Jerusalem’s End-time Restoration

Prof. Johan Malan, Middelburg, South Africa (August 2007)

There is a possibility that the time that was needed to restore Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity may also prophetically be applied to the time needed to restore Jerusalem after the international Diaspora of Israel. Daniel uses year-weeks for his prophecy on Israel’s future after the Babylonian captivity. Every week is composed of seven years of 360 days each. The 70th year-week of Daniel is divided into two halves of 42 months each, representing periods of 1260 days each (Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6; 13:5). That means that every month is 30 days long. Prophetic years cut across seasonal and lunar years and offer a fixed temporal framework for prophecies which are associated with it, regardless of which calendar is followed.

Daniel says about the restoration of Jerusalem: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times” (Dan. 9:25). During the first seven year-weeks (49 prophetic years) the city was rebuilt. After that, it was further expanded and inhabited during troublesome times until Messiah was crucified. The initial restoration and rebuilding of the severely damaged city and temple lasted for seven year-weeks.

If the end-time restoration of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple also occur within seven year-weeks there will be an interesting correlation between the two periods of restoration. In this regard it should be remembered that during Israel’s independence in May 1948 they did not control the Old City of Jerusalem – that is biblical Jerusalem on Mount Zion, also known as the City of David. This part of the city was then still under the control of Jordan. During the Six Day War, from 5 to 10 June 1967, Israel recaptured the Old City and adjacent parts of the West Bank and incorporated them to modern Israel.

After June 10, 1967, Jerusalem entered a phase of rapid expansion under Jewish control, leading to a big increase in population. In August 1980 a former prime minister, Menachem Begin, declared the city as the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel, and moved his office from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, after the 1967 war the Temple Mount in the city was handed over to the control of a Muslim committee since two of their famous mosques (Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock) have been built here. A third mosque was subsequently built on this site.

During the coming tribulation period (Daniel’s 70th year-week) the Jewish temple will be built here and sacrifices reinstituted (Dan. 9:27). In the middle of this week the false messiah (the Antichrist) will declare himself to be God in the rebuilt temple (2 Thess. 2:4) and persecute all Jews who refuse to accept and worship him as God. At the end of the year-week the Antichrist will besiege Jerusalem and the entire land of Israel. He will know that the true King of the Jews, Jesus the Messiah, will return to destroy His enemies, save the remnant in Israel and restore the throne of David in Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2,4-5,12-13; Rev. 19:19; Acts. 15:16-17; Isa. 2:1-3).

Only then, when the true Messiah is back in Israel, will Jerusalem’s restoration be fully accomplished. Thereafter, it will be considerably expanded and adorned with great glory. We must pray for the dawning of this wonderful time: “You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isa. 62:6-7; cf. Isa. 60:11-14).

We are at present in an advanced stage of the restoration of Israel and Jerusalem. This nation and their capital city are under continuous attacks by their enemies. The biggest attacks will occur during the second half of Daniel’s 70th year-week, which will be the great tribulation under the leadership of the false messiah. During the first half of the year-week Israel will wrongly accept Him as their promised Messiah (John 5:43). He will also grant them the right to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

The entire city of Jerusalem has been under Jewish control since 1967. The big question is: when will that dramatic and dark year-week of the false messiah’s rule begin? When the countdown of that year-week has begun even the Antichrist will, according to biblical prophecies, know that the true King will come at the end of that week.

The possible scenario that the end-time restoration of Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah might last seven year-weeks, places Israel and the true church of Christ on the threshold of dramatic and far-reaching changes. The church dispensation will be terminated by the rapture, after which God will start reviving Israel spiritually as a nation. We should now, more than ever before, ensure that we watch and pray to be worthy to escape the coming tribulation period and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:36). Israel will also have to search their hearts. If they continue to reject the true Messiah they leave God no choice but to surrender them to the false messiah’s reign of terror (John 5:43). A remnant in Israel will be saved after millions of Jews have died during the great tribulation (Jer. 30:7; Zech. 12:10; 13:8-9; Matt. 24:15-22; Rom. 11:26).

Seven year-weeks since June 10, 1967, when Jerusalem was recaptured, will have elapsed on 26 September 2015. Israel has reinstituted their biblical chronology of year-weeks, of which the seventh year in every cycle is a sabbatical year (Lev. 25:3-4). But they follow lunar years which are shorter than prophetic years as well as seasonal years. In order to keep track with seasonal years they often have leap years with a 13th month. Their next year-week will begin with the Rosh Hashanah in September 2008 and extend until the Jewish New Year of September 2015. By then, seven prophetic year-weeks since the restoration of Jerusalem in June 1967 will expire.

The year-week from September 2008 to September 2015 is also very important from the viewpoint of the last generation (Luke 21:32). A last generation of 70 years (Ps. 90:10) started with the birth of modern Israel in May 1948, and will end in May 2018. The last full year-week which can be accommodated in this generation is the one from September 2008 to September 2015. From this point of view time is quickly running out for us.

It will soon be evident whether the Antichrist’s seven-year covenant with Israel and the nations (Dan. 9:27) will indeed coincide with Israel’s present year-week cycle. What we should clearly realise now is that true believers can at any moment hear the cry: “Behold, the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet Him!” (Matt. 25:6). It will then be too late for the foolish virgins (carnal and nominal believers) to prepare for His coming. Because of their own neglect they will face the dark night of the tribulation under the Antichrist’s reign of terror. During that time they can still be saved and sanctified but amid great persecution. The Lord wants us to be spiritually worthy to escape the coming tribulation and judgements (Luke 21:36).