The Prophetic Week

 
THE PROPHETIC WEEK
The seventieth week of Daniel unfolded; also known as “the tribulation”.
 

Introduction 

Two sections of the Prophetic Week.
  1. The Beginning of Sorrows. The first 3 1/2 years of Daniel's seventieth week is called “The Beginning of Sorrows” (Matt. 24:8). During this period the first six seals of Revelation are unfolded. It begins when The Beast makes a covenant with Israel, and ends when "the abomination of desolations" is set up in the holy place. Passages that deal directly with the Beginning of Sorrows are Rev. 6, Matthew 24:4-14, and various places in the first book of the Psalms. Relatively little is written about the first three and a half years of Daniel's seventieth week, compared to the volumes that deal with the events that come later.

  2. The Great Tribulation. The last 3 1/2 years of Daniel's seventieth week is called “the Great Tribulation” (Matt. 24:21, Rev. 7:14). During this period the 7th seal, the Seven Trumpets, and the Seven Vials/Bowl are unfolded. It begins when the "abomination of desolations" is set up, and it ends when Christ appears in glory, and Israel's enemies are destroyed. Technically, the "great tribulation" for Israel will end a little early, at 1260 days when the King of the North sweeps down through Israel and slaughters the apostate Jews. This time period is also called "the time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7).

 

The Beginning of Sorrows: Seal Judgments

The Book of Revelation fills in the details of Daniel’s seventieth week in a very orderly way. Revelation is a book of judgment outlining the steps God will take to glorify His Son! Revelation is mainly focused on the effects that the coming judgments will have on the Revived Roman Empire (Christianized lands), while Old Testament prophecy focuses more on the effect of the coming judgments on Israel.
 
The Sealed Scroll. Revelation speaks of a book (or scroll) that is “written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1). This book contains the counsels of God for the blessing of the earth that will be brought about through judgment.1 One of the themes of Rev. 4-5 is that the Lord alone is able and worthy to open the book and break its seals. Another important thing we see in Rev. 4-5 is a great change of administration when the Lamb takes the book. The saints in association with Christ will replace the angels as administrative executors – a change fully developed in the Millennium.
 
The seven seals. The first six seals are described in Revelation 6. Each seal unlocks a new portion of the book.
  • 1st Seal: Great political changes occur, alliances are formed. Possibly this is when the 10-nation Western Confederacy is formed. read more...
  • 2nd Seal: Civil war erupts. Massive bloodshed in the West. read more...
  • 3rd Seal: Famine and economic failure strikes the West. The wealthy are still untouched. read more...
  • 4th Seal: A fatal, epidemic disease brakes out. Animals attack citizens in the West. read more...
  • 5th Seal: Many Jewish believers are martyred. They cry to the Lord to avenge their blood. read more...
  • 6th Seal: A tremendous political upheaval occurs in the West, creating terror and building an appetite for the empire to welcome the Beast and Antichrist. read more...
Indirect Judgments. These judgments are "providential" or "indirect". That is, God will be using natural things as instruments of judgment. Jesus described these first 3 1/2 years as follows:
"But ye will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not disturbed; for all these things must take place, but it is not yet the end. For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. But all these are the beginning of throes." Matt. 24:6-8

Middle of the Week

Events that take place in the Middle of the Week. The middle of Daniel's seventieth week is an important milestone in prophecy. It is referred to as "the midst of the week" in Daniel 9:27. 
  1. War in heaven, and Satan cast down to the earth (Rev. 12:9)
  2. False Church demolished by Roman Empire (Rev. 17:16)
  3. Transfer of Roman government to the Beast (Rev. 13:3)
    • Tremendous upheaval in the West (Rev. 6:12-17)
    • He will subdue three of the horns (Dan. 7:8, 20, 24-25)
    • Then the others will capitulate (Rev. 17:13)
  4. The Antichrist is revealed (Rev. 13:11; 2 Thess. 2:3; Rev. 9:1)
  5. Jewish sacrifices forced to stop (Dan. 9:27)
  6. Abomination of desolation set up (Dan. 12:11; Matt. 24:15)
  7. Part of the faithful remnant flees to the mountains (Matt. 24:16)
  8. Intense persecution begins (Matt. 24:21)
  9. Two witnesses begin to prophesy (Rev. 11:3-6)
  10. Half hour silence, then first trumpet blown (Rev. 8)

The Great Tribulation: Trumpet and Bowl Judgments

"For then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21, see also Rev. 7:14).
God’s Direct Judgments. The trumpets may be less extensive in their range than the seals (third part vs. fourth part of the earth), but they are more intensely judicial than the seals. Furthermore, they are directly from the hand of God, as we see the "angel", a type of Christ, refill the censer with fire from the brazen altar (the wrath of God against sin) and cast it on the prophetic earth (Rev. 8:5).
 
The Trumpet Judgments. The trumpet judgments open "under" the seventh seal. Really, the seventh seal is the entire last 3 1/2 years. The Trumpets are distributed throughout those 3 1/2 years. The first four trumpets are primarily to do with the apostatizing of the western nations, preparing them to receive Antichrist. Therefore, it seems the first four will happen in rapid succession at the middle of the week. The fifth trumpet corresponds to Antichrist coming forward, and the delusion of apostate Israel, once again at the middle of the week, but spanning a longer duration (“five months”). The sixth trumpet is at 1260 days, and the seventh trumpet is at the appearing, at the end of the week.
  • 1st Trumpet: Prosperity in the West dries up. read more...
  • 2nd Trumpet: A great political power in the West falls (possibly the USA?). read more...
  • 3rd Trumpet: A person of great moral influence in the West apostatizes… the result is that the entertainment and media becomes poisoned. read more...
  • 4th Trumpet: The whole system of government in the West gives up any profession of godliness that they once had, resulting in moral darkness. read more...
  • 5th Trumpet: Antichrist comes forward, and he begins sending out his “strong delusion", beginning with the apostate Jews. read more...
  • 6th Trumpet: The King of the North and his Arab confederacy advances, causing moral and physical death. The attack causes the Roman empire to collapse. read more...
  • 7th Trumpet: The Lord appears, taking the reigns of government into His own hands, and the nations are furious. read more...
Correlation of trumpets and bowls. There is a high degree of correlation between the trumpets and bowls. The first of each series has to do with the earth, the second with the sea, the third with the rivers and fountains of water, and the fourth with the sun. The fifth trumpet is the delusion of apostate Jews, the fifth bowl is the delusion of the Beast’s empire. The sixth trumpet is a summary of the Assyrian’s influence on the beast’s empire, the sixth bowl gives the precise moment of the attack. The seventh in each series is the appearing of Christ. The seventh trumpet is a summary of the Day of the Lord. The seventh bowl is the specific event that will accompany his appearing, namely the destruction of Political Babylon (the Beast). Some have thought that the bowls are "under" the seventh trumpet just as the trumpets are "under" the seventh seal. However, the correlation between these bowls and trumpets would indicate that the bowls parallel the trumpets.
 
The Bowl Judgments. The bowl judgments are poured out on the prophetic earth, but the effects go beyond the Christianized part of the world to touch the outlying nations. Note the absence of the expression “the third part”. The bowl series is more universal.
  • 1st Bowl: The followers of the Beast are afflicted with terrible pain. read more...
  • 2nd Bowl: The nations who refuse the Gospel of the Kingdom apostatize, sealing their fate. read more...
  • 3rd Bowl: Natural sources of joy dry up. read more...
  • 4th Bowl: Governmental apostasy causes the oppression of the masses. read more...
  • 5th Bowl: The delusion is spread to the entirety of the Beast’s kingdom. read more...
  • 6th Bowl: The barrier holding back the armies of the Assyrian is removed. read more...
  • 7th Bowl: Political Babylon (the Beast) is destroyed by the Lord at His Appearing. read more...

The Jewish Remnant

"And the dragon was angry with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus." (Revelation 12:17).
The Jewish remnant is one of the most important people-groups in prophecy. Much of Old Testament prophecy was written for them to read and understand, that they might learn God's ways in judgment, and have hope of deliverance. For instance, the Psalms are the prayers and feelings of the remnant, pre-recorded for them to sing as they pass through the experiences of the Prophetic week. Even the teaching of our Lord to His twelve disciples was directed to them as a faithful Jewish remnant, and they have their complete fulfillment in a future day. For example, when the Lord sent out the twelve to the lost sheep of the house of Israel in Matt. 10, He said "Ye shall not have completed the cities of Israel until the Son of man be come" (Matt. 10:23). The coming of the Son of Man (the Appearing) was what this remnant was to labor toward. Clearly this passage cannot be limited to the twelve apostles in the first century! The twelve apostles are representative of the faithful remnant of Jews, and their mission was interrupted at the cross, terminated at the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) and will be resumed after the Rapture. The whole Church period is passed over in silence. One of the great mistakes made with students of prophecy is to fail to see the place and portion of the Jewish remnant on the prophetic scriptures. Here are some key verses about the remnant: Isa. 10:21-22; 11:11,16; 28:5; 37:31; Dan. 7:21-22; Zech. 12:10-14; Matt. 24:3-31; Rom. 11:5; Rev. 7:4-7; 12:17; 14:1-5.
 
How can there be a remnant given Mark 16:16 and 2 Thess 2:11-12? We know that the gospel is preached in our day "to all nations for the obedience of faith" (Rom. 16:26), and that "God... now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30). In the beginning of Acts, Peter preached that God was going to judge the nation of Israel very grievously, and they needed to believe the word and be baptized in order to "Save yourselves from this untoward generation" (Acts 2:40-41). Mark 16:16 refers to the seriousness of rejecting the gospel; "he that believeth not shall be damned". We further read that those who reject Christ and do "not receive the love of the truth" will not have a second chance to believe the gospel, because "God sends to them a working of error, that they should believe what is false, that all might be judged who have not believed the truth, but have found pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess 2:11-12). The "working of error" is defined in 2 Thess. 2 as a deception of Antichrist, the "man of sin". Those who reject the gospel now will be deceived later by Antichrist. How then can there be a remnant of Israel after the rapture? How do they get a "second chance"? Understanding prophecy is not easy, but it comes through the illumination of the Spirit of God, who enables us to see the way various passages fit together. We must fit together the passages about the remnant with those about rejecting the gospel. Those of the remnant will be individuals who never rejected the gospel. They either never heard it, or else didn't understand it. Perhaps there are those who have only a limited understanding of the gospel, and this are not at the present time sealed with the Spirit, and part of the Church. Also, generally Israel has a veil upon their heart (2 Cor. 3:13-16). Remember also that there could be some gap of time between the rapture and the start of Daniel's seventieth week. It may not require very much time to bring the pieces into place for there to be a remnant of the Jews. After the true Church is gone to heaven, the Spirit of God will continue to work to accomplish the purposes of God on the earth. It will be a work of the Spirit of God to raise up a remnant to be a witness for Jehovah, although it may be through a process that they eventually come to know Him as Jesus, their own Messiah! But they are His elect, and whatever responsibility they have, and whatever state they are in, God will see to it that they are raised up. In Ezekiel 37 we read of a mighty work of the Spirit of God to regather Israel into their land, and cause them to “live” again! The Spirit is capable of the impossible! Although it may seem impossible for a Jewish remnant to be raised up, with God all things are possible.
 
Why does there need to be a remnant? If we were to read the Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel, including the promises made to Abraham Isaac, Jacob, David, etc. we would see that God purposed to bring Israel into a period of prolonged prosperity and blessing, under the reign of Messiah. This is God’s sovereign purpose for Israel. But then, if we were to read the law (particularly Deuteronomy) we would find that God made Israel‘s blessing in the land of Canaan conditional on their obedience. And then through the Old Testament we find the sad history of Israel’s  disobedience to the word of God, and their eventual expulsion from the land of Canaan. After God graciously allowed a return from Babylon and Persia, the Jews committed the crowning sin of the nation of Israel in rejecting their own Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, at His first coming. This sealed the doom of the nation of Israel. The question naturally arises in our minds, how will God fulfill His purpose and still maintain His righteousness? Prophecy gives us the answer to this question. According to His righteousness, God will judge the nation of Israel; i.e. the apostate majority. But according to His grace, God will preserve a remnant of Israel, and bring them through the judgment, and make them the nucleus of a restored nation in the Millennium.
 
Who are the remnant? The remnant of Israel are the descendants of Jacob who have faith, in contrast with the majority of the nation of Israel, which has rejected God. Paul speaks of the remnant in Rom. 11:1-5, showing that there was a remnant in Elijah's day, and even in his own day. Zechariah, Elisabeth, Mary, Anna, Simeon, John the Baptist and his disciples, etc. were the remnant of Israel in their day. After the cross, the Jews who believed the gospel (Paul included) were a remnant of Israel, and a proof that God is not finished with Israel, and that one day “all Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:26). Even today, believers from among the Jews are the remnant of Israel, although they are part of something totally different - the Church of the Living God - and far higher, which replaces their otherwise earthly hopes with heavenly ones! See Eph. 1:12 which shows that believers from among the Jews have "pre-trusted"; i.e. ahead of time, when all Israel shall be saved. When the rapture takes place, God will raise up a remnant of the Jews according to His grace, to fulfill His purposes. God will work by His Spirit to form this remnant. They will be “born again”, and no doubt will begin to understand some of the significance of the scriptures. It is impossible for us to know exactly how much the remnant will understand about the Lord. It would appear from chapters such as Isaiah 53 that the remnant will not grasp the full significance of the cross until the Lord appears. On the other hand, verses like Rev. 13:18 were clearly intended for the remnant to read and understand during the prophetic week. It would seem that there is a gradual progression of understanding with the remnant, culminating in the appearance of their Messiah. We also read of the Mascillim, "they that are wise" (Dan. 12:3), who may be a certain class within the remnant that has a greater understanding, and can teach the remnant. For instance, note the expression in Matt. 24:15; "whoso readeth, let him understand". This indicates that there will be some who read even the gospels and understand to a degree the words of Christ.
 
Martyred and Preserved. The remnant will be especially targeted by Satan in the Great Tribulation (Rev. 12:17). Many of the remnant will be killed throughout the prophetic week. Nevertheless, those that God has "sealed" will be preserved through the judgment, much like Noah and his family who were preserved from the flood in the ark. Some will be martyred in the first half of the prophetic week, most likely by the great whore of Rev. 17 (see Rev. 6:9-11; 17:6). Some will be martyred in the last half of the week, most likely by Antichrist and his followers (Rev. 14:13; 15:2). Those who are martyred will receive a heavenly portion, and will reign with Christ for 1000 years (Rev. 20:4)! Those who are preserved will enter the kingdom and be consoled and blessed by Christ Himself (Rev. 7:17).
 
The Two Tribes and the Ten Tribes. It is helpful to see that God will have a remnant from all twelve tribes. We see this in Rev. 7, where there are twelve-thousand "sealed" from every tribe. This means that God will preserve some from each tribe, such that the restored nation of Israel in the Millennium will be a nation of twelve tribes! In fact, Ezekiel 48 describes the division of greater Palestine into parcels of land for all twelve tribes. In the tribulation period, God will have a different program for the remnant of the two tribes (the Jews) versus the ten tribes (Israel). The Jews historically were in the land in the time of Jesus, and they are morally responsible (in a national sense) for crucifying their Messiah. The ten tribes were not in the land at that time, but they are still morally responsible for the same issues that caused them to be carried away in the Assyrian captivity; i.e. idolatry and the sin of Jeroboam. Of the two parts, the Jews are more responsible, and the judgments that fall on the apostate Jews will be the most severe. Much of prophecy has to do with the Jewish remnant, their persecution, and deliverance. But in the end, when Christ returns, the old division between the ten tribes and the two will be healed, and the two remnants will become one nation; "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone, and will gather them from every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all" (Ezek 37:16-17; 21-22).
 
Growing closer. The Lord will use the trials of Daniel's seventieth week - especially the persecution of Antichrist - to bring about a beautiful spirit in the Jewish remnant. The Song of Solomon describes this process in a poetic way, where the Jewish remnant is pictured as the Shulamite bride, drawn closer and deeper in love with Solomon, a type of Christ. The Psalms also describe the progression of growing affection and intelligence that the remnant will experience through those same events.
 
The Jewish Remnant in Prophecy.
What will happen to the Jewish remnant during the Prophetic Week?
  1. Evangelists to Israel. Some will go out and preach the gospel of the kingdom to the nation of Israel; "Ye shall not have completed the cities of Israel until the Son of man be come" (Matt. 10:23).
  2. Evangelists to the World. Some will take the gospel of the kingdom to the farthest reaches of the world! "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Mat 24:14).
  3. Early Martyrs. Some will be martyred by the False Church in the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation. “Killed for the testimony of Jesus.” Rev. 20:4.
  4. Sheltered in the Mountains. The majority will flee to the mountains across the Jordan in the middle of the week –at the Lord’s directions: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house, etc.” (Matt. 24:15-17). They will be sheltered by faithful ones from the neighboring countries; e.g. Moab (Isa. 16:3-4).
  5. Later Martyrs. Many will be martyred by the Antichrist and the apostate Jews in the last 3 1/2 years of the tribulation, for refusing to take the mark of the Beast. They will be hunted like dogs. Family members will betray one another: “Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoreth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.” (Micah 7:5-6)
  6. Two Witnesses. Some will remain in Jerusalem witnessing against Antichrist (the “two witnesses” of Rev. 11:1-14). "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth" (Rev. 11:3). They will be invincible until their testimony is complete, then they will be killed. Their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days, then they will be raised in the last installment of the first resurrection! These will be the last believers to die… ever! See Rev. 14:14.
  7. Rescued by the Lord. A final group will remain in the city until the 1290 days. The King of the North will return from Egypt, and the remnant will leave the city going towards the mount of olives. The Lord’s feet will touch down on the mountain. "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west..." (Zech. 14:4). The mountain will split in two… one half moving North, and the other south. They will run into that valley for safety while the Lord consumes their enemies with fire!
Old Testament Types. There are many Old Testament types of the Jewish remnant.
  • Seth. Cain represents the nation of Israel in unbelief, carrying on with sacrifices that were not pleasing to God. When Christ came (Abel) to offer an acceptable sacrifice to God, the Jews slew Him in the field (the world). Since that time the Jews have been dispersed, like Cain, to wander among the nations as fugitives and vagabonds. Like Cain, the Jews have tried to get comfortable down here. Like Cain, God has placed a mark on them so that those who harmed them were revenged seven-fold. Meanwhile the Jews justify their crucifixion of the Messiah like Lamech who said it in self-defense, “I have slain a man”. But God has appointed a remnant of the Jews, pictured by Seth, who will be raised up in the Tribulation period and will begin to “call upon the name of the Lord”. God will take that faithful remnant and restore the Nation of Israel in the Millennium.
  • Noah. Noah is a type of the Jewish remnant who will pass through the flood of God’s judgments in the tribulation. This is a contrast to Enoch who was taken out (caught up) before the judgment fell. Enoch is a type of the Church, Noah is a type of the faithful Jews. 
  • Keturah. In Genesis 22-25 there is a remarkable progression. Sarah's death is a type of Israel set aside (ch.23) which follows after the death of Christ, pictured by Abraham offering Isaac (ch.22). Rebecca is a type of the church as the bride of the risen Christ (ch.24). After this Abraham marries again, and Keturah is a picture of the remnant of Israel restored in a future day, blessed with the Gentiles in the Millennium (ch.25).
  • Ruth. Naomi is a type of Israel, having forfeited her right to the inheritance. Faithful Ruth in contrast with Orpah is a type of the Jewish remnant, who comes to trust under the shadow of the wings of the God of Israel. Boaz is a type of Christ, who undertakes to redeem the inheritance of Naomi, and also marries Ruth. This is a type of the earthly bride of Jehovah.
  • Jotham. 
  • Jonathan
  • The Shulamite
  • Isaiah
  • Daniel's friends
  • Esther
  • Barruch
  • Jonah
 
  1. Definition from Bruce Anstey.