PROPHECY - THE GAP THEORY
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The Gap Theory. There are three time periods mentioned in Daniel 9:24-26. First we see 70 weeks. This totals 490 years. But in verse 25, it lists two time periods that only total 69 weeks , seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. Immediately Daniel goes on to tell us something about those two periods. During the first seven weeks, 49 years, the rebuilding of the city, "the street and the wall" is to take place. Then it tells us what will happen after the sixty-two week, 434 year period. But the last week of seven years seems to have been lost. In the second part of verse 26, and especially in verse 27, we start to hear things about the AntiChrist that we know haven't yet happened. This lack needs reconciling. That's where the Gap Theory comes in.

The Gap Theory is the explanation given to reconcile the fact that Daniel prophesies 70 weeks of years, but that all the prophcies haven't come true, or rather didn't come true in the time alloted, 490 years.

The Gap Theory says that there is a Gap of time between the 69th and the 70th week. And that the 70th week is the time of the Great Tribulation. Jesus' quoting out of Isaiah is a solid confirmation for the existence of a gap of time. Most Historicists have insisted that the 70th week came right after the 69th, but can't come up with events that fulfill the prophecies. They can't find an Anti-christ that did all the things prophesied about him that were to happen in the 70th week of years. For instance, they can't find a man who, in the seven year period after the death of Jesus, made a peace pact with Israel, allowing the restitution of sacrifices, then breaks his pact after three and a half years. The sacrifice was already ongoing and wouldn't be stopped until more than thirty years later when Titus conquered and razed Jerusalem in 70 AD.

To start, we should consider the events rather than the time period of the prophecy of Daniel in chapter nine. We're looking for the fulfillment of Bible prophecies that can narrow down our position as related to the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

Therefore, we'll not focus on the 70 weeks to try and figure out when they are, but what is prophesied to happen. This is not the usual way this material is studied. Most folks want to pin down a date so badly they miss some crucial evidence in the argument for the Gap theory. They have to know exactly which edict starts the prophecy. Is it Cyrus', Darius' , or one of Artaxerxes' decrees that begins the 490 years? Does the time start at 539, 519, 457 or 444 BC? That date, while capable of being determined, can only effect the 490 years of the prophecy by some one hundred years. There must be a way to reconcile the other 1900 years 'till now. The issue isn't, "When did the prophecy begin to count down the 490 years," it is rather, "Did the prophesied events come to pass." This is a pivotal point. One that Jesus confirms when he reads from Isaiah in the synagogue.

Daniel says that SEVEN things will take place before the end of the prophecy. GOD determines that He will:

Daniel's not much of a prophet, is he? 490 years after the prophecy was to begin, somewhere around 40 AD, only one strong and two questionable fulfillments are evident. Moreover, he's had an additional 1900 years to make up for it, but still has come up short. Oh well, I guess those guys that say Daniel was written in 150 BC were right. Not!
There's only one reconciliation for the 490 years. The Gap theory. Haven't we seen other prophecies that weren't absolutely consecutive?

The second confirmation of the Gap theory can be found also in Daniel, chapter eleven. It's in this chapter that we get such immaculate detailing of historical events that, as mentioned above, scholars are led to believe that someone other than Daniel wrote the book.

After being provoked by the Medo-Persians, Alexander conquers them, and the rest of the world. He dies, in verse four, and his kingdom is split in four(by his generals). We then get a detailed history of two of the general's actvities, as portrayed by the King of the North (Selucus) and the King of the South (Ptolemy). They war back and forth, successors taking their places, until verse 21. Beginning with verse 21 we can't find fulfillment anywhere in history, except partially. This last "person" who stands up, "a vile person," does many things that have no evidence in history. Antiochus Epiphany fulfills much of the prophecy, but falls short of many of it's elements. His intricate peace talks with Egypt, and Daniel's other condition of uprooting three countries, are two examples that rule out Antiochus. The fact is, that the prophecy concerning the person from verse 21 on has not been fulfilled; regardless of Daniel's 490 years. There must be a gap of time between verse 20 of chapter eleven and verse 21.

Now to Jesus and Isaiah. Here's what Luke records in verses 16-20 of chapter four:

16-And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17-And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, found the place where is was written,
18-The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20-And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of alll them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

And well you might say that this prophecy by Isaiah was fulfilled. Only if you use the prophecy read by Christ. Jesus did all six of those things. Isaiah was some prophet. Everything Jesus said was true. BUT, he didn't say ALL of it! ! ! Go to Isaiah and read the REST of the prophecy.

This is the part that got the Jews in trouble. They expected their Messiah to do the rest of the prophecy; Jesus DIDN'T.

Verse 2 of Isaiah 61 is where Jesus stopped IN MID-SENTENCE! ! You'd think that any Proper reading of the prophecy would continue to the end of the thought. But no, Jesus stops just before an "and."

2- To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, (this is where Jesus stopped, because he couldn't go on)
AND the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all the mourn;
3-(still part of the same train of thought) To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." NOW we're finished with the prophecy. Not before.

The day of God's vengeance and the deliverance of the Jews is yet to come. And notice how the time is fixed by the following verses which describe events that we know to take place in the Milllenium. This, then, is the third "proof" of the Gap theory. God says that two is an adequate witness. I think that some in-depth study will turn up more evidence for the Gap.

Besides, some of my more superficial study of other theories that try to make sense out of the 490 year puzzle shows that dates and events have to be tortured to make the prophecy true, or descriptions must be "spiritualized" or symbolized to make them fit.

The Gap theory is a Tough Nut. It seemingly goes against the "literal" quality that we want out of scripture. But then Paul reminds us that the glass is too dark to make out Reality in detail.


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