There. I made that the title of this piece because that is my main point. All the rest is proof and commentary.
It goes against both common sense and Scriptural usage to imagine that there are one or two gaps within this period of 70 weeks. I hate to admit that, earlier on, I have taught both variants. It was because I valued the authority of men over the Word of God.
It is against common sense.
It is ironic that we have to argue for common sense on this very point of imagined gaps in the 70 weeks, because those who hold for gaps, for the most part, also hold very strongly to Cooper’s dictum “If the plain sense makes sense seek no other sense”. Dispensationalists run that flag up everywhere in Scripture, almost … except here.
It would be Scriptural nonsense as well.
It is against Scriptural usage.
Has there ever been a gap before in stated periods of time in the Old Testament? No.
An interesting fact emerges in a study on the periods of forty units in the Bible:
There are thirteen “forty year” passages: Deut 8:2; Judges 3:11; 5:31; 8:28; 13:1; 1 Sam. 4:18; 2 Sam 5:4; 1 Kings 11:42; 2 Chron. 24:1; Ezek. 29:11; Acts 7:23, 30; 13:21.
There are also thirteen “forty day” passages: Gen. 7:4, 12; 50:3; Ex. 24:18; 34:28; Num. 13:25; Deut. 9:18, 25; 1 Sam. 17:16; 1 Kings 19:8; Ezek. 4:6; Matt. 4:2; Acts 1:3.
In none of these twenty-six passages can there be found a gap.
Then why would their be one even imagined in the seventy week passage before us? The answer is an historical one. It became the ancient expedient of those first-century Jews, having first disowned their promised Messiah, to find some interpretation for those Messianic passages like Daniel 9:24 – 27. Still manifesting respect for their sacred writings, they took one of three routes.
Some, like (Rabbi Jonathan) took the “only-God-knows” tack, even writing that it is a sin for the faithful are not to even look into these things. He wrote, “Let their bones rot who compute the time of the end”. These are the same ones – and for the same reason – who mark off Isaiah 53 as being unreadable. Many modern versions of the Torah do not have this chapter of Isaiah in their Haftaroth section, though they have almost every other chapter.
There are others, just like their liberal counterparts in Christendom, who either reduce the prophecy into vague or undefined metaphor or deny it altogether.
The first group frees them selves from both the burden of proof and the evidence of history. The passage can mean anything then. And if it can mean anything, then it actually means nothing; all connection is lost. The second group, those who deny altogether, merely close their eyes to the problem; or point to the past as fulfillment. Belonging in this category is a Rabbi Hillel (not the famous earlier one) who blandly asserted, “A Messiah shall not be given unto Israel: for they enjoyed Him in the days of Hezekiah.”, slanting Isaiah 9:6-7 for this purpose. But some are too orthodox for this, at the least. They cherish a residue of respect for the sacred writings of the past. They have enough faith to believe what God did in the past, but not enough to believe that God came in the flesh in their time. Or, having met Christ or His message, they couldn’t accept a God in such a humiliating form. But they still believe in Messiah-to-come. But what to do? The timetable has run out (according to Daniel 9) and Messiah hasn’t arrived. Aha! There must have been a gap.
The Seventy week prophetical period is based on the earlier seventy years of Jewish Captivity, Dan. 9:2, 24. Was there a gap in the captivity? If not, then why should there be one in the period based on it? We Christians merely assumed there is a gap because those whom we trusted kept telling us that there was one! It’s that simple. When we make the determined transition from “my preacher says” to “the Bible says” then we can really start to grow in understanding, paying much closer attention to what God’s Spirit has put in His Book.
Why is this Important?
Because Christ is all-important. More important than the Jews. More important than Antichrist. To believe in this gap actually takes away from the Christ-emphasis of this prohecy. The Seventy weeks passage is a prophecy for all of the people of God (first believing Jews, now believing Jews and Gentiles), It is not a prediction of some future events that will take down what Christ has set up once for all. There will be no more sacrifices, no more priesthood, no more temple, no more holy places (John 4:24) – that has any importance in the eyes of God. That was all finished up in Christ. The true temple is the church of God, a spiritual temple. The true sacrifice, based on the Lamb’s once-for-all sacrifice, is Christ’s ministering to us as High Priest on our behalf, Heb. 8:1- 2; 10:21.