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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The “Literal” Hermeneutic and Dispensationalism

antichristDaniel 9, A Test Case

While doing a search on a non-related subject, I stumbled upon yet another typical negative comment pertaining to how Dispensationalists interpret Scripture.

The author implies that the Dispensational hermeneutic, which I understand to be the historical-grammatical approach to reading the Bible, is problematic when it comes to interpreting the biblical text. The "Dispensational" take on Daniel 9 is presented as an example.

The snippet is taken from a blog article written in 2006. Though that is nearly 6 years ago, seeing that it pertains to the use of hermeneutics, I thought it may be useful to visit. Let me cite the comment in full and then go back and dismantle it piece by piece.

As an aside, often the Dispensational interpretation of certain passages is hardly “literal,” but “literalistic.” That is, the application of the text is something terribly foreign to the historical context. Take Daniel 9, for instance. Daniel, in searching the Scriptures, realizes that the 70 years Jeremiah predicted were about to come to a close (9:2). And while he prays in response to this (his prayer, by the way, is permeated with covenantal references to God. Keep that in mind when you read that one whom Dispensationalists believe to be the antichrist will “confirm a covenant with many,” 9:27), Gabriel appears to him in a vision (9:21), and he tells him that “seventy sevens” and “sixty-two sevens” (references to sabbatical weeks, Lev 35:1-4[sic]) are decreed to follow (9:25). That is, a total of 490 years (an ultimate Jubilee, Lev 24:8), the messianic age. But the Dispensational interpretation of this text (the supposedly “literal” interpretation) forces an at least 2000 year break (or “an indeterminate gap of time”) between the end of the sixty-ninth and seventieth week, a disjunction which the text *no where* posits. This is directly contrary to the Dispensationalist’s professed “literal” hermeneutic! And this forcing of something into the text which is not present (something that used to be called “eisegesis”) has terrible consequences: confusing Christ with the antichrist!


...often the Dispensational interpretation of certain passages is hardly “literal,” but “literalistic.” That is, the application of the text is something terribly foreign to the historical context.

The complaint here is that Dispensationalists, of which I would count myself, interpret the Bible not “literally” but “literalistically.” I would be curious for a more concise definition that distinguishes those two words. Is there really a difference between "literal" and “literalistic”? How exactly would they be so different that to be “literal” is okay, but “literalistic” is flawed?

The basic web dictionary meaning of literal is, “adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression” or “free from exaggeration or embellishment.” Literalistic, according to various on-line dictionaries, is simply the means of interpreting words in the literal sense.

Perhaps the author has in mind the idea that when Dispensationalists interpret the Bible they do so in a wooden, literal fashion. In other words, they make the passage under consideration sound so absurd it creates theological error. In the case of Daniel 9, the Dispensationalist “literalistic” hermeneutic confuses Jesus with the antichrist.

Web dictionary definitions can only supply a basic sense of the word literal and it many not be especially helpful as it pertains to Bible study. So how do Dispensationalists truly understand the word?

Mal Couch, a Dispensationalist, explains that “literal” does not mean “letterism,” which would be equal to the assumed use of “literalistic” by our Dispensational critic. Instead, “literal” means “normal.” Couch explains,

A normal reading of Scripture is synonymous with a consistent literal, grammatical-historical hermeneutic. When a literal hermeneutic is applied to the interpretation of Scripture, every word written in Scripture is given the normal meaning it would have in its normal usage. ... A normal reading of Scripture recognizes figures of speech and symbolism used in eschatological literature and other books of the Bible." [Mal Couch, An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics, 33, 34].

Just so I am on the same page as the critic, when James White, who is definitely not a Dispensationalist, defines what he means by exegesis, he clearly implies Couch's understanding of “literal” when we study Scripture. White writes,

Exegesis can be defined with reference to its opposite: eisegesis. To exegete a passage is to lead the native meaning out from the words; To eisegete a passage is to insert a foreign meaning into the words. You are exegeting a passage when you are allowing it to say what its original author intended; you are eisegeting a passage when you are forcing the author to say what you want the author to say. True exegesis shows respect for the text and, by extension, for its author: eisegesis, even when based upon ignorance, shows disrespect for the text and its author. [James White, Scripture Alone, 81 (emphasis in original)].

Dr. White goes on to explain what constitutes sound exegesis of a biblical text, or the rules of exegetical hermeneutics. Such things as determining context, considering the author, the audience, and the historical setting of the passage, and the consideration of grammar, syntax, and lexical semantics. All of these points the Dispensationalist would heartily agree with, and in fact, practice when he studies the Bible. I take these points as reading the Bible in a literal fashion.

Our critic claims the Dispensational interpretation babyreadingbrings something “terribly foreign” to the text. In other words, Dispensationalists eisegete passages, they do not exegete them. Yet, is his claim valid? I can show you it is not, and in point of fact, it is he who brings something “terribly foreign” to this passage in Daniel and is the inconsistent eisegete. He demonstrates my point in this very paragraph in which he is supposedly shows us the hermeneutical errors of Dispensationalists.

Let me break down his “exegesis.”

Daniel, in searching the Scriptures, realizes that the 70 years Jeremiah predicted were about to come to a close (9:2).

Notice that Daniel expects that 70 years to be “literal.” In other words, Daniel reads Jeremiah 25:11, 12 and expects what Jeremiah to be saying in his prophecy to be fulfilled literally. He can mark his calendar, as it were, from the year Israel went into exile, count out 70 years to the very year the prophet Jeremiah says they will return from exile. Daniel doesn't “spiritualize” the number 70 as if Jeremiah originally meant it to be some number meaning “total completion” or “perfection” or other similar nonsense. Jeremiah means 70 calendar years, as in 7 decades, like from 1910-1980.

Hence, we see an important point noted: If Daniel read the numbers in Jeremiah in such a literal fashion that he understood those numbers to be 70 calendar years, would not the remainder of the numbers in chapter 9 be literal calendar years as well? Keep that thought with you as I move along.

And while he prays in response to this (his prayer, by the way, is permeated with covenantal references to God. Keep that in mind when you read that one whom Dispensationalists believe to be the antichrist will “confirm a covenant with many,” 9:27), Gabriel appears to him in a vision (9:21), and he tells him that “seventy sevens” and “sixty-two sevens” (references to sabbatical weeks, Lev 35:1-4[sic]) are decreed to follow (9:25). That is, a total of 490 years (an ultimate Jubilee, Lev 24:8), the messianic age.

Laying aside the comment about the antichrist for a moment, I would agree with his main understanding of Daniel's vision. As I outlined in my studies of Daniel, what I believe is in mind here is the Sabbatical year as written about in Leviticus 25. Israel failed with keeping the 7th year Sabbath that allowed the land to “rest” for a year. They did it multiple times, at least 70 times over the course of 800 years. Their exile to Babylon reflects that disobedience.

But our author goes on to say the decreed 490 more years are considered an ultimate Jubilee, a Messianic age. Where exactly is he getting that? Does he understand the 490 years to be literal years, just like the 70 years Israel spent in exile? Or is there some “deeper” meaning? Certainly the coming of Messiah is prophesied at the closing of the 69th week when he will be “cut off.” Is that where he is getting this notion of an “ultimate Jubilee” or “Messianic age?”

Keep that in mind as you read that one whom Dispensationalists believe to be the antichrist will “confirm a covenant with many,” 9:27

Let me return to that comment about the antichrist. I am going to venture a guess and say our author probably holds to the traditional, covenant Reformed view of Daniel 9:25-27. I'll quote myself when I outlined the Reformed position on Daniel 9 in a previous post:

Jesus Christ is understood to be both "the prince" or "Messiah" who is to be cut off as described in verse 26, and the "prince" mentioned in the next clause who is described as having a people who come to destroy the city. The point being that the Jews, or the people of the prince who is to come (Jesus Christ), bring their own destruction upon themselves by rejecting their Messiah and hence solidifying God's wrath against the nation as played out in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. The destruction of the temple put an end to sacrifices for the OT sacrificial system just as Daniel states.

There may be some variation among theologians, but that is the basic view held by Reformed writers like Kim Riddlebarger, Gary Demar, E.J. Young, etc.

However, if we are going to take the text seriously by applying the principles of “exegesis” defined above, which includes the idea of “a literal reading of the text” I cannot see how the details of the text can bring one to that conclusion. I would even say the conflation of the “Messiah” and the “prince” is being read into the text eisegetically due to covenant Reformed traditions.

If the covenant Reformed proponent believes there is only one prince being spoken of at the end of Daniel 9, that being, Jesus Christ and His cross work, there are some problems that arise. Let me highlight four.

1) The nearest antecedent to the “he shall confirm a covenant for one week” in verse 27 is “the prince” of the people who will come in verse 26. If the “people” are the Jewish nation at 70 AD, the interpretation of many Reformed writers, how exactly does one draw the connection between “the people” of this prince who is to come and “Israel” at 70 AD with this text? Would not external factors outside of Daniel have to bring one to that conclusion? Of course, assuming that is the position of our author.

2) The “prince” mentioned in 9:27 is said to confirm a covenant for one week. If this “prince” is Jesus, what exactly is this “covenant for one week” that He confirmed? If it is Christ's death on the cross and making an end of sacrifices in the temple, what then is meant by Daniel's expression “for one week?” How are we to understand that “week” and how does that “week” factor into the previous 69 weeks that are mentioned?

3) The “prince” is said to put an end to sacrifices in the middle of the week. What does that mean? Again, is that “week” a “literal” 7 years in the 490 year prophetic cycle, or is it understood figuratively? Is this connected to 70 AD and the destruction of the temple? How is that connection made exegetically from this passage?

4) We know from previous revelation in Daniel 7:25 that a blasphemous horn persecutes Israel for a time and times and half a time, understood by practically every commentator I have encountered as meaning 3 1/2 years. Some may take those “years” in a figurative sense, but they are 3 1/2 years. That interpretation is affirmed in other passages of Scripture as well, like Revelation 13 where the beast, or antichrist, wages war against the people for 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. Considering that Daniel understood the 70 years of exile as a literal 70 years, why shouldn't we understand the 3 1/2 years as literal?

But the Dispensational interpretation of this text (the supposedly “literal” interpretation) forces an at least 2000 year break (or “an indeterminate gap of time”) between the end of the sixty-ninth and seventieth week, a disjunction which the text *no where* posits.

Our critic seems to think he has uncovered some previously unforeseen contradiction on the part of Dispensationalists that exposes why a “literal” hermeneutic must be avoided. Yet he ignores the main difficulty with his criticism in that he is forced to affirm at least a 40 year “gap” if he goes with 70 AD as the end to the 70 weeks. A gap is a gap, no matter how many years may exist between the 69th week and the 70th week.

He may think 2,000 years is an exceptionally long postponement, but 40 years is still a postponement, too. Now we are just haggling over which postponement makes sense when we interpret the text. Additionally, the idea of prophetic postponement or an apotelesmatic interpretation, in which a temporal interruption occurs within God’s redemptive program, is biblical. The postponement between the first coming of Christ and His second coming is a prime example, as Randall Price writes in his article, Prophetic Postponement

Considering how I believe the covenant Reformed position over looks many of the textual details I noted above, I don't think my critic has provided a satisfying interpretation of Daniel's vision, nor a compelling “debunking” of the Dispensational hermeneutic. In order to reach the conclusion he advocates, one has to re-interpret the text with a kind of theologically alchemy that makes the text affirm Covenant Theology. A person can call that “theological alchemy” a "Christological" or a “Historical Redemptive” hermeneutic, but it sounds to me like he’s eisegeting, not exegeting.

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41 Comments:

Blogger Pastor Jack said...

Thank you for this well written post. I appreciate it. Keep up the good work.

7:14 AM, February 02, 2012  
Blogger Robert said...

When you add in the fact that there are many other things that come to pass at Christ's second coming that have not happened, it calls into question the interpretation of covenant theology. Lions and lambs together, babies with snakes, etc...I haven't seen any of this stuff in the present-day world.

9:02 AM, February 02, 2012  
Blogger The Squirrel said...

Well stated, Fred. Thanks!

Squirrel

9:38 AM, February 02, 2012  
Blogger Scott McClare said...

At least part of the problem comes, I think, from certain rash statements made by some prominent Dispensationalist theologians, such as John Walvoord or Charles Ryrie, that seem to suggest that Dispensationalists have a monopoly on the grammatical-historical hermeneutic, while their covenantal, amillenarian opponents held to a "spiritualizing" hermeneutic. Unfortunately, it's a false dichotomy.

The grammatical-historical method was most prominently taught in the early centuries of the church by Augustine, and revived by men like Calvin in the Reformation. Augustine and Calvin were, of course, amillennial. As William Cox pointed out in Amillennialism Today, it's not a matter of "literal" vs. "spiritual," because all conservative Bible scholars follow the grammatical-historical approach. It's more a question of where, why, and how much.

The use of the descriptor "literal" itself is problematic, because the word implies interpreting according to the strict meaning of words; "literal" excludes the figurative, by definition. When a Dispensationalist reads Isaiah 40:22, which says God sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, he does not conclude that the earth is a flat disc under a vaulted dome, with God sitting on top looking down - because that language isn't literal, it's metaphor. He doesn't think Jesus advocated self-mutilation as a way to prevent sin - that isn't literal, it's hyperbole. And when he reads Isaiah 14 and sees the fall of Satan, that isn't literal, it's allegory.

"Literal" thus seems to mean something along the lines of, "according to the ordinary rules of language," which unfortunately often isn't very literal at all.

11:14 AM, February 02, 2012  
Blogger clemster said...

Thank you for the thoughtful and reasonable tone of this post. Good food for thought; challenging stuff on a topic that I've struggled with. I take a reformed view of covenant and eschatolgoy, and appreciate the fact that you don't use the common tactic of smearing every non-dispensationalist as a liberal, heretic, or worse.

Given that we all believe that the Bible is inerrant, it seems to come down to interpreting a given text in light of the context, the genre, related passages, and, might I say, just a common-sense reading of what the inspired author is conveying. I guess in the dispensational vs covenantal paradigm, one side's "exegesis" is the other's "eisegesis"......which seems to suggest that we need a better lexicon that describes what "literalism" is, as you say.

My criticism is not so much that dispensationalists interpret the Bible in a "wooden, literal fasion", it's the seemingly haphazad application of this interpretive method to make individual texts fit with dispensational presuppositions.

For example, the number "1000" can be considered symbolic in Deut 7:9 and Ps 105:8, but somehow CANNOT be symbolic in Rev 20 when describing the millenial kingdom.

Or, that the term "this generation" means one thing in Mk 8:12, Lk 11:39, and Mt 23:36, but when you flip the page to Mt 24:34, it gets interpreted as "race", "nation", "age", "clan", or some yet to be born future generation. Does the context really demand this? Or is it "eisegesis"?

I find the most clear and common sense reading of Daniel 9:24-27 to be that this is fulfilled prophecy, culminating with the destruction of the temple. Incidently, so did the 1st century Jews, who Josephas says interpreted it this way. It seems to fit......much more than going back and inserting a 2000+ year chapter of events into this prophecy.

Admittedly, you raise some issues with the "fulfilled" view that I will have to research and pray about....I cannot right now give a direct "time-stamp" correllation between the Daniel text and all of the events of the first century. But on the whole, does it generally track with being true to the historical record? I think it does.

4:15 PM, February 02, 2012  
Blogger Jacob said...

I think you mean "7 decades" not "70 decades". Great article though. :)

6:40 PM, February 02, 2012  
Blogger Jacob said...

@Scott. Actually, it is primarily an issue of presuppositions brought to the text. If one presupposes certain things instead of letting the text speak for itself, one will assume certain things about the text they are attempting to exegete and their interpretation will bear the bias of those assumptions. Both sides can certainly be guilty of this, but it is interesting how unaware most Amillennialists are to the theological baggage they bring to the text, particularly prophetic passages, and how it impacts their resulting interpretation.

6:51 PM, February 02, 2012  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I think you mean "7 decades" not "70 decades".

Fixed. Thanks for the correction.

7:09 PM, February 02, 2012  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Clemster writes,
Thank you for the thoughtful and reasonable tone of this post. Good food for thought; challenging stuff on a topic that I've struggled with. I take a reformed view of covenant and eschatolgoy, and appreciate the fact that you don't use the common tactic of smearing every non-dispensationalist as a liberal, heretic, or worse.

I appreciate the compliment. I have written a lot on these themes over the last few years and I have done my best to be fair with my detractors.

I will point out, however, that the street goes both ways. Non-Dispensationalists are just as guilty of smearing. I have in mind that laughable and deplorable 95 Theses against Dispensationalism or that conspiracy laden documentary put out by the "Nicean Council" on the history of Dispensationalism that really amounts to historical revisionism.

Continuing,
My criticism is not so much that dispensationalists interpret the Bible in a "wooden, literal fasion", it's the seemingly haphazad application of this interpretive method to make individual texts fit with dispensational presuppositions.

And you don't think the CT side does this, too? Some particular examples of "haphazard" application would be the CT proponent making Church=Israel, shoving everything under an umbrella "Covent of Grace," ignoring enormous swathes of scripture like Ezekiel 40-48 by spiritualizing textual details for no exegetical reason, etc.

Let me consider your examples,
For example, the number "1000" can be considered symbolic in Deut 7:9 and Ps 105:8, but somehow CANNOT be symbolic in Rev 20 when describing the millenial kingdom. Or, that the term "this generation" means one thing in Mk 8:12, Lk 11:39, and Mt 23:36, but when you flip the page to Mt 24:34, it gets interpreted as "race", "nation", "age", "clan", or some yet to be born future generation. Does the context really demand this? Or is it "eisegesis"?

Regarding the "1000" in Deut. 7:9 and Ps. 105:8, I have to confess I am a bit surprised you appeal to these examples. Let me note a number of problems.
First, Rev. 20 is a different genre than both Deut. And the Psalms. It's prophecy. I know the new thing these days is for the covenant Reformed to reclassify Revelation as "apocalyptic literature," but there is no getting around what John wrote was meant to be understood as prophetic.

Your appeal to Deut. and Psalms is something I notice Arminians do when they jump from a specific text that refutes their position, say for example John 6:44, 45, and land on another passage like John 12:32, that is way outside the context of the previous passage. Revelation 20 needs to be interpreted within its immediate context and then we move outside the book to other passages that may shed light upon how we are to interpret it.

Also, this is a similar tactic employed by deep time creationists when they want to interpret the creation week according to the evolutionary history of the world. Rather than interpreting the historical narrative of Genesis 1 as 6 calendar days of one week, they go to 2 Peter where he writes that a day to the Lord is like a 1,000 years and proclaim, "you see, the days of Genesis 1 can be interpreted as millions of years!" We can't do meaningful Bible study in this fashion.

8:10 AM, February 03, 2012  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

...continued
Or, that the term "this generation" means one thing in Mk 8:12, Lk 11:39, and Mt 23:36, but when you flip the page to Mt 24:34, it gets interpreted as "race", "nation", "age", "clan", or some yet to be born future generation. Does the context really demand this? Or is it "eisegesis"?

As to the Olivet discourse and Jesus's use of "this generation," have you read all there is to say about that expression? I wrote a bit on this subject in a post last year. CTers have a similar disagreement among themselves as to how we are to understand the expression. Gary Demar, a preterist, insists it must be interpreted "literally" as the immediate generation that was destroyed at 70 AD, but that again places him in the precarious position of affirming a "gap" between the 69th and 70th week, something he viciously chides Dispensationalists of doing.

I find the most clear and common sense reading of Daniel 9:24-27 to be that this is fulfilled prophecy, culminating with the destruction of the temple. Incidently, so did the 1st century Jews, who Josephas says interpreted it this way. It seems to fit......much more than going back and inserting a 2000+ year chapter of events into this prophecy.

What I would like to see, then, if you believe this is fulfilled prophecy that culminated with the destruction of the temple, is to interact with the textual details I believe are a difficulty for your position. I laid out 4 broad areas in my article.

As to the first century Jews and Josephus, you do realize Josephus was a tool for the Roman government, correct?

Moreover, though Josephus reported what many Jews believed about Daniel's prophecy, he didn't say it was being completely fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He just recognized what the 1st century Jews taught about Daniel, until they moved the book from being seen as prophecy to being among "the writings" after Jerusalem fell. See Price's article for more details.

8:14 AM, February 03, 2012  
Blogger Scott McClare said...

Jacob said: "Amillennialists are to the theological baggage they bring to the text, particularly prophetic passages, and how it impacts their resulting interpretation."

True, but that also cuts both ways. I once had lunch with a gentleman, and at one point in the meal the conversation somehow turned to eschatology. On a few occasions when I questioned his very Dispensational assumptions, the look on his face suggested that it had never occurred to him that it might be otherwise. (I'm not amillennial, by the way, but historic premillennial.)

9:16 PM, February 03, 2012  
Blogger Peter said...

Fred,

Thanks for your excellent series on Daniel! I love it.

To help understand our position vs. the Covenantalist, could you rebut or at least comment on the following possible objections:

(1) The verb needs a subject and the antecedent that is a singular subject is the Messiah, not "of the prince who is coming." My understanding is that this is how Covenantalists view the grammar; they say that the antecedent must agree with the verb in both number and case.

(2) The oldest historical translation of the Hebrew (LXX) interprets the subject of the above verb as "one week" to yield, "one week confirms a covenant with many." This is explained by the Hebrew text, where "he" does not appear as a separate word but rather as part of the verb. Thus in LXX, the subject of the verb is not the prince who was coming, but "one week."

(3) The Covenantalists seem to be using a telescoping week from the time of the Messiah who is "cut off" until the "decreed end" of the age when the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. They could justify this by other examples of prophecies telescoping to the end of the age. Thus, to them, an indeterminate week until the end of the age would be more literal than inserting a gap. Neither the day nor the hour of the end is known, so the last week must be of unknown length.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

10:08 PM, February 03, 2012  
Blogger Kevin Zuber said...

Thanks Fred, useful info and analysis.

6:33 AM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Jacob said...

@Scott:
You wrote, "True, but that also cuts both ways."

Yes, that would be why I began the very sentence you quoted with the words, "Both sides can certainly be guilty of this..."

:)

8:33 AM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Jacob said...

@Peter: "The oldest historical translation of the Hebrew (LXX) interprets the subject of the above verb as "one week" to yield, "one week confirms a covenant with many." This is explained by the Hebrew text, where "he" does not appear as a separate word but rather as part of the verb. Thus in LXX, the subject of the verb is not the prince who was coming, but "one week.""

So if we take the week itself as the subject that makes the covenant - is the week also doing 'the putting an end to sacrifice and offering' and 'coming to make desolate'? Seems like an awful lot of anthropomorphisation for a "week" to have such predicative phrases assigned to it. Perhaps that eldest variant was incorrect and in light of more manuscript evidence, that is why biblical scholars have chosen the more natural reading that seems consistent across all modern translations.

9:08 AM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

Greetings brothers and sisters. This is my first visit to this blog; I ended here following a link from a link. If I may, I would like to add to this discussion. I do believe there is a way to exegete this controversial passage and stay true to the Scriptures. Not having all the answers, of course, I would welcome dialogue on points I have missed. I would also say upfront that I am an ex-dispensationalist who cannot agree all the way with popular Covenant Theology, but do believe this passage in Dan.9 is one of the greatest Messianic prophecies in all of Scripture. Where to start –

Daniel did understand Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years to be exactly that.
I agree with most that the 70 weeks is “weeks of years”, or, 490.
I agree with most that v.24 clearly identifies the work of Jesus Christ on Calvary.
The commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem in v.25 may be started at Neh.2:1.
“Unto the Messiah” … shall be 7 and 62, or, 69 weeks; or, 483 years.
483 years from Neh.2:1 to Jesus’ earthly ministry brings you to 29AD.
Lk.3:1 confirms the year 29AD – “in the 15th year of Tiberius, who reigned from 14-37AD.

V.26 – after the 62 weeks (which come after the 7), so after the 69 weeks, or, “in” the 70th week, “shall Messiah be cut off”.

Check out the words “cut off” in the first half of v.26 and covenant in the first half of v.27 and their Hebrew roots and usage – both Hebrew words refer to the “covenant of cutting”, Gen.15:17-18.
Also, the covenant is “confirmed” (v.27), or strengthened. This does not indicate a “new” covenant, but the reinforcing of an existing one; (through the work of Jesus Christ, Who confirmed, or “made strong”, God’s Covenant).

4:42 PM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

V.27 – “in the midst of the week”, or, in the middle of the 70th week, or, 3 ½ years after His earthly ministry began, He shall “cause the sacrifice to cease”. He did this at the cross – the veil was rent in two, “It is finished”, and the whole Jewish ceremonial system is ended. To worship God in spirit and in truth is to worship Him through Jesus Christ (and His atonement) alone. That the Jews did not understand that spiritual truth and attempted to continue the old sacrificial system in a ruined “Holy of Holies” does not change the fact that, in God’s economy, it was finished. So in 70AD, not only the veil, but the whole city and temple were made desolate for these abominations (false system of worship, idolatry, works of the flesh).

That’s about as short as I can summarize what I am seeing here.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to post.

Oh, one last thing – so where did the final 3 ½ years of the 70 weeks go? (If this is at all close, Jesus came at the end of the 69 weeks, and went to the cross in the middle of the last week.)
I think we’ll find it in the Book of Revelation. 

4:44 PM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Fredco writes,
V.26 – after the 62 weeks (which come after the 7), so after the 69 weeks, or, “in” the 70th week, “shall Messiah be cut off”.

Let me ask some questions:

How are you getting the "in" the 70th week? Nothing in the text suggests that we read the "after the 69th week" means that we are "in the 70th week."

Continuing,
check out the words “cut off” in the first half of v.26 and covenant in the first half of v.27 and their Hebrew roots and usage – both Hebrew words refer to the “covenant of cutting”, Gen.15:17-18.

The word "cut off" has more to do with the idea of "being cut down." The anointed one, or the Messiah shall be cut off. The verb is passive, meaning that the cutting down is happening to him, not that He is actively making a covenant. That verb is followed by the phrase, "and he shall have nothing" which is problematic for your position if you are going to insist this speaks of total fulfillment.

Oh, one last thing – so where did the final 3 ½ years of the 70 weeks go? (If this is at all close, Jesus came at the end of the 69 weeks, and went to the cross in the middle of the last week.) I think we’ll find it in the Book of Revelation.

Your take on this passage can only work IF you can demonstrate Christ came in the middle of the 70th week. You haven't really shown this at all, only read that into the text. Where exactly is this "in the book of Revelation?"

I would like to see you go back through the four problematic areas I noted toward the end of my article the covenant Reformed folks have for there traditional take on this passage.

7:01 PM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

Blogger Fred Butler said...

Fredco writes,
V.26 – after the 62 weeks (which come after the 7), so after the 69 weeks, or, “in” the 70th week, “shall Messiah be cut off”.

Let me ask some questions:

How are you getting the "in" the 70th week? Nothing in the text suggests that we read the "after the 69th week" means that we are "in the 70th week."


(I haven't yet figured out all the nuances of copy/pasting here.)
Let me respond to your points written here, and I will go back to discuss your original "4 points".
In this point, you may be inserting your belief in a "gap". I do not read of a "gap" in the text, so I do not suggest one. Therefore, the 70th week follows the 69th, just as the 69th followed the 68th, etc.

7:59 PM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

Fred Butler said...

Let me ask some questions:
Continuing,
check out the words “cut off” in the first half of v.26 and covenant in the first half of v.27 and their Hebrew roots and usage – both Hebrew words refer to the “covenant of cutting”, Gen.15:17-18.

The word "cut off" has more to do with the idea of "being cut down." The anointed one, or the Messiah shall be cut off. The verb is passive, meaning that the cutting down is happening to him, not that He is actively making a covenant. That verb is followed by the phrase, "and he shall have nothing" which is problematic for your position if you are going to insist this speaks of total fulfillment.

(fredco reply)

The word "cut off" is Strongs #3772, same as used with the Abrahamic covenant in Gen.15:18 where the Lord made, or "cut off"(3772) a covenant (Strong's 1285), same word for covenant as in Dan.9:27. You can see the same two Hebrew words used for "making a covenant" in Ex.23:32 - you shall make (3772) no covenant (1285). Also in Ex.24:8 you have the covenant (1285) which the Lord hath made (3772).

The "and He shall have nothing" is problematic as we have several different Bible translations. The older ones (and some of the new as well) have "and He shall be cut off, but not for Himself". We have no problem with that, since that is the atonement.

8:29 PM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

Oh, one last thing – so where did the final 3 ½ years of the 70 weeks go? (If this is at all close, Jesus came at the end of the 69 weeks, and went to the cross in the middle of the last week.) I think we’ll find it in the Book of Revelation.

Your take on this passage can only work IF you can demonstrate Christ came in the middle of the 70th week. You haven't really shown this at all, only read that into the text. Where exactly is this "in the book of Revelation?"

(fredco reply)
No, I think you misunderstood me. I believe I demonstrated that Christ came after the 69th Week, at the beginning of the 70th (no gap), and that He was cut off, but not for Himself, in the middle (midst) of the 70th Week (Calvary). Most all agree that His earthly ministry was @3 1/2 years, or half a week as Daniel is reckoning. That puts the Cross at the 3 1/2 year mark of the last "week". The missing, or last, 3 1/2 years of the 70th week are then expounded in Revelation - the 1260 days, 42 months time period.

I believe this whole "gap" thing is being read into the text of Daniel. Can you show me, if it is in Daniel, where I missed it?

8:41 PM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

One more quick point in response to the he shall be cut off and have nothing difference in translations. It works either way. The "and have nothing" can mean "no one" (NASB notes). And at the Cross, He certainly did have no one. All had abandoned ( or forsaken) Him, including (in the atonement sense) the Father.

8:52 PM, February 04, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

Starting to think I’m talking too much. lol And I still don’t think I’m Covenant Reformed. :-) In addressing the four problematic points you asked, I think much has been included in what I have already said, so this should be shorter! Here we go …

Point 1) The nearest antecedent to the “he shall confirm a covenant for one week” in verse 27 is “the prince” of the people who will come in verse 26. If the “people” are the Jewish nation at 70 AD, “the people” of this prince who is to come and “Israel” at 70 AD with this text? Would not external factors outside of Daniel have to bring one to that conclusion? Of course, assuming that is the position of our author.

I addressed part of this in my previous posts. I see a Biblically supported link in the “cutting off” and the “covenant”. The people of the prince that is to come probably does interject a reference to the Roman army destroying Jerusalem, but that does not break the link in the “cutting of the covenant”. The strengthening of that “cut Covenant” of the Lord would be the work of Jesus Christ.

Point 2) The “prince” mentioned in 9:27 is said to confirm a covenant for one week. If this “prince” is Jesus, what exactly is this “covenant for one week” that He confirmed? If it is Christ's death on the cross and making an end of sacrifices in the temple, what then is meant by Daniel's expression “for one week?” How are we to understand that “week” and how does that “week” factor into the previous 69 weeks that are mentioned?

The week began at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Halfway through the 70th Week, He went to Calvary. He confirmed (strengthened) God’s covenant of salvation;(by grace through faith in the substitutionary atonement). And He confirmed it all the way to the end of time.

4:18 PM, February 05, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

Point 3) The “prince” is said to put an end to sacrifices in the middle of the week. What does that mean? Again, is that “week” a “literal” 7 years in the 490 year prophetic cycle, or is it understood figuratively? Is this connected to 70 AD and the destruction of the temple? How is that connection made exegetically from this passage?

This is addressed in my initial posts. The end of sacrifices happened at Calvary, with the veil being rent in two. The Holy of Holies was now basically un-usable. If Jesus came at the end of the 69 Weeks, the 483rd year (from Neh.2:1, confirmed by Lk.3:1), then Calvary was 3 ½ years later, in the middle of the 70th Week. The end of sacrifices is then not connected to 70AD. I think those who try to make that connection do err. I would say the end of sacrifices was at the Cross. “It is finished.”

Point 4) We know from previous revelation in Daniel 7:25 that a blasphemous horn persecutes Israel for a time and times and half a time, understood by practically every commentator I have encountered as meaning 3 1/2 years. Some may take those “years” in a figurative sense, but they are 3 1/2 years. That interpretation is affirmed in other passages of Scripture as well, like Revelation 13 where the beast, or antichrist, wages war against the people for 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. Considering that Daniel understood the 70 years of exile as a literal 70 years, why shouldn't we understand the 3 1/2 years as literal?

First I would ask how do we “know” this horn is persecuting Israel? It is the saints of the Most High being mentioned, and an everlasting kingdom being talked about. It includes judgment, the books being opened (Rev.20:12?), and the end of the enemy of God (and His saints) (Rev.20:10?). Looks more like it is talking about the 2nd Coming of Christ and the consummation of all things.

Next I would ask why these 3 ½ years cannot be the same as the 3 ½ years explained in Revelation? Both include blasphemy against God, persecution of the saints, etc., as well as the final victory of God and His people. You have already made that comparative link.

The Book of Revelation is the final Revealing. It unveils and ties together all the Scripture. I think we’ve made it far more difficult than it needs to be. It shows us all the same truths we have learned in the previous 65 Books.

4:22 PM, February 05, 2012  
Blogger Jacob said...

"Your take on this passage can only work IF you can demonstrate Christ came in the middle of the 70th week. You haven't really shown this at all, only read that into the text. Where exactly is this "in the book of Revelation?""

Not to mention appealing to the 7-year period described in Revelation creates its own set of problems since a lot of really craaaazy stuff happens on earth that to-date has never happened in recorded history and thus is yet future.

7:24 PM, February 05, 2012  
Blogger Jacob said...

"I believe I demonstrated that Christ came after the 69th Week, at the beginning of the 70th (no gap), and that He was cut off, but not for Himself, in the middle (midst) of the 70th Week (Calvary). "

Actually, now you've got two gaps. You've got a gap between Christ's coming (around 4AD) and his beginning of ministry (roughly 30 years later, 3.5 years prior to his death), and the gap from his death (which you calculate as 3.5 years into the 70th week) and the begininng of the latter 3.5 years of the 70th week, which is either at the 69/70AD temple destruction or at the 2nd coming.

7:29 PM, February 05, 2012  
Blogger Jacob said...

Oops, I meant 4BC, not 4AD.

8:06 PM, February 05, 2012  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Fredco,

I'll try to hit on the salient points of your various comments. I don't have time to address them in every detail. Other individuals have done so in a better fashion that what I can offer.

You write,
In this point, you may be inserting your belief in a "gap". I do not read of a "gap" in the text, so I do not suggest one. Therefore, the 70th week follows the 69th, just as the 69th followed the 68th, etc.

Yes, because the insertion of a gap is the only way you can make sense of the text. On the flip-side, you have a similar insistence to ignore the gap and this causes problems with your position, including the creation of two gaps as one commenter pointed out. If you look back up to the earlier comments, I responded to someone who argued along similar lines and I linked him to a couple of articles, one I wrote and another one by Randall Price that explains why a gap has to exist. But as I already noted, no matter what position you take, at some point you have to affirm a gap, either 40 years or 2,000 years in order for the other points of the prophecy to be understandable.

Continuing,
The word "cut off" is Strongs #3772, same as used with the Abrahamic covenant in Gen.15:18 where the Lord made, etc.

No one is arguing about the definition of the word. I would agree with you in the basic definition, but as I cited in my article, a word's definition and usage is also determined by the context where it is found. Daniel specifically says the Messiah will be cut off at the end of the 69th week. Textually, as I have pointed out, the verb is passive, meaning this "cutting off" happened to him, not that he is actively involved in doing the cutting. You have overlooked this grammatical point, and it factors significantly in the interpretation you draw out of the passage.

Continuing,
No, I think you misunderstood me. I believe I demonstrated that Christ came after the 69th Week, at the beginning of the 70th (no gap), and that He was cut off, but not for Himself, in the middle (midst) of the 70th Week (Calvary). etc

Let me see if I can clarify your position. Are you saying when the 69th week ended, Jesus began the 70th week with his earthly ministry of 3 1/2 years, until he was crucified, which you now place in the middle of the 70th week? That is what it sounds like to me. I'm guessing then that you take the baptism of Jesus being the starting point of 70th week.

A good portion of your conclusion hinges on this take of the 70 weeks of Daniel, and I don't believe you have truly wrestled with the textual problems your position creates. It may behoove you to consider Harold Hoehner's work, "Chronological Aspects to the Life of Christ" in which he argues rather persuasively that the 69th week ended the week of Christ's triumphal entry.

6:04 AM, February 06, 2012  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

First I would ask how do we “know” this horn is persecuting Israel? It is the saints of the Most High being mentioned

From Robert Culver's book on Daniel

The fact that the church of the NT is to be joined with Christ in the rulership, as set forth in Rev. 20, is irrelevant to the question. That is a NT revelation. The question is, Does this chapter affirm that Israel, the covenant nation, shall have a place in that kingdom, and in a real sense possess it? If so, then, a national restoration is in the plan of God for that nation.

There are 5 references to this group (v. 18): "the saints of the Most High," qaddishe elyonin, the same expression is used in verses 22 and 25. In verse 22 they are also simply called "saints," qaddishim, and in verse 27, "The people of the saints of the Most High" am qaddishe elyonin.

To one versed in the OT Scriptures, these can be understood in only one fashion--of the covenant nation Israel. Consider the evidence. The
Hebrew adjective equivalent to the Aramaic qaddish, saint, is qadosh. In Ex. 19:6 it is used of Israel and of Israel only in her peculiar relation to
God as His covenant people. In Lev. 20:7,26 it is used in the same sense as also in Deut. 7:6; 14:2,21. The Hebrew noun qodesh is also equivalent to this Aramaic word, and is used of Israel and of Israel only in this special sense of describing a people peculiar to God. This use appears many times. However, one need look no farther than the Book of Daniel itself to find who the "saints" or "holy people" are.

Chapter 8 may contain eschatological material, viewed in a typical fashion, but most interpreters of every school of eschatology unite in regarding it as primarily a prophecy of the conflict of the Jewish people with the Greek kingdom of history, especially as it developed between the Jews and Antiochus Epiphanes. Now, in verse 24 the Jewish people are called by this name: am qedoshim, in the English versions translated, "the holy people" but in the Hebrew literally "the people of the saints." This is as near a linguistical equivalent of the name given the people of Dan. 7:27, "the people of the saints of the Most High," as is possible. Even Dr. Keil, Dr. Leupold, and Dr. Young, whom I regard as the leading advocates of the Amillennial approach to Daniel, think that this expression refers to the Israelites in chapter 8. Why not, then, the same in chapter 7? There is only one answer. It does not harmonize with the exigencies of their eschatological system.

Again, Dan. 12:7 mentions the "holy people" (am quodesh). There also, as in chapter 7, they suffer for three and one-half times (or years). The correspondence with the suffering of the saints of chapter seven for the same period of time (7:25) is unmistakable. Neither can it be seriously questioned that this refers to the same tribulation of Israel prophesied in 12:1. There these folk are called "the children of thy [Daniel's] people," and "thy [Daniel's] people." Dr. Keil, for all his learning and unquestionable piety, is certainly in error when he writes:

"The circumstance that in Daniel's time the Israel according to the flesh constituted the "holy people," does not necessitate our understanding this people when the people of God are spoken of in the time of the end, since then the faithful from among all nations shall be the holy people of God."

The whole point is that Daniel was referring to his own people when he used these terms, and whatever the New Testament may add does not contradict this simple fact.

6:21 AM, February 06, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

Fred Butler said … Continuing,
The word "cut off" is Strongs #3772, same as used with the Abrahamic covenant in Gen.15:18 where the Lord made, etc.

No one is arguing about the definition of the word. I would agree with you in the basic definition, but as I cited in my article, a word's definition and usage is also determined by the context where it is found. Daniel specifically says the Messiah will be cut off at the end of the 69th week. Textually, as I have pointed out, the verb is passive, meaning this "cutting off" happened to him, not that he is actively involved in doing the cutting. You have overlooked this grammatical point, and it factors significantly in the interpretation you draw out of the passage.

( I will limit myself to two replies, and do thank you for taking the time to discuss.)

OK, gotcha on the “passive” point of the cutting off! And thank you. But how much does that really change things? (Except in my errors of wording and presentation.) There is a true Biblical sense in which Jesus was passive – like a lamb led to the slaughter, submissive to the will of the Father. The old theologians used to break down His work into “active” and “passive” obedience. I have always found it fascinating to dwell on the dual points of truth that Jesus is both the High Priest (doing the sacrificing) and the Sacrifice itself. So, the end result in the text of Daniel 9 = God’s Covenant is confirmed in the “cutting off” of the Sacrifice (the Messiah submitting to being cut off). Full agreement with the passive tense.

(Also, Daniel says He will be cut off “after” the 69th week. The middle of the 70th would fit that criterion.)

Thank you again for pointing out the “passive verb grammatical point”, as I have no doubt we all desire to stay true to the Living Word.

12:54 PM, February 06, 2012  
Blogger Fredco said...

Fred Butler said... Continuing,
No, I think you misunderstood me. I believe I demonstrated that Christ came after the 69th Week, at the beginning of the 70th (no gap), and that He was cut off, but not for Himself, in the middle (midst) of the 70th Week (Calvary). etc

Let me see if I can clarify your position. Are you saying when the 69th week ended, Jesus began the 70th week with his earthly ministry of 3 1/2 years, until he was crucified, which you now place in the middle of the 70th week? That is what it sounds like to me. I'm guessing then that you take the baptism of Jesus being the starting point of 70th week.

Yes! That’s a very good summary. I know the concluding 3 ½ years fulfillment of the 70 Weeks will be a sticking point, but I believe the 3 ½ years in Revelation is the answer. I like what a previous commenter said about the “telescoping prophecies”. The final 3 ½ years then “telescopes” out from the Cross to the 2nd Coming and the consummation of all things. One of the greatest Messianic prophecies in all of Scripture.

And no gap! LOL

((an Inter-Advental period where the world blasphemes, etc., God and persecutes His people, while God sends judgments of warning to the world and protects His Church until the final destruction.))

I understand there is much debate on these issues and that disagreements continue. Every position has some things that are hard to understand and may even still qualify as “mysteries. I do believe (obviously – lol) that what I have tried to show can agree with all of Scripture and is actually the simplest option as well.

Thank you for a “reasoned and reasonable” discussion! That’s refreshing in today’s age.
(And, of course, I would still be up for more discussion. Maybe I have too much time on my hands?)

May the Lord be pleased to lead us all to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

1:00 PM, February 06, 2012  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

Fred Butler:

I always enjoy these posts the most and just like to comment so you know it. ;)

Also, to be fair to those who might classify Revelaton as "apocalyptic literature, " such a view doesn't automatically put somebody into the reformed preterist view. We've talked about Dr. Morey before (who has a new book out now). He liked to classify Revelation as so, but never believed in an AD 70 rendering of Revelation (he often said preterism falls apart if Revelation is written after AD 70).

Anyways, just wanted to say that too.

2:41 PM, February 06, 2012  
Blogger Peter said...

Fred,

There is a variety of commenters on the other side, but when some of them say it is un-literal to add in a gap, I think they mean they are stretching the week instead.

They might agree that there is a prophetic postponement, but that the postponement happens as part of the last week, owing to the unique nature of the last days.

I think they would justify this by saying that the last week is a unique week, since:

(1) The text handles it separately from the 69, and
(2) The time of the Lord's return -- the end of the age -- is known only to the Father.

The Lord may return either sooner or later, but if He will that some remain until He come, what is that to us?

I also think they would defend stretching the week rather than adding in a gap because a gap means adding in almost 285 weeks that are not in the text while also adding in very many events that are not in context.

This is a lot to add in.

So, stretching the week allows them to begin the 70th week right after the 69th, without adding in anything.

Thus far, they would argue for:

(1) Contiguity;
(2) Context;
(3) Simplicity (not adding anything in not there);
(4) Uniqueness of the 70th week and the last days;
(5) Variableness of the length of the last days; and
(6) Literalness of interpretation.

Next, they might turn to the Olivet Discourse.

The Discourse is in answer to two questions:

(1) When will the temple at Jerusalem be torn down? and
(2) When will the Lord return?

In Luke 21, they might argue, the first question is clearly answered separately from the second. The first question at the end of v. 24, which says, "And Jerusalem will be trampled by gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled," which is a parallel to Dan. 9:27, "and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate until the consummation ... is poured out" (the Lord himself cites Daniel here).

However in many Bibles, in Matt. 24, the two questions are conflated as one question, as if Jesus were ignoring the first question. Even so, the two answers to the two questions can be differentiated. Mark 13 clearly begins the answer about when the Lord will return by referring to the latter days as "those days," which according to the Greek can also be translated as "the latter days" in v. 24. If Matt. is read in tandem with the synoptics, then it likewise begins the answer on the Lord's return with in "those days" or "the latter days," and v. 33 discusses the destruction of the temple as happening in "these things," or "the former things," stating that "this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place."

It is following this, in v. 36, that the Lord tells us "But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven; but my Father knows." By context, "that day or hour" could be rendered "the latter day or hour:" the Lord is carefully noting which answer applies to which question and showing his disciples that his return will not happen until after the temple at Jerusalem is destroyed.

Anyway, this is, to the best of my knowledge, how many Presbyterians would exegete Dan. 9 literally, whether amillennial or futurist. A gap of 285 weeks is an awful lot to add in; however, to stretch the week instead fits the uniqueness of the 70th week and the unknown length of the last days, which as the Lord tarries, do appear to stretch on longer.

I love Fred's series on Daniel not only for his rich commentary, but also for others' interesting comments. (By the way, I am not Presbyterian.)

7:32 PM, February 06, 2012  
Blogger Peter said...

Jacob,

The Greek of this verse is neither anthropomorphic nor a reflection of a variant. It means that the translators, who could speak both ancient Hebrew and Greek fluently, translated the passage in an interesting way that helps us understand why some people interpret the covenant-maker as Jesus Christ on the cross.

It is a figure of speech. For example, if I say "2000 miles makes an awfully bored bunch of kids" does not mean that 2000 miles are actually driving the car. It is understood that an adult is driving the car for each of the 2000 miles. So if the Greek translates the Hebrew literally as "one week confirms a covenant for many," it is understood that a real person does the confirming over the period of the week.

This skirts the issue of to whom any lost antecedent refers and it is thus easier to identify the covenant maker as the Christ who was cut off on the cross.

This is just another grammatical example to help understand why so many others do not see the Antichrist in Dan. 9. This is just something more potentially to discuss.

7:46 PM, February 06, 2012  
Blogger Peter said...

Fred B.,

Here, this may be a summary of the opposing view:

The end of the last week is later than expected because the return of Christ is later than expected.

And the 70th week follows the 69th.

Therefore, no need to add in a gap nor other events from other contexts.

This view of Daniel 9 can be futurist.

I think that's what they mean.

7:55 PM, February 06, 2012  
Blogger Holdon said...

Peter,
"So if the Greek translates the Hebrew literally as "one week confirms a covenant for many,"

But it doesn't. I don't know where this nonsense of "one week" being the subject doing the confirming comes from. I sure ain't in the Greek (or in the Hebrew). LXX has: καὶ δυναμώσει διαθήκην πολλοῖς, ἑβδομὰς μία·

9:07 AM, February 07, 2012  
Blogger Peter said...

Holdon,

Someone added a comma not in the Greek. Now here is the word ἑβδομάς parsed: Perseus at Tufts U. Note that it is singular nominative, making it the subject of the foregoing verb of the same sentence. This is how Lancelot Brenton, for example, read it.

I brought this in for sake of discussion, and it might be interesting because it suggests that ancient readers of ancient Hebrew interpreted the covenant maker as the Messiah who would be "cut off." It does not mean they were necessarily right, but it does mean that our contemporaries who read it so have ancient company.

If the above were right, I suppose writing "one week" as the subject would be called "personified metonymy." That's a fun term! In so identifying the last week of the age closely with the Messiah, it would underscore that the week is the week of Christ.

Many blessings!

6:02 PM, February 10, 2012  
Blogger Holdon said...

Peter,

"Someone added a comma not in the Greek."
That doesn't matter for this discussion.
"Now here is the word ἑβδομάς parsed: Perseus at Tufts U. Note that it is singular nominative, making it the subject of the foregoing verb of the same sentence."
Take it as an accusative and your problem vanishes and makes better sense as "week one" comes after the dative.

"This is how Lancelot Brenton, for example, read it."
Do you know of other examples?

5:59 PM, February 13, 2012  
Blogger Peter said...

This maybe beyond the interest level of most, but why not?...

It is intriguing that <a href="http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/40-daniel-nets.pdf>Timothy McClay</a> reads ἑβδομάς both ways:

(1) "One week" as the subject in his OG column -- no problem.
(2) And "one week" as a fragmentary phrase in his Θ column -- the problem of an uncertain antecedent returns.

Version #2 above requires separation by commas added into the Greek.

The problem of an uncertain antecedent goes away if "one week" is the subject -- and no need to add in commas.

Using "one week" as the subject has additional value as an artistic literary device called a personified metonymy, with theological import to make the week belong to the Messiah.

I believe both versions represent the same Vorlag.

But no ἑβδομά/ν sg acc & no pl acc with μία.

----------

The problem is when the 'antecedent' is uncertain. The traditional/Presbyterian approach to the Hebrew has been to regard that as a foregoing nominative noun; in other words, the foregoing agent should be the same agent here. The agent is the Messiah. "Of the prince" cannot be an antecedent because "prince" appears as an oblique case in a dependant clause. At least this is how a professor from Westminster explained it to me. The other view was characterized as novel and improbable grammatically.

Then there is the issue of context, which another commenter brought up above; it is quite a lot to add in the corpus about the Antichrist of Revelation, but quite simple to maintain the contextual reading of the Messiah already mentioned, who confirms a covenant, which we know he does do from other Biblical texts.

This, anyway, I believe is the alternative literal, historical-grammatical approach. Whether we agree with them or not, they are using a literal, not a figurative hermeneutic.

12:12 AM, February 15, 2012  
Blogger Holdon said...

Peter,

"(1) "One week" as the subject in his OG column -- no problem."
There is NO "one week" in OG. Where did you get that?

"week one" in Theodotion does occur in v27, but it's only at the end of the clause: after the verb (strengthen), the accusative (covenant), the dative (with many). There at the very end of the clause we find an accusative of duration: "week one" meaning "for one week" (ἑβδομὰς μία). That is simple greek syntax and grammar I think.

Therefore the subject must be found in what precedes. As LXX is a translation from hebrew that doesn't help much. But at any rate the nearest antecedent is the prince of the peoples (=plural so that people cannot be the antedent) that will destroy the city and sanctuary. We now know that the people is the Romans: they destroyed the city and sanctuary. So there will be yet ("coming")a Roman prince who will make strengthen a covenant with many for the last of the seventy weeks.

8:23 AM, February 15, 2012  
Blogger Peter said...

Holdon,

(1) I made it clear that I am not taking a position personally on the verse. What I have been saying is that there are good, Bible-believing Christians, including those with a futurist eschatology, that take a literal, historico-grammatical hermeneutic of this passage, but do not see the Antichrist of Revelation anywhere.

(2) You are right that there is no "one week" in the OG column; however, note that there is no "he," which is the point being made. There is no problem with an antecedent here because there is no "he."

(3) You said: "There at the very end of the clause we find an accusative of duration: "week one" meaning "for one week" (ἑβδομὰς μία). That is simple greek syntax and grammar I think."

It is indeed simple Greek and it is NOT accusative.

I suspect you may have confused the noun with an adjective.

The case should have been clear to anyone using the link I sent you at Tufts U. Double check the verse on Logos, and you will confirm what I have been telling you; more specifically:

ἑβδομάς is a 3rd declension, feminine, singular, nominative NOUN.

(3a) Thus, one can either add in a comma and leave "one week" in a dangling phrase all by itself, which yields the problem of identifying the antecedent, or
(3b) One can translate the text as "one week confirms the covenant."

(4) Let me repeat that those friends of mine who see Christ but no Antichrist in Daniel 9:27 look for an antecedent of the same CASE -- which is NOMINATIVE -- and that is:

(4a) The Messiah who was cut off, and they can at the same time
(4b) Read the Hebrew for "one week" as the subject, as a personified metonymy standing for the antecedent agent, the Messiah who was cut off.

One may disagree that the Messiah confirms a covenant for many, but one ought to agree that the hermeneutic these Christian brothers employ in Daniel 9:27 is literal, historico-grammatical -- and not allegorical.

I was just talking to one Ray at TMS. He pulled out a book he has been reading by Leonard Verduin and reminded me we must always carefully understand others' point of view before we critique it. That is the purpose of me spending so much time on this one verse. We need accurately to understand how other Christians view it before we criticize them.

Many blessings to you!

6:35 PM, February 15, 2012  

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