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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks # 9

Turning now to verse 27 of the prophecy of the Weeks, which deals specifically with the Seventieth Week, our first problem is to identify the antecedent of the pronoun "he," for this person is the chief actor and subject of the verse. Does the "he" refer back to the Messianic prince or to the Roman prince? Grammatically, it might refer to either, although presumption favors the latter because he is mentioned last before the pronoun. However, there are certain other considerations which are decisive. First, we are told that "he" will make a firm covenant with the Jewish nation for a period of one week, or seven years. Now, there is absolutely nothing recorded in the earthly ministry of our Lord which even remotely resembles such a covenant. Those who hold that Messiah is the maker of this seven-year covenant have never been able to produce the evidence to show the existence of such a covenant between our Lord and the Jews. They cannot point to the place in history where it began nor where it has ended. Second, the theory that this covenant was made by our Lord when He began His earthly ministry and that by His death He caused the Jewish sacrifice to cease, breaks down because there is no reference to such a covenant in the Gospel records and also because the death of Christ did not cause the Jewish sacrifices to cease. They continued, in fact, until the destruction of Jerusalem nearly forty years later. And, since according to this theory Christ died "in the midst of the week," the sacrifices should have ceased immediately. But they did not. In the third place, to insist that Messiah was the maker of this seven-year covenant necessarily puts the entire Seventieth Week in the past, immediately following the Sixty-ninth Week. But this is impossible, as we have seen already from arguments set forth in Part II. The Seventieth Week is still in the future, not in the past, according to the Word of our Lord Himself in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew.

The maker of the "firm covenant" described in Daniel 9:27 cannot be "Messiah the prince." His covenants with His chosen people are everlasting, not limited to a period of seven years. The one who makes the seven-year covenant is the Roman Prince, the one "that shall come." It is he, not the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the subject of verse 27 and the chief actor in the terrible events of its seven-year period. (So Godet, Hofmann, Tregelles, and others.) We are ready now to consider the Seventieth and last week of the prophecy.

1. This Seventieth Week is a period of seven years which lies prophetically between the translation of the church and the return of Christ in glory.

We have already seen that this Seventieth Week of years must still be future for various reasons which need not be rehearsed here, but particularly because our Lord Himself places the "abomination of desolation" of the Seventieth Week at the end of the present age just prior to His return in power and glory (Matthew 24:15-30). But now, examining more closely its exact location in relation to the events of the end-time, we shall find that the Seventieth Week cannot begin to run its course in fulfillment of the prophecy until the true [note the word "true". The "true" church is not our buildings, denomanations, etc. The "true church are those "true" believers who are honestly and sincerely devoted to Christ and not the make-believes.] church has been taken out of the world by translation. Keeping in mind that Daniel's prophecy pictures the Seventieth Week as the definite period of the revelation and career of this terrible Roman prince, let us turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9 where the Apostle Paul discusses his revelation in relation to the career of the true church upon the earth. Verses 6-8 read as follows in the American Standard Version: "And now ye know that which restraineth to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work; only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall be revealed the Lawless One, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of His mouth, and bring to naught by the manifestation of his coming."

Now, since the restraining power mentioned in this remarkable passage can be nothing else but the true church indwelt by the Holy Spirit, it is clear that the coming Roman prince cannot be revealed  as the "man of sin" as long as this restraining power is operative on earth. But when this "one that restraineth" shall be "taken out of the way" (as the church shall be taken one of these days, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), "then shall be revealed the lawless one." The language is unmistakable and indicates two important facts: first, the coming prince cannot be revealed until after the removal of the true church from the earth; and, second, his revelation must follow the translation of the church very speedily, if not immediately. Therefore, since the identity of the Roman prince will be clearly revealed the moment he makes his seven-year covenant with the Jewish people, and since the making of this covenant will mark the beginning of the Seventieth Week, it follows logically that the Seventieth Week cannot begin until after the removal of the true church from the earth.

It is also certain that this Seventieth Week must come to an end at the return of our Lord from heaven in glory, for the following reasons: First, Daniel 9:24 names certain great blessings which will  come to Israel when the whole period of the Seventy Weeks have run their course, and a study of these blessings shows that they are the very ones which are to be brought by Messiah at His second coming from heaven in great power and glory. Second, since the awful power of the Roman prince continues to the full end of the Seventieth Week (Daniel 7:25-27; 9:27), and since he is to be "destroyed" by the manifestation of our Lord's coming (2 Thess. 2:8), it follows that this glorious coming of our Lord will take place at the end of the Seventieth Week. In fact, it will be the glorious second coming of Messiah which will terminate the entire period of the Seventy Weeks and usher in the covenanted blessings to Israel.

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 10)

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