Daniel’s 70 Weeks: An Alernative Premillennial Understanding – Introduction

*Disclaimer: This series is aimed specifically towards proponents of Premillennialism who are already familiar with Daniel 9; it is not intended to teach Daniel’s 70 week prophecy to the uninitiated. However, if anything needs clarification feel free to comment.

Of all of the signs Jesus gives in His Olivet Discourse as warnings leading up to his return, nowhere does he mention a 7-year peace treaty in the Middle East. Likewise, when Paul has to correct the church of Thessalonica’s misguided belief that the day of the Lord is immanently arriving, he highlights the same two major signs as Jesus: the falling away (2 Thess 2:3, 10-11; cf., Mt 24:9-12) and the Antichrist’s unveiling (2 Thess 2:3-4; cf., Mt 24:15, 24); but, like Jesus, no peace treaty is mentioned by Paul. In John’s Revelation, the only time frame given in which to set the pre-parousia eschatological portion of the book – consisting of (a) Christ’s end-time Judgments and (b) the Antichrist’s reign on the earth – is 3 1/2 years (Rev 11:2; 12:6; 13:5; etc). Nowhere in the Revelation is a complete 7 years mentioned. Actually, besides the one arguable reference in 9:27, even throughout the book of Daniel the Antichrist’s season of authority is specified as consisting wholly in 3 1/2 years, not 7 (Dan 7:25; 11:7).

I am firmly Premillennial, but I must admit that I’m having trouble seeing the subject of Daniel 9:27a (the one who “confirms a covenant with many”) as the Antichrist that the majority of PM sees there. The more I read the prophecy itself and its context the more I am convinced that the current calculation which pervades PM readings is not altogether like the understanding which Daniel would have taken away from the encounter – especially when it comes to the climax in v. 27.

The fact alone that there is no mention of a future 7-year peace treaty anywhere else in Scripture should cause us to question our understanding of this verse, for compared with the teachings of Jesus and Paul, the Revelation of John, and the rest of Daniel’s visions, this theory already stands on very thin ice. I suggest that there is a reading much more faithful to the text, its context, and the literal fulfillment of this prophecy within history – a thoroughly PM reading which accords with the rest of Scripture and thus takes the pressure off of Daniel 9:27 to deliver alone.

From what I gather, the notion that the “covenant with many” would be an evil peace treaty at the hands of the Antichrist didn’t even exist until Dispensationalism emerged in the 19th century. It was through the cut-and-paste theology of John Nelson Darby, propagated through his friend C. I. Scofield’s popular study bible, that the Evangelical west began to see that evil figure behind this covenant. Similar to the DP scheme behind the belief in a pre-tribulational rapture, the logic by which this view is established is not as much exegetically based as it is simply bound up in the reasoning of its surrounding system, i.e., it’s not arrived at through an inductive process, but rather through deductive theorizing and proof-texting.

The “he” of Daniel 9:27 is the “prince that shall come” of Daniel 9:26, whose people (Rome) destroyed the temple, A.D. 70. He is the same with the “little horn” of chapter 7. He will covenant with the Jews to restore their temple sacrifices for one week (seven years), but in the middle of that time he will break the covenant and fulfill; Daniel 12:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4. (Scofield Reference Notes on Daniel 9:27, 1917 edition)

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4 Responses to Daniel’s 70 Weeks: An Alernative Premillennial Understanding – Introduction

  1. Scott says:

    Article 1 – what is DP?
    :)
    Dispensational Premillennialism?
    Derek Prince’s viewpoint?
    Daniel’s Prophecy?
    Doctor Pepper?

  2. matthartke says:

    Dave Sliker’s Position, actually… :)

    You got it right the first time.

  3. Scott says:

    Great, now I’ve gotta google DP and see if I can remember what it means…

  4. Hi Matt,

    You give some convincing reasons scripturally.
    What’s the take of when the 70th week began? Why did it stop?

    (I’ve heard some things from a few friends, and I think I may know, if its true, scripturally how God is going to restart the clock again.)

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