The seven-year reign of antichrist is a popular prophetic teaching that blatantly contradicts the Bible, for the Scriptures clearly state that the antichrist reigns for three and one-half years, notseven years (Revelation 13:5; Revelation 11:1-7). In fact, the idea of a seven-year reign of antichrist was arrived at by manipulating Daniel’s seventy-week prophecy concerning Israel and the Messiah in Daniel 9:24-27. Daniel’s prophecy states that seventy weeks were determined for his people (the Jews) and for Jerusalem to make an end of their sins, to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to anoint the “Most Holy” (the Messiah). The start-date of the prophecy is declared to be when the command was given to restore and build Jerusalem, which, was given by the Persian King Artaxerxes in 457 BC. It is biblically proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that 457 BC is the correct “start date” for this prophecy in a “link” titled, “Secret Rapture”, that I provide at the end of this article. The popular 444 BC date is in error, as you will see when you click on the provided link.
Nearly all theologians agree that the 70 weeks equaling 490 days in Daniel’s prophecy, represent 490 years. However, far more important than the consensus of theologians, we do also have a biblical example of God using a day for a year. In Numbers 14:34, God prophesied to Israel that they would spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness, which He said was a year for each day they spent spying the land of Canaan. Therefore, the 490 days in Daniel’s prophecy can be biblically equated to 490 years which were given to the Jews to make an end of their sins, to establish righteousness, and to anoint the “Most Holy” (the Messiah). Daniel’s prophecy states that there would be 7 weeks plus 62 weeks until the coming of “Messiah the Prince”; in other words, 69 weeks equaling 483 days or “years”. Adding 483 years onto the start-date of Artaxerxes’ decree brings us to 27 AD. What happened in 27 AD.? Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and anointed with the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending upon Him (Luke 3:21-22). Luke 3:1 states that this happened in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, which was 27 AD, because he began his co-reign in 12 AD! History and prophetic timing matched perfectly! The conclusion of the 69th week of Daniel’s prophecy brought us exactly to that 27 AD date. However, Daniel said that a total of 70 weeks were determined for Israel to stop their sinning and to establish righteousness. And, Daniel 9:27 states that, following the first 69 weeks, “He”, which in proper context is the Messiah, would still confirm His covenant for one more week, which would have to be the 70th week. And, it states that, in the middle of that 70th week, “He” (the Messiah) would bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
This is where most of today’s prophecy teachers manipulate Scripture, by taking this 70th week and arbitrarily separating it from the previous 69 weeks, and placing it 2000 years in the future, into the 21st century. Furthermore, they change the context, which Daniel had clearly stated to apply to the Messiah (Jesus Christ), but they now apply this 70th week to antichrist, in order to fit into their prophetic paradigm.
If we are allowed to split prophetic time prophecies at our own choosing, breaking certain portions of the prophecy off and inserting them hundreds or thousands of years later at our discretion; then, we can pretty much concoct any fulfillment of Scripture that pleases us. Likewise, if we are allowed to arbitrarily switch the subject of texts from Christ to antichrist, once again, it allows mere men to manufacture their own personal favorite fulfillment of prophecy. If Daniel had wanted the final week of his 70-week prophecy separated by 2000 years, he would have said so. Furthermore, the prophecy finds a remarkably precise fulfillment when leaving the 70 weeks “intact” as Daniel wrote it.
The 70th week, as one would normally expect, immediately follows the 69th week, which ended in 27 AD. Therefore, this 70th week of seven days or “years” added onto 27 AD would bring us to 34 AD.
What happened in 34 AD? As stated in the online Wikipedia Encyclopedia and other sources, that is the year when the Jewish leaders stoned Stephen, as recorded in Acts 7:59-60. Immediately following Stephen’s martyrdom, Acts 8:1-5 records that the Jews, through Saul of Tarsus, greatly persecuted the Christian Church and made havoc of it, which resulted in the Church scattering “everywhere” preaching the word (Acts 8:4). Philip even went to the hated Samaritans preaching the gospel, and from then on throughout the book of Acts the message is taken to the gentiles. The Jews’ 70 week “probationary period” thus ended in 34 AD.
While the historical record of Stephen’s stoning in 34 AD is a remarkable fulfillment of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy, there is one more astounding prophetic fulfillment of Daniel 9:27. Daniel states that, in the middle of that 70th week, “He”, which in proper context is the Messiah, would bring an end to sacrifice and offering. The middle of the 70th week would be about half-way between 27 AD and 34 AD. That would have to be either 30 or 31 AD. What happened at that time?
Most early church historians date Jesus’ death anywhere from 30 to 33 AD. We know from Scripture that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and that He was crucified on the Passover, which means that there was a “full moon”. It certainly seems to be more than a coincidence that in the year 30 AD, which is in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy, astronomical data reveals that there was indeed a full moon on Passover Friday. This must be when Jesus, the true Lamb of God, was offered on the “altar” of the “cross”, which made any future offering of lambs and other animal sacrifices meaningless. They had been mere types and symbols of the true reality,fulfillment and antitype that was to come, Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus’ death on the cross, as the true Lamb of God, ended the sacrificial system from God’s standpoint.
Jesus had truly brought an end to sacrifice and offering, as Daniel’s prophecy stated. This was graphically demonstrated by God when the veil of the temple was supernaturally torn in two as Jesus died (Matthew 27:50-51), thus indicating that the Jewish temple and its services were now empty and meaningless, for Christ had fulfilled everything represented by them. And, in remarkable fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, it happened in 30 AD, in the middle of the 70th week. (Please note: While it is true that there was also a full moon on Passover Friday in 33 AD, and this date has been made popular as the crucifixion date through “The Star of Bethlehem” DVD and the bethlehemstar.net website, there are serious biblical, historical and chronological problems with the 33 AD date, which are documented in the previously mentioned “link” at the end of this article.)
With such extraordinary fulfillments of Daniel’s prophecy when the 70 weeks are left “intact”, how did theologians come up with the idea of removing the 70th week and placing it 2000 years in the future, and also switching the emphasis from the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to the antichrist? Who originally did this?
It was done in the sixteenth century by a Roman Catholic, Jesuit priest named Francisco Ribera in his 500-page commentary on the book of Revelation titled, “In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij”. Ribera was the first one to separate the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy and to place it in the distant future, which planted the foundation for the secret rapture doctrine, as well as the seven-year reign of antichrist, instead of the three and one-half years clearly taught in Scripture (Revelation 13:5; Revelation 11:1-7).
How or why did this Roman Catholic, Jesuit priest come up with this “futuristic” 70th week doctrine? Quite simply, it was to protect the papacy from the charges of Protestant reformers that the pope himself was the antichrist. In the Council of Trent in the mid-sixteenth century, the papacy decided to search for ways to prove that the pope could not be the antichrist. So, two Jesuit priests came to the rescue of the papacy with two new doctrines, which they claimed provided proof that the antichrist was not the pope.
Louis De Alcazar wrote a 900 page commentary titled, “Investigation of the Hidden Sense of the Apocalypse”, in which he put forth the doctrine of “preterism”. Preterism focuses on “past fulfillment” of Revelation’s prophecies, and taught that the Roman emperor Nero had been the antichrist, thus implying that the antichrist could not be the pope. This “Preterism” doctrine is also a false teaching that is debunked in an article on a website “link” provided at the end of this article.
Likewise, as previously mentioned, Francisco Ribera put forth his doctrine of placing Daniel’s 70th week in the distant future, with the antichrist’s reign occurring in that time frame, thus also attempting to prove that the pope could not be the antichrist. Thus, the foundation of preterism and today’s popular, but unbiblical, secret rapture and seven-year antichrist doctrines were laid by two Roman Catholic, Jesuit priests who were protecting the papacy.
The devil does not care which doctrinal “ditch” of deception people fall into. His only concern is to keep them away from the biblical truth, so that they will not be prepared to recognize and properly respond to the true signs and events taught in Scripture. If people are looking for the “wrong signs”, which are mere concoctions of men, they will swallow the enemy’s deceptions and endanger their souls. The seven-year reign of antichrist is one of those deceptions being taught by most prophecy teachers today.