Daniel’s Seventy Week Prophecy: Three Messiahs, Three Princes?
Be sure to read the first two installments of this series in which we are examining the question of whether Daniel’s Seventy Week Prophecy foretold the coming of Antiochus Epiphanes, or, if Daniel foretold the coming of the True Messiah – Jesus. #1 #2. It is important to realize that the view of Daniel 9 that says it was about Antiochus and Onias III the High Priest raises a question: How many “princes / messiahs” are in the text of Daniel 9?
In the view of Sam Frost and his supporters on FaceBook, there are two, Antiochus Epiphanes and Onias. But, that will not work. The truth is that if one follows their view, there must be, logically at least, three “anointed” ones. Yet, the text does not allow for that.
Understand that the Hebrew word Mosiach simply means anointed. It does not always refer to Jesus “the Messiah.” Thus, Antiochus was a messiah because he was evidently appointed by the Lord to accomplish the judgment on Jerusalem. Likewise, Onias III was messiah, because as High Priest, he was an “anointed one.” But, Daniel 9 – under the AE construct – demands three messiahs!
1. Antiochus Epiphanes.
2. Onias III.
3. Some other High Priest, a messiah. This third messiah was to make atonement, take away sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness after the desecration by Antiochus and after the murder of Onias! It is essential to understand that these key elements of making the Atonement, take away sin and bring in everlasting righteousness were functions of the High Priest. They were not things done (performed) by the people. They were cultic, liturgical actions and functions, accomplished (ostensibly) in the Temple cultus. And to repeat, those liturgical functions could only be “accomplished” (performed) by a High Priest, an anointed one.
Not just any “messiah” could enter the temple and offer sacrifices. Remember Uzziah the king– who was an anointed one of course – who entered the temple and offered incense (2 Chronicles 26:16-21)? Not being a duly ordained priestly messiah: “he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.”
The duly authorized High Priest, Azariah with several other priests, confronted and condemned the king for his presumptuous actions:
“And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the Lord God.” Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar (2 Chronicles 26:18-19).
The point is that when Daniel foretold the making of the Atonement, taking away of sin, etc., this demands that a duly ordained “messiah” a High Priest, had to perform those actions, in the temple. So, who would accomplish those soteriological predictions?
It is safe to say that Antiochus did not make the atonement, take away sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness! He was evil. He was no High Priest.
And, catch the power of this: Onias III did not do these things. He served as priest prior to the desecration of the temple by Antiochus. Thus, he could not make atonement for the temple after its desecration. He played no role in making the atonement, restoring the cultus and reviving Torah! He played no role in bringing in everlasting righteousness. He died a fugitive away from the city, away from the temple! In fact, one has the right to ask why Onias would be singled out for mention in such an auspicious prophecy like Daniel 9 since he lived, worked and died prior to the time when the events of verse 24 could begin to unfold.
I am not discounting Onias’ attempts to fight Menelaus and his henchman Andronicus (who later killed him). Onias was highly respected. I am simply pointing out that chronologically and in light of what Daniel 9:24 demands, Onias simply does not fit.
Let me repeat my point from just above. The elements of atonement, taking away sin, etc., are distinctively and exclusively the cultic and liturgical work of the High Priest. These were not actions of the people, per se. Thus, since Antiochus could not perform those duties, and since Onias did not, that demands another messiah in Daniel 9 to make the atonement, to take away sin and bring in everlasting righteousness.
The priest that followed Onias was Menelaus, the man who murdered Onias (through his henchman Andronicus). He had purchased, through bribery, the High Priesthood from Antiochus. We are safe in saying that he did not, and could not, establish everlasting righteousness. As a totally corrupt High Priest, one can say with safety that he could not even make the Atonement or take away sin! As a man given to violence, corruption, dishonesty and cruelty, he was disqualified from offering the sacrifices – any of his temple functions were totally ineffective. He could never accomplish what Daniel 9 foretold and demanded.
So, if we are going to honor what Daniel 9 says, and then attempt to impose the Antiochan view onto the text, it demands three anointed ones. But, this is not the case if we accept the Messianic view.
Jesus is the prince that was to come (and did) and as we have shown previously, it was his people, according to the testimony of Josephus (shared earlier) that were responsible for the destruction of the city and the temple.
It was Jesus the Christ – the anointed – who was slain after the sixty ninth week.
It was Jesus the Christ who confirmed (berith) the covenant (Cf. Romans 15:8). Sam Frost’s claim on FaceBook that the text actually means that the prince in view would make the covenant “strenuous” (not confirm the covenant), has him on a linguistic limb virtually alone. I have examined 51 translations and not one of them support this rendering. You would think that at least one of them would support Frost, but they do not.
It was Jesus, through the power of his perfect sacrifice – as a result of his martyrdom – that caused the sacrifice to end in the judgment of the city.
It was Christ the Messiah who fully accomplished the destruction of the city and the temple; he came in the glory of the Father in judgment.
It was Jesus, the Great High Priest, who was “holy, harmless, un-defiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26) who made the Atonement, put an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness.
There are not three messiahs, three anointed ones, in Daniel 9. There is only one true Messiah, and that is Jesus the Christ. Daniel’s Seventy Week Prophecy is not about Antiochus Epiphanes. It is about Jesus, the True Messiah.
More to come. For more on Daniel’s Seventy Week Prophecy, see my book, Seventy Weeks Are Determined…For the Resurrection. It is a powerful demonstration that Daniel 9 foretold the resurrection of the dead – not Antiochus Epiphanes.