Skip to comments.Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and Biblical Prophecy
Posted on 06/21/2005 2:21:11 PM PDT by topcat54
The chronology provided in Daniels prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Dan. 9:2427) is a linchpin in the dispensational system, although it is not crucial to any of the other millennial systems. John Walvoord comments that the interpretation of Daniel 9:2427 is of major importance to premillennialism as well as pretribulationism. Being such, it is the key to prophecy and, consequently, one of the most important prophecies of the Bible. Surely O.T. Allis is correct when he observes that the importance of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Dispensational teaching can hardly be exaggerated.
This dependence upon Daniel 9 is unfortunate for dispensationalism for two reasons. First, historically: great difficulties are associated with the interpretation of this passage. J.A. Montgomery calls the prophecy the Dismal Swamp of Old Testament criticism. E.J. Young comments: This passage is one of the most difficult in all the OT, and the interpretations which have been offered are almost legion.
Second, theologically: this extremely important prophecy is the most difficult for dispensationalists to make credible to those outside of their system. Even dispensationalist Robert Culver admits: The difficulty of the verses that now lie before us is evident. He says, Premillennial writers of two or three generations ago were very far apart on the details. Much of the same diversity appears in premillennial contemporary writers. In fact, Daniels Seventy Weeks prophecy leads dispensationalism into one of its most strained peculiarities: the doctrine of the gap theory of the Church Age. I will consider this later.
As we get started, it is crucial to grasp the structure of the prophecy. Meredith Kline provides a thorough presentation of the strongly covenantal cast of Daniel 9 that leads up to the prophecy, noting that it is saturated with formulaic expressions drawn from the Mosaic treaties, particularly from the Deuteronomic treaty (cf. Dan. 9:46, 1015). This prayer regarding covenant loyalty (hesed, 9:4) is answered in terms of the covenantal sabbath pattern of the Seventy Weeks (9:2427), which results in the confirmation of the covenant (9:27). Daniel 9 is the only chapter in Daniel to use Gods special covenant name, YHWH (vv. 2, 4, 10, 13, 14, 20; cf. Exod. 6:24).
Recognizing the covenantal framework of the Seventy Weeks is crucial to its proper interpretation. It virtually demands a focus on the fulfillment of covenantal redemption in the ministry of Christ. Let us see why this is so.
The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks is clearly framed in terms of sabbatic chronology. The first phase of the Seventy Weeks is seven weeks, or (literally) seven sevens (Dan. 9:25), which results in a value of forty-nine. This reflects the time frame leading up to the redemptively significant Year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8ff). The total period of seventy sevens is also covenantal. Seventy represents ten seven-week periods: ten jubilees. The seventy sevens (weeks) appear to point to a completed redemptive Jubilee. This appropriately points to Christ, who brings in that ultimate Jubilee (cf. Luke 4:1721; Isa. 61:13; Matt. 24:31) and who is the leading character in Daniels prophecy. Consequently, the time frame revealed to Daniel demarcates the period in which the Messianic redemption was to be accomplished.
The Seventy Weeks represent a period of seventy times seven years, or 490 years: (1) In the preceding context, the original seventy years of Jeremiahs prophecy is in Daniels mind (Dan. 9:2). Years are suggested, then, by the prior reference, which is crucial to the historical context. (2) The sabbath year (the seventh year of the sabbath period) is frequently referred to simply as the sabbath. Thus, a sabbath day (Gen. 2:2; Exod. 20:11) is expanded to cover a year. (3) There is Scriptural warrant for measuring days in terms of years in certain passages (Gen. 29:2728; Num. 14:34; Deut. 14:28; 1 Sam. 2:19; Ezek. 4:6; Amos 4:4). (4) Daniel seems to shift gears and even notify the reader of the change in Daniel 10:2, where he qualifies his situation by saying he mourned three weeks of days (Heb.).
The command in Daniel 9:25 is Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem. At first appearance it would seem to refer to Cyruss decree to rebuild the Temple in 538 BC. This command is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 36:2223 and in Ezra 1:14, 5:13, 17; 6:3. Daniel, however, specifically speaks of the command to restore and build Jerusalem, which is an important qualification.
Though half-hearted efforts are made to rebuild Jerusalem after Cyruss decree, for a long time Jerusalem is little more than a sparsely populated, unwalled village. Daniel speaks of the command to restore (shub, return) Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25). This requires that it be returned to its original integrity and grandeur as at the first (Jer. 33:7). It was not until the middle of the 5th century BC that this is undertaken seriously.
The first period of seven weeks must indicate something, for it is set off from the two other periods. Were it not significant, Daniel could speak of the sixty-nine weeks rather than the seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (Dan. 9:25). This seven weeks (or forty-nine years) apparently witnesses the successful conclusion of the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
The second period of sixty-two weeks extends from the conclusion of the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the introduction of Israels Messiah at His baptism when He begins His public ministry (Dan. 9:25), sometime around AD 26. This interpretation is quite widely agreed upon by conservative scholars, being virtually universal among Christian exegetes excluding dispensationalists. The third period of one week is the subject of intense controversy between dispensationalism and other conservative scholarship. I will turn to this shortly.
Interpretation of Daniel 9:24
In Daniel 9:24 the overriding, glorious expectation of the prophecy is stated: Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
The six infinitival phrases of verse 24 should be understood as three couplets (Payne, Terry, Maurer, Hitzig, and the Massoretes), rather than as two triplets (Keil and Young). These six results are the main point of the prophecy, serving as the heading of the explication to follow. The know therefore and understand statement in verse 25 begins that explication.
The general view of Daniel 9:24 among non-dispensational evangelicals is that the six items presented settle the terminus ad quem of the prophecy, that is, they have to do with the First Advent. Dispensationalists, however, hold that these events are not to be found in any event near the earthly lifetime of our Lord. Rather they teach that God will once again turn His attention in a special way to His people the Jews and to His holy city Jerusalem, as outlined in Daniel 9:24. The dispensationalist takes a decidedly futurist approach to the prophecy when he gets past the first sixty-nine weeks.
Let us notice, first, that the Seventy Weeks will witness the finishing of the transgression. As just noted, Daniels prayer of confession was regarding Israels sins (Dan. 9:4ff) and the prophecys focus is on Israel (Dan. 9:24a). Consequently, this finishing (kala) the transgression has to do with Israels finishing, i.e., completing, her transgression against God. The finishing of that transgression occurs in the ministry of Christ, when Israel culminates her resistance to God by rejecting His Son and having Him crucified (Matt. 21:3738, cf. 21:3345; Acts 7:5152).
The second part of the couplet is directly related to the first: having finished the transgression against God in the rejection of the Messiah, now the sins are sealed up (NASB marg.; chatham). The idea here is, as Payne observes, to seal or to reserve sins for punishment. Because of Israels rejection of Messiah, God reserves punishment for her: the final, conclusive destruction of the temple, which was reserved from the time of Jesus ministry until AD 70 (Matt. 24:2, 34). The sealing or reserving of the sins indicates that within the Seventy Weeks, Israel will complete her transgression, and with the completing of her sin by crucifying Christ, God will act to reserve (beyond the Seventy Weeks) her sins for judgment.
The third result (beginning the second couplet) has to do with the provision of reconciliation for iniquity. The Hebrew word kaphar is the word for atonement, i.e., a covering of sin. It clearly speaks of Christs atoning death, which is the ultimate atonement to which all temple rituals looked (Heb. 9:26). This also occurred during His earthly ministry at His death. The dispensationalist here prefers to interpret this result as application rather than effecting. He sees it as subjective appropriation instead of objective accomplishment: [T]he actual application of it is again associated with the second advent as far as Israel is concerned. But on the basis of the Hebrew verb, the passage clearly speaks of the actual making reconciliation (or atonement).
Because of this atonement to cover sin, the fourth result is that everlasting righteousness is effected. That is, the final, complete atonement establishes righteousness. This speaks of the objective accomplishment, not the subjective appropriation of righteousness. This was effected by Christ within the seventy-week period as well (Rom. 3:2122a).
The fifth result (the first portion of the third couplet) has to do with the ministry of Christ on earth, which is introduced at His baptism: He comes to seal up vision and prophecy. By this is meant that Christ fulfills (and thereby confirms) the prophecy (Luke 18:31, cf. 24:44; Acts 3:18).
Finally, the seventy years are for the following goal: to anoint the Most Holy. This anointing (mashach) speaks of the Christs baptismal anointing for the following reasons: (1) The overriding concern of Daniel 9:2427 is Messianic. The temple that is built after the Babylonian captivity is to be destroyed after the Seventy Weeks (v. 27), with no further mention made of it. (2) In the following verses the Messiah (mashiyach, Christ, Anointed One) is specifically named twice (vv. 25, 26). (3) The most holy phraseology speaks of the Messiah, who is that Holy One who is to be born. It is of Christ that the ultimate redemptive Jubilee is prophesied by Isaiah (Isa. 61:12a; cf. Luke 4:1721). It was at His baptismal anointing that the Spirit came upon Him (Mark 1:911). This was introductory to His ministry, of which we read three verses later: Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled [the sixty-ninth week?], and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:1415). Christ is pre-eminently the Anointed One.
The Seventieth Week
The Messiah now experiences something after the sixty-two weeks (Dan. 9:26), which follow the preceding seven weeks (v. 25). This is to occur, then, sometime after the sixty-ninth week. A natural reading of the text shows this is in the seventieth week, for that is the only time frame remaining for the accomplishment of the goal of the prophecy listed in verse 24. That which occurs at this time is Messiah shall be cut off. The Hebrew word translated cut off here (karath) is used of the death penalty, Lev. 7:20; and refers to a violent death, i.e., the death of Christ on the cross.
Given the Hebraic pattern of repetition, we may easily discern a parallel between verses 26 and 27; verse 27 gives an expansion of verse 26. Negatively, Messiahs cutting off in verse 26 is the result of Israels completing her transgression and bringing it to a culmination (v. 24) by crucifying the Messiah. Positively, verse 27 states this same event: He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. Considered from its positive effect, this confirming of the covenant with many makes reconciliation and brings in everlasting righteousness (v. 24). The confirming of a covenant (v. 27) refers to the prophesied covenantal actions of verse 24, which come about as the result of the Perfect Covenantal Jubilee (Seventy Weeks) and are mentioned as a result of Daniels covenantal prayer (cf. v. 4). The covenant mentioned, then, is the divine covenant of Gods redemptive grace. Messiah came to confirm the covenantal promises (Luke 1:72; Eph. 2:12). He confirmed the covenant by His death on the cross (Heb. 7:22b).
The word translated confirm (higbir) is related to the angel Gabriels name, who brought Daniel the revelation of the Seventy Weeks (and who later brings the revelation of Christs birth, Luke 1:19, 26). Gabriel is based on the Hebrew gibbor, strong one, a concept frequently associated with the covenant God. The related word found in Daniel 9:27 means to make strong, confirm. This firm covenant brings about everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24) hence its firmness.
Daniels prayer was particularly for Israel (Dan. 9:3ff), and it was uttered in recognition of Gods promises of mercy upon those who love Him (v. 4). Therefore, the covenant will be confirmed with many for one week. The reference to the many speaks of the faithful in Israel. Thus a contrast is introduced between He and the Many, a contrast which appears to reflect upon the great Messianic passage, Isaiah 52:1353:12 and particularly 53:11. Although the entire nation will not receive salvation, the many will receive.
This confirmation of Gods covenant promises to the many of Israel will occur in the middle of the seventieth week (v. 27), which parallels after the sixty-two [and seven] weeks (v. 26), while providing more detail. We know Christs three-and-one-half-year ministry was decidedly focused on the Jews in the first half of the seventieth week (Matt. 10:5b, cf. 15:24). For a period of three and one-half years after the crucifixion, the apostles focused almost exclusively on the Jews, beginning first in Judea (Acts 1:8; 2:14) because the gospel of Christ is for the Jew first (Rom. 1:16, cf. 2:10; John 4:22).
Although the event that serves as the terminus of the sixty-ninth week is clearly specified, such is not the case with the terminus of the seventieth. Thus, the exact event that ends the seventieth is not so significant for us to know. Apparently at the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity, the covenantal proclamation began to be turned toward the Gentiles (Acts 8:1). The apostle to the Gentiles appears on the scene at Stephens death (Acts 7:588:1) as the Jewish persecution against Christianity breaks out. Pauls mission is clearly stated as exceeding the narrow Jewish focus (Acts 9:15).
This confirmation of the covenant occurs in the middle of the week (v. 27). I have already shown that the seventieth week begins with the baptismal anointing of Christ. Then, after three and one-half years of ministry the middle of the seventieth week Christ was crucified (Luke 13:69; Eccl. Hist. 1:10:3). Thus, the prophecy states that by His conclusive confirmation of the covenant, Messiah will bring an end to sacrifice and offering (v. 27) by offering up Himself as a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 9:2526, cf. 7:1112, 1822). Consequently, at His death the Temples veil was torn from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51) as evidence that the sacrificial system was legally disestablished in the eyes of God (cf. Matt. 23:38), for Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29; Acts 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 57).
The Destruction of Jerusalem
But how are we to understand the latter portions of both verses 26 and 27? What are we to make of the destruction of the city and sanctuary (v. 26) and the abomination that causes desolation (v. 27), which most non-dispensational evangelical commentators agree occurred in AD 70?
In verse 26 we learn that two events are to occur after the sixty-ninth week: (1) The Messiah is to be cut off and (2) the city and sanctuary are to be destroyed. Verse 27a informs us that the Messiahs cutting off (v. 26a) is a confirmation of the covenant and is to occur at the halfway mark of the seventieth week. So, the Messiahs death is clearly within the time frame of the Seventy Weeks (as we expect because of His being the major figure of the fulfillment of the prophecy).
The events involving the destruction of the city and the sanctuary with war and desolation (vv. 26b, 27b) are the consequences of the cutting off of the Messiah and do not necessarily occur in the Seventy Weeks time frame. They are an addendum to the fulfillment of the focus of the prophecy, which is stated in verse 24. The destructive acts are anticipated, however, in the divine act of sealing up or reserving the sin of Israel for punishment. Israels climactic sin her completing of her transgression (v. 24) with the cutting off of Messiah (v. 26a) results in Gods act of reserving Israels sin until later. Israels judgment will not be postponed forever; it will come after the expiration of the Seventy Weeks. This explains the very indefinite phrase till the end of the war: the end will not occur during the Seventy Weeks. That prophesied end occurred in AD 70, exactly as Christ had made abundantly clear in Matthew 24:15.
The Dispensational Interpretation
The Gap in the Seventy Weeks
Dispensationalism incorporates a gap or parenthesis between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks. This gap spans the entirety of the Church Age from the Triumphal Entry to the Rapture. The dispensational arguments for a gap of undetermined length between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks are not convincing. Let us consider a few of their leading arguments for a gap.
First, the peculiar phraseology in Daniel: Daniel places the cutting off of the Messiah after the 62 sevens, not in the 70th seven. This is so stated to allow for a gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks. If the cutting off did not occur during the sixty-ninth week or during the seventieth week, there must be a gap in between wherein it does occur.
In response, it is obvious that seventy occurs after sixty-nine and thus fits the requirements of the prophecy. Consequently, such an argument does not prove that the after requires a gap. Besides, Daniel mentions only seventy weeks and, as Hans LaRondelle has pointed out, Daniel most certainly does not say after sixty-nine weeks, but not in the seventieth. Such an explanation is a gratuitous assumption. Since Daniel has yet to deal with the seventieth week, and since he has clearly dealt with the preceding sixty-nine weeks (v. 25), it is quite natural to assume this cutting off of the Messiah must be sometime within the seven-year period covered by the seventieth week.
Second, a fatal admission: Historically the destruction of Jerusalem occurred in AD 70 almost forty years after the death of Christ. Since this was given in Daniels prophecy and was to occur within the Seventy Weeks, the continuous fulfillment theory [is] left without any explanation adequate for interposing an event as occurring after the sixty-ninth seven by some thirty-eight years.
I have already explained the relation of the Seventy Weeks to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 (see above). The goal of the Seventy Weeks is not the AD 70 destruction of the Temple, which is not mentioned in verse 24. That destruction is a later consequence of certain events brought to fulfillment within the Seventy Weeks. The actual act of Gods reserving judgment (v. 24) occurred within the Seventy Weeks; the later removal of that reservation did not. There is no necessity at all for a gap.
Third, the general tendency in prophecy: Walvoord writes: Nothing should be plainer to one reading the Old Testament than that the foreview therein provided did not describe the period of time between the two advents. This very fact confused even the prophets (cf. 1 Pet. 1:1012). His argument then is this: Old Testament prophecy can merge the First and Second Advents into one scene, though separated by thousands of years. Consequently, we have Biblical warrant for understanding the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks as merged into one scene, although separated by a gap of thousands of years.
This argument is wholly without merit. The Seventy Weeks are considered as a unit, though subdivided into three unequal parts: (1) It is one period of seventy weeks that must transpire in order to experience the events mentioned. The plural seventy weeks is followed by a singular verb is decreed, which indicates the unity of the time period. (2) An overriding concern of the prophecy, in distinction to all other Messianic prophecies, is that it is designed as a measuring time frame. If the dispensational gap theory regarding the seventieth week is true, then the gap separating the seventieth from the sixty-ninth week is now almost 2000 years long, or four times the whole time period of the Seventy Weeks or 490 years. And who knows how much longer it will continue. The concept of measuring is thus destroyed.
The Dispensational Covenant
The confirmation of the covenant mentioned in verse 27 is woefully misunderstood by dispensationalists. According to Walvoord: [T]his refers to the coming world ruler at the beginning of the last seven years who is able to gain control over ten countries in the Middle East. He will make a covenant with Israel for a seven-year period. As Daniel 9:27 indicates, in the middle of the seven years he will break the covenant, stop the sacrifices being offered in the temple rebuilt in that period, and become their persecutor instead of their protector, fulfilling the promises of Israels day of trouble (Jer. 30:57).
Several problems plague this interpretation, some of which have already been indicated in another connection:
The covenant here is not made; it is confirmed. This is actually the confirmation of a covenant already extant, i.e., the covenant of Gods redemptive grace confirmed by Christ (Rom. 15:8). As noted above, the term is related to the name of the angel of God who delivered the message to Daniel: Gabriel (God is strong). The lexical correspondence between the name of the strong angel of God (who reveals the Seventy Weeks to Daniel) and the making strong of the covenant, themselves suggest the divine nature of the covenant. In addition, covenantal passages frequently employ related terms, when speaking of the strong God of the covenant. The parallelism with verse 26 indicates that the death of the Messiah is directly related to the confirming of the covenant. He is cut off but not for himself (v. 26a), for He confirms the covenant for the many of Israel (v. 27a). His cutting off brings the confirmation of the covenant, for without shedding of blood there is no remission (Heb. 9:22). The indefinite pronoun he does not refer back to the prince who is to come of verse 26. That prince is a subordinate noun; the people is the dominant noun. Thus, the he refers back to the last dominant individual mentioned: Messiah (v. 26a). The Messiah is the leading figure in the whole prophecy, so the destruction of the Temple is related to His death. In fact, the people who destroy the Temple are providentially His armies (Matt. 22:27).
 John F. Walvoord, The Rapture Question (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957), p. 24; Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), pp. 201, 216; O.T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1945), p. 111. See also: Alva J. McClain, Daniels Prophecy of the 70 Weeks (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1940), p. 9; J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 240; E. Schuyler English, The Gentiles in Revelation, Prophecy and the Seventies, Charles Lee Feinberg, ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 242.
 J.A. Montgomery, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel (International Critical Commentary) (New York: Scribners, 1927), p. 400.
 E.J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,  1977), p. 191.
 Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days (2nd ed.; Chicago: Moody Press, 1977), p. 144.
 Allis mentions this teaching flowing out of the dispensational approach to Daniel 9:2427 as one of the clearest proofs of the novelty of that doctrine as well as of its revolutionary nature. Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p. 109. Meredith Klines analysis of Daniel 9 leads him to call dispensationalism an evangelical heresy. Kline, The Covenant of the Seventieth Week, The Law and the Prophets: Old Testament Studies in Honor of Oswald T. Allis, John H. Skilton, ed. (n.p.: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1974), p. 452.
 Kline, The Covenant of the Seventieth Week, p. 456.
 E.J. Young, Daniel, Eerdmans Bible Commentary, Donald Guthrie and J. Motyer, eds. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), p. 698.
 Lev. 25:25, 26:3435, 43; 2 Chron. 36:21; etc.
 E.W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (McLean, VA: MacDonald,  n.d.), 2:884ff.
 ibid., 2:884911. J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), pp. 388ff; C. Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel (London: SPCK, 1923), pp. 195ff.
 Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, 2:894ff.
 Montgomery, Daniel, p. 332.
 For couplet view, see J. Barton Payne, The Goal of Daniels Seventy Weeks, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 21:2 (June, 1978) 111; Milton Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids: Baker,  1988), p. 200. Young lists the other two: F. Maurer, Commentarius grammaticus criticus in Vetus Testamentum, vol. 2 (Leipzig: 1838); F. Hitzig, Das Buch Daniel (1850). For the triplet view, see C.F. Keil, The Book of Daniel, Commentary on the Old Testament, C.F. Keil and Franz Delitzsch, eds. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,  1975), p. 341; E.J. Young, Prophecy of Daniel, p. 197.
 Keil and Delitzsch, Daniel, p. 201.
 Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days, p. 155.
 Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1986), p. 465.
 Matt. 20:1819, 23:3738, 27:1125; Mark 10:33, 15:1; Luke 18:32, 23:12; John 18:2831, 19:12, 15; Acts 2:2223, 3:1315a, 4:2627, 5:30, 7:52.
 Payne, Goal of Daniels Seventy Weeks, p. 111.
 The definite article, which occurred before transgression and sins, is lacking here. There it referred to the particular situation of Israel. Here it considers the more general predicament of mankind.
 Heb. 1:3, 7:27, 9:712, 26, 28; 10:910. See also John 1:29; Rom. 3:25; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 John 2:2.
 Walvoord, Daniel, p. 222.
 Walvoord slips by allowing this prophecy to cover the cessation of the New Testament prophetic gift seen both in oral prophecy and in the writing of the Scriptures. Walvoord, Daniel, p. 222. This, however, does not occur in either the first sixty-nine weeks (up to just before the time of Christs crucifixion) or in the seventieth week (the future Great Tribulation), the periods that he claims involve the 490 years. Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 258. Yet he specifically says that the six major events characterize the 490 years! ibid., p. 251.
 Luke 1:35, cf. 4:34, 41. See also: Mark 1:24; Acts 3:14, 4:27, 30; 1 John 2:20; Rev. 3:7. He is called the anointed one (Ps. 2:2; Isa. 42:1; Acts 10:38).
 Interestingly, there was a current and widely held belief that a ruler from within Israel was to arise at that very time, i.e., during the Jewish War. Tacitus, Histories 5:13: The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus Suetonius, Vespasian 4: An ancient superstition was current in the East, that out of Judaea at this time would come the rulers of the world. This prediction, as the event later proved, referred to a Roman Emperor Josephus even picks up on this idea, when he ingratiates himself to Vespasian by declaring he was the one to rule (Wars 3:8:9). The only prophecy regarding Israel that actually dates Messianic era events is Daniel 9:2427. Josephus also applies the Daniel 9 passage to the rule of the Romans in another context: In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them. All these things did this man leave in writing, as God had shewed them to him (Ant. 10:11:7).
 Ps. 2:2, 132:10; Isa. 11:2, 42:1; Hab. 3:13; Acts 4:27, 10:38; Heb. 1:9. Vanderwaal denies the Messianic referent of this passage, preferring a Maccabean priestly referent. Cornelius Vanderwaal, Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy (St. Catherines, Ontario: Paideia, 1978), p. 37.
 Young, Daniel, p. 206.
 Matt. 20:1819, 27:1125; Mark 10:33, 15:1; Luke 18:32, 23:12; John 18:2831, 19:12, 15; Acts 2:2223, 3:1315a, 4:2627, 5:30, 7:52.
 When covenant is mentioned in Daniel, it is always Gods covenant; see Daniel 9:4, 11:22, 28, 30, 32. This includes even Daniel 11:22. See J. Dwight Pentecost, Daniel, Bible Knowledge Commentary, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2 vols. (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1985), 1:1369. Hereafter referred to as BKC.
 Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:8, 13; 9:15; 12:24.
 Deut. 7:9, 21; 10:17; Neh. 1:5, 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Dan. 9:4. Hengstenberg argues convincingly that the source of Daniel 9 seems to be Isaiah 10:2123, where God is the Mighty God who blesses the faithful remnant.
 Young, Daniel, p. 209; Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p. 122; Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, p. 856.
 Young, Daniel, p. 213.
 Payne, The Goal of Daniels Seventy Weeks, p. 109n; Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel, pp. 195ff; Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, 2:898. Young, Daniel, p. 213.
 Allis, Prophecy and the Church, p. 115.
 Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, pp. 256257; Ryrie, Basic Theology, p. 465; Pentecost, Daniel, BKC, 1:161; Walvoord, Daniel, pp. 230231. It is interesting to note that the early Fathers held to a non-eschatological interpretation of the Seventieth Week, applying it either to the ministry of Christ or to AD 70. See Barnabas, Epistles 16:6; Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1:12526; Tertullian, An Answer to the Jews 8; Julius Africanus, Chronology 50. See L.E. Knowles, The Interpretation of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel in the Early Fathers, Westminster Theological Journal 7 (1945) 136160.
 Pentecost, Daniel, BKC, p. 1364. See Walvoord, Rapture Question, p. 25.
 Hans K. LaRondelle, The Israel of God in Prophecy (Berried Springs, MI: Andrews University, 1983), p. 173.
 Walvoord, Daniel, p. 230.
 Walvoord, Rapture Question, p. 25.
 Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, p. 257; Pentecost, Daniel, BKC, p. 1364.
 Deut. 7:9, 21; 10:17; Neh. 1:5, 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Dan. 9:4. See earlier discussion above.
 Kline, The Covenant of the Seventieth Week, provides interesting arguments for the reference the prince who is to come (v. 27) being to Messiah the Prince (v. 25). If this were conclusive, the he would then refer back to the Messiah in either view.
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., is Chancellor of Christ College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Pastor of Fairview Presbyterian Church in South Carolina. He is the author of almost twenty books, many of which deal with eschatological issues. He has a website offering his educational products: www.kennethgentry.com.
I'm a "pan-millenialist" -- it will all pan out in the end.
Strawman constructed ...
Never ceases to amayze me how a covenant theologian cannot have a rational discussion about dispensationalism without making some claim like Gentry does. The heart of dispensationalism is not some passage. It is a straightforward application of the grammatical-historical approach to Biblical interpretation (including prophetic sections). Simple application of the grammatical-historical approach brings you unquestionably to dispensational premillenialism.
The main difference between Dispensational and Non-dispensational (Reformed/Covenant) theology, and there are major differences, is in the construction of a Systematic Theology. The dispensationalist uses the following steps:
1. Recognize Presuppositions
2. Construct a Biblical Theology of the OT based on the OT text.
3. Construct a Biblical Theology of the NT based on the NT text.
4. Synthesize results into a Systematic Theology.
The covenant theologian uses the following steps:
1. Recognize Presuppositions
2. Construct a Biblical Theology of the NT based on the NT text.
3. Construct a Biblical Theology of the OT based on the NT understanding of the OT text.
4. Synthesize results into a Systematic Theology.
This is why the covenant theologian sees the Church as the spiritual Israel ... instead of a separate entity of Gods redemptive history.
Thank you dartuser for posting that....
"This is why the covenant theologian sees the Church as the spiritual Israel ... instead of a separate entity of Gods redemptive history."
The Error Of Replacement Theology
by Clarence H. Wagner, Jr.
Perhaps you have heard of the term Replacement Theology. However, if you look it up in a dictionary of Church history, you will not find it listed as a systematic study. Rather, it is a doctrinal teaching that originated in the early Church. It became the fertile soil from which Christian anti-Semitism grew and has infected the Church for nearly 1,900 years.
What Is Replacement Theology?
Replacement Theology was introduced to the Church shortly after Gentile leadership took over from Jewish leadership. What are its premises?
Israel (the Jewish people and the land) has been replaced by the Christian Church in the purposes of God, or, more precisely, the Church is the historic continuation of Israel to the exclusion of the former.
The Jewish people are now no longer a "chosen people." In fact, they are no different from any other group, such as the English, Spanish, or Africans.
Apart from repentance, the new birth, and incorporation into the Church, the Jewish people have no future, no hope, and no calling in the plan of God. The same is true for every other nation and group.
Since Pentecost of Acts 2, the term "Israel," as found in the Bible, now refers to the Church.
The promises, covenants and blessings ascribed to Israel in the Bible have been taken away from the Jews and given to the Church, which has superseded them. However, the Jews are subject to the curses found in the Bible, as a result of their rejection of Christ.
How Do Replacement Theologians Argue Their Case? They Say:
(Note: I have added my rebuttal to each point.)
To be a son of Abraham is to have faith in Jesus Christ. For them, Galatians 3:29 shows that sonship to Abraham is seen only in spiritual, not national terms: "And if you be Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
Rebuttal: While this is a wonderful inclusionary promise for Gentiles, this verse does not exclude the Jewish people from their original covenant, promise and blessing as the natural seed of Abraham. This verse simply joins us Gentile Christians to what God had already started with Israel.
The promise of the land of Canaan to Abraham was only a "starter." The real Promised Land is the whole world. They use Romans 4:13 to claim it will be the Church that inherits the world, not Israel. "For the promise that he should be the heir of the world was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith."
Rebuttal: Where does this verse exclude Abraham and His natural prodigy, the Jews? It simply says that through the law, they would not inherit the world, but this would be acquired through faith. This is also true of the Church.
The nation of Israel was only the seed of the future Church, which would arise and incorporate people of all nations (Mal. 1:11): "For from the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, My Name shall be great among the nations, and in every place, incense shall be offered to My Name, and a pure offering for My Name shall be great among the nations, says the Lord of Hosts."
Rebuttal: This is great, and shows that the Jewish people and Israel fulfilled one of their callings to be "a light to the nations," so that God's Word has gone around the world. It does not suggest God's dealing with Israel was negated because His Name spread around the world.
Jesus taught that the Jews would lose their spiritual privileges, and be replaced by another people (Matt. 21:43): "Therefore I am saying to you, 'The kingdom of God will be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of it.'"
Rebuttal: In this passage, Jesus was talking about the priests and Pharisees, who failed as leaders of the people. This passage is not talking about the Jewish people or nation of Israel. See Teaching Letter #770008, "Did God Break His Covenant With the Jews?"
A true Jew is anyone born of the Spirit, whether he is racially Gentile or Jewish (Rom. 2:28-29): "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
Rebuttal: This argument does not support the notion that the Church replaced Israel. Rather, it simply reinforces what had been said throughout the Hebrew Scriptures [the Old Testament], and it certainly qualifies the spiritual qualifications for Jews or anyone who professes to be a follower of the God of Israel.
Paul shows that the Church is really the same "olive tree" as was Israel, and the Church is now the tree. Therefore, to distinguish between Israel and the Church is, strictly speaking, false. Indeed, people of Jewish origin need to be grafted back into the Church (Rom 11:17-23).
Rebuttal:This claim is the most outrageous because this passage clearly shows that we Gentiles are the "wild olive branches," who get our life from being grafted into the olive tree. The tree represents the covenants, promises and hopes of Israel (Eph. 2:12), rooted in the Messiah and fed by the sap, which represents the Holy Spirit, giving life to the Jews (the "natural branches") and Gentile alike. We Gentiles are told to remember that the olive tree holds us up and NOT to be arrogant or boast against the "natural branches" because they can be grafted in again. The olive tree is NOT the Church. We are simply grafted into God's plan that preceded us for over 2,000 years.
All the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament, unless they were historically fulfilled before the coming of Jesus Christ, are now the property of the Christian Church. These promises should not be interpreted literally or carnally, but spiritually and symbolically, so that references to Israel, Jerusalem, Zion and the Temple, when they are prophetic, really refer to the Church (II Cor. 1:20). "For all the promises of God in Him (Jesus) are Yea, and in Him, Amen, unto the glory of God by us." Therefore, they teach that the New Testament needs to be taught figuratively, not literally.
Rebuttal: Later, in this Teaching Letter, we will look at the fact that the New Testament references to Israel clearly pertain to Israel, not the Church. Therefore, no promise to Israel and the Jewish people in the Bible is figurative, nor can they be relegated to the Church alone. The promises and covenants are literal, many of them are everlasting, and we Christians can participate in them as part of our rebirth, not in that we took them over to the exclusion of Israel. The New Testament speaks of the Church's relationship to Israel and her covenants as being "grafted in" (Rom. 11:17), "brought near" (Eph. 2:13), "Abraham's offspring (by faith)" (Rom. 4:16), and "partakers" (Rom. 15:27), NOT as usurpers of the covenant and a replacer of physical Israel. We Gentile Christians joined into what God had been doing in Israel, and God did not break His covenant promises with Israel (Rom. 11:29).
How Did The Position Of The Early Church Fathers Affect The Church?
Let us look at a brief history of the first four centuries of Christianity, which established a "legacy of hatred" towards the Jewish people, which was against the clear teaching of the New Testament.
(For a complete history of Christian anti-Semitism, send the equivalent of US$1 to your nearest BFP National Office and ask for a copy of the Israel Teaching Letter (#779806), "Where Was Love and Mercy," or download a copy from our Bridges for Peace website, found under the Israel Teaching Letters button at www.bridgesforpeace.com This teaching is also a chapter of my book, Lessons From the Land of the Bible with 13 other great teachings including "Lessons from the Olive Tree," which can be ordered from your nearest BFP national office.)
In the first century AD, the church was well-connected to its Jewish roots, and Jesus did not intend for it to be any other way. After all, Jesus is Jewish and the basis of His teaching is consistent with the Hebrew Scriptures. In Matthew 5:17-18 He states: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." Before the First Jewish Revolt in AD 66, Christianity was basically a sect of Judaism, as were the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.
Separation between Judaism and Christianity began as a result of religious and social differences. According to David Rausch in his book, A Legacy of Hatred, there were several contributing factors:
1) the Roman intrusion into Judea, and the widespread acceptance of Christianity by the Gentiles, complicated the history of Jewish Christianity;
2) the Roman wars against the Jews not only destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem, but also resulted in Jerusalem's relinquishing her position as a center of Christian faith in the Roman world; and,
3) the rapid acceptance of Christianity among the Gentiles led to an early conflict between the Church and Synagogue. Paul's missionary journeys brought the Christian faith to the Gentile world, and as their numbers grew, so did their influence, which ultimately disconnected Christianity from its Jewish roots.
Many Gentile Christians interpreted the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem as a sign that God had abandoned Judaism, and that He had provided the Gentiles freedom to develop their own Christian theology in a setting free from Jerusalem's influence. Could it be He was showing us that Temple worship was no longer necessary as His Holy Spirit now resides in us (I Cor. 6:19), not in the Holy of Holies?
After the Second Jewish Revolt (AD 133-135) put down by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, theological and political power moved from Jewish Christian leaders to centers of Gentile Christian leadership such as Alexandria, Rome, and Antioch. It is important to understand this change, because it influenced the early Church Fathers to make anti-Jewish statements as Christianity began to disconnect itself from its Jewish roots.
As the Church spread far and wide within the Roman Empire, and its membership grew increasingly non-Jewish, Greek and Roman thought began to creep in and completely change the orientation of Biblical interpretation through a Greek mindset, rather than a Jewish or Hebraic mindset. This would later result in many heresies, some of which the Church is still practicing today.
Once Christianity and Judaism began to take separate paths, the chasm became wider and wider. Judaism was considered a legal religion under Roman law, while Christianity, a new religion, was illegal. As Christianity grew, the Romans tried to suppress it. In an attempt to alleviate this persecution, Christian apologists tried in vain to convince Rome that Christianity was an extension of Judaism. However, Rome was not convinced. The resulting persecutions and frustration of the Christians bred an animosity towards the Jewish community, which was free to worship without persecution. Later, when the Church became the religion of the state, it would pass laws against the Jews in retribution.
The antagonism of the early Christians towards the Jews was reflected in the writings of the early Church Fathers. For example, Justin Martyr (c. AD 160) in speaking to a Jew said: "The Scriptures are not yours, but ours." Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon (c. AD 177) declared: "Jews are disinherited from the grace of God." Tertullian (AD 160-230), in his treatise, "Against the Jews," announced that God had rejected the Jews in favor of the Christians.
In the early 4th century, Eusebius wrote that the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures were for Christians and not the Jews, and the curses were for the Jews. He argued that the Church was the continuation of the Old Testament and thus superseded Judaism. The young Church declared itself to be the true Israel, or "Israel according to the Spirit," heir to the divine promises. They found it essential to discredit the "Israel according to the flesh" to prove that God had cast away His people and transferred His love to the Christians.
At the beginning of the 4th century, a monumental event occurred for the Church, which placed "the Church Triumphant" over "Vanquished Israel." In AD 306, Constantine became the first Christian Roman Emperor. At first, he had a rather pluralistic view and accorded Jews the same religious rights as Christians. However, in AD 321, he made Christianity the official religion of the Empire to the exclusion of all other religions. This signaled the end of the persecution of Christians, but the beginning of discrimination and persecution of the Jewish people.
Already at the Church Council in Elvira (Spain) in AD 305, declarations were made to keep Jews and Christians apart, including ordering Christians not to share meals with Jews, not to marry Jews, not to use Jews to bless their fields, and not to observe the Jewish Sabbath.
Imperial Rome, in AD 313, issued the Edict of Milan, which granted favor to Christianity, while outlawing synagogues. Then, in AD 315, another edict allowed the burning of Jews if they were convicted of breaking the laws. As Christianity was becoming the religion of the state, further laws were passed against the Jews:
The ancient privileges granted to the Jews were withdrawn.
Rabbinical jurisdiction was abolished or severely curtailed.
Proselytism to Judaism was prohibited and made punishable by death.
Jews were excluded from holding high office or a military career.
These and other restrictions were confirmed over and over again by various Church Councils for the next 1,000 years.
In AD 321, Constantine decreed all business should cease on "the honored day of the sun." By substituting Sunday for Saturday as the day for Christian worship, he further advanced the split. This Jewish Shabbat/Christian Sunday controversy also came up at the first real ecumenical Council of Nicea (AD 325), which concluded Sunday to be the Christian day of rest, although it was debated for long after that.
Overnight, Christianity was given the power of the Imperial State, and the emperors began to translate the concepts and claims of the Christian theologians against the Jews and Judaism into practice. Instead of the Church taking this opportunity to spread its Gospel message in love, it truly became the Church Triumphant, ready to vanquish its foes.
After 321, the writings of the Church Fathers changed in character. No longer was it on the defensive and apologetic, but aggressive, directing its venom at everyone "outside of the flock," in particular the Jewish people who could be found in almost every community and nation. During this period, we find more examples of anti-Jewish bias in Church literature written by church leaders:
Hilary of Poitiers (AD 291-371) wrote: "Jews are a perverse people accursed by God forever."
Gregory of Nyssa (died AD 394), Bishop of Cappadocia: "the Jews are a brood of vipers, haters of goodness..."
St. Jerome (AD 347-407) describes the Jews as "... serpents, wearing the image of Judas, their psalms and prayers are the braying of donkeys."
At the end of the 4th century, the Bishop of Antioch, John Chrysostom (Golden Tongued), the great orator, wrote a series of eight sermons against the Jews. He had seen Christians talking with Jewish people, taking oaths in front of the Ark, and some were keeping the Jewish feasts. He wanted this to stop. In an effort to bring his people back to what he called, "the true faith," the Jews became the whipping boy for his sermon series. To quote him, "the synagogue is not only a brothel and a theater; it is also a den of robbers and a lodging for wild beasts. No Jew adores God... Jews are inveterate murderers, possessed by the devil, their debauchery and drunkenness gives them the manners of the pig. They kill and maim one another..."
One can easily see that a Judeo-Christian who wanted to hold on to his heritage, or a Gentile Christian who wanted to learn more about the parent faith of Christianity, would have found it extremely difficult under this pressure. Chrysostom further sought to separate Christianity totally from Judaism. He wrote in his 4th Discourse, "I have said enough against those who say they are on our side, but are eager to follow the Jewish rites... it is against the Jews that I wish to draw up my battle... Jews are abandoned by God and for the crime of deicide, there is no expiation possible."
Chrysostom was known for his fiery preaching against what he saw as threats to his flock, including wealth, entertainment, privilege and outward adornment. However, his preaching against the Jewish community, which he believed had a negative influence on Christians, is inexcusable and blatantly anti-Semitic in its content. Another unfortunate contribution Chrysostom made to Christian anti-Semitism was to hold the whole Jewish people culpable for the killing of Christ.
In the fifth century, the burning question was: If the Jews and Judaism were cursed by God, then how can you explain their existence?
Augustine tackled this issue in his "Sermon Against the Jews." He asserted that even though the Jews deserved the most severe punishment for having put Jesus to death, they have been kept alive by Divine Providence to serve, together with their Scriptures, as witnesses to the truth of Christianity. Their existence was further justified by the service they rendered to the Christian truth, in attesting through their humiliation, the triumph of the Church over the Synagogue. They were to be a "Witness people" - slaves and servants who should be humbled.
The monarchs of the Holy Roman Empire thus regarded the Jews as serfs of the chamber (servi camerae), and utilized them as slave librarians to maintain Hebrew writings. They also utilized the services of Jews in another enterprise - usury, or money-lending. The loaning of money was necessary to a growing economy. However, usury was considered to endanger the eternal salvation of the Christian, and was thus forbidden. So, the church endorsed the practice of lending by Jews, for according to their reasoning, their Jewish souls were lost in any case. Much later, the Jewish people were utilized by the Western countries as trade agents in commerce, and thus we see how the Jewish people found their way into the fields of banking and commerce.
So, by the Middle Ages, the ideological arsenal of Christian anti-Semitism was completely established. This was further manifested in a variety of precedent-setting events within the Church, such as Patriarch Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, expelling the Jews and giving their property to a Christian mob. From a social standpoint, the deterioration of the Jewish position in society was only beginning its decline. During this early period, the virulent judeo- phobia was primarily limited to the clergy who were always trying to keep their flocks away from the Jews. However, later, the rank and file, growing middle class would be the main source of anti-Semitic activity.
The result of these anti-Jewish teachings continued onwards throughout Church history, manifesting itself in such events and actions as the Crusades, the accusation of communion host desecration and blood libel by the Jews, the forced wearing of distinguishing marks to ostracize them, the Inquisition, the displacement of whole Jewish communities by exile or separate ghettoes, the destruction of synagogues and Jewish books, physical persecution and execution, the Pogroms. Ultimately, the seeds of destruction grew to epic proportions, culminating in the Holocaust, which occurred in "Christian" Europe.
Had the Church understood the clear message of being grafted into the Olive Tree from the beginning, then the sad legacy of anti-Semitic hatred from the Church may have been avoided. The error of Replacement Theology is like a cancer in the Church that has not only caused it to violate God's Word concerning the Jewish people and Israel, but it made us into instruments of hate, not love in God's Name.
Is the New Testament anti-Semitic? Was it Intended That the Church Treat the Jewish People with Contempt?
While the New Testament has been used by Gentile anti-Semites, even within the Church, the writers of the New Testament were Jewish, and therefore their arguments, even critical ones, were from the vantage point of being an intra-communal debate, not inter-communal accusation. Even where the criticism is harsh, it is directed towards a particular group or sect of Jews because of their practices, which needed correcting. For example, even though Yeshua spoke harshly to the Pharisees, He nevertheless said of them, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Matt: 23:2-3). He was distressed that they were "missing the mark" in their self-righteousness, which is something all of us need to be careful of doing.
The clear teaching of the New Testament is that the Church was and is to love and honour the Jewish people. In Ephesians 2:11-18, we are told that "by the blood of Messiah," we Gentiles are "made near" to the commonwealth of Israel, the covenants, promises and hopes given to Israel. In Romans 11:11-12, 25, we are told that "blindness in part" has come to the Jews so that the message would be forced out into the nations. Nevertheless, we are told that a time would come when "all Israel would be saved" (v. 26), because the gifts and callings of God towards Israel and the Jewish people were given without repentance (v. 29). God's relationship with Israel and the Jewish people is everlasting.
We Gentile Christians are told that the Jews are "beloved for the sake of the Patriarchs" (Rom. 11:28). They are a chosen people who fulfilled their calling and brought the Gospel to the world. They were chosen to:
1) Be obedient to God's Word and demonstrate to the world as "a light to the nations."
2) Hear God's Word and record it - the Bible.
3) Be the human channel for the Messiah.
The Jewish people have fulfilled their role. The promise to the world through Abraham was that, "in you will all the nations on the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3). They were to be a light unto the nations and, while they made mistakes as we all do, they did demonstrate the power of God on earth, they did hear God's Word and record it so that we have the Bible, and they were the human channel for the Messiah, who was born, ministered, died, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven and will return to Jerusalem, Israel, in a day yet to come.
God made an everlasting covenant between the land of Israel and the Jewish people that must be fulfilled and completed or His Word, the Bible, will be proven a lie, which it is not. God will never forget or annul His ancient people. If God will not fulfil His promises to Israel, what guarantee do we have that He will fulfil His promises to the Church? (See Jeremiah 31:35-37).
Are Jews, Jews, and is Israel, Israel in the New Testament?
Do They Still Have a Covenant with God?
ABSOLUTELY. THE BIBLE IS CLEAR ON THIS.
1) The Jews are Israelites, not Gentiles (Rom. 9:4).
2) To Israel still belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises (Rom. 9:4).
3) The gifts and calling of God for Israel are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29).
4) There are 77 references to Israel in the NT and none of them refer to the Church. Try replacing the words, "the Church," where Israel is mentioned and the passage is rendered unreadable and silly, e.g., Rom. 10:1, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." If you put "the Church" where Israel is mentioned, then it is redundant. The Church is the body of saved believers, so how could Paul's prayer be for the Church to be saved?
5) Psalm 105 has a seven-fold affirmation of God's promises of Canaan to Abraham. This is an everlasting promise, as was Genesis 12:1-3.
6) Jeremiah 31:35-37 speaks of the everlasting nature of God's promises to and for Israel, the Jewish people, which is as sure as the sun that shines by day and the moon and stars that glow in the night.
7) The end-time prophecies, which speak of the return of the House of Jacob to their land (Israel) and its restoration, have overwhelmingly been fulfilled in Israel and the Jewish people in the past 120 years. (See, Isa. 11:11-12; Eze. 37:1-14; Eze. 36; Eze. 35:1, Isa. 43:5,6; Jer. 16:14-16; Isa. 60:9-11; Isa. 49:22-23, etc.).
8) The Gospel and Yeshua came "to the Jews first, then the Greek" (Rom. 2:9,10; Matt:10:5-7;15:24). There is a distinction in roles between the two. Galatians 3:28 says: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This is speaking of everyone's standing before God as equals, because we are all sinners saved by God's grace and the atoning work on the Cross. Nevertheless, our roles here on earth are definitely distinct; e.g., men and women, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, etc. all have distinct roles to play. Likewise, Jews and Gentiles have distinct roles to play.
What is the Role of the Church?
1) "On this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it" (Matt. 16:18). The Church is built on the testimony and understanding of Peter, who is Jewish. Ephesians 2:11-14 indicates that Israel and the Jews (we) were chosen, but Gentiles (you) were also included. 2) The Church is related to Israel and partakers of the covenants, promises, and hopes, but we have not been called to usurp them. Our relationship is as "grafted in" (Rom. 11:17); "brought near" (Eph 2:13); "Abraham's offspring" (by faith) (Rom. 4:16); "heirs" to Abraham's promise as adopted sons (Gal. 3:29) and "partakers" (Rom 15:27).
3) To the world, the Church is called to preach the Gospel to all nations and make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20); to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mk. 12:30-31).
4) To the Jewish people, we are called to show God's love "for the sake of the Patriarchs" (Rom. 11:28), for without them we would not have had God's Word or our Saviour who was a Jew from Israel. We are to show God's mercy (Rom. 11:31). We are to give our material gifts to help them (Rom. 15:27). We are to pray for them and for Israel (Ps. 122:6). We are to be watchman on the walls to protect them (Isa. 62:6,7). We are to help with the aliyah (immigration) to Israel and the building up of Zion (Isa. 60:9-11; Jer. 16:14-16; Isa. 49:22-23).
5) According to Romans 11, we are two distinct groups, both grafted into the same tree, which are the covenants and promises given to Israel; grounded in the same root, the Messiah; drinking of the same sap, God's Holy Spirit. We do not hold up the tree, but the tree us, and we are forbidden from boasting against or being arrogant to God's covenant people the Jews (Rom. 11:17-18).
What Happens When the Church Replaces Israel?
1) The Church becomes arrogant and self-centred.
2) It boasts against the Jews and Israel.
3) It devalues the role of Israel or has no role for Israel at all.
4) These attitudes result in anti-Semitism in word and deed.
5) Without a place for Israel and the Jewish people today, you cannot explain the Bible prophecies, especially the very specific ones being fulfilled in Israel today.
6) Many New Testament passages do not make sense when the Jewish people are replaced by the Church.
7) You can lose the significance of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, for today. Many Christians boast of being a New Testament (NT) Christian or a NT Church as in the Book of Acts. However, the Bible of the early Church was not the New Testament, which did not get codified until the 4th century, but rather the Hebrew Scriptures.
8) You can lose the Hebraic/Judaic contextualization of the New Testament, which teaches us more about Yeshua and how to become better disciples.
9) The Church loses out on the opportunity to participate in God's plan and prophecy for the Church, Israel and the world today.
What Happens When the Church Relates to Israel?
1) The Church takes its proper role in God's redemptive plan for the world, appreciating God's ongoing covenant relationship and love for Israel and the Jewish people.
2) We can see the consistency of God's redemptive plan from Genesis to Revelation as an ongoing complementary process, not as disconnected snapshots.
3) We show love and honour for God's covenant people, not contempt.
4) We value the Old and New Testaments as equally inspired and significant for the Church today.
5) Bible prophecy makes sense for today and offers opportunities for involvement in God's plan for Israel.
6) We become better disciples of Yeshua as we are able to appreciate the Hebraic/Judaic roots that fill in the definitions, concepts, words and events in the New Testament that are otherwise obscured. Why? Many were not explained by the Jewish writers of the New Testament, because they did not feel the need to fill in all the details that were already explained in the Old Testament.
Had the Church understood this very clear message from the beginning, then the sad legacy of anti-Semitic hatred from the Church may have been avoided. The error of Replacement Theology is like a cancer in the Church that has not only caused it to violate God's Word concerning the Jewish people and Israel, but it made us into instruments of hate, not love in God's Name. Yet, it is not too late to change our ways and rightly relate to the Jewish people and Israel today. Through Bridges for Peace you can read, study and learn more, and also give to demonstrate God's exhortation to us to bless His Covenant People, whom He still loves. Not only do we need to learn and do for ourselves, but we need to teach others so as to counteract the historical error that has been fostered in the Church for nearly 2,000 years.
Thank God, He is a God of mercy, redemption and second chances.
Thanks for the input, but it has little to do with the subject at hand. It's nothing more than another anti-covenantal screed, based on faulty theology and a poor view of history.
The typical knee-jerk response of dispensationalists when caught is, like theological Chicken Littles, to cry "anti-semtite!" loudly and often.
It won't work.
If there is no multi-millennia gap in Dan. 9, then dispensationalism's foundational doctrine of a "church age" distinct from Israel and unknown in the Old Testament goes away. Thus dispensationalism goes away.
The Links on this page are all great, and can be trusted I am sure for any who want to read more.....
Including the highly questionable one on Bible Codes?
I'll take a pass.
First, lets give credit where credit is due ... he does a good job talking about the historical background for the passage. Notice he sites only OT passages in the context of the passage, and the context of the passage is the Babylonian captivity. Two points for professor Gentry, though we might disagree on some of the conclusions in this section.
As he begins his analysis of Dan. 9.24, his analysis takes a totally different turn and his pattern is repeated over and over again:
1. This verse, word, or concept means this
2. It related to the argument in the following way
3. It has its ultimate fulfilment in this NT concept
4. References a NT passage
Anyone with eyes can see what he is doing, its perfectly consistent with his theological method, and par for the course.
While I have no doubt that there could be, as he claims, a legion of interpretations of this passage ... there has been enough work done and summarized by dispensationaists that Gentry's analysis has done little to "shake my foundations."
Revelation - Chapter 21
Rev 21:1 And I saw a NEW heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, NEW Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make ALL things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Rev 21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
Rev 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
Rev 21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light [was] like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
Rev 21:12 And had a wall great and high, [and] had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are [the names] of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
Rev 21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Rev 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Rev 21:15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
Rev 21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
Rev 21:17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred [and] forty [and] four cubits, [according to] the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
Rev 21:18 And the building of the wall of it was [of] jasper: and the city [was] pure gold, like unto clear glass.
Rev 21:19 And the foundations of the wall of the city [were] garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation [was] jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
Rev 21:20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
Rev 21:21 And the twelve gates [were] twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city [was] pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
Rev 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: FOR THE GLORY OF GOD DID LIGHTEN IT!!!!!, and THE LAMB IS THE LIGHT THEREOF!!!!
Rev 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
Rev 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
Rev 21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
bump for later
Do you think that non-dispies don't know Rev. 21 is in the Bible?
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." (Heb. 12)
Note the words "have come". The new Jerusalem was a present reality even in the days of the writer of Hebrews. We, the church, occupy the new Jerusalem today because we are spiritual Israel.