Volume Three Objection 4.18
Daniel 9 is one of the most used passages of the Tenach by missionaries. Many times we have heard that just from reading Daniel 9, people have come to faith in Jesus. Its importance can be seen in that in volume 3 of Dr. Brown’s work<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> he has four objections related to it. Only Isaiah 53 has more attention given to it. They objections he addresses are:
· 4.18 Daniel 9:24-27 has nothing to do with the Messiah.
· 4.19 Daniel 9:24 was clearly not fulfilled by Jesus.
· 4.20 Christian translations of Daniel 9:24-27 divide the seventy weeks incorrectly, and the dates have no relation to the times of Jesus.
· 4.21 Daniel 9:24-27 speaks of two anointed ones.
I have written a paper that deals with the chronological issues of Daniel 9, and in that paper there are answers to the views Dr. Brown has taken in his book with regards to Daniel 9. It is strongly suggested that you read it before reading my individual answers to the responses to objections that Dr. Brown has given. The chronological issues in Daniel 9 are too complex to be restated in full here. I will be referencing the paper and what I stated there rather then quoting all of what I have written.
In order to clarify why we should not accept his responses to these objections, I would like to go through each of these objections and see if he actually answers them, or provides valid answers to them. I will first address 4.18. It seems to me, based on what he writes that the real ‘question’ he is trying to answer is slightly different from the one the title implies. He seems to be trying answer: “Daniel 9 does not explicitly or implicitly refer to the Messiah.”
In order to see the problem Judaism has with the claim that Daniel 9 refers to the Messiah, let me give two translations. One translation is from the King James Version and the other from the Jewish Publication Society<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. (In bold are the words that are important here.)
Here is the KJV:
9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Here is the JPS:
9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place. 25 Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times. 26 And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and upon the wing of detestable things shall be that which causeth appalment; and that until the extermination wholly determined be poured out upon that which causeth appalment.’
There are a number of differences in the translations, but the ones that relate to this objection have been placed in bold. Notice that the KJV appears to be an obvious Messianic prophecy, because they have an explicit reference to the Messiah, while that of the JPS does not appear to be so. This is the Jewish objection in a nut shell. Through creative translation, the KJV (and other Christian translations,) have turned this into a Messianic prophecy, when it is not.
What is Dr. Brown’s answer to this objection? Unfortunately, there is none, and quite the opposite he admits to the validity of the basis for this objection. Here is an outline of his argument:
After stating the basis of the problem (according to his view) on page 86 and the top of 87, he goes into a discussion of what the historical background of these few verses is on page 87 and 88. Then until near the end of page 90 he discusses the view of Rashi<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. He then gives a ‘testimony’ from Rachmiel Frydland asserting that Rashi is wrong and that Daniel really applies to Jesus, but no proof, or explanation of this is given<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>. In my article I have illustrated the lack of reliability of Dr. Frydland and his views. Following this, Dr. Brown from page 91 to the end of this section explains why the Christian translations are in error.
This is all he has to say. No proof, just an assertion from someone who is not an authority who Jews rely upon on these matters. In fact the first sentence of his summary at the beginning of his article is all the proof that is needed to back up the factual basis of this objection. He states (emphasis mine):
“There is no question that Christian versions translating the Hebrew word mashiach as ‘the Messiah’ in this passage are reading something into the text.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>”
In all fairness, Dr. Brown will try in the next objection (4.19) to show that Daniel 9:24 relates to Jesus, and in the following 2 objections (4.20 and 4.21) he will deal with the chronology and the identity of the ‘anointed one’. He will try to claim that at least one of the two references to ‘mashiach’ are to Jesus, but the problems with this view have already been dealt with in my article on Daniel 9. I will, however, deal with each of his responses in separate articles, and show that they have no logical or factual basis.
To summarize, Dr. Brown has admitted that the Christian translations are WRONG. He asserts, without proof that it does refer to Jesus. This leaves objection 4.18 in its place, unanswered.
© Moshe Shulman 2011 http://www.judaismsanswer.com
For more information, questions answered, or help with missionaries you can reach Moshe Shulman at email@example.com.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> Dr. Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Baker Books, 2003 pages 86-111.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> These were taken from the ONLINE Bible program.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> The discussion of what Rashi maintained is really a common fallacy called a red herring. It adds nothing to the argument, although it certainly is interesting. I point this out here because his works are filled with interesting things which have little to do with the real arguments. What Rashi believes has nothing to do with whether the objection is valid or not.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> This is also a classic logical fallacy called an Appeal to Authority.
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> Brown, op cit, page 86.