Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Pt. 8)

Part Seven

The Church in the Seventieth Week?

Of the several options on the timing of the rapture only the pretribulational view keeps the Body of Christ entirely out of the Seventieth Week of Daniel 9.  But that fact says little if in fact the Church is said in Scripture to go through some or all of it.  To my mind, it is no good trying to place the Body of Christ in the Seventieth Week unless there are solid reasons for doing so and appropriate excuses for diminishing the very Jewish emphasis in passages which do concern this period.

We have seen that God had in mind “Your [i.e. Daniel’s] people” in the prophecy.  It also focused in on “your holy city” – Jerusalem.  It is within this same period that the Olivet Discourse is situated.  And there, as we have seen, Jesus is talking to Jews about Israel.  We get the same story when we look at Daniel 12 or Jeremiah 30.  In the Revelation the Church is not mentioned after chapter 3 and the stress is mainly upon all things Israel (7:3-8; 9:4; 11:1-2, 7-8; 11:19; 12:1, 13-14; 14:1-4; 15:3; 16:16), which is just what one would expect from reading earlier texts.

Paul in Romans 11 uses the term “Gentiles” as a kind of eponym for the Church.  For instance, in 11:11, 12, 13, and especially 11:25 he is pointing out that God has deliberately turned to the Gentiles in this era. Israel as a nation is judicially blinded (11:7-10, 25, and 32), and although there will always be a saved remnant even in the Church (11:5), the fact remains that the Church is predominantly Gentile in complexion.  But Paul says that God will once again turn to Israel (11:24), once “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (11:25b).

I do realize that this does not go on to say “when the Church is removed”.  All I am concerned with is delineating the [national] Israel – Church divide which seems apparent in these passages from Revelation and Romans.  I do not see the Church in any reference to the Seventieth Week.  I do see that God is focused back on Israel as predicted in Daniel 9 (and 7 & 12).  The “fullness of the [saved] Gentiles” must mean something, for it has to be accomplished before this turning can happen.  It can either happen as some Dutch-school amillennialists predict, and God can save a bunch of Jews just prior to Jesus’ return, or it can happen with the rapture of the Church at its completion.  I reject the first option because it ignores an important point in the Apostle’s argument; namely the fact that it is national Israel that is in view (see Rom. 9:1-5, 10; 10:1, 21; 11:1-2, 7, 25-29).  All those approaches which do not recognize this are, I believe, at fault.  This includes those Progressive Dispensationalists who are okay with people becoming “Christians” in the Tribulation, and there being just one people of God.  It also ignores the specific Israeli focus of the Seventieth Week as I understand it.  Those who are fine with God dealing with the Church and the nation of Israel at the same time have not provided a clear rationale for it that I have seen.

Lastly, since the Church shall be married to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25, 32) before Christ comes back (Rev. 19:6-9), I think it reasonable to relate this to a pre (or mid) tribulational rapture (I reject the mid-trib. alternative here because of what I’ve said above).  I think this is grounds for rejecting post-tribulationism, as well as suspecting Pre-Wrath, which needs Christ to return to collect the Church.  This is what forces them (along with some other views), to look for the signs of Matthew 24 with regard to the Church.

Is Imminency a Biblical Teaching?

The pretribulational doctrine of the imminent return of Jesus is not a necessary component of the approach, but the strength of it as a biblical idea definitely reinforces the pretribulational claim.  This position says that the warning signs in the Olivet Discourse are intended for Israel (cf. 1 Cor. 1:22), not the Body of Christ.

1. James 5:8-9 – If Christ cannot return at any moment the coming of the Lord could never be said to be “at hand” and this passage simply makes no sense.

2. 1 Thess. 1:9-10 – The idea here is an expectant waiting for the Lord’s return.  If the “wrath to come” is that of chapter 5:3 and 9, called “the Day of the Lord” (5:2).  This is the “wrath” we have been delivered from.  If my previous argumentation holds any water then this is not wrath after the Second Coming.  If it is the Coming itself then it is hardly earth-shattering news for saints to be told they won’t get stomped on.

3. Titus 2:13 – If Paul believed Christ would have to return only after a long time, why would he describe believers as “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”?  He would tell them to look for the signs of Matthew 24 the way the Lord did to Israel.

4. 1 Jn. 3:2-3 – This text indicates that the coming of Christ is a motivation to consecration.  This would hardly be the case if  the Apostles taught that He couldn’t return for a great while (i.e. if they denied imminency).

5. Jn. 14:1-3 – Surely Christ will not come for believers just to bring them straight back again to Armaggeddon.  He will take us to the mansions He has prepared for us.

6. Rev. 22:7,12 and 20 – These again would be redundant statements if He could not come until some time after the start of the Tribulation.

7. 1 Cor. 1:7 – Why wait for a revealing which is situated within or after the Tribulation?

8. 1 Cor. 16:22 – If Jesus could not “come” at any time because the Tribulation precedes Him then why pray for this?  After all, many saints are murdered in the Tribulation, or die en masse from other nasty things before the advent occurs.

Again, these are not airtight proofs of a doctrine of imminence, but they do pose questions which those who oppose the teaching should answer.  i think a cogent argument for imminency can be built from these passages.  And when brought together with the other reasons for pretribulationism already given they strengthen the abductive case for that point of view.

Still more to come…

  

 

 

 

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34 comments

  1. What if we interpret Dan 9 literally and accept the natural understanding that 70 comes after 69 literally? The notion of a gap in a sequence is unprecedented in Scripture. Take the Christological interpretation where the covenant referred to is the new covenant Christ makes with Israel: 3.5 years of proclaiming it before His cutting off in His earthly ministry and 3.5 years afterward via the apostles. Then we are left with a more simple situation not having to cram the 70th week into Revelation where it does not go. Rather Revelation speaks of a 3.5 year tribulation period having nothing to do whatsoever with Daniel 9. Thus it is impossible for the church to go through Dan’s 70th week. It can go through a prophetic trib period after which it will be raptured as per Mat 24.

    1. Ross,

      This is an interesting comment. Let me respond in brief:

      1. While we should be open to the possibility of the 70th week coming immediately after the 69th in the way you propose, there is a prima facie problem with having the last 3.5 years an apostolic period at the beginning of the “Church age”. For one thing, this again introduces a real problem with the conflation of God’s purposes for Israel and the Church. Also, the 3.5 years seems entirely random and non-objective. By that I mean that it does not terminate upon anything meaningful.

      2. It is not the case that “The notion of a gap in a sequence is unprecedented in Scripture”. In fact, it is quite common: Isa. 9:6-7; 61:1-2; Mic. 5:2; Mal. 3:1-3 are some examples.

      3. I cannot reconcile the Dan. 9:27 with a new covenant interpretation. The tenor of the passage (e.g. the overspreading of abominations) does not encourage this. The grammar points to “the prince who is to come” as the nearest antecedent, and he appears to be distinct from the Messiah. He also reminds one of the Little Horn of Dan. 7:25, who also wields power in Israel for 3.5 years.

      4. You actually do have the Church going through the last half of the 70th week on this interpretation. That is a real problem I think.

      5. I find real continuity between Daniel and Revelation which, though not conclusive on this matter, does encourage me in my position. For example, the Beast appears in Revelation and persists for 3.5 years. There is significant trouble prior to that which it seems logical to infer as the first half of the 70th week. The Beast is equated with a temple (Rev. 13; 2 Thess. 2), and so is the “prince” of Dan. 9:26, and for the same time period.

      6. Lastly, I do not see the Church in the Olivet Discourse. As I have tried to show, the action is centered on Israel. Hence, I see no rapture of the Church in Matt. 24.

      These seem to be large difficulties with your proposal. However, I thank you for stimulating me with your comment.

      God bless you and yours,

      Paul H.

      1. Hi Paul,

        Thank you for your response.

        You wrote:
        “1. While we should be open to the possibility of the 70th week coming immediately after the 69th in the way you propose, there is a prima facie problem with having the last 3.5 years an apostolic period at the beginning of the “Church age”. For one thing, this again introduces a real problem with the conflation of God’s purposes for Israel and the Church. Also, the 3.5 years seems entirely random and non-objective. By that I mean that it does not terminate upon anything meaningful.”

        Response:
        It is not a problem if the conflation is intentional on God’s part. We should also be open to the possibility that our dispensationalism is disintegrative and in need of further reform. The need for reform is apparent to many as they grasp at notions of “Progressive dispensationalism”… they are heading in the wrong direction. I think the error of dispensationalism is that it has not merely and correctly recognized a distinction between Israel and the church, they have separated and put a larger chasm between them than the Rich man and Abraham have between them! If the church Christ announced that He was going to build began as a Jewish church and then was expanded to the world, the apostolic birth of it is no problem. And you are correct that I do have the church going through the last half of the 70th but it is a Jewish church for all intents and purposes centered in the Israelite nation. The “dispensational” change has not occurred yet! While the last 3.5 years may seem to be a meaningless appendage, it does at the least serve to throw the focus back to the central feature of the 70th week which is the cutting off of the Messiah. But I do not believe it terminates randomly and rather see it terminating significantly with Stephen’s speech and the introduction of Saul. As Saul is converted and called out and commissioned to the international ministry of the Gospel to the Gentile nations. The disintegration between church and Israel causes multiple nonsensical duplicities and prophetic double visions. This disintegration is, I believe, a fatal failure to honor the principle of “progressive revelation” because the rupture and split causes a divergence of destiny and again, double prophetic vision where a proper progressive revelation discipline and focus would show only one.

        You wrote:
        2. It is not the case that “The notion of a gap in a sequence is unprecedented in Scripture”. In fact, it is quite common: Isa. 9:6-7; 61:1-2; Mic. 5:2; Mal. 3:1-3 are some examples.

        Response:
        Gaps realized in prophetic passages are not examples of gaps in sequences. What I mean is that there are no gaps where Scripture reveals a numbered sequence! When Scripture says that there will be 3 or 40 or 70, there is no indefinite interruption

        You wrote:
        3. I cannot reconcile the Dan. 9:27 with a new covenant interpretation. The tenor of the passage (e.g. the overspreading of abominations) does not encourage this. The grammar points to “the prince who is to come” as the nearest antecedent, and he appears to be distinct from the Messiah. He also reminds one of the Little Horn of Dan. 7:25, who also wields power in Israel for 3.5 years.

        Response:
        Allis and Payne have the right exegesis here and not because they are Covenant Theologians, but because they are simply correct. The gap in Dan 9 did not exist before Darby and that interpretation never sat well with me. On the other hand the Christological interpretation of this passage is totally cohesive with the context of this chapter. The Covenant theologians are still fuzzy and loose with their math in spots but that is easy to correct.

        You wrote:
        4. You actually do have the Church going through the last half of the 70th week on this interpretation. That is a real problem I think.

        Response:
        As admitted, you are right that I have the church going through the last 3.5 years. But the church at this point is a Jewish national church that has not yet been expanded to a real international Gentile inclusive level and the new “dispensational” change commissioned to Paul has not happened yet.

        You wrote:
        5. I find real continuity between Daniel and Revelation which, though not conclusive on this matter, does encourage me in my position. For example, the Beast appears in Revelation and persists for 3.5 years. There is significant trouble prior to that which it seems logical to infer as the first half of the 70th week. The Beast is equated with a temple (Rev. 13; 2 Thess. 2), and so is the “prince” of Dan. 9:26, and for the same time period.

        Response:
        Certainly most all recent writers of a dispensational bent integrate Dan 9 into Revelation somehow. My point is that we should be open to the possibility that such is simply wrong due to way to much inference being allowed.

        You wrote:
        6. Lastly, I do not see the Church in the Olivet Discourse. As I have tried to show, the action is centered on Israel. Hence, I see no rapture of the Church in Matt. 24.

        Response:
        I agree that it is centered on Israel. But there is a rapture in Mat 24 of believers and it correlates with Revelation. It seems perfectly suitable to me that it correlates precisely with Paul’s so called “pretrib rapture” passages as long as we lose the idea of “pretrib” which is no where explicit in Scripture let alone literal. Rather the notion of pretrib is driven by the disintegrative Darby dispensational ecclesiastical theology rather than letting the eschatological passages speak for themselves. I really think this disintegration is robbing Scripture of its true prophetic voice and complicating things.

      2. Ross,

        Of your responses I only find your answer to #5 to have any weight. Your replies to #1, 4, and 6 do not engage the theological difficulty I have highlighted in these posts (in fact #4 is simply an assertion without proof). It is the nation of Israel that is in view, not just Jews (as one finds in Acts 1-7). But the main thing is that God was not dealing with the nation in tribulational terms in the early chapters of Acts.

        There is no decisive evidence that there is a rapture in Matthew 24. If there is it concerns Israel in context.

        Finally, your comments about “disintegrative Darby dispensational ecclesiastical theology” and its need for reform fall rather limply to the floor on this blog. Read the material on Biblical Covenantalism and you will see why.

        God bless,

        Paul H.

      3. Paul,

        The 70 weeks is a time of punishment for Israel but the 70th is not a time of tribulation any more than the other weeks. Dan’s tribulations on Israel are fulfilled circa AD 70. I forget if Allis and Payne point this out, but the tribulations are not specified as occurring IN the 70th! The early chapters of Acts are a continuation of the Gospel accounts focusing on God’s activity in laying the foundation upon which the New Covenant would be established. Christ began proclaiming it with his ministry and the 12 continued with it afterward addressing Israel. In Acts 2 Peter is addressing “Men of ISRAEL” concerning the nation’s king of the royal line of David. The believing remnant of national Israel would be in God’s eyes those who would be true Israel. They are at the same time the foundation of the church. God’s purposes for Israel and the church are not so necessarily unique. Paul is always preaching about our (the church) joint inheritance with Israel. I will go over your prior posts to see why it would be a problem for a believing remnant arising in the last half of Dan’s 70th should be a problem if they should further be a beginning to a new and wider plan of God. Currently, I do not see a problem.

        I have come across several chronologies that put Stephen’s death and the beginning of Paul’s ministry 3.5 years after Calvary.

        Mt 24 states the elect will be gathered (and yes the context is Israel). Surely this is the same difference as a rapture/gathering. When we as members of the Body of Christ are identified with Jesus the elect Son of God/Messiah, are we not then also considered part of the elect? Dr Hudson makes the case for Mt 24 and 1Th as well as 1Co et al. referring to the same event (http://www.giftdigest.com/2nd%20Look.html). The point is that Paul adds information (progress in revelation) left out in the Gospel accounts.

      4. Ross,

        Again I see a lot of assertion here. The 70 weeks is not called a time of punishment for Israel, although I would not split hairs over it. Allis (amil) and Payne (hist. pre) see the fulfillment of the 70th week in A.D. 70 – some 37-40 years after the crucifixion. This is a time gap and you have been at pains to argue against such a thing. The early chapters of Acts do contain calls to national Israel, but no tribulation. Although you rightly say that there is no conclusive proof that the 3.5 years of Dan. 7 and the latter part of the 70th week are the same (so equating the 70th week with the Great Tribulation), the circumstantial evidence is quite compelling when coupled with Matt. 24, 2 Thess. 2 and Rev. Further, Dan. 9:24 was not in any way fulfilled in Acts.

        Hudson’s booklet is gracious. I am sorry indeed at his treatment. Seeing as I rate any rapture doctrine at best a C3 (an inference which may be overturned) I am much against making it a line in the sand. But I find his treatment of Dan. 9:24 far fetched.

        The reason you don’t see the mixture of national Israel with the Church is because you are not thinking within the parameters set by the biblical covenants. Certain covenantal promises must be fulfilled upon the nation of Israel as an independent people, and that certainly involves the new covenant (Jer. 31; Ezek 36). The anointing of the most holy does not refer to Christ but to the most holy place. This is acknowledged by most scholars, even if they then try to wriggle out of it.

        Just taking a word “elect” and labeling Israel and church with it as though it is the same is to commit “illegitimate totality transfer” – a long term for an equivocal fallacy.

        I must fly. I would have liked to have been more detailed, but I must go.

      5. Quote: “Lastly, I do not see the Church in the Olivet Discourse. As I have tried to show, the action is centered on Israel. Hence, I see no rapture of the Church in Matt. 24.”

        I have to agree with Paul. Christ was responding to Jewish concerns. Verse 31 dovetails with an expected final gathering of Israel which is discussed in several places in the OT, and hinted at by Jesus in Matt 23:37.

      6. I don’t disagree either. But if Paul is referring back to this same gathering and thus giving us in the progress of revelation more fuller details concerning this gathering and catching away, then it is Paul who is associating the church with this event which was information not included in the Olivet Discourse.

      7. Ah, the Thessalonians materials. I don’t think Paul’s gathering for the church corresponds to Matt 24:31. But I’ll leave the discussion at that; after all, this is Paul H’s blog 😉

      8. Well for the sake of argument in order to explore the merit of a position, it is a given that to grant an interpretation at times with which you don’t agree or are not convinced of will be necessary. And one can only chase one fire at a time and to try and chase all the little fires that a proposition for a different interpretation starts will of course not be conducive to the discussion.

        But let me suggest “A Second Look at the Second Coming” by Dr. Henry T. Hudson found at http://www.giftdigest.com/2nd%20Look.html. It is not a long read; he is post-trib and believes in a future 70th week. I disagree with him on that last point but I found his argument therein irrefutable which ties together Mat 24 and all of Paul’s supposed pretrib, as well as, second coming passages as one and the same event. He is where I get the term “disintegrative dispensationalism” from. He shows how pretribulationalism ends up with two of everything where Scripture is only referring to one thing.

        When I was much younger, I was asked to teach on a weeks worth of standard doctrinal planks at a camp, one of which was the pretrib rapture. Up until then I had never studied it out for myself but had been taught on numerous occasions trusting that those stalwarts of the faith who taught me could not be possibly mistaken. I started out by going through Paul’s epistles and collecting the relevant eschatological passages, reading the context, and putting them either in the pretrib rapture column or the second coming column. I could not discern anything in the context that suggested to me they ought to be split up. In fact the more I read those passages, the more they seemed to be referring to one event. Being quite discouraged, I proceeded to look up all the commentaries and study resources for illumination and they all just seemed to arbitrarily divide the passages without an unstrained argument as it seemed to me. Well I had a three inch stack of notes and did not seem any more illuminated than when I began so being fed up with the whole exercise I put the stack on a shelf and waited to run across something that would make it click for me. I looked for 15 years and nothing clicked until I finally came across Dr. Hudson’s article…and if you read it you will understand my resonance with it.

      9. Yes. I did challenge him on MacPherson and in another writing he greatly toned down the credit he gave MacPherson (can’t remember which book) and admitted that it started with Darby at the least. I wonder if he has really read much of MacPherson but I have run into others who think he is important! He may have just caught the critique of Darby to cast a negative poke at him and the pretrib position…it would not be the first. MacDonald was a partial mid tribber and at the absolute most (and I don’t believe it), it might be suggested she gave Darby the notion of changing the rapture to a new point in time. I am quite happy to give Darby all the credit, he was certainly more than intelligent enough to come up with it. Now if we could get people to recognize the difference between Darby’s dispensationalism and Scofield’s and quit saying it was the same.

      10. Quote: “Now if we could get people to recognize the difference between Darby’s dispensationalism and Scofield’s and quit saying it was the same.”

        Paul can certainly help you with that. 😉

  2. You wrote:
    The 70 weeks is not called a time of punishment for Israel,

    Response:
    What would you call a period designed to “finish the transgression,” “to make an end of sins,” etc… a time when they are looking forward to the end of it for the positive? A period of correction, perhaps? Dan was considering the end of the 70 years of desolations on Jerusalem prophesied by Jeremiah and interceding on behalf of Israel to restore them to proper covenant relationship. If the 70 weeks is designed to do that then the 70th week being focused on the New Covenant is appropriate. I think it was one of those amil/hist. guys pointing out 490 years of sabbaths violation.

    You wrote:
    Allis (amil) and Payne (hist. pre) see the fulfillment of the 70th week in A.D. 70 – some 37-40 years after the crucifixion. This is a time gap and you have been at pains to argue against such a thing.

    Response:
    Yes and I disagree with them putting a gap here too. The fulfillment of the 70th comes 3.5 years after Calvary. Some of the prophesied things in Dan 9 are fulfilled circa AD 70 and that is not a problem since they are specified as occurring after the 69th week yet NOT necessarily in the 70th! The only requirement prophecy puts on it is that is happens after the 69th; it says nothing about it happening IN the 70th!

    You wrote:
    The early chapters of Acts do contain calls to national Israel, but no tribulation. Although you rightly say that there is no conclusive proof that the 3.5 years of Dan. 7 and the latter part of the 70th week are the same (so equating the 70th week with the Great Tribulation), the circumstantial evidence is quite compelling when coupled with Matt. 24, 2 Thess. 2 and Rev. Further, Dan. 9:24 was not in any way fulfilled in Acts.

    Response:
    Dan 9:24 was settled with Calvary and its ratification of the New Covenant.

    My problem is that I am not compelled at all with an argument (and I am just being honest here) that grasps at something that seems similar and then does damage to Scripture in trying to make it fit. There is no evidence of a tribulation in the last 3.5 of the 70th and it is forcibly superimposed there.

    You wrote:
    …But I find his treatment of Dan. 9:24 far fetched.

    Response:
    You would have to expand if you feel compelled to, but in any case he holds to a future 70th week like you.

    You wrote:
    The reason you don’t see the mixture of national Israel with the Church is because you are not thinking within the parameters set by the biblical covenants. Certain covenantal promises must be fulfilled upon the nation of Israel as an independent people, and that certainly involves the new covenant (Jer. 31; Ezek 36).

    Response:
    I agree with you here. I watched your 6 part “Christ as the Center of Scripture” and thought it was terrific! It presents an excellent foundation for hermeneutics which seems to be inline with what I see as a necessary principle for interpretation (even if it throws out the pretrib rapture).

    You wrote:
    The anointing of the most holy does not refer to Christ but to the most holy place. This is acknowledged by most scholars….

    Response:
    What was the HS coming down upon Christ in the form of a dove? An anointing 3.5 years before Calvary.

    You wrote:
    Just taking a word “elect” and labeling Israel and church with it as though it is the same is to commit “illegitimate totality transfer” – a long term for an equivocal fallacy.

    Response:
    Pardon my lack of nuance…I don’t mean to make Israel the church. I am seeing the believing remnant of Israel in Acts as the foundation and beginning of the Body church. They are still identified with the nation though even as was Paul and most of his fellow workers. Israel is God’s elect nation and the Body is identified with Christ who is thus the chosen one, God’s elect.

    Found this on the net posted by someone who did not know the source.

    Statements Regarding Jesus’ Coming
    Reference in Matthew 24 Reference in I Thess. 4 or 5

    1. Christ Himself returns Matthew 24:30 I Thess. 4:16
    2. From heaven Matthew 24:30 I Thess. 4:16
    3. With a shout Matthew 24:30 I Thess. 4:16
    4. Accompanied by angels Matthew 24:31 I Thess. 4:16
    5. With the trumpet of God Matthew 24:31 I Thess. 4:16
    6. In clouds Matthew 24:30 I Thess. 4:17
    7. Believers are gathered Matthew 24:31 I Thess. 4:17
    8. At an unknown time Matthew 24:36 I Thess. 5:1-2
    9. He will come as a thief Matthew 24:43 I Thess. 5:2, 4
    10. People unaware of
    coming judgment Matthew 24:37-39 I Thess. 5:3
    11. Judgment comes
    as travail upon
    expectant mother Matthew 24:8 I Thess. 5:3
    12. Believers are to watch Matthew 24:42 I Thess. 5:4
    13. Warning against
    drunkenness Matthew 24:49 I Thess. 5:7

    1. Thanks Ross, for this thoughtful reply. It is for these kinds of reasons that I cannot place any rapture doctrine above a C3 or inference to the best explanation. I think I will try to expound Dan. 9:24 soon as it might shed light on our impasse.

      Again, thanks for challenging me.

      Your brother,

      Paul

      1. And thank you for your patience Brother Paul.

        Meanwhile, First Strike:

        from material found online as noted with a few interjections.

        Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, (1) to finish the transgression, (2) to make an end of sin, (3) to make atonement for iniquity, (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, (5) to seal up vision and prophecy, and (6) to anoint the most holy place (Daniel 9:24).

        Pasted from

        On closer examination, we will see that the promises in Daniel’s prophecy are identical with the promises of the coming New Covenant. That should come as no surprise. Since the fall of Jerusalem seventy years earlier, there was but one hope for the house of Israel and the house of Judah. That was the promise of another covenant. To confirm this understanding, let’s list the promises of Daniel 9:24. After each is a well known New Covenant promise from another portion of Scripture.

        (1) Finishing the transgression. The apostasy and rebellion of the Israelites will become part of the past:
        Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

        (2) Make an end of sin. God will remove the sins of Israel from His sight:
        Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols (Ezekiel 36:25).

        (3) Make atonement for iniquity. God will provide an appropriate sacrifice to cover Israel’s sins.
        But He [Messiah], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12).

        (4) Bring in everlasting righteousness. God Himself will produce a righteousness in the people of Israel.
        And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances (Ezekiel 36:27).

        (5) Seal up vision and prophecy. Most of the revelation in the Old Testament concerned the Sinai Covenant. The prophets covered at length the history of Israel’s unfaithfulness to that Covenant and the resulting judgments. With the coming of Messiah and the New Covenant, God closed that chapter in Israel’s history.
        When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).
        He [Messiah] takes away the first [covenant] in order to establish the second (Hebrews 10:9).

        (6) Anoint a most holy place. There is no definite article, so this phrase does not refer to the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Rather, anointing here refers to a special work of the Spirit of God. It is the promise of God’s pouring out His Spirit on the Jews in Israel.
        And I will put My Spirit within you… (Ezekiel 36:27).
        [Ross interjects: I think that the anointing is better associated with that of Christ at His baptism (see *comment* in the next paragraph) but #6 here does support this web page’s focus on the New Covenant.]

        How the New Covenant Would Come into Being
        All the elements of Daniel 9:24 were accomplished with the coming of the New Covenant. In the Book of Hebrews, we are told that Messiah was the mediator of that New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15). In fact, *He* *was* *anointed* *for* *that* *very* *purpose.* But it was His death that put the long-awaited Covenant in force. “For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.” So, at Messiah’s death, all the promises listed in Daniel 9:24 became immediately available to the people of Israel.

        Pasted from

        Vs. 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 (483 years); it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
        Daniel received this prophecy near the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon. At the time, Jerusalem was in ruins. But according to the angel, the city would be rebuilt. Notice the structure of the verse; the prophesied time began with the decree, and ended with Messiah.

        Vs. 26.
        Then after the sixty-two weeks 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…
        Notice the key events of this verse: (1) Messiah is cut off and (2) the city is destroyed. History records that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. Who then is the prince? Again, from history we know that a general named Titus was in charge of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. But was he a prince? As a matter of fact, Titus was the son of the Roman emperor.

        The gap theory does not dispute the historic record that Titus was a Roman prince / general who sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70. Yet, its proponents insist the “prince to come” is not Titus, but the Antichrist of End Time prophecy. There are two serious problems with that interpretation:
        1. To accept this view we must ignore the obvious historical fulfillment by Titus. When the plain reading works, why do violence to the Scripture by trying to force a remote alternative?
        2. From the context, inserting this End Time character into Daniel’s prophecy is highly questionable. Remember, Daniel had been inquiring about the fate of his people. God responded with the most stirring revelation ever given to Israel—the news of the coming New Covenant. It seems clear that Messiah and the coming covenant were the themes of the message—not Antichrist.

        Vs. 27.
        And he shall cause to prevail a covenant for the many one seven, and in the midst of the seven he shall cause sacrifice and oblation to cease…
        This is a very difficult passage. Over the years, translators have offered many different interpretations. Of them, the New American Standard version is typical. It says, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week.” That translation leads one to believe someone is going to make a new covenant. There are, however, serious problems with that rendering. The Hebrew word for making a covenant (cutting a covenant) was not used here. For that reason, a better reading is, “he shall cause an existing covenant to prevail.”

        Even so, we must admit the verse could still be interpreted as the gap theory holds—that is, someone (such as Antichrist) will cause an agreement to be put in force between say, Israel and Europe. However, it could just as easily mean that Messiah puts a promised covenant in force. Since it could go either way, we look to the rest of Scripture for confirmation. (Surely, an issue of this importance must surface elsewhere.) Are there other passages that imply Antichrist makes a covenant or treaty with anyone at any time? No, not one. (Some try in vain to equate Hezekiah’s treaty with Egypt with a treaty between Israel and Antichrist. See Isaiah 28:18).

        On the other hand, I offer you nearly the entire Book of Hebrews as confirmation that Messiah puts a promised covenant in force! And what covenant could that be? None other than the New Covenant.

        And for this reason He [Messiah] is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).

        The second problem with this verse is identifying the “he” who confirms a covenant. The gap theory insists “he” refers to the prince, who they say is the Antichrist. Again, inserting this End Time character into Daniel’s prophecy would appear to do violence to the context. Remember, the angel had just responded to Daniel’s inquiry by describing the coming New Covenant (in verse 24:
        “Seventy weeks are determined
        For your people and for your holy city,
        To finish the transgression,
        To make an end of sins,
        To make reconciliation for iniquity,
        To bring in everlasting righteousness,
        To seal up vision and prophecy,
        And to anoint the Most Holy. ).

        Obviously, a future peace treaty with Europe has nothing to do with that covenant.

        Another problem is that two chapters later, Daniel refers to Antichrist as “the king.” Now, which is it? King or prince?

        If you are not convinced, get a piece of scratch paper and diagram verse 26. You will see that the “prince” is nothing more than the object of a prepositional phrase. Messiah, on the other hand, is the prominent subject of the sentence—as well as the whole passage.

        In summary, Messiah’s primary work was putting a promised covenant in force. On the other hand, there is no other “witness” in all the Bible to suggest that Antichrist ever makes a covenant with anyone. What about Dan 11:22, 28, 30, 32? For all these reasons, we believe it takes an extremely active imagination to see Antichrist as the “he” in Daniel 9:27. Now let’s look at the next part of verse 27.

        And in the midst of the seven he shall cause sacrifice and oblation to cease.

        It is Messiah who, in the midst of the 70th week (the word does not have to be translated “middle”), causes sacrifice and oblation to cease. Though nearly 40 years separated Messiah’s rejection and the destruction of the Temple, the two events were vitally connected; they were cause and effect. The rejection of Messiah was the cause; the Temple’s destruction was the effect.

        [Ross interjects: How could any offerings be legitimate after the veil had been torn in two destroying the sanctity of the holy of holies?]

        There is still another sense in which Messiah stopped the Temple sacrifices. Even though they continued for 40 years, they had ceased to be legitimate in God’s eyes. Why? Because the Old Covenant, including the sacrifices, had become obsolete. “When He said, ‘A New Covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete.” As soon as Messiah put the New Covenant in force, the sacrifices and oblations in the Temple became unacceptable to God the Father. So, you can rightly say that during the 70th week, Messiah caused the sacrifices to cease. For these reasons, we see no need to superimpose a final week (seven years) on this or any other section of prophecy. That final seven years is over.

        As a final point, you may be wondering why there was nothing to mark the end of the 70th week, as there was at the 7th and 69th weeks. (Jerusalem was rebuilt by the 7th week, and Messiah was cut off at the 69th week.) That is because the mission for the 70th week was not a single event. The 70th week was the period when individual Jews were brought into the New Covenant. Within a few years (perhaps seven?) the harvest of Jews in Israel was largely completed. After that, the bulk of evangelistic efforts was directed toward the Gentiles.

        [Ross interjects: There are scholars who put Stephen’s martydom after his covenant-significant speech 3.5 years after Calvary, where we are also introduced to Saul. There are also scholars who put Saul’s conversion at the same spot soon after Stephen’s death. It is Paul who through a new dispensation takes the Gospel to the Gentiles preaching it apart from covenant baptism, covenant promises, and covenant nation. Rather, Paul preaches a new baptism and a new circumcision both made without hands according to a new covenant ministry of reconciliation.]

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        Overall Conclusions

        To summarize, it seems reasonable that we accept the plain reading of Scripture—namely, that End Time events will be completed in three and a half years, not seven. Where does that leave us regarding “the great tribulation,” God’s wrath, and the end of the age?

        1. There is no need to force a 2,000 year gap into the seventy weeks of Daniel.
        2. The End Times do not begin with a treaty signed by Antichrist or anyone else. So, we need not spend our time reviewing European Economic Community treaties for clues about the last days.
        3. The final 42 months begin when the angel Michael casts Satan out of heaven. Unlike “treaty signing,” this event won’t be visible on earth. Thus, men won’t know the exact day the 42 months begins, or the day it ends. That is consistent with Messiah’s teaching that no one can know the exact day or hour.
        4. Believers will go through severe afflictions, including instances of martyrdom, so preparation is crucial. “Pray that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

        [Are we to expect escape from all suffering and tribulations? No, it is part and parcel of our Christianity.
        Psalm 34:19 (NKJV) 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
        Acts 14:22 (NKJV) 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
        Romans 5:3 (NKJV) 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
        Romans 8:17 (NKJV) 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
        Romans 12:12 (NKJV) 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
        2 Corinthians 1:4 (NKJV) 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
        2 Corinthians 6:4 (NKJV) 4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,
        2 Corinthians 7:4 (NKJV) 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.
        Philippians 1:29 (NKJV) 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
        2 Thessalonians 1:4 (NKJV) 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,
        2 Timothy 2:12 (NKJV) 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
        2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV) 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.]

        5. In the last days afflictions will be severe, but not impossible. Furthermore, believers are never left alone. “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you, so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5-6 ).
        6. For Messiah’s followers, “the great tribulation” ends when they see the sign of the Son of Man in the sky.
        7. NO BELIEVERS WILL EXPERIENCE THE WRATH OF GOD! The final harvest is completed before the bowls of wrath are poured out on the earth.

        [Ross interjects: in harmony with all OT prophetic pronouncements, God’s people were saved while His and their enemies suffered the wrath. Thus we are raptured up at the Lord’s return to be saved from judgment and accompany Him back as the King’s entourage in victory.]

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  3. Ralph Woodrow on the last 3 1/2 years:
    quote…

    And so, after three and a half years of ministry as the Christ—the anointed one—Jesus was cut off in death, in the middle of the 70th week of seven years. As Augustine said: “Daniel even defined the time when Christ was to come and suffer by the exact date.” (Footnote 3)
    Understanding this, we can now see real significance in certain New Testament statements which also speak of a definite established time at which Jesus would die.

    For example, we read: “They sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (John 7:30). In John 2:4, Jesus said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” On another occasion, he said, “My time is not yet come” (John 7:6). Then just prior to his betrayal and death, he said, “My time is at hand” (Mt. 26:18), and finally, ‘”the hour is come” (John 17:1; Mt. 26:45).

    These and other verses clearly show that there was a definite time in the plan of God when Jesus would die. He came to fulfill the scriptures, and there is only one Old Testament scripture which predicted the time of his death—the prophecy which stated that Messiah would be cut off in the midst of the 70th week—at the close of three and a half years of ministry! How perfectly the prophecy was fulfilled in Christ!

    But those who say that the confirming of the covenant and causing sacrifices to cease in the midst of the 70th week refers to a future Antichrist, completely destroy this beautiful fulfillment and are at a complete loss to show where in the Old Testament the time of our Lord’s death was predicted.

    The prophecy of Daniel 9 stated that Messiah would confirm the covenant (or would cause the covenant to prevail) with many of Daniel’s people for the “week” or seven years. We ask then, when Christ came, was his ministry directed in a special way to Daniel’s people — to “Israel ” (Dan. 9:20)? Yes!

    John introduced him as he “that should be made manifest to ISRAEL” (John 1:31). “I am not sent”, Jesus said, “but unto the lost sheep of the house of ISRAEL” (Mt. 15:24). And when he first sent out his apostles, they were directed: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles…go rather to the lost sheep of the house of ISRAEL” (Mt. 10:5,6).

    The first half of the “week”, the time of our Lord’s ministry, was definitely directed toward ISRAEL.

    But what about the second half—the final three and a half years of the prophecy—was it also linked with Israel? Did the disciples continue to preach for the duration of the remaining three and a half years (as Christ’s representatives) especially to Daniel’s people—to Israel? Yes, they did!

    Jesus had told the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15; Mt.28:19; Acts 1:8), YET—and this is significant—after Christ ascended, the disciples still at first preached only to Israel! Why? We know of only one prophecy which would indicate that this was to be the course followed. It is the prophecy of the 70 weeks which implied that after the death of Messiah there would still be three and a half years that pertained to Israel!

    Bearing this in mind, we can now understand at least one reason why the gospel went “to the Jew first” and then later to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:16).

    Peter preached shortly after Pentecost: “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant… unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:25, 26). “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you” (Acts 13:46).

    In person, Christ came to Israel during the first half of the “week”—three and a half years. Through the disciples—for the three and a half years that remained—his message still went to Israel, “the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mk. 16:20).

    In a very real sense of the word, the ministry of the disciples was a continuation of the ministry of Christ.

    Then came the conversion of Cornelius which completely changed the missionary outreach, outlook, and ministry of the church. Though the New Testament does not give an exact date when this happened, apparently the time for special exclusive blessing upon Daniel’s people had drawn to a close. The gospel which had gone first to the Jews was now to take its full mission—to be preached to all people of all nations!

    This time of changeover was marked by a number of supernatural events. Cornelius received a heavenly visitation. An angel appeared to him and told him to call for Peter “who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” (Acts 11:14). God showed Peter a vision which caused him to know that the gospel was now to go to the Gentiles and not to Israelites only.

    All of these things were timed perfectly—showing that God’s hand was accomplishing a definite purpose.

    Returning to Jerusalem, Peter explained what had happened. “When they heard these things, they… glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). From this very point, more and more, there was a turning to the Gentiles with the gospel message.

    God’s measurement of 490 years pertaining in a special way to Israel had obviously been completed.

    End of Woodrow quote

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  4. To anoint the most holy?

    This is so obviously a reference to Jesus Christ that we still marvel that the expression Most Holy is not capitalized, as in KJV or as in Douay which reads it, Saint of saints may be anointed. As we noted above, however, every word of this prophecy is disputed, and even Keil did not allow that this expression can refer to a person, making it a reference to some thing, not a person. Keil could not have so misunderstood this if he had consulted 1 Chr. 23:23, where without the article (the basis of Keil’s rejection) the phrase applies to an individual. It is indeed applied most frequently to persons: to Aaron (Exodus 40:13), to Saul (1 Samuel 10:10), and to David (1 Samuel 16:3);F13 Therefore the ancient renditions of this place are correct. This understanding of it was accepted by the Jews, and the old Syriac translates this text, `To the Messiah, the Most Holy.’F14

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    1. Okay Ross, but I cannot permit any further LONG comments. My piece on Dan. 9:24 will have to wait a bit. I am working on several things, including a review of David Bentley Hart’s latest book.

      1. Yes sir! But it does give you the advantage of seeing where I am coming from without having to guess. Again, thank you for your patience.

        I also found the source of my other quote. It is from a book “42 Months To Glory” by Larry Simmons which I found using the Internet Archive WAYBACK MACHINE. I have not read much else of it except small excerpts and I don’t necessarily recommend it. It is in line with Allis, Payne, Young, and Jackson though on the passage.

      2. Paul, have you come across Paul Feinberg’s “An Exegetical and theological Study of Daniel 9:24-27”? It’s an essay which appears in the book “Traditions & Testament” which was a collection of essays in honor of Charles Feinberg. It speaks to much that has been discussed here. Feinberg comments on the several views of these verses (Maccabean, Roman, Messianic and eschatological) and makes the case for the eschatological view. Very interesting material.

        Looking forward to your input.

        Also looking forward to Tony Garland’s upcoming commentary on Daniel.

  5. Hi Dr.,

    You wrote:
    “and although there will always be a saved remnant even in the Church (11:5),”

    Would you agree that just after Acts 2, the church was virtually a Jewish church made up of Israelites who had been covenant keepers and among them were those who lived in Judea, having housetops and were Sabbath keepers?

  6. I realize how you would answer the Mid-Acts dispensational position that it is not the church that is the bride of the Lamb, but how would you interact with their arguments that result in that conclusion.

      1. I don’t know if you familiar with their position, but they see the entire book of Revelation as future and dealing with Israel and thus must not be confused with having anything to do with the body of Christ. Thus it follows that the bride can not be the church but is rather Israel as in the OT where she is spoken of as Jehovah’s wife. The passages in Paul are not designating the church as Christ’s bride but are rather using metaphor to illustrate purity of the church.

  7. Would you agree that the gospel accounts of the preaching of the kingdom as being “at hand” is an example of the concept of imminence?

    1. In those places where it refers to the kingdom I hold that it refers to the earthly Messianic kingdom, first rejected when Israel rejected Jesus, but still coming. Therefore, in terms of the rapture of the Church I do not think it plays into the doctrine of imminence.

      1. But it is dealing with the idea of the imminence of something in those hundreds of places where it is mentioned as opposed to a small hand full of passages from which it is impossible to determine the timing of the event if they can not be associated with the second coming?

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