Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "ESCHATOLOGY 3"
SECTION VIII - THE SEVENTIETH
(7 years) OF TRIBULATION (Daniel 9:24-27)
Return to Syllabus
BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
Edited by Dr. Clarence E. Mason,
THE SEVENTIETH WEEK (7 years) OF TRIBULATION (Daniel 9:24-27)
In approaching the study of the Seventieth Week of Daniel's prophecy (9:24-27),
commonly called the Tribulation Period, it is important to observe that the word
"tribulation" may be used in three ways in Scripture:
- It is used non-technically
of any time of testing or trouble, Mt. 13:21; Mk. 4:17; Jn. 16:33; Rom. 5:3;
- It is used technically to
refer to the entire seventieth week of Dan. 9.
See Rev. 2.22; Mt. 24-29, where the entire period is called Tribulation.
- It is used technically to
refer to the last half (or three and a half years) of the seventieth week of
Daniel 9. This is called the Great Tribulation, Mt. 24:21; Rev. 7:14.
- THE BEGINNING, ENDING, AND
METHOD OF CALCULATION
It will be observed that Christ was to be crucified ("cut off") after the 69
weeks were concluded and that the 70th "week" follows the parenthetic Church
age, being divided into two distinct 31/2 year periods, marked off by the
breaking of the covenant "in the midst of the week" (9:27). This is arrived at
- The Measuring Rod these
are "WEEKS" of years
The word translated "weeks" is simply the Hebrew word for "seven." Seven
what? Obviously not days, for 490 days came and went with none of the
promises or events of Dan. 9:24 being fulfilled.
A clue is found in the context. See 9:2, where it says Daniel examined the
prophetic books and ascertained "the number of the YEARS" of the captivity,
prophesied by Jeremiah (25:11) to be "seventy YEARS."
This in itself is significant in the light of 2 Chronicles 36:21, where the
70 years are said to have been determined as to their extent by the purpose
of God to permit "the land" to enjoy "her sabbaths." In other words, the
Jews had been commanded to allow the land to rest (unfilled) every seventh
year. Since 70 years are designated as the number of unfulfilled sabbath
(7th) years, the plain meaning is that Israel had been disobedient in this
matter for 70 x 7 years, or 490 years!
This is exactly the extent of the period Daniel is now told (v. 24) is
determined upon his people (Israel) and city (Jerusalem). A further
double-check is to be found in Gen. 29:27-28 (cp. v.20), where "her week" is
defined as 7 years!
- Years - WHAT KIND OF
YEARS? [after Lincoln]
Two methods have been advanced to interpret this prophecy:
- Martin Anstey's "Calendar
Years" (365 1/4 days)
In The Romance of Bible Chronology, Dr. Anstey deals with this passage on
the basis of familiar calendar years of 365 1/4 days. Dr. David L. Cooper
has developed the argument in his writings (e.g., The Seventy Weeks). It
usually considers the decree of Ezra 1 as the starting point. It also
rejects the validity of the so-called Canon of Ptolemy. Its calculation as
to the terminal calendar date of the 69th week of the prophecy or the
483rd year is usually not specific. David L. Cooper's little book. The
Seventy Weeks of Daniel, quoting Martin Anstey, is an illustration of this
method of calculation.
- Sir Robert Anderson's
"Prophetic Years" (360 days) [cp. A, 3, for authority] This view uses the
so-called prophetic year of 360 days as the basis for the calculation. It
considers that the decree of Neh. 2 establishes the beginning date of the
prophecy. It accepts the validity of the Canon of Ptolemy. This Canon,
composed for astronomical purposes in the second century of the Christian
era, covers a period of over 900 years and lists the kings of Assyria,
Babylon, Persia, Greece, Egypt, and Rome from 747 B.C. to A.D. 160, with
their respective years of reign. In it, four kings of Persia, from 424 to
336 B.C., are given whom apparently no other authority mentions. Those who
question the validity of the Canon of Ptolemy cast out these kings and
shorten human history by the number of years. (See Cooper, pp. 38-40.)
Ptolemy says these kings reigned. The calculations of the prophetic-year
school are very exact and definite. The best work on this view is that of
Sir Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince (see particularly pp. 127ff., 13th
C. Fred Lincoln, along with such teachers as A. C. Gaebelein, H. A.
Ironside, Alva J. McClain, and others, hold to this position. The method
of its calculation is here set forth.
The basis of the method is first to calculate the length of the prophesied
period by using the 360 day prophetic year. Then, to find the actual lapse
of time from the established beginning date to the established ending date
of the period, the actual calendar year of 365 1/4 days is used.
The beginning decree of Dan. 9:25 is understood by this view to be:
Not Cyrus Ezra 1:1-3 536 B.C.
Not Darius Ezra 6:3-8 521-486 B.C.
But Artaxerxes Neh. 2:1-8 445 B.C.
20th year of Artaxerxes' reign (Neh. 2:1)
Note the following considerations to keep in mind for introduction and
study of Daniel 9:24-27.
- People and places
- Things to be
accomplished: six (v. 24)
- Time of beginning (Neh.
- Two princes, v.25 and
- Threefold division of 70
weeks (7 plus 62 or 69 and 1 final)
- "Cut off" of v.26--Cross
- Weeks of years
- "Unto" of v.25--entry of
Christ into Jerusalem
- "People of prince" shall
destroy the city—Romans did this
- Chronology of v. 2 6
- A.D. 30 - entry on Palm
- A.D. 30 - Cross a few
- A.D. 70 - destruction
of Jerusalem (40 yrs. later, in the Church age)
- Present age "unto the
end" - experiences of Israel
- "Prince to come"--first
beast of Rev. 13
- "Confirm covenant. . .one
week"--7 years, v.27
- "Midst of Week"--after
first 3 1/2 years, v.27
- Last of week--latter 3
1/2 years, v.27
- The Actual Calculation
The formula is 69 x 7 years x 360 days, or 173, 880 "prophetic" days.
- The beginning date of the
prophetic period is March 14, 445 B.C., as established by Sir Robert
Anderson in his The Coming Prince, pp.59-66; 122-124.
- The ending date was April
6, A.D. 32, according to Anderson in The Coming Prince, pp.88-105;
124-127; etc. ~
- A leap year has one day
more than an ordinary year. The rule for establishing of "leap year":
the year date must be exactly divisible by 4. If the year date ends in 2
naughts (00), it must be exactly divisible by 400. Otherwise the year in
question is not a leap year.
- To obtain the number of
years from a "B.C." date to an "A.D." date: add the numbers together and
deduct one (1) year.
- Using the dates and
formulas above, we find the following:
- From 445 B.C. to 32
A.D. = 445+32-1 = 476 years
- 476 years x 365 round
number days = 173, 740 days
- To find the number of
leap years which are represented by the fractional day of 1/4, 476 - 4
= 119 leap years. However, as the years 300 B.C., 200 B.C., and-100
B.C. are not divisible exactly by 400, they are not leap years, so we
must deduct, 119 - 3 = 116 leap years, leaving net of 116 leap years
from 445 B.C. to 32 A.D., therefore ADD 116 days = 173,856 days.
- ADD also from March 14
(445 B.C. date) to April 6 (A.D. 32) = 31 days in March less 13 days =
18, 6 days in April = 6;
18 days plus 6 days = 24 days for a total of 173, 880 actual days.
It is seen therefore that the "prophetic" days in the prophetic period
of 69 weeks or 483 years is precisely equivalent to the actual number
of calendar days from March 14, 445 B.C. to April 6, A.D. 32.
Perhaps it should be pointed out that present chronology generally
leans toward the earlier date of A.D. 29/30, though some still give 32
or 33. The important point to be made is that the passage does not say
that Messiah must be "cut off" exactly at the end of the 69 weeks, but
"after." Thus, as Scofield says, "Prophetic time is invariably so near
as to give full warning, so indeterminate as to give no satisfaction
to mere curiosity (cp. Mt. 24:36; Acts 1:7)."
- Authentication of Time
Composing 70th "Week"
The "week" is seen to be divided into 2 halves:
- Time, times, half a time,
Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 12:14 3 1/2 years
- 42 months, Rev. 11:2; 13:5
3 1/2 years
- 1260 days, Rev. 11:3; 12:6
3 1/2 years
- Midst, Rev. 9:29 3 1/2
- Days shortened, Mt. 24:22;
- Six Things to be Fulfilled
in the Seventy Weeks, Dan. 9:24
- "To finish transgression" =
Various suggestions have been made. The best
interpretation seems to be that the sin of Israel will be brought to a
climax in the rejection of their Messiah and in the acceptance of the
- "To make an end of sins" =
God's judgment on those apostates who will accept Anti-Christ.
- "To make reconciliation for
iniquity" = The basis for reconciliation was provided in the cross, but
reconciliation cannot be made by Israel with God until God's Israel
repents (cp. difference between available and actual 1 Tim. 4:10a and b; 2
Cor. 5:19 and 20).
- "To bring in everlasting
righteousness" = The establishment of the long-promised Messianic Kingdom
reign of Christ at His return, when He overthrows Anti-Christ. The
mediatorial kingdom of 1000 years feeds into the eternal kingdom.
- "To seal up the vision and
prophecy" = Because there is no further need for prophecy. When Christ
returns, He will see that all is fulfilled.
- "To anoint the Most Holy
(Place)"-- not person = Restored Millennial Temple substituted for the
temple which is defiled in the midst of the 70th Week by the abomination
of desolation (image: Rev. 13:11-18).
- GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT
THE PERIOD OF THE 70th "WEEK"
- Key Scripture References
Describing the Period
- Mt. 24:21,29 "The great
Mk. 13:19,24 "Affliction" "Tribulation"
Rev. 7:14, R.V. "The great tribulation" ("the tribulation, the great")
- Jer. 30:7 "time of Jacob's
Joel 2:31 "great and terrible Day of the LORD"
Zeph. 2:3 "Day of the Lord's anger"
Dan. 12:1 "Time of trouble"
Zech. 14:1-2 "Day of Jehovah" "against Jerusalem"
Rev. 3:10 "Hour of temptation, " for all the inhabited earth
- Rev. 6-19 Especially from
Rev. 11:19, last three and a half years.
- General Character of the
- Church, i.e., "true church"
not related to it.
- Church to be saved from
"wrath" (Rev. 19:15; 6:16; 20:14-15; 1 Thes. 1:10; Rom. 5:9; 1 Thes.
5:9; Rev. 3:10).
- No warning in Epistles to
Church about danger of entering it.
- Church not mentioned or
referred to as upon earth from Rev. 6 to 19 inclusive (Rev. 4-5, Church
is seen in heaven).
- It is especially the time
of Jacob's (Israel's) trouble, Jer. 30:7; Me. 24:15-30; Dan. 12:1,11.
- The Gentiles and the "whole
earth" will experience the tribulation, Rev. 3:10; 13:8, 12,14; 14:6;
- Nevertheless salvation on
the basis of Christ's redemptive blood will be preached and obtained by
- Jews, Rev. 7:4-8; 14:1-5
- Gentiles, Rev. 7:9-17
v. 14, "came out of the great tribulation"
- Greed, rivalry, political
ambition, religious hatred, industrial domination, Satanic intervention,
anarchy, direct judgments of God, etc., will combine to make this period
the Great Tribulation.
- FOUR VIEWS AS TO THE TIME AT
WHICH THE RAPTURE OCCURS
- Posttribulation Theory
(e.g., Reese, Ladd, Scruby, Rose, Kromminga, Fraser, etc.)
This theory maintains that the Church will pass through the tribulation,
will be caught up to meet the Lord in His earthward descent at the end of
the tribulation, and will return immediately to the earth with the Lord at
His second advent.
A statement of the key arguments urged in favor of posttribulationism,
together with a refutation of those arguments.
- The historical argument
It is claimed that posttribulationism has been the historic view of the
Church through the centuries and that pretribulationism is a doctrinal
innovation introduced in the nineteenth century by the Plymouth Brethren
(Ladd, The Blessed Hope, pp. 19-60).
Refutation: Pretribulationists answer this by pointing out that the
Church's relationship to the tribulation (along with other details of
eschatology) was not a doctrinal issue in the early Church. Other more
basic theological issues occupied the Church in the early centuries (cp.
James Orr, The Progress of Dogma, pp. 21-31). This, together with the
fact that the rise of the spiritualizing method of interpretation
resulted in the Church's departure from premillennial-ism precluded any
valid basis for a discussion of the Church's relation to the
tribulation, The recovery of the literal approach to the Scriptures
during the Reformation eventually led to a recovery of premillennialism
in the centuries following the Reformation. It was the process of
refining the premillennial system on the basis of literal interpretation
that yielded the concepts that the Church is a distinct group from
Israel, and that it will be raptured prior to the tribulation (Israel's
Also, it should be noted that the historical argument is never
conclusive, for it is vitiated by the fact that it may cite early error
as well as early truth. The early fathers were not immune to error in
other doctrinal areas, so there is no reason to expect them to be
infallible in their concept either of the Church or the tribulation,
especially since in many respects Christian theology in that period was
characterized by immaturity. The point is that the doctrinal issue is
not settled by citing and counting the fathers, but rather through the
exegesis of Scripture (cp. Walvoord, The Rapture Question, pp. 135-139).
Nevertheless, the pretribulation position has by far the better of the
historical argument for whatever worth it is. This is seen in the early
Church's expectation of the imminent return of Christ, The hope of an
imminent return demands a pretribulation rapture (cp. Stanton, Kept From
the Hour, pp. 219-222).
- The resurrection argument
Since resurrection will be one of the major features of the rapture, and
since both the Old and the New Testaments (Dan, 12 and Rev. 20) place
the first resurrection at the end of the tribulation, it is claimed to
be conclusive proof the rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation,
Refutation: It is conceded that there will be a resurrection at the end
of the tribulation, but an examination of the passages which reveal this
indicate that: this aspect of the first resurrection is limited to
saints of the Old Testament and of the tribulation period. Also, it is
significant that those passages make no mention of the translation of
living saints, which is the unique feature of the rapture.
PosUnbulationists beg the question (assume what they must to prove) when
they claim the saints in question are Church saints. Church saints are
not in the contexts of Daniel 12 or Revelation 20. The pretribuladon
view is based upon the distinction between Israel and the Church in the
program of God.
The difficulty that some envision when it is asserted that the first
resurrection has several aspects or phases is alleviated by two
considerations. First. according to 1 Corinthians 15 Christ's
resurrection is considered as part of the first resurrection, yet it is
separated from the event recorded in Revelation 20 by many centuries.
Second, an analagous situation exists in reference to the second death,
the beast and the false prophet experience the second death 1000 years
before the judgment which issues in the second death takes place (cp.
Rev. 19:20; 20:1-15). According to posttribulationist reasoning the
event in Revelation 20:14 should have been called the third death.
The decisive blow is applied to the resurrection argument and the whole
post-tribulation position by the observation that a rapture at the close
of the tribulation would result in the glorification of all living and
dead saints, leaving no mortal flesh to populate the millennium.
- The argument based upon
the necessity for tribulation
Some of the posttribulationists chide the pretribulationists for their
failure to recognize that tribulation was predicted to be the Church's
portion while it was upon the earth (cp. Jn. 16:33; Phil. 1:29).
Refutation: This is easily answered by noting the distinction between
the age-long tribulation which finds its source in the satanic world
system, and the great tribulation which is limited to Israel's 70th Week
and which finds its source in God. The former was indeed to be the
portion of the Church, but the latter is identified as the wrath of God
from which the Church is exempt (cp. Dan. 12:1; Mt. 24:21; Rev. 6:17;
16:1; Rom. 5:9; 8:1;: 1 Thes. 5:9; Rev. 3:20).
- The argument based upon
the terminology for the return of Christ
It is asserted by posttribulationists that the principal words used of
the Lord's return (parousia, usually rendered "coming"; apokalupsis,
"revelation"; and epiphaneia, "appearing") are all us.ed relative to the
Lord's return after the tribulation.
Refutation: Posttribulationists are guilty of making these terms
technical expressions which refer only to Christ's second advent to the
earth at the end of the tribulation. While it is true that some
pretribulationists have tried to limit parousia to the rapture, and
apokalupsis to the second advent, the facts are that all these terms are
used both of the rapture and the second coming to the earth (cp.
Walvoord, pp. 155-160); therefore, the context must determine which
event is in view. Also see ADDENDUM IV, p. 17A, for documentation.
- he argument based upon
the use of the terms "saints" and "elect"
It is arbitrarily claimed that since reference is made to the saints and
the elect in the tribulation period, it is proof that the Church is seen
in the tribulation (cp. Rev. 8:3-4; 11:18; 13:7; Mt. 24:22,31).
Refutation: Again they are guilty of begging the question. In order for
this argument to stand they must prove that every reference to the
saints and the elect, whether in the Old or New Testament, ^s to be
equated with the Church. They present no such evidence but merely assume
this to be so. The context in each case must determine whether Church
saints, Israelites, or Gentiles are in view. The reference to saved
Israelites, by tribal designation in the Revelation (Rev. 7) indicates
the Church has been raptured and God is again dealing with Israel (cp. 1
Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28). It is noteworthy that none of the passages which
deal with the tribulation period refer to the Church as being upon the
earth. Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 4-19 are concerned with God's
program for Israel and the Gentiles, and the Church is not in view.
Since the Church is not mentioned, the burden of proof rests upon the
posttribulationists to demonstrate that the Church is in view. Also,
note that while Matthew 13 includes the Church age, the Church age is
not coextensive with the interadvent period which is the period under
consideration in Matthew 13. Again the Scriptural distinction between
Israel and the Church is determinative.
- The argument against
Posttribulationists assert there is Scriptural evidence that predicted
events must transpire before the return of Christ. These events include
such things as the prediction of Peter's death, the destruction of
Jerusalem, the fulfilment of the great commission, the apostasy, and the
signs preceding the second advent.
Refutation: By the time that the truth of imminent return became known
among Christians generally, most of these difficulties were resolved.
The prediction about Peter's death was not recorded by John until about
twenty years after Peter's death.
The possible reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in the Olivet
Discourse certainly was not clear to Christians before the event
occurred in A.D. 70; and in contrast to this fact is the certainty that
they were told to wait for God's Son from heaven (1 Thes. 1:10).
The great commission (Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) throws no light on the
subject of the expectation of the Lord's return; it does not support
posttribulationism any more than pretribulationism. The passages
involved merely point to the destina-tion of the gospel. The gospel was
preached in Paul's day throughout the known world (Col. 1:6, 23) before
all his epistles which testify to the imminent return became generally
known. God's purpose in this dispensation is not to convert the world,
but rather to call out a people for His name from among Jew and Gentile.
Incidentally, Mt. 24:14 refers to the tribulation period and does not
concern the Church.
In reference to the signs which precede the Lord's return (Lk.
21:25ff.), it is sufficient to say that they relate to the tribulation
period before which time the Church will be raptured.
In contrast to these rather nebulous arguments against the any-moment
rapture, there is the positive fact that Scripture abounds with
exhortations for the believer to be looking for the return of the Lord
(cp. Jn. 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:51-52;
Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4; 1 Thes. 1:9=10; 1 Tim. 6:14; Heb. 10:37; James
5:8; 2 Pet. 3:4-5; Rev. 22:20). The clarity of these exhortations is
evident from the effect it had upon the Church, especially in the first
three centuries (cp. A. Harnack, "Millennium, " Encyclopedia Brittanica,
9th ed., XVI, 314). This fact indicates the weakness of the argument of
posttribulationism regarding predicted events; apparently they did not
dim the hope of His imminent return.
- The Midtribulation Theory
(J, Oliver Buswell, Norman B. Harrison, etc.)
This theory is so named because its advocates maintain the Church will be
raptured in the middle of Israel's 70th Week.
- The great tribulation
Midtribulationists insist that the term tribulation is limited to the
last 3 1/2 years of Israel's 70th Week, which is described in Scripture
as the great tribulation (Rev. 7:14). It is said that only this period
can be equated with the wrath of God. The Church will go through the
first 3 1/2 years, known as the "beginning of travail" (Mt. 24:8), but
it will be raptured before the wrath of God is poured out in the latter
half of the week.
Refutation: The fallacy of this argument can be shown by three
observations. First, the attempt to limit the wrath of God to the last
half of the week is purely arbitrary. The declaration that nothing in
the seven seals and the seven trumpets can "rightfully be regarded as
wrath" (Harrison, The End, p. 119) is refuted by such passages as Rev.
6:16-17; 7:14. Also, the description for the last 3 1/2 years as the
great tribulation does not preclude the first half of the week being a
period of tribulation. On the contrary, it is so described in Mt. 24:8,
where it is called "the beginning of travail." The ascription for the
last 3 1/2 years indicates a greatly intensified period of wrath, but it
indicates nothing relative to the nature of the first half of the week.
This must be deduced from other Scriptures (cp. the ministry of the two
witnesses and the fact that the first two woes occur in the first 3 1/2
Second, the most serious problem associated with this position is that
it results in an overlapping of God's programs for the Church and
Israel. While the Church is on the earth God cannot be using the nation
Israel as an independent witness upon the earth. While the Church is on
the earth Israel's "remnant according to the election of grace" is being
saved and added to the Church, but when God's program for the Church is
completed, God will again deal with Israel nationally (cp. Rom.
Third, the attempt to place the rapture in the middle of the week
destroys the hope of the imminent return of Christ, since the making of
the covenant of Dan. 9:27 marks the beginning of the 70th Week and makes
date-setting relative to the Lord's return a possibility.
- The argument based upon
the 7th trumpet
Because the seventh trumpet of Rev. 11:15 is the last trumpet in the
book of the Revelation, the advocates of midtribulationism identify this
with "the last trumpet" mentioned in connection with the rapture in 1
Cor. 15:52. Since the seventh trumpet is sounded in the middle of the
week, the Church of necessity must be raptured at that time.
It should be noted that this theory seeks to identify the details of
Rev. 11:3-12 with the details of the rapture as set forth in 1 Thes.
Refutation: To seek to equate these two trumpets which occur in
different contexts simply because the trumpet of Rev. 11:15 is the last
in a series of seven in the last book of the New Testament is arbitrary
to say the least. Observe the inconsistencies of this attempted
equation. First, though they base everything on the fact that it is the
last trumpet mentioned in the Revelation, it actually is not the last to
be sounded in point of time. The trumpet mentioned in Mt. 24:31 comes
later; therefore, they have erred in their identification of the final
Second, the context of Rev. 11:3-12 militates against an identification
of the seventh trumpet with the last trumpet of 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thes. 4.
The affirmation that the two witnesses represent or symbolize the dead
and living saints caught up at the rapture is fraught with too many
difficulties which are unanswerable. The miracles performed by the two
witnesses are of such a character that no one would affirm that they are
done by^ all believers. Neither are all believers killed during that
period, nor are they all killed by the beast. Further, there is no
mention of the translation of living saints in the passage. But the most
damaging argument of all is that these events are set between the sixth
and seventh trumpets; they are not said to occur in conjunction with the
sounding of the seventh trumpet (cp. Walvoord, The Rapture Question,
Also, many expositors of Revelation equate the trumpets with the bowls
(vials) of wrath which do not begin until after the middle of the week.
Hence, the sixth and seventh trumpets do not sound until the end of the
last 31/2 years.
The term last trumpet musL be understood in the light of the context in
which it is found. The last trump signals the departure of the Church
from its earthly sphere to heaven. Therefore, Ironside's explanation
that John uses familiar Roman military terminology is the most plausible
(cp. Ironside, Addresses on 1 Corinthians, p. 529;
first trump, "strike tents"; second, "fall in line"; third or last,
- Partial Rapture Theory
(Robert Govett, D. M. Panton, G. H. Lang, Ira E. David)
This theory, developed in the last century by a small group of
pretribulationists, maintains that the Church will not be raptured as a
body, but that various groups will be caught up to heaven at different
times during the tribulation. The figure used is that of harvesting
ripening grain, so as believers are brought to maturity through the "heat"
(suffering) of the tribulation period, they will be caught up in groups.
Thus, salvation is by grace, but rapture (and resurrection) in time to
share the kingdom is made a reward for faithfulness.
- Argumentation and
While most expositors of all camps distinguish between genuine and
professed believers, partial rapturists distinguish between two groups of
genuinely saved people on the basis of works. (To us it is inconceivable
that the Church should be saved by grace and divided by works.)
Chief passages commonly cited include the following: Mt. 24:40-51; 25:13;
Mk. 13:33-37; Lk. 20:34-36; Phil. 3:10-12; 1 Thes. 5:6; 2 Tim. 4:8; Titus
2:13; Heb. 9:24-28; Rev. 3:3; 12:1-6. In citing these passages, little or
no distinction is made between those that refer to Israel and those that
refer to the Church. Also, passages referring to Christ's coming to bring
in the millennium are equated with those applying to the rapture or
Mt. 24:40-51; Mk. 13:13-37 are exhortations to watch. Those who do not are
cut asunder. . . Those words are applied to the Church and made to be two
classes of believers. While works are in view, they are indicative of
vital faith or its lack. These words cannot rightfully be applied to mere
carelessness or lack of zeal. The "hypocrites" are guilty of lack of faith
rather than lack of zeal, hence they are not believers.
Mt. 24:41, "one taken"; Lk. 21:36, "that ye may prevail to escape":
elaborate language and slanted hermeneutical arguments are advanced on
these verses. There are difficulties, but the safest course would be to
apply them to believers in the tribulation anticipating the return of
Christ to the earth. The "watch" does not speak of deliverance from the
period or hour of trial, as per pretribulationist hope (Rev. 3:10), but
divine help to survive through the period of tribulation until Christ
returns to the earth.
Mt. 25:32 is urged to indicate a partial rapture, but Christ is on earth
when men stand before Him (v.31).
The other arguments follow the same reasoning and are subject to the same
kind of answers. To conclude, as Walvoord has pointed out (The Rapture
Question, pp. 124-125), the partial rapture theory is invalid because of
three erroneous broad principles: First, it substitutes a works principle
for a grace principle in regard to the rapture. Contra Eph. 4:30. Second,
the partial rapture theory divides the body of Christ, which Scripture
pictures as an organic union. Third, they ignore the plain teaching of
many passages which state that all believers are translated together
(e.g., "we all, " 1 Cor. 15:51; "the dead in Christ.. .we who live and
remain, " 1 Thes. 4:15-16; those who "believe that Jesus died and rose
again," 1 Thes. 4:14; cp. 1 Thes. 1:9-10; 2:19; 5:4-11; Rev. 22:12).
- Pretribulation Rapture
Theory (Scofield, Ironside, Pettingill, Chafer, Darby, etc.) (This is
the view held firmly by Philadelphia College of Bible.)
This theory insists that the Lord Jesus will come back from heaven and
catch up His bride, the Church, to meet Him in the air, prior to that
period known as Daniel's 70th Week (generally called "the Tribulation").
This position is based on two main principles:
- A literal interpretation
of Scripture, which distinguishes the coming to the air from the coming
to the earth.
- A dispensational
interpretation of Scripture, which clearly distinguishes Israel and the
Church as two distinct and separate bodies, each with its "last days, "
its conclusion of the age, and its resurrection appropriate to that
conclusion. The O.T. and the gospels plainly prophesy a coming of Christ
to the earth, after a period of great distress. This is related to
Israel and the"nations. On the contrary, the Church is prophesied to be
translated to meet her Lord in the air in fulfilment of Scripture which
clearly declares she will be delivered from that period of awesome
There are many arguments which favor this viewpoint. Walvoord lists 50 of
them in his book, The Rapture Question. Perhaps this is an overambitious
number, so we shall select 14 symptomatic reasons and these will be found
listed in section d, following.
The chief arguments which have been adduced against our position have
already been given and answered in the previous pages, particularly in the
section on the posttribulation theory (p. 147ff.).
- Reasons for believing in
the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church
- THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH
DEMANDS "A "PRE TRIBULATION RAPTURE
- The Church is
designated in Scripture as the mystery (Eph. 3:1-6; Col. 1:26). God's
program for the Church, begun at Pentecost, is not related to God's
program for Israel. The Church had no relation to the 69 weeks which
are past, and can logically have no relation to the 70th Week which is
future. The fact that the Church is "a mystery," revealed as a new
thing after Christ's rejection by Israel, argues for the completion of
that new thing before God resumes His dealings with Israel.
- The Church age closes
with the translation of the saints, which event is called a mystery (1
Cor. 15;51ff.). Not until this event takes place does God begin the
70th Week and resume Israel's program. No O.T. passage can be produced
which promises blessing for Israel before the tribulation; the
consistent testimony of Scripture is that Israel's blessing follows
the tribulation. Conversely, no passage relates the Church to the
tribulation nor to the groups received by the Lord at the end of the
- While the Church is on
the earth prior to the rapture. God cannot have two independent groups
of witnesses (i.e., both Israel and the Church), for Gal .3:28
indicates that m the Church saved Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ
and lose their national identity. (Cp. argument 12, p. 157)
- THE NECESSITY FOR AN
INTERVAL BETWEEN THE RAPTURE AND CHRIST'S RETURN — TO THE EARTH TO SET
UP HIS KINGDOM
- Between the rapture of
the Church and their return to the earth with Christ at least two
events must take place. (aa)
The judgment seat of Christ (bb) The marriage of the Lamb
- Old Testament and New
Testament prophecies concerning the kingdom demand an interval between
the rapture and the second coming to the earth (cp. Isa. 65:20-25;
Amos 9:11-15; Rev. 20:7-9), because:
- At the rapture, the
saints are to be resurrected and glorified.
- If this occurs at end
of tribulation, only glorified saints will enter the millennium.
Glorified saints will have new bodies and will not bear children
- But this is
impossible in the light of Rev. 20:7-9, for there must be
individuals still m the flesh who will follow Satan at the end of
the millennium. (Cp. p. 149, top) (dd) Only the pretribulation
rapture of the Church answers this dilemma.
During the tribulation individuals from among Israel and the
Gentiles are saved and enter the millennium in the flesh to populate
the millennial earth. Children are born to them during the
millennium and from this group (born during the millennium) some
will follow Satan when he is loosed for a little season at the close
of the millennium.
- THE NATURE OF THE 70th
WEEK AS A PERIOD OF JUDGMENT AND WRATH"
- It is the period of
God's wrath upon a Christ-rejecting world (cp. Dan. 12:1; Zeph.
1:14-18; Mt. 24:21; Rev. 3:10; contrast John 16:33). It is
characterized in Scripture as:
- Wrath - Rev. 6:17;
11:18; 14:10,18; 15:1, 7; 16:1,19.
- Judgment - Rev. 14:7;
15:4; 16:7; 19:2.
- Indignation - Isa.
24:1, 3-4,19-20; 26:20-21; 34:1-3.
- Hour of trial - Rev.
- We do not object to the
Church experiencing persecution and trouble; these are prophesied. But
we do object to the idea of the Church passing through a period
df'wrath, for Scripture does not relate the Church to the tribulation.
The passages which deal with the 70th Week relate this period to
Israel and the Gentiles (cp. Dan. 9:24-27; Mt. 24-25; Rev. 4-19). The
promises of the Word speak of the Church's deliverance from judgment
and wrath (Rom. 8:1; John 5:24; 1 Thes. 5:9-10; 1 John 4:17). Note
that preservation in the tribulation is only promised to a select
group of Israelites, Rev. 7:1-8 (particularly w. 2 -3).
- God's witnesses on
earth in the 70th Week are identified as Israelites and
Gentiles in contradistinction to the Church (cp. Rev. 7). This fact in
the light of Gal. 3:28 indicates the Church could not be on earth in
the 70th Week.
- The divine purpose of
the tribulation is to bring repentance to a remnant of
Israel and purge them through suffering. This is unnecessary for the
Church, since only those who have repented are in the Church, and it
will be purged at the judgment seat of Christ, not on earth.
- SPECIFIC PROMISES ARE
GIVEN THAT THE CHURCH WILL BE SPARED FROM THIS PERIOD OF JUDGMENT
- Rev. 3:10. Note that
the promise is not merely that they would be kept from the trial, but
from the very period itself! "Out of" (ek), not "in the midst of"
- 1 Thes. 1:10. "Jesus. .
.delivered us from the wrath to come" (i.e., the period of wrath).
- 1 Thes. 5:1-10. Note
- The day of the Lord
is a day of destruction and wrath, 1 Thes. 5:3, 9.
- The Church being
identified as the "children of light and the children of the day"
are not related to that period, 1 Thes. 5:4-5.
- The Church is
promised deliverance before that period of wrath comes and the means
indicated is by rapture, 1 Thes. 5:9-10.
- The promise - not
appointed to wrath, but to obtain deliverance.
- The means -
"whether we wake or sleep" a definite reference to rapture as per
1 Thes. 4:13-17 ("alive, " "sleep in Jesus"),
- The basis - the
death and resurrection of Christ ( 1 Thes. 4:14;
- HE UNITY OF THE 70th WEEK
(slanted at midtribulationism)
The 70th Week is a unit. Though the period is divided, the two parts of
the 70th Week are not disassociated. Both halves of the 70th Week have
the same characteristics (wrath, judgment, indignation, hour of trial),
but those characteristics are intensified in the latter half of the
week. The reason for this is that in the latter half of the week man's
opposition to God reaches a climax and God's reaction is an
intensification of His wrath.
- THE NEW TESTAMENT
DOCTRINE OF* IMMINENCY DEMANDS A PRE TRIBULATION —> RAPTURE (cp. Jn.
14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 1:10; Rom. 13:11-12;
Phil. 3:20-21; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 3:1-3).
The teaching is not that Christ will return soon, but rather that we may
expect Him at any moment. There is no predicted event which must occur
before the promised rapture. Both the mid- or posttribulation theories
would require the fulfilment of certain predicted events before Christ
could come. (See p. 135)
- "PEACE AND SAFETY" DO NOT
CHARACTERIZE THE END OF THE 70th WEEK
(slanted at posttribulationism)
It has been argued by posttribulationists that Christ's only coming is
His coming to the earth at the end of the tribulation (Rev. 7:14). But,
1 Thes. 5:3 declares that the day of the Lord will come at a time when
people are saying "peace and safety," Paul in this passage is certainly
not speaking of the end of the tribulation for at that time war will
have reached its climax (Rev. 19:11-21). Paul warns unbelievers (notice
the them, 1 Thes. 5:5) that sudden destruction will overcome them, but
that the day of the Lord will not overtake the believer (v.4). Hence,
this must refer to the rapture at the beginning of the day of the Lord.
- "BLESSED ARE THE DEAD...
FROM HENCEFORTH" (Rev, 14:13, contrast 1 Thes. 4:13-18) Why would the
Thessalonians be concerned (as they obviously were in 1 Thes. 4) that
that those who died would be at a disadvantage? For if the Church were
to go through the 70th Week it would be better to die than to go through
the tribulation. The dead would definitely be advantaged (Rev. 14:13).
- THE DEPARTURE OF THE HOLY
SPIRIT BEFORE THE MANIFESTATION OF THE MAN OF SIN AT THE BEGINNING OF
THE 70th WEEK OF ISRAEL
Dan. 9:27; 2 Thes. 2:3ff. This will be a reversal of Pentecost. At
Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to form the Church and take up residence
in it. At the rapture before the 70th Week He leaves with the Church, He
is always omnipresent, but He will leave in the sense in which He came
- THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE
BOOK OF THE REVELATION SUPPORTS THE PRE TRIBULATION RAPTURE
- Chapters 1-3 refer to
the present age. Note the repeated references to die churches.
- Chapters 4-19 refer to
Israel's 70th Week, and the saints on earth during this period are
specifically identified as Israelites and Gentiles (Rev. 7:4, 9), In
contrast to chapters 1-3, Rev. 4-19 makes no reference to the Church
cm earth. The only logical explanation is that the Church is in glory
during the period depicted in chapters 4-19 (e.g.. Rev. 4:4; 5:10;
- THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS
Rev. 4:4,10; 5:5-6, 8,11,14; 7:11,13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4, Regarding the
identity of the elders, two suggestions are offered:
- Angels. The elders are
associated with the living creatures and the angels. But, angels are
not promised crowns (stephanos, the victor's garland), neither are
they promised the privilege to sit on thrones in God's presence for
they are ministering spirits (cp. Lk. 1:19; Rev. 3:21). Besides,
angels are not to be judged until after the saints have been
glorified, 1 Cor. 6:3.
- Representatives of the
Church--the redeemed of this age. They are clothed in white
(righteousness of the saints), crowned (rewarded), and sitting upon
thrones. Their number (24) reminds us of the 24 courses of the
Levitical priesthood, and since the earthly tabernacle (later the
temple) is typical of the heavenly, the twenty-four elders must
represent a royal and heavenly priesthood--the Church (cp. Rev. 5:8).
In Ezekiel's vision of heaven the living creatures and angels are
seen, but no elders, for they are not there yet.
Thus, we have the twenty-four elders representing the Church in
heaven, judged, rewarded, and enthroned at the beginning of the 70th
Week. If the Church is not raised until Rev. 20:4, what is she doing
in heaven in Rev. 19:7-11; and 4:4; 5:8-10?
- THE 144, OOP OF
The appearance of this sealed remnant from Israel in the 70th Week shows
that God is dealing with Israel again and that the Church is not on the
earthly scene (cp. Gal. 3:28). Compared, (1), (c). (Cp. p. 154)
- THE CHURCH IS INSTRUCTED
TO PRAY FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY (1 Tim. 2:1-4)
- That we may live in
- That they may be saved.
The Church's message is one of grace. But, in the tribulation the
wrath of God is called down on authorities. The imprecatory psalms are
prayed by Israel, not the Church. The Scripture gives no intimation of
the salvation of wicked rulers in that terrible period. They cooperate
with Satan's man, Ps. 2:1.
- SUPPORT FROM BIBLICAL
- Enoch - begat
Methuselah, "After he is gone it shall be sent."
- Lot, Gen, 19:22; 2 Pet.
2:6-9 - the destroying angel could do nothing until he was taken out.\
In contrast to these men who were delivered before judgment, Noah and
his family, typical of Israel in the tribulation, were protected
during the period of the flood (cp. Rev. 12:13-17),
- RESULTS OF THE RAPTURE TO
- Of living believers to
immortality - without the necessity of death, 1 Cor. 15:51.
- Of dead believers to
incorruptibility - complete triumph over death, 1 Cor. 15:51-57.
- Reward and Purgation at
Judgment Seat of Christ (See
- Rewards to believers
Indicated by 2 Cor. 5:8-10; Rev. 3:11; 22:12; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 1 Cor.
9:16-27; Lk. 19:11-27. These rewards are often referred to as:
The Five Crowns
- 1 Cor. 9:25 - An
incorruptible crown for those getting mastery over old man.
- 1 Thes. 2:19 - A crown of
rejoicing for soul-winner.
- James 1:12 - A crown of
life for enduring temptation (trial).
- 2 Tim. 4:8 - A crown of
righteousness for loving His appearing.
- 1 Pet. 5:4 - A crown of
glory for being willing to feed the flock orGod
- The rewards will take
place in heaven, 2 Cor. 5:10.
- Every work will come
into judgment. Mt. 12:36; Rom. 14:10-12; Gal. 6:7; Eph. 6:8; Col.
- The result is reward or
loss of reward, 1 Cor. 3:11-15.
- It occurs at the return
of Christ for the Church, 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 22:12.
- Purgation of "wood, hay,
and stubble." (See ADDENDUM V, The Judgment-Seat of Christ, p. 18A)
- The Marriage of the Lamb,
Following the judgment of believers for reward in heaven, the bride will be
eternally united to Christ. Guests have been understood to be godly of
Israel, as illustrated by John the Baptist, Jn. 3:28-30. This event is
generally understood to occur just before the Church returns to the earth
with Christ, when He destroys the armies at Armageddon (Rev. 19) and sets up
His kingdom on earth. Others understand it occurs just after He returns to
- MAJOR PERSONAGES AND
CONFEDERATIONS OF THE PERIOD
- Anti-Christ - The False
Prophet (Religious Leader) Jerusalem [ALLY of HEAD of FOURTH World
- He will apparently be a
Dan. 11:37 "Willful king"
Gen. 49:17 May be of tribe of Dan. [WEST]
Rev. 7:4-8 Dan not sealed
- His seat of power will be
Dan. 11:36,39 (cp. Jn. 5:43)
Rev. 13:14-15 with
Mt. 24:15, apparently the abomination of desolation is the setting up of
idolatry in the tribulation temple (cp. Dan. 9:25; 11:31; 12:11; Rev.
- He heads up the apostasy
(cp. Jn. 5:43).
- Jewish aspect: 2 Jn. 7,
- Christian aspect: 1 Jn.
2:22, against Father and Son. He does not point to himself, but always
to the 1st Beast.
- He will be the "Lieutenant
of the Beast." But he too will be a king in the land of Palestine.
Rev. 13:1-10 - Beast, or head of Roman Empire
Rev. 13:11-18 - Anti-Christ, his lieutenant
That the second beast of Rev. 13 does not come to be a great king need not
militate against his being the Anti-Christ. The Scriptures do not say the
Anti-Christ will be a great king and, besides that, his followers may hope
that: he eventually will be.
- He is not to be confounded
with "little horn" of Dan. 7 (Rome's political head), nor of Dan. 8
(Antiochus Epiphanes (B.C. 175), who may be a type of the king of the
North at the last; see my note in Dan. 8. He is mentioned only in 11:36 by
Daniel (so A.C. Gaebelein).
- He is referred to by many
- Anti-Christ (by John
only. Ironside), 1 Jn. 2:18,22.
- Man of Sin, 2 Thes. 2:3
(living embodiment of sin). (Scofield refers 2 Thes. 2 to Beast of Rome,
but Gaebelein and others refer it to Anti-Christ. I hold the latter
NOTE: Why 2 Thes. 2 refers to Anti-Christ
- The details are
religious rather than civil or political, v,4
- The Lord destroys him,
v.8; Rev. 19:20
- He works signs,
wonders, deceit, v.9f.
- He is the living lie
against God, vv. 10-12, cp. Rev. 13:12-15
- Son of Perdition, 2 Thes.
2:3 (full development of Satan's power... contrast with true Son).
- Lawless One, 2 Thes. 2:8
R.V. (opposition to Divine authority).
- "Another'Beast," Rev.
- "False Prophet," Rev.
16:13; 19:20; 20:10 (his doom). (He is identical with the second beast
of Rev. 13:11-18.)
- "Bloody and Deceitful
One. " Ps. 5:6.
- "Foolish and Idol
("worthless" R.V.) Shepherd, " Zech. 11:15-17; cp. Jn. 5:43 (Ironside).
- King (Wilful King), Dan.
11:36-37 (Ironside, A. C. Gaebelain, etc.). g. His doom.
Rev. 19:20, "Lake of fire"
It may be suggested that the two beasts are viewed in prophecy in their
corporate activity as a unit, and it is not until the climactic
revelation of their activity in Rev. 13 that we learn that there are two
separate individuals united to accomplish the Satanic plan.
- THE BEAST (Head of
Revived Fourth [Roman] Empire) [WEST]
- Heads up Gentile nations.
- Rev. 13:1-8 (political
rise at the beginning of week)
- A Gentile - Rev. 13:1
- From Roman Empire -
- Energized by Satan -
- Receives worship - Rev.
- Particular enemy of
Israel - Rev. 13:7
- Rev. 17:8 (Satanic
energizing from middle of week, "out of the bottomless pit."
- His relationships.
- To Anti-Christ - Rev,
- To apostate Judaism -
- To apostate Christendom -
- To Christ - Rev. 19:19;
also Rev. 17:14
- He is the Little Horn of
Dan. 7:8, 24.
He rules over a tenfold kingdom, cp. Dan. 2:41-42.
Rev. 13:1; 17:12
He has dominion over the "Roman earth" for Satan and is opposed to the
Lamb and to His saints. His blasphemous claims to universal power will
anger other nations, Zech. 12:2-3.
- He is the "prince that
shall come" of Dan. 9:26-27.
- He will make a (not "the"
as shown in Authorized Version) covenant with the
apostate Jews to secure to them the right of religious worship, security,
and protection against Northern Power (Dan. 9:27) for seven years. He will
be friendly to the Jews at first. He will break the covenant in the midst
of the week.
- He will kill the two
witnesses, Rev. 11:3-12.
- His mark will be placed
upon many by his ally, Rev. 13:16.
- His image will be set up in
Holy Place by Anti-Christ, Rev. 13:15; Mt. 24:15; Dan. 12:11; 9:27;
- His opposition to Christ is
manifest, Rev. 19:19.
- j . His doom, Rev.
19:20-21, is the lake of fire.
- KING OF THE NORTH
Dan. 11:1-35 is history during Maccabean times and before; w. 36-45 are
prophetic. Dan. 11 (vv.40ff.); Joel 2 (all and w.29ff, especially). He gets
power from Gog of Russia, future enemy of the Jews. Antiochus Epiphanes was
probably a type of him.
- He is also called
- "The Assyrian, " Isa.
10:5,12; 14:24-25; Micah 5:1-7, esp. vy.5-6. Isa. 14:26, "whole earth"
- "King of fierce
countenance, " Dan. 8:23-25. First reference is to Antiochus Epiphanes
and then to the "King of the North" of the end time.
- "Overflowing scourge, "
Invades Palestine, Joel 2:19-20.
- He will be the chief of a
coalition formed for the destruction of Jew at the end time. He will be an
enemy of the beast of the ten kingdoms (i.e., the West). Cp. Isa.
His punishment by Jehovah, the Lord Jesus. Also Dan. 11:44-45.
He shall be cast into Tophet, lake of fire, Isa. 30:33.
The Anti-Christ defiles the temple.
The beast will be the enemy of "the saints"; the "Assyrian" will be enemy
of the "two beasts."
Founded A.D. 862 by Ruric (a Norman pirate). His dynasty lasted until
Peter the Great (Tsar of Russia from 1682-1725) spoke striking words, as
quoted by Walter Scott in his book, At Hand, p. 74:
"We must progress as much as possible in the direction of Constantinople
and India. He who can once get possession of these places is the real
ruler of the world. We must hasten the downfall of Persia and force our
way into the Indies, which are the storehouses of the world. Once there,
we can dispense with the English gold."
Referred to in Ezk. 38:2-3; 39:1 as an enemy of Israel. (Cp. Gen. 10:2)
Ezekiel 38 and 39
38: 1-6 Prophecy given of Gog's power; but God is against him.
5-6 His allies include Germany (Gomer), Persia, Ethiopia, Libya (see King
7-9 Time of the invasion, "after many days."
10-13 Purpose of the invasion
14-16 Gog's confidence.
17-23 Fury of Jehovah God. 39:
1-10 Gog's destruction.
11-16 Burial of Gog and his multitude.
17-20 Sacrifice of Jehovah, cp. Rev. 19:17-18.
21-24 The Lord is justified in all His ways with Israel.
25-29 Full blessing of converted Israel.
- KING OF THE SOUTH Ally
of King of North (see above).
King of South is not Egypt, which was part of the 4th World Empire (Roman).
King of South comes against Egypt, in conjunction with attack of King of the
North (Dan. 11:40-42). (See Daniel notes.)
- KINGS FROM THE EAST -
"SUNRISING" [EAST] From beyond the Euphrates, Rev. 9:14-19; 16:12. They come
with an army of 200, 000, 000 men against Jerusalem (Zech. 12:2-3).
MILITARY ACTIVITIES OF THE ABOVE LEADERS, CLIMAXING IN ARMAGEDDON
Contrary to the usual conception often heard, in the end-time there will be not
one but four great spheres of authority, backed up by military might. Evidently
the very pretensions of the loud-mouthed "beast, " heading the revived fourth
empire (Rev. 13:11-18), will arouse the resentment and antagonism of leaders of
three other areas: south, north, and east. At any event, Jerusalem as the
eastern capital of the fourth (western) empire, presided over by the "beast's"
associate (second beast or false prophet of Rev. 13), will be like a mighty
magnet drawing armies toward Jerusalem that God may destroy them (Zech. 12:2-3;
7-9). The four political areas of the world to be distinguished are listed below
and their movements charted below:
No. 1 - The Jewish "Wilful King" in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45, labeled lb on p. 163)
is allied to the Head of Revived Fourth (Western or Roman) Empire (Dan. 2:40-43;
7:7-8) whose headquarters are in Rome (labeled la in chart on p. 163).
No, 2 - The King of the SOUTH who "pushes at" No. lb (Dan. ll:40a), located in
Jerusalem. No. 2 seems to be allied with No, 3 (Dan. ll:43b; Ezk. 38:5-6) and
his attack is evidently designed to draw No. lb out of position (with his back
to the north). No. 2 initially succeeds in capturing Egypt with the especial
help of Ethiopia and Lybia (Dan. 11:42-43; Ezk. 38:5). .In the meantime
No. 3 - The King of the NORTH (the Assyrian, Gog-Magog, Isa. 10:24-27; 14:25;
Mic. 5:5-6; Ezk. 38-39) then swoops down, while No. lb has turned south to
protect his flank against No. 2. (No. lb is evidently soon able to neutralize
the armies of No, 2, for we hear no more of No, 2). This accomplished. No. lb
hastens back to Palestine because of unfavorable tidings out of the north and
east (Dan. 11:44), but before he can get back, No. 3 has already taken Jerusalem
(Zech. 14:2; Dan. ll:40b"43a; cp. Zech. 12:2; 13:8-9) and started his return
journey home. However, No. 3 is smitten by God upon the mountains of Israel
(Zech. 14:3-4; Ezk, 38:21:'39:4; opT Sennacherib's destruction, Isa. 37:36-37)
before No. lb can counterattack him. But No. 3's invasion has laid open the
eastern flank of No, lb to attack (Euphrates "dried up, " Rev. 16:12) so that
No. 4 - The Kings of the EAST ("Sunrising, " Dan, 11:44; Rev. 16:12) proceed
westward with an army of 200 million men (Rev, 9:16), crunching through the
eastern part of the empire with great destruction (Rev, 9:18). Meanwhile No, lb
hastens northward and deploys his army (now strengthened with legions from his
ally in Rome, No, la) in the valley of Megiddo, readying for No. 4's assault.
Evidently the Kings of the East
never actually join battle with Nos. la and b at Megiddo, as it would seem that
"the sign of the Son of Man" then appears in the heavens (Mt. 24:29-30),
diverting their attention from each other and leading to further blasphemy (Ps.
2:1-3). At this point the Lord Jesus Christ returns (Ps. 2:4-9) definitely
smiting Nos. la and b (as told in
Rev. 19:11-21, and as alluded to in Dan. ll:36d, 45b, with 12:1) and evidently
also No. 4, for "Armageddon" (Rev. 16:16) is mentioned in the same context with
the Kings of the East (Rev. 16:12).
Some expositors (Gaebelein,
Ironside, etc.) think that all of Dan. ll:40b-45 refers continuously to No. 3,
his setting of his tents victoriously in Jerusalem (v.45a) and his destruction
(v.45b), to the objection that Daniel would then not finish his important story
about the rise and final fall of the "Wilful King, " so strikingly begun in
11:36-39. The problem is to distinguish the "he's" of w.40-45.
EXPLANATORY NOTE ON THE
IDENTIFICATION OF THE "HE'S" IN ll:40b-43
My solution is to make the "he's" of verses 40b-43 refer to the King of the
North both in his own activity and that of his ally, the King of the South. I
then bring the story back to the Wilful King in verse 44, which reveals that
while he will be fighting the King of the South, the King of the North has taken
Jerusalem (vv. 40b-43). Hence, the Wilful King, hearing these ill tidings out of
the north (v.44) and hearing of the- approaching march of the Kings of the East
toward Palestine, completes the defeat of the King of the South and swiftly
moves back north to deal with the King of the North and the Kings of the East.
On returning, he finds the King of the North has been destroyed by the Lord upon
the mountains of Israel. He re-establishes his palace in Jerusalem (v.45), then
goes to Armageddon to make a stand against the Kings of the East. But there he
comes to his end, being smitten by the Lord Jesus Christ in His return to reign
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