The Last Seven Years of this Age
This book upholds the singular view, that Scripture teaches that the Church will go through a 3½ year period of great tribulation before Jesus comes on the clouds with His angels to catch away the saints, the dead in Christ rising first. This to be followed by a 3½ year period when God’s wrath will be poured out upon the earth, inaugurating the great day of the Lord. At the end of this 3½ year period of wrath, Jesus will then return to the earth with His saints to begin His thousand year reign on earth.
A Firm Covenant with Many for One Week and the Abomination of Desolation
Bible scholars will realise that an explanation is required as to where the ‘week of the covenant with many’ fits in, which is mentioned by Daniel, in Dan.9:27. Understanding the answer to this question is important, because it is in the middle of this week that "on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate." Jesus told us that it was when we "see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place," then "there will be great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall," (Matt.24:15&21). These scriptures link the ‘great tribulation’ with the "firm covenant made with many for one week." The ‘classic’ interpretation of Daniel 9:27, is that the ‘week’ when "a firm covenant with many" is made, is the 70th week, of the 70 weeks which Gabriel explained to Daniel, were decreed for Israel. The full significance of this may not seem important, but in fact it is crucial. A correct understanding of this is needed to place the events of the last week of this age in their right order.
Daniel’s Seventy Weeks
While in exile in Babylon, Daniel was reading the book of Jeremiah, that "this whole land [of Israel] shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years, then it will be, when the seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, declares the Lord," (Jer.25:11&12). Judah had been in exile in Babylon just seventy years as Daniel was considering this unfulfilled prophecy. This drove Daniel to seek the Lord God in prayer and supplication. Gabriel was therefore sent from heaven to give him "insight and understanding," (v.22). When Gabriel appeared to Daniel, he explained to him that "seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place," (Dan.9:24).
Gabriel explained, "You are to know that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until Messiah the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty two weeks. It will be built again with streets and moat, even in times of distress," (v.25). It was being unfolded to Daniel that God’s purposes for Jerusalem were to go beyond the seventy years as prophesied by Jeremiah.
Gabriel continued, "Then after the sixty two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have no one [or nothing], and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, and its end will come with a flood. Even to the end there will be war. Desolation's are determined." (v.26). Jesus’ first coming was being prophesied, together with His crucifixion, which would bring the Romans and their Emperor Titus in AD 70, and would see Jerusalem and its temple destroyed once more. This completes ‘sixty nine’ of the ‘seventy weeks,’ but there is ‘one week’ left, yet to be fulfilled.
Gabriel then explains that the "prince who is to come... will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and oblation, and on the wing of abomination will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate," (Dan.9:27).
It is important to note that no specific mention of the ‘seventieth week’ is made, but because there is a reference to a ‘week’ when a firm covenant is made with many, the assumption is that this is, therefore, the ‘seventieth week’. This leads to the ‘classic’ interpretation of this passage, which then leads to the conclusion that if the ‘seventieth week’ is the last seven years of this age as well as the week of the covenant with many, the ‘great tribulation’ begins in the middle of it. It would follow then that Jesus must return at the end of the last week, and the ‘wrath of God’ must be concurrent with the ‘great tribulation’. I was completely unaware of this logical reasoning, which has produced this ‘understanding’, without which, I could not have brought this book to its conclusion But the Lord was to introduce me to it completely unaware of its pertinence.
My Testimony regarding the ‘Covenant with the Many for One Week’
Having read the book of Daniel a number of times, I found that in my spirit I had had the ‘thought’ that the ‘week’ of the ‘covenant with the many’ need not be the ‘seventieth week’, but concluded nothing from this. I had not consciously noted the Holy Spirit was drawing my attention to it.
In January 1996 I had planned to meet with a small group of Christians whilst away from home with my work. On the morning of this visit I hurriedly opened my Bible at random, wanting to read some scripture before starting work. That morning I was rather disorganised. I found myself reading Daniel Chapter 9, and as I read verse 27 I felt the Lord asserting, "The week of the covenant is not Daniel’s 70th week." This incident, as it happened, seemed of no great significance to me, but in my spirit, it was very clear.
That evening, however, with my Christian friends, one brother in the Lord asked the question which was quite unrelated to our previous conversations of the evening. Referring to ‘Daniel 9:27’, he asked, "What did it mean, exactly?" So I explained the ‘revelation’ I had received that very morning.
A few days later I was invited to join with three Christian brothers as they met for their regular Bible Study one evening.. This they had been doing together for the previous six years in a town near to my home. I had recently passed them a booklet I had already written explaining the fact that the last seven years of this age will be split in the middle, the first half being the ‘great tribulation’, and the last half being the time of ‘God’s wrath being poured out’. A ‘revelation’ I believe the Lord had already given to me. They were interested in discussing it. One of these brothers explained that he had studied the scriptures himself for a number of years, and agreed with the conclusions of my book, but asked if I could explain one problem which confused him. He asked if I could explain Dan.9:27! He was obviously aware that if what I was saying was correct, by implication the ‘classic understanding’ of Daniel 9:27 could not be right. I was unaware of this significance at that time. So, I shared with these brethren the ‘revelation’ I had recently received.
The Lord now had my attention and I decided the following weekend to study Daniel’s Ninth Chapter more closely, and write down my unfolding understanding regarding these jigsaw puzzle pieces, which I seemed to have suddenly been made aware of. I found I was able to continue this task as Monday arrived, as a sudden snow storm was preventing me going to work. Living on the coast, a 4 inch depth of snow was very rare indeed. This particular morning we were going to get localised snow which eventually reached a 15 inch depth. Quite unique; I was not going to get to work for a week! I was being given the opportunity to write down all that was being given to me.
The following day, taking time off from my writing and studies, we visited close Christian neighbours who were likewise ‘snowed in’. I thought I might share with them all that the Lord had been saying. The conversation, however, did not open up regarding such ‘deep’ matters, and I intentionally did not want to ‘force’ this issue. However, just before we left, I noticed my brothers Bible open at Daniel’s Ninth Chapter. Seeing me pick it up in this open position, he said, "Oh, Colin, I was going to ask if you could explain Daniel 9:27!"
So it was that in the three consecutive meetings with believers after receiving this ‘revelation’, that the ‘week of the covenant with the many’ was not Daniel’s 70th week, I had been asked in each to explain that very verse.
To correctly interpret Dan.9:27 proves difficult as regards understanding exactly how a fulfilment of the ‘covenant with the many for one week’ will work out in reality. So, we continue to ‘watch and pray’ as we ponder on world events, whilst considering all that the Lord has actually said, for we must see this covenant made with the many for seven years before the time of ‘great tribulation’ arrives.
More Unfulfilled Prophecies
Although the key event, which Jesus told us would happen before His return, is the "abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place," (Matt.24:15), "for then there will be a great tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall," (v.21), we know that nothing can happen until Michael is taken out of the way. It will be when Michael, who stands guard over Israel, arises, that this "time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation" will be unleashed, (Dan.12:1). Therefore, we need to watch the nation of Israel, the fig tree.
For there to be "a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation" it would seem that we are possibly going to see wars, the like of which there has never been, with consequences that will effect the whole world. Jesus, however, told us that "wars" do not indicate the very "end," (Matt.24:6). It would seem, therefore, that it will be this coming world catastrophe that will enable the ‘beast’ to arise out of the sea [nations], offering peace and safety, and renewed economic order through ‘his mark’, which will enable him to take that place of being worshipped as the world’s saviour. We will see.
We can find unfulfilled prophecies in scripture regarding the Middle East, which may well be the events which will be played out in the time of the ‘great tribulation’.
Damascus is About to be Removed from Being a City
There is a yet unfulfilled prophecy of Isaiah, regarding the city of Damascus: "Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and it will become a fallen ruin," (Isaiah 17:1). Is it possible that a breakdown of the fragile peace between Israel and Syria will see Syria attack Israel, only for Israel to retaliate by destroying Damascus? If such a thing were to happen, would Syria’s northern ally, Russia, have no excuse but to attack Israel? Alternatively will Damascus be destroyed when Israel is attacked from the north, during a war prophesied by Ezekiel?
The Ezekiel War
This unfulfilled prophecy of Ezekiel relates to Israel being attacked by "Rosh, Meshech and Tubal," who Bible Scholars suggest is represented by Russia, along with "Persia [Iran], Ethiopia and Put [Libya]," who are presently all politically allied to Russia, (Ez.38:1-5). Ezekiel prophesied that this would occur "in the last days," (v.16).
This war begins when Israel has been "gathered from many [not all] nations," (v.8). The war, which Ezekiel prophesies, takes place when Israel is partially gathered from some nations, and her ‘return’ is completed after the war. The return of the Jews to their homeland, which has increased since 1948, when Israel was once more recognised as a nation state after nearly 2000 years, makes the fulfilment of this prophecy now possible. It is only after this war that God will "restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel," and "bring them back from the peoples and gather them [all] from the lands of their enemies." Gathering them again "to their own land," (Ez.39:25-29).
The Time of Jacob’s Trouble
Jeremiah prophesied that it was at the "time of Jacob’s trouble," when he will "be saved from it," that God would "restore the fortunes of His people Israel and Judah," bringing them all "back to the land," (Jer.30:3-11). For Israel, this time of distress will overlap the time of ‘great tribulation’ and the time of ‘God’s wrath’ through which they have to go, Jeremiah prophesying that God would "not destroy them completely, but... will chasten" them "justly and will by no means leave them unpunished!" (v.11).
So, even through this book, we can "declare in the coastlands afar off" that "He who scattered Israel will gather him," for God has "loved Israel with an everlasting love;" and we can proclaim, "O Lord, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel," because God says, "Behold, I am bringing them from the north country and I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth," (Jer.31:1-11). Jeremiah times the fulfilment of this return as being "in the latter days.," (Jer.30:24&31:1).
Israel Returns and is Restored
This ‘return’ of the whole house of Israel must occur before the millennial reign of Jesus. It is after this return that the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah are made into ‘one’ kingdom once more, (Ez.37:15-23): "Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick. Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations... and bring them into their own land and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one King will be King for all of them [Jesus], and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms."
Jesus 1000 Year Reign
When Ezekiel prophesies of this time, he clearly links it with the 1000 year reign of Jesus upon the earth: "My servant David [Jesus], will be King over them and they will all have one Shepherd... and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them and I will be their God and they will be My people," (Ez.37:24-28).
Also prophesied as occurring when Israel has been gathered from all the nations, is that God will lead Israel into the promised ‘new covenant.’ Ezekiel prophesies, "I will make a covenant of peace with them. It will be an everlasting covenant with them." (Ez.37:26). "For, I will take you from the nations, gather you from all [not some] the lands, and bring you into your own land, then... I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh, and I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes," (Ez.36:24-28).
A War against a People Who are Gathered from the Nations
Ezekiel prophesies that the attack on Israel will come "out of the remote parts of the north... against My people, Israel... in the last days," (Ez.38:15&16). It occurs, Ezekiel prophesies, "when My people, Israel, are living securely," (v.14). "In the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword," whose inhabitants "have been gathered from many [not all] nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste, but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them," (v.8).
"On that day," or "at the same time," thoughts come into their mind and this ‘northern army’ will "devise an evil plan," (v.10). They will say, "I will go up against a land of unwalled villages, I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against a people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods and live at the centre of the world," (v.11&12).
Some pose the question as to whether this ‘interjection’ describes Israel, for Israel have few cattle and little spoil; "silver and gold" (v.13). They suggest that when Russia attacks Israel, Jerusalem being exactly due south of Moscow, that he will, ‘at the same time’, go ‘up’ and over the north pole into the USA to attack them. The United States of America are a most unique nation, made up of people ‘gathered from the nations’, living in the ‘centre of the world’ but having great spoil and millions of cattle! Some uphold that the USA could be represented in this prophecy in addition to Israel. With unfulfilled prophecy there is much conjecture and uncertainty. Unless the Lord gives us ‘revelation’ and spiritual understanding, our intellectual guesses remain only guesses.
So, it is with some uncertainty that I draw this book to a conclusion, pointing the reader at its close, as I did at the beginning, to the Holy Spirit. For it is only in Him that those things which are presently unclear will become clear, whilst He continues to point us to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
A Sign and Wonder coming true is not enough
May we each remember that if a "prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among" us, and even gives us a "sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true," if he also tells us something which is contrary to the ‘word of God’ we must not go after him, (Deut.13:1&2). We are told that this very testing will show whether we "love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul," for we are to "listen to His voice, serve Him and cling to Him," only (v.3&4).
May we also remember that "when a prophet speaks in the Name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about, or come true, that is a thing which the Lord has not spoken," (Deut.18:22), but we should not be "afraid of him." The Lord, however, states that He will put His words in the mouth of His prophets, and warns us that if we do not listen to God’s words, which the prophet speaks in His Name, the Lord will require it of us, (Deut.18:18); a warning which Peter spoke of in his second sermon, (Acts 3:22&23). So, may our hearts prove our love and fear of the Lord as we walk in a manner worthy of Him towards the goal of the City of God, and may we be fully prepared for all that might happen in our lifetime.
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they might have a right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the City," (Rev.22:14), for the Lord tells us He "is coming quickly," (v.12&21).
In this book I have endeavoured to refrain from time setting, or using conjecture as fact, hopefully pointing the reader to Scripture throughout, whilst testifying to some ‘revelations’, which I believe I have been given, so the reader can ask the Teacher, the Holy Spirit, about all these things. I realise that there is much unfulfilled prophecy that I have not dealt with, particularly Daniel’s visions. I trust their eventual ‘unsealing’ will not effect the contents of this book, except to provide sure time scales, or confirmation of events mentioned, which lie just ahead.
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