TK Burk: $1000 Challenge to Dispensationalists


“$1000 For One Scripture That Says…” On the heels of the previous post being about dispensationalism, I find this long-standing challenge by TK Burk to be an interesting one. For those who may have seen the last post, but weren’t sure what dispensationalism is, Burk’s eight points below should help give you an idea of what is taught in this school of thought:

A biblical doctrine is not biblical unless it has biblical passages proving it is biblical fact. That may sound a little simplistic, and maybe even a bit of a tongue twister, but it is still the main rule to follow when rightly dividing God’s Word. Please, keep this in mind when reading through this $1000.00 challenge.

Each of the following eight points are taken from foundational teachings in the prophecy view called “Dispensationalism.” If Dispensationalism is truly biblical then there should be Bible passages that clearly speak of these points. If there are no such scriptures, how then can Dispensationalism be said to be biblical? For this challenge, I am offering $1000.00 to the first person that can give just one Bible verse that actually says any of the following Dispensational teachings:

  1. God delayed His Kingdom because the Jews rejected Jesus.
  2. There is a gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel.
  3. There will be a secret pre-tribulation rapture of the Church.
  4. God will require the building of a physical third Jewish Temple.
  5. God will no longer accept grace and Jesus’ blood for salvation but will instead return to the Law and animal blood sacrifices.
  6. An Antichrist will make a seven-year covenant with the Jews.
  7. There will be a future seven-year tribulation period.
  8. A physical Jesus Christ will return to establish a 1000-year reign on earth.

If you’re a Dispensational believer, and if you believe that any or all of the above eight teachings are biblical, would you please give us at least one Bible verse that actually says any of the above? Though Dispensational teachers claim to have much scriptural evidence to support their teachings, you only need one Bible scripture to qualify for the $1000.00.

This $1000.00 offer has been around for many years. To date not even one verse has ever been sent to prove any of these Dispensational teachings are in fact biblical…not one. This silence alone should be enough to prove that these main points in the Dispensational theory are not biblical. However, since Dispensationalism is still claimed by some to be biblical, this $1000.00 is still being offered to the first person that can give such a verse. If you are a Dispensationalist and you cannot find such a scripture, I hope you realize that this means you are missing much more than just $1000.00–you are missing the fullness of God’s Truth.

For continuity, responses to this challenge must use the King James Bible. Use the below “reply” area to send in any Bible verses. Comments concerning the lack of any such scriptural evidence are also welcomed.

(Source)

Burk is right – not one Scripture passage substantiates any of those eight points. As a side note regarding #5, my understanding is that dispensationalists/pre-millennialists would probably say that God’s grace and Jesus’ blood will still be the basis for salvation in an alleged future millennium, but that animal sacrifices will be re-established as some kind of a memorial. It’s still a very strange idea, though, in my opinion, and certainly without Scriptural basis.

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The Early Church Fathers and the Last Days of the Jewish Age


The following resource was compiled by Bishop George Kouri, an author and the pastor of The King’s Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He references the stated beliefs of Barnabas, Clement of Alexandrea, Origen, Tertullian, Athanasius, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus concerning “the last days”, “the end of the age,” and Daniel’s 70th Week (Daniel 9). This is not exhaustive, and there’s no doubt that leaders in church history have held quite a variety of views about these and related topics in the field of eschatology. When researching their beliefs, though, it’s easy to see that many did not view the Biblical “last days” as being about the (alleged) end of world history, but rather as the last days of the old covenant age. Here are just a few examples, as provided by George Kouri (all emphasis in the original):

BARNABAS:

Written anonymously around 100 AD, the “Epistle of Barnabas” is the earliest extra-Canonical source we have. Although not included in the Canon of the New Testament, it is an incredibly early documentation of the early Church’s beliefs about the last days. The Apostle John was probably alive when it was written. And although the authorship is disputed, we will refer to Barnabas as the author.

The Epistle of Barnabas sets forth the common view held by the early Church that the seventieth week of Daniel ended with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, as Messiah’s Day dawned and Christ’s Church was born. Barnabas writes, “For it is written, ‘And it shall come to pass, when the week is completed, the temple of God shall be built…in the name of the Lord.’ I find…that a temple does exist. Having received the forgiveness of sins…in our habitation God dwells in us….This is the spiritual temple built for the Lord.” (EOB, 16:6)

Barnabas uses the expression “the week,” but does not mention Daniel. Yet scholars agree from the context that this is definitely a reference to Daniel’s 70th week. And it is assumed by many scholars that the prophecy of Daniel’s seventy weeks was so well known and so widely expounded in the early Church that it needed no further explanation. The early Church did not avoid Daniel’s prophecy.

This early Christian writer connects Daniel’s vision of seventy weeks with the prophecy of Haggai 2:7-9 and the building of a “spiritual temple,” the Church. The author of the Epistle of Barnabas obviously believed that Daniel’s 70th week was fulfilled with Christ’s first advent. This was when the Old Temple was destroyed and the new “spiritual temple” was initially established. Writing in 100 AD he clearly believed the 70th week of Daniel was already completed.

It seems clear from this passage in the Epistle of Barnabas that less than a century after Christ’s passion (remember that according to Daniel the Messiah would be cut off in the middle of the 70th week), it was the widespread belief of the Church that the 70th week of Daniel was completed. It is certain that Barnabas placed the end of the 70th week no later than 70 AD. His mention of the building of the Church (which was able to grow largely unimpeded after 70AD) makes it probable that Barnabas saw 67 to 70 AD and the destruction of Herod’s Temple as the end of the Jewish or Old Covenant Age and the dawning of Messiah’s Day. As David B. Currie writes in his book, Rapture, The End-Times Error That Leaves The Bible Behind, “He (Barnabas) assumes his readers will agree that the events of ‘the week’ led to the building of the Church”  (Page 422).

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDREA

Within a century of Barnabas, Clement became bishop of Alexandria until his death in 215 AD. Clement taught that the blessings of the New Covenant required the end of biblical Judaism within the 70 weeks of Daniel. Clement writes of the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD in the prophetic language of Daniel’s seventy weeks, “Vespasian rose to the supreme power (Emperor of Rome) and destroyed Jerusalem, and desolated the holy place”  (STO, XXI, 142-143).

Clement of Alexandrea believed the Jewish Age, the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel and the great tribulation were behind, not ahead of the Church.

ORIGEN (185-254 AD)

A student of Clement of Alexandrea, Origen agreed that the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD marked the end of the Jewish Age and the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy regarding the 70 weeks. Origen writes,“The weeks of years up to the time of Christ the leader that Daniel the prophet predicted were fulfilled” (TPR, IV:1:5).

Like Clement, Origen also believed the Jewish Age, the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel and the great tribulation were behind the Church, not ahead of it.

TERTULLIAN

In 203 AD Tertullian wrote his famous treatise Against The Jews. This early Church father also taught that Daniel’s 70th week had been fulfilled in 70 AD: “Vespasian vanquished the Jews…and so by the date of his storming Jerusalem, the Jews had completed the seventy weeks foretold by Daniel”  (AAJ, VII; CID).

Contrary to modern postponement preachers and teachers, Tertullian believed the Jewish age, the abomination of desolation, and the great tribulation was behind, not ahead of the Church.

ATHANASIUS

Athanasius was bishop of Alexandria from 326 to 373 AD. Like the early Church fathers before him, he also taught that the 70 weeks of Daniel culminated and the Jewish Age ended in 70 AD: “Jerusalem is to stand till His coming (Daniel’s reference to Messiah’s appearing in His First Advent), and thenceforth, prophet and vision cease in Israel (the end of the Old Covenant or Jewish Age). This is why Jerusalem stood till then…that they might be exercised in the types as a preparation for the reality…but from that time forth all prophecy is sealed and the city and Temple taken” (INC, XXXIX:3-XV:8).

Athanasius clearly reflects the view of the entire early Church: once the Messiah had come, the role of the Temple in Jerusalem would be ended. “Things to be done which belonged to Jerusalem beneath…were fulfilled, and those which belonged to the shadows had passed away” (FEL, IV:3-4).

This important early Church father clearly believed that the Jewish age ended in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

IRENAEUS AND HIPPOLYTUS

Irenaeus was a contemporary of Clement of Alexandrea whose widely held view we dealt with above. Irenaeus and his pupil Hippolytus are the only two writers from the early Church period who believed in a still-future fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week. They both placed the 70th week at the end of the gospel age and so are the first interpreters to postulate a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks (AG, V). Both predicted a specific date for the second coming that has long since come and gone.

But their belief in a future 70th week was never widely accepted! St. Jerome specifically pointed out that the number of years in their system did not coincide with the historical events they purported to cover. He wrote, “If by any chance those of future generations should not see these predictions of his (Irenaeus) fulfilled at the time he (Irenaeus) set, then they will be forced to seek for some other solution and to convict the teacher himself (Irenaeus) of erroneous interpretation”  (CID).

David B. Currie points out in his scholarly work, “As a point of history, the views of Irenaeus did give seed to premillennialism. But the early fathers of the Church strongly and universally denounced this concept. The early Church understood the presumptuous-parenthesis theory that rapturists employ…but they resoundingly rejected it”  (David B. Currie, Rapture, page 425).

The prevailing view of the early Church fathers was that Daniel’s vision of the 70 weeks was fulfilled in 70 AD. The final or 70th week began with the baptism of Jesus and his presentation to Israel by John the Baptist. The Messiah was cut off in the middle of the 70th week when Jesus was crucified. The abomination of desolation and the great tribulation spoken of by Daniel were fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD.

These events marked the end of the Jewish age and the dawning of Messiah’s Day.

Jonathan Welton: Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy Is About Jesus, Not An Antichrist


(Note: This post includes a full-scale teaching illustration below the following introduction.)

The last quarter of the 20th century featured many prophecy charts, based on dispensationalism, depicting a future “Rapture,” 7-year tribulation, Antichrist, series of seal/trumpet/bowl judgments, Battle of Armageddon, etc. When I was younger, I saw a few of these charts in person, and a number of others when I watched “A Thief In the Night” (1972), “A Distant Thunder” (1977) and “Image of the Beast” (1981); all available here.

Charts and illustrations can be good teaching aids. Based on my study of church history, however, the vast majority of respected leaders in the first 1800 (or so) years after Christ would have been horrified to see a lot of these (dispensationalist-based) charts. As my personal journey has taken me away from the pre-trib Rapture/premillennialist view I grew up with, and toward fulfilled eschatology, I’m glad to see that new charts, illustrations, and similar tools are being created which are a lot more sound and Biblical (in my opinion). In a couple of previous posts, I’ve highlighted two such illustrations by author Jonathan Welton, one on Daniel 2 and the kingdom of God and another on John’s use of “ge” (land) versus “kosmos” (world) in the book of Revelation.

Welton’s newest illustration concerns the 70 Weeks prophecy in Daniel 9. Seeing this prophecy differently was a major turning point in my own journey. Previously I was led to believe that Daniel saw a future Antichrist who would make a 7-year political covenant with Israel, then break it 3.5 years later, before presiding over another 3.5 years of planet-wide turmoil and catastrophes. This was to be the 7-year tribulation period. The text (Daniel 9:24-27) says none of these things. I can’t forget how stunned I was when it was pointed out to me, online, that the covenant of Daniel 9:27 is parallel to Jesus’ words on the night He was betrayed by Judas:

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering…” (Daniel 9:27).

For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

Each “week” in Daniel’s prophecy represents a period of seven years. We also know that Jesus laid down His life as a sacrifice after 3.5 years of ministry (“…in the middle of the week…”), and that His sacrifice brought an end to the sacrifices and offerings under the old covenant. There went the idea that sacrifices must be restored in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem in our future. There also went the only Scriptural basis (so I thought) for a 7-year tribulation period. Jonathan Welton does a great job bringing this and more out in his latest illustration:

PP9: Daniel’s 70-Week Prophecy (Part 2)


This is now the ninth post in our series on “A Partial-Preterist Perspective on the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” This is the same title as a term paper I recently submitted to Northwestern College. The first segment included the Title Page, Outline, Introduction, and a brief introduction to Partial-Preterism. The second segment consisted of the References page, and the third segment was a discussion of the external evidence for an early date for the writing of the book of Revelation. These segments can be found here:

[1] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/brief-explanation-of-partial-preterism/
[2] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/pp2-references/
[3] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/pp3-external-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation/

We then turned to a discussion of the internal evidence for an early date. In Part 1 we discussed the inclusion of Jerusalem, the temple, Babylon the Great, and a great city in the book of Revelation. Part 2 dealt with the seven kings mentioned in Revelation 17:9-10 and the identity of the beast of the book of Revelation. Part 3 addressed Nero’s persecution of the saints and his prophesied demise.  Part 4 spoke of the worship of Nero and the worship of his image even after his death. We also saw that the language used by John strongly indicates the relevance of the entire book of Revelation to the first-century Christians who were alive when he wrote this book. These posts can be found here:

[4] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp4-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-1/
[5] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp5-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-2/
[6] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp6-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-3/
[7] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp7-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-4/

We are now examining the 70-Week Prophecy given to Daniel through the angel Gabriel, in two parts. In the first part, we began to discover that the historical view did not focus on a future Antichrist, but rather the focus was on Jesus the Messiah. That post can be found here:

[8] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp8-daniels-70-week-prophecy-part-1/

In this second part we will continue that discovery. We will also consider the meanings behind some of the language used in this prophecy, and whether or not there is meant to be any gap at all between the 69th and 70th weeks.

Adam Maarschalk

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Daniel’s 70-Week Prophecy (Part 2)

Some Preterists believe that the “end to sacrifice and offering” took place in another sense when the temple (the place of sacrifices and offerings) was destroyed in 70 AD. Tertullian (160-220 AD), for example, writing about Jerusalem’s destruction, said, “Therefore, when these times also were completed, and the Jews subdued, there afterwards ceased in that place ‘libations and sacrifices,’ which thenceforward have not been able to be in that place celebrated [because the temple is gone]” (An Answer to the Jews, Chapter VIII—Of Jerusalem’s Destruction).[1]

Besides Clement and Tertullian, others who viewed Jesus as the “he” of verse 27 include John Wycliffe (1324-1384), Martin Luther (1483-1546), John Calvin (1509-1564), and Isaac Newton (1643-1727).[2] Calvin, for example, said:

For [Daniel] then said, Christ shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and shall cause the sacrifices and oblation to cease. Afterwards, the abomination that stupifieth shall be added, and desolation or stupor, and then death will distill, says he, upon the astonished or stupefied one. The angel, therefore, there treats of the perpetual devastation of the Temple. So in this passage, without doubt, he treats of the period after the destruction of the Temple; there could be no hope of restoration, as the law with all its ceremonies would then arrive at its termination. With this view Christ quotes this passage in Matthew 24, while he admonishes his hearers diligently to attend to it… Without the slightest doubt, this prophecy was fulfilled when the city was captured and overthrown, and the temple utterly destroyed by Titus the son of Vespasian. This satisfactorily explains the events here predicted (Todd Dennis [9], 2009).

Any gap then, according to this view, was not a 2000-year gap between weeks 69 and 70, but a roughly 37-year gap between Christ’s ascension and the 3.5 year period of great tribulation leading up to Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD (spoken of in verse 26b and 27b).[3] This is said to have been foreseen in Isaiah 61:2, especially as Jesus chose to quote it in Luke 4:18-19. On the surface there seems to be no gap in Isaiah’s statement, but Jesus alluded to one when He stopped after stating that He had come to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The part He didn’t quote then (“and the day of vengeance of our God”) He later referred to at the end of His ministry when He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near…for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written…For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people…” (Luke 21:20-24). The nearly 40-year gap then served the purpose of giving Israel a generation within which to repent.

In this way Isaiah 61:2 and Daniel 9:27 refer to the same two time periods, separated by the same gap, i.e. the acceptable year of the Lord (the 3.5 year-ministry of Jesus) and the day of vengeance (the 3.5 year-siege on Jerusalem leading up to its destruction, what Jesus called “great tribulation” in Matthew 24:21). Therefore, the first half of the 70th week (3.5 years) established the New Covenant, and the second half of the 70th week (3.5 years) a generation later confirmed the New Covenant by completely abolishing the Old Covenant temple system. The kingdom of God, already established in heaven when Jesus ascended and being lived out among those who followed Christ, was then fully established on earth and given to the saints (Daniel 7:27). It was taken from national Israel and given to the Church, the people whom Jesus said would produce its fruits (See the ‘Parable of the Tenants’ in Matthew 21:33-45).

Some see no gap at all, contending that the last half of the 70th week was fulfilled during the 3.5 years following Jesus’ ascension (31-34 AD). In this view the Jews were given priority in hearing the gospel, but Philip’s evangelistic trip to Samaria in 34 AD marked a time when the gospel began in earnest to go to non-Jews.[4] The “wing of abominations” then refers to the fact that after Christ’s work on the cross, every temple sacrifice was abominable and a rejection of Christ. These abominations continued for 40 years until, finding that Israel would not repent, the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. This last statement reflects Calvin’s view when, referring to the phrase “wing of abominations,” he said,

I have no hesitation in referring this language of the angel to that profanation of the Temple which happened after the manifestation of Christ, when sacrifices ceased, and the shadows of the law were abolished. From the time, therefore, at which the sacrifice really ceased to be offered; this refers to the period at which Christ by his advent should abolish the shadows of the law, thus making all offering of sacrifices to God totally valueless… God’s wrath followed the profanation of the Temple. The Jews never anticipated the final cessation of their ceremonies, and always boasted in their peculiar external worship, and unless God had openly demonstrated it before their eyes, they would never have renounced their sacrifices and rites as mere shadowy representations. Hence Jerusalem and their Temple were exposed to the vengeance of the Gentiles.

It’s difficult to see from Calvin’s quote whether or not he believed there was a generation-long gap between the first and second halves of the 70th week. For the Preterist, the idea of a gap or no gap likely depends upon whether Daniel 9:27b is thought to fulfill the last half of this week or is simply related to the final week. That is, there is no gap if what is stated in Daniel 9:27b falls outside of the 490-year timeline (Daniel 9:25-27a), but is closely related to (and is an implication of) what occurs in the final week. Ralph Woodrow looks to the fact that the seventy weeks were “decreed about [Daniel’s] people” (verse 24a) as proof enough that there is no gap and offers up an explanation for how the final half of the 70th week concerned the people of Israel:

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 fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life’ “(Acts 11:18).

The following chart illustrates the no-gap viewpoint[5]:

Photo1116

This graphic illustrates the same idea:

Daniel's 70 Weeks

Source: Kevin Jogin (Discussionbook.com)

Zev Vilnay (1973) tells of a Jewish tradition supporting the truth that Christ’s death made the Jewish sacrificial system invalid. Under Mosaic Law a scapegoat, symbolically carrying Israel’s sin, would be driven out into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement, at which time a crimson wool thread tied to the temple would supernaturally turn white. During the last 40 years of the temple’s existence, however, according to numerous Jewish sources, this thread never turned white (pp. 115-116). If this tradition is true, it demonstrates the truth that from the time of Jesus’ death the sacrifices and offerings of the temple did nothing to atone for Israel’s sin.

James B. Jordan (1988) says the imagery behind the phrase “wing of abominations” probably goes back to Numbers 14:37-41 where all Israelites “throughout their generations” were to wear blue tassels on the wings (corners) of their garments to remind them to stay on the path of holiness. An apostate Israel, though, he says would naturally not have “wings of holiness” but would be symbolically marked by “wings of abominations” (cf. Matthew 23:38, where Jesus said Jerusalem was a house left desolate).[6] Considering then what happened leading up to 70 AD, especially with the installation of a false high priest in 67 AD, Jordan suggests that Daniel 9:27b can be viewed in this way: “And on the wing of abominations [apostate Judaism and priesthood] will come one who makes desolate [the apostate High Priest], even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate [at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70].”

Aside from Clement, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, and Newton, others who taught that Daniel’s 70-Week prophecy is already fulfilled (gap or no gap) include the following:

[1] Origen (185-254 AD): “The weeks of years, also, which the prophet Daniel had predicted, extending to the leadership of Christ, have been fulfilled.” [2] Eusebius (314 AD): “When the captivity of the Jewish people at Babylon was near its end, the Archangel Gabriel [told Daniel that Jerusalem would] be destroyed, and that after the second capture and siege it will no longer have God for its guardian, but will remain desolate, with the worship of the Mosaic Law taken away from it, and another new Covenant with humanity introduced in its place… ‘For ending disobedience, and for completing transgression [Daniel 9:24].’ I think that our Saviour’s words to the Jews, ‘Ye have filled up the measure of your fathers [Matthew 23:32],’ are parallel to this… [T]here follows the prophecy of the new Covenant announced by our Saviour. So when all the intermediate matter between the seven and the sixty-two weeks is finished, there is added, ‘And he will confirm a Covenant with many one week,’ and in half the week the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and on the Holy Place shall come the abomination of desolation, and until the fullness of time fullness shall be given to the desolation. Let us consider how this was fulfilled.” [3] Augustine (354-430 AD): “Daniel’s weeks…had to be completed afterwards in the end of all things, for Luke most plainly testifies that the prophecy of Daniel was accomplished at the time when Jerusalem was overthrown.” [4] Theodoret (430 AD): “And so [begins] the last [70th] week at the baptism of Christ.” [5] William Hales (1747-1831): “During this one week, which ended about A.D. 34 (about the martyrdom of Stephen,) a new covenant was established with many of the Jews, of every class; in the midst of which the Temple sacrifice was virtually abrogated by the all-sufficient sacrifice of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the [repentant and believing] world” (Todd Dennis [14], 2009).


[1] Sam Storms, Meredith Kline, and others believe that the final week is not a literal seven years. The first half, they say, extends from Christ’s ascension until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The second half extends from 70 AD until Christ’s Second Coming. This is based in part by combining Daniel’s prophecy with the details in the sign of the woman and dragon in Revelation 12:5-6.

[2] An interesting analysis of the 70-Weeks prophecy, drawing parallels between the numbers used in this prophecy to identical numbers found in periods of Israel’s redemptive history, can be found here. For instance, 62 weeks after the Israelites received the Law at Mount Sinai, that generation was deemed unworthy to enter the Promised Land. In Daniel’s prophecy, it was 62 prophetic weeks (62 x 7 = 434) after Ezra reinstated the Law that Israel rejected its Messiah. “Both events led to the destruction—within 40 years—of the faithless generation.”

[3] Regarding verses 26 and 27, Sam Storms (2006) makes the helpful point that they “are not relating events that are sequential (i.e., A B C D) but rather parallel (i.e., A B A B).” In other words, Christ is spoken of in the beginning of verse 26 and again in the beginning of verse 27 (Sam Storms affirms that the “he” there speaks of Christ). Likewise, the Roman Empire, which presided over Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD, is spoken of in the latter parts of both verse 26 and 27. The Dispensational view is that 70 AD is spoken of in verse 26b, but that the world has not yet seen the desolations spoken of in verse 27b.

[4] Philip was only one of many who were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, preaching the word, as a result of the great persecution which arose the day Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 8:1-5). This viewpoint sees the 490 years as literal and without interruption, after which (unlike in typical Dispensationalist thought) the Israelites would cease to be God’s chosen people. Instead, Jews and Gentiles alike could only be saved on an individual basis, making up the Church in which there is no Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:28; cf. Acts 10:45, 11:18, 13:46, 14:27, 15:9, 18:6, 22:20-22).

[5] This chart is based on the idea that Artaxerxes, in his 7th year (Ezra 7:7), made a detailed decree allowing Jerusalem to be rebuilt and restored (Ezra 7:11-28). This occurred in the year 457 BC, according to Ptolemy’s chronological system. However, Philip Mauro (Todd Dennis [21], 2009), who believed that there is no gap in Daniel’s 70 Week-prophecy, wrote in 1921 that Ptolemy’s system was one of guesswork when it came to the period between Cyrus and Alexander. He points out that Martin Anstey’s Bible Chronology, published in 1913, shows that Ptolemy assigned to the Persian Empire a period that was about 80 years too long. The decree, in any case, spoken of in Daniel 9:25, came from Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:13; II Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-3). Mauro therefore cautions against preferring “the guesses of a heathen astronomer (who had no means of knowing the facts which occurred over five hundred years before his time) to the evidence of Scripture” (Mauro, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, pages 5-9). One source (whose Historicist conclusions I don’t agree with) makes the following note, apparently based on the dates given by Ptolemy:

– There were actually four commands issued that can be located in scripture and must be considered:

(1) Ezra 1:1-14, 1st year of Cyrus, dated to 537 B.C.
(2) Ezra 6:1-12, 2nd year of Darius dated to 520 B.C.
(3) Ezra 7:1-27, 7th year of Artaxerxes dated to 457 B.C.
(4) Neh 2:1-8, 20th year of Artaxerxes dated to 444 B.C.

DECREE DATE 69 WEEKS
483 YEARS
70 WEEKS
490 YEARS
Ezra 1 537 B.C. 54 B.C. 47 B.C.
Ezra 6 520 B.C. 37 B.C. 30 B.C.
Ezra 7 457 B.C. 27 A.D. 34 A.D.
Neh 2 444 B.C. 40 A.D. 47 A.D.

Chart Source

[6] Note that Jesus referred to Jerusalem as “your house” (speaking to the Jewish people), instead of “My house.”

PP8: Daniel’s 70-Week Prophecy (Part 1)


This is now the eighth part in our series on “A Partial-Preterist Perspective on the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” This is the same title as a term paper I recently submitted to Northwestern College. The first segment included the Title Page, Outline, Introduction, and a brief introduction to Partial-Preterism. The second segment consisted of the References page, and the third segment was a discussion of the external evidence for an early date for the writing of the book of Revelation. These segments can be found here:

[1] Part 1: Brief introduction to partial-preterism
[2] Part 2: Reference page
[3] Part 3: External evidence of Revelation’s early date

We then turned to a discussion of the internal evidence for an early date. In Part 4 we discussed the inclusion of Jerusalem, the temple, Babylon the Great, and “a great city” in the book of Revelation. Part 5 dealt with the seven kings mentioned in Revelation 17:9-10 and the identity of the beast of the book of Revelation. Part 6 addressed Nero’s persecution of the saints and his prophesied demise.  Part 7 spoke of the worship of Nero and the worship of his image even after his death. We also saw that the language used by John strongly indicates the relevance of the entire book of Revelation to the first-century Christians who were alive when he wrote this book. These posts can be found here: [Part 4], [Part 5], [Part 6], and [Part 7].

We will now examine the 70-Week Prophecy given to Daniel through the angel Gabriel, in two parts. In this first part, we will begin to discover that the historical view did not focus on a future Antichrist, but rather the focus was Jesus the Messiah.

Adam Maarschalk

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Daniel’s 70-Week Prophecy (Part 1)

Earlier we saw that Clement’s statement regarding John’s banishment to Patmos makes it difficult to determine when he believes the book of Revelation was written. However, there is no doubt that he saw in the events of the Roman/Jewish War the fulfillment of the final week of Daniel’s 70-Week prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27). Dispensationalist Futurists hold that this final week (seven years) is still unfulfilled, and that the book of Revelation foretells the events which will take place during those seven years. Clement saw it differently:

From the captivity at Babylon, which took place in the time of Jeremiah the prophet, was fulfilled what was spoken by Daniel the prophet as follows: [Here he quotes Daniel 9:24-27 in its entirety.] …And Christ our Lord, “the Holy of Holies,” having come and fulfilled the vision and the prophecy, was anointed in His flesh by the Holy Spirit of His Father. In those “sixty and two weeks,” as the prophet said, and “in the one week,” was He Lord. The half of the week Nero held sway, and in the holy city Jerusalem placed the abomination; and in the half of the week he was taken away, and Otho, and Galba, and Vitellius [were also taken away]. And Vespasian rose to the supreme power, and destroyed Jerusalem, and desolated the holy place. And that such are the facts of the case, is clear to him that is able to understand, as the prophet said (Puritan Lad, 2008).

In his mind, Clement may or may not have tied the final week of Daniel’s 70-Week prophecy to the book of Revelation, as is often done by Dispensationalists and non-Dispensationalists alike. If he did, though, then by definition he was an advocate for Revelation’s early authorship, i.e. before 70 AD, because he clearly taught that Daniel 9:24-27 was entirely fulfilled by the end of the Roman/Jewish War. In any case, his view of Daniel 9 was certainly Preterist and, as we will see, so also was his view of Matthew 24 and other passages thought by Futurists to be unfulfilled.

It can be noted that nowhere in the book of Revelation is a 7-year period indicated, but a period of 3.5 years can be seen. The basis for a future 7-year Tribulation period within Dispensational thought is taken only from Daniel’s 70-Weeks prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.  Sam Storms (2006) speaks of the importance of this passage to Dispensationalist and Futurist theology when he says, “One could conceivably make an argument that apart from the dispensational interpretation of Daniel 9, these and related prophetic doctrines would lack substantial biblical sanction.”

The final week (i.e. seven years) will be initiated, Dispensationalists say, when the Antichrist makes a covenant with Israel. This is the current popular interpretation of verse 27, which states: “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering…”). For this to happen, we are also told, the Jerusalem temple must be rebuilt and the sacrifices and offerings resumed. John Hagee, Benny Hinn, and others are willing to raise millions of dollars to see this happen, despite the blasphemous nature of such a venture in light of Christ’s work on the cross and also what happened in 70 AD.

This viewpoint does not appear to be the historic one. A number of the early church writers (like Clement) and also some of the reformers, in fact, did not see the “he” of verse 27 as referring to the Antichrist, but they insisted that this was a reference to Jesus. The covenant in view, then, was the New Covenant, made with many (Matthew 26:28, Mark 10:45, Mark 14:24). The first half of the final week was fulfilled in Jesus’ 3.5 year earthly ministry. The “end to sacrifice and offering” was achieved by Christ’s work on the cross, which was the ultimate sacrifice. Philip Mauro, a brilliant lawyer who spent years on the bar of the US Supreme Court, spoke of the centrality of Christ’s work on the cross in Daniel’s 70-Weeks prophecy in his 1921 book, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation:

No one will dispute that, when Christ suffered and died on the Cross, thus offering “one sacrifice for sins forever,” he then and there caused the sacrifice, and oblations of the law to cease as a divine appointment… Neither can there be any question that the removal of those sacrifices (which could never take away sins) was a great thing in the eyes of God, a thing so great and well-pleasing to Him, to warrant its having a prominent place in this grand Messianic prophecy. In proof of this important point we direct the attention of our readers to Hebrews, chapters 8, 9 and 10… The great subject of this part of Hebrews, as of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, is the Cross… And when we find, both in the prophecy (Daniel 9:27) and in Hebrews 10, that this setting aside of the sacrifices of the law is connected directly with the confirming of the New Covenant, we are compelled to conclude that the passage in Hebrews is the inspired record of the fulfillment of this Prophecy… This gives to the last week of the seventy the importance it should have, and which the prophecy as a whole demands, seeing that all the predictions of verse 24 depend upon the events of that last week. On the other hand, to make this last Week refer to a paltry bargain between Antichrist (or a supposed Roman prince) and some apostate Jews of the future, for the renewal (and that for a space of only seven years) of those sacrifices which God has long ago abolished forever, is to intrude into this great scripture a matter of trifling importance, utterly foreign to the subject in hand and to bring the entire prophecy to an absurdly lame and impotent conclusion (pages 30-32, emphasis added; Todd Dennis [21], 2009).

Ralph Woodrow in 1971 pointed out the significance of Christ’s ministry being 3.5 years long, in relation to the prophecy in Daniel 9:27a (Todd Dennis [22], 2009). He notes that Augustine and Eusebius recognized that Daniel had defined the exact length of Christ’s ministry, with Eusebius saying, “Now the whole period of our Saviour’s teaching and working of miracles is said to have been three-and-a-half years, which is half a week. John the evangelist, in his Gospel makes this clear to the attentive [by the mention of four Passovers during His ministry; John 2:13, 5:1, 6:4, 13:1].”

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!

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A good article on the subject of Daniel’s 70th Week, which I didn’t reference here, is this one by Peter Cohen of Messianic Good News. Cohen focuses on how this prophecy concerned Christ’s incarnational ministry and work on the cross during His first coming, and notes the implications of saying that what Daniel prophesied will yet be fulfilled through some means other than the cross.

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A chiasm is a literary structure long recognized as a way to emphasize ideas or concepts by placing them into a symmetric pattern, as they are recorded in a given literary work. Where they appear in the Bible, some have referred to them as the “fingerprints of God.” The chiastic structure of Daniel 9:25-27 is very interesting, as it makes clear that the Messiah is the “he” who confirms the covenant. William H. Shea, a historicist,  notes the following chiasm in Frank Holbrook’s work*, “The Seventy Weeks, Leviticus, and the Nature of Prophecy“:

Another helpful chiasm of this same passage, including verse 24, can be seen here. It is shown as follows:

Daniel 9:24-27

24 ” 7.) Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city,
6.) To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness,
5.) To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 4.) “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem
3.) Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
2.) The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
26 1.) “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
2.) And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
3.) The end of it shall be with a flood,
4.) And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 5.) Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
6.) And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
7.) Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

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RED –         The center of the chiasm , the apex of eternity , the cross.
GREEN –   Above – God uses gentiles (Cyrus) to liberate nation for rebuilding city
Below – God uses gentiles (Romans) to decimate nation and destroy city
VIOLET – Above – Announces arrival of Messiah in Blessing
Below – Announces departure of Messiah in Judgment
BLUE –     Above – Restoration commanded by God through man
Below – Desolation Determined by God through Messiah
PINK –      Above- Anoint the High Priest who would be the sacrifice and offering.
Below – End sacrifice and offering
ORANGE – Above – Christ brings in everlasting righteousness and reconciliation
Below – Christ makes the city of the abominable unrighteous, desolate.
DARK RED – Above- 70 weeks of years determined for rebuilding and life
Below – The consummation of judgments determined for rejection.

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In the following post, we will consider whether or not there was meant to be any gap at all between the 69th and 70th weeks in Daniel’s prophecy.

All parts belonging to this term paper on the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD can be found here.
*William H. Shea, “The Prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27”, in Holbrook, Frank. ed., The Seventy Weeks, Leviticus, and the Nature of Prophecy, 1986, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series, Vol. 3, Review and Herald Publishing Association; shown on Wikipedia in the following entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/70_weeks_prophecy