LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Just thinking out loud...


I’m following a trail of bread crumbs to an as yet unknown destination in my thinking, but I decided to detail the progress of the journey for this post on Daniel 9:26-27.

Saturday night, I popped in a video borrowed from my pastor – a debate between Thomas D. Ice, Ph.D. and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D. The discussion is “Matthew 24: Past or Future?” I confess that parts of it were a bit dry, and so after considerable listening to the opposing viewpoint (already knowing what I think for the most part about this chapter and with whom I agree), I fast forwarded to the more lively Q&A section at the end. It was during this section that I became intrigued by one question posed by Dr. Ice to Dr. Gentry:

Ice: “Ken, Daniel 9:27 says, ‘And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.’

“How can you say that the 70th week of Daniel was fulfilled in the first century when (1) no Roman leader ever made a covenant with the Jewish leaders especially for seven years and (2) since you apply the 70th week in the first century to the first century Romans, then when were they destroyed immediately after 70 AD…?”

Gentry: “And what do you believe? What he [referring to Ice] believes is that Daniel 9 talks about 490 years, and you go right up until 483 consecutively and then he inserts a gap of 2,000 years and puts the last seven years 2,000 years or more later…

Daniel 9… speaks of Jesus being baptized, coming before Israel… He presents the covenant to the people, and all the events of verse 24 come to pass in Jesus. And then, as a result of their rejecting Him, the Messiah is cut off, that is, He’s crucified… and then the Romans come in and destroy the temple.

Now, Jesus makes a covenant with the people – with the many for one week, that is Jesus deals with Israel for the seven-year period. He has a 3 ½ -year ministry, and then He dies because in the middle of the week, He will put a stop to sacrifice; His death is the conclusion to the sacrificial system as far as God is concerned.

What Gentry presented here was new to me. So when I later sat to read these passages for myself, I was discouraged to see that the NIV rendering for verse 27 is: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

Now doesn’t that NIV wording imply that the “he” who confirms a covenant with many is the same “he” who puts an end to sacrifice and the same “he” who sets up an abomination that causes desolation, as well as the same “him” upon whom the end that is decreed is poured out?

Other translations render the person in 27B to be someone other than the person of 27A. When I referred to the NASB, I was encouraged by its wording (which notes in 27B a change of persons: “and will come one who makes desolate”). So after Sunday evening service, I showed both NIV and NASB renderings of these passages to my pastor, who inquired of me, “So did you check the Hebrew?”

D’uh. Now why didn’t *I* think of that?

The original Hebrew (or so as it reads in my Jewish Publication Society TaNaKh – the acrostic for Torah, Nevi’im v’Ketubim – Torah, Prophets and Writings) left me scratching my head even more with regard to the question "Who is he?," because after the reference to the cessation of offerings, I see no indication of anyone - neither to the first "he" nor to anyone else. Looking into the Hebrew, however, did enlighten me as to the difficulty in rendering the best translation. Here’s how the Hebrew translates into English (word for word, not grammatically correct in English). I show it here just to give a sense of what we're working with. It is shown without punctuation, as the original has none (other than vowel notations and cantor symbols):

Verse 26 And after the weeks sixty and two will be cut off the anointed one [note: ‘the verb here for ‘cut off’ is the same as that used for ‘to cut a covenant’] and there is not to him [note: he has or is no more] and the city and the holy he will destroy a people a leader to come and his end in a flow and until the end war decided desolations.

Verse 27 He will strengthen/intensify a covenant [note: the verb here is no longer the typical verb used throughout the OT for ‘to cut a covenant’] to many one week and half of the week ‘will put an end to’ [note: I didn’t know this particular Hebrew verb – ‘yashbit’ – and couldn’t find it in my dictionary] a sacrifice and an offering and upon wing abominations of desolation and until destruction decided will be poured down on desolation.

Lo and behold, while reading this morning, I came across this morsel in Kim Riddlebarger’s “A Case for Amillenialism”:

“There is always much discussion about this prophecy given the cryptic use of ‘seventy weeks’ or ‘seventy sevens’ as the time frame in which the prophecy is to be fulfilled. Again, the key here is to look for other biblical-theological images which lend us help in interpretation. …the key to the meaning of the ‘sevens’ is to be found in the sabbatical patterns established in Leviticus 25:1-4: ‘The Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields … But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest.’ In Daniel’s prophecy, the first of these sevens [v. 25] comprises seven sabbatical years [forty-nine years total], which constitutes the Jubilee [Lev 24:8] … The total period of seventy-sevens in Daniel 9:24-26, therefore, constitutes ten jubilee eras, with the emphasis falling on the ultimate jubilee yet to come after 490 years had passed. In other words, the messianic age.”

Likewise:

“The language throughout Daniel thoroughly supported the identification of the one who makes a covenant with the many as none other than Jesus himself. Not only did verse 25 give us a list of messianic and redemptive accomplishments associated with the coming one, but in verse 26, we read that the Anointed One will be cut off. Daniel used the verb ‘karat,’ which was often used to describe the cutting ritual associated with the ratifications of covenants. This connects the ‘cutting off’ of verse 26 with the confirming of a covenant in verse 27. ... The words in verse 27 informed Daniel that the one who would be cut off nevertheless would make a covenant in the middle of the seventieth week of the prophecy. ...

“It is significant that in verse 27 the angel Gabriel informed Daniel that the Anointed One would ‘confirm’ a covenant with man. The usual verb used for the making of a covenant, ‘karat,’ was found in verse 26. But in verse 27, the verb ‘higbir’ was used instead, which means to ‘make strong, cause to prevail.’ ... The use of ‘higbir’ illustrated that the covenant being ‘made strong’ or ‘prevailing’ in verse 27 meant that the covenant in verse 27 was not being made de novo but was a covenant being confirmed or enforced. In other words, the covenant being confirmed in the middle of the seventieth week by the Anointed One was a covenant which already existed. This is a reference to the covenant of grace which God had previously made with Abraham and now was confirmed by the Messiah on behalf of many (those redeemed by the suffering servant in Isa. 53:12).”

Now, all of this makes sense to me except for one question:

If Christ would be cut off in the middle of the 70th week, what about the last part (three-and-a-half years) of the final seven-year sabbatical period before the jubilee?

I believe Riddlebarger puts forth an interesting option for consideration here, and that is that “we find the answer in Revelation 12:14, where John reinterpreted this three-and-one-half years in Daniel as ‘a time, a times, and half a time.’.

Riddlebarger then quotes a woman named Meredith Kline. In part, she writes: ‘the last week is the age of the church in the wilderness of the nations for a time, a times, and half a time [Rev. 12:14]. Since the 70 weeks are 10 jubilee eras that issue in the last jubilee, the 70th week closes with angelic trumpeting of the earth's redemption and the glorious liberty of the children of God. The acceptable year of the Lord which came with Christ will then have fully come. Then the new Jerusalem whose temple is the Lord and the Lamb will descend from heaven [Rev. 21:10,22] and the ark of the covenant will be seen [Rev. 11:19], the covenant the Lamb has made to prevail and the Lord has remembered.” (The Law and the Prophets, Old Testament Studies Prepared in Honor of Oswald Thompson Allis, Meredith G. Kline)

Let me say at this point that I’m not sure yet what I think about that thought, except that it rang a bell with me in my understanding of Hebrew. I don’t know about Greek, but in both Hebrew and Arabic the denotation of ‘two’ items is rendered distinct from all other plurals (three or more). This means that by the word alone you can determine a noun’s quantity by whether or not it is rendered in its singular form, its double (or two) form, or plural (three or more) form. English has no equivalent for this.

This is what got me thinking that if ‘a time’ is singular and if ‘a times’ would happen to be the double form (not three or more), and then ‘half a time,’ well, that would indeed equal three-and-a-half. Even if the Greek doesn’t carry the equivalent for a double (as opposed to three-or-more plural) form, it does exist in the Hebrew and therefore Jewish mindset and could be considered a possibility here.

Still following the breadcrumbs on this one…

I wonder if they lead to further investigation of a time, times, and half a time.

Labels: , ,

8 Comments:

Blogger jazzycat said...

Susan,
I certainly agree that it is Jesus who ends sacrifices by his fulfilling the covenant and he is the one cut-off in the 70th week. Skipping 2000 years or more certainly makes no sense to me.

Wayne

September 01, 2007 10:52 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Jazzy,
About two years ago I had never heard of the doctrines of grace. When I first read them, I remember my jaw dropping and thinking, "Can this be true?"
Since that time, I sought out a church that preaches Reformed theology. Since December, I have sat under the preaching of a pastor who not only teaches the doctrines of grace, which I embrace, but also partial preterism.
When he was teaching through the book of Matthew on Sunday evenings, I was unable to attend each night, but I requested CDs of the sermons. I can still recall my amazement when I driving one day, listening to the CD, and I heard him expound Matthew 24. My jaw dropped again. Could some of this prophecy have already been fulfilled? I had never before heard such a thing!
Scripture started opening up to me in entirely new and refreshing ways. Suddenly, what were previously grand mysteries best left to theologians were within my understanding. They started to make sense and connect in ways I had never before seen.
Likewise, when I borrowed this tape from my pastor, it was the question from Ice to Gentry regarding Daniel that caused the books to open up once again in an amazing way.
Of course Jesus ended the sacrificial system of the OT. Of course He fulfilled the covenant and was cut off in the 70th week. If all 69 weeks lead up to Him, why not the 70th?
Isn't it great??

September 01, 2007 11:52 AM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

What's wrong with me?! I'm reformed soteriologically but my mouth didn't drop at Dan 9:27. Ugh. I suppose I'm a half-breed.

September 01, 2007 4:43 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Some of my best friends are half-breeds.
:-)

September 01, 2007 6:03 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"half-breed."
Didn't Cher sing a song back in the early '70's like that? Oops, I'm dating myself...

September 01, 2007 6:59 PM

 
Blogger gordan said...

I thought Kline was a man. Like "A Boy Named Sue," maybe. (Dating myself even more...)

September 01, 2007 10:58 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Speaking of dating, did I tell you that I went into a Family Christian bookstore and inquired about a book by Kenneth Gentry titled "Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation"?

The woman behind the counter looked at me somewhat confused and then remarked, "Oh we have a whole section on dating!"

(I finally ordered the book on-line - got it yesterday!)

September 02, 2007 9:19 AM

 
Blogger James Lush said...

One time when I was in Grand Rapids, Michigan on my annual trek to buy books, I was in Baker Book House brousing through the Used Book Section. I ran into a man and began chatting. He said he was preaching at Calvary Baptist in Grand Rapids that Sunday. I asked him whether he was a Pastor and he said no, "I am an author."

"Really I said, what have you writtent?" "He said come follow me" and took me to the Prophecy Section and pointed out numerous books. It was Thomas Ice, Director of the Pretrib Research Council Click here for the website.

I had him autograph a few books that I purchased.

It was quite the honor being a follower of Dispensational eschatology. I enjoyed the post on the debate. Thomas Ice is a gifted and intelligent man.

September 02, 2007 10:10 AM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home