After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the troops of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall come with a flood. And until the end of the war desolations are determined.Daniel 9:26 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
I had highlighted this during the week to pursue later. What caught my attention is the phrase “The end of it shall come with a flood.” It in this case would be the city Jerusalem, or better the temple sanctuary in it.
Yet somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember hearing an account of a certain ancient civilization wanting to extract the last vestiges of gold from a sacked place, they flooded it with water. As the water washed through the ruins it then gushed over a grassy plain before eventually finding an outlet to a body of water. The treasure was lifted from the ruins by the water and caught in the grass of the plains. It was then retrieved. I think somewhere in my mind I always want to connect this idea with the temple but can find no sources for even the account. There is plenty of speculation on how the alleged melted gold was retrieved, but that is for another time.
Setting out this morning to try and understand, I have at least settled in my mind what is being said.
“The end of it shall come with a flood.”
In the passage, the word flood is translated from the Hebrew sheṭeph (שֶׁטֶף.) I think I want to read an English primary understanding into the translated word, meaning a flood with water. However, it seems as if the idea conveyed is just overwhelming devastation. A little later in Daniel, that same word is used as connected with armies to convey an overwhelming military army that is swept away.
A flood of armies shall be swept away before him and be broken, and the prince of the covenant as well.Daniel 11:22 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
I think that helps to understand the context being offered. Still not satisfied, I checked out how the Septuagint translated the idea. The English transliteration is something like this:
Will come its end with destructive anger.
I think that better suits the idea as a judgment sent from God and overwhelming on many fronts; militarily, vast and emotional. Given some of the scant historical gleanings, the Israelis were so protective of that sanctuary. That was their identity, as the only ones who could approach and serve God.
Yet clearly in the prophecy, the Anointed One is cut off. We know Jesus was crucified. His death wasn’t for Himself (and shall have nothing.)
It is the troops of the prince who shall come who set to destroy the sanctuary. The command to do so wasn’t from Rome, a local legion set the fire. I can imagine the overwhelming confusion of the moment.
“And until the end of the war desolations are determined.”
Let’s not confuse the term desolations with what is commonly called the abomination of desolation. The former is specifically speaking of the desolations that are decreed to Jerusalem (and its people.) It is this very thing Jesus spoke of in the Olivet discourse. He was speaking of the second diaspora, the scattering of Israelis, and the desolations to come upon the city and its people.
When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you know that its desolation has drawn near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter it. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who nurse in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and will be led away captive to all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.Luke 21:20–24 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
There would be a specific season for this diaspora and will end when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Even in recent history, we continue to see the desolations that happen to the Jewish people; expulsion from Spain, the pogroms in Russia, and the Holocaust. These readily come to mind as modern desolations. Even now we see continued desolations spoken of in our media. The zeitgeist would shame Israel for settlements, for defending herself. The same would also divide Jerusalem for the sake of peace. Even then, the end of war won’t come until Messiah arrives.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.Matthew 24:30–31 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The flood destroyed the city and sanctuary, and with all floods, the aftermath seems hopeless. These are the desolations that are decreed until the end of the war.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:Psalms 122:6–7 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
“May they prosper who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
This is not meant to be an extensive explanation of prophecies, but of clearly understanding that phrase in the light of Scriptures.