MESSIAH’S BIBLICAL-HISTORICAL TIME-LINE
Having examined what the Bible has to say about the identity of antichrist and the circumstances in which he would be revealed, it is time to answer a few important questions.
The first question is: Does the Bible accurately predict the time of the coming of Messiah and the events surrounding His earthly life? How does this fit into God’s time frame?
When Daniel realised that Israel had been in captivity for almost seventy years, and that, according to Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 25:11,12), God would bring judgment on Babylon, he began to pray for God’s mercy on His people and His city. In response, Daniel was visited by the angel Gabriel, who came with a message from God. “Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy.
“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘seven’s and sixty two ‘sevens’…After the sixty two ‘sevens’, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing…Daniel 9:24,25a (NIV).
Historically, the picture looks like this: In 445 BC Artaxerxes, king of Persia, issued a decree for the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25,26). (The first seven ’sevens’ probably refer to the time of the rebuilding of the temple). According to Biblical scholarship, Jesus, ‘the Prince’, entered Jerusalem on a donkey in 32 AD and a few days later He was rejected as Israel’s king and crucified, ‘putting an end to sin, atoning for wickedness, and bringing in everlasting righteousness’ because He would be ‘cut off and have nothing.’
There is a discrepancy between the lunar calendar of the Jews and the solar calendar we use today. Daniel’s timeline was calculated according to the Jewish lunar year of 360 days, not the solar calendar of 365¼ days. (For a fuller discussion of Daniel’s prophetic timeline, go to http://www.harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/linear.htm#top).
ANTICHRIST’S BIBLICAL–HISTORICAL TIMELINE
The second question we must ask is: Can we verify the identity of antichrist as the papacy and Daniel’s fourth beast as Rome and subsequently the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages from history? How does this fit in with Biblical prophecy?
First of all, as we have already discovered, the Apostle Paul made it clear that the day of the Lord would not come until after the ‘rebellion’, the falling away from the faith, occurred, after which the antichrist would be revealed. He described the nature of the antichrist as someone who would come in the nature of Judas, from within the church, set himself up in God’s temple (the naos – the Holy of Holies which Paul consistently equated with the church), and proclaim himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4). Daniel adds that he would have eyes and a mouth that would speak boastfully and that he would make war on the saints (Daniel 7:20).
(We have already discussed the ‘rebellion’ in a previous article – Antichrist Revealed)
The western section of the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, but the Byzantine Empire continued to be ruled by Caesars from Constantinople, the capital. The power and influence of the Church of Roman was growing and began to dominate the known world until the Emperor Justinian who ruled from 527-565 AD, re-organised the government of the Empire and issued a decree in 538 AD, giving the pope total control of all the churches. (This marks the beginning of the 1260 years of oppression of which the angel spoke in Daniel 7:25b).
Daniel (in Daniel 7:15-28), records the angelic interpretation of his dream of the four beasts which parallel Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue recorded in Daniel 2. The fourth beast is a kingdom which would devour the whole earth with terrifying cruelty. A king would arise from this kingdom who would speak against the Most High God and oppress His saints for a time, times an half a time. This time period is generally accepted among biblical scholars to mean three and a half years, forty two months or 1260 days according to the interpretation that a day is equivalent to a year in the prophetic calendar. “For forty years – one year for each of the forty days you explored the land – you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.” Numbers 14:34, hence 1260 days would equal 1260 years.
Justinian’s decree in 538 AD gave the pope absolute power over all the churches and over the whole of Christendom. From then on the papacy and the church began to control even the politics of the empire. In 800 AD Charlemagne, king of the Franks, was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III and founded the Holy Roman Empire. In the years that followed 538, the power of the papacy was absolute and the persecution of believers escalated until at least 150 million Christians were slaughtered at the hands of the church.
In 1798, exactly 1260 years later, Napoleon’s Chief of Staff, Louis-Alexandre’ Berthier, “entered Italy, invaded the Vatican, organized the Roman republic, and took the pope Pius VI as prisoner back to Valence (France) where, after a torturous journey under Berthier’s supervision, the pope died, dealing a major blow to the Vatican’s political power.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis-Alexandre_Berthier)
According to Revelation 13:3 (NIV), “One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.” History bears witness to the fatal wound and the healing of the wound – today the papacy has a following of 1.2 billion people.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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