Nothing in the Bible elicits as much excited interest as well as stupefied perplexity as the Tribulation Period in prophecy. Honest questions arise as to how long it is. Is it 3 1/2 years or seven years. And just what will happen during that time?
Answers begin to emerge from comprehending the number “seventy.” Daniel “understood by books the number ” 70. He gained this grace from God in the first year of Darius the Mede in about 538 B.C. (Dan 9: 2). One of the books he studied was II Chronicles 36, which told of the Babylonian desecration of Jerusalem and its temple and the captivity of its people. This was allowed by God, for they had not repented of their sins against Yahweh (v. 16-20). This fulfilled the word of Yahweh through Jeremiah. “For as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years” (v. 21).
70 years. Important number that God would shed more light on to His prophet Daniel. For the great revelation that Daniel received was not that they would be in captivity for 70 years. That was given in v. 21 above. The revelation that he received from God was the significance placed on the number “70” not just the seventy years.
For the number 70 represented 70 weeks of years–a total of 490 years that would play a prominent role in establishing several milestones in the completion of the plan of God in bringing His literal kingdom to this earth. This is the “stone kingdom” that Daniel saw earlier (Dan. 2: 44-45).
There would be seventy “seven-year-periods” or seventy weeks-of-years that would assume supreme importance in God’s plan.
Gabriel himself came to the seeking prophet Daniel to expound the milestones leading up to His kingdom coming to earth. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city” to accomplish several things that Christ accomplished in His first coming (v. 24). This was done using 69 of the 70 seven-year periods (v. 25).
Then the remaining “one week” is mentioned in verse 27. During the time of the 70th week of years, a “prince…shall come and shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (v. 26). This wicked ruler “shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” (v. 27). This is the remaining “one week of years” or a seven year period. Of course, the wicked prince is universally believed to be the Anti-Christ or the “man of sin.”
But the question arises. Which seven year period is it? And when will it take place? The answer is a key point in unlocking the mystery of when Christ sets up His kingdom here on earth and the milieu upon its arrival. “In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease…and he shall make it desolate” (v. 27). All the key words–sacrifice, oblation to cease, abominations, desolate–point to a specific seven year period in scripture. And all of this happens “even until the consummation.” The word translated “consummation” is translated in other passages as “full end” and “utter end.” Sounds like the “time of the end” to me.
Christ confirms this time frame by quoting Dan. 9 in Matt. 24: 15. When this desecration, this abomination happens in the rebuilt temple, it will mark the “midst of the week,” the last half of the last of the seven-year-periods of the seventy weeks-of-years spoken of by the prophets.
It is generally believed by many that the tribulation in the form of the seven trumpets in Rev. 8 comprises the first 3 1/2 years. Much destruction worldwide ensues during this time. But the last half, the seven vials of wrath, is the “great tribulation” spoken of.
Of course, we have only received a very small ray of light as to what will take place. God is merciful and knows what our fragile hearts and minds can take at this time. Hope this has helped you. God bless you. Kenneth Wayne Hancock