Daniel's 70 Weeks: Gap Or No; Jews Only - Part 2

Daniel 9:24-27 NASB

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. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the weekhe will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of  abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” 

In Part I of this series on Daniel's 70 Weeks, we saw the prophecy is for the Jewish people and/or the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem (See Verse 24 above).  However, the prophecy finds its ultimate fulfillment in the life and ministry of Yeshua - Jesus. 

We also proved from the Scriptures a week in the Hebrew language related to this text is not seven days, but a period of seven years. I recommend if you have not read Part I to read it before trying to understand Part 2 (See the Prophecy Section right side bar). Breaking the text down into its key points helps to remove some of the complexities of the prophecy.  The key points are:

1. A Period of 70 Weeks (actually 490 years - 70 x 7) have been determined to accomplish the following to the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem:
    - finish the transgression
    - put an end to sin
    - atone for iniquity
    - bring in everlasting righteousness
    - seal up vision and prophet (Hebrew gives prophet not prophecy
    - anoint the most holy (Note: the word place was added to the original text - the Textus Receptus or the Received Text [KJV,] so the it begs the question who or what is anointed).
2. A decree is issued to restore and rebuild THE CITY OF JERUSALEM as it had been destroyed by Babylon beginning in 606 B.C.  The dilemma is what decree and to whom issued.
3. A period of seven weeks (49 years) and sixty-two weeks (434 years) for a total of sixty-nine weeks or 483 years are involved with the coming of Messiah the Prince (Yeshua - Jesus) in His first advent). 
4. AFTER the 62 weeks (434 years) Messiah the Prince shall be cut off and have nothing (KJV says not for Himself).  
5. The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary (temple).
6. Its end (Jerusalem) will come with a flood (a flood here means an outrageous overflowing); to the very end Jerusalem will experience much war, which will cause desolation's (means to stun, numb, to be amazed or astonished)
7. He (who is this) will make a firm or strong covenant with [the] many (who are they) for one week (7 years).
8. In the middle of the week, he (who is this) will break the covenant and put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering (all are related to temple worship and rituals). 
9. On a wing of abominations a desolator will come, but it has been decreed that he will be completely destroyed, that is by God.  (Note:  the Greek meaning of the word wing, is the farthest extremity of something; in the context is means the worst imaginable abomination with nothing to compare it too. 

These key points will help you to understand the meaning of this important prophecy and as the series advances. I recommend you read them several times with the text before you until the truth gets into your spirit.

I previously mentioned in my study and research of Daniel's 70 Weeks, that I discovered a couple of commentators (not well known) that I believe address this prophecy better than any that I had read and that is countless books and articles over a 45 year period.  Before I introduce the commentators, I need to mention what has been accepted as the majority position on Daniel 9:24-27, namely, traditional dispensational pretribulationism as promoted by the futurist's doctors of theology:

Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, one of the premier fathers of modern day futurism, says in his book, Things To Come (the manual for dispensationalists) the entire seven-year tribulation is the Day of the Lord, which I debunk in great detail in my book, The Day of the Lord, The Key To Understanding End-Time Prophecy, as well he takes the position there is a gap between the sixty-two weeks and the final week, which is the Church Age, but not between the first seven weeks and the sixty two weeks. 

The one gap between the sixty-two weeks and the final one week is of utmost importance to pretribulationists in promoting the pretribulation rapture (living believers are taken from the world just prior to the tribulation and the appearing of the Antichrist to join the dead resurrected saints in the air and then taken to heavenly mansions during the entire seven-year tribulation).  The gap, if there is one, between the sixty-two weeks and the final week is not proof of itself of a pretribulation rapture since the 70 weeks consummate with the ending of the Tribulation Period and the rapture occurs at the beginning of the posttrib Day of the Lord. It is not even necessary to attempt to prove the Church must be removed before God can resume his program with Israel. God is saving both Jews and Gentiles today and bringing them into His Church - the One New Man.  The only reason to promote a separate program for Israel and the Church is to protect the pretribulation rapture.  Failure to understand the Israel of God's relationship to the Church and the purpose of the Day of the Lord has led to this error.  The Lord asks Israel why they look forward to the Day of the Lord for they do not understand it and neither do most theologians today: 

Amos 5:18 NASB

18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you?It will be darkness and not light;

My point is the futurists promote the gap theory primarily to prove the rapture occurs before the tribulation period not so much as to advance the continuity of the 70 Weeks as having to do  with the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.  If the rapture occurs after the tribulation has ended, which is does, then it has nothing to do with the 70 Weeks. Now I know what some may be thinking, which is, if the Church remains on earth during the final one week (70th Week) then is it not also part of the 70th Week making the fulfillment not solely Jewish? Think of it this way.  In all of Israel's periods of judgments (two temples destroyed and the city of Jerusalem ransacked numerous times and even today is a divided city, the Gentiles and the Church have shared in the history of Israel and Judah for several millennia. The Church has co-existed with Israel and the Jewish people for almost two thousand years, which involved the last destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. All of the years when the 490 years of Daniel's prophecy were/are being completed to the Jews, the Gentile nations and the Church were/are part of that fulfillment even though the purpose of the 70 Weeks is for Daniel's people, the Jews and the city of Jerusalem.  

Now let's move on to the the first commentator, Dr. Fred G. Zaspel, and his article, Daniel's "Seventy Weeks", An Historical and Exegetical Analysis.  (He has a PhD from the Free University of Amsterdam and serves as the pastor at Reformed Baptist Church in Franconia, Pennsylvania, an adjunct professor of systematic theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the executive director of Books At a Glance. He is the co-author of New Covenant Theology and has published numerous booklets, articles, and book reviews). 

The following is my review of his exceptional exegesis of Daniel's 70 Weeks:

He begins his analysis of the 70 Weeks with an important statement - Final decision regarding the interpretation of any Old Testament prophecy can be made of course, only after the New Testament citations/allusions to that prophecy are taken into account.  Daniel 9:24-27 is treated by the New Testament authors at least three times:  In Matthew 24:15, Jesus' makes reference to the abomination of desolation. However, Dr. Zaspel makes a distinction to the point of reference Jesus referred to (very few do that) in that the desolating abominable idol is mentioned in both Daniel 11:31 and 12:11.  I agree with him that most prophecy experts acknowledge Daniel 11:31 refers to Antiochus Epiphanes (the Syrian) placing an idol of Zeus in the Holy of Holies of the temple in Jerusalem (168 B.C.). Since Jesus' prophecy was some 200 years after that incident as well as a future fulfillment from 30 A.D. (Christ gave His Olivet Discourse as recorded in Matthew 24 a few days before his crucifixion and resurrection), then His reference must be to Daniel 12:11 and the same as Daniel 9:27.   Dr. Zaspel says, in both cases the thought connects the ending of sacrifices with the abomination of desolation and it would be difficult to demonstrate any reference to Daniel 12:11 as over against Daniel 9:27 as the two speak of the same.  In His Olivet Discourse then, Jesus makes specific reference to Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks:

Matthew 24:15 NASB

15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

Daniel 11:31 NASB

Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.

Daniel 12:11 NASB

11 From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be1,290 days.

Notice Daniel 11:31 does not mention a specific period as does Daniel 12:11 which is 30 days longer than Revelation 12:7 (no one can deny this verse, which mentions the 1260 days is understood to have a future fulfillment even from our time. Therefore, it should be clear Jesus' reference in Matthew 24:15 ties to Daniel 9:27, 12:11 and Revelation 12:7 since Christ is the author of the Book of Revelation (John was simply Jesus' scribe). 

(2)  A comparison of Daniel's 70th Week with 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13 demonstrates further the New Testament dependence upon this passage. They have in common among other things - the idol, the blasphemy in the temple and a three and one half year reign. Dr. Zaspel has a table showing the characteristics of the coming prince as outlined in Daniel 9, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13 (Instead of inserting the table, I will list the Scripture passages):

Daniel 9:27 NASB

27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the  middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of [a]abominations will come one who [b]makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who [c]makes desolate.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come (The Day of the Lord- emphasis mine) unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God

Revelation 13 NASB

And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

Notice the similarities:  In Daniel 9:27, [he] makes a firm covenant with many for one seven or one week (7 years) then after 3 1/2 years he breaks the covenant by stopping temple worship and causes the abomination of desolation (Look back up at the 9 key points I gave for Daniel 9). 2 Thessalonians 2 says the posttrib Day of the Lord will not come until two events happen first, namely the great end-time apostasy, which we are in now and the man of sin or lawlessness is revealed who exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship and takes his seat (position of authority) in the temple of God claiming to be God (not just any god, but the sovereign Lord of the Universe - the Father God, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit). This is the height of blasphemy.   Then in Revelation 13, this arrogant beast who derives his power from Satan is given 42 months to reign. He blasphemes God, His name (that is a reference to Yeshua - Jesus) and His tabernacle (the one in heaven) and those who dwell in Heaven (the holy angels and the departed saints - see the 5th seal in Revelation 6).  

Dr. Zaspel says this link to Daniel's prophecy to the Lord's Olivet Discourse and other New Testament eschatological passages make Daniel's prophecy pivotal. It provides the key and establishes the framework of further prophetic discussion. Understanding it properly is critical then to the proper understanding of prophecy as a whole. 

This is all I have time for tonight, but in Part 3 we shall look at Dr. Zaspel's handling of the Significance of the Term, "Seventy Seven", and the Historical Data.

Source of excerpts, Daniel's "Seventy Weeks", An Historical and Exegetical Analysis. Dr. Fred G. Zaspel. 

You may want to go ahead and read his article as I will be writing my review based on the entire article.  It is an outstanding article that is accurate to the original Hebrew with fresh insights into the interpretive meaning.