Dispensationalism Daniel 9 and the Antichrist: Inconsistencies compared to the text

Various other differences between the text and the Dispensationalism may be identified, such as:
– That Jerusalem will be rebuilt twice,
– That the Antichrist breaks his own covenant,
– That the sanctuary will be destroyed during the 490 years decreed for it,
– That the last week will end with the return of Christ,
– That the goals in 9:24 have not been fulfilled by the Cross and
– That Jerusalem is awarded a total of 1490 years. 

Rebuild again

The prophecy of Daniel 9 was given while Jerusalem and the temple were in ruins.  The prophecy promises that Jerusalem will be rebuilt (9:25), but it also warns that Jerusalem will be destroyed again (9:26).  This was fulfilled with the rebuilding of Jerusalem a few hundred years before Christ and its destruction in 70 AD.

rebuild the templeBut Dispensationalism requires the sanctuary to be rebuilt a second time in the future, and the sacrificial system to be revived.  However:

The prophecy explicitly promises only one rebuilding of the city and the sanctuary.  There is not the least bit of evidence in the text for a second rebuilding, or that sacrifices will be resumed.  If the temple was to be rebuilt after the destruction of verse 26, the prophecy would have explicitly stated this, given that it is so clear about the rebuilding in verse 25.

Since the sacrificial system has been abolished 2000 years ago, there can never be a valid return to the old covenant and its earthly temple worship.  Christ, the Antitype, has terminated once for all the “shadow” and inaugurated a “better covenant” that offers His righteousness as the everlasting righteousness (see Hebr. 7:22; cf. chap. 10:12; Rom. 3:22, 25).  That is the very meaning of the statement “in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering” (9:27).

The reinstatement of the sacrifices stems from the assumption that Daniel 9 covers the same ground as the other prophecies of Daniel, but this is not a valid assumption:  Daniel 9 is a literal prophecy, dealing with Israel only, and with the 490 years only.  The other prophecies in Daniel are symbolic and deal with all nations and with all time.

Breaks his covenant

Breaks his covenantIn Dispensationalism the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel after 3½ years, but according to 9:27 the covenant is confirmed for the full seven years.

Destroyed in the middle of the last week

In Dispensationalism the sanctuary will be destroyed in the middle of the last week, when “he will put a stop to sacrifice”.  However, since the full 490 years have been determined for the city of Daniel’s people (9:24), the sanctuary and its services will not be destroyed during the 490 years, but only at or after the end of the 490 years.

Return of Christ

Armies of Heaven
Return of Christ

Dispensationalism maintains that the last seven years end with the return of Christ, but the prophecy in no way indicates the return of Christ.  If the 490 years are to end with Christ’s return, would verse 27 not end with a description of His glorious return, as the other prophecies in Daniel do?  In contrast the Daniel 9 prophecy ends in the accumulation of desolations and chaos.

Goals fulfilled

Daniel 9:24 lists 6 goals to be achieved by the events of the 70 sevens, including:

to make an end of sin
to make atonement for iniquity” and
to bring in everlasting righteousness”.

triumphal entry into JerusalemIn Dispensationalism the 69th week ends a few days before the death of Christ, namely at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, while the 70th week still lies in our future.  Consequently, the 70 weeks do not include the death of Christ, and the goals in 9:24 have not been fulfilled by the Cross.  Dispensationalism proposes that these goals will be fulfilled at the end of the last seven years, with the return of Christ.

But this proposal denies Israel its responsibility and denies the 490 years their purpose.  The goals in 9:24 were set for Israel to achieve, and Israel was given 490 years to accomplish those goals.  In other words, these goals were to be achieved during the 490 years, through Daniel’s people.

Since the final seven years is the core of the 490 years, these goals are particularly achieved by the events of the last seven years, as described by the first part of verse 27:

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

In Dispensationalism this describes the work of an end time Antichrist.  An Antichrist will certainly not fulfill the wonderful goals of verse 24.

Daniel did not pray for a messiah of for the goals in verse 24.  He prayed for Jerusalem.  But the prophecy includes the Messiah and the goals because that was Jerusalem’s purpose.  Jerusalem was to be rebuilt and 490 years were allocated to it to receive the Messiah, and through the Messiah to realize the goals.  The Messiah was the means and the goals were the end.  To remove these goals from Israel and Jerusalem is to remove the reason for Israel’s election.

Millennium

The complex dispensational view with respect to the sacrificial system is as follows:

Stopped by the Babylonian captivity (prior to receiving the prophecy)
Re-introduced when the sanctuary is rebuilt, as predicted by 9:25;
Stopped when the sanctuary is destroyed, as predicted by 9:26;
Re-introduced in the beginning of the last seven years (not explicitly in the prophecy);
Stopped by the Antichrist in the middle of the last seven years (assuming this is what 9:27 refers to);
Re-introduced at the end of the 70th week, at the visible return of Christ, after which the sacrificial system and the Jewish period will be continued for one thousand years. (No mention of this in the prophecy)

Dispensationalism postulates the Millennium as a period of Jewish dominance.  This allocates to the Jews not only 490 years, but 490 years plus the millennium; in total 1490 years.  But 70 weeks have been determined for the city of “your people” (9:24).  In other words, sacrifices will not be continued beyond the 70 weeks.

A strange aspect of Dispensationalism is the proposal that sin will continue for 1000 years after the return of Christ.  This is inconsistent with the goal “to make an end of sin” (9:24).

Two completely separate and unrelated prophecies

To postpone the last seven years to the end of the age destroys the simple unity of the prophecy.  It divides the prophecy into two completely separate and unrelated prophecies:

One about Christ 2000 years ago, and
One about some future Antichrist.

The last seven years are the core of the prophecy, but Dispensationalism allocates those seven years to the Antichrist.  This converts a prophecy about the Christ into a prophecy about the Antichrist.

Summary

Rebuild again – The prophecy promises that Jerusalem will be rebuilt, which happened before the time of Christ, but Dispensationalism requires the sanctuary to be rebuilt a second time, namely during the last seven years before Christ Returns.

Breaks his covenantIn Dispensationalism the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel after 3½ years, but according to 9:27 the covenant is confirmed for the full seven years.

Destroyed in the middle of the last weekIn Dispensationalism the sanctuary will be destroyed in the middle of the last week, but since the full 490 years have been determined for the city, the sanctuary will not be destroyed during the 490 years.

Return of Christ – Dispensationalism maintains that the last week ends with the return of Christ, but according to the prophecy the last week ends in chaos.

Goals fulfilledIn Dispensationalism the goals in 9:24 have not been fulfilled by the Cross, but will be fulfilled at the end of the last seven years, with the return of Christ.  This proposal denies the 70 sevens their purpose.  The goals in 9:24 were given to Israel to fulfill, and Israel was given 490 years to fulfill those goals.

MillenniumThe prophecy promised that sacrifices will be revived when Jerusalem is rebuilt, but also predicts that the sacrifices will be stopped.  In contrast, the complex Dispensational view proposes that the sacrifices will be stopped three times and again revived three times; the last time at the beginning of the Millennium.  But there can never be a valid return to the old covenant and its earthly temple worship.

By picturing the Millennium as a period for Jewish dominance, Dispensationalism awards the Jews a total of 1490 years.

Two completely separate and unrelated propheciesTo postpone the last seven years of final crisis to the end of the age divides the prophecy it into two completely separate and unrelated prophecies; One about Christ 2000 years ago, and one about some future Antichrist.

NEXT:   When will the Daniel 9:24 goals, set by for the 490 years, be fulfilled?  The seventh and last article explains why the six goals in verse 24 have not been all fulfilled at the time of Christ.

TO:  Daniel 9 Interpretations Overview
TO:  Daniel 9: List of available articles

Hebrews 1:1-2 The New Testament has a higher authority because God spoke it in His Own Son, who is heir of all things, through whom also He made the world and who still upholds all things.

Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son. (New American Standard)

The Two Testaments

These verses contrast the two testaments:

What God spoke long ago in the prophets represents the Old Testament.

Son of manWhat God spoke in these last days in His Son refers to the New Testament, or perhaps more accurately, the Four Gospels.

The writer is saying with this contrast that the Four Gospels have a much higher authority because God spoke it in His Own Son, who is heir of all things, through whom also He made the world and who still upholds all things (Hebrews 1:2-3).

Hebrews frequently quotes the Old Testament.  It uses the Old Testament to show that the Four Gospels have a much higher authority.  For this reason the writer starts in Hebrews 1:1 by affirming the Old Testament as the Word of God.

New TestamentSome Bible interpretations effectively classify the Four Gospels as part of the Old Testament, while the New Testament letters are used as the basis for Christianity.  But Hebrews tells us that the four gospels are the foundation of the New Testament.

 

 

God Spoke

In these verses it is God that spoke; not the prophets and not His Son.

We should be amazed that the infinite and eternal God should speak to man; a speck of dust floating in the unending expanse of the universe.  But this reflects His love for man; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

God exists outside the limits of space, time and matter. If God had not spoken, we would have known anything about Him, and we would have floating around in this immeasurable universe without hope. But God has spoken, and we therefore do have hope.

The fathers include Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They are also the spiritual fathers of Gentile Christians believers (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:29).

Last Days

Last DaysThe phrase last days is commonly understood as meaning ‘recently’.  However, Jesus said, His disciples believed and the entire New Testament—including Hebrews (9:26; 10:25, 36-37)—teach that the Lord is coming soon.  The phrase “these last days” therefore indicates the writer’s belief that his generation was to be the last generation before Christ’s return.  Please see Why did He Not Return in the First Century as He promised?

His Son

Even though 1:2 says that God “has spoken to us in His Son”, the writer and his readers had not actually heard Jesus (2:3).  They were second-generation Christians.  Hebrews was written more than 30 years after Christ’s death.

The title “His Son” (1:2) signifies His unique relationship to God, just like the title “Son of man” designates His relationship to man.

Jesus as babyGod created everything through His Son (1:2).  His Son therefore always existed.  To become a human being, His Son emptied Himself of glory, power and even wisdom.  He became a helpless human baby, had to develop like any other human being, and was utterly dependent on God.

The most wonderful event ever in the existence of mankind is that the Son of God should have come from heaven to teach mankind.  But equally amazing is how few listened to Him when He was on the earth, and how few still regard Him today.

Conclusion

This letter to the Hebrews does not have an introduction like we would find in other letters.  In Hebrews the first three verses serve as an introduction, but also immediately confront the reader with the main theme of this epistle, which is the superiority of Christ, and therefore the higher authority of His message.

This is a summary.
To read the full article, see God Spoke.

Hebrews 1:1-2 God spoke long ago in the prophets. In these last days He has spoken in His Son.

What God spoke to us in His Son has a much higher authority than the Old Testament.

 

Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.

God … spoke

God spoke – In 1:1 God spoke in the prophets and in 1:2 God spoke in the Son, but in both verses it is God that spoke; not the prophets and not His Son.

If God had not spoken, we would have been without hope.God exists outside the limitations of our physical space, time and matter. He cannot be seen by our eyes or measured in a laboratory. He said,

My thoughts are not your thoughts“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, … For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

We are not equipped to know anything about God.  If God had not spoken, we would have been without knowledge of Him or without hope. But God has spoken, and we therefore do have hope.

Long ago to the fathers in the prophets (1:1)

The letter to the Hebrews was written for Jews.The letter to the Hebrews is very Jewish in nature.  It has a strong focus on:

Moses (3:1-6);
The Exodus generation (3:7-4:11);
The Jewish sacrificial system (4:14-10:31);
The Old Testament heroes of faith (chapter 11) and;
The “heavenly Jerusalem” in contrast to Mount Sinai (12:18-24).

On the basis of this strong Jewish emphasis it is usually concluded that the letter was addressed to Jews who converted to Christianity, or even that it was addressed to a Jewish synagogue of which some members have accepted Jesus as Messiah, but others not.

 The writer of Hebrews admits the Old Testament as the Word of God.  Both the writer and the intended audience were trained in the Jewish Scriptures.  The writer in 1:1 affirms the Old Testament as the Word of God.  His ultimate purpose was to show the superior claims of the gospel, and to lead them away from confidence in the Old Testament rites, but he will use the Old Testament to substantiate his arguments.  Therefore he first affirms their belief in the inspiration of the prophets.

God elected AbrahamThe fathers also belong to Gentile Christians.The fathers include Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Gentile believers may correctly assume that “the fathers” belong to them as well, for Abraham is the spiritual father “of us all,” that is, of all true believers:

so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law (the Jews), but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16)

if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29).

God spoke … in many portions (KJV – parts) (1:1)

Law of Moses

God did not speak through the prophets all at once.  In the 39 books of Old Testament, God revealed Himself in many portions.

God spoke … in many ways (1:1)

By whom did He speak? – Sometimes the Spirit spoke directly to His servants; sometimes through angels, or sometimes God even appeared Himself as the Angel of Jehovah, as to Abraham in Genesis 18.

How did He speak? – His methods of communication include direct Still small voicecommunication, dreams, visions and impressions.  Elijah, for example, once stood upon the mountain before Yahweh,
and there was a great and strong wind which rent the mountains, and broke the rocks into in pieces; but Yahweh was not in the wind.
Then there was an earthquake; but Yahweh was not in the earthquake.
Then there was a fire; but Yahweh was not in the fire.
Then Yahweh spoke to Elijah is a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-12).

In what form did He speak? – The forms in which His word is delivered include prophecy, poetry, proverbs, historical events and religious ordinances.

In these last days (1:2)

Last DaysThe early church expected Jesus to return soon. – The phrase “last days” is commonly interpreted as meaning ‘recently’.  However, Jesus said, His disciples believed and the entire New Testament teaches that the Lord is coming soon.  The author of Hebrews similarly wrote:

Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (9:26)

all the more as you see the Day approaching. …   For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay” (10:25, 36-37).

The phrase “last days” elsewhere in the New Testament also implies the last days before Christ’s return:

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking” (2 Peter 3:3)

Mockers’and it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My spirit on all mankind’” (Acts 2:17)

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self” (2 Timothy 3:1-2)

It is therefore proposed that the phrase “these last days” indicates the writer’s belief that his generation was to be the last generation before Christ’s return.  Please see Why did He Not Return in the First Century as He promised?

God … has spoken unto us (1:2)

This does not mean that the writer and/or his readers had actually heard Jesus, for they did not (2:3).

We should be astonished that the infinite and eternal God should speak to man; a speck of dust floating in the unending expanse of the universe.  But it reflects God’s love for mankind; “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

In his Son (1:2)

Son of manTo become a human being, His Son emptied Himself of glory, power and wisdom.  Jesus said, “before Abraham was born, I am” (John 7:58). The Son shared the Divine glory before the world was, but He “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7) when He came into the world. That means that He laid aside His glory and power, and even His wisdom, “taking the form of a bond-servant” (Phil. 2:7).  He became a helpless human baby, had to develop like any other human being, and was dependent on God for everything.  He said, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19), and “I cast out demons by the Spirit of God” (Mt. 12:18).  But even though Christ emptied Himself, He remained Who He previously was before.  These things we have to accept by faith, for we are unable to understand it.

The title “Son” signifies His unique relationship to God, just like the title “Son of man” designates His relationship to man. The Jews understood the title “Son of God” to mean equality with God:

Jesus and the PhariseesJesus said, “My Father is working until now” (John 5:17).  “For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” (v18).

John 10 records Jesus saying “I am the Son of God” (v36).  For that reason the Jews wanted to stone Him, saying, “because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (v33).

The most wonderful event in history – The most wonderful event ever in the existence of mankind is that the Son of God should have come from heaven to teach mankind.  Yet, equally amazing, how few listened to Him when He was on the earth, and how few still regard Him today.  People have no interest in Him, and refuse to listen to what He has to say about of the unseen and eternal world.

New TestamentThe New Testament is God’s message in His Son.  The Four Gospels—the first four books of the New Testament—record God speaking to us in His Son, but Acts and the New Testament letters interpreted and elaborated what Jesus taught.  Therefore the entire New Testament may be considered to be what God “has spoken to us in His Son”.

The gospels are the foundation of the New Testament.  Some Bible interpretations view the gospels effectively as part of the Old Testament, and teach that the New Testament letters represents true Christianity.  But according to Hebrews the foundation of Christianity is what God spoke to us in His Son.

The New Testament has a much higher authority than the Old Testament.  The Old Testament contains solemn messages to mankind which God gave to the prophets, endowing them with more than human wisdom and eloquence. But how much more important is the message which is brought by his own Son?  Throughout the letter, the writer contrasts the old and the new and elevates the new above the old.  In the current verses the old is how God revealed Himself through the Old Testament prophets, and the new is how He revealed Himself through His Son.  With this contrast the writer is saying that, what God has spoken to us in His Son, has a much higher authority than the Old Testament, and therefore imposes on us the highest obligation to attend to what He has said.  This is the main message of Hebrews 1:1-3.

The New Testament clarifies many issues that were unclear in the Old.  There is a great variety of subjects which we now, with the benefit of Christ’s teachings, see clearly, which were very imperfectly understood by the teaching of only the Old Testament prophets. Among them are the following:

(a) The character of God:

No one has seen GodNo one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1:18)

Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Mt. 11:27)

(b) How man may be reconciled to God: Even the sins committed under the first covenant are taken away through the sacrifice of His Son (Heb. 9:15; 10:4; 11:40; Rom. 3:25).

But I say to you
Sermon on the Mount

(c) God’s moral principles: Prophets had delivered many moral principles of great importance, but the purest and most extensive body of moral principles on earth are found in Christ’s teachings.

(d) The future state:  Jesus revealed the doctrine of the resurrection of the body and the certainty of a state of future existence.  What the Sadducees previously were able to dispute, is stated irrefutably in the New Testament.  The Saviour raised up more than one to show that it was possible; and He was Himself raised, to put the whole matter beyond dispute.  He also revealed the certainty of future judgment of all mankind.

Conclusion

Hebrews does not have an introduction like we would find in other letters.  The first word in Paul’s letters, for instance, is always his own name, followed by the name of the church or individual to whom he wrote.

In Hebrews the first three verses serve as introduction, but also immediately confront the reader with the main theme of the entire epistle, which is the superiority of Christ and His message.  The first three verses argue that Christ is superior to the Old Testament prophets, for He is God’s Son—the exact representation of God’s nature—and through Him God made everything and through Him God still upholds everything.  But that is not the writer’s ultimate goal.  His real message is that Jesus’ message, as recorded in the New Testament, is superior to the Old Testament prophets.