A querist wrote:
James, thanks for sending this. We do live in exciting times! I don’t have time to write much by way of comment, but won’t the Jews have to first agree to a covenant, which will be broken, and then go through “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (great tribulation) before they come to Christ?
In order to provide a timely response to your question, I plan to just give the gist of my reasoning. Many of the details can be found in my commentary on Revelation, “All Power to the Lamb.”
My literalist eschatology is unconventional. I have basically developed my own scenario based on some key facts:
1. The rapture happens at the end of the tribulation
2. When Jesus comes He will rule for ever, not just for 1000 years
3. The battle of Armageddon happens at the Second Coming (the Day of the Lord)
4. The 70 weeks ended in AD 37. They may serve as a type of the time of the end, but I haven’t figured out how they would.
5. There will be 7 world empires from Abraham until the end of the world
6. Five have fallen, one now is (the Roman Empire), and one is yet to come (the 7th)
7. The last empire will only last a little while (20 years?)
I have also integrated the writings of the so-called non-canonical works such as Barnabas, Enoch, The Life of Adam and Eve, The Testimony of the 12 Patriarchs, II Baruch, II Esdras, The Martyrdom of Isaiah, Jubilees, and some others. These sources are rich in information regarding the end times and the world to come.
The dispensationalists believe that Daniel’s 70 weeks (Dan 9:24) ended in Jesus’ day with the 69th. The count for the 70th week will resume during the tribulation. They apply the end of Dan 9 to the Antichrist. That’s where they get the covenant with many and him being cut off in the midst of the week, but instead of apply it to Christ, they apply it to the Antichrist. The reason is because the antecedent to the “he” is unclear in verse 27. I believe Dan 9:27 was talking about Jesus and not the Antichrist, because I believe the end of verse 26 (“and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined”) is a parenthetical expression. The parenthetical expression is added to give information about the Antichrist, but then the prophet reverts to his original theme of discussing the Messiah who is the “He” in verse 27. If you read verse 27 as the Messiah, it gets rid of the notion about the Antichrist making a covenant with many for one week and being cut off in the midst of the week, though this is probably true of Nero, my choice for the Antichrist. Maybe that is why the verse is so difficult. It is true of both the Antichrist and the Messiah. Applied to Christ, verse 27 says His ministry was for 3 1/2 years. He was cut off in the midst of the 70th week in AD 30-33 (whatever year it was, it depends on His birth year, 1-4 BC). The “make a covenant with many for one week” was the 3.5 years of Jesus’ ministry + the 3.5 years of the gospel being preached exclusively to Israel. It was not until AD 37 that the gospel was preached to Gentiles for the first time. That is my take on the 70th week. It ended at the household of Cornelius around AD 37. The dispensationalists do not believe that.
My understanding of the Day of Jacob’s trouble is that it is one day about 20 years before the end of the world. Actually, the invasion begins after sunset and is over by daybreak (Isa 17:14). During that time Israel is nuked, its land is immersed in fire (Isa 10:16-17), and the country is destroyed (Jer 30:18, Isa 17:9). A few people survive. The Bible compares it to a few berries in the top of a tree and four or five at the end of a branch (Isa 17:6). Sounds to me like a 95-98% mortality rate in Israel. The few that survive restore the theocracy, rebuild the temple and live in peace and prosperity (Jer 30:16-21), until the very end (Ezek 38:11) of the world (about 20 more years) while the world around them is more or less in turmoil and under the control of the 7th world empire. I believe that Israel ends up in possession of a major part of the Middle Eastern oil after the day of Jacob’s trouble ends (Isa 17:3, Jer 30:16).
I believe the earth will end during the lifetime of those that were alive in 1948 (“this generation” Mt 24:32-34). Israel was God’s vine and fig tree (Joel 1), and Jesus used that fact in a couple of parables about Israel (the barren fig tree, Mt 21:19-20); the husbandman and the fig tree, Lk 13:6-9). Jesus said when you see the fig tree budding, you know summer is near, even at the door (Mt 24:33). In that parable Jesus was again using the fig tree as Israel, so by analogy, when you see the dormant fig-tree of Israel showing signs of life again, then you know that the end of the world will arrive in the lifetime of some that were alive when this event happened. Israel budded in 1948. Therefore, in this view, Jesus must return in the lifetime of some of those living in 1948. Putting it at 100 years max, he should come no later than 2048. I think it will be sooner, though, because Barnabas says the earth will end after 6000 years, that is, it will end after 6, 1000 year days (Barnabas 15:4, http://earlychristianwritings.com/text/barnabas-lightfoot.html). We are very close to that now. I believe the age of the earth is divided up into three equal segments of 2000 years. The first 2000 years were the time of the Father. The second 2000 years were the time of the Son, and the third 2000 years were the time of the Holy Spirit. Then if you end the fourth day (4000 years since the creation) at the resurrection of Christ in AD 30-33, then the world should end in 2030-33.
Before the end of the world, there is to be a series of 10 catastrophic plagues (Rev 8-9, 9:12). These plagues will probably last a week (7 years), though I can’t prove that. I can make a good case that from plague 5 to plague 10 is 3.5 years (Beast comes from the pit Rev 11:7; pit opened at fifth plague, 9:1-2; Beast rules 3.5 years, Rev 13:5) , so it is reasonable that plagues 1-4 would take a similar amount of time. By the time the last plagues begin, the world has begun to emerge from a decades long collapse into depression and war (Rev 8:9), so my view of the future between now and the end of the world is bleak. My son says I am a pessimist. I say I am a realist based upon what I read and see. Once the last plagues begin, if you know anything about Revelation, it will be obvious that what the world is experiencing is the last plagues. Once they begin, you should have about 3.5 years before the Antichrist emerges. Then he will institute world-wide idolatry and enforce it with idols and demons in every city (Rev 9:20, 19:20, Ascension of Isaiah 4:10-11, http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ascension.html). Your choices will be to take the mark (Rev 13:16, and be damned for eternity, be martyred, flee to Israel (II Baruch 29:2, http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/pseudepigrapha/2Baruch.html), or take to the hills and live off what you can find as a hunter-gatherer (Mt 24:40-41, LK 17:34, 36) in a world where the rain has stopped (Rev 11:6, 16:12). The only place that will be safe is Israel (Rev 11:5, II Baruch 29:2). God will send Enoch and Elijah to protect it (Rev 11:5, Enoch 90:31-32, http://reluctant-messenger.com/book_of_enoch.htm). They will keep it safe from the Antichrist for 3.5 years. At the end of the 3.5 years of the Antichrist’s rule, the Beast/Antichrist/Man-of-sin will raise an army of 200,000,000 men from all nations (Rev 9:16, 16:14, 16) and he will attack Israel (Joel 2:1-10, Ezek 38-39, Rev 11:7-9). God will permit him to kill Enoch and Elijah (Rev 11:7). The Ascension of Isaiah also mentions that one of the twelve apostles (John) will then be given into the hands of the Antichrist (Asc Isa 4:3).
The Antichrist will take Jerusalem (Zech 14:1), kill Enoch and Elijah (Rev 11:7), and proceed after the remnant of the host that fled to Bozrah (Micah 2:12-13, Hosea 1:10-11, disinherited at Kadeshbarnea, Num 14:12, which is Petra/Bozrah). He will surround the army of the righteous at Bozrah (Micah 2:12-13) expecting to annihilate them in the morning, but Jesus will return at the dawning of the day (Ezk 47:1, Rev 22:6) with His brothers come back to life (I Thes 4:17) and the armies of heaven (Rev 19:14). He will proceed against the Antichrist and his allies (Rev 19:19-21). The Devil, the Beast and the False Prophet will be taken, judged, and thrown into Gehenna hell (Rev 19:20, 20:10). Jesus will kill the army of the Devil with the sword of His lips and the birds will eat them (Rev 19:21). He will finish of the last of the army of the Devil at the Great Pyramid in Egypt (Rev 21:16, Isa 19:19). He will then proceed to Jerusalem (Isa 63:1-2, Rev 14:20) where He will make a triumphal entry as King of the earth and be hailed by His brothers as “blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mt 23:39). God will rain fire from heaven on the earth (II Pet 3:7), and the righteous will be baptized in fire and the Holy Ghost (Mt 3:11). God will then raise the dead from the nations (Jn 5:28). This is all on the same long day.
Esdras says that Jesus will give those that arose to be Jesus at His Second Coming a crown on Mt. Zion (II Esdras 2:43). He will make His brothers kings over all the earth (Lk 19:19) with Himself as King of kings (Eph 1:21). He and His brethren will go to heaven where God has prepared the wedding supper of the Lamb (Lk 12:37, Mt 22:2). New Jerusalem will come down from the sky (Rev 21:2). God will set up His throne in the Jordan Valley and the Judgment will be set (Joel 3:12). God’s sons will judge the nations (I Cor 6:2). Jesus will judge those Christians that purported to serve Him (Mt 25:24-30), but did not rise at His Second Coming (I Thes 4:17). Some will receive a place on the earth as citizens of earth (Mt 5:5), and some He will send to Gehenna hell (Rev 20:15). He will also judge the cases among the nations that were too hard for His brethren to handle.
At this point the sons of God will be given the people that will be the seed stock for their eternal kingdoms. They will take those of the nations that God granted life (Mt 25:46, Lk 19:17, Rev 2:28). A son will probably get 100-1000 people as the nucleus of his kingdom (Mt 22:14). I suspect that the people God gives to each son are ideally suited for that son’s temperament and talents. The remainder of the people were condemned at the Judgment, and He will send them to Gehenna hell where they will serve as an eternal object lesson about what happens to those that will not serve God (Isa 66:24).
When Christ begins His reign, the earth is ruined (II Pe 3:10). It is completely void of life (Isa 13:12) and covered in ashes (Mal 4:3), except for the land of Israel that gets its baptism of fire on the day of Jacob’s trouble (Isa 10:16-17). During this time the nations live in booths and God feeds them with manna and the flesh of Behemoth and Leviathan (Rev 2:17, II Baruch 29:4, Ps 74:14). They will not be permitted to cut any trees for seven years (Ezk 39:9-10) until the earth has a chance to recover from the fire, and so they will probably remain in the vicinity of Jerusalem for the first seven years so they can eat, though they will probably also do exploring as the earth starts to recover (Ezk 39:15). The sons of God will be able to go in and out of New Jerusalem (Jn 10:9, Rev 21:24, 27), the 1500 mile high (Rev 21:16) floating (Isa 2:2) City of God (Rev 21:2), wherein is the throne of God and Christ (Rev 22:3). The nations will be eternally restricted (Rev 21:27, Isa 35:8) from access to heaven, the City of God. Jesus will build a temple for God in Jerusalem on the earth below (I Chr 17:12, Enoch 90:27).
In the first 1000 years on the new earth I think God will restrict the metals from the use by the nations (Enoch 52:8) just like Israel had to borrow iron from the Philistines at times (I Sa 13:19, II Ki 6:5). This lack of metal will prevent technology from taking off, and will give the earth a rest and give people a chance to get to know each other and to enjoy themselves in the new earth. There will be a lot of people born during this first 1000 years (Isa 49:20, Isa 60:22, Enoch 10:17). At the end of this 1000 year sabbath of the 7th day, God will release the metals, and the works of men will continue (Barnabas 15:8, II Enoch 33:1). Eventually, the earth will become so crowded that God’s kingdom will have to expand to the stars (Rev 2:28). There will be no end to the expansion of God and Christ’s kingdom (Isa 9:7).