The ministry of the Lord Jesus is clearly illustrated in Luke chapter 4. This was the occasion where Jesus read about Himself from the scroll of Isaiah. Using our current chapters and verses, Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2:
Jesus actually stopped in mid-sentence because He was literally reading about His ministry taking place right at that time. The remainder of this selection from Isaiah finishes with, “and the day of vengeance of our God.” Isaiah’s prophecy was describing the two parts of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus read about His first ministry. The “day of vengeance” describes His second ministry.
Many Bible scholars believe the first ministry of Jesus lasted over three years, probably 3˝ years. If seven is the number of completion, then 3˝ would indicate partial completion. Jesus completed the first part of His task when He came to earth 2,000 years ago, but according to Isaiah, there is more to be done.
I discussed the preceding in order to offer an alternative look at Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. (These are accepted to be weeks of years, or a period seven years long. Seventy weeks would total 490 years.) Daniel prophesies that from the announcement of the re-building of Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah would be sixty-nine weeks. The Seventieth Week would be the time of the ministry of the Messiah. Daniel 9:27 says, “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”
Here, I rely on the scholars that translated Scripture from Greek to English. There is much discussion over to whom the pronoun “he” refers in Daniel 9:27. Most believe that the pronoun refers to the phrase “the prince that shall come” in the previous verse. However, this phrase is not the subject of that sentence. It modifies the subject of that sentence, which is “the people” (that shall destroy the city). “The people” is a plural noun, therefore I believe the pronoun “he” refers back to the next singular subject, the Messiah, Jesus.
If this is so, then it means that Jesus confirmed the Covenant and brought an end to sacrifice after 3˝ years. Praise the Lord, we know that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was the ultimate sacrifice, and He did confirm the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-32. IF, and that is a big IF, the ministry of the Lord Jesus lasted 3˝ years, that would indicate that His final ministry would also be 3˝ years long.
This fits well with the 42 months the Gentiles will trample the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:2) and the 1260 days the Two Witnesses will prophesy (Revelation 11:3) and the 1260 days Israel spends being cared for in the desert (Revelation 12:6). All of these time spans are 3˝ years long.
Nowhere in the Revelation is there a period of seven years. The Revelation does not infer or say the Tribulation itself will be seven years long. This idea of seven years comes from the Seventieth Week of Daniel. And if it is Jesus who confirmed the Covenant, then His second ministry, the Tribulation, will be 3˝ years in length.
I remain a pre-Tribulationist; that is, one who believes the Church will be removed from earth before the Tribulation. Scripture gives us many examples of the righteous being saved from destruction. I have no idea how a 3˝ year long Tribulation fits with the scenario of those who believe the Church will be remove in the middle of the Tribulation, or mid-Tribulationists. You have to admit, it is an interesting idea. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!