A Study of Daniel , Part III
This article is the third of a four part series on Daniel . The previous article examined the last part of verse and the first part of verse . The present article picks up in v. at "to restore and rebuild” and continues on into verse . A bibliography will appear at the end of Part IV.
Some attention will now be given to a few other linguistic matters. The phrase “to restore and rebuild” (so NASB, NIV) is from bYv!h*l= tonb=l!w=, and “is a rich and suggestive phrase that combines reference to the restoring of the community and the rebuilding of the city.” bYv!h*l= (Hiph. inf. constr.) primarily means “to turn back, return,” but it is translated into numerous other English words, including “bring back,” “again,” “recovered,” and “restore.” In the Hiphil, it is literally “to cause to return.” Barnes elaborates on the significance of this matter by saying Jerusalem is to be reinstated to “its former condition as a holy city - the city where the worship of God would be celebrated..” Other occurrences of this same nuance are found in Ps. , , and Isa. . The most common rendering of tonb=l!w (Qal inf. constr.) is “to build,” appearing some 298 times as either “build,” “builds,” or “built.” Idiomatically it can also refer to having children, as in Gen. . There is some dissension as to whether or not it can be given as “rebuild.” Goldingay thinks not, and thus the expression should read, “to build a restored Jerusalem.” He claims (p.229) that to obtain “to rebuild” one has to emend bYvhl to bwvl. For the other side, BDB (p.124; and others) affirms “to rebuild” is proper. Whatever the precise English wording should be, the point is the city will be renovated to its full former glory.
“Until Messiah the Prince” is the terminus ad quem of the sixty-nine “weeks.” Not a few scholars pinpoint this phrase to the day of the Triumphal Entry, because on that day He officially presented Himself to the Jews as their Messiah, in fulfillment of Zech. . As mentioned before, Luke seems to confirm this theory, stating, “And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes’” (vv.41,42). The Hebrew will not allow j^Yv!m* dYg!n* (two masculine singular nouns) to be translated “anointed prince” (so Archer, BDB, Keil, and Young). To obtain such an expression the Hebrew would have to be j^Yv!m* dYg!n*.
This grammatical reality implies this person must be both a ruler and an anointed one (NASB, “Messiah the Prince”; NIV, “the Anointed One, the ruler”). “Prince” comes from the root dgn and denotes “to be conspicuous, out front” (BDB, p.617). Similarly, because “messiah” could designate a king or a priest, this leader must be one or both. Those terms rarely speak about a non-Israelite leader, so this person is most probably an Israelite. In Daniel, a non-Israelite prince is usually referred to as a ilm. Again, Jesus obviously meets all these qualifications, for He is the “Anointed One” (i.e., Christ), and He is called a priest (Heb. ,) and a king (Matt. ). Wood concurs this passage must be anticipating Jesus. He writes,
Both terms are applied to various leaders of the Old Testament, but here they clearly refer to Christ. He is the supreme Messiah and Prince; no one else fits the chronology developed in the text; this One is said in the next verse to be “cut off,” which fits for the crucifixion of Christ; and by far the majority of expositors agree on this point.
The Vulgate, the Syriac, and Theodotion actually insert the word “Christ” in this verse. Amillennialists seek to deny this assertion by reasoning as follows:
“Messiah” is epithet of king, of priest (cf. 2 Mac 1:10), of prophet; and in a spiritual sense of patriarch (Ps. ), and even of Cyrus, who is “My Anointed,” Is. …The second term “prince,” qualifying the first, is used of various officers of rank: as a chief among officials, esp. in the temple personnel, e.g. of the high priest, q.v.; of nobles or princes, e.g., Job , ; then of royalty, appearing as an early title for the king in Israel, e.g., 1 Sa. , and also of foreign kings. Hence both terms are ambiguous, and their combination does not assist identification, for which three candidates have been proposed: Cyrus, the “Anointed” of Is. ; Zerubbabel, the acclaimed Messiah of the Restoration; and his contemporary, the high priest Joshua b. Josedek.
In Hebrew, proper names do not take the definite article, and neither do titles that have become virtual proper names by usage. A few examples are: YD*v^ (“the Almighty”), /f*c* (“the Adversary”), lb@T@ (“the world”), and /oYl=u# (“the Most High”). Therefore the words are not so vague. Daniel intended them to be understood as “Messiah the Ruler.” Since there is no definite article used here, the “reference is not to the anointed one, as of one who was already known or looked forward to as such - for then the article would have been used; but to someone who, when he appeared, would have such marked characteristics that there would be no difficulty in determining that he was the one intended.”
When Jerusalem is rebuilt, it is to have a plaza and moat. The word bojr= comes from the root bj^r^ and can be rendered “street” (NIV), “open place,” or “square.” Virtually every city had a plaza (NASB) for town meetings or markets. “Moat” (JWrj*), also translated “trench” (so NIV), comes from a verb that means “to cut, sharpen.” The idea of “trench” comes from its Aramaic usage, and “city moat” finds its origins in the Akkadian language. That the word “determined” (v.26) comes from the same root invokes some expositors to render this phrase as: “the street will certainly be rebuilt.”
It seems unlikely Jerusalem would have a moat since it is in a dry area. This feature may allude to a trench around the walls to make them even higher. This term has been found in the Dead Sea Copper Scroll with the meaning “conduit” and would refer to the water system of Jerusalem. Perhaps the whole expression has to do with the internal layout of the city and its external defenses.
The book of Nehemiah leaves no doubt the city was restored “in times of distress” (NASB). Qox (“distress”; masc. sing. noun in constr.) is nowhere else in the OT in this form, and includes the idea of constraint. <YT!uh* is actually “the times” (masc. plural noun). That the rebuilding would take longer than expected is likewise implied by this phrase.
So far the news has been good. Jerusalem is to be rejuvenated, and the Jews (through Daniel) are assured the Messiah is coming. Now, the prophecy turns sour. Some time after the second stage (the 62 “weeks”) this long-anticipated Messiah will die, and a foreign power will invade the city, destroying both it and the Temple. It is reasonable to assume He will be “cut off” shortly after the 69th “seven,” but the time lapse is not specified.
The Hebrew verb here is tr@K*Y! (Niphal imperfect) has a basic meaning of “to cut,” but it can also indicate death. It is the word used for execution in Lev. , Ps. , and Prov. . Miller gives more details,
The verb translated “cut off” is the common verb for “cut” (K*r^T). It can be used literally (Exod ; 1 Sam ; 1 Kgs ; Job ) or figuratively. The word is used figuratively of eliminating, removing, or destroying something (e.g., Deut ; Josh ; Ps ), often specifically referring to being “cut off” in death (e.g., Gen ; Exod ; Jer ; ). Here it is found in one of the Old Testament prophecies of the crucifixion of Christ
A synonym for tr@K*Y!, rz~g=n,! is found in Isa. 53:8, where the death of the Suffering Servant is also described as “cut off”.
The term “have nothing” (ol /Ya@w=) can be literally rendered “and (or “but”) not to (or “for”) him.” Furthermore, /Ya can have the meaning “no one.” With such a multitude of choices it is no wonder there has been much speculation as to what it means. The KJV has “but not for himself” which implies substitutionary atonement but that truth is not taught in this verse. The Vulgate has “they shall not be his people.” The phrase is a Hebrew idiom for “not have” (Gen. , Isa. ). Goldingay places the next clause with this one and comes up with “and will have neither the city nor the sanctuary.” Not only does that arrangement not make sense, it also forces him to render the next few phrases as: “A leader to come will devastate a people, and its end will come with a flood.” “People” is in construct (<u^) and yet Goldingay doesn’t connect it with anything. Additionally, since he teaches the one “cut off” is Onias III, the words “..have neither the city…” must refer to Onias’ exile to Daphne.
The significance here may evince Christ’s ministry appeared to be all for naught when He died. He had not accomplished what He had set out to do. Wood (p. 255) adds He died without friends or honor. He was rejected, and treated like a criminal. “In the realm of things attractive and desirable, His portion was equivalent to ‘nothingness’.” His people had rejected Him and the kingdom could not now be set up (cf. John ). The judgment for rejecting the Messiah would fall in the form of the leveling of the holy city (Matt. ). Walvoord observes (p. 230), “Nothing that rightly belonged to Him as Messiah the Prince was given to Him at that time…Outwardly it appeared that evil had triumphed.” A few scholars direct attention to Matthew , “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” The verse in no way negates vicarious atonement.
The next few words can be read, “people of a prince, the one coming” (AB*h^). It was Josephus’ opinion (among many others) the Roman invasion of A.D. 70 fulfilled this verse, and thus eschatologically speaking this prince is a leader of the last phase of the Roman Empire, the antichrist. Some intimate the “people” are the Israelites, but it is ridiculous to believe the Jews would tear down their own city. This prophecy is for “your people” (Dan. ), so “the coming people” must be some other ethnic group.
No doubt this verse would have been enigmatic to the Jews, for it did not fit their concept of the Messiah. They envisioned Him saving their country, but here He dies and Gentiles overrun the city. The reason the devastation of the Tribulation is not primarily in view here is the fact that this one occurs before the 70th “week.” The word for “prince” is the same one found in v. (dYg!n*). That fact on top of the unidentified “he” of v. compounds the confusion this passage can cause.
So, who is the prince of v. ? In the near term he is the Roman General Titus who wiped out Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In the long run he is a foreshadowing of the antichrist. (This conclusion will be more thoroughly discussed under Dan. .) Other factors cause Bible students to see a distinction between the two “princes” of vv. and . The one of v. is the Messiah, Who is later killed. The two men do not live at the same time, for the natural reading of v. has “the one coming” on the scene after the Christ is “cut off.” Lastly, the Messiah would not raze the holy city.
Concerning Jerusalem, “its end will come with a flood.” More literally translated, oXq!w= [f#Vb^ is “its end with the flood.” Grammatically, oUq! can mean “its” or “his,” and hence the antecedent can be Jerusalem, the coming prince, or the prophecy. The most logical choice is Jerusalem. “As the principal and immediate subject of the prophecy, however, is the city, it is more natural to refer it to that.” “Flood” ([f#V#, “torrent, overflowing”) speaks to the degree of ruination meted out, not to the method. The Roman army quickly and thoroughly leveled Jerusalem.
The historians of the day vividly lament the horrific scene. “On the 105th day [of the siege] ..the temple and the lower city were burnt, and the last day found the whole city in flames. Only the three great towers of Herod, Hippicus, Pharsael, and Mariamne, with the western walls, were spared to protect the camp of the Xth Legion which was left to guard the site..[T]he rest of the city was dug up to its foundations.” [f#V# “denotes the number, power, and irresistible force of the enemy.” Daniel utilizes this “flood” imagery for describing war in , , , and 40 as well(cf. Ps. ).
It is easy to bungle the end of v. because the grammar allows more than one acceptable interpretation. What has been determined (tx#r#j$n#, Niph. participle, “to decide, decree;” also used in v. ): the war or the desolations? The student must dig deeper to find the correct answer. “War” (hm*j*l=m!), “determined,” and “desolations” (tomm@v) are all feminine. Does “the end” look to the culmination of the city’s woes, or the completion of the church age? If the emphasis is on desolations, then the punctuation would be “until the end of the war desolations are determined.” If it’s war that is to be highlighted, then it would be written “until the end will be war; desolations are determined.” Miller’s view (p. 269) is that it is war that has been decreed, and it will continue until Jerusalem is totally ruined (“the end”). Archer recommends, “And the end of it will be in the overflowing, and unto the end there will be war, a strict determination of desolations,” or “the determined amount of desolations.”
In accordance with the fact that “end” is written twice in this verse, one can assume two terminal points are in view. The general sense is Jerusalem will be wiped out as if a flood had hit it, yet troubles will haunt the region until the Messiah comes again. These thoughts harmonize well with Christ’s words in Matt. where He talks about continuous hardships throughout this present age. However the Lord intended the grammar to be read, it is true that Israel has been at war for most of the 2500 years since the prophecy was revealed to Daniel. “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke ).
Archer lays stress on the truth that all these events take place before the 70th “week,” which is not brought up until v. (p. 116), affirming the need for an era between the 69th and 70th “weeks.” Even Pusey, an amillennialist, agrees the death of the Messiah comes about not in the 69 "weeks" but after them. Finally, it is important to notice Zech. . That passage indicates Jerusalem will not be totally demolished in the end times, in contrast to the details given in 9:26. That observation not only solidifies the A.D. 70 date for v. , but it also implies virtually all of v. has been fulfilled.
It has been noted several times in this paper that the two salient beings in this prophecy are the Messiah and the antichrist. Obviously, then, one of them is the “he” of this verse. It is highly improbable the Messiah is the referent; the weight of the evidence favors the identification of the “he” as the antichrist. Critics who contend that Christ is the “he” look to four reasons. First, this entire prophecy is about Him. Second, Titus did not make a covenant with the Jews. Third, nowhere else in Scripture is this covenant-making prince found. Lastly, the word used for “firm” (or “prevail”) is the same one used in Isaiah for “mighty God.” This reasoning is unconvincing, if for no other reason than nowhere else is this seventy “weeks” addressed in this manner either.
That no consensus can be reached as to which covenant is in view is another weakness of this theory. Some believe it is the New Covenant, whereas others assert it is an already existing covenant. Goldingay draws attention to the covenant found in Dan. and , , . It is very unlikely, however, the same compact is referred to here. The reader comes away with the impression the covenant of will not be signed until the latter days. Daniel has the definite article ( does not), “the covenant,” indicating the Mosaic Covenant. Daniel is confessing the people’s violations of that agreement.
The three verses in Daniel seem to be figurative uses of “covenant” (no definite article). In context, tYr!B= symbolizes “the entire Mosaic system.” “The term ‘holy covenant’ appears to have the same basic meaning that it has in 1 Maccabees 1:15, where it is used in general terms to refer to all things religious in Israel.” This statement also refutes the proposal favored by Goldingay: “refers to the covenant between reformist Jews and Gentiles reported in 1 Macc ” (p. 262).
In deciding between the Messiah or the “prince to come” as the antecedent, Barnes contends “it is not reasonable to suppose that the latter is referred to, because it is said (ver. 26) that the effect and the purpose of his coming would be to ‘destroy the city and the sanctuary.’” In other words Barnes is saying the prince is coming to make peace. He is wrong on two accounts. Verse says it is the people of the prince, not the prince himself, who execute the destruction. Too, he is implying it is reasonable to suppose the Messiah would bring about the devastation. To assume v. deals with Christ is presumptuous, for that is the very question for which interpreters are seeking an answer. Lastly, it is not unthinkable a future leader would bring about such an agreement with Israel; people will do almost anything to have peace in the Middle East.
Verse 27 has a negative tone to it that is out of character with the Messiah. If the “he” were Christ, the wording would have been more direct…and positive. AB*h^ (v. 26) is a Qal active participle with the definite article modifying “prince.” That he is the prince may be a hint he is referred to earlier in the book, and indeed that is the case. Many conservative scholars regard him as the “little horn” of chap. , and the “little horn” is generally understood to be the antichrist. A question to consider is: about which person is the reader expecting more information in v. ? Since the Messiah was “cut off” and the prince didn’t do anything in v. (the people are the focus), it is safe to assume the latter is in mind (or a future ruler who is typified by this one.) Wood’s remarks are noteworthy.
The use of the term “prince” for this [coming] one, the term used in reference to Christ in verse twenty-five, signifies him as one who would in some sense parallel Christ in the role he would play - something uniquely true of the Antichrist, who will be Satan’s counterfeit for Christ…Since the Antichrist has been presented in Daniel’s two earlier occasions of revelation (, , ; ) and will be again in the last (), one might expect that he would be brought into this third location as well.
..[T]he descriptions in the remainder of this verse fit all that is revealed elsewhere regarding the Antichrist. Amillenarians frequently identify this one with Titus Vespasian, who led the Roman legions against Jerusalem, but Titus simply was not of sufficient importance to biblical history to warrant such a mention. Actually, since the interest of the text taken alone was only to tell of Jerusalem’s destruction and not the identity of the destroyer, there was no reason to mention either “people” or “prince” unless both carried biblical significance, which one could expect to be shown elsewhere. Daniel’s first vision presented this significance, using the figures of the “fourth beast” (people) and the “little horn” (prince).
Leupold and Keil are some of the few non-premillenarians who admit the “he” is the antichrist. In doing so, they are driven to the conclusion at least part of this pericope is still future. In order to get around this inference, Keil (p. 365) translates the initial part, “One week shall confirm the covenant to many,” leaving out the “he” altogether. Goldingay defends this alternative because the subject is otherwise too vague. However, most expositors would consider Keil's rendering grammatically untenable. His translation has a feminine subject with a masculine verb. “It is not usual to represent time as an agent in accomplishing work.” Furthermore, if more testimony emerges that supports the concept of a time gap after the 69th “seven,” then one would be forced to admit this “he” is a heretofore undisclosed character. That evidence will now be rehearsed.
(1)Verse declares the people will level the city, whereas verse states the prince is the instigator of evil. The best solution sees the antichrist in v. , and v. as evidence he comes from the regions of the ancient Roman Empire. The unusual wording of v. causes one to disassociate the people from the prince in some way. It says "the people of the prince who is to come" when it could have simply said "a coming Roman prince." Chapter seven confirms this wicked being is of the fourth empire, Rome. (2) The text does not say Jesus was executed in the 70th “week;” it asserts it happened after the 69th “week.” (3) Christ anticipated this time interval by His statement of building His church (Matt. ). He also predicted the setting aside of Israel (Matt. , ) The reasonable conclusion is the church would fill that time interval because, unlike Daniel , it concerns the Gentiles.
(4) In Luke , Jesus quotes Isaiah , while teaching in his hometown synagogue. He does not read the entire pericope, however. He mentions “the favorable year of the Lord” (the theme of His first advent), but does not continue to the next portion that proclaims God’s judgment (the purpose of His second coming). (5) In v. the Temple was taken down, yet in v. the normal rituals are being carried out. (6) The predictions of v. have not come about yet.
“Amillenarians teach that Christ’s First Advent ministry was in the 70th ‘seven,’ that there was no interval between the 69th and 70th ‘sevens,’ and that the six actions predicted in Daniel are being fulfilled today in the church.” Others of this persuasion, such as Young, believe Jesus’ death caused the sacrifices to cease since He was the perfect sacrifice, which likewise means the 70th “week” was immediately subsequent to the 69th. Barnes comments,
The literal signification [of “cause to cease”] here would be met by the supposition that an end would be made of these sacrifices, and this would occur either by their being made wholly to cease to be offered at that time, or by the fact that the object of their appointment was accomplished, and that henceforward they would be useless and would die away. As a matter of fact, so far as the Divine intention in the appointment of these sacrifices and offerings was concerned, they ceased at the death of Christ - in the middle of the ‘week.’
A number of factors make this eschatological explanation unlikely. Verse is a strange place to bring up the atonement, for the Messiah died in v. . The offerings did not stop for forty more years, and even then it was by the hand of the Romans, not by the dissolution of a contract. The crucifixion certainly ended the need for subsequent sacrifices, but Young’s proposal cannot satisfactorily explain when the 7-year period terminates.
Another flaw is this: Christ dies after the 69 “weeks,” but not in the 70th “seven.” The sacrifices do not cease until the middle of the 70th “week.” Barnes declares the prophecy finishes about three and one-half years after the crucifixion, for that is when the apostles turned their attention from the Hebrew people (for whom this prophecy is intended) and began evangelizing the Gentiles. This belief raises more questions than it answers (what covenant is this?, how does turning to the Gentiles stop the sacrifices?). He goes on to claim the leveling of the Holy city was not immediate but gradual. Young is forced to conclude the endpoint is not vital to this prophecy, a stark contrast to the truth: it is Christ’s second coming!
It must be recalled that “unseen” gaps are found in other pericopes, too, even within this book (Dan. ; ; and ). (Isa. is perhaps the best known one.) Other portions of Scripture affirm the conclusion that the antichrist is not active until the seventieth “seven” (Dan. ,; ; ; Zech. ; Rev. ). Since the major aspects of Daniel concern the descendants of Abraham and the two advents of the Messiah, it is no surprise these 490 years are not consecutive. Many Bible students rightly contend that because Israel (the recipient of these promises) is not experiencing “everlasting righteousness” nor have its sins been removed, those blessings await the second coming. The righteousness people experience in this age is buffeted and temporal.
Therefore, the promise of v. implies there is a time gap, contrary to the amillennialists who teach righteousness is gradually increasing as the church conducts its ministry. Other arguments refuting these claims were presented above, with the strongest refutation being the Messiah would not wipe out Jerusalem, not to mention the fact that it didn’t occur until forty years after the crucifixion. If some scholars are willing to put a forty-year interval in this prophecy in order to bring it to a climax in the first century, then it is not much of a leap to claim an era of some duration is intended between the 69th and 70th “sevens.”
To summarize, the “he” is the antichrist, and he will (1) be the leader of the final phase of the Roman Empire, (2) establish a seven-year covenant with Israel, (3) break his agreement after three and a half years, (4) force the Jews to cease their sacrificial system, and (5) demand they worship him only, likely setting up a statue of himself in the Temple. Lastly, he is depicted in chapter two by the ten toes and, in chapter seven as the ten-horned beast.
|Continue to Part 4.|
 Quoted from Lacocque by John Goldingay, Daniel (WBC), p. 260.
 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament, pp. 149, 150.
 Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (abbrv. TWOT), p. 116.
 Goldingay, p. 226.
 J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1363.
 Gleason Archer, “Daniel” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 120.
 Stephen R. Miller, Daniel (NAC), p. 264.
 Goldingay, p. 261.
 Miller, p. 264.
 Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, p. 251.
 Barnes, p. 151.
 Quoted by John Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (p. 229) from Montgomery (ICC; pp. 378, 379), italics in original.
 Archer, p. 120.
 Barnes, p. 151 (italics original).
 TWOT, pp. 840, 841.
 Miller, p. 266.
 BDB, p. 358.
 Harold Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, p. 120.
 so Hengstenberg, Barnes, p. 153.
 Taken from Porteous’ commentary (p.142) by Miller, p. 267.
 As quoted from Hartman by Goldingay, p. 261.
 TWOT, p. 760.
 Barnes, p. 153.
 Miller, p. 267.
 TWOT, p. 456.
 Wood, p. 255.
 Miller, p. 267.
 Archer, p. 113.
 John Gill, Commentary on Daniel, p. 209.
 Miller, p. 267.
 Goldingay, p. 226.
 Ibid., p. 262.
 Miller, p. 267.
 Pentecost, p. 1364.
 Walvoord, p. 230.
 Wood, p. 255.
 Miller, p. 268.
 John Whitcomb, Daniel, p. 133.
 Wood, p. 256.
 Barnes, p. 180.
 Wood, p. 256.
 The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 1619 (from Josephus).
 Gill, p. 210.
 Walvoord, p. 231.
 Wood, p. 256.
 Archer, p. 116.
 Whitcomb, p. 133.
 E. B. Pusey, Daniel the Prophet, (Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, 1978 ), p. 192, as pointed out by Tommy Ice, Pre-Trib Perspectives, August 2001, p. 7.
 Walvoord, p. 231.
 John S. and Paul D. Feinberg, Tradition & Testament, p. 203.
 Pentecost, p. 1369.
 Wood, p. 299.
 Barnes, p. 181.
 Walvoord, p. 233.
 Wood, p. 257.
 Ibid, p. 258.
 Walvoord, p. 233.
 Goldingay, p. 230.
 Walvoord, p. 234.
 Barnes, p. 181.
 Miller, p. 268.
 Pre-Trib Perspectives, August 2001, p. 7.
 Pentecost, p. 1363.
 Ibid., p. 1364.
 Barnes, p. 186.
 Wood, p. 257.
 Walvoord, p. 235.
 Barnes, pp. 182-184.
 Miller, p. 270.
 Wood, p. 261.
 Hoehner, p. 131.
 Wood, p. 260.
 Archer, pp. 116, 117.