Revelations Questions

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on May 23, 2004 under Ask the Pastor | Be the First to Comment

A visitor to our website writes:

Dear Pastor,

I have a couple of questions for you; first, concerning the book of Revelation. I am always told that the first three and a half years of Tribulation will be peaceful. I know that in Daniel the Bible says that the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel in the middle of the 7 years, does this necessarily mean that it will be peaceful in the first half. I can’t really find any scriptures that tell me that.

My second question concerns the book of Daniel. It says that the Antichrist will not desire women. Some people take this to mean he will be an open homosexual. Could it not just be that he won’t desire women in the same way that Jesus didn’t thus making himself LOOK even more Christlike?

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Dear friend,

Thanks for your questions. I’m always a bit cautious about speaking with any certainty about unfulfilled prophetic events in Scripture; and I also recognize that there are a lot of different opinions about these things. I interpret the prophetic statements in Revelation and Daniel about the Tribulation to concern future (yet-unfulfilled) events; and I view them through a Dispensational interpretive grid. So with those points in mind, I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

First, let’s talk about the nature of the Seventieth Week as it’s described in Daniel. In Daniel 9:24-27, we’re told that the angel Gabriel speaks to Daniel and gives him understanding concerning God’s future plans for the Jewish people. Gabriel says, “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abomination shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined is poured out on the desolate.”

Literally, Daniel speaks of “Seventy sevens”; and I understand this to be speaking of seventy “weeks” of years; that is, a total of 490 years. I have taken the the beginning date of this period to be about 445 BC (when the command to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem was issued to Nehemiah; Neh. 2:1-6). The angel tells Daniel of “seven weeks” or 49 years (v. 25; during which time the reconstruction of Jerusalem occurred – “the going forth of the command to build Jerusalem”); and of another “sixty-two weeks” or 434 years (v. 25; the period between the completion of the rebuilding program to the cutting off of the Messiah in v. 26). 49 years plus 434 years totals to 483 years; and if 445 BC is considered the beginning point, then the “69 weeks” was completed at the approximate time that Jesus was crucified. (Admittedly, there have been lots of debates between scholars over how these figures actually work out; but much helpful material has been provided by Sir Robert Anderson in his book “The Coming Prince”, and Alva J. McClain in his book “Daniel’s Prophecy of the 70 Weeks” – both of which can be purchased through most Christian book stores.) ò

God has promised that a lot of things would be accomplished in the seventy weeks. (See verse 24 for the mention of six specific things.) After 483 years, one week of years still remains; which I believe have yet to occur. I have often thought of the 70 weeks of Daniel as – to borrow from the broadcast world – God’s prophetic “air time”. Once the Messiah was “cut off” by His death on the cross, the prophetic program temporarily went “off the air”. It was followed by the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. and all the centuries since then. But the red “on the air” light will go on again with the commencement of that seventieth week. Since Israel is in her land again, my belief is that the “on the air” sign could go on again very soon.

Your question was about the nature of that seventieth week. It appears to be divided in half; and your question was whether or not the first half of that week would be “peaceful”. Specifically, the angel tells Daniel that “the prince who is to come” (that is, the antichrist) “shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abomination shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate” (v. 27). “In the middle of the week” seems to parallel the statement in Daniel 12:11; “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” It also parallels Daniel 7:25; “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” (A time = 1; times = 2; half a time = .5; thus making three and a half years, or one half of the 70th week.)

It’s my understanding that this also parallels the description of the antichrist in Romans 13:1-10: “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority for forty-two months” (vv. 1-5). That 42 month period in which the antichrist is given authority will, I believe, mark the middle of the 70th week. It will be a time of “relative peace”; but only because the whole unbelieving world will be deceived into following him.

The first half of the week might be indicated in Daniel 7:27a (“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week …”). But the verse goes on to say, “But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abomination shall be one who makes desolate …” Likewise, as the Revelation passage goes on to say, “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (vv. 5-10; see also 2 Thess. 2:1-12 and Matthew 24:15-22).

The only place in Scripture I can think of that would suggest this to be a time of “peace” would be 1 Thess. 5:1-3. There, Paul wrote, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” The “peace and safety” that people will believe themselves to be under will only be an illusion. Sudden destruction is about to come.

One more thought in all this. I believe the two important things God would want us to draw from this is (1) to know and be on the alert against the delusion that will sweep over the whole world and draw everyone under the antichrist’s sway, and (2) to know that the times of tribulation remain in God’s hand and are limited precisely as He has decreed. It wouldn’t be wise to get caught up in the minutia of these matters of prophecy if we miss those two important points.

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As to your second question, what exactly does it mean that the antichrist will not regard “the desire of women” (Daniel 11:37)? As you have suggested, some have interpreted this to mean that the antichrist will be motivated by homosexual desires.

The Hebrew scholar C.F. Keil saw a parallel between this passage and 1 Sam. 1:26; in which David expressed his love for his friend Jonathan as “surpassing the love of women”. David meant that his love for his friend Jonathan exceeded even that of a man’s love for a woman. It was, by comparison, a remarkably deep love. Keil suggests then that the “love of women” mentioned in Daniel is a reference to an example from the realm of human piety; “that affection of human love and attachment for which even the most selfish and most savage of men feel some sensibility.” If this is the case then, the antichrist is here being portrayed as someone in whom not even the most basic and common feelings of tenderness or compassion is found.

But another interesting interpretation – and one that makes most sense to me – is one that takes into account that this phrase is sandwiched between the statement “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers” and “nor regard any god”. This would suggest that the phrase “the desire of women” should be understood in the context of a reference to deity.

A similar phrase to this one is found in the Scripture as a reference to the Messiah. Haggai 2:7 calls the Messiah “the Desire of All Nations”. “Desire” here is ‘subjective’ – meaning “that thing which is desired” rather than “that desire for a thing”. All Jewish women longed to have children, with the secret hope that they would be the mother of the promised Messiah (which is why it was said to Mary “blessed are you among women” in Luke 1:28 and 42). “The desire of women” – that thing which they desired – was the Messiah. Taking this into account, along with the references to deity that surround it, it seems to make sense that the phrase in Daniel 11:37 is saying that the antichrist has no regard for the God of his fathers, or for the Messiah (the desire of women) or for any god at all. This, it seems to me, is a much more reasonable interpretation than to suggest, from this verse, that the antichrist will be a homosexual.

Again, thank you for your very good questions.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Greg

(All Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version.)

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