Numerous movies and books presenting end time events such as the antichrist, the man of
sin and the seven-year tribulation period have flooded the market. Though these
scenarios are often colorful and thrilling, they are, unfortunately, lacking in Biblical
scholarship and, therefore, unsatisfying to reasonable minds.
What Does the Bible Teach?
This is the question every student of the Scriptures seeks to know.
Let us, therefore, briefly consider the above-mentioned topics, using scriptural reasoning
and the historic fulfillment of prophecy. We will begin with the popular belief that
there will be seven literal years of tributlation.
While it is true that the bible clearly teaches that "there will be a time
of trouble such as never was since there was a nation" (Daniel 12:1; Matthew
24:21), it does not reveal the duration of time for this horrific event. Where does
this idea come from? This popular theory is based upon an interpretation of Daniel
9:24-27. Let's take a brief look at this prophecy.
The Seventy Weeks of Years
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: 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 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
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the
week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of
abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined
shall be poured upon the desolate.
Verse 24 speaks of 70 weeks of covenanted favor. In the Hebrew it
literally means seventy weeks of years. (See The Emphasized Bible—Rotherham
One Prophetic Week is
equal to 7 years.
70 Prophetic Weeks are
equal to 490 literal years.
|<----------------Seventy Weeks (490 years)---------------->
Know therefore and understand, that
going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem
unto the Messiah the prince shall be
weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again,
and the wall, even in troublous times. Daniel
and two weeks
(62 ) weeks
<------------------------483 years (69 weeks)--------------->[
to rebuild the walls
Jesus becomes the
Messiah, the Anointed,
at his baptism.
70 weeks of 7
years each, equals 490 years total.
The 70th week, or the last 7 years, began with our Lord Jesus'
baptism. 3-1/2 years later (the midst of the week) brings us to his death on the
cross, and another 3-1/2 years after that (at the end of the 490 years) the first Gentile
convert, Cornelius, and his family are baptized and receive the holy spirit.
Verse 25 supplies us with the starting point of our
70-week prophecy. We are told that "from the commandment to restore and
to build Jerusalem unto Messiah (the anointed one) the Prince shall be
seven weeks (7), three score (60)
and two (2) weeks (69 total weeks)."
Nehemiah was commissioned to build Jerusalem in 454 B.C. (Nehemiah
2:3-8; 6:15; 7:1)
Though many Bible commentaries put this event at 445 B.C., we quote Dr.
Hale's work on chronology, pp. 449-531; Dr. Priestlie's "Harmony of the
Evangelists," pp. 24-38; and "Rollin's Ancient History," Vol. 2, 447, to
support the 454 B.C. date.
Therefore, we begin to count the 69 weeks
x 7 = 483 years) from 454 B.C. which ends
with 29 A.D.
— The year our Lord became the Messiah by being
anointed with the holy spirit at his baptism. Matthew 3:13-17
Verse 26 states that some time after the 69th week, Messiah would be cut
off. Verse 27 reveals that "in the midst of the week (the 70th week) he
cause the sacrifice (the typical animal sacrifices of the law)
and the oblation to cease."
How? By offering the true sacrifice—his own life.
This prophecy was fulfilled when our Lord was cut off in death
— 33 A.D., 3 1/2
years after his ministry began in 29 A.D., in the middle of the final week of the
The true understanding of this prophecy hinges on verse 27. To see
an illustration of the events in this verse, see our chart below.
"And he (Messiah, or the Anointed One)
shall confirm the covenant (the 70 weeks' covenant of exclusive
favor to the Jewish people) with many for one week (beginning
with Jesus' baptism in 29 A.D. until 36 A.D.): and in the midst of the week (33 A.D.) he
shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, (Jesus would
cause the typical sacrifices of bulls, goats, lambs, etc. to cease being acceptable before
God since he had fulfilled them) and for (or because of) the overspreading of abominations
(Israel's religious hypocrisy became an abomination after their
repudiation of Christ) he (Messiah) shall make it
desolate, even until the consummation (or completion) and
that determined (predetermined in God's plan) shall be poured
upon the desolate." (Pronounced by Jesus over the nation
in Matthew 23:38)
The Seven Year Tribulation period is supposed to be the last, or
seventieth, week of 7 years. This last week of years is broken off from the rest of
the prophecy of 69 weeks, without scriptural authority, and separated by more than 1970
The Seven-Year Tribulation Theory
With this proper understanding of Daniel's prophecy before us, we will now
consider the popular seven-year tribulation concept.
Where do these seven years come from? They are
simply broken off from the 70 weeks of years that we have been considering in Daniel
Is this reasonable? Let's consider and see.
First, we must note that nowhere else in prophetic reckoning is one portion of a time
prophecy ever separated from another portion. This is exactly what has been done in
The last seven years of this time prophecy have been separated
from the preceding 483 years by a period of over 1970 years!
Not only have these seven years been transported from the beginning of the
Christian era to the end of the Christian era (for no reason) but, additionally, this
"end-time scenario" adds insult to injury by changing the meaning of the
"he" in verse 27.
Instead of it being a prophecy which brings us to Jesus Christ the
Messiah, "he" in verse 27 is said to be the "man of sin," "the
antichrist." And if that's not pad enough, there's more. The precious
490-year covenant of exclusive favor for Israel becomes a covenant of diabolical
intentions between the antichrist and the deceived world of mankind. What a twisting
of Scripture—a monstrous deception!
Where Did This Erroneous Idea Originate?
During the Reformation, Christian leaders such as Luther, Zwingli,
Calvin and others had correctly identified the Papal System (the organization—not the
individual Catholics) as the Man of Sin and the Antichrist.
In an attempt to shift this protestant interpretation of Scripture
away from the Roman Catholic Church, a Jesuit priest by the name of Ribera created this
Frankenstein idea of a literal, singular man of sin, far away in the future.
What Say the Scriptures about This
Man of Sin?
The Apostle Paul spoke prophetically about this man of sin. We quote
2 Thessalonians 2:1-8:
The Man of Sin
2 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering
together unto him
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by
letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come
a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so
that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not that when I was yet with you I told you these things?
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he
be taken out of the way. (He who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the
way. New American Standard translation.)
And then that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his
mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
In verse 3 the Apostle Paul speaks of a falling away from the true faith
and a revealing, that is, an understanding of that man of sin which would take place
before the coming again of Christ.
Verse 4 indicates that this man of sin would exalt himself above all other
religious rulers. The apostle states in verse 7 that "the mystery of iniquity
doth already work." In other words, this iniquitous principle was already
working in the apostles' day and would continue to work secretly for a time, while some
opposing force stood in the way. But after this hindrance was removed, it would have
a free course and progress rapidly to the development of the Antichrist.
What testimony does history give us in fulfillment of this
prediction? History reveals that the thing which hindered a rapid
development of Antichrist was the fact that the place aspired to was already filled by
another, the Roman Emperor. The Romans had not only conquered the world and given it
politics and laws, but also recognized that religious superstitions were the strongest
chains by which to hold and control a people. So they adopted a scheme which
esteemed the emperor as the director and ruler in religious as well as in civil
affairs. In support of this it was claimed that the emperor was a demigod, in some
sense descended from their heathen deities. As such, he was worshipped and his
statues adored. As such he was styled in Latin Pontifex Maximus—that is,
Chief Priest, or Religious Ruler.
Pontifex Maximus is the very title claimed by and given to the pontiffs or
popes of the roman Hierarchy since this Antichrist obtained "the power and seat and
great authority" of the former ruler of Rome. (See Revelation 13:2) We
see then that what hindered the early development of Antichrist was the fact that the
coveted seat of spiritual supremacy was filled by the representatives of the strongest
empire the world had yet known. For ay to have attempted an open display of ambition
in this direction would have exposed them to the wrath of the masters of the Roman world.
The Hindrance Removed
So this iniquitous ambition (within the church) at first worked secretly,
disclaiming any intent to gain power or authority, until a favorable opportunity was
presented. That opportunity came at the time of Constantine's reign (320
A.D.). When the power of Rome was rapidly failing, he adopted Christianity to
strengthen and unify his empire.
During Constantine's reign, opposition to Christianity gave way to favor,
and the Imperial Pontifex Maximus became the patron of the "professed" but
really apostate Church of Christ, taking her by the hand and assisting
her to a place of popularity and splendor. Afterward, as the
Imperial power grew weak, she was able to put her own representatives
upon the religious throne of the world as chief Religious Ruler—Pontifex Maximus.
Thus, under Constantine, all hindrance was finally removed, which set
speedily in motion the organization of Papacy—the church nominal under the headship of
the bishop of Rome as Pope. Listen to Daniel's prophetic description of this same
man of sin. We quote Daniel 8:10 and 12:
And it became great even unto (controlling) the host of
heaven (the entire Church) yea, it magnified itself even up
to the Prince of the host. (It assumed to itself honors and
dignities, and applied to itself prophecies and titles which belong to Christ Jesus alone,
the true Chief or Prince--Head of the Church). And it took away from him
(Christ) the continual sacrifice
sacrifice. Jesus' life which he gave once for all was replaced with the
establishment of the Mass, where Christ is claimed to be recreated by the Priest and
crucified over and over again for the forgiveness of sins! This error is known as
Listen to Ezekiel's prophetic description of the office of Papacy found in
"Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the
Lord GOD; because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the
seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set
thine heart as the heart of God"
How fitting! this describes the heart attitude of the line of Popes
who boastfully claim to be Christ's representatives on earth—having his power and
The Apostle John speaks of this spirit of the world (pride and
selfishness) which crept into the early church in 1 John 2:15-19,22. He states in
these verses that "even now are there many antichrists" and he further warns of
a great singular antichrist that was yet to appear. This antichrist is the same as
the man of sin that Paul wrote about. The name "Antichrist" has a two-fold
significance. The first is against (or in opposition to) Christ. The second
meaning is instead of (or a counterfeit of) Christ. The Scriptures use the name
Antichrist in the second sense of misrepresenting, counterfeiting (taking the place of)
the true Christ.
The Great Deception
Here, then, is what we should expect, and what we do find in Papacy.
It is not in opposition to the name of Christ, but an enemy or opponent of Christ in that
it falsely bears his name, counterfeits his kingdom and authority, and misrepresents his
character, plans and doctrines before the world—a most baneful enemy and opponent indeed,
worse by far than an outspoken foe!
As Christendom looks intently for a Man who will stand up and be
worshipped as God, causing all to take the mark of the beast during this dreaded
seven-year period of tribulation, what has actually occurred? This mystery of
iniquity (2 Thessalonians 2:7), Antichrist, Satan's counterfeit system of true
Christianity, haas been at work since the Apostle Paul's day, reaching its zenith of power
during the period known to historians as the "Dark Ages."
The Scriptural Scenario
In light of history and fulfilled prophecy, we want to now present the
sequence of events we do expect ahead.
We have entered the "time of trouble" since 1914 with the
outbfreak of World War I. The trouble has increased and will continue to do so as
"birth pangs upon a woman in travail." (1 Thessalonians 5:3) Jesus
predicted that "men's hearts would be failing them for fear, looking after those
things which are coming on the earth." (Luke 21:26 And further,
"unless those days would be shortened, there should o flesh be saved."
(Matthew 24:22) It is then that our returned Lord Jesus Christ with his church in
glory, will intervene and say, "Peace be still," just as he did when he calmed
the storm on the sea of Galilee.
Satan will have been fully bound, unable to deceive the nations anymore,
his old evil social order (the heavens and earth which are now—2 Peter 3:7) having
been fully removed.
It is then that Jesus will have fully set up his "new heavens (one
true religion) and new earth (a righteous government on earth)." Deliverance
form sin and death will be offered to all mankind, and this will be the answer to millions
of Christian prayers over the past 2000 years, "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10
Hallelujah! What a Savior
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