Daniel receives an important timeline of future events and reveals that seven years before the end of the age, the Antichrist will make a seven-year treaty. After three and a half years, he will break it and set up the abomination of desolation.
In this chapter, Daniel records his confession of the sins of the Jewish nation (v4-15), and his prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem and its temple (v16-19). In response, he is visited by the Angel Gabriel, who gives him a prophetic timeline of future events (v24-27).

Historical background
The chapter is set in the first year of Darius the Mede who Daniel says was appointed as king over Babylonia (v1). At this time, Cyrus the Persian was the supreme king of the Medo-Persian Empire which conquered Babylonia in 539 BC, but Cyrus governed his huge empire by appointing kings or governors over kingdoms within it. Historical records outside the Bible have no record of Darius the Mede, unless he is to be equated with Ugbaru, the general who first entered Babylon and deposed Belshazzar (and Nabonidus). According to Daniel 5:31, Darius took control immediately after the Medo-Persian conquest in 539 BC, but he would have been subordinate to Cyrus the Persian, who is mentioned in Daniel 10:1. So the year is 539 BC. It is 47 years since the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC, and 66 years since Daniel was deported to Babylon in the first deportation of 605 BC (Daniel 1:1-2). According to Ezra 1:1, in the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, Cyrus issued a decree allowing the return of the Jewish exiles. Most scholars also equate the first year of Cyrus with 539 BC, although Daniel 6:28 and 10:1 give the impression this was later. Daniel's prayer is prompted (v2) by his reading of Jeremiah 25, in which Jeremiah prophesied that Israel would be desolate for 70 years.

Timeline of Seventy Weeks (v24-27)
The angel tells Daniel that seventy 'weeks' have been determined concerning his people (Israel) and the holy city (Jerusalem). 'Weeks' are literally 'sevens', and a week in this context is understood by scholars to mean 'seven years' (as in Leviticus 25:8) rather than seven days. Daniel was already thinking about Jeremiah's 70 years, so it is natural to also interpret these sevens as periods of years. Where we think in terms of decades, they thought in terms of heptads of 7 years. This period of 70 heptads, or 490 years is divided into three time periods of 7 heptads (49 years), followed by 62 heptads (another 434 years), and one final heptad (7 years). A total of 70 heptads have been determined to:

1) put an end to rebellion - I believe this looks forward to Jesus' defeat of the end-time rebellion by the Antichrist.

2) to bring sin to completion - In Genesis 15:16, God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham's descendants. He told Abraham that his descendants would be slaves in a foreign country for four hundred years, after which they would return to the land of Canaan, "for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit". In the end times, Jesus will announce the day of God's vengeance (Isaiah 61:2) when he will put an end to all rebellion. But as in antiquity, he first waits for sin to reach its full measure.

3) to atone for iniquity - This looks forward to the crucifixion of Jesus.

4) to bring in perpetual righteousness - although this began at the Cross, it will be completed at the second coming when Jesus begins to reign on the earth (Revelation 11:17).

5) to seal up the prophetic vision - Seals were used to authenticate official documents. The second coming of Jesus is the grand focus of Old Testament prophecy, when biblical prophecy in general will be authenticated by its fulfilment.

6) to anoint the most holy - this expression is used of places, not people (see NET Bible notes) and I believe is speaking about the re-dedication and purification of the Temple Mount with a view to building the Millennial temple. Jews celebrate the Festival of Hanukkah, which commemorates the rededication of the second temple in 164 BC, after Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated it with his idol of Zeus, which Daniel 11:31 calls the 'abomination that causes desolation'. The third temple will be similarly desecrated by the end-time Antichrist (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15), but Jesus will dedicate a new Millennial temple (Isaiah 56:5-7, 60:7, 62:9, 66:6, Jeremiah 33:11).

According to verse 25, the timeline begins with the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. There would then be 7 weeks and 62 weeks, totalling 69 weeks, until the arrival of an anointed prince (the Messiah). The historical fulfilment of this timeline is a matter of debate between scholars. Over the next 100 years or so, there were in fact three decrees relating to the rebuilding of Jerusalem or its temple:
1) In 539 BC, Cyrus the Persian conquered the Babylonian Empire, and in the first year of his reign over Babylon he issued a decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, if they wished to (2 Chronicles 36:23, Ezra 1:2-4). If this is the promised decree, then Messiah should have appeared 483 years after 539 BC, that is in 56 BC. But it is noteworthy that Cyrus' decree related to the rebuilding of the temple, not of the city. This same decree was later reaffirmed in 520 BC by Darius I (Ezra 6:1, 6-12).

2) In 457-456 BC, in the seventh year of his reign, King Artaxerxes I (464-424) issued a further decree (Ezra 7:12-26). This decree related to provisions for the temple and its system of sacrificial worship. But Ezra responded in prayer saying, "Although we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our servitude. He has extended kindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, in that he has revived us to restore the temple of our God and to raise up its ruins and to give us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem" (Ezra 9:9). He understood the king's decree to extend beyond the rebuilding of the temple, to include a wall around the city of Jerusalem. If this is the awaited decree, the Messiah was due to appear 483 years after 457-456 BC, which is 27-28 AD (accounting for the transition from 1 BC to 1 AD without any year zero). In 28 AD, John the Baptist began his ministry (Luke 3:1), in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar (14-37). John's opening message was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matthew 2:2). This is the same message that Jesus proclaimed shortly afterwards at the start of his own ministry (Mark 1:15). The kingdom of heaven was near because its king was near or present. Jesus added the insight that "The time is fulfilled", pointing to the fact that Daniel's 69 heptads had been completed. Scripture doesn't make clear how soon Jesus was baptised after the start of John's ministry, but it may well have been that same year (we know that Jesus' ministry included three Passover festivals and ended in 33 AD, but it may have been longer than the three and a half years that is commonly assumed). So if we understand that the public appearance of Jesus to Israel began in 27 or 28 AD with his baptism, and public recognition by John the Baptist and by the voice of God from Heaven (Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22), then Daniel's 69 weeks were fulfilled more or less perfectly.

3) Although Ezra helped to re-establish the temple worship system, he made little if any progress in rebuilding the city wall. In his twentieth year (445-444 BC), Artaxerxes I issued a further decree to Nehemiah. This specifically related to the rebuilding of the city walls and gates (Nehemiah 2:1-8). 483 years after 444 BC takes us to 40 AD, about twelve years after Jesus began his ministry, and seven years after his death and resurrection. However, some scholars argue that a Jewish year should be accounted as 360 days. According to that accounting, 483 years is 173,880 days, which is 476 years of 365 days each. That would take us to 33 AD, the year that Jesus died. In reality, although the Jews may have accounted for years as twelve months of 30 days, they also added intercalary months at regular intervals to adjust for the difference between lunar and solar years. Otherwise their calendar would have progressed forwards through the solar calendar, and not stayed in sync with the seasons.

It is likely that the second decree, that of Artaxerxes to Ezra, is the correct starting point for Daniel's 69 heptads, with their fulfilment in 27-28 AD when Jesus started his ministry. This is what Jesus was referring to when he declared in Mark 15, "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel!"
In verse 26a, Daniel is told that after 7 and 62 sevens (total 69 sevens), "the anointed one (the Messiah) will be cut off and have nothing (be killed)". He does not tell us how long after the 69 sevens this would be, but if we understand them to have ended in 27 or 28 AD (as above), then there was in fact a further 5 or 6 years until the fulfilment of his death on the cross in 33 AD. It is noteworthy that the timing of Messiah's death is related to some time after the 69th seven, but not to the 70th seven.

Verse 26 goes on to say, "As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince will destroy them". This destruction of Jerusalem and the temple was fulfilled in 70 AD, which is about 42 years after the completion of the 69th seven in 27-28 AD. Who is the coming prince? And who are his people that destroy Jerusalem and the temple? It was Roman legions under the command of General Titus who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, but Titus is not the prince in view here. The coming prince is identified in verse 27 as the one who will confirm a covenant with many for one week (the 70th seven). This is the end-time Antichrist, who then breaks the covenant, brings a halt to sacrifices and offerings, and sets up the abomination in the temple. Given that the people who destroyed the temple in 70 AD were Roman legions, it is commonly assumed that the Antichrist will therefore be the ruler of a restored Roman Empire. However, the legions that destroyed Jerusalem were not actually from the Italian Peninsula. The Roman army recruited heavily from the regions it ruled over, which included much of the Middle East and North Africa. Titus commanded the eastern legions of the Roman Empire. The siege and destruction of Jerusalem is recorded in detail by the historians Josephus and Tacitus. Jerusalem was besieged by an army comprised of four legions, plus various Arab auxiliaries. The legions were Legion 10 from Turkey and Syria, Legion 15 from Syria, Legion 12 from Eastern Turkey and Syria, and Legion 5 from Serbia and Bulgaria. The legion in particular that breached the walls of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple was Legion 10. This legion was comprised of four cohorts: one from Syria, one from Turkey, one of Arabs from Petra in Jordan, and one of Arabs from Arabia. If these are the people of the coming prince (the Antichrist), then it implies that the Antichrist will come from Turkey or Arabia. This is consistent with Ezekiel 38:2, where the Antichrist is called Gog, and is identified as 'the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal'. Meshech and Tubal were regions of ancient Turkey. (Reference: ‘God’s War on Terror’ by Walid Shoebat, pages 349-353. He quotes extensively from the first century historians, Tacitus and Josephus).

Verse 26 continues, "But his end will come speedily like a flood. Until the end of the war that has been decreed there will be destruction". The Antichrist's end-time war is described in more detail in Daniel 11:36-45. It says in verse 40, "He will invade lands, passing through them like an overflowing river". But when Jesus comes back, it will be the Antichrist's turn to be overwhelmed like a flood.

According to verse 27, "He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys". It is often assumed that the Antichrist is a great statesman who initiates this covenant. Daniel simply says that he 'confirms' it. In other words, he signs it, but it may be a pre-existing agreement, or one that is brokered by some other mediator. It is 'with many', implying that it is an international treaty with many nations. The statement that follows about sacrifices and offerings clearly indicates that the treaty involves Israel, and it suggests that it may facilitate a restoration of Jewish sacrificial practices. Or it could be that the Jews rebuild their temple and restore their sacrificial practices first, which creates an international crisis, and the peace treaty is necessary to resolve the crisis.

Agreeing to a seven year treaty but then breaking it is consistent with the Antichrist being a muslim, and the Islamic practice known as 'hudna'. In 628 AD, the Prophet Mohammed agreed to a ten-year peace treaty with the Quraish tribe of Mecca, known as the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. At that time, the Muslims were only 1,400 strong, and were too weak to conquer Mecca militarily, so Mohammed agreed to the treaty, even though many of his followers were unhappy about its terms. Two years later, when his movement had grown to 10,000, keeping the treaty was no longer to his advantage, so he attacked Mecca and conquered it. As such, Mohammed set an unfortunate precedent within Islam. Muslims can agree to a peace treaty (a 'hudna') while they are the weaker party, but if they subsequently gain strength, by their prophet's own example they are not duty-bound to honour it.

The statement "On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys" is not completely clear from this verse alone. Some translations interpret the wing as a wing of the temple, which is reasonable, given that the temple is the place where sacrifices and offerings are made. The Apostle Paul seems to have understood it this way, for he says in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, "He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God's temple, displaying himself as God". That said, the abomination of desolation could be a separate event to Antichrist taking his seat in the temple. And Daniel 11:31 says, "His forces will rise up and profane the fortified sanctuary, stopping the daily sacrifice. In its place they will set up the abomination that causes desolation". In this verse, the subject is Antiochus Epiphanes, who setup his statue of Zeus in the temple in 168 BC. Here in chapter 9, it is a similar act of abomination that is fulfilled by the end-time Antichrist. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus stressed the importance of understanding the abomination that causes desolation.

Though not obvious from the text here in chapter 9, it is commonly assumed that there is an indefinite time gap between the 69th week and the 70th week. When Daniel was given the timeline, he didn't know when it would start, except that it would start with a decree for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. This was a sign that the Jews needed to watch for, and they should then have anticipated Messiah's coming 69 x 7 years later, and that some time after those 483 years, Messiah would be killed and the temple would be destroyed. The 70th week would then start at some unknown point, except that it would be marked by the signing of an international treaty involving Israel. Confirmation that the 70th week had started would occur at the midpoint with the treaty being broken, and some kind of abomination set up or committed that would put a stop to temple sacrifice. This abomination would confirm the identity of the Antichrist, and it would remain in place "until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys" (v27). Daniel 12:11 indicates that it will remain in place for 1,290 days. This has been my understanding up until this point. However, please see the following update:

Update, May 2024
Prophecy scholar Christian Widener, in his book "Witnessing the end", published in 2023, presents a startling and compelling new theory. He suggests that the prophecy of 70 sevens has a dual-fulfilment. Messiah came 69 sevens after the first decree by Artaxerxes I, which Christian Widener places in 458 BC, with Christ's ministry starting 483 years later in 26 AD. He understands that Christ's death in 33 AD then completed the first fulfilment of 70 sevens, after Jesus having a seven year ministry. Widener points out that in 1537 AD, the Ottoman Sultan, Suleyman the Magnificent, issued a new decree for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and subsequently restored many parts of the city. This included restoration and paving of the temple mount (the plaza), and also of the fortified moat around the Tower of David near the Jaffa Gate. His decree is carved in Arabic and is set in stone on the temple mount, which is visible today for all to see. His decree is also carved in stone on the side of the moat. This latter carving was buried in 1898 during expansion of the city, but a photograph of it was taken first. The decree translates as, "The order to construct this tower for protection of the Islamic walls by his power and duration of his reign, and to dispose of the favouring idols by his force and strength, the one that did Allah especially elected to rule the necks of the kings in the world, the possessor in chain of the throne of Caliphate, Sultan son of Sultan, son of Sultan, son of Sultan, Suleyman." Daniel 9:25 says, "It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times." Does the word 'again' imply a second decree, a second rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the start of a second period of seventy sevens? Are the 'distressful times' those of the Ottoman Empire when Jews were still in exile and Jerusalem under Islamic rule? If so, 69 sevens starting in 1537 would be completed in 2020, and 70 sevens in 2027. Widener points out that in September 2020, Israel did in fact sign an international peace treaty, known as 'The Abraham Accords', with several Arab nations. They were signed first with the UAE and Bahrain, and then Morocco and Sudan followed.

If the 70th seven began in September of 2020, we would expect the abomination of desolation approximately three and a half years later. I say 'approximately' because Daniel 9:27 simply says that it would occur 'in the middle' of the 70th seven, but that doesn't necessarily mean exactly in the middle. Based on the first fulfilment of the abomination of desolation by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 BC, and on Jesus's prophecy of its future fulfilment in Matthew 24:15, it is commonly expected to be another statue that will be set up on the Temple Mount, or even in a rebuilt third temple. However, Daniel's description of the future abomination in Daniel 9:27 is literally, "On the wing of abominations [will come] one who destroys". Widener quotes Proverbs 6:16-19 which says, "There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift to run to evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who spreads discord among family members." And he suggests that the atrocities committed by Hamas in their attack on Israel on 7 October 2023 fit well with this description. It is also noteworthy that on 14 January 2024, in a speech commemorating 100 days since the attack of 7 October, Hamas's military spokesman, Abu Ubeidah, cited Israel bringing red heifers from America in preparation for ritual sacrifice (see Numbers 19:1-10) as a key reason for them launching their attack when they did. And so the abominations committed on that day were intended to put a stop to planned Jewish sacrifices, just as Daniel prophesied, "But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt" (v27). Up until now, most prophecy scholars have assumed that the temple would first have to be rebuilt, and the sacrificial system reinstated, before that could be fulfilled. But Hamas launched their attack to put a stop to Jewish sacrifices before they had even started! Furthermore, Hamas called their attack 'The Al-Aqsa Flood'. Al-Aqsa is what Muslims call the Temple Mount, so the declared purpose of their attack was to protect the Islamic sanctity of the Temple Mount. And they called it a 'flood', just as Daniel prophesied 2,500 years ago when he said, "But [the] end will come [speedily] like a flood" (v26). All in all, these multiple factors combine to make a compelling case for the attack of 7 October being the fulfilment of the abominations that Daniel prophesied.

In Matthew 24:15-20, Jesus said, "So when you see the abomination of desolation – spoken about by Daniel the prophet – standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. The one on the roof must not come down to take anything out of his house, and the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath." Following the attack of 7 October, it is estimated that 200,000 Israelis were displaced internally within Israel. According to, "30,000 residents of the kibbutzim and moshavim were quickly evacuated from their homes by the Israeli military after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks targeting their communities. In the days that followed, the Israeli government formally evacuated an additional 100,000 people, starting with the 20,000 residents of the southern city of Sderot and then a further 60,000 people from the north when Iranian-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah began firing rockets and mortars from Lebanon. In addition, the government estimates that a further 100,000 people evacuated themselves from homes that sit slightly beyond what is now an active military zone."

Jesus continues in verse 21, "For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen." The suffering, particularly of the young women who were attacked, raped, tortured, killed and mutilated, or dragged away to Gaza as hostages, and the depravity of their attackers, is graphically described in the documentary film, 'Screams Before Silence', directed by Anat Stalinsky.

It has generally been assumed that the confirmation of the seven year treaty would reveal (or strongly suggest) the identity of the Antichrist, and that the abomination in the middle of the 70th week would confirm it. However, the end of verse 27 says, "On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys." This actually implies that the Antichrist's identity is not revealed until some time soon after the abominations. In that case, who is the "He" at the beginning of the verse who confirms the covenant? In Daniel and Revelation, kings and their empires are portrayed metaphorically as beasts. So the "He" who confirms the covenant could be his empire, rather than the Antichrist himself as an individual. In a sense, it was the Islamic Empire (or parts of the re-emerging Islamic Empire) who confirmed the covenant in 2020, and it was another part of the same re-emerging Islamic Empire that broke the covenant and committed the abominations in October 2023. In that case, we should expect that in the very near future, a leader will emerge to unite this re-emerging Islamic Empire. This is the one "who destroys", that is the Antichrist (1 John 2:18), the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3), the eleventh horn (Daniel 7:8), and most likely Gog (Ezekiel 38-39).

It is generally assumed by premillennialist scholars who take a futurist view of Revelation, that the seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowl judgments act as a kind of timeline of events that take place within Daniel's 70th week. If Widener's theory that the 70th week of Daniel, since the decree by Suleyman the Magnificent in 1537, began in 2020, then we should expect to see some kind of fulfilment of the Revelation timeline. The timeline begins with the opening of the first seal, when a rider on a white horse, carrying a bow, is given a crown, and rides forth as a conqueror bent on conquest (Revelation 6:2). Widener points out that the latin word for crown is 'corona', and he suggests that the coronavirus pandemic was in fact a fulfilment of this prophecy. It is common to equate this rider with the Antichrist, riding on a white horse as a counterfeit of Christ who arrives at Armageddon on a white horse (Revelation 19:11), but it is also reasonable to interpret the four horsemen of Revelation 6 in a more figurative way. This rider carries a bow but with no mention of arrows, suggesting the threat of impending death more than its reality. The coronavirus pandemic had a global impact, with countries around the world imposing forced lockdowns, but as of May 2024 the total death toll from covid is estimated at approximately 7 million, which is only about 0.1 percent of the world's population. When the second seal is opened, a rider on a red horse is given permission to take peace from the earth so that people kill each other, and he is given a huge sword (Revelation 6:4). In February 2022, Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine. When the third seal is opened, a rider comes on a black horse, holding a scale, and John hears a voice saying, "A quart of wheat will cost a day's pay and three quarts of barley will cost a day's pay. But do not damage the olive oil and the wine!" This proclamation denotes inflation of basic food prices that particularly affects the poor, while luxuries are still available for the rich who can afford them. The combined effect of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by Putin's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, caused a worldwide cost-of-living crisis with high inflation and increased interests rates that most affected the poor. According to such observations, it is reasonable to suggest that the first three seals have been opened. That means that we should now anticipate the opening of the fourth seal. This releases a rider on a pale horse. John tells us, "The name of the one who rode it was Death, and Hades followed right behind. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill its population with the sword, famine, and disease, and by the wild animals of the earth." (Revelation 6:8). Whether this relates to a fourth of the 'land' and is perhaps limited to the Middle East region, or whether it should be understood as a fourth of the 'earth' in a global sense, is debatable. The coronavirus pandemic was global. The Ukraine war is more regional. The cost-of-living crisis was global. Even if the fourth seal is more regional in effect, the implied death toll still makes it the most ominous of the four seals.

But hold on, what about the rapture? If we are now in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, shouldn't the Church have been raptured by now? Since the 1830's when John Darby re-populised the premillennial view, it has been common for premillennial scholars to assume that Darby was also correct in placing the rapture at the beginning of the seven year tribulation. However, during the first few centuries of the early church when historic premillennialism was the mainstream view, Christians expected that they would have to endure the trials, persecutions, and martyrdoms of the Great Tribulation, and that deliverance and rapture would come at Christ's parousia as per Matthew 24:31. The timing of the rapture is a matter of debate, with some Christians adopting a pre-trib view, others a mid-trib view, others a post-trip view, and some like myself adopting a post-mid-trib view. It has long been my expectation that the rapture would occur at the last of the seven trumpets (1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Revelation 11:15), and that we would be spared the coming wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10) of the seven bowl judgments (Revelation 16). Widener also takes a post-mid-trib view but instead of opting for the 7th trumpet, he presents a convincing case for the rapture occurring after the 6th seal is opened. After the 5th seal is opened John is shown the heavenly altar, and under it he sees the souls of Christians who have been martyred. They cry out, "How long, Sovereign Master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?" In response, they are told to wait a little longer until the full number of martyrs has been reached (Revelation 6:9-11). This implies are period of delay. When the 6th seal is opened, John says, "Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became blood red; and the stars in the sky fell to the earth like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when shaken by a fierce wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the very important people, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” (Revelation 6:12-17). Widener equates these events with those of Matthew 24:29-30, in which Jesus said, "Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." I do have to agree with Widener that the correlation between these two passages appears strong. It is then that Jesus says in verse 31, "And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." So yes, Widener's position that the rapture follows the 6th seal is pretty compelling!

As I write this, today is May 18, 2024. If the above analysis is correct, it would appear that the first three seals have passed, and that we should expect the fourth seal to open any day now (if it hasn't already been opened). So we should imminently expect events that cause a high death toll, possibly limited to the Middle East, but possibly global. Revelation 6: 8 says, "They (Death and Hades) were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill its population with the sword, famine, and disease, and by the wild animals (beasts) of the earth". Death by sword, famine and disease are the normal results of war. Since 'beasts' generally represent kingdoms or empires in Daniel and Revelation, the wild beasts of the earth is probably a metaphor for rogue nations, most likely those of Gog and his allies as described in Ezekiel 38 (Turkey, Iran, Lybia, Sudan, and as well as others that might include Lebanon, Syria, Russia, Caucasus nations and others). With the ongoing Israel-Gaza war, the Middle East is currently a tinder box that could explode at any moment, and likely will. From Ezekiel 38 it is pretty clear that Turkey will be the key player. Above, I have already considered the great suffering that Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:21, and related it to the events of October 7. But in verse 22, Jesus continues, "And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short." This suggests an ongoing period of suffering that continues after the abominations take place, and that it threatens to potentially become a war of total destruction with no survivors. The abominations mark the beginning of that suffering, but if the Ezekiel 38 invasion of Israel is about to start, then that suffering is by no means over yet. In verses 23-26, Jesus indicates that the events which follow cause people to wake up and realise that we are in the end times., "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!' or ‘There he is!' do not believe him. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Remember, I have told you ahead of time. So then, if someone says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe him." These verses relate well to the period of delay that is implied in the 5th seal of Revelation, when intense persecution of believers breaks out and the souls of the martyrs cry out "How long?"

It is possible that the huge death toll implied by the fourth seal extends throughout the rest of the tribulation period, rather than it being completed in a short period of time before the persecution and martyrdom of believers begins as indicated by the 5th seal. And then the rapture occurs after the 6th seal. But just how long of a delay might Christians have to endure first? In Daniel 12:11-12, the angel says, "From the time that the daily sacrifice is removed and the abomination that causes desolation is set in place, there are 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits and attains to the 1,335 days." If it is correct to identify 7 October 2023 as the day when the sacrifice was removed or stopped, and the abominations were committed or set in place, then 1,290 days after that takes us to 19 April 2027, and 1,335 days takes us to 3 June 2027. The angel does not explain to Daniel the exact significance of these time periods, but the implication seems to be that believers are required to endure up until the 1,335 days. Does this period of endurance relate to both Christians and Jews, or are Christians raptured first, with Jews having to wait until the end of the great tribulation for their deliverance by Jesus?

Zechariah 14 is a significant passage that must be considered in relation to Daniel's 70th week. Verses 1-2 say, "A day of the LORD is about to come when your possessions will be divided as plunder in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to wage war; the city will be taken, its houses plundered, and the women raped. Then half of the city will go into exile, but the remainder of the people will not be taken away." Its introduction relating it to the 'day of the Lord' identifies it as an end-time prophecy, and personally I understand this invasion of Jerusalem to be the same as the yet-future invasion by Gog and his allies that is described in Ezekiel 38. Widener points out that verse 2 had a literal fulfilment in the 1948-49 Arab Israeli War. He writes, "…arguably the fiercest battle in the war was fought with Jordan over Jerusalem. At the end of it, the armistice line divided the city in half between the Old City and the New City. When the Jewish Quarter in the Old City fell, many were killed, others were taken into Jordanian captivity, and the rest were deported to the New City. Their homes were pillaged and set ablaze, and the synagogues were destroyed. And as one might expect, some of the women taken captive were also ravaged. When peace was finally made under the 1949 Armistice Agreement, Jerusalem was divided in half for the first time in its four-thousand-year history." That is certainly true. Verse 3 which says, "Then the LORD will go to battle and fight against those nations, just as he fought battles in ancient days" might also be considered to have been fulfilled at that time. Militarily, the Arabs had the advantage, and yet against all odds, the Israelis won. Israel's survival and victory, not only in that war but also in 1967 and 1973 appears to have been quite miraculous. However, verses 4-5 say, "On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which lies to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, leaving a great valley. Half the mountain will move northward and the other half southward. Then you will escape through my mountain valley, for the mountains will extend to Azal. Indeed, you will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come with all his holy ones with him." This was certainly not fulfilled in 1948-49. In that case, surely the fall of Jerusalem described in verse 2 is ultimately a yet-future event. And if it coincides with Jesus setting his feet on the Mount of Olives, and providing an escape route for Jews fleeing Jerusalem, might this coming also be the occasion on which he raptures his church? Revelation 12:5-6 says, "…Her child (i.e. Jesus) was suddenly caught up to God and to his throne, and she (i.e. the people of Israel) fled into the wilderness where a place had been prepared for her by God, so she could be taken care of for 1,260 days." If Jesus is caught back up to heaven at this time, is the Church caught up to heaven with him? And when Jesus returns with 'all his saints' (1 Thessalonians 3:13), does the raptured Church return with him at the end of the 1,260 days to help him deliver Israel? This would equate to a mid-trib view of the rapture, and imply that Jesus has different plans for the Church and for Israel during the second half of the Great Tribulation.

Or is a post-mid-trib view correct, such that the rapture occurs after the midpoint? Widener points out that at Christ's first coming he fulfilled the four Spring feasts in Israel's religious calendar, namely Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First-fruits, and Pentecost. He suggests that at his second coming, Jesus will likely fulfil the Fall feasts, namely the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths. These all occur in the Jewish month of Tishri. Given the rapture's association with the last trumpet (Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16), and especially if it occurs at the 6th seal and not at the seventh trumpet in Revelation, then it would make sense for it to occur during the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets is at Rosh Hashanah, on 1 or 2 Tishri, which in 2024 is October 3 or 4. Widener points out that no one knows the day or hour of the Feast of Trumpets because its timing depends on observation of the new moon. Could October 3 or 4, 2024 be the day of the rapture? Possibly. The bible simply does not make it clear at what point the rapture occurs within the 70th week.

However, it does seem clear that a portion of the people of Israel will spend 1,260 days in the wilderness before the end of the 70th week. This is the same period of 42 months during which Revelation 11:2-3 says that the Gentiles will trample upon the holy city of Jerusalem, and the two witnesses will prophecy. In 2027, the Feast of Booths, which is the last of the Fall feasts, ends on Tishri 22, which is October 23, 2027. Counting backwards 1,260 days takes us to May 11, 2024, which as I write passed a week ago. So it does seem that events are already behind schedule for the 70th week to end by the Fall feasts of 2027. And for it to end by December 31, 2027, the 1,260 days would have to begin by July 19, 2024. Widener never points to December 31, 2027 as a significant date (he understands that God works according to the Jewish calendar), but what I am saying is that if Daniel's 70th week is to end in 2027, Antichrist has to invade Jerusalem by July 19, 2024.

That leaves 2 months, as I write, for us to wait and see!

Places: Jerusalem, Temple
Symbols: Abomination that causes desolation
Tags: Timeline of 70 weeks, Antichrist peace treaty, Abomination that causes desolation, Death of Jesus prophesied, Destruction of second temple prophesied
Daniel Prays for His People
9 In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, who was of Median descent and who had been appointed king over the Babylonian empire –
2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, came to understand from the sacred books that the number of years for the fulfilling of the desolation of Jerusalem, which had come as the Lord’s message to the prophet Jeremiah, would be 70 years.
3 So I turned my attention to the Lord God to implore him by prayer and requests, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
4 I prayed to the Lord my God, confessing in this way:
“O Lord, great and awesome God who is faithful to his covenant with those who love him and keep his commandments,
5 we have sinned! We have done what is wrong and wicked; we have rebelled by turning away from your commandments and standards.
6 We have not paid attention to your servants the prophets, who spoke by your authority to our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors, and to all the inhabitants of the land as well.
7 “You are righteous, O Lord, but we are humiliated this day – the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far away in all the countries in which you have scattered them, because they have behaved unfaithfully toward you.
8 O Lord, we have been humiliated – our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors – because we have sinned against you.
9 Yet the Lord our God is compassionate and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.
10 We have not obeyed the Lord our God by living according to his laws that he set before us through his servants the prophets.
11 “All Israel has broken your law and turned away by not obeying you. Therefore you have poured out on us the judgment solemnly threatened in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against you.
12 He has carried out his threats against us and our rulers who were over us by bringing great calamity on us – what has happened to Jerusalem has never been equaled under all heaven!
13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, so all this calamity has come on us. Still we have not tried to pacify the Lord our God by turning back from our sin and by seeking wisdom from your reliable moral standards. 14 The Lord was mindful of the calamity, and he brought it on us. For the Lord our God is just in all he has done, and we have not obeyed him.
15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with great power and made a name for yourself that is remembered to this day – we have sinned and behaved wickedly.
16 O Lord, according to all your justice, please turn your raging anger away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. For due to our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people are mocked by all our neighbors.
17 “So now, our God, accept the prayer and requests of your servant, and show favor to your devastated sanctuary for your own sake.
18 Listen attentively, my God, and hear! Open your eyes and look on our desolated ruins and the city called by your name. For it is not because of our own righteous deeds that we are praying to you, but because your compassion is abundant.
19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, pay attention, and act! Don’t delay, for your own sake, O my God! For your city and your people are called by your name.”

Gabriel Gives to Daniel a Prophecy of Seventy Weeks

20 While I was still speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my request before the Lord my God concerning his holy mountain –
21 yes, while I was still praying, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen previously in a vision, was approaching me in my state of extreme weariness, around the time of the evening offering.
22 He spoke with me, instructing me as follows: “Daniel, I have now come to impart understanding to you.
23 At the beginning of your requests a message went out, and I have come to convey it to you, for you are of great value in God’s sight. Therefore consider the message and understand the vision:
24 “Seventy weeks have been determined concerning your people and your holy city to put an end to rebellion, to bring sin to completion, to atone for iniquity, to bring in perpetual righteousness, to seal up the prophetic vision, and to anoint a most holy place.
25 So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times.
26 Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing. As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince will destroy them. But his end will come speedily like a flood. Until the end of the war that has been decreed there will be destruction.
27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.”