The Basics: Israel’s 70th “Seven” and the Great Tribulation

In Daniel Chapter 9, a prophecy is given about Israel. From careful study, we can infer that the time allotted the nation here is the time in which God deals with the world through Israel and on her behalf (as opposed to the Church Age).

Just as we use “decades” to group years together by tens, so were devout Hebrews familiar with time periods divided into “weeks” of years, or “sevens”–seven-year periods. This concept is evident in Leviticus 25:2-4 when God instructs the Israelites to give the land its due Sabbaths.

Daniel was told Israel would have 70 of these sevens (Dan. 9:24), looking forward. The timeclock started with the decree to restore/rebuild Jerusalem (9:25; Nehemiah 2), but would progress only 69 of the 70 “sevens” until the Anointed One came. If you crunch the numbers, using the proper Jewish calendar (360 day years, correcting for leap years, etc.), you’ll find that 483 years passed between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (March 14, 445 BC) from Artaxerxes and Jesus’ entry into that same city on a donkey (as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9; the first time, if you study carefully, that he openly welcomed being pronounced as the Messiah King, April 6, 32 AD).

But that’s only 69 of the sevens. The last seven has been set apart. There’s a mysterious gap in between, duplicated in other prophecies, into which the Church fits.

In Chapter 9 verse 27, Daniel says the coming ruler (nowadays usually called the Antichrist) will “confirm a covenant with many for one seven.” Most end-time scholars agree that the “many” are the children of Israel, and that the “seven” is the last one–the 70th. This is what I believe, too. So there is an armistice of sorts between Israel and the rest of the world, to be enforced by this world dictator.

However, as you continue reading, you find that this dictator breaks the pact himself. He puts an end to Levitical Temple worship (a clue as to what covenant he confirmed). And he will set up an “abomination that causes desolation.”

Many sloppy scholars will insist that this prophecy has no future fulfillment because before Christ, it was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the brazen altar and erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy Place. However, Jesus points to Daniel’s “abomination of desolation” prophecy as being yet future (Matt. 24:15-31; Mark 13:14-230) and triggering what He called “great tribulation,” from which we get the term.

And so, there is one more seven-year period destined for Israel (not necessarily the present political state, but the descendants of Jacob, including those living in Israel). That “week” begins when the coming world dictator confirms a covenant with Israel–providing for a rebuilt Temple and resumption of sacrifices. In the middle of that seven, the beast will desecrate the Temple (Dan. 11:31; Rev. 13:14-15). Then follows “the time of Jacob’s trouble” or “the great tribulation” for the second half of that seven. In the book of Revelation, it is measured out as 42 months; 1260 days; and as “a time, times, and half a time” (3 & 1/2 years).

Some folks refer to the 70th seven as “the tribulation,” and the second half of it as “the great tribulation.” Others mistakenly refer to the entire seven as the great tribulation. Hopefully, the breakdown is a little more clear, now.

Author: Elijah Dispatched

I never doubted the existence of God. I thank my parents for that. Even so, most of my life could be summed up as a shameful rebellion against Him. Still, even when living like a reprobate heathen, I still occasionally studied the Bible. I found it just as confusing and seemingly contradictory as most people, yet I could also discern there was power in it, and truth beyond my finite reckoning. After finally admitting to my Creator, "You are God and I am not," my study of the Bible became a bit more intensive. I have learned much, and will learn much more. I plan on sharing some of that here.

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