The role and identity of the Antichrist in future eschatological events has long concerned the Christian church. Today one of the growing schools of thought is that this future evil world ruler will be Islamic. Walid Shoebat and Joel Richardson are two of the leading proponents of this belief. In keeping with our investigation into the influence Daniel 9 has had on the eschatological beliefs of popular Christian prophecy teachers, today we will look at how the 70 Weeks prophecy is incorporated into Mr. Shoebat and Mr. Richardson’s eschatological world view.
As has been my practice, quotes by the authors will be in green and bold headings are my own.
The Importance of Daniel 9 to the Islamic Antichrist Interpretation
“The prophecy of 70 weeks is one of the most critically important eschatological passages in the Bible, which the Church of the last days must properly interpret and understand.” 1
“The next significant prophetic passage to unlock the origin of Antichrist is the last portion of Daniel 9: 26.” 2
“DANIEL 9 CONFIRMS TURKEY’S LEADERSHIP ROLE We also examined Daniel 9, where the Bible says that it would be the “people of the prince to come” that would destroy the Jewish Temple.” 3
“The future desecration of the Temple is the single greatest defining time marker within all prophecy concerning the final period of the last days.” 4
Events After the 69th Week
“The prophecy of 70 weeks establishes the following realities:
1. A divinely appointed, future, literal, and definable seven year period preceding the return of Jesus.
2. A literal rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
3. A defining event whereby the Antichrist desecrates the Temple at the mid-point of the seven years.
4. Which in turn will cause offerings to cease within the Temple.” 5
Daniel 9 is the Framework for Other Prophetic Time Frames
“1 The great tribulation is repeatedly referred to as half of seven years:
I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. (Daniel 12:7)
“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months”. (Revelation 11:2)
“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3)
Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Revelation 12:6)
There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. (Revelation 13:5) 6
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The Influence of Daniel 9
In the above quotes it is clear that Daniel 9 and the 70 Weeks prophecy are a major pillar in the Islamic Antichrist interpretation of Mr. Shoebat and Mr. Richardson. As Mr. Richardson notes , Daniel 9 is in his view “one of the most critically important eschatological passages in the Bible”.
He goes on to explain how the prophecy establishes the timing of the Antichrist’s desecration of the Temple in the middle of the seven years which he describes as, “the single greatest defining time marker within all prophecy concerning the final period of the last days.”
These statements should not be taken lightly. Given the importance of Daniel 9 to Mr. Shoebat and Mr. Richardson we should expect then to establish their interpretation of the prophecy upon a credible foundation commiserate with the influence they have attributed to it. Unfortunately, despite the importance given Daniel 9 in their eschatological framework I was unable to find a single foundation statement upon which to ascertain the basis for their interpretation of the 70 Weeks prophecy in their book God’s War on Terror: Islam, Propehcy and the Bible. That oversight is also duplicated in Mr. Richardson’s book The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast as well as his subsequent book Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist.
In order to try and determine Mr. Richarson’s view on the starting point of Daniel 9 and the 70 Weeks I turned instead to an article written by him entitled: Daniel’s 70 Weeks: An Introduction. This article is a PDF and is found at his website here. Please note, I was unable to find a similar statement by Mr. Shoebat. Keep in mind the following statements are the chronological bedrock upon which Mr. Richardson’s interpretation of Daniel 9 rests and a major supporting pillar of his Islamic Antichrist interpretation.
444 BC and the Countdown to the Messiah
“A. The only position that literally fulfills the requirements of the passage [i.e. Daniel 9:25 and the 70 weeks] seems to be the decree from Artaxerxes as recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8,17-18 given on March 5, 444 B.C.
B. 483 sabbatical years (the first 69 weeks) were fulfilled to the day on March 30, A.D. 33, the date of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (This is 476 years according to the Julian Calendar). Jesus was crucified four days later on April 3, A.D. 33.” 7
“D. Only one decree matches or fulfills the Scriptural criterion of a decree issued specifically to rebuild the city.
The best explanation of the literal chronology seems to be by Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, who generally sticks to the chronology given by Sir Robert Anderson, but makes several corrections and modification of Anderson’s system.” 8
An Uncertain Foundation
I think it worth noting here that in Mr. Richardson’s entire article on Daniel 9 he uses the word “seems” only twice. Both times he uses it in regards to the starting point of the prophecy of 70 Weeks as quoted above. Mr. Richardson should be given credit for acknowledging the uncertainty of his position. It is important to keep in mind that Harold Hoehner’s revision of Daniel 9 based upon the work of Sir Robert Anderson does nothing to address Andersons base assumption about Ezra and Nehemiah’s place in the Second Temple era, a position which in turn, is based upon an assumption by the Christian chronologist, Rawlinson. I quote Rawlinson as found on p. 71 of Anderson’s The Coming Prince:
“Artaxerxes I reigned forty years, from 465 to 425. He is mentioned by Herodotus once (6. 98), by Thucydides frequently. Both writers were his contemporaries. There is every reason to believe that he was the king who sent Ezra and Nehemiah to Jerusalem, and sanctioned the restoration of the fortifications.”—RAWLINSON, Herodotus, vol. 4, p. 217. (emphasis mine)
Think about the above statement for a moment. This assumption by Rawlinson is the sum total of Anderson’s proof for his belief that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of the Persian king Longimanus. This assumption is the very contextual bedrock upon which Anderson built his theory of the 70 Weeks. Hoehner, Richardson, Shoebat, and a long line of well-intentioned scholars like Anderson have simply accepted Rawlinson’s original assumption without verifying it for accuracy.
If Rawlinson was wrong (and the Biblical chronology of the Second Temple era shows that he was) then every conclusion built upon this false premise must be considered suspect. The simple fact is that Daniel 9 and the 70 Weeks without a solid Scriptural foundation is just a well-intentioned working assumption. Until Mr. Shoebat’s and Mr. Richardson’s interpretation of Daniel 9 is established on real Biblical facts it is imperative that any theological or prophetic conclusions based upon their view of Daniel 9 must be taken with a reasonable measure of skepticism.
A Biblical Measure of Time
Also keep in mind that Mr. Hoehner’s interpretation of Sir Robert Anderson (above, as quoted by Richardson) also assumes the same calendar change we talked about in our last article in The 70 Weeks of David Reagan. According to the implied chronology of events described by Anderson, Hoehner, Richardson, and Shoebat, a catastrophic reordering of the Bible’s heavenly calendar is in order at some point well before the start of Daniel’s 70th Week. This is another aspect of this interpretation which needs to be addressed with reasonable Biblical facts.
Before you accept or reject the Islamic Antichrist interpretation of Bible prophecy I encourage you to search the Biblical record as a Berean. This interpretation is heavily dependent on Daniel 9, so make sure your understanding is based upon a solid Biblical chronological foundation not the well-meaning but erroneous assumptions. In closing I leave you with Mr. Richardson’s important observation regarding Daniel 9 which we would all do well to take note:
“The prophecy of 70 weeks is one of the most critically important eschatological passages in the Bible, which the Church of the last days must properly interpret and understand.”
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If these articles have challenged you to take another look at the Biblical basis for your understanding of Daniel 9 then you might also appreciate some of the other articles at my blog. Subscribe and I’ll let you know when my next article is published. Rest assured I won’t share your email nor will I spam you with advertisements. Once every week or so I will just share with you my perspective on Biblical history and Bible prophecy.
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1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Daniel’s 70 Weeks: An Introduction by Joel Richardson http://www.joelstrumpet.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Daniels-70-Weeks1.pdf
2 Shoebat, Walid; Richardson, Joel (2013-04-02). God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible (p. 347). Top Executive Media. Kindle Edition.
3 Shoebat, Walid; Richardson, Joel (2013-04-02). God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible (p. 422). Top Executive Media. Kindle Edition.