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THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL
(1) Daniel Taken to Babylon
Down through the years the prophets had been warring the Northern and Southern Kingdom that if they did not repent, judgment would surely come.
The first world empire, Egypt, had declined, and the Assyrian Empire was the most powerful during this time. God used Assyria to destroy the Northern Kingdom. As Assyria declined, Babylon was once again on the rise. This time it reached world empire status under King Nebuchadnezzar. God used Babylon to conquer Assyria and to destroy the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
The prophet Jeremiah had been warning Judah, but the people would not listen. He not only told them God’s judgment would come, but he told them what nation God would use and how long they would be in captivity. “And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years” (Jer. 25:11).
In Jeremiah 29:10, God said, “After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Nebuchadnezzar’s army came into Jerusalem during the third year of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, and began taking the people to Babylon. The young prophet Daniel was among the first to be taken. This began the desolations of Jerusalem and Judah, the seventy years of captivity, and the Gentile rule over the city of God (Dan. 1:1).
(2) Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream
While Daniel was in Babylon he received many dreams and visions about the rise and fall of world empires, and what would happen to Israel in the last days. He was given a broad view of the future, even to the return of Christ and His kingdom. The first dream about the rise and fall of kingdoms did not come to Daniel. It came to Nebuchadnezzar. His dream troubled him, so he sent for the magicians and astrologers and demanded that they tell him what the dreams meant.
Nebuchadnezzar used the council of the astrologers from time to time, but he was smart enough to know that most of their advice and predictions were nonsense. So he really put them on the spot. He told them not only did he want the dream interpreted, but said that he had forgotten the dream and demanded that they refresh his memory. In fact, he told them if they did not tell him what he had dreamed and what it meant, he was going to “cut” them in pieces (Dan. 2:5).
When the king’s advisers heard this, they told him no one on earth could tell him what he had dreamed and give the interpretation also. Daniel heard about this and told Nebuchadnezzar that God had revealed to him the dream. He said:
There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these. . . .
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces (Dan. 2:28,31-34).
(3) The Dream Interpreted
After Daniel told the king what he had dreamed, he gave him the meaning of it. He told him that the head of gold represented him and his kingdom; the silver represented the kingdom that would follow his; the brass represented a third empire, and the legs of iron represented a fourth empire. Then Daniel told him the “stone” which he saw striking the image on the feet would result in a kingdom which would never be destroyed. He said the “God of heaven” would be the one to set it up (Dan. 2:36-45).
The gold was Babylon; the silver was the Medo-Persian Empire, which conquered Babylon; the brass was Greece, which conquered Persia; and the legs of iron was Rome. The “stone” he saw “cut out without hands,” crushing the image and filling “the whole earth,” is Christ and His kingdom (Dan. 2:34-35).
The Lord came during the days when Rome ruled the world. He brought in the spiritual phase of His kingdom, but He did not crush the Roman Empire like the vision pictured. You may ask, How can we reconcile this difference?
In verse 28, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar his dream reached into the “latter days.” This term in its broadest sense covers from the cross until the last day, but it generally refers to the time shortly before the return of Christ after the tribulation.
(4) The Revived Roman Empire
The legs of iron represent Rome at the first coming of Christ. The feet and ten toes made of iron and clay may represent the revival of Rome, the final world empire. Many believe this will be a ten nation alliance located in Western Europe which will again control the approximate area that Rome ruled. The Roman Empire at one time controlled most of the territory of the five previous empires.
Since the Roman Empire fell apart there have been men who have tried to put it back together again. Charlemagne tried it in the 800s, Napoleon in the 1800s, and Adolf Hitler in this century. Hitler took the name “The Third Reich” from the Holy Roman Empire, and he said it would last for a 1000 years. It lasted only a few and never did control the territory of ancient Rome. The Axis Empire at its height in 1942 did control most of Western Europe and Northern Africa, but it never ruled the territory of ancient Babylon and Persia.
Even before the turn of the century, many who studied Bible prophecy believed that a ten nation confederacy would arise out of the old Roman Empire. Many believe we are seeing this taking place in the European Union, once called the Common Market.
The Common Market began as the Club of Rome and consisted of six nations. The expressed goal of the association from the very beginning was: The political union of Europe by l980, consisting of ten nations. At present there are more than ten nations in the EU. Some of the present nations may drop out and others may join, but in its final form it seems there will be ten nations.
Daniel 2:41-43 tells us this ten nation alliance will be strong as “iron,” but because of the different nations, cultures, and languages, it will be as “clay” in its disunity. The European Community is a good example of this. They are united to a degree, but it is still each nation for itself.
Before these ten nations spoken of in Daniel can come to be the number one power, they will need a great leader, the Antichrist. Also, before they can claim the number one rating, the United States and Russia must cease to be world powers and come under the influence of the Antichrist and his kingdom. (With all their nuclear weapons, Russia is still very powerful.)
All these things will take place before Christ returns to set up His kingdom. Daniel 2:44-45 gives us a picture of His return to destroy this ten nation alliance, along with the remains of the other powers and their leaders:
During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; no one will ever conquer it. It will shatter all these kingdoms into nothingness, but it shall stand forever, indestructible. That is the meaning of the Rock cut from the mountain without human hands—the Rock that crushed to powder all the iron and brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold (TLB).
(5) The Four Great Beast
I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea diverse one from another (Dan. 7:2-3).
Daniel 7 may deal with: The United States, symbolized as a lion with the wings of an eagle; Russia, symbolized as a bear; China, symbolized as a leopard with four heads; and the last world empire, which will be a confederacy of ten nations headed by the Antichrist.
(6) The Lion
Daniel 7:4 tells us, “The first [beast] was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.”
The lion has been labeled “The King of Beasts,” and the United States likes to think of itself as being Number 1. Many times America is referred to as a lion. The eagle’s wings are a symbol of strength and ability to soar to great heights. When we landed on the moon, we heard the words, “The eagle has landed.”Our Presidential Seal is an eagle with its wings spread with one of its feet holding the arrows of war. The President is, in a sense, the most powerful man in the world. Missiles have replaced arrows, and our “wings” might be “plucked” by a nuclear exchange with Russia.
Many believe the city in Revelation 18 is New York, which represents America. The city is to be destroyed in one “hour” by fire. David Wilkerson, who began his ministry in New York, says: I believe modern Babylon is present-day America, including its corrupt society and its whorish church system. No other nation on earth fits the description in Revelation 18 but America, the world’s biggest fornicator with the merchants of all nations.1
God brought the children of Israel out of slavery to a land of plenty and blessed them. The nation was founded on a “Thus saith the Lord.” In many respects America is similar to Israel of Old. Our forefathers came out of Europe seeking religious freedom and a new land, and it seems that God has blessed America above all other nations, just as He did Israel. God warned Israel that if they turned away from His commandments, became unthankful, proud, and began to think their nation was great because of their own goodness and might—they would surely “perish.”(See Deuteronomy 8:7-19.)
Israel did become proud, unthankful, and turned to idols. So God used other nations to judge them for their sins, a judgment that is still on them to this very day. America, too, has turned away from the principles upon which it was founded. It has become proud, unthankful, worships the idols of the almighty dollar, and everything else under the sun. America could be saved if she would repent, but I believe we have already passed the point of no return. Some years ago, Billy Graham said:
I am often asked, “Is America at the crossroads?” My answer is an emphatic “no”! The idea of the crossroads implies that we are at a place where we can choose one or another road to follow. I think we have already made a choice at a crossroad some time ago. I doubt that anyone can specify the exact time when this choice was made—but in my judgment it has been made. And we are well along the dead-end road we deliberately chose to follow. The choice was made when America as a nation abandoned obedience to God and to his moral law. We chose the road of secularism, hedonism, materialism, and moral permissiveness.2
(7) The Bear
Because of its massive size and awkward strength, it has been common to refer to Russia as a bear. A bear cannot be trusted, and neither can Russia. One characteristic of a bear is that it will seem quite tame one moment and suddenly become vicious the next, without warning. Daniel 7:5 says, “And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.”
Russia has been down before, only to stand up and strike. At the moment Russia is having its problems, but it is still a mighty force to be reckoned with. Its instability makes it even more dangerous and unpredictable. The recent invasion of Georgia by Russia may be a prelude of things to come.
Even before the birth of Christ military men knew that the Middle East was of strategic importance for ruling the world. In his book Diplomacy, Henry Kissinger points out that conquering the south is “an ancient Russian dream.”3
A few years ago Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a rabid anti-Semitic, ran for president of Russia. He said he is going to take back Alaska and restore Russia to its former glory. He threatened to start World War III and invade the Middle East.”4
Russia is much like Hitler’s Germany before World War II. But Hitler didn’t have thousands of tanks, planes and nuclear weapons before he came to power. God used arrows to rain His “wrath” on Israel. Missiles have replaced arrows, and God may let someone like Zhirinovsky use them against America.
(8) The Leopard
Daniel 7:6 may be referring to China. “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.”
With the lion and the bear out of the way, the leopard of China may strike. The “four wings” may refer to four demons, and the “four heads” to four leaders whom they will inspire. Revelation 9:13-21 speaks of four angels being released and leading an army of 200 million to kill one-third of mankind with “fire.” (More about this later.)
(9) The Fourth Beast
The fourth beast may represent ten nations of Western Europe, which will be the power-base from which the Antichrist will rule. This will be the last beast to rise to power. “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns” (Dan. 7:7).
This ten nation alliance will be what some call the Revived Roman Empire. The United States and Russia may destroy each other in a nuclear war, China will expend its energies in the Far East, and Western Europe will come out Number 1. In his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, Henry Kissinger says, “All-out war may merely pave the way for the dominance of the world by states whose social structure and forces-in-being have remained more or less intact during the struggle-to-death of the superstates.”5
Western Europe may take a few hits in a nuclear war, but it won’t be destroyed. It will, however, probably be left in disarray. Their economy is heavily dependent on America to buy its merchandise. With America destroyed, people will be out of work and there will be disorder. They will need a strong leader to put things in order—the Antichrist. Daniel 7:8 speaks of his rise to power; verse 11 speaks of his destruction:
I considered the [ten] horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. . . . I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame (Dan. 7:8,11).
The Antichrist’s rule will be short lived. Verses 13-14 give us a picture of the Lord returning and setting up His kingdom:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Most students of prophecy believe Daniel 7 covers about the same ground as Daniel 2, with Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon being the lion. But Daniel 7:17 gives a clue that the lion may not be Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. It tells us these four leaders of their respective countries are still to come in the future, and Nebuchadnezzar had already been dead for a number of years when Daniel received the visions of chapter 7. “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.”
John received a vision very similar to the one of Daniel 7. Both visions may represent America, Russia, China and Western Europe arising out of a troubled world, symbolized as a sea. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion” (Rev. 13:1-2).
(10) Daniel’s Vision of Chapter 8
Daniel had told Nebuchadnezzar that three more world empires would follow his, the last one being destroyed by the Lord Himself. In the vision of chapter 8, Daniel saw Babylon fall to the Medo-Persian Empire, and Medo-Persia being conquered by Alexander of Greece. The dual Medo-Persian Empire was symbolized by a ram with two horns. Greece was symbolized by a goat with one “notable” horn, which represented Alexander the Great.
Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one [Persia] was higher than the other [Media], and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.
And as I was considering, behold, an he goat [Alexander of Greece] came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler [anger] against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns (Dan. 8:3-7).
Alexander “became great,” but he died at the height of his power and his empire was divided into four parts. Daniel 8:8 tells us about this. “Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.”
Daniel 8:20-22 gives us the interpretation of verses 3-8: “The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.”
After Alexander’s death, four of his generals took over the kingdom instead of his son. Then Daniel 8:9-11 tells us:
And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land [Israel]. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
It is generally thought that Alexander’s empire became divided between Cassander, Lysimacus, Seleucus and Ptolemy. It’s also thought that from Seleucus came the “little horn” of Daniel 8:9-12, which was Antiochus IV. The book of Maccabees gives us an account of this person desecrating the temple and stopping the sacrifice in December 167 B.C. The temple was rededicated some 1095 days later in 164 B.C. This dedication and cleansing of the temple took place on the 25th of Chisleu, which falls in our December.
(11) The 2300 Days
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed (Dan. 8:13-14).
Parts of Daniel 8 may be double type prophecy, referring to the future and to the past. Daniel 12:11 tells us the Antichrist is going to stop the sacrifices. In order for him to stop them, they must first begin. Could this start the 2300 days? According to Ezra 3:6, the sacrifices could start even before the temple is started. What would be interesting is to hear a news report that the sacrifices had started but no one knew when.
(12) The Seventy Sevens
Daniel 9 has been called, “The key to understanding the prophetic Scriptures.” The chapter actually set the year for the crucifixion 483 years before it happened. Many believe it also set a time of seven years when once again God will be dealing with the nation of Israel in a very special way. Many have long since recognized the importance of the book of Daniel and especially chapter nine in unraveling the prophetic puzzle.
Before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God told them that if they rejected Him and His laws they would be driven from the land and taken captive to other nations. Daniel was among the first Jews to be taken to Babylon, and some seventy years passed before Babylon finally fell to Medo-Persia. Then Daniel, as an old man, began to look into the prophecies of Jeremiah concerning the return of his people to Jerusalem:
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem (Dan. 9:1-2).
As we brought out earlier, there had been a period of seventy sevens, 490 years, between Israel rejecting the Lord and the captivity. Second Chronicles 36:20-21 tells us the seventy years of captivity was to atone for the 490 years they had broken the commandment of Leviticus 25:1-5. In Daniel 9:3-19, Daniel prayed about the sins of Israel, the city of Jerusalem, and the temple. In verses 20-24 his prayer was answered. The angel Gabriel came and told him that the sins of Israel would not end until another 490 years had transpired. Only then would the city be free of Gentile rule and an age of peace and righteousness brought in:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy (Dan. 9:24).
In the Old Testament the word “week” can mean a period of seven years. The phrase “seventy weeks” is another way of saying 490 years. The word “weeks” in Daniel 9:24 is the Hebrew word “shabu’im” which means “sevens.” Some translations use the word “sevens” instead of “weeks.” In his book The Prophecies of Daniel, Lehman Strauss says:
There is another passage, to which we draw the reader’s attention, which shows that this word “week,” which is the word “seven,” may mean seven years. The student should turn in his Bible to the interesting narrative in Genesis 29:15-28. Here the time period that Jacob agreed to work for Laban, so that he might have Rachel for his wife, is referred to interchangeably by the two expressions, “seven years” and “one week.” Verses 27 and 28 show this clearly: “Fulfill her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.” Here there can be no question that the terms “week” and “seven years” are used synonymously. (See also Leviticus 23:15-16). Returning now to Daniel 9, the conclusion is that the prophecy of “seventy weeks” refers to the seventy sevens of years, or 490 years.6
Daniel 9:25 tells us that the seventy weeks would start with the decree allowing the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem, then after sixty-nine weeks, 483 years, the Prince would come to Jerusalem as Messiah.
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: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Daniel’s seventy weeks are divided into three parts. It would take the first seven weeks, forty-nine years, for the wall to be finished, and this would be during a time of trouble. After this there would be another sixty-two weeks, 434 years, and then the Messiah would be “cut off” for the benefit of others. After He was killed, Israel would suffer until the very end. (The word “Messiah” is a Hebrew word. In the New Testament the Greek word “Christ” is used. Both words mean, “God’s Anointed One.”)
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined (Dan. 9:26).
You might be wondering about the last seven years, the 70th week. Some believe the 70th week is history; others believe it is still in the future and will start when the Antichrist makes or negotiates some kind of peace settlement in the Middle East. In the middle of this last seven years, he will stop Israel from making sacrifices and will try to destroy those who do not worship him.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [the 70th week]: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (Dan. 9:27).
I believe “the covenant” will be confirmed by the “the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The word perdition is another word for hell. Verse 4 says he will exalt “himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Isaiah calls this a “covenant with death, and with hell.” But God tells Israel, “Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand . . . ye shall be trodden down by it” (Isa. 28:15, l8).
Summing up Daniel 9:24-27, God marked a time of 490 years and there is a gap between the 69th and 70th week. When Israel rejected and crucified their Messiah, God, in a sense, suspended dealing with Israel and turned to the Gentiles, and the church age fits between the 69th and 70th week.
God could have told Gabriel to tell Daniel to simply say 490 years, and made it all plainer. But He chose to make it a little vague. Israel to this day can’t see what it all means.
The Living Bible does a fairly good job in paraphrasing Daniel 9. Verses 1-3 tell us, “It was now the first year of the reign of King Darius, the son of Ahasuerus (Darius was a Mede but became king of the Chaldeans.) In that first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from the book of Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years. So I earnestly pleaded with the Lord God [to end our captivity and send us back to our own land]” (TLB). Daniel’s prayer was answered. The angel Gabriel told him:
The Lord has commanded 490 years of further punishment upon Jerusalem and your people. Then at last they will learn to stay away from sin, and their guilt will be cleansed; then the kingdom of everlasting righteousness will begin, and the Most Holy Place (in the Temple) will be rededicated, as the prophets have declared. Now listen! It will be forty-nine years plus 434 years from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem, until the Anointed One comes! Jerusalem’s streets and walls will be rebuilt despite the perilous times. After this period of 434 years, the Anointed One will be killed, his kingdom still unrealized (Dan. 9:24-26a, TLB).
The spiritual part of God’s kingdom began at the end of the 69th week. The second phase, Christ ruling the earth with power and glory, was “unrealized” and delayed because Israel did not repent and believe Jesus was the Messiah.
Jesus, shortly before He was crucified, said that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed because of their rejection of Him.a In 70 A.D. the Roman army fulfilled His prophecy, just as Daniel had predicted. “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Dan. 9:26a).
Solomon’s temple would be destroyed the second time, 1000 years since it began in 3070. Since 70 A.D. the Jews have suffered like no other people, just as Daniel 9:26b predicted. “They will be overwhelmed as with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end” (TLB).
When Jesus road into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He wept over the city and said that peace could have come to them that day.b The Jews have returned to Israel seeking peace and safety, but instead they have found “war and its miseries.” They rejected the true Prince of Peace, Christ; they are now about ready to accept the false one—the Antichrist. Jesus said, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43).
Many believe the Antichrist will come out of the remains of the old Roman Empire and will be the “prince” of the Roman “people” who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (Dan. 9:26a). In its paraphrase of Daniel 9:27, the Living Bible says, “This king will make a seven-year treaty with the people, but after half that time, he will break his pledge and stop the Jews from all their sacrifices and their offerings; then, as a climax to all his terrible deeds, the Enemy shall utterly defile the sanctuary of God. But in God’s time and plan, his judgment will be poured out upon this Evil One.”
Billy Graham, commenting on Daniel 9, says, “The prophetic announcement by Daniel in his prayer to God is twofold. He expressly refers to the more immediate judgment upon Israel (Daniel 9:16) and then to the awesome portent of ‘end time judgment’ and ‘tribulation’ which shall be for ‘seven years’ (Daniel 9:27).”7
The Covenant of Daniel 9:27 is seven years. The tribulation, however, might not be that long.
(13) The Antichrist
And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. (Dan. 11:21, 22).
Most prophecy students believe the verses above are history and we began the future with verse 36. The New Scofield Reference Bible says the vile person in verses 21 through 35 “is none other than Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175-164 B.C., the great persecutor of the Jews and type of Antichrist.”
We may break with history or at least begin to merge the future with history at Daniel 11:21. Arthur Bloomfield believes the break comes at verse 20. “Historians” he says, “can find nothing in the past that could be a fulfillment of verses 20 and 21. The reason is simple: these details are still future. . . . This is the entrance of Satan. From now on, we are dealing with the beast out of ‘the sea’ (Rev. 13:1).”8
The last seven years of Daniel 9 might be similar to the seven years between the Munich Agreement in September of 1938 to the in of World War II in September of 1945. The World Book Encyclopedia says, “Britain and France believed that the Munich Agreement would keep Europe at peace. Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of Britain, declared that the Munich Agreement had brought ‘peace for our time.’ . . . The Munich Agreement was one of the worst of the tragic blunder that led up to the war.”9
Antiochus IV was a type of Antichrist, and so was Hitler. He was a vile person who deceived and charmed multitudes with the words of his mouth. Daniel 11:36-37, speaking of the Antichrist, says:
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that which is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
Many believe that the phrase, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers,” indicates he may be a Jew. In 1919, Dr. H. A. Ironside said, “A king will arise in Jerusalem who will be an utter atheist, and yet, evidently, a Jew; for it is distinctly predicted of him that ‘he shall not regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women.’ The expression ‘the God of his fathers’ can mean nothing else than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”10
In 1954, Paul R. Alderman wrote, “An analysis of Daniel 11:37 would seem to indicate that Antichrist will also be a Jew. . . . Devout and worthy Bible scholars are not in full accord on this interpretation and so we refuse to be dogmatic; but we are strongly inclined to the belief that this person will be a Jew arising out of the revived Roman Empire.”11
Because of Europe’s anti-Semitism and different cultures, it was hard to conceive of a Jew one day ruling a United States of Europe, composed of ten nations. Henry Kissinger has demonstrated that a Jew, even an agnostic one, can have a profound influence on the world scene, including Europe and the Middle East.
It has been suggested the phrase, “Neither shall he regard . . . the desire of women,” may be speaking of Jewish mothers, who wanted to have the honor of giving birth to the Messiah. Others suggest he may be a homosexual.
The Antichrist will be a combination of many of the world’s late greats. He will be like Alexander the Great, who subdued and united the squabbling democracies of Greece and conquered the world with lightning quickness. Before he died in Babylon, Alexander claimed to be a god—the Antichrist will claim to be “God.” Before he rules in power, he will come in peace. He will be similar to Prince Von Metternich, a charming Austrian statesman and diplomat who largely controlled international affairs in Europe in the 1800s. Metternich was known for his great ability at deception.
Many believe the threat of nuclear war with Russia has diminished, but I believe it is greater than ever. Russia has become very unstable, and one mistake could plunge the world into World War III, which will make all other wars seem pale by comparison. Some military experts and government officials believe the Middle East is the most likely spot to trigger this dreaded war, so the person who can bring peace to the area will be hailed as a modern day messiah.
There have been many who have tried their hand to bring peace in the Middle East, but it was not until Dr. Kissinger came on the scene that any real progress was made. Before the 1973 Mideast war the Arab world would not even talk to Israel about peace, and considering that Kissinger is a Jew, this was quite an accomplishment.
Kissinger came out of obscurity when his secret mission to China became known. He is credited with the honor of improving relations with China and launching the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, called SALT. After the 1974 Middle East peace agreement, he was even billed as the world’s savior, wearing a superman suit.
Next came Jimmy Carter, who was responsible for the Camp David Agreement. This peace treaty was worked out at Camp David, Maryland, between Anwar Sadat of Egypt, Menachem Begin of Israel, and President Carter. It was signed in 1979. In this agreement Israel promised to give up the Sinai, but the “final solution” about who owns the West Bank, ancient Judah and Samaria, was never solved.
After Carter came Ronald Reagan and his administration, but they did not have much success in bringing peace to the area. The first Bush administration, headed by Secretary of State James Baker, pressured Israel to give up the West Bank. In 1989 Bush met with President Mubarak of Egypt and “called for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and endorsed an international peace conference.”12
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was defeated by Yitzhak Rabin in the Israeli elections of June 1992. Shamir was not willing to give up any of the land. Because of this, President Bush stopped a $10 billion loan to Israel. Israel was going to use this money to help resettle the Jews from the former Soviet Union. Yitzhak Rabin was willing to exchange land for peace, and in 1993 agreed to give up the West Bank and Gaza.
Rabin was assassinated in 1995. His successor, Shimon Perez, the prince of the 1993 Covenant, was even more determined to give back the West Bank and Gaza, hoping this will bring peace.
It’s interesting that Gaza was the first territory promised in the 1993 Israeli-PLO Accord. Gaza was the ancient territory of the Philistines and the place where Samson met his death. In his book The New Middle East, Shimon Perez said, “I came up with the idea of ‘Gaza first’ in 1980. I thought it would make things easier if we could reach an agreement in two strokes—first Gaza, then the West Bank. . . . Samson, in his time, took a drastic step, bringing down the columns of the shrine in Gaza. There is no point in our repeating it.”13
Most any successful Mideast peacemaker will be a candidate for the Antichrist. In 1974 some thought Kissinger might be the man. During the Camp David era some nominated Jimmy Carter, the prince of the Camp David Agreement; others picked Anwar Sadat. Some thought that Rabin might be the one. After the 1993 Peace Agreement some even suggested that President Clinton might be the Antichrist; but I don’t think he fits the profile of Daniel 11:37, especially the part about “women.”
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been one of the world’s longest hot spots, waiting to flare up into a world war. Many have worked for a peace agreement, but it seems the Antichrist will get the honor of confirming “the covenant” spoken of in Daniel 9:27. He will make a so-called lasting peace in the Middle East, which will result in war. Daniel 8:25 says, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many.”
(14) The 1993 Covenant
God promised the 12 sons of Israel some land He called my “land.”c In September 1923 the League of Nations voted to give that land back to the sons of Israel. Seventy years later, on September 13, 1993, Israel promised to give the heart of that land, Judah and Samaria, to the 12 sons of Ishmael. And the agreement was made with the Ishmaelite who had vowed to destroy Israel, Yasser Arafat. After it was signed, President Clinton stood with outstretched arms while Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat shook hands. The next day the Pensacola News Journal had a large picture of this on its front page. Terence Hunt, an Associated Press writer covering the event, wrote:
“WASHINGTON—In a breathtaking moment of hope and history, Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin exchanged handshakes of peace before a cheering White House audience Monday after the signing of a PLO-Israeli treaty that once seemed unimaginable. . . . The two men, mortal enemies for a generation, watched from several feet apart as aides signed historic agreements that will bring Palestinian rule to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. . . . Arafat sought to appease his critics after the ceremony by predicting that the Palestinian flag ‘will fly over Jerusalem’s walls, minarets and churches.’ IN HIS REMARKS, Rabin spoke pointedly of the city as “the ancient and eternal capital of the Jewish people’. . . [Rabin] said flatly that Arafat can forget the idea of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital.” 14
The Geneva Accord of 2003 envisioned a Palestinian state in virtually all of the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as the capital.15 The second Bush administration also called for a Palestinian state. It will be interesting to see how much the Obama administration pressures Israel.
There will be a false peace in the Middle East, which will involve Israel giving up the part of the Promised Land. The prophet Ezekiel and the Apostle Paul says: When Israel finally thinks it has peace and safety, then sudden destruction will come upon them from the north (see Ezek. 38, 1 Thess. 5:1-3).
(15) The Northern Invasion
Based on Ezekiel 38, 39, and Daniel 11, well over 100 years ago certain Bible scholars wrote that the Bible predicted the Jews would return to their land and Israel would be reborn. They also said Russia and its allies would invade Israel in the “latter days” after a false peace in Israel, setting off the greatest conflict the world has ever seen. Many believe that Daniel 11:40 refers Russia, and they, along with Egypt, will come against the Antichrist in Israel:
At the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
In 1864, Dr. John Cummings said, “This king of the North I conceive to be the autocrate of Russia. . . . That Russia occupies a place, and a very momentous place, in the prophetic word has been admitted by almost all expositors.”16
There is a debate over whether Russian invades at the beginning or end of the tribulation. In his commentary on Daniel, John F. Walvoord says, “The chronology of Daniel 11:36-39 refers to the period of world rule, and, therefore, is later than Ezekiel 38 and 39. Hence, it may be concluded that the battle described here, beginning with verse 40, is a later development, possibly several years later than the battle described in Ezekiel. If a Russian force is involved in the phrase, ‘the king of the north,’ it would indicate that, in the period between the two battles, Russia is able to reassemble an army and once again participate in a military way in this great war.”17
(16) The Tribulation
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book (Dan. 12:1).
It seems Daniel 12 deals primarily with the last half of the 70th week mentioned in chapter 9. The present return of Daniel’s people back to Israel is setting the stage for the persecution and deliverance mentioned above. During the last half of the seven years, many Jews will “scatter” again “for a time, times, and an half” (Dan. 12:7).
Daniel 7 speaks of the Big Ten and the “little horn.” Verse 25 uses about the same term in reference to the period he will judge Israel. If we compare Daniel 7 with Revelation 12, we can see the “times, time, and an half” means about three and one-half years.
In Daniel 12:8, the bewildered prophet asked, “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” Instead of explaining to Daniel what all this meant, the angel told him:
Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days (Dan. 12:9-12).
Many believe the 1290 and 1335 days extend beyond the end of the 70th week, and they may. But they may also fit in the seven years. Depending on the season and year Christ returns, some very interesting arrangements of the numbers below can be made, especially if the sacrifices are stopped and the “the abomination” takes place during the Passover season.
42 months, Rev. 11:2
1260 days, Rev. 11:3
1260 days, Rev. 12:6
42 months, Rev. 13:5
1290 days, Dan. 12:11
1335 days, Dan. 12:12
---------------Scripture References [a] See Luke 19:42-44; 21:5-6, [b] Luke 19:42, [c] Lev. 25:23.
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