THE END TIMES: DANIEL’S 70TH WEEK
1. In the past several, lessons we have not directly discussed the rapture. We have not digressed. In order to properly understand end time events we must look at the whole Bible, not just a few verses.
a. Much of what will happen at the end has to do with Israel (the Jews), and has nothing to do with the Church. That is one reason we won’t be here. So, we have been taking time to look at God’s dealings with Israel.
b. God has made many promises to the Jews through the centuries which have been fulfilled. However, several key promises will be fulfilled at the Second Coming. Gen 13:15; II Sam 7:12-17; Amos 9:14,15
2. In the last lesson we looked at a remarkable time table given by God in the Book of Daniel concerning His dealings with Israel.
a. God said He would deal with Israel for 490 more years for their sin and rebellion before setting up an everlasting kingdom for them. Dan 9:24-27
1. In the prophecy, God gave certain historical events which can be used to mark out the progress of those 490 years.
2. When we do so, we can see that God has completed 483 of those 490 years. The final seven years are yet to occur.
b. God also said four different Gentile kingdoms would dominate Jerusalem from the time of Daniel until Jesus comes to establish His kingdom.
1. They include: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and at the very end, a revived form of the Roman Empire. Dan 2:28-45
2. They have all come and gone. We await only the final Gentile kingdom, a revived form of the Roman Empire.
3. In this lesson, we want to look at some things Jesus said to the Jews about the end times, Daniel’s 70th week, while He was on earth.
1. These men would have been familiar with OT scriptures which said the Messiah would set up a kingdom, but that just prior to the kingdom, this present age would end with great destruction. Zech 14:1-9; 12:1-3; 13:8,9
a. Based on what the disciples knew from the OT, they thought they were asking about one event — the coming of the Lord to establish His kingdom which would be preceded by great destruction. But, they were asking about two events separated by as much as 2,000 years.
b. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., less that forty years after Jesus spoke these words. However, it has been almost 2,000 years and the Lord has not yet come to establish a kingdom of for Israel.
2. The answer to the first question about Jerusalem is found in Luke 21:20-24.
a. Jesus told them — when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, the destruction of the city is near and you need to get out.
b. He described the slaughter which would take place, and said the survivors would be led away as captives to all nations.
c. This is fulfillment of Dan 9:26–A king will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the temple. They will be overwhelmed as with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. (Living)
d. This condition will continue until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
3. The answer to the second question is dealt with in Luke 21, but a fuller statement is found in Matt 24:4-28
a. In answer to the disciples’ second question, Jesus lists the signs which will warn Israel that the coming of the Messiah is very near and that the kingdom is about to be offered to them once again.
b. What Jesus actually describes is the seven year tribulation which will precede His Coming and finish the 70th week mentioned in Dan 9:27.
1. Every verse in the Bible was written by someone to someone about something. You must determine those things to rightly understand and apply scriptures.
2. In Matt 24 and 25, Jesus, who was a Jew, was talking to Jews about Jews. These two chapters have nothing to do with the Church. Jesus is not talking to the Church (Christians), nor is He talking about the Church (Christians).
a. The Church doesn’t exist yet. The mystery of the Church hasn’t been revealed. The people Jesus is talking to don’t know what the Church is.
b. Jesus is answering specific questions asked Him by Jews who want to know what is going to happen to the Jews and to Jerusalem at the end.
c. People read Matt 24 and 25 and try to apply them to the Church.
3. Matt 25:1-13–People say the parable of the ten virgins tells us who is and isn’t going in the rapture. But, Jesus isn’t talking to or about Christians.
a. Context–Jesus is speaking to Jews who have never heard of the Church, or rapture. Jesus is answering questions about God’s plan for the Jews.
b. Chapter 24 lists the signs of His coming to offer the kingdom again to Israel (v4-28), and encourages them to be watching for His return (v42-51).
c. That is the context in which Jesus tells the parable of the virgins. He is talking about the kingdom. The foolish virgins were not ready for it, the wise virgins were ready for it. Jesus is talking about those Jews who will and won’t be prepared when the kingdom is offered to Israel again.
d. An important key to reading any parable–they all have one main point. Don’t get caught in the details. People try to analyze: what does the oil mean? Why are they virgins? Why are there 10 of them? Look for the lesson being taught. In this case = be prepared for the kingdom.
4. People use Matt 24:36-41 to say that some Christians will miss the rapture.
a. Remember the context. Jesus is not talking to or about Christians. He is talking to Jews about Jews. These verses deal with judgment at the end of the tribulation. (another lesson)
b. Jesus is coming back for His body. If you are in the body, you are going!!
1. v4-28–Jesus lists the signs which will warn Israel His coming is near.
a. v8–Sorrows=ODIN=birth pangs. These signs are birth pangs of a new age. Some say that there have always been wars, earthquakes, etc. That is true. But, Jesus said when you see them coming closer and growing in intensity, the time of His return is near.
b. v14–In the midst of the horror, God’s grace will be demonstrated. The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world. John 1:29–Turn to Jesus for salvation. Matt 3:2–The kingdom of heaven is near.
c. v15–Jesus specifically connected these signs with Daniel’s 70th week.
d. v21–Jesus said the tribulation will be a time of unparalleled suffering.
1. The people to whom He is speaking knew the OT prophets predicted a time of unmatched suffering which would precede the establishment of the kingdom. Dan 12:1; Isa 13:6-13; 26:20,21; Jer 30:1-11; Joel 2:1,2
2. Jesus is describing the Day of the Lord, Jacob’s time of trouble, Daniel’s 70th week — it has nothing to do with the Church.
3. satan will try to wipe out every descendant of Abraham. That way, God can’t fulfill the promises He made to them.
e. v22–The tribulation will not last forever. Cut short = terminate.
f. v28–Eagles = vultures. The Second Coming is always connected with great carnage (lots of bodies). One proof that Jesus is really back will be the carnage. Just as vultures come to a carcass, Jesus will come.
2. v29-31–Describes the actual Second Coming of Jesus (stage two).
3. v32,33–The parable of the fig tree. We’ve all heard it used this way: Israel is the fig tree, and when we see the fig tree blossom (Israel back in the land), we know the end is near. That is not wrong, per se. The fig tree is sometimes used as a symbol of Israel, and the Jews must be back in the land for certain end time events to occur.
a. But, remember the context. Jesus is talking to Jews and giving them signs of His return in answer to specific questions about their future.
b. Jesus is telling His disciples that just like shoots on a twig warn of spring and summer, these signs He has just listed will warn Israel that their Messiah is about to return. See Luke 21:29-31
4. v34,35–The generation that sees these things begin will see them all because they will happen in a short time (seven years). God’s word will come to pass.
5. v36-25:30–Jesus encourages them to watch, be ready, and be found faithful when He returns. 25:31-46–deals with judgment of the Gentiles.
1. But, there is another reason we know Jesus is not talking to or about the Church. The Church will not be on earth during the tribulation. The Day of the Lord (the Tribulation) cannot begin until the Church is removed.
2. Paul had taught the believers at Thessalonica about the Second Coming of Christ. I Thess 1:9,10; 2:19; 3:12,13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11;23
a. The believers at Thessalonica received a forged message. II Thess 2:1,2
b. It said the Day of the Lord had already begun. They were alarmed because they were still on earth! What about the rapture?
3. Paul wrote to explain why the Day of the Lord had not, could not have begun at that point. He reminded them that two things had to happen.
4. Falling away = APOSTAIA = departure in 12 of 15 times it is used in NT.
a. v3–Do not begin to allow anyone to lead you astray in any way, because that day shall not come except the aforementioned departure [of the Church to heaven] comes first. (Wuest)
b. v1–We see both phases of the Second Coming: our gathering unto Him (rapture), the coming of the Lord (His glorious appearing. v8; Matt 24:30
5. v3,4–The man of sin is the Antichrist. He will declare himself to be God and defile the temple. Matt 24:15; Dan 9:27; 8:23-25
a. v5-7–There is a restraint on when the Antichrist can be revealed.
b. v6–And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (NIV)
c. The Holy Spirit in the Church is the restrainer. When the Church is removed at the rapture, the Holy Spirit will depart as well, removing the restraint on the appearance of the Antichrist.
1. At the end of the Church Age (the rapture), the tribulation will begin. The Antichrist will come on the scene.
a. He will be the head of ten nations of a revived Roman Empire.
b. He will try to settle the Arab-Israeli dispute, siding with Israel.
c. He will sign a covenant of protection with Israel, and the Jews will go back to their land in unprecedented numbers.
2. Once back in the land, the Jews will decide this man is God.
a. He will claim to have fulfilled the covenant God made with Abraham.
b. He’ll declare himself God, receive worship, and persecute any who won’t.
3. God will not tolerate this and will allow army after army to move against Palestine. Two-thirds of the Jews will die. The majority left alive will flee.
4. Despite this massive unbelief, God will call out Jewish witnesses to His grace.
a. 144,000 Israeli men will be saved like Paul (Saul) was.
b. They’ll preach the gospel all over the earth and multitudes will be saved.
5. When Jesus returns at the end, He will destroy the forces of Antichrist and rescue those Jews who have come to faith in Him.
6. He will regather Israel back to the land, judge them, and set up His millennial kingdom, ruling out of Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
G. Conclusion: In Matt 24 and 25 Jesus gives specific warninh closer.