It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Today's Wild Card author is:
Joe E. Tarry
and the book:
The Last Week of Seven Years and the Apostle John's Surprise
Hannibal Books (June 1, 2012)
***Special thanks to Jennifer Nelson of Hannibal Books for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joe E. Tarry was born near Lovington, NM, in 1935. He graduated with a double major and received a bachelor of arts in religion and history from Eastern New Mexico University and a master of divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Leona, served for more than 35 years as missionaries to the cities of Governador Valadares and Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, in Brazil before retiring in Ruidoso, NM. Tarry has written 14 books in Portuguese and five in English.
SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Although hundreds upon hundreds of books have been written to analyze the prophetic riddle in Daniel 9 and the symbolic language used both by Daniel and John (Revelation), Tarry takes a slightly different approach to end-times matters.
He contends that three things make his book unique. This involves his positioning of the "last week of the seven years" (referenced in Daniel 9) in a different place than does the typical writer on these subjects. Many students of these matters place the happenings in this reference at the end of the Book of Revelation. Tarry contends that the first half of the last week of years begins immediately after Jesus' death and ends at the destruction of Jerusalem 35 years later. Tarry contends that the second half of the last week of years that most writers put at the end of time includes the last great tribulation. This involves the 35-year period from the destruction of Jerusalem until Jesus appears to the apostle John to tell him to write the rest of prophecy, about A.D. 105.
In dividing the Book of Revelation, Tarry considers the three parts as Revelation 1:19 mentions: The things which you have seen (past); the things which are (present); and the things which will take place (future). His is a thoughtful and thought-stimulating commentary which is designed to inspire Christian commitment and trust in God for the end of the age.
List Price: $19.95
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Hannibal Books
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
End of the Old Covenant According to Daniel
The history of the human race is not a beautiful story of all victories and a glorious walk with Holy Creator God. In fact, the men that delight God’s heart the most before Abraham exists are Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, and Job. Abel takes the first stand for righteousness after Adam and Eve sin and choices become necessary in life. On the dark side, Abel is killed by his brother, Cain, for making the right spiritual choice. Seth follows in the lineage, as he strives to maintain a spirituality that pleases God. Enoch’s purer spirituality delights God so much that He spares him from the curse of natural death that plagues sinful, human bodies. Noah has a brilliant record and is chosen since he and his family, because of their faith in God, are the only ones worthy of being spared from the great flood. I believe Job lives not long before Abraham. Among all of those from Noah to Abraham, Noah has a faith that is the most pleasing to God. God does not make a covenant with any of these men, but they shine like the moon and the brightest stars among a dark, sinful, human existence on this beautiful earth.
By Abraham’s time the world’s population has greatly increased, especially by Ham, Japheth, and Shem’s descendants. God makes a covenant with Noah never to send another flood, but this is not a covenant for social and spiritual benefits. Ham, Cush, Mizraim, and Canaan are very productive; their descendants spread in all directions. God wants to work in a close, spiritual way with people that He selects, but He wants to do so with the purpose of their being witnesses of His love and grace to all peoples. Abraham is the person that best fits the prerequisite of genuine and total faith in Creator God. Therefore God chooses Abraham to make a covenant that will affect all peoples. Time after time throughout history God’s First Covenant people disappoint Him. In God’s perfect timing He sends Jesus to fulfill the promise made to Eve for a Redeemer Who will be for all people. Jesus will prepare the way for His Holy Spirit to dwell in the New Covenant people’s hearts. The Old Covenant has to end; it ends in a terrible tribulation. The Old Covenant is dying while a fresh New Covenant is being established. From Jesus’ birth until A.D. 70 we have an overlapping. The New Covenant begins in the middle of this 70-year period. The new, enthusiastic converts of Christ, however, begin in a tribulation period also. How will this turn out? First we need to examine carefully the ending of the Old Covenant. Then we can compare the circumstances with the New Covenant people’s experiences.
Daniel is the only person Jesus uses as a reference for end- times prophecy. God uses Gabriel and other angels to dictate the end times of the First Covenant. Therefore, we necessarily have to study about this subject in Daniel’s book first before we study the book Jesus dictates to the apostle John—the Book of Revelation. The first thing that has to be done is to decide whether Daniel 7-12 is written in figurative (symbolic) or literal style. I believe these chapters are written in symbolic style, because the animals symbolize four powerful political kingdoms. The last two weird “beasts”—especially the fourth “beast”—affect the world until the end of time. Figurative numbers also are used. In Matthew 24 Jesus calls the apostles’ attention to Daniel’s prophecies as necessary for understanding their questions about the destruction of the temple and surrounding buildings. Daniel actually is clarifying the signs of the end of the covenant God makes with Abraham (and renews with Isaac and Jacob).
Chapter 7 is a prelude that covers all of history from Daniel to the end of the world. Chapter 7 is divided into four parts after the historical setting:
1. All the “beasts” representing four kingdoms are pertinent to the lives of Israel/Judah;
2. The fourth hideous “beast” during the First Covenant period;
3. The fourth hideous “beast” during the Second Covenant period;
4. We have the final facts about the fourth “beast”. Daniel is allowed to just touch a point or two about the end of the world because Jesus Himself, through the apostle John, is going to fill in the details.
Setting of Time and Place for Chapter 7
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, as Daniel lies on his bed he sees a dream and visions in his mind; then he writes the dream down and relates the following summary of it. Daniel says, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And the four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another” (Dan. 7:1-3).
Part I—Four Strange “Beasts” Rising from the “Sea”
1. In verse 4 the first “beast” arises from the “sea” in the form of a “lion”. This “beast” has “wings of an eagle”; the “wings” are plucked off. Then he stands up “on two feet like a man” and is given a “human mind”.
2. The second animal (v. 5) is similar to a “bear”. He arises on his side and has “three ribs in its mouth between its teeth”. He is told to “‘Arise, devour much meat!’”
3. In verse 6 the third “beast” looks like a “leopard” but has “four wings of a bird”. This “beast” strangely has “four heads”; large territory is given to this animal.
4. In verses 7-8 a strange, dreadful-looking “beast”, “terrifying and extremely strong”, rises from the “sea” . This frightful animal has large teeth and devours, crushes, and tramples “down the remainder with its feet”. Its main difference from the others is that this “beast” has “ten horns”. A new little “horn” grows up among the “ten horns”. Three of the large “horns” are pulled up by their roots from the beast’s head. The little “horn” has “eyes of a man”; its mouth spews out challenging “boasts”.
Part II—The First Covenant People and Fourth Hideous Beast (Dan. 7:9-10)
In this section we get a glimpse of God our Holy Father and His ability to deal with the evil, hideous “beast”. Every word is important. After this scary scene God wants Daniel to see another fact of the future. “I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were attending Him; the court sat, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:9-10).
After he hears about the four “beasts” Daniel needs to be uplifted; his mind must remain focused on Holy God that is in charge of earth’s events. Daniel is taken into the end of Israelite and Judean history so beyond a shadow of a doubt he can know that righteousness and justice will prevail over evil. Descriptions that God’s garment is “like white snow” and that His hair like “pure wool” indicate that spiritual purity is to prevail over evil.
The flames of “fire” are confusing, especially since we know that hell is an ever-burning “fire”, but “fire” has other connotations. “Fire” also is a purifier of metals—the only thing that can melt hard metal. The lower part of the fourth “beast” is made of “iron”. Humanity truly cannot overpower roaring fires. However, here we are talking about spiritual “fire”. The throne on which God is sitting has “wheels”; both the throne and “wheels” are afire. A river of “fire” is flowing before the throne—a “fire”that evil cannot put out. The Holy Spirit is represented by flaming “fire”. To me the popular expression “on fire for the Lord” means that one is blazing with God’s Holy Spirit. Daniel has been in a lion’s den alone with God and knows His power to deliver, but the fourth “beast” is far more horrible than King Nebuchadnezzar is. Daniel remembers the miracle in which God delivers his three friends Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego from the fiery furnace. Daniel evidently is away from the capital on government business, or he would have been thrown into the fiery furnace alongside his three friends. As he sees this vision, I think Daniel understands that a victory over the fourth “beast” is the greatest challenge over evil that humanity will have in this world. At the end of verse 10 Daniel sees the final judgment. “The court sat, and the books were opened” ends this scene, but Daniel has a glimpse of Holy Father and His power and justice! The animals represent Satan’s force against God’s power; therefore we are examining spiritual warfare more than we are looking at a physical, conventional warfare.
Part III—The Second Covenant People and Their Encounter with the “Beast”
This “beast” that represents the Roman Empire becomes a reality in 44 B.C., when Brutus and Cassius murder Caesar because they fear his power. Octavian is Caesar’s great-nephew and adopted son. With the help of Mark Antony and Lepidus, Octavian gains superiority for the leadership of the anarchy, which later becomes an empire. In 27 B.C. Octavian takes the name Augustus, meaning supreme. He is the initiator of the Roman Empire. The supremacy of Rome lasts for about four centuries. Rome already has conquered Jerusalem in about 64 B.C., before Octavian becomes the emperor. The Roman Empire, represented by the beast, has little to do with the Old Covenant people until they are conquered in 64 B.C.
Daniel has seen God the Father and knows that the spiritual kingdom is mightier than Satan is, but Satan the deceiver has an advantage. Ever since Satan deceives Adam and Eve and human spirits are separated from God, humanity is strongly inclined to sin. Daniel well knows the history of humanity and that of the Israelites. Daniel has to know more about the curious “beast” with a strong “horn”, eyes, and mouth that blasphemes the spiritual domain so vehemently. Therefore, Daniel is given some more information. “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time” (Dan. 7:11-12). Death to the fourth “beast” happens at the end of the Roman Empire several centuries later. In Revelation we will see that the fourth “beast” returns to life and in the latter days causes havoc for Christianity.
In this same vision Daniel sees that the other three “beasts” have lost their power, but an extension of life is granted to them for an appointed period of time. These “beasts” represent Babylon, Persia, and Greece. The fourth “beast” (Rome) has some traits of the other three. Although their pagan political powers cease to exist, their evil traits are lasting. Later we will study more about these.
Part IV—Christianity and the Fourth “Beast”
The next vision soothes Daniel’s troubled spirit. “And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14). Wow! Daniel gets to see God the Father, known as “Ancient of Days”. The “One like a Son of Man” is the Messiah for whom Israel is waiting. This vision is about a great promise that God had given to Eve—a promise Genesis 3:15 records. The Messiah will have a dominion made up of all “peoples” and “nations”. People of “every language” will be serving the Messiah in a dominion that never will be destroyed. Certainly Daniel is soothed, although certainly he also perceives that the dominion of the Messiah is not a political “kingdom”, because Daniel hears: “His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”All earthly dominions and kingdoms will pass away or “be destroyed”. Only something spiritual lasts forever. Therefore Daniel is given an insight about the Kingdom of Christ as being spiritual for all people in the world and eternally secure. Very well, but Daniel seeks more information about the four “beasts”.
Daniel is told that the four “kings” (kingdoms) will become the most powerful on earth (Dan. 7:17). But the heavenly speaker calms Daniel immediately by saying that “‘the saints of the Highest One would receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom for all ages to come’” (Dan. 7:18). This phrase states that the “‘saints’” of God will be more powerful than will all of the four “‘beasts’”. All through this book you will wonder when will this victory happen. From the beginning of time the two essentials for salvation are a genuine and total faith in Creator God and belief in God’s promise to send a Messiah (Redeemer). Those saved in the past, from the beginning of time, are in Paradise today waiting for the end of life on earth. As does no other person in his generation, Abraham has total faith in God and His promises. Old Covenant people who have the same faith as Abraham will enjoy the same promise. In the New Covenant with Jesus every “saint” that has GENUINE and TOTAL faith in Jesus as Savior is spiritually victorious over Satan and his fourth “‘beast’”. The key words are the underlined ones: “‘receive the kingdom’” and “‘possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come’”. As you read this book, you still may wonder, “When will the spiritual saints overpower the evil forces of Satan?” God re-establishes His spiritual “‘kingdom’” with David, although the “‘kingdom’” is mixed with a political system. After David, the Old Covenant “saints” who are spiritually acceptable to God are fewer in number, because they ignore the spiritual dimension of life. By the time Jesus arrives, only a few Jews recognize Him as the Messiah. Therefore we see that most of the time the Old Covenant “saints” do not delight God’s heart as a powerful “‘kingdom’” for long at a time. Jesus makes a New Covenant with those who believe and trust Him as Savior, Lord, and Master. His “saints”, although empowered by the Holy Spirit, are for the most part a disappointment also. In the end of all times, Jesus will reign for 1,000 years with His “saints” that suffer to continue faithful.
With great intensity the mystery “beast” distracts Daniel again (v. 19). We can understand why Daniel is very confused. We live in a time in which we know the whole history of the Old Covenant, the New Covenant, through the Dark Ages as the Roman Empire establishes the state church, and until today. We know about the tribulations by the “beast” until the Roman government makes Christianity adapt to its constituency made up of pagan practices. We can understand better than Daniel does, for we have seen through history most of what is said about the beast. This is a large part of my next book on The Dark Ages. However, the question is: do Christians today practice a rich spirituality that indicates genuine and total faith in Christ?
Verse 11 expresses Daniel’s thoughts. “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking: I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time” (Dan. 7:11-12). Would you not like to know what the “horn” is saying? Maybe in the last part of Revelation we will get a good idea as to what the loud-mouthed little “horn” is saying and is doing. Daniel knows that this horrible “beast” is to die.
But Daniel is having visions in his sleep—visions that he knows are from God. He shares this one with us because the visions are extremely pertinent to people of all generations. “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14). In this vision Daniel sees the Father and the Messiah’s arrival and the spiritual “kingdom” under the Messiah. This vision does not give a date as to the arrival of the Messiah, but it verifies that the long-awaited Messiah truly will arrive on earth. We know that the Messiah’s purpose is not to be a physical king of a Jewish nation but is to have a spiritual “kingdom” with people from all nations. This verse also, to me, is a hint that the terrible “beasts” represent a spiritual warfare between Satan and God over humanity. Humans are caught in the middle of a dispute between God and Satan over control of human souls (spirits) that God puts into people. As Creator, God has the right of spiritual control over humanity. When Eve and Adam trust Satan’s instructions over this right for God to control humanity, Satan disrupts this perfect spiritual relationship. This is when war between God and Satan begins for control of the human spirit and mind.
Oh, how blessed Daniel is to be chosen by God to write down these wonderful things for the future. Unfortunately, only a few Jews take the Book of Daniel seriously.
In his mind and spirit Daniel is suffering greatly. He inserts his own thinking, which I appreciate. “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me” (Dan. 7:15). In verse 16 Daniel approaches one of the heavenly beings and asks for an exact explanation of what he has been seeing. The angel complies with Daniel’s request; I believe the angels are there for this reason. “‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come’” (Dan. 7:17-18). Victory for the saints is the answer Daniel wants to hear, but somehow the angelic explanation does not seem to cover the fourth beast nor give a definite explanation about the other three “beasts”. So Daniel probes the angel for a more explicit answer about the fourth “beast”. “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet, and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up, and before which three of them fell, namely that horn that had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts, and which was larger in appearance than its associates” (Dan. 7:19-20).
Verse 18 states that the “‘saints’” of God will receive the “‘kingdom’” and will possess it forever. The next group of verses (7:20-28) gives a short view of how the prophecy in verse 18 works out in two settings of New Covenant people. The fourth “‘beast’”, the Roman Empire, will be very active in the New Testament period. To understand these verses we have a transition in verse 23. The “‘saints’” have a great victory, but in verse 23 the vision returns to the fourth “‘beast’” again. He wars against the “‘saints’” and is victorious over them. In verse 26 the “‘saints’” of God are victorious another time and forever. As we get into Revelation, because we have seen history up until that point, our understanding will be clearer, I believe.
The heavenly Messenger continues as Daniel focuses intently on the larger “horn”, with eyes and mouth, as the “horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom” (Dan. 7:21-22). This is a key verse; we find the answer to this in Revelation 19 and 20. Daniel finally gets a clearer answer from a heavenly host. Let’s examine Daniel 7:20-28 carefully, point by point.
1. The fourth “beast” is a fourth “kingdom” on the earth, different from the others. This unusual “kingdom” will devour the whole earth—treading over and crushing the armies in the known world (Dan. 7:19). This description spiritually expresses evil spiritual growth over the inhabited earth, especially the area referring to countries oppressing Judah.
2. The “ten horns” represent 10 “kings” in this most powerful and unusual “kingdom”. An 11th “horn” (“king”) will appear; he has eyes and a mouth with which he will brag loudly. He will become larger and more powerful than will the other 10. He will subdue three opposing “kings”. This may be a“kingdom” within the “kingdom”(Dan. 9:20).
3. The big “horn” with eyes and mouth wages war with the saints and is winning until God, the “Ancient of Days”, judges and the “saints” take possession of the kingdom (vs. 21-22). The “saints” overpower the evil, powerful king.
4. In Daniel 7:23-25 we find a repetition almost identical to Daniel 7:19-22, except for some things that are added. The fourth “‘beast’” is a fourth “‘kingdom’”. He is “‘different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it’” (vs. 23). The “‘beast’” grows “‘horns’” as in Daniel 7:7-12 and 7:19-20.
5. This king will openly criticize the Most High and “‘wear down’” (persecute) the “‘saints’” and will strive to “‘make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time’” (Dan. 7:25).
6. “‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever’” (Dan. 7:26). This will take place at the end of Revelation.
7. “‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him’” (Dan. 7:27). This part is dealt with in Jesus’ Book of Revelation. We know this period as “Jesus’ 1,000-year reign”.
8. “At this point the revelation to Daniel ends. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself” (Dan. 7:28). Later this fourth “‘beast’” is designated as representing the Roman Empire. We meet this “‘beast’” at the end of the Old Covenant period and again in the New Covenant era described in Revelation. We discover that this “‘beast’” represents the principal world power that partners with Satan to disturb, destruct, and destroy God’s plan for the advancement of pure spirituality in the world.
Daniel’s first vision is in the first year of Belshazzar’s reign of the Babylonian Empire, which is represented by the “lion“. Details of the second vision, in Belshazzar’s third year, are given in Daniel 8:2-14. I looked in the vision, and while I was looking I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision, and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal. Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last. I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him nor was there anyone to rescue from his power, but he did as he pleased and magnified himself (Dan. 8:2-4). The Medes and Persians will take over the Babylonian Empire. The ram represents various kings that have power over the Medes and Persian Empire, which is represented by the bear (Dan. 7:5). A strange thing is that the ram has one horn that is longer than the other. The ram is butting in three directions; this indicates that the kings have ambition to expand the kingdom westward toward Greece, to the north and to the south, Egypt in particular. The Persian kings are sure that nothing could stop them from their desire to expand in all directions. So the Persian king confidently assumes that his dynasty will last a long time.
In verse 5 a male goat appears in the west. He travels through the air without touching the ground; this means he is arriving quickly. Strangely, this goat has only one horn between his eyes. Daniel’s vision has the male goat approaching the ram. He came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land (Dan. 8:6-9).
The goat initiates a battle and brutally destroys the ram with two horns. In verse 8:10 the goat’s horn grows until it reaches heaven and causes some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth; he tramples on them. What military power describes this kind of power in ancient history? The Greek Kingdom, represented by the “leopard”. fits this description (Dan. 7:6). The goat sailing through the air refers to Alexander the Great, who conquers his domain within 12 years, but he dies at age 32. He is a one-man show and is represented by the one horn. He dies a young man in India but not before making important accomplishments. God will use the Greek language that Alexander makes prevalent everywhere to bring to pass a uniform language, as English has become today. Later the Old Testament is translated into Greek; the New Testament is written mostly in Greek. This helps spread the Gospel all over what becomes the Roman Empire. Alexander also spreads intellectualism everywhere as well as the worship of Greek gods. Alexander the Great spreads paganism everywhere he goes. However he is the greatest and knows it. He exalts himself extremely high.2
Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven (Dan. 8:8). This verse refers to Alexander’s death; for a few years his four generals hold the kingdom together before they divide the kingdom among them. Remember, the goat refers only to Alexander the Great, but the Greek Empire still is the “leopard”, but now the Empire is divided into four kingdoms: Western, Northern, Eastern, and Southern. From this point on we will think of these four horns of the goat and not the goat itself. In verse 11 one of the horns continues magnifying himself to be equal with the Commander of the host (God). The general removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. This will be described a little later. In verse 12 the host (temple priest) becomes subject to the horn (actually invading army) and the regular sacrifice discontinues. The goat’s horn representing the invading army will try to destroy truth (God’s Word) and will do whatever he pleases. At this point, verse 13, Daniel hears a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, “How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?” The answer is: “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored” (Dan. 8:14).
Daniel is frustrated, as we all probably are, to read things we do not understand. The most frustrating thing in prophesy is about the Jewish people. Daniel gets impatient, as we do, as we rack our brains trying to figure out all the details. So the drama continues: When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.” So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.” Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright. And he said, “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end” (Dan. 8:15-19). The key phrases of interest are in bold print. The messenger is talking about the end of the Old Covenant, to which Daniel is most concerned. Will Judah as a people vanish into the nations that conquer these people as do most of the people of Israel? The “final period of the indignation” refers to God’s great disappointment about His people. Read the prophets that follow Daniel; you will shudder over the attitude that God’s chosen people have. The truth is that their end is fast-approaching. The appointed time of the long-awaited Messiah soon will arrive. Soon still is about 500 years away.
Fulfillment of the Prophecies to this Point
The fulfillment may help clear up some questions. According to history these prophecies are accurately fulfilled. Our main resource is Josephus, the Jewish historian.
In Daniel 8:20-27 we learn that the “ram” with the “two horns” represents the kings of the Medes and Persians. The “shaggy goat” that skips across the land in haste represents the king of Greece. His skipping so fast across the land describes the speed in which Alexander the Great, in only 12 years, conquers his vast domain. The “broken horn” represents Alexander’s death, which causes a division in his kingdom between four generals. Lysimachus takes control of Thrace and Bithynia, Cassander takes Macedonia, Ptolemy Soter I takes Egypt, and Seleucus I takes Syria. I have given you the kings that, beginning in 323 B.C., will be responsible for Judah’s miseries.
Since Daniel’s time, many Jews have returned to Jerusalem. The city has become prosperous and is under the control of the priests; they have made it a thriving place. Alexander the Great conquers the area but does not change the temple worship. For a long time the occupying kings do not bother the worship system in Jerusalem or its political direction. All that interests us now are the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria, because Judah is situated between them. For several decades the kings of Egypt, Ptolemy Soter I and his sons, will be in contention with Seleucus I and his sons, kings of Syria.
The Jewish historian Josephus tells how these things occur. Greek Antiochus, descendant of Seleucus I and ruler over Syria, makes a friendship and a pact with Ptolemy, the Greek ruler over Egypt. The fifth king of the Northern Kingdom (Syria) is Antiochus the Great. The third Greek king in Egypt (Southern Kingdom) is Ptolemy IV. The year is about 228 B.C. when the first war between the two occurs. After two wars Antiochus the Great thinks that giving his daughter Cleopatra, who is Greek, to be the wife of Ptolemy IV, also Greek, will help bring peace. As a dowry he gives the territories of Celesyria, Samaria, Judah, and Phoenicia. The Samaritans become very prosperous and also turn antagonistic toward the Jews. They take over parts of Judah’s land and also make some Jews their slaves. The High Priest in Judah is responsible for collecting the taxes to be divided between the two reigning regimes of Egypt and Syria. High Priest Onias is not as honest as is his father Simon, who is called The Just. Onias refuses to pay the tax money to the Egyptian government. Taxes in these four countries are to be divided equally between the two kingdoms. I give this information to help us understand the troubles between the two governments. Marrying off the daughter of the Northern king to the son of the Southern king is designed to bring peace but peace does not happen. Consequently Judah suffers from the arrangement.
Time passes; Antiochus the Great as well as Seleucus IV of Syria die. The Jews, also, are not as passive as a subjected country should be. This king of Syria, AntiochuTime passes; Antiochus the Great as well as Seleucus IV of Syria die. The Jews, also, are not as passive as a subjected country should be. This king of Syria, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.), believes he also is god. The Jews are quarreling in Jerusalem about the priesthood, so King Antiochus IV makes a trip to Jerusalem. In 168 B.C. King Antiochus IV arrives in Jerusalem on a “peace mission”; he wants people to think his visit is peaceful, but this really is just a trick to get into the city. Therefore, the Jerusalem gates are opened to him. Antiochus IV has his eyes on the riches that are in the Jewish temple. He breaks his promise made with the occupying Greek general to not disturb the temple. He takes the golden candlesticks, the golden altar, the beautiful table for shewbread, and the veils that divide the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. The temple is cleaned out of everything that is dear to the Jewish faith. A great lamentation spreads throughout Jerusalem and the land, as gloom and doom saturate the Jewish future. The regular sacrifices cease for the duration given by Daniel. In a graphic manner Josephus describes the actual events. During this terrible future event and the 2,300 evenings and mornings, or six years and 30 days, Jerusalem will be trampled on by the feet of the Syrian king, who desecrates the temple altar and forces his way on the Jerusalem population. Antiochus Epiphanes IV reigns over Syria, the Northern Kingdom, from 175 to 163 B.C. In 168 B.C. he desecrates the temple but does not destroy it. In the temple he builds an altar to Zeus and sacrifices a pig on the altar. The Jews are forbidden to offer sacrifices. Antiochus Epiphanes IV ransacks the whole city; he kills some and takes about 10,000 as prisoners. He burns down the finest buildings, except for the temple. The people are forced to build idol worship altars in the countryside and to offer animals on them every day. Most of the Jews that refused are whipped with rods, or their bodies are torn to pieces or crucified. The women suffer as well as do men. Circumcision is stopped; every sacred book that is found is destroyed. The Samaritans begin denying that they ever have been blood-related to the Jews. They say they are related to the Medes and Persians. King Antiochus Epiphanes IV assumes the title of god. The Samaritans send a letter to King Antiochus; the letter disavows their relationship with the Jews and is titled: “To King Antiochus Epiphanes IV the god, a memorial from the Sidonians who live in Shechem”. To withdraw all connection to the Old Covenant people in any way, they suggest to the king that their temple on Mount Gerizim (a temple that has been built to honor God) does not have a name at the time and suggest that the temple of Jupiter Hellenius would be an appropriate name.
Even though God does not send another prophet for more than 400 years after Malachi, God has not forgotten the Jews. God raises up a priest to lead. High Priest Mattathias is a great-grandson of the High Priest Asamoneus, who has a long line of priests. His five sons are John, Simon, Judas Maccabaeus, Eleazar Maccabaeus, and Jonathan. Mattathias is extremely offended and upset over all that is happening. The family lives in Modin, evidently near Jerusalem. Mattathias builds his own altar and sacrifices an animal to Holy God Jehovah. When he finishes the sacrifice, another Jew takes over the altar and sacrifices to a Greek god as Antiochus has demanded. Mattathias and his sons are so mad, they kill the man who does the sacrifice ceremony. They also kill Apelles, the king’s general that is there to see that an animal is sacrificed to honor Antiochus as god.
Many Jewish families flee Jerusalem and the surrounding villages to hide in desert places or caves. Some even suffocate in the caves because of the overcrowding. The men from surrounding areas hear about what Mattathias has done and are ready to join Mattathias and his sons opposing King Antiochus. But Mattathias is an old man and dies after one year. Judas Maccabaeus assumes the leadership of the Jewish opposition army. This is a long story of God blessing an untrained and ill-equipped but very energetic, ragtag army to oppose the Greek armies it faces. The temple has not been used for worship or sacrifices since 165 B.C. By mid-165 B.C., Daniel’s prophecy in Chapter 8:8-14 is fulfilled. Judas Maccabaeus’ army recovers Jerusalem; the temple worship is restored. The important thing is that Josephus recognizes this event as Daniel’s prophecy fulfilled. Anyone that puts this event into end times of the Book of Revelation is making a grave mistake. Josephus writes this history between the years A.D. 73-100 in Rome, in which the Roman government allows him to write the whole history book. The Maccabean brothers lead Judah from 165 to about 65 B.C.3 The events from Daniel 8:2-26 happen from 539 to 148 B.C.
Here we find Daniel in the first year of Persian King Darius. Daniel reads where Jeremiah prophesies that Judah will be taken captive for 70 years—first by the Babylonians, then the Medes and Persians. Daniel goes into a long, soul-searching prayer for himself and his people. This heart-wrenching prayer, prayed in time of fasting, is recorded in Daniel 9:4-19. Please read it and allow it to touch your heart. This is the passionate type of prayer we need today before we pray in preparation for Jesus’ return: “come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:21).
Because of Daniel’s spiritual concern he is given special insight about the details of the end times of Judah, Jerusalem, and animal sacrificial worship. He also is given the information about the arrival of the Messiah. But the information is given in the form of numbers that through the ages have mystified people. We will study the numbers.
We must decipher the riddle to the biblical number system so we can understand Daniel. Remember Samson uses a riddle to confuse and challenge the Philistines (Judg. 14:12). Throughout the ages God’s riddle to Daniel has been a challenge. Does it have any significance? This puzzle may be similar to Samson’s but is necessary to solve, even though it seems almost impossible. The enemies of Judaism certainly will not be able to solve Judah’s future events. Or maybe God uses this system just to keep the Jews alert. In the Book of Revelation this system may be what keeps believers on their spiritual toes and ready for Jesus’ return at any time.
In the biblical system the number seven is a small, perfect figure. Why? Only God knows! Seven days to create the universe. Seven days make a week. The Babylonian captivity for the Israelites is 70 years. Twelve is another special number. Twelve months make a year, Israel has 12 tribes, Jesus chooses 12 disciples, and 12 times 12 is 144. To make a rounded number represent a huge number of people, we find the number 144 x 1,000 = 144,000. This indicates a significant number of Israelites in Paradise/heaven, made up of an equal number of 12,000 from each tribe of Israel (Rev. 7:5-8). More than one-million people leave Egypt with Moses. Believers from Abraham until Jesus certainly will add up to more than 144,000 that are in Paradise waiting for eternal life in heaven. My point is that 144,000 is an exact number, but the number is to be representative of a total number that only God knows. All people with genuine and total faith in God as Creator and the Promised Messiah are guaranteed an entrance into heaven. In my thinking the equally rounded number means only that God will be just with every tribe. Israel is composed of all descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons.
Again the number of 144,000 is used to identify Christians that are with Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb, in Revelation 14:1. New Covenant believers form a family relationship united by spiritually transformed hearts. The New Covenant number of Christians will be many more than the Old Covenant people, because the population amounts to billions of people. Certainly more than 144,000 true Christians will be saved out of billions of people! All Gentiles who have the faith of Abraham in Jesus are grafted into Abraham’s faith. Heaven will have millions of believers!
Now we have to solve the combination riddle involving two parts. The first part is the 7 + 62, or 69 weeks, for a total of 483 days. Four-hundred eighty-three days make a little more than one year. By this we know this riddle is dealing with mystery. The number of 483 days cannot take us from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the death of Christ. However, if these weeks are weeks of years, we arrive at the correct number of years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the death of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. But the prophetic riddle includes one more week of years after Jesus’ death. In the short version of the prophecy (Dan. 9:24) we are dealing with only the last week of seven years; this is the trickiest part. Historically it becomes 70 years. These are divided into two 35-year periods (Dan. 9:24). The first 35 years occur between Jesus’ death and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Daniel 9:25-27 gives a detailed account of Jerusalem’s destruction. This ends God’s covenant with the Jews. The second and last part of the riddle covers the 35-year period from the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to Jesus’ visit to John in A.D. 105 for writing Revelation (sealing up vision and prophecy and anointing “the most holy place”). The mystery to the end of the riddle is that this last week plus 483 weeks of years equal 490 years; this covers the years of Daniel’s prophecy. Magically, 490 also is a perfect division of 70 sevens. Knowing history helps one understand the division of the riddle. The important events of the last days of the Old Covenant, beginning with Jesus’ birth to death, His death to the destruction of Jerusalem and Jesus’ visit with John for writing Revelation all happen in parts of 70-year eras divided into 35-year periods. See the chart on page 46. I am saying that I believe the overall prophecy actually goes to the end of A.D. 100-105, in which Jesus gives the apostle John the Revelation, or the rest of the story to the end of time. The whole prophecy remains together; therefore no last or seventh week exists near the end of Revelation.
Many scholars believe Jesus begins His ministry at 30 years of age and that His ministry lasts from three to three-and-a-half years. However, a dispute exists as to the exact date of Jesus’ birth. No exact date is given to the beginning of His ministry; all is just supposition. The Christian calendar was worked out by Pope Gregory XIII in A.D. 15804. Some scholars today believe that a mistake of one to four years occurs in the pope’s calculations. If so, perhaps Jesus is 35-years old instead of 33 when He is crucified. In this case His death would have occurred exactly in the middle of a 70-year period, from His birth to the total destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. I believe the missing week covers the period from Jesus’ death until His return in a vision to dictate to John the Book of Revelation. We will wait until the proper time to study about the other half of the one mystery week that is left. With this preview we continue the introduction building up to the prophecy given to Daniel for the future.
1. In reading Jeremiah’s book Daniel discovers that the Jews will remain in Babylonian-Persian captivity for a total of 70 years. This 70-year period is almost over at the time Daniel receives his visions (Dan. 9:2).
2. Let’s return to what leads up to God’s sharing the end times of the Old Covenant with Daniel. After an anguishing prayer Daniel is given the end time of Judah, Jerusalem, animal sacrifices, destruction of the temple, and even the Messiah’s visit to earth, but he is given this in vague mysterious terms. Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications, the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision” (Dan. 9:20-23). As a man, Gabriel, an angel, appears to Daniel. The fact is that God chooses to use on special occasions people of high spiritual quality, compassion, and love for God’s work. Daniel is not seeking anything more than knowing what is going to happen to God’s covenant people that have become a disgrace to His holiness. Since Daniel is seeking more fervently than any other person is, God reveals to him what Daniel desperately wants to know!
3. Daniel 9:24-25: “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.” We need to discuss this part first. This riddle in figures has to do with multiples of seven. The whole riddle covers 70 weeks, or 490 regular days, which make one year and four months. One year and four months is not enough time to accomplish anything, but if each week means seven years, we can get the number of years from the beginning of the rebuilding of Jerusalem to Christ’s death. Ezra tells how King Cyrus of Persia gives Zerubbabel authority to rebuild the temple first. The second decree is given to Nehemiah to build the city walls and the city. Work on the temple begins in 538 B.C. The decree by Artaxerxes (Neh. 2:1) to rebuild the Jerusalem walls is in 445 B.C. The breakdown of the 490 years into 62 weeks of years equals 434 years plus one week or 49 years; then we have 483 years from the time Nehemiah started rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem until the Messiah is killed. One week of years is left to make 490 years to cover the destruction of Jerusalem and “to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place”. If we use one day for a year, we will have the correct number of 483 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the death of Jesus. Add on one week year or seven years, and you get 490 week-years.
4. The number 490 is a perfect biblical number of seven week-years times 70 week-years. We discover that 490 divided by seven makes a perfect division into 70-year periods. This discovery is important at the end of Daniel’s riddle. Remember that the biblical dates have been adapted from Hebrew, Greek, and Roman calendar systems which differ; therefore, a few years forward or backward is likely in attempting to get an exact date.
5. We need to look at verse 24 carefully again. “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up
vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.” Sixty-nine week-years pass from the rebuilding of Jerusalem until Jesus is crucified in A.D. 35; my estimation that fits perfectly in the middle of a 70-year period. The destruction of Jerusalem happens exactly 35 years later in A.D. 70. This first half of the last seven-week period is not mentioned here but in Daniel 9:25-27 is given in detail. It deals with the destruction of Jerusalem and fits here, between Jesus’ death and the sealing up “of vision and prophesy” and anointing of “the most holy place”, also the end of the first half of the last week. I believe the sealing up “of vision and prophesy” and anointing of “the most holy place” takes place exactly another 35 years later (second half of the last week of years) when Jesus dictates Revelation to the apostle John. This makes the last week of years from Christ’s death until Jesus dictates to John the prophecies of Revelation in A.D. 100-105. From Christ’s birth to His death we have a “‘time, times, and half a time’” (10 + 20 + 5 = 35 years). From Christ’s death to the end of Jerusalem we have another 35 years (or “‘time, times, and half a time’”) from the destruction of Jerusalem to Jesus’ visit with the apostle John to write Revelation, the end of ALL TIMES is another (“‘time, times, and half a time’”) or 35 years, taking us to A.D. 105. We have an overlapping of two 70-year periods. Examine the graph below to visualize the ending of the Old Covenant era while the New Covenant era is beginning; the beginning of Christianity while the Jewish nation is destroyed; and Jesus’ sealing up prophecy dictating to John the Revelation and anointing “the most holy place”.
6. “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined” (Dan. 9:26). We can understand the phrase about Jesus being “cut off” at His death. To “have nothing” is difficult to understand! For nonbelievers Jesus certainly dies without anything. Also, in material gains He has “nothing”. To be “cut off” means death. Spiritually speaking Jesus has 120 avid followers to start a church. To the world this is not worthy of notice. In this sense Jesus would have no possible results that would be worthy of recognition. However, we know the world misses the most important event in all history.
The people of the reigning “prince”, rulers of that part of the world, refers to Rome. Rome does destroy Jerusalem and the temple. Animal sacrifices end and have not returned until this day. A mystery appears about the coming of “a flood”. This has to be symbolic. Terrible floods leave only rubbish. The word “flood” has a connotation of “many disasters” or terrible things happening at the same time. We have no account of a water flood; the next phrase is “even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined” describes a flood of woes. Jerusalem is the next-to-the-last military stronghold for the Roman Army to conquer in Judah. Masada is the last. After the Roman military conquers all of Judah, many adjustments—“desolations”—to a new, obnoxious pagan lifestyle will add to the suffering of Judah. Although Daniel prays a very humbling prayer to spare Jerusalem, God shows him, through Gabriel, that Judah will not be spared.
7. We will separate the events again in another order to examine verses 24-25 better. Looking at each event separately can help us, because we have not studied the meaning of God’s accusations for His stern actions. Seventy weeks are decreed for God to:
a. “Finish the transgression”. What “transgression”? The people of Israel are stubborn, materialistic, and progressively more rebellious. The people continue deteriorating as a nation because of their sins. God knows this is going to happen even as in the Garden of Eden He promises Eve He will send a Messiah to restore true spirituality. Although Judah at the end is very religious, Judah has changed the laws to suit a spiritual lifestyle of good works; therefore, it discards total and genuine faith in God as the only requisite for a worship that pleases God. A covenant is made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to keep God’s chosen people on the spiritual track, but Israel and then finally Judah get off track. The New Covenant with Jesus places humanity—Jews as well as Gentiles—to be grafted into the Body of Christ.
b. Make an “end of sin” means the Messiah will visit earth to be a living example of true spirituality. Jesus overpowers Satan on his own turf; humanity will receive a spiritual victory over Satan. However this will not make people perfect because of the sinful nature. We know the Holy Spirit, Spirit of Triune God, will enter the true spiritual temple—the human heart. Jesus, by His shed blood, will bring redemption from sinfulness that Satan has caused by deception. Although sinfulness will keep humans from becoming spiritually perfect, the goal is for human pride to be totally broken and for spiritual purification to continue throughout life.
c. Make “atonement for iniquity” means Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God, will die for all humanity.