How solid is the link between the 2,300 days in Daniel 8 and the seventy weeks in Daniel 9?

When Daniel 8 and 9 are read together from chapter to chapter in sequence, it becomes clear that they are linked. (Remember, there were no chapter divisions in the original manuscript; the divisions were added later for our convenience.) Here are evidences that the 2,300-day prophecy of Daniel 8 and the seventy-week prophecy of Daniel 9 are linked:

  • In Daniel 9:21, Daniel states that Gabriel is the angel “whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning.” There is no vision in Daniel 9, but there is a vision in Daniel 8 that is interpreted by Gabriel. In other words, the association of Gabriel with the vision of Daniel 8 indicates that the 2,300-day prophecy and the seventy-week prophecy are linked.
  • Daniel faints and later says that he could not understand the vision (Dan. 8:27). The only part of the vision in chapter 8 that Daniel could not understand was the 2,300-day prophecy. When Gabriel comes in Daniel 9, he says to “consider the matter and understand the vision” (Dan. 9:23). In Daniel 9, the angel Gabriel comes to give understanding specifically in regard to the 2,300-day prophecy.
  • Daniel 8:15 uses the word hazon to refer to the whole vision and then uses the word mareh in Daniel 8:27 to refer to the 2,300-day portion of the vision that Daniel did not understand. When the angel Gabriel comes and says to “understand the vision” (Dan. 9:23), he uses the word mareh. In other words, the angel Gabriel links the 2,300-day prophecy to the seventy-week prophecy linguistically.
  • When Gabriel opens with the seventy-week prophecy, he says that seventy weeks “are determined” (Dan. 9:24). The word determined is the word chatak, which literally means to cut off or separate. Gabriel is indicating that seventy weeks are “cut off” from the time prophecy of the 2,300-day prophecy. In other words, the key to understanding the 2,300-day prophecy is to look at it in the context of the seventy-week prophecy that is within the 2,300 days.

What about the gap theory?

Some Christians have espoused the belief that the last week in the seventy-week prophecy is to be detached and thrown off into the future. See the diagram below:

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According to some, the last week of the prophecy is to be seven years of tribulation. They believe that the secret rapture is the event that begins the seven years of tribulation, when the people who did not make it to heaven the first time get a second chance. According to this belief, in the middle of the seven years the anti-Christ comes.

There are a number of issues with this position. First, there is no indication from the seventy-week prophecy in Daniel 9 of any discontinuation or separation of the last week from the other 69 weeks. Furthermore, there is no mention of the anti-Christ in the seventy-week prophecy; on the contrary, the seventieth week is a reference to “Messiah” (v. 26), who “shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering” (v. 27). Jesus did this when He died on the cross and the temple veil was torn from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). This indicated that earthly sacrifices were no longer necessary because the real Lamb of God had been slain.

Seventy-week prophecy diagram based on Daniel 9:24–27