Does End-time Bible Prophecy Teach Us Anything About a 7-year Antichrist Reign?
by Steve Sterling 11/22/2011 / Prophecy
The popular teaching of a 7-year antichrist rule in the end time seems to be a part of the rapture doctrine that is so zealously propagated by mainstream evangelicals. Ever since I started studying Bible prophecy I have always wondered where they got this theory from. Certainly, they must have a strong biblical foundation for it why it is being taught with such confidence. It was when I had a rather spirited discussion of the subject with a Pentecostal young lady that I realized that many are accepting this 7-year theory without knowing where it is coming from or how to defend it.
In my discussion with this lady I made a probe into her 7-year argument and she doesn't seem to know how to even explain it. I was hoping to get further information as to the basis for this belief but she was unable to provide any help. In fact, when I brought to her attention the 1260-day (3 years) references from different passages of scriptures, she was forced to admit that that she made a mistake! Then I started to wonder if the 7-year doctrine is really an official theological position.
It was not until I read a book written by one of the major proponents of the secret rapture that I got a full explanation as to the biblical source of the explanation. But after I read the book I was left with more questions than answers. First to begin with I was not impressed with the inconsistency of the arguments with the parallel prophecies of Daniel; I find it quite difficult to reconcile end-time prophecies with that particular Bible passage that forms the basis for the 7-year position.
As a prophecy student who was studying Bible prophecy long before I got baptized, when I see the theological pitfalls into which even the most seasoned Bible teachers have fallen, it helps me to better appreciate the foundation that was laid for me in the study of the prophetic word. One of the most fundamental principles I learnt in the understanding of Bible predictions is the coordination of prophecies that gives the same forecasts using different symbols and terminologies. This is the place where I believe the 7-year theory fell down.
According to the proponents of this teaching, the antichrist will reign for 7 years based on the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9. When I realize that this is what was offered as the basis for this doctrinal position I immediately recognized that it just cannot fit into scheme of the parallel prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, 8 and 11! When you coordinate the events in each of these prophecies, your conclusions on each of them are not supposed to contradict each other.
Here is the explanation: the 70 weeks in question are not literal weeks; it is suggested that each day should be equivalent to a year (which I am in agreement with). The advocates of the 7-year theory seem to agree that the 70 weeks has to do with the command to rebuild Jerusalem leading up to the days of the Messiah at the end of the 69th week.
However, what I cannot understand is the idea of separating the final week and reserve it for the reign of the king of fierce countenance (the antichrist). There is no apparent reason or biblical explanation instructing that this should be done. This period seems to be a straight unbroken timeline which terminated at the end of the 70th week. In a future article I will give an explanation of the 70-week prophecy. If you go to my website you will see where I am offering a free ebook that deals adequately with the subject of the 70 weeks.
We need to understand that Daniel chapter 9 is not to be isolated from Daniel chapter 8. It was due to Daniel's lack of understanding of the vision he saw in chapter 8 why the explanation in chapter 9 was necessary. In fact, when you read chapter 9, you will recognize that more verses was devoted to Daniel's prayer for Israel and less about the 70-week prophecy.
The prophet went into sackcloth and ashes as a result of the preliminary explanation of the vision he received in chapter 8. I guess Daniel was very concerned about the activities of the king of fierce countenance why he felt it necessary to seek the Lord in prayer. The explanation we see in the last four verses of chapter 9 came as a direct result of Daniel's expressed need for further clarification on chapter 8. Because Daniel 8 is parallel to chapters 2, 7 and 11, we cannot expect an explanation that deviates from the common theme- the succession of world kingdoms leading up to the Second Coming of Christ.
When we examine Daniel 7:25, we will see a reference to time, times, and dividing of time in relation to the duration of the little horn's oppression of the saints. This is clearly a reference to 3 years or 1260 days of antichrist's reign after which he will be "slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." Dan. 7:11
In chapter 11 we see a similar scenario in relation to the king of the north. This is a line of prophecy that continues into chapter 12. In verse 7, the Bible predicted that this king of the north will scatter the powers of the holy people for a time, times and a half, again, a period of 3 years! Certainly, it is difficult to reconcile the 7-year position within this consistent prophecy framework.
On the other hand, we have the end-time prophecies of Revelation that deals with the same theme. We were never told about any other period other than 42 months or 1260 days (Rev. 11:2, 3; 13:5). If we, as diligent prophecy students, pay enough attention to the need for consistency in the interpretation of difficult prophecies, we cannot go wrong if we apply a simple principle: use those prophecies that are simple and straightforward to explain the parallel prophecies that are difficult to understand.