination of desolation" in the "holy place," which can be nothing else but that moment in the middle of the week when the beast breaks his treaty, stops the sacrifice, and usurps for himself the holy place of divine worship in the Temple.
The outbreak and almost universal spread of anti-Semitism today, incredible as it may seem, is only the preliminary blast of the storm which is yet to come. There will be a false calm during the first three and one-half years of the Seventieth Week under the treaty with the Roman beast. Then the storm will break in its final fury, so terrible that our Lord has said, "Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:22). The Greek verb does not mean "decrease," as our English term "shorten" might suggest, but rather the idea of "limitation." In His mercy, God will definitely "limit' the time of this "great tribulation" to exactly 1260 days. To prolong the period would endanger the very existence of the chosen race.
6. The end of this final seven-year period will bring to its close the entire series of the Seventy Weeks, and therefore usher in the great blessings promised to Israel in Daniel 9:24.
"Seventy Weeks are determined upon thy people and upon they holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for [or, purge away] iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy place." In this passage several points should be noted:
First, all these great blessings have to do with a certain people and a certain city - the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. It is Jewish transgression and sin that is to be brought to an end. No more, after the close of the Seventieth Week, will this people be found in rebellion against their own God and Messiah.
Second, the phrase "to make reconciliation for iniquity" does not here refer to the death of Christ, as some have assumed, but refers to what God will do for Israel on the basis of the death of Christ. As the late Sir Robert Anderson has already pointed out, the sacrifice itself was not the reconciliation, but rather the means by which the reconciliation was made. At His glorious appearing, which will close the Seventieth Week, our Lord on the basis of His sacrifice at Calvary will "reconcile" the chosen people unto Himself.
Third, "to seal up vision and prophecy" is generally taken to mean that prophecy is to be brought to an end by its fulfillment, but there may also be the further idea that the very fountain of prophecy will be sealed because with the Son of God personally on earth His word will go forth "directly", no longer through the medium of the prophet.
Fourth, "to anoint a most holy place" is undoubtedly the correct reading and translation. The reference is to the great millennial Temple which will be consecrated as a place of worship and prayer for all nations at the beginning of Messiah's kingdom. During that blessed age, not to Geneva, nor to Rome, will men come to worship the Lord. But there will be a temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, and there God will meet with men in a "holy place' sanctified by the personal presence of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. This will not abrogate the universality of worship ushered in by Calvary (John 4:21-24), as some have objected but will add to this universality a further glory in the personal presence of the Son of god on earth. To go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord will no more detract from the present universality and spirituality of worship than going to a church-building for worship as we do today. Today even modernistic theologians will spend a great deal of time and energy and money to make the trip to Jerusalem for the purpose of seeing the city where His blessed feet once trod. It will be a thousand times more wonderful to go when He Himself is there once more, as we trust He soon will be.
"Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
~Alva J. McClain~
[the next series will be: "The Gospel of God's Grace (Romans). This is the very interesting, enlightening and Biblically correct study of Romans that I have ever seen. Quite awesome!]