Final Week - Abomination

The seventy weeks prophecy concludes with several unanswered questions. However, the passage was not the end of the matterVerbal links connect it to the visions of chapters 7 8, and 11 - The prophecy is just one part of a larger whole. The most striking features common to all are the “abomination of desolation,” the profanation of the Temple, and the malevolent ruler behind it all.

Weekly Calendar - Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash
[Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash]

  • (Daniel 9:27) - “And he will make a firm covenant with many for one week, and in the middle of the week he will cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and upon the wing of abominations will come one that desolates; and until the end, what was decreed was pouring out upon him who was desolating.”

He will make a firm covenant.” The figure designated “leader” or nagid is the subject of the verb rendered “confirm” – He “confirms” (gabar), or perhaps better, he “strengthens” a covenant - (Strong’s - #H1396). The “he” is the same malevolent character who determined to make war on the “saints.”

With many” refers to the occupants of the city who submitted to the “leader,” the same group that was “corrupted” by him, as described in the preceding verse. Note the following parallel passages:
  • (Daniel 11:30-32) - “Then will come in against him the ships of Cyprus, and he will be disheartened, and again have indignation against a holy covenant, and will act with effect, and again gain intelligence, concerning them who are forsaking a holy covenant. And arms from him will arise, and will profane the sanctuary, the fortress, and will set aside the continual burnt offering, and place the abomination that astounds. And them who are ready to deal lawlessly with a covenant will he make impious by flatteries, but the people who know their God will be strong and act with effect.
  • (Daniel 12:10-11) - “Many will purify themselves and be made white and be refined, but the lawless will act lawlessly, and none of the lawless shall understand, but they who make wise shall understand; and from the time of the removal of the continual burnt offering and the placing of the abomination that astounds will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.
The “covenant” made with the “many” alludes to the same event described in the interpretation of the vision of the “ram and goat” in chapter 8 - The “king of fierce countenance” who “corrupted” the people of the saints - (“By his cunning he caused deceit to succeed in his hand…and by their careless security will he corrupt the many”) - (Daniel 8:23-25).

He causes the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” A clear link to the previous vision when the “little horn” desecrated the “sanctuary,” removed the daily sacrifice, and installed the “transgression that desolates.” Likewise in Chapter 11, a “king of the north” set up the “abomination that desolates” and removed the “daily burnt offering.” In the present passage, the installation of the “abomination” resulted from the “covenant” that the “leader” made with the “people” - (Daniel 8:8-14, 11:31,12:10-11).
Thus, the same events are in view in all three visions, especially, the defilement of the “sanctuary.”
The concluding events of the prophecy occurred in the last “half of the week” - In the latter part of the final or “seventh week.” This final period is described elsewhere, although with different terms, as follows:
  • (Daniel 7:25-26) - “And he shall speak words against the Most-High and will wear out the saints. And he will think to change the times and the law; and they will be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.
  • (Daniel 8:19-26) - “Behold, I will make you know what will be in the latter time of the indignation; for it belongs to the appointed time of the end…And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance…he also will stand up against the prince of princes but will be broken without handbut shut up the vision; for it belongs to many days to come.”
  • (Daniel 12:6-8) - “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? It will be for a time, times and a half TIME; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things will be finished.”
On the wings of abomination, he comes desolating.” The Hebrew noun rendered “abomination” refers to objects that are ritually unclean - (idols, heathen altars, pagan sacrifices). “Abomination” or shiqquts means that which is “detestable, abominable” - (Strong’s #H8251). In the Hebrew Bible, the term is applied to idolatrous objects - (Deuteronomy 29:17 – “And you have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold”).

What “wing” refers to is not clear - (kânâph - Strong’s - #H3671). Literally, the Hebrew clause reads - “And upon wing of abominations, desolating.” Kânâph is the common noun for the “wing” of a bird or insect. Here, quite possibly, it refers metaphorically to an “extremity” of something, perhaps the “wing” or corner of the altar of burnt offering. The intended referent is not clear.

Until the end, what was decreed was pouring out upon him who was desolating.” That is, the “leader” who “desolated” the “sanctuary” would himself be desolated as “decreed,” presumably by God. The Hebrew term is applied twice in the passage - “desolations are decreed…until the end, a decreed one.” The same term, “decreed,” appears in a similar context in the next vision:
  • The king will do according to his will…he will prosper until the indignation be accomplished; for that which is decreed (harats) will be done” (Daniel 11:36).
Poured down.” In the end, the one who “desolated” the “sanctuary” will himself be overwhelmed with “desolation.”

The verbal links are vital to understanding the passage, especially the references to the “abomination that desolates.” They demonstrate that the same events and characters are in view in the visions of chapters 7, 8, 9 and 11, and in the conclusion of the book - (Daniel 12:10-11).

The “seventy weeks” prophecy ends with an ambiguous conclusion. However, it is neither the highlight nor the conclusion of the book of Daniel. The connections to the preceding and subsequent visions are the point. While the prophecy contains several ambiguities, the historical references in chapters 8 and 11 are clear and explicit.

The prophecy provides several chronological clues to the larger picture, and it keeps the focus on the “abomination of desolation” inflicted on the “sanctuary” by a malevolent ruler, the “little horn” of the “fourth beast.” But we must continue to read the book to gain further insights into these events.