lea and grandcentralstation - I come into this discussion from the direction of the “no gap” viewpoint - that the 70 weeks of years is a continuous, complete block of 490 years ending in AD 37, which was 3 1/2 years after Christ’s death and resurrection in AD 33. That last “week” of 7 years (AD 30-37) involved Christ’s personal, miraculous ministry to His own people for the first 3 1/2 years, with another 3 1/2 years following His ascension; the time when the believers of the early church concentrated their evangelism to their fellow Jews (Acts11:19). This is why Christ plainly said He was sent only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” while He was on earth (Matt. 15:24 and 10:5-6).
God gave His Old Covenant people one last, full “week” of being confirmed in the New Covenant before the emphasis of evangelism exploded into the Gentile world through Paul’s and others ministries. Christ is clearly called “the messenger of the covenant” in Malachi 3:1. He is “Messiah the Prince” of Dan. 9:25 that was manifested at the start of His public ministry in AD 30, when He announced in Mark 1:14-15 that “the time (season) is FULFILLED, and the kingdom of God is at hand (or present). Repent ye and believe the gospel.”
This “fulfilled” season was the end of the 69th week in AD 30. This AD 30 year was also when John was cast into prison, according to Mark 1:14. John was well aware of this transition from the 69th week to the start of the 70th, when he admitted that “ He must increase, but I must decrease” in John 3:30.
We can pinpoint this date of AD 30 at the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry by comparing historical records to a statement made by the Jews in John 2:14-22. On that occasion, Jesus drove out the money-changers of the temple at that first Passover, just after His public ministry had begun. The Jews who challenged Him then said, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?”
Herod began to construct his fabulous temple in 17 BC. This means the first Passover of Christ’s ministry fell in AD 30 - that beginning year of the 70th week. In the middle of that 70th week, the formerly-required Old Covenant sacrifice and oblation of the temple were caused to cease in God’s eyes. This happened when Christ became the high priest of the New Covenant at His ascension during Passover week in AD 33, thus changing both the high priesthood and the law (Heb. 7:12).
Three and a half years later in AD 37, Paul traveled to Jerusalem and received his vision in the temple. God told him to “ Depart, for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” (Acts 22:17-21 comes Gal. 1:18), which ended the last 70th week of evangelism that was concentrated on “confirming the covenant with many” of Daniel’s people.
As for the 70-weeks prophecy, there has been much ink lavished on trying to prove the dates from start to finish for this. On my part, I follow the chronology laid out long ago by Ussher in his “ Annals of the World”. I’ve touched a bit on this before at this link: http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/end-times-forum/correct-decree-457bc-or-444bc/
at comment #20. Also at this link: http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/end-times-forum/483-years/
The following list provides the dates Ussher gave for the complete, intact, 70-weeks period of prophecy, and does NOT include the final destruction of the city and the temple in AD 70, because it was only the PROPHECY about those events that was “SEALED UP” within the 70-weeks prophecy. The actual fulfillment of these wartime events were later UNSEALED in the AD 70 era, as pictured by the 7 seals being opened in Rev. 6-8.
454 BC - The 4th decree found in Nehemiah 2:1 was given by Artaxerxes I in his 20th regnal year, which included building the “street” and the “wall” around Jerusalem. The mention of archaeological proof for this date can be found in Ussher’s “Annals” in notes for the year 474 BC (1177) and the year 473 BC (1184).
AD 30 - The beginning of Jesus’ miraculous, public ministry, starting with the wedding at Cana, caused His disciples to believe on Him (John 2:11). This was the year He started “confirming the covenant with many” of the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”. (AD 27 was His baptism, with a 3-year period before His public ministry of miracles began. The devil left Him “for a season” during this time.)
AD 33 - The “midst of the week” of Daniel 9:27 had the Messiah “ cut off out of the land of the living” (Dan. 9:26 cp Isaiah 53:8). His ultimate sacrifice of Himself caused the temple sacrifice and oblation to cease in God’s eyes, once Christ brought in “everlasting righteousness”. (Paul was converted after Stephen’s stoning in AD 33, and spent 3 years training in Arabia.)
AD 37 - Paul traveled to Jerusalem finally, and received his vision in the temple (Acts 22:17-21). God commissioned Paul to leave Jerusalem immediately, and to concentrate his evangelism to the Gentiles. This ended the 70th week that was devoted to “confirming the covenant” with many of Daniel’s people. It also ended the 1260 days of Rev. 12:6 & 14, when “the woman” (the early church in Jerusalem) was persecuted after Stephen’s martyrdom, and fled into the wilderness away from Jerusalem for that “time, and times, and half a time until AD 37 (Acts 8:1).
So there you have it: no gaps whatever for this 70-weeks prophecy of Daniel’s.