WHAT DO KINGDOM ESCHATOLOGISTS BELIEVE ABOUT "THE PRINCE" IN THE 70 WEEKS OF DANIEL?
Michael F. Blume
© 2001 Michael F. Blume
I recently read an article in the Summer 2001 edition of CONNECT magazine written by an Apostolic who proposed that Kingdom Eschatology incorrectly teaches that there was only one prince mentioned in Daniel 9:24-27, regarding the 70 weeks of Daniel. The argument was based upon an attempt to prove there must be a gap between the 69th and the 70th weeks of Daniel's 70 weeks noted in Daniel 9:24. However, the information said to be promoted by Kingdom Eschatologists in this article was absolutely incorrect. Let me try to set the record straight regarding what Kingdom Eschatologists actually believe regarding the issue of the "prince" in Daniel 9, and also address some other concerns raised by the particular author who misrepresented Kingdom Eschatology.
Here is the scripture in question:
THE REAL QUESTION CONCERNS
THE IDENTITY OF "HE" IN VERSE 27
The entire issue circles around the identity of the "he" in verse 27.
Who is the "he" who confirms a covenant with many for one week? Futurists, who believe that the entire 70 weeks is not yet fulfilled, contend that the "he" is the antichrist. Kingdom Eschatologists contend that the "he" is not the antichrist but is the Messiah the Prince, Jesus Christ. Let us prove that the "he" most certainly is Jesus Christ.
It has been argued by some Futurists that Kingdom Eschatologists teach the prince in verse 26 is Jesus, and that Kingdom Eschatologists therefore teach that Jesus destroyed the temple accord to the statement, "the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." This is simply a straw man argument (an argument that attacks a belief supposedly held by another group while in reality the other group holds no such belief at all!).
Jesus is certainly the Messiah the Prince of verse 25. Nobody in Christianity argues that. The second prince noted in verse 26, "the prince that shall come," is not Jesus Christ. That is not the problem between Futurists and Kingdom Eschatologists. The real issue is the identity of the "he" noted in the first phrase of verse 27.
THERE ARE TWO PRINCES MENTIONED IN THE DISCOURSE
In the straw man argument proposed by some futurists, the aspect of the lower case letter "p" in the word "prince" from the phrase, "prince that shall come," is a matter of supposed proof that Kingdom Eschatologists are incorrect. Once again, Kingdom Eschatologists do not believe the prince in verse 26 is Jesus. So the argument about who this prince is, is not an issue anyway! But simply for the sake of noting proper study manners, I do wish to point out that it is unwise to prove a doctrine based upon the translators' preference of capitalization in a word! In the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, every word was comprised of capital letters! This shows some very weak study manners used by those Futurists who argue their point using such methods as pointing to what words are capitalized or not..
The prince in verse 25 is Jesus and the prince in 26 is not Jesus.
That is a fact.
That is not the question, though. The question is the identity of the "he" in verse 27.
So it is not a question of whether Jesus destroyed the temple and the city according to verse 26. The prince in verse 26, who was responsible for the temple and city destruction of 70 AD, was not Jesus! It was the Roman "prince". The Roman people came and destroyed the temple and City by 70 AD. Jesus and His people did not destroy the temple.
GRAMMAR PROVES CHRIST IS THE "HE"
Analyzing the grammar of verses 25 through 27 shows us that the "he" who confirms a covenant for seven years is Jesus Christ. The subject of the discussion is found in verse 25, and is the Messiah the Prince. Verse 25 mentions a span of time of "seven weeks" and "threescore and two weeks." Seven plus sixty-two is sixty-nine. The Messiah the Prince is on the scene after the first 69 weeks. And we read that after the "threescore and two weeks", Messiah shall be cut off. What is "after" the threescore and two weeks? It is the 70th WEEK! During the time after the 69th week, which is during the 70th week, Messiah is cut off. And this fits perfectly with the sequence of events that occurred in the Biblical texts of the New Testament. Jesus came, and 3.5 years later was crucified, or cut off. The "week" is a week of seven years. All agree with that. And in the midst of the "week", the sacrifice and oblation ceased. God would never again accept sacrifice of blood, since Christ was the final sacrifice God would ever recognize. This refers to the crucifixion where Christ was "cut off" due to an untimely death, as opposed to death by natural old age. He was "cut off" since He was killed. And he was not cut off for Himself! He died for the salvation of humanity! Praise God!
Not only would Christ be cut off after the 69 weeks, but the people of the prince that shall come would destroy the city and the sanctuary (temple). This was fulfilled by the year 70 AD. Desolations were "determined." Jesus Christ referred to the destruction of the Temple, Himself, in Matthew 23.
"Your house is left unto you desolate."
And then we come to the verse in question. After all this information is provided, we suddenly read of "he" who confirms the covenant with many for one week. Grammar demands this "he" simply cannot be the "prince that shall come" in verse 26. The subject in question is the Messiah the Prince of verse 25.
Get the sequence of events.
The Messiah comes and is cut off.
Then a certain people destroy the city and sanctuary.
And "he" confirms the covenant with many for one week. Who? "He." This "he" must be the Messiah of verse 25! It cannot be the "prince that shall come" because this reference to the "prince that shall come" is not the subject in any point of the entire writing! After noting the cutting off of the messiah, we read that a certain people come and destroy the city and temple. And a side note to this temple destruction is that this particular people belong to a "prince that shall come". The point that is stressed, though, is not this "prince that shall come". Reference to this second prince serves only as a side note, telling us who this "people" belong to and what nation they are from.
Saying that the "he" in verse 27 is some antichrist, is similar to misinterpreting the following sentence, "Steven went to the store beside the house owned by Mr. Brown, and he purchased a loaf of bread." To say that the "he" at the end of the phrase is Mr. Brown is to make the same error as do the Futurists when they say that the "he" in verse 27 is antichrist. The '"he" in my example of Steven going to the store is of course referring to Steven. It is not Mr. Brown. It cannot be due to the grammar I used. "Steven" is the subject. Mr. Brown is only a side note! And that is exactly the manner in which the prince that shall come is involved in the discussion. He is a side note, and only a clarifier as to the identity of the people who will destroy the city and temple. He is not the subject in any sense of the word. And to make him the grammatical "subject" of Verse 27 is to simply destroy all methods of proper grammar and the association of sentences and their grammatical "subjects" with one another in the context of the particular discussion.
The Bible says nothing about a "prince" other than Jesus who confirms a covenant with anybody for seven years.
TO "MAKE" OR "CONFIRM" A COVENANT FOR 7 YEARS
Those who argue this reasoning state that Jesus did not make a covenant with anybody for a seven year period. The text reads that he would confirm a covenant with many for seven years. To confirm a covenant is to refer to an already existent covenant! It is to support a covenant and make it sure. And Jesus most certainly did make a covenant sure! He "confirmed" the covenant.
In other words, God never did ultimately desire animal sacrifice. Jesus Christ fulfilled the perfect will of God by coming as the sacrifice ultimately planned before the foundation of the world. He confirmed this covenant of God in the statement noted in Hebrews 10:5.
Jeremiah noted the covenant as follows:
And Hebrews speaks of this covenant that Jesus made sure through His death.
His death confirmed it by His blood.
Jesus also said His blood confirmed the covenant.
Above we read of Christ, the one to confirm the covenant. And we also read of the covenant itself. And the blood is said to be the element that would confirm that covenant. Jesus even said that his blood would be shed "for many" for the remission of sins. Daniel 9:27 said the covenant was confirmed "with many." What perfect fulfillment of the words of Daniel 9:27!
The great covenant prophesied to come in Jeremiah stressed the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus noted that as the stress of the covenant confirmed by His blood in saying, "which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Remission of sins is the same language in Greek as saying "forgiveness of sins."
STRONG'S GREEK LEXICON
AV translated as "remission" 9 times, as "forgiveness" 6 times, as "deliverance" 1 time, as "liberty" 1 time -- used 17 times in the New Testament.
Isaiah used the term "many" in reference to who would be saved by the great covenant.
Jesus also made a covenant. When Jesus Christ read from the scroll of Isaiah after His baptism, He quoted these words:
He then said it was fulfilled that day.
Let us turn to the reference Jesus took from Isaiah.
As we go through this chapter we eventually come to these words:
All of this is in the contextual frame of time of verses 1-3. And Jesus said that was fulfilled in the day He read the text in the synagogue. So we find that Jesus did indeed fulfill the scripture in making a covenant, and also confirming it. He confirmed the covenant that was foretold to come by the Old Testament prophets. And He also made it. It did not say that He "made" it for seven years, though. He "confirmed" it for seven years. That does not mean the covenant would only work for a seven-year duration. It was confirmed to the Israelites. 70 Weeks were determined strictly for natural Israel alone, and as prophecy was fulfilled, the Gospel was finally experienced by the Gentiles. And 3.5 years after the cross, the restriction to natural Israel was completed.
WHAT ABOUT FURTHER SACRIFICES AFTER CHRIST'S DEATH?
It has been contended that sacrifices continued past Christ's sacrifice, supposedly proving that Christ's sacrifice did not indeed cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease as verse 27 states. However, we are seeing these things from the eyes and perspective of God. God deemed all sacrifices and oblations to have ceased when Christ died.
There would be a ceasing of sacrifice should a sacrifice finally occur that would make the comers thereunto perfect and complete. Once the worshippers were purged by a sacrifice, and had no more conscience of sins, no further sacrifices would be required. This very issue is dealt with in the New Testament book of Hebrews, and the Futurists are missing all of this. Could it be that Hebrews went into such detail as to what would cause sacrifices to "cease" to partly prove that Christ did indeed fulfill Daniel's prophecy amongst others?
Here, the Bible says that a perfect sacrifice would cause the further sacrifices to have "ceased to be offered." It is beyond doubt that Jesus Christ was that perfect sacrifice. Therefore, it only stands to reason that His sacrifice ended all sacrifices that would even be recognized as "sacrifices" by God. To say that Christ's sacrifice did not fulfill Hebrews 10:1-2 in standing as a perfect sacrifice is to deny the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ. The entire point of Hebrews 10 is that Christ's offering was a perfect sacrifice that purges the very consciences of believers. And in the same context, we read that sacrifices cease to be offered when one is offered that makes the comers thereunto perfect. Did not Christ stand as the perfect sacrifice making the comers thereunto perfect? If so, then verse 2 must stand, also! Sacrifices ceased to be offered.
The Jews may have continued to offer what they called "sacrifices" to God after Christ died, but in God's eyes they were not even sacrifices at all, but acts of unbelief and rejection of the Messiah! And in His eyes, and all the eyes of the believers who knew Christ, sacrifices ceased to be offered. From whose perspective should we look at things anyway? God wrote the book! Let's see it from His perspective in light of His word in Hebrews 10.
Because the sacrifices of the Old Testament never perfected the worshippers, we read;
Hebrews teaches in explicit detail the very truth of Daniel 9:27, using Daniel's very words!
HAPHAZARD MINGLING OF DIFFERENT ISSUES
Futurists claim that the antichrist makes a covenant with the Jews to offer sacrifices once again after almost 2,000 years of having offered no blood, by giving them a temple in which to worship God. This idea is the result of haphazard mingling of scriptures with no explicit statement saying anything to the effect of such an idea. Nowhere does the Bible state that an antichrist will make a covenant with the Jews to sacrifice animals once again in a rebuilt temple. All that we are given by Futurists is the following scriptures:
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Notice that Daniel 8 says nothing about the little horn, supposed to be the coming antichrist, making a covenant with the Jews to offer sacrifices after having not been able to do so due to not having a temple for almost 2,000 years. And Daniel 8:9-14 is alleged to be linked to the prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 where a "son of perdition" is said to stand in the temple of God and show himself that he is God. But nothing is said anywhere in any of these references of an antichrist making a covenant with Jews to sacrifice to God in the temple!
Futurists have shown a very weak manner of study methods by taking the story of the little horn, who would take away a daily sacrifice, and blending it with Paul's prophecy of a son of perdition exalting himself as God in the temple. Then they tried to force Daniel 9:27 into it all. Yes there is similarity between Daniel 9:27's reference to the causing of the sacrifice to cease with the note in Daniel 8 that says the little horn takes away the daily sacrifice. But Daniel 9:27 does not say that the cessation of the sacrifices and oblations had anything to do with breaking the covenant that was confirmed. It simply says a covenant was "confirmed," not "made," and sacrifices ceased 3.5 years later.
How Futurists arrive at a conclusion of saying the covenant is the commencement of sacrifices by the Jews in a temple is through assumption that the little horn's removal of sacrifices, and the son of perdition's exaltation of himself in the temple are one and the same event. They assume that the son of perdition's self-exaltation in God's temple is how the little horn of Daniel 8 takes away sacrifices.
ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES
However, we are told in Daniel who the little horn actually is, and this destroys the futurists' entire concept.
This little horn who waxed great is Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The prophecy was fulfilled over two thousand years ago! This empire existed before Rome ever conquered Palestine and ruled it during Christ's day! And it is commonly interpreted that the four kingdoms rising from this nation were the four generals who divided the empire amongst themselves after Alexander the Great's death.
Antiochus IV (Antiochus Epiphanes) Pronounced As: antiks pifnz, d. 163 B.C., king of Syria (175 B.C.-163 B.C.), son of Antiochus III and successor of his brother Seleucus IV. Antiochus is best known for his attempt to Hellenize Judaea and extirpate Judaism-a policy that instigated the rebellion of the Maccabees. Antiochus invaded Egypt, which was torn by strife between Ptolemy VI and his brother (later Ptolemy VII), and would probably have conquered that region if the Romans had not intervened in his siege of Alexandria (168). (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition Copyright 2000, Columbia University Press).
Antiochus Epiphanes was foretold to take away the daily sacrifice. This daily sacrifice was the sacrifice of the lamb in the morning, and in the evening, which the priests were hindered from offering, by the crowds of Heathens in the temple; or prohibited by the order of Antiochus; for he forbad burnt offerings, sacrifice, and libation, to be made in the temple.
"2. Now Antiochus was not satisfied either with his unexpected taking the city, or with its pillage, or with the great slaughter he had made there; but being overcome with his violent passions, and remembering what he had suffered during the siege, he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcised, and to sacrifice swine's flesh upon the altar; against which they all opposed themselves, and the most approved among them were put to death. Bacchides also, who was sent to keep the fortresses, having these wicked commands, joined to his own natural barbarity, indulged all sorts of the extremist wickedness, and tormented the worthiest of the inhabitants, man by man, and threatened their city every day with open destruction, till at length he provoked the poor sufferers by the extremity of his wicked doings to avenge themselves." (The Wars Of The Jews, Or, The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem, Book I).
The books of I and II Maccabees are not considered inspired of God but are certainly trustworthy resources for historical references. This following statement was made concerning the abominations that Antiochus set up.
"Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh, and unclean beasts:" (1 Maccabees 1:47)
"and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate; " Daniel 11:31
A garrison of Heathen soldiers in the temple drove the priests and people from it, and made it desolate, and also an idol was placed in the temple. Idols in Scripture were called abominations. The image of Jupiter Olympius was placed upon the altar of God by Antiochus, on the fifteenth day of the month Cisieu, in the hundred and forty fifth year of the Seleucidae, and is called the abomination of desolations.
1 Maccabees 1:20-64
1 Maccabees 2:1-14
The temple itself was ordered to be called the temple of Jupiter Olympius.
"And to pollute also the temple in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Jupiter Olympius; and that in Garizim, of Jupiter the Defender of strangers, as they did desire that dwelt in the place." (2 Maccabees 6:2)
Then Daniel continues to write:
The "king of fierce countenance" has been purported to be antichrist as well. The little horn is also the king of fierce countenance, Antiochus Epiphanes. The simple reference to the cessation of the sacrifice and oblation in Daniel 9:27, without any support of whether that is caused by an evil one, is thrown into the picture of the little horn and the son of perdition. The truth is that the "he" in Daniel 9:27, and the little horn and the son of perdition are three entirely different people! What proves they are one and the same? Assumption?
On the other hand, to say that the "he" in Daniel 9:27 is Christ is supported by the thought of the Lord's own words concerning the confirmation of a covenant, likewise supported by Hebrews 10's reference to Christ's sacrifice ending acceptable sacrifices in God's eyes. And furthermore, Christ distinctly ministered 3.5 years before He was cut off in crucifixion, just as Daniel 9:25-27 shows that Christ would come at the 69th week and be cut off mid-way through that week. The New Testament itself gives a parable that confirms Christ ministered for over three years.
Christ is the dresser who ministered to Israel without converting the nation, and given another year to continue. And partway through that last year, He was crucified. And the fig tree was cut down.
There is far more evidence in the Bible, aside from the assumption of the Futurist position, showing the "he" in verse 27 to be Jesus Christ.
IS THE LAST WEEK NOT A LITERAL PERIOD OF SEVEN YEARS?
The 70th week of Daniel is not a spiritualized week of untold number of actual days. It is a seven-year period. In the midst of the period, Christ was crucified, and 3.5 years elapsed after that to fulfill the time for Israel alone being privy to God's workings. Note that the gentiles did not come into the picture of experiencing salvation until after 3.5 years. Only Jews were filled with the Spirit in Acts 2:4. People have estimated that Stephen's death, when Saul of Tarsus first began to be pricked in his heart concerning the Christians whom he persecuted, who later preached and turned to the Gentiles alone in ministry, occurred 3.5 years after Jesus died and rose again. However, the precise dating of when the final 3.5 years were fulfilled is not necessary. The whole point of Daniel was "after" the 69th week, Christ would be cut off and make an end of sacrifices.
If we were to be speaking about units of days "days," instead of units of "weeks," saying that some time in the last "day" there would be the cutting off of Messiah, we would not be concerned if it was in the midst of the day Christ was crucified or the latter end of the day. The point would be that He fulfilled the work on that "day." The entire "day", itself, is what would be the issue. So it is with the "weeks." Daniel was told of events to occur in the units of "weeks." And after the 69th "week" Messiah would be cut off. And we find in verse 27 it was precisely in the middle of the 70th week when Christ ended sacrifices. It really doesn't matter what occurred during the last half of the last "week", any more than it would matter what occurred in the period of the daytime left after Christ died on the cross. The point is, "in the midst of the week" the Messiah ended sacrifice.
WHO IS THE DESOLATOR OF VERSE 27?
What about the phrase: "and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." Some propose that saying Christ is the "he" in verse 27 demands we promote blasphemy! They claim that the aforementioned phrase can be rewritten to say, "and as upon a wing abominations, a desolator until the end," and that Christ can never be imagined to be called a "desolator until the end." However, a good marginal Bible shows the phrase, " and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate," can be read as, " with the abominable armies he shall make it desolate, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolator." It is not saying that Christ is an abominable desolator.
Another manner of saying the last phrase of verse 27 is, "on the wing of detestable things, or abominations, comes one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." This means the one who makes desolate is a different personage than the "he" who confirms a covenant.
Here is the ASV rendering:
ASV Daniel 9:27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate.
You can see a separation of the one who confirms the covenant with another one coming who makes desolate.
DARBY TRANSLATION: Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and because of the protection of abominations there shall be a desolator, even until that the consumption and what is determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.
WHAT ABOUT THE BLINDNESS IN PART
THAT HAPPENED WITH THE JEWS?
Romans 11 speaks of two points regarding the "times of the gentiles" and the remnant of Israel being saved. However, these two points occur in the church age alone, and not the church age plus a period after the church age.
I propose that the entire issue of Christ turning to Israel after the rapture of the church is based upon an interpretation of Romans 11, which interpretation is in error.
This sets the scene for the chapter and its issues. Paul is speaking about natural Israel, and himself being a natural Jew. God had not cast away natural Israel in Paul's day. This is the all-important point we require in order to follow the rest of the chapter's context. God had not cut Israel off to never allow another Jew into the Kingdom. God always had a remnant of natural Israelites as His people.
In fact, we can jump ahead in the same chapter and read a similar statement with a similar hypothetical question.
God no more casts away His people than he caused them to stumble to never be able to stand again. Both verses 1 and 11 are connected. Paul is getting to the same point in both verses. He spoke of his present day in both cases and told us that God did not cast away His people nor did He cause them to stumble to never see them rise again.
More about this later.
This "remnant" always represented "all of Israel." That was their purpose. Though all Israel seemed to have chased after false gods, the Lord told Elijah that all Israel had indeed not followed other gods. A remnant remained faithful, and that meant that God could still say that Israel was His people. The remnant preserves the bloodline of Israelites who were faithful. The remnant thereby stands for the entire, and does not allow for the nation to disappear entirely.
If a remnant is saved, then God's promise to save Israel is fulfilled. Paul said that in his present time there was a remnant. Notice his use of the present tense pointing us to understand these facts to be true during the period of the first century.
Paul asks a hypothetical question that some might ask upon hearing that the greater part of Israel had fallen away. The question is actually, "What is the true picture of the situation now that the greater part of Israel has fallen away?" Paul's answer is that the entire population of Israel missed the very thing they were seeking, and the remnant, or election of NATURAL JEWS, were saved. Once again, this is speaking about Paul's day. The rest of the population of Israel remained blinded. Only a fraction of the population of Israel obtained what all of them were seeking.
Paul said that both the idea of Israel being saved and the idea of Israel being given eyes to sleep are a mystery. Why? He is saying that one could rightly state that all Israel is saved and also rightly state that most of Israel are blinded. In other words, Israel is simultaneously said to be both saved and blinded. Its a mystery when we look at the Bible and read of all Israel being saved at the same time it is said that Israel was given eyes of slumber. However, Paul explains the mystery.
The remnant, or the elect, of Israel were in the church during Paul's day. But, when the Bible speaks of "Israel being saved", it is only referring to the remnant. Israel was also blinded, in the sense that the vast majority of the remainder of Israel were not saved but blinded. Paul continues to quote scripture to support his view that it was foretold that many Jews be blinded.
But this stumbling did not occur to the point that no Israelites would ever be able to be saved in the future, as is explained next.
The Gentiles have come in through their fall. So God wisely caused a blindness to occur.
The diminishing of the Jews is seen in their blindness. Israel was blinded. However a remnant would be brought in to fulfill God's standard of always having an election stand for His people. All the Jews were said to be responsible for having crucified the Lord (Acts 2:23). All Israel was therefore blinded. However, an election of believing Jews would soon exist!
Paul said that in his present day he preached the gospel to gentiles in order to provoke the Israelites to jealousy and cause them to also believe in Christ. In other words, Paul hoped to win some Israelites in his day, who were yet blinded. He did not throw the hopes of their salvation ahead into the future beyond our day into the 21st century! He understood that in his own day there is a remnant that would be saved, along with those who were already saved. Then Paul continues the thought of verse 14 as follows.
He explained that the receiving of these Jews, being life from the dead, is what describes the remnant who are saved and would be saved through his personal preaching in his day. In other words, after speaking of his then-present efforts to provoke Israel to jealousy and win some more of the elected remnant, he used the words that Futurists have thrown out into the future! He did not regard verse 15 as occurring at the end of the gentile age at all! He referred to his present day in which he preached to gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy in hopes of winning some more of the elect remnant.
He stated that in his time, during the days of the early church, if the Jew believed due to having been provoked to jealousy by Paul's preaching, then they shall be graft in again. He did not say that God shall graft in the Jews after the gentiles receive no more preaching. He said that during the gentile times the Jews can be graft in if they believe as a result of being provoked to jealousy. God is able to graft them into the church during Paul's day.
How would they believe? They would believe through the successful attempts by Paul's ministry to provoke them to jealousy.
This verse also refers to the Jews coming in through being provoked by Paul's preaching which He accomplished during the church age while preaching to gentiles in the first century. He did not put this event off into the future. Futurists have put this ahead in to the future, not the Bible.
WHO IS "ALL ISRAEL"?
Above we read the very controversial verses. But if you read it carefully, Paul is not saying AFTER THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES will Israel be saved, but he said that a prophecy would be fulfilled that would seem contradictory to the actual state of things.
The prophecy was "All Israel shall be saved."
Verse 25's statement "Blindness in part is happened to Israel," fulfills the prophecy that "all Israel shall be saved." Paul said this is a mystery! I guess it is a mystery! It sounds contradictory! But really it is not.
BEFORE THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES ARE FULFILLED there is a remnant that would be saved, who would count as all Israel being saved.
Remember that the remnant always counts as the entire.
There are some more of the remnant who were not yet saved when Paul wrote this, but who would be saved before the times of the gentiles be fulfilled. That is the context of verses 5 through to 26.
During Paul's time, he sought for the remnant to be saved. And since the remnant counts for all of Israel, Paul said that this fulfills the promise of all Israel being saved. Paul did not say that after the times of the gentiles is fulfilled that THEN shall all Israel be saved. He said that DURING the times of the Gentiles that a remnant would be saved, while the rest of the Israelites remain blinded, and THAT fulfills scripture. He said "So..." or, in other words, "because of a remnant being saved during the church age, the scripture is fulfilled which speaks of all Israel being saved." The ALL ISRAEL is pointing to the remnant only.
READ THE WRITER'S OWN WORDS IN THE SAME BOOK
We can go back only two chapters in this writer's very same book to learn who the "all Israel" is.
The writer, himself, stated that the only people whom God considers to be Israel are those who are the children of the Promise. Who is the "all Israel" who shall be saved? Paul said, "They are not all Israel, which are of Israel." He restricted the "all Israel" to the children of promise. You must ignore this information prior to Romans 11 in order to believe that Romans 11 is speaking of natural Israel, not born of the promise, are the "all Israel". You must keep this in mind in order to understand chapter 11.
Blindness IN PART means that not every Israelite was blinded. It was not total blindness that he spoke about. It was blindness in part. The remnant was not blinded. All Israel is said to have believed because of the fact that the remnant believed, before the fullness of the gentiles be come in.
Get it straight. Paul did not say that all would be saved after the times of the gentiles, due to some idea that God will turn to Israel after those times are fulfilled. Paul taught that during those times of the gentiles, when he provoked Israel to jealousy through ministry solely to the gentiles, a remnant would be saved which will satisfy God and fulfill the scripture that said, "Israel shall be saved."
Blindness in part is occurred with Israel, because God always had a remnant and would not permit total blindness to occur in that nation. And if there is blindness that only exists in part, then there is the other part comprised of those Israelites who were not blinded, but believed and saw the light of Christ. And due to the presence of that remnant who were not blinded and who believed, the purpose of God in declaring that all Israel shall be saved is fulfilled! How so? Let me repeat it again the remnant counts as the whole. If God has a part, or a remnant, who are saved, then the remnant stands for the whole, enabling God to say that "all Israel is saved."
WHO IS THE DELIVERER WHO SHALL
TURN UNGODLINESS AWAY FROM JACOB?
Paul quoted the following:
Isaiah writes in the next verse words that clarify this thought.
This covenant is none other than the New Testament plan of salvation! And before verse 20 we read:
This is clearly the plan of salvation as we know it! What other covenant causes us to turn from transgression or take away their sins besides Acts 2:38 and the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ?
What other means does God have besides remission of sins in Jesus' name that He uses in order turn ungodliness away from anybody?
Above Paul states that then-presently there was a remnant not yet converted. They were still enemies at that time, as far as the Christians were concerned. But before the times of the gentiles would be fulfilled, the remainder of the elected remnant would have come in due to God's promise of their election.
Only one other verse refers to the fullness of the gentiles.
And that is found written after the flowing:
This is undoubtedly referring to 70 AD. When the Christians saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, they indeed did flee the city and went to Pella. Rome devastated the city for 3.5 years. And Jesus said that event would end the times of the gentiles. Jerusalem would be no more the home of the temple and the ritual sacrifice of Law.
Thank God that there was a remnant of Israel who represented the whole, thus fulfilling prophecy that all Israel shall be saved!
This explanation of Jesus' words agrees with Daniel's vision of four beasts, the last being Rome, with no further beasts, or kingdoms of concern, to follow.
Notice this connection:
Reference to the gentiles being given the opportunity to tread the holy city beneath their feet is directly connected to Jesus' words concerning the times of the Gentiles.
Michael F. Blume works with Rightly Dividing The Word and is Assistant Pastor at Bible Truth Church in El Campo, TX. His website's address is: www.mikeblume.com
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