Countdown to Armageddon
If you have ever taken a trip with your children to anyplace further than the grocery store, you have probably been asked repeatedly, “are we there yet?”
The world is moving toward the destination of God’s coming judgement. The question is, “are we there yet?”
Daniel 9 helps us answer the question of where we are in God’s prophetic time line.
In our chronological study, Daniel 9 reveals new details about God’s plan for Israel.
This monumental chapter reveals the following important details for Israel:
1. The Babylonian captivity would soon end
2. Israel’s kingdom would not be restored immediately
3. The coming Messiah would die
4. Israel will face great trouble before the promised Kingdom would be established.
Our main focus of attention will be Daniel 9:24-27
““Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish 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. “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree 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. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off 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. 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 on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”” (Daniel 9:24–27, NIV84)
In order to properly interpret this passage, we need to study the context of the chapter.
The Chronology of Daniel’s Prayer.
Daniel 9:1 begins, “In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom—” (Daniel 9:1, NIV84)
The “first year of Darius” refers to the beginning of the reign of Darius, which is likely a title for King Cyrus, the first king of the Medo-Persian empire. This is the second world empires revealed to Daniel in chapters 2 and 7!
This event takes place 13 years after the events of Daniel 8, which occurred in the third year of Belshazzar, the final king of the Babylonian empire.
“In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.” (Daniel 8:1, NIV84)
Daniel 8:1 occurred in 551 BC, near the end of the Babylonian kingdom.
Daniel 9:1 occurred in 539 BC the first year of the reign of Darius, the first Medo-Persian king.
Daniel is now in his 80's,
The Babylonian captivity began in 605 BC.
Daniel 9 occurs in 539 BC
605-539 = 66 years have been completed!
The Circumstance of Daniel’s prayer.
We read in Daniel 9 that Daniel was in prayer for his people, the Israelites. “While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill—” (Daniel 9:20, NIV84)
Daniel knew from Jeremiah’s prophesy that the Babylonian captivity would last for 70 years. He is literally counting down the days until the captivity is over. Perhaps Daniel was thinking that once the captivity ended, God would establish the Kingdom that he promise to the descendants of David (2 Samuel 7). But God had other plans in mind. The Messiah would come, but he would not come now. There was more in store for Israel, and God wanted Daniel, the Israelites and us to know about it.
The text informs us that Daniel was reading from Jeremiah the Prophet (Daniel 9:2). Here is the passage that foretells that the Captivity would last only 70 years.
“This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. (11) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”” (Jeremiah 29:10–14, NIV84)
Focus in the book of Daniels SHIFTS
Daniel 2-7: Gentile Nations (written in Aramaic, the language of the Babylonians)
Daniel 8-12: Israel (written in Hebrew, the language of God’s people)
Daniel knew that the 70 years were coming to an end
Daniel may have expected that the promised Kingdom, led by the Messiah, the Descendent of David would begin.
Daniel did not understand the nature of Messiah’s ministry. God instruct’s Daniel using the theme of 70 years. (Israel has been in captivity for 70 years. It is going to be another 70 years X 7 years before the Kingdom is established!
You see, Israel had violated 70 sabbatical cycles.
“He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” (2 Chronicles 36:20–21, NIV84)
Israel was warned about keeping the Sabbatical Year. (Lev26:35)
“All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.” (Leviticus 26:35, NIV84)
The Content of Daniel’s prayer
“Confessing his sin and the sin of his people” 9:20
Focused on God’s promises to Israel concerning Jerusalem and the Temple. “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”” (Daniel 9:17–19, NIV84)
God’s answer: “while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:” (Daniel 9:21–23, NIV84)
The Decree Seventy Sevens for Israel. Daniel 9:24a
God reveals the Length, Starting point and the Main events for Israel’s future.
Why is this prophesy so important? Israel is in focus!
The earlier prophesies of Daniel gave a time line for the NATIONS
Daniel 2: The image of the great statute (Babylon, Medes/Persians, Greece, Rome)
Daniel 7: The image of the four beasts (Babylon, Medes/Persians, Greece, Rome)
Daniel 9 is about ISRAEL. Dan 9:24 “for your people and for your holy city.”
I. The Purpose of the Seventy Sevens (Six Changes, stated in related pairs). 9:24
A. To finish the transgression Israel’s sin of rejecting the Messiah
B. To make an end of sins. Israel would no longer be a sinful nation.
C. To make reconciliation for iniquity. This would happen when Jesus would die for the sins of Israel and the world. The death of Jesus would be the culminating event in the 70 weeks. Christ would redeem Israel in his First Coming by making a way for sins to be forgiven. Christ would complete the reconciliation of Israel in his Second Coming when he rescues Israel and ends their sinful ways.
D. To bring in an age of Righteousness. The 1,000 year Kingdom
E. To cause a cessation of prophecy. There would be no more need for vision (verbal prophecy) or written prophecy.
F. To Anoint the Most Holy Place. A new Temple, functioning as God intended.
G. NOTE: The final 3 have not yet happened!
II. The Starting point of the Seventy Sevens: Daniel 9:25a “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree 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.” (Daniel 9:25, NIV84)
A. God has set a time of 490 years for this to happen.
B. The 490 Years are related to the violated Sabbatical Years
C. IT BEGINS with a decree to release the captives (Daniel 9:25)
1. This was issued by Artaxerxes in 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:5)
2. Captives returned from Babylon
a. 538 BC. Cyrus (Persia) allows Zerubbabel to return. They rebuild the temple and restore worship (Ezra 1-6).
b. 458 BC. Artaxerxes allows Ezra to return with another group. Ezra establishes spiritual reforms (Ezra 7-10).
c. 445 BC. Artaxerxes allows Nehemiah to return with a large group, Persian authority and gifts to rebuild the city. The wall is rebuilt in 52 days (Nehemiah 1-13).
D. PHASE I - 69 or 483 years. Daniel 9:25
1. The Return from Captivity to Christ
2. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and a trench
3. During times of trouble
a. Nehemiah’s rebuilding of the wall
b. Antiochus Epiphenies, 160 BC
E. The “Gap” between the end of the 69th week and the beginning of the 70th week. Three things will happen:
1. “Messiah will be cut off.” Daniel 9:26. Meaning: Messiah will be killed.
2. The TRIUMPHANT ENTRY on March 30, 33 AD occurred EXACTLY 482 years after the Decree to allow the Jews to Rebuild!
3. AFTER the end of the 69th week, Messiah was “Cut off” (killed)
4. The people of the prince to come (future anti-Christ) will destroy the city and sanctuary. This happened as the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD
5. Archeological evidence of this event is inscribed on the Arch of Titus in Rome (2,000 years old)
6. There will be continuing war. The Jewish people have consistently been at war.
F. PHASE II - 7 YEAR TRIBULATION for ISRAEL. Daniel 9:27
1. The final 7 years begins with a covenant between the “prince to come” (anti-Christ) and the “many” (the Jewish people).
2. The covenant will last 7 years.
3. The covenant with Antichrist will allow TEMPLE SACRIFICE to begin. Note the work of the Temple Institute.
4. The covenant will be broken in the middle of the 7 years when anti-Christ puts and end to sacrifice and offering and sets up an abomination that causes desolation in the Jewish temple. (Matt 24:15-21; 2 Thess 2:3-9; Revelation 12:6; 13:5)
III. Biblical Accuracy in Daniel 9
A. Prediction of World Kingdoms
B. The Triumphant Entry predicted TO THE DAY
C. Destruction of the Temple predicted (70 AD)
D. WE’RE ALMOST THERE...... Are you ready?
1. Ready to believe the Bible?
2. Ready to Accept Christ as your Savior?
3. Ready to meet him?