As noted in the last post, the last seven years on earth before Messiah returns to set up His kingdom is defined as part of God’s plan to bring Israel into permanent fellowship with Him under the new covenant. This plan is affirmed through the messages of both Jeremiah and Paul.
Jeremiah 31:31–33 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Hebrews 8:10–11 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”
This seven-year time period is often referenced as “the tribulation.”
The prophets of God also speak of a time when God will act in vengeance and wrath against His enemies, often referenced as the day of the LORD.
Jeremiah 46:10 “For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood….”
Zephaniah 1:14–17 “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.”
Nahum 1:2 “God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.”
For the longest time I looked at these two events as one and the same, but they are very definitely directed toward different people with different purposes. The 70th week of Daniel, Jacob’s trouble, is directed toward the Jews with the intent of refining them and bringing them into permanent fellowship with the LORD. In “the day of the LORD” God is directing His wrath and vengeance toward the heathen, His enemies.
Though I believe these two time periods will occur basically concurrent with one another, they are distinct from each other. Many of the events that occur during that seven-year timeframe will serve to accomplish both purposes.
The 70th week will begin when the person commonly referred to as the Antichrist signs or confirms a 7-year covenant of peace with the nation of Israel. This person will possess the authority to authorize the rebuilding and restoration of worship at the temple in Jerusalem.
Daniel 9:26–27 “…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease….”
The day of the Lord or the day of God’s wrath is defined in the book of Revelation as beginning with the opening of the 6th seal.
Revelation 6:12–17 “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
This distinction was important to me in determining to look at scripture as the final authority and not the teaching of men with regard to understanding bible prophecy—even if they are recognized as “experts” in the field; even the “experts” disagree, so somebody is in error. It allowed me to open my eyes to other possibilities that helped to provide understanding of some parts of Revelation in particular that didn’t make sense to me as I had always been taught.
In the next post I will speculate on what might be next on the prophetic calendar.