Daniel Chapter 9: A Brief Look

One of the most misunderstood sections of Scripture in our modern culture is Daniel chapter 9. Often, the modern believer understands this section of Scripture with the “Anti-Christ” in view. This is both an un-historic and un-scriptural understanding that is generated more from a theological system, then it is from the sound exegesis of Scripture. Often, “the prince” who is to come in verse 26, the same “prince” who destroys the city and makes a firm covenant with the “many” in verse 27, is removed from its historical context and said to be not the Lord Jesus, but, future Anti-Christ. This is indeed unfortunate seeing how it was Jesus who made the covenant with the “many” in His own blood in Matthew 26. Below is a section of a paper that I once produced on this subject that I hope helps to provide clarity to the historical fulfillment of this wonderful section of Scripture. (Note: please forgive the fact that the Greek font is not formatting correctly in the section below)

(From: Krause, Jeffrey S. “A Historical Survey of the Daniel’s ‘Seventy Weeks’ and its Complete Fulfillment Within the Generation of Christ.” 08 March 2010)

Daniel 9:24-27 Exegesis:

     Having noted the identity of the “anointed one, the prince” already in verse 25, it is now necessary to demonstrate the identity of the “prince” of verse 26. In Dan. 9:24-27, “the Prince” is said to bring in “everlasting righteousness” and to “atone for iniquity.” Here, the “anointed one” (the Prince) will be “cut off” (v. 26), and the people of the “Prince” will destroy the city and bring an “end to sacrifices.” The “end to sacrifices” follows the “firm Covenant” made with the many for one week. This account, then future, is undoubtedly speaking of the life and ministry of the “anointed Prince” Jesus Christ. First, contextually, there is no warrant to assume that “the people of the prince to come” is the “Anti-Christ.” There is nothing in the text that allows the insertion of an unqualified individual. Rather, the Lord Jesus is referred to as the “Prince” (dygn –hgoumenou) and the “Messiah” or “anointed one” (xyXm  – cristou) both individually (v. 26) and in connection with one another (v. 25). As it has been demonstrated, verse 25 connects these two titles “anointed one, the Prince” with verse 26 referencing the individual titles of “anointed one” (crisma)  and “people of the Prince to come” (hgoumenw tw ercomenw).  These accounts are describing the same individual in the person of the Messiah Himself. Again, in the LXX, verse 25 reads “cristou hgoumenou” with verse 26 rendering the same Messiah the Prince in individual fashion; “crisma kai krima ouk estin en autw kai thn polin kai to agion diafqerei sun tw hgoumenw tw ercomenw…” Meaning, there is exegetically no warrant to alter the identity of the latter prince from that of the first. The ESV rendering of verses 25-26 proclaims;

“Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. 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.”[1]

     Noting thee afore-mentioned text, the first instance of the “anointed one, a prince” as noted, is undoubtedly speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, those in the Dispensational community wish to assert the latter citation of “the prince” as future Anti-Christ. But the question must be asked, what is the contextual warrant for such an insertion? Where does this previously unmentioned, unqualified character come from on a contextual and exegetical basis? Separated by only one verse and 29 words in the ESV, the “anointed one” Jesus Christ is again mentioned in verse 26. Likewise, only one verse and forty-four words later, the “prince,” who was previously recognized as the Messiah in verse 25, is again mentioned. 

     It was the Messiah, the Prince who did in fact establish a “firm Covenant” (v. 27) with the many in Matthew 26:26-28;

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Emphasis Added)[2]

Point in fact, even the Greek wording is identical between the LXX and the N.A. 27, with the former reading; “kai dunamwsei diaqhkhn pollois” (And he shall strengthen covenant with the many – Dan. 9:27, LXX) and the latter rendered as “διαθκης τ περ πολλν (the new covenant, the one for many – Matt. 26:28, N.A. 27).[3] This is a perfect correspondence that points to the verse 26 “Prince” as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (the one who will make Covenant). Hence, fulfillment is seen within the Biblical witness where the Lord Jesus, via His then pending sacrifice, made Covenant with the many who will believe or rather, the elect of God.

Next, Daniel 9:26 declares that the “cristou” would be cut off; the very message that the four Gospels relay to the reader. Jesus was point in fact, cut off in the middle of the final week, with the duration of His ministry lasting three and one half years. This cutting off was His crucifixion by the nation that rejected Him, the people of Israel;

‘They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.’[4]

     The “end of sacrifices” was symbolized in Matt. 27:51 with the tearing of the Temple curtain; “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” However, it was not until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, when Herod’s Temple was destroyed, an act that ended the sacrificial system, that this prophecy was fully consummated (within the very generation of Jesus’ prediction); as prophesied by the Lord Jesus in Matt. 23:38-24:34 and in particular, Matt:24:1-2;

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

This is the very same Temple[5] that Jesus exited after pronouncing the “Seven Woes” upon Israel and proclaiming;

“Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!See, your house is left to you desolate.For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (Emphases Added) [6]

Hence, clarity is found in the disciple’s question; “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” Meaning, when will be the end of the Jewish aiōn (αἰών) or economy.

     Next, the text of Daniel 9:24 foretells of the “prince” as being the one who is to; “make reconciliation for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness…” And again, this is the very thing that happened due to the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross; by His very act of being “cut off.” Paul tells the reader; “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10 ESV). And again; “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18; c.f. 2 Cor. 5:20, Eph. 2:16, Col. 1:20, 22). Do any orthodox Christians doubt that Christ’s perfect sacrifice, obtained through faith, reconciles all iniquity committed? Justification being a legal decree by God in declaring the sinner “right” or “righteous,” points back to the fulfillment of the Covenant of Works by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. What Adam did not do, Christ fulfilled and the sinner is saved by the active obedience of Christ Himself.[7] Likewise, it is Christ’s vicarious suffering that enacts the “passive” obedience unto the sinner; an act accomplished on the cross for the elect. In sum, it is Christ’s righteousness that covers the transgressions and iniquities of the elect. The New Testament saints look back to the finished work of Christ in both the active and passive sense. Likewise, Christ’s active and passive obedience are retroactive to the Old Testament saints, who found salvation in the then coming Messiah. Both of these factors “make reconciliation” for all who will believe; an act predicted in (but not limited to) Daniel 9:24.[8]

     Likewise, it is “Messiah the Prince” that brought in “everlasting righteousness.” Isaiah 9:6-7 speaks specifically of the connection to the enthronement of Jesus Christ with the bringing in of everlasting righteousness;

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”[9]

Meaning, it is Christ Himself who is the everlasting righteousness; it is not the state or current condition or climate of the world itself. It is His Kingdom that is in view in Daniel 9:24 and it is in this Kingdom where He, the Christ, will be seated on the throne of David. This is the very point that Peter makes in Acts chapter 2:23-36. Jesus is currently seated at the right hand of the Power in Heaven and is currently reigning as King and Lord. The government is currently upon Jesus’ shoulders via His ascension to the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13-14, c.f. Matt. 24:30), an event that happened within the final week of Daniel’s four hundred and ninety years! Thus, there is perfect correspondence with both the atoning sacrifice of Christ and His righteousness as the covenant head within His Kingdom. This correspondence transfers to the Daniel 9:24 text in perfect harmony. Thus, again the author’s thesis is confirmed via the Biblical witness. As previously stated, if there is sound Biblical evidence to show the congruent nature of the Seventy Weeks, then this understanding, based on the witness of the Bible itself is to be preferred. All the while noting that the 9:24-27 text shows no sign of a “gap” within the text itself. Point in fact, Daniel parallels his prophecy with that of Jeremiah 25:11-13. The Daniel prophecy is a type of the exile condition that he himself was in and that Jeremiah predicted. But one must ask, was there a “gap” or “parenthesis” within Daniel’s captivity? No there was not! Therefore, with Daniel’s prophecy being a type of Jeremiah’s, then the pattern of Jeremiah 25 would dictate the nature of Daniel’s prophecy itself. If there is no parenthesis in Jeremiah’s prophecy, then there was not to be a parenthesis within Daniel’s and the preteristic nature of the prediction is seen and the current argument is upheld.

[1] Dan. 9:25-26 ESV

[2] Matt. 26:26-28 ESV

[3] Likewise, Isaiah 53 uses the same terminology to describe the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, as the one who bears the sin of “many” and who atones for sin or iniquity; “π το πνου τς ψυχς ατο, δεξαι ατ φς κα πλσαι τ συνσει, δικαισαι δκαιον ε δουλεοντα πολλος, κα τς μαρτας ατν ατς νοσει. 12 δι τοτο ατς κληρονομσει πολλος κα τν σχυρν μεριε σκλα, νθ᾽ὧν παρεδθη ες θνατον  ψυχ ατο, καὶἐν τος νμοις λογσθη· κα ατς μαρτας πολλν ννεγκεν κα δι τς μαρτας ατν παρεδθη.“ (Isa. 53:11-12 LXX)

[4] John 19:15 ESV

[5] i.e. Herod’s Temple

[6] Matt. 23:34-39 ESV. It is evident from the Lord’s usage of the second person plural that these events were to happen to the people to whom He was speaking with; the Jews of that generation and era. It is that current generation that was to suffer the vengeance of the Lord and whose house was to be left desolate. The Lord Jesus capstones this truth by the words; “…all these things will come upon this generation.”

[7] “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:18-19 ESV).

[8] See Isaiah 53

[9] Isa. 9:6-7 ESV