by Greg on June 1, 2012
In a recent article, it was explained how the Jewish people lost their status as God’s chosen people. This occurred when the Jewish nation refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah at the end of a 490 year prophecy found in Daniel 9: 24-27.
This article continues to look at the same text because there is a troubling popular interpretation that comes from the last verse. From it has been popularized the “7 year tribulation” scenario that has spawned 3 views of when Christ might return—pre-trib, mid-trib, and post trib. In other words, three different views that suggest that Jesus will return for His church either before, during, or after 7 years of tribulation.
The problem is that neither the Bible, nor any concordance, mentions a period of 7 years of tribulation. So how did this concept become so much a part of today’s prophetic fabric? It all has to do with Daniel 9: 24-27, with the emphasis on vs. 27.
Vs.24- Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and thy holy city, to finish the transgressions, and to make an end to 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.
Vs.25- Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Vs.26- And after threescore and two weeks 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.
Vs.27- 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. (KJV).
Most modern Bible scholars, using the end-time, prophetic day-for-a-year principle, correctly interpret the word week as 7 years. However, they cut off the last 7 years of the above text’s 490 year prophecy and place it far off at the end of time, saying it is a tribulation time in which the Antichrist will reign.
Antichrist, they surmise, is the he in vs. 27. They then interpret the verse to mean three things: (1) During the 7 years of tribulation, Antichrist will confirm a covenant with the Jewish nation. (2) After 3-1/2 years – the middle of 7 years – Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and stop their animal sacrifices. (3) A Jewish temple that includes animal sacrifices must be rebuilt in order for Antichrist to stop the sacrifices.
Antichrist Isn’t in the Verse
The whole focus of Daniel 9: 24-26 is about the Messiah (Jesus) and is applied to the Jewish people. The Jews would be given 490 years of probation to get their act together for the anointing of Jesus as Messiah.
Messiah being cut off (vs.26), all scholars agree, refers to Jesus’ crucifixion. As for the verse continuing with “And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary,” scholars in the past consistently applied that to the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple by Prince Titus’ Roman army in 70 A.D.
So how, all of a sudden in vs. 27, does Antichrist become the Messiah, the he, who has been talked about up to this point?
From Steve Wohlberg, author and commentator on end-time events, “grammatically it makes sense that all references to he in Daniel 9: 27 refer to the same person [previously mentioned].”
Others, such as well respected Bible commentators Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke, along with a book published in 1846 called Christ and Antichrist, with endorsements from Presbyterian, Methodists, and Baptist Ministers, have applied Daniel vs. 27 to Jesus Christ, not Antichrist. Nor do they ascribe the verse to a future 7 years of tribulation.
Delusional, Irrational Math
The last week of the prophecy, better known as the 70th week, does not follow the 69th week. Instead, it’s placed over two thousand years in the future. Nowhere else in scripture is a prophecy broken up like that. All others are consecutive in their days, weeks, months, and years.
This movement, placing the last 7 years of the prophecy into the future near the end of time, and the insertion of Antichrist into vs. 27, is a concept only recently accepted by most of Christianity within the last 150 years or so. It was first conceived by a Jesuit priest named Francisco Ribera. He published the concept around 1590 to deflect the growing protestant accusation that the Roman church’s pope was the Little Horn (Antichrist) and the church itself was the “beast” from the sea, written about in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, respectively.
Ribera’s concept is called Futurism. It made its way into today’s American eschatology by way of the Scofield Bible notes, the Dallas Seminary, Hal Lindsay’s books, such as the Late Great Planet Earth, and the Left Behind series of books and movies. (The Catholic Church is also responsible for another eschatological school of interpretation called Preterism. It came about for the same reason as Futurism. More about Futurism and Preterism’s origins and the paths they’ve taken to poison Protestanism, are documented in Steve Wohlberg’s excellent book End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, Israel, and the End of the World.)
The irrational math of the “7 year tribulation” is akin to reaching the 69th mile of a 70 mile trip, only to find out that the 70th mile is over some 2,ooo miles away.
An Honest Look at Vs. 27
The King James Version (KJV) is used in the biblical passages examined in this article. It’s apparent that most of the modern versions have an editorial slant/bias toward the prevailing popular futurist concept.
For instance, some modern versions print “a covenant” or even “a peace treaty.” The KJV states “the covenant,” which applies to the New Covenant. This is clear when comparing vs. 27’s “He shall confirm the covenant with many” with Matthew 26: 28, in which Jesus said, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.” Nowhere in the Bible is there Antichrist making a covenant. The word “covenant” in the Bible is usually applied to an agreement between God and man.
“In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Again, using the day for a year, end-time prophetic principle, this is saying “in the midst of 7 years.” Jesus’ anointing to begin His public ministry began at the beginning of the last 7 years of the 490 year prophecy. 3-1/2 years later, the middle (the midst) of the 7 years, he was crucified.
At the point of His death, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27: 51). It is virtually unanimous among scholars and preachers that the tearing of the veil meant that animal sacrifices were no longer needed because the ultimate sacrifice had just been made.
“For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate.” In Matthew 23: 38, Jesus told the Pharisees, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” He was telling them that will be the result (desolation) of the abominations they had committed, described in vs. 37, which reads, ”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
The Jewish Temple, and by extension the nation, is what was made desolate by the death of Jesus. As mentioned earlier, His sacrifice rendered meaningless the Temple’s service and, ultimately, some 40 years later, the Temple and the nation was made desolate in 70 A.D.
After Jesus’ death, the last 3-1/2 years of the 7 yr. period saw Jesus’ disciples engaged in the continual spread of the gospel to the Jewish nation. The covenant of the gospel being preached to the Jew first was therefore confirmed with the Jewish nation for the prophetic week of 7 years. At the end of the 7 years, which completed the 490 yr. probation period, the gospel was then taken to the gentile world.
There is a Tribulation Period
Christians have gone through many tribulations throughout the centuries. Probably the greatest and lengthiest period was the 1,260 years of persecution called the Dark Ages.
In terms of the end times, there will first be a small time of trouble. This will be the time in which those who do not accept the “mark” of the beast will not be able to buy nor sell; the time in which resistance to taking the “mark” could lead to being executed.
That then will lead to the close of the world’s probation; the moment in which the declaration is made—“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still (Rev. 22: 11). In other words, the saved are sealed; the lost are sealed.
Then will come the great tribulation—the time of the seven last plagues (Rev. 16). This is the time of trouble spoken of in Daniel 12: 1, “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, everyone that shall be found written in the book.”
There are two notable things about this great tribulation. First, the length of time that the plagues fall is stated in Rev. 18: 8 as coming in one day. Since end-time Bible prophecy represents a day to be a year, the plagues, coming within a day, will end at any time before a year is up. Secondly, God’s people, the church, are still on the earth.
This is so because between the falling of the 6th and 7th plague, Jesus, in Rev. 16: 15, 16, says, “Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” Jesus, at that saying, hasn’t come yet. He is talking to the church during the falling of the plagues, which will coincide with the spiritual battle of Armageddon.
This disputes the idea that the church won’t be on earth during tribulation times, having been raptured before any trouble occurs. The truth of the matter is that the church will go through the “mark” of the beast scenario and the falling of the plagues.
There is much scripture to support God’s people going through tribulation. For example Jesus said, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name… But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24: 9, 13) Jesus, after mentioning the tribulation, also said, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24: 22). In other words, the days of the great tribulation will be shortened for the sake of the church, because it will still be on earth. St Paul told the church that “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14: 22).
Other examples are the 144,000, which Rev. 7: 14 says came out of great tribulation. Noah wasn’t saved from the flood; he went through it. Daniel had to go in the lion’s den.
These truths probably will upset believers of the secret rapture theory. They are comforted by its assertion that Jesus will come for His church before the 7 years of tribulation. However, such comfort can still be retained.
The Old Testament, given as an example for us, gives insight into God’s method of operation. In those days, plagues similar to the ones in Revelation, fell upon Egypt. God did not deliver Israel before the plagues fell; rather, He kept them from harm during and through the plagues. In like manner, God’s church will be in the world and preserved when the end-time, great tribulation plagues fall (Psalm 91: 6-10).
Today is the Day of Salvation
To conclude, Daniel 9: 27 does not contain a future antichrist, a future peace treaty made with Israel, a future secret rapture, a future rebuilt Jerusalem temple, nor a future 7 years of tribulation.
The 70th week of vs. 27 is not in the future. It logically followed week 69. All 70 weeks ended centuries ago.
Were the elect to exegete from God’s word instead of reading into it the latest popular trend, this poisonous doctrine would never have seen the light of day.
The “7 year tribulation” postulate is antichristian and demonic, for it promotes and encourages among unbelievers a wait and see attitude. They wait for the proof of Christians disappearing before accepting Jesus Christ. They think they will then get a second chance during the 7 year period that follows the disappearing act. This will result in many unbelieving souls remaining unrepentant and even dying while waiting for something that will never happen.
Continuing to advance the “7 year tribulation” theory is wrong. To propagate it is to partner with the destroyer of souls.