The End Times According To Daniel – Part One :: by Jack Kelley

From about 1,000 to 900 BC Israel had been the most feared and admired nation on Earth.  Then, following Solomon’s death and the civil war that ensued, the nation had fallen from its exalted position into a kingdom divided over idolatry.Israel’s enemies saw their chance and took it.  First the Northern Kingdom was conquered in 701BC by Assyria and then the Southern Kingdom was carried away into slavery 100 years later at the hands of the King of Babylon.

Thus began The Times Of The Gentiles.  Also known as Gentile Dominion, it will span over 2600 years from the Babylonian Captivity to the MillennialKingdom.  Jesus said, “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 20:24) and so it has been. Israel’s reunification of the City of Jerusalem in June of 1967 and the events of our time are signs that the end of Gentile Dominion is upon us.

Daniel 2 and 7 give us two different views of Gentile world government during this period, man’s and God’s. As you can imagine they’re substantially different. We’ll look at things from man’s perspective first.

Our study opens in chapter 2 as Daniel, having been taken hostage to Babylon as a teenager, soon finds himself fighting for his life.  If he can’t interpret the King’s troubling dream, he and his friends will be brutally executed.  There’s just one catch.  The King won’t tell him what the dream was.

Fortunately there is One who will.  Let’s look in.

Daniel 2:26-49 
The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”

Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these: (Daniel 2:26-28)

Daniel had prayed that God would reveal the dream and its interpretation to him. Reasoning that God would not have brought him to a place of influence in the court of Israel’s conqueror just to be executed, he has committed himself to meet the king’s impossible challenge and asked for God’s help. Now it’s show time.

“As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.  As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind. (Daniel 2:29-30) The King’s motives are revealed.  He’s refused to disclose the dream’s contents because he doesn’t trust his advisors.  Someone who can tell him both the dream and its interpretation will have proven himself both knowledgeable and trustworthy.

“You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.  The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.  While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 3:31-35) There’s the dream.  I can imagine that the King was on the edge of his throne staring intently into Daniel’s eyes as he came to the realization that Daniel had just described his dream to the last detail.  In fact, I’ll bet that Daniel had the entire court’s full attention, because one look at the King’s face told them that he was saving their lives as well as his own.  Now for the interpretation.

“This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.  You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. (Daniel 2:36-38)  Babylon was the country we know as Iraq today.  Jeremiah, a contemporary of Daniel’s who wrote from Jerusalem had told envoys from each of Israel’s neighbors that God was giving them two choices; surrender to the King of Babylon and live, or fight and die. God had chosen King Nebuchadnezzar to punish Israel’s enemies for their past treacheries at the same time He’s bringing His promised judgment upon Israel. (Jeremiah 27:1-11)  As a result, Babylon will wind up ruling the entire Middle East including parts of Egypt.  But Daniel has just informed the King that any place on Earth that he desires will be given into his hands. Even the animals have been made subject to him.  Nebuchadnezzar, representing Babylon, is the statue’s head of gold.

“After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.  Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.  Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay.  As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle.  And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. (Daniel 2:39-43) The advantage of history makes accurately interpreting this passage possible for us.  Babylon was conquered by a coalition of the Medes (today’s Kurds) and the Persians (Iran) at the end of the seventy year period set aside for Israel’s captivity.  They’re the chest and arms of silver.  The Greek armies under Alexander conquered Persiaand are represented by the belly and thighs of bronze.  The legs of iron are the Eastern and Western divisions of the Roman Empire that displaced the Greeks, and from this point on we’ve switched from history to prophecy. The Roman Empire was never really conquered, but collapsed from the weight of its own decay, transforming itself from a political entity to a religious one in the process.  The Holy Roman Empire held sway over the known world well into the middle ages.  Since then various components have had their time in the sun,Spain, England, and England’s colony, the USA.

That leaves the 10 toes, a kingdom not yet in power whose arrival on the world scene will be characterized by a coming together and splitting apart of components uncomfortable with each other.  This describes the European Union, 22 nations consisting of just 10 permanent full partners with 12 associate members at various levels of short of full acceptance. While seemingly unified, they’ve also come close to falling apart altogether, such as during their currency crisis a few years back and more recently the defeat of their constitution.

But don’t forget, in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream the statue had two legs, pointing to the Roman Empire’s two components.  The Eastern one was comprised of much of today’s Islamic world. The Western one is called the EU today.   Sometime soon we should see some kind of accommodation made to effectively but imperfectly unite these two legs. Perhaps the rampant “islamization” of Europeis an early sign of this.

In the King James Version, Daniel 2:43 reads, “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”

Miry clay apparently refers to pottery made of the recycled shards or broken pieces of different kinds of pottery ground into dust again and mixed with water to make a clay like substance. It was very brittle and easily broken apart. InNebuchadnezzar’s dream it’s meant to symbolize the difficulty the end times Empire represented by the ten toes will have in staying together.

But then verse 43 says “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men” Who is they? Is Daniel telling us that some non-human beings will attempt to join up with humans, or even mix themselves into the human gene pool? And if so, that they’ll have a hard time remaining united? We can’t tell, but some scholars say we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the return of the Nephilim is prophesied by this verse.

By the way, the King James Version of Daniel 2:43 reads, “And whereas thousawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.”

Miry clay apparently refers to pottery made of the recycled shards or broken pieces of different kinds of pottery ground into dust again and mixed with water to make a clay like substance. It was very brittle and easily broken apart. InNebuchadnezzar’s dream it’s meant to symbolize the difficulty the end times Empire represented by the ten toes will have in staying together.

But then verse 43 says “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men” Who is they? Is Daniel telling us that some non-human beings will attempt to join up with humans, or even mix themselves into the human gene pool? And if so, that they’ll have a hard time remaining united? We can’t tell, but some scholars say we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the return of the Nephilim is prophesied by this verse.

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.  This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.

“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.” (Daniel 2:44-45)

But just when it looks like the 10 toes are finally becoming cohesive and are consolidating their power, the Lord will bring His greatest and final judgment upon the Earth.  Every last vestige of the Gentile kingdoms will be destroyed, and the Lord Himself will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.  Nor will it ever fall into the hands of others.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him.  The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”

Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.  Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court. (Daniel 2:46-49) And so begins Daniel’s remarkable career as chief advisor to first the King of Babylon, and then the King of Persia.

I said earlier that this vision represents man’s view of Gentile Dominion, represented by shiny and precious metals.  While each metal is less valuable than its predecessor, representing a decline in the quality of life, each one is also less malleable, harder and therefore stronger, representing increased power.

Next we’ll look at these same four kingdoms from God’s perspective, and as I told you, it’ll be way different.

Daniel 7:1-14
Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.

Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. The events of chapter 7 occurred 50 years later.  Belshazzar was Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, and Daniel was now an old man.  The four winds of heaven symbolize a sovereign act of God, and the fact that these beasts come up from the sea hints that they represent the wickedness of Gentile Dominion. (Isaiah 57:20-21)

“The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it. (Dan. 7:4) Babylon’s symbol was the winged lion.  Being made into a man makes it representNebuchadnezzar.

5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’ (Dan. 7:5) The bear symbolizes the Medo-Persian coalition.  Though Media was the senior partner Persiabecame the stronger, which is shown by one side being raised above the other. The three ribs are Persia’s three major conquests, Lydia in 546BC, Babylon in 539, and Egypt in 525.

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. (Dan. 7:6)  The leopard isGreece.  The four wings represent the speed with which Alexander conquered the known world.  It took him only 10 years. The four heads are his four generals who took the kingdom upon Alexander’s death and divided it among themselves.

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. (Dan. 7:7)  This beast is so strange and terrifying to Daniel that it didn’t look like anything he’s seen before.  It’s iron teeth recall the legs of iron from Daniel 2:40. Rome was a powerful Empire that brooked no resistance.  In the reference to the 10 horns we again jump from history to prophecy, from the ancient Roman Empire to its revival in our times.

“While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully. (Dan. 7:8)  Here’s the origin of one of the anti-Christ’s titles, the little horn of Daniel 7.  Notice that he’s not one of the original 10 horns, but comes from among them.  A horn symbolizes power or authority when used symbolically. To me this means that the anti-Christ is not originally part of the recognized leadership, but comes from a   less significant member state outside the power structure to depose three of the existing leaders and assume their authority.  If I’m correct, look for the anti-Christ to burst on the scene suddenly from a previously unimportant segment of the Empire to achieve his position of prominence.

When Daniel approached an angel also observing the things he was seeing, he asked about the fourth kingdom and the little horn and was given this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.  The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.  (Daniel 7:23-25) It’s obviously an End Times reference and includes the 3 ½ year duration of the Great Tribulation during which the Little Horn will gain control of the entire world, taking over from the 10 kings.  As Paul later confirmed he will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped. (2 Thes. 2:4)  And as Revelation 13:7 tells us he’ll make war against Tribulation believers and overcome them.

“As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him.  Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.  The court was seated, and the books were opened. (Dan. 7:9-10)  But while the anti-Christ consolidates his power on Earth, a Greater Power is setting His plan into motion in Heaven.  The lines are being drawn for the climactic battle for Planet Earth. The “thousands upon thousands” attending Him likely represent the angelic host.  Ten thousand was the biggest number they had in those days, so Daniel used that number multiplied by itself to describe a multitude no one count, perhaps a reference to the Raptured Church.  John borrowed this illustration to describe the scene before the throne in Rev. 5:11.

And notice the plural thrones.  Daniel’s having a peek at the End Times and sees a hint of the thrones of the 24 elders.  None of the other Old Testament views of God’s Throne mention these thrones because they all occur in real time. This little insight argues against the opinion some theologians hold that the 24 thrones are occupied by an otherwise unidentified order of angels who assist God in governing the Universe. The fact that they don’t appear in Old Testament accounts, but do when the End of the Age is the context implies that another level of government has been added since the cross.  It could only be the Church.

“Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.  (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) (Daniel 7:11-12) Back on Earth, the Great Tribulation is summarized in two verses.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14) And finally, the culmination of human history.  Dominion over Planet Earth, which Adam lost to Satan,  has been regained by the Son of God, never to be lost again. He’ll rule and reigh with His Church forever.

A period in man’s history seen from his perspective as a beautiful statue of shiny and precious metals is described by God as it really is, a series of voracious beasts who oppress and devour mankind and oppose every effort by God to free us. You and I have come in on the tail end of this.  We weren’t here to see it’s beginning like Daniel was, but because of his description we’re better able to recognize our world for what it is and correctly identify the signs that tell us that the end is near.

The End Times According To Daniel – Part Two :: by Jack Kelley

Two years after Daniel’s vision of the four beasts that we described in chapter 7, he had another vision, this one of a ram and a goat.  As we’ll see, it was intended to give both him and us more detail on the things to come, because the vision has a dual fulfillment.  For Daniel this vision was all in the future, but for us the first fulfillment is now history, assuring the final one, still in our future.

Daniel 8
Daniel’s Vision of a Ram and a Goat
In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susain the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal. I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great. (Daniel 8:1-4)

The year was 551 BC.  It was 16 years before the fall of Babylon to the Medo-Persian coalition.  Susa was 230 miles east of Babylon in modern day Iran and would become the capital of the Persian Empire. Both Daniel and Nehemiah lived there, as did Queen Esther.  Today it’s known as Shush.  An unusual white cone shaped stone there marks the traditional resting place of Daniel.  In addition to the Persian Jews, many Shiite Moslems who also revere the prophet visit his grave to this day.

The King of Persia wore a ram’s head crown into battle, so the ram with two horns represents Medo-Persia. The longer horn that grew up later is the Persian component of the coalition that eventually became dominant. (The Angel Gabriel will confirm the identities of both animals for us later in the chapter.) As we’ve noted before Media was home to the Kurds of today while Persia has become Iran. Together these two conquered an area extending from Pakistan in the East to Greece in the West and to the shores of the Black and Caspian Seasin the North and ruled it for 200 years, until about 330 BC.  A Royal Road ran from Susa all the way to Sardis in Western Turkey bringing goods from theMediterranean to the capital city.

As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage.  I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power.  The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. (Daniel 8:5-8)

The one horned goat was the symbol of Phillip of Macedon, father to Alexander the Great.  The Persians had humiliated Phillip, and Alexander built a powerful army to exact revenge.  To unite the warring factions of Eastern Europe against the Persians, Alexander invented a new language, called Common Greek, so they could all speak together and settle their real and imagined grievances. Showing the Persians no mercy, he soundly defeated Darius III’s 200, 000 man army at the Battle of Guagamela in 331 BC with only 35,000 troops of his own. He was 22 years old.  Seven years later he died in Babylon leaving the empire to be divided among his four generals, Cassander (Macedonia and Greece),Lysimachus (Thrace and Asia Minor), Ptolemy (Israel and Egypt) and Seleucus. (Syria, Lebanon and Jordan)

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?”

He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be re-consecrated.” (Daniel 8:9-14)

Now we fast forward to 175 BC and a descendant of Seleucus named Antiochus IV, called another horn here, who gave himself the name Epiphanes, or Divine One.  By now the Seleucid Empire had grown substantially and included Israel(the Beautiful Land) taken from descendants of Ptolemy.  Antiochus Epiphaneshated the Jews and swore to wipe their religion off the face of the Earth. He almost succeeded.

Arranging to have Israel’s last legitimate High Priest, Onais III, murdered, he began selling the office to the highest bidder, a money-maker that the Romans later adopted as well.  He invaded Israel and took control of Jerusalem and theTemple Mount.  He banned circumcision, the speaking or reading of Hebrew, and possession of the Hebrew Scriptures, burning every copy he could find.  He converted the Temple into a pagan worship center, erecting a statue of Zeus (Jupiter) with his own face on it there, requiring the Jews to worship it on pain of death.  He slaughtered a pig on the holy altar and ordered the priests to do likewise.

This defilement of the Temple rendered it unfit for use by the Jews.  It became known as the Abomination of Desolation and triggered the Maccabean revolt, a successful 3 ½ year long guerrilla action led by Judeas Maccabeas  (Judah the Hammer.) to oust the forces of Antiochus from Israel and restore the Temple for worship.  Because of it, Antiochus Epiphanes has become the clearest type of the anti-Christ, with the Maccabean revolt a model of the Great Tribulation.  For 1150 days (2300 evening and morning sacrifices) the sanctuary lay desolate until it was consecrated again in a ceremony celebrated today as the Feast of Hanukkah.

The Interpretation of the Vision
While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man’s voice from theUlai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.”

As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.”

While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet.

He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.  The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia.  The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king.  The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power. (Daniel 8:15-22)

The Angel Gabriel now comes to explain to Daniel that he’s going to expand the vision to show that there’ll be a repeat of these events on a much larger scale at the time of the end. We’ll see that the “Little Horn” of Daniel 7:8 is the end times fulfillment of the one called “Another Horn” in Daniel 8:9, the one we know as Antiochus Epiphanes.   He begins with the identification of the Ram and Goat and describes the distribution of Alexander’s Kingdom to his four generals. Then he heads straight for “the time of wrath.”

“In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people.  He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. (Daniel 8:23-25)

Remnants of these Empires will endure until the End of the Age when a king like Antiochus will arise, but this one won’t be acting in his own strength. InRev 13:2 we’re told that the Dragon will give him his power.  And unlike Antiochus, who had suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the upstart Romans and was forced to leave Egypt in shame, this king will succeed in everything he does and will be admired by all.  The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.  Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” (Rev. 13:3-4) He’ll come on the scene as a peacemaker, but will wind up with most of the world under his authority, even thinking to go to war against the armies of heaven.  Like his predecessor, he’ll have an unnatural hatred for the Jews and will attempt to wipe them off the face of the Earth.  He too will erect a statue in the Holy Place (Rev. 13:15), calling himself God and demanding worship (2Thes. 2:4). Yet his end will come at the hand of the One who really is the King of the whole Earth.

“The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”

I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding. (Daniel 8:26-27)

Gabriel concluded his interpretation of the vision by implying that the 2300 evenings and mornings will surely come, but the vision’s ultimate fulfillment is for the End Times.  This has been verified in history.  The Temple’s desolation by Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled the prophecy of the evenings and mornings. No such time frame is given us in connection with the Great Tribulation, where the coming Abomination of Desolation is said to last at least 1260 days, and as we’ll see in Chapter 12, perhaps more.

Daniel 9
It’s now about 13 years later, in 538BC. Daniel is an old man by now, probably in his eighties. He’s been in Babylon for nearly 70 years and has learned from reading Jeremiah’s account of the Babylon’s conquest that Israel’s period of captivity was nearly over. God had told Jeremiah that it would last for 70 years, and then Babylon would be defeated and the Jews set free to rebuild their country. (Jeremiah 25:11-12) The reason for this judgment was Israel’s insistence upon worshiping the false gods of their pagan neighbors. Its duration of 70 years came from the fact that for 490 years they had neglected to let their farmland lie fallow one year out of every seven as God had commanded inLeviticus 25:1-7. The Lord had been patient all that time but finally had sent them to Babylon to give the land the 70 years of rest that were due it. (2 Chron. 36:21)

While praying one day, confessing Israel’s sins and reminding God of His promise to restore them, (Daniel 9:1-23) Daniel was visited once again by the Angel Gabriel, who interrupted his prayer to reveal more of Israel’s future, once again expanding the visions of chapters 7 and 8 with a four verse overview of things to come.
Many believe that Daniel 9:24-27 is the most important passage of prophecy in all of Scripture. Almost every mistake I’ve run across in studying the various interpretations of End Times Prophecy can be traced back to a misunderstanding of this passage. Let’s read the whole thing to get the big picture and then take it apart verse by verse.

Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and your Holy City to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until The Anointed One the Ruler comes there will be seven weeks and sixty two weeks. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble. After the sixty two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off and have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue till the end and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. In the middle of the week he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation until the end that is decreed is poured out on him Daniel 9:24-27).

No prophecy in all of Scripture is more critical to our understanding of the end times than these four verses. A few basic clarifications are in order first, and then we’ll interpret the passage verse by verse. The Hebrew word translated weeks (or sevens) refers to a period of 7 years, like our word decade refers to a period of 10 years. It literally means “a week of years.” So 70 weeks is 70 X 7 years or 490 years. This period is divided into three parts, 7 weeks or 49 years, 62 weeks or 434 years, and 1 week or 7 years. Let’s begin.

Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and your Holy City to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy (place) (Daniel 9:24).

These 6 things would be accomplished for Daniel’s people (Israel) and Daniel’sHoly City (Jerusalem) during a specified period of 490 years. I’ve inserted the word “place” after Holy at the end of the verse to clarify the fact that it refers to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuildJerusalem until The Anointed One the Ruler comes there will be seven weeks and sixty two weeks. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble (Daniel 9:25).

Here is a clear prophecy of the timing of the First Coming. When this message was given to Daniel by the Angel Gabriel, Jerusalem had lain in ruin for nearly 70 years and the Jews were captive in Babylon. Counting forward for 62 + 7 periods of 7 years each from a future decree giving the Jews permission to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, they should expect the Messiah. That’s a total of 483 years after the decree is issued.

Here it’s important to distinguish the decree that freed the Jews from their captivity from the one that gave them permission to rebuild Jerusalem.

When he conquered Babylon in 535BC Cyrus the Persian immediately freed the Jews. It had been prophesied 150 years earlier in Isaiah 44:24-45:6 and was fulfilled in Ezra 1:1-4. But according to Nehemiah 2:1 the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given in the first month of the 20th year of his reign by KingArtaxerxes of Persia (March of 445 BC on our calendar, about 90 years later). Exactly 483 years after that the Lord Jesus rode in to Jerusalem on a donkey to shouts of “Hosanna”, on the only day in His life He permitted His followers to proclaim Him as Israel’s King, fulfilling Daniel’s prophecy to the day! The Hebrew in 9:25 calls Him Messiah the Prince, denoting the fact that He was coming as the Anointed Son of the King and was not yet crowned King Himself.

In Luke 19:41-45, He reminded the people of the specific nature of this prophecy. As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” He held them accountable for knowing Daniel 9:24-27.

A few days later He extended that accountability to us. “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand– then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matt 24:15) We are also required to understandDaniel 9 in reference to the Great Tribulation and 2nd Coming.

After the sixty two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off and have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue till the end and desolations have been decreed (9:26).

First came 7 sevens (49 years) and then 62 sevens (434 years) for a total of 69 sevens or 483 years. At the end of this 2nd period their Messiah would be executed (literally destroyed in the making of a covenant) having received none of the honor, glory and blessing the Scriptures promised Him, and the people of a ruler yet to come would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. The Israelites would be scattered abroad and peace would elude the world.

We all know that Jesus was crucified, establishing the New Covenant in the process, and 35 years later the Romans put the torch to the city and the Templedestroying both. Surviving Jews were forced to flee for their lives and in the ensuing 2000 years I don’t believe a single generation has escaped involvement in a war of some kind.

And then something strange happened: The Heavenly clock stopped.  69 of the 70 weeks had passed and all that was prophesied to happen during those 483 years had come to pass but there was still one week (7 years) left. There are hints in the Old Testament that the clock had stopped several times before inIsrael’s history when for one reason or another they were out of the land. And in the New Testament we’re also told that while God is dealing with the Church, time ceases to exist for Israel (Acts 15:13-18). But the clearest indication is that the events foretold in Daniel 9:27 simply haven’t happened yet.

He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. In the middle of the week he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (9:27).

Here is the missing 70th week, but before we try to understand it let’s recall a rule of grammar that will help make our interpretation correct. The rule is this: Pronouns refer to the closest previous noun. “He” being a personal pronoun refers to the closest previous person, in this case the “ruler who will come.” So a ruler who will come from some part of the old Roman Empire will confirm a 7 year treaty with Israel that permits them to build a Temple and re-instate their Old Covenant worship system. 3 1/2 years later he will violate this treaty by setting up an abomination that causes the Temple to become desolate, putting an end to their worship. This abomination brings the wrath of God down upon him and he will be destroyed.  This is the Little Horn of Daniel 7:8 and the endtimes fulfillment of the one called “Another Horn” in Daniel 8:9, first fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes.

The most obvious way in which we know these things haven’t happened is that the Jewish Old Covenant worship system requires a Temple and there hasn’t been one since 70 AD when the Romans destroyed it.

Some say this prophecy was fulfilled during the Roman destruction of 70 AD but most believe it’s yet future, partly because of the term Abomination that causes Desolation. As Gabriel told Daniel, in the time of wrath there would be a second, greater fulfillment of the prophecies from his vision of chapter 8. Another king would arise and repeat the things Antiochus had done, one of which would be to stand in the Temple and declare himself to be God, and demand that the people worship a statue of him.  Jesus said that this event would kick off the Great Tribulation (Matt 24:15-21), and Paul said the anti-Christ would be the one to do it. (2 Thes 2:4)  The blasphemies of Antiochus had not been specifically repeated when the Romans destroyed the Temple, and there hasn’t been another Temple since.  The similarities between this coming event and the one from history being so obvious, most scholars are persuaded that one points to the other since nothing in the intervening years fits so completely.

Soon And Very Soon
Following a devastating war in the Middle East, a new leader will soon emerge on the scene. With great personal charisma and a plan end to all wars, he will captivate and control the world. Since all true believers will have recently disappeared from Earth, he’ll have no trouble persuading most remaining inhabitants that he is the promised Messiah, the Prince of Peace. He will astound and amaze them all with feats of diplomacy and conquest, even performing the supernatural. But when he claims to be God, all hell will break loose on Earth and 3 1/2 years of the most terrible times mankind has ever known will threaten their very existence.

But before they’re all destroyed the real Prince of Peace will return and overthrow this imposter. He will set up His kingdom on earth, a kingdom that will never be conquered nor left to another. Having given His life to finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness and bring in everlasting righteousness, and having fulfilled all Biblical vision and prophecy, He will anoint the most Holy Place and receive all the honor, glory and blessing the Scriptures promised Him. Israel will finally have her Kingdom restored and will live in peace with God in her midst, and you and I as the bride of the Christ will rule and reign with Him forever.

If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.