Debate Over Who Is God's Anointed

Continued from Part 4

It is said that when Jesus supposedly ascended to heaven every one of the six objectives to be accomplished had been fulfilled.  It is said he fulfilled all of the prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures.  Well, except for those he is going to fulfill when he comes back, whenever that’s supposed to happen.  A review of the supposed fulfillments finds he fulfilled nothing.  

It is obvious that Jesus did not fulfill any of the six expectations of verse 24, despite the strained unverifiable explanations given as Christians struggle to connect Jesus to a fulfillment of Daniel 9.   Some Christians admit they do not understand the prophecy but insist it must refer to Jesus.  Interestingly, the very fact that the nation of Israel did not fully fulfill God’s desires was part of the prediction of events expressed in verses 26-27 that lead to renewed exile.  This passage falls within the parameters of the historically verifiable with the last phrase, (until decisive destruction shall be poured out upon that which causes desolation) falling outside the seventy weeks.  That last phrase awaits the great fulfillment when the Temple is once more rebuilt as indicated at the end of verse 27.

There is no room for speculations of a future fantasy fulfillment by a failed false messiah.

God’s promises to national Israel (and be very clear, that is precisely what is stated in the Seventy Weeks passage) are irrevocable eternal declarations  ̶ ̶  the endless covenantal promises of the God of Israel who declares the eternality of His promise (Jeremiah 33:19-26).   A promise and covenant that no man can rent asunder; nor deviant religious, political, or cultural systems destroy; nor Gentile dispersion, religious intolerance and expulsion, persecution, Crusade, inquisition, pogrom, Holocaust or Jihad, nor ceaseless Gentile trampling upon this holy people’s divine rights and mandate ever succeed in annihilating.

 The first anointed one

Verse 25.   Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince, shall be seven weeks; then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troubled times.

Verse 25 delineates the time between the commencement of the Seventy Week period and the appearance of “an anointed one.”  Starting with “the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem,” in 586 B.C.E., the first sequence of seven weeks (forty-nine years) culminates with Cyrus, the anointed one (see Isaiah 45:1).  It is this Gentile ruler of the Persian Empire who decreed that the Jews might return to their native land and rebuild their Temple.  God declares concerning Cyrus:  “[H]e shall build My city, and he shall let go My captives, not for price nor reward” (Isaiah 45:13, see also Ezra 1:1-4).4

4 A Talmudic passage (B.T. Megillah 12a) discusses Cyrus’ role in Jewish history:

Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda expounded:  “What is [the meaning of that] which is written:  ‘So says God to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held’ [Isaiah 45:1] — Was Cyrus [actually anointed with the oil used to anoint kings from the House of David, that he should be called the] ‘anointed one’? — Rather, [Scripture means that] the Holy One, Blessed is He, said to the Messiah:  I complain to you about Cyrus.  I had proclaimed:  ‘He shall build My House and gather My exiles.’”

This Talmudic passage explores the meaning of “Thus said God to His anointed, to Cyrus,” limshicho l’choresh).  Rav Nachman explains that limshicho refers to the Messiah, so that limshicho and l’choresh are not connected and should be translated as, “Thus said God to the Messiah concerning Cyrus.”  Rashi explains that the trope (the Masoretic cantillation), of the word limshicho is a zarka, which is generally followed by a word with the trope of segol, which shows that the words are connected.  However, in this verse the word l’choresh, which follows limshicho does not have a segol, showing that the words are not connected in translation.  Nevertheless, the absence of the zarka-segol sequence does not definitively show that the two words are not connected.  In any case, in our discussion the verse needs to be understood in its historical context as differentiated from its midrashic usage.  In mishnaic narrative we often encounter God and the Messiah in dialogue.  This is not an indication of a preexistent messianic being.  It is an expositional device employed by the Sages to convey a scriptural message to their audience.

© Gerald Sigal