The “seven-year tribulation” concept held by many professed Christians rests solely on an inconsistent application of Daniel 9:24-27, which speaks of a seventy-week period determined upon the Jewish people. Seventy weeks equals 490 days. All agree, upon the basis of Ezekiel 4:6—a day for a year—that this seventy weeks equals not 490 literal days, but 490 years. Again, there is unanimity that the 69 weeks of Daniel 9:25 marks a period from a decree issued in Nehemiah’s day to the first advent of Christ. Verse 26 states that “after” the 69 weeks “shall Messiah (Christ) be cut off.” Verse 27 shows that “in the midst of the [70th] week he [Christ] shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Christ’s death abolished the necessity of the further offering of typical sacrifices by Israel’s priesthood.
Note well that Daniel 9:26 states “after” the 69 weeks (the seven and sixty-two weeks) “shall Messiah [Christ] be cut off.” The Hebrew word “achor” means after. It does not mean in or during. Yet those who advocate the seven year tribulation say that Messiah was cut off in or during the 69th week. This is a mistranslation of Verse 26 which plainly states “after” the 69 weeks Christ would be cut off. The 70th week is after the 69 weeks and Verse 27 clearly shows it is in the midst of the 70th week that Christ died. Therefore the seven-year period of the 70th week is not left over until the end of the Christian age. And thus the seven-year tribulation concept is proven erroneous.
The historic position of Protestantism for 300 years since the Reformation has been that the 70th week immediately followed the 69 weeks and was fulfilled with the death of Christ “in the midst” (middle) of it. In the 19th century, dispensationalists came along and said, “Not so, there is a parenthesis between the 69 weeks and the 70th week. This “gap” is the period between the first advent and the rapture. Then, they say, “The 70th week, seven years, begins to count. And the ‘he‘ of Daniel 9:27 is not Christ, but antichrist, and the seven years of the 70th week is the ‘seven-year tribulation’ during which Chapters 6-19 of Revelation are fulfilled.” The mere fact that this gap is purely an assumption, not founded on Scripture, seems to matter little to the seven-year dispensationalists.
Seeing as there appears to be some confusion as to the true interpretation of this prophecy it would seem but prudent to take another look, however due to the complexity and importance of this prophecy we feel a more detail explanation is in order therefore we will break this down so as to make it more digestible to all. Note that this view is from the Bible Students perspective; it is somewhat similar to that held by the JW’s.
“Understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks [7 and 60 and 2 = 69 weeks]: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself. And the people of the prince that shall come [the Roman prince, Titus’ army] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he [Messiah] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [the seventieth, or last week of the covenant of favor]. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for [or because of] the overspreading [prevailing] of abominations, he [Messiah] shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [or completion] and that [which is] determined [in God’s plan] shall be poured upon the desolate” [people, represented by Jerusalem].
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem that kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto her! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Matt 23:37, 38 ASV
As stated many would remove the last week of Daniel’s 70 Weeks’ time prophecy for the First Advent and place it at the Second Advent. This gap between the 69 prophetic weeks and the last week, however, is not warranted. The last week, or 7 literal years, was clearly fulfilled at the time Jesus Christ presented himself as Messiah to the House of Israel.
While many prophecies combine to fix and confirm the date of the second coming of Christ, this one alone marked the date of the First Advent. If its fulfillment is clearly established, it will aid in the calculating and judging of those prophecies relating to the Second Advent. The dates established in this, Daniel’s fulfilled prophecy are needful in the understanding of other prophecies relating to the Second Advent.
Daniel had been shown many visions, as recorded in Chapters 2, 4, 7 and 8 of this prophecy, all of which showed great prosperity and exaltation to heathen or gentile kingdoms; but his special interest was in Israel, and he had not been informed concerning Israel’s future. He knew, however, from Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jer 29:10; 2 Chron 36:20-23), that the desolation of Judea would continue seventy years; and knowing that period to be nearly complete (Dan 9:2), he prayed earnestly for the return of God’s favor to Israel (Verses 17-19), and the foregoing (Dan 9:23-27) was God’s answer to him through an angel.
The marked off (“cut off,” or “determined”) period of Israel’s history here shown is “seventy weeks” from a given starting point, viz., from the going forth of a decree “to restore and to build Jerusalem.” (Mark! NOT the Temple.) During the period great things were to be accomplished: The city would be rebuilt under unfavorable circumstances (See Nehemiah Chapter 4), in troublous times; sin would be finished by a reconciliation being made for iniquity; and righteousness (justification) would be established, not like that accomplished year by year with the blood of bulls and goats, but the true and “everlasting righteousness,” brought about by the sacrifice of Christ. Daniel was also informed that he would introduce the better sacrifice and would thereby cause the typical sacrifices and oblations of the Law to cease.
In this period, Messiah, the long-looked-for Savior of Israel, would come, and seven weeks and threescore and two weeks, or sixty-nine weeks, are stated as the measure of the time to Messiah’s Presence. And AFTER THAT he would be cut off, but not for himself. There would therefore remain, after Messiah’s coming, one week, the last, the seventieth of this promised favor; and in the midst or middle of that week it was foretold that he would cause the typical sacrifices to cease, by making “his soul an offering for sin.” Isa 53:10-12
Continued with our next post.