Benjamin Netanyahu was replaced as Israeli Prime Minister by Naftali Bennett this past week. We will need to wait to see if the move causes any significant changes in Israel, the Middle East, or the world.
We Americans, including the American church, tend to think the world revolves around us. The truth is, it does not. God has a plan, and it centers around Israel.
God’s nation is Israel. He promised Abram to make him a great nation, a nation through which God shall bless all the families of the earth. God even goes to the extent of telling Abram that anyone that blesses Israel will receive a blessing, and all that curse Israel will receive a curse (Genesis 12:1-3). God set the borders of Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates River. Genesis 15:18 says, “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” The Euphrates starts in Turkey and splits Syria and Iraq basically in half.
The landmass that God gave Abram is far greater than what Israel has today. Israel, as nations go, is currently tiny. Israel is roughly the same size as New Jersey. New Jersey is 19,211 sq. km, while Israel is 21,937 sq. km in size. In another comparison, Israel is 15 percent the size of Florida. Nearly seven Israels could fit inside Florida.
Yet, this tiny little country always seems to be in the nightly news. Why? They are God’s country.
In four verses, Daniel 9:24-27, God gives a significant portion of His outline for the world. It centers around the Jews and Jerusalem.
Daniel 9:24 states, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgressions, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
When do the 70 weeks begin? They already have. Verse 25 gives the starting of the clock — it starts with the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem. This event occurs in Nehemiah 2 — King Artaxerxes proclaims to have Jerusalem restored. That is March 445 BC.
If you are thinking, “Seventy weeks that began in 445 BC; that has to be long over by now!” From history and the rest of the prophecy, we learn that these are weeks of years. In other words, seven years equals one week. Also, God inserted a time-out that stopped the clock.
Verse 25 speaks of seven weeks. The first seven weeks are the 49 years that it took to rebuild Jerusalem. After rebuilding Jerusalem, there would be another 62 weeks (434 years) before the next event. The 69 weeks (7 + 62), or 483 years, end with the Messiah being cut off (Daniel 9:26). More specifically, the 69 weeks end with the crucifixion of Christ.
Using the Hebrew calendar instead of ours (remember the timeline centers around the Jews, Israel, and Jerusalem; not us), the 69 weeks run from March 445 BC to AD April 32. This date is the date Jesus is crucified — the Messiah has been cut off.
Now you may be thinking, “OK, so the 70 weeks ended sometime in AD 39.” However, in Daniel 9:27, we discover that the 70th week does not start until the signing of a covenant with the Antichrist.
God has always promised to protect Israel. Now Israel does have some responsibility as well — God wants Israel to follow Him. In the Old Testament, Israel rejected God. God then sent the Babylonians to take Israel into captivity, but as promised, God brought Israel home after 70 years (Daniel 9:2). Then after the nation rejected God’s Son, the Romans destroyed the Temple and dispersed the Hebrews in AD 70. God, as promised, gave them their country back in 1948. We are now waiting for the great time out to end and the clock to start ticking on the last seven years, the 70th week.
When the covenant is made with the Antichrist to protect Israel, Israel is rejecting God’s protecting arm. This action creates the covenant with death, and the time of Jacob’s trouble begins. Isaiah 28:18 says, “And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.”