Dispensationalists woefully misunderstand the covenant’s confirming in Daniel 9:27. This verse reads: “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
According to Walvoord: “This refers to the coming world ruler at the beginning of the last seven years who is able to gain control over ten countries in the Middle East. He will make a covenant with Israel for a seven-year period. As Daniel 9:27 indicates, in the middle of the seven years he will break the covenant, stop the sacrifices being offered in the temple rebuilt in that period, and become their persecutor instead of their protector, fulfilling the promises of Israel’s day of trouble (Jer. 30:5–7).”
Several problems plague this interpretation, some of which I deal with above in another connection:
(1) The covenant here is not made, it is confirmed. This is actually the confirmation of a covenant already extant, i.e., the covenant of God’s redemptive grace, which Christ confirms (Ro 15:8; cp. Ro 4:16; 2Co 1:20).
(2) As I note above the term “make a firm covenant” relates to the angel’s name who delivers the message to Daniel: Gabriel (“God is strong“). The lexical correspondence between the name of God’s strong angel and the making strong of the covenant suggests the covenant’s divine nature. In addition, covenantal passages frequently employ related terms, when speaking of God’s strong covenant.
(3) The parallelism with verse 26 indicates that the Messiah’s death directly relates to the covenant’s confirming. he is “cut off” but “not for himself” (v 26a), for he “confirms the covenant” for the “many” of Israel (v 27a). His “cutting off” brings the covenant’s confirmation, for “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb 9:22).
(4) The indefinite pronoun “he” does not refer back to “the prince who is to come” of verse 26. That “prince” is a subordinate noun; “the people” (plural) is the dominant noun. Thus, the “he” refers back to the last dominant individual mentioned: “Messiah” (v 26a). The Messiah is the leading figure in the whole prophecy, so the temple’s destruction relates to his death. In fact, the people who destroy the temple are providentially “his armies” (Mt 22:2–7).
Clearly, the dispensational view of Daniel’s covenant is mistaken.
1. John F. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, 257. J. D. Pentecost, “Daniel,” Bible Knowledge Commentary, 1:1364.
2. Dt 7:9, 21; 10:17; Neh 1:5; 9:32; Isa 9:6; Da 9:4. See my earlier discussion above.