OBJECTIONS TO THE CURRENT INTERPRETATION OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS *
Namely, that Daniel's hebdomads are of years (Dan.
9: 24); that the cutting off' in ver. 26 is
1. That the dates of both Advents are mathematically measured in the mind of God is certain; but if either measure has been divulged in exact numbers - as alleged - it is unique; and it is strange that a prophecy so startlingly evidential is never referred to by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, neither by our Lord Himself nor by any Apostle. Beyond denial such a revelation is contrary to the habit of the Most High, and against the studied withholding of dates throughout the Bible.
2. Assuming the alleged interpretation it follows that between Daniel 9., verses 26 and 27 - nay, between sections of verse 26 - the prophecy, with no word of warning, no syllable of explanation, leaps 2,000 years, and thus evades its own computation; for the one thing that is not stated in the passage is any gap at all; and the only way to secure it is to make Prophecy do a thing utterly unique - to forecast a period in years, and yet omit from it, in silence, a period four times as long.
3. Seventy weeks, whatever value we put upon weeks, are an integer, a solid segment of time, purposely measured and delimited; and to insert 2,000 years between the last two weeks - without the remotest hint of any such thing in the passage - makes seventy weeks (whatever the value of the weeks) an actual untruth. A mathematical statement, it is made a mathematical falsehood.
4. It is
only in a forced and non-natural sense that the finishing of sin and the
bringing in of everlasting righteousness can be said to have occurred at
Calvary; and of
5. It is fatal to the ordinary view that, in a mathematical prophecy, such as this, in which its sole evidential value rests on an accurate and demonstrable fulfilment, no agreement concerning even the first Advent dates, which ought to have been obvious, has ever been reached. The desperate apology of Preiswerk is the reductio ad absurdum which, in the absence of established dates, is inevitable:- We ought not, considering the uncertainty of ancient chronology, to lay much stress in calculating the exact year: but be content to point out a general coincidence, of the historical with the prophetical time: if we show that possibly even a minute coincidence took place, and that at least no one can prove the contrary, we shall have done enough to prove the truth of the ancient prophecy."*
6. A prophecy which puts numerical limits to the sin of Daniel's people, Daniel is stated to have understood (Dan. 10: 1); but this is impossible, if the prophecy is bisected by an unnamed interlude of unknown years - so unknown, that their number is a mystery to us even now.
7. Finally, to plead that the dates lie buried until the Book of Daniel is unsealed (Dan. 12: 4) is to abandon all evidential significance in the figures, to admit the failure of every attempt to identify the dates, to confess that a revelation specifically concerned with dates reveals none, and to empty the prophecy of the one thing that prophecy means - disclosure. **
[*Italics are as found in the original writing.]
[** It is well for inexpert readers to know that even upholders of the theory (whether in its Historicist or its Futurist form) freely admit its precariousness. "I am fully of opinion," says Prof. Stuart, "that no interpretation as yet published will stand the test of thorough grammatico-historical criticisms." So Mr. J. W. Bosanquet:- "Every fresh interpreter only adds force to our conviction that some fundamental error lies at the foundation of all Christian interpretation, and that until this source of error shall have been discovered, the seventy weeks of Daniel will continue to remain unexplained and unexplainable to the comprehension of any unprejudiced enquirer."]