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Communion Presbyterian Church ARP

Prophecy Clock

NOTE:  Please enjoy the following resource:  The pastor of Communion Presbyterian discussing eschatology for 2 hours on a local LA radio program = http://www.apologetics.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=320:eschatology-101-repent-the-end-is-possibly-nearer&catid=43:kkla-995-fm-los-angeles&Itemid=74

 

Daniel was a bright Jewish boy, so when King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem just AFTER 600 BC, he took the best and brightest of the Jewish elite and made them policy advisors in his country known as modern day Iraq.

 

Daniel reveals his importance to the king by being able to interpret a dream in Daniel 2.  In fact, the whole book of Daniel moves along as a story of a faithful Jew who serves 4 kings of 3 empires, of which during all this service, Daniel is involved in having several dreams and visions revealed and interpreted.  There is also an interesting construction to the book because a major portion of Daniel, from 2.4 to 7.28, is written in Aramaic as opposed to Hebrew – So there are some audience issues to consider.

 

A favorite dream of mine is the one that King Nebuchadnezzar has in chapter 2 of a huge statue which is made of Gold, starting at the head, and then descending down to the feet with silver, bronze, iron and clay.  Without explanation, a huge rock is hewn out of the mountain without any human hands and rolls down, destroys the statue, and then grows to fill the earth.

 

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure."

 

So Daniel predicts future kingdoms will succeed each other that will lack the luster of the previous; but one day, all of these kingdoms will be wiped away by the activity of God, and the Kingdom he establishes will last forever.

 

A second thematic and important dream comes from chapter 7 about 4 beasts that resemble a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a stomping, iron teethed, 10 horned, monster.  What’s most ominous about this fourth beast is that he is given power to persecute the saints of God for a time, times, and half a time. This final monster is thrown into the fire by the Ancient of Days, and the other beasts lose their dominion.  Finally, a man (not a beast or monster) approaches the Ancient of Days, and he is given eternal dominion and His kingdom will never pass away, and the saints will dwell securely.

 

Chapter 8 is a vision about a 2 horned Ram getting worked by a one horned goat, of which the horn breaks and turns into 4 horns.  From this kingdom of 4 horns, one rises up to defy the God of Israel, and he will seek to destroy the sanctuary courts and the saints of God.  But the Prince of Princes will also arise and this defiant king will be destroyed – but not with human hands.

 

Now, if in hearing these dreams and visions, you heard some similarities in plot points, numbers, and results – hey, you’re receiving a great lesson in interpreting Apocalyptic literature.

 

Now all of this would be pretty amorphous and a speculative experiment in trying to relate these symbols to some time in the past, or to a present reality.  For example, it was pretty clear to the Jews before the advent of Jesus Christ, that these visions were related to Antiochus Epiphany who in fact desecrated the temple (rebuilt by the returning exiles from the former Babylon), slaughtered forty thousand Jews, entered into the Holy of Holies to sacrifice a pig on the altar and also erected an altar to pagan gods. He, burned copies of the Torah and prohibited circumcision and the observance of the Sabbath.  THIS MAN WAS the abomination that caused desolation. 

 

He was defeated by Judas Maccabeaus, and his victory is celebrated with Hanakuh, and gave rise to the political party known as the Pharisees.  Now, Judas Maccabeaus could have well been the Savior to Israel that they had longed for – but something far greater than the Maccabees takes place in Daniel 9 – and what that is specifically is a prophetic clock that completely marks the arrival of the everlasting, world dominating ruler that we have learned to expect from Daniels’s previous visions.

 

Daniel 9:2 (Edited) in the first year of (the reign of Darius the Mede), I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

 

3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession,……. we have rebelled ……. 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11 …..the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.

 

…………..16 "O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, …..Now therefore, …. listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.

 

………….21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, ….came to me …..saying, "…… At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision. 24 "Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression,

 

THIS would make sense that if each week represented a year, and knowing a specific time of discipline was predicted from Jeremiah, being 70 years, that after that seventy years was done, that would be, in a sense, an atoning payment for their transgression.  AND how would the fullness of the atoning work be described? 

 

…to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

 

HEY< that’s a fair deal, we stay in exile for 70 years for our disobedience, but when the 70 years are over, we’ll go back to Jerusalem and become the blessed people of God again!  BUT HOLD ON, the clock hasn’t been set yet, and the weeks have not been defined completely!

 

25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."

 

And here we have the prophetic time clock that starts 70 weeks and ends again with abominations and desolations.  Now that’s discouraging!!  Jerusalem already lies in a state of desolation; but a time will come for an end of sin, atonement for iniquity, everlasting righteousness, the end of vision and prophecy and the anointing of the holy of holies.  When will that time line begin?  When a decree goes out to restore and build Jerusalem.  Was there ever such a decree?  YES

 

We can find decrees to permit the Jewish Exiles to return to Israel and to build up that which had been destroyed

2 Chron 36:22 -- Cyrus king of Persia

The second was the decree of Darius I (Ezra 6). This decree actually was a confirmation of the first decree.

Ezra 7:13-28 -- Persian King Artaxerxes I

 

Now what about the timeline?  It appears that each day of a week represents a year.  So, 7 weeks would = 49 years.  70 weeks = 490 years.  What happens in the first of 3 divisions? 7 weeks or 49 years will transpire from the decree to restore a building campaign.

 

Now, a year is about 365.25 days, and whose to say whose years these weeks are built upon; but most prophecy hounds prefer the decree of Artaxerxes (around 457 BC) to get us closest to the timeline where this makes the most sense (Timeline)

 

25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks.

 

Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.

 

And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.

 

27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."

This is simply a very quick review of the highlights

Jewish Eschatological Hope = troubles, gathering messiah, eternal kingdom, God would dwell with His people.

  • The Book of Daniel has several visions and dreams – some specific ones are revealed to point out that worldly rulers will have their day, but a final Anointed One would come to establish an eternal kingdom!
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  • The prohetic clock fixes the fulfilment on a 490 time period that brings us Jesus (Comment on John the B and Gamaliel)
  • The prophecies of the final ruler ONLY introduce ONE character - Jesus Christ - Messiah the Prince (Some attempt to argue a future Anti-Christ) {LOOK – Daniel had prophetic insight into a rebuilt temple, and another…
  • Some attempt to argue  a Gap – Hard to see it / 3.5 is a term used in Revelation indicating a time of testing for the saints
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  • The destruction of Jerusalem is decreed during the 490 years but carried out a generation later
  • Jesus fulfills the six prophetic announcements
  • 1. Finish transgression
  • 2. Put an end to sin
  • 3. Atone for iniquity
  • 4. Bring in everlasting righteousness
  • 5. Seal up vision and prophecy (fulfill)
  • 6. Anoint the Most Holy
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