According to Daniel 9:27, “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” This is the last of the 70 weeks; the last seven years. The "he" must refer to somebody mentioned in the previous verse. That verse refers to two people:
- The Messiah who is “cut off” and
- “The prince that shall come,” whose people will destroy the city.
In Dispensationalism, the first 69 weeks came to an end in the year when Jesus died but the 70th week will be the last seven years before Christ returns. The “he” is then interpreted as the “prince” of verse 26 and as an end-time Antichrist that will make a covenant with "many."
In contrast, I would like to argue that “he” is the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and that it is God’s covenant with Israel that “he” will "make."
Firstly, I offer the following objections to the view that “he” refers to an end-time Antichrist:
(1) “The people of the prince,” who destroy the city (v26), are the first century Roman Empire. If the prince is an end-time Antichrist, then the people and their prince live 2000 years apart.
(2) The wording of the text of Daniel in no way indicates a gap between the 70th and the previous 69 weeks.
(3) To allocate the last seven years to an end-time Antichrist divides the prophecy into two unrelated prophecies; one about Christ 2000 years ago, and one about an end-time Antichrist.
(4) If the last “week” is the seven years before Christ returns, then it ends with Christ’s return but the prophecy gives no indication of His return.
(5) In Dispensationalism, the Roman Empire will be revived in the end-time. But how can the Roman Empire be revived 1500 years after it has ceased to exist?
(6) Dispensationalism also requires the temple to be rebuilt twice; firstly, a few hundred years before Christ and, secondly, in the end-time. But the prophecy promises only one rebuilding.
Secondly, I would like to argue as follows that the covenant of the 70th week is God’s covenant with Israel:
(1) The 490 years are an extension or renewal of God's covenant with Israel. Therefore, the seven-year covenant in 9:27 must be the last seven years of that 490-year covenant.
(2) As that article also shows, God’s covenant with Israel is the central theme in Daniel 9 that unites the prayer and the prophecy.
(3) Of the six times that the word “covenant” appears in Daniel, four times it is explicitly God’s covenant with Israel (Dan 9:4; 11:28, 30, 32).
(4) The verb translated as "confirm" (the covenant) is not a verb for the making of a new covenant but for maintaining an existing covenant. Then, it can only be God's covenant with Israel.
(5) “The many,” with whom “he” confirms the covenant, most often refers to God’s people (e.g., Isa 53:11; Dan 11:33). Then it must be God’s covenant.
“HE” IS THE MESSIAH
Thirdly, by showing that the "he," who confirms the covenant, is the "Messiah" (Jesus Christ), and not the Antichrist, this section confirms that the covenant of the last "week" is God's covenant:
(1) The poetic pattern of the prophecy shifts the focus back and forth between Jerusalem and the Messiah. In this pattern, it is the Messiah who confirms the covenant for seven years. (See Sequence of Events for a discussion of the poetic pattern.)
(2) That article also shows that the prophecy is structured as a chiasm. In a chiasm, the first item corresponds to the last, the second to the second last, etc. In Daniel 9, in this chiasm, the "one week" in verse 27 corresponds to the Messiah.
(3) In verse 26, the subject is “the people of the prince;” not the prince. The main person in verse 26 is the "Messiah." He is, therefore, the appropriate antecedent for “he” in verse 27.
(4) Verse 26 describes the prince as “to come.” “The prince of Greece” is also “to come” (Dan 10:20). But he is a supernatural being representing the Greek Empire (Dan 10:16, 18). This implies that “the prince” of 9:26 is also a supernatural being; representing the Roman Empire. The “he” of verse 27, who is a human being, therefore, cannot refer back to the prince in verse 26.
(5) The Messiah arrives at the end of the 69th week (v25). Given the goals in verse 24, this causes us to expect great things. This implies that it is the Messiah who does the great things in the 70th week.
(6) The “he” of verse 27 also “put a stop to sacrifice.” Given that the purpose of the 490 years includes “to make atonement for iniquity” (v24) through killing the messiah (v26), “he” is the Messiah. His death solved the sin problem of the world. The Jewish sacrifices did not stop immediately but did point forward to the Lamb of God and lost their meaning when He died.
During those last seven years, Jesus confirmed God’s covenant with Israel: Never before or after in human history has God appealed so strongly for the heart of any nation as He did, firstly, through Christ's personal ministry on earth for 3½ years and, secondly, through the Holy Spirit during the 2 to 4 years after He died.
For a further discussion, see here.