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.
I've been teaching through Daniel now for about 3 months and I've finally gotten to the prophetic portion of the book; the part that so many people want to talk about; the part that so many people have disagreements about. I find it fascinating to say the least.
One thing that I've been looking at is this: how a person views the prophetic portions of the book of Daniel will determine how this same person views other texts such as Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 3, Revelation, etc. I thought I had somewhat of an understanding of some of these prophetic texts, but I have come to see that some of what I thought I understood, I actually did not understand. The reason? Not digging deeply into the book of Daniel which comes prior to all of these other prophetic texts.
When it comes to the intial stage of the Kingdom of Yahweh or the Messianic Kingdom there are basically three views.
To get a bit more technical there are two branches of the pre-millennial view defined best as "historic pre-millennialism" and "futuristic pre-millennialism." But for the sake of brevity we will keep it at 3 views for now.
Both the a-millennial position and the post-millennial position deny that there will be a literal 1,000 year earthly reign/kingdom of the Messiah. A-millennialism doesn't really believe in a millennium (as its title suggests) believing rather that the 1st coming of Yeshua (his death, resurrection, etc.) was the fulfillment of the binding of Satan mentioned in Revelation 20. The "millennium" is simply a figure of speech meaning a long time. They believe that the church will continue to be persecuted and will receive a greater amount of persecution just before the second or consummating coming of the Messiah. This second coming will bring on the eternal kingdom where we will live forever in heaven with the Messiah.
Post-millennialism is extremely similar minus one major point. Those in this "camp" believe that Yeshua's first coming brought on the "millennium" (still figurative), but instead of the church suffering, they believe that things on this current earth will continue to get better and better and that the church will eventually gain control and dominance over the earth to usher in the second coming of Messiah, the eternal kingdom, living in heaven forever.
What is the same in both views is that the Messianic Kingdom is current, and that it is a figurative kingdom ruled from heaven through the agency of the church. I find both of these positions very hard to swallow in light of what we read in both Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 concerning the timeline of prophecy and the kingdom of Yahweh.
I'll be brief here. All four kingdoms (represented by precious metals in Daniel 2 and vicious beasts in Daniel 7) represent literaly, earthly reigns/kingdoms whereby literal laws and rule govern a literal realm. Every single place in the book of Daniel where the word kingdom (Hebrew = "malkoo") is used means exactly this. When the Messianic Kingdom comes on the scene as the stone in Daniel 2 and the Son of Man receiving the kingdom from the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7, it is not good exegesis of the texts to move from earthly kingdoms to a Messianic Kingdom that is not an earthly kingdom reality, but rather runs along contemporaneous with the many man-made kingdoms of the earth in our current time, or really for the last 2,000 years.
The Messianic Kingdom in both chapters of Daniel comes on the scene after the fourth beast is judged and killed. History teaches us that the Romans Empire (the fourth beast) continued at least in its first form strongly until the end of the 4th century A.D. This does not align with the prophetic portions of Daniel. This must mean that there will be a final form or revival of this Roman Empire yet in the future out of which will arise 10 contemporaneous kings, and and 11th king (the little horn) that will govern for 3 1/2 years. At the conclusion of this final form of the fourth beast the Messianic Kingdom will come on the scene. Yeshua will return and the literal 1,000 year reign of Messiah (spoken of 6 times in Revelation 20) will commence.
Do Not Be Defiled
I started teaching through the book of Daniel last night at our local congregation and I can see already that it is not only going to be educational but also enjoyable. When you "sink yourself" into an entire book of Scripture, studying the book verse by verse and sometimes word by word you really come away with a much better knowledge of what the text means.
Daniel was most likely a young man, not even above 20 years old, and was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonians. During the beginning of his "sojourn" in Babylon he was given a new name (Belteshazzar) and was told to learn the literature of Babylon. He was also given the meat of the King of Babylon to eat and the wine of the King of Babylon to drink. It is at this point that Daniel drew the line. The Scripture states (Daniel 1:8) that he had purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portions from the Kings table and thus made a request to the Kings chief official that he might not defile himself but rather be given food and drink suitable to his way of life.
Picture yourself being in a strange land, governed by a very powerful ruler, and being chosen to serve in this rulers palace. Now picture yourself being so dedicated to Yahweh your God that you refuse to eat and drink what this King had given to you. That is dedication.
You know though, Daniel did not just march in and point his finger at the chief official, he made a request of him (Daniel 1:8). His humility in the situation helped gain him respect with the chief official, and Daniel was able to eat the diet he chose for 3 years time (Daniel 1:5, 8-18).
Why did Daniel refuse the Kings meat? It is possible that the meat was unclean and forbidden for a Judahite like Daniel. The Torah gives us a menu of the animals that are permissible and that are forbidden (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14). But what about the wine? The Torah does not forbid the drinking of wine, only drunkeness is condemned. Could it be that the wine had been used in worship (as a drink offering of sorts) to the many gods of the Babylonians?
However we understand Daniel's refusal we need to learn that even in our circumstances where we may think we do not have the option of remaining true to Yahweh's law we just may have to step out on faith and refuse to defile our self. Daniel did, and he was given knowledge 10 times greater than all the wise men in Babylon (Daniel 1:20). This meant that he was given a "top seat" in the Babylonian government.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.