Bible Question:

Why do some rabbis say Daniel 9:24-26 is not about Christ?

Bible Answer:

Why do the rabbis say Daniel 9:24-26 is not about Christ?” The answer to the question is not due to a difference in the interpretation of the verse, but due to preference or choice. In order to demonstrate this point, we will focus primarily on their interpretation of Daniel 9:24-26. What follows presents five points that help to explain why some rabbis claim that Daniel 9:24-26 is not about Jesus Christ.

Hebrew Bible

Protestant Bible v.s. the Hebrew Bible

First, one rabbi has claimed the Hebrew text of the Protestant Bibles reads differently than the Hebrew text or Masoretic text. The claim is that the Tanakh (the Jewish or Hebrew Bible) is accurate to the Masoretic text. But that comment ignores the fact that usually the Hebrew text is the common text from which both Protestant Bibles and the Tanakh are translated.

Second, even if we were to assume there are differences in the Hebrew texts used for both Protestant Bibles and the Tanakh, the critical issue is their translation. As an example, we will compare the translation of Daniel 9:24-27 in the Tanakh, produced by the Jewish Publication Society’s (JPS) to the 1995 New American Standard Bible (NASB), published by the Lockman Foundation. Here is the passage in the 1995 New American Standard Bible.

New American Standard Bible (NASB) 1995

24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.

25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. Daniel 9:24-26 (NASB)

Now here is Daniel 9:24-26 in the Jewish Study Bible.

Jewish Study Bible (JPS)

24 Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city until the measure of transgressions is filled and that of sin completed until iniquity is expiated, and eternal righteousness ushered in; and prophetic vision ratified, and the Holy of Holies anointed.

25 You must know and understand: From the issuance of the word to re­store and rebuild Jerusalem until the [time of the] anointed leader is seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it will be re­built, square and moat, but in a time of distress.

26 And after those sixty-two weeks, the anointed one will disappear and vanish. The army of a leader who is to come will de­stroy the city and the sanctuary, but its end will come through a flood. Desolation is decreed until the end of war. Daniel 9:24-26 (JPS)

The comparison reveals the two translations have a few differences. The differences include word order, variations in translation of Hebrew words, and additions of words that are not contained in the Hebrew text. Some of these differences are minor and do not fundamentally change the meaning, but some are major and significantly change the meaning.

For example in verse 24, the Lockman Foundation translated the Hebrew text in the NASB as “to anoint the most holy place,” but the JPS’ Tanakh reads “the Holy of Holies anointed.” The NASB followed the order of the Hebrew words, but the Tanakh reversed the order of the words.

Another example is that the Tankah translation of verse 24 says “Holy of Holies,” which is equivalent to “the most holy place.” The NASB translated the Hebrew text as “the most holy place.” They are equivalent terms.

In addition, the JPS translation has inserted the words “time of the” in brackets in verse 25 to alert the reader that they had added some words. But why did they do this? It appears they wanted the reader to disconnect the “seven weeks” from the “sixty-two weeks.” If so, they should have left such a decision to the reader, but that may not be accurate. Biblical scholars are divided about the significance of the separation. It appears the translators wanted to influence the reader’s conclusion. Such differences do subtly alter the meaning of the Hebrew  text, and show that the JPS translation is not precise.

The next important difference between the NASB and the JPS occurs in verse 25 because the NASB reads as “Messiah the Prince,” but the Tanakh reads as “anointed leader.”  So, why did the JPS translate the Hebrew text so differently in the Tanakh? Why did the JPS avoid the phrase “Messiah the Prince” and use “anointed leader”?

First, the JPS did not choose the translation “anointed leader” because it is more accurate. For, the NASB translates the Hebrew word nagid as “prince” and the JPS translates nagid as “leader.” The point is they translated the same Hebrew word so very differently. The literal meaning of nagid is “one in front.” But it can be and has been translated as “king, prince, and leader.” That means the Lockman Foundation and JPS translated the same word differently.

Second, the Lockman Foundation translated another Hebrew word as “Messiah” but the JPS chose “anointed.” The Hebrew word is “mashiah.” Victor P. Hamilton in his commentary on Daniel states this word is normally used almost exclusively for “king.”[2] For example, Genesis 49:10 and Numbers 24:17 indicate that the future Messiah will be a king. So the NASB’s translation of the Hebrew word “mashiah” as Messiah is consistent with the normal translation of the Hebrew word and corresponds to those two prophecies. But notice that in the JPS footnotes of the Tanakh, the authors wrote this about the Hebrew word “mashiah” in verses 25 and 26,

“The word anointed in vv. 25 and 26 is the Heb “mashiah” (Messiah); thus these vv. have given rise to much Christian spec­ulation.”[3]

The JPS’ footnote states the Hebrew word “mashiah” means Messiah. That supports the NASB’s translation  of Messiah. But note that the JPS intentionally translated “mashiah” in their version of the Tanakh as “anointed” to avoid it reading Messiah. It appears they did this because Christians would understand it to refer to Christ. This is the major difference between the NASB and the JPS translation of Daniel 9:25. This significant difference between the NASB and JPS is a matter of translator’s choice.  It is not due to a difference in Hebrew text. It is not due to a more accurate Hebrew text. It was a translator’s choice. We should also notice the JPS translated the Hebrew word “mashiah” as anointed again in Psalm 2:2, but then in the footnote of that verse, they state the word was used in post-biblical literature to refer to the ideal future Davidic king. Then the footnote adds the original meaning of the Hebrew word was Messiah.[4]

This means the JPS is deceptive in its translation of Daniel 9:25-26. It purposely altered the meaning of “mashiah” to avoid the word Messiah, because it would point to Jesus Christ. That means the NASB is more accurate to the Hebrew text. So, those rabbis who claim the Hebrew text of our Protestant Bibles reads differently than the Hebrew text of the Tanakh seek to deceive the lay person.

Rabbinic Views About Daniel 9:24-26

Third, evidence does exist that some ancient rabbis did believe that Daniel 9:24-26 refers to the Messiah and not a nameless individual called the anointed leader. Risto Santana states,

Ibn Ezra [stated that “there is a clear given of the Messiah in the prophecy of Daniel. And indeed: Daniel  9:24-6 gives a definition of the time of the Christ’s coming.”[5]

The following book is recommended because it provides extensive documentation from rabbinic writings that the rabbis before the time of Christ agreed with the Christian interpretation of Old Testament Messianic prophecies.

Risto Santala. The Messiah In the Old Testament. Karen Ahvah Meshihit. Jerusalem. 1992. It is translated from Finnish by William Kinnaird.

Rabbinic Interpretation Has Changed

Fourth, the data shows that the rabbis have changed their interpretation of the Hebrew word “mashiah” because they have rejected Jesus Christ and want to avoid the appearance that Jesus fulfills this prophecy. But the ancient Jews who lived before the time of Jesus had a different understanding than the modern day rabbis. Rabbis today refuse to accept the historic understanding of the prophecy that existed before Christ was born, was crucified, and resurrected because they reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The truth is Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of Psalm 2:2; Daniel 9:24-26; and Micah 5:2.

The following articles will be encouraging to every Christian since there is solid proof that rabbis before the time of Christ believed Psalm 2:2; Daniel 9:24-26; and Micah 5:2 referred to the Messiah.

Did ancient Jews believe the Messiah would arrive in the first century A.D.?

Jewish Rabbis Believed Micah 5:2 Is About the Messiah

Rejection of Christ Affects Interpretation

Fifth, we should not be surprised that the rabbis reject the view that Daniel’s seventy weeks refers to the Messiah and to Jesus Christ. Since the time of Christ, Judaism has rejected Christ as their Messiah. This is objectively evident since they removed Isaiah 53 “from the Synagogue’s annual haphtaroth on the prophets and from the mediaeval Rabbis.”[6] But Isaiah 52 and 54 are read. Why do they skip that one chapter? Because anyone who objectively reads Isaiah 53 will realize it describes Christ. For more information visit,

Why do most Jews not believe Christ is the promised Messiah?


Unfortunately, some rabbis are influenced by their forefathers and reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah. So, any passage that points to Him is rejected.

The fulfillment of the Daniel 9:24-26 prophecy occurs within about one week of Messiah’s death. It points to the time of the death as April 1, A.D. 33. That is when Christ died on the cross. That is the meaning of Daniel 9:24-26. For those interested in understanding the fulfillment of the prophecy, please read,

Prophecy of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks – Daniel 9:24-27




1. The Jewish Study Bible Tanakh Translation, Oxford University Press. 1999. p. 1660-1661.
2. Victor P. Hamilton, “1255 מָשַׁח,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke. Moody Press. 1999, p. 531.
3. Ibid., p. 1660.
4. Ibid., p. 1285.
5. Risto Santala. The Messiah In the Old Testament. Karen Ahvah Meshihit. Jerusalem. 1992. p. 98-99.
5. Ibid. p. 201.

Suggested Links:

Why is Daniel’s prophecy in 9:25-27 so vital to understanding the future?
How does 483 biblical years convert to 476 Gregorian years and 25 days?
Is it significant the 7 weeks and 62 weeks are separated in Daniel 9:25?