Bible students who believe in one of the various forms of preterism (the teaching that events like Daniel's 70 weeks, Matthew 24, and most of the book of Revelation have already been fulfilled) generally poke fun at those who, like myself, believe in a parenthesis of time between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel 9. I've got one book here in my office that calls such a teaching "silly putty exegesis." However, what most of these people do not realize (or either do not consider) is that if they believe in the first coming and the second coming of the Messiah then they already believe in the parenthesis or gap, they just may not have realized it yet.
The student of Scripture knows that Yeshua came the first time and after his death and resurrection lived on the earth for a short period of time. He then, according to Acts 1:9-11 was taken up into heaven, a cloud receiving Him, in the presence of His disciples. As the disciples watched this two men in white clothing stood by and said to them this, "This Yeshua, who has been taken from you into heaven will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven." This proves that Yeshua will come back physically and visibly to this earth, i.e. in the same way that they saw him leave into heaven. This has not taken place; it most assuredly did not take place in 70 A.D. when many preterists believe Yeshua "came" in judgment upon the nation of Israel. Regardless of how much they attempt to "stretch" Scripture to teach such doctrine there is no way to read Acts 1:9-11 and say that Yeshua came in 70 A.D.in the same way that He left in Acts 1:9-11. The fact is this, there has been a gap of time, a parenthesis, between His first coming to this earth and His second coming to this earth.
More than one text could be looked at here but I would like to point out the parallel in Luke 4:14-21 and Isaiah 61:1-2. In Luke 4 Yeshua enters a synagogue on the Sabbath day and has the opportunity to read from the scroll of Isaiah. The place He read from was what we now call Isaiah 61, even though Yeshua would have never called it Isaiah 61 - there were no chapter and verse subdivisions in the scroll Yeshua held in his hands. He read this Scripture:
The Spirit of the Lord (Yahweh) is on me,
because He (Yahweh) has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's (Yahweh's) favor. [Luke 4:18-19 HCSB]
Here Yeshua directly quotes Isaiah 61:1-2 and then gives the scroll back to the attendant in the synagogue. He proclaims to those watching Him that today this Scripture has been fulfilled. It must have been an amazing moment.
What is also amazing is that when we consult the text in Isaiah we see that Yeshua stopped right in the middle of what the prophet Isaiah said. The prophet Isaiah adds this after the last sentence Yeshua read:
...and the day of our Elohim's vengeance... [Isaiah 61:2 HCSB]
I would ask you to open your Bible and look at Luke 4:18-19 and compare it with Isaiah 61:1-2. It will be clear that although Isaiah continued on to speak about the day of Yahweh's vengeance, Yeshua did not read that part of the scroll in the synagogue that day. Why? The only reason that we can arrive at is this: the portion Yeshua read was being fulfilled at His first coming, but the day of Yahweh's vengeance would be fulfilled at His - yet future - second coming. This shows that the prophecy of Isaiah, though appearing on the surface to be speaking of one singular coming, is actually talking about two separate comings. Yet right in the middle of two sentences we have a gap of time; the same gap I discussed briefly in dealing with Acts 1:9-11.
So much more can be said about this, but for now let me just add that this is exactly what is happening in Daniel 9:25-27. We read of two occurrences after the first 69 weeks, one of which involves the first coming of the Messiah. There must however be a gap of time between the 69th and 70th week because that is the only way you can have the two occurrences in Daniel 9:26 happening after 62 (or 69) weeks but before the 70th week of Daniel 9:27. The gap is none other than the time span that exists in the minds of all those who believe in the physical first coming of Messiah as well as in the physical second coming of Messiah.
Daniel's 70 Weeks
I am looking forward to teaching on the 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24-27 again tonight. I started last week by walking through verses 24 and 25 mostly and then beginning to cover verse 26. Tonight I will be discussing why I believe there must be a parenthesis (often called a "gap") between the 69th and 70th week. Some people have mocked this idea calling it "silly putty exegesis" or something similar. These people claim that the only reason anyone places a gap between the 69th and 70th week is because of an existing bias towards a particular eschatalogical system. I contend that such is not the case.
I believe that a consistent, exegetical approach to Daniel 9:24-27 forces one to believe that the 70th week of this prophecy has not yet taken place. Most all believers in Scripture (both OT and NT) actually already believe in this gap but just do not realize it. Let me explain. If you believe in the 1st coming of Messiah (spoken of in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,) and then also believe in a 2nd visible coming of Messiah (Acts 1:9-11) then you believe in an extended "gap" period of time between these two comings. I believe that this is the exact gap that a detailed study of Daniel's 70 weeks shows.
Daniel 9:26 says precisely that after 62 weeks (69 counting the previous 7; 9:25) the Messiah will be cut off. Take note carefully that the Messiah the Prince (vs. 25) is cut off AFTER the 62 weeks and not during the 62 weeks. Notice also that He is cut off BEFORE the 70th week of Daniel 9:27.
Also take special note that there is something else "sandwiched" between the 69th and 70th weeks - the destruction of the city and the sanctuary of the people of Israel. This took place in A.D. 70 when the Romans ransacked Jerusalem destroying the temple and the city altogether.
In these two things we learn that Yeshua's death and the destruction of Jerusalem would both take place AFTER the 62 weeks yet before the 70th week is spoken about. Yeshua was "cut off" around 33 A.D. and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. approximately 37 YEARS after Yeshua's death. Thus the 70th week of years (final 7 year period) did not take place consecutively after the 69th week of years.
There is much more to be said, but I just wanted to put the thoughts swarming through my head today down in "ink." I'll be posting tonight's sermon titled "Is There a Gap in the 70 Weeks?" just as soon as I'm able. Listen to this sermon for further details.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.