Daniel 9:27 And The Confirmation Of The Covenant – A Peace Treaty?
President Obama signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act with an eye toward helping to strengthen the military edge Israel currently enjoys.
“I have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation with Israel across the whole spectrum of security issues — intelligence, military, technology,” the President said. “And, in many ways, what this legislation does is bring together all the outstanding cooperation that we have seen, really, at an unprecedented level between our two countries that underscore our unshakeable commitment to Israel security.”
Is this the “confirmation of the covenant” that the prophet Daniel spoke about in Daniel 9:27? Some in the Christian community are already wondering if it could be. But, alas, I have to say no, and there will likely never be any sort of “peace treaty” between Israel and the Muslim world surrounding her. Why do I say that, you ask?
First, we should understand that there are three views regarding the 70th week of Daniel, the time in which Daniel writes about “confirming the covenant”. These three views state that the 70th Week is either: A. Already fulfilled, B. Partially fulfilled, or C. Not yet fulfilled.
Although the first view — that the 70th Week of Daniel has already been fulfilled — is the most prevalent view throughout church history, I currently lean towards the second view that it is partially fulfilled only, though I am open to the first view as well to some degree. To the surprise of some, the traditional dispensational position — which teaches that the 70th Week of Daniel is still awaiting a full future fulfilment — is a relatively recent invention and was never taught prior to the 19th century. We can verify this by reading any book on Biblical eschatology prior to Edward Irving and John Nelson Darby. Not only is this position the newest, it is, in my view, the weakest as well.
From what can I find in Scripture alone, I am persuaded to believe that Christ is the One Himself who already fulfilled at least the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. When it was pronounced to Daniel that 70 weeks were determined for his people and that the Messiah would be “cut off” after the first 69 weeks, the natural presumption can only be that the death of the Messiah would take place sometime during the last week. What could be more naturally assumed than that the death of Messiah concerned the 70th week? . Considering that the Messiah is mentioned more times in Daniel 9:24-26 than anyone else, it stands to reason in my mind that the Messiah is Daniel’s primary focus. (The “people of the prince that shall come”, though an important detail, is largely parenthetical to the overall thrust of Daniel’s passage). In speaking about the Messiah, Daniel then writes:
Daniel 9:27a, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease…”
If a covenant was subsequently confirmed by Christ, then Scripture should affirm this elsewhere. And does it? Let’s allow Scripture to speak for itself and compare Danial 9:27a above with the following verse below:
Galatians 3:17, “And this I say, [that] the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.”
Not only does it imply as much, Galatians 3:17 uses the exact same language as Daniel 9:27a, indicating that the Apostle Paul was quoting Daniel directly and telling us that Daniel’s 70 weeks did not stop once the 69th week came to an end. It continued right into the 70th week, the time when Messiah began His ministry and the time during which the Messiah would be cut off according to Daniel 9:26. The Hebrew word for cut off is karath, which means to cut off, cut down or kill. Although it is frequently used in the sense of being rejected, it is also used 54 times in the Old Testament in the context of being killed (eg. Exodus 31:14). And indeed, something pivotal took place about 3.5 years after Jesus began His earthy ministry. Not only was the Messiah rejected by the people (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42), He was also crucified in accordance to the plan of the Father for the sins of the world. As the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken” (Isaiah 53:8), and being cut off and the shedding of His blood would be, according to the words of Messiah Himself, the confirmation of the covenant for many:
Matthew 26:28, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
The Messiah is the Lamb of God. He is our Passover. And because of His sacrifice, the sacrifice and oblations (offerings) of the old law ceased. They were no longer required, and were no longer of any value.
Hebrews 8:6-8, “… he [Christ] is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.”
Hebrews 10:1-10, “For the law … can never with these same sacrifices … make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered?… For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come — In the volume of the book it is written of Me — To do Your will, O God.’’ … then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].”
There is nothing in Scripture that I could find to suggest a pause in between the 69th and 70th weeks, as many attempt to do today. But a pause in time, however, is not out of the question in the middle of the 70th. Admittedly, I could be wrong, and perhaps there is no mid-70th week gap at all and Daniel’s prophecy continued to completion with the stoning of Stephen (Acts 11) about 3.5 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, at which point the Gospel was then preached shortly thereafter to the Gentiles (cf. Romans 1:16). Or perhaps it’s something else entirely. Although the 70 weeks of Daniel can be consecutive from beginning to end, the possibility of a mid-week pause is a strong one in my view. We even find an example of a “mid-pause” in time essentially from a comma. In Luke 4:16-21 when Jesus went into the synagogue and read the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-3 to proclaim its fulfillment, He stopped mid-way in the prophecy. This is what He fulfilled:
Isaiah 61:1-3, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD [<-- Fulfilled | Not Yet Fulfilled -->], and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
Interestingly, Jesus felt the need to mention something a few verses later in Luke 4:25, stating, “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land.” Could this have been a clue to something? Only God knows. But with respect to the 70th week of Daniel, however, if only the first half was fulfilled then the other half is yet to be fulfilled. But what would that be? The answer should be obvious: the 1260 days / 42 months / time, times and the dividing of time spoken of by the prophet Daniel and John in Revelation. It’s the 3.5 prophetic years of Antichrist during which time the people of God suffer intense persecution by the Beast, during which time a coalition of Islamic nations gather against Israel for the battle of Gog-Magog, and during which time the Beast and its people incur the chastising wrath of God before their ultimate end. Scripture itself never speaks of a future seven-years of anything. It just doesn’t exist. But it does speak of “3.5 prophetic years”, which just so happens to be half of Daniel’s 70th week …