Thursday, July 18, 2013

Daniel's 70th Week - 3 1/2 Years or 7?

I am finding that the idea that the 70th week of Daniel not being seven years is being promoted more and more on various websites. This appears to be a new teaching that I had not really heard much of until late. If it existed years ago, it apparently was not widely accepted, and with good reason.

For those who do not know this teaching, it is being taught by some that the 70th week of Daniel only consists of three and a half weeks. I will try to explain as best as I can from what I have gleaned.

First we must look at the verse in Daniel that refers to this time period.

Daniel 9:24-27 “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

For a fuller explanation of what this passage is really about, please see these links to articles I have written.

The teaching to which I refer above states that the 70th week, the last seven years that God promised Israel, has already been half fulfilled. It is said that the first three and a half years refer to Christ's ministry, and that His death on the cross was the abomination that caused desolation.

There are some very major problems with this teaching. First, notice how the verses are laid out above. First it says that after the sixty-second week (which comes after the first seven weeks) or more clearly the sixty-ninth week, the Messiah will be cut off or killed. This clearly and unmistakeably puts Christ's death at the end of the sixty-ninth week, not halfway through the seventieth week. By saying that the first half of the seventieth week is Christ's ministry, it creates the situation where you have to overlay the last half of the sixty-ninth week with the first half of the seventieth week, which then short-changes Israel three and a half years of the 490 years or seventy sevens that they have been promised. By what right can one alter God's promise? It is nonsensical to say that the sixty-ninth week and seventieth week overlap each other by three and a half years. There is nothing in the verses that implies this in any way. It is merely a contrivance created by someone to back up a theory which they have imagined to be, rather than taking the Scriptures at their face value and interpreting them as God has spoken them.

Not only do we see that Christ's death comes at the end of the sixty-ninth week, we see that this is followed by the information that after His death, the city and sanctuary will be destroyed and that there will be more desolations to follow that. As this happened a good forty years after Christ died, we see that the clock stopped ticking after the sixty-ninth week and that there is a gap between that and the seventieth week, which is still to be mentioned in the passage. There is, however, no gap implied during the course of the 70th week, as is being taught. Only an event in the middle of it.

Now that this gap is established in the correct place, after the sixty-ninth week, it is mentioned that the next thing will be the confirmation of a covenant for another seven years – the 70th week of Daniel, as it is known. This confirmation is not made at the beginning of Christ's ministry, which it would have to be if the idea that the first three years of this week are Christ's ministry. This confirmation is clearly made after Christ's death and the destruction of the temple. To read anything else into this passage is to twist what is clearly stated. We are then told that in the middle of this seven year period the sacrifices and oblations will cease and that there will be an abomination that causes desolation.

Now I don't know about you, the reader, but I have a serious problem calling the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior an abomination. It was a horrific death, yes, and a blasphemy against God to hang Him on a tree, but it was not an abomination. The Hebrew word for abominations in this text is “shiqquwts”. This word means “idolatrous detestable filth”. The dictionary defines it as a person or thing that is disgusting. Do these people who promote this teaching really want to say that their Lord and His death were an idolatrous, detestable, filthy, disgusting person and thing? Do they understand what they are saying? Have they studied the passage to really understand what is being said, or are they, like many, trying to force the Scriptures to fit their teaching?

What the passage says is that the sacrifices and oblations will be caused to cease. Sacrifices by definition are animal sacrifices. Oblations are offerings that are not animal. First of all, technically the sacrifices and oblations did not cease upon the death of Christ. They continued for another 40 years, so the theory proposed does not fit the events. There is no implication in the verse that it is the effectiveness of the sacrifices that is being discussed or referred to, which is how this theory explains it. It is the sacrifices themselves which are actually physically stopped. This did not happen upon Christ's death.

As for the sacrifices mentioned (that are stopped), this entire 70th week  falls after the destruction of the temple. This leads to only on conclusion. The fact that these sacrifices and oblations are going on indicates that there must be a temple or altar of some sort on the temple mount, which is the only place acceptable to God for these things to occur. This indicates that if they are stopped at the middle of the 70th week, they must be going on before the middle of the 70th week. Hence, if there is no temple or at least an altar on the temple mount or one in the process of being built by agreement of all parties, we are not in the 70th week of Daniel. Nor can there be an abomination of desolation out of the blue without any forewarning, as this theory teaches, as the ongoing sacrifices would precede the abomination and warn us of what is coming.

To add to the stopping of these sacrifices, there is an abomination that causes desolation that is set up. Christ refers to this in Matthew 24 when He tells us that we are to refer back to Daniel when we see (visibly see) the abomination of desolation. We find more information on this abomination in Daniel 11:30-31 “For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”

We are told that something will be placed in the sanctuary that will be an abomination. When this was originally fulfilled by Antiochus Ephiphanes, it was a statue of Zeus. We have two clues as to what it may be when the beast does it. The first is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (Notice we are told there will be a temple, which supports the correct interpretation of Daniel 9:27.) The second clue is found in Revelation 13:14-15 “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

We cannot know exactly what this abomination will be, but our main clue is that it is something that will mimic, only on a much greater scale, what Antiochus Epiphanes did. It is something we will see. That along with the armies surrounding Jerusalem and the stopping of the sacrifices will be a neon sign to us saying that the mid-point of the 70th week has come and that the tribulation is about to begin.

For those who teach that there will be no temple, no sacrifices, and no first half of the 70th week, they do those who believe them no service, for any straying from the truth of Scripture leads people to error in understanding and possible deception of what will be going on. These people need to start taking Scripture at face value and understand that things are meant literally. They should not alter the meaning or chronology of these verses to fit their scenario. This is as much deception as any other false teaching out there.

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