This verse (Daniel 9:27) encapsulates the focus of the seventieth week, which will be a time of great evil known at the tribulation period.
We have been studying Daniel 9:25-27. In these three verses is the timeline of the entire seventy week period (490 years), referred to in verse 24. Last time we looked at verse 26. We will pick up our study now in verse 27.
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.
From this verse, the holy church of Christ has just departed in the rapture and only unbelievers are left. But in this time (of seven years) God also moves in to save. He will enlist His angels, 144,000 Jewish witnesses, and two resurrected Old Testament prophets to bring His gospel—along with warning of judgment—to the world (Rev. 11:1-14; 14:1-13).
God’s focus for salvation is Israel—His chosen people. Having set them aside for over 2000 years (during this church age) God returns His focus to them; for He has big plans in store for His kingdom, and He has determined that Israel will be His servants and leaders. But first they must be saved.
This last, seventieth week is the climax for Israel. They will be tested by severe trials, which in the end will cause them to repent. The antichrist (empowered by Satan) will be God’s instrument to bring these trails. He will be the ruler of the world and the supposed savior of the world; thus he will have the entire world’s attention. In this twenty-seventh verse Gabriel puts the spotlight on this antichrist.
The first thing we hear about him in this verse is that “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.”
Just to be clear in what we are reading, the “he” here refers to the “prince” in verse 26, which is the antichrist, and “the many” refers to Israel. The “firm covenant” is likely some kind of peace treaty—a promise of nonaggression for a period of seven years.
Now be careful to notice that “covenant” does not carry with it the article. Therefore, it should not be translated “the covenant”; and so it is not “confirming” any past covenant—as the KJV indicates. It will more likely be a unique covenant, and probably one that has a great world appeal, especially to Israel. Moreover, we can be certain that this covenant of peace will be a shrewd work of the antichrist and the Devil—a plot to bring all of Israel under his control.
Accordingly, when all seems to be well and at peace, the antichrist turns the tables on Israel—“he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering.” Thus he no longer will allow them to worship in the temple as they have always been a custom to. He, in effect breaks the covenant with them. And don’t you know that this will be his plan all along—to establish peace with them in order to gain their confidence, then to clamp down on them and force them to do things his way.
The next phrase tells us what he will do. It says, “And on the wings of abominations will come one who makes desolate…”
To clarify what “on the wings of abominations” really means, I think the NIV is more true to the correct meaning than most translations. It reads, “And on the wing [of the Temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation…”
William E. Biederwolf, in his excellent book, The Prophecy Handbook, gives us good insight into this phrase:
“Wing” is a literal translation. The word is equivalent to “screen, protection, covering, roof.” It carries in it the idea of extension and so may be applied to the wing of a building. Some render it “pinnacle,” but Bleek and Keil argue rather conclusively that the idea of extension which inheres in the word is always extension horizontally and never vertically. The idea of “pinnacle” may be gotten from one of its primal meanings, i. e., “roof,” and so by the rule of Synecdoche (a part being taken for the whole) the “wing” (extension) or the “roof” (pinnacle) may be applied to the entire building and so read “temple.” The ancient versions all agree in this. The Maccabean book, the most ancient translation of the words, so renders, as do also the most ancient translations, the Septuagint and the Vulgate. The literal reading would then be, “Upon the temple shall come the abominations of desolation.”
Now what is this “abomination that causes desolation” (NIV)? Well, whatever it is, to Israel it will be detestable and horrible! Unthinkable!
The word “desolation,” besides the idea of “causing horror,” means to ruin or to render unfit for use, or to defile. This I believe is exactly the meaning. Whatever is set up in the temple will defile it and render it unfit for their worship of God.
Here is what I think this abomination will be—just my opinion. I think it is the antichrist himself, and also his image. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that “he [the antichrist] takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” And then in Revelation 13:14-15 we read,
And he [the false prophet] deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15 And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
Thus this I think will be the detestable thing to Israel: that this man whom they thought was a good man—their prince and savior—is now declaring himself to be God; and he is forcing them to worship him. And he even will have men build a statue of himself—that talks! This talking statue could very well be the abominable thing that is set up in the Temple. And I suppose this image will be telecast and put on the internet so that everyone in the world will be able to see him.
Now how long will this terrible, forced false worship last? This will apparently go on for the next three and one half years. But then, at the end of the seventieth week, when Christ comes with His angels and saints (the glorified church), destruction will be poured out on the earth and particularly on the antichrist and his army.
Verse 27 (in the NASB) says it this way: “…even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
I think the NIV makes it clearer: “…until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
Here are two passages in Revelation that describes this judgment.
Revelation 14:14-20 And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, because the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 And He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth; and the earth was reaped. 17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” 19 And the angel swung his sickle to the earth, and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.
Revelation 19:11-21 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God; 18 in order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
So we have seen that God has decreed for Israel, as a nation and as a people, seventy weeks (of years) to prepare them for their salvation and for the work He has planned for them in His Kingdom. And He has also been dealing with them individually—not only during the seventy weeks, but during the age of the church—to bring them to salvation.
Moreover, we have seen that the seventy week period is exclusively for Israel—“for your people” (Dan. 9:24). Therefore, since the Tribulation (of seven years) is included in this period, this is a strong indication that the church will be raptured before this time.
For those who have doubts about this and for those who do not believe that Israel and the church remain as distinct groups, the following study coming up in my next couple posts may help to bring some light to this.
Copyright © 2014 by Stephen Nielsen