DANIEL’S 70TH WEEK
Several people call this time the Tribulation Period and the Great Tribulation. This is going to be a 7 year period in which are some of the worst wars, famines, deaths, and other terrible things that this planet has, or ever will, see. Mankind will be at his worst, because they have walked so far away from God that they will not accept Him even though they realize they are going through judgments from God. And yes, God will be judging people. The Lamb of God will open up 7 seals on a scroll, and we will see terrible things happening. 7 angels will blow 7 trumpets, and again terrible things will happen. 7 angels will pour out the 7 bowls of God’s wrath against the world. Also during this time, a very powerful man will rise to power who is inspired and led of Satan himself. He is called the Antichrist. He is against Jesus; although he will deceive many people into thinking that he is the Christ. He will appear to be a man of peace, until he steps into the place of God to proclaim himself as god, and then will come wars, famines and pestilences which will kill about ½ of the people on the planet. During this time we also see the ultimate manifestation of the rebellion of man, the apostasy of Israel, the Rapture of the Church, the consummation of the “times of the Gentiles”, the spiritual rebirth of Israel, the destruction of the armies of the world at Armageddon and the defeat of the Antichrist & Satan. Not only in this time does God send his judgments against the planet, but this is a time when His wrath comes against the planet.
But you say that God is a God of love, and a God of love would never let anything like this happen. Yes, God is a God of love. That is why He sent His only begotten Son as an innocent and helpless baby to live a pure life and then die for our sins. He has sent the best gift that He could to give us eternal life. So all we have to do is accept Jesus into our lives as Lord & Savior and He will give us the help to live the lives that He expects from us. Because He is not only a loving God, but He is also jealous and holy. He cannot just look upon our sin and smile it away because we are just being children. He has given us His Holy standard in the Bible and expects us to live by it. He is not a double standard God who tells us to live one way but He lives another, but He lives by His word in such a way and with such passion and love that we cannot comprehend that love or live anywhere near that standard. Because He is a Holy God, He does have to judge us for what we have and have not done. So we do have to account for our lives.
God does have a purpose in having this period. Actually, He has 6 purposes which we find it in Dan. 9:24.
1. “To finish the transgression” God loves His people Israel. They rejected Jesus as their Messiah. This is a time when God has set aside to “be a time of trouble for Jacob” per Jer. 30:7. This will finish this transgression of Israel and to bring them to her Messiah.
2. “to put an end to sin” The end of this period Satan will be bound up, which will bring an end to the tempter and man’s sin.
3. “to atone for iniquity” This is a reference to the revival that will happen to the people of Israel when they come to Jesus as their Messiah.
4. “To bring in everlasting righteousness” At the end of this time Jesus will come for His 2nd return and then set up His Millennial Kingdom. There will be a brief insurrection at the end of this, but it will be very short lived so it won’t interfere with the final period of righteousness and peace.
5. “to seal both vision and prophet” When Israel has come to their Messiah, and Jesus sets up His eternal reign, there will be no need for visions and prophecy.
6. “to anoint a most holy place” This is probably in reference to Mount Moriah, where Solomon’s Temple was built over the place where Abraham was going to sacrifice his son Isaac. Currently the Dome of the Rock, the 3rd most holy site in Islam, is sitting in this place.
How will this period begin?
The entire 7 year period is called the 70th Week. This 70th Week is divided into 2 periods of 3 ½ years. The first 3 ½ years is the Tribulation and the last 3 ½ years is the Great Tribulation. It is this last 3 ½ years that will see the Day of the Lord and 7 bowls of God’s Wrath be poured out. Whereas the first 3 ½ years won’t be a walk in the park, it will have its devastation, the final 3 ½ years will be the worst that this planet will ever see.
The beginning of the Tribulation is told about in Dan 9:26-27. That is when the Antichrist, “the prince who is to come” will make a covenant in the Middle East to make peace for Israel for 7 years. He will break that covenant in the middle of it, but this covenant will be the trigger that starts the prophetic clock to begin this final 7 year period.
The way he will break this covenant? The Temple will have been rebuilt in Jerusalem. Dan 9:27 and Mt. 24:15 speak about that the Antichrist will commit the abomination of desolation. That is, he will stand in the Holy of Holies in the Temple and proclaim himself god. The Holy of Holies is a very sacred place inside the Temple. There is only 1 person who can go there, that is the High Priest. Then he can only go there one time of the year to make atonement for the people’s sins.
The Apostle Paul has told us that there will be a blessed event sometime during the End Times in which the Lord will take His people up directly into heaven, and then they won’t have to go through the suffering of the 70th Week. This is in I Th. 4:15-17, “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” Jesus will pick up His believers from the earth and take them directly to Heaven to be with Him. He is a God of love, and He doesn’t want His people to suffer through the worst period there will be. So He will take us up out of here. They will be like Elijah & Enoch, who never suffered with death, but went to be directly with the Lord. Also, this is the time of Jacob’s trouble; it is the time when God will be directly dealing with His people Israel to bring them to their Messiah. The believers in Jesus don’t have to go through this time. They have already made their decision for Jesus. The Lord will only come for those who follow Him, even though non-believers might be right beside them. Mt. 24:40-41 “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.” It might even be someone’s brother or sister, mom or dad, husband or wife that they are together with when the Lord calls the Christians up for the Rapture. No matter how close they are to the believer, the Lord will not take that person up into heaven. They will remain on the earth to suffer through the 70th Week because they chose not to follow Jesus. They might even believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God, but they have not made the decision to accept Him into their lives as Lord & Savior. Nonetheless, they will be left behind because they have made the decision to not follow Jesus. They will have to live through the tough times. They might even accept the Lord right after their loved one goes up, but midnight has occurred, the bridegroom has called in the guests to the wedding, they have missed that chance. They have not lost their chance at salvation; they will just have to suffer for it if they do let Jesus in to their heart.
WHEN WILL THE RAPTURE OCCUR?
The concept of the Rapture has only actually been around for a couple of hundred years, and there are 4 different views of when it will happen.
Pretribulational – Before the 70th week of Daniel
Midtribulational – In the middle of the 70th week
Posttribulational – At or near the end of the 70th week
Pre-wrath – At the opening of the 7th seal sometime in the 2nd ½ of the 70th week.
This is the oldest and most commonly believed of the 4. It is one of the 16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God. It can be traced back to John Darby and the Plymouth Brethren in 1830. It is based on the doctrine of immanency; that is that Christ can come back at any time without the need of any prophetical event happening first. It is believed that Jesus will come back and take the church, and then will begin the 70th Week. Pretribulationalists believe that the 70th Week is for judgment against Israel and not for the church. Therefore Jesus will come for His Church before this terrible time so we don’t have to suffer through it. A good part of their reasoning is in Mt. 24:36-39 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”. Nobody knows exactly when the rapture will occur, not even God’s holy angels. We know that God wanted to save Noah from the flood. God did not let that flood begin until Noah was safe & secure in the ark. God does let us go through trials and tribulations, but this is seen as proof that God will spare us from the 70th Week. That He will pull us up into the safety of His arms before He lets this period begin.
This is more recent in origin. It was first written about in a book in 1941 by Norman B. Harrison. Many people who believe this a mediating position. They see some truths to Pretribulation & Posttribulation arguments, but see faults in each position. They believe that the Rapture will happen 3 ½ years into the 70th Week, or right halfway. There are several scripture that talk about this 3 ½ year spot, so they believe this is when the Rapture will happen. They do believe that Christians will have to go through part of the 70th Week, but Christian will not have to go through God’s judgments.
This position espoused the belief that the church will have to go entirely through 70 Week period. At the end of this period of God’s wrath, then Jesus will come back on the earth. Unlike Pretribulation & Midtribulation, this belief holds that Christians will not be exempt from the time of God’s wrath that they will have to go through it too. Robert Gundry has written a book that he believes that this is not fundamentally a time of God’s wrath. But that this wrath will occur in a very short period toward the end with the bowls & Armageddon. God will take the church out for this very short period.
This is a fourth belief which is most recent in origin. It has been put forth by Marvin Rosenthal in his book “The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church”. He puts forth that the Church will have to go through most of the 70th Week and the trials & problems associated with the largest portion. But that the Rapture will occur before the 7 bowls of God’s wrath. His basic premises are this: 1) The Rapture of the church will occur immediately prior to the beginning of the Day of the Lord. 2) The Day of the Lord commences sometime within the second half of the seventieth week. 3) The cosmic disturbances associated with the 6th seal will signal the approach of the Day of the Lord. 4) The Day of the Lord will begin with the opening of the 7th seal. He sees that the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24-25) as a central text. That it is sequential or progression, logical in argument, is parallel to the seals of Revelation 6 in nature, and covers the 70th Week in scope, answers the dual question the disciples gave the Lord about His coming & the end of the age, and encompasses both the Rapture and the return of Christ within its borders.
Personally, I am like our Pastor, I am hoping for the Pretribulation Rapture, but am expecting the Pre-Wrath Rapture. There are passages of Scripture that say that believers will be killed during the 70th Week. Yet if the Pretribulation Rapture is true, then all the saints will be taken away before the 70th Week occurs. They will say that after the saints disappear, then many people will accept Jesus into their lives and these will be the ones who lose their lives. Yet, the Bible does not speak about many people being won into the Kingdom of God during this time. This is speculation by the Pretribulationalists to account for this difference.
We can speculate about when the Rapture will happen, and nobody knows for sure. There are several smart people who have read the various passages of the Bible and come up with different conclusions. But one thing is for sure; we need to be ready for whenever it occurs. If it is Pretribulation, we need to be found right in God’s eyes now and doing His work so we can avoid the 70th Week. But if the Midtribulation, Pre-Wrath or Posttribulation views are correct, we need to have a strong relationship with the Lord so that we will be able to endure the trials we will have to go through. Many people will fall away from the Lord during the End Times, and we do not want to be one of them. We might have to go through some, or all, of the 70th Week, and we will need the strength of the Lord to make it through. God never promised that we would not be persecuted and have to endure hard times. But He has promised to give us the strength, joy and peace that are needed to go through those times. That strength is not promised for people who just call themselves believers, but for those who seek after the Lord.
WHAT ABOUT 2012?
We are hearing more about the doomsday surrounding this date of December 21, 2012. This is because this is the date that the ancient Mayan long count calendar ends. The Mayans had three calendars: The basic cycle calendar, or Tzolkin; the agricultural calendar, or Haab; and the long count calendar. The latter is the one of which concerns this date in 2012. It goes in cycles of about 5,126 years. In Mayan mythology each Long Count cycle is a world age in which the gods attempt to create pious and subservient creatures. The First Age began with the creation of the Earth, and it had upon it vegetation and living beings. But these lacked speech, as the birds and animals were unable to pay homage to the gods and were destroyed. In the Second and Third Ages the gods created humans of mud and then wood, but these also failed to please and were wiped out. We are currently in the Fourth and Final Age, the age of the modern, fully functional human.
To try to add some more validity to this, this amount of years also has a scientific meaning. The earth is like a spinning top, rotating so that the Northern Star (Polaris) isn’t always above the North Pole. Scientists can correlate this time to the amount of years it takes the earth to go around its cycle to make the Northern Star over the North Pole again.
No one knows for sure what is going to happen on this date. According to the movie there is going to be mass destruction of the earth. Many people believe this. Some things they believe is that there could be a geomagnetic reversal, an asteroid or other space object hit the earth, an alien invasion, the sun supernovas, or maybe the Mayan’s knew when the Lord Jesus would return to bring about the Biblical End Times. But they do believe that there will be some major change on the earth and life is not going to be the same because the Mayans had studied the times and knew the cycles of the earth like this.
What correlation does this have to the Biblical End Times? Nothing. We cannot set the date when Jesus will return. Several people have tried doing this for years, and we will talk more about some of them in our next study. But Jesus didn’t even know the date the End Times would begin and when He would return. So if He didn’t know when, why would God allow a culture that did not know Him and performed human sacrifices to know the day that the End Times would begin? The Mayan culture was more in line with satanic rituals than they were in knowing the true God. If a spiritual force was behind picking the Mayan date of December 21, 2012, it would be Satan. So it looks like Satan somehow gave them this date so that they would be aiding his deception of mankind into believing His lie. Not that Satan knows the day or the time either. We don’t know if this date is close to when the End Times will occur or not. There are several others who have given dates as to when the End will occur, and they have all been wrong. This is just another date that people who do not know the Lord are trusting in.
OTHER FALSE PREDICTIONS
The Mayan calendar is not the first false predictor of the End Times. Here are two other prominent Seers who have forecast dates around this generation.
Edgar Cayce (1877 – 1945)
Cayce was considered the “Sleeping Prophet”. He did consider himself a strong Christian, as he was a lifelong, devout member of the Disciples of Christ. However, he believed in reincarnation and other beliefs that do not hold true to traditional Christianity. He would go into a trance and give predictions, many of which have came true. He was well known in the mid-1900’s.
He did give a prediction that the coming of Christ would be in 1998, that it would be a ‘day of reckoning’. This, of course, did not happen, so here is a case of someone who was respected by non-Christians as a prophet, but this prediction of the return of Jesus did not occur at this time.
But there are some Cayce followers who believe that Jesus did come back in 1998. Just not the way that Christians are expecting Him to come in all His glory. The Edgar Cayce followers believe in reincarnation. So they believe that Jesus was born a child again, and He will reveal Himself at the appropriate time
Michel de Nostredame or Nostradamus (1503 – 1566)
He is a well known ‘Seer’ who gave over 6,000 prophecies in ‘quatrains’. There are a lot of people who look upon these prophecies and see how events have unfolded to see that Nostradamus was a true prophet. However, his critics argue that no one has successfully looked at his prophecies before they came to pass and foretold exactly what would happen. But as for our study, we want to look at a couple of prophecies in particular. He gave a prophecy about the End times starting in 1999.
He spoke of 3 Anti-Christs that would be after him. It is the third one we need to focus on. He said that the 3rd Anti-Christ will be more hideous than the first two, and that he will come from the Middle East. “Out of the country of Greater Arabia Shall be born a strong master of Mohammed, He will enter Europe wearing a blue turban. He will be the terror of mankind. Never more horror. “ He said that this man would lead his forces on an invasion throughout Europe and it will start World War III. In another quatrain he gives us the date. “In the year 1999 and seven months From the sky will come the great King of Terror. He will bring back to life the King of the Mongols; Before and after war reigns.”
Again, we see that this date has not come true. His followers will argue that the war on terror started around that time, but there is no proof that any of this has came to pass. But this is another false time coming by someone who did not know God. Showing that just because someone gives some prophecies that others see as coming true that even he does not know when the End Times will occur.