Daniel 9:27 The Seven Last Years: Who is “he” who works during those seven last years and when are those seven last years?

The seven last years are the crux of the full 490 years.  The previous 483 years only serve to locate the seven last years in time.  During those seven last years the goals set for the entire period, such as to make atonement for iniquity, are fulfilled.

Who is the “he” that confirms the covenant with the many for the Seven Last Years? (Daniel 9:27)

The “he” is 9:27 is the Messiah, for the following reasons:

(1) As discussed, the prophecy has a Poetic Pattern, and in this pattern “he” is the Messiah.

(2) The prophecy is also structured as a chiasm, and this chiasm also indicates that the “he” is the Messiah.  See Poetic Parallelism and Chiasm in Daniel 9.

(3) The dominant figure in verse 26 (and in the entire prophecy) is the “Messiah“.  The “prince that shall come” is not the subject of that clause in verse 26.  It reads “people of the prince”, not “the prince of the people”.   The “prince” in verse 26 is a subordinate figure.  The Messiah should therefore be preferred as the antecedent for the “he” in verse 27.

(4) In the discussion of Daniel 9:26 it was shown that the prince in 9:26 is a supernatural being, representing the Roman nation.  The “he” in 9:27, who is a human being, therefore cannot refer back to the prince in verse 26.  The proper antecedent for “he” is the Messiah.

The previous article (Daniel 9:27 The Covenant) has already shown that the covenant in Daniel 9:27 is God’s covenant with Israel.  If it is the Messiah who confirms it, then we have addition support for the conclusion that it is God’s covenant; not the devil’s, as in Dispensationalism.

The years before and after His death

Proposal

The previous verse (9:26) described the destruction of Jerusalem, which was in AD 70.  If the events in the prophecy were presented in chronological sequence, then the “one week” (9:27) must follow after AD 70.  It is, however, proposed here that the “one week” (9:27) are the seven years around Christ’s death.  Jesus Christ confirmed God’s covenant with Israel during those seven years:

First through His personal preaching before His death;

Then, for a further three or four years after His death, by sending His disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit, but only to Israel and only to Jerusalem.  In those years the church consisted only of Jews and it still adhered to all Old Testament laws.  The infant church was still a Jewish sect.  See Early Church.

490 years

Rationale

This proposal is based on the following:

(1) The events are not given in chronological sequence, as discussed above under Poetic Pattern.

(2) The only event during the first 483 years is “restore and rebuild Jerusalem”.  The death of the Messiah, the “confirm the covenant” and the “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (9:27) all happen during the seven last years.  These seven last years therefore are the core and the real purpose of the 490 years.  The first 483 years merely serve to locate the seven last years in time.  The seven last years must therefore follow immediately after the first 483 years.

(3) The “he” that confirms the covenant of “one week” is the Messiah, as already discussed.

(4) The last part of 9:27 describes the destruction of Jerusalem.  The covenant in verse 27 is therefore confirmed prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The last part of 9:27 is analyzed in the next article.

(5) The Seventy Weeks (490 years) are promised by God as years of Jewish preference (“for your people and your holy city”).  As concluded in the discussion of The Covenant in Daniel 9, these 490 years were an extension of God’s covenant with Israel.

First few years after the Cross

To understand the hypothesis of this article it is important to note that that God’s covenant with Israel did not come to an end when Israel crucified its Messiah.  During the first few years after the Cross God gave Israel a final opportunity to repent by sending the power of the Holy Spirit, but to Israel alone (Acts 10:47-11:3, 18, 19).  The gospel was preached only to Jews.  The church consisted only of the “circumcised” (cf. 10:45; i.e. Jews) and they did not associate with the uncircumcised (Acts 10:34-35).  See Jerusalem Phase of the Early Church.

About three or four years after the Cross the Jews persecuted these Jewish Christians, commencing with the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7; 8:1).  They thereby, for the last time, broke the covenant with God.  See Judea and Samaria Phase of the Early Church.

Peter and his fellow Jews were reluctant to let go of the exclusive privilege, but soon after the persecution of the Christians Peter had the dream of the unclean beasts (Acts 10:11, 12, 19-20).  Through this vision God told him, and the church, not to “call any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28).  In other words, God led them to accept Gentiles as equals, and to preach the gospel also to Gentiles (v34-35).  That was the end of God’s covenant with Israel, and the end of the Seventy Weeks.  That was when “he” (the Messiah) would no longer “confirm the covenant with the many” (9:27).  Israel lost its special place in God’s plan.  The kingdom of God was taken away from the Jews (Mat. 21:43).

Stephen’s Speech

Stoning of Stephen
Stoning of Stephen

This conclusion is supported by Stephen’s speech.  Both Daniel’s prayer and Stephen’s speech are based on God’s covenant with Israel.  While Daniel confessed the sins of his people and prayed for the mercy promised in the covenant, Stephen’s speech was an announcement of God’s judgment in terms of the covenant.  In other words, Stephen announced the end of the Seventy WeeksPlease see the article, Stoning of Stephen, for more detail.

&0 weeks of Daniel 9

The last “one week” of years therefore follows immediately after the 69th; and therefore immediately after His baptism.  There is no gap, as proposed by Dispensationalism.

 

 

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Daniel 9:27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week

triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Jesus enters Jerusalem

The prophecy has a Poetic Pattern in which the focus jumps repeatedly back and forth between the two foci; Jerusalem and the Messiah. The prophecy is therefore not given in strict chronological sequence. In this pattern it is Jesus that confirms the covenant for seven years in Daniel 9:27.

Poetic Pattern

Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant

One fundamental issue in the interpretation of Daniel 9 is that God’s covenant with Israel is the main theme of the entire chapter, binding Daniel’s prayer and the prophecy together.  This was discussed above (Historical Messianic Interpretation).  Another fundamental issue is the Poetic Pattern of the prophecy.  This is discussed in more detail in Poetic pattern and Chiasm, but is summarized below:

Parallelism

The Daniel 9 prophecy uses much parallelism, where two related words or phrases are used together to emphasize a point, for instance:

Insight with understanding (v22);
Give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision (v23);
Your people and your holy city (v24);
To finish the transgression, to make an end of sin (v24);
Know and discern (v25);
Restore and rebuild (v25);
Seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (v26);
The city and the sanctuary (v26); and
Sacrifice and grain offering.

Two foci

But perhaps the most important pattern in the prophecy is the way in which the focus jumps repeatedly back and forth between the two foci; Jerusalem and the Messiah:

25: from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem;
until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
26: after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
27: he shall confirm the covenant …; and … cause the sacrifice … to cease … he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation …

Verses 25 and 26 explicitly shift the focus four times between Jerusalem and the Messiah.  The prophecy is therefore a form of poetic parallelism in which Jerusalem and the Messiah are the two foci.  These two foci stand in cause-effect relationships; the city is rebuilt to receive the Messiah, but it is again destroyed because it did not receive the Messiah.

Not sequential

The first implication of the Poetic Pattern is that the events in Daniel 9 is not given in strict chronological sequence.  The following examples confirm that this conclusion:

The rebuilding of the city (25c) is mentioned after the appearance of the Messiah (25b), while the city was rebuilt four hundred years before the Messiah.

The prince causes sacrifices to cease in Daniel 9:27 after the sanctuary is destroyed (9:26).  But if the sanctuary is destroyed, there does not remain a sacrificial system that can be ceased.

Since 70 weeks have been determined for the city of “your people” (9:24), the destruction of the city and the sanctuary in verse 26 must occur after the end of the 70 weeks, and therefore after the 70th week of Daniel 9:27.

Implications for Daniel 9:27

The further implication is that Daniel 9:27 continues this pattern:

The Cross
Messiah cut off

Since verse 26 ends with a reference to Jerusalem, the first part of Daniel 9;27, describing the “he” who confirms the covenant for seven years, but “cause the sacrifice … to cease” in the middle of that week, should be the Messiah who is cut off in verse 26.

Similarly, the destruction in the last part of Daniel 9:27 should refer to Jerusalem.

See Poetic Pattern and Chiasm in Daniel 9 for a further discussion.

It is God’s Covenant with Israel.

The covenant in Daniel 9:27 is God’s covenant with Israel, for the following reasons:

(1) God’s covenant with Israel is the central theme throughout the entire Daniel 9, as discussed above and as explained in The Covenant in Daniel 9.

(2) Also as discussed above, the full 490 years are God’s renewed covenant with Israel.  The “one week” in Daniel 9:27 is the last seven years of that covenant.

(3) The phrase “confirm the covenant” (9:27 KJV) means that this covenant existed prior to the 70th week.  Then it can only be God’s covenant with Israel.

The verb translated “make a firm” in the NASB is “gâbar”.  Strong’s short definition of this word is “prevailed”.  Of the 25 times this word appears in the OT, it is 14 times translated as prevail. The evidence of the usage of gâbar in the Bible (“The covenant of the Seventieth Week” by Meredith G. Kline) indicates that Daniel 9:27 has in view the enforcing of a covenant previously granted.  It is not a verb for the initial making of a covenant.  It should therefore be translated as “make firm a covenant”, and not as “make a firm covenant”.  The KJV translates it as “confirm the covenant” and Young’s Literal Translation reads “strengthening a covenant”.  “Confirm” and “strengthen” imply a covenant that existed prior to the last seven years.  If so, it can only refer to God’s faithful fulfillment of the covenant He has given to Israel.

(4)The many”, with whom the covenant is confirmed, most often refers to God’s people.  For instance:

The Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities“ (Isa 53:11)

Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days” (Dan 11:33; See also Dan 11:39; 12:3; Matt. 26:28; Hebr. 9:26-28; Rom 5:15, 19; 1Co 10:33).

If the covenant is confirmed with God’s people, it must be God’s covenant.

For these reasons the seven-year covenant in 9:27 is still God’s covenant with Israel.

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Daniel 9:26 The Messiah who is cut off is our Lord Jesus Christ. The people refer to Roman Empire. The prince is a supernatural forces representing the Roman Empire.

Daniel 9:26 a Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing

The Cross
Messiah cut off

The “Messiah” (NASB), who is cut off (killed) is our Lord Jesus Christ.  Daniel 9:25 uses the word “until” to describe His public appearance at His baptism at the end of the 7+62 weeks (483 years), while Daniel 9:26 uses the word “after” to describe His atoning death; an unspecified period later.

Daniel 9:26 b And the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary

Jerusalem destroyed
Jerusalem destroyed

Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.

Since seventy weeks were decreed for Jerusalem (9:24), the city would not be destroyed during the seventy weeks.

God did not purpose the Jewish nation to fail, but if firstly rejected the Messiah, and then, after His death, the Holy Spirit.  They thereby broke God’s covenant with them and lost their divine protection.  As our Lord looked into the immediate future, He wept over the city (Luke 19:21), saying:

If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!  But now they have been hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:42-44).

The People of the Prince

The “people” refer to Roman Empire, for it destroyed Jerusalem in AD70.

The “prince” is probably an angel, representing the Roman nation.  This is justified as follows:

Michael the archangel(1) The prince in verse 26 is described as “the prince who is to come”.  A few verses later we read of another prince who is “to come”.  The supernatural being speaking to Daniel (possibly Gabriel) has to return to fight against “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” (10:13, 20).  He said, “no one … stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince” (10:21).  Michael is “one of the chief princes” (10:13).  “The prince of Greece is about to come” (10:20).  Both the prince of Rome and the “prince of Greece” are “to come” (9:26; 10:20).  But the “prince of Greece” was to come sooner, for he was “about to come”.

Since this is a supernatural being who is speaking with Daniel (10:16, 18), the princes against whom he fights, and the prince Michael who stands with him, are also supernatural beings.  The NASB calls them “forces”. Each of the princes (of Persia, of Greece and “Michael your prince”) represents a nation.  Michael is the prince of the nation of Israel (12:1).

Since both the “prince of Greece” and the prince of Rome are “to come” (10:20; 9:26), it is implied that the prince of Rome in 9:26 is also a supernatural being.

(2) The Messiah is also called a prince (9:25), and He said, “before Abraham was born, I am” (John 7:58).  He is a human being, but also a supernatural being.

This prince in 9:26 is therefore not a human Antichrist, as in Dispensationalism, but a supernatural “force” (10:21).

Daniel 9:26 c And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

Jerusalem destroyed
Jerusalem destroyed

Beginning in AD 66, wars broke out between the Jews and the Romans.  A few days before the AD 70 Passover, the Roman destroyers attacked Jerusalem, breached the wall and overwhelmed the city.  The Temple was fired and destroyed.  The Jews were ruthlessly slaughtered.  Their blood, according to Josephus, flowed in streams down the steps. The desolater had come. The city and temple were in ruins; the desolation accomplished.  Hundreds of thousands were slain, tens of thousands sold into slavery, and war followed upon war.

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Daniel 9:25 identifies the starting point of the 490 years as the decree of Artaxerxes, and the end of the first 483 years as the arrival of the Messiah.

Daniel 9:25 a So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem

Decree to restore Jerusalem
Decree to restore Jerusalem

The phrase “you are to know and discern” is of the many examples of parallelism in the prophecy.  Parallelism is the repeat of similar words or phrases to emphasize a point.

The 490 years commenced with this decree.  To identify this decree, it is important to distinguish between “restore” and “rebuild”.  “Restore”, in the original text, means to give the city back to its previous owner (Israel in this case), to rule itself.  “Restore” does not include the idea of rebuilding.  Jerusalem was the judicial and executive capital of the Israeli people.  To restore Jerusalem means that it will be returned to the Jews to serve as their capital from which they would rule their whole nation, according to their own laws as a theocentric society.

In the article Which decree four decrees by three different Persian kings over a period of about 90 years, are considered.

Cyrus:

The decree by Cyrus in 538/7 BC allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem and therefore to rebuild Jerusalem, but it did not restore Jerusalem to the nation to serve as their national capital.

Darius:

The decree by Darius I in 520 BC simply confirmed Cyrus’ edict.    

Artaxerxes in 457 BC (Ezra 7:1-26):

This decree, for the first time, granted autonomy of Judah.  It restored Jerusalem as judicial and executive capital to the nation.  In this decree the king said, “Whoever does not obey the law of your God … must surely be punished by death” The Persian king thereby made the Mosaic Law part of his own law, and granted authority to the Jews to govern themselves on the basis of the law of God.  It provides for a measure of judicial and civil autonomy unknown since the Babylonian desolation of Jerusalem and Judea about 130 years earlier.

A further indication that this is the decree intended by Daniel 9:25 is the fact that, if we add Seventy Weeks (490 years) to 457 BC, we come to the time of Christ.

Artaxerxes in 445/4 BC (Neh. 1-2):

Dispensationalism takes this as the decree that restored Jerusalem.  This decree, however, did not “restore Jerusalem.  This decree only dealt with the physical construction of the city walls.  When Nehemiah asked for this decree, he did not even ask to rebuild the city.  He only asked for permission to go to Jerusalem (2:5) and for wood for the walls (2:8).  This decree was also too late to fit the time of Christ.

Dispensationalism claims that the second decree of Artaxerxes I for the first time authorized the rebuilding of Jerusalem, but that is not true.  All four decrees above, by allowing the Jews to return to Judah and to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1-4; cf. Is. 45:1), implicitly allowed the Jews to rebuild their cities.

The decree which restored Jewish self-rule therefore was Artaxerxes’s first decree of 458/7 BC.

Daniel 9:25 b Until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks

Punctuation

This is quoted from the NASB.  in the KJV the “Messiah the Prince” appears after seven weeks:

unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks

This difference is due to different assumptions about punctuation.  In the article When does the Messiah Appear it is shown that the NASB is correct that the “Messiah the Prince” appears after “seven weeks and sixty-two weeks”.  In other words, He appears 483 (7+62)x7 years after the decree.

Baptism

The Messiah the Prince who appears at the end of 483 years, is Jesus; the One that is called Christ.  He appeared and was introduced to Israel when He was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism.  This was the inauguration of His public ministry (Acts 10:37-38; Mark 1:11-14; Luke 4:18):

John the Baptist said, “so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water” (John 1:31).

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power” (Acts 10:38).

At His baptism, God proclaimed this Anointed One to be His Son or King (Mark 1:9-11; cf. Ps. 2:6, 7).

Date of His baptism

He was baptized in the fif­teenth year of the Roman emperor Tiberius (Luke 3:1, 5, 21).  Different chronologists put His baptism in different years.  A quick Google search came up with the following dates:

(1) During the winter solstice in 26 AD
(2) AD 25-28, with the most likely date being AD 27
(3) January 6, 28
(3) About 28–29 AD
(4) The fall of 29

483 years from 458 or 457 BC brings us to AD 26 or 27.  (Remember, no year nil.  From 1 BC to 1 AD is one year, not two.)  Artaxerxes first decree therefore aligns well with the possible dates of Jesus’ baptism.

Daniel 9:25 c It will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress

We read about this distress in Nehemiah.

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