by Tad Lindley
If you didn’t read last week’s column you might want to read that first, as this is a continuation. If you don’t have access to it, please read Daniel 9:24-27 with the understanding that when matched up with human history, one week equals seven calendar years.
2,000 missing years
You’ll notice that Daniel’s 70 weeks go straight from Jesus on the cross to the destruction of Jerusalem to the rise of the Antichrist. There is no church, and in hindsight it doesn’t quite make sense. Fortunately, the Bible explains how the prophecy can still stand true and yet miss 2,000 years of human history. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:4-6 NIV) This is how Daniel was unable to see the 2,000 years that fall between the 69th and 70th week in his vision.
The beginning of the 70th week
Nobody will know it when the 70th week begins. It will simply be yet another treaty or pact or international agreement among world leaders that have many people’s names upon it. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week… (Daniel 9:27) It is entirely possible that part of the “covenant” will allow the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, since the temple has to be standing for the Antichrist to reveal himself. On the other hand, the temple may be rebuilt prior to the signing of this particular covenant. The Bible is not clear on that point.
The middle of the week: AC in the house
When Jesus spoke about the end of times and the beginning of the great tribulation he pointed us to Daniel, When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)…then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:15,21). The natural question is, “What did Daniel the prophet say that the reader needs to understand?” Here it is: …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 9:27) In “the midst of the week” would be 3½ years after the signing of the covenant. At that time, the Antichrist will stop animal sacrifices (which will be happening at the rebuilt Jewish temple). In II Thessalonians 2:4 the Bible tells us that he will also sit in the temple and proclaim himself to be God.
Great Tribulation: The church
At that point, to those who have studied the Bible, the identity of the Antichrist will be apparent. He will have unintentionally alerted Christians all over the planet. Then for the church, and for Israel, the Great Tribulation will begin. Remember Jesus very plainly states in Matthew 24 that great tribulation begins after the Antichrist causes animal sacrifice to cease and proclaims himself to be God. The Antichrist will institute the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18). Many Christians will reject the mark and will come under tremendous persecution: He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time [one year, two years, and half a year]. (Daniel 7:25) The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months [3½ years]…It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:5,7)
Great Tribulation: Israel
The Antichrist as an agent of the devil, will hate Israel. Look at Revelation 12:13-14: When the dragon [the devil] saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman [Israel] who had given birth to the male child [Jesus]. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle [the United States], so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time [3½ years], out of the serpent’s reach. (NIV) According to the prophet, Zechariah, only a third of Israel will survive the reign of the Antichrist (Zechariah 13, especially 13:9).
Check back next week to learn about the end of Daniel’s 70th week and the fall of the Antichrist.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.