Daniel 9: 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Fortunately scriptural revelation and understanding are progressive. Even when we think we have something ‘nailed down’, completely understood, God often then reveals, (unveils through the Holy Spirit), something we previously were blind to. For a long time I completely missed the significance of the end of the Daniel 9 prophecy.
“and that determined shall be poured upon (nathak) the desolate (shamem)”
Let’s deconstruct this sentence. We have three elements here.
which is to be poured
on the desolate
Firstly, who or what is desolate here? It is in the first instance Jerusalem. We know it is Jerusalem because that is what verse 27 is about – the destruction of Jerusalem, and in particular the Temple complex. (Josephus recorded that the entire city was flattened). This is in line with other prophecy. E.G. Jeremiah 19:
8 And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof.
This is the same desolation that Christ confirmed:
34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord
The desolation is of course on both Jerusalem, (that is also the Levitical system of priesthood), and the Jews. These are the original terms of the prophecy given by Gabriel to Daniel:
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city
So ‘the desolate’ is both Jerusalem, and the House of Judah.
‘That determined’ clearly refers to a punishment that God has calibrated for apostate Judah. We now can go back to verse 11 to get more clarity on this.
11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
The Hebrew word for poured upon, nathak, is the same here as in verse 27. So we see that ‘that determined’ is in fact the curse, and the oath, which are written in Mosaic Law.
The oath is fairly straightforward, it is the sevenfold punishment God inflicts when people do not repent. The word for oath is ‘shebuwah’, as in the number seven, meaning that God literally ‘sevens’ in his anger. This sevenfold increase is laid out in Leviticus 26. So Jerusalem was originally punished for 70 years, from 588BC – 518BC, when the Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, prior to reconstruction by Ezra and the priests. Now we see it punished sevenfold, so 490 years of desolation are being decreed. However, in Leviticus 26 God repeats the sevenfold punishment four times. Does this mean that the next punishment, were it to happen, would be 490 X 7 years in extent, and so on? Possibly, however, there is a simpler resolution available. The quadruple repetition of the sevenfold punishment actually means Jerusalem will be punished 4 X 7 times, i.e. 4 X 7 X 70, which equates to 1960 years. So we can see that the curse in Mosaic Law is actually a fourfold increment of punishment. So the oath is multiplication by seven, and the curse is multiplication by four.
Why is four here connected with cursing? There are two examples of fourfold punishment in the Bible.
When David was held to account by Nathan for having Uriah The Hittite killed, Nathan told an allegory regarding the man and his lamb, which concluded with a fourfold restitution.
2 Samuel 12:6
And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
Well clearly the lamb here is also prophetic, insofar as Christ was the innocent lamb, and therefore those who mercilessly killed the lamb are punished fourfold.
We also see in the gospels Zacchaeus the tax collector promising to refund fourfold anybody he has defrauded:
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
Again, this has a prophetic element to it, because the Jews took Jesus’ life by false accusation, and so would be required to make a fourfold restitution. (In fact, it is more accurate to say that they took Jesus’ Kingship by false accusation).
However, the actual reason why the curse involves a fourfold increment goes back to the Mosaic laws of cursing of the generations. Exodus 20:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
So really the way the Mosaic Law is applied here is thus:
Jerusalem and the Jews receive four generations of punishment for rejecting Christ as Messiah. This is in accord with the curse the Jews laid on themselves when they demanded his death:
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
The children in view here are the next four generations. A generation, which is the normal length of a person’s life, is seventy years, (Psalm 90:10). Four generations is therefore 280 years, which run from AD70 onwards. Now we factor in the sevenfold punishment, so the entire punishment, and each generation, is multiplied by seven. So we see four generations of 490 years, amounting in sum to 1960 years of punishment. This punishment runs from AD70, when Jerusalem was made desolate. Therefore the punishment of the desolation of Jerusalem runs from AD70 to AD2030. We can also note that the punishment of the people, the Jews, runs from AD67-73 to AD2027-2033, but this is an added complexity I will explain as we go along; for now we can look at the timeline of Jerusalem.
The four generations run thus, (All AD):
Historically we can observe certain key events in each of these time frames. Obviously AD70-560 was the period when the Jews were under the rule of the Romans. After the sacking of Jerusalem, the survivors were sent into slavery across the Roman empire. (Apparently Judaism also ceased to be a legal religion – religio licito – in the Roman empire after AD70, but I need to verify this historically).
In AD560 Mohammed was born, and Islam therefore came into being. Obviously not at his birth, but his birth gives us a reference point for Islam. Islam clearly has a major role in the control of Jerusalem and the oppression of Jews. I have a passing knowledge of Islam, and its salient feature seems to be that it has a bone to pick with the people of God, historically Israel but in practice the Jews, who it deems to have abandoned the Law and to have failed God miserably.
In AD1050, the Roman Catholic Church at the Synod Of Narbonne decreed that Christians and Jews could not live together. This gave birth to the Jewish ghetto, which really had two adverse affects. Firstly it gave rise to a great deal of poverty in the Jewish communities, as they were excluded from mainstream commerce and society, and at a later date would facilitate the pogroms against Jews.
In 1540AD the Jesuits were formed, the Jesuits being nothing less than an occult organization which took control of the Catholic Church, and which launched campaigns of persecution against the Jews of the most intense kind.
The third and fourth generations are linked really, as both pertain to the Catholic Church, and as I see it, the 1050AD really paved the way for the more intense persecution experienced by the Jews in the fourth generation. The fourth generation being a continuation of the third generation is I believe implicit in God’s wording of the curse, ‘even unto the third and fourth generations’, where the two are effectively treated as a single entity.
Three years later, in 1543AD, Martin Luther published his tract on the Jews*, which was a seminal moment for the Protestant church, and had a powerful effect on how Jews were perceived and treated; again the date seems no accident, as Jerusalem was destroyed in AD70, but the war with Judea ended in AD73, signalling the end of Daniel’s 70th week, so from AD73, we see the final generation begins in AD1543. So it would seem that the fourth generation heralded an increase of condemnation for the Jews, which would make sense to me, as all God’s punishments are designed to bring people back to him.
We can also observe that whilst Jerusalem’s curse runs from AD70, the curse on the Jews really has a seven year starting point, spanning the final week of Daniel, 67-73AD, and therefore a seven year endpoint, spanning 2027-2033. When we get deeper into Revelation, we will understand why this is; for now it suffices to work with the Jerusalem timeline.
* It is interesting to note that Luther was not that inimical to the Jews, until 1543, when he turned violently agaist them.