Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Daniel 9 (The Seventy Weeks - part one)

The seventy weeks of Daniel are the fount of much debate about eschatology. Many solutions have been offered, but most are speculative and difficult to prove. I am not going to offer a comprehensive answer, but I do want touch on a few issues over the next couple of posts.

The seventy weeks comes from the first portion of Daniel 9:24.

“Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city.”

The angel Gabriel is delivering a message to Daniel. He says, “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and your holy city.”

“Your people” obviously refers to Israel. “Your holy city” obviously refers to Jerusalem. Gabriel is saying that something is going to happen to Israel and Jerusalem in “seventy weeks.”

If we take “seventy weeks” in a wooden sense, then Gabriel is saying that something is going to happen in one year and four months. However, most understand that Gabriel is referring to a much longer period of time.

The Hebrew word for weeks actually means “seven.” Thus, seventy weeks could be translated seventy-sevens. This is referring to seventy groups of seven, which would be 490. Most scholars understand that Gabriel is speaking of years. Something is going to happen in 490 years.

Unfortunately, Dispensationalists do not take this literally. They argue that the 490 years are not consecutive. That is, they assert that after 483 years, then God is going to “stop the clock” for an undisclosed period of time, and then “re-start the clock” for the final seven years at some point in the future.

However, this violates literal, normal, rational communicative principles. No one speaks like this.

If I tell my wife that I’ll be home in ten minutes, only to arrive two hours later, I could not escape by saying, “I was not including the time I stopped by a bar to watch the basketball game.”


jstricklin said...

Of course, the analogy could be:

Wife - How long until that game is over?
Husband - Only 2 minutes on the clock.
And we all know that means up to another 10 to 15 minutes. :-)

It seems to me that Dan. 9:25 indentifies divisions in the 490 years. Seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, then "after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off."

Eric Adams said...

So we've been in a TV timeout for the last 2000 years?

Sorry, but divisions do not entail separation. The 490 years has divisions, but not gaps.

JMS said...

Hey man, keep it up! I've been posting a walk through of Revelation for the past few weeks which also seeks to show the fallacies of Rapture Dispensationalism. It's like kudzu though, it seems! :)


Anonymous said...


congratulations for the good work.
You should complete your comment with Daniel 9:25 and what that means.
It is impossible to argue that all the 70 weeks prophecy was fulfilled by A.d. 70, therefore there must be a gap in time.

jstricklin said...


I'm curious along with galeazzo about how you would see the 490 years fulfilled literally.

Just because Dispensationalists recongnize gaps between the divisions doesn't mean they have sacrificed the literal interpretation. Can any interpretation be any more literal than Hoehner's in which he calculates the day of the fulfillment of the 69th week?! Archer also sees a literal fulfillment including the gap, although his view is different than Hoehner's.

But if these literal interpretations are inadequate, what is the proper literal interpretation?


Eric Adams said...

Sorry I've been slack to respond.

I've seen a couple of different scenarios that would work. I don't have time to detail them now, but I do intend to post again.

However, any scenario which inserts gaps is not a literal rendering of the text. The whole point is that Israel was in exile for 70 years and now God giving them a new time frame, 70 sevens.

There are no indicators in the text that the seventy weeks contain gaps. Distinctions/divisions yes, but not gaps. That's eisegesis, not literal interpretation.