Day #230: Daily Bible Reading Plan - August 15th
Scripture Reading: Daniel 7 - 12 …
That this world as we know it will end is the clear teaching of the Bible, God's Word. Most people who are alive today do not believe the Bible is true, and even many of those who consider themselves to be Bible "scholars" and teachers consider the book of Daniel to have been written AFTER the events it describes had already happened. How could Daniel have written these things with such detail and accuracy? The answer, of course, lies in the FACT that Daniel was given these visions by God through the angel, Gabriel. How could Daniel know the future? ... because GOD knows the future and He chose to reveal it to Daniel AND to us, through Daniel!
Some of Daniel's visions regarded the immediate future. Even before Daniel and some of the other Jews who were in captivity in Babylon returned to Jerusalem, as God had said they would through the prophet Jeremiah, the kingdom of Babylon was overtaken by the Medes and Persians. Not long after that, the kingdom of Greece defeated them, as is described in the visions, and that was followed by the Roman Empire. All of this happened exactly as God had revealed to Daniel. But there was more ...
God also revealed things to Daniel about the DISTANT future - the time of the end, the time of wrath. We always need to remember that God exists beyond time. As He reveals the future, it is as though it is all one time to God, yet there is a gradual unfolding of His plan throughout time. To those who believe and teach that the visions of Daniel were all fulfilled prior to Jesus being born, I need only to refer to Matthew 24, where Jesus is teaching His disciples about FUTURE events and He refers to the prophet Daniel and what he had written (Matthew 24:15). If these events had all been fulfilled previously, then Jesus is wrong in teaching that some of what Daniel saw had not yet happened, but would be fulfilled in the future, just before He returned!
With that in mind, it is easy to understand that Daniel's visions include things that would be fulfilled in the years between Daniel and the birth of Christ, while other things would be fulfilled at a later time. For instance, Chapter 8 gives a description of the events leading up to the destruction of the Medes and Persians by the Greeks. All of that happened just as it was revealed to Daniel. History shows the accuracy of Daniel's vision - so much so that those who do not believe in predictive prophecy claim that Daniel was written later, after these events had already taken place. But God does this to confirm that since these things came true, the rest will also take place just as Daniel wrote ... during the time of the end.
An example is Daniel 7:20-22. Read those verses and then read Revelation 13:5-7. Both speak of the same event and the apostle John writes several hundred years after Daniel and about sixty years after Jesus was crucified, rose again and ascended into heaven ... and even after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. That proves that some of the things revealed in Daniel's visions lie in the future, when God will bring His judgment on this world and pour out His wrath on the Antichrist and those who follow him. All of that is described in more detail in Chapter 9:24-27.
These verses have been the subject of so much discussion over the past few decades and longer because they so clearly point to God's dealings with "Daniel's people," the Jews, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Gabriel says specifically, "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city ..." (9:24). Daniel's people were the Jews and their holy city was Jerusalem. Without going into all of the details, history reveals that from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the crucifixion of Jesus was 483 years ... "69 'sevens'" or "weeks of years." This portion of Daniel is not so much a vision as it is a revelation, a teaching.
During the entire "seventy 'sevens'" Daniel is told that several things would happen: "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" (9:24). Verses 25-26 explain that some of these things will happen in the time-frame of the first "sixty-nine 'sevens,'" but then there is the last "seven," the seventieth "seven" ... Verse 26 indicates that there is an interruption ... a gap, between the first sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) and the last seven. Verse 25 said God would deal specifically with the Jewish people for "seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens" = 69 "sevens" ... and verse 26 says,
"After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One (the Christ) 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." Then verse 27 speaks of a future ruler (from the people who destroyed the sanctuary - the Roman Empire), who will confirm a covenant for one "seven" ... then break the covenant in the middle of the "seven" and do what the rest of the verse says. Jesus refers to THIS time in Matthew 24:15 and following as future ...
All of this points to the coming of the Antichrist and much has been written about all of this ... enough to confuse even the most diligent Bible student!! What does it all mean? Can we know and understand these things? The answer to that question lies in Chapter 12, verses 9-10, as the angel says, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand."
If we are nearing the time of the return of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24) and the end of this age, then those who are given wisdom from God by His Spirit will understand these things. While many have written about this time in great detail and there seem to be many ideas and theories, God IS giving understanding of these things during this time in which we are living. How far in the future do the events of Daniel's "seventieth 'seven'" lie? We do not know for sure, but the re-establishment of "Daniel's people," the Jews, in the land God gave to Abraham and his descendants more than 4,000 years ago indicates that we are nearing the return of Christ and the unfolding of the rest of God's plan as it is revealed in Daniel, Revelation, Matthew and elsewhere in Scripture.
The time of the end WILL come ... just as God has said it will. You will do well to believe ALL that God says, to place your faith and to find your hope in Jesus Christ, the "Anointed One" and to know that what Daniel predicts about HIM (Chapter 7:9-14) WILL take place and HIS kingdom will be established and will endure FOREVER!! Believing the prophecy in Daniel's visions and placing your faith in Jesus Christ leads to a life lived with hope and with purpose, for the God who revealed these things to Daniel through the angel Gabriel now speaks by His Word and Spirit to those who believe. Read, study and learn about these things - for yourself and for others, so that when that day comes you will know what God is doing and be used of God to warn others! Jesus is LIFE, and all who come to Him will be saved!!
"Almighty God, my Creator and my Savior, I am in awe of Your power and majesty and wisdom! Your Word reveals who You are and Your plan for mankind and for all who believe in Your Son Jesus Christ. HIS kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom and we who believe will exist forever in Your perfect presence. Help me to live today in such a way that my life is a testimony to others as I share Your truth with them, that some might believe and be saved. In Jesus' name, Amen"