Daniel 9:24 - 27
ESV - 24 Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.
For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
It is interesting to note that the answers by Mr. Houdmann and Delmingo, above, have so much in common. A literal reading of Daniel must lead to their conclusion. There may be a few minor discrepancies on exact dates because we don't know EXACTLY - to the very day - the decree by Artaxerxes, or PRECISELY when Jesus was born, etc. But we can come very, VERY close, as they did. The point is, they are correct.
But what does this mean? It means that some Bible scholars, especially some of those in the "dispensational" camp, are likely wrong in their views on eschatology. The concept that they promote of a "gap" of time between the 69th week and the 70th week is unlikely. This puts into serious question the concept of a pre-tribulational rapture, as they conceive of it. I'm not saying there won't be a rapture. The Bible is clear that there is one. The question is about timing.
It is obvious that a literal reading of the Bible must conclude that Daniel's prophecy about the 70 weeks was fulfilled with Jesus' incarnation, death, and resurrection. It is also clear that Jesus teaching about his current "generation" seeing his coming judgement on Jerusalem actually did literally come true. If you read the historical account of the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Josephus, you will note that the prophecies by Jesus in Gospels about those times literally did come true. There were portents in the sky. Josephus describes eyewitness accounts of chariots and and an army of angels in the sky. He tells of accounts of cosmic changes in the heavens. He tells of a great multitude saying "Let us remove hence."
This also calls the dispensational pre-trib view of the end into question, if you really do want to read the Bible literally. Otherwise you have to jump through hoops to come up with it.
So what to do with the Book of Revelation and the end-times? I'm not a full Preterist, nor do I consider myself a partial preterist. I am certain however that the Bible does not teach a Pre-Daniels-70th-week rapture. That view also was never taught by the church until John Darby created the view from whole cloth with a little help from a young girls' vision during a seance'. Can you see the Devil at work there as an angel of light and wolf in sheep's clothing to deceive many in the last age?
I really do see that view as a deception. What if Satan wants to lull sincere, devout Christians into a view that will: 1. Make them complacent to his machinations, 2. Make many people base their faith in a false hope of escape instead of trust in Jesus to save them from eternal damnation (1 Thess 5:9) because we are not appointed to wrath but to salvation. That verse doesn't have anything to do with the wrath of men or the wrath of Antichrist. It has everything to do with eternity. 3. Cause many "Christians" fall away when the real Tribulation hits and they are not "whisked" away first.
Answer this: If Jesus let almost every one of His disciples - His closest friends - suffer persecution, torture, and death because of His name, why wouldn't He let the Church do the same, especially because He needs to purify it, and us, before the end? Even John, His most beloved disciple, suffered torture and imprisonment. We must be prepared for the same.
But, see my other responses about the Rapture and Eschatology in other answers on that topic on this site.