Chapter Outline

Part 1:
Matthew Twenty-Four
Luke Twenty-One
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
Part 2:
Zechariah
Revelation
Bookends of the Bible
The Apple of His Eye
Second Peter Three
Appendix:
Most Holy as Used in the Old Testament

Gray-Haired Perspective

Where is the Promise of His Coming?
(An Answer to Preterism)
Part 1

 

Of all the prophetic views, the view that Christ will return before the tribulation is the one that creates the most anticipation. He may come at any moment, and so we want to be ready every moment. Matthew 24:44 says, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Now if you think He is delaying His coming until after the tribulation, then you can delay getting ready until then. Or if you think He is not coming until half way through the tribulation, you also can delay. Or, according to another view popular these days, if you believe Christ already came, then readiness exhortations like the one just quoted don't apply at all.

Those who believe Christ came already are called preterists. Preterist is Latin for "past." In contrast, futurists believe Christ's coming is yet future. Preterists criticize futurists for trying to predict the date of Christ's return, and rightly so, because He is coming at an hour when we think not, as we read above. But ironically preterists set their own date. They set that date at about a generation's time after Christ. According to them, Matthew 24 was fulfilled in 70 AD at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

In setting a date, preterists diminish the urgent need for continual readiness. First generation Christians could delay getting ready until the close of the generation. And subsequent generations can ignore readiness verses that supposedly apply to first generation Christians.

Within the preterist view are shades of beliefs. Full preterists place the resurrection of believers in the past, and partial preterists place the resurrection in the future. But all place the fulfillment of Matthew 24 in the past. So we will start with Matthew 24, and we will answer the preterist claims.

 

MATTHEW TWENTY-FOUR

Because Matthew 24 starts with the temple, preterists infer that the entire chapter is about the temple. Let's start with the temple and see where it leads.

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple (Matthew 24:1).

Why did the disciples feel that they needed to show Jesus the temple? Surely He had seen it many times before. Yet somehow the disciples were impressed with its grandeur, and they thought Jesus would be impressed. But Jesus was not.

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (Matthew 24:2).

Jesus had a different perspective about the temple than the disciples did. They saw grandeur. He saw destruction.

The disciples then asked, "Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world" (Matthew 24:3).

Why did the disciples cluster these questions together? Did they think the end of the temple meant the end of the age? That may have been their perspective. But they had been wrong before and would be wrong again.

Prior to this occasion, at least one of the disciples thought Jesus should not, and would not, be killed. But that idea was wrong (Matthew 16:21–23). After Jesus died, the disciples did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead. But they were wrong (Mark 16:13–14). After Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples expected the kingdom to be restored to Israel at that time. But they were wrong about the timing (Acts 1:6–7). At each major juncture they were wrong. But as each event passed, and as the Lord enlightened them, they gained a new perspective.

Like the disciples, preterists equate the temple's destruction with Jesus' coming and the end of the age. But remember, the temple's destruction was future to the disciples, and it is past to us. That means we can benefit from a fuller perspective. If the disciples, who thought Jesus would bring a literal earthly kingdom, were alive today, they could easily realize that the temple's destruction did not bring their expected kingdom. They would realize that it was not the end of the age after all.

Of course it's true that Christ has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13), and we enjoy the present spiritual kingdom. But remember, the present kingdom came at the cross, not at the temple destruction. So says the context in Colossians. As members of the kingdom, we pray daily, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," showing that we still await the earthly kingdom now, even as the disciples did then.

Did the temple's destruction signal the end of the age? The disciples may have thought so. And if their questions were all that we read, we may think so too. But as Jesus answers their questions, we learn instead that the temple's destruction foreshadows Christ's coming at the end of the age. This means the disciples were not entirely wrong. They were half right. Although the end of the temple was not the end of the age, it did foreshadow the end of the age.

In other words, the temple's destruction teaches us about Christ's coming. Scripture places those two events in parallel. Prophecy is full of such parallel patterns. For example, Jesus compared the days of Noah to the coming of the Son of Man. Joel likened the plague of locusts to the day of the Lord. In these examples the points of comparison serve to prove the reality of the ultimate event rather than to negate the ultimate event. The comparison strengthens our faith. When we see that the first event happened in such and such a way, we know that the second event will also surely come to pass in an even greater way.

When we read Joel, it's not always obvious when he is writing about the locusts and when he is writing about the final day of the Lord. But sometimes it is obvious. When we read Jesus' discourse, what is obvious to some is not obvious to others. I want to make it obvious to all what is foreshadowing and what is fulfillment.

How do we sort out foreshadowing and fulfillment? Comparing Jesus' words as recorded here in Matthew with His words as recorded in Luke (we'll discuss Luke more in detail later) helps us sort out foreshadowing and fulfillment. How is the foreshadowing similar to the fulfillment? And how are they different? Jesus makes two points of comparison.

First, believers flee when the armies surround Jerusalem. This foreshadows the sudden fleeing at the future abomination of desolation.

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto (Luke 21:20–21).

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes (Matthew 24:15–18).

Preterists notice the similarities in these two passages and think they refer to the same past event, the destruction of Jerusalem. But futurists notice the differences in these passages and think that the past event foreshadows the future event, the coming of Christ. The occasion for fleeing is different. But as fleeing brought safety the first time, so will it bring safety the next time.

As a second point of comparison, distress followed the past fleeing. This foreshadows tribulation that follows the future fleeing.

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people (Luke 21:22–23).

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matthew 24:21).

Preterists notice the similarities in these two passages and think the past distress is identical to the tribulation. But futurists notice the differences and think that the past localized distress foreshadows the future great tribulation. Prior distress is only a foretaste of tribulation to come.

In each of these two comparisons, if we notice the differences and similarities, we can better understand how to sort out foreshadowing and fulfillment.

In making these two comparisons, Jesus answered the original questions the disciples asked. They asked for a sign. Maybe they expected one sign, because their timing expectations were still incomplete. But Jesus gave two signs. First, the sign of the armies surrounding Jerusalem led to the distress that followed and to the destruction of Jerusalem. Similarly, the sign of the abomination of desolation will lead to the tribulation that follows and to the coming of Christ. By providing two signs, Jesus showed how the near event foreshadows the far event.

Preterists, on the other hand, see only one event. What is foreshadowing to us is final fulfillment to them. They say, "If the events of 70 AD fulfilled the prophecy, then why look any further?" That question assumes that all was fulfilled, but as preterists themselves will argue, much of the alleged fulfillment was figurative, not literal. The first example of that we will see in a moment. Now there are different degrees of preterism. Some believe that Christ is still coming in the future. But all preterists believe that the "coming" of Matthew 24:30 has already been fulfilled. It says:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

This coming is a 70 AD coming, according to preterists. But we must ask, did anyone see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven in 70 AD? Many witnesses saw Christ after his resurrection. But we have not one witness who saw Him in 70 AD. The word see in Greek mainly means to see with our own eyes. Our English word optometrist comes from this Greek word. It is a physical, literal seeing. The word is used in many post-resurrection eyewitness accounts, and so Christ's resurrection was verified. But a coming in 70 AD was not likewise verified.

In verse 30 quoted above, not only is the word see, used for physical seeing, but also appear primarily means a literal physical appearing. For example, notice how the word is used just three verses earlier. Verse 27 says, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." The word shineth is the same Greek word as appear. As lightning shines, so also this word refers to a literal appearing. In contrast, a different Greek word for see occurs three verses later. Verse 33 says, "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." This different word for see emphasizes knowing and understanding instead of a literal seeing with the eyes. These examples from the context illustrate both kinds of seeing, literal and figurative, and the different words used for each.

So, as we are saying, verse 30 is all about a literal seeing and a physical appearing. Not only do the words see and appear have that primary meaning, but also the phrase "then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn" comes from Zechariah 12:10 where they mourn Him as a result of looking upon Him (compare Revelation 1:7). So the verse talks about seeing, appearing, looking. The three interpret each other, making the context clear.

We must ask again, did anyone in 70 AD see Him coming? Preterists answer, "Yes." But they really mean that seeing, appearing, and looking are all figurative, a seeing with the mind, not with the eyes as when they saw Him after the resurrection.

Yet preterists claim to maintain a literal interpretation of Scripture. Maybe not in this passage. But another passage provides their literal starting point. The interpretation of this other passage rules over interpretations of all other passages. That overruling passage, the one referred to more often than any other in preterist writings, is Matthew 24:34:

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

If these words are literally true, the argument goes, then all these events had to be fulfilled by 70 AD, even if they were fulfilled figuratively.

By the way, before we examine this verse, let me explain, I do not think we need to choose between literal starting points. We do not have to say, "Verse 30 is literal and verse 34 is not." Neither do we have to say, "Verse 34 is literal and verse 30 is not." I believe we can freely take each and every passage on it's own merits. Each word of Scripture is equally inspired and equally authoritative, as also preterists agree, I'm sure. That means I could even take verse 34 and this generation as a starting point, as I will demonstrate later on.

Now back to the preterist line of argument. If these words were not fulfilled within a generation, they say, then skeptics would have good reason to discount the Bible. So preterists feel constrained to provide an answer to skeptics and to show how Jesus' words are true after all.

 

Answer to Skeptics. I am skeptical that claiming a 70 AD fulfillment is the best approach to answer the skeptics. As discussed above, we have no recorded eyewitnesses, so will it really make them believe the Bible if we tell them that people in 70 AD saw the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven? I have trouble believing that myself, and I'm already a believer. So how will that convince an unbeliever?

A better answer, the Biblical answer, to skeptics is found in 2 Peter 3:3–8:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Notice, Peter does not use the this generation argument to refute the scoffers. To the contrary, he says, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." If Peter has this perspective on time, and if God views time in this way, then maybe we should re-think our time limits.

 

This Generation, Soon, Quickly. In addition to the this generation verse, preterists use verses that say Christ is coming soon or quickly, reasoning that coming within forty years would be soon, but coming in 2000 years would not be soon. But who's to say how soon is soon? Ask a child how soon is soon. Then ask an adult that same question. Then ask God that same question. If it were up to me I might define soon in one way, but with the Lord a thousand years is as one day.

Do you think the New Testament should have said outright that it would be more than 2000 years? No, that would give us an excuse to delay readiness. You see, the New Testament is written in such a way that every believer down through the ages will live as though Christ could come in his or her lifetime.

Although the soon and quickly verses fall into the same category as the this generation passage, they do not carry the same weight of argument. While soon is general, this generation attempts to define a specific number of years, and so preterists keep coming back to this passage over and over again. It is their key passage.

The preterist view of this generation governs their view of many other Scripture passages. I read statements like, "Whatever this passage means, we know it has to be fulfilled in the first generation, not a later generation." Because of this, many prophetic passages, which on their own, and according to their own context, we would naturally place in the future, they find a way to fit into the past.

On the face of it, when we read, "they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory," we think of it as future, because that has not yet literally happened. But they explain this verse, and many other verses, as past, because of the this generation constraint.

This generation becomes the focal point and governing principle of prophetic interpretation. I picture the preterist position as a pyramid, an upside down pyramid. Rather than having a wide base of Scripture passages to support one point, they have one pivotal passage to rule their view of many other passages.

Yet they perceive their position to be strong, because this generation must mean the generation then living when the words were spoken. The alternative, that it refers to some future generation 2000 years later, they rigorously argue against. And I agree. To their evidence I would add evidence I shared many years ago in my chapter on the Olivet Discourse. We agree that this generation does not refer to a future generation. But besides past generation and future generation, another meaning is possible. This alternative meaning they rarely speak of. I will speak of it later, but first let me mention additional points on which I agree with preterists.

 

Points of Agreement. In addition to agreeing that this generation does not refer to a future generation, I also agree with preterists on other points. I agree with their objection to wild end-times speculation. Such speculation goes along with the idea that this generation is the final generation. At its best, that results in looking for events that mark the final generation. At its worst, that results in date setting, trying to guess the time of Christ's return. When one scheme doesn't pan out, the speculators change their scheme, showing that such date setting is all speculation.

I also agree with the preterists' evidence about the date of Revelation. Most futurists date the book at about 95 AD, after the destruction of Jerusalem. All preterists date the book at about 65 AD, before the destruction of Jerusalem. I really don't know for sure when the book of Revelation was written, because I wasn't there. But the evidence for the earlier date makes sense.

For example, while browsing a preterist web site, I came across an article offering evidence for the early date of Revelation. After giving some strong arguments, it offered what to the author's mind was a weaker argument, namely that Peter borrowed phraseology from Revelation, showing that Revelation was written before the book of 2 Peter. For example, Peter says, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8). That reminds us of the 1000 years mentioned six times in Revelation 20. That is all one day of the Lord. Before reading that article I had wondered how Peter anticipated Revelation before John had his visions, before the angel revealed the information to John. But could it be the other way around? Could it be that Revelation preceded Peter? That makes some sense to me personally because of the way Peter writes—he reminds his readers of things already known.

But you may wonder, doesn't 2 Peter 3:8, in the King James version, tell the readers not to be ignorant of the fact that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years? So how can it be already known? The word used in the Greek means escape notice or be hidden. The same word is used in 2 Peter 3:5 as well as in Mark 7:14, Luke 8:47, Acts 26:26, and Hebrews 13:2. According to the New Englishman's Greek Concordance of the New Testament, the literal translation is "let not this one thing escape you." This implies that the information can be known if we'll just pay attention to it. That's quite different than 1 Thessalonians 4:13, where a different Greek word is used, the word which closely resembles our English word ignorant in sound and spelling. In the Thessalonians passage, the present tense in Greek implies a continuing state, and it can be translated, "But I do not want you to remain in ignorance." So the two passages speak of two different kinds of ignorance. Instead of providing new information, Peter reminds his readers of facts that can be known for the most part.

On the other hand, I don't know how Peter knew that the heavens and the earth would be destroyed by fire, because it is not mentioned that way in Revelation. Maybe that is new information.

(Gray-haired perspective: I retract my suggestion that 2 Peter was based on Revelation. A faithful brother pointed out to me that the "thousand years" in 2 Peter 3:8 comes from Psalm 90:4 which says, "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." These words in Psalm 90:4 more closely match the words in 2 Peter 3:8 than any words in Revelation do. In addition, the promise of a new heaven and new earth in 2 Peter 3:13 comes from Isaiah 65:17. Therefore, both of these references come from the Old Testament, not necessarily from Revelation. Furthermore, 2 Peter 3:15 explicitly references Paul's writings, but nowhere does Peter reference John's writings. In 2 Peter 3:16 he mentions "all his epistles," referring to Paul's epistles, but he does not mention one of John's books, not even Revelation which would be more on topic if it were available to mention.)

But however you view the relationship of Peter and Revelation, and however you view the date of Revelation, just know that the futurist position, unlike the preterist position, does not depend on the date of Revelation. Many of the arguments for the date of Revelation, as good as they are, lie outside the Bible. We have sufficient arguments inside the Bible to prove our futurist case.

So I agree with the preterists' objections to end-time speculation, I agree with their evidence about the date of Revelation, and I agree with them on another point. Colossians 1:13 says that God has "delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." That puts us, as believers, squarely in the kingdom right now. On that we agree.

 

Aspects of the Kingdom. But Colossians has more to say. Reading the next verse, notice how and when the present aspect of the kingdom began.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14).

Does it say the kingdom came with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD when the blood of the Jews was spilled? No, the transformation came through the blood of God's Son. The cross is the focus in Colossians. And the cross is the pivotal point of history.

But preterists argue that 70 AD was also a pivotal point of history, and that is when the kingdom came. To support this view, they would point to Luke 21:31–32:

So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

What does this prove? I'm not sure if preterists would say this, but at the very least, this verse proves that the kingdom has more than one aspect. The passage talks about a future aspect of the kingdom, future to the time of the prophetic signs mentioned in the passage. In contrast, Colossians, as we have seen, points to the present aspect of the kingdom, because Christ conquered at the cross.

This should be obvious also because Colossians was written before 70 AD, and it speaks of the kingdom as already present. So the kingdom now present in Colossians has to be distinct from the kingdom yet future in Luke. On that we should agree. We should all agree that the kingdom of God has a past and future aspect. Where we disagree is when the future aspect appears. Does it appear in 70 AD or after 2000 AD? Because this generation connects to kingdom in the Luke passage above, preterists answer 70 AD.

 

This Generation. Now that we have enumerated some points of agreement, let's return to the preterists' pivotal point. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the statement of Jesus, "this generation shall not pass." Preterists point out that in Matthew, as well as in the other gospels, generation consistently refers to a period of time representing a life span. For example, in Matthew 23:36 Jesus says, "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." As another example, observe Matthew 1:17:

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

Therefore, if generation means the same in all these passages, and if it has a different meaning in Matthew 24:34, then it would be the only place in Matthew where it is different.

The Greek lexicon of Arndt and Gingrich gives three meanings for generation. First, those descended from a common ancestor, a clan, a race. Second, the sum total of those born at the same time, expanded to include all those living at a given time. Third, age, the time of a generation. Meanings two and three are closely related. Meaning two focuses on the people of a given time period, and meaning three focuses on the time period of a given people. Either meaning would produce the same result when interpreting Matthew 24:34.

But the first meaning in the lexicon is different, because it spans many time periods. The first meaning is also closer to the root meaning, which according to the lexicon is family, descent. That root meaning is apparent also from the related words. Genealogy, for example, is a related word, both in English and in Greek. The Greek words for birth and beget are related in meaning and in spelling. These related Greek words all start with g‑e‑n. Our English words gene and generate, coming by way of Latin, ultimately derive from the same Greek root, descent.

For Matthew 24:34 I am going to offer evidence in favor of the first lexicon meaning, people belonging to the same descent, as opposed to people belonging to the same time period.

As we said, when interpreting generation in Matthew 24, preterists look at the context. That's good. They go back to the preceding chapter to see how generation is used there. That's good. They go through all thirteen uses in Matthew, including going all the way back to the first chapter to see how generation is used there. That's good, as far as it goes. I would just go a little farther back.

If the primary rule of interpretation is context, context, context, then let's get the complete context. Let's not overlook Isaiah.

The Matthew–Isaiah connection you can read about in another chapter. It lists sixteen parallel passages between the two books. Instead of repeating the entire list here, we'll focus on Matthew 24 and the words that Jesus spoke in this Olivet Discourse.

When Jesus said, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken" (verse 29) what context do you suppose that came from? Do you suppose He had these Isaiah passages in mind?

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (Isaiah 13:10).

And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree (Isaiah 34:4).

Also, when Jesus said, "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (verse 31), what context do you suppose that came from? Do you suppose He had these Isaiah passages in mind?

And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:12).

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem (Isaiah 27:12–13).

There seems to be a pattern here. Could we say that Jesus was thinking in the context of Isaiah?

Finally, Jesus said, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (verses 34–35). This sounds similar to:

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind (Isaiah 65:17).

For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain (Isaiah 66:22).

Now if Jesus had Isaiah in mind when He spoke the first two passages, did He not also have Isaiah in mind when He spoke the third? And if Jesus had Isaiah in mind when He spoke these words, should not we also have Isaiah in mind when we interpret these words? If context is key, shouldn't we use the same context that Jesus used on that particular day? On that day, in that hour, in that minute, Jesus was thinking Isaiah, and so the context of Isaiah has the strongest relevance.

So let's take a closer look at the words of Jesus in light of Isaiah, in order to see the parallel.

 

Matthew 24:34–35
Isaiah 66:22
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

 

Notice the references to heaven and earth in both passages. One passage speaks of the old heaven and earth that will pass away. The other passage speaks of the new heaven and earth that will remain. But both speak the same truth. It is as if I described a door before entering, and then described the same door from the other side. Same truth, parallel wording, parallel passages. Now notice what lies parallel to "this generation." It parallels "your seed and your name." That parallel is the proof I promised earlier.

So if we let Isaiah define generation for us, as it's used in Matthew 24:34, we arrive at meaning number one in the lexicon. If you were to search the entire Bible for a closer parallel to Matthew 24:34, including all the Matthew passages that mention generation, you would find no better match, word for word and phrase for phrase. Yet, it seems that preterists have arrived at their interpretation of Matthew 24:34 without taking into consideration Isaiah, the most important parallel passage of all.

So the pyramid topples.

But let's be fair. Futurists also have overlooked Isaiah. Of course, they're aware of meaning number one in the lexicon. But not knowing that Isaiah illuminates it and confirms it, they overlook it. And thinking that generation means last generation, some get caught up in speculating and guessing dates. In another chapter we have argued against the idea that this generation refers to a future generation.

Now that preterists (who derive their view of this generation from the context) have a bigger chunk of context to grab onto, a context most relevant to that moment on the mount when Jesus echoed Isaiah, and now that this new context corroborates their own view that they've held all along, namely that this generation is not some future generation 2000 years off, will they welcome the Isaiah context?

Well, it's not that simple. You see, to accept Isaiah 66:22 when it says, "so shall your seed and your name remain," is to accept the idea that the seed of Israel and the name of Israel will remain.

But their theology says Israel is kaput. The end of Israel, they say, was 70 AD. Will preterists now accept Isaiah as is? I'm eager for the answer because then we will discover the driving force of preterism, whether it truly be the context or whether it be their theology.

 

Some Standing Here. Rather than answer Isaiah, preterists may turn to their second favorite passage to support their view of this generation. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record these words of Jesus:

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom (Matthew 16:27–28).

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power (Mark 8:38–9:1).

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God (Luke 9:26–27).

If context is the primary rule of interpretation (as preterists claim to follow when interpreting this generation), then observe what immediately follows in each of the three gospels. In each case follows the account of the transfiguration of Jesus that happened six days later. Is that coincidence? Or is that significant? When Jesus was transfigured three disciples saw Him in His kingdom glory. So in each context we see the promise and the fulfillment right next to each other.

Preterism bypasses the three contexts and goes to 70 AD to find the fulfillment of the promise. The promise does not mention Jerusalem or its destruction. Yet they say that is what it means. Neither does the promise say that some will die before the fulfillment. Yet they say that it says so.

Preterists infer that the promise to "every man" (rewards) happens simultaneously with the promise to "some standing here" (see the kingdom). Why they infer that without proof that rewards were given to every man in 70 AD I do not understand. They depend on implicit inferences.

What the promise does explicitly say is, "some standing here." That means the promise is directed to some of the disciples standing there rather than to an entire city, an entire nation, or an entire generation. Therefore, the transfiguration fulfillment fits the words of the promise as well as the context of the promise.

The coincidence of context is not all. More significant is the eyewitness account of Peter himself. Preterists 2000 years after the fact disconnect the promise from the three contexts, but an eyewitness who was there at the time connects them. In doing so, the eyewitness confirms that the coincidence of context is not a coincidence at all. Peter says:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount (2 Peter 1:16–18).

Peter calls this Mount-of-Transfiguration event a coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Coming here is a synonym of coming in the Matthew and Mark passages above. The Greek New Testament uses many words for coming.

Specifically, what kind of coming is Peter writing about? Is it a coming as a lamb in meekness and humility? No, this is a coming in power and glory, the kind of coming Jesus promised "some standing here" would see. Peter's word for power is the same Greek word for power in Mark 9:1, quoted above. Peter's word for glory is the same Greek word for glory in Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38, and Luke 9:26, quoted above. In context, Peter is reassuring his readers about the truth and certainty of the "everlasting kingdom" whose grand entrance awaits them them, because Peter already got a glimpse of it (2 Peter 1:11). As with the other words, kingdom likewise corresponds with the three gospel passages.

By the way, for Matthew 16:28 some Greek manuscripts have alternative readings in place of His kingdom. Some read "His glory" and some read "the glory of His Father." Similarly, for Luke 9:27 some Greek manuscripts have an alternative reading for "the kingdom of God." Some read "the Son of man coming in His glory." I'm not arguing in favor of these alternative readings. All I'm saying is that this is an interesting commentary on how some Greek copyists understood the kingdom and the glory. If glory could be substituted for kingdom, or vice versa, then they must be closely related. When Peter got a glimpse of glory on that mountain, he saw Him as He will come in His kingdom one day yet future, when not just some will see Him, but all will see Him.

We have no eyewitness account of anyone seeing the Lord in that kind of glory in 70 AD. Although Josephus records sightings of chariots and armies in the sky before Jerusalem fell, it is still not a sighting of Christ Himself at His coming. But we do have Peter's eyewitness account. On that basis it's perfectly reasonable to find the fulfillment of Jesus' promise at the Mount of Transfiguration. Yet the preterist interpretation seems to have ruled out this possibility without taking into consideration the interpretation of Peter.

The preterist case rests on time texts. Now we have examined their top two time texts. For one text, they have arrived at their interpretation (this generation) without taking into consideration Isaiah. For the other text, they have arrived at their interpretation ("some standing here") without taking into consideration Peter. Do you notice a pattern?

In answering preterism, I'm not so much disagreeing with them as I am pointing out what they have overlooked. It's as if I had a cleaning person in my home who missed some spots. I'm not getting face-to-face saying, "You used the wrong cleaning solution." Or "You should have scrubbed counterclockwise instead of clockwise." No, I'm just following behind, saying, "You did fine, as far as it goes, but you missed a spot here, and you missed a spot there."

Now let's notice the next spot.

 

All Things Written. The third favorite time text for some preterists is Luke 21:22:

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

From this they conclude that absolutely all prophecy, rather than just prophecy about the vengeance on Jerusalem, was fulfilled in 70 AD. These same preterists who carefully do their word study on this generation overlook doing a similar word study on all things written. By omitting that word study, they overlook these verses:

Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished (Luke 18:31).

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me (Luke 24:44).

In the above two passages, all things written refer to the things in the context rather than to all things absolutely that are not in the context. If so in Luke 18 and 24, then it must be so also in Luke 21.

Now let's notice the next overlooked spot.

 

An Overlooked Time Text. Preterists love time texts. We have discussed some time texts they like to use. But now let's notice a time text they have overlooked.

For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord (Matthew 23:39; see also the parallel passage in Luke 13:35).

This is the last verse of Matthew 23, placing it immediately before chapter 24 and the Olivet Discourse. These words of Jesus may have prompted the question of the disciples three verses later, "What shall be the sign of thy coming?" In close proximity, both before and after, Jesus speaks of the destruction of the temple. The verse preceding says, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:38). Just two verses after says, "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:2). Sandwiched in the middle of the two temple statements is our time text. By way of comparison, the favorite time text of preterists (Matthew 24:34 and this generation) comes thirty-two verses after the mention of the temple's destruction. But our time text has the closest proximity to the temple's destruction of all the time texts. Yet preterists are far from talking about this one. So let's talk about it now.

First, the verse specifies a time when Jerusalem will not see the Lord, and this time will last until they repent. These words are addressed to Jerusalem, particularly unbelieving Jerusalem, rather than to a select few believers as He does later in Matthew 24. I point this out because Jerusalem as a whole did not repent in 70 AD. If they did, then why did God destroy them? When they do, God will deliver them.

Their not seeing Him corresponds with their house being left desolate. In other words, He's saying, "I'm leaving you and I'm leaving your house desolate." He's not saying, "Once your house becomes desolate, then you will see me." Preterists may say that, but this passage does not say that.

The phrase "Ye shall not see me" uses the strong emphatic negative (literally dual negative) in the Greek. The Darby translation catches this nuance: "ye shall in no wise see me."

Second, the verse specifies a time when Jerusalem will see Him again, and it will happen when they say, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." That is a refrain of what they recently said a few days prior when they spread their garments and tree branches before Jesus as He triumphantly rode into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:8–9).

That is also a quotation from Psalm 118:26. Psalm 118 is a psalm of victory, as you can see from these citations: "All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them" (verse 10). "Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity" (verse 25). Observe that repentance and salvation go together. Non-repentance and destruction go together. One of those happened in 70 AD. The other one is yet to come.

Third, if a day is yet coming when Jerusalem will say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," then that implies that Jerusalem, even though left desolate in 70 AD, will yet be a Jewish city in the future. And so we are not surprised to see that today Jerusalem belongs to the Jews once again. Jerusalem has not repented yet, and therefore Christ has not returned to earth yet. But we can confidently say that the world stage is now being set for prophecy to be fulfilled without making wild claims and setting dates.

On the other hand, preterists see no prophetic significance in Jerusalem today, because they do not believe there is a day yet coming when Jerusalem will say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." And maybe that is why this time text, even though placed strategically in the narrative, seems to be overlooked.

 

The Abomination of Desolation. Let's notice the next spot that preterists overlook. When trying to understand the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24, where do we start? Some theologians start with one passage, and other theologians start with another passage, and different theologians arrive at different interpretations. If the theologians disagree, then how can you and I understand? One point, however, remains clear. Out of all the statements Jesus made in the Olivet Discourse, this statement we should understand:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (Matthew 24:15).

If we understand nothing else, at least we can understand the one thing Jesus told us to understand, namely the abomination of desolation. Let's start here and see where that leads. Jesus points to Daniel.

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Daniel 9:27).

The word week, both preterists and futurists agree, means a week of years; in other words, seven years. But we disagree about the week's two events. First, "he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." Second, "for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate." Futurists see both events happening on the same day and both events perpetrated by the same person.

Preterists, however, split the events. First, they say Christ is the one who caused the sacrifice to cease by His own sacrifice on the cross. Then later in time came the abomination of desolation, perpetrated by Nero or someone like that near 70 AD. In other words, they see a gap between the two events. Furthermore, according to some preterists, the second event falls outside the week instead of in the middle of the week.

Other preterists keep the second event in the middle of the week by moving the week to around 70 AD. That chronology has one feature in common with futurists, namely, a gap before the week. But moving the week would leave the first event outside the week. In other words, one event or the other falls outside the week because of the alleged gap between the two events.

Still other preterists stretch the seventieth week to forty years in order to include both events, and the gap between them, within the week.

Not only do preterists place the week's events at different times, but they also apply them to different persons. They make Christ responsible for one of the events. Christ's perfect once-and-for-all sacrifice put an end to imperfect repetitive animal sacrifices according to Hebrews 10:10–18. And so when Daniel 9:27 mentions the ceasing of the sacrifice, they compare Scripture with Scripture, and they conclude that it is Christ who stops the sacrifice. If there were only one verse in Daniel on the subject, then comparing it to Hebrews might be relevant. But more relevant comparisons come from book of Daniel itself. While hopping to Hebrews, preterists overlook the very verses closest in context:

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot (Daniel 8:13)?

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Daniel 9:27).

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate (Daniel 11:31).

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 (Daniel 12:11).

These four passages show two things. First, stopping the sacrifice is done by the bad guy, not by Christ. Second, the two events (the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the abomination of desolation) happen together on the same day, with no gap. Note particularly the last passage above. It counts 1290 days starting from when? Starting from the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the abomination of desolation. If we can count from that day, then the twin events happen on the same day, perpetrated by the same person.

Although the four Daniel passages are similar, they are not the same. Some were fulfilled in 167 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the altar. But just the same, it was the bad guy who did it. Jesus spoke of another abomination yet future to His time. If the final fulfillment follows the pattern of the first fulfillment, then in both fulfillments the bad guy takes away the daily sacrifice and sets up the abomination of desolation, doing both on the same day.

One of the four Daniel passages uses a different Hebrew word for sacrifice than the other three. Three translate as daily sacrifice. That word emphasizes daily, and other Old Testament passages translate it as daily, perpetual, or continual. The passage that is different omits the daily aspect but includes instead two other words: the sacrifice and the oblation. The word oblation usually translates as offering in the Old Testament.

Taken together these different words depict the same sacrifice. That is apparent from the context in Daniel where four times the abomination supplants the sacrifice. Also the timing in chapter 9 (midst of the week) matches the timing in chapter 12 (a thousand two hundred and ninety days). Finally, that the various words depict the same sacrifice is apparent from other passages in Leviticus and Numbers where daily and offering combine into the same phrase such as daily meat offering or offering perpetual (Leviticus 6:20, Numbers 4:16, 29:6, 29:11, 29:16, 29:22, 29:25, 29:28, 29:31, 29:34, 29:38).

The four Daniel passages are so similar that I do not understand why preterists overlook their connection to each other. First they disconnect the chapter 9 abomination passage from the three similar passages, and then they disconnect the placing of the abomination from the ceasing of the sacrifice. Don't they know the two belong together? Picture yourself seated at a table with a plate of lamb in front of you. Then picture the waiter removing the lamb, replacing it with ham. The removing and replacing depict related events.

The glue that binds these twin events is stronger than the glue between the seventy weeks themselves. The glue will not allow a gap between the twin events of the seventieth week. The week is a solid unit. And so if there is a gap somewhere, the gap more naturally falls before the week. Do futurists invent such a gap by reading into Daniel something that is not there? No, not at all. Remember, we did not start with Daniel. We started with Jesus, and He is the one who put the events of the seventieth week future to His time. Remember, of all His statements in the Olivet Discourse, this is the one thing He told us to understand. So at His direction we have read Daniel in context, and now we understand that the events of Daniel's seventieth week fall future to the time of Jesus.

What does this prove? Does this prove that Daniel's seventieth week is yet future to us? No, this merely proves that Daniel's seventieth week is future to the time of Jesus, and therefore, it doesn't disprove preterism.

So why do preterists insist that Christ stops the sacrifice in Daniel? If simple timing does not require it, then maybe there is a deeper issue. Could it be that their theology dictates their timing, rather than timing dictating their theology?

 

See the Son of Man Coming in the Clouds. Let's notice the next overlooked spot. Matthew 24:30 says:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

As we observed previously, see mainly means to see with our eyes. For example, Revelation 1:7 says, "Behold He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him."

Preterists, who don't believe any eyes literally saw Jesus return in 70 AD, overlook the word see here, and they spend most of their time talking about clouds. Would you say that the clouds are literal or figurative in this context? In context, the words see and appear indicate that the clouds are literal. But rather than deciding from this context, preterists argue from other passages that the clouds are figurative, and having done that, they either overlook see altogether or maybe they would argue that see also is figurative, contrary to its primary and most common meaning.

So let's talk about the clouds. Preterists use Isaiah 19 to argue that the clouds are figurative. Drawing upon Isaiah is good. As we noted before, Matthew 24 refers back to Isaiah several times. The phrase this generation finds its explanation in Isaiah, as we have pointed out. So interpreting Matthew in light of Isaiah is good. Let's check it out.

The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it (Isaiah 19:1).

From this, preterists reason that if the cloud coming in Isaiah 19 is the judgment coming upon Egypt, so also is the cloud coming in Matthew 24 a judgment coming upon Jerusalem. Let's compare and see if the parallel holds.

In Isaiah 19 the same verse that mentions "rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt" also mentions Egypt four times. The next verse mentions Egyptians two times. The entire chapter mentions Egypt or Egyptian twenty-five times. So it's obvious that the passage talks about Egypt and the judgment upon the Egyptians.

How does Matthew 24 compare? In Matthew 24 the same verse that mentions "coming in the clouds" also mentions Jerusalem zero times. The closest mention of Jerusalem is in the preceding chapter, thirty-two verses earlier, where Jerusalem is mentioned twice. Judea is mentioned once in the chapter, fourteen verses earlier. Temple is mentioned once, twenty-nine verses earlier, and your house is mentioned in the preceding chapter. So, if in Matthew 24, the cloud coming means a judgment upon one city or one country, then it's not quite as obvious as it is in Isaiah.

Let's compare further. The surrounding chapters in Isaiah speak of judgment upon localities, namely, Babylon (chapters 13–14), Moab (chapters 15–16), Damascus (chapter 17), Ethiopia (chapter 18), and Tyre (chapter 23). Therefore, the judgment upon Egypt (chapter 19) falls into that context.

In Matthew 24 the surrounding verses speak of a personal coming with worldwide effects. Verse 7 speaks of not just one nation, but nations in general, and not just one famine but many, and not just one pestilence, but many, and not just one earthquake, but many, and not just in one location, but in diverse places. Verse 14 mentions "all the world." Granted, those are just the signs leading up to the coming, but when we read about the coming itself, verse 31 mentions the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other. In verse 38 Jesus compares His coming to the flood of Noah's day. Verse 39 says the flood took them "all" away, not just one city. Furthermore, the flood was a direct judgment of God, not an indirect judgment through the hand of man. All these indicate worldwide effects.

These worldwide effects follow a personal coming. Verse 37 mentions "the coming of the Son of man." Verse 39 also mentions "the coming of the Son of man." Verse 42 says, "your Lord doth come." Verse 44 says, "the Son of man cometh." The next chapter has similar statements. All these indicate a personal coming.

So the surrounding context in Matthew 24 differs from the surrounding context of Isaiah 19. It's more worldwide and less local. It's more personal and less mediated by man. Therefore, I'm not compelled to believe that when "they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" that the meaning is limited by Isaiah's cloud coming. Rather I find it easier to believe that Isaiah's cloud coming is a small foretaste of the final glorious coming at which the "clouds" are no longer just a figure of speech, but now reveal the reality upon which the figure of speech is based.

In addition to Isaiah 19, preterists also point to another cloud coming in Daniel 7:13.

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Preterists reason this way: since the direction of this cloud coming is not earthward, likewise the cloud coming in Matthew 24:30 is not necessarily earthward. But I think the question to ask is not "Where is the Son of man going?"—because that is clearly stated in Daniel 7:13—but rather "Where is the Son of man coming from?" Could it be that He's going heavenward at this moment because He went earthward previously?

Although preterists talk about the direction of His coming in Daniel 7:13, they don't talk about the fact that this is a personal coming. If they wanted to make a complete comparison, they could reason that since Daniel 7:13 is a personal coming, then also Matthew 24:30 is a personal coming, as opposed to revealing Himself indirectly through the Roman armies. I was under the impression that when He comes, He will come with His own armies (Revelation 19:14). And He will come in front of those armies, not hidden in heaven.

Many other passages do the preterists use to argue that the cloud coming is figurative, not literal. But one passage they don't use in this way is Acts 1:9–11. Since they overlook it, let's look at it now:

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Of all the cloud-coming passages, this one explicitly explains the manner of His coming again. With the other passages we have to ask, "Is this like that?" Is this parallel? Is this similar? But here there's no question, and so this should be the first passage we come to, not the last.

The passage makes a strong threefold comparison to His coming. First, this same Jesus tells us that it's the same Jesus whom they saw go into heaven, not a different Jesus. The angels could have just said Jesus. Why make a special point of saying this same Jesus? Maybe it's the same Jesus, preterists may object, but, He comes in a different way. Not so, because secondly, He "shall so come." The word so in Greek is a word of comparison, meaning in this way or likewise. And, lest we miss the point, thirdly, in like manner tells us what manner. The word manner in Greek means mode or style. If we just read preterists books, we may wonder, is His manner of coming like it was in Isaiah 19:1? Or like it was in Daniel 7:13? Preterists say that's the manner. But the angels here tell us the manner in threefold clarity.

The passage also reinforces the visibility fivefold. First, "while they beheld" tells us they were seeing Him with their eyes. Second, "out of their sight" tells us that He was in their sight before the clouds received Him. Third, "they looked stedfastly" tells us they were intently looking with their eyes in the direction of His ascension. Fourth, "gazing" tells us they were using their eyes. Fifth, "seen Him go" tells us they actually saw Him with their eyes.

So considering the threefold comparison and the fivefold seeing, how could the passage have stated it more clearly?

If preterists talk about this passage at all, they emphasize, not the oft-repeated seeing, but the once-mentioned "received him out of their sight." Well, of course He's hidden now. Going, there's a time when He's seen and a time when He's hidden. Coming, there's a time when He's hidden and a time when He's seen. He makes the transition from one to the other, but He is not hidden the entire time. He is clearly visible in this passage.

Could it be that preterists overlook this passage because it's so literal? Are not the disciples looking at a literal Jesus in His literal body? Is it not a literal cloud that received Him? If all these are literal, and if He is coming in the same manner, then where do preterists get the idea that "same manner" means figurative on all counts? That idea certainly doesn't derive from this passage. It's deduced from elsewhere.

To conclude our cloud-coming discussion, how do you decide if the cloud coming in the Olivet Discourse is literal or figurative? First, take a closer look at the Scriptures that preterists use, and notice that the alleged points of comparison really do not match up that well. Then observe the one Scripture that preterists overlook, and notice the numerous points of comparison. With those facts, you can decide.

 

LUKE TWENTY-ONE

Now that we have noticed some spots that preterists tend to overlook related to Matthew 24, let's move to a parallel passage, Luke 21. Although parallel and similar in some ways, the passages also have differences.

For example, Luke specifically mentions armies surrounding Jerusalem. Matthew does not. What do we make of that difference?

In spite of that difference, preterists believe both passages talk about Jerusalem's destruction. But futurists believe that only Luke includes it. Comparing both passages, futurists believe that the distress leading up to Jerusalem's destruction foreshadows the great tribulation leading up to the return of Christ. Such foreshadowing assures us that the final prophecy will really come true, just as the first one has.

Delving into the differences, I wondered if the discourse in Luke and the discourse in Matthew were spoken on two different occasions. Matthew tells us that Jesus spoke these words on the Mount of Olives, and that is why we call it the Olivet Discourse. Luke tells us that Jesus spoke in the daytime in the temple, and in the nighttime on the Mount of Olives. But he does not explicitly say at which of the two places He spoke these words. So if Luke didn't say, then I can't say either. I don't know if the discourses are entirely different, or if the writers just included different parts of the same discourse. Since we were not there to see if the discourse in Luke was spoken from the temple or from the mount, it comes down to this: if the two writers recorded prophecies about two events, we know this only by relying on the recorded words as the Holy Spirit inspired Luke and Matthew to write them.

I also wondered about the difference in the disciples' questions. Matthew records the question about His coming:

And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (Matthew 24:3)?

But Luke omits the question about His coming:

And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass (Luke 21:7)?

Is the difference in questions evidence of different answers? No, I don't think so, because we have to factor in Mark 13, the third parallel passage. Mark parallels Luke's questions, but he parallels Matthew's answers. So I don't want to read too much into the disciples' questions. I think we should concentrate on Jesus' answers to those questions.

Part of Jesus' answers are the same in both books. That is what makes them parallel passages. But part is decidedly different in Luke, and that part we will examine next.

I used to think that Luke's phrase, "But before all these," placed the destruction of Jerusalem before the tribulation. But following closely Luke's words, I now see that before means before the great signs from heaven rather than before the tribulation. (Furthermore, as we will notice later, Luke does not even mention the tribulation.) So if Luke's phrase does not prove tribulation timing, at least "before all these" introduces a digression in thought, a parenthesis. The digression consists of verses 12–24. If you were to put parenthesis around that portion, you would find that the verses before and after connect to each other. Observe:

And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven (Luke 21:11).

(But before all these . . . .)

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring (Luke 21:25).

Notice how verse 25 continues the thought of verse 11. Luke, the careful historian, likes to set things in order (Luke 1:3), and so he lets us know the parenthetical portion by using the phrase "But before all these."

Does Luke's parenthetical portion parallel Matthew and Mark? Preterists say "yes" because of the similarities. Futurists say "no" because of the differences. What similarities and differences do you see in these two passages:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains (Matthew 24:15–16).

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains (Luke 21:20–21a).

Prophecy commonly uses a near fulfillment to foreshadow a far fulfillment. In the case of the abomination spoken of in Matthew above, both preterists and futurists agree on a prior foreshadowing fulfillment. Daniel 8:13 and 11:31 prophesied an abomination of desolation that was fulfilled in 167 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes offered a sow upon the altar in the temple. That's past. Therefore, when Jesus prophesied another abomination yet future to His time (compare Daniel 9:27 and 12:11), we surmise that the first foreshadows the second.

Obviously, God arranges foreshadowings for a reason. Why? First, the prior fulfillment shows what the final fulfillment will be like. As one, so the other. In fact, if there's any difference between the two, we can expect the final fulfillment to be more complete, because that is what prophecy leads up to. Second, the prior fulfillment inspires faith that the final fulfillment will surely come to fruition.

In the case of the abomination of desolation, futurists see two foreshadowing events. First, Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the altar in 167 BC in fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy. How does that foreshadow? The final abomination also will happen in the temple (Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). As the second foreshadowing event, the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD in fulfillment of Luke's prophecy. How does that foreshadow? The command to flee when the armies surrounded the city is like the command to flee at the final abomination (Matthew 24:15, Revelation 12:14). Each foreshadowing event provides part of the picture, and both together complete the picture of the final fulfillment.

But unlike futurists, preterists find no foreshadowing in Luke. To them the similarities between Luke and Matthew prove sameness. That logic is sound as far as it goes, as long as there is no proof to the contrary. For example, when four Daniel passages mention the abomination of desolation, we would assume that they all refer to what happened in 167 BC, until Jesus came along and told us that there remained a fulfillment yet future to His time. Likewise, when Matthew and Luke both mention desolation, we would also assume them to be the same unless we had proof otherwise. I think it's fair to say that the burden of proof falls on futurists. So let's read it again, and as we do, we'll notice one decisive difference, proving that the two events are absolutely distinct.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains (Matthew 24:15–16).

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains (Luke 21:20–21a).

What is the signal to flee? If you were living in Jerusalem at the time of the desolation, that is the one thing you would want to know. When do you flee? The above verses provide two answers. Two different answers. The different answers evidence different events.

Matthew says to flee when you see something inside. Luke says when you see something outside. Inside or outside? Which is it? They're opposite.

By the way, this is not crucial to the argument here, but I might just point out that the holy place in the Bible refers to the holy place in the temple. Preterists may argue that the holy place here refers to Jerusalem, and they show us verses where Jerusalem is called the holy city. But they have not shown us verses where Jerusalem is called the holy place.

In context, Matthew's holy place refers to Daniel, and Daniel's location is temple related rather than city related. The Daniel passages about the abomination of desolation mention sanctuary, daily sacrifice, and oblation. Although Daniel 9:26 mentions the desolation of the city and the sanctuary, the abomination passages are temple related (8:13, 9:27, 11:31, 12:11). So in context, holy place means the holy place in the temple.

Besides Daniel, to which Matthew directly refers, see also Acts 6:13, Hebrews chapter 9, and 2 Thessalonians 2:4 for more information about the holy place. Mark 13:14 says the abomination of desolation will stand where it "ought not." And certainly the holy place, a restricted area, is an "ought not" kind of place.

With this in mind, the contrast between Matthew and Luke sharpens. Now the contrast is not just outside the city versus inside the city. That's opposite enough. But now, more than just inside the city, it's also inside the temple. And not only that, but it's also inside the holy place inside the temple. So if outside the city and inside the city are opposite, then outside the city and inside the holy place are totally opposite.

On that basis we conclude that Matthew and Luke depict different events, because the signal to flee is opposite. Preterists notice the fleeing itself, and say it's the same. Maybe the fleeing is similar. But the signal to flee is totally opposite.

From this decisive difference flow other observations consistent with the conclusion that these passages depict different events. First, the timing of fleeing is different. In Matthew the time to flee comes after the abomination of desolation. In Luke the time to flee comes before the desolation.

Second, the suddenness of fleeing is different. In Matthew if you're on the housetop, you don't have time to go down into your house to grab anything. It's a sudden specific one-day crisis. Luke is not so specific about the suddenness.

Third, the signal to flee is different in number. In Matthew it's the abomination of desolation (singular) standing in the holy place. In Luke it's the armies (plural) surrounding Jerusalem.

Fourth, the description of the desolation is different. Matthew calls it the "abomination" of desolation spoken of by Daniel. In Luke it's just "desolation," and it's not identified by Daniel.

Fifth, the description of the distress is different. Luke calls it "great distress." Matthew calls it "great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be." Preterists object that Matthew's description of the uniqueness of this time is not to be taken literally. To support their objection they provide a list of verses including Exodus 11:6 and Ezekiel 5:9 which use similar uniqueness language. However, Luke 21 is not on their list of uniqueness verses. Luke makes no claim to uniqueness as does Matthew. That's the difference.

Sixth, the scope of people in distress is different. Luke says there shall be "wrath upon this people" and "Jerusalem shall be trodden down." That's a narrow scope. But Matthew says "And except those days shall be shortened, there shall no flesh be saved." That's a broad scope. Preterists take "no flesh," not literally, but limited in scope to Jerusalem or to Israel. I understand their explanation. But all I'm pointing out here is that Luke's language differs from Matthew's wording. Let me point out also that after Luke finishes talking about the distress in the parenthetical portion, and after he starts talking about the second coming, then his language, like Matthew, becomes worldwide in scope, saying "it shall come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." But inside the parenthetical portion Luke's language is local, unlike Matthew.

Seventh, the days receive a different emphasis. Matthew says "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." But instead of shortening and saving, Luke says, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."

Eighth, the chronology of the desolation is different. Matthew has the abomination before the great tribulation. Although Luke has the signal to flee before the distress, the actual desolation occurs at the end of the distress. If timing verses are important to preterists, I would expect this chronology to be critical.

Ninth, the description of the false Christs is different. Luke mentions false Christs once, and that before the distress. Matthew mentions false Christs twice, the second mention after the great tribulation begins. The second set of false Christs show great signs and wonders. That is consistent with the futurist view of what will happen in the great tribulation. And if Luke is not talking about the future great tribulation, but a past distress, then it is consistent that he omit these miracles.

Tenth, the people go in opposite directions. Luke says they "shall be led away captive into all nations." Matthew says, "they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." One is scattering, the other is gathering.

What a pattern of differences we find! Each time I look another one jumps out at me. Now it's your turn. Tell me—did I miss a spot?

These ten differences are consistent with the one decisive difference seen above, namely the totally opposite signal to flee. So now it's not just that one difference, but also the entire pattern proves that Luke and Matthew speak of different times. Luke speaks of the time of distress leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Matthew speaks of the great tribulation leading up to the return of Christ in the future.

Actually, I did miss a spot. Here is difference number eleven. To put this in context, observe three sets of signs that Luke gives. He gives not-yet signs, a flee-now sign, and celestial signs.

The first set of signs includes wars, earthquakes, famines, and pestilences. Commenting on these, Luke says, "the end is not by and by." Matthew says, "the end is not yet." Matthew and Mark also call these signs "the beginning of sorrows." These signs have occurred over an extended time, perhaps increasing throughout history.

Second, a more compressed period of time is precipitated by the signal to flee. Those days are "shortened" according to Matthew and those years number only three and one-half years according to Revelation 12 and 13. The foreshadowing distress, the siege of Jerusalem, also lasted about three and one-half years.

Third, the signs in the sky close the period.

Each set of signs is more compressed in time than the previous set of signs. Because the third set of signs is so compressed, it's possible for someone in the last generation to see all three sets of signs. Such a person may start out seeing the not-yet signs (wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences) and yet live to see the rest of the signs.

Herein lies another difference between Luke and Matthew. Matthew writes as though the reader may live in the final generation and see the end. That assumption is missing in Luke.

For example, Matthew, while still describing not-yet signs, before mentioning the flee-now sign, says "he that shall endure unto the end . . . ." That phrase is missing from Luke. Then Matthew continues with another statement about the end, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Preterists argue that the gospel was preached in all the world by 70 AD, and therefore it was possible for the end of the age to occur in 70 AD. I understand their reasoning, but all I'm pointing out here, is that the phrase about the end is missing from Luke. Luke, in the parenthetical portion, does not write as though his readers will see the end.

As another example, while Matthew transitions from the flee-now signs to the celestial signs, he writes, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days . . . ." The words immediately after are missing from Luke. Luke does not even use the words that Mark does—after that tribulation. Luke simply says, "And there shall be signs in the sun . . ." without specifying when, as Matthew and Mark do. Since preterists like timing verses, I hope they will notice the timing indicators here.

While Matthew explicitly places the tribulation adjacent to the end, Luke does not place the time of distress adjacent to the time of the end. Just the opposite, he places it at the beginning of an extended time period. "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

When are the times of the Gentiles fulfilled? Some preterists find fulfillment at the fall of the city in 70 AD. But in Luke the time extends past the fall of the city. The trodding down of the city happens last in Luke's narrative, not first. The year 70 AD only started the trodding down, rather than ending it.

No, Luke leaves us with an extended time of Gentile domination over Jerusalem that, in hindsight, has lasted at least until 1967 when Israel won control over the entire city of Jerusalem, and perhaps even beyond that, because Zechariah 14:2 and Revelation 11:2 say that Jerusalem will be overrun yet again (more on Zechariah and Revelation later), and if so, that would put the end of the times of the Gentiles at the end of the age, at the return of Christ.

Therein lies the answer to the disciples' question about the end of the age. The age does not end with the temple destruction (Luke), but it ends with Christ's coming (Matthew).

Therefore, Luke and Matthew portray periods on opposite poles of the timeline. Luke, the beginning. Matthew, the end. That's difference number eleven. Remember, these eleven corroborate the decisive difference, namely, the signal to flee is totally opposite. That makes a grand total of a dozen differences between Matthew and Luke.

These dozen differences, mind you, are not random, but they follow a purposeful pattern, pointing to two distinct prophetic events. Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, how could Luke have infallibly followed the pattern? Luke did not have the benefit of hindsight of history, as we do, and yet his choice of words and phrases make more sense in hindsight than they do in foresight. Consider also, Luke was not one of the twelve, and neither Luke nor Matthew were one of the four who heard the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13:3), yet their written accounts consistently point to two different times of distress and tribulation. Luke could have followed Matthew's description, as Mark did, but he consistently followed a different pattern. As we try to sort out the differences and similarities, we may get mixed up, and we may argue about what Luke meant; yet Luke did not get mixed up. Luke kept the pattern.

Now that we have enumerated the ways in which Luke 21:20–24 diverges from Matthew 24, let's comment on a couple verses following that converge once again with Matthew.

Verse 28 says, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." When does redemption happen? In context, redemption is nigh when the kingdom of God is nigh (verse 31). Other passages reveal two aspects of redemption, one at the first coming of Christ, and the other at the second coming of Christ. The Greek word for redemption, is used ten times in the New Testament (Luke 21:28, Romans 3:24; 8:23, 1 Corinthians 1:30, Ephesians 1:7; 1:14; 4:30, Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:15; 11:35). The last reference translates it as deliverance, and it refers to neither the first coming nor the second coming, but to personal deliverance from death.

Do any of these meanings of redemption fit the destruction of Jerusalem? No, none fit. I know preterists will say that the kingdom of God came in 70 AD, and some even say the resurrection came in 70 AD. But to say it and to prove it are two different things. Reading all the "redemption" passages listed above reveals a different picture than reading preterist books.

Another passage converging with Matthew is Luke 21:32–33:

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

We saw earlier how Isaiah illuminates this generation to mean the race of Israel. Now let's think about the context here. The preceding verse says:

So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand (Luke 21:31).

In light of this verse, think about the short time that passes. "Nigh at hand," it says. Starting from "when ye see these things," how long is it? If by "these things" Jesus includes the flee-now signs, then the time is only three and one-half years. If by "these things" Jesus includes the celestial signs, then the time is too short to count. In any case, the time is far less than a forty-year generation. So how does this generation fit the context? It does not make sense to say, "Forty years will not pass before three and one-half years pass." What does make sense in this context? May I suggest, and if you have better ideas let me know, that the continuing race of Israel supports the certainty rather than the timing of Christ's every word. Has the race of Israel passed away? Then be assured that neither will His words pass away.

Finally the summary verse, verse 36, says:

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:36).

I have seen this verse used to support a pre-tribulation rapture. But I hesitate to use it this way. As we have seen, these things in context refers to the distress of Jerusalem past rather than to the great tribulation future. I think we pre-tribulationists have been inconsistent in claiming that verse 36 refers to the great tribulation while verses 20–24 do not.

To summarize, as we look at the map of the signs, where are we on the road to the end of the age? As of this writing, we are still at the first set of signs, the not-yet signs. We now see wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences. But we have not yet seen the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place. (Remember, armies outside Jerusalem is not the abomination inside the holy place.) From this we know that the sharp turn in the road is yet ahead.

 

THE SEVENTY WEEKS OF DANIEL

Daniel 2 contains a prophecy outlining future successive Gentile kingdoms. Daniel 9 contains a prophecy outlining the future for the Jewish nation. Both prophecies cover a broad sweep of many hundreds of years. Both prophecies culminate with the destroyer being destroyed (Daniel 2:44; 9:27). And both prophecies culminate with God's everlasting kingdom and righteousness (Daniel 2:44; 9:24).

In Daniel 9 the time span for the prophecy is seventy weeks. Futurists and preterists generally agree that the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24–27 refer to weeks of years. In other words, the time is 490 years.

Our disagreement centers around the seventieth week. Does the seventieth week follow consecutively after the sixty-ninth or is there a gap? In other words, is the seventieth week past or future?

Daniel 9:24–27 reads:

24   Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25   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.
26   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.
27   And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

The primary point according to preterists, if I understand their view correctly, is that the passage should flow naturally. We should not read something into the passage that is not there. And so they ask, "Where do you get a gap?"

My answer is twofold. First, as you recall, the gap comes from Jesus' interpretation, not mine. In Matthew 24:15 Jesus places the central event of the seventieth week future to His time. The first sixty-nine weeks, we agree, end at the time of Jesus. So if the events of the seventieth week fall future to that time, whether it be forty years future or 2000 years future, then we have a gap. I think our disagreement should not be, "Is there a gap?" but rather, "How long is the gap?"

Does a future week force a foreign idea into Daniel 9:24–27 so that it no longer flows naturally? Not at all. With Jesus' interpretation in mind, we'll find that it flows more naturally than ever before, which brings me to the second part of my answer.

Second, I answer with a question. Does verse 26 come between verse 25 and verse 27? If it does, then there is your gap. If we follow the natural flow, and if we think chronologically and consecutively, then it flows like this. Verse 25 tells what happens in the first sixty-nine weeks. Verse 27 tells what happens in the seventieth week. And in between? Well, verse 26 tells what happens in between. So the verses follow consecutively even though the weeks may not follow consecutively. After all, is it not more desirable to follow the context than a calendar?

Some preterists do admit a gap, because they place the seventieth week around 70 AD. I don't know why they all don't.

Other preterists who deny a gap still place the central event of the seventieth week, the abomination of desolation, around 70 AD. So in effect, they have a gap, even though they don't call it that. Yet other preterists stretch the seventieth week to include the forty years from 30 AD to 70 AD. Now tell me, if our goal is to interpret according to the most natural consecutive flow, isn't it more natural to leave the week intact rather than to slice it or stretch it? What clue in the context tells us that this week is longer than the other weeks?

An orange divides most naturally between the sections. But if you try to slice or stretch a section itself, then juice might squirt out at you.

Now it's my turn to ask, "Where do you get a gap?" What gap? The gap between the twin events of the seventieth week. What twin events? These twin events:

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot (Daniel 8:13)?

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Daniel 9:27).

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate (Daniel 11:31).

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 (Daniel 12:11).

Notice that the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the abomination of desolation occur in close connection, not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times in the book of Daniel. Notice also that the twin events happen on the same day, because days are counted from that day. Certainly they don't happen thirty years apart; yet some preterists, not all, put a thirty-year gap between the two events in Daniel 9:27. To them I say, "Where do you get the gap?" Can you justify a gap by saying that an entire verse comes between the intervening events? No, just an and joins the same-day events in Daniel 9:27. What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Yet some preterists divorce the events.

I think our disagreement should not be, "Is there a gap?" but rather "Where is the most natural place for the gap?" Or, to put it another way, "Where does the text itself break? Before the week or during the week?"

Our objective, remember, is to refrain from forcing foreign ideas into the text. We want the text flow naturally. On that we agree. So with that in mind, observe more examples of flowing versus forcing.

The text says, "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off." It does not say, "In the middle of the seventieth week." Yet the timeline of some preterists reads that way. The text is clear and chronological if we will just follow it. It clearly places middle-of-the-week events in the middle of the week. And so if Messiah's cutting off were also in the middle of the week, then surely the text could have likewise said so, instead of just saying after week 69. Is not every word inspired? If we cannot depend on the words as they are written, then what can we depend on? Is it more reliable to depend on preterists who move the cutting off to the middle of the week?

Furthermore, some preterists don't leave the middle-of-the-week events in the middle of the week, moving the abomination of desolation outside the week. That scrambles it even more.

As another example of flowing versus forcing, the text tells of the destruction of the city and the sanctuary before it mentions the events of week 70. Yet the timeline of preterists reverses this order.

All these examples remind me of dominoes. Could not the preterists let just one domino fall? No, they all fall out of place.

Preterists protest loudly about the gap in our chronology. Methinks they doth protest too much, because their own timeline looks liquid.

 

The Abomination of Desolation. On the preterist timeline, when is the abomination of desolation? The text says "in the midst of the week." But some preterists put it at the end of the week. Some put it after the week.

Some put the abomination of desolation during Nero's reign, claiming that he is the beast of Revelation 13. If he were the beast, he wouldn't fit the timeline because he committed suicide in 68 AD. That is two years too early by the preterist timeline, because according to Revelation 19, Christ destroys the beast at His coming. The beast in Revelation 13 must match the beast in Revelation 19.

Instead of Nero, some say Rome is the beast of Revelation 13. That also wouldn't fit the timeline, because Rome was not destroyed by Christ in 70 AD. None of their own explanations fit their own timeline.

On the preterist timeline it's really hard to pin down either the perpetrator of the abomination or the exact date of the abomination of desolation. Preterists disagree with each other, and some are even vague on purpose, and spread it out over time. In contrast, Christ's account is clear (Matthew 24:15–18). It's a sudden, easily recognizable event. When it happens people will certainly know it. But scanning the preterist timeline for the abomination of desolation yields only uncertainty, ironically so, since it supposedly happened in the past. If they have trouble agreeing on when it happened or who did it, then it makes us wonder if it really happened yet.

 

The Anointing of the Most Holy. On the preterist timeline, when is the anointing of the most Holy? On the face of it, we would expect it to happen at the end of the seventy weeks, because the anointing is the final goal of the seventy weeks. The goals and weeks should be coterminous. Otherwise, why seventy weeks? Why not sixty-nine? Why not seventy-one?

But the preterist timeline is not coterminous. For them, the anointing of the most Holy happened when the Holy Spirit descended upon Messiah at the baptism of John. That comes after week 69, by their own timeline, not week 70. So the final goal gets fulfilled a week early.

Now if the timing is a little off, why do preterists connect the anointing to the Messiah? They reason that since Messiah is mentioned twice in the context, and since Messiah means the anointed one, therefore, anointing connects to Messiah.

But, reasoning similarly, do they connect most Holy in the context? No, they overlook it. The word holy in verse 24 is the same Hebrew word as sanctuary in verse 26. That is the stronger connection, because the object of the anointing is the most Holy. That makes it the most relevant term to study.

If we claim to keep to the context, then let's assume the text says Messiah when it means Messiah, and that it says sanctuary when it means sanctuary. Which one is anointed? No denying that other passages say Jesus was anointed, but this text specifically says sanctuary, as we could translate holy into English. Grammatically, that is the object of the verb.

Still sticking to the context, just a few verses earlier, note Daniel's prayer regarding the sanctuary:

Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake (Daniel 9:17).

Daniel's prayer precipitates Gabriel's prophecy of the seventy weeks. In other words, when Daniel prayed for God's face to shine upon the desolate sanctuary, Gabriel came to answer his prayer. Now think, what part of the prophecy answers his prayer? It's none other than the final goal of the seventy weeks, "anoint the most Holy." If that's not it, then no part of the prophecy answers his prayer.

Going further back in the context, compare sanctuary in this chapter to sanctuary in the preceding chapter. Both chapters foretell similar events, because the chapter 8 prophecy foreshadows the chapter 9 prophecy. Some details vary, especially the duration of the desolation, because these are different events at different times. But notice that the sanctuary in this foreshadowing event is cleansed at the end:

Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (Daniel 8:11–14).

Notice the similar ending. Just as the desolation in chapter 8 ends with the cleansing of the sanctuary, so also the desolation in chapter 9 ends with the anointing of the sanctuary (most Holy). That is the ultimate goal of the seventy weeks, not the annihilation of the sanctuary, but rather the anointing of the sanctuary, if goals and weeks be coterminous.

The context grows wider. Not only does the word Holy mean sanctuary, not only is sanctuary used in the immediate context two verses later, not only does the anointing answer Daniel's prayer, not only does the preceding chapter express a similar idea, but also the entire Old Testament uses the expression most Holy to refer to the sanctuary or to sanctuary related things. All these currents of context converge into one mighty river of truth.

Having learned that holy and sanctuary are the same word, what does most mean? Actually, it's the same word as Holy, except plural. It's a plural of superlative, and most Holy can also be translated holy of holies. This expression appears forty-six times in the Old Testament, and it is never used of the Messiah, never used of a person. See the entire list of passages in the appendix to this chapter, and observe that the expression always refers to the temple, the holy of holies within the temple or tabernacle, furniture within the tabernacle, or articles used in temple or tabernacle worship.

The expression most Holy is used in connection with Moses' tabernacle (Exodus 26:33), Solomon's temple (1 Kings 6:16), Zerubbabel's rebuilt temple (Ezra 2:63), and Ezekiel's temple (Ezekiel 45:3).

When preterists tell us that most Holy refers to the Messiah, why don't they also tell us how most Holy is used throughout the Old Testament? Thankfully, some do. Knowing that most Holy never refers to Messiah or to a person in the Old Testament, some preterists believe that it refers to a future temple.

When some preterists refer to a future temple, they do not mean a physical temple. Instead they apply it either to the church (as the body of believers) or to a heavenly temple. Do these views better fit the usage of most Holy in the Old Testament? No, the Old Testament provides no precedent for these meanings either.

Lacking Old Testament support, they go to the New Testament for support. Remember now, when interpreting the seventy weeks of Daniel 9, preterists teach us to let the text flow naturally and not to find foreign ideas. Going by that guideline, do New Testament passages fit naturally? Or do they inject foreign ideas? In the case of Matthew 24:15, Jesus mentions the abomination of desolation, and He explicitly refers to Daniel. So the connection is clear, and it fits perfectly.

Does the same hold true for other New Testament passages, those passages where preterists define the anointing of the most Holy? For example, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 1:21–22, and 2 Corinthians 6:16 say that the church as the body of Christ is the temple of God and anointed by God. But is the church ever called the most Holy? Is this the same temple and the same anointing spoken of by Daniel?

No, the temple in Daniel is a physical temple. Most Holy as used in the Old Testament always refers to a physical something. So the New Testament connection claimed is not that clear.

Lacking an explicit New Testament connection linking the church and most holy, does the timing somehow connect? No, the timing does not fit. If we say the church was anointed at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came, that does not coincide with the end of the seventieth week by any timeline, whether preterist or futurist.

Some preterists attempt to solve the timeline issue by saying that a heavenly temple was anointed in 70 AD upon the destruction of the earthly temple. In this way, they make the goals and the weeks coterminous. Aside from the fact that they stretch the seventieth week (making it last about forty years) in order to make this happen, how would we know that the heavenly temple was anointed in 70 AD? Hebrews 9:12 points to a different time when it says:

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Notice that His entering into the holy place in heaven happened in the past, prior to the writing of Hebrews. Notice further, this happened just once. Notice finally, He entered by His own blood. That puts the focus back on His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. To shift the focus away from that is not right.

If any anointing happened in heaven in 70 AD, how would we know it? We know that Christ entered the holy place in heaven once already, because Hebrews clearly says so. We know that the Spirit descended upon Christ at His baptism, when some preterists place the anointing of the most Holy, because John the Baptist saw the Spirit descend like a dove. The Spirit came upon the church at Pentecost, when other preterists place the anointing of the most Holy, because people saw the cloven tongues of fire and because people heard the gospel in many languages, and so we know that it really happened. But if in 70 AD some anointing happened in heaven, it's less provable.

None of the anointing theories of the preterists can answer "yes" to all these questions:

1. Does it flow naturally out of Daniel itself?
2. Does it fit the Old Testament usage of most Holy?
3. Does it fall at the end of week seventy as it fulfills the final goal of week 70?

Or, to put it simpler, does it fit context and chronology? No, their anointing theories do not fit. Is that why we have several preterist anointing theories? Is it not clear, even to them, when and what is the anointing of the most Holy?

The only way we can agree with each other is to agree with the text. The text in Daniel speaks of a physical temple. As the desecration, so the anointing. Both reference a physical temple.

 

Continuity of Temples. What temple was standing when Daniel wrote? None. Solomon's temple had been burned by the Babylonians almost seventy years earlier.

Then what temple did Daniel prophecy about? One yet to be built. You and I have read about the temple being rebuilt more than once. But Daniel had never heard of the temple being rebuilt even once. Yet he prophesied of temples far into the future.

The prophecy of Daniel 8:11 finds fulfillment in Zerubbabel's rebuilt temple. The prophecy of Daniel 9:26 applies to Herod's reconstructed temple (John 2:20). On those two passages we agree. By futurist interpretation, Daniel 9:27 will happen in the tribulation temple.

Observe two things about the way Daniel writes. First, Daniel writes as though a temple exists, even though it does not. That is natural, because it's prophecy. Second, Daniel seamlessly writes of multiple temples as though they were one. We see the same pattern throughout Scripture. Some examples follow.

First came the tabernacle of Moses.

For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount (Hebrews 8:4–5).

Did you notice? The writer of Hebrews seamlessly integrates the tabernacle of Moses with the temple then standing. Why? Because both are patterned after the heavenly.

After the tabernacle of Moses came the temple of Solomon. At the dedication Solomon prayed:

But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee: That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place. Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive (2 Chronicles 6:18–21).

Now what if people prayed "toward this place" after the Babylonians burned it? Would God still hear? God heard Daniel (Daniel 6:10; 9:3; 9:17). Daniel's phrase, "thy sanctuary that is desolate," shows a continuity, not just a broken continuity that jumps from temple to temple, but a continuous continuity that endures through desolations.

After Solomon's temple came Zerubbabel's temple.

Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD (Ezra 3:8).

How can their "coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem" happen before they built the house, even before they laid the foundation? Think about that for a while.

After Zerubbabel's temple came Herod's temple. Herod tore down the old one in order to reconstruct a better one, the one standing at the time of Jesus.

And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up (John 2:16–17).

What Scripture did the disciples remember? They remembered Psalm 69:9, written by David. The house of the Lord in David's time was still a tent. The house of the Lord in Jesus' time was started by the same man who tried to kill Jesus as a baby. Both were the house of the Lord.

On another occasion, Jesus said, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer" (Matthew 21:13). Where was that written? Isaiah prophesied:

Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people (Isaiah 56:7).

In this passage, Isaiah speaks of a house future to his time. By futurist interpretation, it's future to our time also. But it's always the house of prayer, whether it be past, present, or future.

Does the temple have a future? Well, preterists and futurists agree on one thing, and it's this: when the Lord returns, He returns to His temple. But preterists say He returns to destroy His temple, while futurists say He returns to bless His temple. With whom does Malachi agree?

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years (Malachi 3:1–4).

Malachi dovetails with Daniel who records that the ultimate goal is the anointing of the temple rather than the annihilation of the temple. The anointing is the final goal of the final week, coterminus in time, with no gap between the purpose of the time and the expiration of the time.

 

He Shall Confirm a Covenant. Now let's talk about the covenant in Daniel 9:27: "And he shall confirm the covenant [literally, a covenant] with many for one week."

Futurists and preterists differ on several points. Futurists believe the covenant is confirmed by "the prince that shall come" of the preceding verse, commonly called antichrist, while preterists say the covenant is confirmed by Messiah, also mentioned in the preceding verse. Futurists believe the covenant is confirmed for one week, while preterists say the covenant is the everlasting covenant of God's redemptive grace. Futurists believe the covenant is confirmed at the beginning of the seventieth week, while preterists say it is confirmed at the middle of the seventieth week.

What evidence do preterists offer? They point out that the covenant is confirmed, not made. This implies a previously existing covenant. Personally, I have no argument with that. I'll accept that observation. However, even if the covenant (literally, a covenant) were previously existing, that still doesn't prove which covenant this is or who confirmed it. Let's dig deeper.

The word confirm means to make strong or prevail. Does that word tell us who or when? It's true that Messiah's covenant came into full force upon His death, because Hebrews 9:17 says, "For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth."

But in another sense, that covenant was already as strong as it could possibly be when it was first made, because Hebrews 6:13–19 says:

13   For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
14   Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
15   And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
16  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
17   Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
18   That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19   Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

The word stedfast (verse 19) is the same Greek word translated force in Hebrews 9:17. The word confirmation (verse 16) is another form of that same Greek word. So we see a forceful confirming at two times, at the first promise as well as when it was sealed with blood.

Where does this study of confirm lead us? Was the covenant (literally, a covenant) confirmed at the first? Or made first and confirmed later? It could be either.

More to the point, who confirmed this covenant in Daniel? Was it Messiah the prince? Or was it the other prince? Whether it be a pre-existing covenant or not, that still doesn't tell us who confirmed it. The Middle East area has a ton of old treaties. Could not the prince that is to come confirm an old treaty? We can speculate just about anything. But instead of speculating, I'd feel more comfortable if we returned to Daniel to get more information from the context. Let's dig deeper.

Daniel 9:25–27 mentions two princes and one covenant. If we keep reading, we come to Daniel 11:21–23:

And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.

When it says, "the prince of the covenant," to what prince does it refer? To what covenant? It most likely refers back to chapter 9.

The Bible interprets itself. You can read all the commentaries in the world, both preterist and futurist. And you can learn a lot from doing that. But after you've read them all, which one do you believe? The commentary of Daniel itself is most reliable.

The commentary in Daniel 11:22 reveals which prince is the prince of the covenant. The English translation seems to say that the prince of the covenant shall be broken. That means broken in battle according to the context. If I understand the Hebrew correctly, yea, also can also be translated yea, even. If that's true, the prince could be the one doing the breaking instead of the one being broken. Either way, whether broken in battle or breaking in battle, this prince is not Messiah the prince, because Messiah does not participate in this battle.

If my suggested translation is correct, then Daniel's prince of the covenant in 11:22 is the vile person of 11:21, the one who is against the holy covenant in 11:28. Preterists and futurists agree that this person in history turned out to be Antiochus Epiphanes (in power from 175–164 BC). Futurists believe he is a type of antichrist to come. That means the prince of the covenant in chapter 11, if not exactly the same prince as in chapter 9, at least may be a type of the prince in chapter 9.

But however you identify the prince, whether he's the vile person or not, whether he's a type of antichrist or not, this much is clear: calling him the prince of the covenant (Daniel 11:22) distinguishes him from Messiah the prince (Daniel 9:25). Each prince has his own designation in order to tell them apart. Of the two princes, Daniel 11 tells us which one is associated with the covenant.

In addition to identifying the prince, Daniel 11 may reveal more about the covenant. I realize that some futurists have their own idea about the covenant. Some teach that antichrist covenants with the Jews to build the temple. I can't prove that. Neither can I disprove it. But verse 23 mentions a league. And verse 21 says, "he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries." Both surrounding verses imply political alliances.

Can covenant mean a political alliance? Or does covenant always mean God's covenant? Consulting a concordance turns up Genesis 21:27, Exodus 34:12, and about thirty other passages where a covenant is political or personal. Sometimes the Hebrew word is translated league (Joshua 9:6, 7, 11, 15, 16) or confederate (Genesis 14:13).

In summary, chapter 11 provides a commentary on the covenant and on the covenant confirmer. "The prince of the covenant" in chapter 11 likely references "the prince that shall come" in chapter 9. Having examined the context, now let's examine the words and grammar relating to the prince that shall come.

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 (Daniel 9:26).

In this verse, "The people of the prince that shall come" is a most fascinating phrase. We would expect it to say, "a prince shall come and destroy the city." But no. The people destroy the city, and the prince is yet to come. If the people destroy the city, then what does the prince do when he comes? The next verse tells us:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)

Notice the three he's. In the Hebrew, he is part of the verb, but just the same, grammatically, we would expect them all to refer to the same person. Based on grammar, we would expect the desolater and covenant confirmer to be one and the same.

But preterists find an earlier antecedent for he. They tie he to Messiah in the first part of verse 26. Their argument says that Messiah is the main subject, and the prince that shall come is relegated to a subordinate clause. Therefore, the first he in verse 27 skips over the last mentioned subordinate prince and refers to the earlier mentioned main prince. Likewise with the second he. This logic might hold if the third he backed it up. But the third he is the desolater. Will they say that the third he skips over the two preceding he's, referring back to the subordinate prince in verse 26? That would be grammatically questionable. To be consistent, if the third he refers to the prince that shall come, then why not the other he's also?

Futurists understand he, the confirmer of the covenant, to refer to the last mentioned prince, the one of whom the text is careful not to say that he destroys the city, but instead says that he shall come. Additional support for this view comes from Keil's commentary. Keil translates the end in verse 26 as his end, so that it reads, "the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and his end thereof shall be with a flood." The reason for this translation is that his is masculine singular. If it were referring to the city, it would be feminine. If it were referring to both the city and sanctuary, then it would be plural. Some English Bible translations show his end in a footnote. If Keil's his end translation is correct, then it extends the continuity of the three he's in verse 27, strengthening the antecedent relationship to the prince that shall come.

To put it simply, the text says Messiah when it means Messiah so that we do not have to guess. Verse 25 clearly says Messiah. Verse 26 clearly says Messiah. But verse 27 does not. And verse 27 is the only verse in the passage that says what the last mentioned prince will do when he comes. That, in combination with the continuity of he's following the last mentioned prince, in combination with the prince of the covenant two chapters later, all provide one consistent commentary on the one who confirms the covenant.

 

The Timing of the Covenant. We talked about the confirmer of the covenant. Now let's talk about the timing of the covenant. Futurists place the covenant at the beginning of Daniel's seventieth week. Preterists place it in the middle of the week. Also they place the cutting off of Messiah at the same time, tying the two together. Daniel 9:26, remember, places the cutting off of Messiah after sixty-nine weeks, before the mention of the seventieth week, but that's beside the point here. Here we'll talk about the timing of the covenant.

The King James Version in Daniel 9:27 reads, "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week." On that basis, futurists believe the covenant starts the week.

But preterists translate it differently. Making week the subject of the sentence, their translation reads something like, "And one week shall confirm the covenant with many." This translation allows the covenant to occur any time during the week. They put week first in the word order, even though the original Hebrew, as well as the Septuagint translation, have week last in the word order.

Supposing for a minute that the preterists are right, I have four questions for them. First, if the covenant were confirmed in the middle of the week, then why doesn't the text be more specific about it and say so? Why leave it so general? The same verse clearly says "in the midst of the week" for another event. When the Holy Spirit means "midst of the week" He says so. The King James Version specifically places the covenant at the beginning of the week. But the preterist translation sounds so general, almost like, "at some time during the week." Why so general here when the surrounding text is so specific?

While we're on the subject of the Holy Spirit saying precisely what He means, notice the wording of a time indicator in the preceding verse: "after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off" (Daniel 9:26). The text could have read, "during the seventieth week," or more precisely, "in the middle of the seventieth week." It doesn't say that, but preterists who believe in a consecutive seventieth week, do say that. In their view "after three score and two weeks" is not the precise time, because they go on to define a different precise time. But for those who believe in a postponed seventieth week, the words simply stand alone with no need to adjust their accuracy.

Time indicators are especially important to preterists, and so of all people I hope they appreciate these back-to-back time indicators in back-to-back verses. If we trust that the Holy Spirit said precisely what He meant, then we know our time indicators tell accurate time. But if we have to adjust our time indicators, then that defeats the purpose of a time indicator, now, doesn't it?

So why is the preterist translation so general, and not specific? That was question one about the proposed preterist translation of "confirm the covenant with many for one week." Three more to go. Second, suppose preterists answer question one this way: "The reason the time is stated generally, instead of specifically, is because it really did take an extended time to confirm the covenant. We have to count Jesus' life as well as His death." In this case, my next question is, "Why a whole week? Why doesn't the text say half a week if that is really what was meant?"

Third, suppose preterists answer question two this way: "It really did take the entire week to confirm the covenant. We have to count three and one-half years of preaching after the cross." In this case my next question is, "If the confirming of the covenant were truly finished at the end of the week, then why isn't it one of the six stated goals of the seventy weeks?"

Fourth, suppose preterists answer question three this way: "The confirming of the covenant is one of the six goals, and it completes the seventieth week. It's just worded differently." In this case, my final question is "If the sixth goal (to anoint the most Holy), as you say, happens at the start of the week, then why are the goals out of chronological order? Is not a cohesive chronology critical to your claims in this passage?"

You see, when you think it through, when the sediment settles to the bottom of the glass of water, it becomes clear. Don't stir it up again, because once you reinterpret one little phrase, then you have to reinterpret another phrase to make it fit, and another, and another. Isn't it simpler just to leave God's words alone, and then watch them come together on their own?

To summarize how we view Daniel's seventy weeks, what is our uppermost priority? Is it to keep the weeks contiguous? Or is it to let the words keep their own chronology? As the waters of a stream wind around the boulders in its bed, so also let the weeks wrap around the words.

Now just for fun, let's reread Daniel 9:24–27, this time inserting the preterist interpretation (or reinterpretation) in parentheses. They claim to keep a contiguous chronology. Do you believe it?

24   Seventy weeks (actually, sixty-nine and one-half weeks will accomplish these goals) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy (meaning Messiah, the only place in Scripture where this phrase refers to a person, and occurring after sixty-nine weeks).
25   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.
26   And after threescore and two weeks (meaning in the midst of the seventieth week) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come (actually, the prince himself along with his people) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary (actually, this happens after the seventieth week instead of after threescore and two weeks); and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27   And he (not the last mentioned prince, but the earlier mentioned prince) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (meaning that at some unspecified time during the week he will confirm the everlasting covenant): and in the midst of the week he (not the last mentioned prince, but the earlier mentioned prince) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (as defined by the yet-to-be-written book of Hebrews, not as defined by similar passages in Daniel's own book), and for the overspreading of abominations he (now it's the last mentioned prince) shall make it desolate (actually, this happens, not in the midst of the week, but almost forty years after the week ends), even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.