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
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.
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).
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 Weeks. Please see the article, Stoning of Stephen, for more detail.
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.