Daniel's 70 Weeks: Part 4
Aug 14, 2006
Daniel's 70 weeks ended with the crucifixion. Of that there can be no doubt. The "clock" did not stop at the beginning or the middle of the week, in order to resume in the future. Those who invented this "gap theory" in the 1800's simply did not have a good knowledge of history.
There has always been tribulation, and it is not limited to seven years, although there are many seven-year periods that are very significant.
Likewise, the rise of "The Antichrist" is based upon a faulty understanding of the term. Many have been on an Antichrist Watch in the past 150 years, adding up the numeric values of men's names, with hundreds of candidates for that office. There was the German Kaiser of World War I, then Mussolini and Hitler. When they all were overthrown, men turned to other political figures such as Henry Kissinger and Prince Charles. Russian President Gorbachev is still a favorite antichrist, with his prominent birthmark on his forehead like the "mark of the beast."
I have no desire to defend any of these men in any way, for they are all rulers of Babylon and not the Kingdom of God. But regardless of how evil they may be, none of them is "The Antichrist."
"Antichrist" is not the same as "the Beast" in the book of Revelation. That is an assumption of the futurist view of prophecy. The "beasts" in the Bible are nations and empires, according to Daniel 7 and 8. The first "beast" was Babylon, pictured as a "lion" (Dan. 7:4). The second was Persia, the "bear" (Dan. 7:5). The third was Greece, the "leopard" (Dan. 7:6). The fourth was a nameless beast with "iron teeth," which, history shows, was Rome (Dan. 7:7).
These form the biblical definition of "beast" in the Bible. The beasts represent nations characterized by the desire to eat other beasts (nations) in order to grow and expand. In other words, they are militaristic and have a desire to kill anyone getting in their way. Many of the rulers and high officials of Babylon have a beast's HEART, even as King Nebuchadnezzar was given in Dan. 4:16.
As for "antichrist," only John uses the term, yet the word does not even appear in the book of Revelation. It appears four times in 1 John and once in 2 John. John tells us in 1 John 2:18,
"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour."
The "last days" technically began at the Cross, for that event had ended the Passover Age, which had begun with Israel coming out of Egypt at Passover. So from John's perspective in history, the Pentecostal Age was the "last hour." From our current perspective, of course, we are in the "last hour" of the Pentecostal Age.
So it is not surprising that we would see many "antichrists" arise. The problem is that people are looking for a single powerful world figure to arise in the context of "the great tribulation." A fanciful picture has been painted about this antichrist that has blinded Christians to what is actually already happening around them. In large part, it is because they are still looking for Daniel's 70th week to begin, when, in fact, it was completed in 33 A.D.
John describes "antichrist" in 1 John 2:22, 23,
"Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also."
John was referring to Jesus' statement that he had recorded earlier in his Gospel (John 8:19):
"And so they were saying to Him, 'Where is Your Father?' Jesus answered, 'You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also'."
The Jews had rejected Jesus, because they did not know the Father either. This is confirmed in John 16:3 and 17:3.
In other words, those who rejected Jesus were the "antichrists" of the first century. John says further in 1 John 4:1-3 that any spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is that spirit of antichrist. In 2 John 7 we read,
"For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist."
Here is John's clearest definition of "the antichrist." Primarily, it has to do with recognizing that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, come in human flesh. In the first century, this was a huge point of contention between the Jewish priestly leaders and the early Church. Thus, there were many antichrists, but "the antichrist" was the religious system surrounding the temple in Jerusalem. If there was any individual person that could be labeled as "The Antichrist," it was the high priest himself.
At this point, we should define the Greek term "antichrist." The prefix, anti- does not primarily mean "against," but rather "in place of" or "instead of." A good example of how this word is used in the Greek New Testament is found in Matthew 2:22,
"And when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of [Greek: anti] his father Herod, he was afraid to go there.
Archelaus, then, ruled anti-Herod, because Herod had died. In the case of Jesus Christ, the story of the New Testament portrays how the Jewish priests usurped the throne that was rightfully the inheritance of Jesus. As Jesus said in his parable in Matt. 21:38, "they said among themselves, come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance."
In other words, they killed Him--not because they failed to recognize who He was, but because they recognized that He really was the Messiah, as His works proved. They killed him in order to usurp His throne. Thus, instead of hailing Him as King and setting up His throne in the Most Holy Place of the Temple, they lied to the people and crucified Him in order to enthrone themselves in the temple.
The high priest, then, was the embodiment of the antichrist system, which ruled in place of Christ after usurping His throne. This was a replay of the story in the Old Testament, where Absalom usurped David's throne with the help of Ahithophel, David's friend who betrayed him. This time, it was Jesus who was overthrown by the priestly leaders with the help of Judas, who was called Jesus' "friend" in Matt. 26:50. (For the full story, see my book, The Struggle for the Birthright.)
The apostle Paul speaks of the coming "Day of the Lord," as a time when "the apostasy [apostasia, "the casting away"] comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed [unveiled; exposed], the son of perdition."
This verse has been badly misunderstood. It is not referring to a religious apostasy as such, but the casting away of the bondwoman (Jerusalem-Hagar) and her son (Jews-Ishmael), according to what Paul said in Gal. 4:25-31. It is a reference to the priests of that day who usurped Jesus' throne with the help of Judas, the "son of perdition" (John 17:12).
The Day of the Lord will see Jerusalem-Hagar cast out, which is the earthly Jerusalem. This will also expose the modern Judases who are helping to establish Hagar as the capital of the Kingdom of God and enthrone her children (Ishmael-Judaism). I believe, of course, that this Day of the Lord will see the destruction of Jerusalem by nuclear war, as described in Isaiah 29, 34, and Jeremiah 19.
There are other manifestations of "antichrist" as well. Any person or system that usurps the authority of Christ is antichrist. But John and Paul were concerned with the antichrist in Jerusalem in their day.
This is the fourth part of a series titled "Daniel's 70 Weeks." To view all parts, click the link below.