Archive for April, 2014
In our last article, we briefly went over Daniel 9 and determined that the word “weeks” should have been more accurately translated “sevens.” We were then able to show that the total amount of time indicated by Gabriel was to be viewed in years, based on the entire context of the chapter itself. You’ll recall that Daniel had been reading Jeremiah and realized that the prophesied 70 years of captivity was almost concluded. During Daniel’s prayer, Gabriel came along and gave Daniel understanding. In essence, Gabriel told Daniel that the captivity wasn’t 70 years, but 70 “sevens” or 70 times 7 years for a total of 490 years.
It’s the same thing here. Gabriel is actually using a bit of a play on words. Daniel had just read from Jeremiah that the 70 years were nearly over and the Jews would be released from their bondage. Gabriel comes along to say essentially yes, you will physically be released, but your city (Jerusalem) will continue to be controlled by Gentiles, not for 70 years, but for 70 sevens of years. We know that this “sevens” must refer to years because the entire context of Daniel 9 is referencing years.
Jesus is saying that when He returns for the second time to earth, it will not be secretly or hidden from public view as when He was born in a manger among farm animals. When He returns, it will be visible by all! Just as lightning strikes from the east to the west (and lights up the sky as it strikes), so will be Jesus’ Second Coming. In other words, Jesus’ return will be obvious, so don’t waste time believing in those who claim to have supernatural ability but no one knows who they are or from where they came. In fact, Jesus pointedly states, “don’t believe them.” Ignore them. Shun them. Jesus will return in splendor and glory and every eye will see Him. Make no mistake.
This is very, very important for us to comprehend before moving onward. Jesus is referring to something that is best described as “the abomination of desolation” and He refers us to the book of Daniel as well. By the way, as an aside, so-called “higher critics” have panned Daniel as being written by an impostor, someone who simply called himself Daniel but wrote well after most of the events in the book of Daniel occurred. They argue for this because they say that the book of Daniel is so accurate it is uncanny.
Jesus also notes that lawlessness will increase. Even though statistically speaking, violent crime is down, that doesn’t mean it will stay down. But lawlessness is also an attitude that people develop. It is a complete disregard for the rule of law. Look at the amount of corruption that appears to be part of all levels of government in the US alone.
This is the example that Jesus chose to use to let us know that the end of this age will come through the “birth” of the Tribulation. The beginning of birth pangs happen to help us know where we are in the process. Overall, Jesus lists nine birth pangs that must occur that lead up to and then include the Tribulation. This period of time will be the most dreadful period in the entire history of the world, but fortunately, will never be seen again once its past.
With that, we move into Matthew 24, where Jesus joins His disciples outside the Temple. They eventually move opposite the Eastern Wall of the Temple to the Mount of Olives. There, they can view the Temple as Jesus points out the order of events that will occur in the next 40 years and toward the end of the age, prior to His physical return. But when Jesus first joins His disciples, they point to the Temple in all its beauty and Jesus uses it for a teachable moment. He tells them plainly that there will essentially be nothing left of the Temple they see standing before them. Not one stone will remain.