(from Bible Prophecy Revealed: 2023, by Michael D. Fortner)
(1) Daniel 9:24-26
The correct interpretation of Daniel 9 proves that the Antichrist does not come to power by bringing world peace, or sign a 7-year peace agreement; that is a misinterpretation. This passage also reveals important information about when the Jews will convert to Christianity.
This first section contains a detailed analysis of some deeper issues within the study of Daniel’s prophecies. I will piece together some clues to find out what this passage in Daniel actually means. There is a lot of information that can be expounded upon in Daniel 9, but I will deal only with the main points.
The angel Gabriel gave Daniel a time-frame of God’s unfolding plan for the Jews, but it includes some surprising information about the New Covenant. Within this time-frame are three separate periods that add up to 490 years:
24 “Seventy weeks have been determined for your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
25 “Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the command to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the Prince Messiah shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. It shall be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of trouble. (Dan. 9:24-25)
This refers to weeks of years. So one week of years is 7 years; (70 weeks x 7 years)= 490 years. When those years are completed, the Jews must and will, have completed the prophesied events.
These seventy 7-year periods are divided into three segments. One period of 7 weeks of years (7 x 7 = 49), and 62 weeks of years (62 x 7 = 434), for a total of 483 years. These years are biblical years; which is 12 months of 30 days each, or 360 days. The period of 483 years has already taken place, and many Bible scholars believe the final 7 years are not accounted for, and will be the 7 years prior to the return of Christ; which is the reason they believe the Great Tribulation will last for 7 years. But there is Scriptural evidence that Daniel’s 70th week is already one-half completed, which means there remains for the Jews 1,260 days to complete the requirements of the prophecy. Daniel 9 continues:
25 “Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the command to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until the Prince Messiah shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. (v25)
At the end of 483 years, “until the Prince Messiah” will come. This points to the start of Christ’s ministry, not the end at the crucifixion. But you may say, the word “comes” is not in the Hebrew or the KJV, “unto the Prince Messiah shall be seven weeks.” True, but that is what “unto” means; when he arrives, not when he leaves. Since he began his ministry at this point, then his 3.5-year ministry is the first half of the 70th week.
Daniel 9 continues:
26 After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off and shall have nothing. . . . (Dan. 9:26)
It was 483 years to the start of Christ’s ministry, and some time “after” that, he was “cut-off,” that is, crucified. It does not say Messiah will be cut-off at the end of the 69th week, but after the end of the 69th week. He was cut off 3.5 years after the end of the 69th week, or in the middle of the 70th week. Verse 26 continues:
And the troops of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall come with a flood. And until the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26)
The “prince who will come” is not Jesus, although the wording might lead one to that assumption. Most translations say, “the people” of the prince, but the MEV understands that they are soldiers and calls them troops. This must refer to the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D., which means the prince is Titus. The desolations that were decreed included the scattering of the Jews into other nations because of their rebellion against Rome and God. This scattering is called the Diaspora, or dispersion.
(2) Daniel 9:27
In the above verse 26, reference is made to two different people. The first sentence refers to Jesus, the Anointed One; the second and third sentences to the “ruler” of the Romans and his troops. Likewise, verse 27 also refers first to the Messiah, then to the Antichrist. Here is the first part:
27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. . . .
The Pre-tribulational view of Daniel 9:27 is that it refers to the Antichrist making a 7-year agreement with Israel, then breaking it in the middle, and stopping the Jewish sacrifice in the Temple that is expected to be rebuilt. Only a few Bible interpreters believe that it refers to Jesus instituting the New Covenant, and bringing an end to Old Covenant sacrifice and offering; but there is strong evidence for this view.
The covenant will be with “many,” but there are only a few million Jews in Israel. According to the Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, the original text “indicates ‘the many’ rather than ‘many’” (V.1, p.1389). The NAS translation says “the many.” If it refers to the Jews, why didn’t it just say so? But “the many” refers to a particular group that did not exist when Daniel was written.
Isaiah 53 describes Jesus with such well known passages as, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (53:5). That chapter goes on to say, “My righteous servant shall justify the many, for he shall bear their iniquities. . . . he bore the sin of many” (53:11-12). Jesus said he came “to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28); and “this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Mat. 26:28). The book of Hebrews says, “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (9:28). And Paul said:
For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One the many will be made righteous. (Rom. 5:19)
. . . not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:33)
Therefore, “the many” can only refer to those who will be included in the New Covenant. Notice that Daniel’s 70 weeks include “bring[ing] in everlasting righteousness,” and sealing up prophecy; so it must include the conversion of the Jews.
It says he will “make a firm covenant.” Some Bible commentators want us to believe that the Antichrist will make a 7-year agreement with modern Israel, and then break it in the middle. That does not sound like a firm covenant. The New Covenant is very firm, because it is “everlasting” (Dan. 9:24).
More than one great Bible expositor believed it was Jesus who confirmed the covenant through his miracles and preaching, such as Albert Barnes, author of Barnes’ Notes on The Bible. He said of this passage:
. . . the last one week is again subdivided in such a way, that, while it is said that the whole work of the Messiah in confirming the covenant would occupy the entire week, yet that he would be cut off in the middle of the week . . .
The idea is that of giving strength, or stability; of making firm and sure. The Hebrew word here evidently refers to the “covenant” which God is said to establish with his people . . . to denote the laws and institutions of the true religion – the laws which God has made for his church; . . . The more correct interpretation, therefore, is to refer it to the Messiah, who is the principal subject of the prophecy . . .
The ministry of the Saviour himself was wholly among the Jews, and his work was what would, in their common language, be spoken of as “confirming the covenant;” . . .
Barnes also believed that this passage speaks about the end of the Old Covenant sacrifice and offering, which is why the Jews have not been able to rebuild their Temple. Jesus confirmed the covenant for 3.5 years, then he was crucified, which put an end to the Old Covenant sacrifice and offerings, “But in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease” (v27). Jesus did this by his death on the cross. The New Covenant is now in effect, which is an everlasting covenant with many people.
But the text says he will confirm the covenant for seven years; some commentators, like Barnes, believed the 70th week is continuous. But if the Apostles continued confirming the covenant for the last half of the 70th week, then everything mentioned in Daniel 9 would be fulfilled, but it has not been. The Jews must still “anoint the Most Holy” (KJV, NKJV) which is their official acceptance of Jesus as their Messiah. It does not refer to the Holy Place in the Temple; some translations say “Holy Place” but they are adding the word “Place.” It refers to the Messiah, not a literal Temple.
The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on this verse says:
Much older, more general, and also nearer the truth, is the explanation which refers these words to the anointing of the Messiah, an explanation which is established by various arguments. The translation of the lxx, καὶ εὐφράναι ἅγιον ἁγίων, and of Theodoret, τοῦ χρῖσαι ἅγιον ἁγίων, the meaning of which is controverted, is generally understood by the church Fathers as referring to the Messiah. Theodoret sets it forth as undoubtedly correct, and as accepted even by the Jews; and the old Syriac translator has introduced into the text the words, “till the Messiah, the Most Holy.”
Other events also must happen in order for all of prophecy to become sealed up, or fulfilled. How could all prophecy about the Jews be fulfilled before the middle of the first century? Nor had the final Antichrist come, which is mentioned in Daniel 7. Since those prophecies have not been fulfilled, the remainder of the week has not been completed.
Even fewer commentators believe that the 70th week stopped with the crucifixion of Jesus and will continue at the end of the age. Halley’s Bible Handbook relates this point of view:
The date from which the 70 weeks was to be counted was the decree to re-build Jerusalem, v.25. There were three decrees issued by Persian kings for this purpose, (536 B.C., 457 B.C., 444 B.C., see under Ezra). The principal one of these was 457 B.C.
. . . This 483 years is the period between the decree to re-build Jerusalem and the coming of the “Anointed One” (v25). The decree to re-build Jerusalem, as noted above, was 457 B C. Adding 483 years to 457 B.C. brings us to A.D. 26, 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,” (v24, 26, 27).
Thus Daniel foretold not only the Time at which the Messiah would appear, but also the Duration of his Public Ministry, and his Atoning Death for Human Sin.
Some think that God’s chronology was suspended at the death of Christ, to remain so while Israel is scattered, and that the last half of the “one week” belongs to the time of the End. (4th Ed., 1995)
Both Barnes and Halley likely consulted the Geneva Study Bible (GSB) of 1560, because it presents a similar view, that Christ came at the conclusion of the 69th week and confirmed the covenant for the first half of the 70th week:
In this week of the seventy [the final week], will Christ come and preach and suffer death.
Concerning, “shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease,” the GSB says, “Christ accomplished this by his death and resurrection.” Whoever decided to abandon this sound hermeneutic and make the passage refer to the Antichrist went way off the mark. But they had to abandon this early view; otherwise, they could not preach their Pre-tribulation Rapture theory.
Since some of the events mentioned in Daniel 9 have not yet happened, the last half of the week must still be future. Nowhere in the book of Revelation does it say anything about a seven-year period, but only 1260 days, which is 3.5 biblical years, and is explained shortly. But even though it may appear to be the same period, as I once believed, I now believe that the 3.5 years in Revelation is not the same period as the last half of the 70th week, because the 70 weeks are only for the Jews.
(3) Conversion of the Jews
Most Bible commentaries say that the Jews will convert at the return of Christ, but there is evidence in the Scriptures that a fair number of them will be converted before the start of the Great Tribulation. Sir Robert Anderson, in his book, The Coming Prince, first published in 1889, discovered that God’s time-clock stopped anytime the Jews were not in a proper relationship with God.
In 1 Kings 6:1, it says Solomon began to build the temple in the 480th year after the children of Israel came out of Egypt, which does not appear to be accurate. Anderson added up the times when the Israelites were enslaved to foreign powers: 8 years to the king of Mesopotamia, 18 years to Moab, 20 years to Canaan, 7 years to the Midianites, and 40 years to the Philistines; which equals 93. When you add 93 to 480, it comes to the correct number of 573 years.
It is obvious, therefore, that the 480 years of the book of Kings from the Exodus to the temple is a mystic era formed by eliminating every period during which the people were cast off by God. (Chapter 7)
Mr. Anderson believed it means God’s time-clock stopped when Christ was crucified, and will begin again when the Jews become a nation again. But the times when Israel were enslaved to a foreign power did not require removal to another land, and did not always include removal. Only the Kings of Assyria and Babylon removed the Israelites.
When we apply the information that God’s prophetic time-clock stops when the Jews are not in proper relationship with God, then this explains why there is a gap in Daniel’s 70th week. God’s prophetic time-clock stopped when the Jews rejected Messiah. Therefore, it means God’s prophetic time-clock and the 70th week cannot begin again until a good number of the Jews accept Messiah.
All of the Jews did not reject Messiah, only a large number. Likewise, a large number will accept Messiah, then the last half of the week will begin. There are many Jews around the world who are accepting their Messiah, with hundreds of Messianic Jewish congregations in the U.S. and in Israel. There are already an estimated 1 million Messianic Jews in the world, with 200,000 in the U.S. and 20,000 in Israel. But there will remain a large number who will not accept Messiah until shortly before his return.
It should also be noted that Jesus actually said he will not return until they convert; “you shall not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matt. 23:39). This means they will not see Christ until they convert. The common teaching among evangelical churches today, is that the Jews will not convert until they see Christ; this is the exact opposite of what Jesus literally said. This is also seen in a prophecy by Hosea:
I will again return to My place until they acknowledge their offense and seek My face. In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. (Hosea 5:15)
This means Christ will remain in Heaven until the Jews repent. They will finally accept Christ during “their affliction;” while they are being persecuted by the Antichrist during the GT. When Peter preached to the Jews in the book of Acts, he said that they will need to convert before Christ will return:
Therefore repent and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away . . . 20 and that He may send the One who previously was preached to you, Jesus Christ, 21 whom the heavens must receive until the time of restoring what God spoke through all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)
The NET says, “that he may send the Messiah appointed for you.” I don’t see how anyone can teach that the Jews will not convert until Christ returns, with such clear passages as these, that say the exact opposite.
Similarly, Paul said when the Jews convert, it will result in the resurrection of the dead, “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15). So, the Rapture, or at least the final Rapture, cannot happen before they convert. This is powerful evidence against the Pre-trib theory.
In addition, Paul said that Israel will be blind to the truth “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25). This means that when the full number of Gentiles accepts Christ, then all Israel will be saved. But the Pre-trib theory says the Rapture will take place 7 years before Israel is saved. Wrong!
Even Daniel 9 tells us that they must accept Messiah during the 70 weeks; that is, before the 70 weeks can be completed: “to make an end of sins . . . to anoint the most holy.” There is no possible way that they can do that after the 70 weeks. All things mentioned in the text must take place before the end of the 70 weeks. Therefore, the Jews in Israel must convert before the end of the final half of the 70th week, which is before Messiah returns.
A footnote in Mr. Anderson’s book says, “The servitude of Judges 10:7, 9 affected only the tribes beyond Jordan, and did not suspend Israel’s national position.” This means that all of the Jews do not have to convert, only a large number living in the land of Israel. There will still be millions of Jews around the world who may not convert until Christ returns.
This passage of Daniel totally destroys the Pre-trib Rapture theory, and the teaching that there will be a tribulation Temple. The Jews will never rebuild the Temple before the return of Christ, and they will not accept the Antichrist as Messiah! The Abomination of Desolation is explained in another chapter, as well as more evidence against a tribulation Temple.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, wrote about Daniel 9:27 before the modern theories about it were developed:
Christ confirmed the new covenant by the testimony of angels, of John the Baptist, of the wise men, of the saints then living, of Moses and Elias. By his preaching, by signs and wonders, by his holy life, by his resurrection and ascension. By his death and blood shedding. Shall cause the sacrifice to cease— All the Jewish rites, and Levitical worship. By his death he abrogated, and put an end to this laborious service forever. (John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible)
All the above is powerful evidence that the crucifixion of Christ ended the sacrifice and offering in the middle of the final week, and that Jesus established the covenant with preaching and miracles. Since Jesus is said to confirm the covenant for 7 years, but his ministry only lasted 3.5 years; it means that the final 3.5 years will be confirmed by one or more persons on earth today who will receive the mantel of the Lord for 3.5 years. He, or they, will be able to perform the same miracles that Jesus performed, as if Jesus were here in person.
(4) Daniel 12: Time of the End
All of Daniel 12 speaks of the Great Tribulation:
“And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who shall be found written in the book. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, but others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (12:1-2)
“At that time” tells us when people will be delivered, and the dead will come back to life; which is during the Great Tribulation, but especially at the end. There will be resurrection of those who died during the GT at the very end (see BK3).
Daniel 12 continues:
“Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who turn the many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.” (Dan. 12:3)
The context of this is very important; it refers to the large harvest of people who will be converted to Christianity during the period of time just before the end; which is during the GT. Daniel 12 continues:
Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6 One said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the water of the river, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?”
7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was over the water of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time. And when they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (12:5-7)
Here are a couple of other translations of the last half of verse 7:
when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (JPS)
when they have made an end of dispersing the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (KJ3)
In the first edition of this book I believed that the holy people’s power will be broken when the Two Witnesses are killed; but my view of this has changed over the years. Some commentators believe it refers to ending the dispersion of the Jews, which did not seem accurate until I read the English of the LXX, “when the dispersion is ended they shall know all these things.” This appears to refer to the end of the next dispersion, which will take place when the Antichrist invades Israel during WW3.
Zechariah 14 says:
A day of the Lord is coming when your spoil will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle. The city will be captured and the houses plundered and the women ravished. Half of the city will go to exile, but the remainder of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight those nations as He fights in the day of war. (14:1-3)
This speaks of another dispersion that will take place, but it will not last very long, since the Antichrist will only rule for 3.5 years. Daniel 12 continues:
And he said, “Go your way, Daniel. For these words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified and made white and tried. But the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:9-10)
This tells us that the understanding of Daniel, and other apocalyptic writings, will not be known until we near or reach the Great Tribulation, which is the time we are in now. Before the Day of Judgment arrives, God will use the time of testing (the GT), to get his people ready for That Day.
Whenever gold ore is refined, the ore is heated until it becomes a boiling liquid, which allows the impurities in the ore to rise to the surface where they can be scooped off. The refining of Christians is necessary, because Christians today are so much like non-Christians that it is difficult to tell one from the other. It is not only our appearance, but especially how we behave, which reflects what is in our hearts. So, you should not be quick to question God about the hardships you are suffering. The wicked prosper, but will end up in hell; true Christians suffer because they are being refined, but will go in the final Rapture.