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Daniel 9:24-27 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:59 mins 29 secs

Daniel 9 and the Tribulation

 

The primary way to organise the information in Revelation chapters four through nineteen has to do with chronology. What is the basic chronology that we run into in these chapters? We have to go back to the Old Testament. Much of the book of Revelation is built on the Old Testament. In fact we can't understand the symbols and what is being taught there if we don't have an understanding of what was revealed in the Old Testament because in the Old Testament God was revealing His plan and purposes to Israel. In the process Isaiah, Jeremiah Ezekiel, Daniel, the Minor Prophets, and all of the different give a tremendous amount of information that God revealed to Israel about their future destiny and a future kingdom. All of this is pulled together and all of the loose strands are tied up in the book of Revelation. 

 

We have to understand some key passages, the first being Daniel chapter nine, verses 24-27, and the next thing that really expands on that is in the framework of Matthew chapter twenty-four, known as the Olivet Discourse. In the Olivet Discourse Jesus is answering the question of His disciples, What are the signs of your coming? The answer to that question is the content of the Olivet Discourse where Jesus is answering about the signs of His coming—not the Rapture but the Second Coming. In vv. 2ff we see this discourse on the Tribulation, and we will see that in that discourse Jesus divides the Tribulation into two periods. The first 14 verses He defines as the beginning of sorrows, of birth pangs, and then in the second part of His discourse He describes the second half of the Tribulation as the great Tribulation. What separates the first half from the second half is the event known as the abomination of desolation, and this becomes the event in the Tribulation period that gives us the clue as to how to organise the data that we will get into regarding the events in Revelation. So from the chronological anchor points from Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 we will then be able to understand the structure and the chronology of the Tribulation in Revelation 4-19.

 

In Daniel chapter nine Daniel has been focusing in his prayer on confession of the national sin of Israel prior to their being taken out under the fifth cycle of discipline in 586, and he has been studying a reading in Jeremiah and has come to understand what the time frame would be of their discipline—70 years, and he is seeking information about when God would return the people to their land. In answer to that God gives him a revelation that is going to outline the future (to him) of Israel all the way to the Second Co0ming of Jesus Christ. The subject of this prophecy relates to "your people," the Jews, and "your holy city," Jerusalem. It is not about the church or the church age, there is no mention of the church in this prophecy. It is all about God's plan and purposes for Israel.

Daniel 9:20 NASB "Now while 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 in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, [21] while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in {my} extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. [22] He gave {me} instruction and talked with me and said, 'O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight [wisdom] with understanding." He is going to give Daniel a major prophecy. This is one of the most significant prophecies in all of Scripture. One thing we should get out of this is that God is a God of precision and a God of detail. And just as he is a God of precision and detail in His plans and His purposes in how He has structured human history He is a God of details and precision in our lives as well, and so He is the one who can be trusted with the details of our lives.

Daniel 9:23 NASB "At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell {you,} for you are highly esteemed; so give heed [consider the matter] to the message and gain understanding of the vision." That is something that applies to us in that we are to go to Scripture and to think about the Scripture. We are not just supposed to open it up as if God gives us the answers right there.

We have an overview of the seventy weeks in Daniel 9:24. These seventy weeks are actually 490 years decreed for the nation Israel. Then in 9:25 we will see that the period is divided into basically two blocks. The first block is a block of 69 weeks (483 years) and then in v. 26 we will see that there is a gap of time between the 69th week and the 70th week. We don't know how long that gap is but the text is clear that there is a gap of time between the 483rd years and the 484th year. God has His stop watch and he stopped it the day Christ died on the cross and he doesn't click it again to start the clock running for those last seven years until the beginning of the seventieth week. This is describes in 9:27.  

Daniel 9:24 NASB "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy {place.} [25] So you are to know and discern {that} from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince {there will be} seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress." This is not given to get Daniel to somehow scratch his head and wonder what is going on, it is God revealing Himself to make something clear. The word "revelation" means to disclose or uncover. He doesn't reveal things in order to confuse us, they are given in order that we may know or discern something. The focus here is about a time of the final building of Jerusalem as refortified, with the walls up and in a defensive posture; not just sending the Jews back to the land, which is what occurred under Cyrus, but a decree to finish the rebuilding of all of its fortifications.

Daniel 9:26 NASB "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end {will come} with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined." The Messiah was cut off and then at least 35 years went by before the prince who was to come destroyed the city and the sanctuary. That occurred when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. [27] "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations {will come} one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." The point to be made here is that this last week, the 70th, is called one week. It is divided into two halves, and in the middle there is an abomination that takes place, the "abomination of desolation."

The first issue is the chronology. What are the 70 weeks? Literally in the Hebrew it is a 70 periods of seven or seventy sevens. Seventy groups of seven is going to equal 490 years. That is the framework within which we are talking. Why 490 years? As Daniel has been meditating on Jeremiah 25:11 and 29:10 he recognises that part of the purpose for Israel being removed from the land had to do with the violation of the sabbatical years. They had violated 70x7 sabbatical years = 490 years. So this was looking at the past chronology related to the 490 years, so that is where the 490 comes from and it is related to the future. Again we can be impressed with God's precision in time, it is not just something that happens willy-nilly. So the 490 years are related to the past failures of Israel and this has been brought over and applied to this future chronology.

Six things are accomplished and all of these six things relate to Israel. First, "to finish the transgression." That is Israel's rebellion, their idolatry in the Old Testament; second, "to make an end of sin," Israel's sin and rejection of the Messiah; third, "to make atonement for iniquity," in relation to Israel; fourth, "to bring in everlasting righteousness," that occurs in the Millennial kingdom; "to seal up vision and prophecy," brining to a culmination the prophecies related to Israel; and sixth, "to anoint the most holy {place}," and that is the establishment of the Millennial temple as described by Ezekiel in chapters 40ff. These things are accomplished within this 490-year period, but they weren't all accomplished in the first 483 years and do not become finally fulfilled until the last week.

The 70 weeks refer to 490 years but we have to find the starting point. Over a period of time people have suggested four different decrees but only one works. The first was a decree of Cyrus on October 29th, 539 BC, for Zerubbabel to take a group of Jews from Babylon back to the land. They didn't actually get back for another year or so. But that is not it because it doesn't relate to rebuilding the city walls and moat. There was another decree from Darius in 518 for a second group to go back and to complete the building of the temple, and it is finished in 516. Then there is another decree from Artaxerxes Longimanus to Ezra in 457 BC, but once again they did not build the fortifications around Jerusalem. The fourth decree was given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-8) for him to take a group back and to finish rebuilding the walls. We can date that decree precisely in history to March 5th, 444 BC.

The 69 weeks end when the Messiah is cut off, and we know that on March 30th in AD 33, which is before the death of Jesus, Jesus entered into Jerusalem, Luke 21:38-44. This was the triumphal entry which coincided with the day of presentation prior to the Passover. Four days before Passover (14th of Nisan) the Passover lambs were to be presented for observation to make sure that they were without spot or blemish. Once again we see the precision of God's timetable. We know that this is when the 69 weeks ends and then there is a gap of at least 37 years between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the seventieth week. After He enters the Messiah is cut off, and this occurs four days later on April 3rd AD 33, according to that calculation. Then there is a period of time before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple which occurs in August of AD 70. So there is one seven-year period remaining, and the question that has come up is whether this is past or future. There is a no-gap view where people think this has already transpired. They are called preterists.      

The decree to restore occurs on March 5th, 44 BC. When we add the seven plus the 62 we get 69 weeks, and at that time the Messiah has His triumphal entry. All of this adds up to 483 years or 173,880 days. That doesn't relate to a 365-day year; it is only a 360-day year. In the Bible there are various descriptions of the 7-year Tribulation period. It is described as a half a week in Daniel 9:27—3-1/2 years. In Daniel 7:25; 12:7, along with Revelation 12:4 which describes the period of time the regenerate Jews are in the wilderness protected by God, it is referred to by the phrase "time, times, and a half a time"—3-1/2 years. Then in Revelation 12:6 the "time, times and half a time" is referred to as 1260 days. This is described as 42 months in Revelation 11:2; 13:5. So the conclusion is that 42 months = 1260 days. A simple division of the 1260 days by 42 equals 30-day months and each year equals 360 days. If we take a calendar and work from March 5th, 444 BC to March 30th AD 33, we end up with 173,880 days. When we add all this up we are left with the question of what happened to the last seven years.

Daniel 9:26 NASB "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end {will come} with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined." The temple has not yet been built and so we still wait. What this tells us is that this last and 70th week is unfulfilled. This is the period that will begin with the coming prince when, according to verse 27, he will sign a covenant, a contract, a peace treaty with Israel for one week. This covers the seven-year period. At the beginning there is the coming of the prince and at the end there is the return of Jesus Christ. The term "Antichrist" is only used one time in the Scriptures to refer to the person who opposes Jesus and believers during the Tribulation period. In the book of Revelation he is called the first beast. He has various other terms but only once is he called the Antichrist. The prefix "anti" in Greek doesn't have to do with being against, it has to do with substitution. The Antichrist is a substitute Messiah, a political leader who will offer himself as the Messiah. He will claim to be able to accomplish that which Jesus said he would accomplish in terms of brining world-wide peace and prosperity. Up to that time there are going to be hundreds and hundreds of political leaders who are going to present themselves in messianic veins. (The UN has messianic antichrist pretensions) They all manifest the same mentality that the Antichrist of the Tribulation will manifest. We have to be very careful of who we are following in terms of political leadership. The signing of this treaty with Israel begins the seventieth week and it ends with the return of Jesus Christ, the true Messiah. All of this has to do with Israel, not the church.

Daniel 9:27 presupposes three things about the Antichrist. The first is that he will be a Roman prince; he will come out of the old Roman empire. Second, it presupposes the existence of a Jewish nation. Third, there will be a Jewish temple. It doesn't have to be there before the Rapture but it has to be there at least before the mid point of the Tribulation period. After the Rapture God will resume His dealing with Israel for this one seven-year period. Since the first 69 weeks were fulfilled literally and in detail we should expect the final 70th week to be fulfilled literally and in detail.

What begins the Tribulation period is not the Rapture but the signing of this covenant, the peace treaty. The parties of the covenant are the prince who is to come, the Antichrist, and "the many," i.e. the leadership of Israel. So this peace treaty is going to secure peace for Israel. In the first half of the Tribulation the Antichrist is the king of the west, he is a pseudo-Christ. That is why he comes on a white horse. White all through Revelation speaks of righteousness; it is a pseudo-righteousness in his case. During the first half Israel will be in a somewhat protected state. There is an apostate church and an apostate Jewish Levitical system. Then in the second half Israel will be persecuted, there will be a worship of Satan and the Antichrist establishes himself in the temple. The covenant is broken at the mid-point of the Tribulation as the one who is the protector becomes the persecutor, and that leads to the last half of the Tribulation period, a period of three and a half years.

The abomination of desolation appears half way through the Tribulation. It is foreshadowed when Antiochus Ephipanes sacrificed a pig on the altar in 3rd century BC. The only clue that is given is that it has something to do with an idol or image standing in the holy place, according to Daniel 12:11 cf. Matthew 24:15. There will be two stages of the abomination of desolation. The first is the presence of the Antichrist himself in the temple, in the holy of holies (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and then he will replace his own presence with an idol or image that remains there throughout the rest of the Tribulation period. The 70 weeks complete with a complete destruction and judgment on the Antichrist and his kingdom, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:19-21. So there are a number of parallels that we can see between Daniel 9:27 and Revelation.   

Illustrations