SIX PROOFS OF A GAP IN DISPENSATIONALISM
Larry T. Smith
© 2002 Copyright Rightly Dividing the Word
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Dispensational Theology began in 1830 and gained popularity in the 1900's with the printing of the Scofield Bible and its Dispensational footnotes. This theory stands or falls on whether or not there is a one-week gap between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel 9:24-27. The timeframe of when this 70th week is to occur can be surmised by knowing when the 6 points found in Daniel 9:24 are fulfilled. If these 6 points are yet unfulfilled, as Dispensationalists claim, then there has to be a gap of time to allow them time to take place. But if they have already taken place, then there would be no scriptural reason for a gap, which would mean Daniel's 70th week is now a past event. This shows why the placement of this week is so important to properly understand Bible prophecy.
In his book, Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks, Alva J. McClain states, "The fulfillment of the tremendous events in [Daniel 9] verse 24 cannot be found anywhere in known history." By saying this, Mr. McClain is showing that Dispensationalists, of which McClain is one, believe that not one of the six points found in verse 24 were fulfilled during the first 69 weeks, but were all to be fulfilled during the final 70th week. This is true and is the reason why God set aside this seventieth week as a separate week, because in the midst of that week the Messiah would appear and be cut off, which would fulfill all six points as found in verse 24. This same cutting off would bring about the abomination of desolation which would end in the destruction of the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [Temple] as revealed in the remaining verses of Daniel 9.
The Six Points of Verse 24
Let's now look and see what these 6 points are. I have added some wording and numbering for clarity.
These are the 6 points that Daniel said would be fulfill during this 70 weeks. Again, you must remember, most [if not all] men agree that these 6 points were never fulfilled during the first 69 weeks, so they were to be fulfilled during the 70th week, which is why the 70th week was set aside from the other 69. The key question now is whether these 6 points of Daniel 9:24 are already fulfilled, or if they are yet to be fulfilled sometime in the future. The only trusted source to answer this all-important question is the Bible itself. There we find that not only were all these 6 points fulfilled by Jesus, but they were fulfilled in the generation that Jesus said would see the fulfillment of the remaining verses of Daniel 9's prophecy.
1. To Finish the Transgression
The Old Testament repeatedly deals with Israel's transgression of the Law of God. Their past transgressions are what Daniel was praying about when the angel revealed that there would be 490 more years until the people of Israel would commit their greatest transgression—the killing of their Messiah. This great sin would finish the transgressions of Israel and make their city [Jerusalem] and their sanctuary [Temple] desolate. Jesus confirmed this coming destruction in Matthew 23, where He forewarned the Jews of His day that destruction would come against those who rebelled against His New Covenant.
Notice that Jesus said, "All these things shall come upon THIS generation." This shows He was referring to the generation He was speaking to at that time. He confirmed this again in Matthew 24:34.
The Apostle Paul also said this coming wrath would be upon the Jews of his generation.
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
These are just a few of many scriptures that show this point, but they are sufficient enough evidence to prove that the Jewish non-believers of Jesus' day finished the transgression of Daniel 9:24 by killing their Messiah. This transgression resulted in desolation coming to those who refused the New Covenant message of Jesus.
2. To Make an End of Sin
During Moses' first Passover, the same sacrificial lamb that brought judgments against God's enemies also brought protection to God's covenant people. It was very similar here as well except this time the sacrifice came in the form of a man named Jesus, and His sacrifice was not temporary, but forever brought redemption for mankind's sin.
How anyone could ignore these, or any of the other scriptures that clearly show Jesus' sacrifice was God's perfect and final sacrifice for man's sins, is beyond me, but Dispensationalists must, otherwise they couldn't create their needed gap. I would rather believe what the Bible says about the work of the cross and the sufficiency of Jesus' blood, than to believe what some man's study notes say the blood of bulls and goats will do during a covenant that the Bible speaks nothing of.
3. To Make Reconciliation for Iniquity
Some scholars feel this word "reconciliation" should have been "atonement" instead. That really doesn't matter since they both mean "to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent." Since the fall of Adam, mankind has been born into this world with a sin nature. This made him a natural-born enemy with his Creator. To change this status and to regain a close relationship with their Creator, mankind needed an atonement that could reconcile their nature back with God's. The blood of Jesus was that atoning sacrifice that brought mankind that opportunity, for His sacrifice brought to man a new nature that was not born after their natural father Adam, but rather one born after their heavenly Father Jesus!
Notice in these verses how "atonement" and "reconciliation" are spoken of as taking place at Calvary, and was then made available to all through the gospel message.
Colossians 1:20, 21
2 Corinthians 5:17-20
It is easy to see this point is not referring to a coming 7-year tribulation where the breaking of a covenant by some antichrist causes animal sacrifices to cease, but is instead referring to Jesus Christ's death on Calvary, which satisfied man's payment for sin and offered him a way to walk in close fellowship with God. Jesus' sacrifice stopped animal sacrifices from being acceptable to God, since there is now no scriptural reason for them to ever occur again. His sacrifice also occurred 3½ years into His ministry, which fits perfectly the description of the cutting off in the midst of Daniel's final 70th week [See Daniel 9:27].
4. To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness
Webster's 1828 dictionary defines righteousness as, "Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion." Without being led by the Spirit of Christ, no one would be able to live up to this definition. Webster also described righteousness as, "The active and passive obedience of Christ, by which the law of God is fulfilled. Daniel 9." Even Webster connected the work of Christ to Daniel 9, because he also recognized that Jesus was the one who ushered in everlasting righteousness for mankind, and thereby fulfilled this 4th point. These next scriptures help to show why this is true.
Romans 5:17, 18
Romans 9:30, 31
The Bible shows the righteousness of God never could come through the Law, so this 4th point could not be referring to a future time of Law-keeping. Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." He referred to righteousness as being available now. Paul "amen'd" that when he said, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. [Romans 14:17] This was Paul's way of saying God's righteousness does not come not through man's religion of works, but through man's faith in Jesus' works.
5. To Seal Up the Vision and the Prophecy
This prophecy seems to carry a two-fold meaning. One interpretation says it fulfills and completes the prophecy concerning Jesus' coming during the time of the 490 years, and was not totally completed until the conclusion of the 70th week. Another interpretation suggests the word translated "seal" deals with the blindness that is put on Israel because of their rebellion. This blindness made them unable to see the prophecy fulfillment happening around them. Regardless which of these may be the better interpretation, they both end with judgment coming against Israel coming because of her rejection of the New Covenant.
Verse 10 is explained in the New Testament as being Israel's blindness during the earthly ministry of Christ.
Matthew 13:14, 15
This sealing of the vision seems to be part of God's judgment against Israel, and her main city Jerusalem, because of her rejection of Isaiah 28 and 29's chief cornerstone. Isaiah 28:9-12 is also an area that prophesies of the coming New Covenant Holy Ghost outpouring.
Isaiah goes on to show how those to whom this covenant would come would trust in the Law and reject God's cornerstone for their lives.
Isaiah 29 then talks about God's reason for the destruction of Jerusalem, and gives a hint as to how it will come.
Either of these interpretations ends with the same result, which is that they were both fulfilled during the timeframe of the 70th week, and during the time of Jesus' ministry. Both of these also show that generation's rejection of Jesus' New Covenant culminated with the destruction of Jerusalem, before that generation ended in 70 AD.
6. To Anoint the Most Holy
Dispensationalists claim this refers to a future Jewish Temple. That could not be the case since there is not one scripture that says God will ever again have another physical Temple built, nor is there any that says He will ever again use its sacrificial system. Besides that, God never really wanted a dwelling place built by hands, and will never choose to return to one. Acts 7:49 supports this when it asks, "Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?"
These truths show that this "anointing of the most high" must be referring to something greater than a building…something greater like the most Holy ONE—Jesus. He was the One who was called "Emmanuel," which the Bible says is interpreted, "God with us." Jesus' coming allowed God's presence to dwell—tabernacle—with man. The anointing of significance that could fulfill this point from Daniel 9:24 happened at Jesus' baptism. The scripture says John did not even know Jesus was the One to come until he saw the Spirit of God descend and remain on Jesus at His baptism. That anointing was the inauguration of Jesus' ministry for it manifested Him as the Messiah of God and ushered in the beginning of Daniel's 70th week. Jesus went from this anointing and began systematically fulfilling all the Messianic signs of Isaiah 61.
Isn't it ironic that the apostle Peter, just like dispensationalists of today, was at one time confused about God's desire for a manmade physical dwelling place for His Spirit? Peter was the apostle that suggested building Moses, Elijah, and Jesus a physical dwelling place on the Mount of Transfiguration. [See Mark 9:5] Later, after receiving the Spirit of Truth, Peter testified to the Jews [See Acts 2] and to the Gentiles [See Acts 10] that Jesus' body was the true anointed dwelling place of God. Peter also explained that John's baptism of Jesus began the fulfillment of the six points of Daniel 9:24, and launched the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel.
Peter did this when he told his listeners that Jesus would make them His earthly abode after they obeyed the New Covenant command to be born again!
Acts 2:32, 33
Acts 10:37, 38
Jesus was the anointed Temple of God while He was here on earth. He came to usher in a New Covenant whereby He could dwell in the hearts of men. This brought the Kingdom of God to man and made the Church His Temple of God in the earth.
Malachi also prophesied of this event. He told of the one who was to "prepare the way" for the coming Lord. The Bible shows that John the Baptist was the one that this idiom describes. [See Isaiah 40:3, Luke 1:76, and Matthew 3:3] But also notice that Malachi calls the coming Lord "the messenger of the Covenant." This confirms that the coming Messiah would be the One who would proclaim the covenant with His people.
As a person searches the Bible without the aids of Dispensational study notes, they soon discover they cannot find any mention of a gap for Daniel's prophecy, and to my knowledge, there were not any references to this supposed gap even in study notes before the time of Dispensational Theology. All these teachings about a pre, mid, post, or pre-wrath tribulation are based on a false teaching of a future seven-year tribulation that was created by claiming the points of Daniel 9:24 are yet unfulfilled and are for a future time. By saying this, this doctrine has changed Daniel 9's covenant of Jesus Christ into a covenant of antichrist. This was done by satan to make the Church believe that there is still seven-years remaining of law-keeping, and that God's eye is on the Natural Jew because of race, instead of on the Church (Jew and Gentile) because of grace.
To make this gap work, Dispensationalists had to place a "pre-trib" rapture in front of the 70th week, even though there is not one scripture in the Bible to support it. This rapture gave them a reason for a dispensational covenant change, which Dispensationalists say will be a time when God will no longer accept the blood of Jesus for mankind's sins, but will instead require either animal blood offered by a Jewish High Priest, or human blood that comes from being beheaded by the antichrist. This covenant change is taught in spite of the fact that the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus Christ was the only perfect sacrifice, which brought remission for the sins of mankind forever.
McClain had asked in his book, "Where in the history of Acts, for example, can you find any finishing of Jewish transgression or an ending of Jewish sins?" Even a Sunday school child could quickly answer him by saying, "Acts 2:38!" McClain, like other Dispensationalists, confuses the plan of God when he says these scriptures in Daniel 9 were intended only for the Jews, and since the Jews have not yet responded to them, they are still not completed. That is simply not true! The Apostle Peter was a Jew, and he was preaching to his own countrymen in Acts 2. Those Jews who heeded his words were obedient to the New Covenant and were protected by Jesus' blood. Those Jews who refused his words became disobedient to God's New Covenant and were in danger of His coming judgment. That is why Peter warned his hearers to "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." [Acts 2:40] This saving grace of Jesus did finish their transgression, and it did end their sentence of death, which was coming because of their sins. The untoward [perverse] generation to which Peter was referring was the same one Jesus warned would see His coming in judgment. History shows this judgment came against the disobedient in 67-70 AD just as Peter and Jesus had warned.
Dispensationalism annuls the work of the cross and distorts the true identity of the Church by saying Jesus' sacrifice is neither sufficient nor everlasting. The Partial Preterist view, on the other hand, supports both the cross and the Church, because it teaches Jesus' sacrifice is the final sacrifice that will ever be made or needed for mankind. Scripture supports this latter view because it confirms that neither Jew nor Gentile will ever be set free from their sin without Jesus' New Covenant plan of salvation. This same freedom also releases the Church from the entanglements of physical temples and animal sacrifices, so they can focus on their own spiritual temples! The Partial Preterist view is also a powerful testimony since it shows that only God could give such a detailed timeframe in advance, and then fulfill it on the exact prophesied day several hundred years later in every detail. That testifies, to both the believer and the unbeliever, of the validity of the Bible, and of the omniscience of the omnipotent God; for it loudly proclaims that Jesus truly is an "on time" God!
The conclusion of this matter is the Bible shows that the prophesied 490 years of Daniel 9:24-27 were all completed in order without a gap, because all 6 points of Daniel 9:24 have already been fulfilled in perfect detail by Jesus. This makes Daniel's 70th week history, and leaves all the Dispensational teachings about a future seven-year tribulation period without a biblical foundation. So from these 6 proofs we can clearly see that the dispensationalist's gap is not truly between the 69th and the 70th week, as they have taught, but is instead found between their teachings and the teachings of the Bible. I say we move away from this schism and move on to truth!
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