I regularly hear Christian ministers speak with great confidence of "the last seven years" at the end of this age. How glibly they tell us of the trouble to come and of our immunity to its fury. We are told of the coming of Jesus in the hazy distant future, which could happen at any moment, and of our glorious change to immortality, and subsequent trip into the heavens where we will ever be with our Savior, and with our counterparts which have just previously risen from the dead.
It really sounds good. What a grand event! We get to spend seven years in Heaven (or three and a half years depending on how you view it). We are then treated to a grand hypothesis about a great revival among the Jews, and how the kingdoms of this world will be permanently given into their hand, while we are away. Yet some say we are supposed to come back with Jesus and reign with Him for a thousand years. Something seems a little confusing about all that, but that is what they say.
I never hear much about the things that lead up to that great day of our change to immortality, except that, according to some of those supposed experts, there is not supposed to be any prophecy about this pre-resurrection period. Hmmm! That actually would pose a particularly troublesome problem with several, uh, well, prophecies. The prophecy in Jeremiah 16:16-19 readily comes to mind.
Jeremiah said, "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes. And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abominable things. O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit."
I am curious as to when the people who are prophesying all of the time (and at the same time professing that they are not prophets) think the Gentile Christian community fulfilled this prophecy by realizing that their spiritual ancestors had passed on to them some false doctrines and some false hopes. When do they think that took place? Jeremiah said the Gentiles Christians would come to that revelation right at the end of the Grace Age.
Something is just not synchronizing between this passage and the popular promotion about prophecy in general. We would do well to consider that anyone who is telling us what is going to happen is indeed a prophet. He is either a true one, or he is a false one. If we allow ourselves to believe what those prophets are telling us, in direct contradiction of Jeremiah, in a few months we will be in very deep trouble.
The Lord said He would send fishers to fish for His children. Jesus did just that, did He not? Remember that He said to Andrew and his brother, Simon Peter: "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of Men." God said that, afterward, He was going to send hunters to hunt for His children. That must be a group of Gentile ministers, at the end of the Grace Age. It is to be a new wave of Apostles and Prophets, fulfilling the allegory of Ishmael, the archer, and his twelve princes (Gen. 21:20; Gen. 25:13-16). As we do that, and we "must," it will be impossible for us to do so without fulfilling this prophecy.
Almost all that is preached about prophecy today is obviously not true. Peter told us the truth when he testified of the "Transfiguration", saying, "This voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:18-19).
Why would God have to fish, or hunt for His children? Does He not know where they are? The answer is in Jeremiah 16:17 and 18. In the days of Jesus, Israel had been God's people for almost 2,000 years, but most of them were very wayward, and unbelieving. However, there was a remnant of them, such as Peter, who had remained faithful. That is why he received a revelation from God that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the Living God" (Matt. 16:13-20). Therefore God cast His net, and began to sort out those among them who were still conscientious toward Him. So, Jesus called His disciples, saying, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
An experience similar to that which Peter had is beginning to occur among God's children today. They have begun to receive The Great Revelation described in Jeremiah 16:19. They have begun to see that what we are accustomed to hearing has long been contaminated with errors, and that God has given someone the truth. His faithful will soon begin to fulfill Isaiah 2:1-3. They shall say, "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Remember that today, Zion: the Jerusalem of God, is called the Church, the Bride the Lamb's wife (Rev. 21:9-11).
A remnant of the Jews in Peter's day were caught in God's net, and attained unto "the election." Then, near the end of the first century A.D., that time had passed and the work of God had been given into the hands of the Gentile Christians. Sadly, it was a very short time until there was a great "falling away" (Jude 13-8). At that time, all of God's children had been born again, which served only to make their sins and iniquities even more odious in the eyes of God than the waywardness of Israel had been before the death and resurrection of our Savior.
There was a resurgence of true Christianity: a great spiritual revival in the 16th century A.D., which intensified into the 20th century. However, by the middle of the 20th century A.D., as the end of the Grace Age began, another time of apostasy of God's born-again people had already set in.
"The End," is a fixed period of time which Jesus called "the harvest." It is revealed in the harvest of the "Appointed barley" (Isaiah 28:25; Lev. 23:15-16; Deut. 16:9-11). That is to say it is a period of seven weeks of years which are followed by a fiftieth year of rejoicing as the Lamb takes His wife unto Himself. Meanwhile, the "Falling away" has become so bad that the sins and iniquities of Christianity have come up before the face of God, and He has begun to send His hunters to hunt for those conscientious people of His, among the Gentile believers, with whom He can raise up His Church again in these last days (John 6:12-13,39; 2 Thess. 2:1). Then God will punish wayward Christianity, just as He did the people of Israel in A.D. 70 (Rom. 2:1-11).
Today, almost everything which the leaders of Christianity teach has been corrupted. We are "Known of God," but we cannot simply sit down and make up our own doctrine, and then condemn everyone else for not believing it our way. We must find out the pure "principles of the oracles of God," the Doctrine of Christ, if we are to ever "know God", and "come in the knowledge of the Son of God" (Heb. 5:11-14; Heb. 6:1-3). It is high time we moved closer to God, and learned everything about him that we can.
Are you beginning to get The Great Revelation? Let us look again at the last week of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24-27. Most of our modern ministers are adequately educated that we could assume that they could understand something as simple as this passage. But something is in the way; keeping us from a clear understanding of it. We can be mistaken about some things, and it not really have too great of an effect for us whether good or bad. However, this one, if you embrace it until the marriage of the Lamb takes place, will cost you your life. Why? Because you will not obey God's messenger and go into hiding to miss the wrath of God, as the prophet has told us to do in Isaiah 26:20. But if we believe the truth, and obey God, He will preserve us until the resurrection of the just (Isaiah 4:2-6).
It is amazing what violence our modern, pseudo-prophets do to that seventy weeks of years in Daniel 9:27. They tear the last seven years loose from its stated location, which had to begin at the death of Jesus, and end when the Church reached its fullness, and "The Seven," were ordained in fulfillment of Proverbs 9:1-3.
Early in Daniel 9, as Daniel was praying for his people, "The man Gabriel, being caused to fly swiftly, touched [him]," and said, "O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding."
Gabriel went on to say, "24) Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end there-of shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27) 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."
Verse 24 details all that God had "determined" to happen in those 490 years, all of which are good things, except, or course, for those who will do the transgressing and the sinning. Then, in the next three verses he detailed the timing and sequence of their occurrence, and added that after the 490 years were finished, and all of those things had been accomplished, Israel would be desolate, a widow, "Until the consummation and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" in A.D. 70, when the nation of Israel would be destroyed.
From the time that Artaxerxes commanded the rebuilding of Jerusalem (in about B.C. 454 according to E. W. Bullinger), there would be seventy weeks of years until "natural Israel" would be rejected, and all of the promises would be transferred to the new, Spiritual Israel, and the Church had reached perfection. Bullinger asserts that the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks would end in A.D. 29, and Jesus would die. His conclusion seems to have been centered around the erroneous assumption that Jesus was born in B.C. 4. He was not. Jesus was actually born very near the turning point of B.C./A.D (which is why we have B.C. and A.D), and He died in about A.D. 33.
The birth of Jesus did not occur at the beginning of the fifth millennium from the creation of Adam. He was actually born about 12 years before the end of the fourth millennium. Jesus was about 12 years of age when the millennium changed, and Tiberius Caesar became the emperor of Rome. In Luke 3:1-3, Luke told us that John began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, who took the throne in about A.D. 12. John was about 6 months older than Jesus, so he would have been about 27 years of age when he began his ministry in about A.D. 26 or 27.
You must know that God's Son could not begin His ministry until John had prepared at least 12 ministers, taught and trained, for Jesus to ordain (Acts 1:20-22). John needed time to do that. So we could assume that John the Baptist's ministry occupied the first half of the 69th week (7 and 62), and the last half of that week consisted of the ministry of Jesus, and culminated with His crucifixion.
What about that seventieth week? It is not really complicated, but it is necessary to give it some thought. The text itself does not allow it be separated from the other sixty nine weeks. That seventy weeks of years was the specified amount of time which God allotted until natural Israel would be set aside and the New Temple, the New Jerusalem, the Jewish Church would take its place in the worship of the Almighty God. "In the midst of the [seventieth] week" God caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease. That is the reason we are told, repeatedly, in the early chapters of Acts that the disciples were "In the Temple." Their prayers had replaced the incense of the Old Testament priests about 3½ years after the resurrection.
"The people of the prince" came and destroyed the City and the Sanctuary in A.D. 70, a full thirty years after the end of the 490 years. That prophecy can be fulfilled only once, and it already has been. Therefore, we must look for the other prophecy: the one about our time.
It was the Apostle Peter who, for seven years, "confirmed the covenant" which Jesus had made with them in Matthew chapter 5, and had put into effect by His death at Golgotha. In that work, Peter brought the Jewish Church to it "Fullness:" 144,000: "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ," and purified it for its ultimate part in the Marriage of the Lamb.
The Levitical Priesthood endured the finality of the death of their "husband," and became desolate (Rom. 7) in the middle of that seventieth week. They still continued their function, although with impotence, until A.D. 70. Therefore, it is written, "And for the overspreading of abominations (the abominations of that priesthood) He shall make it desolate (a widow), even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
There is indeed a seven-year period at this end of the Grace Age. However it is not the 70th week of Daniel 9. Rather, it is the seventh week of the forty-nine years which lead up to the year of Jubilee: the six-thousandth year of man's sojourn upon the earth. We are in the middle of that week now, and it is high time for us to stir ourselves to spiritual alertness, and begin to make ourselves ready for the coming of the Bridegroom (Rev 19:6-9; Matt. 25:1-13).
We have inherited lies, but we must now develop a love of the truth that will save us from the deception that is already strong, and becoming steadily stronger as the day of the Lord's wrath hastens upon us. Yes, faith will save us, but it is the Word of God alone which will engender that faith. Let us open our eyes, and receive The Great Revelation of Jeremiah 16:19.
Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure (Isa. 33:6).