In the first part of this article we saw how the prophecy of Daniel 9.24-27 was given to Daniel at the end of the period of captivity of Israel in Babylon. It focuses on the restoration of Jerusalem (‘Your city’) and the Jewish people (‘Your people’). It divides up a period of ‘70 weeks of years’ (70 x 7 years) into periods of 7 + 62 + 1 years. Verse 24 tells us that, by the time of its completion, this is what will be accomplished:
- Finish transgression
- Make an end of sins
- Make reconciliation for iniquity
- Bring in everlasting righteousness
- Seal up vision and prophecy
- Anoint the Most Holy (Holy of Holies)
At the time of the 69th week (7+62) Messiah will ‘be cut off but not for himself’. This was fulfilled by Yeshua the Messiah dying as a sacrifice for the sins of the world and rising again from the dead. Following this event the ‘people of the prince to come’ will destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (the Temple). This took place in 70 AD when the Romans besieged and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. This means the first coming of Messiah must have taken place before 70 AD.
Following this event there would be a long interval before the beginning of the 70th week. During this interval Jerusalem and the Jewish people would experience wars and desolation. This interval corresponds to the period of the dispersion of the Jewish people and Jerusalem being ‘trodden down of the Gentiles’.
Jesus prophesied this time: ‘Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’ (Luke 19.41-44)
‘But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’ (Luke 21.20-24).
During this time of dispersion Israel would endure a long unspecified time without revelation from the Lord. Hosea describes this period: ‘For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.’ (Hosea 3.4). Concerning Hosea 3, Rabbi David Kimchi (1160-1235) wrote: ‘These are the days of this present captivity in which we are in the power of the Gentiles and in the power of their kings and princes and we are without a sacrifice and without an image (i.e. without a sacrifice to God and without an image to false gods); and without an ephod and without teraphim (i.e. without an ephod to God by means of which we could foretell the future as with the Urim and Thummim and without teraphim to false gods)’.
The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple following Messiah’s first coming would take place at the hands of the ‘people of the prince to come’. The prince to come is the same figure as the ‘little horn’ which comes out of the fourth beast (Rome) in Daniel 7.7- 8, 19-28 and the ‘stern faced king’ of Daniel 8.23-26. It was the Romans who destroyed the Temple so there is a connection between this figure and a revived Roman Empire. In Revelation this figure is revealed as the Beast / Man of Sin or Antichrist.
Daniel tells us that the period which comes after Messiah being ‘cut off’ (i.e. the sacrificial death of Yeshua / Jesus on the cross) at the conclusion of the 69th week will be an indeterminate one characterised by wars and the desolation of Jerusalem. This contrasts with the Jewish hope of the coming of the Messiah bringing an end to war and the deliverance of Israel from their enemies. The purpose of Messiah’s first coming was to save us from the power of sin and death by dying as a sacrifice for our sins as Isaiah prophesied: ‘But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ (Isaiah 53.5-6).
Following the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the Holy Spirit filled the disciples of Jesus, giving them power to preach the Gospel. According to Jesus’ commission (Matthew 28.18-20, Acts 1.8), this message was to go into the world, starting in Jerusalem, then into Judea and Samaria and reaching the ends of the world. Those who respond to this message are ‘born again’ of the Holy Spirit and join the ‘ecclesia’ (called out ones / church). The birth of the church was on the Day of Pentecost. At the rapture of the church those who have believed that Jesus rose again from the dead and are born again of the Holy Spirit will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11).
Daniel 9.24-27 concerns Jerusalem and the Jewish people and the outworking of God’s purposes for their redemption. The church age (from Pentecost to the Rapture) is not mentioned in this prophecy. Paul describes this as the ‘mystery of God’ – i.e. it is something hidden from the prophets.
‘To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.’ (Ephesians 3.8-10). See also Romans 16.25-26, Ephesians 1.9, 3.3-12, 3.9, Colossians 1.27, 2.2, 4.3.
So when does the 70 the week begin?
Daniel 9.27 says: ‘He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.’ The ‘covenant’ marks the start of the 70 the week. So who is ‘He’ and what is the covenant?
According to one view the 70 the week follows immediately after the end of the 69th week and describes the end of the sacrificial system with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. The problem with this is that the destruction of the Temple did not take place 3½ years after the crucifixion – which it should have done to fit in with this passage – but about 40 years later. According to this view, the person referred to as ‘He’ is the Messiah making a covenant with Israel (i.e. Jesus fulfilling the new covenant of Jeremiah 31.31-4 / Matt 26.28). The problem with this is that the new covenant does not last for seven years, but is an eternal covenant offering forgiveness and the knowledge of God by the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31.31-4). Nothing in connection with this prophecy happened 3½ years after the resurrection.
The alternative view is that the 70 the week begins after the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11). At the rapture of the church both Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus are supernaturally removed from the earth during a time when life is going on as normal (Luke 17.34-36). The church age comes between the 69th and the 70th weeks. The 70 the week describes the 7 year period of the great tribulation / the time of Jacob’s trouble. During this time God deals with Israel, bringing them to repentance and faith in Yeshua as the Messiah. Going back to Daniel 9.27, the person referred to as ‘he’ (who makes the covenant) is not the Messiah but the last person mentioned in the previous verse, i.e. the ‘prince to come’ or the Antichrist. This means that the 70 the week of Daniel 9 begins with a covenant being made by the Antichrist with Israel for 7 years.
Isaiah 28.14-15 prophesies a ‘covenant with death’ made by people described as ‘scoffers’ who are also ‘rulers in Israel’. This covenant is based on falsehood and is swept away by God who says, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.’ (Isaiah 28.14-16). In Daniel 9.27 the covenant is made with ‘many’ – i.e. not everyone enters into it. There are those who refuse it. In Isaiah 28.16 we are given the reason why they refuse it – they are not making hasty / rash judgements, but trusting in the ‘tried stone’, the precious corner stone, the sure foundation – i.e. the Messiah Jesus.
The prophetic scriptures speak of a number of major events centring on the Jewish people and Jesus in the final 7 year period.
According to Jeremiah 30 this will be the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’ from which ‘he’ (Israel) shall be saved. This salvation will involve correcting something Israel has got wrong (Jeremiah 30.11).
According to Ezekiel 38-39 there will be the war of Gog and Magog in which a great power to the north will lead an allied invasion of Israel which will be supernaturally destroyed by God. Following this there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
According to Zechariah 12 there will be a final assault on Jerusalem by the nations of the world. At this time the Holy Spirit will be poured out on the remaining Jewish people living in Jerusalem and they will ‘look upon Me whom they have pierced.’ This corresponds to Jesus‟ words to Jerusalem in Matthew 23.39: ‘For I say to you (Jerusalem), you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Following this there will be a ‘fountain of cleansing’ opened up for Israel and the Messiah (the LORD) will return in person to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 13-14).
According to Revelation 7, 144000 Jews will accept Jesus as Messiah in a supernatural way as the Apostle Paul did on the road to Damascus in Acts 9. This will take place at the beginning of the tribulation. They will be empowered to spread the message of Jesus during this period after the church has been removed. They will refuse the Antichrist covenant and preach the true Messiah. Multitudes will be saved as a result, most of whom will be martyred.
According to Revelation 11, two witnesses will prophesy in Jerusalem during the first half of the tribulation (i.e. the first 3 ½ years). They will have a supernatural power like Elijah and Moses and will be divinely protected from their enemies. At the mid-point of the tribulation they will be killed by the Antichrist, and then rise from the dead. After this, there will be a great earthquake in Jerusalem.
According to Revelation 19 Messiah Yeshua will return as King of kings at the last battle, destroy all the powers of Antichrist, bind Satan and reign on earth for 1000 years with the saints from Jerusalem (the Millennium). This will be the same period as the Messianic Age described in Isaiah 2.1-4, 11-12; Zechariah 14. It will be the stone smiting the image of Daniel 2.44-45.
So what do the events of Daniel 9.27 describe?
- A covenant made by the ‘prince to come’ (Antichrist) for one week (7 years). This covenant begins the final 7 year period of the tribulation.
- In the middle of this 7 year period (i.e. after 3½ years) the covenant will be broken by the Antichrist. Revelation 13.3-5 speaks of a period of 42 months (3½ years – the last half of the tribulation) following this event during which the authority of the Antichrist continues.
- . At this point he brings an end to sacrifice and offering. This could mean: (a) A rebuilt temple in which sacrifices are reinstated and then cancelled by orders of the Antichrist. (b) The Antichrist makes war on the saints (Revelation 13.7-8) killing or imprisoning all who make mention of the name of Jesus (speaking of the sacrifice and offering He made for our sins).
- He sets up of the abomination of desolation. “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand),” Matthew 24.15. See also Daniel 11.31; Revelation 13.11-18. An abomination refers to an idol. The abomination of desolation will trigger the final 3½ year period in which the judgement of God is poured out on the world.
- This will reach its climax at Armageddon (Revelation 16.12-16), the final war which takes place 7 years after the false peace treaty has been signed. Then the Messiah will return to destroy the forces of Antichrist (Revelation 19.11- 21). This will be the ‘consummation’ to be poured out on the desolate (or desolator) in Daniel 9.27. The consummation (end) in which judgement is poured out on the ‘desolate’ (or desolator – i.e. the Antichrist and those associated with him).
How does this fulfil Daniel 9.24? The second coming of Messiah will cleanse the Temple site of the abomination of desolation and all the desolations of the centuries. It will cause the reconciliation of the Lord with the Jewish people. So it will provide the final answer to Daniel’s prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem („Your city‟) and the Jewish people (‘Your people’). Then all of the things listed in this verse will be fulfilled:
- Finish transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity. God will be reconciled to Israel through the covenant of Messiah and repentance and faith in Him. There will be an end to the sin of Israel (Romans 11.26-27).
- Bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, anoint the Most Holy (Holy of Holies). All the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament will be fulfilled – there will be world peace, all remaining Jews will be regathered to Israel, the lion will lie down with the lamb, the Millennial Temple built etc. The Holy of Holies will be anointed (Hebrew „limshoch‟) as the Messiah rules and reigns from Jerusalem bringing universal peace to the earth.
The purpose of the events of Daniel 9.27 is to cleanse the earth from evil and to bring to an end the times of the Gentiles. The saints who have been taken in the rapture will return with the Messiah (Zechariah 14.5, Jude 14-15, Revelation 19.14) and be joined by the Old Testament saints (Daniel 12.1-3) and the tribulation saints (Revelation 20.4) who will be resurrected following His return to the earth. Believers who survive the tribulation will go into the Millennial kingdom in mortal bodies to repopulate the earth. Unbelievers will be cast off the earth. Satan will be bound and unable to influence the nations. Then the earth will be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Hallelujah! We have a CD and power point presentation of this material in a talk given by Tony Pearce at The Bridge Christian Fellowship. It is also available on the Messiah Factor website www.messiahfactor.com