Evidence of the Divine: The Miraculous Fulfillment of Daniel 9!
Fulfilled! Daniel 9:24-27 Commentary: Summary and Highlights
In the following preterist commentary on Daniel 9:24-27, every prophecy is explained and found to be literally fulfilled. While praying for Israel’s forgiveness an angel revealed to Daniel the year in which God would forgive the sins of his people.1 Then in Daniel 9:26-27, the angel goes on to accurately foretell of events concerning Israel’s seven-year long war with Rome (Iyyar of A.D. 66 to the fall of Masada on Passover of A.D. 74): “The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. . . . He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation. . . .” During this war, the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and its sanctuary forever putting “an end to sacrifice and offering.” Then in fulfillment of Daniel 9:27, the Roman army worshiped the ensigns (images of Caesar and Rome) by sacrificed a pig to them at the eastern gate (wing) of the Temple—just as Antiochus Epiphanies did during the previous abomination that causes desolation of Daniel 11:31.
The following may seem unbelievable. However, all information is taken from unbiased historical records and is easily verifiable. Sources listed at the end.
Evidence of the Divine: The Miraculous Fulfillment of Daniel 9!
24“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
Fulfilled! A Realized Eschatological View and Commentary of Daniel 9:24: The Meaning of the Seventy Sevens of Daniel 9:24 . . .
The units used in this chapter are years. Therefore, the sevens in this verse are seven years.2 Ancient Jews charted time with two separate calendars, one dictated by the moon’s rotation around the earth and the other by the earth’s rotation around the sun.3 The months of the lunar year alternate between twenty-nine and thirty days with twelve months in a year. Thus each year averaged 354 days. In order to prevent seasonal overlap, approximately every three years another month was added to the calendar. The Jews also appeared to have used another slightly more accurate calendar. This solar calendar had twelve months each with thirty days for a total of 360 days in a year. This 360 day solar calendar is sometimes called the prophetic calendar because of its occasional implicit appearance in the Bible (Genesis 7:11,24; 8:3-4; Daniel 7:25; Revelation 11:2-3; 12:6; 13:5-7). This 360 day solar calendar year was also used in ancient Egypt and Babylon, two countries in which Jews spent considerable time. It seems that the Jews may have adopted this calendar from Egypt or possibly earlier from Abraham who was from Ur of the Chaldees (Babylon). Recall that Daniel wrote this chapter as a Jewish exile in Babylon. Coincidence? This 360 day solar calendar was used by two major Jewish sects: the Samaritans and the Essenes.4 As will be shown shortly, I believe Daniel is about to use both of these calendars in order to predict the exact year in which God would forgive the sins of the world and thus “bring in everlasting righteousness” as predicted in v. 24 through the forgiveness of sin that comes through faith in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
In v. 25, Daniel is told that the countdown of the 70 sevens would start at the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. This order was issued by the king Artaxerxes in 444 B.C.5
The central premise of this verse is that the Jewish priests would have 70 X 7 or 490 years from the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in which to offer sacrifice “to atone for wickedness.”
According to Leviticus 25:40 after every forty-nine years, the Jewish people were to celebrate a Year of Jubilee. This year was to be announced on the tenth day of the seventh month. This was the Day of Atonement. It was only on this day of the year that the high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. Once inside, the high priest would sprinkle the blood of a goat and a bull inside the Most Holy Place. This was done as an offering for the sins of Israel (Leviticus 16, Exodus 29). This act would announce the fiftieth year, also known as the Year of Jubilee. During this year, all debts were to be cancelled (Leviticus 25:8-17). The 70 sevens or 490 years are ten Year of Jubilee’s. According to this verse, on the tenth and final Year of Jubilee, God would cancel mankind’s debt of sin, forgiving his people forever.
In this prophecy, Daniel reveals the final year in which God would accept the blood of bulls and goats as an offering for the sins of His people. Keep in mind that Daniel is thinking in Jewish years. In this prophecy, Daniel uses the 354 day lunar year. Converting 490 Jewish lunar years into modern years is a simple calculation:
Therefore there are to be 475 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 444 B.C. until the high priest was to make his final acceptable sacrifice on the Day of Atonement.
475 years – 444 B.C. = A.D. 31.
Because there is no year zero, one year must be added to the total:
A.D. 31 + 1year = A.D. 32
Thus A.D. 32 is the final year in which God would honor the blood of bulls and goats as a sin offering. This would be the final year in which “your people [the Jews] and your holy city [Jerusalem]” were “to atone for wickedness.” As stated earlier, after every 7 X 7 or 49 years there was to be a Year of Jubilee in which all debts were to be cancelled and all slaves were to be set free.6 The Year of Jubilee began on the fiftieth year. Therefore the next year, A.D. 33, was the tenth and final Year of Jubilee. On this special Year of Jubilee, God finally “set the captives free,” canceling the debt of sin that had enslaved humanity since the time of Adam.
What is meant by “anoint the most holy” in v. 24? Because of differences in Daniel 9:24 between various ancient manuscripts there is some debate as to whether what is anointed in Daniel 9:24 is a person, the Messiah, or a place, the Holy of Holies of the Temple. And because of these notable discrepancies in ancient manuscripts some translations of the Bible translate v. 24 in order to suggest that what is anointed is a person and some translate v. 24 so as to refer to Holy of Holies of the Temple.7 Either interpretation is plausible as the Most Holy is a name for the inner sanctuary of the Temple. However, the Messiah is the Anointed One and “the Holy One of God” (Luke 4:34). Furthermore, “’most holy’ is applied to a person at least once elsewhere in the OT (1 Chr 23:13, as accurately translated in the NASB).”8 I believe either translation works well.
According to v. 24, after the high priest had offered the last acceptable animal sacrifice for sin in A.D. 32, a new high priest was to be anointed. The first high priest, Aaron, was anointed with oil before he began his ministry (Exodus 29:1-7). I believe this oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Having been anointed with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22), Jesus, the new high priest, offered His own blood as a sin offering in A.D. 33, the tenth and final Year of Jubilee. According to the Gospel accounts, immediately after Jesus’ breathed His last, the curtain blocking the entrance to the Most Holy Place was torn (Matthew 27:51). The fact that the curtain had been torn is a sign that Jesus had entered the Most Holy Place something only the high priest was allowed to do (Hebrews 9:7). Having entered the Holy of Holies, Jesus offered his own blood as a permanent sacrifice, one that would not have to be repeated year after year.
I believe the anointing of the most holy place in v. 24 may also refer to the anointing of Jesus Christ himself. In John 2:19-21 Jesus refers to His body as the Temple. Perhaps the anointing of the most holy place of the Temple refers to Christ’s anointing when He was crowned with all power and authority upon His ascension into heaven in A.D. 33? Shortly after His death and resurrection, Jesus was taken up to heaven in a cloud (Acts 1:9-11). This same event appears to be described in Daniel 7:13-14:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
In Daniel 7:13-14 Jesus is led into the presence of God on a cloud to receive His kingdom. As implied by the fact that Jesus entered heaven in a cloud in Acts 1:9-11, the anointing of Christ mentioned in Daniel 7:13-14 appears to have occurred immediately after Jesus’ death, resurrection and subsequent ascension in A.D. 33 (Acts 7:55).9
During this final Year of Jubilee, the Messiah had fulfilled the hope of the prophets freeing mankind from their bondage to sin and bringing forgiveness to all God’s people both past, present and future. This perfect sacrifice had fulfilled the prophetic meaning of the Law making the continued practice of animal sacrifice obsolete, redundant and meaningless. But did Jesus actually die in A.D. 33? In the next verse, Daniel uses the Jewish solar calendar to predict the year of the Messiah’s death.
But before discussing this verse, let us first turn our attention to what is meant in v. 24 by the phrase “to seal both vision and prophecy”? According to v. 24 vision and prophecy were to remain sealed during the 490 Jewish years mentioned above. What does this mean? There are some preterists who believe that the seventy-sevens were fulfilled in A.D. 70. These preterists then use the sealing of vision and prophecy in v. 24 at the end of the seventy-sevens as evidence of this view generally without offering any Biblical evidence to support this contention. Interestingly, the expression “to seal vision and prophecy” and related expressions used elsewhere in the Bible has nothing to do at all with the fulfillment of prophecy. As will be shown below, when v. 24 says to “seal both vision and prophecy” this expression seems to refer to a lack of divine prophetic writing during the 490 years after the decree of Artaxerxes. Or it may even refer more specifically to the sealing of the scroll which was presumably the source of all Daniel’s prophetic visions. This scroll was sealed at the end of the Book of Daniel and opened at the time of the end. Daniel 12:4 reads, “Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.” This scroll remained sealed until the time of the end when it was finally opened by the sacrificial Lamb at the beginning of Revelation. The opening of the scroll sealed at the end of the Book of Daniel was opened by Jesus after His sacrificial death as implied in Revelation 5:1-9:10
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
In the verses above one can see that the scroll which is also the source of the visions of Revelation appears to have been opened around the time of Jesus’ sacrificial death and as a consequence of this act. It is the opening of this scroll which was sealed at the end of the Book of Daniel and whose seals were broken at the start of Revelation which may be referred to in the sealing of vision and prophecy in Daniel 9:24. Recall that Daniel 12:4 and 12:9 say that the scroll that was the source of Daniel’s visons throughout the Book of Daniel was to remain sealed until the time of the end. In fulfillment of Daniel 12:4 and 12:9, the remaining information in the heavenly scroll mentioned in Daniel 12 remained sealed or unrevealed until this prophetic information was later revealed to the Apostle John at the time of the end. The remaining information of the scroll sealed at the end of the Book of Daniel was opened by Jesus Christ in Revelation 5-6 and subsequently came to compose John’s series of visions recorded in the Book of Revelation.
According to Revelation 5:1-9, it was Jesus’ sacrificial death in A.D. 33 that qualified Him to open the scroll which presumably was opened sometime around the time of His death, though the resulting plagues that resulted from the opening of the scroll did not begin to transpire until the Jewish War. The fact that the scroll sealed at the end of the Book of Daniel is the same scroll opened in Revelation 6 is evidenced by the fact that the symbolism and messages recorded in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation are so similar that both books appear to be something like two parts of the same book. As stated above, the scroll mentioned in Daniel and Revelation appears to have been opened shortly after the death of Christ in A.D. 33 as implied in Revelation 5:1-9. As is discussed above, A.D. 33 is the end of the 490 years of Daniel 9:24. Though the scroll mentioned in v. 24 was sealed at the end of the Book of Daniel which conservative scholars date sometime around 539 B.C., the scroll continued to remain sealed from 444 B.C., at the start of the 490 years, until A.D. 33 when it was presumably opened shortly after the sacrificial death of Christ, the Lamb of Revelation 5:6-7.
Let us now discuss how “sealing up vision and prophecy” does not convey fulfillment. As cited above in Daniel 12:4, at the end of the Book of Daniel, the prophet is told to “close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.” Here one can clearly see that the expression “to seal both vision and prophecy” does not mean fulfillment. Of course, all end time prophecy was not fulfilled at the end of the Book of Daniel. Rather, this expression means, as stated above, that the remaining prophecies and visions in the scroll mentioned in Daniel 12:4 that is presumably the source of all the visions recorded in the Book of Daniel were not to continue to be revealed because the scroll upon which these remaining visions were recorded was to be sealed and thus not read by or revealed to anyone until the time of the end. The fact that to seal up vision and prophecy has nothing to do with the fulfillment of these prophecies is also clearly exemplified in Revelation 10:4 and 22:10: “And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down [emphasis mine] (Revelation 10:4).” Here one can see that Revelation 10:4 defines “seal up” to mean “do not write it down.” In other words, “seal up” mean to not reveal. This interpretation is again clearly conveyed in Revelation 22:10: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.” At the end of the Book of Revelation, John is told not to seal up the words of this book. The fact that John is told not to seal the visions he received means, of course, that he was to reveal them. And reveal these visions he did, the fact that Revelation’s visions were not sealed is evidenced by the fact these visions were subsequently written down and sent to the seven churches in Asia Minor. If to seal meant to fulfill in Revelation 22:10 then John is told not to fulfill the words of this book “because the time is near.” Of course this makes no sense. In the vs. cited above one can clearly see that to seal up does not mean to fulfill, rather it means to not reveal a prophecy.
25Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It [Jerusalem] will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.
Fulfilled! The “A.D. 70 Doctrine” View, Interpretation, Exposition and Commentary of Daniel 9:25-26: The Meaning of the Seven Sevens and Sixty-Two Sevens of Daniel 9:25-26 . . .
The “seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’” are (7 X 7) + (62 X 7) or 483 years. I believe the 483 years in this verse are Jewish solar years (originally Egyptian and Babylonian solar years) each with 360 days. The first step in making sense of this prophecy is to convert the Jewish solar calendar into modern years:
Like the prophecy in v. 24, the countdown to the year of the Messiah’s death again starts at the order to rebuild Jerusalem. As stated above, this decree was issued by Artaxerxes in 444 B.C. Therefore the Messiah would be killed 476 years after the decree of Artaxerxes.
476 years – 444B.C. = A.D. 32
Since there is no year zero, one year must be added to the date above:
A.D. 32 + 1 year = A.D. 33
Fulfilled! Daniel 9:25-26 Commentary: Daniel Correctly predicts that the Messiah was to be killed in A.D. 33.
Therefore according to Daniel, the Messiah was to be killed in A.D. 33. Is there any evidence that Jesus had, in fact, died in A.D. 33? There are several things to consider when answering this question. According to the Gospels, Jesus died during the reign of Pontius Pilate. Pilate ruled from A.D. 26 to A.D. 36, therefore Jesus must have been crucified within this ten year period. Assuming Jesus died on a Friday on the fourteenth of Nisan,11 according to modern astronomy, the only years during Pilate’s reign in which the fourteenth of Nisan certainly fell on a Friday are in A.D. 30, A.D. 33 and A.D. 36.12 A.D. 36 seems to be the least plausible of the three options since it assumes that Jesus had a six year ministry, an assumption with no supporting evidence in the Gospel accounts.13 Luke 3:23 indicates that Jesus was about thirty years old when He began His ministry: “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.” Jesus is believed to have been born sometime between 4 and 6 B.C.14 If Jesus died in A.D. 36, then unless Jesus had a six year ministry He would have been closer to forty when He began to publically preach and heal.
At the opposite extreme is the year A.D. 30. Though supported by many scholars, this date also has its weaknesses. According to Luke 3:1-2, John the Baptist began his ministry on the fifteenth year of Tiberius’ reign which corresponds with A.D. 28 or A.D. 29. If Jesus died in A.D. 30, this leaves a ministry of only about one year despite the fact that the Gospel of John lists the passage of three Passovers throughout the course of Jesus’ ministry (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55). A ministry of just over three years better explains the evidence. This leaves A.D. 33 as what seems to be the most likely year of Jesus’ crucifixion.15
Fulfilled! A Covenant Eschatology Interpretation and Commentary of Daniel 9:24-26: Surprising confirmation of Daniel 9:24-26 is found in the Babylonian Talmud.
Evidence of the fulfillment of the above verses in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for sin on the cross is found in a surprising place. Citing Alfred Edersheim, Brian Martin notes that according to Jewish tradition the scarlet cloth that was tied around horn of the scapegoat was said to turn white as a miraculous sign that the sacrifice for sin made by the other goat that was sacrificed was accepted by God.16 According to the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 39b), the scarlet cloth did not turn white for forty years before the destruction of the Temple. Quoting the Talmud, Price writes, “Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot ‘for the Lord’ did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-colored string [suspended in the Temple to show the acceptance of the pascal sacrifice] become white.”17 As shown above, around forty years before the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 Jesus died for the sins of the world. Is this why the scarlet cloth did not miraculously change to white during the roughly forty years between Jesus’ death and the destruction of the Temple?
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. 27He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation,18 until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.19
Preterism, A Commentary of Daniel 9:26-27: Is there a Missing Seven?
Recall that the first half of Daniel 9:26 reads, “After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.” Daniel 9:26 just says “[a]fter the sixty-two sevens (A.D. 33) the Messiah would be killed and the events mentioned in the rest of v. 26 and 27 would be fulfilled. It does not say that vs. 26 and 27 must transpire within the seventy-sevens mentioned previously.20
Furthermore, notice that there is nothing anywhere in Daniel 9 mandating that the seven mentioned in v. 27 is a missing seven from the preceding verses. Though relevant to the seventy sevens, I believe that vs. 26-27 quoted above are not part of the seventy sevens or 490 years. As explained above, since the reference to seven sevens and sixty-two sevens (sixty-nine sevens) appears to be fulfilled together with the seventy sevens in A.D. 33 with Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, there is, therefore, no missing seven. In other words, both the sixty-nine sevens and seventy sevens seem to be separately mentioned so as to both point to A.D. 33 using different calendars. As a Jew living in Babylon, Daniel appears to have used the Babylonian solar calendar of 360 days/year (which was also used by ancient Egyptians and the Jews as well as it appears to be occasionally referenced in both the Old and New Testaments) and the Jewish lunar calendar of 354 days/year to predict the year in which the Messiah would die (Genesis 7:11,24; 8:3-4; Esther 1:4; Revelation 11:2-3; 12:6).
Daniel 9 opens with Daniel referring to Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the seventy years in which the Jews would be in captivity in Babylon (Daniel 9:2). He then goes on to pray that the Lord would turn away from His wrath on Jerusalem (Daniel 9:16) and that God would forgive His people (Daniel 9:19). Then in Daniel 9:24-27 Gabriel answers Daniel’s request in v. 19 by revealing when God would grant forgiveness. Gabriel reveals this information by using units of seven following the precedent set at the start of the chapter which mentions the seventy years of captivity. Though the seventy sevens of Daniel 9:24-27 is unrelated to the seventy years of captivity mentioned in Daniel 9:2 using units of seven to measure time seems to be the theme in Daniel 9. Since the seventy years of captivity and the seventy sevens are largely unrelated, perhaps the seven mentioned in Daniel 9:27 is also largely unrelated to the seventy sevens of v. 24? In other words, it seems that the seven of v. 27 is mentioned as a continuation of the theme of using sevens from the immediately context, but does not appear to be the missing seven after the sixty-nine sevens mentioned in the preceding verses.
Fulfilled! Daniel 9:26 Commentary: As is the Case in Isaiah 8:7-8; 17:12; Jeremiah 46:7-8; Daniel 9: 26; 11:10; 11:40; Joel 2:9 and Nahum 1:8, Floods like that mentioned in v. 26 Symbolize Conquest by Foreign Armies. The Flood in v. 26 is the Roman Army that Destroyed Israel in the First Century.
Verse 26 says that “the end will come like a flood.” As is implied in the context of this verse, the flood mentioned in v. 26 is a symbol of war and conquest by foreign armies: “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.” This is not the only verse in the Bible in which floods represent military conquest by foreign armies. The same meaning is strongly implicit in Isaiah 8:7-8; Daniel 11:10, 40; and Nahum 1:8:
[T]herefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates—the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, Immanuel!” (Isaiah 8:7-8)
His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress. (Daniel 11:10)
At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. (Daniel11:40)
The same imagery is also found in Nahum 1:8: “[B]ut with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh.” The flood of Nahum 1:8 represents the allied armies of the Babylonians, Susianans, Scythians and Medes that destroyed Nineveh in 612 B.C. As is the case in the vs. cited above, the flood in Daniel 9:26 also represents conquest by foreign armies. There are also other examples in the Bible in which floods represent foreign armies (Isaiah 17:12, Jeremiah 46:7-8, Daniel 9:26). The flood or army that fulfills this prophecy is, of course, first century Rome.
Preterist Eschatology and Commentary of Daniel 9:26-27: In the Middle of the Seven-Year Long War with Rome, the Roman Army under Titus, the Future Emperor of Rome, besieged Jerusalem; put an end to Sacrifice and Offering by destroying Jerusalem and its Temple; and Set up Idols of Zeus, Caesar and Rome on the Eastern Wing of the Temple. And the Roman army Sacrificed a Pig to these Ensigns at the Temple’s Eastern Gate (Wing).
The abomination that causes desolation mentioned in Daniel 9:27 is the Roman Army with its idols of Zeus, Caesar and Rome. See How the Greek (2nd Century B.C.) and Roman Armies (1st Century A.D.) with Their Idols of Zeus Literally fulfill all Bible Prophecies Concerning the Abomination that Causes Desolation. Approximately thirty-three years after Jesus’ death, Israel revolted against Rome. Three and a half years later, the Roman General Titus attacked Jerusalem. After the Romans had conquered much of the city many of the remaining Jewish rebels fled to the Temple. Upon setting the holy place on fire, the Roman army went into a frenzy slaughtering the Jewish refugees therein. With the Temple in flames, Josephus says that the Roman army then “brought their ensigns to the temple and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy.”21 Daniel 9:27 reads, “And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation[.]” The Hebrew word translated wing in Daniel 9:27 is kə·nap̄ which means “wing, extremity, edge.” Josephus says the Romans worshiped the ensigns on the Temple’s eastern gate which is the “wing, extremity and edge” of the Temple!
The Roman ensigns were crafted images or depictions of Zeus (Aquila), Rome and Caesar. One such ensign was the imago which was a graven image of Emperor Vespasian.22 In Josephus’ quote above one can see that the Romans worshipped Rome and the image of the Emperor Vespasian by offering abominable sacrifices to these ensigns in the holy Temple.23 Not only did the Romans worship images of Caesar and Rome in the Temple, they likely sacrificed a pig to these idols as part of suovetaurilia, the ritual sacrifice of a pig, sheep and ox for the purpose of land purification. This ritual sacrifice was most especially performed during the destruction of a Temple (Tacitus, Histories 4.53). Remember the Romans worshiped these ensigns when the Jewish Temple was in flames (Wars 6.6.1). The fact that the Romans worshiped idols of foreign gods and sacrificed a pig to them in the Jewish Temple is an exact repetition of the abomination that causes desolation mentioned in Daniel 11:31. Here Antiochus Epiphanies also set up an idol of a foreign god in the Jewish Temple and offered a pig in sacrifice therein. It is, of course, no surprise that when the Romans repeated the actions of Antiochus Epiphanies 200 years later that this event is also called the abomination that causes desolation in v. 27. (See Why Historians Believe Titus Sacrificed a Pig to the Ensigns in the Temple in A.D. 70.)
It should also be noted that during this blasphemous worship, Caesar Titus was declared imperator. And according to Suetonius, many of his subordinates wanted to crown him emperor.24 At this time it is likely that Titus would have received all the divine accolades and ceremonial worship often directed toward the emperor Vespasian in the imperial cult. Thus while the ensigns were being worshipped it is likely that Titus would have also similarly been worshipped during this celebration as the worship of Rome and its emperor was customary in the imperial cult at that time in fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:4: “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” The fact that the Roman army worshiped Caesar Titus at that time becomes especially more likely given the fact that Titus’ army was drawn from Rome’s eastern provinces where emperor worship was sanctioned and commonplace at the time in Imperial Cult.
Fulfilled! “Hyper Preterism” and Daniel 9:27: The Blasphemous Worship of the Beast on the Eastern Wing of the Temple in Fulfillment of v. 27 has Messianic Implications.
As indicated by Josephus, the Romans offered sacrifices to these ensigns on the eastern gate of the Temple. The fact that these sacrifices were performed on this wing of the Temple is not a coincidence. According to Ezekiel 46:1-12, the prince of Judah was to enter the eastern gate of the Temple to offer sacrifices on the Sabbath and New Moon festivals. This prophetic custom has Messianic undertones. And therefore, while performing these sacrifices, the prince acts as a type of Messiah. The fact that Titus also offered sacrifices on the eastern gate of the Temple is a seemingly intentional expression that he is the new prince of Israel. This is a fitting title for Titus who is the firstborn son of the Roman emperor and the one directly responsible for once again subjugating the province of Israel under Roman authority. Therefore, Titus, the prince of Rome, was quite literally the prince of Israel as well. Interestingly, as added proof that Prince Titus is the intended fulfillment of this prophecy, the New American Standard Bible which prides itself on being a strictly literal translation of the Bible translates v. 26 slightly differently. In this translation, v. 26 reads, “[T]he people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” The regal implications of this ceremony do not end there. During this blasphemous worship, Titus was declared imperator by his army who allegedly even wanted to make him the new emperor of Rome.
As predicted in v. 27, this day marked the end of Temple sacrifice. With the holy place on fire, never again would the Jewish people offer sacrifices to the Lord. Then in fulfillment of v. 26, Caesar ordered that Jerusalem and its temple be destroyed. As a result, the city was left desolate and its temple completely demolished even down to the foundation.25 The destruction of the Temple fulfilled the last prophetic stipulations of the Law, marking the end of Biblical Judaism while simultaneously giving birth to two new world religions: Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Could the end spoken of in v. 26 be the end of Biblical Judaism and the Law of Moses?
Preterist Interpretation of Daniel 9:27: The Presence of the Abomination that causes Desolation (the Roman Army and its Idols) in Jerusalem during the Five Month Siege of the City divided the Jewish War into Two 3.5 Year Intervals.
The Roman offensive during the Jewish War began under Cestius in Tishri of A.D. 66 and ended at the fall of Masada in Nisan of A.D 74 having spanned a course of approximately seven and a half years. As suggested in Revelation 11:2 there were, in fact, three and one-half years from the beginning of the war until the siege of Jerusalem. Then in fulfillment Revelation 9:10, Jerusalem was attacked for five months during which the events described in vs. 26 and 27 transpired including the abomination that causes desolation, the destruction of the city and its temple, and the termination of Temple sacrifice. After the destruction of Jerusalem, there were approximately three and one-half years until the fall of Masada and the end of the war.26 In other words, the “middle of the ‘seven’” spoken of in v. 27 may have been the five month period, mentioned in Revelation 9, in which Jerusalem was attacked and destroyed. The Roman assault on the holy city divided the war into two roughly equal halves whose sum totals seven years. Thus the seven year covenant spoken of in v. 27 appears to be a declaration or covenant of war.
It is also possible that the seven-year covenant of Daniel 9:27 was a covenant of peace that Titus and Vespasian made to many Israelites throughout the seven-year long war. Andrew of Saint Victor writes, “The Roman emperor Vespasian, with Titus his son, made a pact of peace with those who ruled among the Jews, or composed a pact of peace with many of the Jews and effected truces for seven years.”27 This is probably true as some of the former rulers of Palestine like Herod Agrippa II and Queen Berenice immediately allied themselves with Vespasian and Titus at the start of the revolt in all likelihood because of a covenant they made to reclaim the right to rule their kingdoms again once the war was over. Not surprisingly at the end of the war Agrippa II was even awarded with additional territory in Palestine.
Interestingly, there appears to be two additional ways in which v. 27 was fulfilled. Let us look at Daniel 9:27 again: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.” Who is “he” in v. 27? Looking at the preceding verse, “he” is either the Messiah or the prince who is to come. The fact that “he” is not specifically identified is interesting because v.27 appears to have been fulfilled by both Jesus, the Messiah, and Caesar Titus, “the prince who is to come.”
Preterist View, Interpretation and Commentary of the End Times and Daniel 9:27: Daniel 9:27 was Fulfilled in Caesar Titus’ three and a Half Year Assault on Israel.
Caesar Titus led the Roman assault on Israel during the Jewish War for three and a half years from his arrival in Israel in March of A.D. 67 to the fall of Jerusalem in September of A.D. 70 though Titus was second in command to Vespasian until the siege of Jerusalem. Rabbinic tradition confirms the fact that Titus and Vespasian assaulted Israel for half of a “seven” or three and a half years in the Midrash. According to the Midrash, Caesar was expected to be punished in Gehenna for three and a half years because that was the length of time in which he besieged Israel.28 Here one can see another way in which v. 27 was fulfilled. Interestingly, there is also another complimentary way in which v. 27 may have been fulfilled which leaves no gap at all in the seventy-sevens.
Fulfilled! Daniel 9:27 Commentary: Daniel 9:27 may have also been Fulfilled in Jesus’ Earthly Ministry.
It is also possible that the “prince who is to come” is Jesus Christ who was spoken of earlier in the immediate context. Daniel 9:26-27 perhaps more literally reads as follows:
And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolate.”
Though as shown above vs. 26-27 do seem to strongly point to the actions of Caesar Titus, these verses are also worded in such a way that they could also refer to the actions of Jesus Christ as well. Perhaps there is a kind of double fulfillment intended? If there is a focus on Jesus in these verses then, of course, there may be no gap in the seventy-sevens with this interpretation.
Let’s investigate vs. 26-27 with Jesus Christ in focus. Verse 26 reads, “And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.” Who are the people of the prince who is to come who “shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”? Verse 26 could refer to the actions of the Roman army who destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple and/or it could also refer to the actions of the saints. As explained in the commentary on Revelation, the plagues of Revelation and the fall of Babylon were the result of God answering the prayers of the martyred saints for vengeance for their unjust deaths. Here we can see how “the people of the prince who is to come . . . destroy the city and the sanctuary” either through the actions of the Roman army or by way of the prayers of the saints for justice.
Verse 27 reads, “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.” Modern scholars believe that Jesus’ ministry as it is recorded in the Gospels was also three and a half years long. At the end of Jesus’ three and a half year ministry, Jesus was crucified as a sacrifice for sin. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, those ceremonial aspects of the Law regarding animal sacrifice were fulfilled at the cross. Thus in the middle of the “seven” or three and a half years into His ministry, Jesus “put an end to sacrifice and offering.”29 I believe that the story does not end there. What about the seven year covenant mentioned in v. 27? I believe that the final three and a half year period comprising the seven year interval mentioned in v. 27 seems to have been fulfilled in the three and a half year ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. How could the final three and a half years of v. 27 be fulfilled in the earthly ministry of the two witnesses? See the preterist commentary on Revelation 11 for a comprehensive explanation.
The second half of verse 27 states, “And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolate.” What is being made desolate? Perhaps it is the city of Jerusalem and the Temple by acts of war as mentioned above? The desolation of the Temple in v. 27 could also refer to the departure of the Shekinah or Spirit of God from the Temple. In Matthew 23:38 Jesus says, “Behold your house is being left to you desolate.” Maybe the desolation of the Temple in Daniel 9:26-27 and Matthew 23:38 refers to the departure of the Spirit of God, the Shekinah, from the Temple. And if it is the Temple that is made desolate either by acts of war or the departure of the Spirit of God or both, then maybe the Temple is also referred to in the later half of v. 27 when it says, “And on the wing of abominations shall come one [Jesus] who makes desolate [departure of Shekinah or destruction of the Temple], until the decreed end is poured out on the desolate [the Temple]”?
The next chapter, Daniel 11, is perhaps the most controversial chapter in the entire book. Secular scholarship has long used this chapter as evidence of a second century date of composition for the book as a whole. The accuracy of the prophecies recorded in this chapter have long been regarded by modern scholars as having been too accurate to have been the result of guesswork on the part a sixth century Jewish seer. By all accounts these predictions proceed flawlessly up until v. 36. Did Daniel make his first mistake while describing the life of Antiochus Epiphanes? Or was another king in mind?
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Interested in THE PRETERIST VIEW OF ESCHATOLOGY, or are you a PRETERIST struggling with a prophecy or verse? It DID happen just like the Bible says! If you liked this essay, see PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY for a detailed explanation of the FULFILLMENT OF ALL MAJOR END TIME PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE. The more unbelievable the prophecy, the more amazing and miraculous the fulfillment!
Also see Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century. For an explanation of how the end of the age and its fulfillment during the Jewish War mirror Genesis 1-3; how the Bible teaches that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of heavenly bodies to heaven, not a resurrection of perfected earthly bodies; and how the resurrection is a mirror opposite of the fall see How the Jewish War and Resurrection to Heaven Mirror Genesis and the Fall; and How Preterism fixes the Age of the Earth Problem and unravels the Mysteries in Genesis.
Fulfilled! Daniel 9:24-27 Preterist Commentary: Conclusion
As shown in the above covenant eschatology commentary on Daniel 9:24-27, every prophecy in Daniel 9 was miraculously fulfilled!
- Daniel 9 purports itself to have been written during the Babylonian captivity of the sixth century B.C. However, I believe that modern scholars fallaciously date the Book of Daniel to the second century B.C. This date has a myriad of problems. For a compelling rebuttal of the second century date of composition for the Book of Daniel see Daniel Chapter 11:35-45 Commentary: Every Prophecy Miraculously Fulfilled!
- Another example in which sevens are used as years is found in the Book of Jubilees 11:16. Sometimes the seventy sevens of Daniel 9:24 is translated “seventy weeks.” Either translation works with the above interpretation as the Bible sometimes substitutes days for years as is the case in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:5,6. (Kurt M. Simmons, Adumbrations: The Kingdom and Coming of Christ in The Book of Daniel, (Carlsbad, NM: Biblical Publishing Co., 2009), 213.)
- Tamsyn Barton, Ancient Astrology, rev. ed. (New York: Routledge, 1995), 14. Many ancient civilizations used a 360 day solar year in which they divided the year into twelve months each with thirty days. Among these were ancient Babylon and Egypt, two nations in which the Jews spent considerable time. Hints that the Jews occasionally adopted this 360 day year are found in several places in the Bible. One noteworthy example is the forty-two months or 1260 days of Revelation 11:2-3. 42 months X 30days/month=1260 days.
- J. Massyngberde Ford, The Anchor Bible: Revelation A New Translation With Introduction And Commentary, (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975), 171.
The decree to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25) in 444 B.C. is mentioned in Nehemiah 2:5-8, 17,18:
[A]nd I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. (Nehemiah 2:5-8.)
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. (Nehemiah 2:17-18)
- Leviticus 25:8-10.
- John S. Evans, The Four Kingdoms of Daniel: A Defense of the “Roman” Sequence with AD 70 Fulfillment, (USA: Xulon Press, 2004), 325-335.
- Stephen R. Miller, Daniel: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, The New American Commentary, vol. 18 (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Company, 1994), 264, cited in Dallas R. Burdette, D. Min., Commentary on Daniel: An Unraveling of God’s Messianic Kingdom, (USA: Xulon Press, 2016), 388.
- John S. Evans, The Prophecies of Daniel 2, (USA: Xulon Press, 2008), 135.
- In the commentary on Revelation 20, I argue that John was one of the twenty-four elders who took his seat around the throne of God at the start of the visions that were later written in the Book of Revelation. During this time John sees the Lamb open the seven seals. John sees this probably around A.D. 64 during the Neronic persecution. Perhaps when John seems to have taken his seat as one of the twenty-four elders at this time that he saw a vision of the past? Or perhaps he saw a present event? If John saw a present event at the time, I believe, the sealing up of vision and prophecy just refers to the lack of prophetic revelatory writing during the 490 years after the decree of Artaxerxes and does not necessarily denote the sealing of the scroll of Daniel specifically.
- Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977), 65-93.
- Ibid., 99-100.
- Ibid., 101.
- Dallas R. Burdette, D. Min., Commentary on the Book of Revelation: An Unraveling of The Olivet Discourse As a Preface to Understanding Revelation Volume 1, (USA: Xulon Press, 2013), 277.
- For a more detailed discussion of the evidence in favor of an A.D. 33 date for the crucifixion of Christ refer to Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977), 95-114.
- Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Pub, 1995), 204, cited in Brian L. Martin, Behind the Veil of Moses: Piecing Together the Mystery of the Second Coming, (USA: Xulon Press, 2009), 224-225.
- Randall Price, The Coming Last Days Temple, (Irving, CA: Harvest House Publishers, 1999), 82, cited in Brian L. Martin, Behind the Veil of Moses: Piecing Together the Mystery of the Second Coming, (USA: Xulon Press, 2009), 225.
- “Abominations” is actually plural in Daniel 9:27. The fact that “abominations” is plural may point to the fact that the Romans didn’t just set-up one ensign in the Temple on the 9th of Av. The Romans placed and worshipped several idolatrous ensigns in the Temple at that time.
- Perhaps the abomination that causes desolation is two-fold? It could be said that the abomination that caused the desolation of Israel was the fact that the Jews killed Jesus and the saints (Matthew 21:35-41; Revelation 6:9-11; 17:6). Perhaps the original “prince” of Daniel 9:26 is Jesus (Daniel 12:1)? Jesus was, in fact, killed in the middle of a seven-year ministry. In other words, Jesus is believed to have had a three-and-a-half-year-long ministry. If the prince is Jesus, then “the end that is decreed that is poured out on him” would appear to refer to Jesus’ death on the cross. One potential weakness with this view is that Jesus was not killed “on a wing of the temple” (Daniel 9:27).
- John Noe, Beyond the End Times: The Rest of the Greatest Story Ever Told, (Bradford, PA: Preterist Resources, 1999), 84.
- Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.6.1.
- Tacitus The Histories 4.62, 1.41; Suetonius Lives of the Twelve Caesars 3.48, 4.14.
- Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.6.1.
- Suetonius Lives of the Twelve Caesars 11.5.
- Josephus The Wars of the Jews 7.1.1. The Jewish War lasted approximately seven and a half years. Just under four years into the war, the Romans set up the abomination that causes desolation. This event occurred just one or two months shy of the exact middle of the war.
- Jerusalem was conquered on the eighth day of Elul in A.D. 70. The rebels at Masada committed mass suicide on the 15th of Nisan in A.D. 74 approximately three and one-half years later assuming a 360 day Jewish solar year. See Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.10.1, 7.9.1.
- Andrew of Saint Victor, Exposition of Daniel. On Daniel 9:27. CCCM 53F:100, cited in Gary DeMar and Francis X. Gumerlock, The Early Church and the End of the World, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, Inc., 2006), 90.
- Midrash Rabbah Lamentations 1.31, 40.
- Jessie E. Mills, Jr., Daniel Fulfilled Prophecy, (Bradford, PA: International Preterist Association, Inc., 2003), 149.