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The Daniel 9:27 Debate
“People of the Prince”
by General James Green
USING DANIEL 9:26 AS MY TEXT, let us proceed with “Part Two”: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined” (KJV).
Before we get to that phrase, “the people of the prince,” let us look at the one shortly before it: “...an anointed one (Messiah) shall be cut off, AND SHALL HAVE NOTHING.” Just what this meant, scholars are in doubt about. One scholar, Theodotian, suggested it literally means “there is not to him,” signifying that the “anointed one” was “cut off” even though there was (is) nothing against him judicially (cf. Porteous, “without trial”). Another scholar, Jeffery (p. 497), prefers the meaning of the RSV to indicate that “with him (Messiah) the true priesthood came to an end (with the death of Onias III).”
“The People of the Prince”
OKAY, SO FAR we have examined: (1) The “setting” — Daniel received his vision/prophecy while in Babylon (538 BC). (2) The “symbolism” — Daniel’s prophetic “weeks” (70 prophetic “weeks”) were “weeks of sevens” and “weeks of years”: each “week” = 7 years, so the total is 70 x 7 years. We find the first 7 “weeks” in 9:25 (7 “weeks” or 49 years); in verses 25-26 we read about the next 62 “weeks” or 434 years; then in verse 27 we read of the final 1 “week” or 7 years. Put it all together and we have 490 years. (3) The “Person” — Most honest scholars believe these verses to be “Messianic”: that is, the prophecy finds its fulfillment in the “Person” and work of Jesus the Christ.
I’ll leave other points that must be dealt with in the hands of scholars (e.g.: From which commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem do the years of the prophecy actually start?, etc.)
70 Weeks Fulfilled?
JERUSALEM WAS TO be restored; this was fulfilled. The street and wall were to be rebuilt in troublous times; this was fulfilled. The Most Holy was to be anointed; this was done in and through Jesus the Christ [Cf. Acts 3:14; 13:35; 1 Jn. 2:20; Mark 1:24. David spoke concerning Christ as the “Holy One” (Acts 2:27 cf. Psa. 16:10). In Revelation 3:7, Christ is called “HOLY” (cf. 4:8). John the Baptist declared, “Behold, the [SPOTLESS] Lamb of God!” (Jn. 1:36; cf. vv. 29-34). In John 1:29-31, we read where Jesus should be “made manifest to Israel.” And finally, at Jesus’ baptism, we hear God’s voice from Heaven declaring that Jesus is His “beloved Son” (Lk. 3:21-22)].
Jesus appeared RIGHT ON TIME! as Daniel had prophesied; Jesus makes mention of His “timely appearing” in Mark 1:14-15. He is the promised “Messiah,” the “Christ,” the “Anointed One” (see Lk. 4:17-22). In Acts 4:27 it mentions Jesus as the “Holy Anointed One.” It was God that anointed Him (see Acts 10:38).
So, Daniel’s prophecy revealed that the time-line until the Messiah would be 69 “weeks” or 483 years. This measured unto the time when Jesus was baptized and anointed to begin His ministry.
We also know that Messiah was to be “cut off,” and He was to be “cut off” AFTER 69 “weeks,” which does not and cannot mean “in” or “during” the 69 “weeks”—this leaves only 1 “week” wherein He could be “cut off”: the 70th (thus the 70th “week” HAD TO BE fulfilled DURING JESUS’ MINISTRY YEARS ON EARTH!). Jesus was “cut off” after only 3½ years of ministry. The word “cut off” implies that the “Anointed One” would not die a natural death: Jesus was MURDERED!
The prophet Isaiah put it this way: “...he was cut off out of the land of the living...” (53:8). The context reads as such: “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (vv. 8-10).
Before I get to “the people of the prince” issue, I want to speak a bit more about Isaiah 53. Jesus was “cut off”—a term which related to progeny, having to do with a man having a son who would carry on his genealogy after his death (or having no son to carry on his genealogy: e.g., Scripture says in Psalm 109:13 that Judas Iscariot’s children would die without leaving any seed).
Now it says that Jesus was “cut off,” and it also states in Isaiah 53, “Who shall declare His generation?”—that is, “Who shall CARRY ON HIS NAME.” Thank God, Isaiah also penned, “...He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days...” Friends, we are that seed, we will carry on His name; we are His spiritual children, we will declare His generation. Haven’t you ever read Psalm 22:30-31?—“A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.” This, my dear Christians, is our mandate, our commission; we are that “chosen generation.”
Jesus was “cut off” in order to “finish the transgression.” Just what were the last words of Jesus as He was dying upon the cross? Were they not “IT IS FINISHED”? Jesus “finished transgression” by becoming SIN for us. This is why it is so ludicrous to look for a rebuilt Jewish Temple whereby animal sacrifices are once again instituted. The Blood of the Lamb of God “FINISHED the transgression” (see Heb. 9:15). “He was wounded for our transgressions” as Isaiah 53:5 states.
He made an END of sin. Jesus came and died to save—not only His people, but—ALL peoples from their sins (see Matt. 1:21; Heb. 9:26). It is BLASPHEMY to think that Jesus will come to a Jewish Temple made of human hands in the future...and that God will reinstate and accept the blood of bulls and goats when He’s already spilled His own Blood, the Blood of His only Son, for the redemption of mankind! ”But this man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever...hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified...And their sins and iniquities...[He] remember[s] no more” (see Heb. 10:4-17). With this said, WHY DO OUR OPPONENTS INSIST ON A REBUILT TEMPLE? Jesus takes away the sins of the world (Jn. 1:29)—if the world repents—and this includes the racial unbelieving Jews. Look up the following verses too: 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18, and 1 John 3:5. As long as this present world is still in existence, men will (unfortunately) sin, and the Blood of Jesus is there to wash those sins away—IF those men will REPENT.
Jesus made reconciliation for iniquity (or made atonement; see Heb. 2:17; Col. 1:20-22; Eph. 2:16). You see, God the Father was in Christ RECONCILING the world unto Himself (see 2 Cor. 5:19). You might want to read Isaiah 53:6 and Titus 2:14.
Jesus made reconciliation so as to bring in everlasting righteousness. Without the Bloodshed of Christ, there would be no redemptive work—NONE!
Look up the word “righteousness.” The Word is replete with this word. This “righteousness” of Christ is everlasting/eternal. Hebrews 9:12 tells us that Jesus’ Blood obtained, for the repentant sinner, “eternal redemption.”
All this Daniel writes about. Now, pray tell me, how can any honest person not see Christ—and NOT the Antichrist—in the prophetic verses under discussion?!
We are confirmed in our belief of the Messiah having come: He is the One, the Covenant-maker, not the Antichrist.
Who Destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70?
THIS QUESTION IS related to Daniel 9:26: “...and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
As stated elsewhere, there are opposing sides to the above question. Our opponents tell us that the “prince” in verse 26 is distinguished from the previous “prince” in verse 25 because he is “one who is to come.” Here is what they claim:
They point out that the word “prince” (naghidh, Heb., v. 26) seems to refer to a “priestly ruler” (see 11:22). Some insist that the “prince” is/was Onias III, “whom Antiochus removed from office in 175 BC, and who was murdered in 170 BC.” They try to tell us that this “prince” is the “anointed one” of 9:26. They point out that naghidh is a title used for the high priest. Now, berith (Heb.) means the “covenant” of God with Israel: put this together with naghidh and we have Nekhidh Berith, or “confederate prince.” Some think this refers to Ptolemy Philometor.
Our opposing theologians tell us that “naghidh (‘prince’) of the people” [i.e., instead of “the people of the naghidh (‘prince’)”] would “necessitate changing ‘am (‘people’) to ‘im (‘with’), making the sentence mean that the city and sanctuary will be destroyed along with the anointed high priest.
They also say that naghidh could be a secular leader (“Antichrist”?), and the natural meaning is that the word refers to some “hostile prince” whose coming will be disastrous to Jerusalem. Again, however, we find opinions varying within their camp: some believe the term spoke of the Romans; others say it referred to the armies of Antiochus, who nearly destroyed the city and sanctuary (see Macc. 1:31-38; 3:45).
Whatever the case, Daniel 9:25-27 was a foreshadowing prophecy—Antiochus did come with his armies as well as Titus with his (Greek/Roman) armies. [Note: The use of the word “people” for “troops” is normal: see Judges 7:1, 9:48, and 2 Samuel 10:13.]
Prophet, Priest, King
NOW, BACK TO our side of the camp: It is foolish to think that the “prince” in verse 25 is different from the “prince” in verse 26. They are one-and-the-same. And we know that it was Jesus the “Christ”/“Messiah” who Daniel wrote of in verse 24: “...to finish the transgression...make and end of sins...make reconciliation for iniquity...to bring in everlasting righteousness...to seal up the vision and prophecy (or complete the fulfilling of prophecies which related to His person, sacrifice, and the glory which was to follow)...to anoint the Most Holy.” It was to be Jesus the Christ to anoint the Most Holy, kadesh kodashim, “the Holy of Holies.” Mashach, “to anoint” (from which comes Mashiach, “the Messiah”/“the Anointed One”), signifies, in general, “to consecrate or appoint to some special office.” Here in Daniel it means “the consecration or appointment of our Lord and Savior, the Holy One of Israel, the be the Prophet, Priest, and King of ALL mankind.”
Again, the “prince” in verse 25 is the same “prince” in verse 26. Adam Clarke says in his April, 1826 edition of his commentary (Vol. IV) that “most learned men agree that the death of Christ happened at Passover in the month Nisan, in the [4,746th] year of the Julian period. 490 years, reckoned back from the above year, leads us directly to the month Nisan in the [4,256th] year of the same period; the very month and year in which Ezra had his commission from Artaxerxes, king of Persia (see Ezra 7:9) to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (see Ezra 7:11-26).”
Clarke, in reference to verse 26 (“the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”), believes that the “prince” was Titus, the son of Vespasian. He also believes that “the people of the prince” were the Roman armies. Other scholars disagree with Clarke about the “prince” being Titus. Although Titus was the one who was in charge of the Roman armies that destroyed that city, many believe that Jesus is the “prince” being referred to here.
THIS FOLLOWED AFTER the “cutting off” of Messiah—because it was the just punishment on the Jewish nation for rejecting Him.
Jesus died to take away the ceremonial law, etc.; but the Jews continued to do what Christ, by His death, had finished. Jesus is the substance of the Old Testament shadows and types. The Jews refused to recognize this, and God repaid them accordingly.
Christ or Antichrist?
SO FAR WE have seen the 6 things in Daniel 9:24 that were to be fulfilled. Those who hold the “Futurist” point of view claim the 70th “week” is yet future, and that the “anointing of the Most Holy” (the 6th thing to be fulfilled in v. 24) refers to the “anointing of a future Jewish Temple.”
In Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible (p. 877, et al.), which I have, it states: “[The] six events of verse 24 have NOT BEEN FULFILLED.” This is the common view held among the Dispensationalist camp.
H.A. Ironside, a staunch “Futurist,” says the same as Dake concerning verse 24 (see The Great Parenthesis, p. 23). All these things (to be fulfilled), he says, have been postponed because Jesus was rejected by the Jews—the 70th “week” has been postponed with a 2,000+ year gap. He SHOCKS us by stating that when Christ died on the cross, “the prophetic clock stopped.” WOW!
Friends, I don’t give a hoot if the Jews rejected Jesus, THIS DID NOT STOP GOD’S CLOCKWORK! R. Woodrow, in Great Prophecies of the Bible, makes mention of the words of George Murry (Millennial Studies, pp. 104-5), who wrote: “It is not without sorrow of heart that we listen to men, whose sincerity we do not question, emphasizing...that an end is not made of sin, that everlasting righteousness is yet to be brought in, and going so far as to attribute to a wicked Antichrist that which our Lord has brought about by His sacrifice on the cross, the abolition of the oblation and sacrifice.” This 2,000+ year “gap theory” is SATANIC! Even the strongest advocates of a “gap” between the 69th and 70th “week”, as pointed out by good Bible scholars, did not permit any “gap” between the 49 years and the 434 years. One “gap” advocate stated, “The first 69 weeks ran without a break...uninterrupted” (see Kelly, Daniel’s 70 Weeks, pp. 17 & 20). So, may we inquire, if no “gap” is allowed between the 49 years and the 434 years, why should any be placed between the 434 years and the final 7 years? I’M WAITING FOR AN ANSWER! The fact that the 70 “weeks” must be regarded as a WHOLE is surely evidence against the idea that a HUGE GAP of 2,000+ years was intended between the 69th and 70th “week”. (You might want to look up Notes on Daniel, Barnes, p. 372; and Lange’s Commentary, the volume on Daniel, p. 188, for some good info.)