Archive for January, 2012

END TIME STUDY–Pt.21

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The Book of Daniel is now in its final dissertation. The 70 years of captivity are over. Daniel is now eighty-four or eighty-five years old, and he is seeking God for His direction as to what comes next in his life. He enters into a season of prayer and fasting. It is during this time that God reveals to him the last prophetic message that he was to receive and record. This message continues to the end of the book of Daniel. It is while he is mourning that a Messenger from God appeared to him by the Hiddekel (Tigris) River.

As we read Daniel 10:5-6, we see the description of this Messenger. It sounds uncannily like the descriptions that John in Revelation chapter 1 and Saul of Tarsus gave in Acts chapter 9 and 26 as they beheld Jesus in his glory. Most scholars agree that this is Jesus appearing to Daniel. Daniel sees Jesus in his glory before He becomes incarnate. John and Saul see him in His glory after His ascension. Jesus is introducing to Daniel the events of the very last days of the history of mankind just as he did with John as he spoke the Revelation of end time events in the conclusion of God’s plan for all creation. Who better to announce the signs of the end times than the one who knows the beginning to the end? (Isaiah 46:10) In fact this appearing is much like the experience of John and Saul. When John saw Jesus on the Isle of Patmos he was alone and fell as dead at the presence of Jesus. Saul fell to the ground also and those with him heard a voice but saw no man. Those with Daniel saw no vision but a “great quaking fell upon them.” (v.7) Daniel had been morning and fasting for three weeks, he was ready to receive from God but not so the others. Yet, even he fell to the ground as dead in the presence of the glory of Jesus. Then he is lifted up and the Messenger begins his revelation to Daniel.

The messenger sets Daniel’s mind to ease by telling him that his prayers were heard on the “first day” that he set himself to seek God. Yet, Daniel prays and fasts for 21 more days because the Messenger was detained by the “Prince of the kingdom of Persia.” (v.13) Then another “prince,” Michael, came to help the Messenger. Remember, this occurs before Jesus became incarnate, died, resurrected, ascended and received “all power and authority.” (Matt.28:18) Just who was this “Prince of the kingdom of Persia?”

A prince is a ruler of a principality, and this one ruled over the kingdom of Persia which was the next kingdom after Nebuchadnezzar or, to say, the Babylonian Empire. This prince would have been a demonic entity. One sent to oppress the children of God, the nation of Israel. Remember, Satan is referred to as “the god of this world” (II Cor.4:4), as well as, “the prince of the power of the air.” (Eph.2:2) Satan believes that the Earth and the fullness thereof belongs to him. After all, Adam was given power and dominion over all the earth and he surrendered it to Satan, thus Satan has a right to feel that he has the right to rule the Earth and to be worshipped by its inhabitants. All that man was given by God was relinquished in the garden. Eternal life–gone. All needs supplied–gone. Peace and joy–gone. At rest in Him–gone. Father/child relationship–gone. Dominion over all the earth–gone. Satan became “the god of this world,” “the prince of the power of the air.” Until!! J-E-S-U-S!!!

Jesus came and conquered sin, death and the grave! He descended into the depths of hell and took the keys of death and hell from the devil’s domain! He alone, the second Adam, took back all authority and now bestows it on all those who call upon His name. He put Satan to open shame as he hung on the cross and now “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom.8:37)

Satan believes that the earth is his domain and neither God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or the Saints belong here. This is why he gathers the nations in the last days to try to remove the Saints and the Jews from his domain, Earth. He has convinced himself that if all godly influences are removed that those who remain will be loyal to him and worship him as God, and he will rule the earth unopposed. How can he remove godly influences from the Earth? First, by infiltrating the family of God–the church. “For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness.” (II Cor.11:14,15) Matthew 13:24 and following tells us that the wheat and the tares will cohabitate the church until the end. Satan places false prophets, teachers, pastors, evangelists and apostles in the pulpits to declare a compromised, people-friendly, watered-down gospel. The people are left to live according to the Word as they see and understand it. Many churches have been so deceived by Satan that they don’t even realize that the Spirit has long departed their churches and Ichabod (the Spirit has departed) has been written over them. Satan has all but conquered the church, at least in the United States. But–there is a holy remnant of God’s people in many of our churches, and God is about to bring a revival to His church and an awakening to the United States resulting in a great harvest of souls. He will first judge His own house to purify it and then bring judgment to those who oppose him. The church will rise up from the ash heap of the judgments of God and be the glorious church.

When the plan of Satan to destroy the Saints by infiltrating the church fails he then will stir up hatred against the Saints. Persecution and tribulation will be launched against the Saints in another attempt to rid the world of godly influence. Yet, in the midst of all the persecution the Saints will be miraculously delivered and have every need supplied. Then Satan will launch an all-out war against the Jews and the Saints called the Great Tribulation. In the midst of this onslaught Jesus returns. Satan will then seize the opportunity to rally the nation’s to attack Jesus in an attempt to destroy Him and His followers. Bad idea!! Satan will find himself bound and cast into a pit for nearly 1000 years. And yet with all the setbacks he will once again try to overthrow Jesus and His kingdom at the end of the thousand years only to be dealt his final defeat and cast once and for all into the lake of fire.

Satan believes that he will rule and reign for eternity on earth–BUT–”to this end was the son of God manifest that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (I John 3:8)

“The Spirit would convict the world of judgment because the prince of this world has been judged.” (John 16:11)

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31)

Until Satan is cast out of heaven in Revelation 12, he is still the accuser of the brethren.(Rev.12:10) Until his final defeat he will wage war in the heavenlies (the spirit realm) with the angels of God.

In verse 14 the Messenger makes it clear for Daniel as well as all who read this vision that it is the very last days of the history of mankind and all of creation. Being in the presence of Jesus was too much for Daniel. He lost all his strength, fell to the ground and was unable to even speak. Imagine how you would be affected if Jesus appeared to you.

Jesus concludes this portion of His encounter with Daniel by reassuring Daniel that he is greatly loved and then He strengthened him. He tells Daniel that He would return to His battle with the Prince of Persia and then the Prince of Grecia (the Grecian Empire, Alexander the Great) will rise up to afflict the people of God, but Michael, the guardian angel of the Jewish people, would join in the battles to accomplish the plan of God. Remember, God has a plan and He is working His plan.

Jesus here has come to explain “the Scripture of truth,” (v.21), about the future of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. The “Scripture of truth” is a book that has already been written, the history book of mankind. We will see this book again in Revelation chapter 5 and then again in Revelation chapter 10 when it is opened. Here in chapters 10, 11 and 12 Daniel was receiving the history of mankind from 536B.C.to the very end of time. He is seeing over 2,500 years into the future. The book has already been written. It contains the very plan of God to the end of the age.

END-TIME STUDY Pt.20

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

In the next three verses Gabriel subdivides the 70 weeks into three distinct segments. He starts with a period of 7 weeks, then 62 weeks and then one final week, which equal 490 years. Why 490 years or to say 70 weeks? Second Chronicles 36:21 gives us the answer. “To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and 10 years.” (70 years) The Babylonian exile lasted for 70 years in order to atone for the 490 years during which Isreal lived in the Promised Land and failed to oberserve the sabbath year. God’s law called for the land to have a rest every 7 years, a sabbath rest. Every 7 years the land was not to be plowed, no seed planted and no harvest taken; the land was to rest. One must ascertain from this commamd of God that He does care what mankind does to the earth. Maybe God’s people should lead the way in caring for the environment. God told His people in Leviticus 25:3-5, “Six years thou shall sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather thy fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath to the Lord: thou shall neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which grows up on its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes on the vine undressed: for it is a rest unto the land.” The Jews did not honor the law of the Sabbath rest for the land. For 490 years they violated this command of God, as well as others, so God allowed them to be taken into captivity for 70 years that the land may enjoy its sabbath rests. Daniel now receives a timetable for the coming of the Messiah. Verse 25 states, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” Seven weeks plus 62 weeks (score equals 20, so threescore equals 60) times seven (sabbath years) equals 483 years from the time that the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem is given. Many confuse the timetable of cutting off the Messiah by inserting that Cyrus, king of Persia, in 558 BC gave the command to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1,2). If at his command the prophetic timeclock for the cutting off of the Messiah was to begin, then the Messiah would have been cut off in 75 BC, which we know did not happen. Jesus was cut off from among the living in 33AD. But we see here in verse 25 of Daniel nine that its not the command to rebuild the Temple that triggers this prophetic timeclock but the command to “restore and to build Jerusalem.” This was done by Artaxerxes in 450 BC (see Ezra through Nehemiah). With this command given in 450 BC this would put the time of the cutting off of the Messiah in 33 AD. Daniel’s prophecy was perfectly fulfilled. We must remember that the figures given by Daniel are prophetic figures that are referencing the sabbath years rest. So here in verse 25 we read about the 70 weeks of sabbaths and threescore and two weeks which equals 483 years. These add up to 69 weeks which are sabbath weeks (seven years), so 69 weeks multiplied by seven equals 483 years. The 70 weeks here represent the time it took to finish rebuilding Jerusalem which was 49 years or to say one sabbath week (7×7). From that time there would be threescore and two weeks until the Messiah would be cut off (v. 26). And when the Messiah was cut off, or to say died, it wasn’t done just for Himself but He died for all, “but not for himself” (v. 26). Even here in the Old Testament book of Daniel we see the promise of a Messiah that would take away the sins of the world, His time of death precisely foretold and his death would not be the normal death of a man but that it would be to benefit all of mankind. As most theologians will tell you, prophecy has a current message, a near future message and usually a distant, or end time message. So it is with Daniel’s prophecy. Here in chapter 9 verses 25 and 26 he has spoken of the current captivity that would soon end with the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Then he goes to a near future event, the coming of the Messiah and his death. Then he speeks of another near future event the destruction of Jerusalem and the sanctuary which occurred in 70 A.D. at the hands of Titus the commander of the Roman army,”And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Finally, he addresses the distant future, or the end times. “And the end thereof shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Like an overflowing flood the anti-Christ shall come in power to sweep away all that is good and holy. He will do all he can to destroy God’s people, Jew and Christian alike, like a mighty gushing flood. Then Daniel states that the carnage of the anti-Christ, including the desolation of the Temple and the war he wages against the saints, will come to an end with the desolations of God’s wrath being poured out. This all taking place in the last week or to say seven years–the Tribulation Period (first 3 1/2 years) and the Great Tribulation Period (The last 3 1/2 years). What we must ask ourselves is, “Are we entering the season of the last prophetic week of Daniel?” Personally, I believe so. I believe the anti-Christ is alive right now and will soon rise to international prominence. Keep your eyes on the Middle East for someone to rise up and for Islam to embrace him as the long-awaited Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi. The lessons we can learn from this chapter are many but I believe the main theme here is that, like Daniel, we should have a sense of great sorrow over sin, especially our own and that of our nation. We are now in the gap between the 483 years and the 490 years–the time of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24; Romans 11). Is it time to write the final chapter in the history of Israel and mankind?