"Gap of Time" Between the 69th and 70th Week
Gary DeMar first attempts to prove that there is no reason to believe that there is a "gap of time" or "parenthesis" between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week by appealing to "church history":
"Why is there no mention of this 'great parenthesis' either in the Bible or in the nearly nineteen hundred years of church history?" (DeMar, Last Days Madness, 95).
The earliest commentary on the Seventy Weeks of Daniel was written by Hippolytus, and according to his view the 70th week did not follow immediately after the end of the 69th week. He believed that the fulfillment of the 70th Week remained in the future and therefore a "gap of time" is a necessity to support his view:
"Now Daniel will set forth this subject to us. For he says, 'And one week will make a covenant with many, and it shall be that in the midst (half) of the week my sacrifice and oblation shall cease.' By one week, therefore, he meant the last week which is to be at the end of the whole world of which week the two prophets Enoch and Elias will take up the half. For they will preach 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth, proclaiming repentance to the people and to all the nations" [emphasis mine] (Hippolytus, Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, Section 43).
Irenaeus, who studied under Polycarp (who was regarded as a disciple of the Apostles themselves), placed the events described in the 9th chapter of Daniel in the future:
"And then he (Daniel) points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: 'And in the midst of the week,' he says, 'the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete.' Now three years and six months constitute the half-week"(Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 5, Section 3,4).
Irenaeus placed the events described in Daniel 9: 27 as belonging in the future and therefore he did not believe that they had already happened in the first century as the preterists teach. Once again a "gap of time" is a necessity to support his view.
"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God"
A study of the OT prophecies demonstrate that the Lord had reasons for not revealing everything that would happen when the Lord Jesus was made flesh and dwelt with men. He kept some things secret. For instance, even though the prophets revealed the "sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow", those same prophets failed to understand the significance of these things (1 Pet.1:11). The Lord had a reason for keeping the purpose of the crucifixion secret, and that is because if the "princes of this age" knew their purpose then "they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory" (1 Cor.2:8).
The key to realizing why there is a "gap of time" between the 69th and 70th week is understanding that in the OT prophecies the Lord kept secret the fact that the Jews would reject their promised Messiah at His first advent. The OT prophecies were written in such a way that would give the nation no excuse for rejecting and crucifying the Lord Jesus.
After the leaders of Israel plotted to put the Lord Jesus to death He began to reveal some of the "secret" things that had not been revealed in the O.T. prophecies. At that time His ministry entered a new phase. His teaching became veiled in parables, and He told His disciples to no longer testify of His Messiahship (Mt. 12:14-16). Instead of preaching that the kingdom is at hand, He began to teach the "mysteries of the kingdom" (Mt. 13:11).
Instead of proclaiming a King come to rule, He now described Himself as a Sower sowing seed. His parables taught His disciples that everything relating to the kingdom would be postponed but not suspended. His disciples then learned that there was an "age" that was hidden in the prophecies and another advent at its close. One of the parables is the Parable of the Marriage Feast:
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding;and they would not come" (Mt. 22:2-3).
The Lord was speaking in parable in regard to the fact that the nation of Israel ("them that were bidden to the wedding") would not accept Him as the Messiah. This was fulfilled when they crucified Him. But while He was on the Cross the nation received a repreive when He asked the Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do"(Lk. 23:34).
The nation was to receive another chance to receive Him as their King. On the day of Pentecost the apostle Peter told the nation that they had crucified Him "through ignorance" (Acts 3:17), and then told them that if they would receive Him now that He would be sent back to earth to usher in the "times of refreshing" and "times of restitution of all things":
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21).
The parable of the Marriage Feast revealed that even after the second invitation the Jews would still not receive the Promised Messiah:
"And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner...come unto the marriage. But they made light of it...And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them" (Mt. 22:3-6).
Shortly after the invited guests were bidden by the Apostles to receive the kingdom the Jews "laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison" (Acts 5:18). In response to the preaching of Spirit filled Stephen the Jews "cast him out of the city, and stoned him" until he died (Acts 7:58,60).
According to prophecy Israel was to be the "light of the world" (Mt. 5: 14).But since that nation rejected their promised Messiah the promises to Israel in regard to the 70th Week have been postponed until the "fullness of the Gentiles of the Gentiles be come in":
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Ro.11:25).
So the "gap" between the 69th and 70th week was not revealed in the OT prophecies. It was kept secret. And the fulfillment of the 70th week awaits the time when the "fullness of the Gentiles of the Gentiles be come in".
Let us now continue with the parable of the Marriage Feast: "Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage" (Mt. 22: 8, 9).
At the time when Stephen was stoned to death Saul (Paul) was standing by and consenting unto that murder (Acts 8:1). Paul had been the leader of the persecution against the early church (Acts 8:3; Gal.1:13), but now the Lord temporarily sets aside the prophesised program and reaches down to save him in order to make him the "apostle to the Gentiles" (Ro. 11:13; Acts 26:15-18). Later he says the following to the Jews:
"It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46).
Continuing the parable: "Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests" (Mt. 22:9,10).
The "invitation" that went out to the whole world through Paul is "the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery" (Ro.16:25).
According to prophecy it was to be the nation of Israel that was to send salvation and blessings to the Gentiles. However, because that nation would not accept salvation through the Lord Jesus they would not be permitted to keep it from the Gentiles. The Lord temporarily abandoned His prophesised program and ushered in a program that had been kept secret, a program where salvation was offered to all entirely apart from Israel.
"The Dispensation of the Mystery"
When the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus as the Messiah the Lord raised up Paul to bring in a new dispensation, a dispensation that had been kept a secret:
"And to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery which for ages hath been hid in God who created all things" (Eph.3:9; ASV).
Although a "dispensation" is not in itself a period of time, a dispensation does take place during a period of time. The present dispensation of the grace of God was not revealed in the OT prophecies, and therefore represents a "gap of time" between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week. The OT prophecies completely overlook these twenty centuries of our era, the time when the "gospel of grace" has been preached to all men.
Next, let us examine the verse that occurs after the end of the 69th week and see if we can find any evidence of a "gap of time":
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined" (Dan. 9:25,26).
Here we can see that verse 26 speaks of the Messiah being "cut off" happening after the end of the 69th week, as well as the destruction of Jerusalem. This destruction happened in A.D.70, and this destruction of Jerusalem does not fit within the 69th or the 70th week of the timeline provided by the preterists.