Daniel was a teenager living the good life in Jerusalem as the son of that society’s one percenters. Daniel and other children of the upper class were marched into captivity in Babylon after the capture of Jerusalem about 605 BC. Talk about a culture shock!
From the very beginning, Daniel proved himself to be not only an exceptionally able administrator but also, and most importantly, a fiercely God-honoring person. More than once he is called “highly esteemed”. Over the next 60 or so years, God entrusted him with several messages and visions and even sent angels to deliver messages and help him understand what the visions meant. Daniel was given a vision about future world governments and a blasphemous, fierce, violent, crushing ruler who will come (Dan 5:18-28). This ruler, commonly referred to as the antichrist, will make successful war against God’s people but will eventually be conquered simply by The Word of God (Rev 19:13).
At one point, God sent the Angel Gabriel (Dan 9:21) to tell Daniel that there will be “seventy sevens” (Dan 9:25-26) set aside for the Jews to finish their job. “Seventy sevens” equal 490 years. 483 are already past and the final 7 years have been remaining since the time Jesus was crucified. Scholars call this Daniel’s 70th Week but most people know it as the Tribulation. Both refer to the same 7 years that end with Jesus’ return to earth. These 7 years are divided in half with the last 3½ years commonly referred to as the Great Tribulation.
So when do those years begin (Dan 9:27)? It looks like the countdown begins with the signing of a treaty that, among other things, 1) guarantees the security and safety of Israel for seven years and, 2) allows for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The treaty also appears to let the Jews resume the practice of daily sacrifices. (Dan 11:31) Seems impossible from today’s perspective, doesn’t it? Who has the power needed to guarantee Israel’s safety and protection from attack? What could possibly make the Muslims allow the Jewish temple to be rebuilt on the Temple Mount?
Given the current world alignments, I think that the signers of this treaty could be representatives of various nations or powerful individuals and/or organizations such as the United Nations or NATO. Among the signers is a person who turns out to be the world-wide dictator generally referred to as the antichrist. Through Satan, God allows the antichrist to have complete power over everyone and everything. He completely controls the economy, commerce, communication, military and religion. And pretty much anything else you can think of. The treaty gets signed, the temple gets built, and then the treaty is broken in the middle of the seven years (Dan 9:27) by the antichrist. (Mt. 24:15, Dan 9:27) An image of the Anti-Christ that can talk is set up in the temple and all the people of the earth are required to worship him and his image. (Rev. 13:12-17)
Who goes through Daniel’s 70th week? For sure, the Jews (“given to you and your people” Dan 9:24). For sure, unbelievers. Not so for sure, Christians. We will look at this more closely later when we talk about the Rapture. In another blog, we can look at the three most likely points for the timing of the Rapture.
These 7 years are the culmination of wickedness on the earth. Comparatively speaking, the first half of these years may not be so bad, the party may continue, but the last 3 ½ years give new meaning to the term, “hell on earth.” Mankind is literally hell-bent on doing his own thing, blaspheming God, His commands and His saints and living strictly for themselves. Circumstances get worse and worse until most likely some global catastrophe persuades the whole world to accept, and perhaps even welcome, a one world dictator. Several decades ago I was driving behind a city bus where someone had used his finger to write in the grease from the exhaust, “Jesus is coming back and He is pissed!” Indeed.
But the good news in all of this is that Jesus is coming back. And Christians get to be with Him in paradise. The other good news is that non-believers may be way more willing to listen to the Good News as the time draws closer.
Next time we will look at Jesus’ response to the disciples’ question, “When are you coming back and what will be the signs of your return?” To read ahead, go to Mt. 24, Mark 13, Luke 21.
Please, neither offhandedly accept nor reject what is said in this blog. Check it out. Look it up for yourself in the Bible. If you are a child of God you are in good hands and there is the most wonderful eternity waiting for you. If you are not a Christ follower, now is a really good time to honestly explore the truth claims of the Bible.