Daniel’s Astounding Prophecies, Part 2
By Hal Lindsey
I said last week that the interpretation Jesus gave to the Book of Daniel would take your breath away. His method of interpretation was, in short, to take Daniel at face value. Why is that breathtaking? Let’s look at it.
Modern critics say that the book was written by an unknown person or group of people around 165 BC. Jesus said Daniel wrote the Book of Daniel (Matthew 24:15). If Daniel wrote it, that puts the date back to where the book itself claims to have been written — around 540 BC.
Critics say it was written around the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. That’s the mad king who famously defiled the Temple in an attempt to humiliate the Jews and end the worship of Jehovah. They claim that the Book of Daniel’s description of the “abomination of desolation” refers to this event. They say it was not prophetic, but had already happened. And so, they date the book to that time. But according to Jesus, Antiochus did not fulfill Daniel’s prophecy of the “abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11:31 and 12:11). He said it would be in the future.
During His famous discourse on the Second Coming, Jesus said in Matthew 24, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place… let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak…. for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.”
Daniel said that the abomination of desolation would take place at the mid-point of the 70th week. Last week I talked about the 70 weeks of years prophesied by Daniel. Here’s that prophecy from Daniel 9:25-26. “You are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
Seven weeks of years plus 62 makes 69 — at total of 483 years. Messiah Jesus presented Himself to Israel 483 years to the day after the decree went out to restore Jerusalem. Those 483 years happened consecutively. But there is a pause between the first 69 weeks of years and the 70th. The pause was not added later by Bible teachers trying to make things fit. Rather, the pause was written into the prophecy itself.
The prophecy tells us exactly when the 69 weeks end and when the last one begins. Verse 27 says that the last seven years would be initiated when the coming prince makes a covenant (or treaty) with Israel. From other scripture, we know that the covenant will seem to bring peace to the Middle East and the world. In the New Testament we learn another title for “the prince who is to come” — Antichrist.
The prophecy requires a gap between the end of the 69th week when Messiah presents Himself to Israel and the beginning of the 70th when Antichrist makes his covenant with Israel. Between those events, “Messiah will be cut off,” meaning killed. Jesus presented Himself as Messiah on Palm Sunday which was the end of the 69th week. A few days later, He was crucified.
The other event that must take place in the pause is that “the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” That happened in 70 AD. That’s one of the verses that lets us know that the Antichrist will be part of a revived Roman Empire. The “people” who sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD were the Romans.
The pause continues today. In it, God has granted the world a reprieve from the days of judgment and wrath promised for the 70th week. That reprieve will not last forever. The Bible teaches a great deal about the 70th week, and the world is clearly poised to fulfill the events of that time. The Rapture will take place before Daniel’s 70th week. So, it must be extremely soon.
This is the time to be more zealous than ever to tell everyone the Good News of salvation in Jesus.