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The following study will help the reader to understand these subjects as they are connected with Revelation.
1. The Vision of the Seventy Weeks, Dan. 9:24-27
The expression â€œseventy weeksâ€ literally means â€œseventy sevensâ€ of years. If days were meant it would be so expressed in scripture, as in Dan. 10:3
Danielâ€™s prayer, to which this vision was an answer, did not concern days, but years (Dan. 9:2). Then too, we know from Scripture that the last week [Dan. 9:27] is divided into two parts of three and one half years each, [Ref. Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2-3; 12:5, 14; 13:5]. The whole period of â€œseventy sevensâ€ is 490 years which are â€œdeterminedâ€ or â€œmarked offâ€ apart from all other years and concerns only â€œthy people (Israel) and the holy city (Jerusalem),â€ for which Daniel was praying, [Dan. 6:10; 9:1-23]. Six events are to take place during these 490 years relative to Israel and Jerusalem for six purposes.
â€œTo finish the transgression,â€ Hebrew pasha meaning â€œto revolt, rebel, or sin against lawful authority.â€ It is often translated â€œtransgressions,â€ [Ps. 51:13; Isa 43:27; etc]. This transgression has reference to Israel in her rebellion against God. This prophecy foretells the culmination of that rebellion. The law was added because of transgression until the Seed (Jesus Christ) should come and it served as a schoolmaster to lead Israel to Christ [Gal. 3:17-25]. Israel failed to receive the Messiah and was broken off in unbelief from Godâ€™s favor as a nation. She will not be fully received back again until the second coming of Christ, who will turn ungodliness from Jacob and cause a nation to be born at once, [Rom. 11:25-29; Isa. 66:7-10; Ezek. 36:24-30].
â€œTo make an end of sins.â€ Israelâ€™s sins, if collected in the form of concrete matter, would fill the whole earth, for, from her beginning to the fulfillment of the prophecy at the return of Christ, she has been and will be in continued rebellion against God. This â€œend of sinsâ€ will not be made until after the tribulation, but from that time Israel will obey God forever, [Ezek. 36:24-30; 37:24-27; Zech. 14:1-21].
â€œTo make reconciliation (atonement) for iniquity,â€ Hebrew avon, meaning â€œperverseness, to be crooked or wrung out of course,â€ [1 Sam. 20:30; 2 Sam. 19:19; Job 33:27]. Atonement was made on the cross for the whole world, but Israel as a nation has not yet appropriated its benefits and will not until the return of Christ, [Zech. 13:1-7; Rom. 11:25-27].
â€œTo bring in everlasting righteousness.â€ When the transgression has been finished, the end has been made of sins, and full benefits of the atonement will have been realized by Israel, then everlasting righteousness will be ushered in, [Isa. 9:6-7; 12:1-6; Dan. 7:13-14; 18, 27; Mt. 25:31-46].
â€œ To seal up the vision of prophecy,â€ i.e., make an end of them by fulfillment of prophecy concerning Israel and Jerusalem. The word â€œprophecyâ€ should be translated â€œprophetâ€ as elsewhere. It means that there will be no need of inspired men to rebuke Israel in an attempt to lead them into the way of righteousness,â€ for all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest.â€
â€œTo anoint the most Holy.â€ This refers to the cleansing of the holy of Holies, the temple and the city of Jerusalem from the abomination of desolation and the sacrilege of Gentiles and to the establishment and anointing of the Millennial temple of Ezek. 40-43; Zech. 6:12-13. The â€œmost Holyâ€ is never used of a person, nor would the Jews ever associate this term with their Messiah, who is distinguished from this term in this passage by the title â€œMessiah.â€ This vision needs no explanation other than that of the angel. All that is needed is an understanding of the explanation, the association of it with other Scriptures on the same subject, and finding out the time of its fulfillment.
The 490 Years Are Divided Into Three Periods:
1. The first period consisted of seven sevens or forty-nine years during which time the Holy City, street, and wall were to be built â€œeven in troublous times, â€œ[Dan. 9:25]. These 490 years began with â€œthe commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah.â€ There were three decrees for the restoration of the city. The first decree was given during the first year of the reign of Cyrus, King of Persia, [Ezra. 1:1-4; 3:8; Isa. 44:28; 45:1-4, 46:11]. Cyrus reigned nine years, and then Cambyses, his son, reined seven years. In the reign of Cambyses the work on the temple and city ceased, [Ezra. 4:1-24]. Darius 1 of profane history reigned thirty-five years. In the second year of his reign he reconfirmed the decree made by Cyrus and the work was started again. The temple was finished in the sixth year of his reign but the city was not then restored, although fifty-seven years had passed since the first decree by Cyrus, Ezra. 6:1-15. Xerxes reigned twenty-one years [Dan.11:1-3] during which time the city was not yet completed. Artaxerxes reigned after Xerxes for twenty years and then gave the third decree to Nehemiah to restore â€œJerusalem unto the Messiah, â€œ[Neh. 2:1-6-6:19; Dan. 9:25-26]. Nehemiah restored the walls in fifty-two days after he reached Jerusalem, but this was by no means the full restoration. That took place seven sevens or forty-nine years after the third decree, which was given about 452 B.C.
This third decree is the one mentioned in this vision as the starting point of the 490 years, because the first two would not fulfill the prophecy which required exactly forty-nine years for the full restoration of Jerusalem. There were fifty-seven years between the first commandment and the time when the temple was fully built. If it took this long to build the temple it certainly would take longer to build the city. There were ninty-two years from the first decree and seventy-two years from the second decree to the third decree and still the city was not fully restored. The fact that there were three decrees proves that the city was not fully restored until after the third decree. If the forty-nine years began with the first two, this prophecy would not have been fulfilled. Again, [Neh. 4:1-23] records the only â€œtroublous timesâ€ under any of these decrees, when the work continued despite opposition, and this was under the third. Ezra deals with the restoration of the temple and Nehemiah with the restoration of the city.
2. The second period consists of sixty-two sevens or 434 years. It began immediately after the first period of seven sevens or forty-nine years and continued without a break to the time when the Messiah was â€œcut offâ€ or crucified, [Dan.9:26]. This phrase â€œcut offâ€ is from the Hebrew karath, meaning â€œto cut off in death,â€ [Gen. 9:11; DT. 20:20; Jer. 11:19; Psa. 37:9]. These forty-nine and 434 years make 483 years from the third decree to the crucifixion of the Messiah, or sixty-nine of the seventy sevens of years, leaving the last period of seven years concerning Israel and Jerusalem to be fulfilled after the crucifixion.
3. The third period will consist of one seven-year period, better known as Daniels Seventieth Week. The crucifixion of the Messiah ended the Sixty-ninth Week and God ceased dealing with Israel as a nation. They were broken off in unbelief and their city destroyed, as foretold in this same vision of Seventy Weeks [Rev. 9:26) and by Jesus in [Mt. 21:43; 23:37-39; 24:2; Lk. 2120-24. Ref. also Acts 13:45-49; Rom. 11]. This Seventieth Week will be fulfilled when Israel, partially gathered, will exist as a nation in possession of Jerusalem. That Jerusalem will be in their possession again is proven from the fact that it will again be given to the Gentiles in the middle of the work, [Rev. 11: 1-2]. Not one of the six above events has been fulfilled. They are in the future. The Seventieth Week will be the last seven years of this biblical age and will parallel the seven-years covenant between Antichrist and Israel, [Dan. 9;27]. It is to be the time when all the events of Rev. 6:1-19:21] will be fulfilled, and when the whole tribulation will run its course. What was to happen during this week was not revealed to Daniel in detail, but was revealed to John. This Week of years will begin after the rapture of the church, and end at the second advent of Christ, and fulfilled all the above six things concerning Israel. Between the Sixty-ninth and Seventieth Weeks, during the time of Israelâ€™s rejection, the present Church Age comes in. In its fulfillment before the Seventieth Week, this is primarily in connection with Israel, as were the first Sixty-nine Weeks.
The Tribulation, Revelation. 6:1-19:21
1. The Time and Length of the Tribulation:
The tribulation will begin to affect Israel before the Seventieth Week begins; how long before is not certain, but when the Antichrist rises at the beginning of the Week, Israel will be undergoing persecution by the whore (Babylon) and the ten kings of Revised Rome who are dominated by the whore until the middle of the Week. Antichrist will come out of one of these ten kingdoms and make a seven-years covenant with Israel assuring them protection in their continued establishment as a nation, [Dan. 9:27]. The Jews will not accept the whore when she again sways the nations of the old world and begins to murder all heretics as she has done in the past. Because they will not, there will be a widespread persecution of the Jews and â€œthey shall be hated of all nations,â€ during the time of â€œthe beginning of sorrows,â€ when Antichrist will be endeavoring to conquer all these nations, [Mt. 24:4-12]. Antichrist will need Jewish moral and financial support to help him rise over these nations, so he will make an alliance with them for seven years. The time of the tribulation then is during the whole of Danielâ€™s Seventieth Week, [Dan. 9:27]. This will end at the Second Advent, [Mt. 24:29-31].
2. The Divisions of the Tribulation
A. The first division takes in the first three and one-half years of the Seventieth Week and is termed â€œthe lesser tribulation,â€ for it is not as great in severity as the last three and one-half years, because of the protection of Israel by the Antichrist during that time. Israelâ€™s persecution then will be from a source entirely different from that of the last division. In these years she will be persecuted by the whore (Babylon) and the ten kings as stated above. This part takes in the fulfillment of Rev. 6:1-9:21. The judgments of the sixth seal and the first six trumpets come in this period thus proving tribulation during this time.
B. The last division takes in the last three and one-half years of the Week and is termed â€œthe great tribulation,â€ because it will be more severe in persecution upon Israel than the first three and one-half years. Antichrist, who will protect Israel the first three and one-half years, will break his covenant with her in the middle of the Week, because her most bitter enemy, will try to destroy her, which calls for the judgments of the seven vials of the last three an one-half years. This part of the tribulation includes the fulfillment of Rev. 10:1-19:21. Jesus, Daniel, Jeremiah, and many others speak of this time of Israelâ€™s trouble as being worse than any that has ever been on earth or ever will be, [Dan. 12:1; Jer. 30:4-11; Mt. 24:21-22; Rev 11:1-2; 12:14-17; 13:5-7; etc.
3. The Purpose of the Tribulation
A. to purify Israel and bring them back to a place where God can fulfill the everlasting covenants made with their fathers, [Isa. 2:6; 3:26; 16:1-5; 24:1-23; 26:20-21; Ezek. 20:33-34; 22:17-22; Rom. 11:25-29].
B. To purify Israel of all rebels, [Ezek. 20; 33-34; 22:17-22; Zech. 13:8-9; Mal. 3:3-4.
C. To plead with and bring Israel into the bond of the new covenant, Ezek. 20:33-34; 36:24-28; Jer. 30:3-11; Zech. 12:10-13:9; Mal. 4:3-4.
D. To judge Israel and punish them for their rejection of the Messiah and make them willing to accept Him when He comes the second time. [Ezek. 20:33-34; Zech. 12:10-13:9; 14:1-15; Mt. 24:15-31].
E. To Judge the nations for their persecution of Israel, [Isa. 63:1-5; Joel 3; Rev. 6:1-19:21].
F. To bring Israel to complete repentance, [Zech. 12:10-13:9; Rom. 11:26-29; Mt. 23:39.
G. To fulfill the things of Daniel, [Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 6:1-19:21; Mt. 24:15, 29.
H. To cause Israel to flee into the wilderness of Edom and Moab and to be so persecuted by the nations that Israel will have to turn to God for help. [Isa. 16:1-5; Ezek. 20:33-35; Dan. 11:40-12:7; Hos. 2:14-17; Mt. 24:15-31; Rev. 12].
4. The character of the Tribulation
The character of the tribulation can easily be understood in view of Godâ€™s wrath being poured out upon mankind for their wickedness and corruption, which will exceed the days of Noah and Lot, [Gen. 6; Mt. 24:37-39; Lk. 17:22-37; 2Tim. 3:1-12. Men will be rejecters of truth until God will turn them over to the â€œstrong delusionâ€ of the Antichrist who will cause them to believe a lie and be damned, [2Thess. 2:8-12; 2Pet. 3:1-9. Even after God pours out His judgments upon men they will still defy Him, [Rev. 9:20-21; 16:2-11; 17:1-18; 18:1-24]. Words cannot describe the utter rebellion and wickedness of men during this period of final struggle between God and the devil over possession of the earth, [Rev. 11-15; 12:7-12; 19:11-21; 20:1-3].
5. Will the Tribulation Be Worldwide?
The theory that the tribulation will be worldwide is not stated in one scripture. On the contrary, the Bible is clear that the Antichrist will not reign over the whole world, but only over the ten kingdoms that are to be formed inside the old Roman Empire. How much influence this group of kingdoms has over the rest of the world we are not told. Most of the judgments of the trumpets and vials are stated as being only over or upon a third or fourth part of the earth [Rev. 8:7-12], and upon â€œthe men which had the mark of the beastâ€ and â€œupon the seat (throne) of the beast: and his kingdomâ€ [Rev. 16:2, 10, 12]. Nothing is said, however, as to the limitation of the extent of the demon locust or of the extent of the devilâ€™s wrath when he is cast out of heaven, [Rev. 9:1-11; 12:7-12. The sixth trumpet kills only a third of men, [Rev. 9:12-21].
When we speak of the tribulation we mean the troubles Godâ€™s people will have to undergo, especially the Jewish people, as Danielâ€™s Seventieth Week concerns only Israel and their city Jerusalem. The last half of the Week will be â€œthe time of Jacobâ€™s troubleâ€ and these troubles primarily concern Israel.