Previously: daniel 9, the abomination of desolation, part three
Last time we saw that the seventy weeks’ prophecy is tied to the first coming of the Messiah by the rebuilding, beginning in 538 AD, and destruction in 70 AD, of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. Continuing on:
“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
The big question is, who is “he”? I know many Bible teachers teach he is the prince of the people who is to come; but I don’t believe he is. It is a grammatical principle that if a pronoun is used, then it must refer to a noun which has already been introduced, and furthermore, the pronoun must match the noun it refers to in gender, case, and number. Since the pronoun used is “he,” not “it,” or “them,” we know that the noun to which it is referring is singular and masculine.
There are two singular masculine nouns in the previous passages: Messiah the Prince in vs. 25, and the prince of the people who is to come in vs. 26. And I believe “he” is referring to Messiah the Prince, because of the grammatical construction of the sentence. Let me explain.
The subject of the one doing the destroying of the city and the sanctuary, is people, not prince. The Hebrew says, The people shall destroy the city, not the prince. The prince is only in the sentence to clarify which people are being talked about. “People” is a plural noun. The pronoun referring to it would be “they,” a plural pronoun, not “he.” So if the “he” was to refer to the destroyer of the city and the sanctuary, which is the assumption many Bible teachers make – leaping to the conclusion of the antichrist – then the Hebrew would properly read, Then they shall confirm a covenant with many.
I just believe God knows His own language and uses it accurately so as not to be confusing or to be misunderstood. It is not His fault that English is not taught properly in schools anymore. But it is incumbant upon us that we do know exactly what is being said and are careful to read exactly what the Scripture says and no more, not injecting our biases into the text, if we want to be found to be not mistaken, not knowing the Word of God (Mar 12:24).
So if “he” refers to Messiah the Prince, then what is this sentence in Dan 9:27 saying?
“Then Messiah shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week Messiah shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”
In my NKJV, they even captitalized the second “He,” understanding the pronoun to refer to Messiah! But they leave the first “he” lowercase, because the bias of the Church at present is that the first “he” is referring to the prince of the people who is to come! But the Hebrew and the English of the sentence is most simply understood to mean that the two “he”’s are referring to the same antecedant – Messiah the Prince!
How does Messiah confirm a covenant with many for one week, and how, in the middle of the week, does Messiah bring an end to sacrifice and offering?
One week refers to a seven- year period which follows the 69 weeks. The 69 weeks takes us up to the Messiah’s anointing, His being marked as Messiah. The subject of the one week is the same as the subject of the 69 weeks, as the angel shows by saying 70 weeks in the opening sentence of this discourse (vs. 24) – which is the first coming of the Messiah, and His mission in that coming, to make an end of sins, and to confirm vision and prophecy. The rebuilding and destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple are event markers so that Daniel’s people would know with certainty when Messiah came the first time.
How does Messiah confirm a covenant with many over the course of one week, or seven years? Going back to Jeremiah, we read:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jer 31:31-34
I looked up the Hebrew for “new,” as in new covenant (vs 31). Because if the covenant Jesus makes is new, as in never been seen before, then what covenant is being confirmed? What vision and prophecy is being confirmed? Only something that is pre-existing can be confirmed.
In order to understand the Hebrew word for new, we have to understand something about Hebrew. It is an incredibly beautiful and versatile languge. Every Hebrew word can be used as a verb, to mean an action; as a noun, to mean a concrete object; or as an abstract concept, which the verb and the concrete object help to explain. For example, the Hebrew word which means the abstract concept of “faith” is also the Hebrew word for the concrete noun of a tent peg. Do you see the beauty? Faith is to our relationship with God, as the tent peg is to our house – the thing which secures it in place.
The concrete noun, then, for the Hebrew word for the abstract concept of “new” as it is used in this verse, is the new moon. The first sliver of the moon that is seen after a period of darkness lasting three nights, when the moon is looked for in the sky to see if the new month has begun or not. This is not referring to something that has never been seen before; but rather, to something which was old and waned (Heb 8:13), and which has now been renewed; which has been freshened or restored.
And we can see, in Jeremiah, God does not in fact abolish the Law which He established with Israel in the making of the first covenant, the Law which He called the covenant (Deu 4:13); His covenant which they broke. But when He renewed the covenant, He changed the place where the Law is written – that is what is new or renewed about the new or renewed covenant. Instead of the Law being written outside the man, on tablets of stone, as in the first covenant; in the renewed covenant, the Law is written inside the man, on the tablets of his heart.
Obedience to the Law has not been done away with in the renewed convenant (Mat 5:19), but obedience as a means of salvation, and as a religious obligation through fear of punishment, has been done away with (1 Joh 4:17-18). In the renewed covenant, obedience flows with joy from a heart which is in love with the One whose will the Law expresses (Joh 14:15, 1 Joh 5:3)!
So Messiah confirms the covenant (by renewing it) with many for one week, or seven years. In the middle of that week, i.e., at the 3-1/2 year point, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
In fact, when Jesus was anointed as Messiah at His baptism, it was in the late summer, on the first day of the 6th biblical month. The first day, or new moon, of the 6th biblical month, in biblical culture, is followed by 40 days of teshuvah, or repentance. Thirty days following the 6th month new moon is the 7th month new moon, the first day of the 7th month, the Feast of Trumpets. Ten days after that, for a total of 40 days, on the 10th day of the 7th month, is the Day of Atonement, a day of fasting and repentance for sins, in which the high priest made atonement by entering the Holy of Holies on only this day in the entire year.
Five days after Atonement, the seven- day Feast of Tabernacles begins, a joyful time of feasting and celebration. Israel was in fact commanded to celebrate and rejoice before the Lord for His goodness during this time.
Now because it was the month of teshuvah leading up to the Day of Atonement, this is why so many were coming out to John the Baptist in droves, to be immersed in a mikvah – the running water of the Jordan River, to wash away uncleanness. Knowing as we do, that Jesus fulfilled the Law in every particular, and knowing that immediately after His baptism He spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting (Mar 1:9-13), we know that His fasting had to be over before the Feast of Tabernacles. And I believe the 40th day of fasting and the day of His great temptation, coincided with the Day of Atonement, the only holiday of the Lord’s which is a day of fasting and affliction and not feasting and rejoicing.
He was anointed as Messiah at His water baptism and baptism in the Spirit, on the first day of the 6th month. This is why John was told that the One on whom the dove would descend and stay, would be the One Israel was looking for (Joh 1:32-34). Jesus was given the title “Messiah” at His baptism.
He was cut off or crucified 3-1/2 years later at the Feast of Passover, which is always in the beginning of the spring. Passover is in fact 6 months, or a half year, following teshuvah and the fall feasts in the 7th month every year. And we know from reading the Gospels that He ministered for three years. So His crucifixion occurred 3-1/2 years after being anointed Messiah.
Once His blood had been offered, once for all, no more animal sacrifices and offerings were necessary (Heb 9:12). In the middle of the week, after 3-1/2 years, Messiah brought an end to sacrifice and offering. So we understand how Messiah confirms the covenant with many for the first half of the 70th week, and how, in the middle of the week, He brings sacrifice and offering to an end. But what about the last half of the 70th week?
Do you realize that the incident with Peter and Cornelius, which is recorded in Acts 10, takes place 3-1/2 years following Pentecost recorded in Acts 2? Up until that day, the only people who could benefit from the death and resurrection of Messiah, to bring an end to their sins, were the Jews. But on that day, the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles as well. So at the exact end of seven years, Messiah confirmed the renewed covenant with many.
“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.”
This is the last sentence in the discourse on the first coming of Messiah and the destruction of the city and the sanctuary which accompanied it. It follows the 70th week of the Messiah. In real historical time, the abomination of desolation in 39 AD, instigated by the Roman emperor Caligula as we saw yesterday, followed the outpouring of the Spirit on the Gentiles by only a few years. The prince of the people who is to come, the prince of the Romans, was the one who made desolate on the wing of abominations. And we recounted some of the abominations and some of the desolations that he perpetrated on Daniel’s people and on Daniel’s holy city yesterday. Just file in the back of your mind, that in the seventy week prophecy passage at least, the abomination of desolation had to do with the first coming of the Messiah, and the destruction of the city and the Temple which followed. But chapter 9 is not the only place in Daniel where he prophesies of the abomination of desolation …
Continued in daniel 11, the abomination of desolation, part five