I once embraced the theology that Daniel's 70th Week represented a "7-year tribulation period" that would be inaugurated by the Antichrist at the end of this age.
I first read about it in 1968 when reading Hal Lindsey's The Late, Greae Planet Earth. Like Hal and Tim LaHaye and other prophecy writers, I even wrote of it in some of my early books back in the 1970s. (An aside here: my friends from way back when—Hal and Tim—like so many others who taught prophecy in those days, were pre-tribbers, and I was a post-tribber—more precisely, a pre-wrather.)
But we were wrong about Daniel's 70th Week.
I discovered this when re-reading Daniel chapter 9 for the umpteenth time a few years ago (which has to do with the redemption of spiritual Israel—which we now understand from Paul's writings in the New Testament are those Jews and Gentiles who comprise the Church, the body of Christ).
My error was the mistaken teaching I naively accepted that the Antichrist would enter into a "7-year peace treaty" prior to Christ's second coming at the end of the age.
But that is not what Daniel taught. Daniel's 70th week would not be seven contiguous years (as were the previous "weeks" of years in the prophecy). Rather, the time-line in Daniel 9:20-27 calls for a "split" week, comprised of two periods of 3.5 years each, with an unspecified number of years in-between (the present "Church Age").
The first half corresponds to the 3.5 years of Christ’s ministry, from His baptism to His crucifixion.
The second half will commence with the appearance of the Antichrist and will conclude with the second coming of Christ Jesus at the end of the age (2 Thessalonians 2:8; Daniel 12:10-12; Revelation 13:5).In Daniel 9, we read that “Messiah the Prince” (Jesus Christ) will be “cut off” (crucified) at the end of His 3.5-year ministry, which coincides with the end of the Old Covenant, from God’s perspective, at the conclusion of the 69th week. Jesus replaced it with the Everlasting New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33,34; 32:38, 40; Ezekiel 36:26-27; 37:26).
The crucifixion of Messiah the Prince “put a stop to sacrifices and grain offerings” (Daniel 9:27), as they were but foreshadows of His sacrifice at the cross. It is this Everlasting New Covenant which Daniel 9:27 discloses: “he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week” [the 70th Week]. “He” is “Messiah the Prince,” the antecedent of “he.” Some see “he” to be the “prince who is to come”—the Antichrist—in verse 26, but they overlook that the subject here is “people,” not the “prince who is to come.” “People” is a plural word which would require the plural pronoun “they,” not the singular “he” that appears in verse 27. As for “of the prince who is to come,” this is a modifying phrase that gives identity to the “people.”
Those “people” in verse 26 turned out to be Roman legions who occupied Jerusalem. Titus, who later became the Roman Emperor, at the time held jurisdiction over Jerusalem. When the Jewish Zealots rebelled in 70 A.D., Titus sent Josephus to negotiate a truce, but the Zealots rejected this and continued their revolt. So, there was no “firm covenant” by Titus, and there is no collaborative Scripture to see a “dual fulfillment” in which the coming prince is both Titus and the Antichrist.
Therefore, an Antichrist-brokered “seven-year peace treaty” is not Scriptural but a construct of errant exegesis. In fact, Titus and his Roman soldiers did the opposite of fomenting even a fraudulent peace with Israel: they lay siege against Jerusalem, and the city and its second temple were reduced to ruins (see verse 25).
The Bible mentions the restraint of the Antichrist and his “standing in the holy place,” that, when fulfilled, will inaugurate the last 3.5 years of Daniel’s 70th Week, which will culminate in the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Thus, the redemption of God's elect will be inaugurated through the first resurrection and consumated in its entirety through the second resurrection.
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