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The Daniel 9:27 Debate
“People of the Prince” cont...
by General James Green
LISTEN UP! We do not have to wait until the “Second Coming” for Christ to be crowned King of kings. He has, I repeat, HAS ALREADY BEEN CROWNED KING OF KINGS. He has ALREADY become Prophet/Priest. We do not have to wait until a rebuilt Jewish Temple is finished so that Christ can become King-Prophet-Priest, for it’s all been accomplished already during Jesus’ earthly mission and finally through His death and RESURRECTION!!
THIS BRINGS US to “Part Three.” We have been looking into Daniel’s prophecies (specifically 9:24-27). Those of us who were taught a future 7-year “Great Tribulation/Antichrist” scenario, complete with a rebuilt Jewish Temple—with the “Tribulation” taking place after the so-called “secret Rapture”—well, we didn’t question all this.
Now, the purpose of these articles is for those of you who hold to a “Futurist” position (i.e., a 2,000-plus year “gap theory,” referring to Daniel’s 70th week) to reconsider or rethink your views on the end-time prophecies...as I did in 1978-79.
So, let us pick up where we left off in “Part Two.” In “Part Three,” we will examine the “people of the Prince” (Daniel 9:26) aspect some more. Remember, the Darbyites tell us that the “Prince” of verse 25 is not the same “Prince” of verse 26.
HISTORY TELLS US that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, under Titus, in AD 70. This event has been used as the basis for a pattern of deduction that leads our opponents to supposedly see and believe in a future Roman Antichrist whom, they believe, is the “covenant-maker” in Daniel 9:27. I never doubted this theory myself, that is, the Antichrist coming in the future. However, I do believe the Roman Catholic Church is antichrist right now!
In Wesleyan Bible Prophecy, Rev. G.L. Cutler points out 5 flaw points in our opponents’ system of rationale. They are, in short (with my comments in ): “(1) The people of a coming (future) ‘Prince,’ or ruler, will destroy Jerusalem and a rebuilt sanctuary (referring to Dan 9:26). (2) History past = Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus in AD 70 (and this was not the complete fulfillment of Dan 9:26). (3) The prophecy of ‘the people’ destroying (9:26) is intended to have a double reference fulfillment: that is, a revived ‘Roman Empire’ of the last days will produce a/the ‘Roman Antichrist.’ (4) On the basis of the double reference fulfilment [it is further assumed!], the ‘Prince’ of Daniel 9:26 (the future leader of the revived ‘Roman Empire’) becomes the antecedent of the ‘he’ in verse 27, who ‘confirms the covenant with many for one week.’ (5) Thus [speculation presumptuously concludes!] the Roman Antichrist [pope?] of the last days will make a covenant, or peace treaty, with the Jews for 7 years, but will break the treaty after the first 3½ years [—and on and on, as the Dispensational end-time Bible prophecy scenario goes].”
Thus, we have, in their camp, the exegetical (eisegetical?) foundation for a “future” Antichrist taken from Daniel 9:26-27. This is not to say that the world will not see many antichrists in these times and in the future—history is replete with scenarios of antichrists already. And this is not to say that the world will not see “great tribulation.” I think we’re witnessing “great tribulation” and the rising of it in America NOW! What we’re saying is that WE DO NOT FOLLOW SIR ROBERT ANDERSON’S “FUTURIST” THEORY OF AN ANTICHRIST/JERUSALEM-FOCUSED/REBUILT TEMPLE SCENARIO.
ONE AUTHOR WRITES, “Many editions of the King James Version include the following marginal rendering of Daniel 9:26: ‘...and [the Jews] they shall be no more his people, and the Prince’s [Messiah’s] future people shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.’” There are at least a dozen Bible editions that say this. What this is saying is that the “people” that were to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple would be “Messiah’s people.”
Pertaining to these verses in question, there are several interpretations among those who disagree with our opponents’ camp but can’t totally agree among themselves. Permit me to present just two interpretations within our camp.
However, let me first of all make a note that it is well said that unless a person has a theory to uphold, none would suppose that the “Prince” in the one sentence is any different than the “Prince” in the next: that is, that the “Prince” would change from verse 25 to verse 26 (and also verse 27). What is the difference between “Messiah the Prince” and the “Prince” in the phrase “people of the Prince”? I think it foolish to see the “Prince” as Jesus Christ in one verse and the “Prince” in the very next verse—without any cues or changes of pace—as Antichrist. But this is exactly the way our opponents view it.
Anyway, now let’s see how those within our camp view these verses:
IF WE SPEAK of certain “people of the Prince” that are to come, and the previous verse just mentioned the “Prince” (the Messiah), none would take it to mean that we are talking about a “good Prince” and then the people of a “wicked prince.” If we believe that Jesus Christ is the “Prince” in both verses, then we must believe that His people, not Antichrist’s or any other, would destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The “He” who was to confirm the covenant and “He” who would cause sacrifice to cease was Messiah. Verse 27 tells us, “...He shall make it desolate.” Scholars point out that to be consistent, if “He/he” in the first part of verse 27 refers to Messiah, then it does here as well. (Remember, the subject = the destruction of the city/Temple.)
You might wonder about this, thinking, “Didn’t Titus / the Roman armies destroy the city/Temple?” Yes!
The key to the answer lies here: Jesus the Christ was/is both Savior and Judge, meaning that He can “bless” or “curse”—bless the obedient; curse the disobedient. (Look up Lk 2:11; Acts 10:42). Digging deeper, we find Jesus as the “LAMB of God” and the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (see Rev 5:5-6). Go through your New Testament, search out opposites and contrasts. Do the same with the Old Testament. The reality of these contrasts is the key to our present study.
O.T. WAR LORD — SAVIOR/REDEEMER
HOW MANY TIMES in the O.T. can we find where God “turned against” His very own people and “FOUGHT against” them? Of course we can see many examples of His abundant mercies and saving grace, but we must know that both sides are present.
N.T. WAR Lord — Savior/Redeemer
WHY DO WE find it hard to believe that Jesus, the risen/ascended Christ, who has ALL POWER in Heaven and in earth (see Matt 28:19), brought judgment upon the rebellious and reprobate Jews in AD 70?
Yes, I know, we were not taught to think like this about our merciful Savior/Redeemer. “It had to be the devil (Titus; the Roman armies),” we conjecture. No, the fact of the matter is that Jesus the Christ had all the right in the world to judge that city (and any city, for that matter, even to this day; see Jn 5:22-27).
For the Record
HOW MANY TIMES have you read in the prophets where the LORD God said, “I will destroy,” “I will scatter,” “I will put an end to,” etc.—and He used the pagans to accomplish His will? Have you not read where the pagan, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was called “MY SERVANT” by God?
Let me give you some food for thought on this matter: Jer 43:10-13; Ezek 30:10-19, 22-25; and 32:9-15. These Scriptures PROVE that God uses pagans against pagans. God’s “SERVANT” carried out His orders (read also Ezek 26:7; Amos 1:10; Zeph 1:17; 2:5-13; Nahum 1:1-2; 2:13; 3:5-7; Amos 1:7-15; 2:2-3; Jer 49:27; Micah 1:6-7; 5:10-14; Ezek 28:22.
“But,” you say, “all the above verses deal only with God fighting against the pagans.” HOLD ON A MINUTE! Take note of His anger against His very own people—using the pagan armies to do His destruction: Deut 28:49; Lev 26:30-33; and Joel 2:1-11 (read also vv. 12-20). Here are fine examples of “pagan” armies fighting Judah/Jerusalem...to execute His judgments against His very own people (read the following: Jer 6:18-23; 34:2, 22; Amos 2:5; Hosea 8:14; Ezek 15:7-8; Jer 13:9-27; 26:1-9; Ezek 24; Amos 6:8; Ezek 5:8-17; Zeph 1:4, 12; Jer 25:8-11; Jer 52:12-14; 2 Chron 36:14-19—all this happened to Judah/Jerusalem/other nations).
The AD 70 FURY
JOSEPHUS TELLS US the horrid tale of that destruction in his writings. God had laid waste Judah/Jerusalem in the days of the old prophets (see Jer 44:6, etc.); and in AD 70, He carried out His fury again upon Jerusalem, this time through “His people,” the Romans; His “servant,” Titus.
WITH ALL THIS said, we can correctly say that the Roman armies under Titus were “the people of the Prince” that destroyed the city and Temple. They were not God’s “people” in the sense that they were “believers” in the Jew’s God, but in that they OBEYED His command to punish Israel for their sins.
NOW I PRESENT to you another view from within our camp. Our side, in both cases, believes that the “Prince” or “Ruler” that should come is none other than Messiah/Christ that would be rejected (Isa 53:3), pierced (Zech 2:10), “cut off” (Dan 9:26) and hated (Isa 49:7); yet some believe that the “people” are not the Romans but the Jews themselves!—who (Dan 9:26 is predicting) will end up destroying themselves (as in Hosea 13:9).
While it is true that the Jews did reject Jesus/Messiah/Prince, and in one sense, they did bring “destruction” upon themselves, the fact is, IT WAS THE ROMAN ARMIES (THE “PEOPLE”) THAT ACTUALLY DID THE PHYSICAL WORK OF DESTRUCTION.
I might add a personal note here: The present condition of the “Church” is in a mode of rejection: that is, rejecting Christ’s presence, power, laws, standards, ethics, etc. Just as Messiah came to His own people and they did not recognize Him (Jn 1:11; 2:18-22; Matt 26:61; 27:40; etc.), and hatred for change and hatred for truth were earmarks of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day—can’t we see this same spirit in too many churches today?
History proves out that the “Messianic revolt” of the Jews (AD 66-70) was a MISGUIDED revolt, because the Jews were still looking and waiting for their Messiah...BUT HE HAD COME AND GONE—REJECTED by his very own nation.
THIS IS HOW some within our camp view this whole discussion...God using the “3rd-party” agency of the Roman armies. No matter. At least we do not see a “good Prince” and a “bad prince” (Antichrist) as do our opponents.
Again, Scripture shows that God uses pagan armies in punishing other pagan nations and even used them to punish Israel (read Jer 9:11-16; 25:8-14; 50:17-20; Neh 9:26-30; 2 Chron 28:1-5; 33:10-11; 36:15-21; 2 Kgs 21:10-14; Jud 2:11-15; 3:7-8; 4:1-2; 6:1; 10:6-7; 13:10; Lev 26:18-39; et al.).
I BELIEVE SO, especially for the Church. We don’t have to look for a 7-year “Tribulation period” in the future; but God WILL deal with this backslid, covenant-breaking, reprobate, HELLBOUND, LIBERAL CHURCH!!