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 will 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?
Daymond Duck, Prophecy Plus Ministries
There is a gap between the 69th week and the 70th week of prophecy. Daniel clearly tells us in Daniel 9:24-26 that 69 weeks have already literally been fulfilled. The starting point for the 69 weeks is found in Nehemiah 2. Nehemiah reports rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem, and counting from 444 BC when that event happened all the way to the year 30-31 AD when Jesus comes down the Mount of Olives riding on a donkey thus fulfilling Zechariah's prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, the following day Jesus was crucified, thus ending the 69 weeks of prophecy. Daniel tells us in chapter 9:25 that after the 69 weeks of prophecy the Messiah is cut off, and that refers to the death penalty of crucifixion. Those 69 weeks have already literally been fulfilled.
There is one week of years that is still future, and that's a future seven year period of tribulation that will come upon this world. We see clearly then that gap between the 69 weeks and the start of Daniel's 70th week of prophecy.
What officially begins that seven year countdown? Daniel 9:27 tells us this, "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall perform the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate even to the consummation, and that determine shall be poured out upon the desolate." So, it's not that the Rapture begins the Tribulation period, but it's when this Antichrist confirms a seven year peace covenant with the nation of Israel, that's what will begin the final 70th week of Daniel's prophecy.
So what is that gap of time? It's the Church Age, from Pentecost up to now and until the trumpet sounds and we're taken out of here at the Rapture. Somewhere down the line the Antichrist comes on the scene, confirming a covenant with Israel, and that start's Daniel's final seven year countdown.
Don McGee, Crown and Sickle Ministries
There's no question in my mind that there's a gap in Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Years. I believe the Daniel sequence of events becoming historical facts proves that. For example, Daniel said seven weeks of years would pass, and then he said 62 weeks of years would pass. Then he said that Messiah the prince would appear and be cut off, but not for Himself. Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and He was crucified about 32 or 33 AD, depending upon which dates you accept.
Then, the next thing that Daniel said, he said that the people of the prince shall come, the people of the Antichrist, and the Romans would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. That happened in about 70 AD. And so, you've got a gap right there between 32-33 AD when Jesus made His triumphal entry and was crucified until 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed. But, that gap is longer than those 40 or so years, because look at the next thing that Daniel said. He skipped down to the time of the end and he mentioned the fact that the Antichrist would sign a covenant with many for a period of one week of years. So, you've got a gap there again.
There's one other thing I think that indicates a gap. The angel talked about the Temple being destroyed, and that happened in 70 AD. But, it has to be rebuilt by the middle of the Tribulation period, so you need a gap or a time factor in there between the destruction of the Temple and the rebuilding of the Temple so that the Antichrist can stop the animal sacrifices and set himself up to be worshipped.
To me, it's just a sure thing that there's a gap. The sequence of events and the historical facts verify it to be so.
Don Perkins, According to Prophecy Ministries
The gap exists between the 69th and the 70th week. There's a reason for that gap. There was a question in the minds of the Old Testament prophets about how God was going to incorporate the Gentiles into the family of God. Paul addressed this is Ephesians chapters 2 and 3 very clearly. At the rejection of Messiah and beginning with the day of Pentecost, we have what's commonly called the Age of Grace, or the Church Age, or the Dispensation of the Church. At the beginning the Church was almost exclusively Jewish, but that soon changed with the spreading of the Gospel. As a result of that spread, the Gentiles became the dominant culture within the Church. It was through the avenue of this gap, this Church Age, that the Gentiles were brought into fellowship with God.
The Apostle Paul was very clear about the time when the last Gentile enters into the Body of Christ, not is saved, but enters into the Body of Christ. God is going to end this dispensation called the Church Age with the return of Jesus, to take the Church out of the world. Soon after that event, with the signing of a treaty of some kind brokered by Antichrist, that last week of years will begin and it's going to end with the Second Coming of Jesus.
So, yes, there's a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks of years, and the purpose of that gap is to include the Gentiles into the promises that God made to humanity.
Ed Hindson, World Prophetic Ministry
Yes, absolutely there's a gap, because if you take the 69 "sevens" as 483 years from the decree to rebuild the city until the death of the Messiah, it clearly says in that passage that the Messiah will be cut off or killed. He's going to die for others, and not for Himself. That was clearly fulfilled in the death of Christ. So, the 483 years definitely lapsed right on time and right on schedule with the prophecy.
The question is, what do you do with the final seven years, the 70th "seven," the shavoia is the Hebrew term, the epitaph of seven years? When does that come to pass? Well, after Jesus died on the cross, seven years later all of prophecy had not been fulfilled. All of this had not come to pass as even the destruction of the Temple was 40 years later, not seven years later. So, it's obvious to most people that seven years is yet to be fulfilled in the future, in the time of Tribulation, which is also called the "time of Jacob's trouble."
All the rest of the passages concerning the 70th Week are about the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. If the first 69 "sevens" are about the history of the Jew, why would not the 70th "seven" be about the history of the Jews as well? It's really as though God's time-clock starts ticking with the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to go and rebuilt the city, and for 483 years that clock ticks, ticks, ticks, ticks.. and stops at the death of Christ.
The gap is that God is now dealing in the Church Age with Gentiles as well as Jews. This was unforeseen in the Old Testament, and it's not part of the prophecy to the nation of Israel because they are going to be scattered during this time. When Israel returns to the land and the stage is set as it is today, once the Rapture occurs and the Church Age has come to an end, I believe the clock starts ticking again and the final seven years tick off as the world goes through the time of tribulation to the triumphal return of Christ.
In the sixth part of this series on the book of Daniel, the remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will finish answering, "Is there a time gap in Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Years?"