There wasn’t anything allegorical about the recent events in Israel. These are concrete reality out-workings of the eschatology of the covenant appearing before our eyes. – “Doc”
So true. It’s the age ending conclusion to the quarrel that began in Abraham’s tents. Ezekiel calls it “the everlasting hatred” (Eze 35:5; compare also Eze 35-36 with Obadiah and Ps 83). It is the ancient envy and hatred of Jacob’s election that the Antichrist will be able to exploit to full advantage. Esau’s fury against Jacob is a preview of the rage that the Antichrist will have against what the scripture calls ‘the holy covenant’ (Dan 11:28, 30).
What is little conceived or considered is that the ‘covenant’ that the Antichrist confirms with many for one week (Dan 9:27) is something more than another peace agreement. It is that; but it is more. In what follows, I hope to show that it is an agreement, not only between the Antichrist and Israel (Dan 11:23), but very probably among many nations that will formally recognize, not only Israel’s right to exist as a nation, but also Jewish right of access to the forbidden temple mount.
Currently, the “noble sanctuary” is off limits to Jews. To presume to set foot on the ground held sacred by the Muslim world is, to use their words, to “open hell.” That’s got to change. What will be sufficient to change such adamant and rabid Muslim intransigence on the Jerusalem question, and the even more exasperating question of the temple mount? I’m thinking nothing less than a regional war on a much larger scale than we’re seeing now, though, of course, it only takes a spark to set the world on fire.
Before Jacob’s trouble can begin, there must be a restored sacrifice on the forbidden temple mount in order to fulfill the prophecy that says it will be stopped just 3 1/2 years before the end (Dan 9:27; 12:11). A comparison of the following scriptures will show that the daily sacrifice is taken away at the same time the abomination of desolation is placed in the holy place at Jerusalem (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11).
Note that both Dan 9:27 and Dan 12:11 are especially clear in showing that the daily sacrifice is removed 3 1/2 years before the end. Some commentators, however, see the reference to the “end” in Dan 9:26-27 as limited to the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem. However, in nearly every other reference throughout the book of Daniel, the point of reference for the term, ‘the end,’ is the end of the unequaled tribulation, the destruction of Antichrist, the resurrection, and the saints’ possession of the kingdom (Dan 7:25-26; 8:17, 19; 11:27, 35, 40; 12:2, 4, 6-9, 13). It is common in prophecy for the near type to overlap with the far antitype of the eschatological future. In this view, the 70 A.D. destruction is not the ‘end’ but a type of a yet future desolation of the city that begins with the desolating sacrilege (Dan 12:11 with Mt 24:15; Rev 11:2) and ends in the return of Christ and the resurrection (Dan 12:1 with Mt 24:29).
Rather than connecting the half week of Dan 9:27 with the 3 1/2 years of Dan 12:11, many commentators believe that it is ‘the anointed (Messiah) prince’ who stops the sacrifice in Dan 9:27 while it is the Romans who stop it in Dan 12:11. The second half of the seventieth seven in Dan 9:27 is not considered to be the 3 1/2 years of Dan 12:11. The 3 1/2 years that follow upon the stopping of the sacrifice in Dan 9:27 is thought to be an entirely different event and time from the 3 1/2 years that follow upon the stopping of the sacrifice in Dan 12:11.
In this view, the first half of the week is reckoned from the beginning of Jesus ministry with His baptism of John. Since it is reasonably well determined that Jesus’s ministry lasted 3 1/2 years, the stopping of the sacrifice “in the middle of week” is taken to mean that the atoning death of Jesus rendered the temple sacrifice forever obsolete. The second half of the week is believed to follow the first half in unbroken succession, expiring at some undesignated point 3 1/2 years later in the earliest years of the fledgling church. Some suggest the death of Stephen or the conversion of Paul. In this view, the Roman general Titus is seen as the “coming prince” that destroys the city and the sanctuary (Dan 9:26), but the desolator is believed to be the risen Lord, since the text makes clear that the one who confirms the covenant and puts an end to the sacrifice is also the desolator.
Most conservative scholars are agreed that Daniel’s seventieth week, like the former 69 sevens, is rightly understood as seven literal years, divided into two halves of 3 1/2 years each (Dan 9:24-27). However, when it comes to the interpretation of Dan 12:11, there is a great parting of the ways. In an effort to distinguish the second half of Dan 9:27 from the 3 1/2 years of Dan 12:11, many fanciful and contradictory theories have been offered.
When texts of such similar language and evident meaning can be interpreted so differently, we are made to wonder why. Why aren’t interpreters able to see the plain use that Jesus (Mt 24:15, 21), Paul (2Thes 2:4), and John (Rev 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5) make of Daniel’s prophecy? We believe it is because the evidence points in a direction that is incompatible with prior theological commitments.
For example, if it is accepted that Dan 12:11 is associated with a final 3 1/2 year persecution of the Antichrist, it would mean that Jesus’s reference to the abomination of desolation (Mt 24:15) is future. For many interpreters this is unthinkable, because a future Antichrist that is bent on the destruction of the Jewish people calls into question many strongly held assumptions that are not easily surrendered. A future Antichrist that will rise amidst an age ending crisis over the city of Jerusalem points to a still outstanding covenant election and millennial destiny of those whom Paul calls, ‘the natural branches’ (Ro 11:21, 24-29).
According to the eschatology of the day of the Lord, as conceived and depicted by the Hebrew prophets, this time of unequaled tribulation was seen as the last stage in the discipline of the covenant that ends in a transformational moment of revelation and regeneration of the surviving remnant (Isa 26:16-17; 66:8; Mic 5:3-4; Jer 30:6-7; Dn 12:1; Zech 12:10; 13:1). Never is Israel left to endless exile and the curse of the conditional covenant (Lev 26; Deut 28-32). Rather, in a transformational moment of revelation and repentance, ‘at the end of their power’ (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7), Israel is brought into the “everlasting righteousness” of the “everlasting covenant” (Isa 45:17; 59:21; Jer 32:40; Dan 9:24). This deliverance is everywhere shown to come at the great transition called the day of the Lord. Jews rightly understood this to be the time of the resurrection of the ‘last day,’ which Daniel manifestly puts at the end of the unequaled tribulation (Dan 12:1-2, 13).
[Note: It is interesting to note with what great inconsistency Dan 12:11 is interpreted by those systems that deny special prophetic significance to natural Israel. One approach is to see Dan 12:11 as fulfilled in the second century B.C. when Antiochus IV desecrated the holy place and persecuted Jews loyal to the covenant. But a type is not an anti-type, as it is often the case in prophecy that a parallel fulfillment on the near horizon is only a type and pattern that points beyond itself to an eschatological fulfillment that will more perfectly match all the literal details of the prophecy, many of which were never fulfilled in the historical type. The other approach is to see the sacrifice as removed by the Romans, but since the sacrifice was not literally stopped until very near the end of the siege, this school of interpretation (‘historicist’) believes that each day should count for year, so that 1290 days becomes 1,290 years. However, there is little agreement among them as to which point in history ends the 1290 years.]
As mentioned, most conservative commentators interpret Dan 9:27 consistently as a literal seven year period, divided into two equal halves at the point where the sacrifice is stopped in “the middle of the week.” It becomes a question of consistency to find Dan 12:11 treated so differently, since it also speaks of the stopping of the sacrifice in connection with the time of desolation. In contrast to Dan 9:27, Dan 12:11 is either spiritualized as purely symbolic of a short time, or else converted into years.
Moreover, the specified time of 1290 days (3 1/2 years; 43 months) does not match the dates for the Roman siege. The sacrifice was not interrupted until only shortly (July 17th) before the Romans entered the temple (August 10th, 70 A.D). The actual siege lasted 134 days, a full four years after the beginning of the Jewish revolt. The events simply do not match. Most importantly, none of the events that Dan 12 associates with the time of the end were realized at that time.
It is better to see that the 3 1/2 years that follows the stopping of the sacrifice in Dan 9:27 is the same 3 1/2 years that follows the removal of the sacrifice in Dan 12:11, and that the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D constitutes the first of two distinct destructions, the former typical of the latter. This means that the “end” in Dn 9:26-27 looks beyond the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. to the abomination of desolation (Mt 24:15) that begins the final 3 1/2 years of great tribulation (Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7, 11; Rev 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5) that ends in nothing short of Jesus’s bodily return, the resurrection, and gathering of the saints (Dan 12:1-2; Mt 24:29, 31; Acts 1:11; 2Thes 2:1, 8).
It seems most inconsistent to make the half week of Dan 9:27 to end at some undesignated point 3 1/2 years after the cross, while assigning the 3 1/2 years of Dan 12:11 to the Roman sack of Jerusalem. The language of cessation of sacrifice and desolation, common to both passages, would never, apart from prior theological presumptions, lead one to conclude that the stopping of the sacrifice should be seen as separated from the placing of the abomination by 40 years, or by 1290 years, as in the year day theory of the historicist school. The text simply will not bear it, because both in tandem, as two sides of the same event, start the last 3 1/2 years of desolation that arrive at the resurrection of Daniel (Dan 12:1-2, 11, 13).
[Note: Jerusalem did not actually cease from being a Jewish city until after the revolt of Bar Kochba in 132-136 A.D. After that, the Romans changed its name to Aelia Capitolina, forbidding Jews to set foot in the city on pain of death. From that time, scholars began to interpret Jerusalem allegorically of the church, particularly since a literal Jewish Jerusalem seemed now a forgone conclusion. The end of Jerusalem as a city inhabited by Jews, seemed to lend support to the theology of replacement that would make such great room for the vilification and persecution of the Jew by “the arrogant kingdom,” the telling name the Jews would use to refer to the church that they knew in their experience.]
In Dan 9:25-26 mention is made of two princes, “‘Messiah, the prince,’ and ‘the prince that shall come.’ Which prince puts an end to the sacrifice in Dan 9:27? It is hard to over emphasize the importance of this question, as it will greatly determine how we see the end, particularly in relation to the Jewish question.
We believe the question is answered decisively by the simple observance that in every other reference to the desolating sacrilege throughout the book of Daniel, the daily sacrifice is taken away by the one who exalts himself (compare Dan 8:11; 11:31, 36-37; 12:11 with 2Thes 2:4). Conclusion: If it is not Christ but the Antichrist who stops the sacrifice “in the middle of the week” in Dan 9:27, then Daniel’s seventieth week must be future. It could no more have followed the 69th week in unbroken succession than the advent and career of the Antichrist could have immediately followed the death (‘cutting off;’ Dan 9:26) of Messiah.
The “end” in Dan 9:26-27 is consistent with “the end” in Dan 7:26; 8:17, 19; 12:4, 6, 8-9, 13. It is the short time (3 1/2 years), the half week of the unequaled tribulation (Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7, 11; Rev 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5). It is completely inconsistent to interpret the seven years as literal years divided into two halves of 3 1/2 years each, and then spiritualize the 3 1/2 years of great tribulation to be nothing more than a general ‘apocalyptic’ symbol for a short period of indefinite duration. Yet this is what we see with many commentators.
A comparison of Dan 12:1 with Rev 12:7 will further show the inseparable relation of events. Rev 12 shows that the standing up of Michael at the beginning of the unequaled trouble in Dan 12:1 is to cast down Satan to begin his ‘short time’ of wrath bringing great woe to the earth (Rev 12:12). Clearly, Satan’s short time coincides with the 3 1/2 years of the persecution of Israel and the church (Rev 12:6, 12, 14, 17).
Clearly, Michael’s heavenly triumph coincides with the time that the Antichrist enters the temple of God to place the abomination of desolation (Dan 11:31, 36-37; 12:11 with Mt 24:15; 2Thes 2:4). This observance invites us to consider the relationship between the casting down of Satan and the Antichrist’s defilement of the temple, since the two events stand equally at the beginning of the tribulation.
Many scorn the suggestion that scripture compels recognition of a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks of Dan 9:24-27. A little reflection should soften the criticism when it is understood that every interpretation must recognize a gap of some length. A gap will either be located between between the death of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem some 40 years later, or it will be the almost 2000 years between the advent of Christ and the advent of Antichrist.
There is nothing inherently incongruous or inconceivable about such a gap. It agrees perfectly with the pattern of the prophetic mystery of Christ’s twofold advent. Until its divinely appointed time of revelation, the gospel was a prophetic mystery concealed in the writings of the prophets (Ro 16:25-26; Eph 6:19; 1Pet 1:11). With the key of the gospel, we can see in retrospect many examples where both advents are combined and blended, without clear distinction. This explains why the Lord’s first coming presented such a formidable puzzle to Israel.
We believe this definite knowledge of the time will be strategic in the church’s intercessory travail for Israel, and will be answered by Michael’s victory over Satan at the threshold of the tribulation. Scripture is clear that it is only with the prior revelation of the mystery of iniquity that day of the Lord can come (2Thes 2:3, 7-8). A comparison of Rev 12:7-10 with Dan 12:1 would lead us to conclude that the revelation of the mystery of iniquity in the final Antichrist is directly related to Michael’s heavenly victory at the threshold of the tribulation when Satan is cast down to begin is ‘short time’ of wrath (Rev 12:12).
Thus, the church that would pray for the coming of the kingdom cannot ignore the cost of that prayer in what must come first. But when our view of His glory is such that we can love His appearing more than temporal ease and blessing, all hindrance will be removed; the Accuser will be cast down, and the kingdom of God will come with power (Rev 12:10).
The last days implies a deep corporate self emptying of the church that is connected to the time and the further opening of the sealed vision of Daniel (Isa 8:16-17; 29:11; Dan 9:24; 12:4, 9). There is a relation between the time of fulfillment and the knowledge of revealed secrets that God has strategically ordained to overcome the hindering powers and to crowd and quicken the church to vital intercession and divine break through in conjunction with His ‘set time’ (Ps 102:13; Dan 8:19; 11:27, 35).
There is a profound philosophy of history contained in the mystery of the seventy sevens. The inferred break between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel is built around two mysteries that both culminate in an incarnation. The first is the ‘mystery of godliness’ (1Tim 3:16) which answers to the mystery of the woman’s seed (Gen 3:15), as realized in the incarnation and atonement of the Messiah. The second is the “mystery of iniquity” (2Thes 2:7), which answers to the mystery of the Serpent’s seed, as realized in the incarnation of Satan in the man of sin.
As the 69 weeks would terminate with the accomplishment of the atonement in Messiah’s death (Dan 9:25-26), the 70th week would be reserved to bring in the time that the mystery of iniquity will be completed in the final Antichrist (2Thes 2:3, 7-8) and Messiah’s return to “finish the mystery of God” (Rev 10:7) in Israel’s deliverance (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1) and the resurrection of the saints (Isa 25:7-8; 26:19; Dan 12:2; 1Cor 15:52-54).
Rather than terminating Daniel’s last week at some vague point 3 1/2 years after the cross, it is better to let Dan 12:11 be our the authoritative interpreter of Dan 9:27. Not Christ but the Antichrist confirms the covenant (Dan 8:25; 9:27; 11:23-24). Not Christ but the Antichrist stops the sacrifice 3 1/2 years before the end.
It seems to us most incongruous to suppose that Daniel could have conceived of an end of the seventy sevens that did not attain to the full promise of the eschatology of the covenant, which guaranteed Israel’s deliverance at the day of the Lord, together with the resurrection of the righteous (Isa 25:7-8; 26:16-17, 19; Dan 12:1, 13). Since this is found only at the end of the unequaled tribulation, it is hard to see the second half of the last seven expiring rather quietly in the first century, 3 1/2 years after the cross.
Furthermore, it is far better to see the “end” that is shown to come 3 1/2 years after the sacrifice is stopped “in the middle of the week,” not as confined to the 70 A.D. destruction by the Romans, but the “end” that follows a future desolation of Jerusalem, which Jesus connects so clearly to the unequaled tribulation that immediately precedes His return (Mt 24:29) and the resurrection and gathering of the church (Dan 12:1-2, 7, 13; Mt 24:31; 2Thes 1:7; 2:1). When such harmony of the evidence is discounted, we are inclined to look for the cause in something other than careful exegesis of the texts within their context.
All is to say that without the Jewish sanctuary and sacrifice situated in the only location sanctioned by scripture, the end cannot be imminent. It may be near, but it is not yet here. Until this particular set of inseparably related events are fully aligned, and until the stage is fully set in such an unmistakable way, we may be sure that Israel will continue to prevail in any conflict that may arise to threaten the nation’s survival.
Significantly, God’s final dealings with Israel begins, not when Israel is in a position of manifest danger, but when the nation is prosperous and secure. According to Eze 38:8, 12-13, Israel exists as a recently restored nation that has grown very prosperous when invaded suddenly and unexpected by the Antichrist. Not only are they enjoying for the first time in 19 centuries the restoration of temple and sacrifice, but they are secure in their expectation of continued peace and safety, assured, no doubt, that the messianic era has either begun or is near at hand. This is the circumstance that prophecy predicts of Israel when the proverbial hammer falls (Isa 28:15, 18; Eze 38:8, 11, 14; Dan 8:25; 11:23-24; 1Thes 5:3). The point that God is making through such an unexpected set of circumstances is something profoundly instructive for how He intends to plead with Israel, much to probe and ponder for us here.
We may ponder what kind of changes will be necessary to force Muslim acceptance of the presence of a Jewish sanctuary and sacrifice on the fiercely guarded temple mount. We notice too that according to Isa 63:18, it appears that the holy places have been only recently restored (“a little while”) when Jerusalem is suddenly ‘trodden down’ by the adversary (Isa 64:10-11; Rev 11:2). This suggests that Israel has only recently recovered access to the the temple mount when the Antichrist invades.
This implies that sometime between now and the time that Israel can freely proceed build and sacrifice on the forbidden temple mount, something seismic has happened to force Muslim acceptance of such an otherwise unthinkable arrangement. How this will come about will be a wonder to behold. Therefore, if we would not be distracted by premature excitement (the ‘false alarms of prophetic speculation’), we must pay close attention to what must be in place before the Antichrist can fulfill all that is written of him.
Not only must the temple and sacrifice be in place, but Dan 11:23 thru Dan 11:31 gives us a definite sequence of events that take place in the first half of the seven years after the peace arrangement but before the abomination. We note that sometime “AFTER the league made with him” (Dan 11:23), he conquers a powerful king to his south (Dan 11:25-26). After the defeat of this king, the conqueror and the conquered sit at one table to plot against the ‘holy covenant’ (Dan 11:28, 30) that pertains to the sanctuary and sacrifice according to the divine grant that appointed this specific place to one elect people as the place of His Name and covenant claim.
Indeed, if reference to the ‘holy covenant’ in Dan 11:28, 30 can be demonstrated to have a future fulfillment, then the whole question of divine right to the Land that is so much debated among evangelicals is decisively answered, since the covenant is called “holy” despite the unbelieving state of those appointed to the discipline of Jacob’s trouble.
[Note: Manifestly, God is holding the nations responsible to understand and revere His covenant with Israel, as it is clear that when the Antichrist presumes to lead his confederacy down to scatter His people (“My heritage”) and divide ‘His Land’ (Dan 11:39; Joel 3:2), a definite line has been crossed, a point of no return, as God’s fury “comes up into His face,” and a full end is declared (Eze 38:17; 39:8 with Rev 16:17). It is made to appear that this great presumption by the Antichrist is counted as the ultimate provocation, but note that it is particularly depicted as an assault against the ‘holy covenant.’ And what is that if it is not the Word of election and covenant that God has spoken concerning this particular people?]
Could the covenant that the Antichrist confirms with many at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week be the same covenant that the Antichrist will hate, and conspire to destroy? We think so. In any event, the plans of these two kings do not prosper, because the time of the appointed end is not yet (Dan 11:27). Soon after this, the Antichrist (“vile person;” Dan 11:21) attempts another southward advance, but to no avail, as he is checked and turned back by the ‘ships of Chittim’ (Dan 11:29-30).
In biblical idiom, Chittim or Kittim was associated with the maritime coastlands of the northwestern Mediterranean. The prophecy suggests a formidable armada from the west that is able to momentarily check the movements of the one who will very shortly invade Israel with irresistible force (Dan 11:31 with Rev 13:4). This second move south is apparently perceived to threaten the security of the covenant.
In today’s world, the ‘ships of Chittim,’ would seem to indicate a western power such as the U.S. or NATO with a naval presence in the Mediterranean. We may safely assume that the ‘ships of Chittim’ represents a very formidable power, because it is able to turn back the one who will, in a very short time, command a military supremacy that none can hope to resist (Dan 11:31 with Rev 13:4).
The momentary success of the ships of Chittim will greatly reinforce the feeling that the security of the covenant is invincible under the guardianship of such a powerful force, as represented by the ‘ships of Chittim.’ But immediately after he is repulsed in his second southward advance, he begins to have secret intelligence with the other nations that apparently share his hatred for the covenant (Dan 11:28, 30, 32). We may safely assume that this intelligence (plotting) is indeed secret, because Israel, and the nations protecting the covenant, are taken completely by surprise by the invasion. Israel’s ‘presumption’ of security will be at its height when disaster strikes.
In addition to commanding the high ground in future negotiations over Jerusalem and the temple mount, we also may infer on the basis of Eze 38:12-13 that Israel has become the jewel of the Middle-East. This remarkable prosperity will further exasperate and vex the envy of the Antichrist and the cast of nations that will support his designs against the covenant. These are the nations that will seek opportunity to end western dominance over the resources of the region.
Not only Israel, but any nation that has backed the hated ‘Zionist’ state will be equally marked for destruction. Israel’s increasing prosperity exasperate not only Arab hatred, it will also excite the covetousness of the nations from the regions in the north (Eze 38:2, 5-6). It appears that the Antichrist will not only exploit Islamic hatred of the covenant, he may also gain support from nations that will support his plan to wrest the economic advantage from the west and restore it to its place of origin (Zech 5:5-11?).
A case can be made for a twofold destruction of Babylon. This brings harmony to a number of scriptures. The ten kingdoms under the command of the Antichrist will inflict a fiery judgment on the harlot, which in our view is primarily a reference to Jerusalem, but perhaps not only Jerusalem but the western powers that support and guard the covenant that is hated by the Antichrist and his supporters. Such nation or nations would be represented by the reference in Dan 11:30 to the ships of Chittim. The further second stage of the harlot’s destruction includes all of word-wide Babylon at the Lord’s return.
At the middle of the week, 3 1/2 years from the time that the covenant was confirmed (Dan 9:27; 12:7, 11), the invasion of the Antichrist will come in suddenly like an overwhelming flood (Dan 9:26; 11:22). The reversal will be staggering, not only for Israel, but also the nation or nations that pledged to guard the covenant (‘ships of Chittim’ ?) will be caught equally off guard when disaster strikes. That is when I can personally conceive, even expect, that the western powers that have pledged protection of the covenant may simultaneously come under nuclear attack against our major population centers and infrastructure. Whether that will be, one thing is very clear: The formidable western naval power that successfully repulsed the Antichrist such a short time before will be helpless to stop him.
Towards the end of the tribulation, it appears that some of these great powers such as China (“tidings from the east;” and “kings of the east”) and possibly some part or all of Russia or perhaps a western power (“king of the north”) will come against the Antichrist. This is little considered but very clear in the last verses of Dan 11 that describe a final ‘Waterloo’ for the Antichrist just before he is destroyed by the breath of the Lord.
The question is, were either or both of these super powers involved in a supportive role at the time of the Antichrist’s initial invasion of Jerusalem at the beginning of the tribulation? Daniel makes clear that a mighty nation from the north, another from the south, and “the kings of the east” will be pushing against him with great fury (Dan 11:40, 44; Rev 16:12-14) when he comes to his end in Dan 11:45.
Still, I don’t see anything so far that leads me to expect that the present crisis will necessarily lead immediately into the particular peace arrangement that will permit Jewish re-annexation, or even access to the temple mount. I would expect something more extreme, but anything is possible. If, however, this crisis escalates into a regional war that shakes things up and re-positions and re-shapes the current policy of accommodation by the secular state, then we can’t rule out that possibility. Things have the potential to change radically, almost overnight, as we saw in Russia.
A strategic and decisive victory for Israel (all the more if it proves very costly), coupled with the impressive prosperity that prophecy anticipates before the tribulation (Eze 38:12-13), would put Israel in a much more advantageous bargaining position requiring compromise from the Muslim world that would never be considered under the present circumstances. It suggests, not a complete subjugation of the Arab world, but a great and unprecedented advantage sufficient to induce compromise that would not, at the moment, be even remotely entertained. It is in such a climate and circumstance that I think we will see the confirmation of the covenant / peace arrangement that we’re looking for, but not until. We will know it’s the one because it will be attended by initiatives to restore the sanctuary and sacrifice on the temple mount.
This brings the further question: Is it possible that Jews will gain access to the temple mount before the last 7 begins? Or will this be a sign that we are in the last seven? I believe the latter. Here’s why: According to inferences based on what we consider the most credible interpretation of Dan 8:11-14, the regular sacrifice that is taken away in the middle of the week (see Dan 8:11; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11) has only recently been restored (‘possessed but a little while;’ Isa 63:18) when it is removed to begin the final 42 months of the prophesied desolation of Jerusalem (Isa 63:18; 64:10-11 with Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt 24:15-16; 2Thes 2:4; Rev 11:2), also called, ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’ (compare Jer 30:7 with Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21).
We believe that the 2,300 day prophecy of Dan 8:12-14 comprehends the entire time from when the sacrifice is re-started until the end. Dan 9:27 with Dan 12:11 is clear in showing that from the mid-point of Daniel’s 70th week, there is 1290 days from the removal of the daily sacrifice to the end. The 2,300 days covers the longer period from the start of the sacrifice to the end.
In order for the sacrifice to be stopped 1290 days before the end, certainly it must first be started. We believe the purpose of the prophecy of the 2300 days is to show us that the sacrifice that is removed in the middle of the week has been only recently restarted very shortly after the covenant has been confirmed. If this is true, it greatly defines the nature of the covenant and how it can be distinguished from any other peace arrangement. I’ll come back to this, but this is much more than just one more peace arrangement in the Middle-East.
If the seven years is reckoned as an equal 1260 for both halves of the period, we have a total of 2,520 days. 2300 from 2,520 leaves 220 days. This would imply that the 2,300 days begins with the renewal of the sacrifice about 7 months and 10 days after the covenant was confirmed. However, the mysterious extension of days in Dan 12:11-12 prevents us from any such precision. Interestingly, the 1260 days, the 42 months, the time, times, and half of time of Dan 7:25; 12:7; Rev 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5, all seem to be reckoned from two nearly simultaneous events, one in heaven and one on earth. They are the abomination of desolation, which includes the removal of the daily sacrifice (Dan 8:11; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt 24:15), and the standing up of Michael in Dan 12:1 and Rev 12:7 at the beginning of the last 3 1/2 years of unequaled tribulation.
[Note: This correlation of events has been far too overlooked by commentators. It should not be missed that in Dan 12:1 Michael stands up at the beginning of the unequaled troubled. The same sequence is seen in Rev 12 where Michael prevails to cast down Satan to the earth. This results in Satan’s ‘short time’ (Rev 12:12), which is manifestly concurrent with the persecution of the last 3 1/2 years (Rev 12:6, 14-17). There can be no doubt that the same time is in view in both places. The standing of Michael to cast down Satan is clearly the heavenly event that is the catalyst for the earthly event of the abomination in the temple at Jerusalem. Both set in motion the unequaled tribulation that precedes Christ’s return.]
The difficulty in calculating the precise time that the sacrifice will start lies in the mysterious extension of days that we find in Dan 12:11-12. 1290 days is 30 days longer than 1260 days and 1335 is 45 days longer still, for a total of 75 days. What is the significance of this mysterious extension of days? We are not told specifically. We may, however, suppose such things as the time that the penitent remnant will go apart to mourn, or the cleansing of the sanctuary or dedication of the new temple (whether understood literally or symbolically, as this is a notable stumbling block for many). In any event, it is a time of special blessing of new beginnings for the newly regenerate nation.
It seems clear to me that none of the three terminal points (1260; 1290; 1335) can be the exact time of the Lord’s return, for the following 3 reasons:
1) Jesus said the exact day and hour of His return was unknown even to Him, at least during the time of His self-emptying on earth. Furthermore, I believe it is altogether possible that he had the mysterious extension of the days in Daniel specifically in mind when He gave that caveat.
2). Not only the 1335 but also the 1290 days appear to take us to a time beyond the the Lord’s return to destroy the Antichrist. This we conclude, because the Antichrist’s persecution of Israel and the saints is limited to 42 months (Dan 7:25; 12:7; Rev 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5), whereas the 1290 days is 43 months, and takes us to a point that seems a little beyond Christ’s return to destroy the Antichrist. Hence, the 1290 and 1335 are points of special significance in the earliest days of the millennium.
3). Nor does Jesus return at the end of the 1260th day. At the end of the 1260 days the two witnesses are killed and their dead bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for an additional 3 1/2 days. In the same hour of their ascent in the sight of their enemies, the ‘second woe,’ which is the 6th trumpet, is declared as past with the announcement that the ‘third woe,’ which is the 7th trumpet, is coming quickly. We may only wonder how quickly. Thus, it seems clear that the Lord’s return is somewhere between the 1263.5 days that conclude the 6th trumpet and the 1290th day. However, in view of the limitation of he Antichrist’s persecution of the woman and the saints to only 42 months, we must expect the Lord’s return at the seventh trumpet (Rev 10:7; 11:15-18) to come somewhere nearer to the expiration of the 1260 days than to the 1290th day, which amounts to 43 months.
[Note also that even so late as the 6th bowl of wrath, and just before the “great day of God Almighty,” which is clearly the seventh bowl (Rev 16:14-17 with Eze 39:8), we see the Lord interjecting between the 6th and 7th bowl these fateful words: “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” (Rev 16:15). In 2 Pet 3:10, 12, the day of the Lord is equated with the day of God, the only other place the day of God is mentioned in just those words other than here in the book of Revelation. It is ‘that day’ that Peter says will come as a thief, and here in Rev 16:15, after the 6th bowl but before the 7th, the Lord is warning that He is coming as a thief. Should we not understand that it is on “the great day of God Almighty” that He returns as a thief?]
All is to say that in order to calculate the 2,300 days of Dan 8:12-13 accurately, we would have to know the precise end-point for the event identified as the ‘cleansing of the sanctuary.’ From that point, counting backwards, we arrive at the starting point of the sacrifice. This means that the sacrifice that is started at the beginning of the 2,300 days is taken away approximately 3 1/2 years before the end, which “end” is shown in Dan 12:2, 13 to coincide with the time of Daniel’s personal resurrection at “the end of the days” (Dan 12:13). [It is exceedingly hard to understand the lengths to which some commentators will go to interpret such language as being satisfied by events that passed with the first century.]
As I see it, the precise day that the sanctuary will be cleansed, like the exact day of the Lord’s return, is deliberately veiled from us. We are not definitely told what happens at the end of the 1290th day or the 1335th day. We may speculate and infer but since the scripture does not say explicitly, we are not able to say precisely when the sanctuary is cleansed. It would be most reasonable to suppose that since the 1290th day is a further point, somewhat beyond the day of the Lord’s return, that it is the day that the sanctuary is cleansed. Perhaps so, but it is not definitely stated.
The full time from 1260 to 1335 is 75 additional days. That’s about 2 1/2 months. Given the additional terminal points beyond the 1260, and not knowing which, if either, of those specified days definitely mark the cleansing of the sanctuary, we can only say that sometime between 8 and 10 months after the covenant has been confirmed, the sacrifice will definitely be started again.
This does not require the completion of a temple (though, of course, in the modern world a temple could rise very quickly). We know this, because no sooner did the returning exiles under Zerubbabel return to the site of the altar, but they immediately began to offer sacrifice while work on the temple was only beginning. Furthermore, we know that the Greek word that Paul uses for the temple signifies its inner sanctum. This is in perfect keeping with Jesus’ mention of the inner room of the sanctuary called ‘the holy place.’ Therefore, a fully completed temple is not necessary for the prophecy to be fulfilled.
If we are correct that a restored sanctuary and sacrifice will be at the heart of the “holy covenant” (Dan 9:27 with Dan 11:28, 30, 32) that the Antichrist will ‘confirm’ (not create but ‘make firm’) with many (not necessarily ‘many’ Jews, but more probably many nations), then we will know when the seven years has begun regardless of who we may have thought the Antichrist would be or where he comes from. By this we will be able to distinguish it from any other peace arrangements along the way.
Even if we are ignorant or incorrect of exactly who the Antichrist is or where he comes from, we will nonetheless know with certainty that the seven years has begun. We will at least know that the Antichrist is among those heads of state that ratify the treaty that confirms Israel’s right to the appurtenances of the “holy covenant.” We will also know that “after the league made with him” (Dan 9:27; 11:23), the Jews will shortly begin to offer sacrifice again and evidently begin to build the temple that will house the ‘holy place’ that he defiles in the middle of the week.
If the language of scripture and historical precedent be given priority over conspiracy theory and speculation, this ‘holy covenant’ will certainly have to do with Jewish right to the Land and the city of Jerusalem, and particularly the temple mount. From the start, the Antichrist both hates and plots against the very covenant that he confirmed with many (Dan 9:27; 11:23). This is the paradox. On one side, the treaty is a covenant with death and hell. It is unholy in that it trusts in man for its security. On the other side, it is holy in the sense that it recognizes, or rather pretends to recognize, Israel’s legitimacy and restored rights to temple and sacrifice. This is what the Antichrist will conspire against, first with a conquered king to his south (Dan 11:27), then with other nations who share a mutual hatred of the covenant (Dan 11:27-28, 30, 32).
I say that his intelligence with them who hate the covenant is “secret,” simply because scripture is clear that until he comes in suddenly “with the arms of a flood,” both Israel, and no doubt the western powers that are protectorates of the covenant (ships of Chittim), are unsuspecting of this sudden and overwhelming show of force (Dan 11:31 with Rev 13:4). At this point, Israel is basking in the presumed security of divine favor.
With the recent successful interdiction of the Antichrist’s southward initiative by the ships of Chittim, Israel will feel that the peace is more secure and invincible than ever and will securely dismiss the warnings of the prophetic witness that will be coming to them from within and without (Isa 28:11-12, 14-15). However, within whatever time may be considered to pass between Dan 11:30 and verse 31, a great shift of power has occurred.
Within a short time after he has been frustrated by the western armada, the Antichrist is able to secure the further backing needed to mount an irresistible invasion force against Israel. Not only this, but a case can be made for the view that sometime after Dan 11:30 but before Dan 11:31, this beast has been resuscitated from a mortal wound to become the full incarnation of Satan, “with ALL power and signs of deceptive wonders” (2Thes 2:9). This is when the whole world wonders when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is (Rev 17:8).
It will be a demonic miracle, something much more deceptive and immediately compelling than the re-emegence of an empire, or an illusion of technology, as sometimes interpreted. It will be the ‘revelation of the mystery of iniquity’, which must be accomplished before Christ can return (2Thes 2:3, 7-8).
We believe this happens in immediate connection with Michael’s eviction of Satan in Rev 12:7-14, as also implied in Dan 12:1. It is then, upon the event of this supernatural empowerment from Satan (Dan 8:24 with Rev 13:2), that the Antichrist proceeds to enter the temple, claiming divine honors (Dan 11:36-37 with 2Thes 2:4). The Lord help you and give you grace to see the connection and the essence of things, as you search the scriptures to prove whether these things be so.
Yours in common waiting for the consolation of Israel, Reggie