Daniel’s Seventy Weeks
Another important aspect of prophecy that must be considered in understanding eschatology is Daniel’s Seventy Weeks:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of 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. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the 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. 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. 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. Daniel 9:24-27
Let us look more closely at the English word weeks. It is translated from the Hebrew word Shabua. We can understand the words to literally mean “seventy sevens.’ We can understand this to mean seventy sevens of years, or, 490 years.
The first period of forty-nine years
The 490 years prophesied in Daniel 9 would begin with the command to “restore and to build Jerusalem.” This prophecy was fulfilled later on in Nehemiah 2:1-8:
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
This occurred on March 14 of 445 B.C. That is the same as the Jewish month of Nisan, the 14th of March being the 1st of Nisan. Forty-nine years later, in 396 B.C., Jerusalem was rebuilt completely. “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks,” (Daniel 9:25). These seven weeks are literally translated seven sevens, or, forty-nine years! The prophecy came true exactly as Daniel had given it!
The second period of four hundred thirty-four years
Daniel 9:26a states, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off…” Between the time that the walls were restored until Israel’s Messiah would be rejected, 434 years must elapse in order for Daniel’s prophecy to be accurate. Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem a week before His crucifixion on April 6 (The 10th of Nisan), A.D. 32 according to Sir Robert Anderson in his book, The Coming Prince (pp. 127, 128). From the time of Jerusalem being entirely rebuilt to the time when Jesus Christ died on the cross, exactly 434 years elapsed! The prophecy is extremely accurate!
The third period of seven years
Now Daniel 9:26b and 27 reads, “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. 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.”
Here we have “The prince that shall come” and “Messiah the Prince,” two different people entirely. While Jesus Christ is Messiah the Prince, Antichrist is the prince that shall come. When he comes, he will “confirm the covenant with many for one week.” He will make a peace agreement with Israel and they will accept him as their Messiah. He will step up as the head of the Revived Roman Empire. It will seem as if he has brought a new Millennium of peace to earth, but it will be short-lived. The final seven years will therefore commence with Antichrist signing a covenant with Israel. This will happen at some point after the rapture of the church. Whether an interval of days or years, we cannot know for certain.
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. Daniel 7:1-8
Here is a dream given to Daniel that is completely different than that given earlier in the book of Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar wherein he dreamed of a statue of differing kinds of medals. However, the meaning of the two dreams is the same, with more meaning added to Daniel’s dream.
Just like the golden head in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the lion of Daniel’s represents Babylon. Just like the silver chest and arms in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the bear of Daniel’s represents Medo-Persia. Just like the brass midsection of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the leopard of Daniel’s represents Greece. And just like the legs of Iron in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the strange beast of Daniel’s represents Rome. Just as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had ten toes, Daniel’s had ten horns upon the last beast. This represents the Ten Kings of the Revived Roman Empire.
In Daniel 7:8, it is stated, “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things,” Therefore we see that Antichrist arises out of the Revived Roman Empire. He may even be alive today, awaiting his time when he shall step on to the stage of world history.
Now let us turn our attention to II Thessalonians 2:7, 8. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. ”
We can see here that sin is at work in the world today, but He who now letteth [hinders] is going to continue to hinder. Who could this be beside the Holy Spirit? It could be no other, for the Holy Spirit is even today restraining the total power of sin upon the earth. However, the Bible says one day He will be taken out of the way.
Reformed theologians have a hard time with this interpretation, stating that it would be absurd that the Holy Spirit would be taken out of the world completely. It would mean that no one would be able to come under conviction for salvation, and yet we read in Revelation that many will come to Christ through the ministry of 144,000 faithful Jews, which would mean that the Holy Spirit would have to come a second time, something which is never recorded in Scripture.
However, it is important to note that this verse is not saying that the Holy Spirit will be absent. Rather, it is saying that His restraining influence will be taken from the earth, allowing for wickedness to go completely unchecked. The influence will be gone because the instrument of that influence, the church, will have been taken away.
As soon as this happens, the wicked one, Antichrist, will be revealed. So then we understand that Antichrist will not step onto the stage of world history until the church has been raptured.
The mission of Antichrist
This world leader, having a “mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8) will “do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods…” (Daniel 11:36). “[his] coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” (II Thessalonians 2:9).
Antichrist is the tool of Satan, serving Satan by replacing Jesus Christ on earth as a leader, which is exactly what the world is looking for today. Many feel today as if we live in a world where there are no heroes. The current President of the United States, Donald Trump, was elected because many saw in him the kind of man who would talk tough and get things done. In many ways, he has already disappointed and alienated many of his supporters.
People look for leadership in their politicians, and are often disappointed. Gone are the days of Abraham Lincoln, of William Jennings Bryan, of Winston Churchill, of John F. Kennedy, and of Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher. Strong leaders are as rare as White Elephants.
In such a time as this, Antichrist will come and unite a world that is now engaged in tribalism. Just as Genghis Kahn united the warring factions of the Mongols, he will unite all the people of earth. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
The Counterfeit Trinity
Something interesting will happen immediately following the rapture of the church. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (II Thessalonians 2:11). When the Holy Spirit’s restraining influence is gone from the earth, people will believe a lie. They will find some naturalistic was to explain the sudden disappearance of the world’s Christians (just as “scientists” today are explaining away the fact that only two genders exist and one cannot change his or her gender).
Those who have known the Gospel and heard it before but rejected shall now never have the opportunity again to believe. They will believe the delusions God sends them, but they will never believe on Jesus Christ for salvation, even in the darkest times of the tribulation. It is a sad reality for all who are rejecting Christ when He returns for His church.
Antichrist the counterfeit Messiah
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Here is the full mission of Antichrist outlined. He will be replacing Jesus Christ on the earth during the tribulation. According to William L. Pettingill, “His reign as the world’s monarch will be the logical heading up of Gentile dominion and he will reign over all lands by the energy of Satan. The world will then throw off its mask and openly worship the dragon and the beast. The seven heads and ten horns of the dragon are seen here, showing that Satan has given all his power to the man of sin. The ten horns have crowns upon them, corresponding with the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image. The Beast-king thus appears as a Roman prince, ruling over the ten-fold form of the revived Roman empire. He is seen in our chapter as reigning over the whole Earth,”
The False Prophet, the counterfeit Holy Spirit
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. Revelation 13:11-17
Coming out of the earth, probably Israel, the false prophet compels the world to worship Antichrist. At the end of three and a half years, Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel and begins persecuting the saints on earth who have not received the mark of Antichrist, and the nation of Israel. He will bring an abomination of desolation into the Jewish Temple, which will be his image, which the false prophet will have power to somehow animate. This false prophet will be the spokesperson for Antichrist, able to force the world to worship him.
Satan, the Counterfeit Father
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six,” (Revelation 13:18). Here is the mark of Antichrist, the threefold six. It is the number of man. It is the number of incompleteness, being one short of seven. No matter how Satan tries, He cannot perfectly match the real Trinity, but we see him here, doing his best with his two agents upon the earth. The Antichrist will be mortally wounded halfway through the tribulation. At this point, the False prophet will be able to resurrect him, but at that point, he will truly be possessed by Satan, and then will begin the Great Tribulation, the most violent part of the seven-year period. He will control all commerce, as we see here in Revelation 13. However, God is, as always, in control behind the scenes.