I had a difficult time with understanding Daniel Chapter 9. I struggled a ton with understanding Gabriel's message about the Anointed One. A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for the Israelites and Jerusalem to finish their rebellion, put an end to their sin, atone for their guilt, bring in everlasting righteousness, confirm the prophetic vision and anoint the Most Holy Place. Seven sets of seven (49 years) plus sixty-two sets of seven (434 years) will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem (I searched Ezra for an understanding of the command) until a ruler - the Anointed One (JESUS) comes.
My guess was that there were 49 years separated from the 434 years because why else would Gabriel separate the years? So the years may not be in consecutive order (483 straight years). Also the Jewish calendar is different than the English calendar, so that may be another reason I don't understand. I think the Jewish calendar has 360 days and ours has 365 days. (Math was never my strength).
Scripture says that after the 62 sets of 7 (which means both the 49 years and the 434 years have passed), "the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the Temple. This equates to 69 of the 70 sets of seven prophecy. That means there is 1 set of 7 years that is still to come.
"The ruler will make a treaty with the people (what people? the Jewish people?) for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time (3.5 years), he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings (the Jews will not be able to offer sacrifices and offerings - are they now???) And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration (abomination of desolation) until the fate decreed for this defiler (Anti-Christ) is finally poured out on him.
2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 shares the events that will happen prior to the Lord's Second Coming. Scripture says not to be alarmed by those who say the Day of the Lord has already begun. Don't believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision. The Day of the Lord (found in Joel Chapter 3) will not come UNTIL there is a GREAT REBELLION AGAINST GOD and the man of lawlessness (son of destruction) is revealed - the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object they worship. He will even sit in the temple of God (Is this the actual physical Temple Mount in Jerusalem where the Islamic Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque stand?) claiming that he himself is God.
Paul tells us that someone or something is holding back the Anti-Christ, for he can only be revealed when his time comes. He says that this lawlessness is already secretly at work (even back in the 1st century when he wrote this letter to Thessalonia). He says he will remain secret until the one who is holding him back steps out of the way (I wonder who it is???). Is it Holy Spirit? Is it Satan himself? Is it Jesus? Who is holding back the Anti-Christ from coming? Paul must have known. When the man of lawlessness is revealed, Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
Scripture says this man (an actual person controlled by Satan) (see Revelation 13 - The Beast of the Sea and the Beast of the Earth) will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.
So God will cause them to be decieved, and they will believe these lies (all because they are prideful and stubborn and refuse to acknowledge the truth). Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing in the truth.
Daniel 9 is a testament to Daniel's heart. He humbled himself before the Lord and he humbled himself and served evil kings. He was willing to die for his beliefs, yet he honored the kings he served and treated them with dignity and respect. He spoke the truth in love, while listening to the prophet Jeremiah and believing him when no one else would. Daniel interceded for his people and asked for God's grace and mercy for his own sins and the sin of his people. Daniel fasted and prayed diligently, always seeking the Lord. He is a beautiful man of God - one who God calls "highly esteemed."
May we all learn from this truth.