The prophecies of Ezekiel are written to the Jews, and those of Daniel bring in secular events that involve Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Look at Ezekiel 37, which tells of the restoration of Israel out of the ashes of history to become a sovereign nation—so created by a decree of the United Nations.
In Ezekiel 37, the prophet sees a valley of dry bones that began to take on flesh and sinews in restoration (verse 6). Promise fulfilled—Ezekiel 37:11-14. We can date this event over the period of about 1870 to May 14, 1948, when Jews began to return to the land until its birth in one day as a new nation.
Now look at Luke 21:28-33 for the update to the present time:
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
“Then He spoke to them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.'” (Underscored for emphasis—it is not the generation of the first century, but that one in which these things will happen and are happening.)
The next thing mentioned in Ezekiel after the dry bones become alive again is in Ezekiel 37:26: “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.” (Is that sanctuary a reference to the Messiah?) This promise clearly indicates that God will not ever turn from His chosen people of Abraham and not complete His plan for them. In other words, there is no such thing as a valid “replacement theology.”
Parallel with this promise in Ezekiel is that of Daniel 9:27, which says this one who arises from the heritage of the Romans will “confirm a covenant with many for one week (of seven years).” The Jews will endorse this one because its perpetrator is seen as their friend, even as perhaps the Messiah to come, especially since he also authorizes the rebuilding of their temple. (And he has no nail holes in his hands or feet.)
Notice that these two promises are events that deal with the Jews. In order for the one in Daniel to happen, something must happen that will allow that one of Roman heritage to appear with authority to confirm a covenant and allow the Jews to rebuild their temple.
This one of Roman heritage, therefore, cannot be one coming out of obscurity suddenly to gain the authority required for these things; certainly not. Something dramatic must take place.
What is missing? It is an event that is not Jewish related, not a Jewish event—the Rapture, of course. It is a non-Jewish happening, for it is the “snatching out” of all the believers in Christ to allow the Antichrist to be revealed, the culmination of that “falling away” prediction in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7. Therefore, the reading of 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 has two parts, as, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (then the break-in events and the Rapture occurs, and the prophecy turns to its focus on the Jews, saying, “For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety,’ sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they shall not escape.”
The narrative goes back to those who are in the Rapture, saying in verses 4-5: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”
The labor pains of a pregnant woman continue until the baby is born; therefore, that comparison may well be pointing to the seven years of tribulation, truly that 70th year of Daniel’s earlier prophecy in Daniel 9; for that period is purely for God’s promise of judgment for the Jews.
Back to Ezekiel again, we find no mention of a Rapture after God’s promise of an everlasting covenant, but that prophecy goes right to the coming Gog-Magog invasion of Israel. Daniel does not identify this event, unless it is included in the “sudden destruction” mentioned by Paul. Daniel does not name it as Ezekiel does. Thus, we see “wars and rumors of wars” mentioned in the prophetic accounts told by Jesus, but not with specific names, such as 1st and 2nd world wars. It is interesting that Daniel continues with actions of this new arrival, the Antichrist, while Ezekiel goes directly to the Gog-Magog war, followed directly with rebuilding the Jewish temple, beginning in Ezekiel 40.
Despite opinions to the contrary, it does appear that the flow of end-time events is basically in chronological order. The authority for the judgment of the tribulation period is determined in Revelation 5, and 6 is a preview of what will happen in those times ahead. Jesus, the Christ, opens each seal which reveals the content of the future judgments, with seal five featuring the main issue of the first half of the seven years, the ministry and results of the 144,000 young Jewish evangelists, reported in Revelation 7.
The sixth seal depicts the Great Tribulation when the Satan-empowered Antichrist activates the Mark of the Beast and those who do not take the mark are methodically slaughtered. Zachariah 13:8 reports that two-thirds of the Jews are killed, but God intervenes, and one-third of them are saved from Satan’s wrath (see Rev. 12:13-14).
Along with this, as those times wind down, we are told of the marriage banquet of the Lamb, followed by a final battle when forces of evil are defeated, the Antichrist and his false prophet are cast alive into the lake of fire, and Satan is bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. This begins the millennium, meaning a thousand years with Christ personally ruling the world “with a rod of iron” from His throne in Zion, the city of David, in Jerusalem. Contrary to growing opinion (apparently), I am certain that God knows how long a millennium is, for sure. But of course, believers of today and the past will not be here to experience those events.
In conclusion, it is clear that God is not confused with all of these intricate details in the Word, but the student must search them out while keeping in mind the total attributes of God. One timely reminder from Jude 1:3, which obligates us to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints,” is that Jude made that declaration before the end of that first century. It was after that century that the development of so many false doctrines and deviations from that true body of faith has occurred. Mankind thinks he has the ability and right to “improve” on what is the eternal Word of God. Again, it brings to mind Proverbs 9:10, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
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