(this blog originally posted at "The Practical Prophecy Newsletter" on Substack - bless Andrew by giving here: https://practicalprophecy.substack.com/p/daniels-70th-week-practically-prophetic)
Seventy weeks have been decreed…
While the subject of Daniel's 70th week has long been a focal point of the prophecy world, the ever popular pre-tribulational view of the rapture has done much to cloud the practical nature of the signposts appearing within this climactic “week.” This is a tremendous loss for the Church, because the details that Daniel gives us reveal some of the most practical takeaways in all of prophecy. But before I get too far ahead of myself, you might be wondering, “What is the 70th week of Daniel?” In short, it's the final seven years of this present age that lead directly into the return of Jesus and the establishment of His earthly Kingdom.¹
But only once we clear away the fog that is the pre-tribulational view can we truly see the profound implications of Daniel's prophecies. Consider, barring a pre-tribulational escape, is it possible to know when this age has transitioned into those penultimate years? Perhaps this is why Jesus directed His listeners to Daniel when they asked Him about the signs of the end. Because understanding Daniel's prophecies help us answer what is arguably the most practical question about the end of the age:
How do we know when we're there?
Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age? - Matthew 24:3
In response to the disciple's questions about the end of the age, Jesus gives them a simple directive: Search the book of Daniel for an event called the abomination of desolation. He knew that by finding this event, His disciples (and us) would be lead along a trail of breadcrumbs throughout Daniel's prophecies that would unveil the entire framework of the last days. This is because Daniel not only reveals several events connected to the abomination, he even gives us the timing in between all of the events.²
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)… then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
- Matthew 24:15,21
For example, Daniel tells us that once we see the abomination, there will be a time of tribulation for the entire world such has never been and never will be again. He also tell us this Great Tribulation will last for roughly three and a half years, culminating with the end of the age and the resurrection of the dead. Continuing His answer to the disciple's questions, Jesus proceeds to quote Daniel’s prophecy verbatim, tethering His return to the conclusion of this final tribulation at the sound of the last trumpet.³
Immediately after the tribulation of those days… they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds...
- Matthew 24:29-31
While this may be a dramatic paradigm shift for some, the reality is you can know the timing of the Lord's return; that is, if you see this event. And in the same way an upcoming exit sign alerts drivers that the time for action is approaching (checking blind spots, changing lanes etc.), seeing the abomination alerts us that we need to prepare for action. Which is at the heart of why Jesus instructed us to know and understand this event. Because when we see it, we will know. And we're expected to be prepared.⁴
Behold, I have told you in advance.
- Matthew 24:25
Also of note, is that when asked about the timing of His return, Jesus doesn't dismiss the disciple's question. Instead, He gives them a direct answer. The takeaway is truly profound, but its staggering simplicity can only be seen in the light of Daniel's prophecy: If you see the abomination of desolation, this means you are three and a half years away from the return of Jesus. A simple question (when?); and a simple answer (then.) Naturally, this should cause us to ask another practical question regarding the end of the age:
What is the abomination of desolation?
And from the time that the regular sacrifice (tamid) is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. - Daniel 12:11
I Saw The Sign (And It Opened Up My Eyes)
In order to understand what the abomination is, we first need to understand that Biblical prophecy is primarily Jerusalem centric, and Daniel is no exception. So we shouldn't be surprised to find out that the abomination revolves around the forceful removal of the tamid, the continual daily sacrifice that, according to Levitical law, is commanded to be offered every evening and morning in the Temple. And it's none other than the antichrist who gives the order to stop the sacrifice.⁵
Forces from him (the antichrist) will arise and desecrate the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering (tamid). And they will set up the abomination of desolation.
- Daniel 11:31
The implications of this are incredible, because it tethers the abomination to a concrete, Jerusalem-centric event that is plainly identifiable. Daniel mentions the abomination no less than four times, once in each of his apocalyptic visions. And every time, it’s directly connected with the destruction of the Jewish Temple and the banishment of the regular, twice daily sacrifice in Jerusalem. So if we know and understand the prophecies of Daniel, just as Jesus instructed us to, this will be unmistakable.
And the regular burnt offering (tamid) was taken away from Him (Yahweh), and the place of His sanctuary was overthrown.
- Daniel 8:11
Moreover, this catalytic event appears to happen within the context of a foreign invasion. Daniel also adds that in the midst of this invasion, the armies of the antichrist will desecrate, and eventually destroy the Temple. But this isn't the first time we've read about an eschatological invasion of Jerusalem. Ezekiel, another exile prophet and contemporary of Daniel, records the same event. Except he adds that Gog (the antichrist) leads a Middle Eastern contingent of nations against the Holy city in the latter years.⁶
Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north… you (Gog) will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you.
- Ezekiel 38:5-6,9
It's difficult to overstate the significance of the tamid within religious Judaic thought. Even today, several prominent Rabbis in Israel continue to call for a return to the ancient Levitical system. So important is the tamid to the religious Jew that even Daniel himself, in exile, continued to structure his prayers around the time of the morning and evening sacrifice. So the removal of the tamid by a foreign (and seemingly Islamic) invader would be sure to ignite a geopolitical firestorm that would - and will - be impossible to miss. That is, only if we've followed Jesus’ instructions to seek out and study the abomination: Let the reader understand.⁷
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)…
- Matthew 24:15
But these events presuppose certain geopolitical conditions that haven't been in place for nearly two thousand years. Namely, a reinstated sacrificial system and a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. And given the current circumstances on the Temple Mount (the 'status quo' forbids Jewish worship of any kind), it's hard to imagine the conditions for Daniel's prophecy materializing apart from a radical change in dynamics. Which means that any significant movement towards such a change would be a sign in itself. In fact, Daniel tells us it's the sign.
And he (the antichrist) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (shabua), but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering… - Daniel 9:27
Losing My Religion
At the tail end of his now famous seventy weeks prophecy, Daniel gives us several key details about the climactic 70th week (shabua). In Hebrew, a shabua is used to refer to a period of seven years. But halfway through this final shabua, Daniel tells us the antichrist will put a stop to the daily sacrifice. This, of course, is the abomination of desolation, which means the 70th week is divided neatly down the middle by this event, allowing us to construct a loose framework of the final seven years. Daniel also reveals the event that signals the arrival of the 70th week: The confirmation of a covenant between the antichrist and the nation of Israel.
But what type of covenant is this? Is it intended to be understood in the general sense of the word, as in a type of formal agreement, or could it be referring to something more specific? Fortunately, we don't have to speculate. We need only to look elsewhere in Daniel's prophecies in order to connect the dots. And just a few verses prior to the abomination, in Daniel's eleventh chapter, he reveals the primary motive for the antichrist's actions against the Temple services: A deeply rooted, violent hatred towards a very specific covenant.
The holy covenant.
And he (the antichrist) shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant… and (he) shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant.
- Daniel 11:28-30
The word covenant appears no fewer than seven times throughout Daniel's prophecies, and five of them are unambiguous references to the ancient Mosaic covenant, which by necessity includes the Levitical sacrificial system. Given this context, there's good reason to believe that the covenant the antichrist confirms (or strengthens) at the beginning of the 70th week is the same one he later rages against: The holy covenant. Which leaves us with yet another practical takeaway: The reinstatement of the sacrificial system in Israel, at the behest of the antichrist, is the event that signals the arrival of the final seven years of this age.⁸
The vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now. - Daniel 8:26
Time After Time
But how can we be sure the reinstatement of the sacrificial system in Israel is truly the sign? To feel confident in this position, we need only look to Daniel 8, where we find his prophecy of the 2,300 evenings and mornings. Also, we need to understand that Daniel's vantage point was not too terribly different from ours today. Consider, that in order for Daniel's prophecies to be fulfilled, there must be a reinstated sacrificial system, as well as a rebuilt Temple. This is precisely the position in which Daniel would have been when he received his vision about the eschatological destruction of Jerusalem and the removal of the daily sacrifice.⁹
For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering (tamid), the transgression that makes desolate (abomination), and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?
- Daniel 8:13
This is because just forty years prior, Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonians, resulting in the burning of the Temple and the ceasing of the daily sacrifice. Yet here was a vision that clearly necessitated a rebuilt Temple and a restored sacrificial system. So while Daniel continued to meditate on the vision, two angelic messengers would offer (and answer) the burning question that would no doubt have been on Daniel's mind: How long would it take for these events to be accomplished? Events that necessarily included the restoration of the Levitical system. The angelic response is telling.
For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.
- Daniel 8:14
The restoration of the sanctuary (Temple) at the conclusion of the 2,300 days can only be referring to the restored Temple that Jesus will rule and reign from upon His return, as it follows directly on the heels of the Tribulation. And because the conclusion of the 2,300 days coincides with the end of the 70th week, working backwards from there leaves us with another major takeaway: The start of the 2,300 evenings and mornings lands somewhere within the first half of the 70th week. And given the context of the vision (as well as Daniel's vantage point), this appears to be alluding to the exact moment when the daily sacrifice actually restarts.
If this is correct, then it reinforces the notion of the holy covenant, along with its Levitical sacrificial system, being the covenant the antichrist confirms. Additionally, the Hebrew word translated confirms carries the connotation of strengthening, making strong, or to cause. In other words, the antichrist's political and military clout must somehow be the primary factor in Israel's return to their ancient covenant. And shortly thereafter, within the early part of the 70th week, the tamid will be reinstated. This leaves us with not just one - but two - identifiable signs prior to the Great Tribulation. But can we be certain of this view?
But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. - Daniel 12:4
Can I Get A Witness?
If an airtight case is to be made for this position, then we must take into account the full counsel of Scripture, because only on the evidence of two or three witnesses shall a matter be established. So in regards to the restoration of the Temple services during the early part of the 70th week (only to be halted just a few years later), we call to the stand our first witness: the prophet Isaiah. Daniel, a descendant of Judean nobility, would certainly have been familiar with Isaiah, who was well acquainted with the kingly line. And he too recorded a vision about the desolation of the Tribulation Temple; a Temple, he would add, that's only recently been recovered.¹⁰
Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trampled it down.
- Isaiah 63:18
There’s simply no Temple in Israel's history that can answer to this description. Both Solomon's Temple, as well as the post-exilic second Temple each stood for well over four hundred years without any interruption to the regular, twice daily sacrifice before being destroyed by the Babylonians (586 BC) and Romans (70 AD) respectively. Therefore, the Temple Isaiah describes stands out as unique, giving further credence to what Daniel saw in his exilic vision: A recently rebuilt (albeit extremely short-lived) Temple alongside a recently reinstated (but just as quickly removed) Levitical sacrificial system that would be trampled on at the time of the end.
Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
- Isaiah 64:11
Finally, we call our third and final witness to the stand: The Apostle John. John also received a vision of the Temple that would be standing during the final Tribulation. And in a mirror image of Daniel's scenario, this revelation came to him in exile, having been banished to the island of Patmos. Even more coincidentally (but perhaps not accidentally), it came only a couple of decades after the destruction of the second Temple, which means that John's vantage point was exactly the same as Daniel's. In the vision, John hears a command for the Temple to be rebuilt. And like all of the events in the Revelation, this one occurs inside the 70th week.¹¹
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.”
- Revelation 11:1-2
But there's something else about the Tribulation Temple that John's vision reveals: It's built on top of a shared Temple Mount. The outer court that John mentions (that's not included in the rebuilt Temple) is the portion that would normally occupy the majority of the Temple Mount. And John says that this part is given to the nations (non Jews). In other words, the Tribulation Temple will occupy significantly less space than the previous two. Additionally, because the holy of holies is required to be in line with the Eastern gate, the only spot the Temple could even be rebuilt is the large, open area just north of the Dome of the Rock. It's no wonder that a large number of Islamic nations will be participating in this apocalyptic invasion!¹²
Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. - Daniel 9:26
Part Two: Prophetic Patterns And Unholy Alliances
Give Peace A Chance
With all that said, if you were to ask a handful of prophecy minded individuals about the event that signals the arrival of the 70th week, you'd likely get a similar response: A seven year peace treaty between the antichrist and the nation of Israel. This is by far the most popular view, and it's been accepted by the vast majority of the prophecy world. However, I'm not inclined to believe that the 70th week is ushered in by the signing of a formal peace treaty. As we've seen, the text simply says that the antichrist plays a critical role in allowing the reinstatement of Israel's ancient Levitical system. So where does the idea of a seven year peace accord come from?
And he (the antichrist) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (shabua), but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering…
- Daniel 9:27
To put it simply, because Daniel tells us that the antichrist confirms a covenant for one week (shabua), many take this to mean a generic, geopolitical peace agreement that's implemented for seven years. But as we've seen, this isn't just any covenant. It's the holy covenant. And the fact that we're told it occurs for one shabua simply means the event transpires at the beginning of the seven years, not that it actually lasts for seven years. This becomes evident once we remember that the sacrifices are halted halfway through the 70th week. But where does the idea of peace come in?
And through his policy he shall cause deceit to prosper under his hand, and he shall magnify himself in his heart. In a time of peace he shall destroy many…
- Daniel 8:25
This is because Daniel tells us that prior to the antichrist's invasion of Jerusalem, Israel is living in unprecedented peace and security. And in a parallel passage to Daniel's, the prophet Ezekiel places the same invasion during a time when Israel feels so secure, they've actually removed all of their defensive structures. What could possibly have happened that would make Israel feel that secure, considering that throughout their entire history, they've been continually threatened with annihilation by their surrounding neighbors? This is why most people tend to lean towards a seven year peace treaty. What else could possibly account for this?¹³
And you (the antichrist) will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates…’
- Ezekiel 38:11
However, just because Israel feels secure doesn't mean that they've entered into a peace accord. In fact, Israel has quite a long history of feeling invincible, only to be met with defeat shortly thereafter. And not once did their sense of security ever come from a peace agreement. Rather, it came from a collective heart posture of pride and self reliance. For example, when Jerusalem was threatened by the Babylonians, everyone simply continued to live in disillusionment and unrepentance, believing they would be spared. Unfortunately, their prophets, shepherds, and elders only reinforced this false notion, declaring there would be peace.¹⁴
They have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace…
- Ezekiel 13:10
And it's this very same veil of self deception that will lull Israel into a false sense of security during the first half of the 70th week. We know this because all of the major prophets project this heart posture of Israel's onto an eschatological setting. Additionally, in his first letter to the Thessalonians (which was written to clarify end times events), the Apostle Paul reminds us that shortly after Israel redevelops this prideful, disillusioned feeling of security (even in the midst of a looming threat), the abomination of desolation will follow soon after.¹⁵
While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction will come upon them like labor pains upon a pregnant woman...
- 1st Thessalonians 5:3
However, just because there isn't a peace accord between the antichrist and the nation of Israel doesn't mean there isn't some other kind of agreement. After all, several significant changes appear to have been enacted as a result of the antichrist's influence in the region. For one, the so called two state solution will presumably be resolved in some form, as we know there will be dual control over the Temple Mount. Second, Israel won't feel threatened by any of their surrounding neighbors (which is saying a lot). But a peace treaty isn't the only way to accomplish these measures. As we'll soon learn, Israel has another bad habit that we can see prominently displayed throughout their history:
Unholy military alliances.
And from the time that an alliance is made with him (the antichrist) he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong… - Daniel 11:23
Why Can't We Be Friends?
Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God gave His people clear instructions not to make any covenants (agreements) with the inhabitants of the land, lest they be lead astray by their pagan practices. And if Israel failed to obey, the Lord said, then those nations would end up becoming a snare in their midst. Yet throughout their entire history, Israel has done exactly that, forging alliances with the surrounding nations and reaping the consequences of their disobedience as a result. This pattern is evident even today, as Israel continues to partner with several regional neighbors, all of them Muslim majority nations.¹⁶
Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars…
- Exodus 34:12-13
But historically, the types of alliances that Israel makes with their neighbors aren't peace treaties. They're defense alliances; or at the very least, agreements to work in close cooperation with one another as a result of a looming regional threat. Ironically, the first nation that Israel typically turns to when they find themselves in danger is none other than their original oppressor: Egypt. This holds true even today, as Egypt was the first Arab nation that the state of Israel normalized relations with in 1979, only one month after the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a rising regional threat.¹⁷
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not Mine, and who make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for My direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!”
- Isaiah 30:1-2
But Egypt isn't the only neighbor Israel looks to for support. In fact, Scripture reveals a clear pattern of Israel seeking numerous allies in the region whenever a threat arises - a threat whose presence affects the entire Middle East. For example, during the reign of King Ahaz, Jerusalem found themselves in danger of being conquered by Syria, the regional powerhouse of the last several generations. Having already aligned themselves with Egypt, Ahaz sought protection from another rising power in the region: Assyria. But to Israel's detriment, Assyria would renege on the alliance, going on to become one of Israel's most formidable foes and primary antagonists over the next generation.¹⁸
Ephraim feeds on the wind and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt.
- Hosea 12:1
Hezekiah, the son of King Ahaz, spent his entire career reaping the consequences of his father's misplaced trust in Assyria. Having watched the northern kingdom fall to this regional juggernaut, Hezekiah began to feel the walls closing in on Judah and Jerusalem, as the Assyrians began to hem them in from every side. This was punishment for Israel's disobedience to the Lord, who had sent His prophets to call out the nation's leadership for their misplaced trust in the strength of man. But instead of heeding the warnings, they chose to put their trust in themselves and their allies' collective military might. And now their bill had come due.
Therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.
- Isaiah 8:7-8
Even Hezekiah had given in to the temptation of relying on military assistance from regional allies. And once again, Egypt found themselves in league with Jerusalem. And less than two years before the Assyrian siege of the capital city, Hezekiah welcomed envoys from another regional player with a vested interest in halting Assyrian aggression: Babylon. The nation that would end up taking the Davidic dynasty into captivity for seventy years while temporarily snuffing out Jerusalem was being welcomed in to the royal courts with open arms. But this friendship wouldn't last long. They too would turn on their new ally, just as Isaiah had warned.¹⁹
Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord.”
- Isaiah 39:3-6
What's most interesting about this pattern is the Hebrew prophets all seem to project it onto an eschatological setting. Meaning instead of a peace treaty that initiates the 70th week, it appears to actually be a defense alliance with the nation of the antichrist. If this is correct, then we should expect to see Israel at the center of a regional conflict involving a formidable foe leading up to this alliance. We should also expect to see a flurry of diplomatic activity between Israel and their regional neighbors as a result of this mutually shared threat. This is yet another practical takeaway we can add to our list.²⁰
Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming scourge passes through it will not reach us, for we have made lies our refuge, and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”
- Isaiah 28:15
What this pattern also reveals is that it's actually the perceived safety Israel feels after forging these alliances that lulls them into a false sense of security, not peace treaties. This is precisely why the Lord compared these alliances to snares, or traps. In the same way a mousetrap’s true purpose is concealed from its hungry victim, these partnerships, while seemingly appealing, ultimately snap shut on them. And Israel's ill fated agreement with the man of sin (and his nation) is simply the ultimate, eschatological expression of this cyclical pattern.²¹
Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. - Isaiah 10:20
War (What Is It Good For?)
Regardless of the nature of Israel's alliance with the antichrist, it must be noted that the level of security they feel during the early part of the 70th week is unprecedented. Not once in Israel's history have they ever felt secure enough to remove their defensive structures. Yet this is exactly what the prophet Ezekiel describes. Further, these gates, bars, and walls appear to be a reference to Israel’s security barriers (along with their checkpoints) that run the length of the disputed - and violently contested - West Bank.²²
And you (the antichrist) will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates…’
- Ezekiel 38:11
Let's stop and think for a second about what the practical implications of this are. Prior to the antichrist's invasion of Jerusalem (and the advent of the Great Tribulation), Israel will not only have rebuilt their Temple and restarted the Levitical sacrifices on the Temple Mount, but they'll also have unprecedented (albeit temporary) control over the Biblical heartland of the nation. And they'll feel untouchable. There is absolutely zero chance this would not be recognizable. But what could possibly account for such a massive geopolitical shift such as this?
Whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.
- Ezekiel 38:8b
On the surface, it looks as if the much-maligned two state solution has finally been achieved, at least in some capacity. Recall, the primary rift of the Arab/Israeli conflict is over control of the West Bank, with a special emphasis on East Jerusalem, the location of the Temple Mount. Yet everything we've seen so far appears to overwhelmingly favor the Jewish side. Needless to say, this isn't what your typical political resolution looks like. Rather than concessions being made by both sides, this scenario appears uniquely one-sided, involving significant Israeli advancement. Which leads me to believe that what we're looking at isn't a political resolution.
It's a military one.
In the latter years you (the antichrist) will invade a land that has recovered from war…
- Ezekiel 38:8a
Ezekiel takes special care to inform us that prior to this unprecedented period of ‘peace and safety,’ Israel is said to have recently ‘recovered from war.’ But there's only one way a nation that is constantly under the threat of attack can recover from war. What this means then, is that they've just returned from war. Historically, peace of this magnitude is almost always preceded by war. And in this case, Israel appears to have notched a decisive military victory. Further, they've likely achieved this victory with the help of their newfound ally, who also supports their right to the Temple Mount and their ancient Levitical covenant (at least at first).
Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog (the antichrist), Thus says the Lord God: On that day when My people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it?
- Ezekiel 38:14
Remember if you will, that leading up to Israel's ill fated alliance, prophetic patterns indicate they'll be facing a regional threat, providing the context for why Israel forms this alliance in the first place. It's also possible this military campaign could be a preemptive strike, which Israel has a proven track record of. For example, during the Six-Day War (which began as a preemptive strike), Israel was wildly successful, retaking the Golan Heights, Gaza strip, Sinai Peninsula, and the Old City of Jerusalem (including the Temple Mount, which was later forfeited). Interestingly, these dramatic geopolitical changes occurred virtually overnight.²³
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day?
- Isaiah 66:8
In any case, this conflict seems to be the context that surrounds the opening of the 70th week, potentially even spilling over into it. The delay between the start of the week and the reinstatement of the sacrifices could even be accounted for by the fallout from this conflict. But once the sacrifices actually begin, it would appear that Israel, by this time, has firmly reestablished themselves in their ancient homeland, having recovered - and returned - from war. And it would be at this point that Israel would begin to say 'peace and safety,' while their newfound ally works behind the scenes to rally the remaining forces to his cause.
So while the traditional view holds that the 70th week begins with a seven year peace treaty, I think it's much more tenable the final seven years are borne out of conflict. And while this doesn't preclude a political agreement of some kind, I think we’d do better to focus our attention on the hints the Bible does give us, as well as what these Biblical patterns reveal. And what they seem to reveal is that rather than being offered peace, Israel will ultimately force peace, albeit with a little help from their friends.
And once we consider the current geopolitics of the Middle East, which includes Israel and a growing number of allies staring down a potentially nuclear Iran, it should motivate us to take Jesus’ directive to seek out and study these events seriously. Because only by knowing what will come are you able to know when it has come. Said another way, watchfulness is only as good as knowing what it is you're supposed to be watching for! In this way, Daniel's visions regarding the 70th week are practically prophetic.
Let the reader understand.
I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what He will say to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that the one who reads it may run.” - Habakkuk 2:1-2
All Along The Watchtower
Hopefully by now you're able to see the plethora of practical takeaways that can be gleaned from simply following Jesus’ command to seek out and study the book of Daniel. And by taking special care to anchor the abomination in the middle of the week (the sign event that Jesus emphasized) the entire framework of the last days opens up. Which means the Lord not only intends for us to know these things, He also shows us how to know them. But only once we remove the blinders of the pre-tribulational rapture view can we truly understand the importance of being able to know - and that we can know - the timing of the Lord's return. And that when you see all of these events, in the precise order that Daniel gives us, you will know.
Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates.
- Matthew 24:32-33
1 Daniel 9:24-27
2 Matthew 24:3, 15
3 Daniel 12:1, 11; Matthew 24:21-29
4 Please see link below for my response to “No one knows the day or the hour.”
5 Exodus 29:38-39; Daniel 8:11, 9:27, 11:31, 12:11
6 Daniel 11:31; Ezekiel 38:1-16
7 Daniel 6:10, 9:21
8 Daniel 9:4, 27; 11:22, 28, 30, 32
9 Daniel 8:9-14, 26
10 Isaiah 63:15-19; 64:1-12
11 Revelation 11:1-3
12 For further information on the location of the Temple, please see link below.
13 Daniel 8:25; Ezekiel 38:8, 11, 14
14 Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11, 14:13; Ezekiel 13:10, 16
15 1st Thessalonians 5:1-3
16 Exodus 34:12-16
17 Isaiah 30:1-5, 31:1-3, 36:6; Jeremiah 2:18, 36; Ezekiel 17:15
18 Isaiah 7:2, 17; 8:7-8; 2nd Kings 16:7-9; Hosea 5:13, 7:11, 8:9, 12:1
19 Isaiah 39:1-8; 2nd Kings 20:12-18
20 Isaiah 10:12, 17-20; 14:3-19; 31:8; Micah 5:5-9; Jeremiah 50 & 51
21 For more on what Scripture says about prophetic geography and the nation that the antichrist will emerge from, please see link below: