THREE PROPHETIC EVENTS CONCERNING THE SACRIFICES
One of the major hindrances to the Church being unified in the knowledge of Christ and His return is the concept of a 7-year tribulation. Yet few believers know where that concept arose or that it isn’t even stated specifically in Scripture. It comes from a misinterpretation of the 70 Weeks Prophecy recorded in Daniel 9, specifically the final 70th Week. Hence, the 7 year period.
The theme of the prophecy is what would happen to the Jewish people who were then in captivity, and whether their Temple and Jerusalem would be rebuilt. The subject of the prophecy is Messiah the Prince and a divine to-do-list. By using modern Bible study helps, we can look at the Spirit-inspired words to see that Jesus Christ the Messiah is the only person who could accomplish all that was prophesied.
Daniel 9:27 describes the first of three prophetic events concerning the Temple sacrifices. The first happened at Christ’s first coming, when “He shall confirm the covenant with man for one week; and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (KJV). The Hebrew word for “cease” here is shabbath, as when God rested from the work of creation on the 7th day. Only Jesus, the Lamb of God, could offer Himself as the final and ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus made the sacrificial system obsolete by instituting a new and better covenant.
The Jews missed their visitation from Jesus when they rejected Him as the Messiah and called for His crucifixion. He was cut off after 3½ years of ministry. This represented the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. It was paused mid-week, as if a penalty had been committed on the field. The time out would cover nearly 2,000 years of the Church Age when the Gospel was to be preached to all the world, Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 11).
The rest of Daniel 9:27 goes on to foretell that because of their rejection of the Messiah (abominations), the Temple would be made desolate and stay that way “until the consummation.” That is, the appointed time when the Temple would be rebuilt toward the end of the 2,000-year time-out, just before Christ’s second coming at the rapture. Sadly, instead of letting Scripture interpret Scripture, men decided to add another prince to the prophecy who would commit the abominations instead of the Jews, even though there is no other person named.
But Jesus told His disciples that when they see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then they would know that the desolation is near (Luke 21:20). Daniel 11:31 foretells this event—the Abomination of Desolation. “And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.”
The Hebrew word for “take away” is sur sur, and it means to turn off and let fail. In this case, the Jewish priests and worshippers were the ones who left the sacrifices undone as a result of the Roman siege of Jerusalem that ended in 70 AD with the destruction of the Temple and the Jews scattered across the nations.
Both of these prophetic events are now in our past. Yet one prophetic event remains in our near future. It shall happen shortly after the end of the Church Age—the end of the 6th great Day—after the initial invasion of Israel by the Antichrist’s armies. God halts the invasion with the final sign of this age—total darkness over the entire world at one time.
The the 7th Day dawns with Christ’s second coming at the rapture to gather His Bride and take us back to our prepared place in Heaven to be seated as the heavenly court. When the remnant of Jews see Him coming and standing on the Mt. of Olives, they finally receive Him as the Messiah and are delivered miraculously from the invaders. Their acceptance and deliverance reinstates the last half of Daniel’s 70th Week prophecy.
The first 3½ years of this final 1,000-year Day is known as the Wrath of that Day. It is when God’s vengeance against evil us unleashed as the trumpet/bowl judgments that consume and destroy the Antichrist and his armies. But before that fateful moment, the man also known as the Transgressor, will enter the Holy of Holies in the rebuilt Temple and exalt himself as god.
Daniel 8:9-14 describes this third, future event as the Transgression of Abomination. This time it is the Antichrist who brings an end to the sacrifices. This time the Hebrew word for “take away” is rum or ruwm, which means to rise up against in an exalted and haughty manner. It happens before the mark of the beast and the worship of the beast (Antichrist) are instituted.
The bottom line here is that not acknowledging these distinctions between these events and Spirit-inspired wording has fueled the false concept of a 7-year tribulation and a 3½-year great tribulation—both of which do not appear in Scripture. Instead, Jesus taught that the tribulation of those Days would last nearly 2,000 years—the time from His ascension until He returns at the rapture.
It’s time to see what God’s Word actually says about the appointed time of the end so that our hearts need not be troubled and we can walk in the unity of the Spirit to complete our present assignment of preaching the Gospel and making disciples.