By Michael J. Sullivan (Copyright 2014)
We are continuing our study of the three eschatologies (views of prophecy) within Islam, Judaism, and “Christian” Dispensational Zionism which emphasize a “in the land,” “end time,” “holy war,” by which their god or religion overcomes the others. These views of eschatology have contributed to the perpetual war in the Middle East and around the world. I think we all realize that while at times we will need to engage militarily, this conflict will ultimately be won through a “war of ideas” – or won on the level of theological debate and the true and Biblical view of prophecy emerging – correcting and healing those ensnared in these false views. Will this take a long time. Yes. But that is what I am dedicated to – and these three articles will be a step in the right direction.
Judaism is not as newspaper “current events” driven when it comes to their views of prophecy in the OT as say Islam or Dispensational Zionism (in fact most in modern day Israel are humanists). But as we will see, their leaders and Rabbis have at times applied and interpreted various passages of the OT to justify them driving out others from their land in order to establish themselves as a nation in 1948 (Ezekiel 37 – which is a false interpretation/view of Dispensational Zionism as well). And it is within their mode of interpretation that they have applied Ezekiel 38-39 to a modern “in the land,” “end time,” “holy war” – so we will have to examine these interpretations as they will eventually be appealed to in the future to justify their actions.
Since modern day Judaism is very outspoken against Christianity I will be addressing other issues in this article as well which will include such things as:
1. Is it true that Jesus and the NT invented the notion that Messiah was to be divine and a savior? I will prove from the law and the prophets and their own Rabbis (pre and post Christ) that this is not true.
2. They claim Jesus and the NT invented the notion of a “Second Coming” because Jesus didn’t establish the kingdom the first time around. Again, I will be appealing to the law and the prophets to demonstrate the evidence of a Messiah coming on the clouds of heaven.
The other issue we will be dealing with in this article is:
3. Post AD 70 is there such a thing as a “Jewish race” and is it possible to even have “Judaism” when Jehovah ended the old covenant and destroying the Temple and genealogies in AD 70?
These are all very important issues that we need to address honestly and Scripturally.
I should also note that the bulk of my exegesis in demonstrating how all of the law and prophets were fulfilled by AD 70 (ex. Luke 21:20-32) will be provided in part 3 of this series when we examine the newspaper eschatology of “Christian” Dispensational Zionism. And we will cover some of the “proof texts” that 1948 was an alleged “fulfillment of prophecy” in depth and in that forum as well.
- The Eschatology of Israel/Judaism/Zionism (Past and Present)
Using a hyper-literal interpretation of OT scriptures, Jewish eschatology has many similarities to what is being considered modern day Christian thought concerning supposed recently fulfilled prophecy and or alleged future to us fulfillment of such events as:
Israel coming back into the land in 1948 after World War II was a fulfillment of Ezekiel 37 and Deuteronomy 28-32.
A Temple is re-built in Jerusalem.
Israel will be surrounded by the nations of the world in the battle of Gog and Magog Ezekiel 38-39.
Some have affirmed that when Messiah comes His reign will be a transitional reign between the two ages 1. The old covenant age of the law and prophets to 2. Ushering in and establishing the Messianic age or new covenant age. Many have speculated that this will last anywhere between 40 years or a 1,000 or more (and anywhere in-between).
Israel awaits their Messiah to usher in a literal kingdom on earth whereby He and Israel defeat unbelievers (or convince that its religion is true and others are false) and rule the world in peace.
There is a physical/literal bodily resurrection and judgment at the end of the world.
There will be a transformation of the planet earth and a literal new heaven and earth takes the place of the old.
The references for these beliefs are found primarily in the OT books of Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Zephaniah.
Zionism versus Judaism / who is the real “Israel”? / 1948 – condemned or fulfillment of Torah?
Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be considered representing humanistic Judaism, he does have some interesting views worth noting. Speaking on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland he declared that Israel becoming a state in 1948 was the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37,
“The Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed,” “Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesized: “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.”
The Prime Minister is very tight with the American Dispensational Zionist movement (often speaking with them when arriving in the U.S. before our Presidents) and shares their erroneous view that 1948 was a fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. This brings up the concern and question as to if he agrees with the Zionists that what’s next for Israel is an “end time” holy war allegedly found in Ezekiel 38-39? Since most modern Jews reject the notion of a Messiah that is divine and prefer the concept to be a King or President type which will lead through military action, the concern could be that Netanyahu and others might consider himself to be a messiah figure of sorts defending end time prophecies in the Torah?
Before leaving the topic of the Prime Minister, it should be noteworthy that he and his political hero’s drove Palestinians out of their land whom have more in common with racial and ancient Israelites than himself (being a descendant of the European Jews). Of course not many here in the United States understand that there are those claiming to be Orthodox Jews and “Israel” who have always condemned the formation of the modern day nation of “Israel” in 1948. They claim the formation of a state in 1948 was a violation of Torah not the fulfillment of it! They believe what most would consider the “Israeli State” today should simply be referred to as the secular Zionist movement which they define as:
“Zionism here, we are referring to the concept that Jews should rise up, emancipate themselves from exile without waiting for the messiah, and establish a Jewish government in the Holy Land. Using Jewish texts, we demonstrate that this concept is against the Torah and has been opposed by rabbis in all generations.”
Their mission: “The relatively new concept of Zionism began only about one hundred years ago and since that time Torah-true Jewry has steadfastly opposed the Zionist ideology. This struggle is rooted in two convictions: 1. Zionism, by advocating a political and military end to the Jewish exile, denies the very essence of our Diaspora existence. We are in exile by Divine Decree and may emerge from exile solely via Divine Redemption. All human efforts to alter a metaphysical reality are doomed to end in failure and bloodshed. History has clearly borne out this teaching. 2. Zionism has not only denied our fundamental belief in Heavenly Redemption it has also created a pseudo-Judaism which views the essence of our identity to be a secular nationalism.
Accordingly, Zionism and the Israeli state have consistently endeavored, via persuasion and coercion, to replace a Divine and Torah-centered understanding of our peoplehood with an armed materialism. True Torah Jews is dedicated to informing the world and in particular the American public and politicians that not all Jews support the ideology of the Zionist state called “Israel.” In fact, a great number of Orthodox Jews view the ideology of that state as diametrically opposed to the teachings of traditional Judaism. We are concerned that the widespread misconception that all Jews support the Zionist state and its actions endangers Jews worldwide. We are NOT politically motivated. We are motivated by our concern for the peace and safety of all people throughout the world including those living in the Zionist state. We support and pray for peace for the people of the Zionist state but have no interest in and do not support the Zionist government. We seek to disassociate Jews and traditional Judaism from the Zionist ideology by: 1. Providing historical and supporting documentation that Zionism is totally contrary to the teachings of traditional Judaism through the words of our Rabbis, Sages, and Holy Scriptures which oppose the creation of a state called Israel. 2. Providing historical documentation on the ideology and creation of Zionism, the supporters of Zionism and the negative impact of their actions on the Jewish people in the past hundred years, including their involvement in the Holocaust and their activities up to the present day. 3. Publicizing the efforts of traditional Jews to demonstrate their opposition to Zionism, efforts which are often ignored by the mainstream media. 4. Convincing the news media, politicians and the public to cease referring to the State of Israel as the “Jewish State” but to call it what it is: the “Zionist State”. We also aim to reach out to our Jewish brethren who have never studied the subject of Zionism from a Torah perspective, and have only been taught the Zionist side of the story. It is our hope that all of our fellow Jews will soon open their eyes, return to Torah and reject this ideology that replaces the Jew’s age-old hope for G-d’s redemption with a false redemption and a human-initiated state.”
Torah and Politics
Netanyahu allegedly made these statements to Yaakov Vider, a member of the Likud party’s haredi faction (the Times of Israel reported) about the Torah:
“We will legally define the Talmud as the basis of the Israeli legal system,” And, “I will personally deal with the legislation for ‘Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.’ This is a very important law that will change how Israel looks in the future.…[the new bill] will be a Basic Law that [shows] the State of Israel rose [ex. His view of Ezekiel 37?] and exists on the basis of the Torah and the Jewish tradition,” (bold emphasis mine).
Critics of Netanyahu believe this to be a Jewish form of Islamic Sharia Law.
The Messianic Age Is Imminent
As within Islam and Christianity, there is this erroneous belief that the end times will be ushered in before the planet earth reaches its 6,000th year. Allegedly the seven days of creation in the early chapters of Genesis represent 7,000 years with the 7th being the earths Sabbath rest or the reign of Messiah (some Christians thinking it’s the “millennium” period of Revelation 20) The Talmud teaches: R. Katina said, “Six thousand years the world will exist and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate (haruv), as it is written, ‘And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day’ (Isa. 2:11)… R. Katina also taught, “Just as the seventh year is the Shmita year, so too does the world have one thousand years out of seven that are fallow (mushmat), as it is written, ‘And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day’ (Isa. 2:11); and further it is written, ‘A psalm and song for the Shabbat day’ (Ps. 92:1) – meaning the day that is altogether Shabbat – and also it is said, ‘For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past’ (Ps.90:4) (Sanhedrin 97a).” The Midrash, comments: “Six eons for going in and coming out, for war and peace. The seventh eon is entirely Shabbat and rest for life everlasting”.
The Zohar elaborates: “The redemption of Israel will come about through the mystic force of the letter “Vav” [which has the numerical value of six], namely, in the sixth millennium…. Happy are those who will be left alive at the end of the sixth millennium to enter the Shabbat, which is the seventh millennium; for that is a day set apart for the Holy One on which to effect the union of new souls with old souls in the world (Zohar, Vayera 119a).”
End Time Battle of Gog and Magog
Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism. He wrote of the end time battle of Gog and Magog within Judaism:
“Gog and Magog are the peoples who will wage war against the Jews before the advent of the Messiah. These two names appear in the vision of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 38, 39) where Gog is the ruler of the country of Magog. Gog will lead his people in war against the land of Israel but will be defeated and God alone will reign supreme. Since Ezekiel prophesied in exile about the return of the Jewish people to its land, it is possible that he was thinking of contemporary events. Attempts have been made to identify Gog and Magog with nations whom the prophet may have thought to pose a threat in the immediate future to the Jews who were to return to the land.
On the other hand, as a number of biblical scholars understand it, the prophet himself may have had in mind events in the remote future as part of his apocalyptic vision. In subsequent Jewish eschatology, both Gog and Magog are understood to be persons and the “wars of Gog and Magog” become part of the whole eschatological scheme.
As with regard to Jewish eschatology as a whole, there is a considerable degree of uncertainty about what is said to happen at the “end of days,” the picture is really an amalgam of various folk-beliefs, some of them contradictory.
In the eschatological account given by Saadiah Gaon (Belief and Opinions, viii. 6) an attempt is made to accommodate the wars of Gog and Magog into the scheme. Interestingly enough, however, in Maimonides’ scheme at the end of his great code, the Mishneh Torah, in which messianism is interpreted in largely rationalistic terms, there is no reference to the wars of Gog and Magog only to the Messiah fighting “the battles of the Lord” in order to reconquer the land of Israel, rebuild the Temple, and establish God’s reign on earth. Even in Orthodox Judaism, the details of these terrible events are vague and wars of Gog and Magog do not feature at all prominently in Orthodox theology.
Yet, at the time, World Wars I and II did tend to be seen as the wars of Gog and Magog, as the essential prelude to the coming of the Messiah. Some of the Hasidic masters saw the struggle between Napoleon and Russia as the wars of Gog and Magog.”
This of course begs the question that if Jews (and Christians) could view the “current events” (at the time) of Napoleon and World War I and II as the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the end time battle of Gog and Magog, then they will just re-work the failed system to suit OUR current events.
Is the Israel and Judaism of the OT and NT the Same Modern Israel and Judaism Today?
Some of my Preterist friends such as John L. Bray and David Curtis have correctly pointed out that post AD 70 there can’t be a “Jew” or “Israel” today as there was in Biblical times.
David Curtis: “Many people today still consider the Jewish people as a race. Numerous verses identify Israel, in New Testament prophecy, in terms of their tribal associations; however, these associations do not extend beyond the first century (ex. Matthew 24:30 or Revelation 1:7 which discuss “the tribes of the (land) shall mourn” etc..). After the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the nation of Israel, after the flesh, was scattered throughout the earth, and lost all tribal relations. This scattering was made immutable due to the fact that all tribal genealogical records were destroyed with the Temple in A.D. 70.”
The simple fact is that there is no existing Jewish race. Consider the following quotations:
The Encyclopedia Brittanica (1973) – “The Jews As A Race: The findings of physical anthropology show that, contrary to the popular view, there is no Jewish race. Anthropornetric measurements of Jewish groups in many parts of the world indicate that they differ greatly from one another with respect to all the important physical characteristics.” (vol. 12, page 1054)
Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem (1971) – “It is a common assumption, and one that sometimes seems ineradicable even in the face of evidence to the contrary, that the Jews of today constitute a race, a homogeneous entity easily recognizable. From the preceding discussion of the origin and early history of the Jews, it should be clear that in the course of their formation as a people and a nation they had already assimilated a variety of racial strains from people moving into the general area they occupied. This had taken place by interbreeding and then by conversion to Judaism of a considerable number of communities. . . .”
“Thus, the diversity of the racial and genetic attributes of various Jewish colonies of today renders any unified racial classification of them a contradiction in terms. Despite this, many people readily accept the notion that they are a distinct race. This is probably reinforced by the fact that some Jews are recognizably different in appearance from the surrounding population. That many cannot be easily identified is overlooked and the stereotype for some is extended to all – a not uncommon phenomenon” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem, 1971, vol. 3, p. 50).
Encyclopedia Americana (1986) – “Racial and Ethnic Considerations. Some theorists have considered the Jews a distinct race, although this has no factual basis. In every country in which the Jews lived for a considerable time, their physical traits came to approximate those of the indigenous people. Hence the Jews belong to several distinct racial types, ranging, for example, from fair to dark. Among the reasons for this phenomenon are voluntary or involuntary miscegenation and the conversion of Gentiles to Judaism” (Encyclopedia Americana, 1986, vol. 16, p. 71).
Collier’s Encyclopedia (1977) – “A common error and persistent modern myth is the designation of the Jews as a ‘race! This is scientifically fallacious, from the standpoint of both physical and historical tradition. Investigations by anthropologists have shown that Jews are by no means uniform in physical character and that they nearly always reflect the physical and mental characteristics of the people among whom they live” (Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1977, vol. 13, p. 573). Today, being a Jew simply means that one is of the Judaistic religion or a convert to it, or else in a “brotherhood” of those who are. Therefore, being a Jew has nothing to do with race. We are familiar with a number of notable figures, such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Elizabeth Taylor, and Tom Arnold, in fact, who became Jews by conversion to the religion of Judaism.
Evangelist John Bray: “Many Christians do not know that the vast majority of so-called Jews in the world today are the Ashkenazim Jews, while the remainder of them are the Sephardim Jews. The Ashkenazim Jews have as their background not the nation of Israel but a country called Khazaria, which country at one time was the largest country in Europe. The settlers of Khazaria were Turks and Huns. In A.D. 740 King Bulan of Khazaria decided to adopt the Judaistic religion for his country. A number of Jews were already living there. So he converted to Judaism, along with all his officials, and whole nation ended up being known as a nation of Jews. In 970 Russia came in and dominated the situation, and the Khazars were scattered, many of them going down into Poland and Lithuania. Where at the dawn of our modern civilization the largest concentration of Jews were found. Today, the largest percentage of so-called Jews in the world have as their background this group of people.” (This information is fully documented in detail in John Bray’s book, Israel in Bible Prophecy)
Funk and Wagnall’s New Encyclopedia (1970) – “In 1970 the Israeli Knesset adopted legislation defining a Jew as one born of a Jewish mother or a convert.” (vol. 14, p. 214)
H.G. Wells – “There can be little doubt that the scattered Phoenicians in Spain and Africa and throughout the Mediterranean, speaking as they did a language closely akin to Hebrew and being deprived of their authentic political rights, became proselytes to Judaism. For phases of vigorous proselytism alternated with phases of exclusive jealousy in Jewish history. On one occasion the Idumeans, being conquered, were all forcibly made Jews. There were Arab tribes who were Jews in the time of Muhammad, and a Turkish people who were mainly Jews in South Russia in the ninth century. Judaism is indeed the reconstructed political ideal of many shattered peoples – mainly Semitic…. The main part of Jewry never was in Judea and had never come out of Judea” (The Outline of History,p. 505).
Genesis 49:10: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” This is a known Messianic text for the Jewish people prior to the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus/Shiloh (a descendant of Judah) has come gathering in His kingdom the nations (Jew and Gentile) whereby they give Him their obedience. This began roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 and at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 and well into the new covenant age. Jesus clearly foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and her old covenant age/system in Matthew 21:42-45; 22:7; 23-24. Since that time, there no longer remains any geo-political ruling “scepter” privilege for the literal tribe of Judah (any kind of national Israel) nor ever shall be.
As one can clearly see there are no “twelve tribes” of Israel today, no real or pure Jewish race, and no old covenant (with animal sacrifices etc…) to identify modern day Israel with biblical or covenantal Israel. These facts are devastating to modern day Israel’s claims and “rights” to the land of Jerusalem and or their religion of “Judaism.”
Deuteronomy 18:15-19: Moses in the Torah predicted that a greater prophet than himself would arise and that if the people would not heed him they would be destroyed (Deut. 18:15-19). Peter reminds his listeners that Jesus is the fulfillment of Moses prophecy and that if they did not heed Jesus’ warnings they would be cut off (Acts 3:22-23).
Deuteronomy 32:5, 20: “They have acted corruptly toward him; to their shame they are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation.” “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.” Again Peter exhorts his fellow Jews that their generation is the “perverse and crooked” generation that Moses foretold (Acts 2:40). Thus Israel’s “end” was to take place in that particular generation and did. Moses states that within this terminal generation the Gentiles will rejoice with the remnant Jews, in that this will be the time whereby God “avenges the blood of his servants,” which Jesus identifies with his AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” tied to the destruction of their Temple in AD 70 (Deuteronomy 32:43/Matthew 23:32-38). (Deuteronomy 32:5, 20/Acts 2:40/Matthew 24:34/Luke 17:24/Mark 8:38-9:1). It was predicted that within this particular generation that they would not accurately “discern” what their “end would be” (Deuteronomy 32:28-29). Israel in the NT did not heed her Messiah’s warning that her kingdom would be “taken” from them and “given” to “another nation” (ie. the Church) in AD 70 (Matthew 21:42-45/1 Peter 1:4-9).
Jesus from the beginning to the end of His earthly ministry NEVER described His kingdom (that is the kingdom the OT prophets foretold) as anything but spiritual “not of this world” “if it were my servants would fight” etc… It was never designed to continue to be a geopolitical or militaristic literal “kingdom.” These facts are also devastating to Dispensational Zionists false theology as well.
Modern Judaism and Zionist attacks on Jesus’ as a divine Messiah or rejection of Him as Messiah because of an alleged failed imminent Second Coming
Modern Zionists and other Orthodox Rabbis claim Jesus couldn’t have been their Messiah because the Messiah (per their traditional and historical views) was not to be a divine individual but a mere man. Or Jesus is to be rejected as the Messiah because his prophecy to return in His generation was a failed prophecy. Or Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah because didn’t fulfill the law and prophets the way they think they should have been fulfilled (using a hyper-literal interpretation). Let’s examine some of these claims.
Is/was the Jewish Messiah to be divine or not?
On one prominent “Jewish” web site we are told, “But above all, he (the Messiah) will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.” And, “The term “mashiach” literally means “the anointed one,” and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The mashiach is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days.” Oddly no discussion is made on this allegedly modern “Jewish” web site of a commonly known Messianic text such as Daniel 7:13-14 where the “anointed one” is actually worshipped. That doesn’t sound like a mere man to me nor to many Jews before and during Jesus’ day (we will discuss this crucial text further below). And we should note that Jesus as Messiah did appear towards the “end of days” / Israel’s “last days” in His incarnation and second appearing – to bring an end of the old covenant age in an AD 70 “very little while” (Hebrews 1:2, 9:26-28/10:37). Jesus is the exalted and anointed Messiah/God/Davidic King fulfilling Psalm 45:6-7/Hebrews 1:8-9. Is/was the Jewish Messiah to be “Savior” or not?
Here is the modern day false “Jewish” claim that Messiah was never thought to be a savior figure in the scriptures: “The word “mashiach” does not mean “savior.” The notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save us from the consequences of our own sins is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought.” Israel’s exodus from Egypt is by far the greatest example of “salvation” or “deliverance” which formed Israel’s view that God alone acts as Savior (cf. Ps 106:21; cf. Is 63:8-11; Hos 13:4). This salvation was brought about through the sacrifice of a lamb’s blood placed upon the doorframes of God’s people while the concept of the death a “firstborn” as an exchange for their salvation and deliverance was born (Exodus 12). This would pave the way for the foundation of Judaism itself – the Temple and sacrificial system necessary to atone for Israel’s sins (Leviticus 16). “Salvation” was connected to the Messiah’s (the “King’s” or “Anointed One’s) work in His coming lowly upon a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 – a passage known to be Messianic in Jewish literature). In (Zechariah 13:1) we learn that “On that day (the day of Messiah’s salvation) a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” How would this come about? This was due to the Messianic Shepherd being “struck” and the sheep scattered (Zechariah 13:7-9 cf. also 11:4-14; 12:10; Matthew 26:31, 56).
To learn more of the Messiah being “struck” or sacrificed “…to save Israel from the consequences of her sins” (which is being denied by our good “Jewish” friend) we must now turn to Isiah 53 and examine how some Rabbis understood it. Let’s quote the entire chapter:
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors. “Messiah …what is his name? The Rabbis say,‘The leprous one’; those of the house of the Rabbi (Jehuda Hanassi, the author of the Mishna, 135-200) say: ‘Cholaja’ (The sickly), for it says, ‘Surely he has borne our sicknesses’ etc. (Isa.53,4).” “Behold my servant Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong: as the house of Israel looked to him through many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond the sons of men.”
The Messiah as a suffering “servant” is also described for us in the previous immediate context (Isaiah 52:13-15, see also Psalm 22). In Isaiah, “Savior” is a consistent title for God, communicating His preeminence and His uniqueness over against foreign gods and idols: “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior, I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you” (Is 43:11, 12). Isaiah further states that God would show himself as savior by the future blessing and restoration of Israel (Is 49:26; 60:16). The idea that Christians have somehow invented the idea that the Messiah is found in such passages as Isaiah 53 or that Messiah would not be a “Savior” – saving Israel (and the Gentile believing world) from their sins is simply not accurate. These concepts are truly Jewish to the core!
When will Messiah come? The new exodus generation
This same Jewish web site claims one of the orthodox views describing when Messiah will come: “…in a generation that is totally innocent or totally guilty;” Please note what is said of Israel’s last day’s terminal generation in Deuteronomy 32:20-22: “And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end (Matthew 10:22-23, Matthew 24:3, Matthew 13:39-40, – end of the old covenant age) shall be: for they are a very perverse generation (Matthew 23:36, Matthew 24:34, Mark 8:38; Acts 2:40), children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people (Romans 10:19, 11:11); I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation (Mt.21:42-43/ 1 Peter 2:9). For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire (2 Peter 3; Revelation 8:8) the foundations of the mountains.” (Deut. 32:20-22). This “perverse generation” mentioned here in “the Song of Moses” was prophesied to “not be wise” and “not discern” what their “end will/was to be” (Deut. 32:29).
They rejected their true Rock/Christ and thus they would be destroyed. This “judgment” came upon those that rejected him, yet He was compassionate to the remnant and also brought joy to the Gentile nations at the same time (Deut. 32:36, 43). This is the generation Jesus addresses throughout His ministry and the one the NT authors confront and comfort in the first century concerning an imminent judgment and salvation. Judaism’s dilemma of a Messiah coming in a “totally guilty” or “totally innocent generation” is one and the same! Jesus as Messiah in the AD 30 – AD 70 generation was saving and making pure (“innocent”) and righteous the remnant while at the same time holding accountable the perverse, wicked and adulterous among that generation that had rejected Jesus and the prophets.
The author fails to realize that his rejection of Jesus as Messiah is what made the last days AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” “guilty” and held accountable from all the blood of righteous going back to Abel going through to those NT prophet’s Jesus would send to her prior to her House/Temple being destroyed and Israel’s judgment in AD 70 (Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:40/Luke 17:25/Mark 8:38-9:1/Matthew 23:30-38/24:34). Many of the Rabbis of Jesus’ and Peter’s day described the reign of Messiah to be a transition period between their Old Covenant “this age” and the Messianic or New Covenant “age to come.” They saw Messiah accomplishing redemption, salvation, and the new temple being built during this “millennial” period. What is interesting to note is that the millennial or transition period was thought of to last 40 years (a particular generation) . Their theological reason being – as long as Israel wandered in the dessert was the period in which the remnant of the Messianic generation would see gladness. Speaking of the transition period of Messiah Schoeps says some Rabbi’s considered it: “… a short interval for the interim period, namely, forty years (R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus; Bar. In Sanh. 99a; R. Aqiba: Midr. Teh on Ps. 90:15; Tanch. Eqeb 7b, Pes. Rabb. 4a). The two Tannaites, commenting on Ps. 95:7, derive this time indication from the Messianically understood v. 10 (“forty years I loathed that generation” and from Deut. 8:2 by a parallelization with the forty years in the desert.”
G.K. Beale also points out the same, “There are numerous Jewish traditions about the nature and length of the future messianic reign. Some speculated that there would be no messianic reign at all, while others proposed periods of an intermediate reign from 40 to 365,000 years.” “see the surveys of rabbinic views in b. Sanhedrin 97a-b, 99a; Midr. Ps. 90:17; Pesikta Rabbati 1…”
Here are parallels of the New Exodus theme:
1) An edict was sent out to kill the male children during the time of Moses (Exodus1:22) and an edict was issued by Herod to kill the male children in hopes of killing Jesus (Matthew 2:16).
2) After killing the Egyptian Moses fled to Midian until the wrath of the king passed (Exodus 2:15) and Joseph and Mary, fled with Jesus to Egypt until the wrath of the king passed (Matthew 2:14).
3) God called Moses back to his country to be his people’s deliverer (Exodus 3:10) just as Jesus was called back to His country (Matthew 2:20) to be their deliverer.
4) God kept Moses 40 days in the wilderness before giving the law on a mountain (Deut. 9:11; Exodus19) and He likewise kept Jesus 40 days in the wilderness before placing Him on a mount to give the New Covenant law and thus the true interpretation of the old (Matthew 4:1-chapter
5) Both received glory on top of a mountain. While being tested by Satan for 40 days Jesus quotes three scriptures found in the Exodus wilderness testing: (Matthew 4:4/Deut. 8:3; Matthew 4:7/Deut. 6:16; Matthew 4:10/Deut. 6:13 & Deut 10:20).
6) God through Moses appointed 70 elders (Numbers 11:16) and Jesus appointed 70 disciples (Luke 10:1). Old Covenant Israel consisted of 12 tribes and Jesus forms the restored Israel with an inner core of 12 disciples.
7) God’s Old Covenant people were delivered from His judgment upon Egypt by the first Passover. This deliverance was substitutional in nature and was brought about through the shedding of a lamb’s blood. God’s New Covenant people were delivered from the wrath (“His blood be upon us and our children”) that would be poured out upon Jerusalem/Egypt/Revelation 11:8 through the New Covenant Passover blood of Jesus (the lamb of God). In the first exodus the death of “first born” of humans and animals were to appease God’s wrath. In the New Covenant exodus Jesus is both the “first born” and the “Lamb.”
8) In God forming Old Covenant Israel during this time it was a creating of the heavens and earth (Isa.51:15-16). Through the cross and parousia of Jesus a New Covenant heavens and earth were being created and would replace the former Old Covenant one “shortly” (Isaiah 65-66; Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3; and Revelation 21-22).
9) In the formation of Old Covenant Israel, God was bringing about deliverance from the physical bondage and slavery of Egypt. In the New Covenant transitionary period, God was creating and delivering a remnant of New Covenant Israel out from the spiritual bondage and slavery of the Old Covenant “elements of the world” which was the law.
10) Fifty days after the first Passover and the giving of the law (Exodus 19) 3,000 died for idolatry (Exodus 32:28). Fifty days after the Passover in Jesus’ blood 3,000 are saved and filled with the Spirit (Acts 2).
11) There was a miraculous outpouring of the Spirit’s work in building the Old Covenant tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-11). The AD 30 – 70 generation also saw the miraculous work of God in profound ways. There was a miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s work in the “last days” in which the building and erecting of the spiritual New Covenant tabernacle/temple of God was taking place. The first was a physical building with the hands and the later was a spiritual building by the laying on of hands of the Apostles. The Church was and is clearly the New Covenant kingdom tabernacle or temple that was predicted by the prophets of which Jesus was the corner stone (Acts 15/Amos 9; Mark 12:10-11; Acts 4:11/Psalm118, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:4-10/Psalm 118, Isaiah 28:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16/Ezekiel 37:26-27). Just as Micah 7:15 predicted miracles would occur in this new exodus under Messiah – so the miracles lasted until He returned to end her age and fulfill Israel’s promises (Mark 16:15-18/Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 13:8-12).
12) God was grieved with the unbelieving Old Covenant generation and did not allow them to enter the Promised Land (Heb. 3:10). God was grieved with the adulterous and wicked generation of His day and did not allow them to inherit His heavenly rest in His kingdom – “In Christ” (Mark 8:31-9:1, Matthew 23:34-46, Hebrews 3-4, 6, 9-10:37, 13:14YLT). 13) The wilderness wandering generation was baptized into Moses by passing through the red sea whereby they would receive a physical salvation from their persecutors. The water which did not touch them did destroy their enemies (1Corinthians 10:1-2). There likewise was a baptism of fire and persecution in which the first century Church underwent that was separating the gold (true believers) from the wood (professing believers) and would eventually burn up the persecutors (Matthew 3:11; Luke 8:13-14; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2- 3; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-12). The children or remnant of Moses generation that went through the red sea would enter into the rest and salvation of the Promised Land. Likewise the remnant of spiritual Israel would inherit and enter the Heavenly Country “In Christ” (Hebrews 3-4, 12) with Peter describing the spiritual New Covenant salvation and entrance into the kingdom as the salvation of the “soul” (1 Peter 1:4-12).
In examining the teachings of Jesus and that of the NT authors, we have found that the contemporary “this generation” of Jesus in (Matthew 24:34) is the one which witnessed His return and brought to maturity the New Covenant Exodus/Redemption predicted by the prophets. That New Covenant Temple/House/City/Creation was matured with the coming of Jesus in AD 70 and therefore, the Church today invites those who through the Holy Spirit’s work realize they are lost and thirsty sinners needing to come Home. The doors are always open and light is always on, so come home thou weary sinner come home (Revelation 21-22:17).
Modern day “Jews” mock Second Coming of Jesus doctrine
“The main task of the Messiah was to bring the world back to G-d, and to abolish all war, suffering and injustice from the world. Clearly, Jesus did not accomplish this. In order to get around this failure on the part of Jesus, Christians invented the doctrine of the “Second Coming.”. . . All the prophecies that Jesus did not fulfill the first time are supposed to be taken care of the second time around. However, the Jewish Bible offers absolutely no evidence to support the Christian doctrine of a “Second Coming.”
“The idea of a second coming is a pure rationalization of Jesus’ failure to function in any way as a messiah, or to fulfill any of the prophecies of the Torah or the Prophets. The idea is purely a Christian invention, with no foundation in the Bible.”
“This two-fold misapprehension of Jesus ¾ the nearness of the kingdom of heaven and his Messiahship perpetuated his memory and created Christianity. Had not the disciples expected his second coming Christianity could never have come into being: even as a Jewish sect. . . . The Jews as a whole could not, however, follow after a belief based on so slight a foundation. . . . Yet again, through the preaching of his messianic claims, after he had failed to manifest himself to the world again, in his power and glory, he became, in spite of himself, a “sacrifice,” a “ransom for many.”
“The success of the Christian claim or its failure rests to a very large extent on the theory of the second coming. . . . The Jews never had the concept of a second coming, and since it was the Jews themselves who first taught the notion of a Messiah, via the Jewish prophets, it seems quite reasonable to respect their opinion more than anyone else’s. . . . the theory of the second coming is not based on Jewish tradition or sources, and is a theory born from desperation.”
The Truth: Of course the Law and Prophets did foretell the coming of Messiah on the clouds of heaven to judge Israel and establish the Kingdom (the Christian view of the Second Coming). The (OG) LXX of (Daniel 7:13-14) (the “Bible” during Jesus’ day) states, that “one like the Son of Man” would “come on the clouds of heaven as the Ancient of Days.” Jesus appeals to this passage (and others) to form His doctrine of His return throughout Matthew’s gospel (ex. Matthew 16:27-28; 24-25; 26:64). And again, Jesus is depicted in the book of Revelation as coming on the clouds of heaven as the Ancient of Days (Revelation 1:7, 14-17). What is really being rejected here, is not that the Law and Prophets foretold a Second Coming (or Messiah coming on the clouds to usher in the kingdom), but rather that Jesus Himself (as very God “the Alpha and Omega”) would come on the clouds to fulfill this promise as the Messiah (Matthew 26:64/Revelation 1:7, 14-17). There was no “failure” for Christ in accomplishing what He set out to do in Israel’s AD 30 – AD 70 terminal generation concerning sacrifice and coming on the clouds in salvation and judgment to close the old covenant age.
As the sacrifice (the Lamb of God) and functioning as the heavenly High Priest, He came a “second time” to the eagerly awaiting congregation to grant the forgiveness of sin to the remnant and close the “ready to vanish” old covenant age “in a very little while” to judge and put under His feet His first century enemies (Hebrews 8:13—9:26-28—10:37). History cannot be louder or mistaken in that Christ did in fact come with power and great glory in AD 70 taking the kingdom from Israel and giving it to the Church (Matthew 21:42-45). This is not only the testimony of the Law and Prophets, but the testimony of history – the consequences for the Jews rejecting their divine Messiah! Selah.
Perhaps others have not seen the significance of the (OG) LXX of Daniel 7:13-14, but even Jewish scholars have admitted that the passage is dealing with a divine Messianic figure. In the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 98a (A.D. 400-600) we read:
“R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction. it is written, in its time [will the Messiah come], whilst it is also written, I [the Lord] will hasten it! — if they are worthy, I will hasten it: if not, [he will come] at the due time. R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold, thy king cometh unto thee …] lowly, and riding upon an ass! — if they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven; if not, lowly and riding upon an ass.”
Jesus applies both of these OT passages to His redemptive work for Israel through His humility/rejection and suffering servant, to Him coming with salvation and judgment upon the clouds of heaven in AD 70.
Jewish Scholar Alan Segal commenting on R. Akiba. Said and R. Yosi the Galilean disputing over the meaning of the passage said:
“These two rabbis were perplexed by the seeming contradiction in the verses. In one place, more than one throne is indicated by the plural form of the noun. In another place “His (God’s) throne was fiery flames” implies only one throne. Does this mean that the ‘son of man’ in the next verse was enthroned next to God? Rabbi Akiba (110-135 C.E.) affirms the possibility, stating that the other throne was for David. Akiba must be identifying the ‘son of man’ with the Davidic messiah. Nor was R. Akiba alone in the rabbinic movement in identifying the figure in heaven as the messiah. There is some evidence that Judaism contained other traditions linking these verses in Daniel with the messiah.”
Another Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner addresses the ‘older’ traditions which were:
“We focus upon how the system laid out in the Mishnah takes up and disposes of those critical issues of theology worked out through messianic eschatology in other, earlier versions of Judaism. These earlier systems resorted to the myth of the Messiah as savior and redeemer of Israel, a supernatural figure engaged in political-historical tasks as king of the Jews, even a God-man facing the crucial historical questions of Israel’s life and resolving them: the Christ as king of the world, of the ages, of death itself.”
Orthodox Jewish scholar Daniel Boyarin writes on the characteristics of Daniel 7 and the development of Jewish and Christian thought: “What are these characteristics?
- He is divine.
- He is divine in human form.
- He may very well be portrayed as a younger-appearing divinity than the Ancient of Days.
- He will be enthroned on high.
- He is given power and dominion, even sovereignty on earth.
“All of these are characteristics of Jesus Christ as he will appear in the Gospels, and they appear in this text more than a century and a half [sic] before the birth of Jesus. Moreover, they have been further developed within Jewish traditions between the Book of Daniel and the Gospels. At a certain point these traditions became merged in Jewish minds with the expectation of a return of a Davidic king and the idea of a divine-human Messiah was born. This figure was then named ‘Son of Man,’ alluding to his origins in the divine figure named ‘one like a Son of Man/a human being’ in Daniel. In other words, a simile, a God who looks like a human being (literally Son of Man) has become the name for that God, who is now called ‘Son of Man,’ a reference to his human-appearing divinity…”
“There are many variations of traditions about this figure in the Gospels themselves and in other early Jewish texts. Some Jews had been expecting this Redeemer to be a human exalted to the state of divinity, while others were expecting a divinity to come down to earth and take on human form; some believers in Jesus believed the Christ had been born as an ordinary human and then exalted to divine status, while others believed him to have been a divinity who came down to earth. Either way, we end up with a doubled godhead and a human-divine combination as the expected Redeemer.*…”
Ancient Jews described the anticipated Messiah with the title “he of the clouds.” Boyarin referring to other scholars such as J.A. Emerton points out that any good Jew knew that only Yahwe himself rode upon the clouds of heaven in judgment, “Clouds–as well as riding on or with clouds–are a common attribute of biblical divine appearances, called theophanies (Greek for ‘God appearances’) by scholars. J.A. Emerton had made the point decisively: ‘The act of coming with clouds suggests a theophany of Yahwe himself. If Dan. vii. 13 does not refer to a divine being then it is the only exception out of about seventy passages in the Old Testament.’ “…As New Testament scholar Matthew Black puts it bluntly, ‘This, in effect, means that Dan. 7 knows of two divinities, the Head of Days and the Son of Man.’ Those two divinities, in the course of time, would end up being the first two persons of the Trinity.”
“Ancient Jewish readers might well have reasoned, as the Church Father Aphrahat did, that since the theme of riding on the clouds indicates a divine being in every other instance in the Tanakh (the Jewish name for the Hebrew Bible), we should read this one too as the revelation of God, a second God, as it were. The implication is, of course, that there are two such divine figures in heaven, the old Ancient of Days and the young one like a son of man.”
“The Messiah-Christ existed as a Jewish idea long before the baby Jesus was born in Nazareth. That is, the idea of a second God as a viceroy to God the Father is one of the oldest theological ideas in Israel. Daniel 7 brings into the present a fragment of what is perhaps the most ancient of religious visions of Israel that we can find…” (Ibid.).
The presentation of the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13 is perhaps a reference to Christ in His Parousia delivering up the kingdom (“the saints”) to the Father (“the Ancient of Days”) in AD 70. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (1 Cor. 15:24)
Again my preferred interpretation is similar to that of F.F. Bruce. According to the Old Greek Septuagint translation of Daniel 7:13, the Son of Man came “as the Ancient of Days” on the clouds of heaven, not “to the Ancient of Days.” This translation is in harmony with verse 22, which says that it was the Ancient of Days Himself who came in judgment and gave the saints the kingdom. It is also important to point out that John in the book of Revelation alludes to Dan. 7:9, 13 in his description of Christ as being both the Son of Man who comes on the clouds to judge those whom had pierced Him (first century Jews) and as the eternal Ancient of Days in Rev. 1:7, 13-17. Again the context is developing Christ’s future soon” (Rev. 1:1) Second Coming not His ascension.
Unfortunately many Christians apply this cloud coming of Messiah/Jesus to the ascension. However, the New Testament does not develop or give the slightest hint that “the coming of the Son of Man” on the clouds of heaven would be fulfilled in the Ascension. I would agree with Keil and Delitzch comments that the direction is downward upon the enemies and is developed in the NT to the Second Coming (and nowhere to the ascension):
“…it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth. If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are the veil or the “chariot” on which God comes from heaven to execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Ps. 18:10f., 97:2–4; 104:3, Isa. 19:1, Nah. 1:3. This passage forms the foundation for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming, which is described after Dan. 7:13 as a coming of the Son of man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 18:26; Rev. 1:7; 14:14.”
Is/Was Messiah to be “worshiped”?
Before leaving Daniel 7:13-14 it should be noted that this one likened to the “Son of Man” and “Ancient of Days” coming on the clouds of heaven is “worshiped” (vs. 14 NIV the original Aramaic is pelach – some translations render the word to mean divine “service”). In establishing the meaning of a passage or word in a particular text we need to examine its usage elsewhere in the same book. Everywhere in Daniel pelach is used of divine service or worship. Of false gods in Daniel 3:12. In Daniel 3:17-18 we are told that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego only gave divine service and worship to the only living God and would not render divine service and worship to Nebuchadnezzar’s false gods. In Daniel 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar gives praise to their God and reinstates that they “yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.” In Daniel 6:16, 20 it describes Daniel’s divine service to the only living God continually which is given in hopes that God would and did deliver Daniel from the den of the lions. In Daniel 7:27 when the Ancient of Days came (cf. vss. 13-14, 22) to give possession of the Kingdom to the saints, “all rulers will worship and obey him.”
The Seventy sevens of Daniel 9:24-27
Again, while here in Daniel we should probably (and briefly as possible) address another controversial passage in Daniel between Christians and modern day Judaism or Zionism – the seventy weeks (or better known literally as – the seventy sevens) of Daniel 9:24-27. First let’s review the main various Christian interpretations of this critical passage that have been offered over the years:
- Many of the early church fathers and exegetes today find the fulfillment in Christ’s appearance in the flesh, His death, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
- Some modern interpreters see the whole passage to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.
- Then other church fathers and even modern theologians have interpreted the prophecy from the Babylonian Exile to the kingdom’s arrival attended by the second coming of Christ – at the end of the days or end of the age.
As I will argue in this brief article the truth lies within views #1 & #3 with #2 possibly serving as a partial or typological fulfillment for an AD 70 full or anti-type fulfillment of the seventy sevens. Jesus identifies the seventy sevens prophecy to reach its fulfillment in AD 70 with the judgment and destruction of the temple and city (Dan. 9:24a, 26-27/Matt. 24:15/Luke 21:20-22) closing the old covenant age in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matt. 24:34). But those that have traditionally taken a more preterist view throughout church history have erred in that they usually argue for a literal 490 years chronology of fulfillment and claim the seventy sevens are fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Christ (roughly in AD 26 – AD 30) and then reference the destruction of AD 70 as an addendum to what happened between those time periods. This does not work because exegetically the destruction of the temple and city are the crucial parts of the seventy sevens prophecy and in fact is its climax and brings the prophecy to an end! Some have suggested a 40 years “gap” in the chronology between AD 30 – AD 70, while at the same time criticizing premillennial dispensationalism for creating a “gap theory” of thousands of years between the 69th and 70th “week” to support their erroneous eschatological system. Neither approach is exegetical or accurate.
View #3 is accurate in that the seventy sevens prophecy is not a literal 490 years chronological period, but rather a symbolic and prophetic period marked by sevens. Its other strength is that it sees some of the redemptive aspects contained in Daniel 9:24 to be referring to Christ’s second coming at the end of the age. It however errs in that it fails to acknowledge that Christ posits its redemptive end and unfolding of the kingdom to be fulfilled: 1. in the destruction of the temple and city (Dan. 9:24, 26-27/Matt. 24:15/Luke 21:20-22), 2. the “end of the age” or “the end” in (Matt. 24:3, 14) is referring to the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and not the end of world history or the end to the new covenant or Christian age, and 3. Jesus posits the fulfillment of redemption and the arrival of his kingdom and second coming to take place within the same AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time period (Luke 21:27-32). And although I agree that the seventy sevens prophecy of Daniel is a symbolic period of time, Daniel did predict that Jehovah’s kingdom would be established during the time of the Roman kingdom (Daniel 2).
The view I will be arguing for acknowledges all of these key elements to Daniel’s prophetic material. And by way of introduction, we should also note that this passage was known to be messianic among some Jews:
- San 97a: “Our masters taught as follows of the particular seven-year period at whose end [Messiah] son of David will appear” (This seems to refer directly to the Danielic final week!)
- San 97b: “Rav said: All times set for redemption have passed, and the matter now depends only on repentance and good deeds” (All time calculations had been fulfilled).
- San 97b: “R. Samuel bar Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: Blaste be the bones of those who presume to calculate the time of redemption. For they are apt to say, ‘Since redemption has not come at the time expected, it will never come.’ Rather, one must wait for it…what then delays its coming? The measure of justice delays it…”
I couldn’t agree more that these “Jews” did in fact miss and reject the redemptive work of their Messiah (Jesus the Christ) in Daniel’s last seven and “Judaism” hasn’t been the same since AD 70 – having reached her “end” during that terminal “crooked and perverse” generation (Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:20-40/Luke 17:20-21, 25; 21:32). Moses predicted that many of them would not be able to “discern” their “end” (Deut. 32:29). When Israel disobeyed the covenant it is said, “The land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its Sabbaths while it is made desolate without them.” (Lev. 26:43).
In Second Chronicles we read, “All the days of its desolation, it kept Sabbath to fulfill Sabbath to fulfill seventy years” (2 Chron. 36:21 NSAB). As those 70 years of captivity were ending and the land had received its Sabbath rest, Daniel prays for his people and is given a prophetic time explaining Israel’s imminent deliverance from the Babylonian captivity and yet at the same time, encompassing her coming Messiah within a period of 70 sevens in which there would be a greater rest and restoration for Israel. The Anointed/Prince/Ruler/Messiah Jesus is the anti-type of (or the new) Cyrus delivering Israel from her bondage of sin and raising her from the graves of sin-death. And this partial restoration back into the land typified through Nehemiah and Ezra pointed to an anti-typical eschatological fulfillment of being gathering “in Christ” at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Matt. 13:39-43, 49; 24:30-31—25:31-46).
I believe it is a mistake for Christians (both futurists and preterists) to take the 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24-27 to be a literal 490 years. Jesus posits the end to the seventy sevens or weeks and redemption at the fall of Jerusalem (Matt. 24:15/Dan. 9:27, Luke 21:27-32) in AD 70, and there is no way of having this working out to be a literal 490 years. Modern day Judaism and Zionists mock Christians for this very problem, but it is not a problem I have since I do not take the seventy seven’s prophecy to be a literal 490 years! Lee Irons and Meredith Kline are at least correct on this point:
“The seventy “weeks” (literally “sevens”) comprise a definite period of time until the coming of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem…a period that is actually longer than a literal 490 years.” …the point of the seventy weeks is not to provide a precise chronological prediction but to make the profound theological point that the coming of Christ and the abrogation of the Old Covenant order will usher in the eschatological Sabbath rest for the people of God.”
These authors also point out that this is not an unusual way of communicating within the Jewish mindset and give the genealogy of Matthew 1:1-17 (whereby evidence is given that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah) as an example:
“Similarly, in his genealogy of Christ, Matthew employs sabbatical theology to structure history. He purposely dropped at least four names and counted David twice to construct a sabbatical structure of the history of redemption from Abraham to the Messiah. He states that from Abraham to David is 14 generations; from David to the captivity is 14 generations; and from the captivity to Messiah, 14 generations (Matt.1:17). This was intentional: the author purposely wanted to stress this numerical system, primarily because of its sabbatical symbolism (3×14 = 6×7); the generations of the Messiah represents the seventh seven, thereby showing that it is He who inaugurates the ultimate Sabbath rest for the people of God, the eschatological age. Matthew employs sabbatical symbolism to underscore one of his major themes: the Messiah’s advent constitutes the apex and fulfillment of redemptive history.”
The book of Hebrews not only tells us when the “old covenant order” would pass away – it was “ready (“soon”) to vanish” (Heb. 8:13), but in chapters 3-4 it tells us that Israel entering the land and sabbath rest were typological pointing to a remaining day or “another day” of Sabbath rest coming. This is the second appearing or “the Day approaching” in (Heb. 10:25, 37) that was coming in a “very little while” and would “not be delayed” in which God’s raging fire was “about to” consume the enemies of God – “his people” (Heb. 10:27 YLT, 30). In Hebrews 9:26-28 we are told that Jesus appeared in Israel’s “last days” “at the end of [the OC] age” (this is in “the end” or “the end that is decreed” for the seventy sevens to be fulfilled) “to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself…” “…sacrificed to take away the sins of many;” (cf. Dan. 9:27) and “bring salvation to those who are waiting” “a second time.” Hebrews 9:26-28 so accurately describes the work of Messiah in the last seven of the seventy sevens (his redemptive work in His first and second appearings).
Simply put, the prophecy of the seventy sevens symbolizes a period between the imminent fall of Babylon in Daniel’s day (in 538 BC) to the imminent fall of “Babylon” (the old order or old covenant “Jerusalem” the apostate “Great City” or “Harlot” of Revelation) in John’s day (in AD 70) – a period covering roughly 608 literal years (not 490). The book of Revelation is outlined with the number 7 representing perfection, Sabbath rest and New Creation motifs (7 churches, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 angels with 7 plagues, 7 bowls of God’s wrath, etc… Revelation 22 depicts entering into this Sabbath or New Creation rest after Babylon’s/Jerusalem’s fall in an imminent AD 70 time frame (the same imminent time frame we see in the book of Hebrews): “…sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place,” “Behold I am coming soon,” “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near,” (cf. Rev. 22:6-7, 10-12, 20).
Daniel 9:24 – Here are the main elements of the seventy sevens in Daniel 9:24-27 to be fulfilled for Israel and her city Jerusalem: 1. finish transgression, 2. put an end to sin, 3. to atone for wickedness, 4. to bring in everlasting righteousness, 5. to seal up vision and prophecy, and 6. to anoint the most holy.
Jerusalem “filled up” or “finished transgressions” against God and His Messiah within Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 23:31-38; Dan. 9:24a). Christ put an “end to sin” at His imminent “in a very little while” Second Appearing as the Great High Priest fulfilling the NC promises made to Israel and to close the “last days” of the OC age in AD 70 (Heb. 9:26-28/10:37; Rom. 11:26-27/13:11-12; Dan. 9:24b.). At Christ’s return in AD 70, He brought in “everlasting righteousness” or a “world of righteousness” in 2 Peter 3 – the “end of all things” being “at hand” in Peter’s day (1 Peter 4:5-7). Christ anointed and consummated the New Covenant Church as His Most Holy Place and Bride in AD 70 (Ex. 20, 29-31, 40; cf. Hebrews 9:6-10; Revelation 11:18-19, 19-21:16). Therefore, all the eschatological promises made to Israel concerning vision and prophecy were fulfilled or sealed up by AD 70 in fulfillment of the seventy sevens prophecy.
Daniel 9:25 – The “decree (of Cyrus) to restore and re-build Jerusalem” is found in 2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; Isa. 44:24, 26, 28; 45:13; cf. Josephus, Antiquities, xi, 6, 12. It’s rebuilding in the “difficult times” of Ezra and Nehemiah can be read in those OT books. The first 62 sevens represents a period from the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Nehemiah and Ezra to the first coming of Jesus – the “Anointed One.” Jesus was anointed by the Father to preach the good news of the Gospel to Israel.
Daniel 9:26 – The Anointed One/Prince/Ruler/Leader/Messiah (Jesus the Christ), would be “cut off” after the 62 sevens. This shouldn’t surprise us since we already learned in our section of Isaiah 53 that Messiah would be cut off as well and have nothing (with some Jews conceded this point). “The people (the Jews or Roman soldiers) of the Ruler (Jesus), will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end (of the seventy sevens) will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” Between AD 66 – AD 70 not only did the Romans surround the city, but the Idumeans (Jewish Zealots) did as well and entered Jerusalem resulting in the city being divided into three warring sects – all shedding blood over the Temple area and for control of Jerusalem. War and blood shed took place within the Temple and thus it was subject to abominations. The Romans (who were also under the control of Christ) did very little except wait it out and let “the people” that rejected their Messiah to devour (sometimes literally) each other. Also through the imprecatory prayers of the Christians (people of the Prince), Jerusalem was destroyed and it’s mountain removed and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 21:18-22àRevelation 8:8).
Daniel 9:27 – The “He” here is still the Messiah (not an alleged “Anti-Christ”) and through His sacrifice He established the New Covenant for the “many” (ie. the Church the new Israel of God). This last seven was from the anointing of Jesus in His first coming to His anointing the Church in His Second in AD 70. His Wife and or New Jerusalem is described as a perfect cube as the MHP place was (cf. Rev. 21:16 & “the first” [Holy Place] representing the OC community being removed in AD 70 and “the second” [the Most Holy Place] representing the NC community and its establishment during the time of the “new order” fully arriving at the end of the OC age in AD 70 in a “very little while” cf. Heb. 9:6-10, 26-28; 10:37). Christ came and overshadowed Jerusalem with desolation and determined wrath upon the desolate in AD 70 (cf. Matthew 24:15ff/Luke 21:20-24). So from the birth of Israel’s King and Messiah (Jesus the Christ) to His second appearing at the end of her OC age in AD 70 is roughly even a more redemptive significant 70 years for her coming out of bondage and slavery from “Babylon” into the freedom, rest and salvation found not “in the land” but “in Christ.” Selah.
Concluding the eschatology of Judaism
I have demonstrated according to Jewish sources of authority (prior to Christ and after) that Messiah was to be a divine figure (God) functioning as “Savior” forgiving sins. I have also demonstrated that in AD 70 Israel’s Messiah/Jesus “took the kingdom” from old covenant Israel and “gave it to a nation bearing the fruits thereof” (in its NC restored form ie. the Church – the new Israel of God) – (Matt. 21:43-45).
Therefore, modern day Israel has no religious or covenantal “right” to “sacred” land post AD 70 with their OC “vanishing” (Heb. 8:13) at Christ’s “in a very little while” coming to end that age (Heb. 9:26-28/Heb. 10:37). They have no more of a religious right to their land than Islam has of what they think “God” has or will give them. Selah. The more Christians here in the U.S. begin understanding this – and these “in the land,” “end time,” “holy war” false religious systems do, the more objective and peaceful this process will become in the future.
Go to “part 3” now:
Part 1 Islam – Refuting “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: http://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-in-the-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-1-islam/
Part 2 Judaism – Refuting “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: http://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-in-the-land-end-of-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-2-judaism/
Part 3 “Christian” Dispensational Zionism – Refuting “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: http://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-3-christian-dispensational-zionism/