“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” – Matthew 24:14-16
These statements of Christ have been the subject of much speculation and confusion within Christendom. They’ve been interpreted to reference Antiochus IV Epiphanes who apparently sacrificed a pig in the temple and caused some problems for the Jews during the time period of the seleucid empire. Others believe this statement of Jesus refers to a future antichirst. It seems speculation and confusion abound when cryptic statements and symbolism are used in the Bible. This is most unfortunate as it often makes the task of the Bible Student difficult, especially as people fight tooth and nail for cherished theories and belief systems.
Proper deductions about what Jesus may be speaking about can first be gathered from the original context of Matthew 24, found in his statements about the temple in verses 1-2 and the question asked by the disciples in verse 3. Referring to the temple you may recall that Jesus said, “there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down” which prompted the disciples to ask “when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Based on this original context, it stands to reason thus that whatever the abomination is it automatically can be read as 1. A specific sign of the coming of Christ and 2. Something which relates to the destruction of the Jewish Temple. The text which immediately follows directly references “Judaea”, which Strong’s helps us make the deduction of as being “a region of palestine.” The instructions Christ was giving with regards to the abomination of desolation had direct application for Christians who were occupying this area at one particular point in time.
Feminine of G2453 (with G1093 implied); the Judaean land (that is, judaea), a region of Palestine: – Juda.
It should be noted that Antiochus IV Epiphanes as a fulfilment of this text is eliminated for several reasons. First, this is outside of the original context of Matthew 24, which as shown relates to both the end of time and the future destruction of the Jewish temple. Antiochus has nothing to do with either event. At most, he historically sacrificed a pig inside of the temple and stirred up a hornet’s nest among the Jews [in the form of the Maccabees], but his actions would have no significance for Christians living in the time period after Christ, and thus could have no influence on their need to flee. Verse 16 therefore constitutes the second reason why this interpretation doesn’t fit the specifications of the text.
The third reason may be found in the timing of these events. Antiochus IV Epiphanes commited his actions well before Christ was ever on the scene. This can be demonstrated from the fact that some basic research on the man demonstrates that he was a king of the Seleucid Empire. The territory he would’ve been active in during his time was controlled by the Romans during the time of Christ. [Luke 2:1, Luke 3:1.] Since one existed well before the other, and Christ was obviously referring to something which in context had an application for those listening and us today, Antiochus IV Epiphanes has to be ruled out. He should be eliminated also on the grounds that it makes about zero sense that Scripture would put so much emphasis on an event which has of little consequence for us today.
The question of whether or not the abomination of desolation relates to a future antichrist at this point remains to be seen. Perhaps this may also be eliminated by the phrase “Judaea” in the passage which follows, although this statement given the original context of Matthew 24 cannot apply to that area and time period alone. In order to understand the meaning of this phrase, Christ gives us a clue as to where we may find answers. He states, “spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” The book of Daniel therefore logically holds the keys to understanding this symbol. In addition, the synoptic gospels may also hold keys which help unlock these mysterious statements of Christ.
Christians are not to be discouraged by this cryptic statement spoken by our Lord and savior. Christ plainly states in the passage “whoso readeth let him understand.” This implies strongly that we as Christians were meant to have an understanding of this passage. It is almost identical to the blessing pronounced on those who attempt to understand and read the book of Revelation. [Revelation 1:3.] Therefore in spite of it’s cryptic nature it can in fact be understood.
Other versions of this passage from the synoptic gospels do in fact provide more information. Notice especially that Luke 21 uses the same language of “desolation” but connects this terminology directly to armies that surround Jerusalem. A comparison of all three versions of this text shows that they all contain similar instruction, that once the predetermined sign was seen than those who were in Judaea should flee into the mountains.
The connections between Luke 21 and Matthew 24 are quite clear. Beyond the word “desolation” the setting of Jerusalem is mentioned, right before similar instruction is given immediately after Jerusalem is described as being compassed with armies. Other than being one of the synoptic gospels, Luke 21:20-21 is obviously connected to Matthew 24:15. The logical deduction to be drawn from here is that these texts actually help explain the meaning of this confusing passage from Matthew, showing that it would logically relate to the destruction of Jerusalem and ultimately the temple.
This interpretation would fit with the original context found in verses 1-3. But the second question asked by the disciples with regards to the signs of the end should also be considered. By default this would give the abomination of desolation a duel application relating 1. To the destruction of Jerusalem and 2. To the end of the world. Therefore we can expect that there is a past and future fulfilment with regards to this prediction of Christ.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains; and let them which be in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.” – Luke 21:20-21
“But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand), then let them that be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” – Mark 13:14
It should also be acknowledged that Luke 21 alone is not the sole key to understanding these cryptic statements. Jesus plainly pointed directly at the book of Daniel, and stamped on his statement “whoso readeth let him understand.” Therefore this is the second direction in which we may turn our heads to understand this passage. A concordance search reveals that there are several times in the book of Daniel in which the words “abomination” and “desolate” are used. As you can see from all of these texts below, they’re as equally cryptic as the first text.
“And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the Daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” – Daniel 11:31
“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” – Daniel 12:13
“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.” – Daniel 9:27
All three of these passages come from the book of Daniel, which Christ plainly pointed to as having the key to unlocking his meaning. Given the obvious wording, the logical deduction is that at least one or all of these texts would have some bearing on Christ’s intended meaning. This would be the case since he plainly pointed at the book of Daniel without giving a full explaination as to which passage he was referring. Therefore an understanding of each text would theoretically help unlock these words of Jesus.
The third passage, that being the 27th verse of Daniel 9, is a part of a series of texts known as “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.” This Prophecy from the book of Daniel is misunderstood by many. One school of prophetic interpretation which is popular in this day and age interprets these texts as referring to a future Antichrist, who will restart the temple services and then cause them to cease. A seven year period of tribulation is also pulled out of these passages, particularly from the statement “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.”
Daniel 9 seems to be a major diversion from Matthew 24, but it’s obvious relation to Christ’s statements gives verse 27 and the surrounding texts [with context considered] bearing on this subject. We will therefore divert from Matthew 24 to examine Daniel 9. Our attention in particular will now be turned to Daniel 9:24-27. The issue of the confusing seven years of tribulation, based largely in part on these texts will be examined, in addition to whether or not the passage references a one man antichrist power who is to come in the future. But especially our focus is on the meaning of the phrases “overspreading of abominations” and “maketh desolate.”
“Seventy Weeks are determined upon thy People and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconcilation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.” – Daniel 9:24
Reading from Daniel 9:1-23, there is enough background information evidently present to make the deduction that “thy people” is meant to address Daniel’s people. In this sense, that would obviously be the Jews or the people of Israel. By default, this would make “thy holy city” a reference to Jerusalem. It should be noted however that the book of Nehemiah directly refers to Jerusalem by the title “holy city”, eliminating any chance at speculation.
“And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of the ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.” – Nehemiah 11:1.
Seventy Weeks are “determined upon thy people.” A time period encompassing seventy weeks in total is targeted at the Jews, and thus the entire timespan given [seventy weeks] relates to them alone. The rest of the chapter, as can be demonstrated from verses 25-27, divides this time period up into parts, attaching various events which are to take place during the divisions to them. Nevertheless the entire time period of seventy weeks clearly relates to the Jews in context, and has no other application.
Just exactly how long is seventy weeks? There are seven days in a week. Seven times seventy is 490, therefore there are 490 days in the entire seventy week timespan. According to Ezekiel and the book of Numbers, a day in prophetic symbolic language represents a year. Without this understanding, this prophecy cannot be properly understood. Therefore 490 days translates into 490 years, and the prophecy of seventy weeks stretches to that length. We can then see that a timespan of 490 years is “determined” upon the Jews.
“And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for year.” – Ezekiel 4:6
“After the number of days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know the breach of promise.” – Numbers 14:34
The entire purpose of this seventy week or 490 year timespan is stated in the same verse. It is given to “finish the transgression”, to “make an end of sins”, “to make reconcilation for iniquity”, and to “bring in everlasting righteousness”, to “seal up the vision and prophecy”, and to “anoint the most holy.” Right away it should be pretty clear from this language that none of this really has anything to do with a future antichrist, or seven years of tribulation. In fact, much of the language actually points to Christ’s mission and sacrifice. As we scroll through the rest of the verses, this will become much more apparent.
Pay close attention however to these facts. The word “iniquity” as noted in part 1 is typically in reference to sin, lawlesssness, law-breaking, or general wickedness. The Greek word where it was used in Matthew 24 reflected this general meaning in it’s definition, and the same is true of the Hebrew word used in Daniel 9:24. As shown below it means “perversity, that is (moral) evil.” The seventy week prophecy has to do with “reconcilation for iniquity.” Where else in Scripture are we told of a similar concept?
From H5753; perversity, that is, (moral) evil: – fault, iniquity, mischief, punishment (of iniquity), sin.
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” – Romans 5:10
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconcilation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their tresspasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconcilation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Terms like “reconcilation”, “reconciled”, and “reconcile” are words in Scripture which are generally connected to the concept of justification. As shown above, this is generally received through the death of Christ. Romans 5:10 demonstrates this fact rather clearly. It is therefore logical to conclude that the seventy week prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27 has something to do with the death of Christ. This would be the only reconcilation for iniquity which in this particular case would be worth a prophecy about. Otherwise the system to which Daniel was familiar [that being the ceremonial/sacrificial system of the Jews] normally used sacrifices which pointed to a redeemer to come for this end, and thus no need would exist for there to be a predicted timespan of 490 years in order to bring such a thing in.
In addition, words such as “everlasting righteousness” and “to make an end of sins” point in a similar direction. The mere sound of the phrase “Everlasting righteousness” in and of itself seems to have a gospel flare to it, as does “reconcilation for iniquity”, and the statement “to make an end of sins” paints the same picture. In actual fact, “end of sins” carries a similar thought to a statement which John the Baptist made concerning Christ and his mission. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29.
The Seventy week prophecy therefore appears to relate to the mission of Christ. And as noted it is especially targeting Jerusalem, the Jews, and relates to the mission of the coming Messiah [hence “reconcilation for iniquity”, “bring in everlasting righteousness.”] Given the overall context of the 490 year or seventy week prophecy, forcing an interpretation of an antichrist to come into Daniel 9:24-27 is starting to appear much more far-fetched.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” – Daniel 9:25
“The going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” is a statement which theoretically would provide the starting date for the overall 490 year prophecy. The primary decree which fits these descriptions, that being the restoration and construction of Jerusalem, is found preserved in Ezra 7:11-28. In this command from Artaxerxes, there are descriptions given of treasure to beautify the house of God, civil power restored [through magistrates, judges, the ability to execute death-based punishments, the power to make laws], and an unlimited amount of people intent on going up to Jerusalem with Ezra. This decree would best fit the specifications given in the prophecy.
The timespans given from here are seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks. Verse 25 has now begun the breakdown of the overall seventy week prophecy. It should be noted for easier understanding that the word “threescore” is an old english word for “sixty”, and thus the time divided in this text is “62 weeks.” Seven plus sixty-two is sixty-nine, giving us around 483 years, when you apply the day for a year principle. 483 years stretches from the time of the construction and restoration of Jerusalem “unto Messiah the prince.”
The phrase “Messiah the prince” is another connecting link which points the finger straight at Jesus Christ. You could not find a clearer declaration of precisely who this prophecy is ultimately about. This ties in with the language given in verse 24 [“bring in everlasting righteousness” and “reconcilation for iniquity.”] Obviously Daniel 9:24-27 is a Messianic prophecy, which should be clear enough from the word “Messiah.” However, the words “the prince” are another connecting link to Christ. The title of “prince” is attached to Jesus in many locations across the Scriptures. Some might be somewhat surprised, and even think this interpretation of things incorrect, given that he is also referred to as “king of kings, and lord of lords” in 1 Timothy 6:14-16.
In spite of holding that title, he was referred to as a prince in the book of Acts. Isaiah also calls Jesus the “prince of peace”. The book of Revelation calls Jesus the “prince of the kings of the earth.” Jesus was also clearly identified as the Messiah in the new testament [John 1:41], and the word “Christ” even holds the definition of Messiah in Greek according to Strong’s Concordance. Since verses 24-25 unquestionably point to Jesus and his mission, we’re well on our way to putting away ideas of a future antichrist so far as these prophecies are concerned.
“The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and savior, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” – Acts 5:30-31
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the Government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” – Revelation 1:5
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” – Daniel 9:26
After the passing of sixty-two weeks, “shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himsef.” 62 times 7 is 434. There is a stretch of about 49 years or so which has been left out of verse 26 [that being the original seven weeks], which theoretically between verses 25-26 have passed, leaving 434 years. After the 434 year stretch, “shall Messiah be cut off.” The phrase “cut off” suggests that an individual, in this case the Messiah, is to be killed. In the book of Exodus, there are two passages in which God stated he would “cut off” the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Then these very nations are described as being destroyed in the book of Deuteronomy. The term “cut off” thus means to kill or destroy.
Other examples can be produced from multiple locations across the Scriptures in which the phrase “cut off” is used in the same sentence or passage as destroy, slay, or fall by the sword. This appears in the books of Amos, Micah, and Ezekiel. All of the relevant passages on this mysterious phrase “cut off” have been produced below. We can see thus that the Messiah was to be killed “but not for himself” implying that it was on the behalf of others. It is a well-known fact that Christ died so that “whosoever beleiveth in him” shall not perish but have everlasting life [John 3:16.] The death of Jesus on the cross was on behalf of others and in no way “for himself”, just as the prophecy specifies.
“But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.” – Exodus 22:22-23
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.” – Ezekiel 25:12-14
“But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:” – Deuteronomy 20:17
“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:” – Micah 5:7-10
“But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.” – Amos 1:7-8
After the time elements, Daniel 9:26 describes the “people of the prince” who were to come and to destroy the “city and the sanctuary.” What city and sanctuary are here being referred to? The context of Daniel 9:24-27 clearly references Daniel’s people and Jerusalem, and thus by default Jerusalem is the target which verse 26 has in mind. The “people of the prince” were to come and destroy both the city and the sanctuary. You may recall that in Matthew 24:2, Jesus stated clearly that concerning the temple there was not one stone upon another which was not going to be thrown down.
In view of these facts, already Daniel 9:24-27 is starting to connect with Matthew 24. All of the links so far are:
- Context. Jerusalem is mentioned in verse 25. When you scroll down to verse 26 you then have a vague reference to the destruction of a city and sanctuary. Context is about the only way that you can make a proper deduction as to what the target is, that being Jerusalem.
- The word “Sanctuary” paints an obvious picture of the temple. The sanctuary is here in verse 26 being destroyed by the “people of the prince”, and Jesus stated plainly in Matthew 24:2 that the temple would be completely destroyed.
- Since Jerusalem is in fact referenced in the context, it should be noted that Matthew 24:15 is explained by Luke 21:20-21 via the word “desolation”, defining the whole thing as being about the armies which were to compass Jerusalem. Verse 26, especially with it’s context, is describing the same event. [Hence “people of the prince” shall “destroy the city and the sanctuary” implies an army seeking to demolish them.]
- Jesus directly pointed to the book of Daniel in and of itself, which as we’ve seen contains at least three references to an abomination of desolation, or places where those two words “abomination” and “desolation/desolate” are used in one form or another. These words appear in verse 27 of Daniel 9, for which verse 26 forms the context, and thus the content of the two texts are connected.
Our attention next turns to the mysterious phrase “people of the prince.” On the surface, it would seem strange that the people of Christ would come and destroy the city and the sanctuary. This would be assuming that the “people of the prince” are indeed interpreted to be Christians, due to the obvious fact that “Messiah the Prince” is in reference to Christ. In a general sense Christians are a non-violent bunch of whom it would seem odd and even an evidence of apostasy that they would in fact attack Jerusalem and burn both it and the Jewish temple to the ground. But this is obviously not the case, especially in view of the fact that Luke 21:20-21 cited armies surrounding Jerusalem as a sign in which God’s people were to flee. They’re obviously not the ones conducting the siege if the siege itself is a sign that they should run for the hills.
In spite of the fact that “Messiah the Prince” is a clear reference to Jesus Christ, the term “people of the prince” is not in any way a reference to Christians. There is a series of passages in the book of Deuteronomy which actually help to unravel the meaning of this statement. In the midst of a series of blessings and curses pronounced on Israel if they would obey or otherwise, there is a statement which says “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth.”
The “people of the prince” is a reference back to this curse, in which the Lord would use another nation to bring about a scourge ontop of Israel if they were not obedient. It is a statement of ownership over a tool which is being used as punishment. You might observe that these statements from Deuteronomy hold some links back to Daniel 9 and Luke 21:20-21. This is beacuase both clearly reference armies laying siege to Jerusalem, encompassing it, or coming to destroy the city and the sanctuary. Near the end of verse 52 of Deuteronomy 28, it states that “and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates.” It is logical to conclude either that these statements from Deuteronomy prophetically reference the destruction of Jerusalem foretold in Matthew as well, or that the same curse was carried over into New Testament times and fulfilled when the temple was destroyed.
“The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.” – Deuteronomy 28:49-52
“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.” – Daniel 9:27
The confirmation of the covenant was to take place for one week. “He” in context is a clear reference back to “Messiah the Prince”, which as we saw is a statement talking about Jesus Christ. Therefore Jesus was to confirm the covenant with many for one week, which is aproximately a seven year stretch of time when the day/year principle is applied. In the middle of this week or seven year period, he was to cause the “sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” The Hebrew word for “midst” is defined as “the half or middle” by Strong’s. 7 divided by 2 is 3.5. Therefore after about a 3.5 period of time, the Messiah would cause the “sacrifice and the oblation” to cease.
From H2673; the half or middle: – half, middle, mid [-night], midst, part, two parts.
From an unused root meaning to apportion, that is, bestow; a donation; euphemistically tribute; specifically a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary): – gift, oblation, (meat) offering, present, sacrifice.
It should be noted that after the death of Christ, the sacrificial system lost it’s significance and reached it’s end. Colossians 2:14-17 specifically speaks of the end of the sacrifical rites and how Christians no longer need to practice them due to the fact that they were nailed to the cross. In addition, during Christ’s death the veil of the temple was rent in half, signifying the end of the ceremonial system. [Matthew 27:51]. It would be logical thus to conclude that the sacrifice and the oblation ceasing and the Messiah cut off but not for himself are referencing the same event, that being the death of Christ on the cross.
Perhaps at this point it should be clear what the phrase “And he shall confirm the covenant” means, in view of the overall context and the surrounding statements. It would logically fall on the confirmation of the new covenant, which according to Scripture was confirmed via the ministry of Jesus. Note the passages below which help to clarify this fact by their use and answer of the same phrase found in Daniel, or of statements which hold a similar meaning.
“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” – Matthew 26:28
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” – Romans 15:8
“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” – Galatians 3:17
Usually it is from the statement “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” that some scholars derive the popular concept of the seven years of tribulation. This is done through inserting a gap of several thousand years inbetween the 69th and the 70th week, the application of the day for a year principle, and ripping the statement “And He” away from it’s original context and applying the words to a future antichrist. Obviously, in context the phrase “and he” is in reference to Messiah the prince, which I’ve conclusively proven is a statement referencing Jesus Christ. Thus the application of these statements to a future antichrist is far-fetched and not Biblical.
It should be noted that the statement “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” doesn’t even remotely sound like a period of tribulation in the slightest. An actual period of persecution foretold in Scripture, around Daniel 7:25, predicts that the little horn power was to “wear out the saints”. This is a statement which on it’s direct surface sounds like tribulation, persecution, and affliction. But to verify all you would have to do is go back to the Hebrew meaning of the word “wear” and see that it in fact references affliction. I’ve produced Strong’s definition of this word below for your perusal. In fact, I would go so far as to say that reading tribulation into “confirm the covenant” is nothing short of Eisegesis, at a level which is worse than taking the bear of Daniel 7 and claiming that it is Russia without scriptural evidence.
In addition, between verses 26-27 there is no indication that the 70th week is to be thrown thousands of years into the future. The non-existant gap is simply not there, and cannot be located even when you use a fine-toothed comb to pick apart the words of all four passages, and allow the Scriptures to explain themselves. Popular interpretations involving a secret rapture, a seven year period of tribulation, or a future Antichrist are not as Biblical as they might seem. To be clear, there is an Antichrist. You will find it plainly revealed in the book of Daniel that there is a little horn power, and two beasts in Revelation 13 whose actions have direct bearing on last day events. But popular notions of the Antichrist being a one-man hitler to come in the future are not as Scriptural as they may seem. Stick with me and you will see precisely how.
We now turn to the phrase “and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate.” The words “abominations” and “desolate” are clear links back to Matthew 24:15 and Luke 21:20-21. As we saw from verse 26 and 25, these prophecies are under the clear context of the destruction of Jerusalem. “Desolations” is a word which is even used in verse 26, the same text which references the people of the prince destroying the city and the sanctuary. Luke 21, Daniel 9, and Matthew 24:15 therefore all-together reference the people of the prince who were to come and to destroy Jerusalem via a siege, as foretold by the curse in Deuteronomy 28.
If the past application of the abomination of desolation has to do with the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem, what is the future fulfilment? It is evident that there is in fact one, based on the overall context of Matthew 24. This is clear from the question asked by the disciples, “when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” There are still two passages remaning in the book of Daniel which hold the potential keys to understanding this topic. However, the question remains, how does the abomination of desolation apply to God’s people in the future?
So far as Daniel 9 is concerned, if you’re interested in more information regarding these texts of the Scriptures, click here. The video below also will expand your understanding of Daniel 9, if you prefer to watch rather than read.
That said, part 3 will pick up our examination of Matthew 24.