Who Confirms the Covenant?
We shall now turn our attention to the covenant mentioned in Dan. 9:27 which reads as follows: “And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” Most premillennialists and all dispensationalists introduce the anti-christ into the prophecy at this point and contend that it is he who will make a covenant with the Jews in Jerusalem during the 70th week in the future. The anti-christ is portrayed as a “prince, a king, as God and as Lucifer, as a beast and as a man.” See Blackstone’s Jesus is Coming, pp. 108, 109. The only place in the Bible where the anti-christ is mentioned is 1st and 2nd John. These books were written 600 years after Daniel. There is no mention of the anti-christ in Daniel at all; nor for that matter in the entire Old Testament. It seems inconsistent, therefore, to relate the pronoun “he” of Daniel 9:27 to the anti-christ who is first introduced 600 years later. In our efforts to identify the one who ratified the covenant mentioned in Daniel we wish to quote from H. A. Ironside’s book, “The Great Parenthesis,” as follows : “Strange is it that many have supposed it was Prince Messiah Himself who was to confirm a covenant for one week. But when did He ever make such a covenant? The blood of the covenant which He shed upon the cross is not to confirm a covenant for seven years, but it is the blood of the ever-lasting covenant.” p. 25. It is interesting to note that this writer does acknowledge that Christ ratified a covenant in the 70th week of prophecy. What he denies is that the everlasting covenant which came into effect through the cross was in fulfillment of Daniel’s
‘Note: The original text from which “Seventy weeks are determined” is derived reads: “Seventy hebdomads are cut off.” The hebdomad was the Hebrew term for sevens and it applied to weeks of days as well as years. In this prophecy it is quite evident that it refers to years. The Jews had just completed 70 Years captivity in Babylon and were looking forward to their return to Palestine. In prayer God revealed to Daniel that 70 times 7 years were determined to complete God’s dealings with Israel as a nation, that is to the consummation. Other renderings are: “Seventy hebdomads are insulated” or “set apart.” In each case it renders it impossible to extend beyond the period of 490 years without destroying it altogether. See Pulpit Commentary Vol. 29, page 280.
In consequence of this unfortunate and unwarranted application of the prophecy to a Jewish nationalistic re-establishment, the Dispensationalists refuse to acknowledge the covenant of Christ as fulfilling the prophecy even though it does coincide with the prophetic time prescribed by Daniel.
From a grammatical standpoint the pronoun “he” must refer to its antecedent. If we do this it will be immediately plain that it means the Messiah. This will be apparent if we quote the passage again from the 25th verse and connect up the main events pertaining to the Messiah and leave the portion pertaining to the “prince” to its proper place at the end of the chapter. Quote: “Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto MESSIAH the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks . . . and after the threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off . . . and He, (the Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” You will notice mention is made of seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks and last of all one week. This accounts for all seventy. It is after the sixty-ninth week that Messiah is cut off. That fact definitely places it in the seventieth week—that last remaining week of the prophecy. It was during this week that Christ did confirm His covenant with many according to Matt. 26:26-28. On this solemn occasion Christ instituted the most sacred of Christian ordinances, the Lord’s Supper, saying, “This is My blood of THE NEW TESTAMENT (literally covenant), which is shed for MANY for the remission of sins.”
Conclusive Proof Links Christ With the Covenant. The death of Christ very definitely instituted the New and Everlasting Covenant, and Christ emphatically confirmed that covenant with many during the three and a half years of His ministry on earth. Even the words of Daniel are almost identical with those of Matthew—“He shall confirm the covenant with many”—“this is My blood of the New Testament which is shed for many.”
The evidence is very conclusive. There are 281 references to “covenant” in the Scriptures according to Young’s Analytical Concordance. Not one of these references in any way introduces the idea of a covenant between the Jews and the Anti-Christ. ‘There is not a hint anywhere that such a covenant is suggested, intended, proposed or prophesied at any time. Concerning the covenant between the believers and the Messiah there are many scores of such references. They are found in almost every book in the Bible. The reason is because when the Jews broke the Old Covenant, (see Jer. 31:31-33) then God purposed to make a new and everlasting covenant with His people. Consequently all the prophets refer to it and Daniel foretold that it would be ratified in the 70th week of his prophecy. cp. Heb. 8:7-10.
Even more convincing is the testimony supplied by the Hebrew word for Covenant used in the phrase, “He shall confirm the covenant.” The word for covenant is “Bereeth” according to the Pulpit
Commentary ; it is spelled “berith” in Young’s Analytical Concordance. In the Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 29, p. 275, a lengthy exposition points out that “Bereeth” is only used in connection with a Divine Covenant. It is never used to designate a “league” with any other power or force but is always reserved to describe a covenant between God and man. For that reason the covenant cannot apply to anyone except the Messiah. It cannot possibly describe a covenant with the Anti-Christ or any political group involving apostate Jews.
It is further explained that when the covenant is confirmed the sacrifice and oblation ceases. The Massoretic text renders it: “And one week shall confirm a covenant to many, and in the middle of the week MY sacrifice and offering shall be taken away.” The use of the pronoun “my” removes all doubt concerning what sacrifice and oblation is meant. It was the Mosaic sacrifices which God ordained and honored until the death of Christ. That is the only sacrifice God could call “MY” sacrifice.
The death of Christ on Calvary DID institute the New and everlasting covenant and Christ Himself DID confirm that covenant with many during His earthly ministry. When Christ died on the cross the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, thus signifying that the old sacrifices and oblations had ceased to have any spiritual or efficacious value. At the best they were but a shadow of good things to come, (Heb. 10:1), and when Christ died on the cross the “better covenant was established.” Heb. 8:6. The old covenant with its sacrifices and oblations became null and void immediately Christ died, and in that sense He caused them to cease.
We are bold to maintain the plain testimony of Scripture that the seventy weeks of Daniel are seventy consecutive weeks without a break and without any part failing to come to pass at the time and in the manner God determined. Since “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy,” (Rev. 19:10) we are positive that the Messiah is the Person Daniel refers to when he says, “He shall confirm the Covenant.” In Rom. 15:8, it declares that, “Jesus Christ was a minister … to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” The only covenant in Bible prophecy is the Everlasting Covenant, the “Bereeth,” or Divine Covenant which Christ did confirm in the 70th prophetic week, the one week of His public ministry which culminated in His sacrificial death. His death and shed blood brought it into effect. Heb. 13:28.
God Cannot Fail. It should be noted finally that the angel Gabriel made the announcement to Daniel. The Bible only mentions him on three occasions. He came to Daniel at the start of the 70 weeks and then he came to Zacharias and Mary to announce the birth of John the Baptist and the Messiah as the time of fulfillment drew near. Note also that the only date mentioned in the New Testament is found in Luke 3:1, 2, telling of the ruling hierarchy in both Jewish and Gentile states at that time, and signifying an impending event that would affect both Jews and Gentiles, i.e. the whole world. It was the year that Jesus was baptised; the year He was manifested to His people. It was the year He began to fulfill the promises made to the fathers ; the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. Is it any wonder that the first evangels began their message by preaching “The Kingdom of God, saying the time is fulfilled?” What time was fulfilled ? There was only one time to be fulfilled and that was the prophecy of Daniel. Just as Daniel “understood by books the number of years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah,” Dan. 9 :2, and therefore knew the time had come for the Jews to return to Jerusalem, SO John the Baptist and Christ knew that the time specified by the angel Gabriel had been fulfilled. This set time was so certain and so determined by God that when Jesus was first attacked by His enemies He said, “My time is not yet come, " John 7:6, but in John 13 :1 it says, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew His HOUR WAS COME.” (Compare John 2:4 ; 7:30 ; 8:20 ; 12:23 ; and 17:1)
God is never late. He never postpones His appointments. In the midst of the 70th week the Messiah was cut off and the entire prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. The remaining half of the week includes the time in which the gospel was proclaimed almost exclusively to the Jews. It ended with the death of Stephen and the conversion of Paul. After that more and more Gentiles accepted Christ.
The covenant the Messiah confirmed in the 70th week was not limited in duration to seven years but was brought into effect in the 70th week. The more ancient versions make this plain. The Massoretic text, for instance says, “One week shall confirm the covenant.” The reader has to choose between the plain teaching of Scripture and the interpretation given by Dispensational literature as to whether this prophecy came to pass or not. Commenting on the clauses of Dan. 9:24, H. A. Ironside says, “The fact is, they were not fulfilled. Israel did not recognize their Messiah.” But Jesus was their Messiah regardless of their failure to recognize Him, and that fulfilled the prophecy. Ironside says, “They do not know Him yet as their Sinbearer.” But He is their Sinbearer, not for. them only but for the sins of the whole world, and that is what Daniel prophesied. Quoting again, “Their transgression has not been finished.” What transgression is not finished, or what could add to the enormity of crucifying their Messiah ? Quoting, “An end to sins for them has not been made.” To which we reply, “And thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matt. 1:21. Numerous Scriptures bear evidence to the fact that the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is God’s final offer to all mankind. For example Heb. 9:26 says, “But now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” “But as many received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12. This abundantly and conclusively fulfills Daniel’s prophecy. Lastly we quote, “Vision and prophecy have not been sealed up. So far as the coming of Christ, the Messiah, is concerned, prophecy ended with Malachi. A silent waiting period of about 400 years was unbroken until the actual heralds of the Messiah began to proclaim that He was in their midst. We wish to reiterate our claim that God’s prophecy through Daniel did not fail, and that we regard it as a serious matter for anyone to suggest that it did. Truly, this is one of the most miraculous prophecies in the Bible, and when rightly understood it will strengthen your faith in all of God’s promises and will yield rich spiritual blessings as you meditate upon it.