Objection Answered| Dispensational Objections
I was recently asked by my friend Tony Denton to respond to some Dispensational objections to Covenant Eschatology. What follows is, first of all, the objections, and then, my responses.
Dispensational Objection Stated:
“You mentioned Daniel 12:11 – “And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.”
The events of the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD do not match the details in the “abomination of desolation” that Jesus referred to in Matthew 24:15-16, which are required for fulfillment.
The entrance of Titus (who destroyed the Temple) occurred only after the sanctuary was already in flames and after the Jewish sacrifices had already ceased. It would have been impossible for Titus to have made a covenant after the Temple was destroyed, and then in the middle of the 7-year “week” of that covenant (after 1260 days) to have put an end to sacrifices and offering. Makes no sense…the sacrifices and offerings stopped 3 1/2 years earlier with the destruction of the Temple. There was no abomination of desolation set up 3 1/2 years later.
Daniel mentions nothing about the destruction of the Temple, only that the abomination of desolation would be set up after the sacrificial offerings had already ceased. There will be a third Temple, yet future.
You said: Look at Dan. 12:7 “and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be FULFILLED.”
This is also future tense during the time of Jacob’s Sorrows or The Great Tribulation. This is where the 1,290 days fits in and the power of the holy people being scattered. Yes, they will. Antichrist will bring false hope and peace to the world and will do what no one else has ever done – bring Israel and Palestine together. This king will make a seven-year peace treaty with the people and there will be peace for 3 1/2 years (1,290). After that he will break his pledge and stop the Jews from all their sacrifices, and he himself will set in the temple proclaiming to be God. This is the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel.
According to Jeremiah 30:11, the purpose of the Great Tribulation is to completely destroy the nations among which the Jews have been scattered, and the other is to discipline Israel. This discipline will cause them to recognize Jesus as their Messiah.
Zechariah 12:10 – And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
1 Thesselonians 5:9 tells us that God hath not destined Christians to wrath. That’s why Luke’s account is so different from Matthew’s and Mark’s (once you see that there are differences). In Luke’s account there is no mention of Jacob’s Sorrows. Rather he tells us to look up when we see all these things begin to happen (begining of birth pangs in Matthew). Luke also speaks of the times of the Gentiles eventually being fulfilled. He speaks of the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Did you know that the Christians who heeded Jesus’ warning did get out to safety? Matthew and Mark go further, giving detail to that which pertains to the Jewish people and what they must endure. Many things are very similar, but they are not the same.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Point #1 above– “The entrance of Titus (who destroyed the Temple) occurred only after the sanctuary was already in flames and after the Jewish sacrifices had already ceased. It would have been impossible for Titus to have made a covenant after the Temple was destroyed, and then in the middle of the 7-year “week” of that covenant (after 1260 days) to have put an end to sacrifices and offering. Makes no sense…the sacrifices and offerings stopped 3 1/2 years earlier with the destruction of the Temple. There was no abomination of desolation set up 3 1/2 years later.”
Response: This argument assumes rather than proves.
It assumes an anti-Christ in Daniel 9 / 12. There is nothing in the text to support this.
It assumes that the anti-Christ is the one making the covenant– instead of Messiah– in Daniel 9– the Grammar of Daniel 9 is extremely difficult and does not support this claim.
It sets up a straw man, claiming that preterists– or those with whom they are disagreeing– say that Titus set up the Abomination. There may be some who argue that, but, I agree that this does not work. And, as I take note in books, the literal of “Abomination of Desolation” is literally “The Abomination that brings or causes desolation.”
Here is the absolutely critical– but mostly ignored fact.
The Abomination that brings desolation had to be, by the very nature of the case– something done by the Jews— an act so horrible that God brought judgment on the Temple. YHVH never allowed anyone to desecrate or destroy the temple unless Israel had violated Torah! Pagans could not commit such a crime / sin, as to cause YHVH to allow the Temple to be violated! The pagan desecration of the Temple was the direct result of Israel committing the Abomination— the Desolation was done by the pagans! Thus, to emphasize, the Abomination was by Israel; The Desolation was by pagans.
This indisputable fact turns the Dispensational paradigm on its head. The suggestion that some pagan man of sin would set up an abomination in the Temple simply has no merit. Only Israel could commit such an Abomination.
The events of the first century most assuredly do fit this scenario. The Jews rejected Jesus and killed him. They persecuted the followers of Christ. They filled the measure of their sin– which had been predicted all the way back in Deuteronomy, and in Daniel 9:24! AD 70 most assuredly does fit, and no other time.
Objection Answered| Bad Hermeneutic
This kind of hermeneutic is always deeply disturbing to me. There is no rule of journalism or hermeneutic that suggests that this is valid. The fact that a given verse does not use a specific word, term or phrase means nothing! This kind of hermeneutic would lead to theological chaos– and that is precisely what it does do! Look at some examples:
1– Acts 1 says not one word about the end of the age. No mention of Christ coming with the sound of the Trump, and not a word about the resurrection! Based on the statement above, therefore, Acts 1 has nothing to do with those events! Specious in the extreme!
2- 1 Corinthians 15 says not one thing about the resurrection of the unjust. Not a word about the end of the world, the passing of the elements. It says not a word about Christ coming with the angels and the shout of the arch-Angel. Do we then argue that Corinthians is different from 1 Thessalonians 4? Of course not!
McDurmon made this same kind of argument (argument of missing words) in our formal public debate, arguing that because the words “final resurrections” do not appear in Isaiah 25 that therefore, Isaiah could not have the “final resurrection” in mind. When I took note of examples above– and others– he admitted my point!
This could go on and on. The fact is that the absence of any given word, term or phrase in a specific text does not indicate, suggest or demand that all the constituent elements of that doctrine are not included in the writer’s mind. Any doctrine based on such false distinctions is intrinsically weak.
Objection Answered| Israel’s Power
He ignores the fact that Israel’s only power was her covenant relationship with YHVH– Torah!
He is arguing that Israel’s “power” is scattered when the man of sin breaks his covenant with Israel and scatters them. But, that means that Israel’s “power” is her covenant with the man of sin– and there is not a syllable in the text of Daniel to support this.
Let me reiterate the point above about the Abomination, and emphasize it.
Daniel 9 does not contain two or three princes, which is necessary to sustain the comments above. There are (maybe) two princes– “the people of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (This would be, possibly– Titus as the destroyer of the Temple) — and Messiah!
I personally think- and some scholarship agrees– that there is but one Prince in Daniel 9– Messiah! Israel was responsible for the destruction of her own Temple!
But the fact is that grammatically and contextually, there are not three princes. There is no textual support for Jesus– For Titus– and then, far, far beyond the temporal delimitations of AD 70 and the destruction of the city and the sanctuary, for another prince yet to come. Just not in the text. Zen Don, Tony Denton
” In Luke’s account there is no mention of Jacob’s Sorrows.” And what journalistic rule said that he had to mention this specifically? The term “Jacob’s trouble” is not specifically mentioned in any of the gospel accounts, thus, applying the misguided hermeneutic of missing words, none of the gospel accounts can be speak of “Jacob’s trouble”! Luke does give us “when you see Jerusalem surrounded” which of course was indicating the impending “desolation” that belonged to the Abomination of Matthew 24!
He argues: “Luke also speaks of the times of the Gentiles eventually being fulfilled.”–
But, this is simply “commentary” on Matthew and Mark! There is no indication that Luke wants the reader to delineate between the gospel accounts and events. That is a theological invention driven by presupposition.
Matthew, Mark and Luke all posit fulfillment of Jesus’ words for the first century. This is undeniable.