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Daniel's Seventieth Week
By Theodore H. Epp
In this time of insecurity many people are spending much of their time trying to solve world problems, but they are having no success. Their difficulty is that they have left God out of their plans and have tried to make their own utopia.
God will not always be patient with their neglect and rejection of Him. He has told us of a time of judgment when man's troubles will be multiplied and when he will suffer previously unknown torture and tribulation. This period of time is called the Tribulation, although it is also known as "The Great Tribulation," "The Time of Jacob's Trouble," "The Passing Under the Rod," "The Melting Pot," "The Time of Trouble for His People," and "The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord."
We believe that this time cannot be very far away, for prophecies which point toward the soon arrival of this Tribulation period are being fulfilled.
However, those who have trusted Christ as their Saviour do not have to look forward to that time, for the Tribulation period will be preceded by the Rapture of the Church. At that time all Christians, those who have had their sins washed away by the blood of Christ, will meet Him in the air and will be taken by Him to heaven.
When the Church has been taken away, those who are left on the earth, the unsaved, will find the world suddenly cast into a chaotic condition. No man will be able to escape this time of trouble. The Tribulation will last for a period of seven years, between the Dispensation of Grace, the dispensation in which you and I are living today, and the Millennium, the time when Jesus will have His kingdom upon the earth.
The purpose of this Tribulation will be primarily to purify the people of Israel so that God once more can deal with them as His people. But the gentile nations will also pass through this judgment.
The Fact of the Tribulation
The fact of the Tribulation is definitely verified by many prophecies in the Scriptures. Jeremiah 30:4,7 speaks of it. In Ezekiel 20:35-38 we read:
"And I will bring you (speaking of the people of Israel) into the wilderness of the people, and
there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness
of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass
under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among
you the rebels."
There is more concerning this in Ezekiel 22:17-22:
"And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become
dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross
of silver. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will
gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into
the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my
fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my
wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall
ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you."
In Malachi 3:1-3 we find an additional reference to the Tribulation. In Daniel 12:1 we read:
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the childrren of thy people:
and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:
and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book."
Zechariah 13:8,9 tells us that many of Israel will go through this Great Tribulation.
"And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die;
but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as
silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will
say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God."
Only one-third of the Israelites who enter the Tribulation will actually pass through it. However, I believe that this does not include the 144,000 who will be sealed.
The New Testament also speaks of the Great Tribulation. In Matthew 24:15, 21 we have this description:
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the
holy place...For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this
time, no, nor ever shall be."
These, together with many other Scriptures taken from Revelation 6-19, give us the description of this Tribulation.
Time of the Tribulation
The Tribulation begins after the Church has been taken away, when the Antichrist begins his reign on the earth. Daniel made this statement:
"And he (the Antichrist) shall confirm the covenant with many (of Israel) for one week" (Dan. 9:27).
The word week is used here to determine a period of time known to us as seven years.
"And in the midst of the week (these seven years) 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).
There are to be seventy weeks, or seventy periods of seven years each, for Israel. Sixty-nine of these periods were fulfilled at the time that Jesus Christ was crucified. Daniel said that when sixty-nine of these periods were fulfilled, the Messiah would be cut off, and He was. Therefore, one period of seven years still has not been fulfilled. This is the period known as the Tribulation.
Concerning this time Paul said:
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own
conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25).
We have seen now that there is to be a Tribulation. It is a fact; it is described in many, many passages of Scripture. It will last seven years; it is a future time of testing and trial. It will be between the dispensation in which we are now living and the time when Christ will set up His kingdom.