"Classical dispensational interpretation has always recognized that the New Testament revelation of two phases to the messianic advent has
necessitated an interruption in the fulfillment of the restoration
program unconditionally guaranteed to national Israel (Jeremiah
Continued from Part #2
2 Thessalonians 2 such as a final rebellion by “the wicked” in Israel
against “the righteous” in Israel, who represent YHWH and Torah
sanctity, at the Last Day (cf. Jubilees 23:14-23; IV Ezra 4:26-42;
6:18-28), and the close parallel in Psalms of Solomon 17:13, 23-27 which
describes “the son of David” delivering Israel by destroying “the
lawless one” (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8a), by “the word of his mouth” (cf.
2Thessalonians 2:8b), the purging Jerusalem and restoring the Promised
Land to the Jews. Based on these parallels George Wesley Buchanan, “The
Eschatological Expectations of the Qumran Community” (Ph.D.
dissertation: Drew University, 1959), 269, concluded that the hopes
expressed in 2 Thessalonians were clearly sunteleological. In a similar
fashion, Jesus in the Olivet Discourse had predicted an “apostasy” in
which many would defect from the true faith and betray one another to
deceiving false prophets (Matthew 24:10-11). The close association of
eschatological structure and thought of 2 Thessalonians 2 with the
Olivet Discourse have led many commentators to see Daniel 9 as the
common source, cf. G. Henry Waterman, “The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on
the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1 and 2 Thessalonians,” A Paper Presented to
the Midwest Regional Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society
(Deerfield, Illinois: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, March 21,
23Cf. John A. McClean, “The Seventieth Week of Daniel 9:27 as a Literary
Key for Understanding the Structure of the Apocalypse of John” (Ph.D.
dissertation: The University of Michigan, 1990).
24For example many hapax legomena appear in this passage: nechettak,
“determined” (9:24); charutz, “moat,” (9:25); tzoq , “trouble” (9:25);
usuage uncharacteristic of Danelic idiolect, e.g., berit, “covenant”
(9:24; cf. 9:4; 11:22, 28, 30, 32), [ha]rabbim, “the many” (9:27), and
even the term mashiach, “annointed, Messiah” (9:26); as well as
unexplainable grammatical constuctions: shiqutzim meshomem, “desolating
abominations” (9:27), and terms: kenaf, “wing” (9:27).
25In Jerome’s fourth-century commentary on Daniel, the oldest Christian
source for patristic interpretations on the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, he
list nine exegetes with eleven interpretations, Jerome’s Commentary On
Daniel. Translated by Gleason Archer, Jr. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book
House, 1958), 94-110; cf. Jay Braverman, Jerome’s Commentary On Daniel:
A Study of Comparative Jewish and Christian Interpretations of the
Hebrew Bible. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 7
(Washington DC: The Catholic Bivlical Association of America, 1978),
26The debate over the terminus a quo of the prophecy concerns both the
date of historical decree itself, and the extent of restoration to which
it referred, or which was accomplished. As to the first issue the
various positions are: (1) The first year of Cyrus (either October 29,
539 B.C.E., or 536 B.C.E.), (2) The third year of Darius Hystaspes
(519-518 B.C.E.), (3) The seventh year of Artaxerxes (458-457 B.C.E.),
(4) The twentieth year of Artaxerxes (445-444 B.C.E.). As to the second
issue, the question is to whether the decree indicated that the Temple
as well as the city was to be rebuilt, to what extent the city was
actually rebuilt by the time of Nehemiah, and whether or not the
completion of the city’s restoration was effected at the time of the
issuing of the decree, during or after the first seven weeks. These
matters are interrelated, and for discussion of the various theories,
cf. L.E. Knowles, “The Interpretations of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel in
the Early Fathers,” Westminster Theological Journal 7 (May, 1945), Paul
D. Feinberg, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Daniel 9:24-27,”
Tradition and Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg. Edited
by John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981),
191-195, Harold Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1977), 115-130, Renald E.
Showers, “New Testament Chronology and the Decree of Daniel 9,” Grace
Theological Journal 11 (1970), 30-39, J. Barton Payne, “The Goal of
Daniel’s Seventy Weeks,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
21 (June, 1978): 97-115, as well as the major commentaries.
27For a critique of the theological debate between the various
eschatological schools cf. Michael Kalafian, The Prophecy of the Seventy
Weeks of the Book of Daniel: A Critical Review of the Prophecy as Viewed
by Three Major Theological Interpretations and the Impact of the Book of
Daniel on Christology (New York: University Press of America, 1991).
28The Maccabean Interpretation is the interpretation accepted by
majority scholarly concensus is that Daniel presents a record of past
events which transpired during the Maccabean period, i.e., the
persecutions of Antiochus IV Ephiphanes (170-164 B.C.E.). The “anointed
one”who begins the first period of 7 “weeks”, the period of the Exile,
is usually identified as Cyrus, Zerubbabel (Haggai 1:1), or Joshua
(Zechariah 3:1), although figures such as Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, and
Seleucus Philopater have also been suggested. A different “anointed
one,” in this view, Onias III, ends a second period of sixty-two weeks
by being “cut off” (verse 26a), i.e., “murdered,” by Antiochus in 175
B.C.E. at the instigation of his brother Jason. In this interpretation,
the phrase in verse 26b: “and will have nothing,” refers to Onais loss
of the control of the city of Jerusalem. The mention in verse 26 to a
destruction of the city and Temple is interpreted as a reference to the
plundering of the Temple in 169 B.C.E. (cf. I Maccabees 1:20-28; II
Maccabees 5:11-15) or 167 B.C.E. (I Maccabees 1:29-35; II Maccabees
5:22-26). The “seventieth week” is taken as a reference to Antiochus and
the renegade Jews who followed him in his attempt to Hellenize Judea
(171/170 - 164 B.C.E.). In this case, Daniel 9:27 would be historically
parallel to the events recorded in Daniel 7:7-8, 23-26; 8:8-25; 11:28-39
(cf. I Maccabees 1:10-15). The middle point of the week is seen as
Antiochus’ attempt to proscribe the cultus. The cessation of the
sacrifical rites was accompanied by the erection of a statue or an altar
dedicated to Zeus Olympus placed on a high porch of the Temple, thus
desecrating it (cf. I Maccabees 1:54-59; II Maccabees 6:1-2), which was
supposed to last 31/2 years.
29The Roman Interpretation argues that the events predicted in Daniel
took place in the Roman period, and as a view is divided between early
Jewish and Christian schools of interpretation. Braverman has
articulated the early Jewish position which is preserved in Jerome’s
Commentary on Daniel.. His research shows that the early Jewish
interpretation rejected the idea that the fulfillment of the seventy
weeks followed the order of the text, but that a sum total of the
recorded “weeks” were accepted as 490 years, and served as a basis for
historical application. The terminus ad quem of the entire seventy-week
period is emperor Hadrian’s establishment of Aelia Capitolina upon the
ruins of the Bar-Kokbha city and Temple (?), and the plowing of the city
with salt by Hadrian’s general Tinus Rufus. Part of the Hadrianic
persecutions included the erestion of an equestrian statue of the
emperor at or overlooking the Holy of Holies, and of a temple built to
Jupiter at the southern court of the Temple complex. This may have been
interpreted as the “abomination of desolation,” however, Jerome’s text
is not specific.The Christian interpretation is generally the same as
the Jewish in terms of finding the seventieth week fulfilled in the
Roman period, except that it views Daniel’s predictions concerning “the
anointed one” as having reference to Jesus as “Messiah.” In this view,
the events of Daniel 9:24-27 include the crucifixion of Jesus and the
destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. Here, some take the
nagid (“prince”) of verse 26 as Jesus, and those that destroy the
Temple, by their iniquity, are the Jews (“the [ethnic] people of the
nagid”), however, most in this school interpret the “prince” as the
Roman general Titus. The “end”(verse 27), is either that of the city or
the “prince.” In this interpretation, verse 27 is parallel to verse 26,
serving as an explanatory addition to show how long after the sixty-nine
weeks the “cutting off” of Messiah in verse 26 will occur. Thus, it is
Messiah that causes the covenant to “prevail,” and his death causes
“sacrifice and grain offering to cease,” i.e., he ends the worship
system under the old economy. The “abomination of desolation” is taken
either as a reference to Titus or to an eschatological judgment.
30Cf. Ronald W. Pierce, “Spiritual Failure, Postponement, and Daniel 9,”
Trinity Journal 10 NS (1989): 211-222. The argument of this
interpretation is based on retaining the Massoretic accentuation (i.e.,
the disjunctive accent at verse 25) and finding a literal fulfillment of
all three segments of the prophecy as follows: 7 weeks (from 605 B.C. to
536 B.C.), 62 weeks (536 B.C. to 104/103 B.C., the reign of Aristobulus
I, the first Hasmonean king), and the one week (94-88 B.C., the
persecution under Alexander Jannaeus). Postponement of the actual
destruction of the city is until the Roman period (A.D. 70), because it
is argued that a gracious reoffer of another “anointed,” i.e., Jesus,
was made to gauge the spiritual responsiveness of the people, upon which
restoration was conditioned. With this failure (rejection of the
Messiah), the postponed judgment was effected. It should be noted that
this proposal, made by an evangelical with a dispensational background
(Talbot School of Theology) and published in a journal of the
premillennial position, disallows both a christological and
eschatological interpretation for this text, claiming the old canard of
“theological bias” for dispensationalists who would argue otherwise
(215, 222). One must ask if there is not a “theological bias” in the
assumption that the literal fulfillment for the city was postponed to
A.D. 70, even though 88 B.C. is the terminus ad quem of the prophecy?
31This view is called eschatological because it interprets at least part
of the seventieth week to have its fulfillment at the eschaton. This
interpretive method may be divided into two variant groups: a symbolic
(or schematic) approach, and an apotelesmatic approach. The first view
takes the seventieth week as heptads of time that are to be understood
symbolically (the numbers 7 and 10 = perfection and completion) and
which will only be experienced at the consummation of all things. This
view, represented, for example, by C.F. Keil, Biblical Commentary on the
Book of Daniel. Translated by M.G. Easton (Grand Rapids: William B.
Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1949), 399-402, and H.C. Leupold, Exposition of
Daniel (Columbus: Wartburg Publishers, 1949), 423-433, sees three
divisions of the seventy weeks: the 7 heptad: in which the decree of
Cyrus returns the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem and Messiah appears, the 62
heptads: in which a spiritual Jerusalem is rebuilt, i.e., the Christian
Church, the 1 heptad: in which the messianic purpose for the Church
appears to fail, since worship of Messiah is “cut off,” due to the
influence of Antichrist, who is destined to be destroyed, thus ending
the third period (verse 27). The second view, the apotelesmatic
approach, is the most widely held of the eschatological interpretations.
It is called apotelesmatic because it sees an interval or parenthesis of
time between the end of the first sixty-nine weeks and the beginning of
the seventieth week (which is fulfilled eschatologically). Several
variations exists within this view: (1) The Sabbatical Year view, in
which weeks are not years, but sabbatical cycles, the final sabbatical
cycle being future. The interval is based on the reference to the
destruction of the Temple in verse 26, but the cessation of on-going
sacrifices in verse 27, pre-supposing a rebuilt Temple in between, cf.
Robert C. Newman, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and the Old Testament
Sabbath-Year Cycle,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 16
(Fall 1973): 229-234. (2) The Double Internal view, in which a
parenthesis occurs after both the first and second division of the
seventy weeks. The first interval occurs after the return of the Jews to
rebuild the Temple and city till about 436 B.C.E. The second interval
follows the “cutting off” of Messiah, verse 26, until the appearance of
the Antichrist, verse 27. This is the final week and it is
eschatological, cf. Allan A. MacRae, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel”
(Paper delivered at the Evangelical Theological Society, Deerfield,
Illinois, 1978), 1-9; (3) The Solar Year and the Prophetic Year views.
These views will be consider together inasmuch as they are essentially
the same except for the type of year used in calculating the “Seventy
Weeks Prophecy,” (i.e., a 365-day “solar year” versus a 360-day
“prophetic year”). Both views reject the pointing of the MT on the
grounds that it is a tenth-century addition, the athnach is often put
where it is unexpected, and does not always indicate a principal break
in the sentence (Numbers 28:19; cf. Genesis 7:13; 25:20; Exodus 35:23;
Leviticus 16:2; Isaiah 49:21; 66:19), and the understanding of passage
is made more complicated (e.g., the “plaza and moat” of verse 25 would
appear to take 434 years to build!). The events from the begining of the
sixty-nine weeks till its close include the career of Messiah up to the
destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. The seventieth week
is then final and eschatological.
32The 457 B.C. date is that of Ezra’s return to Jerusalem in the seventh
year of Artazerxes; cf. Gleason Archer, Daniel. The Expositor’s Bible
Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985) 7:114; L. A. Foster, “The
Chronology of the New Testament,” EBC 1:598-599, 607. The date of 445
B.C. is that of the commission given to Nehemiah in the twentieth year
of Artaxerxes; cf. Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life
of Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977), 116-128.
33This was the conclusion drawn by Norman Porteous, Daniel. Das Alte
Testament Deutsch 23 (Göttingen, 1962), translation: Daniel. A
Commentary. Old Testament Library (Philadelphia: Westminster Press,
1965), 144: “…the end predicted by the author of the book of Daniel did
not come true …” The reason for rejecting the Maccabean interpretation
is that the events of that period simply do not fit Daniel’s
description. Neither the city nor the Temple was destroyed, nor was a
covenant made between Antiochus and the Jews (even the renegade Jews).
The Roman interpretation better fits the historical description of
verses 26-27, however, details must again be pressed beyond the
chronological and historical datum. For an example of the attempts to
reconcile such difficulties cf. Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm, Daniel: A New
Translation with a Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and
Rabbinic Sources. The ArtScroll Tanach Series. Eds. Rabbis Nosson
Scherman and Meir Zlotowitz (New York: Mesorah Publications, Ltd.,
1989), 264-265. The Roman interpretation is accepted by some
dispensationalists who argue for dual fulfillment, as well as by
Seventh-Day Adventist scholar Desmond Ford who argues for an a
non-dispensational futurist interpretation for the 70th week analogous
to the Israel (Church)/Rome (Antichrist) pattern of A.D. 70, cf. Daniel
(New Castle: Desmond Ford Publications, 1980), 201.
34S.R. Driver, Daniel. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (At
the University Press, 1900), 8.
35Lester L. Grabbe, “The End of the Desolations of Jerusalem: From
Jeremiah’s 70 Years to Daniel’s 70 Weeks of Years,” Early Jewish and
Christian Exegesis: Studies in Memory of William Hugh Brownlee. Ed. C.
Evans and W. Stinespring (Scholars Press, 1987), 69. Grabbe in
recognizing this difficulty proposes a compromise interpretation which
still argues for a Maccabean setting, but contends that Daniel 9:24-27
has made use of an older pre-existing oracle, and therefore represents
one of several post-exilic attempts to reconcile the seventy year
Jeremiah prophecy with the historical events (e.g., Zechariah 12:1; 2
Chronicles 36:22-23). In this way he attempts to reconcile the disparate
Maccabean historical references, which are considered as post eventum,
yet appear in Daniel to as ex eventu prophecy. For this reason, those
who hold to the Hasmonean interpretation must postpone the destructive
events of the seventieth week (verse 26) to the Roman period, even
though they contendit was chronologically fulfilled earlier. This is
also a problem for those who attempt to interpret “weeks” as
“sabbatical-cycles,” and make events fit the Maccabean period. Wacholder
admits: “More problematical, however, is the inconsistency of the date
of the placement of the “abomination” in the Temple… Although the
difference between the two datings is only about fifteen or sixteen
months, it does present a serious objection to the calculation, as it is
too large an error for contemporaneous chronology.” He adds concerning
his approach: “…This method would reduce Daniel’s departure from the
historical date to ten months, perhaps a permissible deviation in a
chronomessianic book,” Ben Zion Wacholder, “Chronomessianism: The Timing
of Messianic Movements and the Calendar of Sabbatical Cycles,” Hebrew
Union College Annual 46 (1975): 208-209.
36John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Vision of the Book of Daniel. Harvard
Semitic Monographs 16. Ed. Frank Moore Cross (Montana: Scholars Press,
1977), 175-176. Spatial imagery is employed in biblical literature to
express dimensions of experience, especially with regard to heavenly
mysteries. By contrast, the chronological emphasis of Daniel 9 limits
the expression to the historic future expectation.
37Interestingly, the Jewish commentator, Rashi, says that “the end of
the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem will be a total destruction through
the promised Messiah,” and that the “desolation decreed” for the City is
“ after the final wars waged by the Messianic king and the war of Gog
and Magog,” cf. Daniel. Artscroll Tanach Series, 264.
38Cf. G.R. Beasley-Murray, “The Two Messiahs in the Testaments of the 12
Patriarchs,” Journal of Theological Studies 48 (1947): 1-12.
39See further, Eugene E. Carpenter, “The Eschatology of Daniel Compared
with the Eschatology of Selected Intertestamental Documents” (Ph.D.
dissertation: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1978).
40Cf. 1QS 1:22-24; 3:13-4:26;1 9:16; 10:19; QH 5:36; 50:5; CD 6:10, 15;
13:14 1QpHab 5: 7-8; 1QM 1:4-7; 3:21-22).
41 See my chapter on "Prophecy and the Dead Sea Scrolls," as well as my
material on the use of Daniel in the scrolls in my book Secrets of the
Dead Sea Scrolls (Eugene: Harvest House, 1996), pp. 152-53, 157-63, 178,
42The views of these early church fathers are preserved in Jerome’s
commentary. Representing an apotelesmatic approach are: Africanus,
Hippolytus, Appollinarius of Laodicea, Eusebius, and Tertullian. The
earliest recorded futurist teaching on this text is that by Irenaeus (c.
180), who was the teacher of Hippolytus, cf. Against Heresies 5. xxiv. 4
in The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson
(Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, Reprint, 1985), I: 554.
43For a full discussion cf. Louis E. Knowles, “The Interpretation of the
Seventy Weeks of Daniel in the Early Fathers,” Westminster Theological
Journal 7 (May, 1945): 140-159. Eusebius, for example, an opponent of
the futurist interpretation who believed that the events of the 70th
week were fulfilled during the life of Christ, nevertheless held that
the 70th week did not consecutively follow the 69th week, but was
postponed for an “indeterminate space of time” in which the events of
verse 26 were being fulfilled.
44E.g., the raz-pesher (“mystery-interpretation”) employed at Qumran was
an apocalyptic-revelatory form of exegesis following the Danielic
pattern of the seventy weeks, rather than the rabbinic midrashic mode,
cf. Richard Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period
(Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1975), 41-42; F.F. Bruce, Biblical
Exegesis in the Qumran Texts (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1960),
45In this work by Rabbi Jose, the first seven weeks are related to the
exile and return, the next sixty-two weeks are in the Land, and the
final week predicts a period partially spent in the Land and partially
spent in exile.
46There is general agreement among scholars that Daniel should be
divided as: chapters 1-6, consisting primarily of historical narration,
and chapters 7-12, consisting of visions concerning the future kingdoms
of the world and of YHWH, cf. David W. Gooding, “The Literary Structure
of the Book of Daniel and Its Implications,” Tyndale Bulletin 32 (1981):
47E.g., hashomem (”desolations”), verse 17-18, marad (“transgression”),
verse 9, ‘avin (“iniquity”), verses 5, 13, 16, chata’ (“sin”), verses 5,
8, 11, 20, miqedash (“Sanctuary”), verse 17 (cf. verse 20), ‘ir
(“city”), verse 19, ‘am (“people”), verses 19-20, and torat Moshe (“Law
of Moses”), verses 11, 13.
48Daniel as a member of the exilic community, would have had both the
writings of Ezekiel and Jeremiah greatly affected his thinking. This
fact is supported by the internal evidence of the book which depicts
Daniel studying Jeremiah’s prophecy in order to determine the end of the
desolations (Daniel 9:2).
49Other language and themes in Daniel are also found in the prophets,
e.g., Ezekiel the departure of the Shekinah (chapters 10-11) signals the
defilement of the Temple and its impending destruction. In Ezekiel 9:8
the prophetic judgments leveled against Jerusalem in the form of war,
pestilence, and famine are such that Ezekiel fears that the whole
remnant of Israel will utterly perish. Similar scenes are mirrored in
Jeremiah (cf. 7:32-34), Lamentations (cf. 1:4-5, 8-10, 16; 2:6-10, 20;
5:18), and some of the Psalms (cf. e.g., 74:1-7; 79:1-7). These were
also reinforced by the historical and theological reviews and warnings
of the post-exilic prophets, who likewise rehearsed the eschatological
battle to come against Jerusalem (e.g. Zechariah 14:2).
50For the argument against Daniel 9:4-20 as a late interpolation and in
support of the unity of chapter 9, including the prayer and the Seventy
Weeks Prophecy, cf. B.W. Jones, “The Prayer in Daniel 9,” Vetus
Testamentum 18 (1968): 488.
51The Jewish commentators Abarbanel and Malbim understood the reference
of the seventy weeks as an additional interpretation of the seventy
years of Jeremiah (thus, seventy weeks were meant as seventy weeks of
years). The Malbim adds that Jeremiah’s prophecy had a dual meaning:
first, the 70 year exile had satisfied the punishment for the
desecration of the seventy sabbatical years (Leviticus 26:34; 2
Chronicles 36:21), but, second, other sins in addition to the violation
of the sabbatical law (e.g., idolatry, bloodshed, licentiousness, cf.
Yoma 96), would require the full period of 490 years for atonement as
prescribed in Daniel 9:24.
52Cf. Jacques Doukhan, “The Seventy Weeks of Dan. 9: An Exegetical
Study,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 17 (Spring, 1979): 8.
53Cf. John E. Goldingay, Daniel. Word Biblical Commentary 30. Ed. John
Watts (Dallas: Word Books, 1989), p. 258, who says: “It does not have a
worldwide perspective; it is not speaking of the end of all history, or
of the sin of the whole world. Daniel is returning to ‘salvation
history’ from the secular history that dominated chaps. 7-8 and will
dominate chaps. 10-12. His moving between these two reflects the fact
that both are of God.” Goldingay is correct in his limiting the stage of
this fulfillment to Israel, however, if, as he says, the events
concerning the goal of the seventy weeks are at once exclusively
Israel‘s history, and yet also ‘salvation history,’ then how can this
fulfillment be isolated from a universal effect? One of Daniel’s primary
interests is the future outcome of the kingdoms of the world, which have
at their nexus the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.
54For the different eschatological interpretations of these goals cf.
e.g., C.F. Keil, Daniel in C.F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on
the Old Testament. Reprint (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976),
341-350, who sees the goals in a reciprocal relationship: the first
three goals as negative (taking away sin), with the last three as
positive (bringing in everlasting righteousness), and Robert A.
Anderson, Signs and Wonders: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Grand
Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984), pp. 113-114, who views the goals as
parallel, Jacques Doukhan, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9: An Exegetical
Study,” 10-15, who views the goals as part of the chiastic structure of
55The term kala’ means to “terminate” or “complete,” while hatem has the
idea of “making whole,” i.e., “completing.” This is the end of a
condition that is described by the objects as “the rebellion,” i.e., the
rejection of the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 53:1-9; Zechariah 12:10), and
innate sin (chata’), i.e., sin which prevents ritual purity (cf. Isaiah
27:9; Ezekiel 36:25-27; 37:23; cf. Romans 11:27).
56In line 51 we read: lmsf rs’‘ (“to bring Evil to an end”), cf. Robert
Eisenman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (Massachuttes:
Element, 1992), 67-68.
57Scherman and Zlotowitz, Daniel. The Artscroll Tanach Series, 260. One
reason for this interpretation is because these commentators believed
that Jewish suffering would atone for ther transgression. Abarbanel
noted that the return to Jerusalem and even the rebuilding of the Second
Temple did not bring the expected redemption nor atone for past sins,
since it was itself a part of the exile and atonement. He held that the
real and complete redemption was still far off in history, and thus not
yet fulfilled according to Daniel’s prophecy.
58Some dispensationalist argue that each of these six elements are to be
treated separately and not to be fixed or combined arbitrarily (e.g.,
John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The key to Prophetic Revelation, 220-221).
They hold that the goals relating to sin and the atonement were
fulfilled with the death of Christ, even though the application to
Israel will be made in the future (i.e., the first three goals are
Christ coming to redeem, the last three goals are Christ coming to
reign”). Other dispensationalists see Israel’s transgression as brought
to completion over the course of time at the end of the seventy weeks
(e.g.,. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical
Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Co., 1971), 172. The
problem for the position of a partial (or dual) fulfillment is the lack
of hermeneutical control, for the text itself suggests no chronological
separations in fulfillment. Therefore, another approach is to take
these six infinitives as representing a six-fold goal, treating them as
a unit, rather than as individual goals partially or separately
fulfilled at different times. The options, then, are to take the
six-fold goal as either completely fulfilled in the first-century or in
the eschatological future. J. Barton Payne, “The Goal of Daniel’s
Seventy Weeks,” The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 21
(June 1978): 97-115, is an example of one who argues for the first
option. The major weaknesses of Payne’s argument are: (1) his use of qdx
for imputation does not fit the predominent use, especially in the
exilic period, as “vindication,” also as defined by messianic
restoration expectation, (2) he has not demonstrated that these events
took place within the historically complete period, and (3) he does not
explain the futuristic perspective of the New Testament allusions to
Daniel 9. The second option gains support from an examination of the
terminology of these goals in relation to Jewish apocalyptic literature
(especially the Dead Sea literature), which appear to have employed the
seventy weeks as an interpretive guide for their expectation of
messianic fulfillment at the eschaton (which they assumed was imminent).
While such Jewish apocalyptic writers are not part of the inspired
canon, they do present a useful comparative hermeneutical model.
59Cf. e.g., on tzedeq ‘olamim (“everlasting righteousness”) 11QPsa
col. xxii. Here in an apocryphal psalm addressed to Zion (Jerusalem)
concerning the anticipated deliverance from Gentile domination (as in
Daniel 9) it is written: “May you attain everlasting righteousness,”
60This translation is in accord with restoration usage and, e.g., the
parallelism with “salvation” in Isaiah 1:27; 46:13; and 51:1-8.
61Cf., the Artscroll commentary on Daniel (261): “‘to bring in
everlasting righteousness’ - It will usher in the epoch of the Messianic
62The “sealing of the prophetic vision” (a hendiadys), like the sealing
of other documents in the ancient Near East, was for authenication or
confirmation (cf. 1 Kings 21:8). The sense then is that of the
fulfillment of prophecy, just as in goal number two the same infinitive
(i.e., the kethiv) was used in relation to the fulfillment (or end) of
sin (cf. the keri). This would also be the sense in Daniel 12:4, 9; cf.
6:17. The fulfillment of the restoration as prophesied by Jeremiah,
then, could only be eschatological, since no such restoration was ever
experienced by the Nation. An alternate ancient view, found both at
Qumran and in Sotah 48b, interprets this phrase as “the end of the era
of prophecy” (i.e., the beginning of the Second Temple). This view,
however, has difficulty reconciling with the context of Daniel 12:9:
“the end time,” i.e., the time of the resurrection [of Old Testament
saints] (verse 13). An alternative interpretation sees the terms
“vision” and “prophecy” as refering respectively to oral and written
prophecy and views their function as being fulfilled or finished at the
63Though the term for restoration was conditioned on the Mosaic covenant
(Deuteronomy 4:23-29; Jeremiah 29:13-14), the effecting of the
restoration was based on the unconditional Abrahamic covenant
(Deuteronomy 4:30-31; Genesis 17:7-8). The theological resolution is
found in the national regeneration of Israel to spiritually fulfill
these conditions (Ezekiel 36:24-31; 37:13-14, 23).
64Cf. P. Grelot, “Soixante-dix semaines d’années,” Biblica 50 (1969),
65The Masoretic accents, called ta’mim (“meanings,” literally “taste”),
are written signs designed to preserve the oral tradition of
accentuation, which originally could not be introduced into the written
text of the Bible itself (since it would be considered an addition to
the sacred text), but later were incorporated into the text when it was
transmitted in the form of a codex (a copy of the Bible not in scroll
form), between the sixth to the ninth centuries A.D. The accents are
helpful as musical notations (which indicated logical pauses), for
punctuation, and as interpretive commentary, cf. further Aron Dotan,
“Masorah,” Encyclopedia Judaica 16:1402-1482.
66This view, called “the double internal view,” was first proposed by
Allan MacRae in a paper delivered at the 1978 meeting of the Evangelical
Theological Society in Deerfield, Illinois. Dr. MacRae had planned to
further develop the position in an article, however, acquaintances have
informed me that no such work was completed, and attempts to secure a
copy of the original lecture have proved unfruitful. For a published
overview of the view cf. Paul D. Feinberg, “An Exegetical and
Theological Study of Daniel 9:24-27,” Tradition and Testament, 210-211.
67Masoretic accentuation is interpretive, based either on a personal
view, or previous knowledge of a traditional reading, informed by
earlier commentary. While an important aid in historical interpretation,
it should not be elevated above the opinions of early commentators,
which it reflects.
68Cf. William Wickes, Two Treaties on the Accentuation of the Old
Testament. The Library of Biblical Studies. Ed. Harry Orlinsky (New
York: KTAV Publishing House, Reprint, 1970), 2:40 states: “In cases of
specification, we often find the proper logical or syntactical division
- particularly the latter - neglected, and the main musical pause
introduced between the details or particulars given. Distinctness of
enunciation, and emphasis (where necessary), were thus secured. The
pause was introduced where it seemed likely to be most effective. Thus,
logical division is disregarded … Syntactical clauses are treated in the
same way, and subject, object, &c. are cut in two - or members that
belong together, separated - by dichotomy. (A logical pause may occur in
the verse or not.).”
69Other examples include Genesis 7:13; 25:20; Exodus 35:23; Leviticus
16:2 Numbers 28:19; Isaiah 49:21; 66:19.
70Cf. Thomas E. McComiskey, “The Seventy ‘Weeks’ of Daniel Against the
Background of Ancient Near Eastern Literature,” Westminster Theological
Journal 47 (1958): 19. It is known that early rabbinic interpretation of
Daniel 9 was messianic (e.g., Ibn Ezra’s statement: “…there is a clear
account given of the Messiah in the prophecy of Daniel”), and this was
followed even by later mediaeval commentators (cf. Maimonides, Igeret
Teiman, 3. 24. Cf. further, Risto Santala, The Messiah in the Old
Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Translated by William
Kinnaird (Jerusalem: Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1992), 95-107.
71Rashi, for example, breaks down the seventy weeks as follows: seven
weeks before the reign of the anointed prince; sixty-two full weeks from
his accession to the throne, and one divided week, part before and part
after his accession.
72Cf. Roger T. Beckwith, “Daniel 9 and the Date of Messiah’s Coming in
Essene, Hellenistic, Pharisaic, Zealot and Early Christian Computation,”
Revue de Qumran 10 (1981): 522. For a discussion of the Old Greek on
this question of division cf. the Sharon Pace Jeansonne, The Old Greek
Translation of Daniel 7-12. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph
Series 19 (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America, 1988),
pp. 127-129 and F.F. Bruce, “The Earliest Old Testament Interpretation,”
Old Testament Studies 17 (1972): 44.
73Cf. Jacques Doukhan, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9: An Exegetical
75Cf. William H. Shea, “Poetic Relations of the Time Periods in Daniel
9:25,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 18:1 (1980): 59-63.
76We have followed the general concensus of interpreters who would see
verse 26 depicting the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Second
Temple in A.D. 70 and verse 27 depicting an eschatological desecration
of the Third Temple. However, since both of these events take place
after the sixty-ninth week, it is possible to interpret both as
eschatological. This position is defended, e.g., by G.H. Lang, The
Histories and Prophecies of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications,
1973), 135-138. He argues that the A.D. 70 event would not have taken
place within the 490 year period, and that the destruction of the city
in verse 26 agrees more favorably with such references as Zechariah
14:1-2 which describe the armies of Antichrist, who is the Desecrator in
verse 27. This would give a “more natural force to the term’the people
of the coming prince’ [in verse 26]. Consistent with this view, Lang
would also deny a reference to the A.D. 70 destruction in the Olivet
Discourses of the synoptic gospels.
77Klaus Koch has argued cogently for these three divisions, and
especially for the eschatological interpretation of the final one week
in light of intertestamental Judaism and apocalyptic literature, cf.
“Die Weltreiche im Danielbuch,” Theologische Literaturzeitung 85 (1960):
892-832; “Spätisraelitisches Geschichtsdenken am Beispiel des Buches
Daniel,” Historische Zeitschrift 193 (1961): 1-32; The Rediscovery of
Apocalyptic. Studies in Biblical Theology 2/22 (Naperville: Allenson,
78For a study of earlier classical dispensational discussions of this
concept, cf. Alva J. McClain, “The Parenthesis of Time between the
Sixty-Ninth and Seventieth Weeks,” Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy
Weeks (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1960), 23-40, H. A.
Ironsides, The Great Parenthesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1940); J.
Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Dunham, 1958), 246-250;
John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago:
Moody Press, 1971), 228-237.
79Cf. Robert Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan, 1973), 189-190.
80Matthew (and Mark) present the answer to the disciples' question
concerning the end of the age whose identifying sign is the "Abomination
of Desolation" with respect to the Temple. Luke’s explicit omission of
this signal event is one of the reasons it is believed that at this
point in his narrative he is focusing on the fall of Jerusalem in A.D.
70 rather than the eschatological end of the age.
81For this reason consistent preterists must interpret Christ’s coming
as having occurred in A.D. 70. To do so, however, requires the
employment of a non-literal and historical hermeneutic, since the events
cannot be reconcilled with either the literal interpretation of the Old
Testament citations and allusions in the Olivet Discourse or the actual
events of the destruction.
82Jesus’ use of the Temple desecration motif from Daniel 9:27 employs
the traditional apocalyptic theme of escalating apostasy, climaxed by
the appearance of the Antichrist (equivalent to the apocalyptic figure
Belial/Beliar), recognized through the “abomination of desolation.” This
desecration motif sets the stage with the scene of further persection
and apostasy, until with a second section, the Deliverer comes with all
the attendant apocalyptic signs hearlding the expected national
restoration, which is commenced by the regathering of the scattered
Jewish Remnant. Jesus stands in the tradition of the writing prophets,
especially Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the post-exilic prophets, in that
his motifs largely complement the vast assortment of apocalyptic writing
that preceeded him, cf. J. Randall Price, “The Desecration and
Restoration of the Temple as an Eschatological Motif in the Tanach,
Jewish Apocalyptic Literature, and the New Testament” (Ph.D.
dissertation: The University of Texas at Austin, 1993).
83Cf. Annie Jaubert, La Notion d’Alliance dans le Judaisme . Patristica
Sorbonensia 6 (Paris: Seuil, 1963), pp. 82-85; Robert Hanhart,
“Kriterien Geschichtlicher Warheit in der Makkabäerzeit,” Drei Studien
zum Judentum. Theologische Existenz Heute 140 (Müchen: Kaiser, 1967),
84Cf. Enno Janssen, Das Gottesvolk und seine Geschichte
(Neukirchen-Vluyn: Erziehungsverein, 1971), 51-54.
85See further, Thomas Ice and Randall Price, Ready to Rebuild: The
Imminent Plan to Rebuild the Last Days Temple (Harvest House, 1992),
86For example, Jesus’ “cleansing” of the Temple in light of Jeremiah’s
Temple sermon, and Jesus’ frequent teaching in the Temple precincts,
reveals that His intention was not to curse the Temple, but to see it
properly restored, cf. Kenneth A. Matthews, “John, Jesus and the
Essenes: Trouble at the Temple,” Criswell Theological Review 3:1 (Fall,
1988): 101-126. It was commonly believed at this time (e.g., by the
Qumran community) that the Second Temple was not the Restoration Temple
(of Ezekiel’s vision, chapters 40-48), and that a new Temple was needed
to replace the defiled Herodian edifice (cf. 11QT, the Temple Scroll),
cf. further Markus Bockmuehl, “Why Did Jesus Predict the Destruction of
the Temple?,” Crux XXV: 3 (September, 1989), 11-17and E.P. Sanders,
Jesus and Judaism (London: SCM Press, 1985), 85-88.
87See further on the Millennial Temple from a Dispensational
Premillennial perspective, John Schmidt and Carl Laney, Messiah's Coming
Temple (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishing Co., 1997).
88The whole book of Daniel may be patterned on an A:B:A
(Hebrew-Aramaic-Hebrew) chiasm centered around the theme of the judgment
of proud rulers.
89Cf. James A. Montgomery, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the
Book of Daniel. ICC (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1927/1972), 385.
90The verb higebbir (from the root gbr, “to be strong, mighty”) is in
the Hiphil and can mean “to strengthen,” with the resulting translation
(taking berit, “covenant”as the object) being: “to confirm a covenant”
(either a new or an existing one), or “to make a strong/firm covenant,”
cf. H. Kosmala, “gbr,” Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Eds.
Botterweck and Ringgren (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1975) 2:
368. Support for the former translation, “confirm,” may be had from a
comparative use in the Qumran literature (1QH 8.35). Goldingay, 226,
228, prefers the translation “prevail,” taking ”covenant” as the
subject, based on a similar usage in Psalm 12:5; cf. 1QH 2.24. If this
is the case, then the Antichrist ratifies the Abrahamic Covenant by
giving the Jews uncontested sovereignty over the Land (especially
Jerusalem), with the rebuilding of the Temple being the verification of
this independence. On the other hand, if this is a new covenant made
with the Antichrist, then it may be in relation to the rebuilding of the
Temple, since it is through his desecration of the Temple that it is
91The waw on ‘ad (usually “until”) should be taken as pleonastic
(“namely”), and kalah …tittak as a hendiadys, so that the idea is of a
“decreed” or “appointed end” (Niphal of charatz = “things determined”)
for shomem (“[the] desolator”) is understood.
92For a full discussion of this position, cf. George M. Harton, “An
Interpretation of Daniel 11:36-45,” GTJ 4:2 (Fall, 1983): 205-231.
93The fall of the Western empire did not occur until A.D. 476, and even
if one dates the fall to the conquest of christendom with the conversion
of Constantine I, the date is still A.D. 313 (the Edict of Mediolanum).
94The complete destruction of the Desecrator, the embodiment of
rebellion and transgression, is foretold (goal number 1), which may
serve as a prelude to the bringing in of “everlasting righteousness”
(goal number 4). Too, the Temple (the Holy of Holies is in view in the
words “wing” and “abominations”), which has been desecrated calls for
re-consecration, i.e., “anointing” (goal number 6).
95John A. McClean, “The Seventieth Week of Daniel 9:27 as a Literary
Key for Understanding the Structure of the Apocalypse of John,” 121-185,
cf. chart (186).
97The six sections of the book of Revelation according to McClean are:
(1) Prologue (chap. 1); (2) Letters to the Seven Churches (chaps. 3-4);
(3) God’s Great Tribulation (chaps. 4-19); (4) Kingdom of God (chap.
20); (5) New Jerusalem (chaps. 21-22:5); (6) Epilogue (chap. 22:6-21).
98This was apparently the methodology employed by the early church
fathers who had not systematized their observations, and therefore could
not be accused of interpretive bias.
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