Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Examining the Dispensational Parenthesis Theory of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy

During my studies in seminary, I had, from time to time, been challenged by dispensationalists to explain away the seventy weeks prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27, one of the key passages used in defense of dispensationalism. Of all their biblical proof texts, Daniel 9:24-27 is perhaps the most critical text of them all. The interpretation of this passage, according to prominent dispensationalist scholar John F. Walvoord, “constitutes one of the determining factors in the whole system of prophecy.”[1] Within dispensationalist circles, this passage has been used to make sense of other prophetic texts such as the Olivet Discourse and most of Revelation. Walvoord calls this passage “the sine qua non of any student of prophecy.”[2]
Before I began my study of Daniel 9:24-27, I must admit that I do not have much of an interest in this passage. Due to its difficulty, I have put off studying it for quite some time. One scholar calls it “the most difficult text” in the book of Daniel.[3] Also, as one who is Reformed and amillennial, end-times predictions seem to be a needless waste of time to me. However recently, curiosity finally got the better of me. I thought it’s perhaps about time now that I settle this issue once and for all.
I would like to say from the outset that while I am in disagreement with dispensationalism, the purpose of this study is not to review or to critique the entire dispensational system. Rather, my purpose is to highlight the exegetical issues within the dispensational parenthesis theory so as to benefit those interested in this area of eschatology. Also, to restrict the scope of this study, although there are four major interpretations of this passage, I will focus only on the parenthesis theory here.
This study will be divided into four sections. In this study, I will, first of all, provide my translation of Daniel 9:24-27 from the Hebrew text. Next, a brief overview of the four major interpretations will be given. Following this, I will give a detailed explanation of the dispensational parenthesis theory. And lastly, I will discuss six exegetical issues that I have discovered in the course of my research.
Hebrew text and translation of Daniel 9:24-27
24 שָׁבֻעִים שִׁבְעִים נֶחְתַּךְ עַל־עַמְּךָ וְעַל־עִיר קָדְשֶׁךָ לְכַלֵּא הַפֶּשַׁע [כוּלַחְתֹּם] [קוּלְהָתֵם] [כחַטָּאֹות] [קחַטָּאתוּלְכַפֵּר עָוֹן וּלְהָבִיא צֶדֶק עֹלָמִים וְלַחְתֹּם חָזֹון וְנָבִיא וְלִמְשֹׁחַ קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים׃
25 וְתֵדַע וְתַשְׂכֵּל מִן־מֹצָא דָבָר לְהָשִׁיב וְלִבְנֹות יְרוּשָׁלִַם עַד־מָשִׁיחַ נָגִיד שָׁבֻעִים שִׁבְעָה וְשָׁבֻעִים שִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁנַיִם תָּשׁוּב וְנִבְנְתָה רְחֹוב וְחָרוּץ וּבְצֹוק הָעִתִּים׃
26 וְאַחֲרֵי הַשָּׁבֻעִים שִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁנַיִם יִכָּרֵת מָשִׁיחַ וְאֵין לֹו וְהָעִיר וְהַקֹּדֶשׁ יַשְׁחִית עַם נָגִיד הַבָּא וְקִצֹּו בַשֶּׁטֶף וְעַד קֵץ מִלְחָמָה נֶחֱרֶצֶת שֹׁמֵמֹות׃
27 וְהִגְבִּיר בְּרִית לָרַבִּים שָׁבוּעַ אֶחָד וַחֲצִי הַשָּׁבוּעַ יַשְׁבִּית זֶבַח וּמִנְחָה וְעַל כְּנַף שִׁקּוּצִים מְשֹׁםֵם וְעַד־כָּלָה וְנֶחֱרָצָה תִּתַּךְ עַל־שֹׁםֵם׃
24 Seventy “sevens” is decreed[4] upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish[5] the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies.
25 That is,[6] you will know, and you will consider, from the going forth of the word to return and to build Jerusalem until an anointed [one], a ruler,[7] [is] seven “sevens.” And sixty-two “sevens,” a city square and a moat will return and will be built,[8] even in the distress of the times.
26 And after the sixty-two “sevens,” an anointed [one] will be cut off and nothing to him. And the people of the ruler who is coming will destroy the city and the holy [place], and its end [will be] with a flood. And until an end [there will be] war, determining[9] desolates.
27 That is,[10] he will confirm a covenant to the many [for] one “seven.” And the half of the “seven,” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And upon the wing of detestable things,[11] making desolate until[12] complete destruction, and that which is determined will pour forth upon the desolate.[13]
An overview of the four major interpretations of Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy[14]
Interpreters of Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy primarily differ with each other on how the seventy “sevens” in Daniel 9:24-27 are to be interpreted. These seventy “sevens” are basically divided into three groups: seven “sevens,” sixty-two “sevens,” and a final “seven.” In many translations, the word שְׁבֻעַ (“seven”) is translated as “week.” Throughout this study, I will be using the words “seven” or “week” interchangeably to refer to the word שְׁבֻעַ.

Seven “sevens”
Sixty-two “sevens”
Final “seven”
1st interpretation (literal years)[15]
From Jerusalem’s destruction (586 B.C.) to Babylon’s fall (539/538 B.C.)
From Babylon's fall to the high priest Onias III (170 B.C.)
Antiochus IV Epiphanes's persecution in 170–163 B.C.
2ndinterpretation (symbolic years)
From Cyrus’s decree allowing the return of the Jewish exiles (538 B.C.) to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (approx. 440–400 B.C.)
From about 400 B.C. until the first advent of Christ
From the first advent of Christ until an unspecified point sometime after Christ’s earthly ministry but before the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70.)
3rd interpretation (literal + symbolic years)[16]

From Cyrus’s decree or Artaxerxes I’s decree to Ezra (458 B.C.) until the first advent of Christ
From Christ’s earthly ministry until the persecution of the church by the Antichrist.
From the Antichrist’s persecution of the church until the end of the age
From Cyrus’s decree or Artaxerxes I’s decree to Ezra until the completion of Jerusalem (ca. 409 B.C. or ca. 396 B.C.)
From about 400 B.C. until the first advent of Christ
From Christ’s earthly ministry until the end of the age
4th interpretation (dispensational literal)
From Artaxerxes I’s decree to Ezra or his second decree (445 B.C.) until the completion of Jerusalem
From about 400 B.C. until the first advent of Christ
From the Antichrist’s covenant with national Israel to the 2nd advent of Christ and the establishment of his earthly millennial kingdom

Explanation of the parenthesis theory
The parenthesis theory of the seventy weeks prophecy is firmly rooted within a system of biblical interpretation called dispensationalism. Dispensationalist scholars, who hold to this theory, believe that the primary focus of Daniel 9:24-27 is on “the history of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.”[17] In v. 24, the angel Gabriel tells Daniel that six goals are to be accomplished in seventy “sevens.” They are: 1) to finish the transgression; 2) to seal up sins; 3) to cover iniquity; 4) to bring in eternal righteousness; 5) to seal up vision and prophet; and 6) to anoint the holy of holies. Dispensationalist scholar J. Dwight Pentecost believes that while “[t]he basis for the first three was provided in the work of Christ on the cross, but all six will be realized by Israel at the Second Advent of Christ.”[18] According to the prophecy, these six goals are to be fulfilled in “seventy ‘sevens’” (שָׁבֻעִים שִׁבְעִים). Because dispensationalist scholars interpret the word שְׁבֻעַ (“seven”) as a reference to a period of seven years, they believe these six goals are to be accomplished within 490 years.
In the prophecy, Gabriel divides the seventy “sevens” into three periods: seven “sevens” (49 years), sixty-two “sevens” (434 years), and a final “seven” (7 years). Concerning the first two periods, dispensationalist scholars believe that they run consecutively without any parenthesis or gap in between. According to them, the first period refers to “the time in which the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, permitted by Artexerxes’ decree, was completed (444-395 B.C.).”[19] As for the next period of sixty-two “sevens,” they believe that it extends up to “the introduction of the Messiah to the nation Israel.”[20]
The final period of “seven,” unlike the first two periods, is treated differently. Dispensationalist scholars believe a parenthesis exists between the sixty-two “sevens” (69th week) and the final “seven” (70th week). For them, the final “seven” does not take place immediately after the second period of sixty-two “sevens,” but will take place sometime in the indeterminate future. Their primary argument for this theory hinges upon the Hebrew preposition אַחַר (“after”) in v. 26. They believe that since v. 26 does not explicitly state that the Messiah was crucified in the 70th week, but after the 69th week, there is a parenthesis implied between the 69th week and the 70th week.[21]
According to Pentecost, this parenthesis begins “on the day of the Triumphal Entry just before Christ was cut off, that is, crucified.”[22] Dispensationalist scholars believe that Jesus had offered the kingdom to Israel, but he was “rejected by Israel.”[23] As a result, Israel had been “temporarily set aside in the plan of God.”[24] In the meantime, God institutes a “new program for the church,”[25] which ushers in the age of the church. Thus, the past two thousand years, from the time of Christ to the present, represent the parenthesis in v. 26.
This parenthesis, dispensational scholars believe, will not last forever. According to one dispensationalist writer, “[w]hen God’s purposes for the church are over, God will restore Israel back to their original place which will bring immense blessing to the Gentile nations.”[26] But before this could happen, the events in v. 27 must take place. Dispensationalist scholars believe that v. 27 describes the final “seven” (70th week), which begins when “the covenant between Israel and the Antichrist is signed.”[27] During the latter half of the 70th week, “there will be a terrible time of tribulation for Israel and the world,” where “God will use this trial to bring Israel and countless others to saving faith.”[28] This 70th week will end with “Christ’s second coming and the establishment of his earthly kingdom, which will last a thousand years.”[29]
Exegetical issues with the parenthesis theory
Dispensational exegetes presuppose a number of things when they interpret the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel. First, they presuppose a parenthesis exists between the 69th week and the 70th week. Second, they adopt a principle of hermeneutical separation between Israel and the church, presupposing that they are two peoples of God with separate destinies. Third, they presuppose that the numbers in the prophecy are intended to be used only in a non-figurative sense. Finally, they presuppose that all of the events described have to take place chronologically. As this section will demonstrate, there are several exegetical issues when these presuppositions are held. The issues are as follows:
1. There is no exegetical warrant for imposing a parenthesis between the 69th week and the 70th week. When defending the parenthesis theory, dispensational scholars typically insist the presence of the preposition אַחַר (“after”) in v. 26 proves that there is a parenthesis between the 69th week and 70th week. Dispensationalist scholar Robert H. Gundry argues that if the 70th week is supposed to follow immediately after the 69th week, “the text would have read ‘during’ or ‘in the midst of’ the seventieth week, as it does in verse twenty-seven concerning the stoppage of the sacrifices.”[30] Also, to support the idea of a parenthesis, Walvoord lists twelve instances of parentheses in the Bible where God “stopped the clock of fulfillment only to resume the progress of fulfillment later.”[31]
Nevertheless, Walvoord’s attempt to demonstrate similar instances of parentheses is hardly proof that a parenthesis exists in Dan. 9:24-27. Non-dispensational scholars are quite unanimous in agreeing that there is no exegetical warrant for imposing such a parenthesis in v. 26.[32] Tim Meadowcroft and Nate Irwin comment that to do so would be “an arbitrary and uncontrolled imposition on the text.”[33] According to O. Palmer Robertson, “the minute exegetical possibility resting on an unusual interpretation of the common word after appears as a rather precarious base for establishing a two-thousand-year-long gap in world history.”[34]
In fact, the fallacy of appealing to the preposition אַחַר in v. 26 can be demonstrated from a similar passage. In Hosea 6:2, the writer uses two expressions מִיֹּמָיִם (“after two days”) and בַּיֹּום הַשְּׁלִישִׁי (“on the third day”) to refer to the same day. If the dispensational exegete is consistent in his exegesis of all biblical texts, he would have to apply the same rule that he uses for Dan. 9:24-27 to Hos. 6:2. That is, a parenthesis has to be imposed between the 2nd day and the 3rd day. Obviously, such an interpretation is incorrect, as it is evident from the passage that the expressions מִיֹּמָיִם and בַּיֹּום הַשְּׁלִישִׁי both refer to the same day in which God will “revive” and “raise up” his people. Even dispensationalist scholar Robert B. Chisholm acknowledges this interpretation when he notes that both are “equivalent expressions,” which “refer to a short period of time, indicating they expected the revival to occur soon.”[35]
2. The parenthesis theory does not allow for the first three goals in verse 24 to be realized during the seventy weeks. Dispensationalist scholars believe that the events in v. 26 point to Christ’s crucifixion and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. Some dispensationalist scholars, such as Pentecost and R. D. Culver, believe that Christ’s crucifixion relates to the first three goals in v. 24.[36] Others, such as Stephen R. Miller and Gleason L. Archer, believe that only the third goal is related.[37] While v. 24 states that all six goals are to be accomplished within the seventy weeks, it should be noted that, according to the parenthesis theory, Christ’s achievement of some of these goals falls not within these weeks but in the parenthesis that comes after the 69th week and before the 70th week. Recognizing this exegetical loophole, some have argued back in response that while the basis of these goals “was laid at the death of Christ,” “the full effecting comes only at the second coming.”[38]
Their answer to this loophole, however, is quite unsatisfactory, especially when other interpretations of this passage understand these goals to be inaugurated within the seventy weeks of Daniel. For the dispensational exegete, Christ’s atonement is crucial to the fulfillment of the first three goals in the earthly millennial kingdom. Pentecost believes that Christ’s atonement is the basis for bringing to an end Israel’s sin of disobedience, removing Israel’s sin, and providing for “God’s final atonement of Israel when she repents at Christ’s second coming.[39] If, as the dispensational exegete believes, that the seventy weeks constitute God’s program for Israel, then it is somewhat strange that the heart of God’s program took place outside the scope of his program.
3. The relationship between the atoning of iniquity and eternal righteousness and the cessation of sacrifice and offering indicates that the man in verse 27 is not the Antichrist. The expression צֶדֶק עֹלָמִים in v. 24 is made up of a singular construct noun (צֶדֶק) and a plural absolute noun (עֹלָמִים). While most translations render this expression as “everlasting righteousness,” dispensationalist scholars prefer to translate it as “righteousness of ages.” This is done so as to interpret the word עוֹלָם (“everlasting”) as an age or time period.[40] Because they believe this seventy weeks prophecy pertains only to Israel, they believe that צֶדֶק עֹלָמִים refers to the period of the earthly millennial kingdom, which will be “characterized by righteousness,”[41] and will “continue for eternity.”[42]
Exegetically, this interpretation of צֶדֶק עֹלָמִים as a period of righteousness cannot be sustained. For one thing, the word עוֹלָם is never used in the OT to signify a time period whereby the period is characterized by the meaning of the construct noun.[43] Also, the use of the word צֶ֫דֶק (“righteousness”) in v. 24 recalls the earlier usage of the derivative words צְדָקָה (also translated as “righteousness”) and צַדִּיק (“righteous”) in the prayer of Daniel (vv. 7, 14, 16, 18). Since the words צְדָקָה and צֶ֫דֶק in Daniel’s prayer are used to denote the idea of God’s righteousness over against Israel, this strongly implies that צֶ֫דֶק in v. 24 refers to God’s righteousness as well.[44]
Dispensationalist scholars also believe that the man in the phrase יַשְׁבִּית זֶבַח וּמִנְחָה (“he will put an end to sacrifice and offering”) in v. 27 is the Antichrist.[45]But when viewed from the larger context of redemptive history, the phrase יַשְׁבִּית זֶבַח וּמִנְחָה corresponds nicely with the expressions וּלְכַפֵּר עָוֹן (“and to make atonement for iniquity”) and צֶדֶק עֹלָמִים (“and to bring in everlasting righteousness”). Thus, while Daniel prophesies the bringing in of “everlasting righteousness” (LXX: δικαιοσύνην αἰώνιον), the apostle Paul proclaims the revealing of the “righteousness of God” (δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ) through the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:17). While Daniel prophesies the “atonement of iniquity” (LXX: ἀπαλεῖψαι τὰς ἀδικίας), the writer of Hebrews tells about God’s mercy towards iniquities (ἀδικίαις) through the atonement of Christ (Heb. 8:12; cf. 2:17). Because of Christ’s atonement, sacrifice and offering in the old covenant have become obsolete (Heb. 8:13).
4. The parenthesis theory’s understanding of sealing vision and prophecy during the seventy weeks leaves some prophecies unfulfilled. In the parenthesis theory, the seventy weeks are supposed to end with the establishment of the earthly millennial kingdom. During these seventy weeks, six tasks are to be accomplished, which includes the sealing of vision and prophecy (וְלַחְתֹּם חָזֹון וְנָבִיא, v. 24). For the dispensational exegete, the sealing of vision and prophecy refers to the fulfillment of all prophecies, with no additional prophecy given.[46] Because the sealing of vision and prophecy is to be accomplished within the seventy weeks, this means all prophecies have to be fulfilled by this period as well.
At this point, the parenthesis theory seems somewhat inconsistent with the broader framework of dispensational eschatology. If the dispensational exegete looks closely at his overall eschatological timeline, then he would see that the fulfillment of prophecies does not merely end with the millennial kingdom. There are, in fact, some prophecies left to be fulfilled after the millennial kingdom. One could take, for example, the prophecies of God’s final judgment and the new heavens and new earth. If, as the dispensational exegete believes, that all prophecies have to be fully realized during the seventy weeks, then the dispensational exegete has to face the awkward problem of having prophecies take place even after the seventy weeks have ended.
5. Verse 27 does not chronologically take place after verse 26, but verse 27 is simply a repetition and elaboration of verse 26. The dispensational exegete has to understand that although the וְ conjunction is often used to express temporal sequences (i.e., “and”), it can have multiple functions. One of its functions is the epexegetical function (i.e., “that is”), which clarifies and expands the preceding verse.[47] For example, it is quite obvious, as the above translation has shown, that the events in v. 25-27 are an elaboration of v. 24. Here in v. 25, the initial וְ conjunction functions epexegetically to expand v. 24.
Likewise in v. 27, the initial וְ conjunction has that same function. The events in v. 27 do not take place after v. 26, but rather, they are an elaboration of the events in v. 26. This is proven by the verbal correspondences between v. 26 and v. 27. As J. Barton Payne rightly observes, both verses talk about “the completeness of the city’s ‘end,’ of its ‘desolations,’ and of its suffering and warfare that is ‘determined’”[48] These similar phrases strongly suggest that the same situation is in view, rather than two separate situations as the parenthesis theory teaches.[49]
6. The covenant in verse 27 likely refers to God’s established covenant with Israel. According to the parenthesis theory, the subject in the phrase וְהִגְבִּיר בְּרִיתלָרַבִּים (“and he will confirm a covenant to the many”, v. 27) is the Antichrist, who would one day make a peace treaty with national Israel.[50] There are indications in v. 27, however, that this covenant is not new. For one thing, even though the word בְּרִית (“covenant”) is used in v. 27, it is rather significant that the verb כָּרַת (“to cut”), typically used for the making of a covenant, is absent here.[51] Instead, the verb גָּבַר is used in its place. This verb has the basic idea of being strong, or prevailing over.[52] In v. 27, this verb occurs with a hiphil stem, having the meaning, “to confirm.”[53] The use of this verb, instead of the usual כָּרַת, thus illustrates that the covenant in v. 27 is not at all new, but has already been established in the past.[54]
Moreover, it should be noted that the equivalent LXX phrase for וְהִגְבִּיר בְּרִית לָרַבִּים is the phrase κα δυναστεύσει  διαθήκη ες πολλούς, which may literally be translated as, “and the covenant will be powerful for many.” In this LXX phrase, the nominative article  (“the”) is evidently being used in a par excellence sense so as to refer to a covenant that is recognizable to Daniel’s audience.[55] Such a recognizable and well-established covenant, it seems, poses a problem for the dispensational exegete, as the parenthesis theory talks about a completely new covenant being made between the Antichrist and national Israel.  
The identity of this covenant in v. 27 could simply be derived from the literary context within the chapter. In Daniel 9, there is a noticeable presence of covenantal language being used in Daniel’s prayer. In vv. 1-19, Daniel prayed to God for “the restoration of Jerusalem, the temple, and his presence among his people.”[56] In his prayer, Daniel has included the fact that “Israel has repeatedly broken God’s covenant, and the covenant must be renewed.”[57] According to Kim Riddlebarger, “[t]he theme of both Daniel’s prayer and Gabriel’s answer was YHWH’s covenant with Israel, especially that God would bring to pass everything that he had promised.”[58] Thus, when the word בְּרִית (“covenant”) appears in v. 27, there is no question in the minds of Daniel’s audience as to the identity of this covenant.[59]


[1] John F. Walvoord, “Is the Seventieth Week of Daniel Future?,” Bibliotheca sacra 101, no. 401 (1944): 30.
[2] Ibid.
[3] A remark by Joyce Baldwin cited by Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, The New American Commentary vol. 18. (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), Electronic ed., Libronix.
[4] In this verse, the verb נֶחְתַּךְ is a niphal perfect third person masculine singular. In “חָתַך” TWOT Lexicon, Bibleworks 7, it is noted that “[t]his verb appears only in the passive stem (Niphal), and only in Dan 9:24.” It is further noted that its root word means “cut,” thus most translations render the verb in Dan. 9:24 as “decreed.”
[5] In v. 24, the verb כָּלָה (“to finish”) also appears in v. 27 as a noun כָּלָה (“complete destruction”).
[6] The initial וְ conjunction functions epexegetically in this verse.
[7] The words מָשִׁ֫יחַ (“anointed”) and נָגִיד (“ruler” or “prince”) are used twice in this passage: in v. 25 and in v. 26. C. F. Keil and F. DelitzschCommentary on the Old Testament  (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002), Electronic ed., Libronix, comment that the phrase מָשִׁיחַ נָגִיד is “not to be translated an anointed prince,” as in Hebrew, “[t]he adjective is always placed after the substantive.”
[8] It should be noted that the words תָּשׁוּב֙ (“it will return”) and רְחֹ֣וב (“city square”) are feminine, while the words וְנִבְנְתָה֙ (“and it will be built”) and וְחָר֔וּץ (“and a moat”) are masculine. Thus, an alternate and probably more meaningful translation could be: “a city square will return and a moat will be built.”
[9] In Dan. 9:26 and 27, the verb חָרַץ (“to determine”) occurs in the same form (i.e. niphal participle feminine singular).
[10] As in v. 25, the initial וְ conjunction functions epexegetically in this verse.
[11] It should be noted that the word שִׁקּוּץ is often used to refer to idols (e.g., Deut. 29:16; 2 Kgs. 23:24; Jer. 4:1; 7:30). Some translations render שִׁקּוּצִים֙ (“of detested things”) as “of abominations.”
[12] The וְ conjunction is probably used as a hendiadys, and is thus translated as “until.”
[13] Some translations choose to emend שֹׁמֵֽם (“the desolate”), rendering it as מְשֹׁמֵ֔ם (“the desolator”). However, J. Barton Payne, “The Goal of Daniel's Seventy Weeks,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 21, no. 2 (1978): 112, points out that “since the standard transitive form for ‘desolator’ (cf. 11:31) occurs just six words earlier, it would appear that the normal intransitive meaning should be retained here at the close of the verse (cf. 9:18, 26).”
[14] The primary source of data for the following table is from Miller’s explanation of the four major interpretations.
[15] Clyde T. Francisco, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel,” Review & Expositor 57, no. 2 (1960): 127, observes that “[m]ost scholars today, therefore, would say that the author is concerned with the Maccabean period and sees the consummation of history immediately upon the defeat of the hated Antiochus Epiphanes, who devastated Jerusalem from 171 until 165 B.C.”
[16] Miller observes two variations of this interpretation.
[17] [17] J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. John F . Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), Electronic ed., Libronix. See alsoWalvoord, 42-43.
[18] Pentecost.
[19] Pentecost.
[20] Pentecost.
[21] Walvoord, 40, argues: “Is it not utterly inexplicable that the prophecy of verse twenty-six should be stated after the sixty-nine week, if in matter of fact it is during and after the seventieth week? Does not the way in which the truth is stated infer that the events occur after the sixty-nine week but before the seventieth week? If so, a parenthesis is called for, allowing for all events in their proper place and for a fulfillment of the seventieth week in the future.”
[22] Pentecost.
[23] Miller.
[24] Paul N. BenwareUnderstanding End Times Prophecy, revised and expanded (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006), 105.
[25] Pentecost. Miller remarks: “Just as God focused his attention on the Jewish people for about two thousand years, these past two thousand years his attention has been focused on the Gentiles.”
[26] Benware, 105.
[27] Ibid., 296.
[28] Miller.
[29] Ibid.
[30] Robert H. Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), 190.
[31] Walvoord, 47-48.
[32] Thomas E. McComiskey, “The seventy ‘weeks’ of Daniel against the background of ancient Near Eastern literature,” Westminster Theological Journal 47, no. 1 (1985): 36, observes that “there is no clear exegetical warrant for positing a gap within the structure.” Clyde T. Francisco, “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel,” Review & Expositor 57, no. 2 (1960): 135, also notes that “[t]here is no indication given that the seventy weeks are not consecutive.”
[33] Tim Meadowcroft and Nate Irwin, The Book of Daniel, Asia Bible Commentary Series, ed. Bruce J. Nicholls (Singapore: Asia Theological Association, 2004), 176.
[34] O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Prophets (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2004), 344.
[35] Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., “Hosea,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. John F . Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983-c1985), Electronic ed., Libronix.
[36] See Pentecost and R. D. Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (Westwood: Réveil, 1954), 157.
[37] See Miller and Gleason L. Archer, Jr., “Daniel,” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), Electronic ed., Pradis.
[38] Culver, 157.
[39] Pentecost.
[40] See Pentecost and Archer.
[41] Pentecost.
[42] Miller.
[43] In its plural form, the word עוֹלָם (“everlasting” or “ancient”) is only used in one other passage in the OT (i.e., Psa. 145:13). Here in Psa. 145:13, the word is paired with a construct noun in the expression מַלְכוּת כָּל־עֹלָמִים (“everlasting kingdom”). It is quite obvious that the word is not used to signify a time period (i.e., a period characterized by “kingdom”). But in its singular form, the word, when paired with a construct noun, occurs many times, with the words: generations (Gen. 9:12; Isa. 51:9); covenant (Gen. 9:16; 17:7; 17:13; 17:19; Exod. 31:16; Lev. 24:8; Num. 18:19; 2 Sam. 23:5; 1 Chr. 16:17; Psa. 105:10; Isa. 24:5; 55:3, 61:8; Jer. 32:40; 50:5; Ezek. 16:60; 37:26); possession (Gen. 17:8; 48:4; Lev. 25:34); God (Gen. 21:33; Isa. 40:28); hills (Gen. 49:26; Deut. 33:15; Hab. 3:6); name (Exod. 3:15; Isa. 56:5; 63:12); statute (Exod. 12:14, 17; 27:21; 28:43; 29:9; Lev. 3:17; 7:36; 10:9; 16:29, 31, 34; 17:7; 23:14, 21, 31, 41; 24:3; Num. 10:8; 15:15; 18:23; 19:10, 21; Ezek. 46:14); due (Exod. 29:28; 30:21; Lev. 6:11, 15; 7:34; 10:15; 24:9; Num. 18:8, 11, 19; Jer. 5:22); priesthood (Exod. 40:15; Num. 25:13); redemption (Lev. 25:32); mound (Deut. 13:17; Jos. 8:28); slave (Deut. 15:17; 1 Sam. 27:12; Job 40:28); days (Deut. 23:7; 32:7; Isa. 63:9, 11; Amos 9:11; Mic. 5:1; 7:14; Mal. 3:4); arms (Deut. 33:27); way (Job 22:15; Psa. 139:24); king (Psa. 10:16; Jer. 10:10); doors (Psa. 24:7, 9); quiet (Psa. 73:12); years (Psa. 77:6); reproach (Psa. 78:66; Jer. 23:40); dead (Psa. 143:3; Lam. 3:6); kingdom (Psa. 145:13); boundary (Prov. 22:28; 23:10); house (Eccl. 12:5); rock (Isa. 26:4); burnings (Isa. 33:14); joy (Isa. 35:10; 51:11; 61:7); people (Isa. 44:7; Ezek. 26:20); salvation (Isa. 45:17); lovingkindness(Isa. 54:8); sign (Isa. 55:13); ruins (Isa. 58:12; 61:4; Jer. 25:9; 49:13); exaltation (Isa. 60:15); light (Isa. 60:19, 20); paths (Jer. 6:16); ways (Jer. 18:15); insult (Jer. 20:11); pregnant (Jer. 20:17); ignominy (Jer. 23:40); devastation (Jer. 25:12; 51:26, 62; Ezek. 35:9); love (Jer. 31:3); sleep (Jer. 51:39, 57); enmity (Ezek. 25:15; 35:5); high places (Ezek. 36:2); life (Dan. 12:2, 7); aversion (Dan. 12:2); doings (Hab. 3:6). Even with these many occurrences, עוֹלָם is also not used to signify a time period.
[44] John E. GoldingayDaniel, Word Biblical Commentary vol. 30 (Dallas: Word, 2002), Electronic ed., Libronix, observes that the words צְדָקָה (“righteousness”) and צַדִּיק (“righteous”) in Dan. 9:7, 14, 16, 18 denotes “the idea that Yahweh was in the right over against Israel.”
[45] Pentecost believes that the Antichrist “will terminate all organized religions” in order to “cause the world to worship him.”
[46] Miller proposes that the sealing of vision and prophecy means that “these forms of revelation would be closed” and “God will someday set his seal of authentication upon every truly God-given revelation (‘vision and prophecy’) by bringing about its complete fulfillment.”
[47] Bill T. Arnold and John H. ChoiA Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 147, note that when the וְ conjunction functions epexegetically, it “clarifies, expands, or paraphrases the clause that precedes it. Thus, it can be translated as the expression “that is.” See for example, 2 Sam. 14:5; Isa. 44:1; Exod. 24:7; 1 Sam. 17:40.
[48] Payne, 109. See the following for comparison:

Verse 26
Verse 27
“… an anointed [one] will be cut off and nothing to him.”
“… he will confirm a covenant to the many [for] one ‘seven.’ And the half of the “seven,” he will remove sacrifice and offering.”
“And the people of the ruler who is coming will destroy the city and the holy [place], and its end [will be] with a flood.”
“And upon the wing of detestable things, making desolate until complete destruction.”
“And until an end [there will be] war, determining desolates.”
“… and that which is determined will pour forth upon the desolate.”

[49] Ibid.
[50] See Pentecost on Daniel 9:27a. Miller also suggests that the phrase וְהִגְבִּיר בְּרִית לָרַבִּים  means “the Antichrist, on behalf of his empire, will make a treaty with the nation of Israel.”
[51] See for example, Gen. 21:27, 32; 26:28; 31:44; Ex. 23:32; 24:8; 34:10, 12, 15, 27; Deut. 5:2, 3; 7:2; 29:13; 31:16; Jer. 11:10; 31:31, 32, 33; 32:40. Also, it is significant that even though the verb כָּרַת is used in v. 26, it is not used in v. 27.
[52] “גָּבַר” in Theological Workbook of the Old TestamentBibleworks 7. It is noted that in Arabic, “the basic meaning of the root is ‘to rise, raise, restore,’ with the idea of being strong, or prevailing over coming only in the derived stems. That the Hebrew may share a similar range of meaning is seen in the Hithpael where the idea is not so much to make oneself prevail over God, as it is to raise oneself up in arrogance and stand in his face (Job 15:25; 36:9; Isa 42:13).”
[53] “גָּבַר” in Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament)Libronix. Also, see the hiphil meaning of “גָּבַר” in BDB Hebrew lexicon.
[54] Kim RiddlebargerA Case for Amillennialism (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), 155, points out that the use of the verb גָּבַר means that “the covenant in verse 27 was not being made de novo but was a covenant… which already existed.”
[55] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 222, notes that the par excellence article is “frequently used to point out a substantive that is, in a sense, ‘a class by itself.’”
[56] Willem A. VanGemerenInterpreting the Prophetic Word (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 350, observes that Daniel’s prayer consists of four elements: “(1) Israel’s rebellious attitude to the Law and the Prophets, (2) Yahweh’s righteousness in judgment, (3) the fulfillment of the curses, and (4) the hope in renewal of divine mercy and grace.”
[57] Riddlebarger, 151.
[58] Riddlebarger, 151. Tremper Longman III, Daniel, NIV Application Commentary, ed. Terry C. Muck (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 230, similarly comments that theme of the covenant stands “at the heart of Daniel’s prayer.” Robertson also notes that according to Meredith Kline, what is striking about Daniel’s prayer is “the repeated use of the covenant name of God (YHWH), along with the repeated use of adonay, the ‘characteristic designation of the dominant party in the covenant.’”
[59] There is a confirmation of a covenant in redemptive history when Jesus made the new and everlasting covenant. In Matt. 26:28, Jesus said: “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Also, it is interesting that Jesus uses the word πολύς (“many”), which is also used in the LXX translation of Daniel 9:27 (i.e., “and the covenant will be powerful for many”). Walvoord, 42, however, disagrees that the covenant in v. 27 refers to the new covenant. He argues that this covenant cannot be the everlasting new covenant since it is “broken before it runs its course, i. e., at the end of the first half of the week.” In his argument, Walvoord erroneously assumes that v. 27 chronologically takes place after v. 26. Of course, this is not at all the case, as covered in point 5 of this section.

2 comments:

  1. Are you still active on this blog? If so, I plan on responding at greater length.

    My chief complaint is your too narrow focus on 'textual' issues at the expense of the biblical and extra-biblical historical record. For example, presumably your view interprets the 70 years of Exile as 70 normal solar years? But then why doesn't the historical record show this?

    In fact, the historical records allow at most an Exile up to 69 years and about 16 days. This fact strongly supports the futurist position, but do you know why? Were you even aware that the Exile was so much shorter than what most have supposed?

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  2. First, your claim that exegetical consistency demands that Dispensationalists should understand any point after the 69 weeks as being IN the 70th week, based on Hosea 6:2, loses all of its force when the 70 weeks of Jewish disobedience are considered which necessitated the Exile. For recall that the 70 weeks of Jewish disobedience are implied in the 70 years of Jewish Exile, in which each year of the Exile represented a 7-year period in which the Jews had failed to ‘sabbath’ (i.e., rest) their land in the 7th year of a 7-year period, as per the commandment.

    In other words, 70 years of agricultural Sabbath-breaking, i.e., 490 years of disobedience, are implied in the 70 year Exile; yet note that this 490 years of disobedience was non-contiguous, occurring over about an 800 year period. And so, obviously implied was a 1st Sabbath year that went observed, after which there was a 2nd Sabbath year that went unobserved, after which there was a 3rd Sabbath year that went unobserved, and so forth, all the way up to 70 Sabbath years that went unobserved, at which point God acted to send Judah into Exile. The implied numerical sequence is undeniable, since there is an all but quid pro quo between the 70 years of agricultural Sabbath breaking and the 70 year Exile to allow the land to rest.

    That is, there could not have been a 70th year of agricultural Sabbath breaking unless there had been a 69th, nor a 69th year of agricultural Sabbath breaking unless there had been a 68th, and so forth. And so, while the word “after” doesn’t technically occur (like the word trinity throughout the Bible) it is certainly implied in Daniel 9. And, again, because many of these years which came after each other one were often interrupted by periods of time before the next numerically sequenced, agricultural Sabbath-breaking took place, your argument that any numbered day or year which follows its preceding numbered day or year must come without interruption, cannot be sustained.

    Cry as theologians might, into their beer mugs over a desire for “exegetical consistency,” God has not always seen fit to arrange His plans to accommodate the way theologians presume the Bible must be understood.

    I may continue to critique your complaints against the Dispensationalist view of a parenthesis between the 69th and 70th week, especially if I see that you are still active on this blog. In the meantime, I continue to await your response about why the 70 years of Exile were ca. only ‘69’ in number, and why that would have nevertheless satisfied God’s sense of justice.

    Daniel Gracely

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