The Prophecy - Daniel 9:24-27 - Daniel's 70 Weeks
Old Testament Prophecy
24) Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.
25) So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
26) Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
27) And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.
Sometimes this part of the verse is translated "to make reconciliation for iniquity" or to atone for wickedness. The Hebrew verb in this sentence is kaphar, the Old Testament term used to denote the covering of sin by making a sacrifice.(1) It is also the same word used for the covering of the pitch on Noah's ark. It's literal meaning is "to cover over."
Obviously iniquity and wickedness have not completely ended yet. They may even be on the increase. This passage points towards the Messiah who died because of our own iniquities and wickedness. Isaiah 53 teaches about this. Through Messiah's death, punishment for our own iniquity and wickedness is paid for.
While this part of the prophecy was fulfilled in principle at Christ's first coming, it will be fulfilled in full at His return.(2)
The verb in the sentence is (kaphar), the Old Testament term used to denote the covering of sin by making a sacrifice.(1)
Iniquity can be defined as a gross injustice or a wicked act or thing.(3)
To atone for iniquity: literally “to eliminate sin.” The verb used here is frequent in Leviticus (see, for example, Lev 4.20; 14.18-21). It evokes the idea of the ritual by which the priest atones for and “covers” sin. That is, he eliminates it by means of pardon. It is not a question of “expiation” in the sense of the guilty party being punished in order to be considered acquitted of his wrongdoing.(4)
The death of the Messiah was and is the only sacrifice ever needed to make atonement for this world. His death has the ability (complemented with your repentance and faith in Him) to cover all sins of our past, present and future. Old testament sacrifices looked forward through ceremonial procedure (temporarily covering over the penalty for our sin) to what was fulfilled and accomplished with Messiah's death on the cross.
Here are some links that have been created to help move around inside of the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy.
Other links of interest include:
1). Discovery Series-RBC Ministries-The Daniel Papers-Daniel's Prophecy of 70 weeks
2). John MacArthur Study Bible p.1218
3). Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
4). Pťer-Contesse, Ren.̌ ; Ellington, John: A Handbook on the Book of Daniel. New York : United Bible Societies, 1993 (UBS Handbook Series; Helps for Translators), S. 253