Historicism vs Futurism re: Daniel’s 70th Week

25 "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. 26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate."



In debating with a Historicist, I found the Futurity of Daniel’s seventieth week being challenged from a different perspective.  While Preterists and Historicists have much in common, they are slightly different.  This type of Historicist view places Messiah’s anointing/baptism at the end of Daniel’s 69th week.  The first 3 ½ years of Daniel’s seventieth week are said to run concurrently with Jesus’ ministry.  They place Christ’s death at the midpoint of the week coinciding with the cessation of sacrifices in the temple.  They also see the confirmation of the covenant at the beginning of Daniel’s seventieth week as the institution of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood.  As a Futurist, I have a much different view.


The language of Daniel 9:26-27 shows Christ’s death occurs after the 69th week.  After the 69th week expires, many events are said to take place before the 70th week begins its timetable.  There is a people to come who have a prince.  They will destroy both Jerusalem and the sanctuary, with wars raging over an extended period of time.  Then after that extended period of time, an ominous figure confirms a covenant for one week (seven years).  In the midst of that seven year period, he causes sacrifices to cease along with an event of abomination followed by desolation.


Each translation connects the covenant with the seven year period.  Every translation states "will make a covenant for one week".  So this cannot be a covenant that Jesus makes which is everlasting in nature.  The New Covenant stands in opposition to the Old Covenant and is outlined in Jeremiah 31:31-35, with much more being revealed in 36-40 as well.  The New Covenant is not a covenant that can be broken.  It also has much to do with the continuation of Israel as a nation before the LORD in an everlasting way.  So the Historicist stands on shaky ground to equate this seven year covenant with the everlasting covenant in Christ’s blood.


To attempt to slide Messiah’s death forward to the midpoint of Daniel’s seventieth week is simply not there in the text.  It states that there will be 69 weeks until Messiah without specifying anything in particular in verse 25.  But in verse 26 it gets quite specific.  After the 7 weeks, then the 62 weeks, Messiah is cut off.  That’s where Messiah’s death is – after the 69th week.  There is no connection in the text between Messiah’s death and the 70th week.  Any such connection is forced.


The mention of the Messiah (in this passage), revolves around the main subject of the timeline of the rebuilding of the temple and restoration of temple sacrifices. The appearance of Messiah is mentioned as to exactly when in the seventy sevens He will appear; and further, what will be the state of the temple at the time that He arrives. Notice that twice the timing of the Messiah is in relation to the 62 weeks with no mention of the final week. The final week is only mentioned in 9:27. It is not mentioned in the slightest in verses 25-26.


The temple will be up and running at the time of the Messiah.  After the Messiah’s death, the temple and the city of Jerusalem are to be destroyed.  So if someone shows up when the temple is not up and running, the Israelites should have known this person to be a counterfeit.  Jesus fulfilled the prophecies by coming at a time when the temple was rebuilt and restored.  He also was cut off, as in, put to death at that time.  Another prophecy was fulfilled.  Then 40 years later, just as we would expect, the temple and city of Jerusalem were destroyed.  Another prophecy fulfilled.


Historicists will assert that Daniel’s seventieth week is past, but a plainer reading of the text shows that the 69th week expires (expired) with the bookend of Messiah’s death.  Then we have general events which characterize an extended period of time.  There is this people of the prince who destroy the sanctuary and city followed by a period of time wrought with destruction, war, and desolation.  This is a period of time in between the 69th and 70th week inserted right there in the prophecy.  There is no need for Futurists to even cross-reference another text.  The vision of Daniel’s 70 weeks has a gap built right in to the prophecy.


After the period in time during which the sanctuary and city are destroyed followed by an ongoing war ending in desolation, then this enigmatic figure makes a covenant for one seven year period, constituting the final week in Gabriel’s revelation to Daniel.  This is a much more literal reading of the text than trying to slide Messiah’s death halfway into the 70th week, and than trying to force the destruction of the temple outside of the 70 week altogether.


The temple is again assumed to be standing at the time the seven year covenant is established.  Sacrifices are put to a stop which indicates that some sacrifices have been reinstituted.  For Jesus to refer to the abomination of desolation standing in “the holy place”, we must assume that Jesus understood the temple to be standing at the time of the abomination of desolation, Matthew 24:15.  But we must distinguish between this temple which will be desecrated and the Millennial Temple.  There is nothing in scripture that says that God will be pleased with Israel’s sacrifices which they offer while still in national unbelief.


There is a future, earthly kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Millennial Kingdom.  There will be an earthly temple which will be anointed by the Messiah.  Exodus 15:16-18 has yet to be completely fulfilled for the nation of Israel.  This temple will be a Sanctuary which the LORD’s hands will establish.  Zechariah 6:12-13 also speaks of THE BRANCH who will be both king and priest upon His throne.  He will build the temple.  There are some aspects of the promises outlined in Daniel’s 70th week yet to be fulfilled.  Ezekiel also prophesied of this future temple to which the shekinah glory will return in Ezekiel 40-48.


Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13


-The Orange Mailman

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