The book of Daniel and end-time prophecy . . .
There are a number of things you must understand to even have a hope of discerning the apocalypse and endtime prophecy.† One of those things is the timing sequence of the work of the two witnesses versus the work of the antichrist and the false prophet.† If you donít get this right, you may very well get them confused!
If we are not now in the so-called “Church Age,” then when will we be and when will the end of the world as we know it come? How will it begin? What should we look for that we might recognize the “end of days”? In this chapter we will first consider the evidence that Daniel’s “seventieth week,” or “seventieth seven,” is referring to a period of seven years that will precede the return of Christ to earth to establish the kingdom of God. While this event is typically referred to as either the “end of days” or the “end of the world,” it is neither: it is the end of the present age of man’s rule on the earth and the beginning of the rule of Christ over the earth during the millennium. This seven years is the end-time church age! After considering what the book of Daniel has to say about the end of the world, or the end of days, we will then proceed with a general overview and timetable of the final seven years.
(Photo of cover page for America, the True Church, and the End of the Age)
The Final Seven Years
Due to the fact that there are those who interpret this end-time period to be 3 1/2 years in duration, it is necessary to point out several important reasons why the period will actually last seven years. The heart of the controversy centers around the understanding of Daniel 9: 24-27—the so-called seventy weeks prophecy. When this prophecy speaks of seventy weeks it is understood to mean seventy “weeks of years” or seventy sevens. Seventy sevens of years would be 490 years. Why 490 years rather than seventy literal weeks? First, we know that after seven “weeks” both the city of Jerusalem and its walls were to be rebuilt, and that from 457 BC to 445 BC—a period of twelve years—little progress had been made. This “seven weeks,” therefore, must refer to seven sevens, or 49 years, a figure closer to the amount of time it actually took. Second, in addition to the city and its walls being rebuilt within “seven sevens,” a number of other things were to be accomplished over the subsequent “62 weeks” that seem nearly impossible to get done in 62 literal weeks, including the destruction of the city that had just been rebuilt, bringing an end to sin, and the coming of the Messiah. Moreover, not only was the Messiah to appear after the 69th week, He was also to be cut off, or killed, after the 69th week. Are we to believe that He would die the same week He appeared? I think the evidence clearly favors the traditional interpretation of Daniel’s seventy weeks as being seventy “weeks of years,” or 70 x 7 years, with a lengthy interval of time between the end of the 69th week (483rd year) and the beginning of the 70th week (484th year).
In the book of Daniel, in verse 25 of chapter 9, we find that sixty nine sevens (483 years) are to expire between the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. The prophecy does not state whether this coming of the Messiah refers to His birth or the beginning of His ministry. In addition, according to Ezra 6:14, there were four decrees given, any one of which could have possibly been the one in question. Therefore we must list the year of each decree and subtract 483 years (plus 1 year to adjust for their being no year 0 when we go from BC to AD):
1. 7th year of Artaxerxes = 457 - 483 - 1 = 27 AD
2. 20th year of Artaxerxes = 444 - 483 - 1 = 40 AD
3. 1st year of Cyrus = 536 - 483 = 53 BC
4. 2nd year of Darius = 520 - 483 = 37 BC
Thus we see that the only decree that allows this calculation to fall upon a year in which Jesus Christ was alive is that of Artaxerxes 7th year. Subtracting the 483 years (plus one more) brings us to AD 27, the year in which Christ began His earthly ministry.
It should be noted that one of the most popular renderings of this segment of the seventy weeks prophecy is that of Sir Robert Anderson in his book The Coming Prince (Kregel Publ., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1957). In it is contained a rather elaborate explanation where this 483 years is multiplied by 360 days (360 days equals one prophetic year) to reach a total of 173,880 days. These 173,880 days are added to the date Anderson uses for the decree of Artaxerxes in his 20th year—March 14, 445 BC—to come up with a date of Sunday, April 6, AD 32. This is supposedly the day Christ triumphantly entered Jerusalem riding upon an ass (see The Coming Prince, chapter X). Anderson claims that this particular Sunday was the 10th of Nisan, according to the Hebrew calendar; just four days before Christ was killed on the Passover, which was observed on the 14th of Nisan.
If this explanation is true, then Christ was would have been crucified in the Spring of AD 32. This theory is in trouble right from the start.
First, allowing for a three year—or even a three and a half year—ministry, Christ's ministry would not have begun in 27 AD, the year prophecy says it should begin. Second, if Nisan 10 was on a Sunday, then Nisan 14 would have been on a Thursday—Thursday, April 10, AD 32, to be exact. This cannot be correct because the Passover in AD 32, by the most exact method of computation available (see The Hebrew Calendar: A Mathematical Introduction by John Kosse, Ambassador College Press, Pasadena, California, 1971), occurred on Monday, April 14. Third, according to the rules for establishing the civil year and setting the Holy Days, Passover—the fourteenth of Nisan—cannot occur on a Thursday, a Sunday, or a Tuesday. Fourth, if Christ died late on an afternoon before sunset and was to rise both after three days (Mat. 27:63) and on the third day (Mat. 17:23), then he must have risen about the same time of day that He died. Since we read in Matthew 28: 6 that very early on the first day of the week He was already risen “as He said,” then He must have risen just before sunset on the previous day, the seventh day of the week. Counting back three days and nights from Saturday afternoon brings you to Wednesday afternoon: Christ was crucified on a Wednesday! And in both AD 30 and AD 31, not AD 32, the Passover did occur on a Wednesday. (Additional proof is presented in the Appendix.)
Indeed, when all of the historical evidence is presented—evidence that Christ was born in 4 BC, evidence that His ministry began in AD 27, and evidence that He was crucified before AD 32—Anderson’s position cannot be supported.
And after sixty-two weeks [seven weeks having already lapsed], Messiah shall be cut off, but nothing is His. And the people of a coming prince shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end of it shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, to the end shall be war.
And he shall confirm a covenant with the many for one week. And in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease, and on wings as a desolator, abominations, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall be poured on the desolator. (Dan. 9:26-27)
A week of years, each day for a year, would be seven years. If the “he” in verse 27 refers to Jesus Christ, then it is He who was to confirm a covenant for seven years and was to be cut off “in the middle” of the week by His death, which caused the sacrifice and the offering to cease. If the “he” in verse 27 refers to the beast, then it is he who will confirm a covenant for seven years at the end of the age, and it is he who will force the sacrifice and offering to cease three and a half years after this period begins.
There are several very good reasons why the “he” in verse 27 refers not to Jesus but to the beast: 1.) the antecedent of “he” in verse 27 is not the Messiah, but rather the “coming prince” of verse 26; 2.) Christ was not to confirm a covenant for one week, He confirmed the New Covenant for many years after His death as well as for the three and a half years of His ministry (Lk. 16:20); 3.) Christ did not cause the sacrifice and offering to stop at His death, only the necessity for them ceased; the sacrifices continued until AD 70 when the temple was destroyed. If it is the beast, however, that causes the sacrifices and offerings to cease 3 ½ years into the final seven, this fits Daniel’s prophecy that “he will wear out the saints for a time, times, and a half,” or during the final 3 1/2 years of the last seven; 4.) the Messiah was to be cut off after the 69th week, not half way into the 70th week, which seems to be separated from the 69th by a time lapse of undetermined length; and, 5.) there is an example in Hosea 12:1 of a covenant being made in the end-time and it is with one known as the Assyrian (the beast?), not Jesus Christ.
So it must be the beast who will establish a covenant with many for seven years, but will turn and break it after 3 1/2 years and seek to “destroy many,” including both the end-time church and the physical nations of Israel. We are told in Daniel 8:25 that “by peace he shall destroy many,” so the covenant confirmed for “one week,” or one seven of seven years, will be a peace covenant that will be broken midway into it.
The Divisions of the Seven Years
This final seven year period can be divided into two distinct sections of three and a half years. The latter 3 1/2 year period can then be divided into the two and a half years of the tribulation and the one year of the “day of the Lord.” The day of the Lord is a prophetic day, and as such lasts for one year. We know from Revelation 6:17 that the “great day of his wrath” does not begin until after the sixth seal or heavenly signs. This is stated more explicitly in Joel 2:31:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (Joel 2:31)
Now for the placement of these heavenly signs. We read in Matthew 24:29 that the heavenly signs (sixth seal) are to occur immediately after the tribulation:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:(Matt. 24:29-30)
(Compare this with Revelation 6:16 and observe that this is not the return of Christ but rather the sign of His coming; a vision if you will.) So the sixth seal or heavenly signs follow the fifth seal, which is the tribulation (notice in Rev. 7:14 that the tribulation will have ended before the seventh seal is opened), and the day of the Lord in turn follows the heavenly signs.
In Matthew 24:15 Christ instructs us to watch for the abomination of desolation to be set up in the Jerusalem temple. Why watch for that? Because immediately following that act of sacrilege will commence the great tribulation:
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains . . . For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (Matt. 24: 15-16,21-22)
In Daniel 9:27 Daniel tells us that the beast will cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease in the midst of the week, or after three and half years. Daniel 12:11 suggests that the setting up of the abomination of desolation coincides with the cessation of the sacrifice and oblation; hence both events must occur three and half years into the final seven year period. Certainly no one would argue that the first three and a half years is not a period of tribulation. According to Christ, however, the period immediately following the setting up of the abomination of desolation is defined as the great tribulation (Matt. 24:15-22; Rev. 6:9-11). The day of the Lord, as we have just discussed, commences after the tribulation (fifth seal) and the heavenly signs (sixth seal). But how are we to know that the day of the Lord lasts for a year? Couldn’t the tribulation last the full three and a half years with the day of the Lord lasting one literal day—the day Christ actually returns? The scriptures show this to be unlikely.
In Revelation 7 the day of the Lord (seventh seal) is held back until the 144,000 are sealed or marked for special protection. Unlike the "innumerable multitude" who "made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb," even unto death, these 144,000 who are dedicated to God managed to live through the great tribulation. They are sealed for protection because the final year, known as the day of the Lord, is God's punishment upon the wicked, in contrast to the great tribulation which is the beast's punishment upon the whole world in general, and upon the saints of God in particular. The beast will still be active during the final year known as "the Day of the Lord," and will still be scattering the power of the holy people. But the punishments from God during the day of the Lord, as revealed in the seventh seal, are reserved for the wicked, and His dedicated ones will not suffer them.
The day of the Lord begins in chapter 8 when the seventh seal is opened. The seventh seal, and therefore the day of the Lord, is comprised of the seven trumpets. It is impossible for these trumpets to all be blown on the same day. Notice Revelation 9 concerning the fifth trumpet:
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.(Rev. 9:5)
Revelation 8:13 tells us that this fifth trumpet came after the first four, not concurrently:
And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! (Rev. 8:13)
The absolute limits for the day of the Lord are therefore a maximum of three and one half years and a minimum of five months. Does the Bible give us any clues as to where we should draw the line? Yes! Turn to Isaiah 34:
And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. . . For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. (Isa. 34: 4-8)
There you have a direct statement that the day of the Lord is the year of recompense. Is there any good reason to assume that the day of the Lord will be of a different length than one year? The accompanying diagram should make clear the timetable that has been set forth.
Also, as is true so many times in prophecy, there is some duality in the day of the Lord; that is, there will be a literal day of the Lord—one 24 hour period—as well. This day occurs on the last day of the one year period known as the day of the Lord, it is the day of Jesus Christ’s return to the earth.
But the beast is not the only major player on the scene during the final seven years. During the first half of the final seven years God will raise up His two witnesses to deliver a powerful, and final, warning to the world for 3 1/2 years. Remember that the beast will be confirming a strong covenant of peace with many during this first half of Daniel’s seventieth week. Oddly enough—and unexpected by most—is the fact that God’s two witnesses will initiate wars (see below)! In addition to this tearing down of the Gentile kingdoms of the world, the two witnesses will tear down the polluted Christian church encouraging its members to COME OUT, and return to the true religion of Christ; they will also be pointing out the identity of the beast and warning the world about who this man, also known as the beast, really is. In spite of the powerful signs and miracles confirming their word, however, their job is a tough one, and many will reject their message.
Events to immediately precede the final seven years
Before turning to the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week we must first set the stage. There is a very dramatic event scheduled to happen just before the beginning of that final seven years . . . indeed, it is the event that triggers it!
We know that the four horses of Revelation 6, which constitute the first four seals of the apocalypse, are the same four horses referred to in Zechariah 6. Moreover, we are told in Zechariah 6:8 that the horses “going north,” that is, the black horse of famine and the white horse of war carrying the kingly conqueror with a bow, have calmed God’s anger: “See, those who are going to the land of the north have appeased My wrath in the land of the north” (NASB). What kind of evil deed could these northern nations have done to trigger this response from God, a God who says just four chapters earlier: “Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation” (2:13)? The reason for arousal is also found in the second chapter of Zechariah beginning in verse 6. There we find Him speaking to the scattered Jews who happen to live in the North Country, and the daughter of Babylon. Whoever the guilty nations are, they have attacked Palestine (most likely Jerusalem, as we will see shortly) and done great damage, probably with nuclear or biological weapons of mass destruction. Whether Russia is involved or not is unclear:
Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north [Syria, Lebanon, Russia?], saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon [Iran?]. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled [plundered] you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me. (Zech. 2: 6-10)
After being silent for many years, God is now aroused to great indignation over a merciless act of aggression against Israel that inflicts unbelievable suffering and pain on “the apple of His eye.” He warns His people currently living in the “north country” or with the “daughter of Babylon” to flee for their lives, for He is about to bring them down! He will send His servant the end-time Zerubbabel (one of the two “sons of oil,” or two witnesses of Rev. 11) empowered by the Spirit of God (Zech. 4:6), to wreak havoc on these nations by the sharp arrow of the word of his mouth, who speaks the will of God and it happens:
Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts. (Hag. 2: 21-23)
Is there any prophetic evidence concerning an end-time attack on the modern nation of Israel that sets events in motion at the end-time? There is an unusual prophecy in Isaiah 22 that refers to an attack on Jerusalem not by Babylon or Assyria, but by Elam. The area of Elam is occupied today by the nation of Iran. Moreover, the area of Elam where Iran dwells today can clearly be considered the “daughter of Babylon”! Elam was a province of Babylon for several hundred years until Assyria conquered them in roughly 645 BC. Upon the death of Assyrian King Ashurbanipal the Medes and Persians took control of the area, and the Persians, or Iranians, continue there today. Reading Isaiah 22 there are numerous wordings and comments that suggest this attack on Jerusalem by Iran is an end-time prophecy:
1.) The phrase “in that day” (22:8, 12) often has eschatological meaning.
2.) The phrase “daughter of my people” used by Isaiah can have a future or even end-time interpretation.
3.) Victims of Jerusalem slain, but not slain in battle (22:2), could mean the attack was over before anyone in Jerusalem even had a chance to respond.
4.) Similarly, Jerusalem “stripped of its defense,” or powerless could mean there is no way to even defend from this kind of attack.
5.) Attacker is not Babylon or Assyria or Egypt, but Elam, which refers to Iran. This does not appear to have happened yet.
6.) The second half of chapter 22 refers to an unwelcome ruler in Jerusalem (perhaps a foreigner) who is replaced by a Messianic type figure:
a.) Eliakim is referred to as “my servant,” as is the end-time Zerubbabel;
b.) Eliakim is given the “key of David” who opens and no man shuts, just like the leader of the end-time true church is (Rev. 3:7).
c.) The “glory of his father’s house” hangs on him, could well be referring to the end-time church (Hag. 2:9).
d.) After a while Eliakim will be “cut off,” like the two witnesses will be;
e.) The house, or church that he was holding up, will be cut off too, as the newly restored church will be 3 ½ years into the final seven.
Although it cannot be known for certain, these verses seem to suggest that it is Iran that is the central figure in the end-time attack on Jerusalem that precipitates end-time events, hence the warning to all Israelites living in “the daughter of Babylon,” or Iran, to flee imminent destruction. The same warning is given to Israelites living in the “North Countries,” such as Syria and Lebanon . . . and possibly Russia (Zech. 2: 6-9).
When will it Happen?
When will this Iranian attack on Jerusalem happen? The most likely date is the 9th of Av, the day of many atrocities committed against the Jewish people for centuries. Grant Jeffrey, in his book The Handwriting of God, lists eight disasters that have happened to Israel on that day:
1.) The twelve spies returned to the camp of Israel and Moses with a false report concerning the fortifications of the promised land. This led to an attempt to stone Moses and a plan to return to the bondage of Egypt!
2.) In 587 BC, after a two-year siege, the Babylonian army broke through the walls of Jerusalem and burned Solomon’s temple to the ground.
3.) In 70 AD the Roman soldiers—against the clear orders of their commander, Titus—burned the second temple to the ground. Looking for gold that the fire had melted, they overturned every stone as Jesus had predicted some forty years earlier.
4.) On the 9th of Av one year later, in 71 AD, the Roman army plowed the Temple Mount and the city of Jerusalem with salt to destroy any vegetation. This was to make the city totally dependent on Rome for survival.
5.) After two years of defeating the Roman army in Jerusalem under the leadership of Simon Bar Kochba, Emperor Hadrian sent six legions to crush the Jews. On the 9th of Av they were defeated as 580,000 Jewish soldiers were slain.
6.) On July 18, 1290, the 9th of Av, King Edward I ordered the expulsion of all Jews from England. For the next four centuries England did not prosper beyond her own small island.
7.) On August 2, 1492, the 9th of Av, the Spanish government ordered the expulsion of 800,000 Jews, despite the fact that they had lived in Spain for more than 1500 years. From that time on the Spanish Empire’s fortunes began to decrease.
8.) In 1914 Russia mobilized for war, and on August 1, the 9th of Av, local governors triggered persecutions and attacks against the Jews in the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Russia including Poland. As many as one hundred thousand Jews were killed.
In his 1997 book Bible Codes, Michael Drosnan suggested that nuclear war was encoded for the years 2000 and 2006. Drosnan also displays Bible quotes that reveal Jerusalem will be destroyed on the 9th of Av, as it already has been two times. It obviously didn’t happen in 2000 or in 2006.
There are as many projections of when the final seven years will occur as there are projectors. I too have projected this date in the past only to be proven wrong. But there is one projection that only occurred to me in 2009. As I have mentioned in this work Bible prophecy is often dual: quite often there is a first event that hints at a later or end-time event. The “seventy weeks” prophecy of Daniel explained earlier also seems to have a dual meaning, but the clumsy wording of the English interpreters has hidden it! First, let’s quote the verse:
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: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (Dan. 9:25)
The word “Messiah” is not correct. The translators saw “an anointed one who is also a prince” and simply assumed it was the Messiah. Actually, it is referring to the Messiah—for the first fulfillment of the prophecy—but buy by inserting “Messiah” for the actual wording of “an anointed one who is at the same time a prince” they have hidden the secondary prophecy! How so? Because the end-time Zerubbabel is both an anointed one (Zech. 4: 14) and at the same time a prince (Zech. 2:2; Hag. 2:23). Here is Keil & Delitzsch’s rather lengthy commentary on the language of Daniel 9:25:
The words נָגִיד מָשִׁיחַ עַד show the termination of the seven weeks. The words נָגִיד מָשִׁיחַ are not to be translated an anointed prince (Bertholdt); for מָשִׁיחַ cannot be an adjective to נָגִיד, because in Hebr. The adjective is always placed after the substantive, with few exceptions, which are inapplicable to this case; cf. Ewald's Lehrb. §293b. Nor can מָשִׁיחַ be a participle: till a prince is anointed (Steudel), but it is a noun, and נָגִיד is connected with it by apposition: an anointed one, who at the same time is a prince. According to the O.T., kings and priests, and only these, were anointed. Since, then, מָשִׁיחַ is brought forward as the principal designation, we may not by נָגִיד think of a priest-prince, but only of a prince of the people, nor by מָשִׁיחַ of a king, but only of a priest; and by נָגִיד מָשִׁיחַ we must understand a person who first and specially is a priest, and in addition is a prince of the people, a king. The separation of the two words in Dan_9:26, where נָגִיד is acknowledged as meaning a prince of the people, leads to the same conclusion.
Now let’s make the assumption (for which we cannot be sure) that United Nation’s Resolution 181, dated November 29, 1947 establishing the Holy Land as a place of residence for the Jews and the Arabs is a “decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem,” i.e., an official authorization by a governing body for the Jews to return to their homeland, similar to that of Artaxerxes in 457 BC. Instead of 69 sevens or 483 years (Dan. 9: 25), lets add 69 actual years (also done in prophecy) to that date. What we come up with is The Fall of 2016 (1947 + 69) for the appearance of the end-time Zerubbabel who is both an anointed one and a prince . . . and is one of the two witnesses!
If the attack on the Jerusalem by Iran and some of her cohorts follows the historical pattern and occurs on the 9th of Av in 2016, it will come on Saturday August 13th. While we are hypothesizing dates, many think Jesus will return on the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets seven years later, in 2023, will be on Saturday September 16th. This would put the first appearance of the two witnesses likely on the Feast of Trumpets in 2016, which falls on Monday October 3rd, approximately 7 weeks after the brutal attack on the Jews in Palestine. Now that we have mentioned a date, we must hasten to add that it is not given to man to know the day or hour of Jesus’ return (Mat. 24:36)!
After this quick and devastating attack on the modern nation of Israel such that “no man did lift up his head” (Zech. 1:21), the stage will be set for the beginning of Daniel’s “seventieth week,” or the last seven years before the return of Christ. The start of this period will be identifiable by two events. First, the beast will negotiate a 7-year peace agreement between Israel and her aggressors after this cruel attack. The world will breathe a sigh of relief as they give great praise to the beast for bringing peace. But something very unexpected is about to happen: The world says peace, but God says NO! Do the heathen think they can deliver a slap to the face of God by plundering His people, the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8), and then simply say “fine, we feel better, we’ll stop now!” NOT THIS TIME. This brings us to the second event that reveals the beginning of the last seven years: God will now begin to bring down not only the Gentile kingdoms of this world and their false religious system as well, by the prophesying of His two witnesses. The times of “restoring all things” (Mat. 17:11) and the making of “thine enemies thy footstool” (Psa. 110:1) will have arrived!
All of this warfare and destruction are “the beginning of sorrows” mentioned by Christ as an important sign that His return was near, “even at the gates.” When these things begin to happen (the beast negotiating a peace agreement and the two witnesses prophesying) the stage will be set and the curtain drawn, and Daniel’s “seventieth week” will have begun!
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matt. 24: 6-8)
(Note that the prophesied end-time confusion will have already begun! The beast is negotiating peace and the two witnesses are speaking words that cause the heathen perpetrators of the horrific attack on the Jews to turn and attack one another (Hag. 2) . . . Could the two witnesses be mistaken for the beast and false prophet?)
Russia and Others (Gog, Magog, etc.) Attack on Palestine Comes 1,000 Years Later!
The Former Soviet Union’s invasion of Palestine, mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and 39, is an event which is invariably placed sometime early in the final seven years before Christ returns. It seems more logical that this Russian invasion takes place not only after Christ’s return, but after the 1,000 years of the millennium. Indeed, it appears to be the same battle as the one spoken of in Revelation 20:
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Rev. 20: 7-9)
Moreover, these reasons also suggest that this battle doesn't take place until after the first 1,000 years of Christ's rule on the earth are complete:
1. Russia attacks Palestine after Israel and Judah (all 13 tribes, not just Judah!) have been “gathered out of the nations” (Ezek. 38:12). This will happen after Christ’s second coming, and not before, and they will not all be dwelling together until the 1,000 years of peace have already begun.
2. Russia attacks a Palestine that has “unwalled villages” (i.e. minimal defense) and that dwells safely without walls, bars, or gates (Ezek. 38:11). This could not be Israel’s condition prior to Christ's second coming, even with a negotiated peace settlement guaranteeing their safety, nor could it be immediately upon His return. This is more likely after the 1,000 years of peace is complete.
3. Ezekiel 38:23, and the context of other verses, suggests that the Lord himself will destroy the invading Russian army. Says the Lord, “I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” This, too, will occur only after Christ’s return, but it should not be confused with the battle of Armageddon that precedes the millennium.
4. In Ezekiel 39:7 God says, “I will not let them pollute my holy name any more.” This could not occur before the beast is destroyed at Christ’s second coming because he (the beast) will blaspheme God’s name up until his death. Neither can it occur before the wicked involved in this attack spoken of in Revelation 9 are destroyed, and we know this battle takes place "when the thousand years are expired." (Rev. 20:7)
5. There is no proof that the term “latter days” (see Ezek. 38:8) applies only to the period prior to, or immediately following, Christ’s return.
6. The beast is given power over all “kindreds and nations” for the forty-two months, or 3 1/2 years, just prior to Christ’s return; Gog and Magog will not be dominant during this time.
So after Israel and Judah are gathered and restored and have been living securely in towns without walls for a thousand years, God will cause the Former Soviet Union and her cohorts to come against the seemingly undefended land of Palestine. Their total destruction by fire is a powerful witness to both Israel and the Gentiles that the Kingdom of God remains the supreme authority on earth. The Lord Himself will destroy the invading armies of these Gentiles that have come up against the unwalled villages of His people. His Holy name will be vindicated, and the burning of the defeated armies’ weapons will provide fuel for heat such that Israel will not need to cut firewood for seven years (Ezek. 39:9)! Moreover, the slaughter by the hand of the Lord is described as a sacrifice prepared by Him for the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, one from which they will eat the flesh of this defeated multitude and drink their blood until drunk (vs 17-19). In that day all the earth will realize that the reigning government in Jerusalem is supreme, and is permanent.
Now back to the last seven years prior to Christ’s return to earth . . .
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