The terminus-a-quo(starting point) of the 70th seven is the signing of a seven-year peace treaty by the antiMessiah with the many from within Israel.
“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, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”(Dan.9:27).
This also marks the terminus-ad-quem(end point or termination) of the gap between the 69th and the 70th seven of Daniel. The gap is the timeless period because the Scriptures do not tell us how long it would last. The signing of the peace treaty between the antiMessiah and the many from within Israel is also called the covenant with death by the prophet Isaiah.
“And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.”(Is.27:18,19).
The many within Israel who sign this peace treaty with the antiMessiah would be hoodwinked into believing that this is indeed a peace treaty. It will give the many within Israel a false sense of security. The antiMessiah has no intentions of keeping this treaty from the very beginning. He would keep it for as long as it suits him and serves his purpose. He will only keep it for three and one-half years. The relative peace that Israel enjoys in the first half of this seven-year peace treaty will lead it to a false sense of security and off its guards. That is why it will be terror for it to understand that it has made a covenant with a dead man come back to life who demands to be worshipped as God. Some biblical scholars believe that this may be the strengthening of an old treaty rather than a new one based on the tenor of the words in Hebrew. This is the only prophesied event that needs to happen before the 70th seven of Daniel can begin, the last seven years of this Age’s history as we know it. There are biblical scholars who position the Rapture towards the end of the Timeless Period, even with as much as seven years interval between it and the start of the 70th seven of Daniel. There is really no scriptural basis for this view. Any view of the Rapture which is not substantiated by the Scriptures is biblically invalid and therefore unacceptable.
Events In The First Three And One-Half Years
There are three major events that will occur in the first three and one-half years of the 70th seven of Daniel. These events are contained in the first three seals of Rev.6 and in the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discourse is found in Matt.24, 25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It is Christ’s teaching to His disciples on the end times, in answer to the question “What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the End Of the Ages?” posed to Him by His disciples. Biblical scholars have recognized the parallelism of the teachings of Christ in the Olivet Discourse and those of John the revelator in Rev.6. This should not surprise us, because, in actual fact, Jesus is the author of both of them.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified by His angel unto His servant: who bear record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and all things that he saw”(Rev.1:1,2).
And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately saying, “tell us, when shall these be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the Ages?” The revelation is of Jesus Christ and in the Olivet discourse, Jesus is the one who answered the question posed to Him by His disciples. So there are no contradictions, inasmuch as Jesus is the author of these teachings. The three events of the first three and one-half years are as follows:
(1) The Emergence Of antiMessiah
In answer to the question posed to Him by His disciples as He sat with them on the mount of Olives, across the Kidron valley overlooking the Temple Mount and the temple itself, Jesus started by sounding a serious note of warning. And Jesus answered and said unto them, “take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall deceive many”(Matt.24:4,5). There have been many antichrists in history. In the early days of the church in the first century, there were men like Theudas and Judas the Galilean(Acts 5:36,37). In the 2nd century AD, Ben Kosiva whom the famed Rabbi Akiva renamed Son Of The Star, a reference to the Star of David, led the Bar Kochba rebellion against Rome in the days of emperor Hadrian, between 132-135 AD. The rebellion was crushed by imperial Rome. Jerusalem was ploughed with yokes of oxen, rebuilt and renamed Aelia Capitolina, and Jews were barred from the city under the pain of death.
There have been others like Abraham Abulefia, Solomon Molcho, Sabbattai Tzvi, and of late Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Hassidic Rebbe who died in 1994. The Habad Rebbe was revered by his followers as the Messiah, although he himself never publicly claimed to be the Messiah. In Nigeria we are not left out. We have had our own share and catalogue of false Christs. Men like Jesus of Oyinbo, Jesus of Dikenafai and Olumba Olumba Obu(O. O. O). They are all dead and gone. But this shall be child’s play in comparison to what will happen in the 70th seven of Daniel. There shall be a preponderance of antimessiahs.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as he have heard that the antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us: if they heard been of us, they would no doubt had continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us”(1 Jon.2:18,19).
These people claiming to be Christ shall come out of the Christian community. So the new theory of Islamic antichrist advocated by some bible teachers, of late, does not stand up to scriptural scrutiny. It is indeed contradictory to the Scriptures. The synoptic gospels are unequivocal in their announcement of the emergence of an army of false messiahs.
“And Jesus answering them began to say, take heed lest any man deceive you: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ: and shall deceive many”(Mark 13:5,6).
“And He said, take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them”(Luk.21:8).
To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
“And if any man shall say unto you, lo, here is Christ, or there: believe it not”(Matt.24:23).
The essence of the false messiahs, shall be to confuse and deceive if it were possible the very elect of God.
“But we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free”(Jon.8:32).
The gospels focus on the religious aspects of the emergence of the antichrists, but Rev.6 focus on the political aspect.
“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer”(Rev.6:1,2).
In the previous chapter, Rev.5, the Son who had been sitting at the right hand of the Father in the Throne Room of the Temple in Heaven since His ascension and session, is seen standing as a lamb in the midst of the Throne Room, as though it were slain. This is so because He is about to receive the title deed of the Earth from the Father, and thereafter proceed to the Earth to reclaim God’s rule over the Earth. The Earth was leased to Adam, the First Man, God’s original representative on Earth. He sold out to Satan. Satan never heard the title deed of the Earth, neither did Adam, simply because it was a lease not a sale. God the Father in Heaven has the title all along. He is the Landlord of the Earth.
“Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of the heavens and the Earth”(Gen.14:19).
Here, He hands it over to the Son. The title deed is the seven sealed scroll of Rev.6. Seals or bullae are for authenticity, protection, ownership and identification of documents, letters, contracts, agreements, covenants etc. The seals are broken and the scroll then opened.
The seals can only be broken by the owner of the seal. The seals belong to God the Father. He had given it to the Son who now has the right or authority to break the seals. The seals are broken in Heaven, and certain events unfold here on Earth. The breaking of the seals are supervised by the four living creatures. God is in sovereign control of these events, but He is not their author. If He were the author, then He would be responsible for the emergence of false christs and the antiMessiah. These events are due to the activities of Satan and his minions. When Christ broke this seal in Heaven, the supervising angel, the first beast, said, come and see. And John the revelator saw a rider upon a white horse. He has a bow, but there is no arrow in the bow. But despite the empty bow, he went forth conquering and to conquer. This is subtle peace diplomacy which the antiMessiah shall employ as a consummate diplomat to deceive many, like the many from within Israel who shall sign a seven-year peace treaty with him(Dan.9:26). He is able to do this simply because he brings peace between Jews and their Arab neighbors, especially the Palestinians, allowing them to rebuild their temple on the Temple Mount and resume animal sacrifice and worship in the temple. Like his prefigure, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, he shall try to conquer by flattery, political intrigue and outright deceit. He is the false Christ, therefore everything about him is false.
The rider also had a crown implying that he was a sitting and a reigning king. Crown means authority or right to rule. That this was given to him implies that the rider did not take authority, but that it was given to him. This is an example of a passive voice in which the subject is acted upon instead of doing the acting. In other words, the subject receives the action. The giver is not explicitly identified in this context, we know from Rev.13:2 that it is Satan. But ultimately however, it is God.
“There is no power but of God; all the powers that be are ordained of God”(Rom.13:1).
Biblical scholars are agreed that the first rider upon a white horse is the antiChrist. The Greek word “anti” means against and in place of. The antiChrist is not only against the true Christ, he is in His stead. He is an impersonator, an impostor. He is the counterfeit Christ. Whatever the true Christ does, he copies and mimics; he is a copycat. When Christ comes at Armageddon, He shall ride upon a white horse.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat on him was called faithful and true, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war”(Rev.19:11).
The antichrist shall come riding upon a white horse too. You see here that though there is a preponderance of false Messiahs, one of them emerges as the ultimate false Messiah, the antiMessiah. This is indeed the case. At the start of the 70th seven of Daniel, there shall be many antimessiahs. But at the Middle of the 70th seven when the Beast-antiChrist declares himself God, he shall destroy any other person who claims to be Messiah: for he shall not brook rivals. They either get marked, branded or chipped like everyone else or be liquidated and vaporized.
(2) Wars And Rumors Of Wars.
At the breaking of the second seal, the red horse and rider emerges.
“And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given him that sat therein to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword”(Rev.6:3,4).
Here the meaning of the red horse and rider is interpreted to us. It means war. This is the same Beast-antiChrist. He is now riding on a red horse. Here also as always, he tries to copy Christ. Red is the symbol of judgment and bloodshed. It also signals redemption. Power was granted unto him, an indication that a third party is controlling these events. When a judge redresses in a red robe after retirement in his chambers when court is session, he delivers a death sentence. When the true Christ treads the winepress of the Earth, His white garment shall be stained red with the life blood of His victims. Here also the Beast-antiChrist plays judge and executor of wrath upon the insubordinate. He also acts as a false redeemer of the world. He rides upon a red horse. The antiMessiah has gone so far with diplomacy. Subtle peace diplomacy has failed to win the whole world over to him. Diplomacy alone cannot accomplish his goals. There are nations that cannot be won over by subtle peace diplomacy. He changes tactics. He switches over to war. They must be bent over by brute force. He now has a sword, a great sword for that matter. But the sword was given to him, most probably by Satan, the usurper, his overlord, who up to now had the authority over the Earth.
Remember that apart from the Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan, consisting of ten nation confederation, there are other nations in existence on Earth at this time. The Beast-antiChrist does not control all of them. Some of them are allies of his beast empire. Others are opposed, and a few are neutral. Therefore, there shall be wars in diverse places as nations jockey for power and dominance. It was given unto him to take away peace from the Earth. This suggests that the rider’s influence shall be worldwide. This does not however mean that all the nations of the Earth shall be at war, but the condition of the Earth shall be one of warfare and unrest. They shall slay one another connotes violence and savagery. This does not mean that all nations shall be at war: but that many will be at war, and that death will be brutal. A great sword is symbolic of the power and authority to put to death(Rom.13:4). Here again the agency of the third party is required, proving once again that what Heaven approves, the Earth executes. By this time the antiMessiah has amassed the most sophisticated armies in the world. Besides, the breaking of the second seal takes away peace from the Earth. The nations must kill one another. However Israel enjoys a relative peace, being protected as it were by her treaty of peace with the Beast-antiChrist, the most powerful military ruler with the best equipped and most sophisticated armies in the World at his beck and call. Any nation that attacks Israel within the first three and one-half years shall be severely punished by the antiChrist.
(3) Famine, Pestilences And Earthquakes.
Secondly, in his Olivet discourse, Jesus told His disciples, there shall be wars and rumors of wars.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”(Matt.24:6-7b).
The rulers of the nations of the world shall be on edge one against the other. For flimsy reasons and excuses, and sometimes for no reasons at all, kings shall go to war one against the other. Some shall be motivated by greed and spoils of war, others by age old grievances and animosities.
“When ye hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”(Mark 13:7-8a).
“But ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said He unto them, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”(Luk.21:9,10).
It would be ridiculous if Jesus, in the course of addressing His disciples, who are representatives of His body, the church, tells them, “be not terrified” if the church would not be here during these events. He tells them, “the end is not yet.” The end here is referent to the End Of The Ages, the starting point of the Wrath of God. It is at this point, before the Wrath of God is poured out on the living wicked earth-dwellers, worshippers and adorers of the Dragon-Beast, because the church is exempt from the Wrath of God, that the Rapture occurs. The end occurs after the full complement of believers to be martyred is reached, after God interrupts the great tribulation with cosmic disturbances, the persecution of believers by the antiMessiah, at the breaking of the seventh seal(Rev.6:9-11, 8:1).
The third set of events that will bring closure to the first three and one-half years of the 70th seven of Daniel is famine, Pestilences and earthquakes. These are natural consequences of wars.
“And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places”(Matt.24:7c).
“And there shall be earthquakes in diverse places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginning of sorrows”(Mark 13:8b, 8c).
“And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences”(Luk.21:11a).
“And when He had broken the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see that thou hurt not the oil and the wine”(Rev.5:5,6).
At the breaking of the third seal, a black horse and rider emerges. It is famine. War would naturally lead to famine. As cities and nations are destroyed so are businesses. The populace are in motion. As refugees flock from one area to another, whatever is left is eaten up even as by locusts. And there is no time to farm. The writer experienced it firsthand in Biafra during the Nigerian civil war. The insanitary conditions resulting from war would lead to epidemics and pandemics of communicable disease. These will have their toll on human population and livestock. Wars can worsen climate change, create erratic weather patterns, leading to tsunamis, swelling of the oceans, excessive monsoon rain, flooding, and landslides, extreme temperatures and extreme dearth. Food shall be so scarce that a man’s daily wage can scarcely put food on the table for the family. A pair of balances represents the dire situations that some will face on Earth at that time. It indicates that weighed bread is a condition of severe famine(Lev.25:26; Ezek.4:16,17). A balance scale would be used to weigh food in severe famine. The word translated penny is “denarius,” which in the Roman Empire at that time was a man’s daily wage. This would be insufficient for the daily needs of the family. A man’s daily wage will not be enough to put food on the table for the whole for the day.
With the current development in modern military technology, any global World War would devastate the Earth, and lead to earth tremors, earthquakes and tsunamis. It would be utter delusion for us to think that at some point in the present Age, the World Powers would dismantle their nuclear arsenals as South Africa did at the end of Apartheid. Some pacifists would want us to believe that. Unilateral disarmament is really very dangerous, because some notorious war monger could take advantage of it. Let us not deceive ourselves that there would be no nuclear missiles fired into the air some day. Our prayers should be that we would not be in the target location, and that the after effect would not reach us.
But there is a call not to hurt the oil and the wine. The statement, “see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” is difficult to interpret. There is no consensus of opinion as to its meaning. Wine and oil come from olive and grape. The second of two harvests in the Ancient Near East. It may be that olives and grapes are spared destruction. However, since both oil and wine symbolize the Holy Spirit, it would seem that God would preserve His people and see them through it all. The events of the third seal bring closure to the first three and one-half years, the beginning of sorrows.