Jesus Explains End Times Protocol, Pt 6

April 30, 2014 at 8:10 AM 1 comment

This chart outlines the birth pangs, which we will deal with individually

This chart outlines the birth pangs, which we will deal with individually

In our last article, we dealt with the “abomination of desolation” that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24:15. He points to the event that occurred in 168 BC (by referring to what Daniel spoke of in Daniel 9 and 11), and uses that historical event to point out that another like it that will occur in the future before He comes back to earth during the Second Coming, which also brings the Tribulation/Great Tribulation to a close.

What we’re going to do in this article is start looking at Daniel 9 because in that chapter, the subject of the 70 “weeks” is discussed, defined, and outlined. What I find heartbreaking here is how often people who believe they have studied the Bible come to erroneous conclusions about this “mystical” 70 “weeks.” What I will do here is show you what the actual length of time is for the 70 weeks and where we are in that process.

It is difficult to take small portions of Scripture and explain them because the Bible is so interconnected. Sometimes, because of this inter-connectivity, it’s difficult to know where to stop and start. It’s easy to feel as though you are leaving something out that should be included.

Suffice it to say that Daniel 9 is a special chapter because it deals with an extended conversation Daniel has with Gabriel, an archangel sent from the Lord’s throne to explain to Daniel more about what became known as the 70 “weeks.” It is helpful to understand as the first few verses of chapter 9 indicate that Daniel had been studying the book of Jeremiah and came to realize that the 70 years of captivity were almost over. Let’s see what God’s Word says in Daniel 9:1-2.

“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.”

Notice that this was the first year of the reign of Darius. Darius was a Mede of the Medo-Persian Empire (that came into existence after the Babylonian Empire, from Daniel 2). Daniel then points out that he had been reading the book of the prophet Jeremiah and realized that the 70 years of captivity was almost complete. This captivity started when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem, took Temple artifacts and also captured Jews to take to his kingdom. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were among them.

But now, Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Empire was gone, having been taken from Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar (remember the writing on the wall from Daniel 4?). Daniel lived through that and was now a man of honor under Darius.

You can imagine Daniel’s excitement in realizing that the 70 years of captivity was almost over! Because of this realization, Daniel entered into a time of extended prayer and worship to God. Please take the time to read this section, which starts in verse 3 and continues through verse 19. Daniel’s heartfelt praise, confession, and admiration for God is moving.

But something happens during this prayer that gets Daniel’s attention. We read about it in verse 20 (through verse 23).

“Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, 21 while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. 22 He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”

Isn’t this amazing? While in the midst of prayer, Daniel is interrupted by Gabriel, the heavenly messenger sent to provide Daniel with information concerning the times that will lead up to the last Gentile Empire.

Notice specifically verse 23. Daniel is told by Gabriel that Daniel was “highly esteemed.” Wow! Is there any better label a person can be labeled with by one of God’s own messengers?

Gabriel also tells Daniel to listen carefully (give heed) to what Gabriel is going to say and to gain understanding of the vision he is about to receive. Let’s take a look at verses 24 – 27.

24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

The word “weeks” is actually an incorrect translation unfortunately. The English word the translators should have used is the word “sevens.” The NIV renders the text correctly here. The Revised Standard Bible uses the term “seventy weeks of years,” which is also a correct paraphrase of the actual meaning. Other versions say “seventy sevens.”

The most accurate term to use is actually “seventy sevens,” not seventy “weeks.” The word “sevens” from the Hebrew is used like our English word “dozen” is used. If someone asked you to go the store and pick up a dozen, your first question would be “A dozen what?” You wouldn’t know what you were to pick up, only that they wanted you to buy a dozen (or twelve).

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.

In essence, Gabriel is telling Daniel that the “captivity” of Jerusalem will last for 70 sevens of years, or 70 times seven years (70 x 7), for a total of 490 years. This is the way several translations render it; “God has ordered four hundred ninety years for your people and your holy city…”

In total then, the sum we are working with here is 490 years. Recently, I’ve read where people simply take 70 as individual years, for a total of 70 years. That is completely incorrect. Others allegorize or spiritualize this number that winds up being one thousand or two thousand years long. That is also incorrect. The grand total of years is 490 years.

If that is the case, then wouldn’t the 490 years have been fulfilled a long time ago? Yes, unless there is something in God’s Word that tells us there is a “gap” or “break” in the timetable. It just so happens that there is a break between the weeks.

We will discuss exactly when the 490 years began and we will also discuss the potential break or gap and what happens during that period of time in our next article!


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Entry filed under: Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , .

Jesus Explains End Times Protocol, Pt 5 Jesus Explains End Times Protocol, Pt 7

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