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The Christian Counter

     
WHAT TIME IS IT?
Lesson 8 - Part 2
page1


Review

In our last lesson we began looking into Daniel’s prophecy concerning the appointed time of the end.  Even though the prophecy spans several centuries, its primary focus is the appointed time of the end.

The prophecy actually contains two parts.  The first part held immediate meaning for Daniel and as we shall see, it also establishes a valuable historical marker so that we might know when the end of time arrives.  So far, we have discussed 3 dates.  These were 457 B.C., 27 and 31 A.D.  The correctness of 457B.C. is marked by the decree of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7) to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.  Jesus beginning his ministry precisely on time 483 years later - during the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.

The 15th year of Tiberius Caesar is 27 A.D.  Further, Jesus, the Passover Lamb, died right on time, three and half years later at the Passover feast in the Spring of 30 A.D.

Three keys help us unlock the vision of Daniel’s prophecy.  The first key requires an understanding of the time period known as a “seven.”  A “seven” represents 7 years. (See Leviticus 26.)  Every 7 years, the Jews did not plant crops for this year was a rest or sabbatical.  Thus 70 “sevens” represent 490 literal years.  The appearing of Messiah 483 years later (69 “seven”) confirms the correctness of this interpretation.

The second key is the historical timing of Christ’s death as it relates to the prophecy.  Jesus died precisely on time in the middle of the 70th week, which is 30 A.D.  Some students of prophecy believe the 70th week is broken into two parts.  In this view, the 70th week contains a time period of 3.5 years, a gap of many centuries, then the final time period of 3.5 years.  If this is true, the middle of the 70th cannot be determined!  For example, we can only compute the middle of the 70th week when we know the beginning and ending dates.  The middle year between 27 A.D. and 34 A.D. is 30 A.D.  However, if the 70th week is not consecutive years, the middle of the 70th week cannot be determined until the end of the week is known.

Other students of prophecy attempt to move the entire 70th week of seven years to the end of time.  If this is done, the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus are completely missed!  Further, those moving the 70th week of seven years to the end of time disconnect the 69 weeks from the 70th week.  If this is done, no historical marker pinpoints the beginning of the seven years of the 70th week.

The 70 weeks of 490 years must stand together as one unit of time.  These years were allotted to the Jewish nation to accomplish certain things, which Gabriel explained to Daniel.  Jesus Himself confirmed the beginning of the 70th week of seven years by beginning His ministry in 27 A.D. and confirming the covenant by His death three and a half years later in 30 A.D.

The third and last key that unlocks this portion of the prophecy relates to the end of the 70th week – 34 A.D.  At this point in time, the destiny of the Jewish nation was decided.

KEY III – The destiny of the Jews

Let us review Gabriel’s comments to Daniel concerning the Jews:

“70 sevens (or weeks) are granted to Israel to”:

  1. Pay the penalty for their wicked deeds as a nation
  2. Put an end to national apostasy
  3. Bring in everlasting righteousness
  4. Seal up the vision and prophecy
  5. Anoint the Most Holy

The first two elements of the prophecy above relate to Jewish behavior and the last three elements relate to promised glory.  The Jews knew they were special to God.  They knew that Messiah would come through their bloodline.  This prophecy underscores the special relationship between Jesus and His people.  If they would turn to Jesus, Israel could still fulfill His purpose.  They would have the opportunity to anoint the Most Holy One of Israel!  They would have the opportunity to bring in everlasting righteousness.  Just think, if the Jews had taken advantage of the promise given, the history of the world would be far different than it has been!    If the Jews have fulfilled their calling, they could have “sealed up the vision and prophecy” so that the destruction also contained in this prophecy would not take place!

This prophecy (and a few others in the Bible) contains a conditional element.  If Israel did not meet the conditions set forth, Jerusalem would again be destroyed and wars and desolations would continue to the end of the world.  Even more, the “one” who causes wars and desolations would be free to continue his work until the end.

This prophecy illuminates a very serious and important point.  When Jesus chose Israel to be a special people to Himself, He wanted them to clearly understand that the relationship depended upon certain conditions.  Jesus told the Jews through Moses, “..If you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…  The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.”  Deuteronomy 28:15,20

So, seventy “sevens” or 490 years of probationary time was granted to Israel.  It was their last opportunity for reconciliation with Jesus.  God had suffered with their stiff-necks and hard hearts for about 1300 years, and this was their final opportunity.  If they did not respond to the offer, Jesus would do something else.  Several important factors supplement this portion of the prophecy.

During the 70 “sevens” Israel was to atone for their wicked ways as a nation by experiencing revival and reformation.  Repentance means the forsaking of sin!  During this probationary time of 490 years (457 B.C. to 34 A.D.), the Jewish nation was to “bring in everlasting righteousness” by forsaking sin and measuring up to the high standards set forth by Jesus.

70 “sevens” – a measure of forgiveness

The Jewish people knew the 70 sevens were probationary.  They knew national apostasy brought on the Babylonian captivity.  They knew they were given a last chance.  In fact, Jesus used the 70 “sevens” mentioned in Daniel 9 as an expression of forbearance when Peter asked, “…Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?  Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.”  Matthew 18:21,22 

The Jews were to bring in everlasting righteousness.  What does “bringing in everlasting righteousness” mean?  It means Jesus wanted the nation to operate on the principles of righteousness.  This can only happen if the people of the nation love righteousness.  Jesus wanted a people that loved the Lord with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves!  The Jews clearly knew that their favored status with God was conditional.  Moses had said, “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands… blessings will come… However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands… curses will come upon you…” (Deut 28)

The last year of the 70th “seven” occurred in 34 A.D. This year is very important for it represents the last year of Jewish probation as a nation to receive and fulfill God’s promises.  As the 490 years of probationary time expired, so did Israel’s last opportunity to fulfill God’s glorious plan for them as a nation. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, Jericho and the wicked nations of Canaan, Israel passed the point of divine forbearance.  They had been forgiven “seventy times seven.”  The Jewish nation like the heathen nations before them came to the end of divine mercy and Jesus dealt with them accordingly.  Jesus had clearly warned Israel of His actions on the heathen and made it clear He would do the same to them saying, “…So I punished (the land of Canaan) for its sin and the land vomited out its inhabitants… And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.”  Leviticus 18:25,28

Israel abandoned

A series of events transpired in 34 A.D. that shows Jesus terminated His relationship with the nation of Israel.  Before looking at them, lets review Israel’s relation to Jesus:

  • The Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  They could not see beyond the shadows of ceremonies and services.   For salvation, they preferred the blood of animals to faith in the blood of Jesus.
  • The Jews failed to bring in national repentance; thus their corporate rebellion led them to crucify Jesus and persecute those who represented His work on earth.
      Their religious pride blinded them in their transgressions.

  • Jesus, knowing He would die in 30 A.D. when He gave the prophecy to Daniel, did not base the close of Jewish probation on His death.   For three and half years after His death, His disciples pressed upon the leaders in Jerusalem the prophecies concerning the resurrected Messiah!   Oh, what divine mercy, what divine patience and forbearance!  Jesus, before his death predicted the Jews would reject the gospel, saying, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”  
    Luke 16:31

The straw that breaks the camel’s back

The most significant historical event recorded in the Bible during the last year of probationary time (34 A.D.) was the stoning of the Christian deacon, Stephen.  The Sanhedrin (the Jewish Supreme court) sentenced Stephen to death for preaching, “Jesus risen from the dead.”  The killing of Stephen initiated a calculated and open persecution of all Christians by the Jews  (see Acts 7).

Jesus chooses others to carry His gospel

What did Jesus do from heaven in 34 A.D. in response to the decision of the Jews?

1.      Jesus gave Peter a vision about unclean animals.  While in vision, Peter thought the command to “kill and eat” the unclean animals had dietary implications.  Peter said, “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”  Acts 10:14 But a voice from heaven said, “…Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  Acts 10:15 three times this happened.  Peter wondered about the vision. What did it mean?  While thinking about the meaning, the Holy Spirit said, “…Simon, three men are looking for you.  So get up and go downstairs.  Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
Acts 10:19,20

The apostle Peter was invited to the home of a Roman centurion, Cornelius.  Cornelius was a Gentile and as such, was regarded as “unclean” by the Jews.  But Cornelius wanted to hear the gospel.  He was a God-fearing man.

Peter was very perplexed about going into the home of a Gentile (which was unlawful for a Jew to enter), but the Holy Spirit had said, “Go!”  Upon arriving at the home of Cornelius, Peter said, “…you are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him.  But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.  So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection.  May I ask why you sent for me?”   Acts 10:28,29 Peter now understood the meaning of the vision.   A great change was taking place.   He dimly began to see that the commission of representing God on earth belonged to the Christians – instead of the Jews.  (Compare Acts 10, Matthew 28)

2.      Perhaps the strongest response of Jesus to Israel’s final rejection in 34 A.D. was to take one of Israel’s brightest and best and “make” a Christian out of him.  The conversion of Saul to the apostle Paul and his life of service is a story only excelled by the life of Jesus.  Saul, the Jewish persecutor, became Paul, the persecuted Christian, an apostle sent specifically to the gentiles.  Jesus told Ananias concerning Saul, “…This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”  Acts 9:15,16

At the expiration of the 70 “seven” in 34 A.D., Israel had failed to meet the conditions of the prophecy.  Therefore, Jesus rose up a new group of “chosen” people called “Christians.”  Jesus set out to accomplish through the Christians Church what the Jews had failed to do.  He gave the Christian Church a renewed covenant, a renewed faith, a renewed understanding of His character and most of all, a theology based on His life, death, resurrection and priestly ministry.

Three keys confirm historical footing

The three keys now work together to unlock the longest time prophecy in the Bible.  Note that 457 B.C. is now historically confirmed with three dates.  First, Jesus began His ministry on time  (27 A.D.), He died on time (30 A.D.), and Israel lost favored status at the end of the seventy “seven” (34 A.D.).  The promised destruction of the city and the temple also mentioned in the prophecy (Daniel 9:26) occurred in 70 A.D.  Rome completely destroyed Jerusalem in that siege.  What a sad ending to such a glorious beginning.

The appointed time of the end

The vision of Daniel is comprehensive.  As you can see, the Bible is a storehouse of treasures and those who study prophecy study the deep things of God.

Now that the accuracy of 457 B.C. has been “nailed” down, we can understand another portion of Daniel’s vision.  Remember, Daniel heard two angels talking in the first segment of his vision.  One angel asked a very complex question that really contains five questions.  They are:

  1. How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled?
  2. How will the daily be taken away?
  3. How long will the rebellion that causes desolation last?
  4. How long will the sanctuary be surrendered?
  5. How long will the saints be trampled upon?

The answers to these five questions are sprinkled throughout this comprehensive prophecy.  To appreciate the answers to all these questions, the student must understand Revelation’s story too.  For now, we will look at the fourth question, “how long will the sanctuary be surrendered?”

Daniel heard an immediate answer to this question.  One angel said, “…it will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be recons crated” (Daniel 8:14).  Daniel heard the answer, but didn’t understand the meaning.  Gabriel said, “The vision of the (2,300) evenings and mornings that has been given to you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.  I Daniel was exhausted and lay ill for several days.  Then I got up and went about the king’s business.  I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding” Daniel 8:26,27

A year passes

Daniel meditated on the vision from time to time.  As any student of prophecy, he carefully studied all that had been revealed through past prophets for understanding on God’s purposes and plans.  He wanted to know the meaning of what he had seen.  One day, while Daniel was in earnest prayer, Gabriel came to give more information about the vision.

(Note:  The reason we have spent considerable effort establishing the historical importance and accuracy of 457 B.C. is because this date also marks the beginning of the 2.300 evenings and mornings!)

Seventy “sevens” are cut off

Remember, Gabriel told Daniel, “Seventy sevens are decreed for your people…”  Daniel 9:24 The Hebrew word translated “decreed” is chathak (see Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary #2852), which literally means, “cut off.”  What Gabriel told Daniel is that seventy “sevens” are “cut off” from the vision of the 2,300 evenings and mornings.  In other words, the 490 years are a subset or part of the larger vision.

The relationship between the vision recorded in Daniel 8 and the comments of Gabriel in Daniel 9 is clearly established for Daniel identifies Gabriel as the one he had talked with in the earlier segment of this vision.  (Daniel 9:21)  Even though Daniel desired to know the meaning of the vision concerning the 2,300 evenings and mornings, Gabriel does not directly address the first segment of Daniel’s vision except to say the seventy sevens are cut off from the larger time period.

What does the scripture mean? “…it will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be recon se crated.”  Daniel 8:14 Several elements have to be addressed to explain the meaning of this verse.

  1. Since creation, an evening and a morning represent one day.  “God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night’.  And there was evening and morning the first day.”  Genesis 1:5 In Bible times a day began at evening (twilight).  This was followed by midnight, morning and noon.  A 24-hour day lasted from evening to evening.
  • 2,300 evenings and mornings means 2,300 days.  Since the seventy “sevens” (490 years) are “cut off” from this prophecy, we know that this prophecy represents on day as a year.  Here’s how:  the seventy “sevens” are a subset of a larger time prophecy; consequently, they are “cut off” or cut out of the larger time prophecy.  If the seventy “sevens” use the day for a year process, then 2,300 days have to follow the day/year structure too!

From the mathematics alone, we note the date would be 1843.  This is because math uses a number scale that includes a zero. Notice the following scale:

-----------------------------------------

- 2          -1          0          1          2

 

  1. You will notice that 2 years (or two spaces) exist between –1 and 1 for this scale moves from –1 to 0 to 1.  When the dating of time relative to Christ’s birth was put together, the 0 year was left out.  It is not possible to say 0 B.C. or 0 A.D.  So any periods of time that span B.C. to A.D. must have an additional year added to be mathematically correct.  So 1843 + 1 equals 1844.
  1. What does the Bible mean when it says that the sanctuary will be recon se crated or cleansed after 2,300 evenings and mornings?

Some Christians believe that the Jews are still God’s chosen people and that Israel has an important part for the cause of Jesus at the end of the world.  Thirty-eight hundred years of Jewish history and tradition indicates the Jewish nation will never accept Christ as the promised Messiah.  (Yes, a few Jews have come to accept Jesus as their personal Messiah, but as a nation, they haven’t changed.)

It is true that Israel plays a part in the end of the world – but it is not a glorious part.  This prophecy of Daniel predicts that Israel (and most of the world) will accept the great imposter that is coming upon the earth claiming to be God!  More will be said about this when we study Revelation 9.

The sanctuary to which the vision relates exists in heaven, where Jesus serves as our High Priest.  Remember, this vision primarily applies to the “appointed time of the end.”  The Romans destroyed the rebuilt sanctuary of the Jews in A.D.70 because the privilege of being God’s chosen nation was forfeited by the end of the 70th Week  (34 A.D.).  Thus Jesus prophesied to the Pharisees, “Look, your house (temple) is left to you desolate.”

Matthew 23:38

Remember, the Apostle Paul confirms the presence of the heavenly sanctuary, “We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.”  Hebrews 8:1,2

So, the vision of the 2,300 days is connected to the services of the heavenly sanctuary that is to be restored or recon se crated!  How can this be?

The sanctuary restored

The Christian faith is built upon the achievement of Jesus.  He came to earth, was tempted beyond anything humans will ever face; yet lived a sinless life and willingly died at the hands of His own people to pay the penalty of sin.  He returned to heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father to intercede through the merits of His blood for the human race.  Christ’s work in heaven from His ascension to 1844 many is thought of as that of a priest in the earthy sanctuary.

Since the Old Testament sanctuary built in the wilderness was a representation of the one in heaven, services there represent or “shadow” processes of services actually taking place in heaven!  Paul clearly understood this point.  Talking about the role of priests, he says, “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.  This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle:  ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’” Hebrews 8:5

Since the Jews failed to respond to the probationary time period of the seventy “sevens”, the intended purpose of the rebuilt temple and restored services were never fulfilled.  Consequently, Jesus said, “Your temple is left desolate.”  Here is a profound point:  What Jesus intended to do in the earthy temple would have to be done in the heavenly one!

In a later lesson, we will learn that Jesus was coroneted as High Priest in 1844 in heaven and began a very special work.  It is His coronation and work as our High Priest that recon se crates or restores the sanctuary process!  This is not to say Jesus wasn’t busy with heavenly business from His ascension in 30 A.D. to 1844.  No!  Jesus was very intimately involved with the development of the Christian Church.  Jesus showed Daniel that certain matters would develop during the “times of the Gentiles.”  Some of these prophetic matters are very fascinating and will be looked at in our next lesson.

The point is made that Jesus clearly placed a long span of time between Daniel’s day and the “appointed time of the end: - 2,300 years to be exact!  Since Jesus personally confirmed the accuracy of 457 B.C. with his baptism and death, 1844 is just as certain too!  We shall soon see that 1844 marks the beginning of the end.

Summary

Daniel 8 and 9 are inseparably linked together to show us when the “appointed time of the end” arrives chronologically.  The accuracy of 1844 is as certain as the beginning date of 457 B.C., the baptism of Jesus in 27 A.D. and the death of Jesus in 30 A.D.  Three keys unlock the meaning of the seventy “sevens” and the resulting harmony is both scriptural and historical.

Isn’t it interesting that what the Jews forfeited, the Christians inherited?  In our next study, we will look into prophetic events that take place between the ascension of Jesus and 1844.  We will see how history repeats itself!

Quiz

1.      The Jews understood that a “seven” represented _______ years.

2.      How many years existed between the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and the appearing of Messiah?

3.      Jesus died in the middle of the _______ week.

4.      Peter first thought the vision of unclean animals related to diet, then understood that the vision related to:

5.      Seventy “seven” were cut off of what?

Memory Verse:
Matthew 23:38  “Look, your house (temple) is left to you desolate.”

Notes:

This is the conclusion of
"What Time Is It" Lesson 8 part 2

You may proceed to "What Time Is It?" Lesson 9






































































































































































































































   
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