In order to address this question we must first consider the actual timing of the final seven years.
We have already seen that the second half of the tribulation is prophesied to last twelve hundred sixty days but also that those days will be shortened somewhat. It is usually assumed that because the second half of the seven years is twelve hundred sixty days, the first half must have the same duration. This is a logical assumption, but it does not take into account a scripture that appears to give a different count of days for the first half of the tribulation.
In Dan. 12:8 Daniel asked the Lord one final question and in verses 9-10 the Lord responded. "And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." While this verse can certainly apply to the tribulation, it can also apply to any other time in history, particularly the church at the time of the end. Which is now.
Dan 12:11 says, "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." If this verse is read as the taking away of the sacrifice and the abomination of desolation occurring on the same day, and from that day the tribulation consisting of a further twelve hundred ninety days, then it stands in direct opposition to Rev. 12:6 which gives a total of twelve hundred sixty days for the same time period and we must conclude that the Bible contradicts itself. So, even though other scripture place these events on the same day, I think THIS verse indicates a twelve hundred ninety day gap between these two events.
While some might argue that these twelve hundred ninety days may be shortened to the twelve hundred sixty days of Revelation thus explaining Jesus’ statement in Matt. 24:22, I believe this verse may be interpreted differently.
In the prophecy of the seventy weeks found in Dan. 9:25-27, the prophet is unaware of a gap period between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks. The same gap occurs in Dan. 12:11. According to Heb. 10:8-14 Jesus, by his own sacrifice, took away the sacrificial law as kept in the Old Testament and this fact was illustrated by the veil in the temple being torn from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). When we fit these facts into Dan. 12:11 we see that it was God who took away the daily sacrifice at the end of the sixty-ninth week, there is a gap of about two thousand years between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks, and from the beginning of the seventieth week there will be a period of twelve hundred ninety days until the abomination of desolation is set up. Even though there is a gap of almost two thousand years between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks, they are viewed prophetically as continuous. At the beginning of the seventieth week God will pick up right where he left off in 30 A.D. We see then that the sacrifice is taken away twice: by God when Jesus was crucified; and by antichrist when he desecrates the temple at mid-tribulation.
If Dan. 12:11 gives the count of days for the first half of the tribulation, the next verse gives the count from the abomination of desolation until Jesus, the most Holy, is anointed according to Dan. 9:24. The verse says, "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." This one thousand three hundred thirty-five days covers the same period of time as the twelve hundred sixty days of the last half of the tribulation, plus seventy-five days. These verses do not contradict each other: Revelation states that the last half of the tribulation lasts twelve hundred sixty days (less a few days), and Daniel teaches that Jesus will be anointed (as King) at the end of the seven years. These one thousand three hundred thirty days will end at Hanukah the year of the second advent.
Taking into account the prophetic significance of the three still unfulfilled moeds of Lev. 23, we are looking at a time period of twelve hundred and ninety days plus twelve hundred and sixty days which begins on or near Rosh Hashanah one year, reaches midpoint at Passover three and one-half years later, and then ends on or near Rosh Hashanah after another three and one half years.
Understanding that the first half of the tribulation lasts twelve hundred ninety days and the second half lasts twelve hundred sixty days gives us a total tribulation period of two thousand five hundred fifty days which will not fit neatly into a ‘prophetic’ calendar year of three hundred sixty days each, but does fit beautifully with the actual lunisolar calendar used by the Jewish people. Remember, in the Jewish calendar a leap year means the addition of one month, not one day. As an added note of interest, we saw here that the Jewish people began to be carried away into Babylon in 606 B.C. We have also seen that there is a discrepancy of four years in our Gregorian calendar due to the re-dating of the birth of Jesus to 4 B.C. and that those four years must be deducted when calculating elapsed time across the change of the era. This means that the Jewish people began to be carried away, not in 606 B.C. but in 602 B.C. When we add those 602 years to 1948, the year Israel was returned to the Jewish people, we have a result of 2550 years, another illustration of "a day for a year" (Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6).
Earlier in these articles I briefly addressed Daniel’s prophecy that the antichrist would "confirm the covenant with many for one week", noted that the word confirm is not the same as the words negotiate, sign or finalize, and stated that antichrist would be revealed when the covenant was confirmed. One confirms something that already exists. This is a significant point. While II Thes. 2 does teach that antichrist cannot be revealed until the withholder is removed, there is no verse of scripture that states that the rapture and the revelation of antichrist will occur at the same time.
Given a few specific requirements, I think it is very possible to identify that seven year period. Using a time period of twelve hundred ninety days plus a time period of twelve hundred sixty days, we are looking for a period of two thousand five hundred fifty days that begins on or near Rosh Hashanah and ends on or near Rosh Hashanah seven years later.
As we have already seen, Daniel’s four hundred eighty-three years were fulfilled precisely to the day, therefore the final seven years will also cover a precise period of time. Using Spier’s Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, I charted the two thousand five hundred fifty days of the tribulation beginning at Rosh Hashanah for each year, 2004 through 2006 A.D. If a generation is forty years and if the forty year countdown began on June 7 (Iyar 28), 1967, then the rapture must occur before June 2, (Iyar 28), 2008 (the end of the fortieth year). Further, there should be a gap of something less than three and one-half years between the possible date of the rapture and June 2, 2008. In other words, we should be eagerly anticipating the catching up of the church at some point within the next year.
The following chart shows the Gregorian date and the number of days from Trumpets to Passover and then to Trumpets again if the count begins at Tishri 1 in any of the three years. It also shows the number of days, +/-, according to the prophesied counts of days.
It's interesting to note that, if the tribulation had begun in 2004, there are twenty-three days too many in the first half of the tribulation. The reason for this is because, out of the six time periods presented, that time period alone contains two leap years.
The matter is further complicated by the fact that the second advent is an act of God (thus we might expect to see it occur on the adjusted date of the moed), while the abomination of desolation is the work of Satan (thus we might expect to see it occur on Passover on the current calendar). I do believe that the abomination of desolation will occur at Passover because, as Jesus was crucified three and one-half years into His ministry, on that holyday, antichrist will declare himself to be the victorious god at the same point in his "ministry".
If the endtime events do occur on the adjusted dates of the moeds, then the counts of days would fall as follows:
As can be seen from the above charts, except for the first period shown, the count of days for both halves of the tribulation show minus four to six days in comparison to the twelve hundred ninety and the twelve hundred sixty days prophesied. This may mean the antichrist may be revealed a few days prior to Tishri 1 and it also fits with scripture that states the days of the last half will be shortened.
I believe that the covenant may be confirmed, thus revealing the antichrist, by way of an attack on Israel, possibly in tandem with a terrorist attack somewhere in the western world, which the antichrist will defend. This could be the fulfillment of Isa. 17 – the destruction of Damascus, and would possibly result in antichrist giving Israel the authority, or leading world opinion, to rebuild the temple.
Since 2004 the Quartet, consisting of the U.S., the U.N., the E.U. and Russia have been working their plan to put in place their Roadmap to Peace in the middle east. This may be the covenant that antichrist will later confirm. It seems reasonable that, in the chaos that is likely to follow the rapture, Syria and perhaps a few cohorts may organize, plan and initiate a war against Israel in violation of any agreement. This would allow antichrist to confirm the covenant by stopping the war (possibly with the destruction of Damascus - Isa. 17) thus confirming the covenant, while at the same time causing the rest of the world to breath a sigh of relief at the destruction of the place that harbors terrorist leaders. This might also involve clearing the way for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple on the correct piece of Jerusalem real estate.
While some today are reasoning that Islam could be the endtime government system, the Bible speaks of Rome. Islam is hellbent on worldwide conquest through terrorism and I believe the antichrist will deal with this with the confirmation of the covenant. Something has to happen that causes the world, particularly Israel, to let down its guard and declare "peace and safety" (I Thes. 5:3 and Eze. 38:11).
I am definitely looking for a "forced" peace in the middle east very soon. For the past few years, the Quartet, made up of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia, have met for discussions regarding this matter. On the weekend of April 24, 2004 the G7 nations met and declared that terrorism is affecting the global economy. A few weeks before, Spain suffered bombing attacks on its rail system. And of course, who could forget 9/11 in the U.S. and the more recent bombings in London. The situation in Iraq is far from over, and some middle east nations, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, are experiencing terrorism within their countries. In August 2005, under pressure from the U.S., Prime Minister Ariel Sharon caused the 'disengagement' to occur: under threat of force, Israel pulled their settlers out of Gaza and a few settlements in the west bank. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate but accuse Israel of failure. Israel has begun assassinating terrorist leaders among the Palestinians. Islamic terrorists have begun beheading hostages. Arafat died in late autumn 2004, possibly opening the way for negotiations to take place. The time is ripe right now for the world to step in and resolve this problem.