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The Rapture of the Church

Part One    Part Two    Part Three    Part Four    Part Five    Part Six    Part Seven    Part Eight


Introduction

In Part One we looked at the definitions for the following terms:

  • "The Rapture" - A future event in which Jesus will come down as far as the clouds (but not all the way down to the earth) and "snatch up" all Christians (living or dead). Our mortal bodies will be transformed into immortal bodies, and then Jesus will take us up into heaven where He will judge us according to our deeds (as we'll see later in this series). All saved mortals on the earth (i.e. all Christians) will be "taken up" in the Rapture to meet Jesus in the clouds, and all unsaved mortals on the earth will remain on the earth.
  • "The Second Coming" - A future event in which Jesus will return all the way down to the earth, and everyone who had been raptured will return to the earth with Him. No-one will be transformed from mortality to immortality at the Second Coming, and no-one will go up into heaven at the Second Coming. All unsaved mortals on the earth will be "taken" in judgment by being killed, and all saved mortals on the earth will remain on the earth.
  • "The Antichrist" - A future ruler who will be controlled by the devil and will proclaim himself to be God. He will rule the world for the final three and a half years before the Second Coming, and will carry out the worst persecution that the world has ever seen.
  • "The Tribulation" - A future seven-year period during which God will pour out His wrath on the earth. The Tribulation will begin when Israel signs a treaty with the Antichrist, and it will end at the Second Coming. Some people believe that the Rapture will happen before the Tribulation begins (the "pre-trib" view), and some people believe that the Rapture will happen during the Tribulation (the "mid-trib," "pre-wrath," "mid-wrath," etc., views), and some people believe that the Rapture will happen after the Tribulation ends (the "post-trib" view). In this series we'll see that the weight of Scriptural evidence supports the pre-trib view of the Rapture.
  • "The Great Tribulation" - The final three and a half years (1,260 days) of the seven-year Tribulation.
  • "The Millennium" - Christ's future thousand-year reign of righteousness, peace, and prosperity on the earth after the Second Coming.
  • "The Church" - Everyone who receives salvation through faith in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost until the Rapture is a member of the Church. The Church is called the "body" of Christ and also the "bride" of Christ. The Church has not "replaced" Israel, and the Church is not the "new" Israel, and the Church is not the "true" Israel, and the Church is not the "spiritual" Israel, and the Church is not "the Israel of God," and Gentile Christians are not "spiritual Jews." If you feel that the Church has "replaced" Israel in God's program, or if you are not sure, then I would recommend that you prayerfully read my article called Are Gentile Christians All "Spiritual Jews"? before you continue with this study of end-times prophecy. The reason is because if we have an inaccurate view concerning Israel and the Church then we will also form inaccurate views concerning end-times prophecy. Israel and the Church are two separate and distinct entities, and God has separate plans for them (as we'll see in this article).

In Part Two we'll examine a significant end-times prophecy which was given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, and we'll see why this prophecy only fits with the pre-trib view of the Rapture.


Daniel's "70 Weeks" Prophecy

In the Old Testament, the Jews often thought in terms of "seven." For example, notice that a period of 49 years is referred to as "seven times seven years":
"Count off seven sabbaths of years--seven times seven years--so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years." (Leviticus 25:8)
With that in mind, let's look at a prophecy which the angel Gabriel gave to Daniel:
"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. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (Daniel 9:24-27)
In the King James Version of the Bible, Daniel 9:24 (above) begins by saying, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city." For this reason, the above prophecy is often referred to as "Daniel's '70 Weeks' prophecy." In a moment we'll see that each "seven" in the above prophecy is seven years, so the "seventy sevens" refers to a period of 490 years (i.e. "seventy times seven years"), just as "seven times seven years" refers to a period of 49 years in Leviticus 25:8 (above).

In order to understand Daniel's prophecy, it's helpful to have some background information. First, notice that the land of Israel was meant to have one year of rest every seven years:
"The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.'"" (Leviticus 25:1-4)
One chapter later, God warned Israel that if they did not obey His commands then He will scatter them in exile among the nations, and then the land of Israel will have its sabbath rests while the Israelites are in exile:
"If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. ... I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it." (Leviticus 26:27-28, 33-35)
The Jews did not obey God's commands, so they were carried off into exile to Babylon for 70 years. This allowed the land of Israel to enjoy all of the sabbath rests which it had not properly received:
"He [God] brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord's temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God's temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah." (2 Chronicles 36:17-21)
The above passage says that the Jews went into exile for 70 years, and this allowed the land to make up for all of the missing sabbath rests that it had not received. Since the land should have received a sabbath rest every 7 years, and since there were 70 sabbath rests which the land had not received (compare Leviticus 26:33-35 and 2 Chronicles 36:17-21, above), the implication is that the land had not received its sabbath rests for 490 years (seventy "sabbaths" of years) before the exile to Babylon.

As 2 Chronicles 36:21 (above) points out, Jeremiah had prophesied that the Jews will go into exile in Babylon for 70 years, and then they will return to Israel:
"This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."" (Jeremiah 29:10-14)
Putting all of this background information together, it appears that the Jews had disobeyed God for seventy "sabbaths" of years or seventy "sevens" of years or seventy "weeks" of years concerning the sabbath rests for the land, and they were taken into exile. This background information helps us understand the terminology that Gabriel used when he gave Daniel the 70 Weeks prophecy.

Daniel lived during the exile in Babylon, and he understood from the prophet Jeremiah (above) that the exile would last for 70 years. This prompted Daniel to begin pleading with the Lord in prayer and petition and fasting:
"In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom--in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes." (Daniel 9:1-3)
As one of the exiled Jews in Babylon, Daniel recognized that the exile would last for 70 years (Daniel 9:1-3, above). While Daniel was praying in the above passage, God sent the angel Gabriel to give Daniel the "70 Weeks" prophecy:
Daniel 9:20: "While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill--"
Daniel 9:21: "while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice."
Daniel 9:22: "He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding."
Daniel 9:23: "As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:"
Daniel 9:24: ""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."
Daniel 9:25: ""Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble."
Daniel 9:26: "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed."
Daniel 9:27: "He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.""
Now let's break down the above prophecy and examine it verse by verse:

  • Daniel 9:24: "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 verse says that God had decreed a period of 70 "sevens" concerning Daniel's people (the Jews) and the holy city (Jerusalem). Keep in mind that in the Bible it's not uncommon to see time periods being described in groups of seven. For example, in Part One we saw that King Nebuchadnezzar was told that he will live with the wild animals for "seven times" (seven years). In Leviticus 25:8 (above), a "sabbath of years" was seven years, and 49 years was called "seven sabbaths of years" or "seven times seven years." In Jeremiah 29:10-14 (above), the Lord said that the Jews will be in exile in Babylon for 70 years, which is the same as "ten times seven years." In Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy, a period of seven years is referred to as a "seven" (NIV) or a "week" (KJV), so the "seventy 'sevens'" or "seventy weeks" in Daniel 9:24 (above) refers to a period of seventy times seven years, or 490 years.

    The purpose of these 70 "sevens" or 70 "weeks" was 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 (Daniel 9:24, above). This indicates that when the 70 "weeks" (490 years) are completed, then the sins of Israel will finally and for all time be put to an end.

    Notice that the 70 Weeks prophecy specifically deals with Israel's disobedience to God, and it specifically relates to Jerusalem and the Jews.
  • Daniel 9:25: "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble."
    In this verse, the angel Gabriel told Daniel that the 70 "weeks" will begin when a decree is issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. According to The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Walvoord and Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary, p.1362), there were four decrees issued in the Old Testament in reference to the Jews. The first of these decrees was issued by Cyrus in 538 B.C., and it is recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:23 and Ezra 1:2. However, that decree was only for rebuilding the temple, not for restoring and rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. Darius I also decreed a rebuilding of the temple in 520 B.C., but this was simply a confirmation of Cyrus' decree (see Ezra 6:6-13). The third decree was issued by Artaxerxes Longimanus in 458 B.C. (see Ezra 7:11-26), but it related specifically to finances for animal sacrifices at the temple. None of these decrees said anything about rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, which is what the angel Gabriel had prophesied. The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artaxerxes Longimanus in 445 (or 444) B.C. (see Nehemiah 2:1-8).

    Therefore, the starting date for the 70 "weeks" is accepted by many scholars as being 445 (or 444) B.C., when the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued in fulfillment of Daniel 9:25 (above).

    Gabriel said that from the issuing of this decree until the Anointed One comes (meaning the Messiah - see Luke 4:18, Acts 4:27, 10:38), there will be 7 "weeks" plus 62 "weeks," which is a period of 483 years. If we start with 445 (or 444) B.C. and we add 483 years, this brings us up to the Triumphal Entry when Jesus officially entered Jerusalem as the Messiah, riding on a donkey. For a detailed description of the math involved, see The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Walvoord and Zuck, p.1363), or The Footsteps of the Messiah (Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.131), or Major Bible Prophecies (John Walvoord, chapter 16), or other books on Bible prophecy.

    When Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, Bible scholars refer to this as the Triumphal Entry because Jesus was officially presenting Himself to Israel as the Messiah by fulfilling a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9:
    "The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." [Zechariah 9:9]. At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him." (John 12:12-16)
    These actions by the Jews and these shouts of greeting had been prophesied concerning the Messiah (e.g. Zechariah 9:9 and Psalms 118:22-27), which tells us that the crowd was greeting Jesus as the Messiah in the above passage. The word "Messiah" in Hebrew means "Anointed One," so at the end of the 7 "weeks" plus 62 "weeks," the Anointed One officially came to Jerusalem, right on schedule. The angel Gabriel's prophecy to Daniel was literally and accurately fulfilled at that moment, and the 69 "weeks" of Daniel 9:25 (above) came to an end at the Triumphal Entry.

    This means that there was one more "week" (7 more years) remaining until Israel's sins will be completely removed for all time.
  • Daniel 9:26: "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed."
    In this verse, Gabriel said that the Anointed One will be "cut off" after the 7 "weeks" plus 62 "weeks," and the Hebrew word for "cut off" is sometimes used to describe violent deaths (e.g. Genesis 9:11, 1 Samuel 17:51, Obadiah 1:9, and Nahum 3:15). Jesus suffered a violent death just a few days after the Triumphal Entry (see chapters 11 through 15 of Mark's Gospel), which further confirms that the 69th "week" ended at the Triumphal Entry.

    Gabriel also said that "The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary" (Daniel 9:26, above). This indicates that a future ruler will come on the scene (referring to the Antichrist, as we saw in Part One), and it tells us that the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple will be destroyed by "the people" from whom the future Antichrist will come. In 70 A.D., the Romans attacked the city of Jerusalem (see the Historical Highlights at Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Offsite Link) and destroyed the Jewish temple, which fulfilled Gabriel's prophecy in Daniel 9:26 (above).
  • Daniel 9:27: "He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
    Notice that this verse says, "He will confirm a covenant with many." People sometimes assume that the "he" is Jesus, and that the "covenant" is the New Covenant, but there are problems with that view. For one thing, Daniel 9:27 (above) says that this will be a seven-year covenant (because we have repeatedly seen that a "seven" refers to 7 years), yet the New Covenant in Jesus' blood was not limited to seven years. Another problem is that Daniel 9:27 (above) says that "he" will set up "an abomination that causes desolation" in the Jewish temple (desecrating the temple) until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. This cannot be describing Jesus. A further problem is that the word "he" in Daniel 9:27 (above) refers back to a person who was previously identified, and the most recent person to be identified is "the ruler who will come" (Daniel 9:26, above). Notice that this ruler is described in another one of Daniel's prophecies which also mentions that "abomination":
    "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. . . . The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all." (Daniel 11:31-37)
    This passage tells us that the "abomination" (possibly an image or an idol of the ruler) will be placed in the Jewish temple by a ruler or a king who is able to do as he pleases during "the time of wrath," and who will "exalt and magnify himself above every god." As we saw in Part One, the name which we often use for this future ruler is "the Antichrist."

    In Daniel's prophecy about the 70 Weeks, the entire context concerns Daniel's people (the Jews) and what will happen to them. In this context, the angel Gabriel said that the Antichrist will make a "covenant" (what we might call a peace treaty) with some people for seven years, and then immediately Gabriel made a point of telling us that in the middle of that treaty period the Antichrist will desecrate the Jewish temple (Daniel 9:27, above). The context tells us that this treaty is between Israel and the Antichrist. The "many" in Daniel 9:27 (above) refers to the unbelieving majority of Jews, and later in this series we'll see that there will be a remnant of believing Jews who will oppose the Antichrist.

In order to determine how Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy relates to the Rapture, we need to take a close look at the final "week" (seven years) of the prophecy.


When Will the Final Seven Years of Daniel's Prophecy Take Place?

Here's a summary of what we have seen so far:

  • In the Bible it's not uncommon to see time periods being described in groups of seven. For example, in Part One we saw that King Nebuchadnezzar was told that he will live with the wild animals for "seven times" (seven years). In Leviticus 25:8 (above), a "sabbath of years" was seven years, and 49 years was called "seven sabbaths of years" or "seven times seven years." In Jeremiah 29:10-14 (above), the Lord said that the Jews will be in exile in Babylon for 70 years, which is the same as "ten times seven years." In Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy, a period of seven years is referred to as a "seven" (NIV) or a "week" (KJV), so the "seventy 'sevens'" or "seventy weeks" in Daniel 9:24 (above) refers to a period of seventy times seven years, or 490 years.
  • Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy specifically relates to Jerusalem and the Jews (Daniel 9:24, above). The angel Gabriel said that when this 490-year period is finished then the Jews will have finished transgression and put an end to sin (Daniel 9:24, above), which has not yet happened because not all Jews have received salvation.
  • The 70 Weeks prophecy says that when a decree is issued for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, this will be the beginning of a period which will last for 7 weeks of years and 62 weeks of years, for a total of 69 "weeks" (483 years). Gabriel said that at the end of these 69 weeks of years the Anointed One will come, which was literally and accurately fulfilled when Jesus came into Jerusalem at the Triumphal Entry, right on schedule. The Hebrew word for "Anointed One" is mashiyach, which is the Hebrew word for "Messiah," so Jesus brought the 69 "weeks" to an end when He presented Himself to Jerusalem as the Messiah at the Triumphal Entry.
  • Out of the 70 "weeks" in Daniel's prophecy, 69 of those "weeks" ended at the Triumphal Entry, which leaves one more "week" (seven years) remaining. Skipping Daniel 9:26 for a moment, Daniel 9:27 (above) describes the final "week." As we have seen, the man in Daniel 9:27 (above) is the Antichrist, so the activities of the Antichrist will take place during the final seven years of Daniel's prophecy. My article called Signs of the Times in End-Times Bible Prophecy describes some of the activities of the Antichrist (global domination, the "mark of the beast," etc.), and it shows that these things have not yet taken place. The Antichrist has not yet been revealed, which means that the final seven years in Daniel's prophecy will take place in the future. Therefore, there is a gap of time between the 69th "week" and the 70th "week" in the 70 Weeks prophecy.
  • In Daniel 9:25 (above) we saw that there will be 7 weeks of years plus 62 weeks of years, which ended at the Triumphal Entry. In Daniel 9:26 (above) we saw that after those 69 weeks of years the Messiah will experience a violent death, which was fulfilled at the cross a few days after the Triumphal Entry. Notice that the prophecy does not say that the Messiah's violent death will take place during the 70th "week." Instead, Daniel 9:26 (above) says that the Messiah's violent death will take place after the 69th "week." The 70th "week" is not mentioned anywhere in Daniel 9:26 (above), and we don't see it mentioned until we come to Daniel 9:27 (above). The implication is that the Messiah's violent death takes place after the 69th "week" ends but before the 70th "week" begins, which is another indication that there is a gap of time between the 69th "week" and the 70th "week" in the 70 Weeks prophecy.

The point of all this is that the 70th "week" in Daniel's prophecy has not yet happened. We can demonstrate this even further by noticing what Jesus said about the Second Coming:
"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. . . . For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. . . . So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. . . . At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:15-30)
In Part One we looked at the first half of the above passage (Matthew 24:15-21) under the heading of "The Great Tribulation." We compared that passage with Daniel 9:27 (above), and we saw that when the Antichrist places an "abomination" in the future Jewish temple then this will be the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the final three and a half years of the seven-year Tribulation period (which will end at the Second Coming). In the above passage, Jesus placed the "abomination" from Daniel 9:27 (above) in the same context as the Second Coming, so the "one 'seven'" in Daniel 9:27 (above) will take place immediately before the Second Coming.

What this means is that the 70th "week" in Daniel's 70 Weeks prophecy (the "one 'seven'" in Daniel 9:27, above) is the same as the seven-year Tribulation period. This further confirms that there is a gap of time between the 69th "week" and the 70th "week," because the seven-year Tribulation has not yet taken place.

Notice that it's not unusual for Biblical prophecies to contain gaps in time, as in this example:
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders." (Isaiah 9:6)
In the above verse, the "child" is the baby Jesus, and the "government" refers to the new government that Jesus will establish after the Second Coming, which we often refer to as "the Millennium" (see my article called Beyond the Second Coming). Therefore, there is a gap of thousands of years between the first and second parts of Isaiah 9:6 (above).

Here's another example:
"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth." (Zechariah 9:9-10)
In the above passage, the first part describes the Triumphal Entry (which we looked at earlier), and the last part refers to the Millennium. So again, there is a gap of thousands of years between the first and last parts of Zechariah 9:9-10 (above).


The Significance of the Gap in Daniel's "70 Weeks" Prophecy

The angel Gabriel told Daniel about a period of time lasting for 70 weeks of years, and this prophecy was specifically for the Jews. When Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem at the Triumphal Entry, this marked the end of 69 of those "weeks" for the Jews. At that point, the 70 Weeks prophecy for Israel was put on hold, so to speak, and it will pick up again for the 70th "week" when the seven-year Tribulation period begins.

Think about that for a moment. Why did God intend to put His 70 Weeks plan for Israel on hold, creating a gap of time between the 69th and 70th "weeks"? This gap has now lasted for almost 2000 years, so what was God's purpose for this huge gap in His plan for Israel?

Recall that Jesus was crucified shortly after the 69 "weeks" ended at the Triumphal Entry, and within two months the Church was born on the day of Pentecost (as we saw in Part One). The 70 Weeks plan was specifically for the nation of Israel, to put an end to their sins. For the entire time that the 70 Weeks plan was active, God deliberately kept the Church off of the earth. When the 70 Weeks plan for Israel was put on hold, almost immediately (in less than two months) God initiated His plan for the Church.

God deliberately kept the Church off of the earth while the 70 Weeks plan was active, and He has deliberately not started the 70 Weeks plan back up while the Church is active on the earth.

Just as Israel and the Church are separate and distinct from each other (as we saw in Part One), the 70 Weeks plan for Israel and the plan for the Church have been kept separate and distinct from each other. God placed the Church on the earth specifically during the gap between the 69th and 70th "weeks."

All of the evidence indicates that God intends for these two plans to remain separate and distinct from each other because He has never allowed them to be mixed together in any way. The implication from all of this is that these two plans will continue to be kept separate and distinct, with no mixing. Notice that if the Church goes through any part of the seven-year Tribulation period then this would mix together God's plan for the Church with His plan for Israel, which is something that God has never allowed to happen.


Conclusion

There is only one view of the Rapture which preserves this separation between God's 70 Weeks plan for Israel and His plan for the Church, and that is the pre-trib view. The other views of the Rapture (mid-trib, pre-wrath, mid-wrath, post-trib, etc.) are erroneously trying to mix together the Church and the 70 Weeks. All of the other views are unScriptural because nowhere in Scripture has God ever allowed these two plans to overlap in any way.

The Church will only be active on the earth during the gap in the 70 Weeks prophecy. The Church will be removed from the earth at the Rapture (which can happen at any moment) before the 70th "week" begins. At some point after the Rapture (days? weeks? months? years?) Israel will sign a treaty with the Antichrist, initiating the seven-year Tribulation, which will be the 70th "week" in Daniel's prophecy. God will then pick up where He left off in dealing with Israel's disobedience. Multitudes of people will receive salvation during the Tribulation, but they will not be part of the Church because the entity known as the Church was removed from the earth before the Tribulation period began.


All for Your glory, Lord Jesus!


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  Modification History  
 
 

  • 08/18/2009 - Re-organized some of the information (new headings, etc.). Added a summary. Modified the "Conclusion" section.
  • 10/28/2006 - Added Leviticus 26:34-35.
  • 03/01/2004 - New article.