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OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY AND JESUS: PART FOUR     

      

       We have been looking at a number of OT prophecies that NT writers see as being fulfilled in the life of Christ.  As previously discussed, many of these prophecies are clearly seen as having objective fulfillment in OT times.  By objective fulfillment I mean these prophecies were fulfilled in events that took place in OT times, often in close proximity to when the prophecy was given.  OT writers clearly record the fulfillment of such prophecies in their time with no indication they are or were understood to be predictive of events in the life of Christ.

       When NT writers apply already fulfilled OT prophecies and events to events in the life of Jesus, it appears they see in Jesus a greater or more complete fulfillment of such prophecies and events.  It appears that many OT events are seen as shadows or types of events in the life of Jesus.

       It is apparent that when NT writers see Jesus in OT prophecies they are doing so because they came to understand that even though such prophecies had an initial fulfillment at the time or close to the time they were given, they also were meant to foreshadow events in the life of Jesus. They came to this understanding because this is what Jesus taught them.   

       Luke 24:44: He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

       Remember, the Greek word translated “fulfilled” here in Luke 24:44 is pleeroo.  This word appears 90 times in the NT and has the basic meaning of “to make full, to fill, to fill up and to fill to the full.”  It is apparent Jesus saw in Himself the bringing to the full or filling to the full of a number of prophetic events recorded in the OT Scriptures.  While many of these prophesied events had initial fulfillment in the past, they were being brought to greater fulfillment in Christ. 

       This being said, there are other OT writings that NT authors apply to Jesus that do not appear to have an objective literal fulfillment in OT times but are clearly seen as having such fulfillment in the life of Jesus.  We will now consider some of these writings beginning with Psalm 53.

Isaiah 53:1-12 and Jesus:

       Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  

       We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

       Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes  his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

       Isaiah 53 is seen as a most emphatic prophecy of circumstances and events that match what the NT records as having been experienced by Jesus.  The death of the person described here is seen as predetermined by God. The salvation of mankind is seen as the purpose for this person’s death. This person is seen as being resurrected in that he is spoken of as seeing life subsequent to his death and being given a portion with the great.

       There is no individual in OT history that is identified as being the person Isaiah is writing about.  NT authors clearly believed Isaiah 53 pertained to Jesus. There are seven passages in the NT where writers refer to a portion of Isaiah 53 as pertaining to Jesus. These passages are Matthew 8:14-17, John 12:37-41, Luke 22:35-38, 1 Peter 2:19-25, Acts 8:26-35 and Romans 10:11-21.

       A common rabbinical interpretation of Isaiah 53 is that it pertains to Israel as a nation. This interpretation is quite a stretch as it should be obvious that a person is being spoken of here and not a nation.  I have not identified an alternative interpretation of Isaiah 53 that adequately challenges the belief that Isaiah is talking about Jesus.  If what the NT reports is a reliable account of the experiences of Jesus and the purposes for these experiences, then Isaiah 53 appears to be a valid prediction of the Christ event and all that this event represents.  

Psalm 22 and Jesus:

       In Psalm 22, David appears to be lamenting the fact that he is being buffered on all sides by his enemies and believes God has forsaken him.  He makes a variety of statements that reflect on what he is experiencing.  Yet there is no record of David literally experiencing the things he describes in Psalm 22.  On the other hand, as we will see, there is record of these things literally happening to Jesus. The question this raises is was David writing about himself or was he being led to write prophetically about Jesus.       

       Psalm 22:18: They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

       There is no record of David having his garments divided and lots being cast for his clothing. David seems to have died a natural death while still King of Israel and had an honorable burial.  In 1 Chronicles 29 we read that David died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor and that his son Solomon succeeded him as king.  There is no Scriptural reason to believe David ever had his garments divided or lots cast for his clothing.

       Yet all four NT Gospels describe the dividing of garments and the casting of lots as literally happening to Jesus at the time of His crucifixion. 

       Matthew 27:35: When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

       Mark 15:24: And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

       Luke 23:34: Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

       John 19:23-24: When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."   This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did.

       In John 19 It is recorded that at the crucifixion of Jesus His clothes were divided into four shares to be distributed to what apparently were four soldiers who crucified Jesus.  The undergarment of Jesus, because it was seamless, was apparently given to just one of the soldiers by casting lots for it. John reports that this casting of lots was being done so that Scripture could be fulfilled.     

       Since there is no Scriptural reason to believe David actually had his garments divided up and lots cast for his clothing, it appears David is using figurative language to express his emotional state of mind over troubles he was experiencing or he is writing prophecy that did not relate to him at all but had literal fulfillment in the life of Jesus.

       There is no Scriptural reason to believe David understood that what he was saying was prophetic of what would be fulfilled in a literal manner in the life of Jesus.  However, David’s imagery of his garments being divided and lots being cast for his clothing became a literal reality in the life of Jesus. Was David's imagery meant to be prophetic of what happened to Jesus?  Jesus certainly believed so as did Paul and other NT authors.      

       One oddity in regard to the matter of dividing the garments of Jesus among the soldiers is that Jesus is reported to have been beaten bloody before being crucified.  The Scriptures indicate the soldiers removed Jesus’ clothing and put a purple robe on Him and a crown of thorns on His head and had Him scourged after which they put His clothing back on Him before heading for the place of crucifixion.  You would think His clothing would have been a bloody mess.  Why would the soldiers want blood stained clothing, especially His undergarment which one would think would have been very bloody?  (Food for thought).  

       Let’s look at another saying of David’s in Psalm 22.

       Psalms 22:16: Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.

       There is no record of David having his hands and feet pierced.  If David is talking about himself, he appears to be reflecting on the dire straits he found himself in by using hyperbolic language (rhetorical exaggeration) to express his feelings at the time.  These appear to be subjective thoughts of anguish and distress and not objective realities wherein David actually experienced the piercing of his hands and feet.  Yet in the case of Jesus, there was a literal fulfillment of what David expressed.

       It is interesting that none of the four Gospel writers who report the crucifixion record that Jesus had his hands and feet pierced.  We only know this to be the case from our historical knowledge of the Romans using nails to fasten the feet and hands of a crucified person to a cross.  We also have the record of Jesus telling Thomas to feel the place were apparently nails had been pounded through His hands.  

       John 20:27: Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

       As a side note, archeological evidence indicates nails were driven through the wrist and not the hand.  However, the wrist was considered part of the hand in ancient times so there is no discontinuity here between archeological evidence and the Scriptures although it does raise questions about the modern depictions of Jesus having nails driven through His hands rather than His wrists. 

       So what we have here is a literal objective fulfillment of what may have been a figurative expression of mental anguish on the part of David.  While it is unlikely David knew that his expression of anguish would be literally fulfilled hundreds of years later in Jesus, it appears these sayings of David were intended to have a fulfillment in Christ and as such may have simply been prophetic and not at all reflective of events in the life of David.  Let’s know move to Psalm 22:7-8:

       Psalm 22:7-8: All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."

       If David is writing about himself here, He is seen as anguishing over being mocked and having insults thrown at him.  He is taunted about his trust in God.  We know from the Scriptures David did have enemies and it is very possible he was mocked and had insults hurled at him.  As King over Israel, David would have had detractors like all leaders in positions of authority do. Because of David's affair with Bathsheba and the events that followed, Scripture shows David was  ridiculed by his family and his subjects.  Matthew and Mark report Jesus experiencing insults as well and being taunted for His trust in God. 

       Matthew 27:39-40: Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"

       Mark 15:29-30: Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!"

       Neither Matthew nor Mark says that what Jesus was experiencing here was a fulfillment of Psalm 22.  Yet it is clear that both these writers are using language that parallels what is written in Psalm 22.  As is true with the matter of dividing garments and casting lots, there is no OT record that David was taunted about his faith in God to deliver him.  David may only have been saying this rhetorically as he anguished over what he perceived to be a very difficult situation he found himself in or he was only speaking prophetically of Jesus. In Jesus these events are seen as literally taking place and in that respect appear to be an objective fulfillment of what David wrote. 

       If David is writing about himself, it is clear he came to question God’s presence in his life and feared God was abandoning him in his hour of greatest need.  However, in reading through the life of David, there is no indication David was ever forsaken by God. There certainly were times David’s behavior was not pleasing to God but no evidence God ever abandoned David. Yet we see David exclaiming "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" which is what Jesus is quoted as saying on the cross. Was what David wrote meant to be prophetic of what Jesus said or was Jesus simply applying to himself what David had perceived about himself hundreds of years earlier? 

       Psalm 22:1-2: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?  O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.  

        Matthew 27:43: About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

       Many see this as a literal fulfillment of what David wrote as recorded in Psalm 22.  In His taking our sin upon Himself and experiencing the anguish of dying on the cross, Jesus appears to feel He has been forsaken by God.  Was Jesus literally forsaken by God? 

       The issue of Jesus being forsaken by God while dying for our sins has been much debated in theological circles.  Some believe Jesus could not have been abandoned by God, not even for a moment, and that Jesus, like David was only feeling such abandonment because of the anguish He was in.

       Others believe Jesus was momentarily forsaken by God while on the cross as he took the sins of humanity upon Himself.  The Scriptures teach Jesus became sin for us.  The prophet Isaiah recorded in Isaiah 1:1-2 that sin separates man from God.  Some believe Jesus experienced a momentary separation from God at the crucifixion as he became sin for us which means He experienced the objective reality of what it means to be separated from God.

       Whether or not Jesus experienced a literal separation from God is debatable, the fact remains, however, that Jesus did use the language of David in asking God why He had forsaken Him.  Was David’s statement prophetic of what Jesus cried out at the cross or was Jesus simple using the language of David at His hour of trail?  We can’t know for sure.  Neither Matthew nor Mark, who record Jesus’ statement about being forsaken, say it was a fulfillment of prophecy.  But we certainly see here how OT statements are brought to greater illumination in the life of Jesus.  That Psalm 22 is seen by NT writers as prophetic of Jesus is seen in Hebrews 2;11-12.

       Psalm 22:22: I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.

       Hebrews 2:11-12: Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises."

       The writer to the Hebrews associates Psalm 22:22 with Jesus. This would indicate Psalm 22 was primarily seen by NT writers as prophetic of Jesus and not just a dialog reflective of David's perceptions about himself. However, if David was writing about himself and using figurative language to describe difficulties he was experiencing in his life, it may be more appropriate to see events in the life of Jesus paralleling what David wrote rather than be seen as prophetic of what happened in the life of Jesus.

 Psalm 69 and Jesus:

      There are virtually dozens of OT statements that NT writers explicitly or implicitly associate with Jesus. Statements made in Psalm 69 are a good example of this.  Psalm 69 is another writing of David where some of what he writes is seen as applying to Jesus by NT writers. He begins in verse one by saying,

       Psalm 69:1-5: Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.   You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you. 

       When David says, You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you,” this tells us David is writing about himself and not about Jesus as Jesus would not be admitting to folly or guilt.  Yet we find statements in Psalm 69 that are used explicitly or implicitly to relate to Jesus.  On example is verse 9.

       Psalm 69:9: Zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

       Here David is telling us his zeal for God’s house consumes him.  The temple had not yet been built so the house David was referring was probably the Tabernacle.  Now how does this relate to Jesus?

       John 2:13-17: When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."

       Here we find that what was written hundreds of years earlier in a totally different context was now being applied to Christ.  Was Psalm 69:9 a prophecy about Christ?  John doesn’t say it was.  But John does associate what Jesus said with what David had written  hundreds of years earlier. 

       Psalm 69:21 is another association that is made but in this case it is an implicit association where what is said is not explicitly associated with what is written in the OT as is the case with the matter of having zeal for God’s house.  

       Psalm 69:21: They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. 

       Matthew 27:33-34: They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.

       Here there isn’t any explicit association made with what David wrote.  Matthew does not say, as John does, that what Jesus was experiencing here was related to what had been written.  But we do see an implied association between David’s statement and an event in the life of Jesus.  There are dozens of such implied associations between OT sayings and events in Jesus’ life.  Let us look at one more.  In Psalm 118 we see David extolling God’s greatness while once again expressing anguish over persecutions he was suffering at the time. Within this context, David then makes this statement:

Psalm 118 and Jesus:

       Psalm 118:22-23: The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

        Psalm 118 is a robust song of praise and thanksgiving directed to YHWH for facilitating deliverance from David’s and Israel’s enemies. Included in this Psalm is the statement seen in verses 22-23 that Jesus applies to Himself.

       Matthew 21:42-45:  Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "`The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone ; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes' ? "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."  When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew he was talking about them.  

       Mark 12:10-11: Haven't you read this scripture: "`The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;  the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes' ?" 

      Luke 20:17-18: Jesus looked directly at them and asked, "Then what is the meaning of that which is written: "`The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone'? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."      

       Within the context of Psalm 118, it would appear when David writes of a stone that has been rejected becoming the capstone, he is writing about himself or about Israel as some commentators believe.  When looking at the history of David, we see he was rejected right from the beginning.  When Samuel was told by God to find a king to replace Saul, he was directed to consider the sons of Jessie.  Jessie paraded before Samuel seven of his sons.  Jessie didn’t even bother to bring out his eight son David.  Samuel rejected all seven of the sons paraded before him and asked for David to be brought out.  It was David, who was initially rejected from even being considered, who became King over Israel. 

       David initially became one of Saul’s armor bearers and was well liked by Saul.  However, David’s successes in battle and general popularity among the Israelites turned Saul against David and David spent many years hiding from Saul having been rejected by his king who was know trying to kill him.  Yet in the end, David prevailed and became King of Israel.  Figuratively speaking, the stone the builders rejected had become the capstone. What is interesting is that Jesus uses this writing from Psalm 118 in reference to Himself.

       In Matthew 21, Jesus gives a series of parables to the religious leaders and concludes with a parable about a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. The land owner then rents the vineyard to some tenant farmers and goes away on a journey. When harvest time approaches, he sends his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. The tenants are seen as seizing his servants, beating one, killing another and stoning a third servant. The land owner then sends more servants to collect the fruit and the tenants treat them the same way. Finally, the land owner sends his son who the tenants kill.

       Jesus then asks the religious leaders what the land owner should do to these tenants.  The religious leaders reply that the land owner should punish the tenants and give the vineyard over to new tenants.  Then Jesus says "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "`The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone."     

       Jesus refers to the OT passage in Psalm 118 and appears to apply it to Himself. That it was being applied to Jesus is supported by other NT passages.  When Peter and John were called before the religious leaders to account for how they were able to bring about the healing of a man cripple from birth, Peter refers to the Psalm 118 passage and again does so in one of his letters.  Paul appears to appeal to this passage as well.

       Acts 4:10b-11:  It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "`the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.'

       1 Peter 2:7:  Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,"      

       Ephesians 2:19: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

       The question that arises here is whether Psalm 118:22 is or was meant to be prophetic of Jesus?  There is no Scriptural reason to believe David’s statement about a capstone was made as predictive of Christ. Neither Jesus, Peter or Paul say that David's use of the "cap stone" metaphor was a prophecy about Christ. They simply apply this metaphor to Christ. On the other hand, as already covered, since David appears to be seen as a type of Christ in OT Scripture, Psalms that pertain to David in their original context could be seen as pertaining to Christ as well.   

Zechariah 9:9 and Jesus:

       Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

       The context of Zechariah is YHWH bringing destruction upon Tyre and other nations becoming fearful because of what happens to Tyre.  There is a good deal of apparent figurative language describing God interacting with Ephraim and Judah in various ways.  In the midst of all this rhetoric is the statement seen in verse 9 above.  Several NT writers use Zechariah 9:9 as predictive of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

       Matthew 21:1-5:  As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, `See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'"

       John 12:14-16: Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,  "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."  At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

       As can be seen, there is nothing in Zechariah 9:9 to suggest this is a prophecy about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. However, it is a prophecy about a king who is righteous and bringing salvation riding a donkey into Jerusalem.  All four Gospels record Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and being hailed as a king. The association with Zechariah appears unmistakable. 

       Some skeptics believe this event never happened because if it did it is believed the Romans would have immediately arrested Jesus and put Him to death since they had no tolerance for anyone claiming to be or being claimed to be a king. However, this event took place during the Passover season when Jerusalem was extremely crowded and the Romans did everything possible to keep the peace. Arresting Jesus in broad daylight and executing Him would have created quite a backlash.

       Some believe Jesus manufactured this event to make it look like he was fulfilling prophecy.  It is believe from early on He perceived Himself as the promised Messiah and orchestrated events in His life to reflect OT prophecies and events.

       However, as already seen and as will be seen as we move through this material, there are many events in the life of Jesus that appear to relate to OT writings that Jesus would not have been able to orchestrate.  This makes the skeptics assertions highly improbable.

Daniel 9:24-27 and Jesus:

       Daniel 9:24-25: "Seventy `sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.  "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven `sevens,' and sixty-two `sevens.'

       In the 70 weeks prophecy, 70 weeks is equal to 490 days, which becomes 490 years according to the day for a year principle that scholars have identified in Scripture. Daniel writes that from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler comes; there will be seven `sevens,' and sixty-two `sevens.' This would be a total of 69 weeks or 483 years. History reveals that it was approximately 483 years prior to the appearance of Jesus that the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was made. This presents pretty good indication that the Anointed One called the ruler who appeared 483 days after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem is Messiah (Christ) Jesus. 

       Daniel 9:26:  After the sixty-two `sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.  The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

       While there are a variety of interpretations of this passage, it appears Daniel is predicting the crucifixion of Messiah Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that followed some 40 years later in AD 70.  Daniel speaks of the people of the Anointed One, the ruler, destroying the city and the sanctuary.  The ruler is identified as the Anointed One in verse 25.  If the Anointed one is Christ Jesus, the people of Christ Jesus would be His fellow Israelites the Jews.  These would be the people of the ruler that was to come who would destroy the city and the sanctuary. 

       While we know the Romans played a significant role in destroying Jerusalem and the Temple, first century historian Josephus writes that the Jews did more to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple than did the Romans. According to Josephus there were a number of Jewish factions all fighting each other before the Romans even arrived. There was virtually a civil war going on which caused much death and destruction.  Daniel 9:26 appears to predict the crucifixion of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple some 40 years later. 

       Daniel 9:27: He will confirm a covenant with many for one `seven.'  In the middle of the `seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. "

       As is true of verse 26, there are a number of interpretations to this passage.  One interpretation is that the war with Rome lasted seven years. According to this view, this war began when Roman General Cestius Gallus came up against Jerusalem in October of A.D. 66 and didn’t end until the last of the Jewish holdouts died at Masada in A.D. 73, a period of seven years. Midway through this war (AD 70), the temple was destroyed.  Once the Temple was destroyed, the sacrificial/offering system came to an end.  There has been no temple, priesthood or sacrifices since.  It is believed the “He” of Daniel 9:25 is Messiah Jesus who puts an end to sacrifice and offering by facilitating the destruction of the Temple through the vehicle of the Roman army.    

       As previously mentioned, the Hebrew word messiah appears 39 times in the OT but in only three places can this word be seen to be associated with Jesus. Two of those three places are here in Daniel 9:24-27 were we see the phrase "Anointed One" (Hebrew "Messiah) used twice. This passage speaks of a coming of an "Anointed One" in association with the finishing of transgression, putting an end to sin, atoning for wickedness, bringing in everlasting righteousness, sealing up vision and prophecy and an anointing of the most holy.  This prophecy also speaks of the "Anointed One" being cut off and putting an end to sacrifice and offering.  Every one of the things mentioned here can be associated with Jesus and what the NT describes Him as doing.

       Yet oddly enough, as much as NT writers and Jesus Himself cite OT passages as pertaining to Jesus, Daniel 9:24-27 is not cited in the NT as associated with Jesus except for verse 27. Daniel 9:27’s reference to an abomination that causes desolation is referred to by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse.  Here in Matthew 24:15 Jesus refers to this passage in Daniel 9.  Since this abomination in Daniel 9 is tied to the destruction of the Temple and the Olivet Discourse is largely tied to the time of the destruction of the Temple, it would appear Daniel 9:27 is prophetic of events in the first century.   

       It does seen a little unusual that Daniel 9:24-27 isn’t used by Paul, Peter and others in proving from the OT that Jesus is the Christ, the prophesied Anointed One.  While it may be that they did use this passage, there is no evidence in the NT that they did. Yet this passage appears to be one of the most significant and most obviously prophetic of all OT passages identifying Jesus as the Christ.    

       In Parts Five and Six of this series, we will consider a number of other associations made by NT writers as to OT sayings and the life of Jesus.

PART FIVE