In our study of Revelations, it is important to note that the end times are also talked about throughout the bible. As far back as Daniel, the events of the end times are talked about. In the Olivet discourse, Jesus referred to the prophecies of Daniel. Not only does this support the biblical inerrancy argument, it gives us some indication of what events have happened already and what events are yet to happen. Let’s look at Daniel’s vision which begins with the 20th verse of Daniel 9, and see what has been fulfilled and what has yet to be fulfilled.
1. Jerusalem will be rebuild in times of trouble and then shortly after that the Anointed One would be cut off.
The commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes (Neh 2:1-8) which was around 445 B.C. and the city was rebuilt in times of trouble. After another 434 years the Anointed One (Jesus) appeared precisely as prophesied. Biblical scholars have calculated very carefully that exactly 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes, Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the conclusion of His earthly ministry (Lk 19:28-38) Then, within a few days, He was "cut off" by the events of the crucifixion.
2. The people of the coming ruler would destroy the city and the sanctuary after the Anointed One was cut off.
In 70 A.D. when the Roman army destroyed the city of Jerusalem it broke down its walls, burned the sanctuary and pried apart the very stones of which it was built. The Jewish nation thus ceased to exist as a sovereign nation. Its people were scattered to the ends of the earth.
3. The coming ruler (Antichrist) will make a peace agreement with the Jewish people that will last for 7 years. Halfway through, three and one-half years, he will break the agreement, stop Jewish religious practices. He will set up a desecrating abomination in the temple until he himself is finally destroyed.
The events of the last seven years have yet to be fulfilled. Why has there been such a long time between the first two sections of the prophecy and the last? Our textbook lays out a wonderful argument as to the reason for the separation. You can read it but I’ll try to summarize. God made it very clear to the nation of Israel as it entered into the Promised Land that obedience to His laws would bring benefits. He also stated clearly the evil that would follow His peoples’ disobedience. So, the Israelites disobeyed and so God finally permitted His people to be dispersed from their land. God then made the land desolate. The Roman conquest scattered the people and the land was a desert until recently. So, we can assume that it was because of the Israelites’ disobedience that led to the break in the time frame that God established. So, when will these last seven years take place? Nobody knows for sure but there are signs that events are coming together nicely for the eventual fulfillment of the last part of Daniels prophesy.
a. Through a series of events that began around the first part of this century, God has recalled his people from the very ends of the earth (Isaiah 11:11-12). God used various means to gather them until eventually, in May 1948, the returned Jews proclaimed the birth of the modern state of Israel.
c. When the Jewish people started returning to Israel, the Palestinian’s, who had inhabited the land, were displaced to other Arab countries. This had caused a friction between them that will have future ramifications.
That brings us to our next subject, the "coming ruler" as mentioned in verse 26. We’ll continue that tomorrow!