The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9: Seventy Weeks Are Determined to Finish the Transgressions
I want now to discuss the issue of “finishing the transgression.” As noted in the previous article, Frost admits that the meaning of this term is to fill up the measure of sin. He rightly points out that in Daniel 8:12, 23, the prophet foretold coming judgment on Israel, for filling the measure of her sin. That judgment would come at the hands of Antiochus. Is this the end of the story? Does this prove, as Frost claims, that Daniel 9 must also speak of Antiochus? That is an illogical non-sequitor. Does the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9 refer exclusively to the days of Antiochus Epiphances? No.
Frost is ignoring (conveniently) the fact that Judah had filled a measure of her sin earlier, and that brought down the judgment of God at the hands of the Babylonians. The point being that because Daniel 8 speaks of filling the transgressions in the time of Antiochus, this does not suggest or imply that it was the “ultimate” finishing of the transgressions. But, Frost scoffs at the idea that Daniel 8 can refer to one finishing of transgression but that Daniel 9 can refer to another, at the time of the end. Here is what he offered as a “response” to my comments:
“Thus, yeah, to put an end to the filling up of the transgression in daniel (sic) 8 is NOT, according to Don, the filling up the transgression in Daniel 9! Now we have TWO filling up of the transgressions…..yet, I am told this is bad form when chapter 9 follows chapter 8! Truly amazing.”
So, Frost is (seemingly) denying that there could be the filling up of the measure of sin on the part of Israel / Jerusalem at different times! That would demand that God could only punish Jerusalem at the time of Antiochus, because, evidently, Frost thinks that there can only be ONE filling up of the measure of Israel’s sin. This exhibits a lamentable willingness to ignore the Biblical data.
But, as just noted, Jerusalem and Judea filled the measure of her sin in the days of Jeremiah. That “full measure” of sin brought God’s judgment on them (cf. Jeremiah 2-7), sending them into Babylonian Captivity, just as when the ten northern tribes had filled the measure of their sin and were carried into Assyrian Captivity.
What this means is that it is perfectly logical, perfectly scriptural, to suggest that Daniel 8 can refer to one filling up of the measure of sin, while Daniel 9 could be referent to the ultimate “finishing of transgressions” by Israel in her last days.
I suggest, as both Julienne Chambers and I did in the FB exchange, that the events in the time of Antiochus were typological of the time of Christ, the time of the ultimate and final filling up of the measure of sin on the part of Israel. In other words, Daniel 8 “set the stage” for the last days filling up of the measure of sin, in Jesus’ generation, the time when the Lord would bring about the consummative avenging of the blood of the saints (Deuteronomy 32:43).
There can be no doubt, if we are to accept the words of our Lord, that he saw his generation as the pivotal, ultimate and final generation in Israel’s covenant history, and this is proven by a close examination of just two of his words.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
Notice carefully that Jesus identified his generation as the worst generation of Israel His generation was worse than the former ones! Little wonder since his generation would be the one to reject and kill the “Lord of Glory.” Now, keep in mind that, as we have seen, Judah and Israel had filled the measure of their sin earlier, resulting in both the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. Similarly, as just noted, Daniel 8 recounts the coming judgment on Jerusalem as a result of her transgressions; she was once again filling the measure of her sin.
Yet, from Jesus’ perspective, his generation was worse than all the preceding generations and their “filling the measure of sin.” His generation would fill the measure of the sins of their fathers!
Another key text is Matthew 23:29-37, which I consider to be one of the most under-rated, and even ignored eschatological texts in the entire NT corpus. I believe it is paradigmatic, as a matter of fact, for understanding the proper context of the parousia of Christ. Look carefully at what Jesus said as he stood in the temple:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Jesus Laments over Jerusalem. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”
It is crucial to see how comprehensive the judgment that Jesus described really was. Contra those who tell us that the judgment of Jerusalem was a strictly “local” event that no one in Corinth, or Thessalonica, or Athens, etc., cared about, the reality is that Jesus said that the coming judgment of Jerusalem would span all time, all events, all the way back to Creation! All of the blood, of all the righteous, all the way back to Abel would be judged in that catastrophe! And yet, we are supposed to believe that was strictly local judgment, and it did not matter? See my in-depth discussion of the crucial role of Matthew 23 as it relates to the doctrine of the coming of the Lord and resurrection in my The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Fulfilled or Future?
Throughout the NT, we find the recurring theme of the filling the measure of sin on the part of Israel, through the persecution of the Christians.
So, although Israel and Judah had filled the measure of their sin and had been judged in prior Days of the Lord, none of those judgments, none of those “filling the measure of sins” was consummative. None was as comprehensive as what was to happen in Jesus’ day! None of those judgments was the ultimate finishing of transgressions, and none of those judgments entailed the “end of the age” (Matthew 24:3). None of those judgments brought about Israel’s final end, as demanded by Deuteronomy 32 and the text of Daniel 9: “seventy weeks are determined on your people and on your city.” As Eusebius said, (cited earlier) Daniel 9 foretold the final end of Old Covenant Israel.
The filling of the measure of sins mentioned by Jesus spanned, and somehow included, all of those previous filling the measure of sin by Israel. In some way, perhaps known by the Lord, the filling up of the measure of sins by “Israel” in his generation was so expansive, so comprehensive, so broad, that it encompassed all of the former times of filling the measure of sin. But, the filling of the measure of sin – the finishing of transgression – that Jesus spoke of, and the ensuing judgment, was the final, the ultimate, the comprehensive and expansive filling the measure of sin and the final judgment. It was the “end of the age” judgment.
Interestingly, N. T. Wright links the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 directly to the vindication of the martyrs – which is Daniel 9:26-27 – at the end of the age: “There can be little doubt who these persons are: they the righteous who have suffered martyrdom on the one hand, and their torturers and murderers on the other” (N. T. Wright, Resurrection of the Son of God, (Minneapolis; Fortress, 2003), 110). Incredibly and sadly, Wright, like so many others, ignores Daniel 12:7 (and the relationship with Matthew 23) which gives heaven’s clear declaration about when that consummative resurrection and vindication would take place.
That means that in some sense that the finishing of transgressions and the judgment in the days of Israel, in the days of Jeremiah and in the days of Antiochus was not the ultimate finishing of transgression, and it was not the final judgment of Israel for her sin. That was reserved for Jesus’ generation. This is proven by the way the NT writers develop the doctrine of filling the measure of sin by Israel. Look at just a few of the many texts:
✦ 1 Corinthians 4:9f– Paul said that God had set forth the apostles, last of all, as men condemned to die. Now, in Frost’s evident claim that filling the measure of sin belonged exclusively to the days of Antiochus, Paul’s comments would be ludicrous – and false. But, his comments in Colossians 1:24f (see below) show that his suffering, as an apostle, were eschatological to the core.
✦ Colossians 1:24-27 – Paul said he was filling up the measure of the suffering of Christ. Remember, he was suffering persecution at the hands of the Jews, and thus, by persecuting Paul, they were filling the measure of their sin, just as Jesus said they would in Matthew 23.
✦ 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16– Paul said that the Jews were guilty of killing the prophets (which encompasses the OT blood guilt), they had killed Jesus, and they were guilty of persecuting the apostles of Jesus. In doing so, they were filling the measure of their sin. Now, remember that Frost scoffs at the idea of two filling up of the measure of sin. Yet, unless he is willing to say that 1 Thessalonians 2 also refers to the time of Antiochus, then we have the filling up of the measure of sin in the days of Antiochus, and we have that in the first century in Thessalonians. Any way you want to count it, that is two different periods of finishing the transgressions.
I should note here that Daniel 9:26 speaks of the slaying of the “Messiah” and the ensuing overwhelming destruction of Jerusalem; his vindication. Well, in 1 Thessalonians 2, we find that Jerusalem had slain the Lord, the True Messiah, and “the wrath of God has come upon them to the uttermost”! Perfect correspondence.
I will skip over a host of other passages that reference the filling up of the measure of sin / suffering, but, call attention to two final texts:
✦1 Peter 5:10 – The apostle encouraged the suffering saints in Asia and environs by reminding them that their suffering and that of their brethren throughout the world was being “perfected.” The word used is epiteleo, and means brought to the fulness. Peter was saying that the measure of their suffering was almost full (Cf. 1 Peter 1:5f), and that means that the measure of the sin of their persecutors was almost full.
✦ Revelation 6:9-11 / 17:6f / 18:20-24 – In these passages John wrote eloquently of the imminent filling up of the measure of suffering of the saints. He spoke of the Harlot city Babylon, holding the cup full of the blood of the martyrs. He said -just as Paul did in Thessalonians – that Babylon had killed the prophets and the apostles of Jesus.
What is so significant about Revelation is that the Apocalypse – by virtual unanimous scholarly consent – draws heavily from the book of Daniel’s prophecies of the end!
☛ Daniel 2 and 7 with the vision of the four kingdoms / beasts, is echoed in chapter 13.
☛ Daniel 7 and the prophecy of the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven in judgment is echoed in Revelation 14.
☛ Daniel 12 is all but quoted in Revelation 10-11.
☛ Revelation 21-22 is a description of the New Creation – the world of everlasting righteousness of Daniel 9.
But, according to Sam Frost, none of these correlations mean anything. Daniel contains no prophecy of Jesus! It is all about Antiochus!
I should note that recently, I challenged Frost and those following his lead to answer a very pointed question:
Does the book of Daniel predict the coming of Jesus, the True Messiah, Yes or No?
Frost adamantly refused over several days to respond. Finally, when pressed by the admin of the page, Barry Isaac, to give an answer, he said: “Not directly, no. The “one like a son of man” is left purposely in a mystery in Daniel.”
So, this is where Frost’s desperation has led him. He now (evidently) denies that the book of Daniel contains a single clear-cut prophecy of Jesus! There is no “direct” reference to Jesus. There is only “mystery.” The fact is, of course, that as we have seen, the NT writers, through the Spirit revealed what the OT prophets did not understand (1 Peter 1:10-12) and they unequivocally applied Daniel to Jesus and his work.
Notice for instance that Daniel 9 foretold the “suffering of messiah” i.e. messiah shall be cut off (v. 26). Well, in 1 Peter, the apostle said that the OT prophets “spoke of the suffering of Christ and the glory to follow” (1 Peter 1:11). Do you suppose that the “glory to follow” the suffering of Christ could possibly be the bringing in of “everlasting righteousness?” Could it be the Atonement and the putting away of sin– i.e. the salvation of their souls that Peter said the prophets foretold? If not, why not? Where is the proof?
And let me say that the irony here is, once again, incredible. The early church fathers disagree with Frost. Church history disagrees with Frost. And yet, Frost, who commonly boasts that he stands with the historical and creedal church, flatly rejects the dominant, almost universal view of the early and historical church (not to mention the Rabbinic application of Daniel 9 to AD 70!!) that Daniel did predict the coming of Jesus! As noted at the outset of this article, I am convinced that there is a force other than exegesis driving Frost’s new theology.
But to continue…
As we have seen, Israel filled the measure of her sin on at least three occasions, but, none of those previous judgments entailed or brought about, the making of the Atonement or the bringing in of everlasting righteousness! The judgment actions of Antiochus did not make the Atonement, or put away sin. The desecration of the Temple at his hands did not bring in everlasting righteousness as demanded by the text of Daniel 9. Frost adamantly refuses to even address these issues.
So, here is what we find. Daniel 8 and the seventy week prophecy of Daniel 9 list similar tenets. However, the disparities between the two texts establish a distinction.
The text of Daniel 8 promised the restoration of the temple after Antiochus defiled it. Daniel 9, in sharp distinction, terminates with the “full end” of the city and the temple in the overwhelming flood of destruction at the end of the seventy weeks. Did both Daniel 8 and Daniel 9 predict the finishing of transgressions, i.e. the filling up of the measure of sin? Yes! But, at different periods of time, with different results, restoration of the temple after defilement, versus the total destruction of the city, the people and the temple, and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness and salvation!
In Daniel 8 there is no putting away of sin. There is no bringing in of everlasting righteousness. There is no Atonement– there is in Daniel 9. In other words, what Daniel 9 demands did not happen in the days of Antiochus. And Frost has not touched this argument, top, side or bottom. Not a keystroke.
Side Bar: At the time of this posting, I have challenged Frost repeatedly to tell us who it was among the three “princes” that his paradigm demands in the seventy week prophecy of Daniel 9, that would make the Atonement, put away sin and bring in everlasting righteousness. I have shown that it could not have been the pagan Cyrus. It was not Onias. It could not be Antiochus. It could not be any of the High Priests who followed Onias, e.g. Menelaus or Alcimus, since they were not qualified due to their murderous, dishonest, immoral lifestyles. Although I have asked Frost to deal with this issue more then four times, he has refused to even mention the question. Perhaps he will get to it one of these days.
Finally, as we have seen, for Frost to simply scoff at the idea of two different filling up of the measure of sin on the part of Israel at different times, simply ignores the Biblical evidence. We have shown that Israel / Judah had both filled the measure of their sin and consequently had gone into their respective captivities. Then, under Antiochus, Jerusalem once again filled the measure of her sin and the Lord used Antiochus to bring judgment on her. But, that is not the end of the story. That is not the final filling up of the measure of sin foretold in in the seventy week prophecy of Daniel 9.
We have shown that in Matthew 23 Jesus spoke of his generation filling up the measure of sin and suffering. And that was to be so comprehensive, so inclusive, that it spanned and included all the previous filling up of sin / suffering all the way back to creation! That means – it demands – that the filling up of the measure of sin / suffering in the days of Antiochus was not the “full measure” of finishing the transgression that would bring about the “full end” in the overwhelming flood of destruction demanded by the text of Daniel 9. When Frost admits that “to finish the transgression” meant the filling up of the measure of sin, he has, as usual, entrapped himself and falsified his new found futurism.
Finally, I have shown that the NT contains text after text that develops the idea that in the last days- in Israel’s last days in which they were living – that Israel was filling the measure of her sins, and as a result, the overwhelming flood of destruction was coming on Jerusalem. This testimony includes the book of Revelation that unequivocally echoes the prophecies of the book of Daniel and anticipated fulfillment of Daniel’s Messianic prophecies. This is an utter falsification of Sam Frost’s denial of Daniel as a book predictive of the true Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
A closing comment. I have now posted several articles on the question of whether the seventy week prophecy of Daniel 9 foretold the true Messiah, Jesus, or whether it is exclusively focused on Antiochus. In these articles, which I have also posted on FaceBook and tagged Sam Frost and his supporters, I have asked them to address the issues I have raised. As of today, (3-8-2018) the only response to any of the articles has been Frost’s claim that he had never called Antiochus an “anointed one.” This is a totally evasive, obfuscatory and diversionary claim, and reveals Frost’s inability to actually engage the evidence. He has not offered a single keystroke of response to my in-depth refutation of his claims.