EXCERPT: In Dispensationalism, the last week of Daniel 9:27 is the last seven years before Christ returns. However, the Poetic Pattern and the repetition of words identify the desolations in verse 27 as the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Therefore, the last week must be before AD 70.
“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) …” (Matt 24:15)
Here Jesus by name refers to Daniel and to the “abomination of desolation”. This phrase is used a number of times in Daniel. This phrase is not used in Daniel 9 in that format, but the last part of verse 27 does refer to desolation and abominations:
“and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” (NASB)
An abomination is some grave sin. “Desolation” means ‘destruction’.
(1) That our Lord in Matthew 24:15 placed the “abomination of desolation” at ‘the end,’ just before His second coming in glory (Matt 24:15, 21, 29, 30).
(2) That the “Abomination of Desolation” is the stop that will be put to sacrifice “in the middle of the week” (Dan 9:27).
(3) Therefore, “he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering” at the end of the age; just prior to Christ’s return.
However, Jesus, in Matthew 24:15, did not put the “abomination of desolation” at the end of the age, as Dispensationalism claims. To the contrary, He linked it to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The parallel statement is Luke 21:20-23 (compare Matt 24:16-19). Luke, writing to Gentiles, who were not familiar with the book of Daniel, interpreted Jesus’ reference to the abomination of desolation as the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem. See Little Apocalypse.
The question in this section relates to the chronological sequence of the destruction of Jerusalem in 9:26 and the last seven years in verse 27.
Verses 26 and 27 read:
26 … after 62 weeks shall Messiah be cut off … and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city … 27 And 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
Notice the “he” used twice in verse 27.
The destruction of the city in 9:26 is dated to 70 AD. Dispensationalism assumes that the events in verses 25 to 27 are presented in chronological sequence. Consequently, since the last seven years (9:27) are mentioned after the destruction of Jerusalem (9:26), the last seven years follow after AD 70. Since the first 483 years came to an end at the time of Christ, this necessitates a gap between the first 483 years and the last seven years.
It would also mean that the “he” of 9:27 cannot be the Messiah, for the Messiah died about four decades earlier. The only remaining option is that “he” refers to the prince whose people destroyed the city in AD 70 (9:26). It should logically follow that “he” is to the Roman Caesar in 70 AD, and that the last week is the time around 70 AD. But, as already stated, Dispensationalism proposes that the Roman Empire will be revived in the years just prior to Christ’s return and that “he” (9:27) is the Roman Caesar at that time.
NOT STRICTLY CHRONOLOGICAL
These proposals may be disputed in a number of ways:
Firstly, because of the poetic parallelism, as discussed in the previous article, the assumption of a strict chronological sequence is incorrect. The following examples confirm that the prophecy is not presented in chronological sequence:
The rebuilding of the city (25c) is mentioned after the appearance of the anointed one (25b), while the city was rebuilt four hundred years before the Anointed.
The prince causes sacrifices to cease (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” (Dan 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 verse 27.
Summary: The last part of verse 27 describes the destruction of Jerusalem. The covenant in verse 27 is therefore confirmed prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
ROMAN EMPIRE DESTROYED
The question in this section is what the last part of verse 27 refers to. This verse describes undefined abominations and a complete destruction:
NASB: “and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate”
KJV: “and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate“
Notice the difference in the final words of the two translations:
In the KJV translation, ‘desolations’ are poured on the desolated one which, in the context, seems to refer to the city Jerusalem, which is destroyed in verse 26.
In the NASB, desolations are poured out on a desolator which, in the context, refers to the people who destroy the city (9:26). The NASB hereby introduces a concept not mentioned by the previous verses.
Dispensationalism uses the NASB-type translation to argue as follows:
(1) The last part of 9:27 refers to the destruction of the Roman Empire.
(2) Since the Roman Empire was not destroyed in Christ’s time, it must be in our future.
(3) Since 9:27 describes the last seven of the 490 years, the last seven years must be in our future today.
Dispensationalism further proposes that the Roman Empire will be revived in those last seven years, to be destroyed again at Christ’s return at the end of those last seven years.
However, since different translations present 9:27 differently, we must assume that this verse may be translated in more than one way. We should not rely too much on a specific translation.
Secondly, according to the literary analysis of the text, the desolation in the last past of 9:27 refers to the destruction of the city, some 40 years after Christ’s death. See Poetic Pattern in the previous article or the article Chronological sequence in Daniel 9.
Furthermore, the last part of 9:27 repeats the main words and concepts from the last part of verse 26, which describes the destruction of Jerusalem. Below verses 26 and 27 are compared:
|26 Then 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 And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.|
|27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering;||and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”|
Note the key phrases from verse 26 that are repeated in verse 27:
Both verses refer to desolations (Strong number H8074) that are decreed (Strong number H2782). The NASB in v26 reads “desolations are determined” and in v27 “desolate … one that is decreed”.
Both verses use water as a symbol of the force of destruction. In verse 26 desolations will come with a flood, while they are poured out in verse 27.
Both verses include the concept of completion. Verse 26 refers to the end (of the city) (NASB). Verse 27 similarly refers to a “complete destruction” (NASB), which is another way of expressing the end of the thing that is destroyed.
Dispensationalism associates the desolation in verse 27 with an end-time despot, but the similarity between the last parts of verses 26 and 27 implies that they refer to the same event, which is identified by verse 26 as the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The last part of verse 27 does not deal with the destruction of the Roman Empire.
Above Matthew 24:15 is discussed. If we do make the assumption that Jesus in Matthew 24:15 referred to Daniel 9:27, as Dispensationalism does, then Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:15 confirms that the last part of 9:27 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
In the parallelism of the prophecy, the destruction is mentioned twice, with the description of the last seven years in-between. Those last seven years must, therefore, be limited to the time prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. It cannot describe an end-time Antichrist.
The Daniel 9 prophecy promises the reconstruction of Jerusalem to receive the Messiah, but it also predicts that Jerusalem will be destroyed as a consequence of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah. The destruction of Jerusalem is an integral part of the Messiah-events of 2000 years ago.
ENTIRE 9:26 REPEATED
The previous article concluded that it is the Messiah who dies in 9:26a, who confirms the covenant for the last seven years and who puts a stop to sacrifices in 9:27a. Since we have now shown that the last part of 9:27 repeats the last part of 9:26, it follows that the entire verse 27 is a repeat of verse 26 (NASB):
|A: Messiah||B: Jerusalem|
|26||Messiah cut off after the sixty-two weeks||people … will destroy the city|
|27||he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week … in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice||and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction|
To appreciate this repetition requires a high-level view of the prophecy. It consists of three divisions; each provides information from the perspective of a different period of time:
(24) Verse 24 sets the goals for that entire period of 490 years.
(25-26) Verses 25 and 26 describe events, including the killing of the Messiah and, consequently, the destruction of the city after the end of the 483 years, from the perspective of the first 483 years.
(27) Verse 27 describes these same events, but from the perspective of the last seven years.
THE LAST PART OF VERSE 27
What does the last part of 9:27 mean?
9:27c reads “On the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate” (NASB). In other words, a desolator will arrive shortly after (on the wing of) abominations. A desolator is a person; a destroyer. An abomination is some repulsive sin. The desolator in 9:27 is, therefore, a person who arrives after some repulsive sin to make “desolate, even until a complete destruction”.
In the context, the repulsive sin is Israel’s rejection, first of its Messiah and later of the Holy Spirit. The desolation refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans 40 years later.
The above three arguments used by Dispensationalism, to show that there is a gap of 2000 years or more between the first 69 weeks and the 70th week, are discussed and opposed. Other arguments against such a gap include:
REVIVED ROMAN PRINCE
The Romans destroyed the city (9:26) in AD 70. Their “prince” must, therefore, be the Roman Caesar. In Dispensationalism the “he” in verse 27 is this Roman Prince that will rule in the final years before the return of Christ. This means that the Roman Empire must exist during those final years. But how can the Roman Empire be revived 1500 years after it ceased to exist? And how can one claim that the Roman Empire of ancient history was the people of an end-time Antichrist if the people and their prince live 2000 years apart?
It is to the contrary proposed here that, since the prince in verse 26 is the Roman Caesar, and since no known ruler of the Roman Empire ever confirmed a covenant with the Jews for seven years, that this prince cannot be the “he” in verse 27.
DEFEATS THE PURPOSE
The only event during the initial 483 years is the construction of the city. But the prophecy predicts significant events for the last seven years. The covenant is confirmed for the last seven years and the sacrifices are caused to cease in the middle of those last seven years. The last seven years are therefore the core and purpose of the 490 years. The only purpose of the first 483 years is to foretell the timing of the last seven years. Hence, to dislodge that last seven years from the previous 483 years and to propel it into the distant future is to defeat the purpose of the 483 years.
NO INDICATION OF A GAP
The wording of the text of Daniel in no way indicates a break or gap. There appears to be no valid reason, or defensible ground, for separating the 70th week from the previous 69.
To postpone the last seven years of the final crisis to the end of the age is a form of exegesis without a precedent in all prophetic exposition.
It destroys the simple unity of the prophecy and divides it into two completely separate and unrelated prophecies; one about Christ 2000 years ago, and one about some future Antichrist. Dispensationalism places most of the prophecies in the book of Revelation in the last seven years. Because of this emphasis that Dispensationalism places on the last seven years, this prophecy about Christ is effectively converted into a prophecy about the Antichrist.
A major issue in this article is to identify the desolations in the last part of verse 27. In this article, it is argued that this refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. It then follows that the last week, described earlier in verse 27, must have been prior to AD 70:
The abomination of Desolation – Jesus spoke about the “abomination of desolation” in Matthew 24:15. The parallel verses in Luke 21:20-23 indicate that He referred to the Roman armies that surrounded Jerusalem in AD 70. Since the phrase “abomination of desolation” could possibly be linked to the last part of Daniel 9:27, it is possible that the desolations in that verse might refer to the events of AD 70.
Desolations Repeated – The last part of verse 26 describes the destruction of Jerusalem. The Poetic Pattern of the prophecy indicates that the destruction in verse 27 refers to the same event. This is confirmed by the repetition of words and concepts from the last part of verse 26 in verse 27.
The covenant in verse 27 is therefore confirmed prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It cannot be an end-time covenant.
Other arguments against such a gap include:
Chronological Sequence – The destruction of Jerusalem is mentioned in 9:26 and the last seven years in verse 27. Dispensationalism uses this to argue for a gap, but the prophecy is not given in strict chronological sequence, as implied by the poetic parallelism and as confirmed by examples from the prophecy.
Roman Empire Revived – How can the Roman Empire be revived 1500 years after it ceased to exist?
Defeats the purpose – The only purpose of the first 483 years is to foretell the timing of the last seven years. Hence, to dislodge that last seven years from the previous 483 years and to propel it into the distant future is to defeat the purpose of the 483 years.
No indication of a gap – The wording of the text of Daniel in no way indicates a break or gap.
Previous articles – The previous articles already concluded that it is the Messiah that works in the last week and that He confirms God’s covenant with Israel. The last week, therefore, cannot be the time of an end-time Antichrist.
The last part of 9:27 links desolations (destruction) to abominations (severe sin). The repulsive sin is here understood to be Israel’s rejection of its Messiah. The desolation refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans 40 years later.
Dispensationalism converts this prophecy about Christ into a prophecy about the Antichrist.
DISPENSATIONAL VIEW OF DANIEL 9
– LIST OF ARTICLES –
- Overview of the Dispensational view
- When did the 490 years begin?
- Whose covenant confirmed; God’s or Satan’s?
- Who confirms that covenant; Christ or Antichrist?
- When are the last seven years?
- Inconsistencies in the Dispensational View
- When will Christ fulfill the goals in Daniel 9:24?
- Pre-Wrath Dispensationalism – the church will suffer.
OTHER AVAILABLE ARTICLES
- Daniel 9 – List of Articles
- Summary of all Daniel 9-articles
- The Antichrist in Daniel – List of articles
- All articles on this website – List of all article series
2 Replies to “Is the last week of Daniel 9:27 the last seven years before Christ returns?”
you says “because of this emphasis that is placed by Dispensationalism on the last seven years this prophecy about the Christ is effectively converted into a prophecy about the antichrist.”
the fact is it is not a prophecy about the Christ, it is a prophecy about Jerusalem, the Jews (and to a lesser degree the Temple).
Dan 9:24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city NIV
Yes Yves, that is the crux of the matter, namely whether the Daniel 9 prophecy is about Christ or about the Antichrist. In Dispensationalism God elected Israel for their own benefit. In my view God elected Israel as a means to an end. The critical matter, in my view, is that 9:24 sets these goals, such as to make atonement for iniquity, for Israel to achieve, gives them 490 years to achieve them, but promises the Messiah through whom these goals may be achieved.