The following is a brief outline of what the Scriptures teach about events that constitute what is referred to as the end-times.
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put 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.” <Dan.9:24-27 (NIV)>
What are the main points contained in this passage?
- From the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the millennial reign of Messiah = 490 years <v 24>; “sevens” are interpreted to mean a seven-year period of time. The decree was given by King Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 445 B.C.
- From the issuing of the decree till Messiah comes = 483 years <v 25>
- From the issuing of the decree till Messiah’s crucifixion = 434 years. <v 26>
- There will be 49 years of Roman subjection culminating with the total destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem (by Titus in A.D. 70).
- The birth of Messiah took place in approximately B.C. 6; and His crucifixion was in approximately A.D. 31 = 37 years approximately.
- 434 + 49 = 483 years.
- The Church age began at the time when Christ returned to His father in heaven, and has lasted until the present day. The Church is not mentioned in any prophecy.
- The final 7 years of Daniel’s prophecy are yet to be fulfilled. It will begin when the Jewish nation signs a covenant with the anti-Christ, and will be broken by the anti-Christ halfway through the term. This will usher in the “great tribulation” period spoken of by the prophets as “Jacob’s trouble”, and will last for the balance of this seven-year period (3 1/2 years). <v 27>
- At the end of this 490-year period, Messiah’s millennial reign on earth will begin.
“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” <Matt.24:1-3 (NIV)>
Three question asked of Jesus by the disciples: 1. When will this happen? 2. What will be the sign? 3. When will be the end of the age?
- There will be continued unrest and fighting with Rome while the gospel is being preached, and Jerusalem will be totally destroyed (Titus in A.D. 70), and the Jews dispersed throughout the world. The gospel will continue to be preached throughout the then known world, and eventually to the entire world — the church age –; while the Jews will continue to suffer greatly (through two world wars and numerous conflicts). A temporary end will then come to the suffering of the Jews as they become integrated into society and some return to the land of Palestine. After a time determined by God – the church age — will end. <Matt.24:4-14; 2 Pet.3:10>.
- A covenant will be signed between Israel and the nations that is supposed to bring peace; this is the beginning of the final 7 years of Daniel’s prophecy; halfway into the period (3 ½ years) the covenant will be broken by the sign of the “abomination”. “Great distress” or tribulation that has never been seen or experienced before will begin for the Jews and will last for the next 3 1/2 years. <Matt.24:15, 21>.
- At the end of this period (7 years), Messiah returns and sets up His millennial kingdom <Matt.24:29-31>. The final battle and the millennial reign of Christ is referred to in <Rev. 19:11; 20:6>.
God’s mercy and grace has been extended to all mankind (not only to the Jewish nation), because the Jews rejected God in rejecting the Messiah <see Rom. 9:1 – 11:36>
“For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith” <Rom.9:15-16 (NIV)>. God offered salvation by faith to all people <Jn.3:16>, and that salvation has been rejected by the Jews as a sovereign state.
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile– the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” <Rom.10:12-13 (NIV)>; Jews and Gentiles enjoy the same salvation.
“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.” <Rom.11:11 (NIV)>
And so, the CHURCH AGE was ushered in. God began by using the Jewish nation as His earthly witness, and their mandate was to present God to the other nations and all peoples on earth; but they failed in this respect and were set aside by God for their rejection of Him. God is now calling out of all nations and peoples a body of people called the Church; and as has been previously stated, the Church was never spoken of by any of the prophets because it remained a “mystery” and was never revealed to them by God; so all their prophecies looked through time towards the coming of Messiah and His millennial reign. This “mystery” was finally revealed to the New Testament believers through Christ’s first advent and the birth of the Church <see Eph.1:9-10>. The Holy Spirit was given to the Church to indwell each believer personally; something different to the Old Testament believers (mainly Jews), who only experienced a special presence of the Spirit of God for some important task that they were called to do. God’s promise to His disciples was that the Holy Spirit would “abide” with them and all those who became disciples after them; meaning all members of the Church <see Jn.14:16-17>.
This passage in <Jn.16:5-16> speaks of the coming of the Holy Spirit and His work among the members of the Church and His influence upon mankind in general during the church age. Therefore, it is understood that while the Church is present on the earth the Holy Spirit will also be present and active. But there will be a day when the Church is removed (“rapture”) from this earth <1 Thess.4:13-18>, and the work of the Holy Spirit will no longer be necessary. This will then start the “seventh week” of Daniel’s prophecy and all the terrible tribulation of the Jews and judgments of God upon an evil and wicked world. It will also be at this time that the “anti-Christ” will take full control of this world and all its peoples.
In 2 Thess.2 :1-12 we find a description of the influence of the anti-Christ as opposed to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Although the anti-Christ, or the “the man of lawlessness” may be at work behind the scenes at this present time, he will not be fully revealed to people on earth “until the rebellion occurs” <1 Thess.2:3 (NIV)>. The “rebellion” simply means that when the Church and the Holy Spirit is removed from this earthly scene, there will be a total rejection of God by all people that remain on this earth, which will lead to the revelation of the anti-Christ <see Matt.24:10-12; 1 Tim.4:1>. This is so because “the one who now holds it back” <1 Thess.2:7 (NIV)> is none other than The Holy Spirit <see Jn.16:8-11>, and when He is removed the activities of the anti-Christ will no longer be restrained, giving him power over all people. His rule of lawlessness and ungodliness will last for seven years – the last seven years of Daniel’s prophecy.
The 483 years prophesied by Daniel is already behind us, we are currently in the Church age; soon God will close this present age of the Church and begin the last seven years that Daniel spoke about. The removal of the Church and The Holy Spirit will be a sudden and unexpected event for those that have, and still reject God and His Son Christ Jesus our Lord.
The question is: where do you stand in relation to what the Scriptures teach concerning the end-times? Are you ready and waiting for Christ’s return, or are you still rejecting His salvation? <see Matt.24:14, 30-31, 36-39; Lk.21:34-36; Rev.22:7>.