This discussion is a debate-discussion. Therefore, we are engaging in a debate between two opposing views concerning the correct understanding of Daniel 9:24-27. Even so, the first step of such a debate would be to determine the specific areas wherein the two opposing views actually possess disagreement. The second step would be for one of the sides to take up one of the points of disagreement, presenting the position of that side and providing the evidence and support for that position. The third step would be for the other side to take up that point of disagreement, presenting the position of that side in opposition to the other side, providing the evidence and support for that position, and producing arguments against the supporting evidences of the opposing side.
In my first posting of this thread, I provided an overview (as an opening statement, just as we were required to provide) of my position concerning Daniel 9:24-27. In my second posting of this thread, I engaged in a process whereby we could determine the specific areas of disagreement between our two opposing positions, and especially whereby we could determine the primary areas of disagreement of our two opposing positions (with a recognition that a disagreement at a point of foundational premise is the reason for disagreements over additional details). In my third posting of this thread, I took up one of the foundational points of disagreement between our two positions (that concerning the meaning of Daniel 9:24, with a particular focus upon the purpose statements of that verse), presenting my position and providing a significant amount of grammatical and contextual support and evidence for that position.
My expectation in the debate was that you would engage this third posting of mine by presenting your opposing position, by providing evidence and support for your opposing position, and by producing arguments against that which I provided as the evidence and support for my position. Instead, your next posting focused upon providing your answers to the 15 questions that I had presented at the beginning of my opening post. Therefore, in my fourth posting, I engaged your presentation and answers with a challenge against the evidence and support that you provided for it. In fact, I specifically confronted your presentation and answers by presenting the challenge that you made many “authoritative declarations” without providing any grammatical, contextual, or Biblical support whatsoever at all for them. Involved in this challenge, I pointed out that when you make “authoritative declarations” without providing any grammatical, contextual, or Biblical support, you found your declarations upon your own authority. Furthermore, I pointed out that in the realm of Bible study, your own authority is of no value for determining God’s truth. Now, in my fourth posting I did not handle the content of your previous posting in detail, revealing point-by-point wherein you did or did not provide evidence and support. Rather, I simply took up the very first of the “authoritative declarations” that you made without providing evidence and support; and I provided the grammatical and contextual evidences whereby my position on the phrase “my people” in Daniel 9:24 has Biblical support and foundation. Thus my argument against your position on this point was as follows:
1. You presented a position through “authoritative declaration,” but provided no support.
2. I presented an opposing position through the evidences of grammatical and contextual support.
Your position is this – “The prophecy cannot be exclusively intended for Israel, but as wide in scope as the promise to Abram.”
Your first evidence is this – “The immediate understanding is "thy people & thy holy city" meaning the descendants of Abraham, aka "my people Israel" & Jerusalem.” This is simply an “authoritative declaration” on your own part that the “thy people” phrase means “the descendants of Abraham,” an “authoritative declaration that you make without providing any evidence or support. So then, are we required to accept this position simply because you said so?
Your second evidence is this – “The first promise to Abram included blessing as a great nation & blessing for "all families on earth." ( Gen. 12:1-3 )” Herein you do provide the evidence of Genesis 12:1-3. However, you do not then proceed to give evidence concerning whether the prophetic utterance of Daniel 9:24-27 concerns “the descendants of Abraham” specifically in relation to the “great nation” aspect of the blessing (which is singular, and thereby refers only to one national group), or specifically in relation to the “all families on earth” aspect of the blessing.
Rather, you simply then proceed with the “authoritative declaration” of your conclusion – “The prophecy cannot be exclusively intended for Israel, but as wide in scope as the promise to Abram.” Indeed, this is an “authoritative declaration” that allows no room for any other option (employing the phrase, “cannot be exclusively intended”). Yet you have provided no grammatical, contextual, or Biblical evidence for each of the steps by which you came to this conclusion. So then again I ask – Are we required to accept this position simply because you said so?
Now, in your most previous posting, you did present an opposition to the grammatical and contextual evidences and support that I have provided for my position on Daniel 9:24. Indeed, your presented opposition appears to be delivered with the following statements:
I'm not convinced that your grammatical analysis leads to a proper understanding of the prophecy, or whether it actually obscures the clear meaning of the prophecy.
Herein you appear to reveal another premise against which I will have significant contention and opposition. It is the premise that grammatical analysis of a passage is not really a help, but is actually a hindrance in Bible study, especially in relation to prophetic utterance. In opposition to this premise, I would contend that grammatical analysis is the arithmetic of communication. By definition, grammar deals with the meaning of individual words, the meaning of grouped words by phrases and sentences, and the meaning of contextual statements within paragraphs. Grammar is the very means by which words, phrases, and sentences have precise meaning in communication.
For example, can we discern any real meaning from the following set of words –
“world whosoever Son life him he God the only his everlasting begotten should perish loved have gave believeth that that so not for but in”
On the other hand, can we discern real meaning from the following set and structuring of words –
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
No, in the first presentation for this set of words, we cannot discern any real meaning. On the other hand, in the second presentation for this set of words, we can indeed discern real meaning, and that a very precise meaning. The reason that we can do this in the second presentation is specifically due to the grammatical structuring by which the words are presented. Grammar is the very means by which word structuring provides meaning. To deny grammatical analysis is to deny the precise meaning of any given statement.
Indeed, to do deny grammatical analysis for a statement of God’s Holy Word is to deny the precise meaning of that statement as inspired by God the Holy Spirit in God’s Holy Word. The Lord our God chose to communicate His truth and wisdom unto us by means of the words of His Holy Word and the grammatical structuring of those words, as inspired by God the Holy Spirit. Thus God’s Holy Word is not simply inspired by God the Holy Spirit word-by-word, but also grammatical construction-by-grammatical construction. Therefore, to deny the grammatical construction of any statement in God’s Holy Word is to deny the inspired meaning and communication of God the Holy Spirit with that statement.
Furthermore, grammar is not only the very means by which word structuring provides meaning, but is also the very means by which statements are narrowed in their application. For example –
If I simply employ the word “ball,” then the application is quite broad (although the definition of the word, which is also a point of grammar, does narrow the intention from not including such things as birds, cars, pinwheels, etc.).
On the hand, if I employ the grammatical phrase, “the ball,” then the application is now more narrow, not referring to any ball in general, but to one specific ball. (In fact, this use of a the definite article “the” is the very grammatical construction by which you yourself argue that the “covenant” of Daniel 9:27 cannot be just any covenant, but must be some definitely specific covenant. Even so, I would challenge you that if you do not wish to focus upon grammar as a means to Biblical understanding, then you need to quit pushing this point.)
Now, if I employ the grammatical phrase, “the ball in the car,” then the application is now even more narrow, not referring to the ball in the house, or in the field, or under the car, or beside the car, but to the ball that is to be found in the car. Grammatically, each modifying phrase narrows the application for the meaning of any given statement. So then, to deny a modifying phrase that God the Holy Spirit inspired for any given statement is to deny the correct understanding and application that God the Holy Spirit intended for that statement.
Grammatical analysis is not a hindrance to understanding God’s Holy Word correctly, for grammar is the means by which the Lord our God communicated to us in His Holy Word by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Indeed, grammatical analysis is the means by which we can correctly understand that which the Lord our God has communicated unto us through His Holy Word by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit.
Now I wish to handle your most previous posting point-by-point in detail.
Actually, grammatical analysis is the very means by which we can understand “the clear meaning” for any statement of God’s Holy Word.
Indeed, grammatically this verse reveals (1) the time period for the prophetic utterance, (2) the applicational focus for the prophetic utterance, and (3) the six-fold purpose for the prophetic utterance.
Actually, it is not “70 weeks,” or 490 years to the fulfillment of the prophecy. Rather, it is “70 weeks,” or 490 years are determined for the fulfillment of the prophecy. Daniel 9:24 does not specifically state that these 490 years must be consecutive. It just indicates that they must and will occur by the determination of God, and that they must and will occur “upon” the children of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. If there is or is not a gap anywhere within the 490 year period, it will be revealed by the further details of Daniel 9:25-27.
Actually, we do not agree that the 490 years takes us to the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, we might agree that the first 49 + 434 years (483 years) takes us to the baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, since I do indeed believe that the phrase, “unto the Messiah the Prince,” in Daniel 9:25 is a reference unto our Lord’s baptism, by which His earthly ministry began.
Yes, my grammatical interpretation, not of Daniel 9:24, but specifcally of Daniel 9:26-27 does indeed relate the last 7 years of the 490 years “to some yet future date.” Yet this does not destroy the prophecy. The last “week,” or 7 years is still determined by the authority of God, just as Daniel 9:24 precisely states, and will still be fulfilled “upon” the children of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, just as Daniel 9:24 precisely states.
Grammar is not complicated. Rather, it is the very means by which reading comprehension occurs. Furthermore, the grammar and the arithmetic are precisely the same. The grammar is that “seventy weeks are determined.” The arithmetic is that 70 x 7 equals 490 years. There is no contradiction. However, neither the grammar concerning the “seventy weeks” that “are determined” nor the arithmetic that “490 years” is what “70 x 7 equals” automatically indicate that this “seventy weeks” or this 490 years must be continuous and contiguous. Certainly, natural human logic would lead us to this conclusion; and without any contextual indication otherwise, we could accept this without argument. However, if the grammar and context of God’s own Word from Daniel 9:26-27 (which explain further details for Daniel 9:24) reveals something different than we would conclude with our human logic, then we should follow the revelation of God’s own Word instead of the conclusion of our human logic.
Yes, the timing for the first 69 “weeks,” or 483 years, does bring us to our Lord Jesus Christ’s first coming and first earthly ministry. And yes, there is a dispute over whether the precise timing is Jesus’ birth, baptism, triumphant entry, or crucifixion and resurrection. However, you and I are in agreement that it is our Lord Jesus Christ’s baptism.
Yes, we should indeed judge prophet utterances by their faithfulness to God’s Word and by the precision of their fulfillment. However, we cannot determine their faithfulness or their precise fulfillment without considering a grammatical analysis; for it is directly by grammatical analysis that we are able to determine the precise meaning of a given prophetic statement. Furthermore, there is no danger “of being Pharisaical.” There is only a danger of being precisely correct. Finally, I would agree that we now possess “the mind of Christ” through the indwelling Holy Spirit, whereby the indwelling Holy Spirit is present to guide and aid our understanding of the very Word of God that He Himself inspired. Yet God the Holy Spirit will only ever guide us and aid us to understand the Word that He Himself inspired in perfect union with the very words and grammar that He Himself inspired. On the other hand, if our understanding departs from the very words and grammar that God the Holy Spirit inspired, then we can be certain that we are not actually following the guidance and aid of God the Holy Spirit for that understanding.
It is true that grammar does not require for a simple listing of events of any kind to be automatically presented as a listing in chronological order. However, certain grammatical and contextual structurings certainly do reveal a chronological order to a given list. Even so, in my third posting (the one concerning Daniel 9:24), I provided evidence that there does indeed appear to be an ordering (whether logical or chronological) to the six purpose or result statements that are presented in Daniel 9:24. Now by the manner of debate, it would be your responsibility, not simply to state that an ordering is not necessarily true, but further to provide arguments against my evidence and to provide evidence for your position.
So then, while you are accusing me of presenting a position wherein this prophetic utterance is not precisely fulfilled in the matter of time, you yourself are presenting a position wherein this prophetic utterance is not precisely fulfilled in the matter of content. In fact, by presenting a position wherein “the transgression” and “sins” do not actually “finish” and “end” by the end of the 490 years, but only sometime in the distant future thereafter, you present a position that is also not precisely fulfilled in the matter of time.
Actually, in my position this prophetic utterance will indeed be fulfilled precisely in the matter of content and in the matter of time. My position simply places an indefinite gap of time between the end of the first “69 weeks,” or 483 years, and the occurrence of the last “week,” or 7 years. In my position, this indefinite gap of time has nothing directly to do with the “70 weeks” that “are determined” specifically “upon” the children of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. Furthermore, in my position the six purpose or result statements of Daniel 9:24 will be fulfilled at the end of this last “week,” or 7 years, with absolute precision.
No, the question that both of us need to answer is – What is the precise meaning of each phrase and statement that God the Holy Spirit inspired in Daniel 9:24-27?
No, the prophetic utterance of Daniel 9:24 was not precisely fulfilled in the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. As you yourself have admitted above, transgressions, sins, and iniquity still continue. They have not come to a complete finish or end for any individual or group of individuals upon the earth.
Actually, believers on the earth certainly are still transgressors who commit transgressions against the Lord their God and Savior. Actually, believers on the earth certainly are still sinners who commit sins against the Lord their God and Savior. Indeed, we believers do have eternal reconciliation with the Lord our God, such that we are and ever shall be dear children in His eternal family. Yet it is also true that when we as believers commit transgression and sin in our daily walk, we must yet experience daily reconciliation with the Lord our God in order that we might be restored unto a walk of daily fellowship with Him. Indeed again, we believers do have eternal justification from and before the Lord our God, specifically because the eternal righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ has been eternally imputed onto our account in the record of heaven. Yet it is also true that we believers do not walk in everlasting righteousness in our daily walk upon this earth, but that we do yet regularly commit transgression and sin against the Lord our God and Savior.
Indeed, God’s Word presents two different events wherein our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized. In your position you have “authoritatively declared” that the anointing event of Daniel 9:24 must refer to the anointing of Jesus’ baptism. Yet there are, as you have just acknowledged, two different possibilities. As such, before you can legitimately make such an “authoritative declaration,” you must provide some form of evidence whereby one of these two options is legitimately discarded and the other is legitimately chosen. If you do not provide any such evidence, but continue to make your “authoritative declaration,” then you leave me to ask the question – Are we simply to accept this on the authority of your own word?
Actually, reference to the grammar is a reference to Scripture, since it is a reference to the very grammatical structuring that God the Holy Spirit inspired as the Scripture of Daniel 9:24-27.
This is actually one of the points under question in the debate, a point that is located, not in the general declaration of Daniel 9:24, but in the greater details of Daniel 9:26-27. As such, this point requires us precisely to understand the statements and points that precede it in the context of Daniel 9:24-25, and then precisely to understand the statements and points that govern it in the actual statements of Daniel 9:26-27.