Preterism and of dispensationalism are belief systems that struggle with the idea that Jesus Christ is confirming his covenant with his saints in the present age. The New Testament shows that in fact, that is what the New Covenant is all about. In the New Covenant, God promises, “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” [Hebrews 8:12] It means God forgives the sins of his people Israel, as the New Covenant is made with Israel and Judah.
In the New Covenant, believers no longer remain under the curse, cut off from God, and from the promises that Israel inherits. Paul said, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” [Ephesians 2:11-13]
Notice that Paul mentioned “the covenants of promise” as among the things that the Gentiles formerly had no part of, but now, access to these promises is available to them by the blood of Christ.
Dispensationalism says the promises, and Israel’s covenant, apply to ethnic Jews, not to Gentiles. But they allow that Gentiles who have been circumcised in the flesh, who embrace Judaism, may become Israelites. They claim that the covenant which is confirmed for one week, mentioned in Daniel 9:26, is a covenant yet to be made, and it is between Antichrist and the Jews, during a future seven-year tribulation. They claim it does not apply to Christians.
Preterism says that the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:26 was confirmed for one week, consisting of seven literal years, in the first century. Either it was the week in which Jesus was crucified, that expired in 34 AD, or it expired some time after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Both preterists and dispensationalists deny that the one-week covenant mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks is about Christ confirming his covenant with his saints, from the very beginning of his ministry to the end of the age.
This gross misunderstanding was foretold in Daniel’s prophecy. The angel speaking to Daniel said, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” [Daniel 12:9-10]
Paul must have had Daniel 9:24-27 in mind, I think, when he declared that Christ came to “confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” He wrote: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” [Romans 15:7-9]
If that is true, the 70th week must have extended past the date of 34 AD. The last half-week must be an extended period, rather than so many literal days. Daniel gave two numbers to represent the “time, times and a half,” which was to extend to the very end of the age, according to Daniel 12:7. That period is represented by two numbers, 1,290 days, and 1,335 days. Neither of these fit a literal three years and a half. They are mystical, and each represents an unreal, or symbolic three years and a half.
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
When broken down into months of 30 days, these numbers fit the pattern of a time, times, and a half, as they consist of two kinds of years; regular years of 12 months, and leap years of 13 months, where in each case, one year differs from the rest.
|1,335 days = 12 × 30 + 2 × 13 × 30
+ ½ × 13 × 30
1,290 days = 13 × 30 + 2 × 12 × 30 + ½ × 12 × 30
Thus, by providing those two numbers to represent the time, times and a half, Daniel indicates that it is not a period of three and a half literal years, but symbolic. In the time, times and a half that followed the ministry of Jesus, he continues to confirm his covenant with his saints, and the promises to the fathers, which are available to the Gentiles who believe, as Paul said. According to Paul, these promises represent the gospel. He wrote:
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Together with the three and a half years of the ministry of Jesus, the time, times and a half completes the 70th week of Daniel 9. It is the age in which we are today, the whole age of the church.
The seven times that began with the ministry of Jesus is foreshadowed by several Old Testament types and figures. In the last of the four periods of seven times in Leviticus 26, God remembers his covenant with Jacob, and his covenant with Isaac, and his covenant with Abraham, and he will “remember the land.” [vs. 42]
The covenant that is confirmed for one week corresponds to the seven years that Jacob labored for his bride Rachel. This explains why it is for a limited period of time. It is like a betrothal.
Also, the domination of the little horn of Daniel 7 over the saints is for a limited period of time. It is represented by the phrase a time, times and a half.
Other periods of seven years, or seven times in the Old Testament also foreshadow the period in which Christ confirms his covenant, which includes his earthly ministry, and the whole age of the church. They include the seven years of the conquest of Canaan under Joshua; the seven years for which the weapons of the armies of Gog and Magog are burned as fuel, and the seven months for which their corpses are buried. Ezekiel’s prophecy about the invasion of Gog and Magog is applied to the church in Revelation 20:8-9.
Copyright © 2011, 2013 by Douglas E. Cox
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