It has been a while since my last post. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, my family and I have recently moved and getting settled into our new place has been stressful and time consuming. Second, the material that we are presently looking at is quite involved and seems to require more study and preparation than some other teachings have.
If you will recall, we ended last time discussing the prophetic period of time known as, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.” In this prophecy a “week” does not refer to a literal seven-day period as we would normally think of such. The Hebrew word translated, “Weeks” in Daniel 9:25 is, shabua and is a reference to a measurement of time, much like for example our word, dozen. The word, “dozen” doesn’t point to what one may have a dozen of. For example, you might have a dozen roses, or a dozen eggs, or a dozen donuts. The dozen is just a measure of the quantity of whatever is being measured. The Hebrew, shabua is much the same. You could literally say, seventy sevenend, although that is kind of clumsy in English. This Hebrew word is a measurement of time, and could, depending on the context, refer to a period of weeks, months, or years. In this case it is obvious Daniel refers to years. We are talking about seventy weeks of years, or a total of 490 years.
These 490 years can be divided into three specific periods of time, and they don’t run in succession. There have been starting and stopping points along the way. As we stated last time it is helpful to look at these years as if they were a clock at a sporting event. If you have a Football game scheduled for an hour and a half it could actually last for three hours or longer. Why? Because the clock will stop and start several times during the course of a game. Time is only counted while the ball is actually in play. It is like that with Daniel’s prophecy. For example, the 490 years began with the decree of Persian King Cyrus to rebuild the Temple. This made up the first “seven” or 49 years, although from start to finish the rebuilding process took actually some 141 years. There was a period of 92 years when no work was being done. It was not counted on the “time clock” as it were. This was, as far as the plan of God was concerned, wasted time. This period of time from the issuing of the decree of Cyrus to the end of the construction of the Temple was the first period of “seven”, or again, 49 years.
The second period (and I realize this all review from last time), began at the end of the 49 years and continued until the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was 434 years. This block of time continued uninterrupted. Combining the 49 years with the 434 years, brings us to 483 years.
The third period, which we will study in Daniel 9:27, will be the last week of years, totaling 7 years, which will make up the Great Tribulation period, concluding Daniel’s Prophecy of Seventy Weeks of years, i.e., 490 years.
At the end of the 69 weeks, or after the 483 years, there is a time break. Between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week two events of great importance occurred: 1) Messiah was cut off. This was and is the great mystery of the gospel. [See Matt. 16:21, John 3:15]; 2) The destruction of Jerusalem, which took place in 70 A.D. With Titus Vestpasian, or Titus the Roman being the instrument.
You and I live in the time when of course sixty-nine of the prophetic weeks have already come to pass. We are on the cusp, I believe, of the beginning of the seventieth week. That being the case, how much nearer must the catching away be? It is important to understand that the entirety of the Seventy Weeks has to do with Israel and the Jewish people. It does not concern the nations or the Church. Remember the Bible said in Daniel 9:24, Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.[Dan. 9:24 emphasis added] It concerns Daniel’s people (the Jews) and the city of Jerusalem. It did not concern the Church as the Church was not in existence for the first sixty-nine weeks. The Church will be caught away prior to the beginning of the seventieth Week, so it does not concern the Church at all. It only concerns the nations as they relate to Israel.
Daniel 9:27 is a key verse to understand with regard to what will signal the beginning of the seventieth week. Some say we are already in the seventieth week. Is that the case? Certainly not. Why do I say that? The Bible says, And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. [Dan. 9:27] Let’s examine this verse.
This final “week”, a period of seven years, is projected into the future. It does not fit chronologically with the first sixty-nine weeks at all. The gap between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks is the dispensation of grace, or the Church Age. This period of time was hidden and unknown to the Prophets. [See Eph. 3:1 – 12; 1 Pet. 1:10 – 12] The Seventieth Week is eschatological; it is the final period and is still unfulfilled.
The “Prince” of verse 26 is the, “He” of verse 27. He will arise from the territory of the revived Roman Empire. He is the “Little Horn” of Daniel 7, He is “The Beast” of Revelation 13. After the Church is removed at the rapture this one will come forth and accomplish that which no man has ever been able to, namely, broker a successful peace plan with the Jews and so-called Palestinians. At this time I believe the Temple will have already been re-built, and this Covenant will grant the Jews once again their sacrificial system. This will be a seven-year agreement. The Jews will rejoice, even heralding this one as “Messiah.” This agreement will also appease their Arab neighbors somehow. For the first three-and-one-half years it will appear that peace has come. Paul said:For when they shall say, Peace and safety. In fact, Peace and safety, will be proclaimed throughout the land. However, Paul goes on to say, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. [1 Thess. 5:3b] This supposed time of “peace and safety” will be short lived.
At the mid-point of the seven-year covenant, the Man of Sin, the Antichrist will rise up and show his true colors, actually invading Israel, and handing her the first defeat she has ever suffered since becoming a nation in 1948. At that time, the sacrifices that Israel will have been offering for three and a half years will suddenly cease. The Antichrist at that time will turn the re-built Temple into a Shrine, setting himself up as God, exactly as Paul also predicted. The Apostle said:
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [2 Thess. 2:4]
During this time Israel will suffer as she has never suffered before. Jesus said, For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake[Israel is here referred to as the elect] those days shall be shortened. [Matt. 24:21, 22] At the end of the seven-year period, when it looks like Israel will be totally destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon, Jesus will come back, which will end this terrible period and Israel’s terrible suffering. [See Zech. 12 – 14; Rev. 19]
It is believed that Christ was crucified about A.D. 33, with Jerusalem being destroyed by Titus in A.D. 70, about 37 years after the Crucifixion of Christ. This means that the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus did not happen during the designated 490 years. The 69th Week, or the 483 years, ended with the death of Christ. So, the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70 was one of the events that has transpired between the 69th and 70th Week. During these now nearly 2,000 years, Israel was scattered to the nations of the world, which the Prophets predicted would occur if they forsook the Lord. But the Prophets also predicted that Israel was to be restored.
For all of this to occur, she had to become a nation again, which miracle of miracles, happened in 1948. We now await the rebuilding of the Temple, for which plans have already been drawn up. How is all of this going to be brought about? We don’t know at this point. It is possible it could take place prior to the Advent of the Antichrist. It might take place at the beginning of the rise of Antichrist, before he signs his infamous seven-year covenant, or possibly shortly thereafter. At any rate, as Gabriel predicted in this word given to Daniel, it will be rebuilt.
This One week referred to by Gabriel is actually the 70th or final week of years of the 490-year period concerning Israel.
To clarify that which we have looked at, the 70 Weeks of years (490) are broken up as follows:
- The “seven weeks” of verse 25 totals 49 years. Due to the work starting and stopping, it took a total 141 years for this period to be completed, which was about 403 B.C.
- The “Threescore and two weeks” of verse 25 total 434 years. This period began immediately after the 49-year period ended, and closed with the Crucifixion of Christ in about 33 A.D., totaling 483 years.
- The “one week” of verse 27 refers to seven years, which which will complete the “seventy weeks” of years, as given in verse 24, totaling 490 years. The fulfillment of this week is yet future. There have already been nearly 2,000 years between the conclusion of the “threescore and two weeks” of years until the present, therefore, the fulfillment of this last “seven years” cannot be long off. This third and final period will include the seven-year Great Tribulation.
For the last nearly two-thousand years the Lord’s focus has been on His Church. Jesus said in response to Peter’s “Good Confession”, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The “rock” of which Jesus spoke was Christ Himself. Upon the “stone” which the builders rejected, the “stone” said He would build His Church. “Build” is the Greek word, oikodomeo and it literally means to construct the house from the foundation up. “Church” is the Greek, ekklesia, meaning “called out assembly.” So for two-thousand years now Jesus has been calling both Jews and Gentiles out of the world, out of sin, and calling them unto Himself. Out of that group He has been constructing His Church. The “Church”, while hinted at in the ministry of Jesus, was not revealed until the ministry of the Apostles, primarily the Apostle Paul to whom was given the meaning of the New Covenant; which is Christ and Him crucified.
When the last “living stone” is added to the building, Christ the purchaser and Head of the Church will Return to receive us unto Himself. He will come first for His Church. At the end of the Great Tribulation, when the nations of the world are gathered on that infamous battlefield in the valley of Meggido, located approximately 25 miles West-Southwest from the tip of the Sea of Galilee in the Kishon River area; it will appear, as we stated earlier, that Israel will be crushed and thrown into oblivion; the king of kings and Lord of lords will Return with His Church! Please understand, the “Rapture” is all about rescuing the Church; whereas the the “Return” is all about rescuing Israel.
Yes,some dark days lay just ahead for Israel and the Jewish people.
Next time we will look at a couple of major, prophetic battles that will be aimed directly at the annihilation of Israel. One prophetic military campaign is revealed in Psalm 83. Another one, perhaps more well-known, is the attack that will be lead by Russia and fortified by a coalition of Islamic nations. I speak of course of the war of Gog/Magog described in Ezekiel 38, 39. Someplace in there too will come the utter destruction of Damascus, Syria, prophesied in in Isaiah 17:1.
How will all of this play out? We don’t know precisely, but play out it will. These events are in the world’s future. They involve Israel’s prophetic future, and you and I get the opportunity to view it all through the unfailing lens of of scripture, where vision is always 20/20!