490 Special Years

From the decree of 445 B.C. by King Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem, God allocated 490 special years of future history. But those 490 years were not sequential; rather, they were divided into two segments of 483 years and seven years. When the first 483 years of that allocated time were completed (on the year Jesus was crucified), the clock stopped. Daniel probably would have never dreamed that the clock would stop for what is now almost 2,000 years. At some point in the future, that clock will start up again and run for seven final years. That final seven years is referred to, not only as “the Tribulation,” but also as “Daniel’s seventieth week.”

Those seven years are divided into two periods of three-and-a-half years. At the mid-point, as we just read in Daniel’s prophecy, the antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and “put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering.” He will then, as Paul told us, seat himself in the Jerusalem temple and declare that he is God.[1] That is the “abomination of desolation” to which Jesus referred (see Matt. 24:15). That is why believers in Judea should “flee to the mountains” (Matt. 24:16), as that marks the beginning of the worst tribulation the world has ever witnessed (see Matt. 24:21).

It is possible that the “Judean flight” was symbolically seen by John in his vision, recorded in the twelfth chapter of the book Revelation. If so, the Judean believers will find a special place of safety prepared for them in the wilderness where they will be “nourished” for exactly three-and-a-half years, the remaining period of the seven-year Tribulation (see Rev. 12:6, 13-17). John foresaw Satan’s rage over their escape, and his subsequent war with the rest of those who “keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17). That is why I think it would be a good idea for believers all around the world to run for safety in remote locations when the antichrist declares his deity in Jerusalem.

[1] This indicates to us, of course, that the Jerusalem temple must be rebuilt, as currently, there is no temple in Jerusalem (as of the year 2005 when this is being written).