PMT 2013-029 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This is part 5 of an ongoing series examining Daniel’s prophecy regarding the Seventy Weeks determined for Israel. In this article I will begin focus on the first of three fundamental errors in the dispensational approach to Daniel’s seventy weeks. These errors involve: (1) The proper understanding of the terminus; (2) the unity of the seventy weeks; and (3) the identity of the covenant of verse 27.
Dispensationalists are pressed by their system to radically re-interpret Daniel 9:24. They place these events in our future, deferring them until Israel’s return to the Lord during a seven year Great Tribulation. 1 Pentecost observes that “this future period is the unfulfilled seven years of Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks (Dan. 9:24-27).” 2 Price agrees, admitting this is a peculiar dispensational approach: “A distinctive tenet of dispensational interpretation is the recognition of prophetic postponement. . . . Daniel 9:26-27 [is] a much contested model for demonstrating time intervals in eschatological passages.”3
The following quotations are from dispensationalist scholar J. Dwight Pentecost, as taken from his commentary on Daniel found in Dallas Seminary’s Bible Knowledge Commentary. 4 I will use this as representative of classic dispensationalism, which is “one of the most widespread and influential traditions in evangelical theology today.” 5
Pentecost asserts that “to finish the transgression” refers to the removal of Israel’s tendency to apostasy. This occurs at the Second Advent when she is “restored to the land and blessed.” The making “an end to sins” means that “at Christ’s second coming He will remove Israel’s sin.” To “make reconciliation” for sins “relates to God’s final atonement of Israel when she repents at Christ’s second coming.” The bringing in of “everlasting righteousness” indicates “that God will establish an age characterized by righteousness. This is a reference to the millennial kingdom.”
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According to Pentecost, “to seal up vision and prophecy” means that “all that God through the prophets said He would do in fulfilling his covenant with Israel will be fully realized in the millennial kingdom.” To “anoint the Most Holy,” according to Pentecost, “may refer to the dedication of the most holy place in the millennial temple” or “it may refer not to a holy place, but to the Holy One, Christ. If so, this speaks of the enthronement of Christ” as “King of kings and Lord of lords in the Millennium.” In summary, “these six accomplishments, then, anticipate the establishment of Israel’s covenanted millennial kingdom under the authority of her promised King.”
Earlier I argue for an interpretation of the terminus in Christ’s ministry, a view that is more widely held by evangelicals. The dispensational view is surely erroneous, as will become even more evident in the next paragraphs where I consider the gap theory of dispensationalism. At this point the reader should consider how incredible it is that on the dispensationalist interpretation Daniel totally overlooks the point of the First Advent: the time during which Christ dies for sin in fulfillment of the Temple symbolism, Old Testament typology, and prophetic anticipation. As Mauro complains, the fundamental idea of verse 24 “happened in an unmentioned gap.” 6 In the dispensational view the first two periods of the seventy weeks lead right up to Christ’s crucifixion — but then suddenly skip over it.
- John Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, 251ff. Charles L. Feinberg, Millennialism: The Two Major Views (Chicago: Moody, 1980), 150.
- J. Dwight Pentecost, Thy Kingdom Come (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor, 1990), 122.
- Randall Price, “Prophetic Postponement,” 132.
- Walvoord and Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary. All quotes are taken from pages 1361-1362.
- Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism: An Up-to-Date Handbook of Contemporary Dispensational Thought (Wheaton, Ill.: BridgePoint, 1993), 9. Grenz writes that dispensationalism is “the most widely held viewpoint among fundamentalists and evangelical Christians in America.” Stanley J. Grenz, The Millennial Maze: Sorting Out Evangelical Options (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1992), 91
- Philip Mauro, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation (Boston: Hamilton, 1923), 101. See discussion on his pages 91-101.
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