Who are Daniel’s people in Daniel 9:24?

November 27, 2012

Dispensationalists say that the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 applies to Jews, not the church, because the prophecy says “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,” in Daniel 9:24.

In his prayer in chapter 9 Daniel says, “O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.” [vs. 16]

Daniel mentions Jerusalem, thy holy mountain, our fathers, and “thy people,” and elsewhere, in ch. 7, he refers to “the saints.” I will focus here on “thy holy mountain” in Daniel 9:16.

In Isaiah 2:2, the mountain of the Lord’s house is to be established in the top of the mountains, and exulted above the hills, and all nations will flow to it. I suggest Jesus is the one represented by the holy mountain, and the mountain of the Lord’s house. He is also referred to as the “foundation” laid in Zion, and precious corner stone. [Isa. 28:16] In Psalm 118 he is the stone that the builders rejected.

Psalm 118:22
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

This stone is identified with Christ in Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, and Luke 20:17.

In Daniel 2:35-45 Jesus is represented by a stone cut without hands, that smashes the image on its feet, and destroys it. The stone grows into a mountain that fills the earth. The “holy mountain” is clearly a metaphor and a symbol of Christ and his kingdom, the church, as the legs and feet of the image represent the Roman Empire.

Isaiah 2:2, which is a prophecy concerning mount Zion and Jerusalem, shows the continuity of OT Jerusalem, and the church, the heavenly Jerusalem. When Jesus ascended to heaven, Isaiah 2:2 was fulfilled, and Jerusalem became a heavenly city. Paul said that believers are raised up and sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. [Eph. 2:6] The city of Jerusalem is in heaven. [Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 21:10-27]

Daniel’s people, then are the saints of both the Old and New Testaments. The prophets are the foundation of the church, together with the apostles. [Eph. 2:20]

Dispensationalism fails to recognize that Isaiah 2:2 applies to Christ and his church, and that this prophecy was fulfilled. The dispensationalists have a mantra of literalism, and appeal to literalism to support their claim that the church is not found in Old Testament prophecy, but this “literal” approach is quickly abandoned, whenever they find an opportunity to exult ethnic Jews in a future earthly kingdom, where they are doted on by Gentiles, as suggested by their interpretation of Isaiah 2:2.

The literal approach says that mount Zion is exulted tectonically, and becomes the highest mountain in the world. A tectonic uplift of Jerusalem is also depicted in Zechariah 14:10 if this is taken literally. But of course such ideas are absurd. And consider John’s message, “every mountain and hill shall be made low.” The prophecies contradict. One says mount Zion is to be the highest mountain in the world, the other says every mountain will be made low. The dilemma is resolved when the mountains are interpreted as symbols of God’s promises, as we see in Genesis 49:26. Jacob said his blessings extended “to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.” The association of his blessings with mountains, and everlasting ones, alludes to their lofty spiritual nature, and their eternal duration. Thus, mountains are symbols of the promises of the Gospel.

One of the foremost of these promises is the coming of a savior, so Christ is represented by a mountain. He is the foundation laid in Zion, the precious corner stone. So mount Zion is the name of the mountain which represents Christ. Was this mountain made low? When Jesus was crucified and buried, he was indeed “made low.” But afterwards, when he was resurrected, and ascended to heaven, he was established in the top of the mountains, in the throne of his Father, and made Lord of all, and was given the eternal throne of David which he was to receive, as king of his saints in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Now, in the New Testament, the church is represented by Jerusalem, the heavenly city, and Jerusalem was raised up when Christ ascended to heaven. So the “saints” of Daniel’s prophecies are the people of Israel, up until the time of Pentecost, when Jesus was “made Christ.” Then the apostles preached the good news to the Jews, and Peter cited the law of Moses, about a prophet who was to come, and said:

Acts 3:19-24
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.

Verse 23 says those Jews who do not believe the Gospel are “destroyed from among the people,” and so are no longer Jews, or Israel, but as Paul said, in Romans 9:6, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” They are cut off from the promises, which are obtained only through Christ.

Isaiah 2:2 is a key scripture which shows the continuity of OT Israel and the Christian church. The dispensationalists are blind to it; their theory is a man-made doctrine, that is destroyed by the prophecy of Isaiah, itself a “mountain.” As Ezekiel said, “Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel.” [Ezek. 39:4] These mountains are symbols of promises, and blessings, and prophecies of God’s word.