This obsession about Antichrist – II

 This is post II in a miniserie about the belief system of a coming Antichrist, where I try to argue for a different view than the Futuristic view, common in the western world Pentecost/Charismatic streams. My intention is to change focus from a negative to an optimistic future with an advancing Kingdom of God in focus.

In my last post I did try to outline the epistles of John and 2 Thessalonians 2, famous Antichrist verses with an alternative exegesis.

In this post I will try to outline some famous verses in Daniel 9 that also is a common chapter used by Dispensationalists claimed to in connection with Matthew 24 describe the so called Antichrist. I am doing this with a very humble attitude as it contains several difficult portions of scripture.

Without lose ourselves in the history behind the book of Daniel, lets just say it is divided in three parts.

1. Chapter one, written in Hebrew, story about Daniel and his friends in Babylon.

2. Chapter 2-7, written in Aramaic due to its message to gentiles – The Times of the Gentiles.

3. Chapter 8-12 in Hebrew again – Israel in Relation to the Gentiles.

Daniels book is like, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Revelation classed as apocalyptic litterateur, due to its many dreams and visions.

In chapter 9 we find Daniel praying for his people, the Jews, that still was in Babylon and their holy city Jerusalem destroyed.

You can imagine a broken people. But still Daniel knew they gonna be set free after 70 years of bondage, due to the many prophecies and especially the prophecy by Jeremiah of the desolation of Jerusalem (Jer 25, Esra 1).

In this context when Daniel is praying for his people and confessing their sins – Daniel 9:2-19, Michael the angel shows up with a message of hope and insight about the future to Daniel (Daniel 9:20-23).

24 Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

Instead of the 70 years that Daniel was waiting for, Michael starts to talk about 70 weeks. (year weeks=490 years), and with that finish transgressions, put an end to sin, atone for iniquity. Who is he talking about? Jesus of course.

 25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.

From the word of restoring Jerusalem. That was 457 B.C, the king of Persia decreed to the Jews they were free to return to Jerusalem and the Temple (Ezra 7:12-26). If we add, 7 plus 62 weeks, (483 years), we come to A.D 27, that most probably is the time when Jesus enters his public ministry being baptized. “Coming of an anointed one, a prince… “

Prince you can only be in a Kingdom! Isn’t that fantastic? Again the heavenly message is about a Kingdom.

This exact prediction, has been questioned by schoolars, that argue for Daniel being a history book instead of a prophetic book, but I believe it was really prophetic insight from the Angel to Daniel.

To this understanding about the 69 weeks both Preterists and Futurists agree. It is the last week – week 70, that the insight and understanding goes in different directions.

 What is the futuristic view then?

The futurists believe that this last week of favour has not yet been given to the Jews, and that it is a +2000 year paus of Gods clock until it will happen in the future. We now live in a parenthesis defined as “Church-age”. During this time the Jews will rebuild their Temple and reinstate their religious sacrificial system. In the middle of these 7 years, Antichrist* will first make a covenant with the Jews and then after 3,5 years stop their sacrifical system, reason unclear, but according to how they understand the following passage. This understanding is linked to Matthew 24 where the author refers back to these verses when talking about the end of the world in their view, (where instead most would agree it is both about the destruction about Jerusalem and the future).  *They believe that the pronoun “He” in verse 27 refers to Antichrist. 

  26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

Before I would argue for the Partly Preteristic view, I would like to ask four questions that contradicts with New Testament teaching.

  1. Why should God allow Jews to reinstate their religious sacrifical system that Jesus once and for all paid the price for, and that he time again and again spoke will come to an end. Matt 22-24
  2. Why should God allow the Jews to rebuild the Temple, when NT clearly states we are the New temple. John 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” referring us to be the new temple.
  3. Why should we add a paus of +2000 years when nothing in the message from Michael points to that, instead he is very precise in his prediction. Why suddenly insert this uncertain time period of +2000 year?

Partial-Preteristic view

In this view there is no adding of a parenthesis or a certain Antichrist, instead week 70 simply follows week 69 in a flow.

This understanding is not a new idea but shared by the historical church: 

“For let us not suppose that the computation of Daniel’s weeks was interfered with…or that they were not complete, but had to be completed afterward in the end of all things, for Luke most plainly testified that the prophecy of Daniel was accomplished at the time when Jerusalem was overthrown.” Augustine (Epistle of Augustine, 199:31)

“Now the whole period of our Saviour’s teaching and working of miracles is said to have been three and a half years, wich is half a week. John the evangelist, in his Gospels makes this clear to the attentive.” Eusebius (The proof of the Gospel, 1920, VIII:I).

a. an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing refers to Jesus having nothing, becoming poor for us to become rich 2 Cor 8:9 see also Phil 2.

b. the coming people of the Princeshall destroy the city and the sanctuary refers to how Jerusalem A.D 70 was destroyed, see Matthew 24 outlined.

c. he shall make a strong covenant with many..refers to Jesus establishing a new covenant in that time period 

d. and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering…refers to Jesus death and resurrection on the cross, putting an end to the religious sacrifical system. At the end of his 3,5 years in public ministry he took the bread and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood” (1 Cor 11:24-25)

e. the remaining 3,5 years are believed to be closed when Stephen proclaims Jesus as the risen one now at the right side of God (Acts 7:59-60). from this point the favour ends for the Jews*, they starts to reject this message, Paul gets his vision from Jesus to go to the gentiles and Peter clearly gets the instruction to “Kill and eat…” from now on everything is clean, no more sacramental rules. the favour is no more only for the Jews but for everyone. From now all people are invited into the Kingdom by the Gospel. (Acts 10: 28, 34-35). *with this I do not say I favour the Replacement theology, I still believe in…first the Jew then the gentile…

If we now quickly wrap up what we have learned so far about Antichrist. From the epistles of John are referring to a person from the Church back then that did not believe Jesus to be the son of God coming in the flesh.

Then the Lawless man in 2 Thessalonians, most probably referring to a special person in that time as it states.

And now trying to read the text of Daniel 9 in a flow, contextual of whom Michael is referring to as Jesus putting an end to the offering has convinced me that my previous view – the futuristic – no longer for me is logical, reason why I have changed my view to the Partly-Preteristic also in connection of how I understands Matthew 24, Luke 21 and the book of Revelation, but that in i coming post. 

I understand this might be new thoughts for you, but for me it has come as a release resulting in a more optimistic view of an Advancing Kingdom right here and right now  and forever according to Isa 9, and not something in the future.

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from this time forth and forevermore.

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