Daniel 9:27 And The Confirmation Of The Covenant – A Peace Treaty?
Daniel 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.”
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?
Daniel’s 70th Week: Fulfilled or Not Yet Fulfilled?
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. To the surprise of some, the popular position held by many premillennial Christians today which teaches that the 70th Week of Daniel is still awaiting a full future fulfilment is largely a relatively recent invention and, aside from Ireneaus and his student Hippolytus who put a date on Christ’s second coming around 500 AD that has long since come and gone, 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.
Today’s prevalent view teaches that Christ being “cut off” (crucified) was what ended the 69th week and that we are now in the midst of a 2,000 year gap in between the 69th and 70th weeks. Let’s take a look at verses 25 and 26 to see if this is what the text of Daniel teaches:
Daniel 9:25-26a, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince [the Anointed One comes], there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And AFTER THE SIXTY-TWO WEEKS Messiah shall be cut off [killed], but not for Himself …”
Let us play close attention to the text emphasized above. If we read the text carefully it becomes apparent that Daniel 9:26 does not say that the cutting off of Messiah (meaning “Anointed One”) is what ends the 7+62 weeks, as the full futurist view assumes. Rather, Daniel is saying that after the 7+62 weeks is when the Messiah would be “cut off.” In other words, the Messiah is killed during the 70th week. The NIV renders Dan 9:26 to say that He “will have nothing”, however the Hebrew also means “but not for Himself”, which is precisely how it is translated in many Bibles. The Messiah would die after the 69th week had ended, but He would not die for Himself. Why? Because He would be dying for others. This describes Christ’s work, His substitutionary death on the Cross, perfectly.
Let’s also note that in 9:25 Daniel wrote that from the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One comes there will be 7 “sevens” and 62 “sevens.” In other words, Daniel is telling us that at the end of the 7+62 weeks the Messiah would come. Daniel does not say that “from the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah rides into Jerusalem on a donkey” or “until the Messiah is killed” there would be 69 weeks. Daniel said until the Anointed One comes, which is to say, is made known publicly or is revealed. Jesus had already been well known for a few years prior to His “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem and His subsequent death. The question, therefore, is when was the Anointed One revealed? According to Scripture, it happened the day He was baptized by John the Baptist when “John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” (John 1:29-30). Notice what John says next: “I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.” (v 31). And indeed, the Anointed One has now come, “And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him’” (v 32). Jesus is anointed and is now revealed to Israel as Messiah in fulfillment of Daniel 9:25. This is what started the 70th week.
On the basis of Scripture alone, I am therefore 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 (each “week” being 7 years) were determined for his people and that the Messiah would be “cut off” after the first 69 weeks, the most logical and straight-forward reading the text is telling us that the death of the Messiah is what would take place sometime during the last week. Moreover, the fact that the Messiah is mentioned more times in Daniel 9:24-26 than anyone else only stands to reason that the Messiah is Daniel’s primary focus. After speaking about the Messiah and what He would accomplish, 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 Daniel 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 — an expert on the Old Testament — was referring directly to Daniel, 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.
Daniel gives us a sequence of events. Messiah is revealed at the end of the 69th week, and once He is revealed the 70th week begins, the time during which Messiah would be “cut off.” The Hebrew word for “cut off” is karath, which means to cut down or kill and 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 the 70th week began when the Lamb of God was anointed and 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.”
Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One. He is the Lamb of God. He is our Passover. Because of His sacrifice, the sacrifices and oblations (offerings) of the old law ceased. Even though Jews who rejected Jesus as the Messiah continued to offer sacrifices, they would no longer be acceptable to God and were now abrogated through Messiah’s sacrificial death once and for all:
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 the popular full futurist position attempts 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 “split” 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 is 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.
Like the curtain of the physical temple that was ripped in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51), the Messiah’s death appears to have caused a separation of the 70th week into two separate periods of 3.5 years. This separation in the middle of the 70th week is again evidenced by the fact that Daniel 9:26 speaks of two subjects, namely, the Messiah and the “people of the prince that shall come.” Even the original Hebrew of Daniel 9:27 again infers that two separate subjects are in view. Contextually, this would have to be the Messiah and “the people of the prince that shall come” per the preceding verse. As Don Henson of Life, Hope & Truth ministries explains, “a careful reading shows that ‘he’ [of verse 27] does not refer to the prince, but rather to the Messiah. Notice the phrase in verse 26 ‘the people of the prince.’ It is not grammatically correct to assign the singular pronoun ‘he’ in verse 27 to the plural ‘people’ in verse 26. If ‘he’ were to refer to the prince, the phrase should have been stated differently: ‘the prince of the people.’ But since the verse refers to the ‘people of the prince,’ the prince is not the proper antecedent of the pronoun. ‘Messiah’ is the only person mentioned in verse 26 that can be the antecedent of the pronoun he. So the phrase ‘he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week’ refers to the Messiah” .
Although some English translations do not fully convey this distinction, other translations such as the New King James Version translate the verse more clearly. With that in mind, let us also make note that even though Scripture is inspired, chapter and verse divisions are not. They were later added by men. If those who added verse divisions had therefore separated v. 27 into two separate verses both subjects would be much more obvious for English readers. For instance, here is the NKJV with both subjects separated into their own respective verse:
Daniel 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.”
Daniel 9:28, “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.”
Of course, in the example above Daniel 9:28 is actually 9:27b, but it serves to highlight the fact that 9:27 in its entirety is not just referring to one subject, but rather to both the Messiah and the “people of the prince that shall come” of the preceding verse. Other translations are careful to make this distinction as well in Daniel 9:27, such as the ESV (“And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate …”), the NASB (and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate …”), the RSV (“and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate …”), the ASV (“and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate …”) as well as a few others. The One who confirms the Covenant is not the Abomination that desolates. Christ confirms the Covenant. Antichrist will set up the Abomination that desolates.
Messiah: Confirming The Promise Of The Covenant
In conclusion, Hebrews 10 explains how Old Testament sacrifices were merely a shadow of what was to come — Messiah — and now through Messiah’s sacrifice the old sacrifices ceased from being offered (10:2) because of the new covenant (10:16) that was confirmed by Christ (Galatians 3:17), through which we learn that Christ is the heir of all the promises. Jesus came “to confirm the promises made to the fathers” (Romans 15:8) and is the Seed of Abraham upon whom the blessings are bestowed, the only One who can “bring in everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 9:24). Galatians 3:14 clearly tells us that receiving the Holy Spirit is fulfillment of the covenant God made with Abraham. And when did we receive the Holy Spirit? After Messiah confirmed the covenant upon His death (Gal 3:17; Matt 26:28; Dan 9:27a; cf. John 16:7).
In all of Scripture we only read of 3.5 prophetic years in the eschaton just prior to the Second Coming of Christ. The “two witnesses” of Revelation 11:3 prophecy for only 3.5 years. During this time the “woman” flees into the wilderness and is fed for those 3.5 years per Revelation 12:6. John again reiterates in Revelation 13:5 that this persecution by the Beast will last for 3.5 years. Daniel calls it a “time of trouble” in Daniel 12:7 and is told by an angel that it lasts for 3.5 years. From the Abomination of Desolation until the end in 12:11 we again have about 3.5 years. Each and every time the prophetic texts only speak of 3.5 years, the time 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 repeatedly, which just so happens to be half of Daniel’s 70th week …
Daniel 9:27, “Then he shall confirm a covenant [‘the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ’ (Gal 3:17)] with many [‘this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many’ (Matt 26:28)] for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering [‘For the law … can never with these same sacrifices … make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered?’ (Heb 10:1-2)]. [<– Christ | Antichrist –>] 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. [‘when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel … then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again (Matt 25:15,21)].”