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Mystery of Lawlessness – Part Eight

Mystery of Lawlessness – Part Eight

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people” – Gods plan for HIS chosen people.

In this chapter, we will be jumping back between the books of Daniel and Jeremiah as we “unpack” what God says about the future of the Jewish people.   Its important to keep in mind as we go through this portion of the study that God chose Abraham to be the progenitor of a people whom God could call HIS own.  Abraham’s descendants (the Jews) have, and will continue to play a key role in world history. 

Early in my Christian walk, I often wondered about God’s purpose in creating the nation of Israel.  Over the years  I began to see why it was necessary for God to establish and maintain this race of people down through the ages, and more importantly the role they have yet to play in the future. Here are just a few of the benefits that we have all enjoyed because of Jewish people.

First and foremost, our Lord and Savior (the seed of Eve) came through the Jewish lineage.  Second, the Jewish prophets, scribes and apostles faithfully put into writing everything that we need to know (the bible) to have a meaningful relationship with God.  Third, the rise and fall, the triumphs and tradgedies of the Jewish people serve as an example of our own struggles in this world and God’s faithfulness in sustaining us through it all.  Fourth, throughout their entire history, the Jewish people have been an example to the nations of the world of the benefits of following God, and the consequences for NOT following Him.  Finally, at some point in the future, it will be the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, chosen from the 12 tribes ofIsrael, that will spread the gospel to the ends of the earth during the tribulation period.  Their evangelistic success is one of the pre-requisites that will usher in the return of Jesus to set up HIS millineal (1,000 year) kingdom here on earth.   

With this in mind, lets take a look at what God has to say to Daniel about the future of his people, (the Jews) and how the Mystery of Lawlessness has been at work down through the ages seeking to destroy this lineage that would produce the “seed” that would crush the serpents head!

 

Daniel 9

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

Note, Daniel is writing this chapter within a year of Darius’ conquest of Babylon.

In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

Daniel is reading in the book of Jeremiah and reads about how God had prophesied that Israel’s disobedience would lead to their Babylonian conquest and subsequent oppression for a period of 70 years.

Jeremiah 25

1  The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;

Note, Jeremiah is writing this scripture within the first year of the Babylonian conquest!

The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,

From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.

For 10 years, Jeremiah has been warning the people of Israel to return to God, but they have failed to listen.

And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.

They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:

And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.

It appears the Mystery of Lawlessness was hard at work turning the hearts of God’s chosen people away from Him.

Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.

Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,

Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.

10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.

11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

13 And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.

The fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophesy came to pass when Darius, the leader of the Medio/Persian empire, diverted the flow of the river Euphrates which flowed under the walls of the city of Babylon.  This allowed Darius’s armies to slip into the walled city unopposed during the night and capture Babylon.  This was the very night that Belshazzer, the current ruler of Babylon was told by Daniel in Daniel Chapter 5, verses 18-31 that his kingdom would end and be replaced by the Medes/Persians.

So now Daniel is praying for instruction from God as to when and how the 70 year bondage of Israel would be lifted.

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.

O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.

To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.

12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.

13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.

14 Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.

15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.

18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Note Daniel first acknowledges that God’s 70 year judgement upon Israel was justly deserved because of Israel’s disobedience.  After acknowledging this, and asking forgiveness on behalf of his people, Daniel gets to the heart of his question.

20 And whiles 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 for the holy mountain of my God;

And now, God not only answers Daniel’s immediate question, but then goes on to explain what Israel’s long term future holds as well.

21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

In order to grasp the full meaning of verse 24 above, we must establish three very important points.  First, we must understand WHAT the “seventy weeks” represents.  Second, we must keep in mind that this prophecy is directed at Daniels people, the Jews and their capital Jerusalem.  Finally, its important to understand what the key milestones are that God includes in this scripture. 

  1. 1.      “finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin”
  2. 2.      “make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness”
  3. 3.      “seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy”

Okay, so lets focus on the first point, WHAT does the 70 weeks represent?  The following explanation can be found on Mr. Gary R Wood’s website called 6th Day Ministry.   Although I do not agree with Mr. Wood’s perspective on the timing of the Rapture, he does provide a very good explanation of what the term “70 weeks” means.  For more references, you can also  look up a book by Alva J. McClain called “The seventy weeks of Daniel” which gives even more details into the accuracy of this prophecy.  Here is Mr. Wood’s explanation.

The Hebrew word shabua means literally “sevened” or more specifically a period of time divided into seven parts. This period of time is called a “week”, thus the term “70th week of Daniel”. To understand the book of Revelation, and the timing of the Rapture we must recognize the role of the shabua as the foundation of all end time scripture. Secondly, we must understand that in every shabua, the seventh part belongs to God. The seventh day is His day and He established laws concerning how this seventh day of the week should be observed, it is always a day of rest for God’s people.

The Shabua Principle was established when God created the universe. The first six parts (six days) involved the creation of the world and God blessed the seventh part and rested.

 Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

The creation of the world was the first shabua, the second shabua is found in the Law of Moses.

Exodus 20:10,11 “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

In these two verses God confirms the creation of the first week (shabua) and establishes the seventh part of the week (shabua) as a Sabbath day. God also created a seven year period which is more commonly referred to as a shabua:

Leviticus 25:3,4,8 “Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

Deuteronomy 15:12,15 “And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.  And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in thelandofEgypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.”

The 70th week of Daniel is what we basically know as the last seven years before the Lord sets up His earthly kingdom. This last shabua is the foundation of the end-time message. The last shabua is associated with the terms “Day of the Lord, Great and Terrible Day, the Day of Christ, etc. and several other Bible terms.

Okay, so now we see that the 70 weeks of Daniel actually refers to a period of 70 sevens.  So now we must ask how long is a “seven”?  Is it seven days,months years etc.  Fortunately for us, the following scriptures align with well documented historical facts that allow us to determine exactly how long a period is covered in Daniel’s 70 weeks.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

God has told Daniel that HE will consummate Jewish history over a period of time called 70 weeks, or 70 sevens as we have seen in the explanation above.  God then breaks up the 70 weeks into four distinct periods.  Seven weeks,  and then “three score and two” which equates to 62 weeks,  one week, and finally the last week divided in half.  Fortunately for us we have historical records which confirm that the 70 weeks, or 70 sevens represents 490 years.  We know this because when the Persian ruler Artaxerxes issued a decree allowing the Jews to return from their captivity to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding, records of this decree have been found in the archeological records clearly pinpointing the day this decree went forth.  Also clearly recorded in the archeological record is the completion of this rebuilding effort which was exactly 49 years after the decree.  Therefore we can safely assume the first seven weeks reflected in verse 25 above refers to 7 X 7 =49 years.  As if this wasn’t enough confirmation, the second division of time reflected in verse 25 was a period of 62 weeks, or 434 years upon which Daniel is told the Messiah will appear.  If we add the first 7 weeks and the 62 weeks, we end up with a period of 69 weeks or 483 years from the time Artaxerxes issued the decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem. Do you know what event occurred exactly 483 years TO THE DAY after Artaxerxes decree?  Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday recognized by the people as THE MESSIAH.  Do you remember how all during Jesus ministry, HE always discouraged people from acknowledging Him as the Messiah. When He healed people, He told them not to tell anyone HE was the Son of God.  I often wondered why that was until I read these verses in Daniel and then I knew!  It was because it wasn’t time for Him to be proclaimed the Messiah yet.  It wasn’t until the very day HE rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey cold, exactly 483 years after Artaxerxes decree, that Jesus allowed the crowds to acknowledge Him as the Messiah.  Do you remember when the Pharisees tried to rebuke Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem and told Him to tell the crowds to stop proclaiming He was the messiah?  Do you remember His response?  He said, if the people were silent, the rocks themselves would cry out!  Why is that ?  Because it was the time appointed by God Almighty, before the foundation of the world that on this day, Jesus would ride into Jerusalem and proclaim himself to be the Messiah!

Earlier in this message, we discovered in order to understand the prophecy of the 70 weeks of Daniel, we had to know what period of time the 70 weeks referred to, which we have rightfully concluded is 70X7 for a total of 490 years.  We also must keep in mind this prophecy is directed toward Daniel’s people, the Jews.  Finally we needed to understand the key milestones reflected in the prophecy which were:

       1.  “finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin”

       2.   “make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness”

       3.    “seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy”

We know that transgression is not yet finished and sin continues to abound in our world.  We know that Jesus death made reconciliation for all of our iniquities but He has yet to bring in everlasting righteousness.  We still rely upon visions and prophecy and we know that Jesus has yet to assume His rightful place as the anointed King who will rule ove all the nations of the world with a rod of iron.  So all of these unfulfilled events must still yet occur in the future.  When will that be?  Again, we must look to God’s word to find the answers to that question.

We do know that exactly as predicted in verse 26, the Messiah was cut off (crucified), so there is still one week left to complete the 70 week prophesy of Daniel.  One week left to conclude God’s plan for the nation of Israel, so what happened to the last week?  Well….we will get into that in a future lesson, but suffice it to say that when God’s chosen people (Israel) rejected their Messiah, God’s focus and attention was shifted to a new people.  A people who recognized and accepted Jesus as their messiah. This group became known as “Christians” which means “little Christs”  The end of the 69 weeks of Daniels prophecy ushered in the new period which started at Pentecost when God’s Holy Spirit came upon all those Christians gathered in obedience to Jesus command.  This was the beginning of the Church Age.  As we will see in future lessons, this present church age in which we are still living will end and when it does, God will once again turn His focus upon Israel and the last week (7 years) of their history will be concluded exactly according to GOD’s fore-ordained plan.

May Richly bless and keep you as you search out HIS word.  What an awesome God we serve.


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