As you read this, bear in mind again I am not taking a position or describing where I’m at with all this. My goal is to show the ins-and-outs of how Daniel 9:24-27 could be viewed (i.e., the “self evident” problem).
Taking another look at Daniel 9…
Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.
Our focus this time around is the “anointed prince” (or is it princes?).
In verse 25: “an anointed one, a prince” shall come (after either the first seven weeks, followed by 62 more, or after the 69 weeks)
- Let’s assume (with the standard pre-trib view) that “the anointed one, the prince” comes after the 69 weeks.
In verse 26a: after the 62 weeks (69 in total by the above reckoning), “an anointed one” shall be “cut off” and “have nothing”
QUESTION: Is the “anointed one / the prince” in verse 26 the same as the one in verse 25? This is certainly possible (and probably the easiest reading) if one presumes the 7 + 62 weeks are not to be split up via the Masoretic accenting.
In verse 26b: now we read of “the people of the prince who shall come”…
QUESTION: Is this prince (26b) the same as the anointed prince in 26a?
If YES — then …
(1) the same prince who is “cut off” in 26a is still alive in 26b to “come and destroy the city and the sanctuary.” That would mean “cutting off” cannot refer to death (ruling out crucifixion).
(2) if one wants to identify the prince of 26a as Jesus (interpreting the “cutting off” with the crucifixion), then if one wants the prince of 26a to be the same prince of 26b, one has to posit a resurrection in between. That might sound good, but look at what it produces — the people of the prince of 26b (meaning, the followers of the resurrected Jesus) then destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the temple (sanctuary). Not only did this not happen in history, but it would be completley out of character for the followers of Jesus.
CONCLUSION: If you want Jesus to be the prince of 26a, you cannot also have him be the prince of 26b. There must be two different princes. This is the way most pre-tribbers take the passage, assuming the second prince to be the antichrist, since “his people” destroy Jerusalem and the temple.
So is there a problem with that? To say the least, it’s an odd reading because we aren’t TOLD there are two princes — that has to be read INTO the passage. Rather, there is one prince mentioned (v. 26a) and then we meet “the people of the prince who is to come” (and since the prince we’re actually told about is being predicted as coming, one would more naturally assume the same prince is in view). In other words, one can ASSUME that these “people” and their “prince” are separate characters (and chronologically separated to boot), but it would be very easy (and natural), since we just read about a coming prince to assume that “the people of this prince that will come” refers to the same prince in 26a. But again, if they are the same, we cannot be talking about Jesus.
But let’s assume that we have a separation. The prince of 26a is Jesus, who is “cut off.” Then there is a second prince (with “his people”) who destroys Jerusalem and the temple, and then, in v. 27 “HE” (the second prince – the bad one, the antichrist — makes a covenant with many for one seven … and then we get the abomination. Standard pre-trib reading.
How could that be a problem for the standard pre-trib view? I’d say it can work, but it needs to work WITHOUT verse 24 — and verse 24 is the main reason anyone is thinking of Jesus as a candidate to be the prince of verse 26. Why do I say this? Look at verse 24 (note my boldfacing):
Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.”
Here’s the point: All of these conditions only happen AFTER all 70 weeks. Pre-tribbers assume that some of them are accomplished at the end point of verse 26a, when the anointed prince [Jesus in that view] is “cut off” — but the text doesn’t say that. The natural (literal? face value? plain?) reading of verse 24 is that when the 70 weeks are up, all these things will be true. We have no warrant for attaching *some* of them to a time before the 70 weeks are fulfilled. It’s just done to make the system work.
And think about the list. Did ANY of them come to pass with the crucifixion?
— was all transgression and sin ended at the cross? No. We all still sin.
— to atone for iniquity — one could argue that was accomplished, but since it is the ONLY possible connection to the cross (the others didn’t happen with the cross as we’ll see below), one ought to wonder if the phrase was intended to speak of the crucifixion. (Why would one work well and not the others?) Maybe it referred to the sacrificial system or Yom Kippur. If Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed (see vv. 25-26) you would need an end to those circumstances to be able to make atonement for iniquity again. And that would certainly be the case after the 70 weeks were done.
— “to bring in everlasting righteousness” — did that happen at the cross? This is kingdom language, but only an amillennialist *might* say that the cross and resurrection brought the kingdom about in this way. And one wonders, if everlasting righteousness was brought in at the cross, what’s left to bring about in terms of righteousness? I don’t know what we’d be waiting for if it was already accomplished. It seems if you’re premill, you can’t equate this with the cross event.
— to seal the vision — this couldn’t be done with the cross event since there were events still subsequent to the cross that had to come to pass (like antichrist and what he does).
— “to anoint a most holy place” – I don’t know how the crucifixion did this. It reads like the holy place had been desecrated and needed to be sanctified. That would be the case after the 70 weeks horror (all of it) were over — and that speaks to interpreting the atonement language the way I outline above — not having to do with the crucifixion.
This is why I think if you’re going to take the standard pre-trib view of Daniel 9:25-26, you need to forget verse 24, but that amounts to dispensing with the very thing that fuels your view.
More briefly to the point: If you think the standard pre-trib view is a straightforward reading that is completely clear and coherent, think again. You would need to account for all these issues that arise from the text. It might be possible, but it isn’t self-evident. To me the biggest issue is the arbitrariness of having two princes. Again, that’s possible, but it feels dicey.
Next up – last post on Daniel 9. I’ll finish up the Gentry article and have some notes on it, as well as two others. Then (finally) on to the rapture idea.