Archive for July, 2011

END TIME STUDY–Pt.19

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Let us continue looking at chapter nine of the book of Daniel. Gabriel was sent by God to Daniel to bring clarity to the prayer that he was offering unto the Lord. Daniel had seen in visions the end of time and he realized the importance for mankind, especially God’s chosen people Israel, to be in a right relationship with God when that time comes.

Verse 24 contains enough information to deserve its own chapter in this study. Gabriel states, “70 weeks are determined.” Daniel had been praying about the 70 years of captivity that Israel found itself captured in. When Gabriel says 70 weeks he means that there are 7×70 years yet to be fulfilled. Daniel was praying for Jerusalem, the Temple and his people. Gabriel is giving him the assurance that these would be restored due to the fact that all of the end-time events that Daniel had seen were to take place in Jerusalem.

70 weeks does not mean 70 weeks consisting of seven days per week. The Hebrew word for seven is “shabua” which means a “unit of measure” much like the word “dozen” means 12 items of one unit of measure. As Daniel was focusing on the 70 years of captivity that Jeremiah had prophesied and written letters about, Gabriel uses this opportunity to explain the time “measured out” for the history of mankind to be complete.

One may ask the question, how do we come up with 70 years from the stated 70 weeks and according to biblical scholars this then equals 490 years? We must understand the Jewish tradition of measuring units of time. Traditionally, the Jews observed sabbatic years by which their years were divided into weeks of years with each week containing seven years. Leviticus 25:8, which is where we see this measure of time instituted states, “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, 7×7 years and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee 40 and nine years.” The Sabbath was the seventh day of the week thus when using the sabbatic system of measure a day equaled a week. The 70 weeks of verse 24 would then be multiplied by seven years (Lev.25:8) which would equal 490 years. Are you confused yet? Space does not permit me to give a detailed explanation of the sabbatic years of measure. May I suggest that you research this for yourselves if it is confusing to you.

During this “70 weeks,” or 490 years, six things are listed here in verse 24 that shall take place. The first of these is, “to finish the transgression.” Meaning to put an end to sin, or to finish offerings for sin. Daniel had been praying over the sins of Israel and Gabriel is saying here that in time One was coming Who, when He comes, will be the final offering for sin and will thus put an end to sin’s dominion. As we will see in the next verse the 70 weeks is a timetable of future events which includes the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

Another interpretation of “to finish the transgression” is to restrain transgression. This applies to the end of the age when the anti-Christ rises to power. We see this meaning “to restrain transgression” in II Thes.2:1-8, in particular, verse seven. “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only “he” who now “restrains” it will do so until “he” is out of the way.” (RVS, emphasis added) who is this “he” who “restrains transgression,” the one who is restraining the rise of the lawless one, the anti-Christ, from coming to power until it is time for it to happen according to God’s timetable? Pre-tribulationists say that it is the church and the Holy Spirit that restrains. They hold that once the church is raptured, taking with it the presence of the Holy Spirit, then the anti-Christ will be free to have his reign of terror. But this begs the question, where is this found in Scripture? Though this is a traditional view held by many in the church, it cannot be substantiated by Scripture. Note that the thing that restrains is referred to as “he” in II Thes.2:7. The church is generally referred to as “she,” the bride. Although this “he” who restrains isn’t identified anywhere in Scripture. There is only one place in Scripture that shows Satan being restrained and who does it. Since the anti-Christ is the personification of Satan, then “he” who is restraining him is the one with the power to do so. The Scripture is Rev.20:1-3 and it is here that we find that it is an angel that has the power to restrain Satan. Satan, through the anti-Christ, cannot rise to power until the angel given power to “restrain” is told to get out of the way, at the midway point of the tribulation period.

Summed up in this statement, “to finish the transgression,” is the prophesied events of the end time. The 70 weeks (7×70 years=490 years) will be fulfilled at which time sin offerings will all cease, the anti-Christ will be free to reign, Jesus will return followed by the wrath of God being poured out to put a “finish,” or to say an end, to sin and all unrighteousness.

The next thing to take place during this 70 weeks found in verse 24 is, “To make an end of all sin.” All sin will be judged and sin’s work will be finished. No more evil, unrighteousness, wickedness, no more satanic influence.

The next thing to occur after the fulfillment of the 70 weeks is, “To make reconciliation for iniquity.” During the 70 weeks God will provide reconciliation to all of humanity through Jesus Christ. By the sacrifice of Jesus mankind can be reconciled, bought back, into a father/child relationship with Jehovah.

Then we see at the fulfillment of the 70 weeks there will be, “Everlasting righteousness.” The sacrifice of animals under the Old Testament law only brought a temporary righteousness. But through the final sacrifice of sin, Jesus, we have an everlasting righteousness, that is, we are right before God.

Next we read that the 70 weeks places a seal up on “The vision and prophecy.” All visions and prophecies will be “sealed,” or to say, concluded, fulfilled. There is nothing left to be done that was purposed by God for his creation and prophesied or seen in visions by man to be fulfilled.

And finally, after the 70 weeks, there will be the anointing of “The most Holy.” Jesus anointed King of Kings, Lord of Lords, High Priest, etc., for all eternity.

There have been volumes written pertaining to this one verse about the 70 weeks. There is so much information contained in verse 24 alone that we could spend weeks discussing it. But for the subject matter of this study we will let this brief look at verse 24 suffice.

END-TIME STUDY–Pt.18

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

The next portion of Scripture that we will be looking at is chapter nine of the book of Daniel. It is in this chapter that we are introduced to one of the most discussed prophecies of Daniel’s book, that being, the 70 weeks of Daniel. The chapter begins with Daniel interceding for the Jewish people. He sets the stage for this dialogue by giving us the time in which he was living when he received the vision of the 70 weeks. The Babylonians had taken the first captives from Jerusalem in 605 B.C. when Daniel was but a young teenager. He is now over 80 years of age and he realizes that he will never leave captivity. The Babylonian empire had fallen to the Medes and Persians in 539 and 538 B.C. Darius was then made king over the Chaldeans (Babylonians). It was in 535 B.C. that some of the Jews would begin their journey back to their homeland.

In verse two Daniel acknowledges that he was aware that when he was taken captive, along with his fellow countrymen, that the duration of that captivity would be 70 years. He would have been aware of the words of Jeremiah who had prophesied not only that captivity but also its duration of 70 years. Although Jeremiah was not taken to Babylon, he sent letters to the captives. It was from these letters that Daniel began to fully understand the 70 years of captivity. As he pondered in his heart the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of his people he begins to pray.

Verse three tells us that Daniel assumed the position of humility and sorrow as he sought the Lord. He fasted. He place sackcloth (a burlap type cloth) upon his body; he also placed ashes on his head, both of which were signs of great sorrow and grief.

If only time and space would permit we could expound upon Daniel’s prayer for within it lies a pattern for prayer. But I will only lift out those words pertinent to our subject matter. He starts with his own confession of sin then acknowledges the attributes of God. Since he will be pursuing the mercy of God for his people in captivity, he alludes to the fact that God’s mercy is extended to those who “love Him” and “keep His commandments” (a lesson we should all learn). Then in verse five he confesses that the people of Israel were undeserving of His mercy because they had failed to keep His precepts and that they had sinned against Him by their rebellion against His word. They had even gone so far as to reject His prophets as they tried to warn the people. Are we not guilty of the same things as professing Christians today? We want only those prophets, preachers, who tell us what we want to hear not what we need to hear. Rest assured that God is raising up preachers after His own heart who will be declaring, “thus saith the Lord,” in these the last days and the vast majority of “professing Christians” will not hearken to their words because they may be harsh, uncomfortable or calling us out of sin. As we reject these words of God, He will be given no other choice but to send judgment upon His church.

Some “professing Christians” will be taken into captivity. Captivity to porn, lust, drugs, alcohol, poverty, etc. Some will watch their children be taken into the captivity of darkness and sin. Until we, like Daniel, come to God in brokenness and humility and confess our sins and rebellion, we too shall remain in captivity until the day of his appearing at which time we then will transfer from our earthly captivity to our eternal captivity.

Daniel states that the Jewish people have “confusion of faces” (v. 7). This means that they were shamefaced, embarrassed by their current existence of captivity and their rebellion to God’s word that placed them there. Their homeland lay in ruin. They were captives in a distant land. All they had taken pride in was gone. Daniel not only acknowledges the embarrassment (shamefaced), but also the fact that they deserved it because of their sin (v.8-10).

Verse eleven deserves our attention for in it lies a principle of God’s word that is often overlooked or just plain rejected, yet it has a profound effect on the lives of Christians and their families today and for ever. Daniel states, “all Israel have transgressed Your law, even by departing, that they might not obey Your voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us.” He is referring to the law of Moses which addresses those who enter into a covenant with God. There are blessings for keeping the covenant and curses for not keeping it. Please take the time to read Deuteronomy chapter 28, especially versus 1-2, 15-26, 32, 36, 41, 45-52. When we accept Jesus as our Savior we enter into a covenant with God. God offers us His eternal benefits and we offer Him our lives and our obedience to His will. When we enter into a covenant with God we are committing ourselves to obey His word. To obey brings blessings. To disobey brings curses.

For this reason many Christians today struggle with understanding why it seems they can never receive God’s blessings and favor. It may well be that they have broken their covenant with God by their disobedience to a known law of God or their rejection of His words declared. Many feel that as long as they feel goosebumps occasionally or are still praying in tongues that all is well between them and God, yet they can’t seem to receive the much sought after blessings of God. Maybe we need to seek God’s face and allow Him to reveal our sins that we, like Daniel, may repent, thus qualifying us for the blessings of God that accompany the keeping of covenant with God.

Beginning with verse twelve Daniel declares the justice of God’s judgments upon the people of Israel. He concludes his prayer with a plea for mercy that once again God would cause his face to shine upon his sanctuary.

It’s in this setting of prayer that God reveals to Daniel His timetable for the arrival of His Messiah. The One who would take away all sin. Daniel shows us our need for repentance and forgiveness and then he shows us the coming of the One who would forgive us our sins and take away the curse of sin–the Messiah!

END-TIME STUDY–Pt.17

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Now we come to the most exciting part of Daniel chapter eight. It is now that Gabriel makes it very clear to Daniel that what he has seen is the end of the history of mankind and of all time. He states in verse 19, “I will make you know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.” He is saying here that he had just revealed to Daniel when the Anti-Christ’s indignation and defilement will end which will be at the end of the church age when all the saints shall be gathered from the Earth–2300 days from the rise of the Anti-Christ.

Daniel has now seen the head of gold (Babylonian Empire) come and go. He has seen the chest and arms of silver (Medo-Persian Empire) come and go. He has seen the belly and thighs of bronze (Macedonian-Grecian Empire) come and go. He has seen the legs of iron (Roman Empire) come and go. Finally, he sees the future when the feet of iron and clay will rise up as an Empire made up of the old Roman Empire along with the middle eastern countries.

Gabriel sums up the vision of Daniel by stating, “And in the latter times of their kingdom (the time of the Gentiles is over and the time of the wicked has run out), when the transgressors are come to full, a king of fierce countenance, (vehemently harsh, fierceness with greed) and understanding dark sentences, (literally, a puzzle or trick. He will work his ways to power by his strong looks and smooth speech) shall stand up.” (v.23) I believe today’s politicians are preparing us to receive the Anti-Christ. They use a strong appearance when speaking of crime, injustice or other current events. They use skilled words of persuasion to get our votes and support. Yet, very few are truthful. They are only serving their own agendas and political futures.

Gabriel states that the power of the Anti-Christ shall be mighty but the power that he possesses will not be his own. Of course we know that his power shall come from none other than Satan. Gabriel says that the Anti-Christ shall destroy wonderfully, he will try to destroy all that is good and godly. He will prosper greatly as he comes to power. He will destroy mighty armies and great leaders as well as some of God’s holy people, the Saints. He will use talk of peace to gain control of nations. He will become so full of himself that he will make the biggest mistake of his life, he will stand against Jesus Christ Himself. He will be so arrogant that he will believe that he can overthrow the government of God and heaven itself. “But he shall be broken without hand.” (v.25) John saw the fulfillment of this and recorded it in Revelation 19:15 which reads, “And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, with it He should smite the nations.” And then in verse 21, “And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that set upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth.” The very words of Jesus will be “sharper than any two edged sword” (Heb.4:12). There will be no armies, no weapons of modern warfare, no human involvement, no physical strength exerted, only a word from Jesus’s mouth and all His enemies are defeated! Remember, His words are what created the universe. If Jesus says it–it’s done!

We then see Daniel instructed to shut up the vision for it was not for his generation but for a future generation. In fact, it appears that he attempted to tell others this vision but “none understood it.” (V.7) It has only been in the last few years that God has made known the mysteries of Daniel’s vision. I believe it is because we are the generation that shall see all these things come to pass. (Matt.4:34)

We don’t need the Book of Revelation to know the end. In the book of Daniel we have been given the calendar of end time events, we have been given signs and descriptions of the Anti-Christ, as well is where he will rise to power. If one knows and understands the book of Daniel he will have no problem identifying the Anti-Christ as well as the signs of the times of the end.

The Middle East is where it’s all at. All one has to do is look at all of the unrest in the nations surrounding Israel and you must come to the conclusion that we are witnessing the fulfillment of end time prophecies. The descendents of Ishmael are rising up to claim what they believe is rightfully theirs–all the land promised to their father, Abraham. Ishmael was the firstborn son of Abraham, thus the one to receive the inheritance of his father, Abraham, as his firstborn birthright. His twelve sons are viewed as the twelve tribes of promise. It was from their bloodline that Mohammed was born, thus the Muslims believe that they are the children of promise and, like Joshua, it’s time to take the promised land. Joshua was to kill all the illegitimate inhabitants of the promised land and now the descendents of Ishmael feel compelled by their sacred writings to do the same, kill the illegitimate inhabitants of their “promised land” (the Jews and those who support them) the Christians.

The Middle East is where all the action is to take place. Stay informed about the events taking place in the Middle East. Read Daniel over and over again until you can evaluate the current events in the news about what’s happening in the Middle East with the prophecies of Daniel. This way you will not be taken by surprise when the Anti-Christ rises to power and the end time events unfold before your very eyes (I Thes.5:4).