without the gap. How do dispensationalists find a gap in a textthat makes no mention of a gap?I agree with DeMar, that much rides on Daniel’s prophecy. I hope to demonstrate inthis and coming articles that the only interpretation of Daniel’s seventy-weeks thatexplains all aspects of this great prophecy is the consistently literal approach.Should the overall approach of this prophecy be literal or allegorical? If literal, thenthis would mean that the numbers should be taken literally and do count. Yet somethink that numbers don’t count.This facilitates the adoption of the symbolical interpretation ofthe numbers, which, . . . we regard as the only possible one,because it does not necessitate our changing the seventy yearsof the exile into years of the restoration of Jerusalem, andplacing the seven years, which the text presents as the firstperiod of the seventy weeks, last.Harry Bultema observes:The angel himself gives a literal explanation and it would benonsensical to insist on giving a symbolical interpretation of aliteral explanation. If the exegetes had always obeyed theangel’s interpretation as is evident from practically every wordhe speaks, then this text would never have been so obscured byall kinds of human conjectures and imagined "deep" insights.
Reasons For Literal Numbers
There are solid reasons why the numbers in Daniel’s prophecy should be takenliterally. First, chapter 9 opens with Daniel realizing from Jeremiah’s writings thatIsrael’s captivity would last 70 years. These were literal years. Since the prophecydelivered by Gabriel to Daniel in 9:24-27 is related to the 70-year captivity, itfollows that the 70 weeks of years are equally literal. Second, since definite numbersare used in the prophecy (7, 62, and 1 weeks), it would be strange indeed for suchodd numbers to not have literal meaning. Leon Wood asks, "Why should definitenumbers be applied to periods of indefinite lengths?" Nothing in the contextsuggests a non-literal use of numbers in this prophecy.
Setting the Context
We know from the beginning of chapter 9 (verse 2) that Daniel had read about "thenumber of years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah theprophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years."The two passages which Daniel surely studied were Jeremiah 25:11-12 and 29:10-14.Both texts clearly speak of Israel’s Babylonian captivity as limited to a 70-yearperiod. Both passages also blend into their texts, statements that look forward to atime of ultimate fulfillment and blessing for the nation of Israel. This is why Daniel