Monday, September 23, 2013

Daniel Panel: The Gap Prophecy - Part 1

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We are continuing to share with you the opinions of 17 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Daniel. You should find these interviews fascinating and very informative. The interviews were conducted at a national Bible prophecy conference that was held in the Dallas, Texas area.

The second question is related to one of Daniel's most famous prophecies called the "Prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Years" which is found in Daniel chapter 9. Beginning with verse 24, Daniel prophesies that six spiritual goals would be accomplished among the Jewish people during a period of 70 weeks of years, or 490 years. He then proceeds to divide the 490 years into three periods.

The first division is a seven week period or 49 years during which the Temple would be rebuilt. This would be followed by a period of 62 weeks of years, or 434 years, making a total of 483 years. The ending point of this second period of time would be the death of the Messiah. It just so happens that it was exactly 483 years from the time Artaxerxes the King of Persia issued an edict for the rebuilding of the Temple to the time when Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. This left one week of years, or seven years, of Daniel's prophecy to be accounted for and finally fulfilled.

So the question for our experts is this:

#2. Is there a time gap in Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Years?

David Reagan, Lamb & Lion Ministries
This question is so important. Those who hold to the Amillennial viewpoint claim that the remaining seven weeks were fulfilled immediately after the death of Jesus because they believe God has no purpose left for the Jews.

Those who hold to a Pre-millennial view of Bible prophecy argue there is a time gap in the prophecy and that the last seven years of the prophecy will be fulfilled in the end times during the seven years of the Great Tribulation. That's when God will focus once again on the Jewish people and save a great remnant of them.

I strongly believe there is a time gap in Daniel's prophecy for a number of reasons. I believe we are still in that time gap today, and it's called the Church Age. When that age soon comes to an end, it will be followed by the final seven years of Daniel's prophecy in the form of the Tribulation.

The strongest argument in behalf of that gap is that the six prophecies of Daniel 9 that were to be fulfilled among the Jewish people during the 490 year time period remain unfulfilled to this day.

Al Gist, Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries
Yes, there's definitely a gap. The 70 weeks of years were not immediate consecutive slots of time. After all, Daniel's 70 Weeks was explained to him in that it would occur in three segments of time. There would be seven weeks of years followed by 62 weeks of years, and finally one week of years.

Daniel 9:25-26 says that 70 weeks would begin with the going forth of the decree for the Jews to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. That's the first segments that would be seven weeks of years.

The second segment covers 62 weeks of years, when at the conclusion of those 69 weeks is when Messiah is cut off, which was at the Crucifixion. There was no break then obviously between the first and second segment.

The next seven years, which are the final seven years of that 70 weeks of Daniel, would have had to follow immediately after the Crucifixion. But, then Daniel goes on to say in the very next verse 27 that in that last seven years that it would be initiated by a covenant which will be confirmed by the Antichrist with many of the Jewish people. Obviously that didn't happen. The Antichrist is still this futuristic character as far as being on the scene of world politics. We can't recognize him from the past, and so because he's future there has to be a time gap.

Another reason can be found in verse 24. Daniel's told that "70 week are determined upon thy people." This is a determined time. It's not an actual time. When you look at a football game there are four quarters of 15 minutes each, and that's the determined time, but it's certainly not the actual time of the game which would in reality go on for maybe two or three hours. Why is that? Well, because there are breaks in-between quarters and there are times out and half-time and so forth.

When God dealt with that first 69 weeks of Daniel, He stopped His clock so to speak and turned His attention away from dealing with Daniel's people to instead turn to the Gentile nations of the world. We entered into that wonderful period in history in which we are still living today called the Church Age, or the Age of Grace. This time period has God gathering out from among the population of the world a very particular group of people, a special group, called the Church or the Bride of Christ.

We don't know when the last person is going to be saved and enter into the Body of Christ, but I can tell you that when that last person is saved and the Bride is complete, the Groom is going to come for His Bride, and that's the Rapture of the Church. That will be the conclusion of that gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel. Then God will complete those 70 weeks that He said He had determined upon Daniel's people with that last one week of time, that last seven years, which we refer to as the Tribulation.

That's the overall view of the 70 Weeks of Daniel. We are living in that gap period if you will of the Church Age right now in-between the 69th and the 70th weeks of Daniel.

Andy Woods, Sugar Land Bible Church
I do believe there is a gap. I'm going to go right back to Jesus, because Jesus quoted Daniel 9:27 in Matthew 24:15, and that's in the context of the future. Then, just a couple verses later, Jesus talks about a time of unparalleled distress coming upon the world. He talks in verses 27 and 28 about His coming as the sign in the sky.

So, yes, I believe there's a gap. One of the main reasons I believe this is because Jesus believed there's a gap. If those segments kept running consecutively then all of the six events mentioned in Daniel 9:24 concerning Daniel's people and Daniel's city concerning the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel would be a reality today, but we don't see Israel today spiritually restored. She's been brought back to the land, but she's not yet in belief. So, there's obviously some kind of suspension in that prophecy. Therefore, there's a gap in the three segments.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Ariel Ministries
Exegetically, Daniel divides the seventy "sevens" into three categories. First of all, seven "sevens" or 49 years is designated for the time Jerusalem will be rebuilt. Then we're told in Daniel that there will be another 62 "sevens" for a total of 483 before the Messiah arrives. This does not apply any break or gap of time between the first subdivision and the second subdivision.

But, then the angel doesn't go directly to the third subdivision, which is the last seven years. He says that after the sixty-second seven, three things would happen. One, the Messiah would be killed, which happened around AD 30-33. Second, Jerusalem would be destroyed along with the Temple. That happened in AD 70, followed by a long period of wars and desolations. After the long period of wars and desolations, then comes the last seven. The last seven begins with one event, and that's the signing of the seven year covenant between Israel and the Antichrist. That's what triggers the last seven years.

So, purely for exegetical reasons, there does appear to be a gap of time between the sixty-ninth seven and the seventieth seven. I believe that based on those exegetical reasons.


In the fifth part of this series on the book of Daniel, the remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will continue to answer, "Is there a time gap in Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Years?"

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