Without a doubt, deciphering the overlapping and sequential end-time timelines can be difficult to parse at times. However, these difficulties do not arise from the Scriptures themselves, but in how men interpret those Scriptures. As the late J. Vernon McGee once said, the book of Revelation is one of the most reasonable, organized, and easy to understand books there is. Nevertheless, it is book number 66, which means one must have a working knowledge of the previous 65 books. To which I agree. Therefore, before we progress any further, we must go back and add some foundational groundwork. For the purposes of this discussion, we will begin at the Abomination of Desolation event and work backwards toward the Rapture and the events immediately after Ezekiel 38-39.
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Matthew 24:15-16
When Jesus spoke these words, I imagine Him (as God in the Flesh) looking into the future and describing this time to His disciples in the simplest form of understanding He could convey to them. These disciples do not yet have the Holy Spirit given to them for understanding. The Olivet Discourse was given to them pre-crucifixion, pre-ascension, and pre-Pentecost. Therefore, the Olivet Discourse was really just rough outline that bridges the gaps between the Old Testament prophecies they knew, and the New Testament prophecies that would later be given to them. The overarching themes was the last days and very much in context with what His disciples asked Him (Matt. 24:3).
The book of Revelation (as given to the Apostle John) would later fill in the details of this overview. Matthew 24:15 then marks the mid-point, with the event we commonly refer to as the Abomination of Desolation. Jesus told His disciples (and whoever reads this) to refer back to the book of Daniel for context. Now there are three issues I want to take up regarding Daniel 9:27: The first is the “he” in Daniel 9:27, the second, is the term “in the midst,” and the last is what desolations mean.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
- Who is He?
Two eschatological views (primarily Pre-Wrath and Post Trib) try to confuse the “he” in Daniel 9:27. They attempt (grammatically) to attribute the “he” in 9:27 as referring to Messiah Jesus by pointing back to Daniel 9:25. However, in order to do this, they have to jump over one other person who is mentioned by title, the “prince who is to come.”
“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people [subject] (of the prince [object] who is to come)
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined. (All emphasis is mine)
The nuanced argument then goes, that the “he” in verse 27, cannot be the nearest antecedent of the “prince who is to come,” because the prince (vs 26) is an object noun, rather than the subject noun. According to them, this prevents the “he” in vs 27 from being the nearest antecedent relationally to “the prince who is to come.”
Nevertheless, it only makes sense that “the prince who is to come” is not a subject-noun of verse 26, since he is not the one doing the destroying. He simply comes from (or out of) the people who did do the destroying. This makes him come from somewhere within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire, since they destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70AD. The Roman Empire was huge, so this does not necessarily narrow down the list of potential candidates. However, it does limit where this future leader will come from. We know he is not coming from China, Russia, the United States, etc.
The Angel Gabriel gave this prophecy to Daniel in order that we (the applicable generation) would understand where this He (the prince to come) would come from. He is the one who confirms this covenant. PreceptAustin.org has exhaustive analysis on this particular topic and the different perspectives for it. For brevity’s sake, this is a paraphrase of the main points as to why the “he” in Daniel 9:27 is NOT referring to Christ, but rather, Antichrist.
- The last person mentioned (by title) is not Messiah the Prince, but the Prince who is to come. The Last Antecedent Rule should apply here so as not to damage the context of the connected passages.
- This cannot be referring to Christ’s finished work on the cross, since the New Covenant in Christ’s blood is an everlasting one, not confined to seven-years.
- Christ did not come from out of the Roman Empire, but from out of Israel.
- When did Christ make a seven-year covenant with the many?
- How did Christ cause the sacrifices to cease? They continued for another 40 years after His crucifixion in 32/33 AD.
So this should remove any confusion by you that the he in Daniel 9:27, is not Jesus, but this unknown, shadowy figure commonly referred to as The Antichrist. We note that he by strength confirms a covenant with the many. He then breaks this covenant at the mid-point, and from there, we know that this begins “the time of Jacob’s troubles.” (Jeremiah 30:7-11)
- In the Midst
Does the term “in the middle” mean the exact middle or could it mean ‘near the middle’? I only include this because we should explore all the potentialities regarding this phrase. There are 269 times in the Old Testament that uses that terminology…very few of them refer to the exact middle…most of them mean ‘near the middle’ or ‘close to the center’. What if verse 27 is for 1230 days instead of 1260 days? Isn’t that “in the midst” of 2520 days?
Have you ever wondered why Daniel 12:11 states And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and ninety days is for 1290 days instead of 1260 days? It cannot be both 1260 and 1290 days, so, which is it? The answer could be located in the term “in the midst”. It could be that the first part of the Tribulation is for 1230 days and the last part is for 1290 days. Let us look at these as theory A and theory B.
- Battle of Gog and Magog
- Covenant Confirmed: Theory A (1260 days commences until Abomination of Desolation). This still leaves AC rule at 1260 days
- Covenant Confirmed: Theory B (1230 days commences until A of D). This still leaves AC rule for 1260 days. Adds 30 days after Armageddon.
Theory A (1260-1260 day) is similar to the theory B (1230-1290 day) in that they both believe that the Anti-Christ’s absolute rule will last for exactly 1260 days (forty two months, time, times, and half a time, and a thousand two-hundred and threescore days). Both theories believe that after 1260 days, the last judgements (seal, trumpets, vials) will have occurred and Jesus Christ returns at Trumpets to the battle of Armageddon.
Daniel’s 70th seven ends there with theory A and does not really address the sixth and seventh Feasts of the Lord. They happen after Jacob’s trouble is over. With theory B, the end of Jacobs’s trouble does not end here, but rather 30 days later. This takes into account the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. Tabernacles lasts for eight days until Tishri 23rd. Seven days later a new creation will have begun and the Millennium Kingdom will commence. According to Daniel 9:24, the end of “Jacob’s trouble” will not occur until six things happen: 1) to finish the transgression, 2) to make an end of sin, 3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, 4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, 5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, 6) to anoint the most Holy.
With theory A, there is no time for all of this to happen if the Tribulation is over when Jesus returns at Armageddon. With theory B, there is sufficient time for the before mentioned six results to occur. There is still time for Jesus to fulfill the remaining feasts of Atonement, and Tabernacles. Matthew 24:30-31 as well as 25:31-46 (judging the nations) will occur during the last 30 days after Trumpets.
…and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
We understand that at the mid-point, this man (Antichrist), who comes from out of the boundaries of the old Roman Empire, desolates the newly rebuilt Temple and causes the newly reinstituted sacrifices to cease. We know this was not the case in the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70 by General Titus and his legions, because the temple was destroyed before they could defile it. Historically, we know the Jews were familiar with the type of desecration Daniel is referencing here because Antiochus Epiphanes had committed a similar event around 167BC, which subsequently triggered the Maccabean Revolt and why we have the feast of Hanukkah. Antiochus did not try to destroy the temple, he slaughtered a pig (considered unclean) on the altar in the Holy of Holies.
We also know this prophecy (Dan. 9:27) has not yet been fulfilled yet, because a Jewish temple has not existed since it was destroyed in AD70. This only leaves us the option of a future temple that will at the mid-point, be ceremonially desecrated. Jesus warned those Jews who saw this to flee when this happened. In Luke’s Gospel, his accounting of the Olivet Discourse also records an additional warning by Jesus for the Jews to flee Jerusalem when it was surrounded the first time (Luke 21:20-24). We know this part of the passage was referring to the 70AD event because Jesus caps it off with a “prophetic bookmark” if you will, that separates it from the context of the last days. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled Luke 21:24.
Of course, we should all be familiar with the Six-Day War and the recapturing of Jerusalem by the Jews in 1967. While the Gentiles still “trample” the Temple Mount via Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, the city has become unified under Jewish rule for the first time since 70AD.
Last week, we looked at the divine delivery God gives Israel at conclusion of the battle of Gog and Magog, and how that drives them to want to build the third temple. It also removes the obstacles for doing so. I also mentioned specifically that there might be a gap in time of “seven months or more.” Likely, there is more and it is anywhere from seven months to three and a half years. This gap theory also allows the burning of weapons for seven years that as mentioned in Ezekiel 39:9.
If we have three and a half years before the covenant is confirmed (Dan. 9:27) and three and a half years until the mid-point where the covenant is broken, then we have seven-years. This seven-year window overlaps with the start of the seven-year 70th Week and by extension theory A or B (whichever actually plays out). It is during the gap, and up until the mid-point, that we see the arrival of the Two Witnesses (Rev. 11), who for 1,260 days, position themselves in Jerusalem presumably in or around the new third Temple, visibly demonstrating the power of God.
“Remember the Law of Moses, My servant,
Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel,
With the statutes and judgments.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest (or else) I come and strike the earth with a curse.”