In the book of Daniel there are several prophecies concerning the "end times". None are more interesting or better known than the "Prophecy of the Seventy 'Sevens'". In the King James Version the "sevens" are "weeks". These prophetic weeks represent groups of seven years, with the final total of 490 years. The Hebrew word that is used here can be translated as days, weeks, months, or years. It is only by studying the context of the word that we can determine the proper usage. In another of Daniel’s prophecies the same word is used, but is qualified specifically by the writer to mean “days”.
Daniel 9:24(NIV), "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy." This prophecy's time frame begins with the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah that he rebuild Jerusalem until the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, being the first "seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens'"(Dan. 9:25). 476 years are known to have passed between the time of this decree to the time of Christ's entry into Jerusalem. There is some question as to when the first “seven” occurred. There seems to be an understanding that these seven years had already passed, however, it is unclear. While this seems to be the most logical answer, there are also many other possibilities, including an incorrect calculation as to when the decree went out to rebuild Jerusalem. It is possible that the difference in the Jewish Calendar and the Modern Calendar have caused some confusion. Whatever the truth, it is clear that at the time of the coming of the Ant-Christ that the first 483 years of the prophecy have passed. This leaves the remaining seven years to be fulfilled.
The prophecy of the "seventy sevens" is shown to be the overall plan of God for the redemption of Israel. He has ordained that certain events will transpire, that are designed to "put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness". The first sixty-nine “sevens” will be for the transgressions of Israel. It can be seen throughout history that Israel has rarely had peace. God gave the Law to Israel in the days of Moses, with the warning that there would always be punishment if they did not keep their eyes on the One True God. Usually this punishment included God allowing a foreign country to overrun, or at least invade, Israel. Israel has not known a homeland of her own, until this past century, since the Roman Empire overtook her in the last century BC. For almost two thousand years Israel was under the rule of other governments, or simply didn’t exist. Even since the restoration of Israeli statehood in 1948AD, the country has known little peace. The Six-Day War in 1956 resulted in Israel regaining all of the “Promised Land”. From this time period, some Prophetic scholars calculate the birth of the last generation that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24:34. This does not set a date for the return of Christ, but it does show His Return to be imminent. The final seven years of the prophecy will be for Israel and the rest of the world to realize the error of their ways in not accepting Jesus Christ as their savior and for the judgment that follows.
The books of Revelation and Daniel, along with other prophetic books give us an idea of what the last days will be like. The final seven years of this age will be a time of great strife and violence, as seen in Revelation. There will also be several stages of judgment that occur consecutively and/or concurrently. There seems to be a division in this final seven years. The Anti-Christ is given three and a half years to deceive man. The latter half of the seven years will be a time of God’s wrath upon the Earth. These various judgments on man are found mostly in Revelation starting at Chapter Five. A study of these judgments will be the subject of a future article. There are numerous books and online studies of these events.
There is such a complexity to end time prophecy that no single written article of this nature could begin to cover its entirety. However as this will be an ongoing column, this writer will attempt to cover as much of this area as possible. While as much prayer, study and forethought as possible will be put into these articles, the occasional controversial statement may be made. This writer does not expect everyone to agree with what he has written; nevertheless the Word of God is above reproach and will not be disputed in this column. May God bless each of you until His Return.