Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.
As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.
I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.
When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.
Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.
So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.
OK – now we enter into the deep stuff
Rescue me as you see me drowning….
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Daniel refers to one week, and something pertaining to the midst of the week.
It is critical that this verse allows for a indeterminate time to be inserted into this time dependent prophecy, for the dispensationalist interpretation to withstand any muster.
The divergent interpretations of the verse hangs on the allowance of a break in the chronology.
Is the 490 year period 490 continuous years?
It would seem that the answer is obvious, and that the weight of proof would fall on disproving continuity.
- If the 70th week immediately follows the 69th week we have a possible solution.
- We will look at it shortly.
- If not, this allows for the insertion of any amount of time between the 69th and 70th week. I can not find anything in the text that warrants this insertion of time.
First off, lets discuss the covenant spoken of in the verse.
What covenant is he speaking of?
If it is the Messiah, based on New Testament verses it seems obvious that the covenant is the New Covenant, promised by Jeremiah, and confirmed by the Messiah.
Jeremiah formerly announced the covenant, promising its establishment. The Messiah’s mission was to confirm the covenant for His people, and His Holy City.
Jeremiah 31: 31 – 34
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more..
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
Confirm the covenant
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation.
This same judgement was performed in the days of Ezekiel when the Babylonians came into Israel. Habakkuk struggled with this concept of God allowing/using a heathen nation to discipline the chosen nation. Should we be surprised that the judgement on the city and people be any less harsh, due to the leaderships decision to murder the Messiah?
Now, concerning the 70th week, and its chronological completion – You thought I would have avoided this by forgetting about it, right? Well no so fast, bucko.
Although the following is possible, and allows for the completion of this time dependent prophecy to be fulfilled chronologically, I need to research this more. But I am under a bit of a time crunch, so here goes.
1. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week
a. This period of time, that is one week, or the accepted 7 years that all consider Daniel to be speaking of, would extend from His baptism to the release of the gospel to the Gentiles.
b. Although admittedly I cannot find exact dates for the stoning of Stephen it was early in the life of the church and may have happened 3 ½ years after the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah. If this is true, the covenant was confirmed to the house of Israel for 7 years, giving the generation that called for His crucifixion another chance to repent. Sadly the nation did not.
c. The gentiles poured in!!! (The prophecy did not state exclusivity with the physical nation of Israel – And the holy people of God began to include all nations, just as He wanted all along.)
2. In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.
a. If the Messiah’s baptism was the beginning of the 70th week, the crucifixion would have occurred in the midst of that week – 3 ½ years after His baptism, He was murdered.
b. This act of mercy was the fulfillment of every day of atonement the Israel nation celebrated, and in heaven, before the throne of God, the final sacrifice was performed and supplied.
c. He caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease. Of course sinful man wants to maintain religion, so in rebellion the sacrifices continued for a few decades.
One thing that overwhelms me in this passage, is the tremendous plan of grace the Lord has in place for all – even beyond “the many” that were in the old covenant.
The new covenant far exceeded any of the apostles wildest dreams, and continues to grow as we experience His grace in our lives and pass it on to others.
This post concludes my venture into this difficult passage. Thanks again for considering my thoughts. As always, if you see items of concern that the Scriptures can correct me on, please supply.
I hope you will join me again as we continue Considering the Bible.