Daniel 9:27 – Gabriel Reveals the Events of the Seventieth Week
By GF Herrin
Daniel 9:27 is perhaps the key verse in properly understanding the entire seventy weeks revelation. Interpreting this verse correctly is also the key to understanding many of the other End Times prophetic passages in the Old and New Testaments. The passage begins with a confirmation of a covenant or agreement between “he” and the “many”. Since this revelation is given to Daniel in regard to his people and his holy city, it is logical to understand that “many” refers to the people of Israel. The question briefly touched upon earlier in regard to verse 27 is, “What is the identity of the person who is referenced to by the pronoun ‘he’?” Preterists, such as Mauro and Michael Blume, hold to the belief that “he” refers to the Messiah, Jesus, who is referenced early in verse 26 as the one “who shall be cut off, but not for Himself” (Michael F. Blume, “What Do Preterists Believe About “The Prince” in the 70 Weeks of Daniel?” http://www.preteristarchive.com/Modern/2001_blume_daniel-9.html 2001). Blume says that the Messiah, in verse 26, is the main subject of the passage while the prince is only a “sidenote”. He claims that to interpret the word, “he” in the verse as the antichrist is to employ bad grammar.
In reality, though, if one interprets the passage using the standard Hebrew grammar rules, it is apparent that the “he” in verse 27 is indeed the antichrist who is also referred to in Daniel 7:25 and 11:36-45. The interpretation of “the coming prince” in verse 26 as the antecedent for the pronoun, “he”, in verse 27, makes more sense because it is closer in proximity to the pronoun than the word “himself”. To argue that the “Messiah” is the subject of the sentence and therefore it must be the antecedent for “He” is to create Hebrew grammar rules that just do not exist (Thomas Howe, 9.113, see also, Daniel in the Preterists’ Den, 2008).
Mauro states: “(1) that it was by the cutting off of the Messiah that the six predicted things of verse 24 were to be accomplished; (2) that it was by the cutting off of the Messiah that the covenant with many (verse 27) was to be confirmed and the sacrifice and oblation caused to cease” (Mauro, 21). Most assuredly, the Messiah’s sacrifice for sins is the one single event that enables the six predicted things of verse 24 to be realized. But, to suggest that Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary was an actual covenant that the nation of Israel literally entered into for a period of seven years is inaccurate. It is true that Jesus’ covenant sacrifice negated Israel’s necessity to perform any more sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. However, it does not represent a literal covenant that has been accepted or entered into by the people of Israel at any time in their history.
The overarching problem in Mauro’s interpretation of the passage is his attempt to spiritualize the reference dealing with the entering of a literal covenant or agreement with many. Many scholars, such as Mauro, make the mistake of interpreting Scripture in a spiritual or metaphorical manner. That is, they discard the most literal type of interpretation to fit it into their own view. However, that system of interpretation is inconsistent and flawed. The more consistent manner of interpretation is the historical grammatical method. As Robert L. Thomas says, “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise” (Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary, vol. 1, 1992, 50).
In addition, to suggest that the Messiah, who is God, would make a covenant for a limited period of time (seven years) is inconsistent with God’s nature, which is eternal. God, being eternal, possesses a nature that is unchanging. So, any truth, acknowledgement, or agreement affirmed by Him would not be of a temporal or changing nature but of an eternal nature. Since He is eternal, His faithfulness or adherence to His covenants must be eternal as well. To suggest that God would make a covenant for a limited period of time is also inconsistent with the nature of His other covenants (see Gen. 13:15; Gen. 15:18; Gen. 17:7-8; Gen. 28:13; Gen. 35:12; 1 Chron. 16:17-18; 2 Chron. 20:7; Dan. 7:18; Jer. 7:7; Jer. 25:5; Jer. 31:35-37; Jer. 33:20-22) made with Israel. Regarding the nature of the covenant made in verse 27, Dwight Pentecost writes, “Inasmuch as all the covenants made by Messiah with Israel are eternal covenants, Messiah cannot be the one making the covenant, inasmuch as it will be temporary” (Pentecost, Things to Come, 250).
So, in interpreting verse 27, it can be determined that the ruler or the prince who is to come will confirm a literal covenant with the nation of Israel for a period of seven years (the final week). In the middle of the final week (or after three and a half years) he will put an end to the sacrifice and offerings. Verse 26 describes the destruction of the second temple which actually occurred in A.D. 70. So, it can be discerned that during the time of the seventieth week, there must be a third temple in existence since Israel is obviously making sacrifices again when “the prince who is to come” puts an end to them. Israel, traditionally, has offered their sacrifices and offerings to God in the temple. So, it makes sense to believe that they will offer them again if given the chance. Even now, there is an established Temple institute in place in Israel that has in place blueprints for the third temple, along with the vessels, menorah, pure olive oil to be burned in the menorah, priestly garments, a red heifer, and even priests from the tribe of Levi who are ready to begin the sacrifices whenever the temple is re-built.
The second part of verse 27 describes an event after the sacrifices and offerings are brought to an end in which the ruler will apparently do something that is so offensive to God that the Lord must intercede and pour out his wrath on the one who performed the desecration. The text “on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate” could be interpreted to mean that the Ruler’s desecrating actions to the temple will cause it to be unclean.
The actions of Antiochus Epiphanes (who set up an image of Zeus in his own likeness on the altar, and sacrificed a pig in the Temple), which are in fact foretold in Daniel 11:31, could be a typology of the nature of the desecrations performed by the future prince. Like Antiochus, the future ruler or prince will do something “abominable” in reference to the use of the temple and its holiness to God. But, Antiochus could not have been the ruler that Daniel was writing of in verse 27 because Jesus’ statement concerning the future desecration of the temple was made long after Antiochus desecrated the temple.
Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved (Matt. 24:15-22).
This future event of the “’abomination of desolation” is a more logical fit for the events describe in Daniel 9:27. According to 12:7, the time period during which the daily sacrifices and offerings are suspended matches the time period of verse 27, exactly. It is “time, times, and half a time” (Dan. 12:7) or three and a half years. Also, John’s Revelation describes a matching timeline in which the “beast” will exercise his authority over Israel as well: “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven” (Rev. 13:5-6).
The prophecies in Revelation and Daniel regarding the forty-two months (three and a half prophetic years), during which Jews will be persecuted, correlate with each other and seem to be addressing the same event. In addition, there is substantial evidence to believe that John’s Revelation was written in the 90s A.D. (Norman L. Geisler, “A Friendly Response to Hank Hanegraaff’s book, “The Last Disciple” [online], Available: <http://normangeisler.net/articles/theology/Eschatology/FriendlyResponseToHHanegraffsBookLastDisciple.htm>). Since Revelation was written at the end of the first century, the destruction of the second temple and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. would have taken place prior to its composition. Given the late dating of the book, which contains the prophecy that details the anti-christ’s oppression of the people of Israel for a period of forty-two months (three and a half prophetic years), it is more reasonable to understand the event as futuristic and taking place at the same time as Daniel 9:27.