THE END TIMES: DANIEL’S TIME TABLE
1. There is much controversy and confusion over the end times — not because the subject is confusing, but because of the way people us the Bible in this area.
a. You must take the Bible literally when possible, you must look at all verses concerning the Second Coming, and you must read in context.
b. When we follow these guidelines, we find the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is coming soon to take His followers off the earth before the seven year tribulation begins. At the end of the tribulation, Jesus will return to earth with His saints and set up His visible kingdom on the earth.
2. In order to properly understand end time events, you must know some things about the Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham.
a. Many of the end time events involve the Jews, not Christians.
b. That is one reason why the Church will be taken off of the earth before the tribulation. It has nothing to do with the Church. It involves the Jews.
3. Remember, three specific groups of people are mentioned in connection with the end times — the Church, the Jews, and the Gentiles. I Cor 10:32
a. Each group has a different destiny. We must not misapply verses.
b. The Church = Christians, all who are saved through faith in Christ. The Jews = physical descendants of Abraham who have not believed on Jesus and are not saved. The Gentiles = all the rest of the unsaved people.
4. In Gen 12:1-3 God called a man named Abraham to leave his home and journey to a land which God would show him.
a. Abraham obeyed God, and God led him to the land that is today Israel.
b. God made a number of specific promises to Abraham and his descendants which were literally fulfilled. However, several promises have not yet been fulfilled but will be at the Second Coming of Christ.
1. Abraham’s descendants will live forever in a large area of land in the Middle East. Gen 12:7; 13:14-18; 15:18-21; Amos 9:14,15
2. A descendant of David (who was a descendant of Abraham) will sit on the throne in Jerusalem forever. II Sam 7:12-17; Ps 89:3,4
5. We have also said that to properly understand end time events, we must make clear the distinction between the Church and the Jews (Israel).
a. The Church is not Israel. The Church is not spiritual Israel.
b. The Church has not replaced Israel. It exists in addition to Israel.
6. The Church was/is a mystery revealed to Paul by Jesus. Acts 26:16; Gal 1:11,12
a. The mystery = God would take a people out of the Jews and out of the Gentiles and make one new man out of two. Eph 2:11-3:11
b. The mystery = Christ would live in the Church by His Spirit and the Church would be His body. Col 1:25-27; Eph 1:22,23; I Cor 12:27
c. The mystery = In union with Christ, Christians would cease to be Jew or Gentile, but rather become a new creature in Christ. Gal 3:26-28
7. When Jesus came to earth the first time, the Jews were expecting a king from God to establish a kingdom for them which would never be destroyed. Isa 9:6,7; 24:23; Jer 23:3-8; Dan 2:44; 7:13,14;27; Amos 9:14,15; Micah 4:1-7
a. Jesus offered them the promised kingdom and Himself to them as their king, but the nation rejected Christ and His offer. Matt 4:17
b. God knew the Jews would reject their Messiah and He took advantage of it. He used their rejection to purchase salvation through the crucifixion of Christ and to take a people for Himself out of the Gentiles. Acts 15:4; (Amos 9:11,12); Rom 11:12-15; Rom 8:28
c. This rejection of the kingdom didn’t cancel it, but postponed it. Acts 1:6-8
d. The creation of the Church did not cancel God’s promises. Rom 11:25-29
8. For the past almost 2,000 years God has not been dealing with Israel as a nation. He has been dealing with the Church. We are in the Church Age.
a. To enter a relationship with God, you must accept the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and be born again — Jew or Gentile.
b. You then cease to be a Jew or a Gentile, you become part of the Church.
c. However, just prior to the Second Coming of Christ, God is going to take the Church off the earth and begin to deal directly with Israel once again.
9. God has unfinished business with Israel. It has nothing to do with the Church.
1. But, in the time of his grandson, Jacob, Abraham’s descendants (70 of them) went to Egypt for food during a famine. Gen 46:26,27
a. The family stayed in Egypt 400 years, growing to over a million. Ex 12:37
b. God raised up Moses who led them back to the promised land. However, that generation of Abraham’s descendants did not enter the land because of unbelief. They wandered in the wilderness for forty years.
2. When the children of that generation were grown, Joshua led them in.
a. At the edge of the land, God assured them that the land was still theirs even though they had been gone for over 400 years. Deut 1:5-8
b. But, God warned them that once in the land, if they turned from Him, He would allow their enemies to overrun them and remove them from the land until they turned back to Him. Deut 4:22-40; 28:47-68; 30:1-10
3. The history of the Jews in the land promised is a sad one — not because of any failure on God’s part, but because of their unfaithfulness to Him.
a. They turned to idolatry and apostasy. They offered human sacrifices (infants) to false gods and worshipped the sun, moon, and stars.
b. For over 150 years God sent prophets to warn them to repent or be removed from the land by their enemies (Isaiah to Zephaniah).
4. They didn’t listen, and the Assyrians, then the Babyloniahs, invaded the land, destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and deported the people.
5. One of those who was deported (taken into captivity) was a man named Daniel.
1. In captivity, Daniel came into possession of the book of Jeremiah. Dan 9:1,2
a. Daniel read it and realized his people were going to be captives in Babylon for 70 years (or about three more years from that time). Jer 25:11; 29:10
b. Daniel began to pray and ask God to forgive Israel’s rebellion and to fulfill His promise to bring them back to their land. Dan 9:13-19
2. The angel Gabriel came and told him that God would deal with the Jews for their sin and rebellion for 490 more years. Then the kingdom would be set up, and they would never be removed from the land again. Dan 9:20-23
3. This prophecy states the period of 490 years in an unusual way. Dan 9:24-27
a. 490 years = seventy weeks; week = a period of seven. Seventy weeks literally means seventy sevens.
b. We must determine from the context if it means 7 days or 7 years. In this passage, one week = 7 years; 70 weeks = 7×70 = 490 years.
4. v24–In those 490 years six specific things will be accomplished, ending with the establishment of their kingdom and the fulfillment of all prophecy to them.
5. v25–The 490 years will begin when the decree is issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Historical records tell us exactly when the command to rebuild was given — Nisan 1 (Mar 5), 444 B.C. Neh 2:1-8
a. From the time the command is given until Messiah comes will be 7 weeks plus 60 weeks (threescore) plus 2 weeks = 69 weeks or 7×69 = 483.
b. Historical records tell us the day Jesus entered Jerusalem in His final offer of Himself as king (Palm Sunday, Mar 30, 33 A.D.). Luke 19:37-44
c. That is exactly 483 years from the time the command was given to rebuild.
d. It is exactly 173,880 days from Nisan 1, 444 B.C. to Mar 30, 33 A.D. when leap years are added in. (483×360; 360 = length of Bible year)
6. v26–After 62 weeks (threescore and two weeks or 62×7 = 434 years) Messiah will be cut off (crucified). This statement divides the 483 years in two parts.
a. 49 years or 7 weeks = from time of command to completion of the temple.
b. 434 years = 62 weeks = threescore and two = from the temple to Christ.
7. v26–At the time Christ dies, Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed.
a. In 70 A.D. three legions of Roman soldiers totally destroyed the city.
b. v26b–They will be overwhelmed as with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. (Living)
c. Jerusalem was later rebuilt as a Gentile city, a colony. A temple to a heathen god was built on the temple site. Emperor Constantine allowed the Jews to reenter the city in the early 300s A.D. But, the city fell under Muslim control in the 600s, and is still today the scene of conflict.
8. One seven year period, Daniel’s seventieth, week is missing. Where is it?
a. v27–He (the prince of the people who crucified Christ) will make a 7 year covenant (treaty) with Israel and break it midway through the 7 years.
b. 27b–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. (Living)
9. Daniel’s 70th week has not yet taken place. No one knew when the prophecy was given that there would be a gap between week 69 and week 70.
a. Jesus was crucified and the temple destroyed after week 69 but before 70.
b. The 70th week is the tribulation. Jesus made that clear in Matt 24:15-21.
c. This final week of God’s dealings with Israel for their sin and rebellion must occur before Jesus comes back to earth to set up His kingdom.
10. People do all sorts of strange things with Daniel’s prophecy because they do not take it literally. These verses were written to the Jews about the Jews.
a. Nothing in the book hints that these things are fulfilled in, by, the Church.
b. Israel’s 70 years of captivity in Babylon were 70 literal years. There is no reason to believe the years in Daniel’s prophecy are not also literal.
c. The HE mentioned in v27 is not Jesus. Remember high school grammar!!
11. God will deal directly with Israel for seven more years without the Church being here to finish what He began with them before the Church existed.
1. Dan 2:27-45–Daniel interpreted a dream had by Nebuchadnezzar. The king dreamed of a great statue with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, and legs of iron. Each part represented a world power.
a. The golden head was identified as the Babylonian Empire. v38
b. We can look at history and see the Babylonian Empire was replaced by the Medo-Persian Empire (silver chest and arms). Then came the Greek Empire (brass belly and thighs), and then the Roman Empire (legs of iron).
c. v34,35; 44,45–God’s kingdom will replace the Gentile kingdoms.
2. Dan 7:1-7; 15-18–Daniel has a vision and sees the same Gentile powers, but from a different point of view, and we get more clues as to their identity.
a. Instead of a statue, Daniel sees four monstrous beasts come out of the sea.
b. In prophetic scriptures, the sea often symbolizes Gentile nations or an innumerable mass of people. Isa 57:20,21 Daniel’s four beasts:
1. Lion with eagles wings = national symbol of Babylon.
2. Bear (lopsided) = Medo-Persians. Persia was the stronger, that’s why the bear is lopsided. Three ribs are Babylon, Medes, Persians.
3. Leopard with four wings = Greece. Leopard known for speed. Alexander the Great conquered the world in a few months. Four heads = the empire was divided among four of his generals.
4. The fourth beast is not compared to any animal. It has ten horns. Horn is prophetic scripture is a king. Dan 7:24
3. Dan 2:41-43; 7:7,8–Refers to a revived Roman Empire, the final form of Gentile power which has not yet appeared on the world scene. (another lesson)
4. This book is remarkable. In Chapter 8, Daniel has a vision of a ram and goat.
a. v20,21–The angel Gabriel interpreted the vision and said the ram was the king of Medo-Persia and the he goat was the kn rapture.
1. It may seem like we have digressed from the subject, but we haven’t.
2. To properly understand end time events, you must look at the whole Bible rather than look for one or two scriptures to prove your point.
3. When you get the big picture of end time events and see how many of the most well known topics (Antichrist, tribulation, etc.) have nothing to do with the Church, it adds support to the pretribulation rapture. More next week!!