Footnote 17 Page 64:—

Dispensational-pre-millennialists attempt to meet this difficulty with another of their famous gap arguments. They put it like this: although Paul's statement at the end follows immediately after "they that are Christ's at His Coming", it does not preclude the possibility of a whole era coming between the two phases. We have ceased to be amazed at the fantastic contentions these people can put forward, which are a travesty of both Scripture and common sense. However, to bolster up this theory, they advance a dual line of "proof". First, they say, that in verse 22, a whole era, which has already lasted nearly 2,000 years, has elapsed between "Christ the first-fruits", and "they that are Christ's at His Coming". Therefore, say they, an era can elapse between the latter phrase and verse 23. It is a futile argument because, in the first case, we are presented with two events ( the resurrection of Christ and His Second Coming ) which the rest of the N.T. clearly, states were to be divided by a considerable period of time; the whole day of grace was to intervene. They are the two great interventions of God in the human story, marking the first and second Advents of the Messiah. But for the futurist contention, the N.T. gives not the slightest hint; in fact, exactly the reverse, for the rest of Scripture teaches plainly that the resurrection of the dead occurs at the end of this age, which, in turn, ushers in the eternal age. Further, as we have shown, the language of the passage itself does not allow it to he so foolishly manipulated. The second argument to support this "gap" idea, is by an appeal to a Scripture which they think lends them support, viz. Luke 4:16-19.

In the well-known incident in the synagogue at Nazareth, our Lord read from Isaiah's prophecy; the dispensationalists have made a great song on one point of our Lord's quotation. They point out that the record in Luke stops short at "the acceptable year of the Lord", whilst the portion in Isaiah goes on to speak of "the day of vengeance of our God". From this they press the argument that the whole dispensation of grace intervened between the two phrases, and that is why the Lord stopped where Luke's record terminates. Their claims are often stated in most extravagant and sensational terms; here is an example, taken from the Prophetic News ( a typical futurist publication ) dated November 1951. The article in question carries the lurid title, "World destiny hangs on a comma." The writer ( A. R. Bone ) declares that the vitally important event of the scene was when the Lord stopped at the comma. He forgets that, in all probability, there was no comma in the Hebrew Scripture the Lord read from. He then goes on to make the wildly erratic Statements common to this type of Scripture "student", stating that "if the Lord…had read on, that He had come to fulfil the Day of vengeance of our God, He could not have said, 'This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your cars.' Had He done so, there would have been no Cross, no sacrifice for sins, no resurrection, no day of grace…That comma is holding up God's judgement."

The absurdity of such statements should be apparent to every reader, save those who feed on prophetic sensationalism. The passage under consideration bears no such application as these people put upon it. The fact that our Lord's quotation stopped where it did can be explained in at least two ways. First, it may be all Luke considered necessary ( under the Spirit's guidance ) to record. Most, if not all, our Lord's discourses were, in all probability, considerably longer than the portion recorded in Holy Writ. Secondly, even if the record does contain the whole of our Lord's utterance, it merely shows that He considered it to be sufficient to announce Himself as Messiah. To make an extravagant dispensational argument out of it is quite unsound, because of this further fact. The prophecy from Isaiah states: "He hath anointed Me…TO PREACH the acceptable year of the Lord and the Day of vengeance of our God." Notice carefully that the prophet declared Christ was to PREACH both these themes, not ESTABLISH both events. And what dispensationalist dare dispute that our Lord preached both during His anointed ministry? From the very commencement of His ministry, His message was of this dual character—the acceptable year and the Day of vengeance. Christ did not wait till His Second Advent "to preach the Day of vengeance of our God", as the futurist "comma argument" implies; He preached it throughout the whole of His earthly ministry, and fulfilled both phases of the prophecy. But why do these "comma enthusiasts" stop where they do in Isaiah 61? For, "the Day of vengeance of our God" is followed by a semi-colon, and then the phrase "to comfort all that mourn". Will they stick another dispensation between these two phrases and apply this third statement to the close of their millennium? No! The whole of this prophecy relates to the First Advent, the verses quoted ( plus the following wherein we of "beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning" ) have been a comfort and inspiration to the saints of the ages—and we do not intend to let the dispensational pirates rob us of our heritage.