Response to Sam Storms on Daniel 9:24-27

This blog is a section from a paper I delivered at the Pre-Trib Study Group a couple of years ago.  I am responding to Sam Storms’ book Kingdom Come in the paper but in this particular section, I am giving a response to his claim that dispensationalists are simply forcing their preconceived view onto the text of Daniel 9:24-27. — Mike Stallard

The Gap between the 69th and 70th Weeks of Daniel 9:24-27

Within this one paper it is not possible to address all of Storms’ comments on the book of Daniel.  However, one selected issue will be used to show his faulty interpretation.  Significantly, he denies that there is a time gap between the 69th and 70th week as dispensationalists teach.  While Storms addresses several key points within his interpretation of the prophecy, he does not reveal any detailed exegesis of Daniel 9:24-27 concerning the gap.  Instead, he asks questions and makes assertions which accuse dispensationalists of forcing their interpretation on the text a priori.  Notice his comment:

I am convinced that the theory of a gap is motivated as much by antecedent determination to find additional justification for distinguishing between Israel and the Church, as it is by any factors actually present in the text itself.  In other words, if one had not already decided in favor of two distinct peoples of God with distinct dispensations in which God deals with each, would Daniel 9 ever have been interpreted in such a way as to yield the concept of a gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks? Or, again, to put it even more bluntly, dispensationalists find a gap in Daniel 9 because they are predisposed to find one in order to justify an already existent theological construct.[1]

In summary, Storms is claiming that dispensationalists are reading their belief in a distinction between Israel and the Church into Daniel 9:24-27 rather than doing proper exegesis.  While appreciating Storms’ honest presentation, it is disappointing that there is no exegetical response concerning the gap.

Only a cursory examination of the actual text of Daniel 9:24-27 shows that there is enough exegetical evidence to suggest a gap.  Miller’s exposition notes the following:  “The text also indicates that the seventieth seven would not follow the sixty-ninth immediately. For example, Christ’s crucifixion (“Anointed One … cut off,” v. 26) and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 (v. 26) would occur after the sixty-ninth seven, but not during the seventieth seven (v. 27), revealing a gap between these sevens.”[2]  Harold Hoehner, in his definitive work on the Seventy Weeks prophecy, definitively proves the existence of an exegetical and theological gap by means of seven arguments.[3]  Hoehner uses both exegetical and theological arguments to make his case.  In no argument, however, does he assume the distinction between Israel and the Church or force such a distinction into the text as Storms posits.  The language simply suggests that the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem happen after the 69th week and before the 70th week.  Even the post-tribulationist Gundry agrees with this conclusion:

If the cutting off of the Messiah occurred in the middle of the seventieth week, it is very strange that the cutting off is said to be “after” the sixty-nine weeks (figuring the sum of the seven and the sixty-two weeks).  Much more naturally the text would have read “during” or “in the midst of” the seventieth week, as it does in verse twenty-seven concerning the stoppage of the sacrifices.  The only adequate explanation for this unusual turn of expression is that the seventieth week did not follow on the heels of the sixty-ninth, but that an interval separates the two.  The crucifixion then comes shortly “after” the sixty-ninth but not within the seventieth because of an intervening gap.  The possibility of a gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks is established by the well-accepted OT phenomenon of prophetic perspective, in which gaps such as that between the first and second advents were not perceived.[4]

Gundry simply asserts that the exegetical results of seeing a gap should not be surprising in light of the existence of gaps elsewhere in the Old Testament.  Dispensationalists have explored the exegetical and theological issues of gaps in great detail because the actual texts involved lead them in that direction.[5]  Storms interacts with little of the dispensational work along these lines.  As a result of the exegetical and theological realities, he has merely dismissed the dispensational view of the gap as a case of theological proof-texting.  In actuality, he has proven nothing at all.  Perhaps in later editions of the book, he can expand this section with proper exposition and less assumptions.

[1] Storms, Kingdom Come, 84-85.

[2] Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, vol. 18, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 269. It is not clear that Miller is dispensational although he is premillennial.

[3] Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977), 131-33.

 [4] Robert H. Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 1973), 190.  Gundry is cited by Hoehner as given in the previous note.  Miller refers to both Hoehner and Gundry.  The arguments have changed little.  The dismissive attitude of Storms is more problematic in light of this.  There are exegetical arguments about the gap that need to be addressed.  Storms does given exposition of much of the Seventy Weeks prophecy from his amillennial viewpoint.  However, he does not give real counter arguments to the dispensational exegesis in this writer’s opinion.

 [5] Of special interest here is J. Randall Price, “Prophetic Postponement in Daniel 9 and Other Texts” in Issues in Dispensationalism edited by John R. Master and Wesley R. Willis (Chicago:  Moody, 1994), 133-65.

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