|Old Testament Prophecies – Book of Daniel|
The book of Daniel provides an overview of world events from the days of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon all the way to Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and subsequent millennial reign. Daniel forms the framework for the book of Revelation and for the understanding of biblical prophecy.
Daniel’s 70 “sevens” prophecy encompasses the chronological framework for the history of the Jews from now until eternity. Again, the book of Revelation fits into this framework. It’s really impossible to understand what’s going on in Revelation without understanding the book of Daniel.
Daniel’s generalized overview occurs in Daniel chapter 9. Daniel was reading the book of Jeremiah when he realized that the 70 years of Jewish Babylonian captivity was coming to an end. Daniel wondered what would happen next–exactly what many Christians today are also wondering about our own times. Understanding these prophecies can help us understand what God has revealed to us about His plan for the End of the Age.
Along with asking God to tell him what came next for Israel, Daniel spent time in prayer, confessing the sins of Israel and pleading God’s forgiveness for those sins.
Daniel’s overview begins with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream-vision in Daniel 2.
|Prophecy 1 – Nebuchadnezzer’s dream|
Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of a huge multi-metallic man with a golden head, chest and arms of bronze, belly and thighs of brass, and feet and toes made out of iron mixed with clay. He then saw a mountain coming out of the sky which hit the man on the toes and feet. The mountain crushed the man into powder, and the mountain grew to fill the earth.
Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar that the different metals represented different kingdoms. Babylon was gold; Media-Persia was silver; Greece was bronze; and Rome was iron. The iron mixed with clay represented a future conglomeration of loosely federated governments united around one man whom Daniel identifies as the antichrist. The nations were in chronological order from top to bottom. We see here the devolution of human governments. The value of these kingdoms begins with gold and ends with iron. Also, notice that the nations increase in power over time. Babylon was a terrible foe; however, its wickedness and power were nothing to match the wickedness, strength, and power of the Roman Empire.
I suppose that the lesson here is that all governments degenerate over time and that God is ultimately in control of each of them.
As explained in the book of Revelation, the 10 toes represent 10 nations, occupying the area of the old Roman Empire. These nations will come together in the last days in an attempt to destroy Israel and take over the world. The nations don’t get along very well just as iron doesn’t mix well with clay. Revelation describes these nations, along with several others, that will all be led in a loose coalition by the antichrist.
The mountain which destroyed the multi-metallic man is a picture of the resurrected Jesus Christ at His Second Coming destroying the wickedness of the Gentile nations on earth. The mountain which grew to fill the earth is a picture of the millennial reign of Christ on earth.
|Prophecy 2 – 490 Years and the Reign of Jesus (Messianic Kingdom)|
God sent the angel Gabriel to give Daniel an answer to his prayer concerning what God had planned for Israel.
Gabriel shared that God had another program for Israel when the 70 years were concluded. This plan was for 490 years. As you read the verses below you will see how the book of Revelation fits into this passage.
Daniel 9:24 gives us an overview. Daniel 9:25-27 fills in the details.
Daniel 9:24 is the overview: Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.”
Daniel 9:25-27 gives the details: “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven. In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
Remarkably, this passage looks 560 years into the future to predict the very day when Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, April 6, 30 A.D.
In Daniel 9:24 we learn three facts regarding God’s plan for Israel.
1. First, God’s program for Israel extends for 70 “Sevens” (70 x 7 = 490 Sevens). “Seven” is the Hebrew word “Heptad.” This is a generic word which can mean seven of anything. It is similar to our word, “Dozen” which can mean twelve of virtually anything: twelve bananas, twelve pencils, twelve years. The context of this passage helps us to determine that here the word “Heptad” is referring to seven years. One “Seven” equals 7 years. (70 X 7 years = 490 years.)
2. Second, this program applies to Israel. “Your people and your holy city.”
3. Third, this program will continue until Christ establishes His Messianic Kingdom.
Gabriel shared six characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom of Christ’s l000-year reign on earth.
– To finish transgression: refers to Israel’s national transgression of rejecting the Messiah. At the Second Coming, transgression will be ended because they will accept Him as Savior.
– To put an end to sin: the national sin of Israel will end.
– To atone for wickedness: refers to the reconciliation for all in the Cross of Christ. At the Second Coming Jew and Gentile alike will recognize and believe in the atoning work of Christ.
– To bring in everlasting righteousness: Christ’s Kingdom is set up on earth for a millennium.
– To seal up vision and prophecy: After 70th week all prophetic announcement and visions will be confirmed and fulfilled.
– To anoint the Most Holy: refers to the Millennial Temple which will function during that time.
God reassured Daniel that He still has a plan for Israel. After 490 years Israel will be restored to their land and will prosper in a glorious future.
The first sixty-nine “sevens” (483 years) (Daniel 9:25) began at the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. This decree is described in Nehemiah 1:1 and 2:5-8. Historically, the “20th year of Artaxerxes” was 444 B.C. Using the Jewish calendar of 360 days per year and the fact that the prophecies began on the first day of the month, we know for certain that this period began on March 4, 444 B.C.
|Prophecy 3 – Birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ|
The 69 “sevens” are broken down into two phases: One seven and sixty-two “sevens.”
Seven “sevens” tells of the time during which the temple was rebuilt. It took 49 years. Ezra and Nehemiah both helped in the rebuilding and spoke often of the troubled times occurring during this process.
The 69 “sevens” concludes when the Anointed One, the Ruler comes.” From 444 B.C. until the coming of Christ on Palm Sunday is 483 years or 69 “sevens.” 483 prophetic years (360 days adjusted to 365.25 days =5.25 days difference between the Jewish calendar and our present-day calendar. 483 X 5.25 = 2535.75 days or about 6 years and 11 months. Subtract adjustment… and…483 Jewish years from March 4, 444 B.C. to Palm Sunday is April 6, 30 A.D. (see Robert Anderson’s book, The Coming Prince).
This is one way that Anna and Simeon knew that it was about time for the Messiah to be born so that they could carry out their planned worship of Jesus as a baby.
To a believer in Christ, Daniel’s 490 year prophecy is a tremendous confirmation of the Word of God!
We live in a day in which the Word of God is under attack on every hand. Many mock it, and thousands ignore it; yet, here is a tremendous confirmation for all of us to see this prophecy fulfilled in absolute detail to the very day.
Of course, most of Israel was blinded to it all, as many are blinded to how God is working today as well.
Several things occur between the end of the 69th seven at the beginning of the 70th (Daniel 9:26).
|Prophecy 4 – Death of Jesus Christ|
First, “the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing.”
This is one of the prophecies in the Bible of the death of Jesus Christ.
“Cut off” describes his death. Isaiah 53:8 describes Jesus as “cut off from the land of the living.” Jesus mentioned often that he must go to Jerusalem and die (e.g. Matthew 16:21).
One of Holman Hunt’s most famous paintings of Jesus hangs in the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery, and is called “The Shadow of Death.” Christ is pictured as a young man in Joseph’s workshop. The sun is setting. Christ stretches out his hands after a hard day’s work. At that moment, the artist catches Jesus’ image. The shadow on the wall shows a man with arms outstretched like He’s dying on a cross.
Jesus Christ lived his entire life in the Shadow of the Cross. He came to die on that cross for the sins of Israel and for the sins of the entire world.
After 69 “sevens” – 483 years, Jesus was “cut off”.
|Prophecies 5, 6, 7 – Jerusalem Destroyed, Antichrist, Church Age “Gap”|
“The People of the Ruler who will come” refers to the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D.
More than three million Jews were killed. Masada occurred. When you are in Rome be sure to see the huge arch of Titus standing at the entrance to the Roman forum which commemorates Titus’ his victory over Israel. Seeing the coming Holocaust, Jesus wept for Jerusalem as described in Matthew 23.
“The Ruler who is to come” is the Antichrist. He’s the little horn of Daniel 7:8 and the Beast of Revelation l3.
A time gap occurs after the end of the sixty-ninth “seven” and before the beginning of the seventieth “seven”.
At the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, 30 A.D., God’s prophetic time clock stopped. The hands stand poised at 69, indicating that there is still one seven-year period left.
We have no indication giving insight into how long until the 70th “seven” commences. After all, long gaps of forty years occurred between the crucifixion and the destruction. Today we are in the gap, waiting for the last seven years to commence, but in His Word, God has revealed much information concerning his plan for this “seven,” so that we can understand the times in which we live.
You can read more about the gap in Luke 4:18-21, as Christ quotes from Isaiah 6:1-12.
|Prophecy 8 – Antichrist Rules|
The Seventieth “Seven” (Daniel 9:27)begins when the antichrist makes a peace treaty with the nation of Israel for seven years.
“He” is “The Ruler of People Who Will Come”. The Romans came in 70 A.D. The antichrist will be descended from them. “Many” refers to the Jews and the nation of Israel.
Daniel sketches the outline of 70th seven; Jesus roughs in the picture with the Olivet Discourse; John fills in details with the Book of Revelation.
This is why we don’t have to be baffled or surprised by what we see in Europe and the Middle East. I believe that God is preparing to restart the clock. The teams are lined up and the ball is about to be snapped.
Amazingly, Israel has never been assimilated into another nation. In 1948 Jews came home from all over the world. Sociologically, this has never happened with any people. When’s the last time you saw a Babylonian walking around? They’re all gone. But not the Jews.
We’re told elsewhere that the Jews will accept the Peace Treaty with the Antichrist who rules Europe because they are fearful of the threat of the “King of the North.”
When a Bible student sees Israel aligned with the West, and not the North or South or East, he or she is not surprised! This is simply a sign of the times. The teams are lining up. We may one day witness the Antichrist taking control of a ten-nation confederacy in Europe by subduing three nations.
Incidentally, the Jews will mistake the Antichrist for their coming Messiah and the beginning of peace for the initiation of the Millennium.
Notice that the Rapture does not restart God’s prophetic clock. No one knows exactly when the Rapture may occur. It could come at any moment.
|Prophecy 9 – Antichrist Led by Satan – Abomination of Desolation|
In the middle of the 70th “seven” (3 l/2 years, 42 months, l260 days) Satan falls from Heaven and indwells the Antichrist (Revelation 12:9-12; 13:4).
Then, the Antichrist breaks the peace treaty and does two things:
1. He forbids the offering of sacrifices in the Temple (Daniel 9:27). This indicates that Israel will have a Temple during this time.
2. He sets up the Abomination of Desolation on the altar in the Holy Place in the Temple.
The Abomination of Desolation is mentioned by Christ in Matthew 24:15-16.
The Abomination of Desolation as described in the Old Testament refers to anything which desecrates the Temple of God. The Abomination of Desolation is a resurrected image of the Antichrist that the Antichrist forces people to worship as God or face death (Revelation 13).
|Prophecy 10 – Great Tribulation|
Jesus said that this is a sign for the godly to flee. The Antichrist will then launch the greatest wave of Anti-Semitism that the world has ever seen.
Three and a half years of Great Tribulation will then begin as the Antichrist tries to wipe the Jews off of the face of the earth. As the time of great tribulation comes to an end, Jesus returns with the Armies of Heaven and defeats the Antichrist (Revelation 19).
|Prophecy 11 – Second Coming of Jesus|
The Messianic Kingdom begins and the six characteristics of Daniel 9:24 will occur.
Baffled? Never, thanks to Daniel 9.
Today, we see the rise of Israel as a state, its alignment with the West, its possession of Jerusalem, its plans to rebuild the Temple, soon to be deployed Iranian nuclear missiles, and the beginnings of worldwide anti-Semitism: all of which are preparing the way for the Beast, Watch closely the rise of the European Union.
We see it all as God preparing the scene for His program with Israel. We don’t look for 70th seven. We look for our deliverance (1 Thessalonians 1:10). We look for our blessed hope (Titus 2:13).
Here is a good way to think about the Second Coming: “We plan as though Jesus isn’t coming for 1,000 years, but we live as if He is coming in the next 10 minutes.” Israel’s immediate future is desperate, but she will repent and turn to God, trust in the blood of Christ, and have a glorious future with the Lord.
|1. Christ’s Triumphant Ride into Jerusalem|
Prophecy – “Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey – even on a donkey’s colt.” (Zechariah 9:9)
Fulfillment by Christ – “The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A huge crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet Him. They shouted, ‘Praise God! Bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel! Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: ‘Don’t be afraid, people of Israel. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.’” (John 12:12-15)
“Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around Him were shouting, ‘Praise God for the Son of David! Bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!’ The entire city of Jerusalem was stirred as He entered. ‘Who is this?’ they asked. And the crowds replied, ‘It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’” (Matthew 28:8-11)
|2. Christ’s Triumphant Ride into Jerusalem|
Prophecy – “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)
Fulfillment by Christ – “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (John 1:10-11)
“But despite all the miraculous signs He had done, most of the people did not believe in Him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: ‘Lord, who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal His saving power?’” (John 12:37-38)
|3. Jesus was Silent before His Accusers|
Prophecy – “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
Fulfillment by Christ – “But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.” (Mark 15:5)
|4. The Soldiers Divided His Garments and Cast Lots for His Clothes|
Prophecy – “I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (Psalm 22:17-18)
Fulfillment by Christ – “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.” (John 19:23)
|5. Not One of His Bones Would be Broken|
Prophecy – “They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover.” (Numbers 9:12)
Fulfillment by Christ – “The Jewish leaders didn’t want the victims hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath at that, because it was the Passover), so they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that He was dead already, so they didn’t break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out. This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account; it is presented so that you also can believe. These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, ‘Not one of His bones will be broken,’ and ‘They will look on Him whom they pierced.’” (John 19:31-37)
|6. They Would Pierce His Hands and Feet|
Prophecy – “My life is poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within Me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of My mouth. You have laid Me in the dust and left Me for dead. My enemies surround Me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on Me. They have pierced My hands and feet.” (Psalm 22:14-16)
Fulfillment by Christ – “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (Luke 24:39)
“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)
|7. Jesus Will Die as a Sacrifice for Our Sins|
Prophecy – “But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins – that He was suffering their punishment? I will give Him the honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.” (Isaiah 53:5-6, 8, 12)
Fulfillment by Christ – “He personally carried away our sins in His own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by His wounds.” (1 Peter 2:24)
“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me – that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
|8. Jesus was Buried in a Rich Man’s Tomb|
Prophecy – “He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave.” (Isaiah 53:9)
Fulfillment by Christ – “As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who was one of Jesus’ followers, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance as he left.” (Matthew 27:57-60)
|9. Jesus Would Not Stay Buried but Rose from the Dead|
Prophecy – “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” (Psalm 16:10)
Fulfillment by Christ – “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” (Matthew 28:6)
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:8-11)
|10. Christ Would be Seated at the Right Hand of God|
Prophecy – “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in honor at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.’” (Psalm 110:1)
Fulfillment by Christ – “But our High Priest offered Himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then He sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand. There He waits until His enemies are humbled as a footstool under His feet.” (Hebrews 10:12-13)
“This prophecy was speaking of Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, and we all are witnesses of this. Now He sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as He had promised, gave Him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in honor at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.”’ So let it be clearly known by everyone in Israel that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah!” (Acts 2:32-36)