May 7, 2015

7-Year Gap is a Gaffe!

A key element of many of the 'Christian' speculations posing as prophecy today is the notion that there's going to be a seven-year period of tribulation prior to 'the rapture' of God's people. That key assumption is apparently accepted implicitly by a large number of ostensible Christians, and apparently with little serious study.
In a separate essay, I have deconstructed the lie of the secret Rapture (see footnote). But for those who may still harbor lingering doubts, I will now show that, while there will be a time of tribulation, it will NOT last seven years. The seven year hypothesis is entirely false and founded on faulty exegesis based on the bogus notes added to the Scofield Bible.
Some may feel that the truth or falsehood of these doctrines doesn't really matter as long as people believe in Jesus. Don't forget, Jesus himself stated that there will be those who say 'we prophesied in your name,' yet His reply will be 'I never knew you!' Truth matters because millions of souls are being deceived. If they believe one lie, regarding the Rapture or the seven years, then they'll believe associated lies concerning modern Israel and the Man of Sin. Ultimately, many are in danger of losing salvation if they abandon their faith in Jesus when events do not unfold as the preachers proclaimed.

Like the 'Rapture theory,' no Bible scholar in almost 2,000 years had 'discovered' (I say 'invented') the seven-year tribulation until the printing of Scofield's errant Bible in the late 19th century. Using twisted logic applied to clear scripture, certain commentators took Daniel's prophecy in ch. 9 vs 24-27 and decided that there was a 'prophetic gap' between the 69th and 70th years referred to in those verses. Their motive for this subterfuge was evidently to require that a third temple be built in Jerusalem... which implied that the Jews occupy Palestine. (Remember, this was all postulated before the 20th century and its events).

In order to demolish the gap theory, therefore, we have to get a little technical and analyze those verses. In the text (from the NASB) I have inserted my notes within square brackets.

Daniel 9:24 is a clear messianic prophecy of key importance.
“Seventy weeks [lit. ‘sevens’] have been decreed for your people and your holy city,
to finish the transgression [see Jn 19:30], to make an end of sin [Rom 3; Heb 10:14; 2Cor 5:21], to make atonement for iniquity [Jn 1:29; Rom 5; Gal 3:13], to bring in everlasting righteousness [Heb 10:10-14], to seal up vision and prophecy, [Lk 24:44] and to anoint the most holy place [Heb 9:11-12,24].”

This verse lists the spiritual mission and accomplishments of the Messiah to come. The vision provides Daniel and his people with a deadline for the Old Covenant. (Daniel lived approximately 600 years before Christ.)

Daniel 9:25 starts the 'Prophetic Clock' ticking, so to speak.
“So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah [lit. 'anointed one'] the Prince there will be seven weeks [sevens] and 62 weeks; it will be built again, with streets and moat, even in times of distress.“ [Refer to Ezra and Nehemiah; also Jn 2:20, for insights into the unfolding of this prophecy.]

Scholars generally agree that the ‘sevens’ represent periods of seven years. Hence...
7x7=49 + 7x62=434 ==> 483 years in total.
It is widely agreed that the decree was issued in 457 BC.

Daniel 9:26 describes the next destruction of Jerusalem.
“Then after the 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing [or 'no one'], and
the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its [his] end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined [see Matt 23:38].”

Now, 457 BC + 483 years brings us to 27 AD which is about the start of Jesus’ ministry, (following his birth in ca. 3 BC). Later, in 70 AD, the Roman army under 'Prince' Titus (the first son of Emperor Vespasian) destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

Daniel 9:27 is where the confusion lies. Is it, as claimed by the false prophets, talking about a future 'Mystery Man,' whom they identify as the Antichrist? Let's read...
“And he will make a firm covenant [confirm a covenant] with the many for one week, [ie. 7 years] but in the midst of the week [ie: 3 ½ yrs later] he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate [causes horror], even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Dispensationalist theory is that this verse refers to a future ‘Antichrist’ who will make a deal at the start of a 7-year period of tribulation, then after 3 ½ years, abruptly prohibit ‘sacrifices’ until Jesus returns to destroy him. Altho this notion seems to have wide following, it that what the verse really states?

I say that Daniel 9:27 is really referring to the Messiah! Let's go back for another look.
“And he [Messiah, carrying on from vs 26] will make a firm ['final; eternal'] covenant with ‘the many’ [i.e. Mankind; see Mk 14:24; Rom 5:19] for one [more] week, [ie. 7 yrs] but in the midst of the week [after Jesus' 3 ½ yrs ministry] he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering, [Matt 27:51; Heb 10:6-9] and [then] on the wing of abominations will come [another] one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed [prophesied], is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Clearly, this text is talking of two different persons-- Messiah versus the ‘one who makes desolate;’ NOT one ‘anti-Christ’! For those who know scripture, 'the many' is used in the sense of everyone, per the supplied references. It was Christ who confirmed the eternal covenant by shedding his blood at Calvary. Moreover, it was Christ who put a stop to futile sacrifices, as demonstrated by the supernatural tearing of the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy in the temple! It symbolized graphically the end of the Old Covenant system with all of its rituals.

Followers of truth, there is NO gap between the 69th and 70th weeks of Dan 9:25. One has to wonder… where is the logic of this view, especially in view of the historical destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD that the text cites as the end of the ‘vision’!

Perhaps the best proof for rejecting the gap nonsense is found right in the gospels. In Mark 1:15, Jesus starts the 70th week, by saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.' Here, Jesus was referring to the ‘Messianic’ time prophecy of Daniel (9:24) being fulfilled by himself. In so doing, he was marking the end of the 69th ‘week’ and the beginning of the 70th week being 'at hand’, not in the distant, undetermined future!

Later, Jesus confirms the end of Daniel’s vision in his ‘Olivet Discourse’ (Matthew 24). This time, Jesus refers directly to Daniel’s Messianic vision (9:26-27).
[24:2] … “Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down... [vs15] Therefore when you see the ‘Abomination of Desolation’ which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) [apparently, Matthew’s inserted warning note] [vs16] then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;”

History verifies that Jesus’ prophecy of the temple’s utter destruction was precisely fulfilled, in 70 AD. Josephus’ account indicates that the Christians, recalling and 'understanding' his words, all escaped the horror of the Romans’ attack by fleeing at the right time.

Reiterating, let's recall what happened at the crucifixion. Mark includes the seemingly odd detail that the veil in the Temple was torn apart 'from top to bottom' (Mk 15:38). This event signalled the end of the Temple system-- the Mosaic system, and the end of sacrifices and offerings (see Heb 10:8, 14, 18) as well as the virtual ‘desolation’ of the Jewish ‘house’ (Mat 23:38; 24:1-2). All this perfectly fulfilled Daniel's prophesy that “he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering … even until a complete destruction” [desolation].

The book of Acts describes the death of Stephen which signals the end of the allotted time for the Jews to complete the mission given in Daniel 9:24. Ironically, as Stephen is put on trial by the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 6:8 - 7:60), he presents an extensive indictment against his accusers, the religious establishment of ‘Israel.’ He outlines the history of Israel and its failures, in a summary and conclusive form. Instead of acknowledging the national sins and repenting, the leaders grow enraged and send Stephen to his death, in effect, re-affirming their condemnation and execution of Jesus. This reconfirmation of the spiritual failure of Israel signals the end of God’s mercy towards his original emissaries; the responsibility now passes to ‘another people’ (Matt 21:43).

There is no ‘gap’ between the 69th and 70th ‘weeks’ of Dan 9:25! Therefore, there is no crucial seven-year interval in authentic eschatology; it's another red herring of the deceivers.
The original ‘70 sevens’ of 9:24 cannot be arbitrarily split; there is no justification to do so.
Dan 9:27 is fully, accurately interpreted in the light of Jesus’ life and the historical record. It's a negation of Christ's mission to shift the focus to Antichrist.

A major reason for the ‘gap’ theory is a belief that the text must refer to the future of Israel. This is totally false! (See my essays on Israel). The intent of the Scofield Bible seems to have been to get Christians focussed on the Jews in the End Times as part of the rekindled (but ersatz) Zionist plot to revive an imposter Israel in Palestine. That's a whole story in itself, and there are good resources available for further research for those interested.

1) Analysis of the 'Rapture' theory is found at...

2) Note on the Date Calculation for Dan 9:24-27
How we arrive at Jesus’ time from Daniel’s vision
7x7=49 + 7x62=434 ==> 483 years
Of the total time, 457 years bring us to ‘1 BC’, leaving us with another 26 years to follow;
i.e. 483 - 457 = 26
The first year ‘AD’ is ‘1 AD’, since there is no ‘year zero’; so, to adjust for this scale, +26 years really brings us to 27 AD.