A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes. — Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Christians often debate about whether Jesus Christ will return for His Church before the seven years of tribulation (the “pre-trib” view), in the middle of the seven years (the “mid-trib” view), or at the end of the seven years (the “post-trib” view). Yet by far the most important question worth asking is: Does the Bible really predict a future “seven-year period of tribulation” in the first place?
Shockingly, there is no specific Bible text predicting any seven-year tribulation. The entire theory is based on an interpretation of one primary verse, Daniel 9:27, which says:
He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease… (Daniel 9:27 KJV).
Modern interpreters often conclude:
- “He” is the Antichrist
- Antichrist will make a treaty with the Jews for “one week” (the last “week” of the 70-week/490-year prophecy)–meaning seven years of Tribulation.
- In the middle of the Tribulation, Antichrist will cause the sacrifices of a rebuilt Jewish temple “to cease.”
Thus Daniel 9:27 is applied to Antichrist, a seven-year Tribulation, and a rebuilt Jewish temple–yet the verse itself says none of this. The fact is that countless credible Bible scholars of the past applied Daniel 9:27 to Jesus Christ, not antichrist.
Matthew Henry’s commentary on Daniel 9:27 states, “By offering himself a sacrifice once and for all, he [Jesus], shall put an end to all the Levitical sacrifices.”1 British Methodist Adam Clarke’s commentary says that during Daniel 9:27’s “term of seven years,” Jesus Himself would “confirm or ratify the new covenant with mankind.”2 The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary also says: “He shall confirm the covenant—Christ. The confirmation of the covenant is assigned to Him.”3
The following ten points provide solid evidence that Daniel’s 70th week doesn’t refer to any future Tribulation at all. Rather, it was fulfilled nearly two thousand years ago.
- The prophecy of “seventy weeks” means seventy straight sequential weeks. There is no example in Scripture (or anywhere else!) of a time period starting, stopping, and then starting again. All biblical references to time are consecutive: 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:4), 400 years in Egypt (Genesis 15:13), etc.
- The 70th week follows immediately after the 69th week. If it doesn’t, then it cannot properly be called the 70th week!
- It is illogical to insert a 2,000-year gap between the 69th and 70th week. There is no gap between the first seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. Why insert one between the 69th and 70th week?
- Daniel 9:27 says nothing about any “tribulation,” “rebuilt” Jewish temple, or “antichrist.” Zero.
- Daniel 9:24-27’s focus is the Messiah. After the Messiah is “cut off” (referring to Christ’s death), “the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by Roman armies led by Prince Titus in A.D. 70.4
- “He shall confirm the covenant.” Paul said “the covenant” was “confirmed before by God in Christ” (Galatians 3:17). Jesus Christ came “to confirm the promises made to the fathers” (Romans 15:8). The word “covenant” is Messianic, and always applies to the Messiah, not antichrist.
- “He shall confirm the covenant with many.” Jesus said, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many…” (Matthew 26:28). Jesus was quoting Daniel 9:27 specifically.
- “In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice…to cease.” After 3 ½ years of ministry, Jesus Christ’s death put an end to all sacrifices in God’s sight. He is the final Sacrifice!
- “For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate” (Daniel 9:27, KJV). It was abominable for the Jewish leaders to put God’s Son to death. This ended their temple. Jesus predicted, “Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:38).
- The 70 weeks applied to the Jewish people (Daniel 9:24). Christ’s public ministry lasted 3 ½ years during which His focus was “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6). After His resurrection and then for another 3 ½ years, His disciples preached mostly to Jews (see Acts 1-6). When the Jewish Sanhedrin stoned Stephen in 34 AD (see Acts 7), the gospel shifted to the Gentiles (see Acts 13:46)–exactly as prophecy predicted.
The evidence is overwhelming! These eight words found in Daniel 9:27: “confirm… covenant… many… midst… sacrifice… cease… abominations… desolate” all find perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ and early Christian history. One major reason why the Jewish nation as a whole failed to receive its Messiah was because its scholars misinterpreted Daniel 9:27. They failed to see Jesus Christ as the predicted One who would die in the midst of the 70th week! The same thing is happening today as Christian scholars misapply the same prophecy.
The “seven-year tribulation theory” is like a gigantic bubble. Once Daniel 9:27 is correctly understood and the pin of truth inserted, “Pop goes the seven years!” It’s a fact: There is no Bible text that teaches any “seven-year tribulation.” If you hunt for it, you’ll end up like Ponce de Leon searching for the Fountain of Youth. He never found it.
Jesus Christ confirmed the covenant and caused the sacrifices “to cease.”
May error cease in our minds as we follow God’s truth.
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Vol. IV—Isaiah to Malachi, Complete Edition, (New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1712) 1094-1095, notes on Daniel 9:27.
- The Holy Bible with a Commentary and Critical Notes by Adam Clarke, Vol. IV—Isaiah to Malachi, (New York, NY: Abingdon-Cokesbury, written about 1825) 602, notes on Daniel 9:27.
- Rev. Robert Jamieson, Rev. A.R. Fausset, and Rev. David Brown, A Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Complete Edition, (Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Company: 1871) 641, notes on Daniel 9:27.
- See notes on Daniel 9:26 in commentaries by Matthew Henry (p.1095), Adam Clarke (p.603), and Jamieson, Fausset and Brown (p.641).