Preterism and dispensationalism insist that the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27, that is to be confirmed for one week, is one that is limited to seven literal years. Both theories deny that the prophecy that “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” could possibly refer to the covenant that Christ confirms with Christians throughout the church age, referring to the promises of the gospel.
A typical preterist interpretation of the seventy weeks is depicted in
the following graphic.
A preterist view of the 70 weeks
Typically, the preterists say that Christ did confirm the Old Covenant during his ministry, and for a literal three and a half years after his resurrection, his teachings were proclaimed to the Jews at Jerusalem by the apostles. They claim that the 70th week expired, after three and a half years, in 34 AD. The covenant, that Daniel’s prophecy refers to, was confirmed to Jews, and only to Jews. After the 70 weeks had expired, Gentiles began to come into the church, and the covenant does not apply to them.
The preterist interpretation outlined above implies that none of the apostles noticed, when a major Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled. The event was passed over without any mention of it in the New Testament. How plausible is that?
The dispensational interpretations are similar to the preterist
view, in that they claim that the one week covenant applies to ethnic
Jews. But dispensationalists say that the person confirming this
covenant is Antichrist, a ruler yet to appear who reigns during a
future seven year tribulation, at the end of the age. This scheme is
depicted in the graphic below.
A typical dispensationalist interpretation of the 70 weeks
The Old Covenant includes the prophecies of Jeremiah that foretold the New Covenant, and so by establishing the New Covenant, Christ confirms the old one, and fulfills its types and shadows. To confirm the covenant, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law of Moses, and obtained the promises made to Israel under it.
Jesus confirms the covenant for one week, a “week” signifying “seven
times.” There are four periods of seven times in Leviticus 26. The
first of these corresponds to the exile in Babylon, as indicated in
Daniel 9:11. The remaining three periods correspond to the three
sections of the 70 weeks, since each of the sections corresponds to
“seven times,” where the units of the times vary in each of the
sections. The 70th week corresponds to the fourth period of “seven
times,” when God is reconciled to Israel, and when he remembers his
covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his promise that he would
give them the land of Canaan.
The 70th week includes the ministry of Jesus, his death, and resurrection, and the whole time in which Christ builds his church. It includes all the centuries since the apostolic era. Christ is come in the flesh, and he dwells in his saints; he lives in them by his Spirit. The church is the temple of God in the present age.
The one week covenant includes the promise that God will forgive the sins of his saints, as Jeremiah said. He is quoted in Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16-17. It includes the promise that Christ will remain with his saints to the end of the world. It says the promises given to Israel in the OT have been obtained by Christ.
The one week covenant includes the promise that Jesus will send his
Spirit who will guide the church into all truth, and prepare those who
believe the gospel to inherit the kingdom. The church is the temple of
God and the holy city built without hands, during the last part of the
70th week, as shown in the graphic below.
The Jewish temples, the 70 weeks, and the church
Copyright © 2011, 2013 by Douglas E. Cox
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