We have been told that God has yet a special period of seven years of dealings with the Jews. At the beginning of this period, the Antichrist will make a covenant with the Jews, which he will subsequently break in the middle of the seven year period by causing the sacrifices at the temple to cease. Then will follow a time of great tribulation. However Christians won’t have to worry because they will be taken to Heaven in the event known as ‘the Rapture.’ This much anticipated happening is ‘the next great event on God’s calendar.’ Meanwhile there is much debate about whether this will happen ‘pre-trib,’ mid-trib,’ or ‘post-trib.’
All this comes from one verse in Daniel – chapter 9 verse 27.
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering, and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate.”
[The whole passage of vs 20-27 is relevant but for the sake of space I am quoting just vs 27]
The futurists teach that the ‘he’ mentioned in vs 27 is the Antichrist who makes a covenant with the Jews for one week [seven years]. He then brings an end to the sacrifices; which means that the Jews will have built their third temple.
God had sent a message to Daniel in captivity in Babylon that seventy weeks [weeks of years] were determined for the Jews and their holy city Jerusalem – from the command to restore and build Jerusalem; -seven weeks [49 years], then 62 ‘weeks’ till Messiah the Prince. The first period of seven weeks is the period up to the dedication of the second temple; then another period of 62 weeks till Messiah the prince would come. [483 years in all]
That much is clear, what is under debate is the remaining period of one ‘week.’ Futurists teach that it is yet to come, thus the scenario as above in the first paragraph. However the historicists view [and mine] is that the 70th week has been fulfilled. During the 70th week the Gospel was preached only to the Jews. Jesus said “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”[Matthew 15:24] When He sent out the disciples to preach He told them not to go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [Matthew 10:6] This time period was still in the 70 ‘weeks’ determined on Israel. The pattern of redemption had to be fully completed in Israel – the pattern nation, before it went to the world.
Looking at vs 27 again –
Then he shall confirm a covenant [i.e. make a firm covenant ’ or cause a covenant to prevail’] with many for one week. But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering."
At the last supper Jesus said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” [Matthew 26:28] This, I believe, is the covenant which is referred to; not some future covenant that the Antichrist makes with the Jews. After 3 and a half years ministry ’in the middle of the week’ Jesus was ‘cut off, but not for Himself’ vs 26. He thus made an end to the need for sacrifices as far as God was concerned as was signified by the rending the veil in the Temple. The Jews may or may not build a third Temple, but it is not part of God’s plan. The third temple is the Living Temple of all believers.
After the Resurrection and the coming of the Spirit, the Gospel continued to be preached to the Jews. Some believed but mostly it was rejected until finally the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was stoned. Then God raised up Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles. The time had come the Gospel to go out to the whole world. God sent Peter to Cornelius, a Roman centurion, whose household received the good news gladly, and were subsequently filled with the Spirit. The seventy ‘weeks’ that God had ‘determined’ for Israel were over! This time period was given:-
To finish the transgressionTo make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity
To bring in everlasting righteousness
To seal up vision and prophecy
And to anoint the Most Holy. Daniel 9:1, 2
This was all accomplished at the Cross. True, it has not yet been manifested; but the work was done at the Cross. It was a finished work and the end time truth which will cause the Church to rise up in victory is ‘The Finished Work of Christ.’ We have yet to lay hold of all that Christ accomplished for us. Creation waits for that day.
‘For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.’ Romans 8:19
Those who insert a large gap between the 69th and the 70th ‘week,’ probably believe that these things won’t be finished until the Second Coming. They are waiting to see the manifestation of them.
Continuing with Daniel 9 vs 27. “on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate.” In 70 AD after much persecution and tribulation, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman prince Titus. Some believe that the ‘wing of abominations’ refers to the Roman’s Eagle standard that fluttered over the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. So let us compare the conservative interpretation of Daniel 9 which was taught for over 1800 years, with the futurists’ interpretation. We will see that they are very different.
The second part marked * is the futurists interpretation.
PRE 70TH ‘WEEK’ [SEVEN YEARS] [From the command to rebuild Jerusalem Daniel 9:25].
The temple and city rebuilt ‘in troublesome times’ during first 7 ‘weeks’ [49years]. [Ezra and Nehemiah]. Then 62 ‘weeks’ till Messiah.
69 ‘weeks’ [483 years completed].
*Same as above. Then there is a gap of about 2,000 years between the 69th and 70th week.
FIRST 3 ½ YRS
Messiah preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom. Announces the New Covenant at the Last Supper. [‘confirms a covenant’]
*The Antichrist makes a covenant [pact] with the Jews. ‘Rapture’ of the Church. 3½ years of peace.
‘MIDDLE OF THE WEEK’
Messiah ‘cut off’ for the sins of the world, bringing an end to the need for temple sacrifices. ‘It is finished.’
*The Antichrist breaks the covenant with the Jews and stops all sacrifices at the temple. He proclaims himself as God. [Some place the ‘Rapture’ here].
LAST 3½ YEARS
The New Covenant Gospel preached to the Jews. Some received but the nation as a whole rejected their Messiah. Stephen, the first Christian martyr stoned. 70th ‘week’ finished.
*3½ years of Great Tribulation. 2nd Coming.
POST 70TH ‘WEEK’ [SEVEN YEARS]
The Gospel preached to the Gentiles. Paul converted and becomes the apostle to the Gentiles. The Gospel to be preached to all nations.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
There has always been persecution and tribulation but no doubt it will be accelerated in the end times, but there is no specific 7 year period of tribulation. In 70AD Jerusalem with its temple was destroyed by the Roman army under Titus and the nation scattered among all the nations of the earth. The return of the Jews and the re-establishment of Israel as a nation as prophesied, is one of the signs of the last days of this age.
God hasn’t finished with the nation of Israel yet. Though the Glory has departed for now, they can come to God the same way as Gentiles do – by faith in the Messiah Jesus; and the Bible indicates that one day the time will come when ‘all Israel shall be saved.” [Romans 11:26] There will be a coming together of Jews and Gentiles at the end time and it will be a time of great blessing for the whole earth. [see Romans 11:15]
traditional or conservative view.