Chapter 9

Daniel Prays for His People

Dan 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans

Daniel says he received this vision “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus”. There are a lot of different views about who this is, and it actually will play a significant role in the chronology of the prophecy that Daniel is about to receive, so we should look at it in detail.

At the moment there is no historical record of such a king. There are two main options that conservative scholars take here. They say that because this King Darius is apparently the same one who began ruling directly after the fall of Babylon according to Daniel 5: 30-31

In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

This conjoined with the historical fact that it was Cyrus II “the Great” was the Persian king who ruled after the fall of Babylon, many scholars simply say that Darius was just a title, another way for Daniel to reference Cyrus. This seems plausible until you realize that it would mean that Daniel got his facts wrong when calling Cyrus of the lineage of the Medes which he does in this passage as well as in Daniel 5:31.

The other view conservatives take is that there really was a king named Darius who was a Mede that ruled Babylon as a kind of co-regent with Cyrus, others who hold to this basic view cast Darius less of a co-king than they do a governor of the province of Babylon.

In other words after Cyrus took over, he appointed governors over the new parts of his empire - Darius the Mede being the new governor of Babylon.

Charles Cooper in his book God’s Elect and the Great Tribulation points out that Daniel says explicitly in several places that the kingdom being referred to here would be a combined Median and Persian empire, and that according to Daniel 8: 3-4, 20 although the Medes would be less influential than, and basically controlled by, the Persian half of this empire, they still would be co-ruling together, and that each of them would have a king.

So in this telling, Darius would be a king along with Cyrus. In other words Darius was more than a governor; he was co king, albeit a king who was subordinate to Cyrus. This would explain a number of things, including the phrase “[Darius the Mede..] who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans” Darius was “made” king. This is a strange wording unless he was given his kingdom. And while it is true that this could speak of the sovereignty of God who makes and deposes all kings, a few other points make me think it is simply talking about Cyrus’ appointing Darius as King over the realm of the Chaldeans.

One such reason is found in the last verse of Daniel 6:

So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. - Dan 6:28

This seems to be a very clear indication that Daniel believed that the rule of Darius and Cyrus the Persian occurred simultaneously. Though those that try to say Darius and Cyrus are the same person suggest that this should be translated:

So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

They claim this is a valid translation even though no Bible version that I checked - and I checked seven of them - translates this verse in that way. All of the ones I checked use the word “and,” not “even,” suggesting Daniel was talking about two individuals ruling at the same time.

Believing that these two kings were the same person, as so many conservatives do, and forcing this “even” instead of “and” on the text has the problem of Daniel being wrong at least twice in this book when he clearly calls Darius a Mede, and not just from there but “of” as in descended from Medians, something that was definitely not true of Cyrus, who Daniel clearly calls “The Persian” in 6:28.

Holding to the contemporaneous-kings view also helps to solve the various discrepancies in the ancient world about the list of kings for this empire.

Daniel’s prophecy in 11:1-2 reads as follows:

"Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him. And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.” - Dan 11:1-2

Daniel seems to suggest here that there would be just five kings of Medo-Persia from Darius until Alexander the Great conquers the empire. Yet this would conflict with most historians who believe there were 10-13 kings during this time.

Most commentators who accept the 10-13 kings chronology of modern scholarship say things like Stephen Miller does in his New American Commentary.

“Kings after Xerxes are not mentioned [by Daniel], apparently because the later Persian rulers were not germane to [his] purpose.”1

Charles Cooper points out that this list of kings of the Medo-Persian Empire that modern scholarship accepts is based on one single writer, and that many other historians from the period have differing accounts regarding the number of these kings. These sometimes wildly divergent lists of Persian kings are due in part to the destruction of Persian historical texts by Alexander the Great after his conquest of Persia.

Cooper suggests that the problem is resolved by there being two lines of kings in the Medo-Persian Empire, one of Media and one of Persia, and he demonstrates that this view is also backed up in several places in scripture.

This also accounts for major discrepancies by scholars in the length of the Persian Empire, some accounts differing as much as 156 years.

This and many other issues are discussed in Charles Cooper’s Commentary of Daniel 9 from his book God’s Elect and the Great Tribulation, a book which I will heavily rely on for this chapter.

Dan 9:2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

Understood by the books

Daniel was reading either Jer 25:12 or Jer 29:1. The former seems to be the original prophecy that told Israel that their exile would last for 70 years. It reads:

'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the LORD; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation’. - Jer 25:12

Though it is also quite likely that Daniel was reading what was then a letter sent by the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon recorded in Jer 29:10 which reiterates the earlier prophecy but also contains elements that make me think that it was of particular interest to Daniel. That letter starts off this way:

Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive—to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. - Jer 29:1

Jeremiah, in this letter, tells the captives a few things that are worthy of noting. He tells them that while they are in Babylon they are to build houses, plant gardens, take wives, have children, and to seek peace in Babylon. He basically tells them to be good citizens and they will be rewarded. He tells them that God has good plans for them, and for them not to worry about all the false prophets who are prophesying doom to them in Babylon.

It is this context that Jeremiah reiterates the earlier prophecy from Jer 25 that they were only to be there for 70 years.

This section is also a proclamation of judgment on the kings of Israel for their idolatry as well as the false prophets. It also details the many sins of Israel and some of the reasons for their exile.

Of particular note about this letter of Jeremiah is that it seems as if these good plans God had in store for them and even the 70 years exile coming to an end reads as if it is almost conditional on earnest prayer from the Israelites.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. - Jer 29:12-14

We will confirm later through Leviticus 26 that the idea of the return to the covenant and the land of Israel was in fact conditional on a particular type of prayer. And that is the reason that Daniel begins here to very earnestly pray, in sackcloth and ashes, for the prophecy of Jeremiah to come to pass, because he realized that their return was conditional on a particular prayer.

The word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet

The word Lord here is YHWH. This is one of the many uses of the covenant name YHWH in Daniel 9, which is the only place that it appears in Daniel. This is probably because Daniel is essentially referring to Jeremiah 29 here which uses the covenant name YHWH extensively. In fact the idea of calling it the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet probably comes from Jeremiah 29:4 which makes the same claim about the ultimate authorship of that prophecy:

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: - Jer 29:4

He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

The word “accomplish” here in Hebrew is Strong’s number H4390 and it basically means to fulfill or finish. So it’s saying that seventy years of desolations needed to be finished out. Jeremiah 25:11 implies that this desolation that needed to be finished out was referring to the land when it says:

And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. - Jer 25:11

In 2 Chronicles 36 we are told that this land desolation that needed to be fulfilled 70 years was the required amount of rest the land was supposed to have received according to the law of Moses and the so-called land Sabbaths.

And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. - 2Ch 36:20-21

Every seventh year the land was not to be worked by farmers; according to the Mosaic Law, it was supposed to be given rest. This apparently had never been done by the Israelites for 490 years. If you divide 490 by 7, to determine how many seven-year cycles that would be, you get 70. It seems clear that the number of years that Israel was exiled was the number of years that the land was supposed to have laid rest over that 490-year period.

This sabbatical cycle may have some application in the 70 weeks prophecy which also is 490 years long, as we will see later on.

Dan 9:3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

Then I set my face toward the Lord God

This may mean that he was facing Jerusalem, toward the place where the temple, the so called “house of God” stood. This we have seen was Daniel’s habit while praying (Dan 6:10). It also probably should be taken in a spiritual sense, that is that Daniel began to face God; that is approach him in the sense of fervent prayer - in other words to turn his attention to God.

Prayer and supplications

There is a slight difference between these two words. “Supplication” usually means a request is being made. “Prayer” can also include requests but it is not necessarily so. In other words prayer can also include worship, thanksgiving, and confession of sins. I think based on the outline of Daniel’s prayer which starts out with all of these things before going into his requests, that this is the reason Daniel uses these two words, “prayer” and “supplications.” In other words praise and confession and then requests.

With fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

These are all things that would be done in fervent prayer. I think that Daniel was responding to the Word of the Lord in Jeremiah which called for fervent prayer:

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. - Jer 29:12-13

Daniel here is praying to God with all of his heart. He does this with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

God’s word suggests many times that fervent prayer gets his attention. One of my favorite examples of this is in Psalm 34.

Again as we will see when we look at Leviticus 26, there is a specific reason for this fervent prayer that Daniel is about to make.

Dan 9:4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,

Dan 9:5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.

Dan 9:6 Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.

Dan 9:7 O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.

Dan 9:8 "O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

Dan 9:9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.

Dan 9:10 We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.

O Lord, great and awesome God

Daniel begins this prayer with praise. This too is how the Lord told us to begin our prayers.

“Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”

We have sinned

Daniel then begins to confess his sins and the sins of the people of Israel.

There is a very good reason that we will discuss later that Daniel spends so many verses confessing Israel’s sins.

Daniel includes himself in the nation’s sins, as we see by his use of the word “we,” even though, as we saw in Daniel Chapter 6, even Daniel’s enemies found no fault in Daniel, so they had to make prayer to God illegal in order to accuse him of something.

“As Daniel confesses Israel's sin he prays as if he is as bad as the rest of Israel. This is a confession of we, not they. In this sense, they prayers never really reach God; genuine we prayers see self correctly and see our fellow saints with compassion.”- Guzik

Dan 9:11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him.

Dan 9:12 And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.

Therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us

This curse is referring to Leviticus 26:14-38 which details what exactly will happen to the Israelites if they break the covenant.

It begins this way:

'But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments…’ - Lev 26:14

The Law of Moses had a list of blessings if they kept the covenant as well as a list of curses if they broke it. The curses detailed in Leviticus 26 were poured out on Israel during the Babylonian captivity as a result of their breaking the contract of the Law of Moses. In other words the exact punishment for breaking the covenant was detailed 490 years earlier. It is my view that part of Daniel’s epiphany while reading Jeremiah’s prophecy was that Israel’s current situation in Babylon was the fulfillment of Leviticus 26:14-38. Part of the reason I think this is because of the next verse.

Dan 9:13 "As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.

Yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God

Daniel is saying “look, the Leviticus 26 curse has come upon us, yet we have not made our prayer!” He is referring to a specific prayer; a prayer given in Leviticus 26 after the curse part of the chapter. The prayer is given as the remedy for the curse. This remedy starts in verse 39 and goes through verse 45

And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; also in their fathers' iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away. 'But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. The land also shall be left empty by them, and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; they will accept their guilt, because they despised My judgments and because their soul abhorred My statutes. - Lev 26:39-43

Remember that was written at least 490 years before the Babylonian captivity, So again I believe that Daniel’s prayer is not inspired so much by the realization that the 70 years was almost up, as so many say, but rather by the realization that Israel had not yet made the prayer required of them by Leviticus 26 to restore the covenant in the event that they break it. This would also explain the conditional language in the prophet Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles in Babylon that was discussed earlier, that seemed to suggest that fervent prayer was required before the captivity could end.

The next two verses close out the confession portion of this prayer:

Dan 9:14 Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice.

Dan 9:15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!

After this point Daniel moves from praise and confession to supplications or requests. It should also be noted that the so-called Lord’s Prayer in the New Testament also has a section just for our requests when it says:

“Give us this day our daily bread”

I take that to be an invitation from God to spend time asking Him for the many things we need in this life.

Daniel’s supplication is focused on the restoration of the temple, city and holy people. This fact is worthy of noting because the answer to this prayer that the angel gives, which we will discuss in another episode, concerns these exact things that Daniel prayed for, and there are some errors that come about regarding the upcoming 70 weeks prophecy by not realizing the point that what Daniel prays for here is also the main point in God’s answer to that prayer.

Dan 9:16 "O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. “

The first part of his supplication is regarding the city of Jerusalem and its restoration as well as the peoples’.

Dan 9:17 Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate.

The second part of his request is concerning the temple and its restoration

Dan 9:18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.

For we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds.

I think that because of the terms ”we” and “our” used here by Daniel that he was conscious to the fact that he was - right there, right then – making the necessary prayer required in Leviticus 26 on behalf of the people of Israel in order to restore the covenant.

Dan 9:19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.

Here we see that Daniel only mentions the city and the people, yet we know that in verse 17 the temple was also included. This seems like a minor point but it will come up as we study the next section.

A Prophecy of Seventy Weeks

Dan 9:20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God,

Dan 9:21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.

Now while I was

Daniel’s great prayer is interrupted by Gabriel. This is interesting because as we will see, the answer to Daniel’s prayer that Gabriel gives concerns something Daniel asked for only at the end of his prayer. In other words, God knew what Daniel was going to pray before he prayed it and had dispatched His divine answer before Daniel actually made that specific request. This reminds us of Matthew 6:8 which states:

“For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

However it also tells us that God was waiting for Daniel to start the prayer as we see in verse 23:

“At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come”

I think one lesson from this is that though God does know what you need, He still wants you to ask for it in prayer. Sometimes we can make the error of thinking that since God knows we need such and such a thing so He will do it for us, but we forget that our petitions and prayers are what scripture tells us moves the hand of God, and in particular prayers of the whole heart like we see with Daniel’s.

For the holy mountain of my God

This is how Daniel sums up what his entire prayer was about. He refers to Jerusalem and the area around the temple by using this phrase “holy mountain of my God.” This is interesting because this is yet another occasion where we see what Daniel considered his prayer to be about, that is to say Jerusalem and the temple. Not even the people are mentioned here, just the temple area, though the people are in verse 24, but the holy mountain is singled out here by Daniel as the main thing he was praying about. A quick look at the request portion of his prayer reveals the fact that the city and the temple were at the center of Daniel’s prayer.

Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. - Dan 9:17

This is important to keep in mind as we progress; there are many errors that can come by not realizing that Daniel’s prayer and the answer to his prayer were very temple centric.

The man Gabriel

Daniel calls Gabriel a man because he appears in human form. We see back in chapter 8 where Gabriel first appeared to Daniel, which is what is meant by the phrase: “whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning,” that Gabriel had only “the appearance of a man.”

Also when we see Gabriel in the New Testament, we are there told explicitly that he was an “angel”:

And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. - Luk 1:19

Being caused to fly swiftly

This would be one of the few places in the Bible where we are told that angels fly. Stephen Miller thinks that it is possible that this is supposed to be written “in my extreme weariness” such as the NASB has it, and further that it refers to Daniel - not the angel.

While I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. – NASB

Miller defends the view this way:

“The Hebrew supports the reading “in extreme weariness.” A conjectural Hebrew verb is necessary to produce “in swift flight.”19 (2) Some angels (i.e., cherubs and seraphs), it is true, are portrayed in Scripture as having wings and flying (cf. Exod 25:20; Isa 6:2; Ezek 1:6, 11, 19, 24), but Goldingay observes that Scripture does not indicate that ordinary angels have wings but appear rather in human form.20 The text states specifically that Gabriel appeared in the form of a “man,” and men do not have wings.21 (3) Although the idea of Gabriel flying swiftly to bring an urgent message to Daniel would suit the context, Daniel’s utter exhaustion after a prolonged period of fasting and prayer (cf. 9:3) fits the situation even better (cf. 10:2, 8).”2

Though I am not sure of the grammatical points that Miller makes here, I can say that this is the only time in scripture that this Hebrew word is translated as “fly” or anything like it. Every other time it has to do with faintness or weariness which in my opinion gives more weight to the NASB translation here.

Dan 9:22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.

Dan 9:23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.

It’s interesting that Daniel didn’t really ask to understand anything about the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple. He wanted something done about it, and indeed, as we will see, his request for something to be done about the temple will also be granted. But God also gives Daniel understanding about it. This is perhaps because the situation was not as simple as Daniel probably wanted it to be, and God wanted Daniel and us to understand the details of this complex matter.

Daniel learns in the following revelation that indeed the temple and city will be built again, but he also learns it will be destroyed again, and for similar reasons as the first time. Then he learns it will be rebuilt once more, and yes, destroyed once more, all before a final more permanent one will be consecrated.

This was probably bittersweet news for Daniel who finds out here that although the wheels are going to be put in motion for the temple’s reconstruction, something he would have loved to hear, this new temple’s eventual demise was also foretold. Sometimes God wants to give us understanding of why something bad happens in our lives rather than stopping that bad thing from happening altogether.

For you are greatly beloved;

Commentators have long noted the interesting connection between Daniel and the Apostle John in this regard. This idea of being greatly loved or in John’s case the “disciple who Jesus loved” could be the reason that both Daniel and John are given the great apocalyptic revelations in the Bible. Is there a connection to this love and the giving of great Revelations to them? I’m not sure we can be certain from the text, but it is interesting enough to note.

Therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:

We are about to consider one of the most difficult and disputed sections in all of scripture. And I will be taking a position that is probably like nothing you have heard before. I will be drawing heavily from Charles Cooper’s book God’s Elect and the Great Tribulation, although I will be expanding on many points he makes and slightly modifying others. I want to encourage everyone to test the things I will say and understand that I am not dogmatic about the interpretation that I am about to present, though I do firmly believe it to be the correct one.

It should also be said that although I am about to put forward a different view than one commonly believed, I am not doing it for theological reasons. If you examine the many different interpretations of this passage from Bible commentators you will see that the reason people come up with different explanations for it is mainly because of their underlying theologies that they bring to the text.

For example, if you are an amillennialist or some version of a preterist, believing that all or mostly all prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD, you must see this text very differently than a futurist who believes that many of the prophesies in the Bible have not yet come to pass. These particular presuppositions are the main reason people differ on this text. They often bring these presuppositions, fully formed to this text and make it say what they have already determined it should say. There is almost no other text where you can determine a person’s underlying denominational theology by their interpretation of it as with this one.

On this point I think my interpretation gains some validity. I have no problem theologically with this text being a prophecy of Jesus’ entering into the gates of Jerusalem, or his baptism or death, or many similar views that are proposed by futurists. My overall theology would not change one single bit if that were really what this text were about. So I am not taking a different position on this so that my theology will fit, I am taking a different position because I think the text and context demand it, and I hope to demonstrate to you that at the very least, there is another very logical interpretation of this text that is not often articulated.

Believe me, I would have much rather blown through this chapter quickly with a few quotes from Sir Robert Anderson’s A Coming Prince and moved on to the next chapters which I find absolutely fascinating rather than spending about two months in study and writing almost 19,000 words on a passage that really doesn’t affect my theological bottom line, but the mere fact that I believe that the interpretation I’m going to present is correct demands it.

Dan 9:24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.”

Seventy weeks

This word “weeks” loosely translates to “sevens.” A good analogy would be to our English word for dozens except instead of 12, it is 7.

Seventy sets of sevens have been determined. Scholars understand this to be speaking of seventy sets of seven years; in other words, 490 years. This is so universally agreed upon to be speaking of 490 years by scholars of all denominations and positions that I will not go into too much detail as to why, but it should be noted that there are some scholars who choose to see this 70 sets of seven years as “indefinite periods of time.”

However, if we just consider this chapter, we see for example that Daniel was reading Jeremiah who prophesied of a specific 70-year period, which was taken literally by Daniel and fulfilled literally in history. In addition the 70 years of exile was also based on a literal 490-year neglect by Israel of the land Sabbath law, and this is just one of the many reasons that the literal view of this time period enjoys the vast majority of support from scholars.

For your people and for your holy city

These 70 weeks are determined for the holy people and the holy city. This is yet another reiteration of the focus of this prophecy. It will concern Jerusalem.

If we review some of the phrases in the next three verses which constitute this prophecy I think it will be clear that indeed the holy city is in view throughout.

Verse 25 says “The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.” Clearly this is referring to Jerusalem.

Verse 26 says “prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” again information about the city and the temple is in view.

Verse 27 the final verse contains the phrase “He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” Referring to the temple sacrifices; no matter what your interpretation of this verse is, the fact is that it is referring to something at the temple ending, i.e. sacrifices, is evident.

I have quoted these lines from the three verses that make up this prophecy to show that although other things may be discussed in this prophecy, the fact that it has Jerusalem and the temple unambiguously in view throughout all three verses is obvious to anyone regardless of what else they may say about this difficult section of scripture.

To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

70 weeks are determined for the people and the holy city in order to accomplish these six things.

There are some, like preterists, for example, that say that these six things were fulfilled with Christ and His atoning death at Calvary, and there can be no doubt that a few of these six things could easily be said to have occurred at that point. But I don’t believe the majority of these prophecies can be shown to have occurred already, though they can be shown to refer to prophecies of the kingdom age, sometimes called the millennium.

Let’s take each of these six things and see first if they can be said to have occurred already in history, and second discuss if there is scriptural support to see them in view of an ultimate future fulfillment of the Jewish People, Jerusalem, and the Temple.

To finish the transgression

The word for transgression is pesha and it basically means rebellion. The word for finish kala’ means to restrain. This is one of the more difficult of the six to try to say has already occurred in history. The preterist will play up the idea that the word for finish does not seem to say that it is ended for good, but rather that transgression is restrained; they would say that after Christ’s death, rebellion is restrained. They would do this despite clear warnings that rebellion will continue to increase in the last days:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! - 2Ti 3:1-5

And this passage in 2 Timothy is probably speaking of the state of those claiming to be Christians contextually. If I were to quote some passages about the state of the unsaved in the last days we would also see that transgression will not be restrained there either. It seems that in the “last days” rather than sin being restrained, it is let off its leash!

No matter which way you choose to interpret whose transgression will be restrained, it doesn’t work. The context of this passage seems to demand that ethnic Jews will have their transgressions restrained; and we know based on the current state of rebellion of the Jews and their rejection of Christ, that we cannot say this has occurred.

If we were to say that this applies to the saved individual, I would give it some credence despite the complete departure from context. There is a sense in which the Holy Spirit partially restrains us from sinning in the form of conviction of sins, but it does not altogether restrain us from sinning; which is the idea here.

To make an end of sins

Here we have more support for what is meant in the previous prophecy; that is a finishing or ending of sins. Here the word for end is much stronger. In all 64 uses of the word it means to finish, to put a final complete end to; in other words, it is never used as simply a restraint of anything. Therefore the preterist has a much more difficult time with this one than the previous.

Both of these first two are not speaking of an end to the consequences of transgression or sin, or an end of the power of sin or some other thing that would be easy to explain in light of Calvary and the new covenant. No, here we are told without reservation that transgression and sin themselves will be finished. There is no theology that can account for this other than a futurist view. The futurist position not only has the ability to explain this, but it has explicit scriptural support for these two ideas.

A direct reference to this is found in Ezekiel 37 in a prophecy of the millennium. We will see that Daniel seems to be drawing heavily from this prophecy of Ezekiel, who was a contemporary of Daniel.

Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. - Eze 37:21-23

Here we have a direct prophecy of God ending Israel’s transgression. This is a complete end. He says that they will not defile themselves anymore with their idols, or any of their transgressions. This is the exact language used back in Daniel. We don’t have to pretend that sin or transgression has stopped if we simply take God’s word at face value. It has not happened yet, but it will. Again we will have confirmation later that essentially the six prophecies in view in Daniel 9 are taken directly from Ezekiel 37, a passage clearly speaking of the millennium, where Christ rules on earth.

John in the book of Revelation gives us another picture of what this “restraining of transgression” and “end of sins” looks like. And it is not a coincidence that it appears in the quintessential millennium passage of Revelation 20.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. - Rev 20:1-3

The amillennialist, who believes we are living in this time right now, where Satan is bound, has a difficult time explaining that Satan is no longer able to tempt a person currently, especially in light of verses like 1 Peter 5:8 which explains that Satan, like a lion, is looking for people to devour. This difficulty as well as a great many others would disappear if one simply takes the Bible at face value - that these great events have not occurred yet, but we can be sure they will, as they are foretold in holy scripture.

To make reconciliation for iniquity

Of all six prophecies of Daniel 9:24 this one, and to a lesser extent the next one are the only ones I would say without reservation have indeed already occurred. Christ on the cross has reconciled us to God (2 Cor 5:18.19) by taking upon himself the wrath of God which we deserved for our iniquity, thereby giving us peace with God and reconciliation.

So in that sense I would give one point out of six to the preterist. But I would submit that if we look at this in context, this is a prophecy about the Jews and Jerusalem. And we know that indeed they will one day be saved, as Paul the apostle prophesied, as we will see, and when they are saved they will be saved in the same way we have been, by grace through faith in the atoning work of the person of Jesus Christ. So the language of making “reconciliation for iniquity” is just as appropriate for them in a future context as it is for us if we are saved.

For the preterist who does not believe this future reconciliation for the Jews is going to happen, I will refer you to the Apostle Paul. Please notice that in this passage in Romans 11 that Paul reiterates the millennial prophecies by quoting Isaiah and particularly one of the many prophecies of the future ending of sins in the kingdom age just as we saw in Daniel.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” - Rom 11:25-27

This is a very important point. Paul, who was obviously writing after Christ’s death and resurrection, is saying that there is a yet future “turning away of ungodliness” and a “taking away of sins” from national Israel.

Anyone that says that all of Daniel 9:24 occurred on the cross has a different theology than Paul the Apostle. Paul is going out of his way here to tell you that the promise given to Daniel, that Israel will be saved and their rebellion will end, was not a promise taken away from them. It will happen after the “fullness of the gentiles” comes in. This is a mystery that Paul does not want you to be “ignorant” of or “conceited” about.

To bring in everlasting righteousness

This is the only other one of the six prophecies that I would agree with the preterist by saying that it could indeed be said that everlasting or perpetual righteousness came in with Christ’s atoning death. Our righteousness is in Christ and is not dependent upon ourselves anymore if we are saved and therefore is everlasting. However this again has the weakness of requiring you to divorce this from the context of having to do with the Jews and Jerusalem.

The best explanation, like the others, is to see this in light of the promises given to the prophets about the future of Jerusalem and the Jewish people.

This idea of bringing in everlasting righteousness, like the idea of a future ending of sins, is a common theme found in promises to Jerusalem about the future kingdom age. As we read a few of these promises God makes about the everlasting righteousness of Jerusalem in the millennium, keep in mind how difficult it would be to imagine God not keeping this particular promise because of the way He says it.

For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name. - Isa 62:1-2

This new naming of Jerusalem mentioned in Isa 62:2 is foretold in the last verse of Ezekiel.

After Ezekiel spends nine chapters detailing the millennium, he ends his description of an obviously different city in terms of structure by saying:

All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE. - Eze 48:35

The words THE LORD IS THERE are sometimes transliterated as Yahweh Shamah. So Jerusalem will indeed have a new name in the millennium.

How preterists and others can read a verse like this “And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns.“, and simply say that God has not done nor will ever do what He said He would do I will never understand.

The point being made by the Lord through Isaiah here is much the same as Paul when he quoted Isaiah in Romans 11; that God will take away the sins and make Israel righteous, and they will never again go astray after other gods.

It is difficult to underestimate the importance of this eschatological idea of the future righteousness of Israel. It is repeated in many places and in many ways, always in an eschatological sense.

It is so important that it is the one idea that Paul picks out of all prophecies of the future of the Jews to passionately reinforce will take place. The idea again is that the ending of sins and future righteousness of Israel is yet future and that it will indeed take place just as Isaiah, who he quotes, said it would.

It is with this in mind that the next prophecy To seal up vision and prophecy should be understood.

The prophecies of Jerusalem and its future judgment and subsequent restoration and reconciliation are the completion of Bible prophecy. If you don’t believe me, read the last three chapters of the Bible, Jerusalem is referred to almost 20 times in those chapters! The very last words of the Bible, which even a partial preterist would admit is still future, refer to a prophecy in Isaiah 11 being fulfilled. Isaiah 11 is another quintessential millennium passage. In that passage it refers to Jesus as the root of Jesse.

While running the risk of being redundant I think the best way to demonstrate that the sealing up, or finishing vision and prophecy, is to again quote Paul in Romans 11:

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME OUT OF ZION, AND HE WILL TURN AWAY UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB; FOR THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” - Rom 11:25-27

Paul is saying “look guys, we still have all that stuff in Isaiah about Israel and its future that has not come to pass yet, and it is still going to come to pass, just as it was written, but not until the fullness of the gentiles happens first.”

In other words the eschatological promises to Israel are the final things that need to occur to complete vision and prophecy, things which Paul clearly did not believe had happened yet.

And to anoint the Most Holy.

The final thing that will occur for the people and the holy city after 70 weeks is that the Most Holy will be anointed.

The preterist would like to have this refer to Jesus and His anointing, possibly at His baptism. While this is a technical possibility, there is no use in scripture of this phrase speaking of a person but only a thing.

The idea that this is speaking of an anointing of the most holy place (not a person) is therefore almost universally agreed upon by scholars of many different backgrounds, and most Bible translations translate this as “most holy place” accordingly.

The preterist takes this to refer to Jesus despite the grammatical difficulty.

They might even try to point to Hebrews where Jesus is said to minister in the holy place as a kind of compromise recognizing that this must refer to the temple; that is, they might say that in a sense Jesus is kind of like the Holy of Holies. But if you think about that theologically there is no sense that Christ is like the Holy of Holies or the temple. He is the spirit that goes in the temple or the Holy of Holies but he is not the temple itself - that is the church which He indwells, theologically speaking.

Again there is a much better explanation if one is willing to look at prophecies of the kingdom age or millennium as yet future.

The temple that Ezekiel spends almost nine complete chapters describing at the end of his book has obviously never been built. The size of it would be equal to the entire current city of Jerusalem. A temple the size of a city is a big temple! The preterist is left with saying that it will never be built, basically saying it could have been built if the Jews had accepted the Messiah, but since they didn’t, it won’t. Alternately they might say that it is only symbolic of the new covenant. But if you take Ezekiel at face value, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t, the “anointing” of the temple that Daniel is talking about is referring to the dedication of that temple in Ezekiel, this immense structure that is said to be built in the millennium. This will be incredibly important as we proceed, but for now just know that there is law in Exodus which told Moses how to anoint a temple in order to inaugurate its use.

In other words this prophecy of anointing the most holy place is saying that there will be 70 weeks before the inauguration of the kingdom age temple of Ezekiel 40-48, a temple that must be built in order to fulfill prophecy - a temple that all Jews who believe the old scriptures are currently awaiting.

Dan 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.”

At this point I will deal less with the preterist viewpoint as they more or less believe what most conservatives do about the following verses (that is, that they refer to Christ), that is until the last verse, which we will discuss when we get to it. The preterist however is typically unconcerned with getting any of the following dates right as they view all the talk of “7 weeks” and “62 weeks” etc. as basically irrelevant and should only be seen as symbolic numbers referring, as RC Sproul says, to the “fullness of time.”3

I would also like to say that when I first heard of the theory I’m about to express put forth by Charles Cooper in his book, I rejected it solely on the grounds that I had been told time and time again that this passage was the best prophecy of the Messiah in the Old Testament, fulfilled to the very day, and so I didn’t want to lose what I thought was a great apologetic argument.

I even told Mr. Cooper at a conference that I agreed with most of his conclusions about many things but not on this. My reasoning at that point was not based on any evidence to the contrary that I had, but rather that I just didn’t like the idea of losing what I thought was a great apologetic argument.

After studying this passage in depth, I found that he made a very compelling case that I had a hard time arguing with. I also found that the idea that this prophecy was perfectly fulfilled to the day that Jesus entered into Jerusalem on a donkey was not at all accurate. And because of the complex mathematics involved in such a study, almost no one was checking to see if it was accurate; and therefore, almost everyone that has a position about this holds it out of more or less blind faith in the person who told them that it was accurate.

I also believe this prophecy is accurate to the day, but that is has to do with what the angel said it would have to do with, i.e. Daniel’s people and the Holy City (Jerusalem).

That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem

Here we come to a very important point in the text if we are going to attempt to find an accurate fulfillment of this 70 weeks. This is trying to tell us when to start the 70 weeks clock. It says that we start it from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem. The word for command is sometimes translated decree.

There are about four events in scripture that have been proposed as candidates for this decree (and you thought this was going to be easy).

Most commentators and scholars say that this decree occurred when Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission, safe passage and supplies to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls in 445 b.c. (Neh 2:1-8)

There a number of problems with this that we will look at later, but one notable one is that by saying this event is the decree, they are ignoring that this was not a decree or command given by Artaxerxes but rather simply his giving them permission and supplies. This would seem to be a minor point until you realize that there is an alternative that is being overlooked which is obviously a decree in the truest sense.

Daniel at the time of writing this “70 weeks” prophecy in Babylon was about 80 years old. The Babylonian Empire he had been taken captive by when he was a teenager had just been overthrown by the Persians, and what’s more, the name of the Persian king who now ruled the world was named Cyrus!

There were two reasons that that fact must have been absolutely astounding to Daniel. The first is that 200 years before his time, the prophet Isaiah prophesied about a future king which would be named Cyrus.

“Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut: ‘I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me. - Isa 45:1-4

This prophecy written 200 years before Cyrus, essentially tells the Persian King that his recent conquest of Babylon was a gift to him from God, not of his own doing.

But this prophecy in Isaiah 44 and 45 goes even further. It then says the following:

I have raised him up in righteousness, And I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city And let My exiles go free, Not for price nor reward,” Says the LORD of hosts. - Isa 45:13

And just before that in chapter 44 is says:

Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”- Isa 44:28

So now God’s message to Cyrus, written 200 years in advance, tells Cyrus that he was going to make a decree that the city of Jerusalem and the temple (which in Daniels day was totally destroyed) would be rebuilt.

Okay, so you can imagine that someone showed the book of Isaiah to Cyrus at some point, right? Well, we don’t have to wonder if Cyrus got the message or not because there is literally a copy of the decree that he made, which would have been posted all around the known world, recorded in the Bible.

In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: “Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices; and let the foundations of it be firmly laid, its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits, - Ezr 6:3

This is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles which says:

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, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up! - 2Ch 36:22-23

Now back to Daniel, who has been praying for the city and the temple to be rebuilt, who realizes that the time is close. After all, the 70 years Jeremiah predicted is almost up, and there is a man named Cyrus on the throne, just like Isaiah said there would be. Daniel, because of his familiarity with scripture, would have known that Cyrus was about to make a decree, even before Cyrus did!

The argument against the 70 weeks starting with the decree of Cyrus is based on one idea and one idea alone. They say that in the text of the decree in Ezra 6 and 2 Chronicles, which we just read, there is no mention of the city being decreed to be rebuilt, only the temple, and that is true - in the written decree recorded in Ezra and 2 Chronicles, there is no mention of Cyrus decreeing that the city be rebuilt. After all, the angel told Daniel “from the going forth of the command to rebuild the city,” not the temple. Cyrus in Ezra 6 never mentioned the city. Case closed, right?

There is a major flaw with that argument. If you look at what God said Cyrus would do in Isaiah 44 and 45, He says explicitly that the decree would also concern rebuilding the city.

Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”- Isa 44:28

In that verse the city and the temple are mentioned as a part of what Cyrus will decree. To make matters worse in the next chapter, which is a reiteration of the same decree, only the city is mentioned:

I have raised him up in righteousness, And I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city And let My exiles go free, Not for price nor reward,” Says the LORD of hosts. - Isa 45:13

So if God says that Cyrus’ decree was to rebuild the city, then Cyrus’ decree was to rebuild the city. Case closed.

Cooper says of this:

“This passage alone is sufficient to prove that Cyrus did decree concerning Jerusalem “She will be rebuilt.” Otherwise God’s word has failed which is a conclusion we are not prepared to accept.”

I have never heard anyone who holds to the other views deal with this adequately. They point out that the text of the decree recorded in Ezra and 2 Chronicles doesn’t specifically mention the city but they keep Isaiah 44 and 45 out of the discussion as they prove that the Cyrus’ decree was indeed to rebuild the city as well as the temple.

The real reason people pretend Isaiah 44 and 45 aren’t there and push the beginning of the 70 weeks up about 83 years or so is because they have already decided what the outcome of this prophecy “should” be, that is having something or other to do with Jesus. Though exactly what depends on the mathematical gymnastics that each individual commentator does, whether it’s His baptism or death or triumphal entry, will depend on who has the calculator, since these dates are by no means fixed in history and so each commentator has some wiggle room if they need it.

But the problem is that there are no acrobatics, no matter how skilled they are with a calculator which would allow them to make this prophecy have to do with Jesus if they started the 70 weeks with Cyrus’ decree, so they must look for something else that would allow them to get closer to the time of Christ. It’s a clear case of confirmation bias.

A few other problems with starting the 70 weeks with Artaxerxes and Nehemiah in 445 (the most commonly held view among conservatives) are as follows:

The exact date for this is not recorded in scripture.

One would think that if we were to get this right to the very day we should be given the very day that it started. This as we will see can be ascertained in the case of the Cyrus’ decree, but with Artaxerxes in 445 we are simply given the month and year it occurs. In Sir Robert Anderson’s The Coming Prince, which is the book cited by nearly all proponents of the 445 view, Anderson simply chooses the first day in the month more or less arbitrarily.

Another problem with the Artaxerxes 445 view is that Nehemiah was sent to build a wall, not a city. That wall was built in 52 days we are told; a city was not built in 52 days, nor was it claimed to have been by the text.

Speaking specifically of Sir Robert Anderson’s view that this ended with the triumphal entry, there are problems with his theory as more data comes out regarding the date of Passover for that year derived from the so-called Elephantine Papyrus, which makes even the recent improvements on Anderson’s view impossible according to some.4

Stranger still is the fact that this would mean that this prophecy totally ends a good 30-plus years before one would think it would end contextually speaking, that is at the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. I mean the prophecy is unambiguously supposed to be about the city and the temple, and to just leave a 30-plus year gap seems unlikely.

Granted the destruction of the temple is required to occur after, not during, the 69th week according to verse 26 but you would think that it would be a little more precise, especially given how precise the rest of the prophecy is, as we will see.

Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;

Here we run into probably the single biggest problem as to why everyone thinks this has something to do with Jesus. That is that the translators of certain Bible versions also believed that. And they inserted things that are not in the Hebrew text to make their personal views prominent.

I’m sure that the translators thought they were doing us a favor by doing this and I am not accusing them of doing anything dishonest, but this will be the first of many places in the next three verses that the translators do things that the underlying text never required them to do.

This phrase Messiah the Prince here in the NKJV and many other versions capitalizes the M and the P, which is a translator choice, as there is no such idea of capitalization in Hebrew, It is simply the translators expressing their opinion about the identity of this anointed prince. At least the NKJV is toned down from the ASV which says it should be translated “THE anointed one” adding the definite article “The” as if it was saying “The Messiah.” If it were the case that the Hebrew definite article was present here, “ha,” then we would have no choice but to say this is referring to Jesus, as he is only person that could fit such a designation.

But the Hebrew does not have the definite article, and modern translations reflect this and translate the verse like this:

(ESV) 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.

(NET) So know and understand: From the issuing of the command 64 to restore and rebuild Jerusalem 65 until an anointed one, a prince arrives, 66 there will be a period of seven weeks 67 and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, 68 with plaza and moat, but in distressful times.

The difference here is clear; there is no reason that the anointed ruler must be Jesus.

The term anointed in Hebrew, where we get the term Messiah, is something that a modern Christian only associates with Jesus, but a simple word search in a concordance shows that the word in the Old Testament is almost never referring to the messiah but to kings or priests and even once to Cyrus who we have already mentioned:

“Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut: - Isa 45:1

Here Cyrus, a pagan Persian king, is referred to as a “messiah;” that is, an anointed one. In this case the anointing he had was to do certain things to advance God’s plan, including letting the people go, commanding the temple and the city to be rebuilt.

The word is found in several contexts in the Old Testament, mostly referring to rulers and priests who do God’s bidding in one way or another, either in the military, political or religious sense.

Also in verse 24 the word messiah is spoken of again, but in this case it is referring to the Holy of Holies:

“And to anoint the Most Holy.”

So just in this one chapter, we have in view a Gentile, probably unsaved king, who God called a messiah in Isa 45, as well as a part of the temple called messiah. I hope this is enough to suggest to you that Daniel can say the word messiach without it necessarily referring to Christ.

Again I don’t mind this being about Jesus. I love Jesus. I think he is The Messiah, “Ha Messiach”, but I think if we understand that messiah is just a word that means anointed in the Hebrew language, we can discover the real meaning of this text.

I believe that we do not have to guess about this and that scripture gives us the confirmation we need to be sure we are on the right track with this thinking. But to be able to understand who this anointed prince is, we need to clear up another problem created by some overzealous translators. This problem arises as a result of the following translation:

There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;

Almost without exception commentators will tell you that this is a way of saying 69 weeks. In other words 7 plus 62 equals 69 or 483 years. When asked why scripture wouldn’t simply say 69 weeks instead of making you add 7 weeks and 62 weeks to get 69, there is usually no answer. It is just some extra homework Gabriel wanted to give to us, I suppose.

I submit that there is a very good reason that scripture mentions two distinct sets of weeks here: first a set of 7 and then a set of 62. We should not simply add them up and pretend that they are to be taken as one large block of time.

The problem is one of punctuation. The meaning of this verse changes drastically depending on where you end the sentence. The Masoretic text, which the Old Testament is based on, calls for a period after the 7 weeks, which would make this verse read as follows:

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. - Dan 9:25

But the problem with following those rules for a translator is that if you did so it would mean that from the going forth of the decree until an anointed prince arrived there would only be 7 weeks or 49 years, this would make it impossible to speak of Christ because he obviously didn’t appear 49 years after Cyrus’ decree or Artaxerxes’ decree, or any other option available.

The NET Bible has a fascinating footnote on this point

“The accents in the MT indicate disjunction at this point [Meaning a period after the 7 weeks], which would make it difficult, if not impossible, to identify the “anointed one/prince” of this verse as messianic. The reference in v. 26 to the sixty-two weeks as a unit favors the MT accentuation, not the traditional translation. If one follows the MT accentuation, one may translate “From the going forth of the message to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks. During a period of sixty-two weeks it will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times.” The present translation follows a traditional reading of the passage that deviates from the MT accentuation.”

So it’s basically saying, “If we translated this the way we should, we couldn’t have this be Jesus, so we’re not going to translate it that way.”

The ESV however, picking up on this, is the first version that I know of to apply the correct punctuation even though it makes it impossible to see the fulfillment of this as being messianic.

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. - Dan 9:25 (ESV)

So again the difference is that we now must look for an anointed ruler exactly 49 years from the decree, and that anointed ruler obviously can’t be Jesus because it is far too early. And the 62 weeks is speaking of the entire time that the city and the temple will exist before its destruction, which we will get to later. But for now we must discover who this ruler is.

Before we can know who shows up 49 years after Cyrus’ decree, we need to know when that decree happened. We can ascertain this date in part because we know that there would be exactly 70 years from the fall of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar until the decree of Cyrus.

Since we know the date for the fall of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, we can count 70 years from that date in order to arrive at the very date of Cyrus’ decree, the beginning of the 70 weeks prophecy. From there we can calculate exactly 49 years (7 weeks) and we arrive at the 28th day of the 4th month of the ancient Jewish civil year of Tammuz. This is the exact date that Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem to build the walls,5 a feat which he accomplished in 52 days.

It interesting that Nehemiah’s arrival in Jerusalem is the fulfillment of this and that the very day of that arrival is mentioned in scripture, because that is exactly what we were supposed to look for according to Daniel 9:25; that is, the arrival of an anointed ruler. This is perhaps why Anderson and others opt for the triumphal entry even though it certainly wasn’t the Lord’s first arrival in Jerusalem. In other words they knew that in order to be legit, it had to have something to do with someone arriving in Jerusalem.

This is impressive and a bit of a relief for me because scripture gives us a way to check our facts and make sure we are on the right path before moving on to much more difficult areas in which we will have to rely on extra-biblical sources for dates. So this is kind of a check point where you can find the exact dates without leaving the pages of scripture. We know the date of Cyrus’ decree and we know the exact date of Nehemiah’s arrival and they are exactly 49 years (7 weeks) apart. Yep, we are on the right track.

So we can see that Nehemiah was at the right place at the right time. But how exactly was he an anointed prince?

The prince part is easy. The word for prince is Nagid. It is a general term used of leaders whether military, political or religious. It is translated as governor, leader, captain, noble, prince and ruler in different places in the Bible.

Nehemiah was the governor of Israel:

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe… - Neh 8:9

This word for governor is a title used on only a few occasions in the Bible. It comes from a Persian word meaning something like “To be feared.” And it’s clear that he was what we would consider the governor or main political leader. So yeah, Nehemiah definitely fits the bill for a Nagid. But was he an anointed Nagid.

Well if we look at it in general terms, Nehemiah was certainly anointed by God to do what he did.

But as I was looking more closely into the ministry of Nehemiah I found that he too also prayed the specific Leviticus 26 prayer that Daniel prayed which I made such a big deal about at the beginning of this chapter. In the first chapter of Nehemiah, before he makes his request to the king, he prays the very same prayer that Daniel prayed, asking for the forgiveness of their forefathers. It seems then that Nehemiah is also linked to this 70-weeks timeline through his prayer.

The Idea that Nehemiah was anointed is clearly evident in the book of Nehemiah. Before entering into the presence of the king to ask for money and material and leave to go build the walls, Nehemiah prays:

“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was cupbearer to the king. - Neh 1:11

God granted this request from Nehemiah as well as paved the way for complete success in his accomplishing the Lord’s will in Jerusalem, even amidst great trials.

To understand Nehemiah’s importance and why he should be pointed to as an integral part of the 70-weeks prophecy it should be recognized that there are even a few books of the Bible was written about the stalled building progress after Cyrus’ decree. The Book of Haggai and Zechariah for example were written to Israel after Cyrus’ decree, but before Nehemiah to encourage the Jews who had zealously begun to rebuild the temple and city after Cyrus’ decree, but because of setbacks and fears, and too much focus on their personal lives, the work had stalled.

The ministry of Haggai and Zechariah did encourage the people to continue their work which resulted in the finishing of the temple only a few years later, but after that the people of Israel fell into the same trap with rebuilding the city around the temple. The lack of walls made the city a dangerous place to live and therefore not too much migration back to the city was happening.

I think this is why scripture points to the leadership of Nehemiah and his wall-building project as such an important part of this process. That is, that although Cyrus, years before, had let the Israelites go home and had permission to rebuild the city and temple, and had even made some progress, there was no real leadership to get God’s project moving, and for all intents and purposes it was totally stalled and the people were back in sin having forgotten the law of God.

Nehemiah was the guy you can point to and say after him and his walls which made the city safe for families to inhabit again, and therefore effectively beginning the migration back to Israel, as well as his spiritual leadership which literally taught the people the law of God again and restarted the priesthood and the temple services, God’s project of bringing Israel back from the ashes really got underway, and the city grew and grew until it was eventually destroyed…well…434 years later.

Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. (ESV)

After Nehemiah there would be 62 weeks or 434 years. The text does not seem to suggest anything too specific will happen during this time other than it will be built again with squares and moat but in troubled time. Though we find out from the next verse that the 434 years seems to be designating a time after which the city and temple would be destroyed, it says:

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. - Dan 9:26

In other words it seems as if it is saying during the 434 years, the city and the temple will exist until it is once again destroyed. The NET Bible seems to agree with the idea that the 434 years is not saying that it will take 434 years for the temple and city to be rebuilt but rather that it is a period of time in which the city will return before its destruction. The footnote where they address this says:

“it will return and be built.” The expression is a verbal hendiadys.6

Squares and moat

The term for squares is sometimes translated plaza or square. It is interesting that in the early times before the city was completely rebuilt the main place that is mentioned in Nehemiah and Ezra that was built in which people met was a big plaza by the Water gate.

And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the LORD had commanded Israel. - Neh 8:1

Moat is translated “wall” in some versions but there doesn’t seem to be any reason for thinking that it should be “wall.” Most translations have this as “moat” or something similar.

The word means sharp or cut and can mean something like a moat or a ditch which is pretty much the opposite of wall, and if it was “wall” that would be the only time the word would have been used that way.

It’s an interesting word and it is only used a few times in scripture. Oddly it is translated as “gold” more times than anything else when used as a noun.

But in a troubled time

Whether this is referring to the building of the walls that Nehemiah undertook, which according to the narrative had tremendous opposition, or it is simply referring to the troublesome next 434 years of the 2nd temple age, with oppression from the Greeks and then later the Romans, they would both fit as they are both equally true, though I tend to favor the latter explanation.

Dan 9:26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.

And after the sixty-two weeks

Two things are supposed to happen after -- not during but after -- these 434 years:

  1. An anointed one shall be cut off
  2. The city and the temple will be destroyed.

To make this point more clear, we do not have an exact date for when both of these things are supposed to happen, only that they will be after the 434 years, though one would expect them to be very close to the end of that time. One thing is for sure from the text - they cannot happen before the 434 years is up.

An anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing

This verse is usually taken to mean that after 434 years Christ will be crucified. Again the translators’ personal beliefs, despite the absence of textual reasons, have perpetuated this idea.

An anointed one

This particular variation of the word mashiyach, here translated as “anointed” appears 39 times in the Old Testament and in every case except for this one what is being referred to is clearly identified, whether it was a king or priest or whatever. This is the only case in the Bible where that information is not provided. The NKJV inserts the word “one” here as if a person is in view, but that is a decision on the part of the translator and not in the actual text.

In addition Charles Cooper points out that in the Greek versions of the Old Testament the instance of this word was understood by the ancient translators not to be referring to a person at all:

“In both versions [the Septuagint and the Theodotion] the term chrisma (oil for anointing or action of anointing) occurs for the Hebrew term mashiyach (see Exodus 29:7, 30:25). The word refers to that which the anointing is preformed, the unguent or ointment.

There are two oddities about the Greek translation here. First chrisma is a neuter singular noun instead of a masculine noun as in the Hebrew Bible. This indicated that the Greek translators did not interpret the Hebrew mashiyach to refer to a person. If the Greek translators had understood Daniel to be referring to a person christos would have been more appropriate, since it refers to a person. Second neither version has the article therefore an appropriate translation is “an anointing” [as opposed to “an anointed one” and certainly not Messiah with a capital M which is clearly wrong].

As a side note this could just as easily be translated “an anointed place” as we will see later.

Shall be cut off

So an anointing or anointed place is cut off, what could that possibly mean? Well, for starters we need to look at what the idea of “cut off” means in scripture.

It can be used literally, that is to cut off a piece of fabric or something. It is also sometimes used to refer to someone being separated or removed or destroyed; in other words, killed.

I am going to suggest to you that this idea of an anointing being cut off is referring to a prophecy that God gave to Solomon after the temple he just built was dedicated and anointed. That prophecy contained a warning that if they rebelled against God then He would cut off the people and the temple which he anointed.

As I read from 1 Kings 9:6-7 remember the context. Solomon has just built the first temple ever. He has just had a huge party dedicating that temple. Now the celebrations were all over and God gives him this message which concerns the temple he just dedicated.

But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house [The Temple] which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. - 1Ki 9:6-7

In order to fully appreciate what is being said here and how it applies to our verse in Daniel 9 we will need to go back to the beginning of the 70-weeks prophecy, where Gabriel tells Daniel that one of the things that was to be accomplished at the end of the 70 weeks was a most holy place was to be anointed.

Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city ……to anoint a most holy place. (ESV)

Every temple had to be anointed with very special oil when it was dedicated. This is described in Exodus 30:

And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony; the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base. You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy. - Exo 30:25-39

This oil was apparently only used once for the initial dedication of a temple and its furnishings, though it also had other uses, like for anointing the priests. But in regard to its use for anointing the holy place it was only to be used for temple dedications.

Interestingly there is a belief in rabbinic Judaism that the original oil that was used to dedicate the tabernacle would still be around when it came time to anoint the future as yet un-built temple described by Ezekiel. Whether this is true or not is unimportant, but it does show you that there was an understanding that a new temple needed to be anointed.

In the passage we read, after the dedication of the first temple by Solomon, God says that he will cut off the people and the temple if they disobeyed Him. In that same verse God said that he consecrated the temple Himself.

then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. - 1Ki 9:7

The word he used there is the word Quedesh. That is a word used to describe what happened to the temple after it was anointed, in Exodus 30:29:

You shall consecrate them [the tabernacle and the altar etc.] that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy. - Exo 30:29

So if this is correct this verse would read almost exactly as the ESV does without the word “one” since the idea of it being a person is not conveyed in the original as we have seen. So it would read:

And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointing shall be cut off and shall have nothing. - Dan 9:26

It you translated it as LXX has it, it would read:

[after the sixty-two weeks] the anointing shall be cut off and judgment is no longer in it. - Dan 9:26 (LXX)

It’s interesting to note that the LXX says “and judgment is no longer in it.” In other words not only did the scholars behind the LXX think that the anointing was a thing, not a person; they thought it was a place, a place where judgment apparently at one point could be found.

I am going to suggest to you that what this verse is referring to is the temple being cut off or destroyed, exactly what God told Solomon would happen if the people broke the covenant. This of course fits the context like a glove too.

If this is true then how do we explain the next phrase which says:

And shall have nothing

So after the sixty-two weeks the anointing shall be cut off and have nothing?

The phrase here in the ESV is translated “and shall have nothing,” while the KJV translators translate this phrase “but not for himself” obviously to bolster the case that this anointed one is Christ and this is speaking of His death.

The NET Bible in a footnote says of this:

“The KJV rendering “but not for himself,” apparently suggesting a vicarious death, cannot be defended.”7

Stephen Miller says of it:

“The KJV’s translation would signify that Christ’s death was for others, which is certainly a scriptural truth. But the phrase is in Hebrew an idiom for “not have” (cf. Gen 11:30; Isa 27:4).”8

In light of this, most people these days who are trying to explain this as being about Christ’s death say things like: “When Christ died He didn’t have anything. Remember how he said “Why have you forsaken me?” on the cross?” Or as Miller says:

“Thus when Christ died, his earthly ministry seemed to have been in vain. His disciples had deserted him, and from all appearances he had not accomplished what he had set out to do.”9

Commentators are trying to force the theological idea that Christ had nothing at the time of His death in order to make their presupposition about this verse make sense. There is certainly no explicit teaching that would suggest that Christ had nothing at the time of His death. This is perhaps why the KJV rendered it “not for Himself” even though it wasn’t accurate, that is to avoid the theological trouble of saying Christ had nothing at His death.

A few pre-cross verses seem to suggest that Christ had quite a lot:

The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. - Joh 3:35

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. - Joh 13:3-4

In addition I don’t think that Peter’s denying Christ or the disciples hiding after the crucifixion can be seen as them no longer being Christ’s at the time of His death, especially in light of John 18: 7-9 where the soldiers came to take Christ away, which says:

Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.” - Joh 18:7-9

The underlying Hebrew for this term “have nothing” is not very specific. It basically is just a word that means “nothing” or “not exist” or “non-entity” none of which have to do with Jesus and hence all the odd theology from people convinced this must be about Jesus. Charles Cooper renders this phrase:

“After the sixty-two weeks, the anointed place shall be cut off and there will be nothing left of it.

This is speaking of the temple, and based on the timeline we are about to see it makes perfect sense to be speaking of the destruction of the temple as that is exactly what happened after the 62 weeks.

This would also make the words of Christ concerning this event all the more meaningful:

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” - Mat 24:1-2

Just a recap on the way I and folks like Charles Cooper believe the verses we have been studying so far should read:

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 (49 years). Then for sixth-two weeks (434 years) it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. After the sixty-two weeks, the anointed place shall be cut off and there will be nothing left of it.

The people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

This part of the verse fits perfectly with the context and it is giving us more information about it, namely who will destroy the city and the sanctuary. It tells us: “The people of the prince who is to come” will destroy Jerusalem and the Temple.

This phrase is often taken to be speaking of the Antichrist. In other words it would be saying something like: “There is a prince to come way in the future, but he won’t be around at the time of the destruction of the temple; only his people will, and they will destroy the temple.”

This then is often taken as a way to determine the nationality of the Antichrist. Therefore most people who hold to this view see the Antichrist as Roman, since the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 AD. However it should be noted that Joel Richardson and other proponents of a Middle Eastern Antichrist site Josephus and others that attest that the Roman armies that laid siege to Jerusalem were mostly Arab mercenaries.

Both of those views are missing the point by a mile in my opinion.

It should also be remembered that if indeed Daniel 2 or Daniel 7 isn’t speaking of a so-called revived Roman Empire, which I firmly believe they are not as noted in the commentaries of those chapters, then this verse would constitute the only verse in the Bible that suggests a Roman nationality for the Antichrist. And even if I thought this verse was saying the Antichrist would be Roman or Arab, it would not be a good idea to build doctrine on this one verse alone.

That being said I don’t think this verse is talking about the nationality of Antichrist or anyone else’s nationality, for that matter, though it should be noted that I do think the Antichrist is in view in the next verse. And therefore my opposition to the normal futurist interpretation is not because I am not a futurist - I certainly am - but it is only because I think there is a much more logical explanation for this verse.

When it says the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, I believe it is trying to convey what actually happened in 70 AD.

Titus’ people, that is the people under his command, destroyed the city and the temple, not Titus. In almost any other sacking of any other city by the Romans, there would be no need to make this distinction. After all, if Titus or any other general ordered this to happen, he is responsible for it, and scripture would be right to put the blame on him. But the events of that day made it necessary for scripture to describe the destruction of the temple and city as not being by Titus, but instead by his people.

According to Josephus, who was literally present and part of the court of Titus at the destruction, Titus did not order the temple destroyed. He had wanted to turn it into a temple for the Roman gods. But the people destroyed it anyway. It would be one thing if this were only briefly mentioned by Josephus, but instead Josephus describes in many ways the mob-like destruction of the temple and city despite Titus’ repeated orders for it to be stopped.

I will quote a few excerpts:

First Josephus quotes Titus in a meeting with his generals about what to do with the temple. This was because the Jews were using the temple as a citadel for a kind of last stand. Josephus says:

But Titus said, that “although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;” and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued.

Then after Titus was informed that despite his orders the soldiers set fire to the temple, Josephus describes the following scene:

And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire…. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatenings could restrain their violence, but each one’s own passion was his commander at this time;

And more still

But as the flame had not as yet reached to its inward parts, but was still consuming the rooms that were about the holy house, and Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself might yet he saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire, and gave order to Liber-alius the centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, to beat the soldiers that were refractory with their staves, and to restrain them; yet were their passions too hard for the regards they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them, too hard for them also.

Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on, as having this opinion, that all the places within were full of money, and as seeing that all round about it was made of gold… And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation.

So I think if the scripture had said that the prince, that is Titus, destroyed the temple it would have been a factually inaccurate statement, but instead it said the people of the prince destroyed it, which I think you can now see why that would be an important distinction to make.

The “to come,” as in the people of the prince is to come, is therefore from Daniel’s perspective, as this event was almost 500 years in the future at the time he wrote, but for us looking back that prince to come has already come and gone.

One more note on this idea of a “prince”. Though the word can mean general, leader, or king, or indeed a literal prince as in son of a king, it is interesting to note that at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, Titus’ father Vespasian was the emperor, making Titus a literal prince who would soon become emperor himself, as well as a general of an army. This means that Titus would fulfill every possible meaning for that word “prince.”

The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

The “it” here as in the end of it is referring to the sanctuary. This is not just my opinion but the opinion of many commentators and translators such as the KJV/NKJV.

Shall be with a flood

The NET Bible I think captures the idea of this when it says:

“will come speedily like a flood.”

The speed in which Jerusalem and the temple went from just fine to a heap of ashes was very quick. This was in part because of the fury of the Roman soldiers once they finally breeched the walls of the city.

So when did the destruction of Jerusalem happen? Was it 434 years after Nehemiah finished his walls? Remembering that is says:

After the sixty-two weeks, the anointed place shall be cut off and there will be nothing left of it.

According to Charles Cooper’s very detailed calculations, which I will talk more about in a minute, the 434 years, marking the end of the 69th week ended, and then less than two months after that, the Roman armies surrounded the city.

The important thing is that the destruction of the city and temple had to occur after the 434 years was up, and it did. By August there was nothing left of either the city or the temple. It should be noted that at the time the clock ran out on the 69th week the Romans were already in Israel and had been for two years or so, and they had already killed thousands of Jews and destroyed many towns, but they had not yet destroyed Jerusalem or the temple. But after the 69th week ran out - which again it was required to be after, not during - they finally surrounded Jerusalem itself.

Dan 9:27 “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;

Who is this “he”? Scholars often debate this very interesting question.

There are really only two good possibilities from a grammatical perspective about what the antecedent for the “he” in verse 27 is, though you will never hear either of them in a commentary on this passage.

The only possibilities you will hear from commentaries will be first that the best antecedent for the “he” here is the “prince to come” of verse 26. This will be told to you by the average futurist, and though I don’t agree with them about the grammar here, it should be noted that I do agree with the reason they are trying to make this claim, that is because they think that this last verse is a yet future event and the person who we are about to read about is who we call the Antichrist.

The other possibility you will hear is that the antecedent for the “he” in verse 27 is the “anointed one” of verse 26. This is usually put forth by preterists, and despite it being nearly impossible from a grammatical perspective, they put this forth because they believe that verse 27 is not future, which puts them in a precarious position by having to defend why Jesus would do the things that the next few verses say that this person does.

If one were to just consider this verse from a grammatical perspective, not a theological perspective, one would have to conclude that the “people” as in the “people of the prince to come” are the antecedent for this “he” in verse 27. I will quote from a study of this passage that brings out this point:

“With regards to the above passage the subject noun is ‘People’ (the ones destroying) and the parsed Hebrew word ישׁחית 7843 (ishchith - shachath) ‘He shall destroy’ is used as a Hebrew hiphil, verb, imperfect, 3rd person, masculine, singular and, is completely acceptable in Hebrew with the use of the singular subject noun ‘People’, whereas the translated word ‘People’ in the above Passage is implied to be acting as a single unit – therefore a singular noun and, NOT a plural noun, receiving a 3ms verb.

In addition, the Hebrew word ‘shachath’ MUST also be translated as ‘He shall destroy’ and NOT just simply as ‘shall destroy’ unless the ‘HE’ is either implied or articulated – written or verbally spoken BECAUSE, the Hebrew word ‘shachath’ is used in this Passage as a Hebrew hiphil, verb, imperfect, 3rd person, masculine, singular.

Dan. 9:26 …and the people of the prince that shall come (He) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…

Therefore, if the subject noun in the above KJV, et. al., Passage is the singular ‘People’ (and it indeed is) and it receives the corresponding 3rd ms verb ‘He shall destroy’ then by legitimate Hebrew and English grammatical standards who MUST the ‘HE’ of Dan. 9:27 be (and He shall confirm...)?

Does consistent contiguous grammatical standards dictate that the ‘HE’ of Dan. 9:27 be the SAME preceding antecedent singular subject noun ‘People’ (the ones destroying) or can we just simply arbitrarily choose to substitute a different subject noun in the place of ‘people’ – in this case the ‘a coming prince’”

They conclude this way:

“Once again, any attempt then to ‘substitute’ an alternate and arbitrary subject noun (a coming prince) for the HE of Dan. 9:27, even if we assume a theoretical GAP, other than the clearly grammatically defined antecedent ’People’, the HE of Dan. 9:26, is to simply IGNORE ALL Hebrew and English grammatical rules merely to fit a theory.

If we are going to go down that slippery slope where we ignore grammatical rules and standards simply to fit our theories then there is LITTLE hope of ever arriving at the TRUTH of scripture.”10

In other words IF the “he” of verse 27 is supposed to look back at anything, it must look back to the “people” but the problem is that that makes no sense, not grammatically, contextually, or anything else.

This brings us to the last good possibility for the antecedent for the “he” of Daniel 9:27…

There is none.

I wrote Charles Cooper about this when trying to figure it all out and this was his response:

“This is what I am convinced the text is actually intending. The “he” of verse 27 does not have an antecedent which drives scholars mad. They force the Hebrew to say something I don’t believe it intended. The he of verse 27 does not look backwards, it points forward to a character not identified in the previous verses. This has caused much problem. It will continue.”

I believe that the “he” of verse 27 does speak of the Antichrist, so I have no reason to argue this point other than the fact that it is wrong to say that the “prince to come” in verse 26 is also referring to the Antichrist.

The “he” in verse 27 just comes out of nowhere, and as I will demonstrate we are given all the tools we will ever need to determine who the “he” is because literally every aspect of the “he” here is described by Daniel in at least triplicate in other places in his writings.

Many people have come to the conclusion that there is a gap of 2000 plus years between the 69th and 70th weeks. I think this is the only way to read the text. Many who do not believe that such a gap exists, are told that people believe in a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks for silly reasons, but as I hope to demonstrate to you there is no other option but to see the 69th week ending at the second temple destruction and the last week beginning after another temple is built, an event that as of Nov. 2013 has not occurred yet.

If this is true then it also would explain the out of nowhere nature of the “he” at the beginning of verse 27. That is it comes out of nowhere because the context of this verse would be far removed from the previous verse chronologically speaking. It is not as if the “he” would be unrecognized though, as Daniel seems almost fixated on him in Daniel 7, 11 and 12, describing in detail his actions so we are not left to guess as to who the “he” is in this verse.

The preterist sees the “he” as Jesus here and I will discuss this view at length later on.

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;

So verse 27 starts out by saying that there will be a covenant which this “he” will be involved with that will be for one week. This would mean seven years, remembering the word for week here basically means seven.

Many people say that this is speaking of the Antichrist making a seven-year peace agreement with Israel which would allow them to build the temple again.

I would say that this is a possibility, but I think it is worth looking at this idea in depth because if this is supposed to be something we are to watch for, we should be informed about the specifics of it.

Confirm a covenant

This is a strange term. The word “confirm” in the Hebrew basically means to overcome, or prevail against, but it can also mean to strengthen. This is the only time the word is translated as “confirm” in the Bible.

Some translations, noting that it has this connotation of prevailing, say that it should be translated as “he shall make a strong covenant” such as the ESV has it. The fact that we are given a time reference for this covenant, that is for seven years, in addition to the next part of the verse which discusses what will happen in the middle of the week, leads me to believe that this is probably saying that the Antichrist will either strengthen an already existing contract, or perhaps make a very strong contract which will ultimately be for seven years.

Though it should be noted that the text does not make it clear that the Antichrist will say that the agreement is a seven-year one, only that it will last that long. In other words he may say that it will be an eternal covenant, but scripture, looking forward, tells us the duration. That being said it could just as easily be advertised as a seven-year agreement.

This covenant I think maybe an attempt of the Antichrist to fulfill messianic expectations of the jews regarding a new covenant. We as Christians take for granted that the New Covenant has already been instituted with Christ. Jews however still await for the many prophecies of a “new covenant” to be instituted by their awaited messiah.

Here is a small sampling of verses in the OT that refer to the New Covenant:

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. - Jer 31:31

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. - Eze 34:25

This “covenant of peace” also mentioned in Isa 54:10 both refer to the millennium, or “Kingdom age” as the Jew would say. As I described in detail in my book Mystery Babylon When Jerusalem Embraces the Antichrist, I think that the Antichrist will try very hard to make it seem as if this time has begun, and if he does try to do that, it would be imperative for him to make a “new covenant” with the Jews in order to seem to legitimately be fulfilling the prophecies of the messiah. (See also: Isa 55:3, Jer 32:40, Eze 16:60, 62, Hsa 2:18)

But the idea could be referring to a military agreement made with the Antichrist. This would have support if one were willing to see the verses before Daniel 11:36 as also referring to the Antichrist instead of just to Antiochus when it says:

And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time. - Dan 11:23-24

Covenant with many

Some make the case, like John Walvord, that the word for many has to mean Israel. Though I do not find that argument very compelling, I don’t see this as being a point of contention either.

If the agreement is with Israel, but is also a peace agreement as Walvord says, it would also need to be with its neighbors too, if it were to be about peace. After all, a peace treaty with only one nation at the negotiation table won’t do much good.

But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.

So here we find that in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offerings.

If this happens in the middle of the week then it happens 3.5 years after the covenant is made. This is a very interesting time reference as 3.5 years is spoken of all throughout scripture as the time frame that will begin the last and most terrible part of the Antichrist’s career. In fact this 3.5-year period is by far the most spoken about time frame in all of Bible prophecy. Here are a few examples:

And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. - Rev 13:5

Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. - Rev 12:6

But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. - Rev 12:14

But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. - Rev 11:2

What’s very interesting about this is the fact that Daniel in another place refers to the 3.5-year time period associated with the same event, that is the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the abomination of desolation:

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” - Dan 12:11

This is part of the death knell to the preterist interpretation of this verse.

They say verse 27 is talking about Jesus and He confirms a covenant (which they say refers to His atoning death). They basically disregard the seven-year part of the prophecy saying that it isn’t to be taken literally, as obviously the new covenant didn’t just last seven years. They then say that when it says that after 3.5 years he takes away sacrifice and offering, it means that after Jesus’ death it effectively ended the need for sacrifices. They again say the 3.5 year part is irrelevant.

The reason that Daniel mentioning this event three times is such a devastating problem for the preterist should be obvious if we compare the verses:

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. - Dan 12:11

And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. - Dan 11:31

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” - Dan 9:27

It should be clear from reading these that Daniel is talking about the same event in all three verses - the 3.5 years is mentioned in two of them, and all three mention that the taking away of the sacrifice was associated with an abomination. Daniel 11:31 says that the taking away of the sacrifices defiled the temple. Are preterists really sure they want to associate Jesus with this event?

When we consider that we know what Antiochus did when he set up an alter to Zeus and sacrificed a pig which then caused the sacrifices to be taken away because of this abomination, we must say that this was in no way a prefiguration of the atoning death of Jesus Christ.

All of that to say that Daniel obviously intends the taking away of the sacrifices to be a horrible thing that defiles the temple; this is not speaking of the atoning death of Christ.

Further the mention of the 3.5 years or the “middle of the week” link this event to the Antichrist in The Revelation conclusively. Consider that the preterist, because of their supposition that there will be no Antichrist, is forced to disregard the references to the 3.5 years as irrelevant and say that this obviously horrific event by the Antichrist mentioned at least two other times by Daniel is in fact speaking of Jesus. That is a dangerous position to take if I have ever heard one

Before I go any further I will quote Jesus and Paul in the New Testament about this event:

“Therefore when you see the ‘ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand) - Mat 24:15

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. - 2Th 2:3-4

Because of phrases like “standing in the holy place” used by Jesus and “sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,” we have great confidence, confirmed here in the New Testament, that the abomination of desolation will be an event that happens in the temple when a man declares himself to be God at the 3.5-year mark after he confirms a covenant with many. This event will cause the sacrifices in this future temple to stop.

This also is right in line with the context of this entire prophecy. Since the previous verse (26) ended with the destruction of the second temple, verse 27 is essentially saying there will be another temple after that one. In other words since the sacrifices will be stopped at the midpoint (remember that both Paul and Jesus confirm that this event will happen in a temple, that is it is not a metaphorical thing) then we can be sure that a temple must be rebuilt in the future for this to occur.

In context then this prophecy of the 70 weeks predicts three things happening regarding the future of the temple system.

A temple would be built after Daniel had the vision (keeping in mind there was no temple standing at the time the prophecy was made, this was fulfilled, and is what we know of as the second temple).

Then it prophesied that the second temple would also be destroyed, which was fulfilled by Titus.

And finally it says a third temple will be built. This is the one the Antichrist will defile and then, as we will see, it also is destroyed.

I would even suggest that since verse 24 says that 70 weeks are determined until the anointing of the most holy place referring to Ezekiel’s millennial temple, that this prophecy is the story of three future temples, two of which will be built and destroyed and one that will be, for all intents and purposes, eternal.

And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate

This is a difficult phrase which quite honestly makes no sense in most translations. What does on the wing of abominations mean? I used to guess the phrase meant that there was a metaphorical bird of abominations which had more abominations riding on its wing so it brought wave after wave of abominations...or something like that. As I said, I didn’t really know. I found out that I was trying to make sense of a phrase that really doesn’t make any sense at all.

The word for wing here, simply means wing. It can mean a bird’s wing or a wing of a palace, an extremity, edge, border or corner.

The Septuagint says that the word means temple and it basically is saying the same thing here as all the other passages in Daniel. In other words “and upon the temple shall be the abomination of desolation.”

Probably one of the best technical treatments of this from a Hebrew scholar comes from the Pulpit Commentary on Daniel 9.11

But to make a long story short, many translations now translate this verse either as setting up an abomination in the temple or on the wing (an outer part) of the temple. Here are a few examples of modern translations that follow the Septuagint’s lead on this:

… And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”(HCSB)

.. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (NIV)

.. and there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation: and the desolation shall continue even to the consummation, and to the end. (DRB)

Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.

You will notice in this last phrase that the last word desolate is here not desolator as some of the previous examples have it. Again it depends on the context. The word itself does not tell us whether the end which will be poured out will be on the desolator or the desolate.

I would suggest that if we consider the meaning of the phrase “abomination of desolation” we can see that the abomination causes the temple to be desolate, in other words to be abandoned, with no sacrifices occurring in it. If this is correct, then it would follow that the consummation would here be the destruction of the temple that Antichrist uses. I believe that this destruction would be in view in Revelation 18 (see my book on the destruction of Mystery Babylon).

Calendar Issues

Before I close this chapter I would like to talk in a general sense about the methodology used to calculate the years of this prophecy to arrive at the dates that we did. The calculations are very in depth and it would require a lot more time to explain it all here. But I think it is very important to do if one wants to be sure they have arrived at the right date.

For all the specific details I will refer you to Charles Cooper’s book: God’s Elect and the Great Tribulation: An Exposition of Matthew 24:1-31 and Daniel 9.

Just as in Sir Robert Anderson’s The Coming Prince, the 360-day year was used in the calculations of this timeline. This was done not only because the Jewish calendar has 360-day years (minus the intercalary months added by the high priests), it also seems clear from several passages that the Bible considers a 360-day year to be the ideal year, which we see by comparing Genesis 7:11 and 24 which refer to Noah after the flood. If one were to take these passages literally, then years were exactly 360 days back in Noah’s day with no intercalary months.

This along with the fact that when referring to future prophecy, particularly the abomination of desolation and other events surrounding the 3.5-year period, because of the many different ways this time is referred to - i.e., 42 months, 1260 days , middle of the week etc. - we know that a 360-day year was intended to be used.

There are a number of reasons that we can speculate why prophecy is expected to be counted using 360-day years, one of which being that because the Hebrew calendar was already 360 days long but required an active high priest to calculate the intercalary months, something that would have been impossible after 70 AD and the destruction of the temple, that the intercalary month system was stopped as well.

I tend to look at the 360-day year as a perfect year, 12 30-day months would mean that the earth makes a perfect circle around the sun which is not implausible to assume that it used to be that way. Chuck Missler cites the fact that all ancient calendars used a 360-day year:

“All early calendars appear to be based on a 360-day calendar: the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Hebrews, Persians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Chinese, Mayans, Hindus, Carthaginians, Etruscans, and Teutons all had calendars based on a 360-day year; typically, twelve 30-day months.”12

He then says that at about the same time in history (701 BC) they all changed, trying to adjust their calendars in various ways to make up for the fact that they no longer were accurate.

He attributes this to a near pass of Mars with Earth in 701 BC. He cites studies which suggest that the two planets used to have orbital resonance with one another which was disturbed after the event resulting in the slight change in the length of time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun thereby forcing everyone to change their calendars to keep up with the seasons.

Cooper on the other hand calls the 360-day system the “modified Egyptian calendar” and has his own reasons about why it was used by scripture, reasons which are also very compelling, and the two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Another item that is important about the calculation of this time is that there is a major problem with secular history’s version of the length of the Persian Empire. This and a few other issues are explained in detail by Mr. Cooper in his book, and are important reading if one wants to look under the hood of the theory I presented here in order to check and see if it is indeed accurate.