Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
We’re going through Dave Hunt’s book When Will Jesus Come? Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ, and we’re currently in chapter 12, titled, “The Church Must Be Removed.”
Dave, last week you went over the 70 weeks of years prophesied by Daniel and how there would be a gap between the 69th week and the 70th week—that is, the last seven years before the Second Coming of Christ. Now we know that the last week hasn’t occurred, because numerous prophecies pertaining to that seven-year period haven’t been fulfilled yet. But what about this gap? Is this something that some made up, or is it…how do you arrive at this gap between 483 years and the last seven years?
Dave: Tom, of course there are people who say it is something we made up, the Gap Theory. But if we look at Daniel:9:24 again, 70 weeks—that’s 70 sevens, because these are not weeks of days, but weeks of years, and we showed why that had to be the case. In other words, for 490 years Israel never did what they were supposed to do. They never let the slaves go free every seventh year, they never let the land lie fallow every seventh year, or forgave all fellow Hebrews their debts every seventh year. That was a 490-year period, and God said, “You owe the land 70 years of lying fallow. Don’t till the soil. You don’t reap anything,” and so forth.
So we know that this is a period of 490 years corresponding to that previous 490 years. “Seventy sevens,” actually, it says in the Hebrew, “are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city [of course, that’s the Jews, and that’s Jerusalem]…”
Dave: “…to finish the transgression.” Well, I could hardly say that transgressions have finished! So something hasn’t happened.
Tom: The transgression meaning the sins of the Jewish people, of Israel?
Dave: Right, yes. Thank you. And to make an end of sins…well, Tom, let’s take a quick look here. Go back to Ezekiel so we can see the correlation. It’s amazing! I don’t know whether Daniel knew Ezekiel. Ezekiel 38…39, actually—but the Bible is one book, and even though it’s written over a period of 1,600 years by 40 different men, most of whom never met one another, didn’t know one another, it is one book with amazing continuity from Genesis to Revelation.
Tom: Including the culture. They had different occupations, came from different cultures…
Tom: …Daniel’s in Babylon, Moses is in Egypt, and so on.
Dave: Right. Yeah, Ezekiel 38 and 39 are about the battle of Armageddon. Ezekiel 38 tells us the fate, if you want to say it that way, what God is going to do to the nations that attack Israel. “The whole world will shake at my presence,” God says in verse 20 of chapter 38. God is coming back to this earth. Of course, that’s Jesus Christ. And you go to Zechariah:12:10: “They will look on Me whom they have pierced.” That’s Yahweh speaking.
So Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, is returning to this world as a resurrected, glorified Man to rescue Israel in the midst of Armageddon, okay? That’s in chapter 38. Chapter 39, you get what is going to happen to the Jewish people. And here we have it, I’ll just read a few select verses.
Tom: Again, written by the Jewish prophets.
Dave: Absolutely. [Ezekiel] 39:7: “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let them pollute my holy name anymore.” Okay?
Daniel says, “To make an end of sins.” How about that? Well, Ezekiel tells you when it’s going to happen: at the battle of Armageddon.
Then we can just jump down to—well, to verse 22: “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.” Well, He says He’s going to finish the transgression, make an end of sins—well, that’s not going to come about except through…they are converted, they’re reconciled to God—“to make reconciliation for iniquity….” That’s going to happen. “…[T]o bring in everlasting righteousness.” These people will not ever sin again. “And the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.”
So these wayward people will now, those who have survived—two-thirds will be killed—the one-third that is brought through the worst time for Israel, which yet lies ahead, Jeremiah:30:7: “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” where God says, “I’m going to make a full end of the nations, but I will not make a full end of you, but I will punish you. You’re not going to get off of this free,” okay?
Then we go down to verse 29: “Neither will I hide my face anymore from them, for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.” So He’s going to bring in everlasting righteousness. He’s going to, it says, “Seal up the vision” and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. In other words, the Messiah will return, and He’s going to take His throne, as the kings were anointed when they took the throne, so this is the anointing of the Most Holy, which is Jesus Christ himself, okay? So…
Tom: So those are all prophecies yet to be fulfilled, obviously.
Dave: Absolutely. Well, here, verse 28, you can see for sure that it’s—well, of course, none of what we talked about has been fulfilled yet. Israel still sins! They’re still far from God. Still, 30 percent claim to be atheists, and so forth. They don’t give God the glory, generally. But verse 28: “Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen. But I have gathered them unto their own land….” Well, that’s been happening now, but notice this: “…and have left none of them anymore there.” Not one Jew will be left outside of Israel, and of course you get that in Matthew 24, where Jesus said He’s going to send His angels. They will gather His elect from the four winds. So that’s not the Rapture of the church; that’s the gathering of all the Jews left alive back to Israel where He will reign over them.
So obviously that hasn’t happened. Now, either the Bible is wrong—either this is a false prophecy, or…well, if it’s telling the truth, then how are we to interpret it? Well, [Daniel] tells us clearly at the end of 69 of these weeks of years, 483 years, the Messiah would come. And then it says, “And he would be cut off…shall Messiah be cut off [that’s killed], but not for himself.” Now, there’s a prophecy that the Messiah would be killed! And John the Baptist didn’t understand it, the disciples didn’t understand it, and the rabbis who had Him nailed to the cross and mocked Him, saying, “If you’re the Messiah, what are you doing up there?” They didn’t know that they were fulfilling the Scriptures! I love how the Bible all hangs together, Tom.
So in his first recorded sermon in Acts 13, Paul talks about this. He says, “They fulfilled the prophecies in what they did to Jesus, because they were ignorant of these prophecies.” Okay, so we know at the end of 69 weeks of years, the Messiah was cut off! He was crucified, as the prophets foretold. He rose from the dead, He ascended to heaven…well, obviously then, there must be a gap. The gap will only end when He returns.
So the Messiah is gone, there’s a period of time then before He returns! Quite simply, that has been going on for a long, long time, of course.
Tom: Dave, you point out—well, you say that “a milestone has been passed for Israel. ‘The Messiah has come to his own, and his own received him not.’ Something radical has changed between God and His ancient people.” So it begins from the time that you’re addressing, that the Messiah is—the Prince is cut off…
Tom: …rejected by His own people.
Tom: And there are going to be consequences to that!
Dave: Right. That’s the end of the 69 weeks, exactly as Daniel says.
Now we’ve got another milestone that must take place, and that is—well, we call it the Church Age. Obviously, the church has been growing and testifying, witnessing about Jesus, and again we get that in Malachi:1:11, where God says, “I’m finished with you guys, and my name is going to be great among the Gentiles from the rising of the sun till the going down.” So that’s the period we’ve been living in. And when will that end? Well, the Antichrist has to be revealed, and he cannot be revealed until the church is taken out. We get that in 2 Thessalonians 2. So…
Tom: Well, Jesus also says in Luke:21:24, He called it “the time of the Gentiles…”
Tom: …which He said must continue until they’re fulfilled. So this is beginning the gap that we addressed earlier.
Dave: Mm-hmm. Yeah, so I think it’s pretty well established, Tom, we’re not making this up. That at the end of 69 of these weeks, the Messiah was cut off. He was crucified. He died for the sins of the world. It says, “not for himself.”
So the rest of what verse 24 talks about—“to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy,” everything will be accomplished to anoint the Most Holy. That cannot happen until the Messiah returns. But obviously that will be at the end of the 70 weeks. So we’re cut off at the end of 69—somewhere the 70th week must begin, and Daniel tells us about that. The Antichrist will be revealed. There’s discussion in the church, Tom, about that. There are those who—and this is a fairly new theory. I never heard this before, among those who believe in the Rapture, but it’s a fairly new theory I think, and it seems to be growing, that, “Well, you know, Antichrist isn’t going to be revealed right away. The 70th week isn’t going to being just at the Rapture. There could be a period of time…” They’ve got real problems. Maybe you’d want to discuss that sometime. Well, when does it begin, and what is going to mark the beginning of it? I believe the Rapture marks the beginning of the 70th week, and it is the event that will catapult the Antichrist into power within hours, I believe.
Tom: But, Dave, prior to that, prior to the beginning of the last week, seven years, you make some statements in your book that are pretty stunning. For example, you talk about Israel’s fall, all right? This is how you refer to it, but you don’t make it up. Paul, in Romans:11:11-12, let me read that: “I say, then, have they [meaning Israel] stumbled that they should fall [fall meaning “to permanently fall”]? God forbid! But rather through their temporary fall” (“temporary” you interject here), “through their fall, salvation is come unto the Gentiles. Now, if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?”
And that’s what I kind of want to talk about. Lots of things have taken place. You say, “Most astonishing is the fact that it came about because Israel crucified her Messiah. Nevertheless, she will be held responsible for that infamous deed with which Peter boldly indicted the inhabitants of Jerusalem in his second major sermon.” Let me read that, because last week, if you remember, we said, “What’s the Episcopal Church doing saying that the Bible is anti-Semitic?” These verses would be maybe what they have in mind.
So this is Peter. He says, “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Son Jesus, whom ye delivered up and denied him in the presence of Pilate when he was determined to let him go, but ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you, and killed the Prince of life whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses.” Now, Peter—he is Jewish, isn’t he? He was, okay?
Dave: That’s right.
Tom: He wasn’t anti-Semitic, and these were not his own words. These are the words given to him by the Holy Spirit to speak.
Dave: Right. So this is the worst thing Israel has ever done. And you can go back to all the Old Testament, you can read it through the Psalms—Psalm 81 God says, “I’ve held out my hand all of the day to a disobedient, gainsaying, rebellious people. I would have fed you with the finest of wheat, with honey out of the rock, and you would have nothing to do with me.” You can read what Jeremiah says about the idolatry, and what they say back to Jeremiah when he warns them…
Tom: And Jeremiah is the weeping prophet! Lamentations! This is not somebody, you know, just raising a fist at them.
Dave: No. No, and all the prophets…but Jeremiah, for example, from God he says, “I have sent to you My prophets, rising early, pleading, ‘Don’t do this abominable thing that I hate!’” And Jeremiah warns the people, and they say, “Well, when we made cakes, our women made cakes, and we burned incense to the queen of heaven, we prospered! Now we’re not doing so well. We’re going to keep this up!” So it was for their idolatry. But that’s bad. That’s horrible! In fact, even under Moses in the wilderness they were still into idolatry, all right?
But the worst thing: when the Messiah comes, and as it says in John’s gospel, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
Or Isaiah 53: “He is despised and rejected of men. We esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
So it’s all foretold that they would reject their Messiah, but the very worst thing that Israel ever did or ever could do—they crucified the Lord of glory! And so this is what the apostles were preaching about: they were indicting Israel with that.
So that marked the beginning of this gap of time, and you read—Paul continually says…you go through the Book of Acts, and, well, in Romans:1:16, Paul says, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth,” and he adds, “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Not only did they crucify the Messiah, but they’re rejecting the gospel. So in every town where Paul goes, you can follow it all the way through the Book of Acts, he goes first to the synagogue, preaches the gospel to the Jews… Let’s just take a look at that, Acts 28, what he says in Rome…
Tom: Okay, while you’re looking for that, let me read Romans:11:25-26: “For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
Dave: Mm-hmm. That’s going to happen at the end. We read about that. But here’s Paul, and this is how the Book of Acts ends, Acts 28. He’s under house arrest. The Jewish leaders come to him, the rabbis, and he gives them the gospel, tells them, “This Jesus you crucified, He’s the Messiah! You can’t escape it! He fulfilled all the prophecies.” And they reject him. Then he says, “Be it known therefore unto you that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.”
So that’s this gap, all these years, when the church is being built, and Israel is in rebellion. Now they’re being gathered back, and that’s the beginning of the end of this period.