I don’t often write about end-times prophecy on my blogs, but I am going to make an exception here. Recently I have noticed that more and more Christian bloggers are buying into the theory that it is the Messiah, not the AntiChrist who is prophesied in Daniel 9:27. I humbly disagree with them. The purpose of this article is to lovingly show my brothers and sisters in Christ why this interpretation is wrong, and why it is very important not to be fooled by it.
Here is the debated phrase:
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.'” (Daniel 9:27a NIV)
This phrase comes near the end of the 70 weeks prophecy, which most evangelicals, including myself, interpret as being 70X7 years, or 490 years total. The first 69 weeks foretold the period between the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall up to the death of Christ. This last “seven” is still future. It will happen when “he” confirms a covenant with the Jewish people for seven years. The question we are asking today is who the pronoun “he” refers to? Is it the Messiah or the antichrist. In order to help answer the question I have provided the text of the prophecy below, and highlighted the two preceding characters who come before the pronoun.
“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’[i] he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Daniel 9:25-27)
So who does the “He” refer to? Does it refer to “the anointed one” who “will be put to death,” or “the ruler who will come” who’s people are responsible for destroying the city and the temple? I believe it is the latter: the gentile ruler of the Roman empire. The reason why I don’t think it is the Messiah who “confirms a covenant” is because this same person “will set up an abomination that causes desolation.” The Messiah, the anointed one would never do this! Only the Antichrist would do such a horrible deed.
The New Testament clearly backs this up. Jesus made it clear that the Messiah would not be present on Earth during the midpoint of this seventieth week:
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” (Matthew 24:15-28)
This passage answers the question directly. It leaves no doubt that the Messiah will come immediately after the time of desolation is over (see verses 29 and 30). Jesus very clearly warns us not to believe anyone who says that the Messiah has already come. The Antichrist will truly come to earth one day, and he will be very persuasive. He will no doubt claim to be the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27. As believers of the Bible we need to be careful not to say anything that could be used to give credence to his false claim.