Daniel 9:23 …Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision. 24 “A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
God has decreed a time-period of 490 prophetic years for the nation of Israel. Scripture says that by the end of these 490 prophetic years, the nation of Israel will have accepted Jesus as their Messiah and thus be saved. Yet many of us know that this has yet to happen. How then should we view this prophecy?
The key to understanding what God revealed to Daniel is to realize that Israel’s 70 sets of 7-year time periods will occur in two phases:
Phase 1 – (69 time periods) The Anointed One Will Come and Be Killed
Daniel 9:25 Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. 26 After this period …the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing…
God said that during the first 69 of these 70 year time periods, the Messiah will come and be killed. Scripture says that ‘Christ (the Anointed One) died for our sins…’ (see 1 Corinthian 15:3)
Phase 2 – (the 70th time period) A World Ruler Will Confirm a Peace-Treaty with Israel and Then Break It
Daniel 9:26 … and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple… 27 The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration…
If all this seems complicated to you, do not feel foolish. Bible scholars have studied and debated it for years. The hard thing is not to make it difficult. The hard thing is to make it simple.
The thing we should note is this: God told Daniel that 70 sets of 7-year time periods have been decreed for the nation of Israel. 69 of those 70 sets of 7-year time periods were fulfilled with the coming of Christ and His crucifixion. That means that there is still a 70th 7-year time period to take place. According to the Bible, this final 7-year time period will take place during a time period we often call the Tribulation.
During the Tribulation, an evil ruler will arise whom we call the Antichrist. God told Daniel that this evil ruler will first make a peace treaty with the nation of Israel and then break it. Many believe that when the Antichrist first makes his peace treaty with Israel, many of the Jews will begin to wonder if he is perhaps the Messiah. But then something drastic will happen that will cause them realize that he is not. In Daniel’s prophecy we are told that this evil ruler will ‘set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration…’ Many believe that he will set up a statue of himself in the Jewish temple and demand all the world to worship it. We read from the book of Revelation –
Revelation 13:11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. 12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. 14 And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. 15 He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.
Many refer to the second beast as the ‘False Prophet.’ Scripture seems to indicate that along with the rising of the Antichrist, another evil man will come who will possess supernatural powers. No doubt his power will come from Satan. By his supernatural power he will fashion a statue of the Antichrist and then cause it to speak. Afterwards, he will demand that all the world worship the statue. If they do not, they will be put to death. It is at this moment that Israel will finally wake up and begin to turn to God.
God told the nation of Israel – “Thou shalt neither make nor worship any grave image.” (see Exodus 20:4-5) We know this as the 2nd Commandment. No doubt when they are told to worship the statue of the Antichrist, they will realize that this cannot be from God. God would never demand His people to be disobedient to His Word. At this moment God will finally remove the spiritual slumber from their eyes and cause them see Jesus as their Messiah.
Please forgive me if the last few days of devotionals have thoroughly confused you. I warned you in the beginning that this was a difficult portion of scripture to understand, yet very important. In summary here are three great truths that we should walk away with:
1) God is control of what happens in the world
2) God is merciful and gracious
3) God is faithful
In closing, consider what God has promised to the nation of Israel centuries ago.
Jeremiah 31:31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah… 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest…”
From the least to the greatest – they will all know that He is God!