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.
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.
But 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
In 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
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.
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”.
In 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 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.
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 Christ into a prophecy about the Antichrist.
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 covenant – In 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, 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 fulfilled – In 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 of their purpose. The goals in 9:24 were given to Israel to fulfill, and Israel was given 490 years to fulfill those goals.
Millennium – The 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 prophecies – To postpone the last seven years of final crisis to the end of the age divide the prophecy into two completely separate and unrelated prophecies; One about Christ 2000 years ago, and one about some future Antichrist.
Articles in this series
This series discusses the Dispensational interpretation of Daniel 9 and includes the following:
(1) Introduction to Dispensationalism and Daniel 9: Overview of the text of Daniel 9 and of the Dispensational interpretation
(2) WHEN: When did the 490 years begin? When was the decree issued, when did the Messiah appear and when did God suspend His covenant with the Jews?
(3) WHAT: Is it God’s or Satan’s covenant that is confirmed in Daniel 9:27?
(4) WHO: Who confirms that covenant for seven years; the Messiah or the prince?
(5) When are the last seven years? Are they the last seven years before Christ returns?
(6) Other inconsistencies between the text and the Dispensational Interpretation
(7) When will Christ fulfill the Daniel 9:24 goals, set by for the 490 years?