God's Ultimate Program for Israel
What you are about to read is a reflection on one of the most important chapters in the Book of Daniel, and one of the most remarkable passages in all of the Bible. Its dual theme of prayer and prophecy is like no other portion of God's Word: Daniel's prayer stands as a model for any person serious about seeking the Lord and His holiness in his or her life; while the prophecy of the seventy weeks contains the most precise information in Scripture that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah promised to the children of Israel through their own prophets.
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
Daniel is starting to do his math, and he's doing it by looking at God's timetable for the restoration of Israel.
11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.,
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.
Daniel certainly turned to his Hebrew manuscripts to study 2 Chronicles 36, where he observed that the Jews, because they failed to protect their land (breaking seventy sabbatical years) would be punished for a period equal to their disobedience. The more Daniel read, the more excited he must have felt, because he calculated that the seventy years of judgment on his people had almost come to an end (the captivity of the Jews had started in 605 B.C. and now it was the year 538 B.C.) and that the Jews would soon be allowed to return to their home. But we are forced to say, Not so fast, Daniel. You have only a partial understanding of what is still to come. And it is this still-to-come end-time information that is the essence of chapter nine:
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
7 O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
9 To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.
18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
Daniel begins his long prayer with a contrite and broken heart as he addresses God as Adonai-Sovereign Ruler. The word Adonai shows Daniel's recognition of God's absolute authority and power, a fitting expression for Daniel to use as he begins his litany of confession and plea for personal and national forgiveness.
However, in verse 2, Daniel suddenly changes his name for God and begins to use the term Yahweh-which refers to God as a gracious, covenant-keeping God, holy, just, righteous, and loving. He uses the name Yahweh seven times, in verses 2, 4, 10, 13, 14, and 20. It's amazing that Daniel would use God's holy name in the first place because the Jews never pronounced the name of God because their reverence for the almighty God was so great.
That's why they used what is called the tetragrammaton, Y-H-W-H-four letters that cannot be pronounced, and only become the word Yahweh when the vowels a and e are added. As we study Daniel's prayer it will become obvious why he used the term Yahweh, particularly as it relates to God as a covenant-keeping God, the topic which most interested Daniel since he'd now become a one-person spokesman for the plight of the Jews and was relying on the trustworthiness of the most high God to keep His promises. However, as we said before, Daniel still did not have all the information to work out all the details of God's plan because most of the predictions would only be revealed at the time of the end.
Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
As Daniel bowed before the Lord, his heart was filled with sadness for his own sin and the sins of his people. He fasted, wore sackcloth, and put ashes on his body to show his humble spirit. He was alone with God. No distractions. No interruptions. I encourage you to read and reread Daniel's prayer, because it is a model for any Christian. Even though Daniel was an upright, faithful, godly man, he still confessed that he had also sinned.
Because of his tender heart toward God and a conscience that could be quickly and easily touched, he was unusually responsive when he heard the word of the Lord. Being sensitive to the Spirit of God also increased his sensitivity to the predicament of his people, the Jews, as he recited the various ways in which they rebelled against God, failed to obey His voice, refused to walk in His laws, and chose not to obey His commands. Daniel recognized that for these reasons, the curse had been poured out upon them.
The Jews had been scattered across the world. What was once their home had become the domicile of heathen kingdoms and pagan rulers. Daniel knew the reason for this dispersion- the Diaspora.
26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
Not only did the Jews refuse to obey the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20, but they'd also turned their backs on the 613 other commandments given to the people of Israel. As Daniel reflects on the history of how the Jews got mired in their present dilemma, he continues to hope and pray that Yahweh will end the seventy years of punishment on schedule (as he, Daniel, saw it), and bring peace and relief to their sinful, troubled hearts.
Daniel's Prayer Is Also Personal
Daniel is not revising history. He is seeing history as it is, asserting that God was righteous for what He did to the Jews, admitting that we-Daniel and his people-were the culprits . . . we were the transgressors . . . we didn't obey God's voice . . . we failed to keep His commandments. His prayer was not a whining exercise to get God to overlook the past sins of His people, but a prayer of love and intercession for national and personal forgiveness, and a contrite heart, reminiscent of the words of the psalmist who prayed in Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Daniel refused to offer excuses for Israel's behavior. Again, I urge you to read this prayer over and over, because each time you allow Daniel's heart of confession to intertwine with your own, you will be blessed and encouraged in your own Christian walk. Unfortunately, for many modern Christians the idea of true and honest confession is a lost spiritual art. But unless we recapture this spirit of humility, face up to what we've done to distance ourselves from God, and choose to make amends, our own spirits will remain shallow and insensitive to the work that God wants to do in our lives. That's why it is always in our spiritual best interest to spend time reading and applying such verses:
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
These verses are amplified by what we read in..
1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
There is a direct correlation between our unconfessed iniquities and God's blessing for our lives-to the extent that God cannot even hear our cries if repentance is sidetracked. Daniel knew this. That's why his prayer is so powerful, a model for us to follow today. Daniel walked close to God, and the closer he walked, the more he saw the imperfections in himself and in his people because the Spirit of God lived in him.
Gabriel Brings an Answer
20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
The Seventy Weeks
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And 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, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
The Third Heaven
As Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel suddenly appeared before him, offering comfort and understanding to Daniel's troubled heart. Gabriel's purpose was to bring an end to Daniel's inner confusion by imparting to him a new revelation from God. The angel began his conversation by saying something you and I should want to hear more than any other phrase in our language: For thou art greatly loved. Daniel was concluding his prayer when he was surprised by joyous words from God. To have a greater appreciation of this scenario, consider this: Gabriel had been in the third heaven.
2 Corinthians 12:2-3
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
That's billions of light years away-farther than our minds can grasp-and yet Gabriel now stands before Daniel, arriving in a flash-in nanoseconds.
Here's just how far Gabriel flew to arrive at Daniel's side. We're told that our astronauts would have to travel for forty thousand years at terrific speeds to get to the first star. But that would be just the first leg of their inter-galactic journey if they traveled onward to the third heaven-God's throne. There are billions, trillions, quadrillions, and quintillions of stars beyond that as we go higher and higher.
To confound us yet furthest scientists have now discovered a new quasar that is some eighty-two trillion billion miles out in space. And it becomes even more mind-boggling. We know that light travels at a rate of 186,000 miles per second, so when a scientist talks about a light year, that's the speed light travels at that velocity for twelve consecutive months, or a distance of six trillion miles.
Now stay with me. You and I could travel thirteen and one-half billion light years and still not arrive at the third heaven-God's throne. It's incomprehensible. Just as Gabriel moved from the dimension of the third heaven to Daniel's side in an instant, so will we be able to move, at the speed of light, in our glorified bodies as we sweep through space-identical to the speed angels traverse the heavenlies.
The Significance of the Seventy Weeks
In this new revelation delivered by Gabriel, Daniel learned, sadly, that God would continue to punish Israel for at least seventy more sevens of years beyond the end of the Babylonian captivity-a number that gives us, as noted earlier, the only Old Testament prophecy that speaks of the precise hour of Messiah's first coming. It's fascinating that it was to be Gabriel who, several centuries later, would also deliver the good news of Messiah's conception and birth to a young virgin by the name of Mary.
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
We now come to one the most important prophecies in all of Scripture-a prediction to be applied exclusively to Israel and to the holy city of Jerusalem. First, let's look at the meaning of the phrase, Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people. The amount of actual time covered by this prophecy is 490 years-literally, seventy sevens. The question from scholars has always been, Are these 490 units of time years, days, months, or weeks? The math only works if these units are seen as years. So for this prophecy to be fulfilled, Messiah would have to arrive-for the first time- before the 490 units would end. Remember that the 490 years began in 445 B.C.
Now this question: What was the purpose of the 70 weeks of chastisement? The Jews had a Sabbath day which they were to honor by law. They had the freedom to work for six days, and then rest on the Sabbath, just as God had patterned His work of creation. He created the world in six days.
Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.,
and rested on the seventh day.
Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
However, the Jews not only had sabbatical days on the seventh day of the week, but they also celebrated sabbatical years.
According to Leviticus 25:1-7
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
7 And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.,
They were to let their land lie fallow-unused, unplanted-every seventh year. But in their greed they said in their hearts something to the effect, This is not a very good deal for us. We're going to lose money, so let's not listen to God. We'll go ahead and plow and plant and harvest on the seventh year, regardless of what God or the law tells us to do.
Because of their spiritual treachery, the Jewish people paid dearly for their 490 years of disobedience. God chastened the Jews by sending them into cruel bondage for the equivalent of seventy sabbatical years-a total of 490 years- according to the 360-day Jewish calendar.
Jeremiah predicted this judgment of seventy years falling on the Jews.
9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
The die was now cast. Israel would be punished during those seventy weeks (490 years)-a punishment that would be administered because of the following reasons Daniel 9:24:To finish the transgression. As we've already noted, the Jews did not allow the land to rest for seventy sabbaticals-a 490 year period. Now when Messiah comes, He restores them to their land permanently. They were removed from the land as the transgression required, but now He returns to settle the debt, and provides for His people permanent restoration.
Zechariah 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
To make an end of sins. The corporate sins of the nation of Israel will come to an end at the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Jews, as all other people, have sinned, and their transgressions would be paid for by the blood of Jesus shed at Calvary. Because this provision has been made, Messiah comes to announce that the sin that brought all the judgment upon them has been removed.
Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
To make reconciliation for iniquity. During this seventy-week period, God has made redemption available through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Zechariah 12:10 says, And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
And to bring in everlasting righteousness. This speaks of the return of Christ at the end of the 490 years. At this time He establishes His kingdom, returning as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Finally, the world becomes a wonderful place, described in joyful terms in Isaiah 35:8: And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
This is what Revelation 21:27 speaks of when it refers to this holy city that hovers above the earth.
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
It is a place of righteousness. Nothing can enter that defiles or makes the celestial city unholy. The message here is this: We cannot-and will not- have a perfect world until Jesus comes and binds Satan for a thousand years.
To seal up the vision and prophecy. Daniel was instructed to seal the vision until the time of the end. Now-as you read these words-we are approaching that time, and for that reason we're able to explain it, unseal it, and see its depth with Spirit-led understanding. I trust you are catching a glimpse of just how close we are to that great day. Until now- for centuries, actually-we have struggled to see through a darkened glass, but now the truth of Daniel's vision is becoming clearer by the day. We are not at the final time yet, but we are getting very close. Then, once Messiah returns, prophecy will be forever finished because there will be nothing left to predict. The Son of Man-the radiant Lord Jesus Christ-will be in our midst, and all prophecy will be sealed permanently.
To anoint the most Holy. This is a reference to Ezekiel 4:1-46, where the prophet talks about the anointing of the Holy of Holies in the millennial temple. When the Lord Jesus returns, Yahweh the Father says,
Psalm 2:6 I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
Just as God's priests in the Old Testament and His servants in the New Testament were anointed for holy service, so Jesus Christ the Prince-the King of Kings- will be anointed for the centuries to come. At this point I'm going to quote a verse that is the greatest prophecy ever recorded, proving that God alone could have written this book. Why? Because we now come to the exact day that is prophesied in these texts. Verse 25 reads, Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Let's review the significance of this verse in the context of
1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.
2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.
6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.
7 Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;
8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.
We learn that some of the Jews who had visited their homeland were disturbed because their nation was in such disarray. That's why they requested that the city of Jerusalem-including the wall-be rebuilt. With that background, let's consider Nehemiah 2:1 to investigate the chronology of dates mentioned. And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king.
The Encyclopedia Britannica says this king came to power in 465 B.C. But now it's Artaxerxes' twentieth year of rule, which takes us down to 445 B.C. Here's the arithmetic: 465 minus 20 = 445 B.C. This is the month Nisan, but no date is given. That is not, however, an issue because Jewish custom tells us that whenever there is no date we are to assume it is always the first day. This means it is the first day of Nisan, 445 B.C. Translated into our modern calendar, that's March 14, 445 B.C. That is the beginning point of the rebuilding of the wall and city of Jerusalem-a task that had to be completed in seven weeks or, literally, forty-nine years. And it happened right on schedule.
King Jesus Will Reign
However, there is a second part to this prophecy that refers to the presentation of Jesus Christ as King. Note there are two princes in this text: The first is Jesus, who will reign as the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The second prince is a Roman general who invades Jerusalem. Here, we are talking about the first Prince-Jesus Christ-who will be cut off after seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, for a total of sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years.
Now, we take the 483 years and multiply it by the Jewish method of reckoning-which is 360 days in a year. Do you know what 483 times 360 is? 173,880 days. From the date that Nehemiah said, You may go ahead and rebuild your wall and Jerusalem (March 14, 445 B.C.) to the day that Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey (April 6, 32 A.D.) exactly 173,880 days had passed. Now do you believe that prophecy is right on? If the Jews had only studied their Old Testament prophecy, they would have known that Jesus was their Messiah.
This is why Jesus said to His people, the Jews, in Luke 19:42 If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hidden from thine eyes.
Day 173,880 was the crowning day, and Jewish minds did not grasp it-nor did they accept their Messiah. If God could prove-as we've just outlined-the precise arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem, is there any question that the remainder of the prophecies in the Book of Daniel will be fulfilled?
As we come to the close of this most important prophetic chapter in the Bible, we also need to deal with the content of verse 26 that speaks of the prince who will come to destroy the city and the sanctuary. This prince was Vespasian and his son Titus-Roman generals who in 70 A.D. marched on Jerusalem and murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews, again destroying the city.
Here we see a similarity between the treachery of this father and son and an earlier tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes, because all three are types of the Antichrist who will rise to power in the last days. But here Vespasian and Titus are highlighted because they are Roman princes. Later, the Antichrist will come as an international leader out of a revived Roman Empire that is presently expanding and wielding influence just as Daniel predicted. For this and many more reasons-all documented by God's Word-we are dogmatic when we say that our era of time could definitely be what Daniel called the time of the end.
Now what about the apparent gap that exists between verses 26 and 27-a gap of some two thousand years? This is an important period of time, because without it, we would be forced to see these events taking place within a limited period of 490 days, instead of 490 years. The former would be impossible. There are skeptics who scoff that a gap between these verses is a man-made theory. However, the Bible states emphatically that there will be a period of time-a gap-between Jesus' first and second coming.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful (Virgin Birth), Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The government was not upon His shoulder the first time He came to Jerusalem.
When Jesus Christ comes again-the second time-that's when the government will be upon His shoulder, as He rules and reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords for a period of one thousand years.
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
By the time we reach verse 27, the Antichrist is already in full power, and Daniel's seventieth week is in effect. It begins when this evil one confirms his peace contract with Israel. This is the start of the seventieth week, and the beginning of the seven year period of Tribulation. The Antichrist deceives a gullible world by confirming the covenant with many-first with Israel- for one week, one shabua-or seven years.
The information I am about to present is vitally important. If the first sixty-nine weeks, or shabuas, total 483 years or 173,880 days on the Jewish calendar annually, and this prophecy was fulfilled in every detail on the final day-then the final week or Hebrew shabua, the last seven-year period of 2,520 days, will also be fulfilled right up to the exact moment.
That's why Revelation 11:2 and 13:5 mention forty-two months, and Revelation 11:3 and 12:6 cite 1,260 days as one-half of the Tribulation period.
Revelation 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
Revelation 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Revelation 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Revelation 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
Then in the middle of that shabua-after forty-two months- the Antichrist causes the sacrifices to cease. Antiochus Epiphanes, a predecessor and forerunner of the soon-coming global dictator, previously did this centuries ago when he stomped out the Jewish sacrifices and desecrated the Jewish temple.
The Rebuilding of the Temple
How could such an act be perpetuated in our day without the existence of a temple? Here's the answer. Israelites are talking about rebuilding the temple in our day. I encourage you to read your newspapers and weekly magazines with spiritual eyes in the days ahead because even now building materials are being gathered and temple utensils created for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. When the new temple is erected, all will go relatively well for a while, but then, midway into the Tribulation hour, the Antichrist will sit proudly on that temple throne and claim to be the world's god.
2 Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
The false prophet will create an image in the likeness of the Antichrist.
Revelation 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
All mankind will be commanded to fall down and worship the beast of the revived Roman Empire mentioned in Daniel 7:8, just as Nebuchadnezzar commanded the people of Babylon to bow down and worship him.
If, during the Tribulation period, the people do not bow to the Antichrist and give him full allegiance, they will be killed Revelation 13:15,
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
When the pagan tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes set up his pagan deities in the place of the most high God, and put a sow on the temple altar, it was called the abomination that maketh desolate.
Daniel 11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
Daniel 12:11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Now, more than two thousand years later, the Antichrist will also set up an image called the abomination of desolation according to the statements of Jesus in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14.
Why? Because he is defiling God's holy temple. The Jews revere their holy temple-the Antichrist mocks it and them by breaking one of the Jews' commandments concerning the placing of an idol in the temple.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
At this point their long sought-for temple again becomes desolate because of the abominable idol therein.
The Calm before the Storm
Jesus, in Matthew 24:15-21
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Why flee? Because Satan's final forty-two months are about to be unleashed globally, and he's filled with wrath.
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Then Turkey marches and the abomination of desolation (or image) is set up in the temple during this final three-and-one-half-year period known as the Great Tribulation. Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
It is the time of the end.
Daniel 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
This revelation and interpretation of the vision delivered to Daniel by the angel Gabriel was a two-edged sword: one of gloom and doom; the other of hope. Gloom, because the Antichrist is about to appear. Hope, because Christ destroys him with the brightness of His coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Today, we are seeing what can only be called the calm before the storm. History is not yet complete, but the handwriting is on the wall for those who have eyes to see.