SECOND TREE

THE BIBLE AND CHRISTIANITY EXPLAINED



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AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLE PROPHECY

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FOREWORD

Every page in the prophecy section of this web site is either 1) dedicated to an explanation of the 70-Weeks Prophecy of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27), or 2) built upon the foundation of a proper understanding of that prophecy.

In Daniel's 70-Weeks prophecy God gave the world two prophetic timetables:

    1) A 69-week timetable leading up to the first coming of Jesus Christ.

    2) A remaining 70th week leading up to His second coming.

The 69-week timetable consisted of 69 'weeks of years', each week lasting for 7 years (for a total of 483 years). Jesus fulfilled that timetable when He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, four days before His crucifixion.

The 70th week, however, is not like the first 69 weeks; it is not a week of 7 regular calendar years. Rather, it is the great week of the Abrahamic Covenant; beginning roughly 4000 years ago with God's promises to Abraham, divided in the middle by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (by the Romans), and soon to be completed at the second coming of Jesus Christ.


THE GREAT WEEK OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

The key to fully understanding Daniel's 70th Week lies in understanding four Bible prophecies that form a great 'prophetic chain'.

The individual 'links' in this prophetic chain were given to the world by God over a period of roughly 2000 years; beginning with Abraham around 1900 BC, and ending with the apostle John's reception of the book of Revelation around 65 AD. These four links are presented chronologically from top to bottom below:

My first prophecy web page, titled AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLE PROPHECY, explains both the Abrahamic Covenant and Daniel's 70-Weeks Prophecy.

The second page, titled THE OLIVET DISCOURSE, explains the important 'keystone' prophecy that Jesus gave to His disciples while they sat together upon the Mount of Olives, two days before His crucifixion.


It is a 'keystone' because if provides the vital link between Daniel's 70-Weeks Prophecy and John's Little Book. When we compare the three versions of the Olivet Discourse side-by-side (from the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke), and allow Luke's 'Gentile version' to clarify Jesus' reference to Daniel's 'Abomination of Desolation' in Matthew and Mark, it becomes clear that this 'Abomination of Desolation' that marks the mid-point of Daniel's 70th Week is the destruction of Jerusalem by the armies of Rome in 70 AD.

In the third page of this prophecy section, titled THE TIMETABLE FOR JESUS' RETURN, I explain John's Little Book itself. John received the Little Book in Revelation chapter 10. He was told to eat it, and was warned that it would be sweet in his mouth, but bitter in his stomach. John then proceeded to write down the contents of that Book in Revelation chapters 11-13.

John's Little Book provides us with four visions of Daniel's 70th Week:

    1) THE TEMPLE AND THE COURTYARD (Revelation 11:1-2) The first vision describes the second half of the Week as a time during which the Temple Mount in Jerusalem would be given to the Gentiles.


    2) THE TWO WITNESSES (Revelation 11:3-12) The second vision describes God's giving of the entire Bible ('the Law and the Prophets') to the world during the first half of the week, and then portrays the dead bodies of God's servants lying in the city of Jerusalem throughout the second half of the week. This is a picture of the guilt of the Jewish nation for their persecution of God's prophets during Old Testament times, their crucifixion of Christ, their continuing persecution of Christ's disciples, and their opposition to the proclamation of the gospel to a human race desperately in need of it.


    3) THE WOMAN, THE CHILD AND THE DRAGON (Revelation 12) The third vision describes Israel's bringing of the promised Messiah and 'seed' of Abraham into the world, followed by the dispersion of the Jewish people throughout the world for the following 1900+ years. While the second vision of 'The Two Witnesses' portrays the guilt of the Jewish nation, this third vision reveals God's preservation of that nation through many years of wandering throughout the world. In addition, this vision explains the ultimate source of the persecution of the Jewish people over the past 1900+ years; a defeated and bitter archangel. The 'casting out of Satan' is one of the great themes of the New Testament, and sheds much light upon the history of the world over the past 1900+ years.


    4) THE BEAST FROM THE SEA (Revelation 13) The fourth vision describes God's authorization of the Beast of Revelation to continue in existence throughout the second half of the 70th Week.


When we combine a proper understanding of Jesus' Olivet Discourse with these four visions from John's Little Book, the nature of Daniel's 70th Week becomes obvious. It is indeed the 'great week' of the Abrahamic Covenant.

I have posted this 'Foreword' at the beginning of every page in this prophecy section, because without a proper understanding of Daniel's 70th Week it is impossible to 'watch' effectively for the Lord Jesus' return, or to understand any of the other important subjects in God's prophetic word; subjects such as the Great Tribulation, the Beast, the False Prophet, the Antichrist, the United States and the City of Rome (Babylon).

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AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLE PROPHECY

THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS

In Revelation 19 the apostle John was receiving overwhelming prophetic visions and messages from God. And an angel had been directed by God to help John understand and record those visions. John was so moved by what he was seeing and hearing that he fell down at the feet of this angel to worship him.

In response to John's worship, the angel said...

"See that you do it not. I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Revelation 19:10

The angel was telling John that the purpose of Bible prophecy is to make known to us...

    1) Who Jesus Christ is.
    2) What He has done in the past.
    3) What He will do in the future.

Who is Jesus Christ? He is the eternal God. He is a member of the divine Family, known as the Trinity (see God Is a Family Called the Trinity). He is the Child in that Family, the only-begotten Son of the Father, and the Creator of the universe.

What has He done in the past? He has left heaven above, taken on Himself the body of a man, lived a sinless life, and then allowed Himself to suffer the death of a criminal on a cross in order to make the forgiveness of our sins possible. Having accomplished that task, He was raised bodily from the dead by His heavenly Father, and seated at the Father's right hand upon the throne of the universe.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be clung to to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

What will Jesus do in the future? He will come back to this planet a second time to establish the kingdom of God upon earth.

I will declare the decree; the Lord has said to Me... "You are My Son. Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel." Now therefore, be wise, O kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Psalm 2:7-12

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Matthew 24:30

Many people take an interest in prophecy because it intrigues and entertains them. They want to know about such things as 'the end times', 'Armageddon' and 'the Antichrist'. I have addressed many of these subjects in this web site. But in the grand scheme of things it is not what we know, but Who we know that matters. It is impossible to truly understand Bible prophecy, if we do not know Jesus Christ personally as our Savior.

It is through His cross that Christ has been able to open the prophetic 'seals' of the Bible (Revelation 5:9), and to make the Father's future plans a reality. I believe that the "sign of the Son of man" that Jesus spoke of (in Matthew 24:30 above) is the cross. This was the apostle Paul's only priority in evangelism. If a person has not come to see his need for the cross of Christ, he cannot truly understand or appreciate what the Bible has to say about the future.

For I determined not to have anything known among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2
cross

EARLIEST PROPHECIES ABOUT JESUS

We find prophecies about a promised Savior in the very first passages of the Bible. There are four 'testimonies of Jesus' in the early chapters of Genesis.

EARLY PROPHECY #1 The Bible's first prophecy about Christ is found in the encounter that God had with Adam, Eve and the serpent after Adam and Eve had disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden:

And the Lord God said unto the serpent "Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle and above every beast of the field. Upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life. And I will put enmity (hatred) between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

Genesis 3:14-15

This prophecy spoke of someone called the 'seed of the woman' who would someday crush the serpent's head, completely conquering and destroying him. In the process of crushing the serpent, He Himself would be bitten and suffer. Who is this 'seed of the woman'? It is the virgin-born Messiah; Jesus Christ. Why would it be necessary for Jesus to be born of a virgin? For two reasons.

Firstly, because every child born from a union between a man and a woman is a member of Adam's family, and a person that sinned with Adam in Eden. Thus it would be necessary for God, in order to bring a sinless Savior into the world, to introduce someone from outside of Adam's posterity. God would use a virgin's body to bring a human being into the world who had not taken part in Adam's rebellion in Eden.

Secondly God chose to use the 'seed of a woman' to conquer Satan, because Satan had chosen to use a woman as his attack point against God and mankind. Thus God chose to use a woman to conquer and humiliate Satan at the very point of his attack.

EARLY PROPHECY #2 The Bible's second prophecy about Jesus is symbolic. When Adam and Eve learned the difference between right and wrong, they realized that they were naked. They tried to fashion clothes from leaves in order to cover themselves. But the leaves were inadequate. God provided clothes for them from the skins of innocent animals.

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21

This first sacrifice of animals on behalf of mankind was symbolic of a Savior who would come into the world, and allow Himself to be put to death so that our 'moral nakedness' might be covered.

EARLY PROPHECY #3 The Bible's third prophecy about Christ was announced by a man named Enoch. Enoch is described in the book of Genesis as a man who pleased God so well, that God took him directly to heaven without experiencing death:

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah. And Enoch walked with God (after he begat Methuselah) three hundred years; and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years. And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.

Genesis 5:21-24

But while we are introduced to Enoch in the book of Genesis, his prophecy about Christ is not found there. It is given to us by Jude in the New Testament:

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these (ungodly persons), saying "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed. And of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him".

Genesis 5:21-24

EARLY PROPHECY #4 The Bible's fourth prophecy about Christ is also symbolic. He is symbolized by Noah's Ark, that carried Noah and his family through the storms of God's judgment in Genesis chapters 6-8. Jesus Christ is the great 'Ark' of God's salvation. Those who are 'in Him' experience God's judgment, and yet at the same time are spared from experiencing the suffering in that judgment. In Christ the sinner leaves his old world behind, and enters into a new life:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

As we look at these first prophecies about Christ in the book of Genesis, two themes emerge in their messages. Firstly, we are told that the Christ will be a Savior who will make forgiveness and life possible for repentant people. We see this in the symbolism of the animal skins given to cover Adam's nakedness, and in Noah's Ark. Secondly, we see a victorious Christ who will crush the serpent's head (Satan) and judge an unrepentant humanity. These two themes, of self-sacrificing mercy and victorious judgment, comprise the 'testimony of Jesus' that continues to lie at the heart of prophecy throughout the rest of the Bible.

THE TWO GREAT THEMES OF BIBLE PROPHECY:
1) GOD'S MERCIFUL FORGIVENESS
2) GOD'S FINAL VICTORY OVER EVIL

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

Beginning in the 12th chapter of the book of Genesis, and continuing on to the end of the New Testament book of Revelation, over 99% of the Bible and its prophecies are focused upon two promises that God gave to a man named Abraham, and God's fulfillment of those two promises.

God instructed Abraham to leave his home city of Ur in Mesopatamia (or Chaldea), and to go to a land that God would show to him. Abraham would complete that journey in two stages; first traveling to Haran, and then leaving Haran to travel to the land of Canaan (Acts 7:2-4).

Abraham's Journey
ABRAHAM'S JOURNEY
    Promise #1 Even before Abraham left his homeland, God told him that in himself all the nations of the world would be blessed. God was telling Abraham that the promised Savior of mankind would come into the world through him.

In you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Genesis 12:3, 22:18

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations through faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying "In you shall all nations shall be blessed".

Galatians 3:8

In this first promise to Abraham we see the first theme of prophecy; God's mercy, forgiveness and salvation made available to mankind.

    Promise #2 When Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan, God began to speak to him about Someone who would come out of Abraham's own body; One who would enter the world through Abraham's family, whom God referred to as 'Abraham's Seed'. And God promised to Abraham that someday both he and his 'Seed' would possess the land of Canaan forever:

And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said "Unto your seed will I give this land". And there Abram built an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.

Genesis 12:7

In this second promise to Abraham, we are given a foreshadowing of God's ultimate victory over evil; that Abraham's 'Seed' will possess a portion of the earth forever. As we look at later prophecies, will see that this promise of land will become the promise of a kingdom on earth as well.

The apostle Paul tells us that, in the original Hebrew, the word 'Seed' in these verses is singular and does not refer to the many offspring of Abraham; but to one particular Person within Abraham's family:

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not 'And to seeds', as of many; but as of one; "And to thy seed", which is Christ.

Galatians 3:16 (Genesis 12:7, 13:15, 15:5, 17:8, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14)

God's two promises to Abraham have come to be known as the Abrahamic Covenant. The word 'Seed' referred to Abraham's sperm or semen, and spoke of the physical, biological connection between Abraham and the coming Messiah. For this reason God imposed the rite of circumcision upon Abraham and all of his male offspring. Each of them would be marked in his reproductive organ as a sign of God's covenant with Abraham; a reminder that it would be through their bodies that the promised human Savior of mankind, and future Owner of the land of Canaan, would come into the world (Genesis 17:10-11).

In the illustration below, I use a yellow arrow to symbolize the 'golden promise' of God's blessing upon all of the nations of the world. And I use a green arrow to represent God's promise that someday Abraham and his 'Seed' would possess the fertile, 'green' land of Israel.


Abrahamic Covenant
THE ABRAHAMIC PROMISES


Abraham went on to father several sons before he died, but God told him that it would be through his second son, Isaac, that the promised 'Seed ' would come. Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau, and God informed Isaac that it would be through Jacob, rather than Esau, that the Messiah would be born. And so God began, from that time onward, to identify Himself not only as the God of Abraham, but more specifically as "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob".

THE MOSAIC SUB-COVENANT

As God gave His promises to Abraham, He also told him that his family would not possess the land of Canaan until 400 years had passed. Until then Abraham and his family would be strangers and wanderers upon the earth:

And God said unto Abram "Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation (Egypt), whom they shall serve, will I judge. And afterward shall they come out with great substance. And you shall go to your fathers in peace. You shall be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation (of your family in Egypt) they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full".

Genesis 15:13-16

True to His word, God fulfilled the timetable He announced to Abraham, sending a man named Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt 430 years after Abraham.

Moses' Journey
THE JOURNEY OF MOSES AND THE ISRAELITES:
FROM EGYPT TO CANAAN

While He was using Moses to lead the children of Abraham out of Egypt and back to the promised land of Canaan, God established another covenant with them known as the Mosaic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was a system of moral laws and animal sacrifices that would govern the nation of Israel in its relationship with God. It would be administered by a priesthood from the tribe of Levi.

I refer to the Mosaic Covenant as a sub-covenant because it was subordinate to the Abrahamic Covenant. It was an explanation of how God would fulfill His original first promise to Abraham; that Abraham's Seed would bring blessing upon all the nations of the world. God would bring about the forgiveness of our sins, and an ability to obey His Law, through the sacrificial death of God's true 'Passover Lamb'; the Lord Jesus Christ.

Secondly, the Mosaic Covenant was only a temporary 'place-holder', standing in until a genuine sacrifice for sins could be made. Its animal sacrifices were only symbolic, and could not accomplish real forgiveness and blessing. This is why both the prophet Jeremiah and the Lord Jesus spoke of a New Covenant that would replace the Covenant of Moses. And it is why the apostle Paul wrote that the Mosaic Covenant was given to Israel and the world as a 'tutor' or 'school master', pointing mankind to Christ as the true 'Lamb of God':

"Behold, the days come" says the Lord, "that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant (Mosaic) that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt (the Mosaic Covenant); which covenant they broke, although I was a husband unto them" saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 31: 31-32

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Then He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins".

Matthew 26:26-27

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:24

Thirdly, God declared the priority of the Abrahamic Covenant over everything else when He first encountered Moses at the burning bush. God announced two very important things to Moses:

And Moses said unto God "Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them 'The God of your fathers has sent me unto you', they shall ask me 'What is His name?' What shall I say unto them?"

And God said unto Moses "I AM who I AM". And He said "Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel: 'I AM has sent me unto you'". And God said moreover unto Moses "Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has sent me unto you'. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations".

Exodus 3:13-15

In this passage God revealed two things to Moses:

    1) That His name is 'I AM' (in Hebrew 'YHWH', transliterated into English as 'Yahweh" or 'Jehovah').
    2) He is to be remembered (memorialized) by all the generations of mankind as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Before He sent Moses to Egypt, God announced that He wanted to be known to all generations as the God of the Abrahamic Covenant. That was to take precedence over every other covenant. When we look at heaven and the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation, we see a city that has twelve gates, named after 12 great grandsons of Abraham (Revelation 21:12), and 12 foundation layers named after the 12 Jewish apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:14).

NOT ONLY IS THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT GOD'S MEMORIAL UNTO ALL GENERATIONS IN THIS PRESENT WORLD, BUT FOR ALL GENERATIONS THROUGHOUT ETERNITY

God did not choose the Jewish people because they were better than anybody else. In fact God has said that they have been a small and evil people (Deuteronomy 7:7, Ezekiel 36:31-32). It wasn't because they chose God, but because God chose them; to be used as the biological means of bringing a human Messiah into the world whose body would be bruised and whose blood would be shed on behalf of all mankind:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God. Because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already it is in the world.

1 John 4:1-3

The heritage of Abraham and the Jewish people is a glorious thing, and must be respected. But we must understand that this heritage reveals God's grace, and not something that anyone 'deserves'. In the illustration below, the golden promise of blessing and the Mosaic Covenant are paired together, because the Mosaic Covenant was an explanation of how God would bring blessing upon all the nations of the world. Because this would be accomplished through the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice, the Mosaic Covenant is represented by a 'blood red' line in these illustrations. The lines are dashed because they represent a promise given, but not yet fulfilled.

In addition to giving the Mosaic Covenant, God brought the Israelites back to the promised land, and enabled them to take possession of it. In this same illustration, therefore, the change from a dashed green line under the Abrahamic Covenant, to a solid green line under the Mosaic Covenant represents Israel's first actual possession of the land.

Mosaic Covenant
THE MOSAIC COVENANT:
HOW BLESSING UPON MANKIND WILL BE ACHIEVED


THE DAVIDIC SUB-COVENANT

Around 1030 BC, approximately 10 years into the 40-year reign of King David of Israel, God established a third covenant; with King David of Israel. God promised David that someday a man in his family, a promised 'Son of David', would establish the kingdom of David in Israel forever (2 Samuel 7).

Again, like with the Mosaic Covenant, I refer to this Davidic Covenant as a sub-covenant, because it fulfills the original Abrahamic Covenant. It tells us how Abraham's Seed would come to possess the land of Canaan forever. He would be a great King who would not only rule over Israel, but over the entire world.

When David received the Davidic Covenant, he already possessed the kingdom of Israel. As far as he knew his family would continue to maintain the kingdom until his promised 'Son' came to establish it forever. For this reason I have represented the Davidic Covenant as a solid blue line (rather than a dashed one) in the illustration below; because although 'David's Son' was an unfulfilled promise, the Kingdom itself was nevertheless a present-possession of David and his family, just as the land was a present-possession of the people of Israel.

Davidic Covenant
THE DAVIDIC COVENANT:
HOW THE PROMISED LAND WILL BE POSSESSED FOREVER

In God's giving of both the Mosaic and Davidic Covenants, we see the two promises of the Abrahamic Covenant fully laid out; the 'blessing' promise and the 'land' promise. But these two promises are not equal to each other. They were not given to Abraham side-by-side, as equals. One depended upon the other.

God promised Abraham that he would be a source of blessing to all the nations of the world before He began to speak to him about possessing a land. There is a simple reason for this. None of God's blessings are possible for any of us unless our 'sin problem' has been dealt with first. Abraham could have had no hope of possessing the promised land, if he was not first a partaker of the blessing that God would make available to all of the nations; the blessing of deliverance from the penalty and power of sin.

So how can we best summarize the Abrahamic Covenant? The Abrahamic Covenant is...

THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS

SETTING DATES

Before proceeding to talk about the prophet Daniel, it is necessary to explain the dates that I have assigned to Abraham, Moses and David. My reader may have noticed (in my illustrations) that I have set a date of 1910 BC for the Abrahamic Covenant. In addition, I have placed a date of 1480 BC on the Mosaic Covenant, and a date of 1030 BC on the Davidic Covenant.

These dates are not meant to be precise. I have chosen them because...

    1) They are approximately accurate, and thus enable us to put Biblical events into historical perspective.
    2) They are rounded numbers that enable us to make easy calculations.

So how have I arrived at these dates? In this web page, and throughout my web site, I use a date of 1000 BC as the point in time when David's son, King Solomon, built the first Temple in Jerusalem. I do not believe that this is a perfectly accurate date for that event. There are many opinions about when the first Temple was constructed. I use a date of 1000 BC because it is fairly close to the date that many scholars give, and because it is a nice round number that makes it easy for people to think about other events in Biblical history.

1 Kings 6:1 tells us that Solomon began to build the first Temple 480 years after the children of Israel came out of Egypt. Given my approximate date of 1000 BC for the construction of the Temple, this would put the Exodus at 1480 BC. The apostle Paul wrote that the giving of God's Law (through Moses) occurred 430 years after God's covenant with Abraham. This would put the date of the Abrahamic covenant at 1910 BC. And arriving at a reasonable date for the Abrahamic covenant is very important for an understanding of Daniel's 70-Weeks prophecy.

Now the 480 years, between Solomon's construction of the first Temple and the Exodus, are very clear. But there has been some confusion about the time period between Abraham and the Exodus. Some have understood the Bible to indicate that the time period between Abraham and the Exodus is a combination of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's wanderings in the land of Canaan plus 400 years that Abraham's family would spend in Egypt. This erroneous perspective has arisen from two passages in the Old Testament:

And God said unto Abram "Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation (Egypt), whom they shall serve, will I judge. And afterward shall they come out with great substance. And you shall go to your fathers in peace. You shall be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation (of your family in Egypt) they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full".

Genesis 15:13-16

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:40-41

What needs to be understood here is that God was not saying that the children of Israel would be 'strangers' and 'sojourners' in Egypt for 400 years, but that they would be 'strangers' and 'sojourners' for 400 years, and would ultimately end up in Egypt in the later part of those 400 years. How can I prove this? By presenting three points:

    1) Firstly, the quotation from from Exodus 12 (above) is taken from a more recent and possibly less reliable Hebrew text of the Old Testament; the Masoretic text. Two older Old Testament texts (the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Alexandrian Septuagint) read as follows:

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, and of their fathers, which they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt, was 430 years.

Exodus 12:40-41
    As we look at God's original covenant with Abraham, where God told him that his offspring would be strangers without a land of their own for four hundred years, we see that God did not say that this landlessness would all be experienced in one particular place. He merely told Abraham that his people would be wanderers who would ultimately end up in subservience to a particular nation; and that God would deliver them from that nation.
    2) Secondly, God told Abraham that the Israelites would come out of Egypt in the 'fourth generation'.

But in the fourth generation they shall come here (to Canaan) again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full".

Genesis 15:16
    Moses was a fourth-generation Israelite in Egypt. Jacob was the first generation that came to Egypt. Moses' mother, Jochebed, was a daughter of Levi, Jacob's son (Exodus 6:20). And thus, although Moses' father, Amram, was a fourth generation descendant of Jacob, his mother was a third generation descendant. This made Moses a fourth generation great grandson of Jacob.
    Levi lived to the age of 137 (Exodus 6:16). His son, Kohath, lived to the age of 133 (Exodus 6:18). Kohath was the brother of Moses' mother, Jochebed, and father of Moses' father, Amram. It is likely that Jochebed was one of the last and youngest of Levi's children. Thus when Amram married his father's sister, even though she may have been younger than he was, he was marrying his 'aunt'. Amram lived to the age of 137 (Exodus 6:20).
    Given these longevities, and the fact that Moses did not confront Pharaoh until he himself was 80 years old (Exodus 7:7), it is altogether possible that 200 years or more transpired between Jacob's arrival in Egypt and the Exodus. Given the amazing reproductive rates of the Hebrew people, this would have provided ample time for their numbers to become a real threat to the Egyptian leadership, and account for the large population that Moses led out of Egypt (Exodus 1:7-10).
    3) Thirdly, the apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us that there was a total of 430 years between God's promises to Abraham, and God's giving of the Law (the 10 commandments) through Moses after the Exodus.

And this I say, that the covenant (Abrahamic) that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the Law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot annul, that it should make the promise of no effect.

Galatians 3:17
    Paul's testimony confirms that the Israelites did not spend 430 years in Egypt, but that the total wanderings of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants was 430 years.

Why am I going to the trouble of clarifying the length of time that Abraham's family spent in Egypt? Because it is very important for an understanding Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy.

OT Timeline
ROUND NUMBERS FOR EASIER UNDERSTANDING

DANIEL'S CIRCUMSTANCES

The prophet Daniel lived approximately 400 years after King David. Daniel was probably born around 610-615 BC. King Solomon had built the great Temple in Jerusalem around 1000 BC, but after Solomon's death the nation of Israel split into two parts; the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah (which was ruled by David's family). After this division of the nation the people of Israel began to stray farther and farther away from God.

The northern kingdom, comprised of ten of Israel's twelve tribes, was conquered and destroyed by Assyria around 720 BC. The two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin continued on until 597 BC, when they also were conquered; by Babylon. These conquests of Israel and Judah represented the judgments of God, because they had departed from Him and His laws. The Biblical prophets loudly warned the people of both kingdoms that this judgment was coming upon them; warnings that we can still read in the Bible today.

The kingdom of David was conquered in two stages by the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar. After Nebuchadnezzar's first conquest of Judah in 597 BC, he put it under tribute and took much of its wealth and many of its best and brightest citizens back to Babylon to serve him. Daniel was one of those first captives taken to Babylon. His story is recorded for us in the book of Daniel.

While he lived in Babylon, Daniel observed as Nebuchadnezzar returned to a rebellious kingdom of David a second time, in 586 BC, and brought complete desolation and upon the Jewish people. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its great Temple, bringing an apparent end to the Mosaic Covenant. And he removed David's family from power, seemingly ending the Davidic Kingdom (there has not been another king from David's family who has ruled in Israel since that time).

But for Daniel and the Jewish people the destruction of Jerusalem, their Temple and their Kingdom was not the end of it. After destroying the land and many of its people, Nebuchadnezzar allowed a few poor surviving Jews to remain there (Jeremiah 39:10). But the rest of the survivors found themselves being dragged all the way back to that part of the world where Abraham had first begun: Mesopotamia (Chaldea). God not only brought total desolation upon Israel, but cast the surviving remnant backward in time to when Abraham was without God's grace and His promises. God could not have made Israel's unfaithfulness, and His fierce anger about it, more obvious.

Daniel's Journey
REVERSING ABRAHAM'S JOURNEY

As a devout God-fearing man, the destruction of his homeland raised serious questions in Daniel's mind. Foremost among them were 1) 'Does Israel have a future?' and 2) 'What will become of the covenant promises of God?'; His covenants with Abraham, Moses and David?

Daniel graphic
586 BC: END OF THE COVENANTS?

God's answers to Daniel's questions are found in the book of Daniel, and are foundational to the prophecy section of this web site. Daniel was a faithful servant of God, and his character is important for all Christians to study and follow. But his prophecies are even more important, because Daniel lived at one of the great crossroads of world history; when God's covenant promises to Abraham were coming face to face with the rise of Gentile world power. It was in the context of those circumstances that God began to foretell how that confrontation was going to play out; both for Israel and for all of the nations of the world.

SORTING DANIEL'S PROPHECIES

There are five prophecies in the book of Daniel. Four of those prophecies, in chapters 2,7,8 and 11 focus upon the restoration of the kingdom of David, and God's fulfillment of His promise to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his 'Seed' forever.

The consistent message of those four prophecies is that Israel will be dominated by four successive Gentile kingdoms (Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome) until the promised Son of David comes back to complete His victory over evil, to reclaim the land for Abraham and to restore the kingdom of David. Each of these four prophecies describes future events in greater detail as you read through them. It's like looking at something through a microscope, and clicking up the viewing power as you proceed from one prophecy to the next.

The remaining fifth prophecy, in Daniel chapter 9, focuses upon the redemptive promises of God to Abraham. It does not focus upon God's 'land and kingdom' promises, but upon the 'blessing and forgiveness' ones. It foretells Christ's coming to die for all mankind as the 'Lamb of God', and reveals the implications of His death for the Mosaic Covenant.

THE 70 WEEKS PROPHECY

The 70 Weeks prophecy is comprised of four verses, found in Daniel 9:24-27:

Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city (Jerusalem); to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins and to make reconciliation for iniquity. To bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy.

Daniel 9:24

Verse 24 gives us the large picture. God will complete everything within 70 'weeks' of time. The first emphasis is upon the forgiveness of sins and establishment of righteousness, but it also speaks of fulfilling (sealing up) all of the Bible's visions and prophecies.

Who or what is the 'Most Holy' referred to here? There are various opinions. Some say it is the Messiah. Some believe that it refers to a rebuilding of a 'most holy' Temple in Jerusalem. Personally I believe that the 'Most Holy' is Jesus Christ Himself, "the Holy One of Israel":

For the Lord is our defense, and the Holy One of Israel is our King.

Psalm 89:18

Fear not Jacob, you worm, and you men of Israel. "I will help you" says the Lord and your Redeemer; the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 41:14

I am the Lord, your Holy One; the creator of Israel, your King.

Isaiah 43:15

As for our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name; the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 47:4

In these verses the 'Holy One of Israel' is described as both a 'Redeemer' and a 'King'. And this is the order of things that we find in Daniel 9:24; Israel's redemption from the penalty and power of sin, followed by the anointing of Israel's King.

Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and sixty and two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

Daniel 9:25

Verse 25 told Daniel that after a period of 69 weeks (7 weeks + 62 weeks) the Messiah and 'Prince of David' would come. These 'weeks' would be 'weeks of years', each week being 7 years long. And the 69 weeks would begin with the permission allowing the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem.

It is important to be clear about this permission. The Jewish people received two separate permissions to rebuild in their homeland. The first permission, given by King Cyrus of Persia, was to rebuild their Temple. This permission is recorded in the book of Ezra (Ezra 1:1-4), and may have been given around 535 BC. But the permission to rebuild the city of Jerusalem was given 90 years later; by King Artaxerxes of Persia (around 445 BC, Nehemiah 2:1-10).

It is interesting to notice that God Himself may have distinguished these permissions for the Jewish people and the world. After they had begun to rebuild the Temple, their enemies wrote to the king of Persia claiming that they were rebuilding the city of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:12-16). As a result the Jews were forbidden to continue their work on the Temple. It was not until everyone understood that they only had permission to rebuild the Temple, that God then blessed their progress on that project.

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.

Daniel 9:26

Verse 26 showed Daniel three outwardly visible, historical events that would follow the Messiah's coming:

    1) The Messiah would die, but not 'for Himself'. And He would not obtain His promised Kingdom.
    2) The people of another prince would destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.
    3) Until the end of the war desolations were appointed for Jerusalem and the Temple.

These predictions were all fulfilled in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple by the armies of Rome (led by the Roman prince Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian and next emperor of Rome), and the ongoing desolation of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which continues to this very day.

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 offering 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 9:27

DISPENSATIONAL ERROR

Verse 27 confronts us with a challenging question that requires an answer: "Who is the 'he' referred to in verse 27?" We are limited to two choices. Is it the Messiah, or is it "the prince that shall come", both of whom are mentioned in verse 26?

There is a school of thought among evangelical Christians called "Dispensationalism". They would agree basically with my explanation of the first three verses of this prophecy, except that they do not believe that the 'prince who is to come' of verse 26 is Titus alone. They believe that verse 26 is also referring to a prince in Israel's distant future; who will arise from within the Roman world in the last days to fulfill the words of verse 27. Dispensationalists believe that it is this distant, future 'prince' who is the 'he' spoken of in verse 27.

To put this in perspective, it is necessary to understand that Dispensationalists believe that the 70th Week of Daniel lies in the future. They believe that it is separated from the first 69 weeks by a 'dispensation' or period of time which they call 'the church age'. They believe that Israel's 'prophetic clock' stopped with the destruction of Jerusalem, and that it will not start again until 'the church age' has ended, and the final 70th Week has begun.

Dispensationalists teach that the 'prince that shall come' is 'the Antichrist' and Paul's 'Man of Sin' (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4); who will confirm a covenant with the Jewish people for a week of seven calendar years (Daniel's 70th Week). And they teach that he will then desolate the Temple in Jerusalem in the middle of that week, before waging all out war against God's people.

I have more to say about Dispensationalism in my page titled The Olivet Discourse. Simply stated, I believe that the Dispensationalists are greatly in error; primarily because they break the most fundamental rules of Bible interpretation in their handling of Jesus' Olivet Discourse. As a result of their 'interpretive violence', making the Son of God say one thing in Matthew and Mark's versions of the Discourse, while He supposedly says something completely different in the exact same location in Luke's version of the Discourse, they have blinded themselves to the simplicity of both the Olivet Discourse and John's Little Book. And these two primary errors have compelled them to also mishandle both Antiochus Epiphanes IV (Daniel 11:29-30) and Paul's 'Man of Sin' (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4); making both of them 'abominations of desolation', when in fact neither one of them is.

As an alternative to Dispensationalism, one might start with the question "How would Daniel have understood the 'he' of verse 27?" Would Daniel have expected the Messiah to live again after dying in verse 26? Would Daniel have expected a resurrected Messiah to confirm a covenant? Would Daniel have expected a resurrected Messiah to bring an end to the Old Testament sacrifices and offerings of Moses? And to bring the Temple in Jerusalem to desolation? The answer to all of these questions is a very loud 'YES!' 'ABSOLUTELY!'

WOULD DANIEL HAVE EXPECTED THE MESSIAH'S RESURRECTION?

Not only would Daniel have been open to the possibility that the Messiah would be raised from the dead, he would have expected it. Daniel already knew, through King David and the prophet Isaiah, that Israel's Messiah would die before being resurrected and glorified:

You are my Son. Today I have begotten You (from the dead). Ask of Me, and I shall give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession.

Psalm 2:7-8 (Acts 13:33)

For you will not leave My soul in Hades. Nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption (bodily decay).

Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27, 13:35)

Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong. Because He has poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors. He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53:12

Not only that but Daniel already knew, through the prophecies that he himself had received from God (in Daniel chapters 2 and 7), that if the Messiah was going to die He would have to be raised from the dead in order to fulfill those prophecies. The Messiah would have to be resurrected in order to become the 'stone cut out without hands' of Daniel 2:34-35, that crushes Gentile kingdoms to powder (Matthew 21:44, Luke 20:18). And He would have to be raised from the dead in order to be the 'Son of Man' who comes to the 'Ancient of Days' in Daniel 7:13-14, to receive an everlasting kingdom.

WOULD DANIEL HAVE EXPECTED THE MESSIAH TO CONFIRM A COVENANT?

Some have understood Daniel 9:27 to say that someone would make or establish a new covenant, but this is not true. In the original Hebrew version of Daniel 9:27, the word translated 'confirm' expresses the idea of honoring or enforcing a covenant that already exists. God was talking about someone fulfilling a covenant that had already been made. The explanation is simple.

When God made His covenant with Abraham, it was like a contract; what is called in English an 'I-O-U' (I owe you). Although God's gracious promise was trustworthy, it existed only on paper; the money had not yet been 'put in the bank' so to speak. The actual work of redemption for sinful mankind had not yet been done. But when the Lord Jesus came into the world and died on the cross, He paid the price to make God's blessing on all the nations of the world a reality.

This is what Jesus meant when He said "It is finished" just before He died. He was saying 'It is paid!' (John 19:30). He confirmed the Abrahamic covenant. Jesus further fulfilled this covenant when He ascended into heaven and presented His own blood before His Father as proof that our sins had been atoned for (Hebrews 9:12,24).

This is what Daniel 9:27 is telling us; that it is the Messiah who would confirm a covenant for one Week. Through His death Jesus confirmed the Abrahamic covenant backward in time to all those who, like Abraham, had looked forward to its fulfillment; and forward in time to all those who would look back to His finished work upon the Cross.

In Malachi chapter 3 the coming Messiah was called "the Messenger of the Covenant":

"Behold, I will send my messenger (John the Baptist), and he shall prepare the way before me. And the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple; even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom you delight in. Behold, He shall come" says the Lord of hosts.

Malachi 3:1

In Luke chapter 1, the virgin Mary expressed her joy at receiving God's grace, and spoke of the salvation that her unborn child would achieve:

He (God) has helped His servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his Seed forever.

Luke 1:54-55

Also in Luke chapter 1, Zacharias (the father of John the Baptist) described Christ's coming as God 'remembering His Covenant' and 'performing the mercy' which He had promised:

Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He swore to our father Abraham.

Luke 1:67-73

The Apostle Peter alluded to Christ's confirmation of the Abrahamic Covenant, telling the Jews that they would be the first to be offered the blessings of that confirmation:

You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham "And in your seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed". Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

Acts 3:25-26

Paul also described Jesus as a covenant-Confirmer in Romans 15:

Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.

Romans 15:8

Daniel would have been very open to the idea that a resurrected Messiah would be the covenant-confirmer of verse 27. In fact he would never have considered anyone else. There is no other Person in the Bible, other than 'Messiah the Prince' (verse 25), promised 'Blesser of the nations' and 'Son of David', who is spoken of in 'covenant-confirming' terms.

The 70 Weeks Prophecy begins with a reference to God's ultimate blessings upon Daniel's people (the Jews), and their holy city of Jerusalem. The message is about sealing up (confirming, fulfilling) 'vision and prophecy'. This is the context within which God expected Daniel to consider the 'he' of verse 27.

WOULD DANIEL HAVE EXPECTED THE MESSIAH TO END THE MOSAIC SACRIFICES?

Again the answer is 'Yes'. Daniel knew, through the prophet Jeremiah, that the old Mosaic Covenant was going to be replaced:

"Behold, the days are coming" says the Lord, "that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt (the Mosaic Covenant); which covenant they broke, although I was a husband unto them" says the Lord. "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days" says the Lord, "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying 'Know the Lord'. For they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them" says the Lord. "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Jesus announced the coming of His New Covenant at the 'Last Supper' (Matthew 26:28):

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples. And He said "Take, eat; this is my body". And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying "Drink all of it. For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26:26-28

The Jewish people hated the idea that the Messiah would bring an end to the Mosaic sacrifices, even though both Jeremiah and Daniel had foretold it. The approaching destruction of the Temple, and the ending of animal sacrifices, was a major point of disagreement between the Jews and Christians. Stephen, the first martyr, was killed for declaring that the Mosaic Covenant would end (Acts 6:14). And Paul was hounded by the Jews because he was accused of disrespecting Moses and the Temple.

Jesus accomplished two important things with the destruction of the Temple. First, it demonstrated to the Jews and to the world that He is the Messiah. The fulfillment of His warnings, about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, confirmed that He had been sent by His Father and that His words were the words of God.

Secondly, Jesus was revealing that the Mosaic animal sacrifices have been replaced by a better Priesthood and Sacrifice; one that can really save people:

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when He (Christ) came into the world He said "Sacrifice and offering You desired not, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have had no pleasure". Then said I (Christ) "Behold, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Your will, O God". Above when He said "Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin You desired not, neither had pleasure in them" (which are offered by the law of Moses), then He said "Behold, I come to do Your will, O God". He takes away the first (the sacrifices of Moses), that He may establish the second.

Hebrews 10:4-9

If the Temple had not been destroyed, there might still be people today ignorantly sacrificing bulls, sheep and goats in Israel and elsewhere. This would have been truly dishonoring to Moses, because Moses wanted his powerless sacrifices to be replaced. He yearned for the promised Messiah and His salvation. The destruction of the Temple has revealed the Mosaic Covenant for what it really was, and still is to this day; a schoolmaster to point us to the true Passover Lamb of God (Galatians 3:24-25).

COME AND SEE

In the foreword of this web page, I explained that a full understanding of Bible prophecy requires an understanding of four links in a prophetic chain:

In this web page I have sought to explain the first two links in that chain: the Abrahamic Covenant and the 70 Weeks prophecy of Daniel 9. But two links are not enough. I would invite my reader to come to my next page titled The Olivet Discourse, and to witness Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, four days before His crucifixion. To witness not only His fulfillment of Daniel's 69-week timetable, but His perfect fulfillment of a more ancient Bible prophecy; the 'Passover Prophecy'. And I would invite my reader to join me in looking at the message that Jesus gave to His disciples on the Mount of Olives, as they sat together overlooking Jerusalem and the Temple.

Finally, I would invite my reader to join me in looking at John's Little Book in my page titled The Timetable for Jesus' Return. That little book builds upon the three prophetic links before it, and gives us a very clear sense of how God sees world history. It also shows us that the return of Christ is very close at hand. Such insights are desperately needed both by Christians and the world at large.

IDENTIFYING THE PLAYERS

SATAN & THE GREAT TRIBULATION (Matthew 24:21, Revelation 7:14) It is impossible to understand the 'Prophetic Players' listed below without a proper understanding of "The Great Tribulation". The Great Tribulation is the time of Satan's wrath. It is not the time of God's wrath, which is 'The Day of the Lord' referred to throughout the Bible, and which is revealed in the Trumpets and Bowls of Revelation (chapters 8-9 and 16).

The Great Tribulation began after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and with the casting of Satan out of heaven and down to earth. That event is described in Revelation 12:

And the great dragon was cast out; that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

Revelation 12:9,12

The first manifestation of Satan's wrath was the destruction of Jerusalem and desolation of Israel in 70 AD, with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews and the dispersion of the surviving Jewish people throughout the world.

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman (Israel) who brought forth the Man Child (Christ).

Revelation 12:13

Satan's wrath, while beginning with the Jewish people and progressing to Christians (Revelation 12:17), will find its ultimate expression in the onset of nuclear war described in the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17. This late exercise of Satan's wrath, which will engulf all of mankind, was foretold by the prophet Isaiah:

How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations! They that see you shall narrowly look upon you and consider you, saying "Is this the one that made the earth to tremble and that shook kingdoms? That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed its cities? That opened not the house of his prisoners?"

Isaiah 14:12, 16-17

To put it in simplest terms, the Great Tribulation is the second half of Daniel's 70 Week, beginning with Satan's destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish people in 70 AD, and continuing to this very day. For people living in the wealth and comfort of the 'western world', it is hard to think of ourselves as living in 'The Great Tribulation'. But times are soon going to change drastically for Christians in the 'west'. And for much of the world today, and throughout many centuries, the Great Tribulation has always been real.


1) THE BEAST (Daniel 7, Revelation 13:1-10, Revelation 16:13, Revelation 17:3-18, Revelation 19:19-20)

The Beast first appears as the fourth beast of Daniel 7, having one head and 10 horns. In the New Testament it becomes a Beast having seven heads, and the significance of the change to seven heads is explained in Revelation 17:9-11.

We are told, in Revelation chapter 13:5, that the Beast has been authorized by God to continue throughout the second half of the 70th Week of Daniel; in other words from 70 AD until the present. Therefore the Beast is not a single person. And we are told, in Revelation 13:2, that the Beast will possess Satan's power, throne and authority; that it will be closely connected to Satan. I believe that the Beast is militant, organized, God-opposing humanity itself. For a fuller explanation of the Beast, I refer my reader to my web page titled Understanding The Beast.


2) THE FALSE PROPHET (Revelation 13:11-18, Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10)

This is the second Beast described in Revelation 13. It is described as coming up out of the earth or land. It possesses the traits of a false prophet, appearing like a lamb while speaking like a dragon (Satan).

The False Prophet does not experience the long lifespan of the Beast; from 70 AD until the present. The False Prophet is a product of our modern times. It performs three miracles, corresponding to today's technology:

    A) It brings down fire from heaven through the technology of powered flight; rockets, airplanes, drones, satellites, lasers, missiles and bombs.
    B) It causes an image to come alive and speak, through the technology of movies, television, smart phones and 'virtual reality' devices.
    C) It will impose the 'Mark of the Beast' upon the world through Block Chain technology; a computerized 'distributed ledger' system that will make every person a part of the 'internet of things', and will revolutionize the economy and administration of the world.

3) THE WOMAN, HARLOT, WHORE, BABYLON (Revelation chapters 17 & 18)

This is the city of Rome, confirmed for us in Revelation 17:9,18 where she is described as being seated upon seven hills, and as 'that great city' which was ruling over the kings of the earth when John received the book of Revelation.

I have discussed the city of Rome, and its transition from being the seat of Roman power prior to 69 A.D. to being a religious center after 69 A.D., in my web page titled Understanding The Beast. I explain Bible prophecy regarding the religion of Rome in my web page titled The City of Rome in Prophecy.


4) THE APOSTLE PAUL'S 'MAN OF SIN' (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

The apostle Paul's 'Man of Sin' is described in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.

Let no man deceive you by any means. For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first. And that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped. So that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

Paul was not describing a single man, but a unique class of men; the Roman Catholic priesthood. How do Rome's priests portray themselves as God in the Temple of God? By claiming to be Christ's representatives on earth, when they are in fact stealing the three divine offices of Jesus Christ; those of Prophet, Priest and King.

Roman Catholic priests claim prophetic authority to interpret the Bible, and to add to it. They claim priestly authority (in the Mass) to do what Christ alone can do; offer a sacrifice before God that can atone for the sins of men. And Rome's priests claim kingly authority to wage holy wars in the name of Christ, making themselves the 'king of kings'.

God tells people to come directly to His Son by faith, hearing Him speak by reading their Bibles, and speaking to Him in prayer. But Rome says that we must come to Rome, and has always discouraged the free distribution and study of the Bible throughout its history. Rather than represent Jesus Christ before the world, Rome actually competes directly against Him for the souls of men. For further information about Rome, I refer my reader to my web pages titled 'The City of Rome in Prophecy', 'Understanding The Beast', and 'The United States in Prophecy'.


5) THE ANTICHRIST

The Antichrist is mentioned in only four verses, all written by the apostle John, and found only in his letters. The word 'antichrist' never appears anywhere else in the scriptures. It means what it appears to mean; one who is against or opposed to Christ.

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

1 John 2:18-19

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 2:22

And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4:3

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

2 John 8

As we examine John's words, the one thing that defines the antichrist is false doctrine. More specifically, John defines antichrists as...

    A) Those who once professed faith in Christ, but have departed from biblical Christianity.
    B) Those who deny the Father and the Son.
    C) Those who deny that the Son of God has come into the world in human flesh.

John's description of an antichrist could apply to any one of a number of people, religions or cults that have claimed to be Christian or to respect Christ, but have departed from the true Christian faith.

It should be observed that John never says anything about the Antichrist establishing covenants, ending sacrifices, claiming to be God, having miraculous powers, cooperating with the Beast or being destroyed at the second coming of Christ. Nor does he link 'the Antichrist' with any other passage of scripture. The term 'antichrist' is not even found in that greatest of all prophetic books, Revelation, which John himself wrote.

Rather than take caution from this, Dispensationalists have taken advantage of it. Because of his sinister name, and because so little is known about him, Dispensationalists have felt free to plug the Antichrist into their end-times scenario. For them the Antichrist is 'the Prince who is to come' (of Daniel 9:26), the 'Abomination of Desolation', Paul's 'man of sin', and 'the Beast' that gets thrown into the Lake of Fire (along with the False Prophet). One cannot count all of the books, articles and movies that have flowed out of John's very limited words about 'the Antichrist'.

Although John says that there are many antichrists, in 1 John 2:18 he seems to refer to one specific person, 'the Antichrist', who surpasses all other antichrists in his opposition to God. So who is this Antichrist? I do not know. One candidate to consider would be Mohammed. Islam claims Biblical roots and speaks well of Jesus, but fiercely denies that God has a Son, and that Jesus was 'Emmanuel'; 'God with us' in a human body. There is no other religion that more directly and forcefully denies the deity of Christ than Islam.

Muslims have written 'God has no son' inside their mosque, the 'Dome of the Rock', sitting on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This will ultimately prove to be a profound embarrassment to them. It was this One who declared Himself to be the Son of God, and who predicted the desolation of the Temple and its possession by the Gentiles until His second coming, whose words they now fulfill with their mosque on the Temple Mount.


6) THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION - (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14) The Roman general Titus and his army, which destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD (see The Olivet Discourse for an explanation of this fact, and see The Timetable for Jesus' Return for a discussion of Titus).


7) THE 'PRINCE WHO IS TO COME' OF DANIEL 9:26 - The Roman general Titus.


8) THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL 7:8 - The United States of America (see The United States in Bible Prophecy)


9) THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL 8:9 - The City of Rome, beginning as a very small power on the edge of the Greek Empire. Rome first expelled Greece from the Italian peninsula in the Pyrrhic War, defeated its southern enemy Carthage in the Punic Wars, and then proceeded to move east, conquering Greece, Asia Minor (defeating Antiochus the Great) and eventually the rest of the Middle East (including Israel).

This Little Horn exalted itself against the Prince of God's host, the Lord Jesus Christ. It then brought an end to the daily sacrifices, destroying Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 AD. Because of Israel's transgressions the Roman Empire was allowed to continue its dominance over the Jews, and to establish a religion (Roman Catholicism) that casts truth to the ground. No better combination of brevity and accuracy regarding Rome's history can be found.


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(Bible quotations are from the old King James version, with modifications by the author.)