God’s Plan to Transform the Earth: Israel’s Preparation

INTRODUCTION

Daniel recorded four visions for us in Scripture (Dan. 7:1-28; 8:1-27; 9:24-27; 10:4-12:13). Dan. 9:24-27 is his third vision. It is a short vision (only four verses) that concerns God’s plans to transform the entire earth and fill it with the knowledge of the glory of God (Hab. 2:14). In this great plan, God chose Israel to lead all the nation of the earth to God (Isa. 2:1-4; Mic. 4:1-4).

14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD… (Hab. 2:14)

God sent Gabriel to give Daniel this great vision that would cover Israel’s most significant historical events over the next 2,500 years. Gabriel spoke in an abbreviated way giving only short phrases to describe Israel’s future. Each phrase has massive implication.

21 While I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning (Dan. 8:16)…reached me…22 He informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision. (Dan. 9:21-23)

Gabriel urged Daniel to consider the vision so as to understand it (Dan. 9:23). Gabriel later exhorted the saints (to exert the effort necessary) to know and understand this vision (Dan. 9:25).

25 Know therefore and understand… (Dan. 9:25)

An angel told Daniel that in the End-Times God would raise up “people of understanding”.

33 Those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering… 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall (as martyrs), to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Dan. 11:33-35)

The people of wisdom (understanding) are commanded by Scripture to calculate the number of the Antichrist (the most repeated theme in Daniel’s four visions). We do this by using our reason and by studying what the Scripture says about the Antichrist. The Scripture calls this wisdom. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the Beast  (Antichrist), for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Rev. 13:18)

Dan. 9:24-27 prophesies of the difficulty that Israel would endure for approximately 2,500 years (from Daniel’s generation until Jesus’ return) in suffering under God’s judgment for their persistent rebellion against Him. God refuses to give up on Israel, but instead set into motion a grand plan to bring Israel to national repentance so that she could lead all the nations into God’s ways. Israel’s world leadership begins at Jesus’ return and continues through the Millennium.

This vision of four verses predicts significant details related to Jesus’ first and second comings.

SUMMARY OF THE FOUR VERSES

In the first verse Gabriel gave Daniel six great promises that would describe the transformation of the whole world beginning in Jerusalem with the Jewish people (Dan. 9:24).

In the second verse he reveals positive things that would happen in Israel’s near future (Dan. 9:25). This verse describes what would occur during the first 69 weeks (483 years) with a positive focus on the restoration of Jerusalem after Babylonian captivity under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra and then the coming of Jesus as Israel’s Messiah.

In the third verse he reveals Israel’s future sin and trouble related to Jesus’ first coming (Dan. 9:26). This verse describes the negative things that would occur immediately after the 69th week. Gabriel revealed that Israel’s Messiah would be cut off or killed violently. This would result in God judging Israel through the Roman army (destroying Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD).

In the fourth verse he reveals Israel’s End-Time sin and trouble related to Jesus’ return (Dan. 9:27). Israel will make a covenant with the Antichrist, receiving him as their Messiah. The Antichrist will betray this covenant by acting in extremely abominable ways (v. 27d) that include stopping the religious activity in Israel’s rebuilt Temple (v. 27c) and bringing desolation to Israel (v. 27e). Jesus will destroy the Antichrist by pouring great desolation on him (v. 27f). This verse describes the final 7 years of natural history referred to as Daniel’s 70th week.

OUTLINE OF DAN. 9
A. The setting for receiving the vision (Dan. 9:1-3)
B. Daniel’s intercessory prayer (Dan. 9:4-19)
C. Gabriel visits Daniel (9:20–23)
D. The vision of the 70 weeks or the coming Messiah (9:24–27)
1. God established 70 weeks (490 years) for Israel’s salvation (9:24a, b)
2. Israel’s salvation and world restoration: six great Promises (9:24c-h)
3. What happens during the first 69 weeks (483 years) (9:25)
4. What happens after the 69 Weeks (483 years) (9:26)
5. What happens in Daniel’s 70th week (final 7 years) (9:27)

GOD ESTABLISHED 70 WEEKS (490 YEARS) FOR ISRAEL’S SALVATION (9:24A, B)

24 Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city… (Dan. 9:24a, b)

Seventy weeks are determined – Gabriel said that the time that God determined as necessary in His plan to prepare Israel was “70 weeks.” A “week’ in Hebrew understanding was a period of 7 days or 7 years (Israel had two uses of a week instead of one). Scripture refers to both types of weeks (Gen 29:27-28). A week of seven years was a well known term in Daniel’s day. All
commentators agree that the week is a week of years (490 literal years) not a week of days.

God determined to prepare Israel over a period of 490 years (70 units of 7 years). Jeremiah prophesied that Israel would suffer under Gentile oppression for 70 years outside the land (Dan. 9:2). Gabriel revealed that they would suffer oppression for 70 weeks in the land (Dan. 9:24-27).

THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM: SIX GREAT PROMISES (9:24C-H)

24 Seventy weeks (490 years while in the land of Israel) are determined for your people (Israel) and for your holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. (Dan. 9:24)

Gabriel elaborates on the Millennial Kingdom as presented in Dan. 7:27. He came to give Daniel “skill in understanding.” The vision was given to assure Daniel that complete restoration would come to Israel (v. 24). This involved six specific promises and each one has to do with the Millennial Kingdom (and the New Earth) fulfilling Dan. 7:27 with eternal dimensions. These six glorious dimensions of world transformation are the fruit of God’s 70 weeks strategy in Israel and the horror of the Great Tribulation (v. 27)

The first three promises have to do with God removing sin, the second three promises have to do with establishing God’s Kingdom by the ministry of the Holy Spirit as God’s people on earth worship Him in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:24). The main point of the 70 week strategy is to deal with the sin problem that humans have had since the garden of Eden. All six promises have been partially fulfilled because of the cross. However, they will only be fully manifest on earth at the Second Coming. God would use 490 years (when Israel was in the land) to prepare them to lead the world to receive the benefit of these six blessings (Isa. 2:1-4; Mic. 4:1-4).

To finish the transgression (v. 24c) – ending Israel’s national rebellion against God and His Son. The Hebrew word transgression has a definite article ‘the’ implying that it refers to a specific transgression. It ultimately speaks of Israel’s rebellion in rejecting Jesus throughout history and their acceptance of the Antichrist as their Messiah (v. 27a).

To make an end of sins (v. 24d) – sins in the plural speaks of individual sins in everyday life.

To make reconciliation for iniquity (v. 24e) – through the cross of Jesus, God provided a way to forgive all the debt on past national and individual sin. To “make reconciliation” is the Hebrew verb kipper (“to atone”) which refers to paying the price for former crimes against God’s holiness. Sin in our past does not just go away because we repent, but it must be paid for. Christ reconciled the world to Himself (2 Co 5:19). The cleansing of the land is in view (Zech. 13:1-6).

To bring in everlasting righteousness (v. 24f) – establish a new world where righteousness prevails in the people, social structures and the land. What Jesus accomplished on the cross will be released at the Second Coming to fully manifest in every dimension of society and life (Rom. 8:19-23). The Great Commission will be fulfilled in complete way. The earth will be filled with righteousness forever. The righteous reign of Jesus’ kingdom (Isa 11:2-5; Jer 23:5-6; 33:15-18).

13 We…look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:13)

To seal up vision and prophecy (v. 24g) – God will fulfill all the prophetic promises that He has given for all individuals, nations and for the earth as a whole. He will seal up or bring to completion the themes in the visions and prophecies that relate to Jesus’ first and second coming. “To seal” speaks of closing a document to preserve it after it has been verified (Jer 32:10). This happens so others in the future can use it. In this its contents were authenticated (1 Kgs 21:8; Esth 3:12; Dan 6:17). In other words, a sealed document is a guaranteed one. God will set His seal of authentication on all prophetic visions and prophecies by bringing them to complete fulfillment.

To anoint the Most Holy (v. 24h) – the presence of the Holy Spirit fully rests on Jesus as the King of the whole earth and is manifest in the Temple that He reigns from. To anoint means to consecrate for God’s service. Jesus is the anointed One or the Messiah. He will be anointed for worldwide Millennial ministry (Isa 61:1). This also refers to God’s anointing (Shekinah glory) being manifest in the Holy of Holies in the new Millennial Temple. God will be fully manifest with us forever in the eternal Holy of Holies in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3-7).

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE FIRST 69 WEEKS (483 YEARS) (9:25)

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem (given to Ezra in 458 BC) until Messiah the Prince (Jesus entered Jerusalem as Israel’s Messiah in April 26 AD), there shall be 7 weeks (49 years) and 62 weeks (434 years); the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. (Dan. 9:25)

The going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem (under Nehemiah and Ezra) until Messiah will be 69 weeks (units of 7 years or 483 years). The 69 weeks or 483 years are separated into 2 parts: 7 weeks (49 years) and 62 weeks (434 years). The 7 weeks (49 years) begins with a command to build Jerusalem that was given to Ezra in 458 BC (49 years later in 409 BC Jerusalem was rebuilt. If we add an additional 62 weeks (434 years) to 409 BC we come to AD 26 when Jesus entered Jerusalem as Messiah. Jesus was crucified in April 30 AD.

The 70 weeks (490 years) is divided into 3 parts: 7 weeks (49 years), 62 weeks (434 years), and one week (the final 7 years just before Jesus’ returns). There is approximately a 2,000-year gap after the 69 weeks (7 weeks + 62 weeks). After Jesus was killed in Jerusalem and Israel was driven out of the land in 70 AD, the prophetic clock stopped for 2,000 years until Israel is back in the land and they make a covenant with the Antichrist (v.27). The 70th week (final 7 year period with the Antichrist) is immediately before the Second Coming of Jesus.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE 69 WEEKS (483 YEARS) (9:26)

26 After the 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off (violent death), but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (Temple). The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. (Dan. 9:26)

At sometime after the end of the 7 weeks (49 years) plus the 62 weeks (434 years) or after a total of 483 years (from 458 BC to 26 AD) the Messiah was to be cut off or violently killed (v. 26a). This happened in April 30 AD.

The people of the prince who is to come are the Romans. They destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.

The end of Jerusalem came with a flood of violence because of God’s judgment (v. 26c).

Till the end of the Roman war against Israel God determined desolations for Israel (v. 26d).

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE 70TH WEEK (9:27)

27 Then he (Antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week (final 7 years before Jesus’ return); but in the middle of the week (3½ years mark) he (Antichrist) shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering (in the Jerusalem Temple). And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate (the Antichrist), even until the consummation (of judgment against him at Jesus’ return), which is determined (by God on the Antichrist), is poured out on the desolate (Antichrist). (Dan. 9:27)

Then or 2,000 years after Jesus was killed (30 AD) and the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans (70 AD), the Antichrist shall confirm a covenant with many (majority in Israel and/or many Gentile nations) for one week or for a 7-year period (v. 27a). In the middle of the week (7-year period), the Antichrist will bring an end to the sacrifice and offering that he originally permitted in the Jerusalem Temple (v. 27b).

On the wing of abominations or by using extreme abominations to God, that Antichrist or the “one who makes desolate” will bring desolation to all nations (v. 27c). Gabriel told Daniel that the Antichrist would operate on the wing (pinnacle or extreme expression) of abominations. The Abomination of Desolation is directly referred to by name 6 times in Scripture (Dan. 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14). The Abomination of Desolation is the scriptural name for the Antichrist’s image that is placed in the Temple.

The Antichrist will continue until the consummation of Jesus’ judgments come on him. God has determined to pour out great judgment on this man who is called desolate (v. 27d).




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