Did Jesus Christ “Confirm the Covenant”?

I generally try to address a wide audience on matters easily understood. But here I’m going to write about something that only a relatively few people are aware of. It has to do with the intricacies of Daniel 9:27 and how that verse has, or has not, already been fulfilled. This is one of the most disputed subjects in the study of Bible prophecy and the future.

First, here’s what that verse says in the King James version of the Bible. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week. And in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and offerings to cease. And for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even to the consummation. And that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

If this is new to you and you’re interested in it, I suggest that you view the video I’ve done on this verse and its relationship to what Jesus taught in Matthew 24. That video is “Daniel 9:27 & the Last 7 years”. It’s made for a wider audience, going slower than I will here, giving the background and build-up to the significance of this verse. But here I’ll aim to go rather quickly into greater detail and unraveling of it all. And if you don’t have a background in this, it may be hard to follow.

There’s no doubt that Jesus “confirmed the covenant” but the question here is if this is what Daniel 9:27 is talking about. Paul said, “The covenant which was confirmed before in Christ…” (Galatians 3:17). Jesus is, “…the mediator of the new covenant.” (Hebrews 12:24) Jesus was “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29), “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). His “blood cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:9). This future covenant to come was prophesied through Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-33). There’s no question of whether Jesus fulfilled this prophecy in Jeremiah. And even Jesus’ ministry on earth evidently lasted 3½ years, seemingly corresponding to “the middle of the week”, the middle of 7 years, spoken of in Daniel 9:27.

So certainly there are details which seem to match the work of Christ on earth with what is spoken in Daniel 9:27. The question is, was Christ’s atoning work on earth and the subsequent beginning of the Early Church specifically what Daniel 9:27 refers to? Those who believe it does say that when Daniel 9:27 says “and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease”, this refers to Jesus’ death and resurrection which then made unnecessary the ceremonial offerings made by the Jewish priests in the temple in Jerusalem.

But this is the first of several places where focused scrutiny on the verse and then the historical facts brings uncertainty that Daniel 9:27 was specifically referring to Christ on earth. Because there is no Scriptural or historical record of any kind that the temple sacrifices were stopped in Jerusalem after Christ’s Crucifixion and resurrection. There’s no reason not to believe that the Jews continued their temple sacrifices up to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Another place where neither Scripture nor history gives any backing to Daniel 9:27 being fully fulfilled at the time of the Crucifixion and the Early Church is where the idea is put forward that 3½ years after the Crucifixion was the amount of time before the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7. Those who hold to the belief that Daniel 9:27 was finished with the martyrdom of Stephen teach that the period of time from the Crucifixion to Stephen’s martyrdom was the second 3½ years of “the last week”, the 70th week of Daniel 9:27. But there’s just nothing in Scripture about this at all. Or in Early Church teachings. Neither do the Apostolic fathers make this assertion. And those believing Daniel 9:27 was fulfilled in Christ have even greater difficulty trying to explain how Jesus was involved with any “abomination of desolation”, alluded to in Daniel 9:27 and referred to repeatedly elsewhere. Neither did Christ confirm any 7 year (“one week”) covenant. His was an eternal covenant, having nothing to do with any 7 year period.

If Daniel 9:27 has some definite similarities to events which have already passed, but still it has not been truly fulfilled, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. One of the bigger controversies in Bible prophecy circles from the 1800’s to our times has had to do with Antioch IV Epiphanies, a leader of the Greeks around 165 BC. There were modern bibles for years that explained in their footnotes that the final Antichrist of the endtime, spoken of in Daniel and Revelation, was none other than the Greek tyrant, Antioch IV Epiphanies, who violently persecuted the Jews in Israel at that time.

Antiochus IV Epiphanies ruled for 3½ years, just as numerous places say the final Antichrist will. He even desecrated the Jewish temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing a pig there, seemingly fulfilling the scriptures about the Antichrist placing “the abomination of desolation” (Dan. 11:31) in the temple, after stopping the sacrifices. I made a short video about this man and this subject called “Some Say the Antichrist Has Come”. But as bad as he was, few today still teach that Antiochus IV Epiphanies was the final fulfillment of the many verses about the Antichrist.

But what about Daniel 9:27? Didn’t Jesus confirm the covenant? Well, yes He did confirm the covenant spoken of in Jeremiah, no question about that. Is there any other covenant? Actually, a study of the word “covenant” shows that it appears over 250 times in the Old Testament and many of those times it was not referring to the holy, eternal covenant of God with His people.

In some places it’s used to mean a compact, a confederacy or a league and it has no religious significance. For example, when the Gibeonites came to Joshua, it says, “And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live…” (Joshua 9:15). That word in Hebrew for “made a league” is the same as “covenant” but it is referring to an agreement between individuals, much the same as we see in the affairs of the world in our times.

And this is where it gets interesting when we look at the next major message in Daniel, actually the last revelation he received. This is Daniel 10 through 12 which read as if it was one experience, rather than something that was to be divided into 3 different events or chapters.

One of the most important verses there is Daniel 11:31. This is because it’s almost certainly the one Jesus was referring to in Matthew 24:15 when told His disciples “When you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, whoso reads, let him understand”. And then the Lord goes on to say in verse 21, “for then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world, to that time, no, nor ever shall be.

We could go off on a track here with some who say that this event, “the abomination of desolation”, happened with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. But then those who believe this also conclude that Jesus’ Second Coming, to take over the earth, also happened in 70 AD. And few can look at the world we live in today and believe He now rules and reigns on earth.

But where in Daniel was Jesus actually referring to in Mat 24:15? The clearest mention of “the abomination of desolation” in Daniel is found in Daniel 11:31. It says this. “And arms [armaments] shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength. And they shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate.” I don’t believe there’s any clearer place in Daniel that Jesus could have been referring to than to this verse, Daniel 11:31.

It follows that Daniel 11:31 is of extreme importance in our understanding of the Lord’s return to earth. But then we find that simply turning to Daniel 11:31 to understand it all is not exactly simple. That’s one reason I’ve done the prophecies of Daniel video series, aiming to open the prophetic Scriptures one chapter at a time as God makes known and builds upon His revealed truth, chapter after chapter. And by the time we get to Daniel 11, the revelation of truth is pretty advanced.

But for relevance to the issue of the question, “Is Daniel 9:27 already fulfilled?”, to me the most important fact to be found in Daniel 11 is that this word “covenant” is used repeatedly in the verses leading up to the verse Jesus pointed us to, Daniel 11:31. There are a recurring referrals, immediately before Daniel 11:31 to “the prince of the covenant” (Dan. 11:22), a “league made with him” (Dan. 11:23), “his heart shall be against the holy covenant” (Dan. 11:28), he shall “have indignation against the holy covenant” (Dan. 11:30), “them that forsake the holy covenant” (Dan. 11:30).

As God continues to build upon the revelation from each proceeding chapter, Daniel 11 and 12 become the climax of those revelations. As we understood better the 4 kingdoms first shown in Daniel 2 when viewing the 4 beasts in Daniel 7, so in Daniel 11 we are given much more information about “the covenant” first mentioned in Daniel 9. And in this case it does seem that the narrative points towards more of some kind of political agreement, with spiritual overtones, as being what is the given picture of the covenant to come.

We only get a glimpse of this in Daniel 9 but there’s much more information in Daniel 11. And when we look to Scripture to get our answers, we basically have to take what is given and to see the picture being shown, rather than let our imagination lead us to our own conclusions. It’s rather like a mosaic as we attempt to piece together the bits of the picture given us.

And it’s worth mentioning here that a primary rule in interpreting Bible prophecy is to, if possible, take the literal fulfillment of the words being spoken as our default choice in anything. True, sometimes there is a spiritual meaning. But going this route without taking the literal fulfillment into account has brought a lot of people into some strange doctrines. I wrote about this in “Spiritualizing Prophecy”.

Most scholars believe Daniel 11:21 begins the narrative of the endtime antichrist, spoken of as “a vile person” there in verse 21. In verse 22 there is spoken of “the prince of the covenant” who is overthrown. Who is that? We hold off on coming to any conclusion as we assemble the pieces being given us. In verse 28 it’s said of this man, “his heart shall be against the holy covenant”. Then twice in verse 30, he “has indignation against the holy covenant” and “he has intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.

What is this all referring to? What does this all mean?! Our hearts throb to understand this better. But rather than going into speculative conjecture, my feeling has been that it’s best to just remember it strongly and let the Lord clarify its full meaning in His time. But these are the verses leading up to the verse Christ specifically pointed us to over 500 years later, Daniel 11:31. I’ll add it here again. “And arms [the Hebrew word here is armaments] shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strengthen, and they shall take away the daily sacrifice and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate.

This series of verses immediately before Daniel 11:31 (which Jesus pointed us to) repeatedly refer to a covenant or league made with the man of sin, the Antichrist. This is a major clincher for me that the covenant spoken of in Daniel 9:27 is further explained and amplified by these verses in Daniel 11. And actually there are even more. In Daniel 11:32 it says, “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries. But the people who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.

I’ll admit I don’t know and can’t tell you exactly what this endtime covenant is. But there certainly does seem to be a large number of verses referring to it and the context strongly points towards something other than the eternal covenant that Christ confirmed with His death and resurrection. It reads very much like some kind of treaty or pact with religious overtones, rather than to what is spoken of in Jeremiah 31 or Galatians 3.

Taken out of context, Daniel 9:27 can be made to look like it is connected to the Crucifixion and resurrection of Christ in the first century. But within the context of the chapters before and after Daniel 9, the evidence undermines that view and points towards it being one of many verses picturing an endtime scenario of some kind of Middle Eastern peace/religious pact, followed by renewed sacrifices at a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

This article is now about three times as long as my other articles usually are. As mentioned before, most people may not be able or have the interest to follow this discussion to this length. But, equally, more and more people are coming to realize that what’s discussed here may be of primary importance to our understanding of future prophetic events.

I personally continue to hold the view that part of the endtime to come will include some kind of pact, league, covenant or treaty having to do with renewed sacrifices at a rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem. My views are not based solely on Daniel 9:27 but also on the ones shared here in Daniel 11, plus others mentioned in Daniel 8 which I’ve discussed in the video I’ve done on Daniel 8, seen here.

My apologies if this is too long or intricate. But this is, as far as I know, what is necessary to look fully into the prophecies given Daniel on this subject over 2500 years ago, which Jesus Himself pointed to. My hope is that this discourse has been some help to you in knowing the foundations of why some believe than Daniel 9:27 has a future fulfillment in the last days before the coming of Jesus to bring in God’s Kingdom to earth. God bless you and God help us all.

 

German Video: “Das Buch Daniel, 2. Kapitel”

I’ve been able to complete in German the second video in the Prophecies of Daniel series, Daniel Chapter 2. This chapter is considered by scholars of almost all faiths to be the briefest and most concise overall picture of the history and future of the world in the entire Bible. Daniel chapter 2 is like a foundation on which we can understand the many fulfilled prophecies of the past, as well as see what still is to be fulfilled in times soon to come.

It has often seemed to me that this chapter was intentionally designed by God as an easy first step along the path of prophecy. It’s like a preparation for the more advanced prophecy chapters, such as Daniel chapter 7. That chapter is where we begin to really climb up into the mountains of prophecy. I hope to finish the German version of Daniel 7 sometime in 2018.

The English version of “The Book of Daniel Chapter 2”, can be seen here.

Turkish Video: “Daniel Kitabı Bölüm 2”

I’ve been able to complete in Turkish the second video in the Prophecies of Daniel series, Daniel Chapter 2. This chapter is considered by scholars of almost all faiths to be the briefest and most concise overall picture of the history and future of the world in the entire Bible. Daniel chapter 2 is like a foundation on which we can understand the many fulfilled prophecies of the past, as well as see what still is to be fulfilled in times soon to come.

It has often seemed to me that this chapter was intentionally designed by God as an easy first step along the path of prophecy. It’s like a preparation for the more advanced prophecy chapters, such as Daniel chapter 7. That chapter is where we will begin to really climb up into the mountains of prophecy. I hope to finish the Turkish version of Daniel 7 sometime in 2018.

The English version of “The Book of Daniel Chapter 2”, can be seen here.

Indonesian Video: “Kitab Daniel Pasal 2”

I’ve been able to complete in Indonesian the second video in the Prophecies of Daniel series, Daniel Chapter 2. This chapter is considered by scholars of almost all faiths to be the briefest and most concise overall picture of the history and future of the world in the entire Bible. Daniel chapter 2 is like a foundation on which we can understand the many fulfilled prophecies of the past, as well as see what still is to be fulfilled in times soon to come.

It has often seemed to me that this chapter was intentionally designed by God as an easy first step along the path of prophecy. It’s like a preparation for the more advanced prophecy chapters, such as Daniel chapter 7. That chapter is where we will begin to really climb up into the mountains of prophecy. I hope to finish the Indonesian version of Daniel 7 sometime in early 2018.

The English version of “The Book of Daniel Chapter 2”, can be seen here.

Italian video “Il libro di Daniele -secondo capitolo”

I’ve completed the Italian version of the Daniel chapter 2 video. Daniel Chapter 2 is the briefest, most concise picture of the history and future of the world in the entire Bible. I’ve found it to be the easiest way to introduce beginners to the phenomenon of fulfilled prophecy. The next video being worked on is the Hungarian version of Daniel chapter 2. My hope is to have that out in 10 days to two weeks.

French video: “Le livre de Daniel chapitre 2”

I’ve been able to complete in French the second video in the Prophecies of Daniel series, Daniel Chapter 2. This chapter is considered by scholars of almost all faiths to be the briefest and most concise overall picture of the history and future of the world in the entire Bible. Daniel chapter 2 is like a foundation on which we can understand the many fulfilled prophecies of the past, as well as see what still is to be fulfilled in times soon to come.

It has often seemed to me that this chapter was intentionally designed by God as an easy first step along the path of prophecy. It’s like a preparation for the more advanced prophecy chapters, such as Daniel chapter 7. That chapter is where we will begin to really climb up into the mountains of prophecy.

The English version of this video, “The Book of Daniel Chapter 2”, can be seen here.

Italian video: “Un’introduzione alla profezia nella storia”

I’ve been able to complete the first video in Italian of the Prophecies of Daniel series, “Un’introduzione alla profezia nella storia”.
Many people don’t know what Bible prophecy is. I certainly didn’t until I had a big change in my life when I found out that God is real and the spiritual world really exists. Later I became a Christian and was so surprised when I read the Bible, especially the marvelous disclosures of Bible prophecy.

So, in doing this series on the prophecies of Daniel, I felt it would be good to first present the phenomenon of Bible prophecy against the backdrop of the history of ancient Israel. History is the background against which the prophecies of the prophets stand out as beacons and signposts of the future to come.
The next Italian video will be Daniel chapter 2. My hope is that this video will be ready in the next few months. God bless you.

French video: “Introduction à la prophétie biblique dans l’Histoire”

I’ve been able to complete the first video in French of the Prophecies of Daniel series, “Introduction à la prophétie biblique dans l’Histoire”.

Many people don’t know what Bible prophecy is. I certainly didn’t until I had a big change in my life when I found out that God is real and the spiritual world really exists. Later I became a Christian and was so surprised when I read the Bible, especially the marvelous disclosures of Bible prophecy.

So, in doing this series on the prophecies of Daniel, I felt it would be good to first present the phenomenon of Bible prophecy against the backdrop of the history of ancient Israel. History is the background against which the prophecies of the prophets stand out as beacons and signposts of the future to come.

The next French video will be Daniel chapter 2. My hope is that this video will be ready later this year. God bless you.

Live class audio on Daniel chapter 11:31 to 12:13

man on horseIn Texas in October I was able to complete the final live class in the series I’ve been doing with Sunday school friends there on the book of Daniel. The live class audio on Daniel 11:31 to 12:13 can be heard here.

I guess, with all the fears and foolishness that weigh on our weary world in these times, it’s still a thrill to delve into God’s Word and get “back to the future” of what Bible prophecy tells us will be how things will all end up. I personally am looking forward to, not another change of earthly governments, but the literal setting up of the Kingdom of God on earth. Yes, I’m “millenary”. And for all of us who know and believe in God and His Son Jesus, we all ought to be having the same hope and vision of the future to come: His return to save us from the mess this world is increasingly becoming under unregenerate, renegade mankind.

It was actually difficult to get through this class because so many of these verses are just outstanding and drenched in significance for those of us in these times. This is particularly true of Daniel 12: verses 1 through 4. But many other verses in the classes could have used more attention that we were able to give them in the time we had. For example Daniel 12:1 seems to be important enough that it was paraphrased by Jesus in Matthew 24:21 and Mark 13:19.

Daniel at deskDaniel 12:1 says, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

As we got into chapter 12, we saw that the dialogue changes and it goes back to how it was in chapter 10 with the conversation back and forth between Daniel and the angel or angels. In chapter 10 the angels were just barely able to get Daniel strengthened enough to be able to handle the incredible truth that was to be shared with him. But then by chapter 12, Daniel was so invigorated by his experience then that the angel had to tell him “Go your way, Daniel.” (Daniel 12:9) Daniel still had a stout heart, even if his flesh was beginning to flag in his 80’s by then.

And I’ll just mention that I was glad it worked out in the class to make it through to the last 3 verses in chapter 12. Because they are some of the more surprising in the book of Daniel and seem to segue into events that follow the second coming of Jesus, giving us a glimpse beyond the period of the last 7 years and especially the last 3½ years that the messages Daniel received focus on so much.

But I won’t give it all away here. It was an inspiring time and I personally was having a really good time sharing the class with my friends as it’s a subject that is very dear to my heart. I hope you’ll be able to listen to the class. And please do pray for me that I’ll be able to complete videos on these last 3 chapters in Daniel, hopefully within the next year. GBY, the live class audio on Daniel 11:31 to 12:13 can be heard here.

 

Budapest Stories

Hungarian JewsPresently I’m in Budapest, Hungary to do recordings of some of the prophecies of Daniel videos that I’ve done in English. Through the years, I’ve lived for perhaps a total of 5 years in this interesting central European capital and I consider this country to be one of my favorites that I’ve been in.

Tonight I met again the father of a dear Hungarian friend of mine here; it’s been nearly 20 years since I last met him. And I was thinking how much many of my friends back in the States would enjoy knowing this man. He is ethnically fully Jewish and was raised Jewish. But he’s been a Christian for years. He was born in central Budapest during some of the very worst of the early days of World War II.

planes over BudapestYears ago I knew his mother, my Hungarian friend’s grandmother. When I knew her, she was in her late 80’s and was still a clear-eyed active skier in the snows of wintertime here. Twice during World War II she was marched down to the Danube River that flows through Budapest to be shot because she was Jewish. Twice Allied bombers appeared over the city to bomb it and she escaped.

It’s hard to describe how these things affect me when I meet these people. It’s a strong feeling in me of respect and almost awe in what they’ve experienced, juxtaposed with the incredibly stable and safe life that I and so many have lived in my lifetime.

Then later this evening my friend who does the Hungarian voice-over for my videos was telling me about the circumstances under which his mom was born in Budapest in the last days of World War II. His grandmother had been sheltering with others in a downtown basement for weeks as battles raged house to house throughout the city between the occupying Germans and the Russians who were liberating Hungary.

Budapest batlesMy friend told me tonight that his grandmother had gone upstairs from the basement and lay down on the kitchen table to give birth to his mom in 1945. There were firefights on the grounds of the property and soldiers running and firing back and forth just outside when she gave birth. He said his newborn mother didn’t cry or make a noise when she was born. She was taken back down to the basement by her mom and spent the first two weeks of her life there.

shopping mallMany of us are concerned about our Wi-Fi connection, how our sports team is doing and if we’ll be able to take advantage of the upcoming sale at the shopping mall. We’ve seen nothing but relative stability and prosperity all our lives and it’s no wonder that almost all of us just really take it for granted that it will always be this way. So I often get really quiet and sober around people like I met tonight or when I hear stories from my friends about their parents who went through things like I heard today.

I know people in Holland who ate tulip bulbs to stay alive in World War II. Or a friend whose grandmother was being marched out of Warsaw, Poland by the Nazi’s when she asked permission of them to lay down in a haystack on the side of the road to give birth to my friend’s mother. It was granted. Or a friend in South Africa whose dad was on a prisoner train on the way to a German prison in World War II when he jumped off in the night into the snow and survived on turnips till he could get to safety. I could tell you more and it all affects me deeply.

“It can’t happen here!” they say. But of course it can. If you read history or get to know some of the people I’ve known, you realize how easily the world so many take as the only real world can actually crumble and be blown to dust, never to return again, in a matter of hours or days. So often we don’t realize how fragile and fleeting the things of this world are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against wealth or prosperity. Moses of old said, “You shall remember the Lord your God, for He it is that gives you power to get wealth.” (Deut. 8:18) But then King David said of prosperity, “And in my prosperity I said, ‘I shall never be moved’. Lord, by your favor you have made my mountain to stand strong. You did withdraw your hand and I was troubled.” (Psalm 30:5 & 6)

rich man flatJesus told the story of the man who had much wealth laid up for many years and he was confident in his stability and prosperity. But then God spoke to him and said, “You fool, tonight your soul shall be required of you. Then whose shall those things be that you’ve lain up.” Jesus went on to say, “So is everyone who lays up treasure for themselves and is not rich towards God.” (Luke 12:20 & 21)

If you’ve ever had it all taken away from you, and I have a few times, you may begin to realize how fleeting and tenuous all our present prosperity and progress can turn out to be. Maybe it will continue for decades and generations to come. But more often than not, good times can vanish into the worst of barbarianism, no matter what country you’re in or society you are from. So many rant about the evils of government. But how many are truly trumpeting Jesus’ warning about “the deceitfulness of riches” (Matthew 13:22) which has extinguished the light of so many.

Solomon said, and he should know, “There is that makes himself rich, yet has nothing. And there is that makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7) It’s been a happy but sobering evening for me with these friends here and in this presently prospering place. But it’s been good to remember how it has been for even those here who are still with us and, except for the undeserved mercy of God, how it could be again. Anywhere.