“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Daniel 12: 1
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
No doubt, there is predicted a “time of trouble” by Daniel and Jesus in these two verses, but how long is it? Is it 7 years as surmised by Hal Lindsey and his followers? What passages of scripture does he use to support this length of time?
There is no verse in the Bible that has the phrase “7 years of tribulation”, or “trouble.”, The length of the time of trouble in the verses above is not specific. It is just a “time of trouble.” The attempt to make it 7 years comes from a fanciful interpretation of Daniel 9: 24-27 prophecy. Despite this, the Daniel 9 prophecy is powerful when interpreted in its setting and context. It has helped many believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah including me.
Hal Lindsey and his followers predict 7 years of tribulation before Jesus returns based on a part of this prophecy. He states that since the church is “raptured” and the “saved” are spared from any uncomfortable situations i.e., the plagues, Anti-Christ, Mark of the Beast etc. But, as we saw in the Bible in the previous posts, there is no biblical evidence for a 2nd Coming part A (Invisible) Part B (Visiable/Literal). Read carefully the verses that talk about Jesus’ return. It is plain, He comes one time and not two.
Let’s read the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 and compare it with actual history and Biblically documented historical dates to see if there is a 7-year tribulation hidden somewhere in it. In the process, we will discover the power of this prophecy written almost 500 years before Jesus came the first time!
Please follow closely. When we are finished, I recommend you verify the dates at your local library or other resources. Beware of the confusion of the internet. Also, I have included a chart at the end in the “Appendix” to make these dates easier to see and follow. There are also other helpful references.
Ready? Here we go:
“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.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks (7), and threescore (60) and two weeks (2): the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
And after threescore (60) and two weeks (2) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (1): 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.”
Daniel 9: 24-27
If you count up the number is parenthesis, the sum will be 70 years mentioned at the start. There is a reason why they are split up that way i.e., 7 weeks + 60 weeks + 2 weeks + 1 week. This will be explained later. For now, let’s figure out the starting date for the 70 years.
The setting for these verses is important in understanding the prophecy. Daniel and his people (The Jews) had been taken captive by Babylon and the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and lay desolate as prophesied by Jeremiah. It was predicted by Jeremiah that they would be in captivity for 70 years!
“In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
As the 70 years drew near to the end, Daniel began to pray and confess his sins and the sins of the people (Verses 4-20). Then Gabriel (an angel) came and informed Daniel that he had come to
“give thee skill and understanding.”
Then Gabriel beings to explain verses 24:27 above. But, this is part of the unexplained part of the 2300 days found in Daniel 8 (See the previous post)
From Daniel 9: 24-27 above, we observe the following:
70 weeks was given to Daniel’s people (Israelites) and the city of Jerusalem to:
- Finish the transgression
- Make an end of sins
- Make reconciliation for iniquity
- Bring in everlasting righteousness
- Seal up the vision and prophecy
- Anoint the most Holy
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Galatians 3:24, 25
All the festivals, drink and meat offerings and special Sabbath days (Not the weekly Sabbath) were shadows pointing to the body of Jesus. All those had served their purpose and were fulfilled in Christ:
“Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
On the other side of the cross, the people looked forward in faith to Jesus (the Messiah) and what He would do for them. All of us on this side of the cross look back in faith at what Jesus has done for us.
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 10: 5, 6
This the disciples did for 3 1/2 more years after Jesus was “cut off” or crucified in 31 AD.
This takes us 3 1/2 years forward to the end of the 70 weeks or 490 years.
In the year 34 AD some interesting things happen to mark the end of the 490 years “determined” or “cut off” for the Jewish nation:
In this year Stephen was martyred and Paul was converted to be the teacher to the Gentiles
“I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”
2 Timothy 1:11
A very interested passage of scripture also marks the end of 70 weeks given to the Jews to do all those things of the covenant listed in Daniel 9. It is a point where the burden of carrying the gospel to the entire world is taken off the shoulders of the Jews and given to the Gentiles. It is the point where God determines who is a real Jew or seed of Abraham.
Paul and Barnabas were preaching to a large group, but were interrupted by the Jews because of the large following of the two disciples. Those religious leaders who were interrupting contradicted Paul and Barnabas and actually blasphemed God! But it is what Paul and Barnabas say that marks the transition from Jew to Gentile or Spiritual Jew:
“But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Acts 13: 45, 46
The appointed people of God had failed to keep the covenant (agreement) and God turned to the Gentiles and made them heir to the promises of God:
“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.“
No longer was there a distinction between literal Jew and the God’s chosen people simply identified as belonging to Christ:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.“
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Romans 2:28, 29
Thus the 70 week prophecy came to an end! There is no room or context in the prophecy for 7 years of tribulation or the Anti Christ. It is simply not there. To try to force it takes away from a beautiful and important part of the ministry of Christ.
While Hal Lindsey has everyone looking at Jerusalem for the rebuilding of the temple to mark the soon return of Jesus, the Anti Christ is at work elsewhere in the world. this we will see in future studies. This is so deceptive that almost the whole world is taken in. What a great diversion by the enemy of mankind!
In conclusion, the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9 is mishandled to try and support 7 years of tribulation at the end of time and the work of the Anti Christ. If the prophecy is kept in its context, it becomes a prophecy to support Jesus as the Messiah, his crucifixion, the spread of the gospel, and God’s long suffering with the lost sheep of the house of Israel!
Below is a summary chart of the dates we have discussed above:
We find in the time prophecy of Daniel 9, the curtain pulled back to allow us to see the movement of God and history towards that great day when Jesus came upon the earth to reveal the true nature of God. Jesus demonstrated in the flesh a God of compassion and forgiveness eager to save people from the wages of sin- eternal death.
The prophecy does not stop with Stephen, Paul, and the gospel burden moving to those who are Christ….the new heirs of the promise. It continues for 1810 years. 490 years were given to the Daniel’s people. What happened 1810 years after 34 AD? The attending angel told Daniel that the “Sanctuary would be cleansed.” What does that mean? Next time, we will explore.
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
My friends, we are in “the time of the end.”
Below is information if you want more detail, otherwise I hope this prophecy helped you see how God is in control.
*Notes about the dates described above:
Ezra has three decrees with different dates that could be used. Nehemiah has a date also. But the decision as to which one to use, you must keep in mind the key words of the prophecy: “the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.”
The decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4)
The decree of Darius I (Ezra 6:1-12)
The decree of Artaxerxes I (Longimanuus) (Ezra 7: 12-26)
The decree of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah Chapters 1 and 2)
The Babylonian business tablets
Elephantine papyri from Egypt
From the above documents, we know that Xerxes was killed in late December of 465 B.C. and the reign of Artaxerxes began at the time.
Fall to Fall
|First year||464/463 B.C.|
|Second year||463/462 B.C.|
|Third year||462/461 B.C.|
|Fourth year||461/460 B.C.|
|Fifth year||460/459 B.C.|
|Sixth year||459/458 B.C.|
|Seventh year||458/457 B.C.|
Therefore, the seventh year of Artaxerxes, according to Jewish reckoning, extended from the fall of 458 to the fall of 457 B. C.
Note: the references in this prophecy to destruction of the city and temple and desolations:
“….the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined… for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”
This is not reference to a small historical character called Antiochus or a future Anti-Christ, but to the total destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD as predicted by Jesus himself when he told the disciples. There has never been a temple since then and never will be!
“Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains,. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not e in the winter or on the Sabbath. 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 those days shall be shortened.”
Matthew 24: 15-22
The total destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman soldiers was horrible. Many who tried to escape were crucified outside the city. At one time, the number of crosses outside the city almost made it look like a forest of trees. Those who heeded the advice of Jesus escaped the city and remained alive.
The abomination of the fourth beast of Rome made desolate the once proud city of Jerusalem. The rebellion of the Jewish nation was humbled forever.
The church of Jesus replaced the Jewish nation as His witness. Now if you are Christ’s, you are a person of the promise.
The temple and the city were destroyed never to be rebuilt again. The next city is the Holy City New Jerusalem built by the Lord Himself. It will come down from heaven and set up on the new earth.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Revelation 21: 1 – 3