Daniel’s Seventy Week Prophecy: Antiochus or Jesus
A look at Isaiah 26-27 and Daniel 9 – Parallel Messianic Texts
In our first installment, examining the claim that Daniel 9 is not Messianic, we noted how Isaiah 40 and its promise of the taking away of Israel’s sin is directly parallel with Daniel 9. We demonstrated that Isaiah 40 is undeniably Messianic, as it foretold the coming of The Voice, the herald the Day of the Lord, in judgment and salvation– the taking away of sin. In the New Testament, John said he was The Voice. Jesus echoed that, and Mark the Evangelist testified to this truth. Since Isaiah foretold the taking away of Israel’s sin through the work of the Messiah, and since Daniel 9 foretold the taking away of Israel’s sin, to bring in everlasting righteousness, this serves as proof that Isaiah and Daniel are both Messianic.
There is much more that could be said about the relationship between Isaiah 40 and Daniel 9. See my book The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Future or Fulfilled? For an in-depth discussion.
The implications of this are profound. Since Daniel 9 is Messianic, it means, as I demonstrated in my Seventy Weeks Are Determined…For the Resurrection, that the eschatological consummation is posited by scripture at the end of the seventy week countdown of Daniel 9. And this reveals one of the key motivations for the former preterists who are claiming that Daniel 9 was not Messianic but rather was fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Futurists know that if Daniel 9 is Messianic and foretold the resurrection, that their futurist eschatology is dead- it is game over. So, they believe that if they can prove that Daniel 9 is not Messianic, and is not eschatological, that one of the pillars of Covenant Eschatology crumbles. They are thus desperate and willing to go to what seems like any length – no matter how illogical – to deny the Messianic nature and content of Daniel 9. Some of the comments being made are, in addition to being purely presuppositional, (e.g. “No one saw the resurrection, therefore, it did not happen in AD 70.”) in a word, unbelievably bad.
So, what I want to do now is to examine the Little Apocalypse– Isaiah 24-27. These chapters had a profound role in Pauline (and NT) theology and eschatology. To say that they set the stage for Daniel 9 is an understatement. What I will present here is an edited (reduced) version of material from my book, Elijah Has Come: A Solution to Romans 11:25-27.
In a brief scan, I discovered that Paul quotes from the Little Apocalypse no less than seven times in Romans 8-11. (J. Ross Wagner, in his excellent, Heralds of the Good News, (Boston; Brill Academic Press, 2003), 343) has Paul citing the Little Apocalypse no less than eight times). What is so significant about this is that Isaiah 24-29 contains no less than six (I think more, actually) predictions of the salvation of Israel, but, in every occurrence that salvation is posited at the time of the judgment of Jerusalem. Let’s take a look then, at the Little Apocalypse.
1. Isaiah 24 – We find the establishment of the kingdom in v. 20 at the time of the punishment of the wicked. That kingdom arrives at the time of the judgment of “the people” and “the city” that sits in the midst of “the land” (v. 10-12. This can only refer to Old Covenant Jerusalem and the people of Israel Compare Ezekiel 5:8-9). The entire chapter is about the coming judgment of Israel because “they have broken the everlasting covenant” (v. 5).
Brant Pitre, (Jesus, Tribulation and the End of Exile, (Grand Rapids; Baker Academic, 2005), 229) agrees with this assessment, and includes Isaiah 25:1-12 in his comments on “the city of chaos” that was to be destroyed. He fails, however, to see that if Jerusalem is the city of chaos to be destroyed in Isaiah 25:1f, that this demands that the resurrection of v. 8 – the source of Paul’s resurrection hope in 1 Corinthians 15 – was to occur at the destruction of Jerusalem. This would be in agreement with Daniel 12:2-7.
2. Isaiah 25:1-3 / 6-9 – The establishment of the kingdom and the judgment of the wicked of 24:20f is posited very clearly in chapter 25:1-3 at the time when the fortified city (Jerusalem) and the temple would be destroyed and the temple turned over to pagans.
Then, in verses 6f we find the prophecy of the Messianic Banquet and the resurrection. It should hardly be necessary to note that Paul quotes from Isaiah 25:8 in his discussion of coming resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. That means that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be when the City and the Temple would be destroyed– just as Daniel 9 foretold.
Likewise, Jesus draws directly from Isaiah in his comments to the Centurion in Matthew 8:11. He promised, “many shall come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom, the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out.” Now, for argument sake (only) one could say that the seventy week prophecy of Daniel 9 is not messianic and still be able to prove from Jesus’ application of Isaiah 25, that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 was in AD 70 when the “sons of the kingdom” were cast out.
What is so fascinating is that Frost, Gentry, McDurmon, etc., and most Postmillennialists agree that Matthew 8:11 was fulfilled in AD 70! But, as I point out in detail in my The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2 book, that means that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is fulfilled! Not only that, it proves that resurrection does not entail the raising of human corpses out of the dust! If Abraham and the worthies are now in heaven – as posited by Frost and others – sitting at the Banquet, then undeniably, Isaiah 25 and 1 Corinthians 15 are fulfilled and, to restate, the resurrection did not include any necessity of having a body of flesh, or being raised out of literal, physical graves.
3. Isaiah 26:1-3, 19f – In the early verses of chapter 26 the prophet foretold the time of salvation: “with joy will we draw water from the well of salvation” – this is the salvation that would come at the time of the Messianic Banquet of 25:6-9. We then find the resurrection: “your dead shall live”– but, this is undeniably posited at the time of the Messianic Woes, commonly called the Great Tribulation (v. 17). This is also posited at the Day of the Lord for the vindication of the martyrs (v. 21). I am convinced that Isaiah 26 lies behind Paul’s reference to the groaning of creation and the promise of the resurrection in Romans 8:18f.
See Brant Pitre’s excellent discussion of the relationship between the Great Tribulation and the restoration of Israel (2005, 219+). He shows that in Scripture and in Jewish thought, there is a clear-cut and inseparable connection between these motifs. Since Jesus posited the Tribulation for his generation, and in direct connection to the judgment on Jerusalem, this means that Let me suggest again that you see my book The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Fulfilled or Future? in which I document the direct and undeniable connection between the Great Tribulation and the Resurrection. With this connection established, those who admit, as the Amillennialists and Postmillennialists normally do, that the Great Tribulation was in the first century, have unwittingly destroyed their own futurist eschatology. And those former preterists who seek to delineate between the Great Tribulation and the Resurrection are likewise falsified.
4. Notice that in Isaiah 26:20-21, the resurrection is posited at the Day of the Lord, when He would come and avenge the blood of the martyrs “the earth will no longer conceal the blood of the saints.”
5. Isaiah 27:1-2 promised the destruction of Leviathan, (this is at the Day of the Lord to avenge the martyrs of 26:21) so that Israel, the Lord’s vineyard, could sing praises for her salvation. God’s people would suffer, but, her enemies would be crushed. We then we find one of the passages that Paul cited in Romans 11:26-27. So, at this juncture we need to focus on Isaiah 27:9f to see how it compares directly with Daniel 9.
“Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand. Yet the fortified city will be desolate, The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness; There the calf will feed, and there it will lie down And consume its branches. When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off; The women come and set them on fire. For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, And He who formed them will show them no favor. And it shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will thresh, From the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; And you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” Isaiah 27:9-13).
So, what do we have in Isaiah 24-27?
✔ We find, among other things, several references to the coming salvation of Israel. And, in chapter 27:9-10, that is explicitly referred to as the time when the Lord would take away the sin of Israel.
✔ That salvation, that taking away of Israel’s sin, is explicitly posited at the time,
“When He makes all the stones of the altar like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand. Yet the fortified city will be desolate, The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness; There the calf will feed, and there it will lie down And consume its branches. When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off.”
Were Israel’s sins taken away at the time of the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes? Patently not. Nor were Israel’s sins taken away after Antiochus.
Was the altar of the Temple turned to chalkstone crushed and destroyed? No. This has been pointed out repeatedly in the FaceBook exchange, but, this has been all but totally ignored.
✔ This salvation would be at the Day of the Lord to avenge the blood of the martyrs – 26:21. Was the attack on Jerusalem and the desecration of the temple to avenge the blood of the martyrs?
✔ This day of the taking away of the sins of Israel would likewise be the time of the resurrection (26:19f). Will the former preterists and futurists tell us if they believe that the resurrection would take place at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes?
Sam Frost is on record as delineating between the time of the Great Tribulation -in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 12:1) and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2, which is supposedly at the proposed end of time. But, that is untenable. The text of Isaiah offers no support for that idea. To claim that Isaiah is speaking of an event separated by thousands of years from the rest of the text – is eisegesis on a grand scale.
✔ This resurrection would be out of the dust, just as the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 would be the resurrection out of the dust. But, keep in mind that in Isaiah 26 that time of resurrection is the time of the salvation of Israel – the taking away of her sin – when the city and the temple would be crushed and destroyed! This correspondence between Isaiah and Daniel is undeniable. (I will not cite the many scholars that agree that Daniel is drawing from Isaiah, but, this is very important. It shows that Daniel’s prophecy of the resurrection posited the resurrection at the time of the Great Tribulation and, at the time when the power of the holy people would be shattered (Daniel 12:2-7) i.e. when the city and the temple would be destroyed (Isaiah 25:1-2 / 27:10f).
✔ This time of the taking away of Israel’s sin would be when the people whom the Lord had created would no longer receive mercy (Isaiah 27:10-11).
It is important to realize that this language is taken directly from the Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:28. The Song foretold Israel’s last days (32:19f/ 32: 29f).
The relationship between Isaiah 24-27 and the seventy week prophecy of Daniel 9 is very clear then. In both passages we have the taking away of Israel’s sin at the time of the destruction of the city and the temple. And both passages likewise foretold the full end of Israel’s covenant relationship with the Lord. The seventy weeks is the prediction of the climax of Israel’s eschatological hope. The constituent elements of the Atonement, the taking away of sin, the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, not to mention the anointing of the Most Holy, were all elements being anticipated by the New Testament writers who said they were longing for the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises to Israel.
So, notice the following:
The Song of Moses foretold the avenging of the blood of the Martyrs in Israel’s last days, in the days of her latter end (Deuteronomy 32:20 29f / 32:43). In those days the people without understanding would no longer receive mercy. (The Lord would turn His face from them, 32: 32:20). Of course, Jesus said he was in the last days, he said that all the blood of the martyrs would be avenged in his generation; he said that would be in the judgment of Jerusalem (Matthew 23).
In Isaiah 26-27 we have the prediction of the resurrection, the Day of the Lord, the avenging of the martyrs, and the taking away of Israel’s sin. This would be when Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed, the temple altar crushed, shattered, turned to chalkstone. And this would be in fulfillment of the Song of Moses. What this means is that the prophecy of Isaiah, in its ultimate application, is about final end, the last days of Israel, as the Song foretold. That is how Paul interpreted and applied Isaiah.
In Romans 11, Paul was undeniably anticipating the future to him coming of the Lord to take away the sin of Israel, in fulfillment of Isaiah the source of that expectation. Thus, he clearly viewed Isaiah as Messianic.
What do we find in Daniel 9, to turn back to that text?
We find the prophecy of the consummation of Israel’s covenant history: “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and your city.” This is about Israel’s last end – the end foretold by Deuteronomy 32 and Isaiah. Just like Daniel 11-12 presents a panoramic view of Israel’s history into the climactic days of the Roman destruction, Daniel 9 foretold the paradigmatic seventy weeks that would consummate in the New Creation of everlasting righteousness. (For a discussion of Daniel 10-12 and how the vision extends to and ends in the days of Rome and AD 70, see James Jordan’s Handwriting on the Wall, (Powder Springs, GA.; American Vision, 2007), 496).
In Daniel 9 we find the promise of the avenging of the blood of the martyrs, i.e. specifically, the avenging of the blood of the Messiah (v. 26-27). And notice that just as in Isaiah 26-27 that vindication is posited at the destruction of the city and temple. This does not fit the AE suggestion. One would think that instead of Antiochus attacking Jerusalem to avenge the death of Onias, that he would be the one destroyed. He was the one ultimately responsible for the death of Onias. But, clearly, his attack on Jerusalem was not God’s judgment on him. He did not die for almost four years afterward!
To repeat, Jerusalem did not kill Onias! The attack and desolation of the temple was not God’s punishment of AE for killing Onias. Yes, Menelaus the High Priest killed Onias, but, he did so as a pawn of Antiochus who was the driving force behind all of that internecine conflict and drama. (Not only that, but, Menelaus did not die until approximately BC 161 – seven years after Antiochus attacked the city and three years after the death of Antiochus. Thus, once again, the attack on Jerusalem was not the avenging of the blood of Onias, since the one guilty of that crime, neither Antiochus or Menelaus – was slain in that attack). But in Daniel 9 it is the city that is being destroyed for killing the Anointed Messiah. If the AE construct is right, then it should have been Antiochus or Menelaus being destroyed / slain for killing Onias.
We then find the promise of the salvation of Israel just as Isaiah 24-27 foretold. The constituent elements, at least most of them, anticipated the glorious climax to Israel’s history.
In Isaiah 27 we find the specific and explicit positing of the salvation of Israel, the taking away of Israel’s sin (and thus the resurrection and salvation) at the time of the destruction of the city, the people and the temple: “Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: When he makes all the stones of the altar like chalkstones that are beaten to dust” (Isaiah 27:9f). Is that what Daniel 9 foretold? Yes! The end of the seventy weeks, the time of the “full end” is the destruction, the total destruction, of the people, the city and the temple. And let’s face it, the people of Israel were not utterly destroyed by AE. The Maccabean Revolt is proof positive of that.
The Seventy Week Prophecy of Daniel 9 is likewise the time of the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, the putting away of sin– this is Israel’s time of salvation, but, it is also the full end of her covenant history! While AE declared that Torah could not be observed, it was that very command that led to the revival of Torah observance– not the shattering of Torah, not the end of Israel’s covenant history. AE did not completely shatter the power of the holy people as demanded by Daniel 9 & 12! The power of the holy people was her covenant relationship with the Lord, and it was that Torah observance that was revived under AE!
So, the Song foretold the last days of Israel -her last end. The martyrs would be avenged. Jesus, Paul and the NT writers applied the Song to their generation.
Isaiah cited the Song to be fulfilled when Israel was utterly destroyed, at the Day of the Lord when the martyrs would be avenged.
Paul cited both the Song and Isaiah in his prediction of the future to him taking away of Israel’s sin at the Day of the Lord.
Daniel 9 foretold that Israel’s salvation would be accomplished within the seventy weeks when the city, the people and the city would reach their full end, (Israel’s last end) in the overwhelming flood of destruction and the martyrs would be avenged.
This is perfect correspondence as to events, as to time, and to application.
Remember that in our previous article we demonstrated that the proposal that Onias III was the “anointed one” (messiah) to be cut off is untenable. The proponents of the AE construct cannot make either the players, the events or the time line fit, in spite of their claims that Antiochus and Onias “fit perfectly.” That is a false claim.
Let me reiterate: Onias III did not make the Atonement. He did not take away sin. He did not bring in everlasting righteousness to restore and rededicate the city and temple. He was killed three years before Antiochus even defiled the Temple, thus, he played no role in its cleansing and sanctification! So, how then, does he “fit perfectly” with Daniel 9? He doesn’t.
More to come on whether The Seventy Week Prophecy of Daniel 9 is a true Messianic Prophecy.