At this year’s ETS, James Fazio, SCS Dean of Bible and Theology will be presenting a talk entitled, “Does Following a Normal-Grammatical-Historical Interpretive Methodology Demand a Gap Between the 69th and 70th Week of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy?”
The “seventy weeks” prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 has provided an eschatological framework for a dispensational-premillennial understanding of God’s timetable for Israel. The basis for this framework stems from a perceived gap between the 69th and 70th prophetic week. The dispensationalist claim is that dispensational eschatology stems from a normal-grammatical-historical reading of the biblical text. Some non-dispensational scholars have accused dispensationalists of abandoning a normal- grammatical-historical interpretive methodology when interpreting Daniel 9:24-27 in order to accommodate certain a priori dispensational conclusions.
John Walvoord has noted that the “interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27 is of major importance to premillennialism as well as pretribulationism,” and has referred to it as “the indispensable chronological key to Bible prophecy.”1 On this point the prominent reformed scholar Oswalt T. Allis has agreed “the importance of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Dispensational teaching can hardly be exaggerated.”2 In 2012 noted postmillennialist, Kenneth Gentry Jr. published a series of articles3 addressing what he describes as “Dispensationalism’s Difficulty with Daniel.” Subsequently, Gentry has concluded: “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks prophecy leads dispensationalism into one of its most strained peculiarities: the doctrine of the gap theory of the Church age.”4
My paper would addresses the question: Does following a normal-grammatical-historical interpretive methodology demand a gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy, or is the presence of a gap a peculiar presupposition that dispensationalists must bring to the biblical text?