The “Anointed One” Will Be “Cut-Off”: A Response to Ken Temple and the Christian Abuse of Daniel 9:26
Originally Posted on the Quran and Bible Blog
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم
“After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing.”
– Daniel 9:26
This article is a brief response to the Christian apologist Ken Temple’s appeal to the text of Daniel 9:26 as a “prophecy” about the alleged death of Jesus (peace be upon him). Specifically, Temple appealed to the Hebrew word כָּרַת (karath) as being a direct reference to the death of the son of Mary as part of a “covenant”. Here is what Temple claimed (quoting a certain Pastor Kim Riddlebager):
“We also should take note of the fact that the verb used here, “cut off” is kârat, which is used in Genesis 15:10, 18 in regard to the covenant ratification ceremony when the animals were cut in two in Abram’s dream. The animals were “cut off” (i.e., killed). A similar verb is used by Isaiah to refer to the suffering messianic servant yet to come (Isaiah 53:8). “By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?” In light of the larger purpose of the seventy weeks prophecy, there can be little doubt that it is Jesus who was “cut off” as a means, in part, of accomplishing the six things which bring seventy weeks to their fulfillment.”
On the surface, this appears to be an impressive argument. But is it really? What follows will be an analysis of this claim. As a result of this analysis, we will see that this argument is just another example of how Christian apologists cherry-pick isolated verses from the Tanakh and subjectively apply them anachronistically to the New Testament.
Karath in Daniel 9:26 – Much Ado About Nothing
Let us analyze the claim above piece by piece. First, the appeal was made to Genesis 15:10 and 15:18:
“Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.”
“On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates…”
As for Genesis 15:10, the Christian apologists are just plain wrong. The root word karath is not used in this verse at all! Here is a screenshot of the Hebrew root words taken from blueletterbible.org:
As can be seen, karath is not listed in the text. Rather, the word is בָּתַר (bathar), which means to “cut up” or “divide”.
As for Genesis 15:18, it is true that the word karath is used:
So this verse does use the same word as found in Daniel 9:26:
According to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, karath means “to cut” or “to cut off”, and can have various other meanings depending on the context (as in “to make a covenant”; sort of like saying “to cut a deal” in English). But does the use of the same word in Genesis 15:18 and Daniel 9:26 somehow prove that the “Anointed One’s” death in the latter was supposed to represent a new “covenant”, as Christians believe? There is actually no reason to accept this proposition. As stated, karath can be used in reference to making a “covenant”. But this is true only when it is used together with another word: בְּרִית (bĕriyth; literally, “covenant”). This is clearly stated in Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon:
Obviously then, since Daniel 9:26 does not include the word bĕriyth, it cannot be implying any sort of “covenant” in the form of the “Anointed One’s” death.
The other verse the Christian apologists appealed to was Isaiah 53:8, which is part of the larger narrative about the “suffering servant”. Christians insist that this “servant” is the Messiah, but the context suggests that it is the nation of Israel as a whole. But even if we accept the Christian claim, it makes little difference with regard to the alleged link to Daniel 9:26. The reason once again is, as with Genesis 15:10, that the word karath is not used in Isaiah 53:8! One would think the apologists would have done their homework before making such silly claims. It appears that they were just relying on the translations, instead of analyzing the Hebrew text.
As can be seen, the root word translated as “cut off” is גָּזַר (gazar), not karath. The specific word used in the text is niḡ-zar. Moreover, in the context of Isaiah 53:8, gazar does not imply “killing” as is implied with the word karath in Daniel 9:26. Rather, it literally means “to be separated” or “excluded”, as stated in Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon:
Based on this evidence, we can easily dismiss the following claim of the apologists:
“[i]n light of the larger purpose of the seventy weeks prophecy, there can be little doubt that it is Jesus who was “cut off” as a means, in part, of accomplishing the six things which bring seventy weeks to their fulfillment.”
There is actually “little doubt” that these apologists twist their own scripture to anachronistically force their Christian interpretations into it.
Though it has been sufficiently demonstrated that Temple’s attempts to force a link between Daniel 9:26 and other supposedly “Messianic” verses are delusional and deceptive, we can add more weight of evidence by looking at other uses of the word karath in the Bible. This will further prove that it has nothing to do with a dying Messiah at all, at least with regards to Daniel 9:26.
To use Temple’s logic (quoting Kim Riddlebager), since the word karath was allegedly used “in regard to the covenant ratification ceremony” in Genesis 15:10 and 15:18 and could be applied to the “Messiah” in Isaiah 53:8 (both claims which were clarified and debunked), and was also used in Daniel 9:26 to refer to the “Anointed One’s” death (being “cut off”), it somehow proves that the one who was “cut off” was Jesus (peace be upon him). Let us put that “logic” to the test.
Would Temple and his ilk also claim that Asherah, the pagan goddess of Canaanite mythology, was also the “Anointed One” of Daniel 9:26? We read in Judges 6:25 that God commanded Gideon to “cut down” (tiḵ-rōṯ, from the root word karath) the “Asherah pole” that the Israelites had set-up during one of their many entanglements with paganism throughout their history:
“That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down (tiḵ-rōṯ) the Asherah pole beside it.”
Would it not be just as likely that the Asherah pole was representative of the Messiah since both were “cut off” or “cut down”? Of course, to insinuate this simply because the same root word was used to refer to both would be foolish and downright stupid. But then why are apologists like Temple so quick to use such an argument when it suits their purpose?
Finally, just in case the apologists respond by misusing the actual word (yik-kā-rêṯ) in Daniel 9:26 that is derived from the root word karath, let us also analyze the usage of this word in the Bible. The same word is used in Joshua 9:23, where Joshua sentenced the Gibeonites to slavery for their “deception” to save themselves from being exterminated:
“You are now under a curse: You will never be released (yik-kā-rêṯ) from service as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”
Another place this word is used is Leviticus 17:14:
“…because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off (yik-kā-rêṯ).”
Since the same word is used in Daniel 9:26, Joshua 9:23, and Leviticus 17:14, then the Gibeonites and any Israelite who ate forbidden food must have been representatives of the Messiah! Or so the “logic” of the Christian apologists would lead us to believe. Of course, such arguments belong in the dustbin.
Hopefully, Temple has learned his lesson and will do his homework and avoid such silly arguments in the future, inshaAllah.
And Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best!
 As it turns out, the verse next verse (9:27) uses the word “bĕriyth” to refer to the “covenant” made by the “ruler” with the Jews. Many Christians believe this is referring to the 7 year “covenant” that the “Anti-Christ” will make in the future. But the historical context shows that this “ruler” was none other than Antiochus IV, the Seleucid king who persecuted the Jews in the 2nd century BCE. See our article on the book of Daniel for more on this: https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/the-book-of-daniel/.