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 to restore and to build Jerusalem”
A commandment, or literally ‘word’, was going to be issued to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. The word “restore” is literally, return; the word “build” is also understood to mean rebuild. So this commandment was for the "return and rebuilding" of Jerusalem.
Who gave such a command and when was it given?
24 Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb,
I am the Lord that maketh all things;that stretcheth forth the heavens alone;that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;
26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof:
27 That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:
28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
1 Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,whose right hand I have holden,to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
This prophecy found in Isaiah, was made about 200 years before the time of Daniel 9.
In this prophecy, God states that it will be a ruler named Cyrus who will say to Jerusalem, “thou shalt be built” and to the temple, “thy foundation shalt be laid.”
This prophecy by Isaiah was given at a time when both Jerusalem and the temple was still standing. This was a prophecy for a time when both city and temple would be laying in ruin.
God said it would be Cyrus, who He surnamed His “Shephard” and His “Anointed,” who would give the commandment to return and to rebuild.
This answers the who and so when did Cyrus give such a decree?
2 Chronicles 36:22-23
22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.
See also Ezra, chapter 1, and Josephus.
1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
Josephus (Ant. 11.1.1-2)
(1) In the first year of the reign of Cyrus, which was the seventieth from the day that our people were removed out of their own land into Babylon, God commiserated the captivity and calamity of these poor people, according as he had foretold to them by Jeremiah the prophet, before the destruction of the city,
(2) that after they have served Nebuchadnezzar and his posterity, and after they had undergone that servitude seventy years, he would restore them again to the land of their fathers, and they should build their temple, and enjoy their ancient prosperity; and these things God did afford them;
(3) for he stirred up the mind of Cyrus, and made him write this throughout all Asia:-- "Thus saith Cyrus the King:-- Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship;
(4) for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets; and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea.”
(5) This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies; for this prophet said that God had spoken thus to him in a secret vision:-- "My will is, that Cyrus, whom I have appointed to be king over many and great nations, send back my people to their own land, and build my temple."
(6) This was foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, and the temple of God,
(7) for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write to the rulers and governors that were in the neighborhood of their country of Judea, that they should contribute to them gold and silver for the building of the temple, and, beside that, beasts for their sacrifices
The Biblical and historical record is clear and undeniable. It is in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, that the commandment went forth to allow the Judaic exiles to return and rebuild both their city and their temple. This would be reckoned as 536 BC, according to our traditional dating.
However, even though the Biblical record is clear, most interpreters do not chose this date for the beginning of the counting of the 490 years. We will discuss why a little later.
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:
God has provided a starting point and a termination point. The beginning of the prophecy starts with the aforementioned decree of Cyrus. From this decree, it will be Seven sevens (49 years) and Sixty-two sevens (434 years), for a total of 483 years from the decree to the appearance of the Messiah Prince.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself
The Hebrew is literally, "after the threescore and two weeks." The definite article is pointing back to the just mentioned 62 sevens, just so there isn't any misunderstanding. The word translated as after, well, it means after. So upon the termination of the 62 sevens, which followed the 7 sevens, the Messiah the Prince would make His appearance.
At His baptism, Jesus was publically acknowledged as the Messiah, the Son of God. He then was "driven into the wilderness" by the Spirit. When He returned from the wilderness, He began preaching,
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:repent ye, and believe the gospel."
What time is fulfilled except the end of the 69 weeks, at the end of which, the Messiah would appear.