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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Fall Edition 1998

The Key Unsealing End-time Bible Prophecy, Part II

    The key to unsealing the age-long mystery of end-time Bible prophecy lies in the concept of the elongation of the last, or second, half of Daniel's seventieth week to embrace the entire period of time now stretching between Christ's first and second advents, irrespective of how long or short in years this Christian dispensation may actually turn out to be. The concept is logically valid, for it is solidly based on the biblical revelation of Christ's person and his work.

    The work of Christ was to fulfill the role of "covenant-maker," as was prophesied in Daniel 9:27. "He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week." The words of the text are significant, and we must pay close attention to them.. It does not say that he shall "cut" a covenant with the Jews for seven years (which should have been the case if the dispensational emphasis on some future Roman Antichrist orchestrating a peace treaty in the Middle East for seven years were correct), but rather, the "causing" of one that already exists "to prevail."

This construction of language (wherein the Hebrew word for confirm, "causing to prevail," rather than the usual Hebrew word, "cut," is used) beautifully points to the saving work of Christ, whom St. Paul said came "as a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers" (Romans 15:8). The Old Testament had predicted that the Messiah would administer a covenant to the nation of Israel. "I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6). "Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages" (Isaiah 49:8).

Other texts confirmatory of this thought are found in Isaiah 59:20-21; 61:8; and Malachi 2:6-7; 3:1, to name a few.    The biblical connections between the mission of the Messiah and the establishing of a new covenant with Israel may be set forth thus: (1) the Old Testament had foretold that Messiah, as covenant-maker, would bring individuals deliverance through personal, spiritual, and moral transformation; (2) the institution of the messianic covenant would result in peace and social blessedness; (3) the blessing of the new covenant would be forfeited by the Jews if they rejected their Messiah; and, (4) a new people obedient to the Messiah would be called to inherit the promises of the new covenant.

    All these New Testament gospel themes, and more, were clearly revealed in the Old Testament! Of course, the architects of dispensationalism have typically attempted to obstruct and obscure these issues by suggesting that the Church age was not revealed in the Old Testament, but, friends, the old cadgers were simply lying through their teeth whey they tried to sell us that baloney. Sadly, that whole generation that fell for those Darbyite distortions of the truth was radically deceived about the revelation of God, and this is a very heavy matter indeed.

    Friends, it is not possible to evade these issues by attempting to sweep them under the rug via the irrationality of thinking that what we have here are only opinions and the truth cannot be known. No, friends, that liberalizing subjectivity must be laid aside, and one must be willing to deal honestly and forthrightly with what the Bible really teaches. (Please see our new book, Is The Great Tribulation In Daniel 9:27?, for the complete Scripture demonstration showing how Christ, not Antichrist, is the divinely intended covenant-maker of Daniel 9:27.)

    Friends, we realize that many professed Christians today are not ready to be objective about the confrontation that our ministry raises, but we are not discouraged thereby. Darbyism has caused a great deal of emotional and spiritual immaturity among the people of God. As the subjective (liberal) theory that it really is, it does not farewell when objectively evaluated in total openness to the Word of God. Entirely sanctified minds, however, can and should put dispensationalism to the rational test.

    Herman Ridderbos, in The Coming of the Kingdom (pp. 200-201) has well pointed out that "The whole structure of the gospel preached by Jesus. . . the whole of salvation given in Christ . . . is concentrated in the idea of the covenant. . . . The entire gospel of the kingdom can be explained in the categories of the covenant promised by God." The text of Daniel 9:27 is thus predictive of this event. It is talking about the Messiah and his ministry to Israel in establishing his kingdom—a kingdom of salvation fully realized in the New Testament examples and teaching of the Christian faith.   

With this background in mind, we are now ready to assess our main points again: (1) that Christ is the covenant-maker of Daniel 9:27; (2) that the first half of Daniel's seventieth week was fulfilled in Christ's three-and-a-half year public ministry two-thousand years ago; (2) that the second, or last half of the seventieth week has been elongated since the death and resurrection of the Savior in the midst of the week to embrace the entire period of time now stretching between Christ's first and second advents; (4) that this over-arching continuum for the present gospel age is portrayed in the "1,260 days" in Revelation 11:3 and 12:6, the "forty-two months" in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5, and the "time, times, and a half"' in Daniel 11:25; 12:7,11-12 and Revelation 12:14.

    What we have here, then, is a total reconstruction, or recasting, of biblical salvation history motifs, away from Darbyite' futurism, which sees all of the biblical apocalyptic materials compacted into some imaginary future time frame of either seven, or three-and a half, years, to a covenantal/historical approach to prophetic revelation that sees characterizations for the whole Christian age portrayed in apocalyptic symbolisms that points to a destiny for planet earth foreknown and foretold by God, yet sufficiently veiled as to prevent human preclusions that circumvent the responsibilities of man's free moral agency.

Thus, the prophetic materials are intended to give us a big, broad picture, both of the variant nature of this present gospel age, and of that awesome end-time social judgment that will come upon the world, if and when, the children of light forsake the glorious gospel.    Please see our published works for diagrams that help the reader to visualize this present age foretold in prophecy under the apocalyptic rubric of the symbolic 42 months, the 1,260 days, and the time, times, and a half expressions. All of these expressions point to the last half of the seventy weeks, or that period of the messianic age now called the time of the calling of the Gentiles.

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