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The Seventy Week Prophecy of Daniel - Past or Future
...or Both?

Much controversy swirls around the prophetic words of Daniel found in the ninth chapter of the book that bears his name. I don’t believe his writing about the Seventy Weeks was meant to divide the Body of believers in the way that is has but man’s attempts to decipher these phenomenal passages has done exactly that. We now have heated debates about the timing of these prophecies and the implications they have on the fate of mankind.
 
On one hand, we have those who contend that Daniel was speaking of things to come in the imminent future of the Israelites and that the messages contained in these verses spoke of the (first) coming of the Messiah and the end of the Mosaic Age. On the other, we have dispensationalists (“futurists”) who contend that the prophecies of Daniel are there for future generations, speak to the return of Christ, and deal with the end of the world as we know it. Still others hold that Daniel’s words pertain to both.
 
I have finally discovered for myself that one of God’s favorite things to do is to give us things “seen” to help us understand the things “unseen”. This revelation came during my study of medicine for the past eight years and has manifested in a number of ways, including in the explanation of the very nature of what we call “disease”. Suddenly, things were not what they seemed and what we called disease was simply the outward warning signs of the internal harm we were doing to ourselves with every bite, sip, and breath. The fever, the gastrointestinal distress, the migraines and even the seizures were things “seen” to help us understand the “unseen”- those reactions by our cells and internal defenses (including adaptive viruses) to the insults we were throwing at our bodies. Then, the parallel between our physical and spiritual lives became quite clear with our battle for medical health being the thing seen to help us understand the things unseen- the struggle for spiritual fitness.
 
I have to say right here that I am open to the idea that the historical events of the past could be repeated in the future (“For there is no new thing under the sun”) or that they could be the things seen to help us grasp the global plans that God has for His people in the future. But in order for us to fully comprehend the latter, we first have to understand the obvious- the things seen- and the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.
One of the most amazing and controversial prophecies of the Old Testament is found in the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel and is commonly known as the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks or the Prophecy of Seventy Septets. In this passage, Daniel reports what he was told by the angel Gabriel in response to a prayer regarding the future of the people of Israel. As most know, Daniel was a prophet who lived during the 5th and 6th centuries B.C., although his designation as a prophet is controversial, especially among Jews. The Jews hold that Daniel was not a prophet by virtue of the fact that his prophecy was not the result of a direct conversation with God (Gabriel gave this message to Daniel) and because, in Judaism, a prophet speaks only to his or her generation, not to those of the future. It is apparent that Daniel was speaking to a generation that was almost 600 years in the future.
 
To put things into a time frame, Daniel and three other young nobles were among the first to be deported by Nebuchadnezzar during the Babylonian captivity, which began in 606 B.C. and ended in 537 B.C.  Once there, Daniel entered the service of that king of Babylon and was given the name Belteshazzar, which literally meant “prince of Bel” or “Bel protect the king”. Because of his piety and strict observance of the Jewish customs, he became quite distinguished and esteemed by those in charge. He soon became well known for his ability to interpret dreams as well as for his knowledge of the pagan customs of the times and ultimately became the chief of governors over all of the wise men of Babylon. His authority continued after the Persians conquered Babylon, during which time Daniel was visited by the angel Gabriel and given his Seventy Week prophecy. 
 
Daniel’s most often remembered moments came when he interpreted the handwriting on the wall of Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans; when he was miraculously delivered from the dens of lions while under the rule of Persian king Cyrus; and later for his prophecies, for which he would be placed among the ranks of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel by Christian theologians.
 
It was in the first year of Darius I the Great, the son of Xerxes, that Daniel offered his prayer request of guidance for the people of Israel while they were still in captivity. The year was 538-539 B.C. and the Israelites had been in captivity for almost 70 years, having experienced the regime change from the Babylonians to the Persians.
 
Here is the 9th Chapter of Daniel from the King James Version. (I wasn’t going to include the whole chapter when I set out to write this paper but I decided that the prayer of Daniel was much too important to exclude and the first 20 verses really set the stage for the response from Gabriel, which is the focus of this treatise.)
 
Daniel 9
 
 1. In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
 2. In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
 3. And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
 4. And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
 5. We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
 6. Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
7.  O LORD, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
8. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
 9. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
 10. Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
 11. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
 12. And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
 13. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
 14. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
 15. And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
 16. O LORD, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
 17Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.
 18O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
 19. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
 20. And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
 21. Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
 22. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
 23. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
 
*24Seventy 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.
 
*25Know 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.
 
*26And 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 determined.
 
*27And 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.
 
In verses 1-19, we read Daniel’s prayer to God admitting to all of the sins of Israel and asking for mercy for His people and for His city of Jerusalem, which Daniel called “Thy Holy Mountain”. He asked that God’s face once again shine on that desolate sanctuary. And as he is praying, Gabriel came and gave him the all-important message in verses 24-27 (marked with an asterisk)- the prophesy concerning the fate of the people of Israel, the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, the coming of the Messiah, the “cutting off” of the Messiah, and the future destruction of the city and the sanctuary. This is an incredible array of events that are being foretold and they are being predicted here with precision timing, the latter being the source of controversy among theologians concerning this amazing section of Scripture.
Gabriel started by telling Daniel:
 
 24. 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.
 
That is a phenomenal number of things to have occur: To finish transgressions, make an end of sins, reconcile their iniquities, usher in everlasting righteousness, seal up the (previous) vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy- all in 70 weeks. However, most theologians agree, citing Old Testament prophecy precedent, that a prophetic “day” in this case is actually a year and that each “week” was actually 7 years. This is why Daniel’s 70 Week Prophecy is also referred to as the “Prophecy of Seventy Septets”, which literally means seventy times seven. Therefore, the first verse of the prophecy (Daniel 9:24) is saying that 490 years will be required for all of these thing to come to pass.
Gabriel continues in the next verse by breaking up this 490 years into three parts, two of which he covers in that 25th verse:
 
25.  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.
 
God’s messenger, Gabriel, starts with a wake-up statement (“Know therefore and understand”) to make sure Daniel- and we- are paying close attention because the information to follow was important. He then says that the prophetic clock starts when a command is made to restore and build Jerusalem and that there will be seven weeks (49 years) and threescore and 2 weeks (sixty-two weeks, which is 434 years) between that command to rebuild Jerusalem and the coming of the Messiah. That is a total of 69 weeks or 483 years from the rebuild command until the coming of the Messiah.
 
We find the record of that clock-starting command in the second chapter of the Book of Nehemiah:
 
Nehemiah 2
 1. And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.
 2. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
 3. And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
 4. Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
 5. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.
 6. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
 
*7Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
 
 *8And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
 
Therefore, the order to rebuild was given by King Artexerxes in the month of Nisan (the Jewish month corresponding to our March/April) in the twentieth year of that king’s rule.  We know that his rule began in 464 B.C. so the order was given in March/April of 444 B.C.
 
Now, doing the math by using the prophesied 483 years (seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks, or 69 weeks)- adding 483 years to 444 B.C.- we find ourselves at 40 BC. (Remember: There is no such thing as year 0. We go from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D., not from 1 B.C. to 0 to 1 A.D.)  
 
We appear to be off by 7 years from the currently held date of the crucifixion of Jesus (33 AD) until we realize that the Jews used a lunar calendar based on 360 days rather that our solar/Gregorian calendar of 365.24 days. We now say that Christ was crucified in 32-33 A.D. (depending on whose text you read) based on the Gregorian calendar. So, we have to do a little more math:
 
365.24 days  - 360 days = 5.24 days  (extra number of days each year using our calendar)
5.24 days  x 483 years = 2,530.92 days (total number of extra days over 483 years using our calendar)
2,530.92 days = 6.934 years or 6 years and 341 days (total number of extra using our calendar)
 
If we subtract that 6.934 years from 40 B.C., we arrive at 33 B.C., and being only 24 days short of a full year, we are likely to still be in the March/April month in which we currently celebrate Easter, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Christianity. Of course, Easter moves around on our current calendar because it is based on the lunar cycle.
 
Therefore, the 25th verse of Daniel and Gabriel’s time frame was exactly right and the prophecy was fulfilled just as stated. That alone should be enough to build one’s faith. But the prophecy does not end there. The next two verses state:
 
Daniel 9: 26, 27
 
26. 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 determined.
27. 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 26 is referring to the crucifixion of the Messiah after that 62 week period that followed the 7 week period. So, after the 69th week (483 years) the Messiah was cut off (killed) “but not for himself”. In other words, He died for others.
 
The next part of the verse has had different meanings applied to it. Who is the prince in that part of the verse that states “the people of the prince that shall come”?  Well, the people who destroyed the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (the Temple) in the years after the Messiah’s crucifixion were the Romans. This occurred 37-38 years after the death (and resurrection) of Jesus Christ and took place in 70 A.D.  So, the prince of those people was not the Prince of Peace (Jesus) but rather the prince of death, who is Satan. But what about the “flood” in the last part of verse 26, which brings about the end and “unto the end of the war desolations are determined”?
 
If we look in the Book of Revelation, which also describes the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., we find that John describes the same thing (and the “flood”) in the twelfth chapter. This fascinating chapter begins with the imminent birth of Christian church, then moves to the birth of Jesus and the war in Heaven, after which Satan and his angel followers (a third of the stars) were cast to earth:
 
Revelation 12: 13-17
13. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman* which brought forth the man child (Jesus).  (*the church)
 14. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time*, from the face of the serpent. (*that’s 3.5 times)
 15. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman*, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.  (*the church)
 16. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
 17. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
 
So, we see that “the flood” of Daniel 9:26 was metaphorical just as it was in Revelation 12:15. These are the same event and “the prince” of Daniel’s account was none other than Satan, as previously stated.
 
Verse 27 of Daniel 9 then deals with the last week (7 years) of the prophecy. It is interesting that it was separated from the other 69 weeks (483 years) but was done so for good reason, of course. And this is where much of the debate occurs between dispensationalists, who place this week in our future, and those who contend that it was fulfilled in the past (e.g. preterists). I am in the latter camp and will show you exactly why. Again,the only question I have is whether the past events are foreshadowing what is to come.
 
Here is Daniel 9:27 again. I show it (and verse 24) again because it is so important that we get this. The Messiah has now come and has been crucified for His people.  Jesus said that those who are not for Him are against Him. Those who against Him are “the people of the prince who will destroy the city” (the Romans), with the prince being Satan, who is soon to be cast out of Heaven (by Michael and his angels). In other words, we have the parallel worlds of the new Christian church being driven/empowered by the Holy Spirit and the Romans and apostate Jews being driven by Satan and his fallen third. This war ends with the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple, after which the Romans set up their idols in the sanctuary, which was what some theologians believe to be the “abomination of the desolation”.
 
But when did that war start, how long did it last and when exactly did it end? This is the fascinating part of the last verse of the Daniel Prophecy:
 
Daniel 9: 24, 26, 27
 
24. 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.
26. 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 determined.
 
*27And 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.
 
In verse 27, Gabriel started by saying that the covenant- all of those things in verse 24 of Daniel, which are basically the ending of the Mosaic Age and the start of the new Church Age - will be confirmed for one week (7 years). Gabriel also told Daniel that, in the midst of that time (within that 7 year period), he (the Messiah) shall cause the sacrifices and oblations (offerings) to cease. Note: there has been speculation as to who “he” is in this passage. Some think it is satan or “the antichrist” of dispensational ideology who stops the sacrifices in the “future, third temple”. But if we reread the passages, the word “he” can only refer back to the Messiah, as this is only proper noun used in the previous sentences. It can’t refer back to “the people of the prince” or “of the prince”. These four verses are all about the Messiah and what He will do.
 
But, how is the covenant to establish all of the things in verse 24 confirmed and why does it take 7 years?  This is one of the most amazing pieces of Biblical history and I am still stunned that more Christians are not fully aware of the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Again, I can’t throw stones because it wasn’t until 7 years ago that I learned this and discovered the vital nature of this information.
 
In 66 A.D., the Jews revolted against their Romans governors. In response to this rebellion, the Roman Emperor, Caesar Nero, sent an army under General Vespasian to bring about order among the Jews. By 68 B.C., most of the rebellion had been put down and the Romans turned to the domination Jerusalem. In that same year, Nero died (committed suicide to avoid capture during a Roman revolt) but not before becoming infamous for his behavior and deeds, two of which were the beheading of the Apostle Paul and the upside-down crucifixion of Peter. These things among others earned him the title of “the beast” and there is clear reference to this in the Book of Revelation. In fact, when the Hebrew gematria (numeric) is applied to Nero’s name as written in the Greek, “Neron Caesar”, the total adds up to 666, the number given to the beast in Revelation 13:18.
 
So we have “the beast”, Nero, ordering the siege of Jerusalem. But, Nero dies at his own hand and General Vespasian takes over as Emperor, who in turn passes the mission of destroying Jerusalem onto his son, Titus. Titus leveled the city and the temple in 70 A.D. but not before causing great tribulation in those days, the likes of which had never been seen in the past. The accounts are found in graphic detail in the famous Wars of the Jews written by the Jewish historian, Josephus, later known as Titus Flavius Josephus when he became a Roman citizen. It was reported that close to a million Jews died in the siege, some starving to death with others being slaughtered by the Roman soldiers. Mothers reportedly ate their own children. It was a horrific time in the history of Israel to say the least, eclipsing the days of the Babylonian captivity.
 
But the “tribulation” did not end in 70 AD. The “sacrifice and the oblation” (offering) did cease because the temple had been destroyed. And this happened just as Gabriel said and Daniel recorded in verse 7, “in the midst of the week”. In fact, this occurred in the middle of that 7 year period as the Jewish revolt continued on for another 3.5 years, ending in 73 A.D. at Masada, that mountain fortress in which the final remnant of the rebel Jews were hold-up. When the Romans finally breeched those walls after besieging the place for over a year, they found that that its 936 inhabitants had all killed themselves by falling on their own swords.
 
Therefore, the Jewish revolt began in 66 A.D. and ended at the stronghold of Masada in 73 A.D., giving us the 7 year period (the week) spoken of in Daniel 9:27. It is clear that the 70th week was separated from the other 69 weeks in the prophecy for a reason. And it was separated from the crucifixion of the Messiah (Jesus Christ) by 33-40 years, a very important interval to note because that dovetails perfectly with what Jesus told His disciples when He was asked (in private) about the timing of the prophetic events about which He was speaking would occur.
Here is what Jesus told those 4 disciples (were identified as Peter, James, John, and Andrew in Mark 13) as recorded by Matthew:
 
Matthew 24: 1- 34
 
 1. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
 2. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
 3. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
 4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
 5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
 6. 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.
 7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
 9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
 10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
 11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
 12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
 13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
 14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
 15. 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:)
 16. Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
 17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
 18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
 19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
 20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
 21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
 22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
 23. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
 24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
 25. Behold, I have told you before.
 26. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
 27. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
 28. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
 29. 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:
 30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
 31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
 32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
*33. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
*34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
 
In verse 32 and 33, we see that all of the things that Jesus just told his disciples in the previous verses of Matthew would occur, would happen soon, and would take place before that generation passed. Yes, they were “near”, “even at the doors” and that “This generation shall not pass” before all of these things take place. Now, I encourage all readers to go back and reread the 24th chapter of Matthew as well as the 13th chapter of Mark and the 21st chapter of Luke, all of which address the foretelling of the (imminent) future of the disciples and the people of Israel and boldly state that all of the things would occur before the passing of “this generation”.
 
A Biblical generation is 40 years.  Christ was speaking to his disciples in 32-33 A.D. in this passage in Matthew 24:34. The destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, and the end of the Mosaic Age along with those things spoken to Daniel by Gabriel in the 70 week Prophecy would all take place within that upcoming 40 year period, ending in 73 AD, at the annihilation of the Jewish revolt.
 
What did Gabriel say would happen?
 
To finish the transgression (Daniel 9:24)
To make a end of sins (Daniel 9:24)
To make reconciliation for the iniquity (Daniel 9:24)
To bring in everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24)
To seal up the vision and prophecy (Daniel 9:24)
To anoint the most Holy (Daniel 9:24)
(But first) The rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem (order given in 444 B.C. and temple walls completed in 52 days. Nehemiah chapters 2-5.) Prophetic clock starts in 444 B.C. (Daniel 9: 25)
The Messiah will be cut off, but not for Himself (Daniel 9:26)
The people of the prince will come and destroy the city and the sanctuary (Daniel 9:26)
The Messiah will confirm this covenant for 7 years  (from 66-73 A.D.) (Daniel 9:27)
The Messiah will cause sacrifices and offering to stop in the midst of that time period,which He did in 70 A.D. (Daniel 9:27)
The Messiah makes things desolate (meaning the end of the Mosaic Age.) (Daniel 9:27)
 
Did all of these things happen? Yes, they did if we believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and that He had/has the authority that He claims He did/does as the Son of God. “But what about ‘making an end of sins’. Isn’t there still sin in the world?” some may ask. Yes, there is still sin in the world but Jesus conquered sin and death on the cross and they no longer have power over believers. He did make reconciliation for the iniquities that had been- and will be- done and bring in everlasting righteousness. He said on the cross “It is finished!”
 
When we look at this in its proper historical perspective, it should not only make sense but be incredibly faith-building. It should take believers to their knees as well as provide some solid proof to those who need to have such a thing in order to believe the Gospel, just as Thomas demanded to feel the wounds of the resurrected Jesus. The Bible is filled with this kind of historical proof if only we would search it out.
 
Studying the Bible in this way should also help to safeguard believers against false doctrine. I encourage everyone to examine their own beliefs, including those dealing with “the end times”. Dispensationalism is a theological view held by many Christians and involves a broader interpretation of Scriptures that includes a view of the future of mankind, after 73 A.D. and beyond 2008 A.D., the time of the writing of this paper. John Nelson Darby is considered the father of modern dispensationalism and it was in 1832 when he first described the “secret rapture” held so closely by many of today’s dispensationalists.
 
This snatching away of believers is integral to the scenario laid out by Tim LaHaye (Left Behind series), Hal Lindsey (The Late, Great Planet Earth), John F. Walvoord  (who wrote a slew of books on “prophecy”) and other alumni from the Dallas Theological Seminary and  Bob Jones Seminary.  The rest of the “end times” story involves the rise of “the antichrist”, seven years of tribulation, the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple (on this spot now occupied by the Muslim’s Dome of the Rock), the battle of Armageddon, the triumphant return of Christ, and the end of life on earth as we now know it.
 
Interestingly, the dispensationalist (“futurist”) uses the exact same Scriptures as those who contend that this “end times” scenario is a myth, the brain-child of John Nelson Darby in the 1800’s. The futurist uses Matthew 24 and the other Gospel accounts along with the Old Testament prophets of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel- to which I have alluded- to paint this picture and they have developed an intricate system of Scriptural interconnections to validate their beliefs. The “only problem” is that there is a major lack of agreement among dispensationalists as far as the timing of these events and their camp is incredibly divided. On top of that, many like Hal Lindsey have been repeatedly wrong in their “prophecies” (predictions) concerning when these things will take place. Are true prophets ever wrong?
 
And why would we believe someone who teaches as part of their doctrine that there are limits to what our Lord has done for us in His coming, His crucifixion and His return in glory in 70 A.D. just like He said He would. Yes, Jesus said, in those Gospel accounts, that He would return in glory and that this would occur before that generation passed away. (Remember Matthew 24:34 above?)
 
Matthew 24:
 
29. 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:
 *30, And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
 31, And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
 
Now, many futurists  take the events of verse 29 literally and apply this verse to the end of the world as we know it. After all, how could the world survive such a cataclysm? In order for the stars to fall from the sky, the universe would have to collapse. Is that what Jesus was saying? All we have to do is see that this was common Old Testament prophetic language and was clearly meant to be metaphorical and used to emphasize the magnitude of the impending events. In fact, Jeremiah used the exact same language when warning the apostate Jews of the upcoming Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah) as did Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah, Joel. Similarly, Zechariah used this prophetic  “poetic license” to speak of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. They all used profound language to get the attention of the Israelites to sternly warn them of the Babylonian captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem. The Jews and the disciples of Jesus were familiar with this language as well as the concept of “coming in the clouds”.
The incredible thing to see is that this “coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory” was actually witnessed by Josephus and others during the siege of Jerusalem. Josephus wrote in his Wars of the Jews:
 
"Besides these [signs], a few days after that feast, on the one- and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence"
 
This phenomenal event corresponds exactly with both the Matthew 24:31 account (above) and the Chapters 9-11 of the Book of Revelation. In fact, the 11th   chapter of Revelation describes the true “rapture”, in which the two witnesses (the believing Gentiles and the Jews who had become Christians) are miraculously taken up to Heaven in a cloud in full view of their enemies:
 
Revelation 11
 
 1, And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
 2, But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months*  (*the Romans/”Gentiles” besieged the city for 3.5 years).
 3, And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days* clothed in sackcloth. (*6.25 years),
 4, These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (thus, the metaphor of the two witnesses is explained)
 5, And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
 6, These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
 7, And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (the “people of the prince”- the Romans- in Daniel, under the “command” of Satan, come and kill both the Jews and the believers- the two witnesses- in the city)
 8, And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city*, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (*clearly Jerusalem)
 9, And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half*, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. (*3.5 years?)
 10, And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
 11, And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
 12, And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
 13, And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
 
Amazingly, earthquakes, Heavenly voices, chariots and soldiers in armor running around in the clouds, and more were all recorded by Josephus, the Jewish historian whom later became a Roman citizen. His testimony was echoed by Tacitus, a Roman historian 40 years later:
 
"Prodigies had occurred, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world." (Histories, Book 5, v. 13).
 
So we have two Roman citizens/historians testifying that supernatural armies were seen in the clouds during the time that the battle was raging on the ground. This is not the first time that the “unseen” world was revealed. A similar event took place in the Book of Kings when the prophet Elijah prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant so that he could see the armies of Heaven, complete with horses and chariots of fire, surrounding the battlefield that they were facing. These documented occurrences help us to decipher that highly metaphorical book known as the Book of Revelation and sort out what was real, what was supernatural, and what was meant to be metaphor. But the Old Testament prophets and their accounts speak directly to the timing of those events in Revelation, just as those words that Jesus uttered to his disciples in the Gospel accounts did.  
 
In summary, there has been much confusion over what the Bible says about the future of mankind. We must consider the source of that confusion, which is clearly mankind and the enemies of truth, some of whom are intentionally disrupting the flow of truth while others have been innocently caught up in that confusion. But is there such a thing a true innocence in this matter? Is ignorance a real defense in a court of law? Is the Bible confusing or is it simply man’s misguided interpretation of God’s Word that is confounding?
 
If nothing else, I hope this paper will motivate people to start seeking real answers on their own. It is time for the fast food mentality (and the industry that created it) to go away…forever. We have become overly reliant on others to do just about everything for us and we need it done quickly. Although this may work is some areas of our lives, it is a woefully inadequate approach to the more important things in life, including and especially our spiritual lives.
 
I would beckon all to seek out the truth concerning these very important matters. Some say that they don’t think about the future and that it is just not important to them. Well, Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough evil of its own. In that sense, I would rather people not think about the future than to worry about it. But we have a growing number of believers who are obsessed with the future. Two of the largest and most influential denominations of the church today are deeply rooted in dispensationalism/futurism. On the other hand, there are large factions of believers who do not hold to these “end times” beliefs, some of whom are actually portrayed negatively by dispensationalists as being involved in- and even contributing to- those events that lead up to the end of the world.
 
This division in the church is an elephant in our living room. I also see it as a cancer eating away at the Body of believers. I have been on both sides of the dispensational issue, having been a member of two different church denominations that hold to this futurist theology. I was deeply and emotionally involved in learning about the “end times” time table and was addicted to trying to put the pieces of their prophetic time clock together. That’s when my stomach started to hurt. I even wrote some papers on who might be “the antichrist” out of those candidates alive at the time. My stomach started killing me.
 
Then, one Christmas morning, I opened a present from my son and it was a book titled End Times Fiction by Gary Demar. Everything changed. When I finished the book- which only took three days- I had a completely different perspective on things…and my stomach stopped hurting. Suddenly I saw that the Old Testament prophecies had been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ, just as we were taught at Christmas time. My faith was elevated as I finally saw the confirmation of everything I believed right there in the Old and New Testaments, including the Gospel accounts and that “elusive” Book of Revelation. I quickly reread all of Revelation and understood it for the first time in my life. “No wonder the word ‘antichrist ’ is nowhere in the Book of Revelation”, I exclaimed (even though that word was used five times by that book’s human author, John, in John 1 and 2). There was no longer any wonder why the Gospel of John did not have the account of Jesus speaking to his disciples about the future like Matthew, Mark, and Luke did.  John wrote the infinitely more detailed account in the Book of Revelation. That Book was meant to be the final chapter, not because it described the end of the world and life as we know it but because it described the end of the Mosaic Age and the beginning of life as God meant it to be.  
 
Thankfully, a laptop crash later, all of those files and papers about dispensationalism were lost, closing that chapter of my life. I no longer have those treatises on Romano Prodi as the antichrist, the rise of the E.U. as the one-world government, the Catholic Church as the whore of Revelation (my deepest apologies) and Osama Bin Lucifer as the beast. Whew! Glad that period is over.
Now I study the Bible to hear from God and to fortify my faith in what I know to be true. I highly recommend it to everyone. And when we do this, God speaks volumes to His people:
 
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4*)
 
(* with “4” being the Biblical number for “new beginning” and “8” being the number of the resurrection, which also speaks to a new beginning….the greatest new beginning of all...a life empowered by the Holy Spirit and able to do ALL things, through Christ which strengthens us.)