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.

 

6 thoughts on “Did Jesus Christ “Confirm the Covenant”?

  1. 2 Thessalonians 2 ties in with these prophecies. “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.” This is an abomination in the holy place.

  2. Mark, I tend to agree with your views on the Daniel covenant, But I also appreciate the fact that you are not “adamant” in your interpretation of scripture, but rater suggest “a reasonable explanation”. Many prophecy buffs expound “absolute truths” with little room for variation.

  3. Thank you, Mark, for the time taken and the explanation and presenting of different sides to this issue of the “covenant” pointing to the end time which the Anti-christ makes with the religious world, even though his heart is against the covenant. The question at this point comes to mind, how shall we prepare for this event? Thank you again for your research and sharing of possible scenarios. God bless!

  4. Thank you, Mark! I’m sure most of us are very busy with our day-to-day activities, concerns, work, and service. It helps to have these endtime verses placed in front of us and be reminded of things to come. Your presentation is so clear; well-rounded–very, very nice. Keep up the good work!

  5. Mark, is it possible, given the Israel-centric character of the Scriptures, particularly the older portion, that the Antichrist’s turning to godlessness “those who act wickedly toward the covenant” is suggestive of an overriding antisemitic dimension?

    As you know, this man appears at an ultimate time in history, and his actions against “the holy covenant”, I would argue, will involve action against the land and the people of Israel (key features of the Abrahamic covenant), the government of Israel, by ascending the sides of the north to make himself “like the Most High”, usurping David’s throne in Zion (the Davidic covenant), and by initially presenting himself as a false messiah, a peacemaker to Israel, such that they at least join hands in a “covenant with hell and death”, with Satan incarnate, so great is their trust in Man.

    The characteristics of these covenants are envisioned, I believe, in the oft-used phrase, “the everlasting covenant”, and will be under assault, particularly in the 70th week, and not merely in one nation, but across the earth.

    • Thanks for your comments. I’m personally at a place where I am glad to hear input on this subject from a number of different viewpoints and I can certainly see how what you are sharing there deserves consideration.
      It’s all in the somewhat hazy future and even though Bible prophecy shines beams into the future, highlighted some things, there still are a lot of questions and aspects we don’t fully understand yet. So for me, I often have to be willing to go with “judge nothing before it’s time” and to wait and see how things fully develop.
      We know a lot and we also have a lot of educated guesses and speculation from sincere and knowledgeable quarters. It all helps to keep us both looking to the Lord about it all, to stay in contact with each other about it and to be faithful watchmen on the wall as the times draw closer. God bless you and thanks.
      Your brother in the Lord,
      Mark

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