The Seventh Year

Biblically, God has set a pattern of working for six “days” or time periods, then ceasing work on the Sabbath: the seventh “day” or time period.  This has pertained to Creation (Exodus 20:11a), as well as to people (16:23-30, 20:9,10, 21:2), and even to land (Leviticus 25:2-4).

From Daniel 9:27a, we know that there is to transpire a “week” of seven years: the 70th Week.  In the 70th Week, during the time period encompassed by the first six seals (Revelation 6:1-17), the Lamb (Jesus) is seen to be opening each of the seals.  Then, in sequential order, He will open the Seventh Seal (8:1)—the initiation of God’s wrath upon the earth during the “day of vengeance.”  Isaiah seemed to specify that this “day” would last for a year (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4), which will be detailed later.

Would God command something which He Himself would not follow?  I do not believe that He would.  Why would this “week” be different from any other God-ordained “week,” when it comes to setting apart the seventh “day” as distinctive and unique?  It should not be different from any other week, especially since the 70th Week is a very significant week of years, or seven-year period, on God’s prophetic timetable.  In ancient Israel, God even commanded that after every six years, the seventh year should be set aside as a “sabbath of rest” for the land (Leviticus 25:2-4).

Due to God’s principle of doing something for six units of time (such as creating the universe and the earth), then discontinuing that task during the seventh unit of time—the Sabbath—it seems reasonable to suppose that the seven years of the 70th Week will be no different.  More specifically, Jesus, the Lamb, actively will be in the process of opening the seven seals for a full six years and then will cease performing this task, I believe at the beginning of the seventh and final year.

Interestingly, this final span of time, presumably a year, will begin with a brief period of “silence in heaven” (Revelation 8:1).  Perhaps this will act to signify, to all of creation, that God will have concluded a six-year-long process of opening the seals and will have begun to rest from this “work” on the seventh “day”/year.  If so, the seventh (or “sabbath”) “day”/year will be “set apart” from the rest of the “week.”  In a sense, that brief period of silence could be likened to the “eye of a hurricane,” with destruction and devastation occurring before and after it.

God will not  be pouring out His wrath during the first six years of the 70th Week.  This period of birth pains, trials, and great tribulation will not  be a direct result of God’s wrath.  The “work” of Jesus, the Lamb, as far as opening the seven seals of the heavenly scroll (Revelation 5:1-5), will be over as soon as He opens the Seventh Seal.  As soon as he does this, He will have completed that particular task and will “rest” from it.  Then He will direct the seven angels to be the instruments who will pour out the Trumpet Judgments (constituting the initial phase of God’s fervent wrath)—very likely for a period of one year.

In summary so far, then, the wrath of God will be imminent only after the Sixth Seal has been opened (Revelation 6:16,17).  As soon as the Seventh Seal is opened, the Lamb’s undertaking of unfastening the seven seals will be concluded.  As indicated before, maybe the silence of about half an hour (8:1), at that point, will be a pause separating the six “days” (years) and the seventh “day” (the final, “sabbath” year) of the 70th Week.  Then, “the seven angels who stand before God” will be given the seven trumpets: the instruments by which they will blow out, upon the earth, the first phase of God’s wrath (8:2,6,7a,8a,10a,12a, 9:1a,13a, 11:15a).

Next, the beginning portion of the Seventh Seal: Day of the Lord is the period of time during which God’s wrathful vengeance will be unleashed upon the earth.  Isaiah made three different references to this wrathful period, each time calling it the “day of vengeance” and, in each case, seeming to imply that it would last for about a year:

  1. For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause (Isaiah 34:8).
  2. ...to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn... (Isaiah 61:2).
  3. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come (Isaiah 63:4)
How do we know that the “year of retribution,” the “year of the LORD’s favor,” and the “year of [God’s] redemption” all are referring to the same year?
  1. In Isaiah 34:8, the word “retribution” means “vengeance.”  This will be the year that the ultimate outpouring of God’s wrathful retribution or vengeance, upon an unrepentant, rebellious world, will begin.  (The Trumpet Judgments will be followed by the Bowl Judgments for 30 days, after Jesus has returned as the Rider on a white horse.)
  2. In Isaiah 61:2, the word “favor” implies that God will look favorably upon those who are saved: the elect.  They will be caught up at the Pre-wrath Rapture, spending the next year in heaven, while God’s wrath is being discharged upon the earth by seven angels, via the Trumpet Judgments (Revelation 8:6–9:21).  Even God’s definition of “Sabbath” (Leviticus 23:3) indicates that there is to be a “sacred assembly” (23:24)—which, in this case, would seem to be the assembly of raptured believers.
  3. In Isaiah 63:4, the word “redemption” implies that those who have believed in the saving power of the Lord Jesus will be redeemed or saved, via the Rapture, which will take place just prior to the beginning of that year-long period of God’s wrath.
All of this appears to be summarized in this verse:
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you” (Isaiah 35:3,4).
Primarily, God’s vengeance, during the initial segment of the Day of the Lord, will be in response to the fervent appeals of slain believers.  They will have cried out to God during the trials and persecution of the Fourth and Fifth Seals.  They will have pled with God to judge mankind and to avenge their blood, which will have been shed upon the earth:
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6:9,10).

See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins [thereby avenging the blood of His saints].  The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer (Isaiah 26:21).
I believe that the main Rapture event will take place on one of two days during which Rosh haShanah (the Feast of Trumpets) is being celebrated.  Rosh haShanah means “head of the year”; not only is it the first of the month of Tishri, it also is the first of the civil New Year.

I also believe that Jesus, the Messiah, will return to earth, to rule and reign, on a Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  This will be about a year after the Pre-wrath Rapture on Rosh haShanah.  On this ultimate Day of Atonement of all time, the massive amount of blood shed by Israel’s defeated enemies, on the day that Jesus is treading the winepress of God’s wrath (Revelation 14:19,20), will atone for the sins of Israel.  Up until that point, Israel will have rejected Yeshua/Jesus’ blood atonement for their sins.

Incidentally, I do not believe that the events corresponding to the opening of each of the seven seals necessarily will take exactly one year, apiece, to transpire.  For instance, there probably will not be much time at all between the opening of the Sixth Seal and the opening of the Seventh Seal—maybe only hours or days, perhaps weeks.  Likewise, during a given week, some job-related activities will take more than a day, while some will take less.  However, the final sabbatical period, during which no regular daily tasks are undertaken, is the last day: one-seventh of that week.

Interestingly, a “sabbatical” is a hiatus, typically one year in length, during which an individual takes a break from what he/she has been doing, to fulfill some goal.  The person does not cease all activity for a year; he/she merely interrupts his/her regular, repetitive work schedule to do something else.  Perhaps the seventh year of the 70th Week will be God’s “sabbatical”—a break from opening the seven seals, to accomplish His goal of culminating human history as we know it.

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