When Was the Sacrifice Removed?

Daniel's 70 Weeks

Over on Smoodock’s Blog, Eddie (pardon the familiar first-name, but it’s the only one the author gives) has posted an article called “Fixing the Date of Stephen’s Death” in which he purports to demonstrate that the termination of the 70th Week of Daniel chapter 9 was fulfilled three and a half years after the Crucifixion.  It’s not a bad article per se, and he has clearly thought this through, even tying the dates into the Torah’s calendar (which I always appreciate, of course), but it still falls into the trap that all preterist analysis of the 70 Weeks do.

From the introductory paragraph:

Fixing Stephen’s death to an exact day involves using prophecy, which if true, will offer not only an element of certainty to this study but also a degree of importance of his death. That is, Stephen’s death would have particular significance for the new body of believers and for the kingdom of God. As I hope to show, Stephen’s death is tied up in the 70 Weeks Prophecy of Daniel 9. This prophecy identifies the Messiah. That is, it points to him beyond all doubt and identifies Jesus as the long awaited Son of David, the Anointed of God.

Frankly, Daniel’s 70 Week prophecy points to Yeshua whether one is preterist or futurist because it identifies His sacrifice, “cut off, not for Himself” as happening shortly before the destruction of the Temple.  Seeing a definitive gap, as we do and even many of the early Church fathers did, does nothing to weaken this.  The issue tied up in the interpretation of the 70th Week is one of Replacement Theology vs. the Eternal One’s promises to Israel, not Yeshua’s identity.

In fact, before proceeding, lets take a moment to review the promises of the 70 Weeks, as put forth by Daniel:

Seventy weeks are decreed on your people and on your holy city, to finish disobedience, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.  (Dan. 9:24)

What Eddie is arguing is in fact that this promise to Israel and Jerusalem is in fact a threat:  “You have only 490 years to shape up, or I’m taking my marbles and going home!”  This whole approach is flawed, since it implies one of three heretical views:  1) God was surprised by Israel’s rebellion, 2) God changed His mind and broke His eternal Covenant with Israel through our Patriarchs, or 3) God is a weaselly lawyer, who never meant what He plainly said in His promises.

But let’s set that aside for the moment and zero in on the fatal flaw in Eddies’s reasoning:

The 1290 days began when the Daily Sacrifice was taken away. The Septuagint translates the verse: “And one week shall establish the covenant with many. And in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink offering shall be taken away: and on the Temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation” (Daniel 9:24). If we can agree that Jesus is the reality pointed to by the Sacrifice and Drink Offering or the Daily Sacrifice, when could it have been taken away, as far as God was concerned? . . .

The animal sacrificial system looked forward to Jesus’ sacrifice on Golgotha. The 1290 days ended with the total rejection of Jesus in unbelief by the Jewish authorities. They were given sufficient time to repent, but they preferred man over God. This is the abomination that makes desolate. It was set up when the high priest, the leader of the people, rejected Christ and commanded the stoning of Stephen on the Day of Atonement in 34 CE. Thus, both the 1260 days and the 1290 days end in the shedding of blood.

The implication is that it was Yeshua’s sacrifice that took away the Temple sacrifice and offering–a common error in Christianity.  The problem is that this doesn’t work.

First of all, the Apostles themselves were engaged in Temple service thirty years after the Cross.  In fact, it was apparently a fairly normal thing that the Nazarenes would take voluntary Nazrite vows, which would actually require them to make animal sacrifices above and beyond the daily and holiday sacrifices, as we explore in our article on Acts 21 over on Hebrew Root.  The claim that the ongoing sacrifices were an abomination or had been taken away in any way, shape, or form (whether physically or merely spiritually) simply does not gibe with the Apostles’ own actions.

Secondly, when Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians some fifteen years after Smoodock dates the stoning of Stephen and the closing of the 70th Week, he described the fulfillment of the Abomination to be an event yet future:

“Let no one deceive you in any way. For it will not be, unless the departure comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction, he who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshiped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself up as God” (2Th. 2:3-4).

If, as Eddie claims, “The 1290 days ended with the total rejection of Jesus in unbelief by the Jewish authorities. They were given sufficient time to repent, but they preferred man over God. This is the abomination that makes desolate,” then it makes absolutely no sense for Paul to expect a future fulfillment.

But thirdly and most importantly, it doesn’t even work when we simply compare Daniel’s prophecies on the removal of the sacrifice to each other.  In Daniel 8, we read of a horn that is an offshoot of Alexander the Great’s Grecian Empire that would become very great until it “it took away from him the continual burnt offering, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down” (v. 11).  In Daniel 11:23 and 31, we read of this same prince,

“After the treaty made with him he shall work deceitfully; for he shall come up, and shall become strong, with a small people. . .  Forces shall stand on his part, and they shall profane the sanctuary, even the fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt offering, and they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate.”

And now the 70th Week prophecy:

“He shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate; and even to the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out on the desolate.”

While the wording is different, it is very clear that we are meant to see these three passages as all describing the same event, in which it is the enemy of God who takes away the sacrifice and offering and sets up a false worship in its place.

The simple fact is that we know that it is the Enemy who takes away the sacrifice and sets up the Abomination because it has happened before under Antiochus Epimanes.  To ascribe the removal of the sacrificial service to Yeshua the Messiah is nothing short of blasphemy.  An unintentional blasphemy to be sure, but slander of His character and mission nevertheless.

The very essence of the Gospel is good news to the very city that Eddie claims was destroyed and cast aside:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  The voice of your watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD returns to Zion.  Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.  The LORD has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.  (Isa. 52:7-10)

To sum up then, the preterist, supracessionist interpretation of the Seventy Weeks must be rejected not because of quibbles about when it began and whether it involves a calendrical adjustment, but for the following reasons:

  1. The Apostles themselves continued in the Temple service and even in offering up their own sacrifices decades after the alleged fulfillment of the removal of the sacrifice.
  2. Paul’s writings over a decade after the alleged fulfillment still looks forward to a future Abomination.
  3. It puts Yeshua in the place of the enemy of the Holy One that Daniel 8 and 11 describe as being the one who would take away the sacrifice, in effect calling Him Antiochus/Antichrist.
  4. It perverts all of the Eternal One’s specific promises to Israel and Jerusalem, making Him a vacillator, a liar, or a lawyer.

Given that we live in a day when we can see the God of Heaven fulfilling the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezk. 36-37) right before our eyes, isn’t it past time that we put aside errant theologies that refuse to glorify Him for doing so?

Shalom

About these ads

22 thoughts on “When Was the Sacrifice Removed?

  1. “Over on Smoodock’s Blog, Eddie (pardon the familiar first-name, but it’s the only one the author gives) has posted an article called ‘Fixing the Date of Stephen’s Death’…”

    Sorry, I didn’t know this would be a problem. I felt my first name was all that was needed to carry on a conversation in comments etc. so I don’t offer my full name. It can be obtained by simply hovering over my avatar and finding my email address. If you email me with a question, and I reply, my full name (identity) follows my reply automatically, but I can still be informal and sign my email with “Eddie” with I choose to do. This is enough for most people. I had no idea it would be an offence to others. By the way, my full name is Edward L. Bromfield. I hope this helps.

    “…he purports to demonstrate that the termination of the 70th Week of Daniel chapter 9 was fulfilled three and a half years after the Crucifixion. It’s not a bad article per se, and he has clearly thought this through, even tying the dates into the Torah’s calendar (which I always appreciate, of course), but it still falls into the trap that all preterist analysis of the 70 Weeks do.”

    The fact is (believe it or not) I developed my understanding long before I knew there was such a thing as preterism. I have since read about what preterists believe, and I find some similarities, but I also find about as many differences as it applies to my personal understanding of God word. Does this make me a preterist? I don’t know, perhaps, but I never ‘joined’ any club, if that is what you are driving at.

    “The issue tied up in the interpretation of the 70th Week is one of Replacement Theology vs. the Eternal One’s promises to Israel, not Yeshua’s identity.”

    I would have to disagree, but we all have opinions. Don’t we?

    “What Eddie is arguing is in fact that this promise to Israel and Jerusalem is in fact a threat: ‘You have only 490 years to shape up, or I’m taking my marbles and going home!’”

    Years ago I used to belong to a church that told me what to believe. Here, you are telling me what I said. The problem is I don’t remember saying anything like that, but this is your blog and you may write whatever you wish—no problem! :-)

    “The implication is that it was Yeshua’s sacrifice that took away the Temple sacrifice and offering–a common error in Christianity. The problem is that this doesn’t work.”

    Actually, I didn’t say what you imply. I am saying Jesus was the Daily Sacrifice and “IT” (he) was taken away through death, and for all intents and purposes, as far as God was concerned, all Temple sacrifices could have stopped, because that to which all sacrifices pointed was received in heaven. The fact that Jewish believers continued to sacrifice, according to Temple law and Jewish custom etc. is neither wrong nor righteous; it was simply a custom that pointed to Christ. There is nothing evil about continuing to sacrifice. Perhaps I misunderstood your point.

    “Secondly, when Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians some fifteen years after Smoodock dates the stoning of Stephen and the closing of the 70th Week, he described the fulfillment of the Abomination to be an event yet future:”

    Actually, I have a whole series of blogs pertaining to the 70 Weeks prophecy, and this includes at least 2 concerning the Abomination of Desolation. In one of them I point to the first time ‘abomination’ is mentioned as one of Israel’s national sins. It was Solomon who first set up idolatry (the abomination) as a national practice, and it was a sin from which Israel as a whole never recovered. He set it up, but it took how many hundreds of years before the desolation occurred? Israel began to come apart almost immediately after Solomon’s reign with the breakup of the nation into two parts. What Paul described was the end result of the abomination being set up at Stephen’s death. But that’s my opinion; as I said above we all have one. :-)

    Anyway, this comment has gotten too large already. I apologize for that. If I feel I should respond further, I’ll make a blog on my site. I am not saying I shall do so, but I’ll consider doing so.
    Have a nice day, and God bless,

    Eddie (Edward L. Bromfield, if you prefer) :-)

    • Sorry, I didn’t know this would be a problem.

      It’s no problem at all. I just wanted to be clear that I wasn’t trying to be overly familiar or dismissive by using your first name.

      I appreciate the response. I’ll have to wait until I get off from work to respond to it.

      Until then, Shalom.

  2. Shalom again, Mr. Bromfield. :)

    Does this make me a preterist? I don’t know, perhaps, but I never ‘joined’ any club, if that is what you are driving at.

    I’m afraid that I’ve not done enough archive diving to really get a full sense of your eschatology, so my response was tailored to only address your position on this particular issue as expressed in this particular post. Nevertheless, your position on the 70th Week and its relation to Israel is consistent with preterism, and does fall into the same problems.

    Here, you are telling me what I said. The problem is I don’t remember saying anything like that . . .

    Well, your exact quote was, “The 1290 days ended with the total rejection of Jesus in unbelief by the Jewish authorities. They were given sufficient time to repent, but they preferred man over God.” Since the 70 Weeks states that six goals would be achieved at the end of the period and since it is very obvious that you do not believe that Israel and Jerusalem finished their transgression, made an end of their sins, were brought into eternal righteousness, etc., that implies that the Weeks were a deadline that Israel missed.

    I am saying Jesus was the Daily Sacrifice . . .

    That also doesn’t work, for Yeshua “doesn’t need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices daily, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. For He did this once for all, when he offered up himself” (Heb. 7:27). Rather, the point of Hebrews is that the daily sacrifices were culminated in the Yom Kippur sacrifices, which were in turn culminated in a once-and-for-all Sacrifice.

    it was simply a custom that pointed to Christ

    Not custom; a Divine command. But the problem is that no matter which way you look at it, they weren’t taken away at the Cross, which would mean the prophecy failed if we accept your interpretation. That is, it continued physically for another forty years, and it continued spiritually since the faithful continued to offer up sacrifices. Had they seen the daily sacrifice as taken away, they surely would not have participated in sacrifices thirty years later as in Acts 21, but would have withdrawn completely from the Temple service like the Essenes (for example) did.

    In one of them I point to the first time ‘abomination’ is mentioned as one of Israel’s national sins.

    Well, in that “abomination” (shiqutz) is a synonym for an idol or any form of idolatry (e.g., “Milcom the abomination (idol) of the Ammonites” in 1Ki. 11:5), sure. But it’s not a term specific to Israel, and it’s applicable in this instance only in type (like me referring to the Temple becoming a “new golden calf” in <a href="http://returnofbenjamin.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/the-eighteen-measures-part-6-a-new-golden-calf/"this post).

    But you also need to read up on what the specific phrase “abomination of desolation” means to the Jews: It’s a specific reference to an actual idol of a false god that Antiochus Epimanes set up in the holy Temple to try to destroy Judaism. Paul tells us that the future AoD will be the same, except that this time it will be a person claiming to be God (2Th. 2:4ff). Both the type and all of the cross-referenced prophecies point to an outside, Gentile power committing this Abomination, not the Jews doing it to ourselves.

    Anyway, I appreciate your response and your gracious tone. Be sure to ping me if you decide to respond in a post of your own; I think this conversation could bear a lot of fruit, as wrestling with the Word in the right Spirit always does.

    Shalom

    • Greetings Rabbi Bugg,

      Nevertheless, your position on the 70th Week and its relation to Israel is consistent with preterism, and does fall into the same problems.

      “Problems” have yet to be established. As you say here, all you have done was reply to a single post of mine and attaching to it what is claimed by a school of thought to which I don’t aspire. But, that’s okay, I’ve been told I am wrong by folks who have read what I’ve claimed. They have yet to address my arguments (merely assuming theirs is correct), but of those who have commented, most claim I am wrong.

      Since the 70 Weeks states that six goals would be achieved at the end of the period…

      I have addressed those six goals in other blogs; however, we appear to be at odds as it pertains to who achieves those goals. I believe they are the works of Christ, and I think it took 7 blogs to address the six promises or works.

      That also doesn’t work, for Yeshua “doesn’t need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices daily…

      I agree, but all sacrifices, including the daily sacrifice, typify Christ. He is the Daily Sacrifice just like he is the Sin Sacrifice, our Passover, the Wave Sheaf, the lambs on the Day of Atonement etc. At least this is what I say in my blogs. He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices “daily”—he is the “Daily Sacrifice” period.

      But the problem is that no matter which way you look at it, they weren’t taken away at the Cross, which would mean the prophecy failed if we accept your interpretation…

      It is a matter of opinion. Jesus was taken away (and crucified). All the sacrifices point to his single sacrifice. Jesus—THE Sacrifice comprising the meaning of all sacrifice rituals—was taken away and crucified.

      But you also need to read up on what the specific phrase “abomination of desolation” means to the Jews: It’s a specific reference to an actual idol of a false god that Antiochus Epimanes set up in the holy Temple to try to destroy Judaism.

      We also disagree here as well—concerning what it means to Judaism and what the abomination of desolation actually was. Antiochus Epiphanies, as far as I understand, had little to do with the actual abomination. He merely expressed in pigs flesh what was already true concerning the Temple at that time. I realize this is not the current viewpoint of modern theology, but it certainly was true for 1st century Judaism, if, indeed, 2Maccabees was written at that time, as I believe is supposed.

      Be sure to ping me if you decide to respond in a post of your own…

      How do I do that? I get a lot of “pings” but I assumed it was an automatic thing. I had no idea that anyone could determine whom he “pings” and whom he doesn’t.

      Lord bless,

      Eddie

  3. Hi,

    I think your critique missed one of the most obvious flaws in Smoodock’s post: his interpretation implies that Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 Weeks was fulfilled, but none of the apostles noticed! How credible is that? Also, if the 1,335 days, 1,290 days, 1,260 days, were fulfilled in their days, wouldn’t the New Testament Christians have discovered it?

    But wait! Don’t we see the same flaw, or a similar defect, in the idea of a gap in the 70 Weeks, between the 69th and 70th weeks, that is illustrated in your chart? Such a gap is not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament. An interpretation that does not invoke a gap is discussed .

    Doug

    • Hey Doug, it is always a pleasure for someone to stop by and show an interest in an on-going discussion or even one that appears to be over (for whatever reason). Logic is a wonderful tool if it is used correctly. The problem is your theory has a fatal flaw. Either the apostles/disciples missed the completion of the 70 Weeks Prophecy, or they missed the “gap” theory. They couldn’t have missed both, since context shows they were very much aware of Daniel’s Prophecy. We know this because of the apparent heightened awareness of the time of the coming of the Messiah. They weren’t looking for him to come 100 years prior to Jesus, and though Jews looked for him afterward in the Bar-Kochba rebellion and many other hopeful appearances, the 1st century Jews expressed an awareness of the hope of the Messiah like no other age in history. So, the apostles and disciples were aware of Daniel’s prophecy; there can be no doubt of that. They would have to have been hermits secluded from 1st century society all their lives to have missed it. But… what are you really trying to say? It wouldn’t be that it is foolish to even consider prophecy would it?

  4. Hi Eddie,

    I’m still getting used to using HTML tags in replies.

    No, I did not mean to say that considering prophecy is foolish… however, why treat it as a question of “either–or,” as if the only alternative to preterism is accepting the idea of a gap?

    That is not necessary, as in the history of the church, many saints have understood the 70th week as extending from the coming of Jesus to span the whole age of the church, which is the time when Christ confirms the covenant with his saints, and when the gospel is preached in the world.

    For example, Methodius, (died c. 311) was Bishop of Olympus in Lycia, and he suffered martyrdom under Maximinus Daia in 311. He offered an interpretation of the woman who flees to the wilderness for 1,260 days of Revelation 12:6, a period that is often identified with the last half-week in Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy. Methodius wrote:

    “Now she who brings forth, and has brought forth, the masculine Word in the hearts of the faithful, and who passed, undefiled and uninjured by the wrath of the beast, into the wilderness, is, as we have explained, our mother the Church. And the wilderness into which she comes, and is nourished for a thousand two hundred and sixty days, which is truly waste and unfruitful of evils, and barren of corruption, and difficult of access and of transit to the multitude; but fruitful and abounding in pasture, and blooming and easy of access to the holy, and full of wisdom, and productive of life, is this most lovely, and beautifully wooded and well watered abode of Arete [virtue]. … For the Bride of the Word is adorned with the fruits of virtue. And the thousand two hundred and sixty days that we are staying here, O virgins, is the accurate and perfect understanding concerning the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit, in which our mother increases, and rejoices, and exults throughout this time, until the restitution of the new dispensation, when, coming into the assembly in the heavens, she will no longer contemplate the I AM through the means of [human] knowledge, but will clearly behold entering in together with Christ.”

    [Methodius, The Banquet of the ten virgins, or, concerning chastity. In: The writings of Methodius, Alexander of Lycopolis, Peter of Alexandria, and several fragments. Volume 14 of Ante-Nicene Christian library. T. & T. Clark, 1869. p. 75.]

    Another example: Venerable Bede (672-735) was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, in Sunderland, England. He said of the on the 1,260 days of Revelation 12:6, “In this number of days, which makes three years and a half, he comprehends all the times of Christianity, because Christ, Whose body the Church is, preached the same length of time in the flesh.”

    In this approach the first half of the week is the ministry of Jesus, and the three years and a half of the last half-week are “spiritual” or symbolic, which makes perfect sense in my view, since they apply not to the earthly city, but the heavenly one, where Jesus reigns.

    Peace,

    Doug

  5. Greetings Doug,

    I’m so glad your interest in prophecy is not merely to prove it has no basis in reality. To be honest, that is how I took your comment at first. Now I see your interest is real and searching for the truth. That is always good.

    My only question is, why would you presume the interpretation of Methodius or the Venerable Bede is any more apostolic than the “gap” theory or a straight literal point of view? Is it merely because they were much closer to the time of the apostles? They are still separated from them by centuries and don’t agree with each other. Now, please understand, any point of view any of us may have is not the litmus test of who is and who is not a Christian, but a lot of people must wrong no matter which point of view you choose. I am simple enough to believe that, if Daniel was correct in showing the time frame of the coming of the Savior, and to understand this is to take the prophecy literally, one must take the whole literally, including the final 7 years. I have no authority from Scripture to believe otherwise.

    Lord bless,

    Eddie

  6. The views of Methodius and Venerable Bede are not more correct simply because they are quite ancient, but because they are more in harmony with what Daniel wrote in his prophecy, and with the purpose of the 70 weeks, and with the gospel, which is what prophecy is about, (as the apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:12). Daniel said: “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,” which implies that the temple sacrifices ended in “midst of the week,” which happened in 70 AD. In the view of those expositors, the last half-week extends for the whole age of the church, so events that happened in 70 AD would have been in the “midst of the week.” They understood the one who “confirms the covenant with many” to be Christ, the Messiah referred to in verse 26.

    Peace,

    Doug

  7. Greetings Doug,

    Since you referred to 1Peter 1:12, let’s look at the context:

    Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully. They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory. They were shown that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things angels long to catch a glimpse of. Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:10-13 NET.)

    First of all, the Scriptures (written by Peter) seem to refer to the 1st century, because Peter and the rest of the apostles seemed to believe Jesus was coming in their expected lifetime. Jesus said that generation would not pass until all was complete or fulfilled. Secondly, the Scripture seems to point to the coming of the Christ and the sufferings etc. that he was expected to endure. The prophets tried to figure out who he would be and what time he would come. How do the views of Methodius and Venerable Bede comply with the Scriptures here, and by the way, Methodius does not agree with Venerable Bede—does he?

    Concerning the Temple sacrifices ending, have you ever read the Septuagint’s rendering of this Scripture? The Septuagint seems to have been the “official” bible of the first believers in Jesus. It does not ‘literally’ agree with the Masoretic text. Instead, it stands as a Jewish ‘interpretation’ in the Greek of the Hebrew text. The Septuagint reads: “And one week shall establish the covenant with many. And in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink offering shall be taken away: and on the temple shall be the abomination of desolations; and at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation.” (Daniel 9:27 LXX) (emphasis mine).

    What the Septuagint indicates, as it pertains to apostolic understanding, is this: Jesus—my Sacrifice and Drink Offering—was taken away (and crucified), and judgment would come upon the Temple and it would be destroyed at the end of the age, which, in fact, occurred in 70 CE. The destruction of the Temple marked the end of an age. God no longer dealt with the world through the Jews specifically, but through those who believed in Jesus.

    Lord bless,

    Eddie

  8. When Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled,” no doubt he included himself in that generation, and and since he rose up from the grave, and ascended to heaven, and remains alive, his generation still exists! It is a unique generation. So of course, his generation remains till all prophecy is fulfilled.

    In Mat. 24:36 he said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” He was not telling them it would all be fulfilled “within the next 40 years,” as preterists seem to think, as if that was what he meant, when the deadline approached, men would be able to determine when it must happen. That would negate what Jesus said.

    and by the way, Methodius does not agree with Venerable Bede–does he?

    Both believed that the final half week was the entire age of the church. Here is what Methodius wrote, on the woman who flees to the wilderness for 1,260 days in Rev. 12:

    “Now she who brings forth, and has brought forth, the masculine Word in the hearts of the faithful, and who passed, undefiled and uninjured by the wrath of the beast, into the wilderness, is, as we have explained, our mother the Church. And the wilderness into which she comes, and is nourished for a thousand two hundred and sixty days, which is truly waste and unfruitful of evils, and barren of corruption, and difficult of access and of transit to the multitude; but fruitful and abounding in pasture, and blooming and easy of access to the holy, and full of wisdom, and productive of life, is this most lovely, and beautifully wooded and well watered abode of Arete [virtue]. … For the Bride of the Word is adorned with the fruits of virtue. And the thousand two hundred and sixty days that we are staying here, O virgins, is the accurate and perfect understanding concerning the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit, in which our mother increases, and rejoices, and exults throughout this time, until the restitution of the new dispensation, when, coming into the assembly in the heavens, she will no longer contemplate the I AM through the means of [human] knowledge, but will clearly behold entering in together with Christ.”

    [Methodius, The Banquet of the ten virgins, or, concerning chastity. In: The writings of Methodius, Alexander of Lycopolis, Peter of Alexandria, and several fragments. Volume 14 of Ante-Nicene Christian library. T. & T. Clark, 1869. p. 75.]

    Peace,

    Doug

  9. Greetings Doug,

    First of all I wish to thank you for our little discussion. I love being challenged, because no matter how much I try, I cannot anticipate all the arguments and logic that could be presented against my point of view. A challenge, such as yours, is the only way I perceive that I can check my understanding to make sure it rests upon a solid foundation. If not, I “eat up the chicken and spit out the bones” so to speak. In short, whatever I cannot defend I get rid of. Thank you for availing yourself to test my argument.

    Concerning the generation that Jesus claimed would not pass until all was fulfilled, do you really consider Jesus’ resurrected life which represents to us the ‘new creation’ is part of what he called an “evil generation”? I don’t see it this way, but can you defend such a position. Certainly you can conceive of that position, for your state it here, but is “conceiving” it defendable in Scripture?

    Concerning Matthew 24:36 and what preterists seem to think, have you forgotten that although I may have some beliefs in common with preterists, I don’t claim that school of thought as my own? I believe in the literal second coming of Jesus, and I don’t believe the day, decade or even the century can be known for certain. As for your understanding that what Jesus claimed about his “coming” could not be known by anyone without negating what Jesus said, what about what Paul claimed concerning the day being nearer then when they (the apostles) had first thought (Romans 13:11). Certainly the apostles understood Jesus’ words that he was coming into his Kingdom in their expected lifetimes. I am not ready to assume the apostles (filled with the Holy Spirit) were wrong. I will adjust my understanding according to theirs.

    Concerning what Methodius and Venerable Bede believed, you are correct in that there isn’t much of a difference at all between their understanding of Revelation 12 and time the “church” spends in the wilderness. Yet, is what they believed true? Is it supported in the Scriptures that 486 ½ years of the 490 years are literal and the final 3 ½ years are “spiritual”? Upon what is this understanding based? And, can you show how the 1st century believers believed this interpretation, for you argue above that they did not understand the interpretation of Daniel’s prophecy as I do or according to the “gap” theory held by Rabbi Bugg. You claimed this was my interpretation’s fatal flaw. Although I disagree that 1st century believers saw it any other way thanliterally, how is yours different according to your own argument?

    Lord Bless,

    Eddie

  10. Hi Eddie,

    I think that we need to reconsider the idea of a gap in the 70 weeks prophecy. An interpretation that invokes gaps is not literal, but speculative. Those who support the gap interpretation differ, and squabble amongst themselves over their interpretations of the 70 weeks. I don’t think the alleged gap is supported anywhere in scripture.

    The scriptures do not say that the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 were 490 years. The 70 weeks consist of three sections, 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week. The 70 weeks start with a word or decree to rebuild Jerusalem, and Isaiah 44:28 seems to indicate that Cyrus was the one appointed to give the word to build both the temple and the city.

    The only way that the first two periods of 7 weeks and 62 weeks can work out to the coming of Jesus, counting from the decree of Cyrus, and without invoking gaps, is if there are different units involved, in one of the sections of the 70 weeks.

    I suggest that in the first period of 7 weeks, the years are not ordinary years, but instead consist of leap years of 13 months. In the Hebrew calendar there are 7 years with an extra month in 19 years, so those “weeks” are each 19 years, and 7 weeks of 19 years is 133 years. Then, the second period is 62 x 7 = 434 years. Together, these are 567 years. If the decree of Cyrus was given in 538 BC, the period ends 28 AD.

    The ministry of Jesus began in 28 AD, thus the first part of the 70 weeks prophecy is fulfilled accurately. The final week consists of the ministry of Jesus, plus the whole age of the church. The last three and a half years of the 70 weeks prophecy is symbolic. The time span it represents is not a literal three and a half years. The nature of the time in the last half week is different, perhaps because these last three years and a half apply to the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one. Once Jesus ascended to heaven, earth days, earth months, and earth years no longer apply. That is when Jerusalem was lifted up, as Isaiah foretold. [Isaiah 2:1-3] Isaiah said it would be exalted to the tops of the mountains; in the New Testament it is in heaven, above all the earth’s mountains. Jesus confirms the covenant for one week, but that week is partly on earth, and partly in heaven. He confirms the covenant by sending the Spirit to the church.

    In the 70 weeks, the units of time that apply to the heavenly city are changed. This is similar with other units applied to the heavenly city, described in Revelation 21. The dimensions given for it are not literal. The 144 cubits mentioned for the wall, are not meant literally, as John says that they are “angelic cubits.” If we compare the hight of the wall with the height of the city, supposing the 144 cubits refer to its height, it seems quite out of any reasonable proportion. Really, the dimensions of a wall require a height, and a width, and a length, but here only one dimension is given. That is because the wall is spiritual; it represents “salvation.” And each gate in the wall is a single pearl. So, are we to imagine huge oysters in heaven, where such pearls could grow? No, the pearls are figurative. So are the units of furlongs, and cubits. And the same applies to the time periods that refer to the heavenly city. They are not earth days, earth months, or earth years, but spiritual or figurative. That explains why the last half week differs from the previous 69 ½ weeks, IMO. If you would like a more complete discussion, see the article here.

    Peace,

    Doug

    • Shalom, Doug.

      I’ve been enjoying the discussion between yourself and Eddie and mostly staying out of it–in part because I was busy over the weekend, but in part because I thought the conversation pretty much stood on its own. I would like to address two of your points, however:

      I think that we need to reconsider the idea of a gap in the 70 weeks prophecy. An interpretation that invokes gaps is not literal, but speculative. Those who support the gap interpretation differ, and squabble amongst themselves over their interpretations of the 70 weeks.

      First of all, you pretty much contradict yourself just a paragraph down when you speculate, “I suggest that in the first period of 7 weeks, the years are not ordinary years, but instead consist of leap years of 13 months . . .” You can’t complain about a lack of agreement on minor details and simultaneously advocate a completely novel system of reconciliation without having a bit of a double-standard.

      But more importantly, there is an implied gap in the 70 Weeks, as I detail in Prewrath Rapturism, Part 3: Daniel’s Gap.

      In the prophecy of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, we have a curious gap between the 69th and 70th Weeks. The 69th Week concludes with “the coming of the Messiah, the ruler” and then includes two additional events: The Messiah is first “cut off” and then Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed. Then the 70th Week begins with its own starting point: A covenant made with “the many” by the prince whose people destroyed the Temple (i.e., the Romans). The sequence of events as given in the prophecy allows for the possibility that the 70 Weeks are not all contiguous–and history has borne out that possibility.

      You may disagree with the Gap, but there is a solid textual–as well as a solid historical–basis behind it. Ergo, it’s not allegorical, which means ignoring the literal meaning of the words of Scripture.

      Shalom,
      Rabbi Mike

    • Greetings Doug,

      Concerning the gap theory, we agree 100 %

      Concerning the 490 years not specifically indicated and the appointment of Cyrus, again we are in total agreement.

      Concerning there being more than 490 years between Cyrus and Jesus and using different units to make the prophecy work, we do not agree. I have a blog concerning known errors in ancient chronology found HERE . We base our chronology of the time between Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great upon the works of Claudius Ptolemy, and astronomer of the 2nd century CE; the problem is he wasn’t much of a scientist. His works have been proved wrong by astronomers but historians still use his works. My blog on this is found HERE .

      Concerning your figures, they may be mathematically correct, but I find no basis in Scripture to use 19 years for a unit of time for the first 7. On the contrary, if we allow Scripture to show us what occurred we find that the building of the Temple took 48 years and the walls were finished a year later—49. This shows us what the first 49 years = the first 7 units, establishing them as years. If any of the 7′s indicate anything but years, this would be pure speculation and unsupported with Scripture.

      I read your blog: “The 70 weeks and four periods of 7 times in Leviticus 26″ and I found it very interesting. We tentatively agree on the 4 periods of 7 times and what they indicate in prophecy: i.e. Jeremiah’s 70 years (1) plus Daniels 70 Weeks (3) equals 4 periods of 7 times. There are a few minor things we may disagree on, but I find no support for the 19 years as a unit for the first section of Daniel’s 70 Weeks. What I see as a fatal flaw in your assumption of the final portion of the last 7 is what you conclude:

      “Because the 70 weeks correspond to the last three of the four periods of “seven times” in Leviticus 26, which is the duration of the curse, clearly there are no gaps in the 70 weeks.”

      According to your conclusion, and I agree with you, the curse is over immediately after the 70 Weeks prophecy. This, in my opinion, is what the abomination of desolation is all about. At the conclusion of the final 7 years blood was shed—the first since Christ’s blood was shed. The blessing was offered in the Gospel and refused by Annas, the high priest. Just as the high priests’ political activity in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes was an abomination before the Lord (expressed by the swine’s blood at the order of the king), so the high priest’s obstinate leadership away from God brought the nation and the Temple to ruin. Forgiveness was there through Christ. The curse was over through Christ, but the abomination that made the nation and the Temple desolate was set up at the death of Stephen. Still, the apostles, including Paul, sought to get the nation to repent and avert national destruction, but they didn’t. The high priests led them away from God, just as was true during the days of Antiochus Epiphanes.

      Lord bless,

      Eddie

      • Eddie,

        I took a look at your referenced articles. Given that you fail to show how your proposed errors in the calendar fit in with your chronology–and even admit as much, saying, “This would not help my case for proving that Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus came approximately 79 years later than historians wish to date them . . .”–I don’t see how this helps your point. Nor do you elaborate enough on the historical adjustment that you propose to show how it lines up events differently with the 70 Weeks. Nor do you really give enough evidence to justify chucking out the broadly accepted dates.

        As for trying to tie in the Abomination with Stephen’s death, that might work–if we ignored the very clear fact that there was a historical precedent known to all Jews for just what the Abomination of Desolation is: A foreign power setting up a false god in the Holy of Holies, which Paul confirms in 2Th 2:4-8. Not refusal to hear the Word, which we have suffered through many times over in our history. Not the rejection of the true King, which we have also suffered through many times in history. Not the stoning of one martyr (which didn’t even cause all of Yeshua’s followers to flee the city, cf. Mat. 24:15ff and Acts 8:14), as terrible a crime as that was.

        Besides, the stoning of Stephen is not given any particular prophetic relevance in the narrative of Acts, which goes out of its way to point to prophetic fulfillment in other cases.

        In short, your view simply doesn’t hold up when we pull together all of the relevant Scriptures and understand the historical precedent. That being the case, we are left with either a failure of prophecy, or a gap in the fulfillment.

        It’s been fun, guys, but I think that this particular post has been about talked out. Rather than getting to the point where we’re all just repeating ourselves and getting frustrated, I’m going to move on here and ask that everyone else do the same. Thank you all for a very cordial and Spirit-led debate. It was a pleasure to read and participate in.

        Shalom,
        Rabbi Mike

  11. Hi Rabbi Mike,

    I suggest the lack of agreement on the interpretation of the seventy weeks may be evidence of a state of “crisis” in the sense Thomas Kuhn, the historian of science, used the term.

    First of all, you pretty much contradict yourself just a paragraph down when you speculate, “I suggest that in the first period of 7 weeks, the years are not ordinary years, but instead consist of leap years of 13 months . . .” You can’t complain about a lack of agreement on minor details and simultaneously advocate a completely novel system of reconciliation without having a bit of a double-standard.

    Years of 13 months are quite literal. They were a feature of the Hebrew and Babylonian calendars, based on lunar months, and natural phenomena. In other words, upon creation itself, rather than man-made calendars. I do think using leap years for the first 7 weeks helps to resolve the puzzle of the 70 weeks prophecy.

    For the second section of 62 weeks, Daniel records that Darius was 62 years old when he began his reign, as if seven of those periods of 62 years are how we should interpret the second section of the prophecy.

    If the units of all three sections of the 70 weeks were the same, why have three sections? Why not say “after sixty and nine weeks,” instead of “after seven weeks, and sixty and two weeks”?

    And, do you really think the disagreements among those who advocate a gap are only about minor details?

    What was the start date? There is disagreement about that. Some put it in the 7th year of Artaxerxes; others say the 20th year of Artaxerxes. And what kind of years? Were they solar years, or “prophetic” 360 day years?

    The New Scofield Reference Bible, and H. A. Ironside, say the first 69 of the 70 weeks began 445 BC, and the years were years of 360 days, ending in 30 AD. I think some say it was 444 BC.

    The SDA church says the 69 weeks began in the 7th year of Artaxerxes, and were fulfilled in the period 457 BC to 27 AD.

    There is also disagreement about when Artaxerxes reigned. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the beginning of the seventy weeks occurred in 455 BC, the decree of Artaxerxes in his 20th year.

    Disagreement exists about when the prophecy ended. Was it the beginning, or end of the ministry of Jesus? These issues are hardly minor ones!

    In the prophecy of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, we have a curious gap between the 69th and 70th Weeks. The 69th Week concludes with “the coming of the Messiah, the ruler” and then includes two additional events: The Messiah is first “cut off” and then Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed. Then the 70th Week begins with its own starting point: A covenant made with “the many” by the prince whose people destroyed the Temple (i.e., the Romans). The sequence of events as given in the prophecy allows for the possibility that the 70 Weeks are not all contiguous-and history has borne out that possibility.

    You may disagree with the Gap, but there is a solid textual-as well as a solid historical-basis behind it. Ergo, it’s not allegorical, which means ignoring the literal meaning of the words of Scripture.

    Inserting a gap seems to nullify any virtue that may exist in a literal approach. But, why would “literal meanings” be preferable to allegorical ones? Paul said, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” [2 Corinthians 3:6]

    Peace,

    Doug

    • Years of 13 months are quite literal.

      But extraordinarily novel. It is true that the Jewish calendar has a leap-year of 13 months, but this occurs approximately every 2-3 years (on a peculiar 19 year cycle). It would not occur only 49 times in a 490 year period; more like 180 times. So in the sense that your interpretation would actually fit any calendar connected to any Biblical culture at all, no, no it wouldn’t be “literal.”

      And, do you really think the disagreements among those who advocate a gap are only about minor details?

      Yes, actually. See, it doesn’t really matter which of the four proposed starting points one takes, or whether one adjusts with 360 day years (the Sir Robert Anderson approach, which I generally advocate), since all of the proposed interpretations get us to the ministry of Yeshua, whether to its approximate starting point or to the Triumphal Entry. The prophecy, if read with rabbinic literalness, puts the “cutting off” of the Messiah Prince and the destruction of the Temple after the 69th Week but before the 70th, and then gives a separate starting point for the 70th Week.

      Moreover, the interpretation that tries to force contiguity on the Weeks always ends with Yeshua’s Sacrifice on the Cross being the midpoint. That happens to create reconciliation problems with John’s Gospel account, since he lists only three Passovers, implying that the ministry lasted a little over two years, not three-and-a-half, but creates greater problems in that it puts Yeshua in the place of the enemy of God described in chapters 8 and 11, as I’ve already detailed.

      Shalom,
      Rabbi Mike

  12. Leap years in Daniel’s Seventy Weeks « Creation Concept

  13. We were Called Christians First in Antioch! (via Smoodock’s Blog) « The Return of Benjamin

Comments are closed.