How do you understand Daniel 9:27?


Let us read Daniel 9:24-27 in context, in the Authorized Version:

“(24) Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks [i.e., sixty-nine weeks]: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (26) And after the 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. (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, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

To properly understand this passage, let us note the following quote from Lesson 19 of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, copyrighted 1961, 1965, and 1967. The publication pointed out that Jesus Christ is the minister of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6); that He was to CONFIRM the covenant for one “week” (Daniel 9:26-27); that His ministry was to be cut in HALF (verse 27); and that Christ will COMPLETE His work of confirming the New Covenant in the future (Same verse; also Hebrews 8:10 and Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The publication continued: “A ‘day’ in the prophecy of Daniel 9:27 represents a year in fulfillment (Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:3-6). Christ ministered three-and-a-half years — ONE HALF of this prophetical ‘week.’ For three-and-one-half years He CONFIRMED — spelled out the TERMS of — THE NEW COVENANT with His disciples who recorded them for us today. By dying for our sins in the MIDST OF the ‘week,’ He put the final STAMP on the covenant and made it binding with His blood. Through Him, ALL PEOPLE can now enter into the New Covenant and become HEIRS ‘according to the promise’ which God made to Abraham (Gal. 3:29). But Daniel 9:26-27 reveals that there yet REMAINS three-and-one-half years of Christ’s ministry to be FULFILLED! Let’s understand. When Jesus returns to this earth He will FULFILL the covenant He made with Abraham. Abraham and his SPIRITUAL seed through Christ will then inherit the world and eternal life.”

A subsequent letter from the Letter Answering Department of the Worldwide Church of God, dated 1987, commented on the passage in Daniel 9:24-27 as follows:

“To explain this prophecy, I will quote from ‘Halley’s Bible Handbook’: ‘The Captivity, which was then drawing to a close, had lasted 70 years. Daniel is here told by the angel that it would yet be ’70 weeks’ till the coming of the Messiah [see verse 24]. The ’70 weeks’ is generally understood to mean 70 weeks of years, that is, 70 sevens of years, or seven times 70 years, that is 490 years. As if the angel were saying, The Captivity has been 70 years; the period between the Captivity and the Coming of the Messiah will be seven times that long. Seven, and cycles of seven, sometimes have symbolic meanings; yet the actual facts of this prophecy are most amazing, as follows:

“‘The date from which the 70 weeks was to be counted was the decree to re-build Jerusalem [see verse 25]. There were three decrees issued by Persian kings for this purpose … The principal one of these was 457 B C [the one given by Artaxerxes]. The 70 weeks is subdivided into 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week [see verses 25 and 27]. It is difficult to see the application of the ‘7 weeks’; but the 69 weeks (including the 7) equal 483 days, that is, on the year-day theory, Ezek 4:6, which is the commonly accepted interpretation, 483 years.

“‘This 483 years is the period between the decree to re-build Jerusalem and the coming of the ‘Anointed One,’ [see verse 25]. The decree to re-build Jerusalem, as noted above, was 457 B C. Adding 483 years to 457 B C brings us to 26 A D, the very year that Jesus was baptized and began his public ministry. A most remarkable fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, even to the year. Further, within 3 1/2 years Jesus was crucified, that is, “in the midst of the one week” “the Anointed One” was “cut off,” “purged away sin and brought in everlasting righteousness,” [see verses 24, 26, and 27].’

“We must make one slight correction in Mr. Halley’s figures. His overall calculations are correct, but he did not account for the ONE YEAR which is gained in making the transition from B.C. to A.D. dates. Because there is no year 0, one year is gained and must be added to the A.D. date. It was A.D. 27 when Jesus was baptized and began His ministry — not A.D. 26… It is significant that in Daniel’s prophecy of the ‘seventy weeks’ (Dan. 9:24-27), Jesus was to be cut off ‘in the midst of the week.’ While this prophecy has the application of a day for a year, so that this 70th week became a literal seven years, Christ being ‘cut off’ after three-and-a-half years’ ministry, as He was, yet it is significant that He was also ‘cut off’ on the middle day [Wednesday] of a literal week (page 9).”

The understanding of the Church of God has been that Daniel 9:27 refers to the First Coming of Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice, as well as His confirmation of the New Covenant. Some commentaries claim, however, that the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27 refers to a future treaty between a European prince and the nation of Israel — the Jews — which is to last for 3 1/2 years.

Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible explains: “Verse 26 seems to point to the death and rejection of Christ and the destruction of the temple which followed in AD 70 — with a wider reference at the end. But the subject of verse 27 is not at all clear. ‘He’ is taken by some to be the Messiah, by others to be the destroying prince of the previous verse.”

For instance, the Ryrie Study Bible claims: “The prince of verse 26, the antichrist… will make a pact with many (of the Jewish people) at the beginning of the Tribulation period. But in the midst of the week (i.e. 3 1/2 years later) Antichrist will break his covenant and desecrate the Temple by demanding worship of himself in it.”

The Nelson Study Bible concurs, stating in regard to Daniel 9:27: “‘He’ may be a reference to the antichrist, who will confirm a covenant with Israel. ‘In the middle of the week’–that is, three and one-half years later–he will break the covenant.”

Unger’s Bible Handbook claims something similar: “During the first half [of the final week of seven years] the ‘prince’ (world ruler, ‘little horn’ of 7:8, 24-25) will make a covenant with the Jews, who are restored in Palestine with a resumption of the temple worship. In the middle of the week the covenant is broken, worship for the Jews ceases (2 Thess 2:3-4), and the time of the Great Tribulation ensues.”

Apart from the fact that these commentaries, especially Unger, confuse the identity of the “little horn” (an end-time religious leader) with the beast (an end-time political leader), there is little reason to believe that the “covenant,” referred to in Daniel 9:27, refers to a future treaty between a political or religious leader and the Jews. In fact, the Bible shows that a treaty or confederation will be made between the beast (the end-time king of modern Assyria) and certain Arab nations AGAINST the Jews — not WITH them (compare Psalm 83:2-8).

The Commentary on the Whole Bible, by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, states that Daniel 9:27 may contain an “allusion” to Antiochus Epiphanes, but that the passage clearly talks about “Christ the Prince,” His Sacrifice, and the New Covenant.

The “New Bible Commentary: Revised,” explains convincingly, on page 699:

“Who is the one that causes the covenant to prevail? Many find the subject in ‘the prince who is to come’ of v. 26, and refer this, either to Antiochus, or to the Roman ruler of a future, revived Roman Empire. However, the word prince is there in a subordinate position, and it is very unlikely that this word should be the subject in v. 27. It is better to regard the subject as the Messiah, since He has been the most prominent Person in this passage. The covenant which is to prevail is the covenant of grace wherein the Messiah, by His life and death, obtains salvation for His people. The seventieth seven… thus has reference to the time of our Lord’s earthly life. For half of this seven the Messiah, by means of his death, causes the Jewish sacrifices to cease (cf. Heb. 8:13).”

Based on the foregoing, the Church of the Eternal God and its corporate affiliates in Canada and Great Britain do not see a reason to deviate from the long-held teaching of the Church of God on this subject, and confirm the Church’s understanding that Daniel 9:27 refers to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the “Prince of Peace,” and not to a future political or religious leader of a revived Roman Empire.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God