Chapter 6: Daniel’s 70 Weeks and the Tribulation
We have shown how the 7-Times has been perfectly fulfilled in the events of 1948 and 1967, which confirms that we are living at the end of the Church-Age. However, there is one more amazing confirmation of this interpretation of the 7-Times, and one more puzzle, which require us to understand the nature and chronology of the Tribulation. This in turn requires us to understand the foundational prophecy called Daniel’s 70 Weeks in Daniel 9:24-27.
We will see the confirmation when we study the chronology of the Tribulation which is also a period of 7 Times (2 x 1260 days).
First however let us state the puzzle:
The 7 Times (2520 years) of Gentile dominion have been fulfilled, and Israel has regained sovereignty over Jerusalem, exactly as predicted and exactly on time (1948 and 1967). However if these Times of the Gentiles have indeed finished, then why does the Bible predict that a further special 7 Times (years) of Gentile dominion over Israel (the Tribulation) has yet to run?
The 70-Weeks. The answer is to be found in Daniel’s Prophecy of the 70 Weeks in Daniel 9:24-27, in which God gives a timetable for Israel’s full restoration (in the Millennial Kingdom) starting with a decree in 458 BC. This is a difficult yet vital foundational prophecy, that Jesus refers to in His prophecy (Matthew 24:15). A more detailed discussion of the very important, difficult and often misunderstood ‘70 Weeks’ can be found in the Appendices.
Israel is given 70 Sevens (Weeks) of Years (490 Years), after which all things would be fulfilled in answer to Daniel’s prayers:
Daniel 9:24: "70 Weeks (or Sevens of years) are determined (by God) for your people (Israel) and for your holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, to 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.”
This predicts that the Messiah would come and accomplish man’s salvation and establish His Kingdom at the end of a period of time measured as 70 Sevens or 490 years. The next verse gives the starting point and a breakdown of the first 69 Weeks (483 years):
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem (in 458 BC) until (the time of) Messiah the Prince (Jesus), there shall be 7 Weeks (49 years) and 62 Weeks (434 Years). The street shall be built again, and the wall (see Ezra-Nehemiah) even in troublesome times (in the first 49 years)” (v25).
Now the starting point is the Decree recorded in Ezra 7, which was on Nisan 1, 458 BC (which is April 3rd). 490 years from 458 BC ends in April 3rd 33AD, the day of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Verse 25 accounts for a total of 69 Weeks (483 Years), which came to an end in April AD 26. Then the last Week ran until 33 AD.
This final Week (7 years) is the time of the Messiah who would bring all things to pass. The Week of Messiah was indeed AD 26-33! John the Baptist ministered for the first half (3.5 years) and then Jesus ministered for the 2nd half of 3.5 years. However, the prophecy is strangely silent about these 7 years, simply predicting Messiah’s sacrificial death at the end of the final 7 years: “And (sometime, actually 7 years) after the 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off (by capital punishment), but not for Himself” (v26a).
Thus at the end of the 70th Week, as predicted in v24, Christ purchased our salvation through His atoning death. Thus He fulfilled the first 3 things named in v24 to be accomplished at this time: “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity.” However, the other 3 things in v24, which describe the establishment of His Messianic Kingdom were not fulfilled at that time: “to bring in everlasting (the age of) righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy (Millennial Temple).”
In fact, instead of Messiah restoring the Kingdom to Israel in AD 33 instead a worse judgement falls on Israel (fulfilled in the Jewish War in AD 66-73): “and the people of the prince who is to come (the Romans) shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (the Temple, fulfilled AD 70). The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined” (v26b).
Israel rejects the Kingdom. What is going on? Jesus had come to bring salvation through His death and establish His Kingdom upon His resurrection. When Jesus came to Israel proclaiming that the (Messianic) Kingdom was at hand, He was clearly ready to establish the Kingdom as promised at the end of the 70th Week. Through His death, He accomplished the aspect that depended on Him alone and He did it right on time (purchasing our salvation). Moreover the New-Covenant in His Blood provided the spiritual basis for the Kingdom. However the establishment of the Kingdom also depended on Israel receiving the King and the Kingdom, for according to the promises and covenants it had to be established through Israel. For Israel to qualify to receive the Kingdom, she must receive the Messiah and the salvation He offers through the New Covenant. But Israel rejected Him as her King and so rejected the Kingdom, so He could not establish the Kingdom at that time.
Now God was not taken by surprise by this development for He even prophesied in v26 that the Kingdom would not be established at the end of 490 years as v24 seemed to indicate. And yet v24 still stands! God is still declaring that He will establish the Kingdom at the end of the 70th Week! So how could God still fulfil the prophecy of the 70 Weeks and establish the Kingdom at the end of the 70th Week after Israel had rejected the Kingdom, causing it to be postponed? The answer is amazing and provides a major key to understanding End-Time Prophecy, especially the end of the age 7-year Tribulation, which will run after the Church-Age.
The Solution. Although the 70th Week ran from AD 26-33, in His judgement and mercy, God cancelled these final 7 Years (Daniel’s 70th Week), in order to rerun them as the 7-Years of Tribulation after the Church-Age, after which the Kingdom will be established by Christ at His Second-Coming. In His judgement, because Israel rejected 7 years of grace under Christ they will have to suffer 7 years of Tribulation under antichrist. In His mercy, He is giving them a 2nd chance to receive Him, and indeed at the end of the Tribulation Israel does repent and receive her Messiah, Who saves Israel at His 2nd Coming and establishes His Kingdom on earth.
Therefore the key truth about the Tribulation is that it is the rerun of the cancelled 70th Week of Daniel, which is why it is exactly 7 years long. In fact we can show from Daniel and Revelation that the Tribulation is exactly the same number of days as the 7 years of Messiah’s Presentation to Israel from the start of John the Baptist’s Ministry (Nisan 1st AD 26) to the day of Christ’s resurrection in April 3rd AD 33. This is because it is an exact chronological rerun!
The next verse tells us about these final 7 Years (the Tribulation):
“Then he (the Roman prince to come, the antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many (the majority of Israel) for one Week (7 Years, the rerun 70th Week of Daniel), but in the Middle of the Week (Mid-Tribulation) he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (the antichrist is destroyed by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming at the end of the 7 Years)" (v27).
Therefore the fundamental truth about the Tribulation is that it is the rerun 70th Week of Daniel, designed to bring Israel to repentance and prepare the way for the Kingdom to be established. Daniel’s 70 Weeks is the foundational prophecy for the Tribulation.
Now we can understand why there are still 7 years of the 7 TIMES of the Gentiles that are yet to be run. Since Israel rejected the 7 Years of grace under Christ they must suffer 7 Years of judgement under antichrist. Now these 7 cancelled Years (from AD 26 to 33), due to be rerun at the end of the Church-Age, are part of the 7-Times (2,520 years) of Gentile dominion over Israel. Therefore, although in 1967 these Times of the Gentiles had run their course, the cancelled 7-Years (AD 26-33) must still be rerun as a special time-period of Gentile-Dominion, called the Tribulation - the climax and Consummation (End) of the Age. (The fact that the Tribulation will run as 7 years of Gentile Dominion, after the Times of the Gentiles have clearly finished in 1967, proves that Daniel’s 70th Week is cancelled and rerun as the Tribulation).
These final 7 years of the Tribulation will bring the 7 TIMES to a final end. There are a final 7 years of the Times of the Gentiles to run in the Tribulation, because it is the rerun of the cancelled 7 years of grace. This is the cancelled 70th Week of Daniel (AD 26-33) that must be rerun because Israel rejected Christ.
These final 7 years bring the 7 Times to a final end. These final 7 years form a distinct time-period of their own and it is of great significance that they form another period of 7-Times (of days)!
This can only mean that this final ‘7 Times’ period of Gentile dominion form a miniature or BLUEPRINT in Days, of the 7-Times of Years. Just as Nebuchadnezzar and his 7-Times formed a mini-picture of the whole course of ‘the Times of the Gentiles’ at their beginning, so likewise the antichrist and his 7-Times, give us a mini-picture of the ‘Times of the Gentiles’ at their close.
In fact the final 7-Times (of days) form the climax of the 7 Times (of years) and are the final fulfilment of the 7-Times prophecy. All that began with Nebuchadnezzar and grew over the history of the 7-Times will come to its consummation in the Tribulation. The final form of the Gentile beast power under antichrist will be more powerful, evil and devilish than whatever came before, especially in its oppression of God’s people.
It represents the fullness of evil and world-power that satan has been trying to bring to pass through history.
All that was at work over the 2,520 years will come into full manifestation in the final 2,520 days.
Thus the final 7-Times contain the essence of all that came before, compressed into 7 years by God’s Sovereignty. The 7 Times (2520 years) of the Gentile dominion over Israel are a parallel fulfilment (in years) to the 7 Times (of 2520 days) of the Tribulation (the last 7 years of the Times of the Gentiles). Therefore when we study the chronology of the 7-Times of the Tribulation we should see a similar pattern of events to the 7-Times of the Gentiles.
Notice that the 7 Times Prophecy (7x360 = 2520) is fulfilled on
3 interconnected levels:
1. Firstly, it is fulfilled in 2520 days in the first head of the Gentile
powers - Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
2. Secondly, it is fulfilled historically over 2520 years of Gentile
Dominion by ‘Babylon’.
3. Thirdly, it is fulfilled again in 2520 days in the dominion of the final head of the Gentile powers - the antichrist, the ruler over the final manifestation of Babylon. He corresponds to Nebuchadnezzar, the first ruler of Babylon - a type of the antichrist. He will have 7-Times of dominion (madness) over Israel. He will be power-mad, cruel as a beast, full of pride, anti-God and insane, even thinking of himself as god and demanding to be worshipped.
The fulfilments in Days are TYPES or BLUEPRINTS of the fulfilment in Years, especially this special final ‘7 Times’ period of Gentile dominion.