Getting The Events Straight From Daniel

Continued from Part 7

The second part of verse 26 is a sweeping historical synopsis of events leading to the destruction of the Second Temple.  This is the tragedy encapsulated “and the people [the Romans] of the leader [Pompey] who is to come, shall destroy [under Titus]” that is, the years 63 B.C.E. to 70 C.E.  The encounter with the destructive forces of the Roman Empire did not begin with the Jewish Revolt but go back to Pompey’s attack on Jerusalem and the Temple.

But, of course, our discussion is not solely centered on a Jewish understanding of verse 26.  Christians maintain that the anointed one of verse 26 refers to Jesus.  However, “he shall have nothing” contradicts the Christian claim that Isaiah 53:12, “I will divide him a portion with the great” refers to Jesus.  According to Christian theology, Jesus in his pre-incarnation state existed in heaven where he was rich, so-to-speak, in that as one-third of the Godhead (or divine being) he possessed the entire universe and beyond and all it contains.  In his supposed incarnate existence he was born into a poor family of humble means (except for the gifts of the magi ̶ Matthew 2:11).  At his death he was still poor and had a small group of followers.  It is only subsequent to his death that it is said that he gained rewards and honors for his alleged sacrifice (Philippians 2:8-11).

Yes, rather strange that a part of the Godhead needed to reward and honor himself for doing what he himself desired to be done.  Now read carefully what verse 26 says of the second anointed one:  “an anointed one shall be cut off, and he shall have nothing.”  This anointed one will be “cut off,” that is, die.  The emphasis is not on what this anointed one possessed at death, but on what he had following his death.  In death he will have nothing.  It is not merely at the moment of death that he will have nothing.  The future tense, “he shall have nothing,” shows that the heavenly judgment rendered the individual spoken of is devoid of any reward after death.  Does this describe the Jesus portrayed by Paul or is there another Jesus?

The words “he shall have nothing”  (v’ein lo ̶ 9:26) are incorrectly translated by the King James Version (and many other Christian translations)  as “but not for himself.”  The reason for this deliberate mistranslation is to give biblical support for the Christian contention that Jesus died for humanity’s sins.  This phrase should be translated as “he has nothing [following karet]” or “he shall have nothing.”  There are those Christians who for tendentious reasons maintain that this phrase has both meanings.  For example, The Holy Bible:  New International Version, renders the Hebrew as “cut off and will have nothing” in the main text but in the apparatus has “or off, but not for himself.”12  The latter rendering cannot be supported grammatically.  Indeed, a number of modern Christian translations recognize the untenability of the “but not for himself” rendering and do translate the phrase correctly, without any explanations to the contrary.  Unfortunately, millions of Christians rely totally and without question on the King James Version and other Bible translations containing this and other erroneous Christian renderings and are thereby deceived.

With the clear distinction between the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks established, the following questions must be asked:  Are these sixty-nine weeks to be simply taken together and added consecutively without interruption as found in most Christian translations, leading many to assume only one anointed individual is mentioned?  Could their separation instead signify a time-gap between them and the presence of two separate anointed ones?  There is nothing to indicate that such a gap between the first seven weeks and the next sixty-two weeks would constitute any violation of the text.  In fact, a gap between these two periods is the only explanation to account for their separation.

Christians tend to combine the seven week unit and the sixty-two week unit and contend that according to the passage only one anointed one is referred to and he comes after the period of 483 years.  They then assume that that individual is the Messiah par excellence.  Although some Christians admit there are two separate anointed individuals most combine the two mentions of “an anointed one” and refer to the combination in one way or another as a reference to Jesus. Nevertheless, it is clear from the text that the time intervals make it impossible for there to be only one anointed.  Christian explanations (and there are several in conflict with each other) violate the plain meaning of the Hebrew text as it is grammatically constructed.

12 The Holy Bible:  New International Version, Grand Rapids, Mich.:  Zondervan, 1978.

© Gerald Sigal