The One Seven (verse 27)
1) The Identity of “He”
Verse 27 speaks of someone coming who will “cause a covenant to prevail with the many for one seven” and at the middle of that seven “cause sacrifice and offering to cease.” At issue is the identity of the “he.” Some understand it as the “Messiah” of verse 26, Who ratified a covenant by His death. But there are several considerations that militate against this view. First, he is said to “cause a covenant to prevail for one week.” Jesus did ratify a covenant, but it is an eternal one. And in order to understand how the covenant sealed in His death could be spoken of as prevailing for seven years we would need some explanation from somewhere. It is impossible to speak of our covenant relationship to Him in such terms. Second, there is no reason to expect any mention of Jesus’ cessation of sacrifices at this point; it would be an awkward jump backwards in the flow of thought. Third, the closest antecedent to “he” is “the coming prince” and is thus the grammatical preference. Fourth, the participle “coming” with the definite article (as mentioned above) seems to refer back to someone previously mentioned or already known. Further, there is something significant about the three and one half years of this seven. These considerations together point back to the activities of the little horn in Daniel 7:25 who works blasphemy for “a time, and times, and the dividing of time” — a period seemingly identical with that of this “he” during the final week. No one is willing to say this speaks of Christ, so are we to think this is meaningless coincidence? Fifth, the activities of this “he” are clearly not those of the Lord Jesus. It would be possible to speak of Christ as ending “sacrifice and oblation” in some sense, but to associate him with “the abomination of desolations” is impossible. Sixth, (to be observed shortly) his activities are cited by the apostles Paul and John in reference to an end time personage. These considerations simply do not allow an association of this figure with the Lord Jesus Christ.
2) His Activities
The activities of this person are described next. “And he shall cause a covenant to prevail with the many for one seven. But (for) half of the seven he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease.” Taken at its face value and since the Bible never anywhere else mentions such a seven-year-covenant, the statement indicates that this person, evidently of considerable position, will enter into an agreement with Israel (“the many,” the subjects of the seventy sevens) and will somehow violate that agreement three and a half years later. The details of the covenant are not stated, but they clearly involve the freedom to worship in their temple.
The breaking of this covenant is marked by the coming “upon the wing a desolating abominable idol” which will endure “until the end and until that which is decreed shall be poured out upon the desolator.” Virtually all we can know about this act, from this passage of Scripture, is that it is abominable and seems to involve idolatry (shiqutsim). A comparison of this with 2 Thessalonians 2:3ff and Revelation 13 shows unmistakable identification (see chart, page 3). This act of idolatry is what Jesus referred to as “the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place” (Mt.24:15).
The Time Frame
This “coming prince,” then, is Paul’s “man of lawlessness” and John’s “beast from the sea” whose activities are in “immediate” proximity to the return of Jesus Christ (Mt. 24:29; 2 Thes. 2:3ff; Rev.19:11-20:3). It would seem that he is also the “antichrist” of 1 John 4:3. His activities will continue “even until the end, and until that which is decreed shall be poured out upon the desolator.” That is, at the “end” (of the final seven) he will be destroyed. This will be his “destruction in the outpouring” (v.26c, see comments above).
It has already been shown that a time-gap exists between the seven and the sixty-two sevens. As it should be expected, then, verses 26-27 reveal the same chronological relation between the sixty-two and the one seven. Daniel writes that the events of verse 26 occur “after” (achare’) the close of the sixty-two sevens. Verse 27 then proceeds to describe the events of the final seven. The waw consecutive at the beginning of verse 27 (“and”) very naturally continues the narration in chronological and consequential order. The plain reading of the verses, in both the English and the Hebrew, reveals the events of verse 26 to be “after the sixty-two sevens” but before the one final seven. In fact, the burden of proof would lie with any contrary view.
It is clear also that the events of verse 26, stated to be “after the sixty-two sevens,” involve far too much time to be included within the final seven. Whatever date for the crucifixion is preferred, it precedes the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) by well over thirty years. Yet both must fit within this 490-year complex! The only way to allow the words of the text to stand is to acknowledge another break in the time-table.
Those who wish to see the final seven as expired in the first century with the destruction of Jerusalem face a difficult problem here. They do not want to admit to a gap between the sixty-two and one seven, so they are left to either take the final seven as symbolic of a larger period of time (than seven years) or simply shrug their shoulders in wonder.
According to Jesus’ and Paul’s interpretation in Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2 (respectively), the “great tribulation” and “the day of the Lord” will be marked by this act of idolatry in the temple. This event, yet future to them, has yet to be witnessed by history.
Further, as mentioned above, the six purposes of the seventy sevens have yet to see completion. The sins of Israel have not yet been finished, the Old Testament prophecies have not yet been fulfilled, nor has the holy of holies been anointed. These await fulfillment, and so the seventieth seven must still be future.
Moreover, Jesus specified the “abomination of desolation” of the final seven to be yet future, “immediately” prior to His return (Mt. 24:15, 29). Indeed, it is the sign of the end of the age. Thus, Jesus Himself casts this final week into an eschatological setting.
Finally, all other Biblical references to this period of time (“half of the week”; three and one half years) are in an eschatological setting (cf. Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14).
The time frame of the seventieth seven is clearly eschatological. Nor is this time frame constructed upon hermeneutical or even theological grounds but exegetical. Daniel’s seventieth seven awaits the Day of the Lord for its fulfillment (2 Thes. 2:2-3).
One loose end remains. Verse 26 speaks of “the people of the coming prince” destroying Jerusalem (in A.D. 70), while verse 27 speaks of the prince as an eschatological personage. As mentioned previously (pages 13-14), these kinds of “jumps” in time are common in Biblical prophecy and need not seem surprising. Many identify “the people” as the Romans and “the coming prince” as from the realm of the Roman Empire. This view may present difficulties which are easily avoided if “the people” are understood simply as “evil” or “ungodly” people” of [i.e., ‘from whom will come’] the coming prince.”
Summary and Implications
The statements of the text are very precise. Their interpretation only requires a look into history to see what dates began and ended the seven and the sixty-two sevens and a look into the Scripture to find correlation with the events described in the one (final) seven. The interpretation presented here has sought to account for all the details in the text in a way that is consistent with other related Scriptural statements. Debatable hermeneutical assumptions have been deliberately avoided so that the text could be allowed to speak for itself.
Daniel teaches us that the final seven years of this age will witness a world leader rising to power and eventually working great blasphemy in the temple in Jerusalem–an event which marks the “great tribulation” (Mt.24) and “the day of the Lord” (2 Thes.2). This assumes a political future for the nation of Israel as well as the reconstruction of her temple, an event not uncommon in the prophetic word (Ezekiel 40-43; 2 Thes.2:4; Rev. 11:1-2, etc.). At the culmination of the seventieth seven Jesus Christ will return to execute judgment upon the man of sin and his following (Dan.9:26-27; Mt.24:29ff; 2 Thes. 2:2-12; Rev.19:11-20:3). The nation of Israel will then turn to her Messiah in faith (Zech.12:10) so that her transgressions and sins will be “brought to an end.” At last, every Old Testament prophecy will have come to fruition, and the temple itself will be consecrated.
In summation, the seventy sevens unfold as follows
587 B.C. (“Issuing the Word to restore & rebuild Jerusalem”)
-49 years (“seven sevens”)
538 B.C. (“an anointed one, a prince”; Cyrus)
(gap of unspecified duration)
440 B.C. (“street and moat return in time of distress”)
-434 years (“sixty-two sevens”)
6 B.C. (birth of “Messiah,” Jesus Christ)
(gap of unspecified duration)
Events specified (“after the sixty-two sevens”):
1) Crucifixion of Messiah
2) Destruction of Jerusalem “until the end”
?? A.D. (“covenant prevailing” with Israel)
+3½ years (“the half of the seven”)
?? A.D. (“abomination of desolation”)
?? A.D. (“the end”; return of Christ; judgment upon
“the coming prince”)
Endnotes — Daniel 9
1 The Coming Prince (1957; reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1984), pp. 67-75.
2Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1949), p.199.
3 nechetak, niphal perfect, 3rd person masculine singular.
4See also John Bright, A History of Israel. (1959; reprint, Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976) p. 382. Also W. F. Albright, The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra, p. 91, and note 185 [cited in John Bright, op cit]).
5The Prophecy of Daniel, p.207.
6See C. F. Keil, Commentary on Daniel, in Commentary on the Old Testament, by C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Vol.9 (reprint, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1985), pp. 362-363.
7So The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon, p.1055. Cf. Dt. 29:16; 2 Kings 23:24; Jer. 4:1; etc.