It seems most people believe that Daniel 9:27 is speaking of a seven year peace treaty that he, the Antichrist, makes with the Jews, allowing the sacrificial offerings to resume, then breaks the agreement at the halfway point of the treaty. I would like to offer another possibility as to what Daniel was speaking of.
I realize that the ‘going thought’ with this verse is mainstream, and has been around for hundreds of years. This is a viable solution; I would not be surprised if this thought is correct. But I believe there is a better answer. Remember what God told Daniel, “seal the book until the time of the end” and “knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). As I mentioned in my Pre-Wrath Rapture commentary, we must consider things anew to best understand what God told his prophets about end-time events, and if we cling to ‘old wineskin’ thoughts, how can God reveal to us ideas that are saved for our generation? We must continually re-evaluate what we know to ensure we have the best thoughts and ideas of God’s Word and it’s relevancy to us if we are in fact the last generation. In doing so, perhaps we retain what we originally thought, and if so, that is good. But we must prayerfully look at things from different angles to gain the full knowledge and understanding of what God is trying to convey to us, and consider other possibilities, lest we miss truths of God meant for us in this time and place.
Again, it’s my opinion that there are better answers to some of the difficult prophetic questions and outlines that we have all heard many times before. Please consider this under the full counsel of what the Bible teaches, without applying other ‘assumed’ facts.
The obvious question is, who is ‘he’? Remember when reading your Bible, the translators capitalized He, His, etc. when they believe the reference was of God. But this is not the case in the original Hebrew language. So for the sake of this study, I purposefully kept all the ‘he’s lower case in the verse above.
So who is he? The answer to that lies in the previous verses. Start at verse 24; this is where the current thought begins.
In reading through verses 25 and 26, the main subject is the Messiah, not the ‘people of the prince who is to come.’
Who has made covenants with many? Obviously, the Lord! In the Old Testament, it was first with the Hebrews through Abraham, then later to the Jews through the promises outlined in the Torah. The new covenant from God to man came in the form of Jesus the Messiah; he brought with him an end to the old sacrificial system that the Jews had practiced for so many years. After Jesus died on the cross, God gave his chosen people approximately 40 years to figure it out… to realize that the old covenant was over and that the new covenant was based on faith in Christ. What happened after 40 years? God allowed the temple to be destroyed in 70 A.D. No temple meant no sacrifices, at least none recognized by God, and thus the new covenant was fully established. Remember that Paul said in Galatians 3:24 that the old covenant, or specifically the Law, was established as a tutor or guardian to show us of our shortcomings compared to God’s holiness, and that through Christ we can be relieved of the burden of the Law, living free in Christ while being in fellowship with God Almighty!
At this point I’d like to divert and take a side road briefly. If you are reading certain translations of the Bible, you will see the translators eschatology (study of end times) built into the translation. A great example of this in my opinion is the New Living Translation’s version (NLT) of Daniel 9:27. It is translated in such a way that there leaves no question in the mind of the reader that there is, in fact, an evil ruler that will make a treaty for seven years. The NLT makes assumptions based on their preconceived point of view without providing an unadulterated translation using the earliest and most reliably available text. God’s Word should not be made impure in such a fashion; God even warns of this elsewhere in his Word. It’s my opinion, and others, the best translations for in-depth bible study such as this are the NASB and NKJV (KJV good also).
Back to our study… if the Lord made the week (seven year) covenant with the many, and the covenant was based on the Messiah, this raises some interesting considerations. Remember, the ending point to the 70 weeks Daniel mentioned was to bring an end to sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness. God dealt under the old covenant for the first 69 weeks. Then he sent the Messiah after the “seven and sixty-two weeks”; verse 25 states this. This obviously means that the Messiah will deal in the final seven year week.
Jesus started his ministry with his baptism by John the Baptist. This we know. We also know that Jesus’ earthly ministry ended with his crucifixion on the Passover. Many biblical scholars believe that his ministry lasted 3½ years, as do I. Part of the evidence for this is the thought that he began his ministry on Yom Kippur, in the fall. In Luke 4:19, Jesus speaks of himself in quoting from Isaiah regarding ‘the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Again, many scholars believe this is a reference to a Jubilee year, which can only begin on Yom Kippur. If this is the case, then yes, Jesus had a 3½ year ministry. So for the point of this discussion, we can entertain the thought that Jesus has fulfilled the first half of the 70th week of Daniel.
Sir Isaac Newton was big into studying prophecy toward the end of his life. If you get a chance, do a little research and check out his prophetic writings. Strap on your thinking cap first, cause it’s deep, as you would expect from such a great mind. While I don’t agree with some of his thoughts on prophecy, he was one to consider the possibility of the Messiah being the ‘he’ in Daniel 9:27 (thus leaving only 3½ years to wrap up the 70 weeks). The 1599 Geneva Bible includes commentary that also supports this idea.
So, where does that leave us? It leaves us with a prophetic 3½ years until God redeems his fallen creation with the return of his Messiah, to usher in everlasting righteousness according to Daniel.
The next obvious thought must be toward the traditional concept of a seven year tribulation. Guess what? Nowhere in the Bible is there mentioned a seven year tribulation. Nowhere! There is mention of tribulation, great tribulation, Jacob’s trouble, judgment, wrath, etc., but not a seven year tribulation. However, in at least six instances there is mention of a 3½ year period of time where very difficult circumstances are occurring, commonly thought to be the great tribulation. It’s mentioned in various ways and time-frames (time, times and half a time; 1260 days; 3½ years; 42 months) in Daniel and Revelation, and Jesus talks about it much.
Does it not seem possible that these 3½ years mentioned in Daniel and Revelation round out and finish Daniel’s 70th week? I think it’s definitely possible. Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:5-7 both mention the saints being overcome by the beast for 3½ years. If my thoughts here and in the Pre-Wrath Rapture article are correct, then the last half of the 70th week will be, in part, tribulation and persecution for the saints (see Revelation 12:17).
Considering all of the above, a 3½ year great tribulation would start in the spring, at Passover, and end with the Day of Atonement in the fall, otherwise known as Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is preceded by the Feast of Trumpets, and followed by the Feast of Tabernacles, which means ‘God with us.’ So prophetically based on the feasts, we can look for a rapture (Feast of Trumpets), judgment/wrath (Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur), then God dwelling among men (Feast of Tabernacles). If you haven’t done it before, study the seven Jewish feast days as outlined in Leviticus 23. Compare them to what’s in Revelation… there are many parallels… it’s simply awesome. Jesus fulfilled the first four spring feasts prophetically and precisely and in order with his first coming, and will likely do the same with the fall feasts at his second coming. Based on how Jesus fulfilled the spring feast days and will likely fulfill the fall feasts, prophetically speaking, a pre-trib rapture is not the most likely possibility. I believe a pre-wrath rapture is a better solution.
Of course I can’t be dogmatic about these thoughts, but they may be better answers to some of the end times questions we all ponder. At the very least, these things should be considered as the end times scenario plays out, along with the more traditional thoughts.