Is there proof that the prince in Daniel 9:27 is not Jesus of Nazareth? Is there hard proof that psalm 22 is speaking about the Messiah?
First of all, such things do not lend themselves to “proof.” Anyone who claims he or she has “proved” who the prince in Daniel 9:27 is should be ignored for the very reason that they claim to have proof when such “proof” is literally impossible to obtain. The same goes for Psalm 22. The best we can do with supposed prophecies and their fulfillment is ask what is the most reasonable interpretation. Is it reasonable to assume that this passage is intended to be a prophecy? If so, what is the most reasonable thing about which we should accept the prophecy is talking? Given that, what is the most reasonable way of understanding the original meaning of the prophecy and its fulfillment? So, please do not expect me to prove anything. I will tell you what I believe the most reasonable conclusion is. Sometimes there is only one reasonable conclusion. Then we can be rather confident. Sometimes there is more than one reasonable conclusion, in which case we should be cautious and not make strong statements. When it comes to prophecies about the Messiah it is the cumulative case we should look at. If we look at the cumulative case for the messianic prophecies, I believe there is only one reasonable conclusion, which is that Jesus is the fulfillment of the messianic expectation of the Old Testament.
Now, about the specific examples, let me comment. As I read Daniel 9:24-28 I can reach some conclusions with a very strong sense that 1. It is a prophecy 2. That it is about the Messiah and 3. That it was fulfilled about AD 30 and in the aftermath when Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70. That this is a messianic prophecy, I will refer you to many Q & A’s at this web site. Do a search on Daniel and look for questions and answers about Daniel 9:24-26 and its application to Jesus or get a copy of my book on Daniel (Daniel: Prophet to the Nations at www.ipibooks.com).
If Daniel 9:24-26 is about the death of Jesus of Nazareth in AD 30 in Jerusalem to “atone for wickedness and to bring in everlasting righteousness,” then Daniel 9:27-28 is about the events which followed, when the Abomination of Desolation was seen in the temple. This was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Roman general and future emperor Titus conquered Jerusalem, tore down the city walls, and burned the temple built by Herod to the ground. The events are described in great detail by Josephus in his Jewish Wars. The “people of the ruler who will come to destroy the city and the sanctuary” are quite obviously a reference to the Roman army under Titus. The desolation that happened at that time was that Titus offered a pagan sacrifice right on the site of the original Holy of Holies, desecrating the temple. This is the same event prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24:15-21. In case there is any doubt, Jesus tells us in this passage that his prophecy is of the same event prophesied by Daniel (Matthew 24:15). This may not amount to “proof” but it is VERY strong evidence that the Prince here is either Rome itself or it is Titus, the actual general who did the deed. It certainly is NOT Jesus!!! This would not be a reasonable interpretation, as Jesus would not set up an abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:28). After this, in Daniel 9:27 we are told that the ruler will set up the abomination of desolation on the temple site and that will continue until the end that is decreed for him. Exactly what this “end” is I am not sure. Could it be the end of Tutus’ rule as emperor? Could it be the end of Rome as a conquering power? Could it be the end of pagan Rome, when Constantine made the empire a Christian one? Could it be when Jesus comes back? I am not completely sure.
About Psalm 22, I have written on this several times. I am copying and pasting from the site below. Let me know if this is not sufficient.
In Psalms 22:16-18 is David talking about himself? How do you know this is a messianic prophecy?
We cannot “prove” that David is talking about the Messiah in Psalm 22:16-18. However, if we analyze what is said there, if we take into account the general truth that there are forward-looking messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, and if we look at the life of both Jesus and David, the case for this being a prophecy of the Messiah is extremely strong.
First of all, let us look at the details of this passage. David describes someone (himself? The Messiah?) who has been surrounded by enemies and whose hands and feet have been pierced. We can argue that David is talking about himself, but the chances that David’s hands and feet were indeed pierced seems extremely remote. The fact is that crucifixion was not invented until the 4th century BC by the Persians, as far as we know. Even then, the Persians did not pierce hands and feet. It was the Romans who invented crucifixion by piercing of hands and feet–over eight hundred years after David died. This points strongly toward Jesus about whom it is a historical fact that he was crucified. Next, there is the part about “counting all my bones.” Admittedly, this is a more obscure reference than the piercing of hands and feet, but it just so happens that none of Jesus’ bones were broken, while the legs of the two thieves on either side of him were broken under orders from the Jews who wanted the crucifixions on the eve of the Passover to be ended. If all we had in Psalm 22 was the mentioning of the bones, this would be a weak case for a messianic prophecy, but it supports the conclusion that this is about Jesus. Finally, there is the mentioning of the dividing and the gambling over the clothes of the person described by David. As with the piercing of hands and feet, this is a rather obvious reference to details we know to be true of Jesus, for which it is extremely unlikely that something even remotely like this happened to David. As John 19:23 reports (from an eye-witness to the events), they divided Jesus’ clothing among them but when they came to the more valuable undergarment, they cast lots rather than destroy the cloth made all of one piece. It seems absolutely compelling that the description of Psalm 22:16-18 applies to Jesus and not to David. The conjunction of all the information, arguably, points to Jesus of Nazareth and perhaps to no other person who has ever lived. That David might be talking about himself seems an untenable proposition.
Then there is the general fact that in the Old Testament there are many examples of predictive prophecies which point toward Jesus of Nazareth. The fact is that Psalm 22:16-18 does not stand alone. There is a prophecy that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of a donkey, that he will be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, that he will be pierced, that he will be silent when accused and many more, that he will be born in Bethlehem, but come from Galilee. The overall thrust of the evidence is that it is not just David who speaks about the Messiah in prophetic terms. This adds weight to what would admittedly seem the unlikely event that David would be talking in his poem about a person who would not live for one thousand years after he wrote the poem. David himself has other predictive prophecies, such as Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110:1-4. This fact lends further credence to the conclusion that David is speaking of the Messiah in Psalm 22:16-18.
In conclusion, we cannot “prove” in the mathematical/logical sense that David is talking about the Messiah in Psalm 22:16-18, but the weight of the evidence leans overwhelmingly in that direction. The inference of the evidence is that David is not talking about himself in this famous passage.