Well, you had such a great spirit of patience last week as we were going through Daniel chapter 9. And some of you came up to me and said, “I’m not sure I got all that,” so I’m going to go over all of it again tonight. Some of you are saying, “Mercy. Mercy.”
Somebody said to me, “Why did you go through all of that?” And I said, “Because it’s there.” And when you go into the exposition of the Word of God, you go with whatever the Lord puts there. And I am grateful to God that we had the privilege of going through the tremendous prophecy of the seventy weeks of Daniel.
Now turn back in your Bible to the ninth chapter, and we’re going to finish it up by looking at the remaining portion of the text. Let me just give you a little introduction while you’re finding your way into the ninth chapter of Daniel.
Isn’t it amazing how Israel remains the center stage of the redemptive history of the world. No matter how society tries to find its perspectives in other places, invariably in the time in which we live, we find the focus of the world is drawn to the attention of that little nation smaller than the state of New Jersey in the middle of the Middle East, known as Israel. Why should that place be such an important place?
One Bible teacher, who is well-known, was asked at a conference in Europe: “Of what significance is the existence of the nation Israel in the world today?” To which he replied, “It has utterly no significance at all, because God is finished with Israel as of the crucifixion of their Messiah.”
Is that true? Is God finished with Israel? Listen to this, 1 Samuel 12:22. Samuel said, “For the Lord will not forsake His people for His great namesake.” God will not forsake His people, because His reputation is at stake. He is a God who made to them unbreakable promises. He bound Himself to Himself in the Abrahamic covenant. God is not finished with Israel.
In the eighty-ninth Psalm, let me read you several verses from the New International translation. God speaks: “If they violate My decrees and fail to keep My commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging;” – now listen – “but I will not take My love from him, nor will I ever betray My faithfulness. I will not violate My covenant, or alter what My lips have uttered. Once for all I have sworn by My holiness, and I will not lie to David that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before Me like the sun. It will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” That’s Psalm 89:31-37.
Psalm 94 says this: “For the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance. He may punish them, He may flog them, He may chasten them, but He will not take His love from them.”
The apostle Paul takes the same issue up in the eleventh chapter of the book of Romans, and in verse l he asks the question, “Hath God cast away His people?” And the answer is “mē genoito” in the Greek which means, “No, no. No, no; not ever.” It is the strongest negative: “Never let it be. No, it cannot be. Such can never happen.”
In fact, in the Olivet discourse, Jesus’ speech on the Mount of Olives In fact, in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ speech on the Mount of Olives recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, He predicted that though there was Gentile dominion over the land of Israel at that time, and though the times of the Gentiles had gone on since the Babylonian captivity in the time of Daniel, someday that time, the times of the Gentiles, would come to an end, and the Jewish people would be restored to the place of covenant blessing. And as Samuel said, “God’s Word is at stake.” As the Old Testament says, “His name is at stake, and the truthfulness of His Word.”
And you and I happen to be living in an incredible time. The miracle of human history is that Jews have survived the melting pot of the ages. That is the miracle of human history, that they have survived in the melting pot of the human jungle to exist even this day as an entity of themselves, regathered and reborn into their own land.
It’s incredible when you think about the very location of Israel itself, that they should have survived. By reason of their geographical position, they are strategic, for they provide to the Middle East, and even eastern Europe and particularly Russia, a port on the Mediterranean. They have been a buffer state between the great powers of the Ancient World. They have been exposed throughout their history to influences that should have destroyed them and destroyed all the nations around them repeatedly. In fact, all of the ancient tribes and all of the ancient kingdoms, without exception, that existed in the time of Israel, have long ago disappeared – all of them.
But you see, there’s a reason they’re still around. They lived through the first sixty-nine weeks, but there’s one more to go. And God has preserved that entire nation for one more seven-year period of history until their time is completed on God’s clock.
Arnold Toynbee, the renowned historian, said this: “As for long life, the Jews live on, the same peculiar people today, long ages after the Phoenicians and Philistines have lost their identity. The ancient Syriac neighbors have gone into the melting pot and been reminted, while Israel has proven impervious to this alchemy to which all Gentiles in turn succumb.” End quote.
God has a marvelous historical plan for the nation Israel. And that history has unfolded in our text; and if I might add, it is unfolding in our time. Now let me review the setting, for those of you who may not have been with us, very briefly so jump on quick.
The children of Israel have been in the Babylonian captivity for sixty-eight or sixty-nine years. God had predicted that they would be for seventy years captives. Daniel, who has been a key man during the captivity, is well aware of the statements of Jeremiah the prophet, well aware of the statements of Isaiah the prophet, which statements indicate a seventy-year captivity. So he knows that the end of that captivity must be very near.
With that knowledge, in chapter 9, verse 3, he falls on his knees and begins to pray. And what he is praying is simply that God will do what He said He would do, and bring conviction and repentance and restoration, and bring his people back to their land. He’s already lived through the time of the Babylonian Empire, and the Medo-Persians have conquered Babylon; and this is in the first year of the Medo-Persian Empire under Darius. Daniel prays.
Now as we come to verse 20, our text, we see the circumstances of Daniel. He was praying. Verse 20: “And while I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sins of my people Israel, presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God.” You’ll remember that this simply tells us that Daniel was praying, and he was praying that God would exalt His own name. The purpose of his prayer was “for the holy mountain of my God,” that God might be restored to the place of dignity and honor in the world by being again established in the his land with his people. Daniel was in prayer.
And from the circumstances of Daniel, we move to the coming of Gabriel, the second figure in the prophecy in verse 21: “Yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel,” – and he appeared in the form of a man, though he obviously is an angel – “whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” He was carrying on the normal Jewish procedure for prayer, and the angel Gabriel arrived before he was even finished praying. “And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, ‘O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications, the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved. Therefore understand the matter and consider the vision.’” He began his prayer, God called Gabriel, and Gabriel was there before he was even done.
I was reminded this week of Isaiah 65:24 which says, “And it shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” And this is really a fulfillment of that, isn’t it. And so Daniel was in prayer, and God moved.
George Mueller, that great man of prayer who prayed so faithfully and saw God move so mightily, said, “I live in the spirit of prayer, I pray as I walk, when I lie down and when I arise; and the answers are always, always coming.” And this was an answer without equal.
And that brings us to the third point: The communication of God. The third person enters the picture: Daniel, then Gabriel, now God. And the message is a communication directly from God, and this is what it says: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people,” – and that’s Israel, Daniel’s people – “and upon thy holy city,” – that’s Jerusalem – “to finish the transgression, make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity.” Those three things are the negative things that are going to happen. Sin will be dealt with. Then the positive, “Bringing in everlasting righteousness, sealing up the vision and the prophecy, and anointing a Holy of Holies.”
Now God says there’s a period of seventy sevens, seventy sevens. And those are sevens of what? Of years. And we saw that in detail. So a period of 490 years are determined as the block of history yet to come in the fulfilling of God’s promise with the nation of Israel – 490 years, planned by sovereign God as the time involved, until sin is finally dealt with, and eternal righteousness is established. That, my friend, is the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ. So from that time till Christ comes, 490 years. And by the way, we pointed out, didn’t we, that they had desecrated possibly 490 years of Sabbaths, and that’s why God had affirmed that that’s what it would take to bring them back again in the future.
Now when did it begin? Verse 25: “Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem.” The 490 years will begin when there is a command, or a decree, to rebuild Jerusalem. We said that there were four such decrees that could be looked at, but three of them had to do with the temple, and only one the city, and that was the decree of Artaxerxes. And that decree is stated in Nehemiah chapter l, and in Nehemiah chapter 2. And we know that that decree was either in 444 B.C. or 445.
Converting it to our current calendar and knowing that it was different than the Jewish calendar, we don’t exactly know. As I told you, Sir Robert Anderson says 445; and Harold Hoehner, currently at Dallas Seminary, says 444. But we know it was the decree of Artaxerxes one of those two years; that’s when it began.
When did it end? Verse 25. It would be four hundred and – watch this – eighty-three years unto the Messiah the Prince, because it says, “That will be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” Now seven and threescore and two equals what? Sixty-two. And seven is – good class – sixty-nine. All right? So watch this. From the restoration and the building decree to Messiah the Prince, Mashiach Nagid, when He comes in an official presentation will be sixty-nine weeks.
Now in the first seven weeks, the rest of the verse says, “the street will be built again and the wall.” And those terms really mean the inside and the outside of the city. So in the first forty-nine years from Artaxerxes’ decree, the city was rebuilt. And then in the years remaining to fill up 483 years, the Messiah would come. So from the time of the decree of Artaxerxes to the arrival of Messiah would be 483 years, the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into the city. And so the Word of God has given to us this amazing, incredible, accurate prophecy.
Let’s look at verse 26 and pick it up where we left off last time. And stay with me now and we’ll see how this unfolds – tremendous verse. “And after” – now watch that word “after” – “after threescore and two weeks” – that is, you’ve got the seven, and then the threescore and two, after sixty-nine weeks – “shall Messiah be” – what? – “cut off.” Now listen; now watch this. It doesn’t say during the sixty-nine weeks, it says – what? – after.
Now this is essential to complete the prophecy. There is yet one more week left. But before you get to that week, look at verse 27. There you have one week. Do you see it? “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” Before you get to the one week, you have a gap in verse 26. Now mark that in your mind. There is a gap there. That is utterly essential to the understanding of this prophecy. The seventy weeks did not run sequentially right through the seventieth week; there’s a gap here. Now you shouldn’t be shocked by that, because such gaps are very common in prophecy, aren’t they, and I’ll show you that in a little while.
But look with me now at this verse 26: “After the seven and” – you always add the seven in from verse 25 – “and then the sixty-two, or the sixty-nine, shall Messiah be cut off.” Now the verb “to be cut off” means “to kill” or “to destroy.” It is used that way in Genesis 9:11, in Deuteronomy 20:20, in Jeremiah 11:19. It means “to kill.” It literally says, “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be killed.”
Now any Jew that knew his Scripture would not then say that the preaching of the cross is foolishness, because he would know his Messiah had to die. But they couldn’t handle that. They couldn’t fathom that. The Bible says that to them the cross was a stumbling block. They could not perceive a crucified Messiah.
But you know, Jesus even reprimanded His own disciples for their ignorance? Remember on the Emmaus Road? He opened the Scripture and had to teach them the things concerning Himself; for they couldn’t even handle the fact that He died either. But Daniel, the great and esteemed Hebrew prophet, said Messiah will die.
Let me take it a step further. This word in the Hebrew, “to be cut off,” is used at least three places in the Old Testament that I found – Leviticus 7:20, Proverbs 2:22, Psalm 37:9 – to speak of execution of a person given the death penalty for a crime. Messiah will not only die, He will die as a criminal would die. Now, folks, that’s a pretty narrow, pretty accurate, specific prophecy, isn’t it.
Here is Daniel saying, “Sixty-nine weeks will pass, and after that, Messiah will be executed as a criminal.” That’s what he says; there’s no other way to interpret it. How could anybody miss the fact that sixty-nine weeks to the very day, Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the Messiah the Prince; and after that, He was executed as a common criminal – just exactly what Daniel said would happen. Hard to think of, tragic, that they would wait all those centuries for their Messiah, and then miss the whole thing, and hate Him and despise Him. Incredible.
But, you know, you say, “Well, maybe the Daniel passage was a little obscure.” No. They could have read Psalm 22; and Psalm 22 gives you a detail by detail outline of every event of the crucifixion. It even talks about when they gambled for His garment. Or they could have read Isaiah – what? – 53 where it describes Him as a sheep led to slaughter. It’s all there. The Old Testament said it would be so.
Look back at verse 26 – this is a great word: “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.” This is a monumental prophecy. “But not for Himself,” says the Authorized. That is a very obscure phrase. That means it’s difficult to know exactly what was meant by that phrase. But perhaps the best way to translate it, as we’ve done all we could with that linguistically, is to translate it this way: “with nothing for Himself.” In other words, Messiah came, and they executed Him, and they gave Him nothing.
What should have been due Him was not received. There was no honor. There was no respect. There was no love. There was no acceptance. There was no receptivity. He came unto His own, and His own – what? – received Him not. He was in the world, the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. His portion was nothingness. Tragic.
But that’s what Daniel said would happen. “Four-hundred-and-eighty-three years, you’ll wait. And when He comes, He’ll be executed like a criminal; and He won’t get anything that He deserves. In fact, He’ll get everything He doesn’t deserve: all the sins of all the world.”
So the prophet spoke of Christ. And He was executed like a common criminal, Roman style. But did He do anything to deserve that? No, it was the very opposite of what He deserved. He didn’t receive the honor due; rather He got hatred.
Now watch back at verse 26 what happens next – and this is tremendous. And here’s another thing that’s going to happen after the sixty-nine weeks – not during, but after; that’s how the verse begins. “And the people of the prince that shall come.” Now here you’ve got a prince with a little “P”, not a big one. Who’s this prince? Who is the prince that shall come? Antichrist.
I’m not going to go into developing that again. But just remember chapter 7, verse 8, the little horn. Remember that? And remember chapter 8, the king of fierce countenance? Remember the willful king? And the New Testament calls him the man of sin, the son of perdition. He’s never really specifically anywhere in the Bible called the Antichrist; but we use that term and you understand what it means, so I’ll use it.
This is the Antichrist. So, “After the threescore and two weeks and seven” – or sixty-nine, 483 years – “Messiah will be cut off,” – that is executed like a common criminal, “and then” – watch this – “the people of the prince that shall come.” Now listen to this. When the final Antichrist comes, with what people will he be identified? Now I’ll show you, listen.
How many world empires are there that Daniel points out? Four. First one is Babylon. Second one is Medo-Persia. Third one is Greece. Fourth one is Rome. Will there ever be another? Never. But what will happen in the end times, says Daniel in chapter 2 and in chapter 7, is that which of those will be revived? Rome. And they will be revived in a ten-nation confederacy.
And we’ve been pointing out to you how interesting it is that the European Common Market now – I think they have nine now, and the other nation will be in before the year ‘81 is through. And they constitute what was territorially the Roman Empire. There will be a revival of the Roman Empire, and out of that ten-nation confederacy will rise one little horn. So the people of the prince that will come will be what kind of people? Roman people. Okay? That’s very clear from what the Bible says. They will be Romans. Now they may not be called Romans, but they will be the revival of the old Roman Empire. Now get this then. When the Antichrist comes after the 483 years as we move to the end, Rome will rise again. And leading Rome will be the Antichrist.
But let’s look back at the prophecy now with that in mind. The people of the prince that shall come. Who are they then? Who are they? They’re Romans. “The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Now Daniel says Roman people, people of the Antichrist, will destroy the sanctuary.
You know what happened in 70 A.D.? What happened? Jerusalem was destroyed. By whom? The Romans. They are the people of the prince that shall come. They’re in one segment of the Roman Empire, he will be over the last segment; but nonetheless, it is the same empire. Amazing prophecy. They destroyed in 70 A.D. the city and the temple.
And notice further in verse 26, “And the end of it shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” In other words, it’ll be a flood. It will be just a devastation. And until it’s finally over, there will be a constant desolation. “Clear until the end of the war” – it says – “desolations are determined.” In other words, it will be a holocaust beyond any holocaust.
In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, perhaps, it would be well to compare the words of our Lord. “And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let them who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let them who are in the midst of it depart, and let not them that are in the countries enter into it. For these are the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Woe unto them that are with child, to them that nurse children in those days; for there shall be great distress in the land and wrath upon the people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword and shall be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Jesus, I believe, there in the immediacy, had in mind the destruction of Jerusalem. And that’s exactly that to which Daniel speaks.
Werner Keller has written a book in which he chronicles many of the events that happened. And by the way, we know a lot about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. because Josephus wrote so explicitly about it. In fact, I’ll read you a quote from him in a moment. But Werner Keller says this, quote: “Old Israel, whose history no longer included the words and works of Jesus, the religious community of Jerusalem which condemned and crucified Jesus was extinguished in an inferno which is almost unparalleled in history, the so-called Jewish war of A.D. 66 to 70.” End quote.
Now I want you to follow something of the sequence of what happened in this period from 66 to 70. There were among the Jewish people those who protested the Roman presence. They hated and despised the Romans. In fact, you know they wanted Jesus to overthrow the Romans, right? And He didn’t do it; and that was part of the reason they hated Him.
And the protests grew louder and louder and louder against the hated Romans. And fanatics and rebels and particularly the Zealots began to carry daggers, and they would find Romans and they would slay them in the night; slaughter the soldiers. There were marauders, there was violence everywhere; and more and more people began to side with the fanatics. And finally in A.D. 66, there was a wholesale open revolt that broke out in the month of May. And the Jewish Zealots and rebels overran the Roman garrison; and for a while, Jerusalem fell into the control of these rebels. They literally took back their city.
First thing they did was they said, “We’re not going to have any more sacrifices to the emperor.” So they abolished all the emperor sacrifice. And in effect, when they did that, when they removed the emperor from their city, they declared war on Rome. If you can imagine, that little tiny country threw down the gauntlet at the foot of Rome. And rebellion then broke loose everywhere.
Well, Emperor Nero knew he had to deal with this upstart little country, and so he gave command of his troops to a man named General Titus Flavius Vespasian. This man had distinguished himself as a brilliant soldier in the conquest of Britain, and now he was sent to do something about the uprising in Israel. He had three of the best legions and numerous auxiliaries; and he attacked Galilee, first of all, from the north; and by October of 67 he had subdued all of Galilee. By the way, one of his prisoners was Josephus the historian.
Six thousand Jews from Galilee were sent as slaves to build the Corinthian Canal. And that’s an interesting thing. You can still see it today. I’ve seen the Corinthian Canal – incredible engineering feat. Six thousand Jews worked on that who were taken from Galilee by Titus.
By the following spring, rebels all around the city of Jerusalem in Judea were subdue. In the middle of all of that, Nero lost his mind and committed suicide, which from a human viewpoint wasn’t a big loss to the world, frankly. And when he did, of course, in Rome, immediately civil war broke out, because everybody wanted to be the next emperor. And you had three insignificant emperors in a row.
Finally, this man Vespasian who had been this great soldier, Titus Flavius Vespasian, was given the mastery of all of Rome. And so he embarked to Rome; but he left Israel in the hands of his son, Titus. And shortly before the full moon in the spring of 70, Titus appeared with his troops outside the city of Jerusalem ready to take on the rebels. And he had one hundred thousand plus soldiers. The population of Jerusalem was probably about two hundred thousand. That would have been enough to do it. But the city was bulging much of the time from those who had come for the feasts.
Titus attacked with Roman artillery. They called it “scorpions” which were sort of quick-firing machines that threw up rocks and things like that. They smashed the walls. They swarmed around the city. They did everything they could. Finally, they built a huge mound around the city so no one could get out. And when anybody tried to get out or any mercenaries came out and tried to infiltrate their troops, they captured them. And Josephus says they nailed five hundred mercenaries to crosses every single day.
In fact, there was a forest around Jerusalem that they literally destroyed in making crosses and battering rams and war machines. They utterly denuded the entire area. Tree after tree was sacrificed for a cross, or a ramp, or a ladder, or a battering ram. There was no shade left.
Historians tell us there was an unbearable stench because of all the dead bodies that they couldn’t bury. Then they surrounded the city, and the people began to die of starvation. Listen to what Josephus says; this will give you a little idea of the devastation.
“The terrible famine that increased in frightfulness daily annihilated whole families of the people. The terraces were full of women and children who had collapsed from hunger. The allies were piled high with the bodies of the aged. Children and young people swollen with lack of food wandered around like ghosts until they fell. They were so far spent that they could no longer bury anyone; and if they did, they fell dead upon the very corpses they were burying.
“The misery was unspeakable; for as soon as even the shadow of anything eatable appeared anywhere, a fight began over it, and the best of friends fought each other and tore from each other the most miserable trifles. No one would believe that the dying had no provisions stored away. Robbers threw themselves upon those who were drawing their last breath and ransacked their clothing. These robbers ran about reeling and staggering like mad dogs, and hammered on the doors of houses like drunk men. In their despair, they often plunged into the same house two or three times in one day.
“Their hunger was so unbearable they were forced to chew anything and everything. They laid hands on things that even the meanest of animals wouldn’t touch, far less eat. They had long since eaten their belts and their shoes, and even their leather jerkins, which were torn to shreds and chewed. And by the way, they also ate their children. Many of them fed on old hay, and there were some who collected stocks of corn and sold a small quantity.”
But Josephus says, “Why should I describe the shame and indignity that famine brought upon men, making them eat such unnatural things? Because I tell of things unknown to history, whether Greek or Barbarian. It is frightful to speak of it, and unbelievable to hear of it. I should gladly have passed over this disaster in silence so that I might not get the reputation of recording something that must appear to posterity wholly. degrading. But there were too many eye witnesses in my time. Apart from that, my country would have little cause to be grateful to me were I to be silent about the misery which it endured at this time.
“In one night, two thousand died. The city was torched. By August of 70, Roman soldiers erected their banners in the sacred places, and began to sacrifice to idols. Murder and plunder followed.” It was total devastation.
Daniel said it’ll come, and it’ll be a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. The inexorable hand of destiny had drawn a line through Israel’s part in the concert of the nations.
In a single day following that, it wasn’t over. Following the fall of Jerusalem in 70, in a single day, ten thousand throats were cut in Damascus. Many died as gladiators in the games. History just kept going like that for them. I mean it was desolation upon desolation.
When the first crusade was launched in A.D. 1096, the people wanted to go on the crusades, and go back and capture the Holy Land. And they had one great fear. They wanted the resources of the Holy Land. They figured if they took the Holy Land back, the European Jews would lay claim to it, because it was their original homeland. And so on the way across Europe, the Crusaders thought it desirable to massacre all the communities of Jews that the met. That’s why the Crusades arc so distasteful to Jews. And by the way, they did that in the name of Christ, supposedly as Christians.
In the second crusade, in 1146, the slaughter threatened to exceed that of the first. In 1290, Edward I ordered the Jews to leave England. Same thing happened in France. In 1236, in one little town, they trampled three thousand Jews under the horses hooves.
In 1348 and 49, during the time of the Black Death, the terrible scourge, the Jews were accused of poisoning the wells that led to that scourge. And then the Jews, in order to save their lives, fled to two countries: Poland and Russia. And that’s why they were there, even until modern times.
In 1894, the Jews were still abused in the terrible Dreyfus Affair in France. And I don’t need to tell you that in the 1940s, six million of them were slaughtered by Hitler. You see, after the 483 years, the Messiah would be cut off, and there would be desolation in the land; and that’s what happened. But it didn’t end there, because in 1914, in the middle of all of this, ninety thousand Jews had come back to their land. And by 1948, it had a charter as a nation again.
You say, “What’s happening? They’re getting set up; for what?” Verse 27. Verse 27: “And he shall” – who’s he? – “the prince that shall come,” the Antichrist. That’s the proper antecedent for “he.” “He shall confirm the league, the treaty, the covenant, with many” – the many refers to the Jews – “for one week.” Stop right there.
Now we have a gap, don’t we then, between 69 and 70. The gap was at least a few days, because it had to be long enough for Christ to be crucified. It was at least a few years; it had to be long enough for 70 A.D. And if it could be that long, it can be undetermined, can’t it.
You say, “How long will the gap last?” It’ll last until Antichrist comes to confirm a covenant with Israel; that’s how long it’ll last. Don’t be bothered by the gap. There are all kinds of gaps.
For example, in Isaiah, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders.” Do you see a gap there? I see a gap there. He was born, but it’s been a long, long wait to get the government on His shoulders.
You see, there was a great period of time unperceived by the Old Testament prophets. That’s why Peter says they were searching the time that all of this would come to pass – 1 Peter 1:11 – because they didn’t understand the gap. In fact, in Luke 4, Jesus quotes from the Old Testament, and says, “All of this has come to pass in My life,” and He leaves out the part that speaks of the future, because He recognizes the gap. And the gap, friends, is the church age. Paul calls it “the mystery period,” unseen in the Old Testament – a parenthesis, if you will.
We’re living in that time now, the church age. And that’s why the Lord could say, “No man knows the day nor hour.” Not for you to know the times or the seasons. You see, if it was all exact 490 years, we’d all know. But the gap means none of us knows.
Verse 27 – let’s hurry to a conclusion in the next five minutes. O ye of little faith. Okay? “And he shall confirm the Antichrist makes a league with them for seven years.” This is very important. He comes as a great hero to them.
Frankly, Israel’s scared, and they’re looking for somebody to bail them out. They’re getting pressured from the Arab nations; they know that. And they’re most of all afraid of what country? Russia.
I may be wrong, but my guess is that Russia is behind the Iraqi attack on Iran, without any question. They’re flying Russian planes, which ought to give you some clue. They’ve already sealed off the east with Afghanistan. Russia wants two things: they want a port in the Persian Gulf, because they want to control the oil of the world; and they want access to the Indian Ocean. They want a port on the Mediterranean, because they want to control the Mediterranean. And to do that, they need Israel. And little by little, they’re just taking off the Middle East.
The only savior there is in the world, basically for Israel, is a confederated Europe. We can’t do it; we’re too far away, and maybe too impotent to deal with Russia. It would have to be a colossal of massing together of some resource. And what is going to happen, according to the prophets, is when that final confederacy of Europe comes together, out of that confederacy will rise this one great world ruler called the little horn or the Antichrist, as you would call him, and this world ruler will come to the rescue of Israel, and make a treaty to protect Israel.
Ezekiel says Israel will be so, so secure, and feeling so good about the protection offered by the Antichrist’s treaty, that in Ezekiel’s prophecy it says she is living in unwalled villages. In other words, they really believe they are well-protected. And we’ll get in to what happens when Russia comes to conquer Israel. That’s going to come, by the way, folks. That’s not a guess, that’s a fact. But that comes later in Daniel.
And so they will make a covenant with the Antichrist, the final ruler of the revived Roman Empire. But he’s a liar. He’s vile, right out of the pit of hell. And so it says in verse 27, “In the middle of the week.” Now what is the middle of seven? Good class; coming along. Three-and-a-half. “In the middle of the week, he will cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”
Now listen to me. Before a sacrifice and an oblation can cease, what do you have to have? A sacrifice and an oblation. Now before you have a sacrifice and an oblation, what do they have to have? A temple. I believe that one of the things the Antichrist is going to do is assist them in the restoration of the temple. I don’t know how it’s going to come to pass, but that’s one of the things he’s going to do. That may be the thing that makes them sign the treaty with him. I mean that may be it. They may be so overawed at his ability to pull off that.
And by the way, when he is mentioned in the sixth chapter of Revelation, it says he comes conquering and to conquer with a bow. And I’ve always thought it was interesting that he has a bow but no arrows. And it seems as though he conquers by peace. He is a statesman unequalled. His mouth speaks great things, but he has forces behind him that intimidate. But he seems to be able to negotiate the right things for Israel: security in the land, a temple in the land, and he lets them have their worship.
But in the middle of that period of seven years, which is known as the great tribulation, he stops the whole thing; and in its place he brings an overspreading of abominations, and he turns the temple into desolation. And it remains desolate till the consummation; and that which is determined is poured out upon it. He just stops the whole thing in the middle.
We saw kind of a preview of that with what character? Antiochus Epiphanes who caused an abomination in the temple also, in the Maccabean period, when he slaughtered a pig on the altar and shoved the pork down the throats of the priests, and desecrated the temple and brought about the Maccabean revolt. He was just a little picture of what this one’s going to do. He’s going to bring an overspreading of abomination.
Now in the temple of God – listen to this – the thing that abominates is an idol, a false god. You know what he’s going to do? He’s going to bring a false god into the temple. You know who it’ll be? Himself. Himself. That’s exactly what the Bible says; there’s not even any doubt about it. Let me just give you a couple of texts quickly and we’ll wrap it up.
Revelation chapter 11. Well, let’s go to 13. I don’t have time to get into what I was going to show you in 11 – a couple of verses there: 2, 3 and 7. But we’ll go on to 13, verse 4: “And” – here it comes – “they worshiped the dragon who gave power to the beast.” Now the beast, another name for the Antichrist. “And they worshiped the beast saying, ‘Who is like the beast?’ It was given unto him” – verse 5 – “a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;” – you see, there it is, the abomination – “and power given unto him to continue for” – how long? – “forty-two months.” How long is that? Three-and-a-half-years.
Second three-and-a-half years, he puts himself in power. “He opens his mouth,” – verse 6 – “blasphemes God, blasphemes His name, blasphemes His tabernacle, blasphemes everybody that dwells in heaven. Is given him power to make war with the saints, to overcome them,” and so forth and so forth. And he establishes himself as the one to be worshiped. Verse 15: “There is an image of the beast set up, and he is to be worshiped; and as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be” – what? – “killed, killed.”
Second Thessalonians 2 tells us that he sets himself up as God. Now you know what’s also interesting about this? A footnote: During the same three-and-a-half year period that he’s had a treaty with Israel, he has also allowed the apostate church to exist. That’s the whore and the harlot of Revelation 17. He allows that to exist too.
But at that same midpoint, according to the end of chapter 17, he devours the false church. So he devours Israel, he devours the false church; there’s nothing of religion left but him. And in true Roman style, he sets himself up as the only deity. That goes on for three-and-a-half years. “And he makes the place desolate” – verse 27 – “until the consummation,” – or until the end, or until the finish – “and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Now that takes us to the end, almost. You say, “Is that the end? The whole ballgame ends with this guy being worshiped. Is that the end?” That’s not the end. You forgot verse 24; back up. This is the end.
“At the end of seventy weeks, God will finish the transgression, and make an end of sins.” And, folks, in those two phrases, you have the destruction of the Antichrist, right? Has to be. And then He makes reconciliation for iniquity, and then He brings in the righteousness of the ages. He seals up the vision and prophecy, and He anoints the Holy of Holies. That’s the kingdom, isn’t it? What an incredible prophecy.
Did you get the picture? Hope so. I’ll tell you, I get so excited to think that me, just little me, knows the whole history of the world, really, even the part that hasn’t happened.
I wandered through the White House this summer, and I thought to myself, “These folks work so hard trying to figure it out.” Went over to the Congress. We walked through all the Congress area over there in the Capitol building, and we saw where everybody’s desk was at one time, and the statues of all the great men, and I thought to myself, “If they only knew the Word of God.”
You see, Jesus has hidden it from the wise and prudent, and revealed it unto whom? Babes. Babes. I hope you’re grateful. What an incredible thing that God has done for us. Let’s bow in prayer.
Peter says this: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be? In all holy living and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent, that you may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Lord, that’s our prayer. Oh, since we know these things, may we be in all holy living and godliness. Since we look for these things and know full well that Jesus could come and will come to remove us before that seventieth week, may we be found in peace, without spot, and blameless. God, we know that Jesus could come any moment, the scene is set. The seventieth week is for Israel, not the church. We weren’t here in the first sixty-nine, we don’t fit in the seventieth either. We wait for the moment You take us out. And if these things of the tribulation are already so obvious on the horizon, how soon it must be that You take your church. May we be aware, Lord, and set our lives toward godliness, that we might not be found wanting, that we might not be found unfaithful when Jesus comes. Amen.
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