Before leaving Daniel 9 I wanted to comment on Peter Gentrys very recent article, as well as two others. All three take Daniel 9:24-27 as messianic (i.e., that the anointed one who is cut off is indeed Jesus the Messiah), though they do not take all elements of the outworking of the 70 weeks the same way.
Gentrys article was everything Ive come to expect from anything Peter writes. It was clear, cogent, and thorough. Frankly, its the most coherent explanation Ive read on Daniel 9:24-27. Im quite glad that a reader brought it to our attention. All of you should give it a close read.
Before anyone says, wait a minute Mike, Peter takes positions in the article with which your previous posts have disagreed whats up? Whats up is that you havent been paying attention (or I havent repeated it sufficiently!). I wasnt taking any positions in my prior posts (none of them), only bringing to your attention the interpretive difficulties and ambiguities in the passage.
Ill summarize how Peter handles the specific issues weve been chatting about below. In a nutshell, he sees Daniel 9:24-27 as entirely messianic no antichrist is in view and already fulfilled. Again, this is well presented and well-argued (that is, every element has exegetical support). What this means is that, for Peter, the passage is about Jesus, his first coming, his vicarious death, and the destruction of the temple that was Jesus body AND the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD.
Peters article covers every facet of Daniel 9:24-27, but if we zero in on how exactly he sees whats going on in those verses, this is his most crucial note:
Verses 25-27 are not to be read in a linear manner according to the logic of prose in the western world based upon a Greek and Roman heritage. Instead, the approach in ancient Hebrew literature is to take up a topic and develop it from a particular perspective and then to stop and start anew, taking up the same theme again from another point of view. This approach is kaleidoscopic and recursive. . . First, v. 25 introduces the first period of seven weeks and the gap of sixty-two weeks to the climactic seventieth week. This last week is described twice in verses 26 and 27. Verses 26a and 27a describe the work of the Messiah in dying vicariously to uphold a covenant with many and deal decisively with sin, thus ending the sacrificial system. Verses 26b and 27b show that ironically, supreme sacrilege against the temple at this time will result in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. Thus verses 26-27 have an A-B-A´-B´ structure:
A 26a the beneficial work of the Messiah
B 26b ruin / spoliation of the city by his people and its desolation by war
A´ 27a the beneficial work of the Messiah
B´ 27b abominations resulting in destruction of the city by one causing desolation
KEY THOUGHT at this point. Gentry argues that since the 70th week is really about the ending of the ultimate exile (the spiritual exile) of Israel and its solution the coming of the messiah), only the events in verse 24-27 that deal specifically with the messiah are to be viewed as occurring WITHIN the last seven year period. Other events that are fallout from what happened with Jesus can (and he says do) happen outside the last seven year week. This is essential for his view that vv. 24-27 (in places) deals with the fall of Jerusalem at the hand of the Romans. Youd have to read the whole article for how he builds this case. *This* is the key place where Peter has to do some presupposing / make some assumptions that are critical to his own view. The literary structuring above seems to support him, though some could argue that he is using his assumption to create the structure as opposed to deriving his from an intended authorial structure. The real question would be this: does Peters structuring make better sense than someone elses someone who would want to take Daniel 9:24-27 as a linear chronology from v. 25 through the end of v. 27?
Here is the interpretation that results from Peters approach (and which is supported by a number of other items throughout the 19 page article):
The anointed one, the Leader = THE messiah, Jesus
v. 26a (the beneficial work of the Messiah)
Sometime after the 69th week ends, this same anointed one (messiah, Jesus) will be “cut off” but “not for himself” (= a vicarious death not for his own benefit, but for his people).
These events occur in the last seven (week).
v. 26b (ruin / spoliation of the city by his people and its desolation by war)
These events are NOT within the last seven year period, but follow sometime after (note that Jesus himself had the abomination being fulfilled yet future to his own ministry in Matt 24).
The people of this Leader (the messiah) will be responsible , in the same seven year period (years 27-34 AD), for despoiling the city and the sanctuary. In other words, the Jewish people bear the responsibility for the pollution of the sanctuary (Gentry mentions a specific historical circumstance here) and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
v. 27a (the beneficial work of the Messiah)
This same Leader (Jesus) will “uphold a covenant with the many” (Israel). At the halfway point of the seven (between 27-34 AD) he will cause sacrifice and offering to cease – by virtue of his vicarious sacrifice (sacrifices are no longer necessary).
v. 27b (abominations resulting in destruction of the city by one causing desolation)
Again, these events are NOT within the last seven year period, but follow sometime after (note that Jesus himself had the abomination being fulfilled yet future to his own ministry in Matt 24).
The abominations refer to the sacrilege which resulted from the struggle for the control of Jerusalem in the first century prior to 70 AD and after Jesus crucifixion. Gentry writes:
The war to refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and Temple by Vespasian / Titus (the one causing desolation). The one causing desolation (Titus) comes on the wing of, i.e., in connection with, those causing abominations (Jews), the one (i.e., people) being desolated. Jesus mention of the abomination of desolation in the Olivet Discourse supports this understanding since he is probably speaking of the sacrilege of John of Gischala as the abomination which forewarns of the impending desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans.
In regard to an antichrist figure being the referent of v. 27, Gentry does a good job showing how the language used to support that from Daniel 7 and 8 confuses and interchanges the third and fourth kingdoms of Daniel 2 and 7. His thoughts here are brief but, in my view, very damaging to an antichrist identification.
While Im sure many readers will be quite enthusiastic about the way Peter establishes the messianic character of Daniel 9:24-27, they should fully realize what it means is he is correct:
- Jesus us the point of reference through the entirety of Dan 9:24-27 with respect to any mention of an anointed one and a prince (leader) that means there is NO BAD GUY in the passage CONNECTED TO A 70TH WEEK. The desolation occurring in v. 27 refers to activity AFTER the 70 weeks prophecy is history.
- There is no future 70th week (which pre-tribbers identify with the Great Tribulation). The 70 weeks are over.
- If there is an antichrist figure, that idea cannot be argued or produced from Daniel 9:24-27. That means that all the looking forward (or reading a newspaper) for the signing of a covenant with Israel to start the 70th week and term of the antichrist is pointless. There may be an antichrist, but hed sneak up on you if you were looking for him to do things described in Daniel 9. Youd never see him coming.
- With no seven year tribulation pending, theres no rapture pending, since all views of the rapture see it as logically having something to do with escaping a great tribulation or separating the Church from Israel. A post-tribber might be able to weasel his/her way into viability if Gentry is right, but it would prompt the obvious question: why do you need a rapture when the old historic premill view accounts for everything here? (Historic premillennialism is the view that there is no rapture and tribulation there is just the return of Christ to set up a literal earthly kingdom; post-tribbers would add a rapture right before the second coming so believers go up and come right back down seems kind of pointless, especially if there is no 70th week to account for).
So, in a nutshell, Gentrys view is quite workable with preterism (even full preterism), as well as what used to be called historic premillennialism.
Again, I highly recommend reading his article.
I also mentioned two other articles that defend a messianic view. These are both by J. Paul Tanner and appear in Dallas Seminarys journal, BibSac. Obviously, the writer would need to be pre-trib and pre-mill if writing for Dallas on prophecy, though Tanner doesnt really get into all that in his articles. His focus is the messianic nature of Daniel 9:24-27. His articles are:
Is Daniels Seventy Weeks Prophecy Messianic? Part 1 BibSac 166 (April-June 2009): 181-200
Is Daniels Seventy Weeks Prophecy Messianic? Part 2 BibSac 166 (July-September 2009): 319-335
Next up: presuppositions and the rapture — are you a splitter or a joiner? (I’ll leave you wonder what I mean by that for now).
Per the comment “4.With no seven year tribulation pending, theres no rapture pending, since all views of the rapture see it as logically having something to do with escaping a great tribulation or separating the Church from Israel.”
I like it. Although it agrees with what I believe, since there is so much supporting evidence of a “separating” (believer from non-believer within families, communities, etc.) during a major crisis (tribulation) in 70 AD, per:
Luke 17:31-37 (I like verse 37, eagles, as in Josephus, “The War of the Jews” 6.2.123 “Then came the ensigns encompassing the eagle, which is at the head of every Roman legion…signal of domination…these sacred ensigns”
And the parable of the vineyard, Mark 12:9
What rapture? The Bible doesn’t mention rapture. It mentions a separating of peoples.
My opinion, anyway.
The NT also has a lot on the fusion of the Gentile and the Jew (= the Church) and a single people of God.
Great Summary. Just a couple of points on the rapture theme. The necessity for a rapture, in my view, is that it is only the resurrection of those who happen to be alive and remain when Christ returns – that’s it. No escape clause necessary, but in one sense this is the salvation or deliverance that is to come. This happens in a moment in a twinkling of an eye (I Cor.15) as Christ is descending to the earth (I Thess.). In this view you could either have a tribulation (Book of Rev. w/ a post trib) or not (historic premill). The 1st Resurrection, as Paul states, happens for those who are 1) dead in Christ and 2) those who are alive in Him – when he returns. The first gropu precedes the second (I Thess.). This is likened when a King returns to a city and the city goes out ‘meet’ him and then returns to the city.
I think the article accomadates both post- trib an pre-mill.
Anyway, love the blog and the article. 🙂
Regarding my comment “What rapture? The Bible doesnt mention rapture. It mentions a separating of peoples.”
I should have said in relation to the scriptures I mentioned, per Olivet Discourse. Not the NT in general.
ah – understood
In a valid argument the truth of the premises necessitates the truth of the conclusion; and a sound argument is a valid argument with all true premises. Gentry’s case is quite reasonable, given the dearth of logic in this particular area of interpretation.
The big question them is: was Paul wrong in his eschatology in 2 Thess 2? What about the son of perdition and those apostasy inducing lying signs and wonders?
This is a good question. I imagine Gentry would link it to the claim of a human to be divine (like Nero, who would post-date 2 Thess) but that really isn’t very satisfying since Nero didn’t perform any signs and wonders that I know of! BUT there is also the question of the date of Revelation (we’re getting to that) or, put another way, how did NT writers subsequent to Paul treat or affirm or re-calibrate this idea of Paul’s? In other words, if the antichrist of Revelation is properly understood as Nero, then (1) does the description in Revelation jive with Paul’s in 2 Thess and (2) does John in Rev say anything that would “reduce” the antichrist description to divinity and not necessarily requiring actual signs and wonders?
This is a good question. I imagine Gentry would link it to the claim of a human to be divine (like Nero, who would post-date 2 Thess) but that really isnt very satisfying since Nero didnt perform any signs and wonders that I know of! BUT there is also the question of the date of Revelation (were getting to that) or, put another way, how did NT writers subsequent to Paul treat or affirm or re-calibrate this idea of Pauls? In other words, if the antichrist of Revelation is properly understood as Nero, then (1) does the description in Revelation jive with Pauls in 2 Thess and (2) does John in Rev say anything that would reduce the antichrist description to divinity and not necessarily requiring actual signs and wonders?
I wish I had been reading through this series when you were first writing it, Dr. Heiser. If I had been, I would have pointed out in response to this that based on a word study on “antichrist” that I did several years ago (prior to your taking up this discussion, in fact), that the actual Greek word, per my Holman NASB Exhaustive Concordance (which includes Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek dictionaries) appears only 5 times in the entire NT, and all of those appear in 1 John and 2 John and never in Revelation.
Thus, based strictly on connections to the word “antichrist” itself, it is difficult to connect the “beast” in Revelation to “antichrist,” except in terms of the definitions that John gives to it.
Further, I found that John, in almost every use of the word, makes the equation “those who do thus-and-so / who don’t do thus-and-so / who say thus-and-so / etc are antichrist,” making it very difficult to conclude that there is only *one* Antichrist. John also states, “this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that IT IS COMING, and NOW IT IS *ALREADY* IN THE WORLD” (1 John 4.3b, NASB). Only once does John come close to saying there is but one antichrist and even in an English translation it’s difficult to conclude that John is speaking of, say, the Once and Future AntiChrist (if I can put it that way without insulting the novelist T. H. White) I’m a writer and I’m very well-versed in English grammar. Sadly, I don’t know any of the Biblical languages, so I have to rely on translations (a HUGE reason why I prefer translations that at least attempt to stick as close to a word-for-word translation as is possible).
My own study did not stick strictly to appearances of the word “antichrist,” though. It started off that way, then I expanded it, whereupon I found Christ making the same or similar formulations as John, e.g., when Christ says “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matt. 12.30, NASB) and other similar verses. This particular verse uses “katá” not “anti” but it seems to me that the idea is the same.
I had mentioned yesterday in my comment to a previous blog entry that I’m a former Pre-Trib Premill who “converted” to Postmill. Unless there are distinctions I’m not aware of, that pretty much marks me as Preterist in my views. Still, I am enjoying reading through these posts and watching how you developed the discussion back in 2010. In the process, I’ve learned about some positions/interpretations that are completely new to me; in particular, the view you noted re: Luke’s parallels in discussing the births of John the Baptist and Christ, etc, with Daniel’s 70 weeks was quite enlightening.
I’m looking forward to the post(s) where you discuss the dating of Revelation, to see how you handle this, especially in light of the fact that I read the first edition of Kenneth Gentry’s BEFORE JERUSALEM FELL: DATING THE BOOK OF REVELATION back in the early 90s (before his 1998 revision), when I was attending a Reformed Pres. church in the San Francisco Bay area. In fact, I read the book then later attended a conference at a church in South San Francisco where Gentry was the featured speaker. It was an incredible conference, especially so soon after the book had been published. I especially liked how Gentry handled the Number of the Beast, i.e., 616 vs 666, in his book, along with the “internal” evidences in Revelation that he presented to backup his position on the book’s dating.
On the Number of the Beast, one thing I love to do to show Dispensationalists how ridiculous the whole charade about 666 can be is to take a system of numerology and apply it to my name, if you don’t mind me indulging myself.
This numerological system applies a number to every letter in the English alphabet, from 1-9. You then write out your full name, assigning the corresponding number to the appropriate letter in a fashion somewhat similar with ancient alphabets (Roman, Hebrew, and others). Thus:
1 – A, J, S
2 – B, K, T
3 – C, L, U
4 – D, M, V
5 – E, N, W
6 – F, O, X
7 – G, P, Y
8 – H, Q, Z
9 – I, R
Following that system, for my name you get:
G-A-R-Y = 7-1-9-7
D-E-A-N = 4-5-1-5
T-O-W-N-S-E-N-D = 2-6-5-5-1-5-5-4
The numbers for each name must be added together. This gives:
GARY = 7 + 1 + 9 + 7 = 24
DEAN = 4 + 5 + 1 + 5 = 15
TOWNSEND = 2 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 1 + 5 + 5 + 4 = 33
You can see where this going already, I’m sure. Per this numerological system, any numbers greater than 9 must be added together until they are reduced to one digit. For my name, this gives:
GARY = 24 = 2 + 4 = 6
DEAN = 15 = 1 + 5 = 6
TOWNSEND = 33 = 3 + 3 = 6
So, according to this system, the “number of my name,” to use the terminology of Revelation, is 6-6-6.
It’s at this point that I will ask the person I’m talking to, “Does this make ME the Antichrist?!” I follow that up by pointing out to them John 2.22, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” I then say to them something like, “I am a Christian. I do not deny the Father and the Son. Therefore, despite the unfortunate circumstance that the number of my name, per this system, is 666, scripture shows this system to be irrelevant. The point being, of course, that this is just as ludicrous as the system that claimed Ronald Reagan was the Antichrist simply because his first, middle, and last names had six letters each. There’s no difference in the logic. Both systems are extra-biblical and therefore are invalid in determining what John meant by 666 (or 616, seeing that some manuscripts used that number).”
Very briefly, although I’m no longer “obsessed” with eschatology, as I said in a previous comment elsewhere, I’m going through these posts because I still enjoy reading discussions about the subject. I don’t mind telling folk my own position and why I hold it, but it doesn’t bother me if the person I’m talking to holds a position different from mine.
Also, I happened upon your website against Sitchin a few years back, and when I learned of your background and the fact that you had written THE FAÇADE, I had to buy and read the novel. (I thoroughly enjoyed it, by the way!) I’m visiting and reading through these posts because I recently was rereading certain passages in THE FAÇADE and that motivated me to revisit your site whereupon I found this site and others.
In rereading parts of THE FAÇADE, I came upon a point made in the book where you have Brian discuss Helel in Isaiah 14.12. As with “antichrist,” I did another study several years back on the use of “Lucifer” in this passage (in the KJV). In discussing my findings with one fellow Christian, he turned his back on me when I suggested that “lucifer” is not a name that the Bible gives to Satan (never mind the fact that even “satan” isn’t properly a name). Unfortunately, I believe he misinterpreted me as saying “Lucifer doesn’t exist,” when I had said no such thing. (I’d hate to see what would happen if I suggested to anyone, let alone a Christian, that the Statue of Liberty is *A* “lucifer,” seeing that she is a torch-bearer. LOL!)
The reason I bring this up, however, is that I’m curious about the point that Brian makes in your novel about Helel. I’m reasonably confident that I’ve discerned why Brian says this. Namely, the introductory phrase in the verse, “How you have fallen from heaven,” and the concluding phrase, “son of the dawn.” I take this to mean that you see a double fulfillment of this in the person of Helel and in the king of Babylon referenced in Isaiah 14.4. One thing I noted in my own study of Isaiah 14.12 is that this is the ONLY place in the Bible where “Helel” occurs, making it near impossible, I think, to equate Helel to Satan/Lucifer. A major reason I had conducted this particular study was one of the definitions given to “lucifer” in an old 1971 dictionary I own. That definition said, and I quote, “Satan (from an erroneous interpretation of the term as applied by Isaiah.” Needless to say, it was hard to ignore the curiosity that that definition sparked!
Is there anything I can read, anything you can point me to, where I can learn more about what is said about Helel in THE FAÇADE? (Or was this added simply to heighten the drama of the story?)
You can find discussions of Helel in any Isaiah commentary that engages the original text. And those sources will reference any number of articles on the Helel word / associated mythology and mythic imagery. You’d find them if you have access to the ATLA Religion database or the JSTOR database.
this is why I prefer to align the meaning of the number with a system used in John’s day, that doesn’t depend on personal names of people (e.g., magic squares, which link 666 to the Sun/Zeus/Baal).
Robbie said “2 Thess 2? What about the son of perdition and those apostasy inducing lying signs and wonders”
2TH was written around 52 AD according to my RSV bible.
2TH2:6-7 seems to indicate the lawlessness and restrainer are “now” at work, meaning around 52 AD.
An assortment of possibilities that I’ve read about:
Restrainer, Roman gov’t under Claudius (Latin, “claudere” to restrain or halt, Paul must have had a sense of humor – Emperor Claudius effectively protects Paul from execution – also interesting that a centurion named Claudius saves Paul from being killed by the priest, Acts 23:26).
Man of Lawlessness, Nero (emperor from 54-68 AD after Claudius dies) persecutes the Christians. Comet appears in 60 AD and Halleys comet appears in 66 AD during Nero’s reign. Jewish Wars started in 67 AD, Nero commits suicide in 68 AD. Although Nero never sat in the temple, Rome’s representative under Vespasian, Titus, entered the temple in 70 AD, and had his troops sacrifice to their eagle ensigns in the temple. “The War of the Jews” 6.6.1 (316).
Other possible ones I’ve read about,
Restrainer, King Agrippa, who protected Paul, Acts 26:31-32.
Man of Lawlessness, corrupt priesthood, represented by Ananias, who had Paul struck “contrary to the law”, Acts 23:2-3.
Phannias, high priest chosen by lots by the zealots.
John of Gischala, leader of the zealots.
All were in the temple.
I’m sure there are more that people have come up with.
The signs and wonders for Phannias and John, discussed by Josephus, “The Jewish Wars”, which I happen to be trying to read currently, are rather interesting.
6.5.3 (285) “A false prophet was the occasion of these people’s destruction, …that God commanded them to get up upon the temple…they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance…a great number of false prophets…that they should wait for deliverance from God…to keep them from deserting.”
6.5.3 (289) “there was a star resembling a sword which stood over the city..and a comet that continued a whole year.”
6.5.3 (292) a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple.”
(298) a vision of “chariots and troops …running among the clouds”..they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise…heard a sound of a great multitude, saying “Let us remove hence”.”
I don’t know if I believe Josephus. But it was definately bad times in Jerusalem during 67-70 AD.
I think the issue is the signs and wonders idea of 2 Thess 2:9. Perhaps (as your one note implies) that has to do with astronomical / astro-theological signs. Could well be (as opposed to acts of power). Gentry mentions John of Gischala, so he may opt for him as well.
By the way, why would Halleys comet be a false sign and wonder for Nero as the Man of Lawlessness? From the Jewish perspective, the comet comes in 66 AD. The Jewish wars start in 67 AD. Nero is dead on 68 AD. The Jewish people might suspect that God killed the emperor, paving the way for the coming Messiah. Especially since Nero’s death resulted in confusion among the Romans. A couple new emperors where chosen in a span of one year, and the fighting in Israel stopped, as the general in Israel, Vespasian, went back to Rome, and became the new emperor. Meanwhile, his son Titus was appointed the leader of the campaign in Israel. I think I mentioned in another post, the Essences expected the coming Messiah, and the Sons of Light, to kill the king of Kittem, and destroy Israel’s oppressors. Thus the great delusion that the people in Jerusalem were under.
these threads can all be “molded” (negative word: manipulated) to “make sense” of the prophecy. Although I don’t think the comet is much help.
“The Jewish wars start in 67 AD.”
Actually, the Jewish war started in 66.
The notion that Paul had an inerrant, incontrovertible divine eschatological revelation, not ever subject to change or amendment, wholly inspired by God, is problematic. It may be blasphemous for some evangelicals to believe, but I think, based on the arc of Paul’s life and his writings, that his eschatological views did, in fact, change over time.
His earliest letters suggest an emphasis on an imminent return of Jesus, quite likely in his lifetime. However, by the time of the later prison epistles, he had very little to say about this eschatological view. Instead, his focus had shifted to the mystery of the merger of Jews and Gentiles into one body, the Church. There is somethng to be said for that, especially in regards to the Rapture doctrine.
We see through a glass darkly.
I am disturbed by some of the conclusions reached by Peter and others who explain away the final seven years before Christ returns. I have pondered and prayed and studied the seventy weeks of Daniel for some time. I have three questions that remain unanswered.
1.How can we say that the final three purposes of the seventy weeks have been achieved? We are certainly not in an age of everlasting righteousness. All prohecy and vision have not yet been fulfilled, or do you know something I don’t? And we have not seen Ezekial’s final temple.
2. Who is the prince who will come? It cannot be Christ as his people destroy the city and he makes the abomination of desolation and the end is poured out on him.. As far as I know Jesus pours out the end at His second comming.
3. How can the New Covenent be compared to a seven year treaty or covenant? It is surely everlasting. How did Jesus offer this covenant to the Jews? He says he spoke in parables so that they would not understand. What parable that Jesus spoke refers to a seven year period offered to the Jews and many nations. This makes no sense to me.
I don’t think that you are saying that Jesus has returned. So then surely it is possible and very likely that God would include the final time before His return in the prophetic writings. Surely the final week of Daniel’s vision has to be yet future as all things have not yet ended and this vision clearly speaks of the end.
While I agree with you that there is no perfect method and there are too many presuppositions I don’t think you can just say that it has already been fulfilled. The fact is that times of persecution will soon be upon us and we need to be ready. We have to search the scriptures and let his revelation guide us. I know in my spirit that we have not seen what Jesus said about there being tribulation such has never been seen before nor will be again. Because after that Jesus says He will return.
I look forward to your response.
All of these items are actually covered in Gentry’s article, for his part (I assume that is who you mean by “Peter” – ?). On #1, the question presumes the temple must be literal. It may very well not be, due to the missing dimension (can’t recall if this was pointed out in the blog entries, but the curious thing about Ezekiel’s temple is that it lacks one dimension of literalness that are found in the other OT structures – tabernacle and temple; those have height, width, length, and depth description, whereas Ezekiel’s lacks one — that has led people to believe the omission is deliberate, pointing to a non-literal temple). Aside from that, believers (individually and corporately) are referred to as the temple of God in the NT, so many ask why we need a literal temple — why does God’s temple need replacing by God’s temple? There are more questions, but those are representative. For #2, that was covered in four posts – there are several options. For #3, it seems fairly clear that the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2 was the New Covenant fulfillment (since it was brought about by Jesus death on the cross [his blood was what testified to the new covenant, as the Upper Room discourse says]).
As for me, I haven’t taken any position, so whatever you are assuming I’m saying is, well, an assumption. I don’t really care who’s right. I just know there are significant problems for all the systems, the literalist included.
I found Gentrys article a disappointment. For example, he sometimes assumes stronger inferences from Scriptural verses than what are actually warranted, to support his view; while other times he shows a significant ignorance about the popular 444 BC view, which he rejects. His whole assumption, for example, that in the Jewish mind the building of the Temple and the City were one and the same is not supported even by Josephus, not to mention Isaiah. Josephus notes that because of the height of the rebuilt Temples walls and its fortress-like appearance, the enemies of the Jews naturally made no fine distinction between the building of the Temple and the building of the City (hence their complaint that the City was being rebuilt). And although Isaiah records Cyrus saying the Temple and Jerusalem will be built again, that is hardly tantamount to proving the Jews felt the City itself was being rebuilt as they worked on their Temple. In fact, a close reading of Ezra shows that it was the enemies of the Jews who claimed the city was being rebuilt, and that when the command was issued which temporarily stopping the Jews, Ezra records that therefore the Jews left off building the Temple.
Other examples could be given of Gentrys assumptions, such as that the Exile began with the death of Josiah (which Gentry puts at 608) and Cyrus victory over Babylon in 539. But Pharaohs captivity of a single person, Jehoaohaz (Josiahs son), does not constitute an Exile of the Jews, that is, if the term exile as used by the Scriptures is any gauge. The earliest possibility is the exile mentioned by Daniel in 1:1, which took place in Jehoiakims 3rd year, an exile noted as such by Jeremiah in a narrative about a confrontation Jeremiah has with the false prophet, Hananiah, in Jehoiakims 4th year.
Moreover, prophecy is about dates. And Gentry makes no mention of the kind of discrepancies skeptics point out between Jeremiah and II Kings, in which Jeremiah agrees with the early Babylonian record, which puts Jehoiachins deportation in Nebuchadnezzars 7th year, even though II Kings states that Jehoiachin, his mother, and the royal servants came out of the City to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar in the kings 8th year. After pondering this problem some months ago, I finally came to the conclusion that because Nehemiah reckoned the anniversary of kings from Tishri to Tishri, as did the Jews at Elephantine in the 5th century BC, it is reasonable to assume the exilic (or post-exilic) books of the Kings and Chronicles were written from the same Tishri to Tishri perspective. Further, once we learn not to confuse the ascension year of a king with the first year of his reign, all the so-called discrepancies disappear, not only between Jeremiah and II Kings, but also between the Bible and the Babylonian record of Nebuchadnezzars early years, which has long been thought to be in contradiction to each other.
But all this supports a different timeline than Gentrys, about what year in BC the exile began, in fact, in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim (i.e., 605 BC, since Jeremiah states that Jehoiakim was in his 4th year when Nebuchadnezzar was in his 1st). Specifically, historians have concluded that Nebuchadnezzar ascended in Sept., 605 BC. Therefore from Jeremiahs and the Babylonian perspective Nebuchadnezzars 1st year of reign began in spring, 604. For (a) that was the Babylonian method of reckoning; and (b) in part we know how Jeremiah reckoned years because of statements given in Jeremiah 28:1,16-17 regarding Hananiahs false prophecy and death. Again, this reckoning from Nisan to Nisan is different than that used by Nehemiah, who speaks of the 9th month (Chislev) and then later the first month (Nisan) as both being in Artaxerxes 20th year, showing that Nehemiah used a Tishri to Tishri system. (Hoehner points this out.)
My point in all this is that my own study has confirmed the kind of atheist claim that a 70 year exile cannot really be found in the Bible without fudging dates and making unwarranted assumptions. IMO the longest length of time that can be reasonably proven is an exile of about 69 years and 16 days. Arriving at this conclusion also involves an understanding of moon phases, and when the first of Nisan tended to be reckoned in the 5th century BC, which we learn from correlating Jewish and Egyptian calendars found at Elephantine.
All this becomes vitally significant when one considers Christs statement on the Day of Triumphal Entry, when he weeps over Jerusalem and says the Jews should have known at least in this thy day the things pertaining to their peace, i.e., the time of their Messiahs visitation. Long story short, Christs statement, if given in 33 AD, implies the Jews should have been counting down the time to his arrival. But if the 444 BC date is correct, this would mean they should have been counting off 483 years of 360 days each. But why ever should the Jews have thought to count years in so unorthodox a fashion?
Yet if the 444 date is correct, then the logical answer is that something must have happened in Jewish history to alert them to a 360-day year. In fact, I believe that event can be found. For it appears the length of the Exile provided the Jews with a tantalizing clue about when they should expect their Messiah. For an Exile of 70 years of 360 days each, if that is what happened, would have been 69 years and 2 days in normal years. Again, such a 69 year interval of time is reasonably supported by both the biblical and archaeological records. And so (assuming this interval) the Jews, after further reflecting that their Exile had ended almost exactly one year shy of what they had anticipated, could have done the calculation in days and divided it into the interval of their Exile, especially if they had also consideration the statements in Genesis 78 which show that the number of days in a year at the time of Creation was 360. Thus they could have made the connection. That is, from all this they could have concluded that the point in a 69-year Exile was that the coming Messiah was intent on an agenda of restorationi.e., not just a restoration of hearts back to God, but even of planetary bodies to the positions to which he originally placed them when he first determined they should more simply show the times and seasons.
Of course, the Jews would only reckon these 483 years of 360 days as a way of anticipating the Messiahs coming, not as a way of day to day agricultural life. For they still needed to observe their feasts in their proper sesasons, according to their lunar-solar calendar, which intercalated a month every few years. And so the ultimate Rest of Gods people (and thus the tie-in with the failure to observe the Sabbath, which made the Exile necessary) would be found in their Messiahs agenda of restoration, about which the restoration of Jerusalem targeted no future event more than to receive the Messiah at his coming, so that He might rule in Jerusalem and begin his plan of restoration.
And so I was deeply disappointed to see how short and dismissive Gentry was in dismissing Prof. Hoehners position that 444 BC was the beginning bookend date of Daniels prophecy. For although Hoehner makes (so far as I know) no connection between the prophetic year (a poor term, IMO) to the year at the time of Creation, and fails to properly calculate according to the Julian Calendar and so if off by 4 days or so to what he seems to intend, and also fails to realize a March 5 beginning of Nisan would have been too early in the year (based on archaeological records found at Elephantine in the 5th century BC, as to when in 14 instances the 1st of Nisan was reckoned) to have allowed the appearance of barley in its first edible state for the [sheaf] Wave Offering of First Fruits on the 16th of Nisan, the esteemed professor at Dallas TS came very close. My own conclusion is that Hoehner was off by just one month. And so the actual dates of the 69 weeks run from (Julian) Monday, April 6th, 444 BC to Monday, April 27, 33 AD. In fact, a careful harmonization of the gospels regarding Passion Week shows (as Hoehner himself concluded) that Palm Sunday actually occurred on a Monday. Incidentally, in 33 AD this was the 10th of Nisan, with the Crucifixion taking place on the 14th of Nisan, and the Resurrection on the 16th of Nisan. Amazingly, these three days in Nisan line up with Old Testament symbolism; the 10th for the public setting apart of the lamb in anticipation of the Passover (correlating to the Day of Triumphal Entry in which Christ is set apart as the Lamb of God), the 14th for it being slain (correlating to the Crucifixion of the Lamb), and the 16th for the offering of First Fruits (spring/Resurrection).
Conclusion: Gentry is simply wrong to say there is scant support for the prophetic year. Granted, the prophetic year is not the best term, but so what? Nor is Gentry correct when he implies that the 360-day method of calculation is special pleading, since (he notes) it is not applied to other prophecies. But, of course, it wouldnt be. Only Daniels prophecy addresses to the very day exactly when the Jews should have been looking for him.
In rejecting the 444 BC date, Gentry appeals to Hebrew recursive literary form, etc., in an imaginative attempt to prove all 70 weeks have already passed, that there is no antichrist person, etc. Now, Ill grant that perhaps the recursive form ought to be considered in other scripturally difficult passages if all other normal explanations were to fail. But that is certainly not the case here in Daniel 9. Gentry would have done better to have heeded the old adage of hermeneutics: If the normal sense makes good sense, seek no other sense. And a chronologically linear interpretation is the one supported best by both the biblical and archaeological records, and even by Josephus. And so it remains Gentrys burden to show why the 444 BC date does not work, if he wishes to maintain his position.
Just some quick observations:
On the ever lovin’ “666” debate, I think John is trying to show that the beast power which he portays as being worshipped as a deity in connection with a quasi-Christian religion is A. Pagan in its true origin, the number having occult significance connected, in Roman terms, to “Saturn”, and B. Human, since the god in question is ultimately based on a human figure, apparently Nimrod who “became a mighty one upon earth (e.g., a terrestrial elohim, or god)” or came to be regarded as such. Hence, those with wisdom will see by the beast’s number that it is of a man, meaning he is just “some guy” and unworthy of worship.
On the temple controversy, I find it equally tenable that the man of sin seating himself in the temple as “God” could refer to a figure from within the body of Christ who betrays it in this manner as to a defilement of a rebuilt temple at Jerusalem. But the Jews seem (pardon the sarcasm) hell-bent on rebuilding it anyway, hmmm?
On the rapture: it seems like a silly debate. Christ comes back to earth to crush his enemies and take over. His pals go meet him on the way (despite the minor inconvenience of many of them being dead), and accompany him to the landig site. Not much different than your brother flying in from Boise, you meeting him at the airport, and then you both take a cab back to your house. Bippity Boppity Boo.
I know this post is old but have you seen the explanation given by Chris White (based on Charles Cooper) who are Pre-Wrath (though pre-wrathism isn’t needed to appreciate their interpretation, I take their view of the 70th week but am not a pre-wrather): http://versebyversebibleteaching.com/wp-content/uploads/Dan%209b.pdf
Chris is a good guy, but I only read peer-reviewed scholarly material. It’s all I have time for (and I’m literally 4-5 years behind on that, too).