What is “The Tribulation”? Part 2

We are studying the wrath that we, as believers, are promised to be spared from.  I mentioned in part one of our study on Tribulation, Great Tribulation, and Wrath that the term “Tribulation” or “7-Year Tribulation” is a very misleading name.  You can read that here:  Part 1 – Tribulation, Great Tribulation, and Wrath

There actually is no such thing in Scripture as “The Tribulation”; generally people are referring to the “70th Week of Daniel” when they mention it.  There is certainly an upcoming time of wrath and judgment that I believe lasts 7 years.  What is generally referred to as the “Tribulation” actually encompasses several broad periods of time – the 70th Week of Daniel and the Day of the Lord.  These have distinct purposes, so let’s briefly examine and compare them!

The 70th Week of Daniel

The 70th Week of Daniel is 1260+1260 days long (7 360-day years).  This is why the “Tribulation” is called the “7-year Tribulation”.  However, nowhere is it mentioned that this “week of years” will be filled with “tribulation” specifically.  What Daniel states is that:

…to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.  And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”  (Daniel 9:26b-27 ESV)

The 70th week of Daniel begins at the confirming of a covenant with Israel.  This covenant likely results in the rebuilding of the Third Temple and the re-institution of an Old-Testament style sacrificial system.  We know this Temple and sacrifices are in place by the middle of the “week”, because at this midpoint the daily sacrifices are caused to cease.  It is for the last half of the week, or 3.5 years, that the antichrist will set up the “abominations” and will make “desolate”.

The first half of this “week”, 1260 days, will likely be relatively peaceful – at least for Israel.  There is no unusual “tribulation” mentioned.  Depending how satan’s deception of 2 Thessalonians 2 unfolds, the antichrist will be rising to power during this time and may proclaim himself to be the Jewish “messiah”.  He will be conquering Israel’s enemies, so there may be “tribulation” against other religions, like Islam.

While there may not be specified “tribulation” during this first half of Daniel’s 70th week, remember that “desolations are decreed” until the end, as is war.  So it’s not all going to be cherries and cupcakes.

It is the latter 3.5 years that the time of “greatest tribulation” occurs (Matthew 24).  Thus, the “Great Tribulation” coincides with the last half of the 70th Week of Daniel.

The purpose of the 70th Week of Daniel is for national and ethnic Israel, particularly Jerusalem, and involves:

  • Spiritual Testing, purification, and refinement of Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem
  • Preparation to receive her King and inaugurate His kingdom rule
  • Fulfilling all remaining prophecies in the Bible
  • Ending with God’s presence filling the earthly (Millennial) Temple

So we have found out that the 70th week of Daniel likely has some regular tribulation for half of it, just as the entire church age is filled with “tribulation”.  Tribulation is part of life in this fallen world, and opposing the world and aligning with Christ brings additional tribulation.  We know that war and desolations are decreed until the very end, so these are to be expected to continue.  However, starting halfway through the week, is the Great Tribulation.  Satan’s wrath can definitely be seen in the Great Tribulation part, even if it can’t be pinpointed to the first half.  There is no mention of God’s wrath in the 70th week.  So, no current believers are specifically promised to be spared from the 70th Week of Daniel.

Daniel’s 70th week, and the Great Tribulation, ends when the antichrist’s rule ends, which is through the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Further information on Daniel’s 70th week and what it includes can be found here:

The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord is an intense period of God’s intervention and judgment (wrath) on earth.  God will rise up to protect Israel from certain destruction in order that all prophecy can be fulfilled; this begins the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord will start suddenly, unexpectedly, and catastrophically.  It is described as coming upon the earth “like a trap”, “as labor pains”, and “as a thief in the night”.  The Day of the Lord starts with an earthquake that becomes global in scope, like nothing the earth has ever experienced before. The beginning of the Day of the Lord has strong connections with the events of Seal 6, the beginning of birth pangs (Olivet Discourse), and the Gog Magog war, and is marked by:

  • God rises in judgment and wrath (Mt 24, Rev6, Ez38-39)
  • The “beginning” of birth pangs (Mt24, Mk13, Lk21)
  • Sudden, unexpected destruction (Mt 24, Rev6, Ez38-39)
  • Great war (Mt 24, Rev6, Ez38-39)
  • Global earthquake (Mt 24, Rev6, Ez38-39)
  • Famine (Mt 24, Rev6)
  • Pestilence (Mt 24, Rev6, Ez38-39)
  • Dark sun  (Rev6)
  • Blood red moon (Rev6)
  • Men HIDE in fear (Rev6)

The Day of the Lord cannot come until all the following has occurred:

  • The gathering of believers unto Christ (the rapture) – 2 Thess 2:3
  • The revealing of the antichrist – 2 Thess 2:3-4
  • Wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke, darkened sun and blood red moon – Joel 2:30-31
  • Elijah will appear – Malachi 4:5

Ezekiel chapter 38-39 details a future war of “Gog and Magog”, in which God will rise up in wrath at the time of His choosing.  God arranges the war at an appointed time by putting thought’s in “Gog’s” head, and “putting hooks into [his] jaws”.  God then “drives” and “leads” him to fulfill his purposes.

During the Day of the Lord:

  • The earth, and in particular Jerusalem, will be cleansed of its bloodguilt (answering the prayers of the Seal 5 martyrs)
  • Nations will be judged by how they treated Israel
  • Wickedness will be purged from the earth
  • Those who rejected God’s salvation plan will be punished
  • The earth will be prepared physically and spiritually to receive her true King (Jesus)
  • Israel will be reconciled to God (the believing remnant)
  • Israel will be fully restored and elevated as God’s holy nation

The entire Day of the Lord is marked by God’s wrath, which will come off and on in a series of 14 specific judgments detailed in the 7 Trumpets and the 7 Bowls.  This wrath is not defined as “tribulation”, although there will certainly be suffering because of it.  It could certainly be called anguish, tribulation, and sorrows, but it is not specifically referred to as such in scripture.

Believers are promised to be spared from God’s wrath, and thus the entire Day of the Lord.

Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O Lord; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.  Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain.   (Isaiah 26:17-21 ESV)

This passage in Isaiah 26 is particularly interesting in that it connects the dead rising (resurrection), God’s people entering their chambers to hide (rapture), and God coming out of His silence to punish the earth (beginning of wrath).

More on the Day of the Lord can specifically be found in these posts:

Overlapping Daniel’s 70th Week with the Day of the Lord

It appears that Daniel’s 70th week and the Day of the Lord will overlap.  Thus, God’s wrath will be overlaid on top of the 7 year time period that pertains to Daniel’s people (Hebrews), his holy city (Jerusalem), and nation (Israel).  The Second Coming of Jesus Christ ends the wrath of the Day of the Lord, just as it ends the 70th week of Daniel and the time of Greatest Tribulation.  The earth will have been prepared physically and spiritually for Jesus to usher in His Millennial Kingdom.  Ultimately, both Daniel’s 70th Week and the Day of the Lord will bring about Israel’s reconciliation with God and her elevation as God’s holy nation.

Because God’s wrath begins either at or before the 70th Week of Daniel (“The Tribulation”), believers will be spared from “The Entire Tribulation”.

Part 3 – Spared From Wrath – the 7 Year Key


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

Part 1 – Tribulation, Great Tribulation, and Wrath

Part 3 – Spared From Wrath – the 7 Year Key

The Day of the Lord

The Woman Flees To A Place Prepared

The Mount of Olives – Final Escape Route

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

 

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Daniel’s 70 Weeks

 “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.  And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.  Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.  And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”  Daniel 9:24-27 ESV

God gave Daniel one of the most important prophecies in all of Scripture.  At the time, Daniel was in exile in Babylon.  He had been studying the scriptures, and from the book of Jeremiah knew that the 70-year time of captivity should soon be done.  The captivity was a result of Israel’s refusing to allow the land its’ Sabbath rest (Leviticus 25:1-7).  God was giving the land its’ rest Himself (2 Chronicles 36:21).  After this period of captivity, Israel (for the most part, except for portions of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) remained in rebellion to God – their punishment for this may be described through 430 Days of Laying by Ezekiel.

While Daniel was still praying, God sent the angel Gabriel to bring Daniel an answer to his prayer:

Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city

Seventy weeks uses the Hebrew term “weeks” or “sevens”, which is a period of 7 years (much like our decade is a period of 10 years).  Seventy sets of seven years, or 70 weeks of years, is 490 years.  This time period concerns Daniel’s people (Israel) and his holy city (Jerusalem).

to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place

Here we have the purpose of the entire 70 week period:

To finish the transgression: This says that transgression itself will be finished. Taken literally, this means establishing an entirely new order on earth, with an end to man’s rebellion against God.

To make an end of sins: Taking these words at face value, this means not only the end of the guilt of sin, but an end of sin itself. It means to “seal up” or to “restrain” sins. This looks to a new, redeemed world.

To make reconciliation for iniquity: Man’s iniquity must be reconciled to God’s justice and holiness. This work was clearly accomplished at the cross.

To bring in everlasting righteousness: One might take this in an individual sense, but there have always been righteous individuals. Taking the statement at face value, this means a new order of society brought in by the Messiah.

To seal up vision and prophecy: This speaks of both the ending and fulfillment of prophecy, concluding the final stage of human history and culminating with the reign of the Son of God. 

To anoint the most holy: Taken at its simple, literal meaning, this refers to a place, not a person. There is a most holy place – the most holy place of the temple – that will be anointed and blessed.

(Source: Enduring Word – https://enduringword.com/bible–commentary/daniel-9/)

Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem

Note that we are looking for a word to rebuild JERUSALEM, not just the Temple.  There are several dates that can be considered here:

  1. The decree of King Cyrus of Persia in 538 BC – recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:23, Ezra 1:1-4, Ezra 5:13-17, Ezra 6:1-5.  It was given for rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem; no mention is given of rebuilding the city.  Temple reconstruction began at this time.
  2. The decree of King Darius in 517-520 BC, confirming the decree of King Cyrus – recorded in Ezra 6:6-12.  There was some question on if the Jews had permission to rebuild their temple, and Darius confirmed the original decree given by Cyrus, allowing the work to continue.
  3. The decree of King Artaxerxes of Babylon in 458/457 BC – recorded in Ezra 7:11-26.  This decree allowed Ezra and other remaining Israelites to return to Israel.  Ezra was allowed to take back the Temple articles as well as supplies to restart Temple worship.  Interestingly, King Artaxerxes received word that the Jews had also started restoring the walls and foundations of Jerusalem and commanded this work to stop (Ezra 4:21).  It appears that God needed to stop the work at this time, so that the coming of the anointed one would be exactly at the time decreed.
  4. The decree of King Artaxerxes in 445 BC – recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-9, 17-18.  Here, Nehemiah requests to return to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the city, and he is granted this request.  This word from Artaxerxes is the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision, and is the only one involving the rebuilding of the walls of the city.  Nehemiah receives letters of support to confirm this word.  Permission is granted to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in the 20th year of the reign of King Artaxerxes Longimanus of Babylon in the month of Nisan.

For an excellent explanation of the Hebrew word “dabar”, which is the decree/word in question here, please see this link: Red Moon Rising by Peter Goodgame.

to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.  

Jerusalem was indeed rebuilt “in a troubled time”, as recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.  Israel was to look for their anointed one, a prince, their Messiah, in 7+62 “weeks” from the decree issued in 445 BC.  69 weeks of years = 483 years.

The word to restore and build Jerusalem was given by King Artaxerxes in the month of Nisan in the 20th year of his reign.  Nisan 1 in his 20th year of his reign corresponds to March 14, 445 BC.  We learn from several places that a prophetic year is 360 days long.

483 years x 360 days = 173, 880 days

173, 880 days / 365.25 day-years = 476.06 years

445 BC – 476.06 years + 1 (no “year 0”) = 32 AD

Jesus was born somewhere around 3-4 BC.  He was baptized in 28 AD.  Throughout His ministry, Jesus concealed His identity as the Son of God, at least in public.  This was so that He could proclaim Himself as Messiah on the very day foretold in the Scriptures.

Jesus deliberately arranged to enter Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the 10th of Nisan, 32 AD in fulfillment of Messianic prophecy (Zechariah 9:9, Psalm 118:26, Daniel 9:25).  On that day, he rode in to Jerusalem on a donkey while the crowd cheered Him on as the Messiah.  This was exactly 173, 880 days after Artaxerxes gave word to rebuild Jerusalem.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  (Zechariah 9:9 ESV)

Some did, indeed, recognize Jesus as fulfilling this prophecy:

And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road.  As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen,  saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”  He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”  And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,  saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side  and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation. (Luke 19:36-44 ESV)

Although they may have recognized Him as Messiah, they were confused when He didn’t fulfill their expectations of conquering their enemies and ushering in the Messianic Kingdom at that time.  Thus, a mere 4 days later, they crucified Him.

The first 69 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy were completed at the triumphal entry of Jesus on Palm Sunday in the city of Jerusalem – the coming of the Anointed One.

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.

After the 7+62 weeks (483 years), the Anointed One shall be cut off.  The KJV reads “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself“.  This cutting off, but not for himself, is Jesus’ death for all of mankind.  The NLT reads “the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing“.  Jesus’ death came as a shocking blow to His followers, and appeared to be a great victory for satan.  Of course, this turned out to be the greatest victory for God, as He defeated the power of sin and death through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

John MacArthur writes about this phrase:

“And after,” now watch that word “after”, “after threescore and two weeks,” that is, you’ve got the seven and then the threescore and two, after 69 weeks, “shall Messiah be…what?…cut off.” Now listen, now watch this, it doesn’t say during the 69 weeks, it says what? After.  Now this is essential to complete the prophecy. There is yet one more week left. But before you get to that week, look at verse 27, there you have one week. Do you see it? “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” Before you get to the one week, you have a gap in verse 26. Now mark that in your mind. There is a gap there.

That is utterly essential to the understanding of this prophecy. The 70 weeks did not run sequentially right through the seventieth week. Now you shouldn’t be shocked by that because such gaps are very common in prophecy, aren’t they?

But look with me now at this verse 26. “After the seven and, “you always add the seven in from verse 25, “and then the 62, or the 69, shall Messiah be cut off.” Now the verb “to be cut off” means “to kill,” or “to destroy.” It is used that way in Genesis 9:11, in Deuteronomy 20:20, in Jeremiah 11:19. It means “to kill.” It literally says after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be killed.

Now, any Jew that knew his Scripture would not then say that the preaching of the cross is foolishness because he would know his Messiah had to die. But they couldn’t handle that. They couldn’t fathom that. The Bible says that to them the cross was a stumbling block. They could not perceive a crucified Messiah.

Let me take it a step further. This word in the Hebrew, “to be cut off,” is used at least three places in the Old Testament, that I found, Leviticus 7:20, Proverbs 2:22, Psalm 37:9, to speak of execution of a person given the death penalty for a crime. Messiah will not only die, He will die as a criminal would die. Now, folks, that’s a pretty narrow, pretty accurate, specific prophecy, isn’t it?

Here is Daniel saying 69 weeks will pass and after that, Messiah will be executed as a criminal. That’s what he says. There’s no other way to interpret it. How could anybody miss the fact that 69 weeks to the very day, Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the Messiah the Prince and after that, He was executed as a common criminal? Just exactly what Daniel said would happen. Hard to think of, tragic, that they would wait all those centuries for their Messiah and then miss the whole thing and hate Him and despise Him. Incredible.

But you know You say, “Well, maybe that Daniel’s passage was a little obscure.” No, they could have read Psalm 22 and Psalm 22 gives you a detail by detail outline of every event of the crucifixion. It even talks about when they gambled for His garment. Or they could have read Isaiah…what?…fifty-three where it describes Him as a sheep led to slaughter. It’s all there. The Old Testament said it would be so.”

Source: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/27-26

I believe that if Israel had accepted Christ at this point, in that 40 day window He gave them after His resurrection, then Daniel’s prophecy would have continued without a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks.  The mystery of the church age, that fills the gap, is purely because Israel rejected Jesus at the time of His first coming.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ fulfills the reconciliation for iniquity, and provides for an end for sin and brings in everlasting righteousness for individual believers.  The complete fulfillment of the rest of the prophecy is yet future.

And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

The people of the prince who (was) to come, the Romans, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.   Titus, the Roman prince who was still to come in Daniel’s time, opposed the destruction of the Temple and tried to stop it 3 times while his people destroyed it.  It was literally the “people” of the “prince who was to come” who destroyed the Temple.    This verse may be specifically describing that it was the people, not the prince, who was acting because that would have been very unusual (normally armies follow the commands of their leaders).

Because Israel did not recognize the time of their visitation by the Messiah, they entered into judgment from God and the complete fulfillment of the 70 weeks was postponed.  In essence, the 70 week clock was paused between the 69th and 70th weeks. As I stated above, the mystery of the grafting-in of Gentiles into a newly-formed “church body” would fill the gap:

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25 ESV)

The purpose of the inclusion of Gentiles into the church body was to provoke Israel into jealousy, so they would return to the Lord their God:

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. (Romans 11:11 ESV)

Once the fullness of the Gentiles has come in to the new covenant (the New Testament covenant of Jesus’ blood), this partial hardening will be released, the 70 week clock will be unpaused, and the 70th week will begin.  God’s focus will again be on Israel.

Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. 

Daniel mentions “to the end there shall be war”.  Jesus also tells us that the entire church age will be filled with wars and rumors of wars, but the end “is not yet”.  War itself, however, will continue until the end, as the final “week of years” will be marked by “nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”.  Upcoming prophetic wars are detailed elsewhere in Daniel, Ezekiel 38-39, Isaiah 17, and Psalm 83.  Please see this Overview of Coming Prophetic Wars.

The end, that comes like a flood, will be a time of destruction, misery, devastation, and despair – The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.   The flood compares the 70th week to be “as in the days of Noah”.  We see this comparison made by Jesus in the gospels (Luke 17, Matthew 24).

Desolations are decreed.  

“Desolation” is a noun, referring to complete emptiness or destruction; anguished misery or loneliness; devastation, hopelessness, despair.  (dictionary.com)   Daniel mentions that “desolations are decreed” for the interim between the destruction of the city and the temple, and the strong covenant which will be made at the end.  Dictionary.com defines “desolation ” as “a state of complete emptiness or destruction” and “anguished misery or loneliness”.  Basically, this desolation describes the scattering of the Hebrews among the nations.  Israel was decreed to lie in emptiness and destruction, which it did, for almost 1900 years.

 

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, 

Here we have the definition of the starting point of the 70th week!  “He” shall make a “strong covenant with many” for “one week”.  The “one week” is easy – that’s a week of years, the final 7 years concerning Israel and Jerusalem.  The making of the “strong covenant with many” is a little trickier.  This covenant seems to be specifically made for 7 years.  We know this because there is a reference to “half the week”, which is a period of 3.5 years.  This 3.5 years is further referenced as 1260 days or 42 months.  If the covenant was open-ended, there would be no “half the week”.  I have read that the covenant may be open-ended or “eternal”, but God is telling us that it will last for only “one week”.  This may be supported by the verse that the antichrist will “seek to change the times and the law” (Daniel 7:25), but we know that God will cut short his days and he will come to his decreed end (Matthew 24:22).

The covenant may be a new covenant, or it may be a strengthened pre-existing covenant.  We are not told what this covenant involves, but it will likely include Old Testament-style Jewish worship and sacrifices in a rebuilt Third Temple in some fashion.  We know this because in the same sentence, sacrifice and offering is ended – which means it must have been occurring as part of the “strong covenant”.  The strong covenant must include the people of Israel, but it might include others as well.  The covenant may be initiated by Israel (who will all of a sudden be in a position of strength once God rises up to protect her), or it may be initiated by the “he” (the antichrist or his false prophet), or it might be strengthened by God Himself.  I have a detailed discussion on this here:  The Covenant With Many.

All we can say for certain is that someone arises on the scene with the power to make a strong covenant with Israel, and she accepts.

and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.

The “he” here could refer to the antichrist or to his false prophet.  One of them will put an end to sacrifice and offering.  Regardless of who the “he” was, the “one who makes desolate” is clearly the antichrist himself.  Abomination, the Hebrew word (shiqquwts), is connected to horrific idolatry.  Israel will commit horrific idolatry against God with the antichrist.  It appears that the majority of them (2/3 – Zechariah 13:8) embrace the antichrist as their Messiah, after rejecting their true Messiah (Jesus) 2000 years ago (John 5:43).  During the 70th week:

At the end of the 70th week, Jesus Christ will return at the Second Coming to fight the Battle of Armageddon.  The antichrist and false prophet will be cast in the lake of fire, and satan and his demons will be locked in the abyss.  The sheep and goats judgment will follow, with the Temple being restored and anointed after that.  This will usher in the Millennial Kingdom rule and finish the transgression, put an end to sin, atone for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness,  seal both vision and prophet, and anoint a most holy place.  (Daniel 9:24 ESV)

The purpose of the 70th week of Daniel is to bring Israel to repentance and acceptance of Jesus as their true Messiah.

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”  (Romans 11:26-27 ESV)

 


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Enduring Word – Bible Commentary Daniel 9

Red Moon Rising – A Study of the 70 Weeks (Chapter 9) – Peter Goodgame

The 70 Weeks of Daniel – Jack Kelley

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

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God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

The earth is wobbling like a top ready to spin out of control.  Can you feel it?

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We are rapidly approaching the point of no return where humanity’s actions will tip the scales of God’s wrath.  Life as we know it will come crashing to a cataclysmic halt.  Christians know it, other religions know it, secular observers know it.  “The Apocalypse” is almost upon us.  It will be a time of chaos, destruction, and confusion.

Fortunately, God has not left us in the dark about what is to come.  God’s prophetic tapestry is woven through like threads in both the Old and New Testaments.  Close up, the intricate designs can seem confusing and even contradictory.  God has intentionally designed a pattern that is complex.  He leaves for us a trail of puzzle pieces, not unlike the parables Jesus told, and exactly like at His first coming.  It is only through rigorously searching and praying through the Scriptures that keys emerge, pieces fit together, and the big picture is revealed.  Keep in mind that these things were written 1900-3000 years ago!!!

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Over the course of history, God has dealt with humanity in a few different ways.  These ways are known as Dispensations.  In the garden of Eden, God met with Adam and Eve in human form.  Here, the very first prophetic word was uttered by God – “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 ESV)  After the fall of humanity, God continued to speak directly to the early patriarchs.  This continued through Noah and the global flood until the time of Abraham.  The nations had been dispersed at the tower of Babel, and God selected one man, Abraham, to seed the nation of Israel – His nation, His people.

Israel’s purpose was to be set apart, to be a beacon of God’s light in the world and draw the nations back to Him.  Israel, for the most part, failed miserably.  God could rely only on Himself.  Thus, in the fullness of time, God became as one of us in the form of Jesus.  Jesus succeeded where Israel had failed, and set in motion the reclaiming of the nations unto God.  Israel expected this to happen all at once, but the mystery was that this reclaiming would now be done through the “church” – a body of Jews and Gentiles called by God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 11:25).  The church was now set apart as God’s salt and light in the world.

The time is very quickly approaching when this mission of the church will suddenly end.

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God’s timeline for humanity proceeds right on schedule.  The end of this age will come abruptly to a halt with the noisy, not-so-secret rapture of the church.  The dead in Christ will arise, and the invisible body of Christ will be transformed in the blink of an eye.  Together they will be snatched away from what is coming on the earth, safely hidden in heaven.  A parable of this can be seen in the ritual of the Jewish Wedding.  We may not know the day or the hour, but there are definite clues to the season.  We can watch for the signs to occur that point to this event.  You may agree or disagree with some of these signs but what is clear is that prophecy scholars agree that there is a convergence of signs:

  • The Fig Tree sign – Jesus tells His disciples that when they “see the fig tree leaf out”, they would know that the time of His coming was near.  Many prophecy scholars agree that this sign refers to Israel’s rebirth in May 1948.  This was predicted in scripture over 2500 years ago.
  • Israel Reborn – Regardless of whether or not the fig tree refers to Israel, Israel’s rebirth as a nation after 2000 years of not being one is a flashing neon light!  The Kingdom of Heaven is Near!!!
  • Jerusalem Recaptured – Jerusalem features heavily in end times prophecy.  The 6 day war of 1967 was very significant prophetically!  It’s possible that war fulfilled Psalm 83; alternately, the complete fulfillment of Psalm 83 may be yet future.
  • Jewish Aliyah – Along with the re-establishment of Israel as a physical/political nation, God’s chosen people are foretold to return to the Promised Land.  This has been slowly but surely occurring over the last 120 years or so, with approximately 45% of the world’s Jewry living in Israel at this time (2016).  According to Jewish tradition, conditions are set for prophets to appear when at least 50% of the world’s Jewry is located in Israel.
  • The Third Temple – We know from the book of Daniel, the gospels, and Revelation that there will be a functioning Jewish Temple during the “70th Week of Daniel“.  While the Temple has not yet been built, the plans are complete, Levite priests are trained, and Temple equipment/furniture has been made.
  • Apostasy in the Church – It seems that as we approach the time of the end, churches will fall away from preaching sound doctrine. Instead, they will focus on a social gospel that “tickles men’s ears” (tells them what they want to hear to feel good).  Sexual immorality will be tolerated.
  • Immorality in Society – Society will move further and further away from God and His laws/morals.  We see this most clearly in the last several decades through Abortion (1.5 billion since 1980), Homosexuality (general worldwide acceptance in non-Muslim nations), and Human Euthanasia (legal in some nations, including Canada).  There are many examples of immorality and corruption.
  • As in the Days of Lot – Society will be marked by violence, homosexuality, and sexual immorality.  Interestingly, the LGBTQ community has adopted the symbol of God’s promise “in the days of Noah” as the symbol of their pride.
  • As in the Days of Noah – Society will be marked by violence, DNA manipulation, and sexual immorality.
  • Knowledge Will Increase – In the latter days, people will travel “to and fro” and knowledge will increase.  We are approaching a “technological tower of Babel” situation!
  • The Gospel Will be Preached to All Nations – While there are still unreached people groups within nations, the gospel has been successfully taken to all nations around the globe.  The gospel will continue to be preached during the coming times of tribulation by the 2 Witnesses, sealed 144,000 Hebrews, and an angel from God.
  • A Great Sign in the Sun, Moon, and Stars – It appears God may be announcing the imminent rapture of the church and the nearness of His Second Coming through a great sign in the sun, moon, and stars described in Revelation 12:1-2.  This great sign appeared in the sky on September 23, 2017.  Interestingly, satan also seems to think September 23 is an important date.
  • The Great Pyramid – The Great Pyramid in Egypt seems to have been specifically designed to point to the First and Second comings of Jesus Christ.
  • The Feasts of God – God has appointments on His calendar.  He calls these His “moedim”, or appointed times.  The next appointments on His calendar are the Fall Feasts.  There is some question, however, if the late spring feast of Pentecost has fully been fulfilled…
  • “Balaamic Prophecies” – Secular society can’t help itself but advertise that the “end is near”
  • Nonspecific Signs – God may be issuing His final warnings via nonspecific signs (i.e. August 21,2017 solar eclipse, Planet X)

A summary of some of these signs and more can be seen in this article:  Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign – The Convergence is Now.

The Path Diverges

A great divide exists; there are two tracks that humanity will take.  Those who took the narrow road will be a part of the heavenly track:  the body of Christ will be in heaven for the time of “tribulation” on the earth.  They will participate in the Day of Christ (judgment for rewards).  Meanwhile, the Day of the Lord is the track on earth for those who were on the broad road leading to destruction.

 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ESV

God’s judgment will be poured out in full force on a wicked and Christ-rejecting world.  However, God will not leave the world without witness.  He will call forth 2 Witnesses who will function similarly to the Old-Testament prophets.  Additionally, with the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit in the church complete, the Holy Spirit will immediately move to supernaturally seal 144,000 specially chosen Hebrews.  God will use these witnesses to call forth His elect – a third of Israel along with many “gentile” followers.

Prophesied Wars

Before we get any further, there are several prophesied wars involving Israel that will occur in the future.  The timing of these is broadly in “the latter years”.  Several of these may occur before the rapture of the church (Nation Rising Against Nation – WW3; The Destruction of Damascus; Arab-Israeli Promised Land War).  One of these may occur during or shortly after the removal of the true church from the earth (Gog and Magog War – many nations rising against Israel).  These wars may blur together and occur in a short span of time.

Regardless of the exact timing, God Himself will intervene to save Israel in these wars.  As a result, Israel will want to re-institute their Temple worship of God with Old Testament-style sacrifices.  The person (or ‘being’) who arises and takes credit for winning these wars won’t be God, but he will end up claiming to be.  It is certain that one war will occur approximately seven years after the rapture, in which this god-imposter will be destroyed (The Battle of Armageddon).  See here for an overview of all these wars.

The 7-Year Tribulation Begins

With the body of Christ safely tucked away in heaven, let’s go over what’s going to happen on earth.  When Jesus rose from the dead, great power was released in some type of nuclear transformation event.  This triggered an earthquake.  When the dead in Christ rise, it is possible that this event will trigger similar earthquakes on a global scale – wherever the dead in Christ lie.  The earthquakes will then trigger volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.  The sun will be darkened and the moon appear blood red from smoke and ash in the air (I believe this is the prophetic “blood moon sign”).  In a short span of time, 25% of humanity will die from famine, war/murder, disease outbreaks, and wild animals (emboldened by severe food shortages) – the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

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Throughout the church age, followers of Christ have been indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit.  When these true believers are removed from the earth, the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence over evil and the powers of darkness will be removed.  At this time, a cosmic war erupts between the holy angels and the fallen angels.  Satan (the name given to the fallen spirit-being opposing God), represented as a dragon and a serpent, and his demon horde (fallen angels) will be defeated and lose their access to heaven.  They will be granted authority by God to deceive humanity, for the sake of accomplishing His divine purposes.  We are not told exactly what this involves but we do know that satan has been hard at work preparing for it (likely, “aliens”, which are fallen angelic beings).  He knows the time is close.

The combination of the removal of living believers to heaven and the disasters of the 7 Seals will leave the world reeling.  A great power vacuum will exist in the world as social and economic structures collapse under the burden of disaster. A man or being will rise to power quickly, to bring “peace” and “unity”.  This man is known in the Bible as “the lawless one”, “the antichrist”, “false christ”, “false messiah”, and “the beast”.  The “antichrist” will participate in ushering in a new world order.  Wars will be involved as nations and leaders try to sort out a semblance of order and power.  There are several opinions as to how this might play out, but I will give my understanding here.

A New World Order

First, shortly after the rapture, it appears that either the “antichrist” or the “false prophet” will enter into a covenant with Israel.  The covenant may be made for 7 years (peace agreement), or it may be presented as eternal (a “new messianic covenant”).  It is also possible that God reconfirms His Abrahamic covenant with Israel through supernaturally protecting them from annihilation at this point.  The confirming of this covenant, whatever it turns out to be, will start an event known as the 70th Week of Daniel.  This 70th Week pertains directly to the nation of Israel and ethnic Hebrews, and is generally known as “The 7 Year Tribulation”.  The Third Temple will be built in Jerusalem (or Shiloh? or the city of David?) at this time.

Concurrently, the world will first be divided into four parts (“kingdoms”). Two kingdoms may be ruled by singular rulers. One kingdom will be ruled by 4 “kings”. The fourth kingdom will be ruled by 10 “kings”. In this fourth kingdom, three of these 10 kings will be quickly displaced by the man who will become the “antichrist”. This fourth kingdom, led by the antichrist, will take over the other 3 kingdoms over the next few years.  While people often talk about the antichrist ushering in a “peace treaty” and “false peace”, I personally don’t see the first half of the “Tribulation” as peaceful at all.  World leaders will be posturing and fighting trying to both rise to power and establish control and organization following the massive destruction of the opening of the Seals.

By the midpoint of the “Tribulation”, the antichrist will have successfully achieved world rule.  This antichrist (“beast”) kingdom will then be granted global rule by God for a period of 1260 days. God will oversee and allow this as part of Israel’s purification.

The “antichrist” will be supported by a false prophet.  The false prophet may identify himself “Elijah”.  These two, and their entourage, will be extremely convincing and will be accompanied by all kinds of miraculous signs and wonders.  They will be empowered by none other than satan – forming an “unholy trinity”.

At some point, the “antichrist” will likely identify as the Jewish messiah.  He may also identify as the messiah for other religions as well, explaining that everyone had different understandings of the same thing.  He may encourage Old Testament-style worship of God… at first.  Some of Israel (up to 2/3) will embrace this man as their anticipated messiah, here to usher in the messianic kingdom.  They will believe the events that will have already transpired (wars in which they survived, the building of the Third Temple, sacrifices restarting) have fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies.  They will believe that a time of peace and prosperity for Israel, the millennial kingdom, is nigh.  In reality, their time of testing is just beginning.

The First Half – God’s Witnesses

Meanwhile, right after the church has been taken to heaven, God will have sent witnesses to declare the gospel.  There will be two special prophets for God who will proclaim truth.  They will speak out against the “antichrist” and his deception.  There will also be 144,000 Hebrews who come to faith in Jesus Christ.  These 144,000 will be sealed by God and protected from some of the cataclysmic events that take place.

Remember the four horsemen?  The effects of the opening of the seals will be playing out upon the earth during the first half of the “Tribulation”.  Cataclysmic disasters will continue and supernatural beings will appear.  There are 7 specific “Trumpets of Judgment” that will take place.  The first 4 involve death of trees and green grass, contamination of the oceans, contamination of fresh water, and dimming of the sun, moon, and stars (possibly from atmospheric contamination).   These 4 possibly occur very shortly after the rapture of the church.  Trumpet 5 involves a 5 month long torment of humanity by a demonic army, where people will seek death (suicide) but it will not be found.

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The truth of the gospel will not be popular, and the Two Witnesses will be killed after 3.5 years of ministry (42 months / 1260 days) by the “antichrist”.  Most on the earth will celebrate their deaths by giving gifts.  This is the only celebration mentioned in the book of Revelation.  The 144,000 may also be killed around this time.  Trumpet 6 involves another demonic army that begins at some point after the 5 month torture ends.  This army kills 1/3 of humanity over a period of time ending when the two witnesses for God are resurrected from the dead – 3.5 days after their deaths.

In total, over 50% of humanity has now been killed (over 3 billion people), by the midpoint of “The Tribulation”.  The “Great Tribulation” – that period of time when the antichrist is given global rule for 1260 days and is allowed to persecute and kill those who do not worship him – will have not yet begun!  The massive death tolls from war, famine, plagues, wild animals and demonic armies, will focus much of humanity’s efforts on mere survival.

The Second Half – Antichrist’s Rule

Near the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week, the “antichrist” will be killed. It is likely that the he will die via a head wound.  He will miraculously rise from the dead with God’s permission.  His first course of action will be to kill the Two Witnesses. At some point (likely upon their death), the “antichrist” will set himself up in the Jewish temple, proclaiming to be “god”. He will stop all sacrifices to God and desecrate the altar. This is the trigger for Jews who know their Tanach (Old Testament) to flee to the wilderness.  The warning is given both in the books of Daniel (OT – Daniel 9:27) and Matthew (NT – Matthew 24:15-21).

When Jesus came and revealed Himself to be God after 3.5 years of ministry, Israel killed Him. When the “antichrist” reveals himself to be “god” 3.5 years into Daniel’s 70th Week, it appears that Israel embraces him.  This is foretold by Jesus in John 5:43 – “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.”

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While the “antichrist” is celebrating his victory, the 2 bodies of God’s witnesses will lay in the streets of Jerusalem. 3.5 days later, they will rise from the dead and God will call them up to heaven. A great earthquake will result and 7000 people will die. This ends the 6th Trumpet judgment (the “second woe”).  The 7th trumpet blows at some point after the “antichrist” declares himself to be god.

The “antichrist” will establish world rule at this time, merging religion, economy, and power.  He will set up an economic system which requires taking his mark or pledging allegiance to him to be able to buy or sell.  Will this mark alter DNA in some manner?  An angel will warn mankind not to take this mark – this is the final warning before God outpours the final 7 Bowls of His wrath.  True salvation is still possible up until taking the mark of the beast.  Choose wisely, your eternal soul is at stake!

Once the mark system has been set up, at some point the 7 Bowls, which complete God’s wrath, will be outpoured.  These judgments involve painful sores appearing on people who have taken the mark of the beast; the entire sea turning to blood and all sea creatures dying; all rivers and springs becoming blood; scorching by the sun; the kingdom of the beast being plunged into darkness; the Euphrates river drying up to allow humanity to assemble for a final battle against Jesus; and finally, the greatest global earthquake ever will resurface the planet, accompanied by a severe thunderstorm and 100 pound hailstones.

The Ending is Decreed, It Will Come to Pass

As the 6th Bowl of wrath is poured out, the “antichrist” will send deceiving spirits to gather the world for a war against Jesus Christ.  My guess is that he will state that this is the final battle before humankind’s evolutionary transformation can be completed… but that is speculation… Once everyone is gathered, they will prepare for the Battle of Armageddon.  It appears that God will provide a final escape route for those dwelling in Jerusalem via the Mount of Olives splitting, before the Battle of Armageddon ensues. The battle will occur 1260 (or possibly 1290) days after the “antichrist” declares himself to be god and sets up the “abomination of desolation” on the Temple altar.

The ending is decreed and it will come to pass – Jesus Christ will appear with His heavenly armies (angels and human followers who were taken at the beginning of this tribulation).  It won’t be a battle though, Jesus will simply open His mouth and defeat all who are gathered by a Word.  All the armies gathered against Him will be defeated in one big wallop by the sword of the Spirit – the Word of God.

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The beast (“antichrist”) and the false prophet will be thrown alive into the lake of fire.  All humans opposing Jesus Christ will be killed.  It’s not going to be a good death – And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. And on that day a great panic from the Lord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other.  (Zechariah 14:12-13 ESV).  Satan will then be thrown into the abyss and chained for 1000 years – the duration of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

This completes the Day of the Lord and the 70th week of Daniel.

The Millennial Kingdom and Eternity

Once the Battle of Armageddon is complete, humanity will be judged on whether or not they can enter the Millennial Kingdom.  This is known as the “Sheep and Goats Judgement” and the separation of the “Wheat and Tares”.  Believers during the “Tribulation” will not be sealed by the Holy Spirit and will be responsible for ensuring they remain in the faith until the end.  They also are required to demonstrate their faith through good works.  True believers, the “sheep” and “wheat”, will be ushered in to the Millennial Kingdom.  Unbelievers, or those who lost their faith, the “goats” and “tares”, will be killed and sent to hell to await the Great White Throne judgment.

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The true Messianic Kingdom will then be ushered in by Jesus, and will last 1000 years. During this period of time, the Earth will be restored to near-Eden-like condition with most aspects of the curse reversed.  Longevity will be restored.  Only the “sin nature” will remain.  Remarkably, even under the direct rule of Christ, humanity will still be filled with rebellion.  A number too high to count will rise up at the end of this time period when Satan is released for a “little season”.  They will gather against Jesus, yes, again, and the Last Battle will ensue.  Humanity still hasn’t learned that you can’t beat God, and they will all be destroyed with no actual fighting.

This form of heaven and earth will pass away, followed by the Great White Throne Judgment.  The Great White Throne judgment will see the resurrection of all humanity from the dead to face the living God.  This does not include those who participated in the “first resurrection” – all those in Christ prior to the Millennial Kingdom.  Followers of Christ (from the Millennial Kingdom) will enter eternal life; those who rejected Jesus will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire.

Once judgment is complete, Eternity ensues.  Humans are eternal – our souls never die.  Where your soul will spend eternity is completely up to you, but it can only be decided while in your physical body.

There is only ONE road that leads to life, and that is through Jesus Christ.  Those who have not had their sin debt paid by the blood of Jesus will face God’s wrath and judgments.   Please consider carefully if your heart has truly been transformed (“born again”).  There is a difference between religion (including intellectual knowledge and the traditions of man), and relationship with God!  Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Matthew 16:26 ESV

We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.  For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 ESV


For Further Reading:

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!