I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
To understand the past and the future as God reveals in His Word, it is very important to interpret Biblical prophecy accurately. The fact that about 30% of the entire Bible is devoted to prophecy, shows us why it is so important to diligently and carefully study it. The Bible is the only book in the world that foretells future events with 100% accuracy. By foretelling major events in world history, centuries and even thousands of years before they happen, the God of the Bible proves that He is the only true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all mankind. He proves by prophecy that He is Lord of world history and that the Bible is His trustworthy Word which He gave to us to explain His purposes and salvation to every person who is willing to listen and believe.
Origen Adamantius, Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin and Martin Luther have greatly impaired a correct understanding of biblical prophecy by allegorizing some of the most important ones. The most dreadful antagonist of biblical prophecy is Replacement Theology that says God has set the nation of Israel permanently aside as his chosen people and instead has chosen the church (the elect). God allegedly transferred all the promises He originally made to Israel to the church, including the one concerning the land of Israel.
There are several passages in Scripture Calvinists avoid like the plague; John 12:32; 1 John 2:2; and especially Romans 11:28 are but a few they deliberately sweep under the carpet. Romans 11:28 in particular is pivotal to a correct understanding of end times prophecy. It affirms with fortitude that God has not cast his people (the Jewish nation) away as Paul confirms in verse one.
Not only have Calvinists fabricated devious ways to change the meaning of words such as “all,” “whosoever,” “world” and “everyone,” they have also cast to the wind the simple meaning of the word “everlasting.” (Genesis 17:7-8). Calvinists are very fond of Daniel 9:25 to corroborate their belief in Replacement Theology. They have inherited most of their animosity against Israel from John Calvin and Martin Luther. Calvin said of the Jews:
“Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.” (Excerpt from “Ad Quaelstiones et Objecta Juaei Cuiusdam Responsio,” by John Calvin; The Jew in Christian Theology, Gerhard Falk, McFarland and Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC and London, 1931.)
Luther was even more embittered with hatred who said of them:
Jews are a base and whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth . . .They are full of the devil’s faeces . . . which they wallow in like swine. . . . Their synagogues and schools [must] be set on fire, their prayer books destroyed, the rabbis forbidden to preach, their home demolished and their properties and money confiscated. They should be shown no mercy or kindness afforded no legal protection and that these poisonous and envenomed worms should be drafted into forced labor or expelled for all time. We are at fault in not slaying them. [Adolf Hitler was an avid student and disciple of Martin Luther).
In 1546 Martin Luther preached a sermon which he called his final warning against the Jews. Little did he know that it was his final sermon. He encouraged authorities, who could, to expel the Jews from their lands if they refused to convert to Christianity. Otherwise, Luther threatened, such authorities would make them partners in the Jews’ sins. That was the very last message Martin Luther ever preached. Shortly thereafter he fell down dead.
It is therefore no wonder that Calvin’s and Luther’s eschatology was as messed up as that of today’s Calvinists. Their hatred and vilification of the Jews badly influenced their eschatology. It is truly amazing how Calvinists arrive at the notion that Daniel 9:24-27 relates to the church and not Israel while the angel Gabriel distinctly told Daniel that it pertains to Daniel’s people (the Jews). Verse 24 says without any ambiguity whatsoever that Daniel’s seventy weeks of years relate to his people (the Jews) and their holy city (Jerusalem). Why is it so difficult for Calvinists to understand this?
They are quick-witted when they quote from the Westminster Confession of Faith under the heading “Of God’s Eternal Decree” (chapter 3) which states “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; . . .” If God’s decrees are eternal and unchangeable Calvinists and replacement theologians have no right to change God’s eternal decree with regard to the Jewish nation (Genesis 17:7-8).
Moreover the seventy weeks of years cannot possibly be associated with the church because it is uniquely Jewish. In Leviticus 25:1-7 God commanded Israel (not the church because it was not in existence then) to solemnly keep the Sabbath year. They were permitted to plow and plant for a period of six years but the seventh was to be a solemn year of rest for the land during which no Israelite was allowed to sow his field or to prune his vineyard. The church never received any such command from God.
Since Israel and Judah willfully and rebelliously failed to keep the sabbatical year, God enforced on the land 70 Sabbaths by sending the Jews in exile to Babylon. During their exile, when Daniel noticed God’s decree in Jeremiah 25:11-12 and that the seventy years had nearly transpired, he began to pray and plead with God for his people (not the church). It was then when the angel Gabriel appeared to him and informed him that not only seventy years were decreed over his people (the Jews) and their Holy City (Jerusalem), but a further 490 years. The main purpose of the 490 years is to finish the transgression of Israel at the end of it.
TO FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION
As I have pointed out earlier, Calvinists, Amillennialists and Adispensationalists interpret the six things pertaining to the seventy weeks of years (7 x 70 =490 years) in reference to the church (the elect) and not the nation of Israel, claiming that God has already fulfilled them all in his Son. This is highly incompatible with what Scripture teaches. Calvinists believe that Jesus’ sacrificial and substitutionary death on the cross has brought a final end to sin. Some even assert that He has made an end of all the sins of all His redeemed forever.
The verb for “to finish” is kala. Of the 237 occurrences in the Hebrew Scriptures, 206 are verbs meaning “to cease, to finish, or to end.” The noun form means to “complete” or “end.” Has sin entirely ceased, even to the extent that there is no more sin? Hardly! Jesus paid the ransom/penalty for our sins so that everyone who believes on Him may receive forgiveness for their sins and eternal life. Have those who received forgiveness for their sins and been washed in the blood of Jesus ceased to sin altogether? If sin has ceased to exist on earth, we wouldn’t need an Advocate and High Priest who is seated at the right hand of God to intercede for us (1 John 1:8-10; 1 John 2:1-2).
Having seen that the seventy weeks of years concern the nation of Israel and not the church, the finishing of the transgression must therefore also relate to Israel and not the church. We see from Romans 11:28-29 that the Jews (Israel and Judah) are presently, and have been for the last more than 2000 years, enemies of the Gospel. They have rejected their Messiah and as a consequence their eyes have been blinded for a season so that the Gospel may be presented to the Gentiles (Romans 11:8-11).
In order to arrive at a correct interpretation of Daniel 9:24-25 we need to take note that the word “transgression” is in the singular. This is crucial because if it had been in the plural we probably could have accepted the Calvinists’ view that it refers to the transgressions of people in general which Jesus Christ bore on the cross.
The word “pesha” used in Daniel 9:24 for transgression (singular) refers to a national revolt (religious or moral) and not to the sins of an individual. The Jewish nation as a whole rejected Jesus as their Messiah and not merely some individuals among the Jews (John 19:21). Although Jesus has already paid the penalty (ransom) for their national transgression against Him, they are still very much in bondage to that sin and He will only finish (make an end to) their national transgression when He returns at his Second Coming toward the end of the last week of Daniel’s prophecy. (Zechariah 12:1-14; Romans 11:18-26).
Another very important passage in Scripture which affirms that Jesus has not yet fulfilled his promise to Israel is Isaiah 61. You will recall that Jesus, when He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah in the Synagogue at Nazareth, He only quoted the first verse and the first half of verse 2 and stopped halfway through verse 2 when he handed the book back to the attendant. He knew very well that His own brethren the Jews would reject Him as their God, accuse Him of blasphemy and have Him crucified. Therefore, He could only have fulfilled the first part of Isaiah 61 mentions in verses 1 and the first part of verse 2 at His First Advent as God incarnate.
Throughout the first two verses His message was addressed to all who are meek, poor and afflicted (by sin), to the blind (spiritually blind), the broken-hearted and the captives. This is a universal message offered to all mankind which he came to accomplish during His First Advent. Note that from the second part of verse 2 the whole tenet changes and he begins to address Zion. He says, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD . . . and then stops. In Isaiah the rest of that portion reads as follows, “and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” Jesus Himself once said, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” (John 12: 47).
Doesn’t this contradict what He once said, “Moreover, the Father judges no one, (John 5: 22) No, it doesn’t, because He first came as the “Lamb of God to be our Saviour, but when He returns, he will save the remnant of Israel in Zion and judge the nations as the “Lion of Judah” because they afflicted His people. As I said previously, the whole tenet from verse 3 changes. He now begins to address those who are going to mourn in Zion in the end-times (Great Tribulation) (Read Zechariah 12: 10-14).
Most scholars make the mistake to ascribe these verses from 3 to 11 to the Church. Since when will the Church “eat the wealth of the nations? (Verse 6); when will she build the ancient ruins and raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastation of many generations? (Verse 4). No! This is going to take place in the end-times when Jesus will come to the earth a second time to rescue His people from the claws of Antichrist and his hordes during the Great tribulation.
The prophecy in Daniel 9: 24-27 cannot be interpreted in terms of days. The weeks in verses 24 and 25 are weeks of years and not days. 70 weeks of years were decreed on Daniel’s people (the Jews and not the Church or the elect as Calvinists erroneously believe) which are subdivided into three periods, i.e. 7 weeks (49 years), 62 weeks (334 years) and 1 week (7 years).
Calvinists and Amillennialists in general proclaim that Jesus Christ fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy in chapter nine. This compels them to interpret the seventy times seven (490) in terms of days. If it were days the period decreed upon Israel and Judah would only have lasted one and one third years which would have made it impossible for all the events prophesied in Daniel 9:24-27 to occur. Furthermore, Daniel couldn’t possibly have made the mistake to think of God’s program for the Jews in terms of days (Jeremiah 25:11-2; 2 Chronicles 36:21). Israel’s exile into Babylon lasted seventy years and not seventy days. If this were to be taken as a benchmark for the seventy times seven weeks, the 490 years must also be interpreted in terms of years and not days.
THE ANOINTING OF THE MOST HOLY
The words “most holy” appear 45 times in the Bible of which only one appears in the New Testament where it refers to the saints’ most holy faith and not to them personally (Jude 1:20). Notwithstanding this fact, Calvinists wrongfully claim that it refers to God’s elect, his church.
The rest appear in the Old Testament where it is generally mentioned in reference to the most holy place in the tabernacle and later the temple as well as to everything else that belongs to it – i.e. the altar of burnt offering with all its vessels (Exodus 30:29), the most holy perfume/anointing oil (Exodus 30:36), the rest of the meat offering that was given to Aaron and his sons (Leviticus 2:3), the trespass offering (Leviticus 7:1) etc.
We may safely conclude that the “most holy” is used primarily with reference to the temple in the Old Testament and never in reference to the saints in the New Testament. As such it provides very strong evidence that Daniel’s prophecy that God will anoint the Most Holy concerns the dedication of the most holy place in the millennial temple (Ezekiel 41-46).
Some entertain the idea that it refers to the Holy One, Jesus Christ. In this respect it would speak of the enthronement of Christ, “the Anointed One” (Daniel 7:25-27). The angel Gabriel who announced God’s end-time plans for the nation of Israel to Daniel was also the angel who announced to the Virgin Mary that she “shall conceive in her womb, and bring forth a son, who she had to name JESUS. He then proceeded to declare that “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and that the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.”
Jesus is presently seated at the right hand of God. If it were true that David’s throne is in heaven and not on the earth, as Calvinists and Amillennialists believe, we would have to conclude that David’s throne is at the right hand of God where Jesus is now seated. Such a notion is highly indefensible because the one who rules from the throne of David must rule over the entire house of Israel (twelve tribes) in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-17; Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:32). Is Jesus in his present position at the right hand of God ruling over the entire house of Israel? Anyone who entertains such an idea is deceived.
King David, who was the anti-type of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords, united Israel and Judah and was enthroned in Jerusalem subsequent to the suffering he endured at the hands of Saul, his own son Absalom and many others among his own brethren (2 Samuel 5:1-5). This is the perfect antecedent of what Jesus Christ is going to do at his Second Coming to the earth to rule, from the throne of his father David, over the entire house of Israel and Judah.
The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary (most holy place) in the midst of them for evermore. (Ezekiel 37:15-26). (Emphasis and parenthesis added)
IS THERE A GAP BETWEEN THE 483 YEARS AND THE LAST SEVEN YEARS OF DANIEL’S PROPHECY?
All the proponents of the Pre-, Mid-, and Post-tribulation Rapture agree that the 69 weeks in Daniel’s prophecy have already been fulfilled to the very letter. Therefore, there is no reason to doubt that the last week of years will also be fulfilled literally. Pre-tribulationists, as opposed to the Post-Tribulationists who assert that the 7th week immediately followed the 69th, believe that there is a gap between the two periods and consequently that the 7th week lies in the future. Has it already been fulfilled or is it a future event that still needs to be fulfilled?
Is there enough evidence from Scripture that such a chronologically defined sequence of events such as the 70 weeks in Daniel could be interrupted indefinitely? If human judgment were to decide the question whether the final period of the cycle together with the divine promised blessings be forever abrogated and lost because the Jews “killed the Prince of Life” (Acts 3: 15), a ready answer may have been forthwith very easily. The question however remains – is there a precedent for this to be found in the mystical chronology of Israel’s history?
According to 1 Kings 6: 1 Solomon built the temple in the 480th year after Israel’s redemption from slavery in Egypt. Chronologists have rejected it as forgery and a blunder and even Scripture seems to dismiss it as an error. In his sermon at Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13: 18-21) Paul elaborated on the chronology of the history of his nation: 40 years in the wilderness; 450 years under the judges, and 40 years of the reign of Saul, making a total of 530 years. Add to this the 40 years of David’s reign and the first 3 years of Solomon’s then a total of 573 years is reached which leaves a gap of 93 years amiss in the chronology of these events. Can this apparent inconsistency be reconciled?
Following the history of Israel in the Book of Judges it becomes clear that their national existence as Jehovah’s peculiar people was in temporal abeyance for several periods. This happened in times of their punishment for their idolatry when they were “sold into the hands of their enemies.” They became slaves of the King of Mesopotamia for 8 years, to the King of Moab for 18 years, to the King of Canaan for 20 years, to the Midianites for 7 years, and finally to the Philistines for 40 years. The sum of 8 + 18 +20 + 7 + 40 = 93 which, when deducted from the 573, leaves a total of 480 years. Can there be any doubt that the 480 years of the Book of Kings from the Exodus to the temple is a mystic era formed by eliminating every period during which the people were cast off or kept on hold by God?
If God had temporarily cast off His people in the past only to reinstate them again, could He not presently be doing the same thing? Indeed, Paul who wrote his epistle to the Romans primarily to correct the developing Antisemitism and seeds of “replacement theology” in the Church of Rome following the banishment of Jews from that city by the Emperor Claudius (Acts 18: 2), asks “. . . has God totally rejected and disowned His people?” to which he himself answers, “Never!” (Romans 11: 1).
He continues to add a note of warning, “Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense. If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root [that supports] you.” . . . “And even those others [the fallen branches, Jews] if they do not persist in [clinging] to their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.” . . . “Lest you be self-opinionated – wise in your own conceits – I do not want you to miss the hidden truth and mystery (the mystery of the Jews being kept on hold during an intermediary period): a hardening (insensibility) has (temporarily) befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the Gentiles had come in, And so all Israel (the remaining remnant at Jesus’ Second Coming) will be saved. As it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob.” (Romans 11: 18, 23, 25, 26; Isaiah 59: 20, 21).
These passages from Scripture declare unequivocally that God has not transferred His promises with regards to the Jews’ final inheritance of the land of Israel and Jerusalem to the church. God has not written off His people and is going to fulfill every promise he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This will all come to pass during the 7th week of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy and finally with Christ’s reign of peace from his father David’s throne in Jerusalem which is still a future event.
Could the 7th week have been fulfilled in the past as the Post-Tribulationists prefer to believe? Did the 69 and last 7 weeks run in immediate succession without a gap in between? Such a scenario is highly unlikely. Daniel leaves no room for doubt when he says that exactly 69 weeks of years (483 years) expired between the going forth of the command to build Jerusalem until the coming of the anointed One (Daniel 9: 25) (referring of course to the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey – Matthew 21: 1-11) and a mere four days later He was cut off (crucified) but not for Himself.
From the day He was crucified in 32 AD, 38 years expired before the temple and the sanctuary was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD. Had the destruction occurred within the seven years immediately following the fulfillment of the 69 weeks one would have to concede that the 7th week did indeed follow the 69 weeks of years without any gap, but then all the other events Daniel mentions to be fulfilled within the gamut of the 7th week would have to be ignored completely. In verse 24 Daniel unequivocally says that 70 weeks of years or 490 years would expire before a final end will be made to his peoples’ transgression, before the full measure of their sin will be sealed up, before they will finally be purged and complete reconciliation be made for their sins and before everlasting righteousness will be ushered in at the inauguration of Christ’s 1000 year reign of peace on earth.
Has this all been accomplished during the seven years immediately following the fulfillment of the 69 weeks? The short answer is a resounding, no! In fact, judgment fell upon Daniel’s people instead of reconciliation; animosity rather than love for the Messiah became more ferocious as the experience of His disciples clearly show. Would Jesus have wept under His remorseful words, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate:” (Luke 13: 34, 25) if all the aforementioned blessings had been fulfilled in the seven years directly after the 69 weeks of years?
As Sir Robert Anderson so eloquently says in his book “The Coming Prince,”
“. . . We may conclude, then, that when wicked hands set up the cross on Calvary, and God pronounced the dread “Lo-ammi” (Romans 9:25, 26; cf. Hosea 1:9, 10) upon His people, the course of the prophetic era ceased to run. Nor will it flow on again till the autonomy of Judah is restored; and, with obvious propriety, that is held to date from the moment their readmission into the family of nations is recognized by treaty. It will, therefore, be here assumed that the former portion of the prophetic era has run its course, but that the events of the last seven years have still to be accomplished.”
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE, THE JEWS
Many Christians believe that they have replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people. In fact, they believe that God has rejected the Jews as His own chosen people because they were responsible for Jesus’ death on the cross. This is not true because both Jews and Gentiles were instrumental in the crucifixion of Christ. When Jesus was taken captive in the garden of Gethsemane, Jews of the Sanhedrin as well as Roman soldiers were involved.
No! . . . God has never and will never shun or reject the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as his chosen people. Paul testifies to this in Romans 11 when he asks the question, “. . . has God totally rejected and disowned His people? Then he answers, “. . . Of course not!” He continues in verse 11 by asking again, “Have they stumbled so as to fall — to their utter spiritual ruin irretrievably?” Then he answers his own question again by saying, “By no means has God rejected His people! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they have deprived themselves of] and so to make them jealous. “
No! . . . God has definitely not rejected His ancient people the Jews. He has a purpose for them as we shall see as we go along. To begin we must first turn to Exodus 19:6 which clearly shows us why God chose Israel to be His chosen people.
you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:6).
In Exodus God called His people, the Israelites, out of Egypt and in Leviticus he called them to Himself. In the very first verse of Leviticus God called to Moses out of the Tabernacle with the purpose of bringing them into a special covenanted relationship with Himself. Egypt was a type of the world and the domain or kingdom of the god of this world (Satan) while Pharaoh was a type of Antichrist. Slavery, hardship and eternal death was part and parcel of this world, and so it is also the case with a person who is not saved as yet. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. (John 8:34).
Salvation or redemption out of Egypt or the world and it’s system of sin and decadence, was only the beginning of God’s plan for His people. Every blood-washed child of God should realize that, like the Israelite who were brought out of Egypt, he or she has also been transplanted from (taken out of) the kingdom of darkness of Satan and brought over into the kingdom of His Son with the purpose of serving Him. (Colossians 1:13).
Israel had to be a holy nation, separated unto the Lord, and they had to be taught how to follow, obey and love Him. The book of Leviticus taught the Israelites not only how to approach God through the sacrificial system He Himself had established, but also how to live and walk with Him in an unbroken relationship.
National and individual sins frequently ruined their relationship with God which had to be restored through the sacrificial system God instituted for them. God’s main purpose with the Israelite in Leviticus was to establish them as a holy nation through and by whom He could reveal Himself as the One and only true God to a dying world. (Exodus 19:6). God chose Israel to be a light unto the nations (Isaiah 51:4). However, they failed because of their continual idolatry, and was therefore exiled into the land of Babylon. Please read Jeremiah 11: verses 6-8, 10-11 and chapter 25 verse 11.
It is very important to remember that God had determined a term of seventy years for Israel to remain exiled in Babylon. In other words God’s purpose was to teach the Israelite that their rebellion and sin against Him would once again lead to their bondage and slavery. Despite the prophet Jeremiah’s warnings, they refused to listen to him and continued to worship idols.
Israel’s exile into Babylon is recorded in Jeremiah 39. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, and his whole army came against Jerusalem on January 15, 588 BC. The siege lasted thirty months until July 18, 586 BC. Zedekiah, the king of Judah, his sons, the noblemen and his army tried to escape but they were overtaken by king Nebuchadnezzar.
As punishment for his rebellion against the king of Babylon, Zedekiah’s sons were slaughtered before him, and to ensure that this was the last thing he ever saw and that it would remain on his conscience for the rest of his life, his eyes were put out. The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. They set fire to the king’s palace and the people’s magnificent houses, and they broke down the wall around Jerusalem so that it would be impossible to defend the city again.
Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were amongst those who were taken into exile. It was here in Babylon that Daniel remembered God’s promise (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; Jeremiah 29:10) that He would bring His people (the Jews) back to Jerusalem after 70 years of exile.
Then he (Daniel) noticed from the books that the seventy years had indeed come to an end, he began to pray and made confession of his own sins and the sins of his people. His prayer is recorded in Daniel 9 verses 1-19. The following Scripture portion, from verse 20 to 27 is one of the most fascinating prophecies in the entire Bible. It describes God’s purposes for His own chosen people (the Jews) and the gentiles in the last days. Please read Daniel 9: 10-27.
The angel Gabriel revealed to Daniel (Daniel 9:25) that 70 “sevens” (490 years) would transpire before Israel’s sins would come to an end. The 490 years began ticking off with the giving of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. To see who made this proclamation we must go to Nehemiah 2 and read from verses 1 to 8. In this section the prophet Nehemiah received news that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and that its fortified gates were destroyed by fire. The news made him very sad and he wept for days, and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Please read Nehemiah 2: 1-8
The king who gave Nehemiah permission to return to Jerusalem, was Artaxerxes Longimanus, and the date when he signed the letters for Nehemiah to give him safe passage to Jerusalem was on March 14th 445 BC. According to verse 25 of Daniel 9 seven weeks and sixty-two weeks would pass before the next major event would take place. Before we continue, it is necessary to explain what the Bible means by weeks.
The Hebrew word for weeks is shabua and means literary a “seven” In other words, when the Bible speaks of 7 weeks, it means 7 X 7 (=49 years) and 62 X 7 (=434 years). If you add these two periods together (49 + 434) we get 483 years or 173, 880 days. And this is exactly the number of years or days that expired before Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9) to reveal Himself as Israel’s Messiah on 6 April 32 AD. Turn with me again to Daniel 9 verse 25
Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until [the coming] of the anointed one, a prince, (Jesus Christ) shall be seven weeks [of years], and sixty-two weeks [of years];
Then again in the first half of verse 26 it is said:—
And after the sixty-two weeks [of years] shall the anointed one (Jesus Christ) be cut off (killed), and shall have nothing [and belonging] to [and defending] him.
Not long after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus was crucified or cut off like a criminal. In the second half of verse 26 it is said:—
And the people of the other prince who shall come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and even to the end there shall be war, and desolations are decreed.
You may remember that Jesus once said that not one stone would be left upon another that will not be thrown down (John 21:6). He was of course referring to the temple that was destroyed by the “people of the other prince”. The temple was destroyed by the Romans under Titus in 70 AD because the Jews rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah. However, in Daniel 9:26 it is said that it is “the people of the other prince who shall come.” “The people of the other prince” who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD were Titus and the Roman Empire, and the “prince who shall come” is Antichrist whose appearance on the world scene still lies in the future.
All these things — the triumphal entry of Jesus on a donkey, His crucifixion and the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the people of the prince who shall still come — took place within the 69 weeks (69 x 7 years = 483 years). In fact the 69th week was concluded when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. But the angel Gabriel told Daniel that there would be a total of 490 years (70 x 7 years). Therefore, there are still seven years missing. When will these seven years take place? They could not have immediately followed the 69th week (483 years) because more than 2000 years have passed since the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the prince who shall come (Antichrist) has not yet made a covenant with the Jews. In verse 27 of Daniel chapter 9 we learn the following:—
An he [the other prince who shall come] shall enter into a strong covenant with the many for one week (seven years); and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and offering to cease [for the remaining three and a half years; and upon the wing or pinnacle of abominations (shall come) one who makes desolate; until the full determined end is poured out on the desolator.
Jesus once said to the Jews,—
I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept Me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. (John 5:43).
The “someone else who comes in his own name” to whom Jesus referred is the Antichrist. The Jews did not receive Jesus Christ as their Messiah because they expected someone who would bring them peace and who would rescue them from their suffering under the yoke of the Roman Empire. Instead Jesus Christ suffered and died a criminal’s death on a cross. They did not understand the Old Testament prophecies that Jesus would first come as a suffering Messiah and later again as a conquering Messiah, or first as a sacrificial Lamb and later as the Lion of Judah. The Jews are still waiting for a person who will bring them peace. In Daniel 8:25 we find a very ominous apocalyptic prophecy. Let’s read it.
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.
When the Antichrist shall arrive on the scene in future, he will make a peace deal with Israel and they will accept him as their Messiah. This man, the Antichrist, will bring peace to Israel but it will be a false peace because it is a peace that will destroy many people. We will leave this man for the moment and first look at the next part of our discussion.
EKKLESIA (The Church)
This period is generally called the time of grace or the dispensation of the Holy Spirit or the church age (ekklesia – “called out ones”). Some like to refer to this section as the time when God temporarily stopped His clock for the Jews. This simply means that the clock for the Jews stopped ticking at the end of the 69th week (483 years) and hasn’t begun ticking for the last 2000 years (2 Peter 3:9). It will begin to tick again when the 70th week (or the last seven years of the 490 years) commences and when the current dispensation of the Holy Spirit ends (2 Thessalonians 2:6). Why did God stop His clock for the Jews temporarily? We find the answer in Acts 28:25-28 and Isaiah 6: 9, 10.
God has not rejected the Jews as a nation as we have already seen in Romans 11:11 but He has put them “on hold” until He has achieved His purpose with the Gentiles of the world.
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR THE GENTILES
As we already know, the dispensation of the Holy Ghost began at Pentecost when the disciples of Jesus and all the others who were with them in Jerusalem were filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ foretold the inception or birth of the church (body of Christ consisting of Gentiles and Jews) in Matthew 16:18 when he said:—
And I tell you, you are Peter [Petros, masculine, a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Petra, feminine, a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it — or be strong to its detriment, or hold out against it.
Before we proceed, it is necessary to correct an error the Roman Catholic Church espouses. According to them Peter himself was the rock on whom Christ built His church in Rome (the St. Peter’s Cathedral). Therefore, they believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true and infallible church. In fact they say that no one can truly be saved if he does not belong to the Roman church, which of course is a lie. The rock is Christ Himself and Peter’s confession that He is the Son of God on whom the church is built.
The seven churches to whom John wrote the seven letters in Revelation chapters 2 & 3 represent the church age or the age of the Ekkelesia. Ekklesia is the Greek word for “the ones who are called out”. You may remember from the beginning of our discussion that God called Israel out of Egypt (a type of the world system we live in). And so too in this age, God calls His church out of the world with the purpose of being a holy priesthood unto Him and offering up spiritual sacrifices. (1 Peter 2:5).
We have also seen earlier that God not only called Israel out of Egypt but He also called them to Himself. His purpose for them was to bring them in a relationship with Himself that would continue into all eternity. God is calling His church to His Son. Where is Jesus to be found? In order to offer up spiritual sacrifices unto God, we must know where to find Jesus. To answer this question we must first turn to Hebrews 13:11-14 and Leviticus 16:27
In Leviticus some of the animals that were slaughtered as a sacrifice were taken outside the camp and their carcasses burnt. Jesus Christ, our Burnt Offering, who suffered and died outside the city’s gate was intensely ridiculed, mocked, abused insulted, beaten, and eventually killed like a criminal.
Are you prepared to suffer the insults, hatred, and mockery of the world? Are you prepared to be seen as a criminal by the world, and even by your own family? Are you prepared to lay down your life when they try to force you to deny and disown Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord? We must be willing to suffer all these things. Therefore a spiritual sacrifice is to go outside the camp and to be willing to suffer the reproach (abuse and ridicule) of the world and even our own brethren.
God’s most important purpose for His church (the ones who are called out), is to prepare them for the Rapture. We will go into a little more detail on the subject of the Rapture a little later. In each of the seven letters John wrote to the seven churches in Asia, Jesus Christ issued warnings to the faithful as well as the unfaithful Christians.
In Revelation 2: 1 it is written that Jesus Christ goes about among the seven golden lamp stands [which are the seven churches]. This teaches us that Jesus is constantly moving within His church, watching, urging, warning, and rebuking them whenever it is necessary to do so. As the head of the body (the church), Christ instructs and disciplines those who are willing to listen. Those who are not willing to listen will not heed His warnings. We are only going to look at two of the seven churches in Revelation — the churches at Smyrna and Philadelphia.
SMYRNA AND PHILADELPHIA
We have already seen that God’s purpose for His church is to prepare her for the RAPTURE. God is in fact preparing a bride for His Son (the bride consists of all the true believers throughout the world) who will take part in the wedding feast in heaven after the Rapture. We all know that a bride is supposed to keep herself untainted (pure) for her husband. She is supposed to keep her body pure from adulterous relationships with other men before she eventually marries the man she loves. In the same way the bride of Christ must keep herself pure and untainted from the world and especially false doctrines. (Matthew 24: 4; James 4:4).
How does God purify His bride? During the past 2000 years the bride of Christ has suffered many persecutions. Although persecution is the devil’s tool to try and destroy the bride of Christ, God uses persecution as a kind of remedy when His bride begins to feel at home in the world. He uses persecution to shake the foundations of complacency, self-absorption, sleepiness and passiveness when His bride stops to be mission-minded. Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. Unfortunately, the early church in Acts began to misunderstand and forget His command. In order to rectify this problem, God allowed persecution to ravage the Christians in Jerusalem.
After Stephen’s martyrdom the others had to flee for their lives and they began to preach the Gospel wherever they went. (Acts 8:1-4). Some members of the churches compromised Biblically sound doctrines in order to escape persecution. In the church at Pergamum, for instance, some of the Christians began to cling to the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. This refers to the origins of the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. The Catholic Eucharist began to develop during this time. With the term “transubstantiation” the Roman Catholics believe that the Eucharist literary turns into the body of Christ and the wine literary turns into the blood of Christ when they eat and drink it during their communion.
They also believe that the mass (with communion) is capable of removing one’s sins. Jesus warned the church at Pergamum against this form of idolatry. The word Nicolaitan comes from a combination of nico = “suppression” and laity = “of the people.” They began to set up a clergy of priests who had great power and authority and who began to tell their members what to believe. In fact the clergy of priests had more authority than the word of God. They began to suppress the “laity” (ordinary people) into believing heresies like the immaculate conception of mother Mary, her ascension into heaven, purgatory and the scapular.
The Roman Catholics believe that Purgatory is a place where they go after death to have their remaining sins purged by fire before they enter into heaven. However, the fire of Purgatory is not the fire of hell. It is a kind of fire that only burns away sins. In other words, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not sufficient for the removal of their sins.
They deny the complete efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. The scapular consists of two pieces of cloth joined together by a piece of string and is worn around the neck under their clothing. They believe that anyone who wears this piece of cloth when they die, will not have to go to purgatory, but will immediately enter into heaven (Pope John Paul II always wore a scapular). Adam and Eve also made for themselves dresses of leaves to cover their nakedness. The church at Thyatira tolerated idolatry (paganism) in their assemblies (Revelation 2:20-23). Note verse 23 which solemnly warns anyone who follows false prophets, false apostles and their false doctrines. They will end up in the same place where these false prophets and apostles will eventually go.
Of the seven churches to whom the apostle John wrote letters at the behest of Jesus Christ, only Smyrna and Philadelphia were not rebuked for any doctrinal transgressions. The name Smyrna comes from the Greek word “myrrh” and means “death” or “anointing for burial”. They anointed Jesus’ body for burial with myrrh (John 19:39-40).
In the Song of Solomon, the bridegroom goes to the mountain of myrrh (Calvary) to die for His bride (Songs of Solomon 4:6). The church at Smyrna suffered persecution, affliction and distress and they were very poor. Despite their poverty, God regarded them as a rich church. They were spiritually rich. The church at Laodicea was the very opposite of Smyrna. It had everything it wanted. It lacked nothing. It was a rich church. However, God regarded them as wretched, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17).
Like the church at Smyrna, Philadelphia was a mission-minded church. It also suffered persecution at the hands of false brethren. Although it had little power it kept God’s word (doctrines) and guarded His message (of salvation) and never denied His name. I want you to pay special attention to the promise Jesus made to the church of Philadelphia in Rev. 3:10.
Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance — have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you — I also will keep you (safe) from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth [“inhabitants.” See also Revelation 17:2).
The “hour of trial that is coming on the whole earth” is not a time of persecution for the bride of Christ, as some believe, but a time when God’s wrath will be poured out on all the inhabitants of the earth. It is commonly referred to as the “TRIBULATION PERIOD” or JACOB’S (ISRAEL’S) TROUBLE (Jeremiah 30:7). It is interesting to note that the word “katoikeō” for “inhabitants” means to make the earth your permanent habitation. The children of God are never referred to as inhabitants but as “strangers” and “pilgrims” who are merely passing through on their way to their permanent residence in heaven (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:9-10). Christians who have become involved in the Emerging Church and are working in tandem with the Roman Catholic Church, other religions and the New Age to establish the Kingdom of God on earth here and now (Dominionists, Reconstructionists, Kingdom Now) are all earthly minded (inhabitants) and not heavenly minded (strangers and pilgrims). Jesus’ promise that he would “keep safe” those who remain faithful to His name and His message, refers to the RAPTURE when all the true believers will be taken out of this world to meet Him in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
In the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, there is a very important occurrence between Joseph and his eleven brothers that demonstrates the meaning of the Rapture and the following Tribulation period. You will recall that Joseph (a type of Jesus Christ as the suffering Servant in the Old Testament) eventually revealed himself to his brothers in Egypt. Now! I want you to pay attention to Genesis 45 verse 1 in particular. There we read the following:—
Then Joseph could not restrain himself [any longer] before all those who stood about him, and he called out, Cause every man to go out from me. So no one stood there with Joseph, while he made himself known to his brothers.
As we have seen earlier in our discussion, with special reference to Romans 11, God has not rejected his own people the Jews but stopped His clock ticking for them during the last 2000 years, so that Jesus could obtain a bride for Himself among the gentiles, like Joseph who married a gentile woman of Egypt.
The time is fast approaching when Jesus is going to take His bride to Himself. (John 14:1-3). As soon as this happens He is going to reveal Himself to His own brethren, the Jews. Joseph commanded that all the gentiles (Egyptians) who were with him and his brothers in his home, go out of his presence before he revealed himself to his brothers. The bride of Christ will not be present in this world when Jesus is going to reveal Himself to His brethren. The bride is going to be taken in the Rapture to heaven for the wedding feast. This brings us to the 70th week of Daniel or the last seven years before the advent of the 1000 years reign of peace on earth.
THE 70TH WEEK
Before we continue, I must bring to your attention again that the church (the bride of Christ) will not be present on earth during the Tribulation period. She will be in heaven with her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. The events immediately following the Rapture, will occur at the Bema Throne of Judgment in heaven. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) and the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. I am not going to elaborate on the Bema Judgment seat of Christ and the meaning of this judgment. Let us continue then with the 70th week of Daniel.
The first question that springs to mind when we discuss the 70th week of Daniel, is — when exactly does the 70th week begin? When does the seven years of tribulation begin? Does it still lie far in the future or is it just around the corner? Several facts given in the word of God clearly answers these questions. Let us turn to 2 Thessalonians 2
But relative to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah (His first coming), and our gathering together to meet Him, we beg you, brethren, Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here. Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first — that is, unless the [predicted] great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come — and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition). . . . An now you know what is restraining him [from being revealed at this time]; it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time.
It is clear from the above passage that two things must happen before the Tribulation period can begin.
- The predicted great falling away from the faith or apostasy, and
- The One that restrains the Antichrist from revealing himself is taken out of the way.
We are already in the midst of the great falling away from the faith. A few years ago it was unthinkable and even blasphemous for evangelical Christians (Protestants, Baptists, Charismatics, Pentecostalists, etc.) to work together with the Roman Catholic Church. During the Roman Inquisition thousands upon thousands of true Christians were martyred, burned at the stake, murdered and persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church for their faith.
Forgotten are the days when men and women chose to die instead of bowing down before Roman Catholic doctrine. Instead of holding fast to their faith, many leaders in evangelical circles have signed an agreement with the Roman Catholic Church and are presently working closely together with them to “evangelize” the world.
Ecumenism (the belief that all religions should be united in order to bring peace on earth) is invading the church at an alarming pace. Sound Christian doctrine like the virgin birth of Christ, His triumph over Satan on the cross, salvation through grace alone and not works, the bodily resurrection of believers as well as unbelievers, are constantly being denied by many prominent believers in Christian churches. There is indeed a great falling away from the faith happening before our very eyes. Why is such a great falling away from a simple faith in Jesus Christ taking place? We find the answer in 2 Thessalonians 4:9-12:—
The coming [of the lawless one, the Antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan, and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels —[all of them] lying wonder — And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are (going to perdition) perishing because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working or error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false. In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe — who refused to adhere to, trust in and rely on — the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness.
Anyone who runs after today’s so-called modern prophets and apostles who perform miracle healing, signs and wonders are in danger of coming under a very strong delusion (deception). They are indeed placing themselves under the wrath of God.
The Antichrist cannot reveal himself before the One who is restraining him (preventing him from revealing himself) is taken out of the way. In other words some One is preventing the Antichrist from revealing himself. The Restrainer can be no one else but the Holy Spirit. As long as the Holy Spirit is resident within His church on earth and every true believer this restraining work will continue and the man of sin cannot be revealed. It is only when the church, the temple, is removed at the Rapture that this restraining ministry will come to an end and lawlessness can produce the lawless one.
God’s clock for the Jews will begin ticking again at the beginning of the 70th week and the 70th week begins when Antichrist makes a covenant with “many” for one week (7 years). (Daniel 9:27). This is the time of the Great Tribulation or Jacob’s trouble. For a detailed description of the great tribulation one needs to study Revelation from chapter 5 to 20. What is the purpose of the Great Tribulation? There are two main purposes.
- The first great purpose of the tribulation is to prepare the nation Israel for her Messiah. God is going to bring this about through the conversion of a multitude of Jews. Because the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, a spiritual blindness came over them. Isaiah predicted this blindness in Isaiah 6: 8, 10. Paul recalls Isaiah’s words in 2 Corinthians 3: 14, 15.
The veil that covers the Jews’ hearts and blinds their eyes will be taken away when “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, “And so also all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:25). Paul is signifying here that the blindness will be taken away at the Rapture of the church when the time of Gentile privilege gives way to the time when Israel will be restored to the place of blessing during the Millenniuim.
- The second great purpose is to pour out judgment on the unbelieving nations because of their ungodliness and especially because they follow and worship the Antichrist.
As we have already seen, the Antichrist will sign a peace treaty with the Jews and will allow them to rebuild their temple. During the first 3½ years the Antichrist will protect Israel from any outside invasion, especially by the Arab nations and the Palestinians who are amongst Israel’s worst enemies.
The Jews will believe that their prince of peace in the person of Antichrist has come to their rescue. They will once again bring sacrifices in their newly built temple in Jerusalem. However, in the midst (middle) of the seven years of tribulation (after 3½ years) the Antichrist will break his treaty (covenant) with the Jews. He will force the Jews to stop their sacrifices and will sit in the most holy of holies as God. He will exalt himself by saying that he is the God of Israel. This was prophesied in Daniel 9: 27 and also by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:15-22.
During the next 3½ years following this event in the temple, the Jews will have to flee. Hitler’s persecution of the Jews during the Second World War will look like a picnic compared to the persecution the Jews will endure during the second half (last 3½ years of the seven years) of the Tribulation. Jesus described this awful period in Matthew 24:15-22. However, God’s mercies and wonderful grace will extend to the farthest reaches of earth when He will seal for Himself 144,000 witnesses (12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel) who will preach the Gospel to all the nations. (Revelation 7 and 14).
At the end of the seven year Tribulation period, just prior to the Millennium (1000 years of peace on earth), a great war will be waged against Jerusalem. The “kings of the earth and of the whole world” will be gathered together through the activity of the trinity from hell (Satan, Antichrist and the false Prophet) to what is called “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” in a place called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:16). There God will deal in judgment with the nations because of their persecution of Israel (Joel 3:2), because of their sinfulness (Revelation 19:15) and because of their godlessness (Revelation 16:9).
During this great battle the armies of the East will also attack the armies of the Antichrist in Jerusalem. Revelation 16:12 reveals that some kind of supernatural event will bring about the removal of that which kept the armies of the East from coming to the region of Palestine to wage war against the Beast (Antichrist). God is going to dry up the Euphrates river in the same way He dried up the Red Sea so that the Chinese army (totaling more than 200,000,000 men in arms) will be able to come to the Holy Land to make war against the Antichrist. Before the battle begins a sign of the Son of man appears in the sky. (Matthew 24:30). This sign causes the two opposing armies (the army of Antichrist and the army of the East) to stop their hostilities against each other and to join or unite their armies to fight the Lord Himself. John says:—
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army” (Revelation 19:19).
It is at this point that the armies of the beast and the East are destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:21). This will all happen at the second coming or advent of Jesus Christ with His army of saints (all the believers who were taken out of the world at the Rapture). Enoch prophesied this event (the second coming of Jesus Christ) thousands of years ago. Please read Jude 14 and 15
At this particular stage, when Jesus appears in the clouds with His myriads (innumerable) of saints, the Jews will recognize their true Messiah whom they have rejected all along. This event is described in Zechariah 12:9-10 and Revelation 1: 7
The climax of these events will take place when the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast into the eternal lake of fire and Satan is bound for a 1000 years.
To summarize, the following observations concerning the 70th week of Daniel can be made:—
- The armies of the South are destroyed.
- The armies of the Northern confederacy are destroyed by the Lord. (Russia and its allies)
- The armies of the beast (Roman Empire) and of the East are destroyed by the Lord at His Second Advent.
- The Beast and the False Prophet are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).
- All the unbelievers will have been purged out of Israel (Zechariah 13:8).
- Satan will be bound for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2).
Jesus Christ will then have destroyed all hostile forces and His enemies who would challenge His right to rule as Messiah over the earth for a 1000 years (Millennium of peace).
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Revelation 22:20-21)