Preterism and Daniel’s 70th week
In his article on Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, preterist Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. refers to the statement in Daniel 9:27, “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.”
In his article, Gentry refers to confirming the covenant as if it was an event that was to occur in that week, rather than what is accomplished throughout that 70th week. Gentry wrote:
The confirming of covenant (v. 27) refers to the prophesied covenantal actions of verse 24, which come about as the result of the Perfect Covenantal Jubilee (Seventy Weeks), and is mentioned as a result of Daniel’s covenantal prayer (cf. v. 4). The covenant mentioned, then, is the divine covenant of God’s redemptive grace. Messiah came to confirm the covenantal promises: “to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant” (Luke 1:72). He confirmed the covenant by His death on the cross: “by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant” (Heb. 7:22b).
Gentry stated in the above paragraph how he interprets the statement “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” in Daniel 9:27. He thought this referred to Christ’s death on the cross. But that did not span an entire week. Gentry wrote:
Daniel’s prayer was particularly for Israel (Dan. 9:3ff) and it was uttered in recognition that God promises mercy upon those who love Him (v. 4). Therefore, the prophecy holds that the covenant will be confirmed with many for one week. The reference to the “many” speaks of the faithful in Israel.
Below, Gentry paraphrased Daniel’s prophecy in a manner that supported his interpretation; however, his approach seems unsound. Gentry wrote:
This confirmation of God’s covenant promises to the “many” of Israel will occur in the middle of the seventieth week (v. 27), …
The Scripture does not say that confirmation of the covenant was to be an isolated event in the midst of the 70th week; rather, as most translations show, Christ would confirm his covenant throughout the entire 70th week. The three and a half years of his earthly ministry was the first half-week, which ended at the crucifixion. It was followed by the resurrection, and after appearing to his disciples, Jesus ascended to heaven, which commenced the last half-week. But when Jesus ascended, Jerusalem was also raised up. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 2:2; it was when the mountain of the Lord’s house was established in the tops of the mountains, and exulted above the hills. Paul said the saints are raised up, and they sit together in heavenly places. [Ephesians 2:6] This continues today, for those who reign with Christ; it is included in the last half-week. It is part of confirming the covenant.
Because the last half-week of the 70th week applies to the heavenly city, rather than the earthly one, and that city is spiritual, the units that apply to it are not earth days or earth months or earth years, but the time is figurative or spiritual. Therefore, the final three and a half years may be taken as symbolic of the entire church age. The 70th week did not expire in the first century as Gentry and other preterists have claimed. If that were so, the apostles would have reported it.
There is no gap between the 69th and 70th weeks as claimed by dispensationalism, and neither has the 70 weeks prophecy been completely fulfilled, as preterism claims. Rather, the 70th week spans the present age; for the final half-week, the units of time change. The present age is the “time times and a half” of Daniel 7:25 and 12:7. It is a symbolic period, rather than a literal three and a half years because the last portion of the 70 weeks prophecy applies to the spiritual temple, built without hands, which is the church, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the bride of the Lamb. The heavenly city cannot be measured in terms of literal, earthly units, and the duration of her preparation is known to God alone.