SECOND TREE

THE BIBLE AND CHRISTIANITY EXPLAINED



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AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLE PROPHECY

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FOREWORD

This 'Foreword' is a brief summary of my message on the 70-Weeks prophecy of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27). In that prophecy God gave the world two timetables; a 69-week timetable leading up to the first coming of Jesus Christ, and a remaining 70th week leading up to His second coming. The 69-week timetable consisted of 69 'weeks' of years, each week lasting for 7 years (for a total of 483 years). Jesus fulfilled that timetable when He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, four days before His crucifixion.

The 70th week, however, is not like the first 69 weeks; it is not a week of 7 regular calendar years. Rather, it is the great week of the Abrahamic Covenant; beginning roughly 4000 years ago with God's promises to Abraham, divided in the middle by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (by the Romans), and soon to be completed at the second coming of Jesus Christ.


THE GREAT WEEK OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

The first three pages in the prophecy section of this web site (Introduction to Prophecy, The Olivet Discourse, and The Timetable for Jesus' Return) explain these things in detail. To put it simply, Jesus has told us (in His 'Olivet Discourse') that the midpoint of the 70th Week is the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. Then God gave the world four visions of the entire 70th Week in John's Little Book. John received the Little Book in Revelation chapter 10, and has set its contents before us in Revelation chapters 11-13. When we combine the Olivet Discourse with John's four visions, the nature of the 70th Week becomes obvious.

The first vision, of 'The Temple and the Courtyard' (Revelation 11:1-2), describes the second half of the week as a time during which the Temple Mount in Jerusalem would be given to the Gentiles:


THE TEMPLE AND THE COURTYARD

The second vision, of 'The Two Witnesses' (Revelation 11:3-12), describes God's giving of the entire Bible ('the Law and the Prophets') to the world during the first half of the week, and then portrays the dead bodies of God's servants lying in the city of Jerusalem throughout the second half of the week. This is a picture of the guilt of the Jewish nation for their persecution of God's prophets during Old Testament times, their crucifixion of Christ, their continuing persecution of Christ's disciples, and their opposition to the proclamation of the gospel to a human race desperately in need of it.


THE TWO WITNESSES

The third vision, of 'The Woman, the Child and the Dragon' (Revelation 12), describes Israel's bringing of the promised Messiah and 'seed' of Abraham into the world, followed by the dispersion of the Jewish people throughout the world for the following 1900+ years. While the second vision of 'The Two Witnesses' portrays the guilt of the Jewish nation, this third vision reveals God's preservation of that nation through many years of wandering throughout the world. In addition, this vision explains the ultimate source of the persecution of the Jewish people over the past 1900+ years; a defeated and bitter archangel. The 'casting out of Satan' is one of the great themes of the New Testament, and sheds much light upon the history of the world over the past 1900+ years.


THE WOMAN, THE CHILD AND THE DRAGON

The fourth and final vision, of 'The Beast From the Sea' (Revelation 13), describes God's authorization of the Beast of Revelation to continue in existence throughout the second half of the 70th Week.


THE BEAST FROM THE SEA

This perspective on the 70th Week of Daniel is based upon the simple and obvious meaning of God's word. With it we can see that God has explained world history to us in a very accurate and useful way. And He has shown us that we are now living very late in the second half of the 70th Week. It is this perspective on the 70th Week that is the foundation for everything else that I have to say about prophecy in this web site. Without a willingness to at least consider the possibility that I am correct, any further time that my visitor might spend in the prophecy section of this web site will be of little use.

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AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLE PROPHECY

To understand Bible prophecy, two things must be kept in mind:

    1) The centrality of Jesus Christ.
    2) The centrality of Abraham.

THE CENTRALITY OF CHRIST

In Revelation 19 the apostle John was receiving a prophetic message from God, delivered by an angel. John fell down at the feet of this angel to worship him. In response, the angel said....

"See that you do it not. I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Revelation 19:10

The angel was telling John that the purpose of Bible prophecy is to make known to us...

    1) Who Jesus Christ is.
    2) What He has done in the past.
    3) What He will do in the future.

Who is Jesus Christ? He is the eternal God. He is a member of the divine Family, known as the Trinity (see God Is a Family Called the Trinity). He is the Child in that Family, the only-begotten Son of the Father, and the Creator of the universe.

What has He done in the past? He has left heaven above, taken on Himself the body of a man, lived a sinless life, and then allowed Himself to suffer the death of a criminal on a cross in order to make the forgiveness of our sins possible. Having accomplished that task, He was raised from the dead by His heavenly Father and placed at His right hand upon the throne of the universe.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be clung to to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

What will Jesus do in the future? He will come back to this planet a second time to establish the kingdom of God upon earth.

I will declare the decree; the Lord has said to Me......  "You are My Son. Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel."  ......Now therefore, be wise, O kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Psalm 2:7-12

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Matthew 24:30

Many people take an interest in prophecy because it intrigues and entertains them. They want to know about such things as 'the end times', 'Armageddon' and 'the Antichrist'. I have addressed many of these subjects in this web site. But in the grand scheme of things it is not what we know, but Who we know that matters. It is impossible to truly understand Bible prophecy, if we do not know Jesus Christ personally as our Savior. It is through His cross that Christ has been able to open the prophetic 'seals' of the Bible (Revelation 5:9), and to make the Father's future plans a reality. I believe that the "sign of the Son of man" that Jesus spoke of (in Matthew 24:30 above) is the cross. This was the apostle Paul's only priority in evangelism. If a person has not come to see his need for the cross of Christ, he cannot truly understand or appreciate what the Bible has to say about the future.

For I determined not to have anything known among you, except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2
cross

THE CENTRALITY OF ABRAHAM

In order to understand the Biblical message about a Savior for mankind, we must go back to the days of a man named Abraham. Abraham's story is found in the first book of the Bible; the book of Genesis. Abraham was born around 2000 BC, in a part of the world that is now known as Iraq. In Genesis 11:27-32 we are told that Abraham traveled with his father, Terah, from the city of Ur to Haran (a place near the modern-day border between Syria and Turkey). After Terah died in Haran, Genesis 12:1 tells us that God commanded Abraham to move again, to another country that He would show him; the land of Canaan.

Abraham's Journey
www.freeworldmaps.net

ABRAHAM'S JOURNEY


As God instructed Abraham to move, He also told him that someday all of the families of the earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3). God's promise to Abraham referred to the fact that it would be through Abraham's family, the people of Israel, that the Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ, would come into the world and accomplish a reconciliation between God and man.

In you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Genesis 12:3

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations through faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying "In you shall all nations shall be blessed".

Galatians 3:8

Upon his arrival in Canaan, God made another promise to Abraham; that He would give the land of Canaan to Abraham's 'Seed':

And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said "Unto your seed will I give this land". And there Abram built an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.

Genesis 12:7

The apostle Paul tells us that, in the original Hebrew, the word 'Seed' is singular, and does not refer to the many offspring of Abraham, but to one particular Person within Abraham's family:

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not 'And to seeds', as of many; but as of one; "And to thy seed", which is Christ.

Galatians 3:16 (Genesis 12:7, 13:15, 15:5, 17:8, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14)

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

God's two promises to Abraham (that His 'Seed' would be a blessing to all the nations of the world, and that his 'Seed' would someday possess the land of Canaan forever) have come to be known as the Abrahamic Covenant. The word 'Seed' referred to Abraham's sperm, or semen, and spoke of the physical, biological connection between Abraham and the coming Messiah. For this reason God imposed the rite of circumcision upon Abraham and all of his male offspring. Each of them would be marked in his reproductive organ as a sign of God's covenant with Abraham; a reminder that it would be through their family that the promised Savior of the world, and future Owner of the land of Canaan, would come (Genesis 17:10-11).

In the illustration below, I use a yellow arrow to symbolize the 'golden promise' of God's blessing upon all of the nations of the world. And I use a green arrow to represent God's promise that someday both Abraham and his 'Seed' would possess the fertile, 'green' land of Israel.


Abrahamic Covenant

THE ABRAHAMIC PROMISES



Abraham went on to father several sons before he died, but God told him that it would be through his second son, Isaac, that the promised 'Seed ' would come. Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau, and God informed him that it would be through Jacob, rather than Esau, that the Messiah would be born. And so God began, from that time onward, to identify Himself not only as the God of Abraham, but more specifically as "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob".

When we look at the Bible, we find that the Abrahamic Covenant dominates the scriptures from Genesis 12 to the end of the book of Revelation, where the New Jerusalem is described as having twelve gates, named after the 12 sons of Jacob (Revelation 21:12), and 12 foundation layers named after the 12 Jewish apostles of Christ (Revelation 21:14). Over 99% of the Bible focuses on God's promises to Abraham, and His fulfillment of those promises. When Moses encountered God at the burning bush, God announced two very important things to him:

And Moses said unto God "Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them 'The God of your fathers has sent me unto you', they shall say to me 'What is His name?'; what shall I say unto them?"

And God said unto Moses "I AM who I AM". And He said "Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel; 'I AM has sent me unto you'". And God said moreover unto Moses "Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me unto you': this is My name forever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.

Exodus 3:13-15

In this passage God revealed two things to Moses:

    1) That His name is 'I AM' (in Hebrew 'YHWH', transliterated into English as 'Yahweh" or 'Jehovah').
    2) He is to be remembered (memorialized) by all the generations of mankind as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

God's covenant blessings were to extend far beyond the nation of Israel, to include millions from all the nations of the world, who would also become the offspring of Abraham through their union with Abraham's Seed, Jesus Christ. This is why the apostle Paul quoted the words of Moses, and taught that circumcision of the heart, rather than of the flesh, is what makes someone a true descendant of Abraham:

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed (children), to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.

Deuteronomy 30:6

Therefore if the uncircumcised keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge you who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart; in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not from men but from God.

Romans 2:26-29

For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:26-29

God told Abraham that his one 'Seed' would at the same time be as numerous as the sand by the seashore. This is true because the total number of those who will ultimately be saved through Christ (coming out of all the nations of the world) will be impossible to count:

Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one (Abraham), and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These (Old Testament saints) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off. And they were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Hebrews 11:11-13

After this I beheld; a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and with palms in their hands. And they cried with a loud voice, saying "Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb".

Revelation 7:9-10

One further point needs to be emphasized here. God's two promises to Abraham were not given independently of one another. God's promise of land was dependent upon the promise of worldwide blessing. Without the forgiveness and mercy that would be made available to Abraham and to all mankind through a Savior, it would be impossible for Abraham and his family to ultimately possess a promised land.

SETTING DATES

Abraham never saw the promised Savior, and never took possession of the promised land (except for a piece of property that he bought as a burial place, Genesis 23). Isaac never owned any of the promised land either. In fact, Abraham's grandson, Jacob, was forced out of the land by a great famine, and he traveled to Egypt.

Jacob's Journey
www.freeworldmaps.net

JACOB'S JOURNEY


It would not be until 430 years after God's initial promises to Abraham, that Abraham's family (the Israelites) would actually come back and possess the promised land through the leadership of Moses and Joshua. All of this is consistent with what God foretold to Abraham in the 15th chapter of Genesis. God told Abraham that he would never possess the land, and that 400 years would pass before his family would return to the land. This would be because the wickedness of the Amorites, who then possessed the land of Canaan in Abraham's day, had not yet reached a point of wickedness where they deserved to be removed. God was establishing an important precedent here. He was declaring that possession of His land, whether by Amorites or by Abraham's family, would be contingent upon their morality.

And God said unto Abram "Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation (Egypt), whom they shall serve, will I judge. And afterward shall they come out with great substance. And you shall go to your fathers in peace. You shall be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation (of your family in Egypt) they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full".

Genesis 15:13-16

Based upon the Masoretic Hebrew text of the Old Testament, which has been used for some of the most popular English Bible translations, it has been believed that the Israelites spent all of those 400 years in the land of Egypt:

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:40-41

But this is an erroneous conclusion. The Bible does not indicate that Abraham's family spent 400 years in Egypt. The Bible includes Abraham's and Isaac's landless wanderings in those 400 years. It indicates that Abraham and his family would spend 400 years as a landless people; with only a portion of that time being spent in Egypt. We can be certain that this is the correct understanding of God's words to Abraham for three reasons:

    1) Two older Old Testament texts (the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Alexandrian Septuagint) read as follows:

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, and of their fathers, which they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt, was 430 years.

Exodus 12:40-41
    As we look at God's original covenant with Abraham, where God told him that his offspring would be strangers without a land of their own for four hundred years, we see that God did not say that this landlessness would all be experienced in one particular place. He merely told Abraham that his people would be wanderers who would ultimately end up in subservience to a particular nation, and that God would deliver them from that nation.
    2) Secondly, God told Abraham that the Israelites would come out of Egypt in the 'fourth generation'. Moses was a fourth-generation Israelite in Egypt. Jacob was the first generation that came to Egypt, and Moses' mother was a daughter of Levi, Jacob's son (Exodus 6:20). And thus, although Moses' father, Amram, was a fourth generation descendant of Jacob, his mother was a third generation descendant. This made Moses a fourth generation great grandson of Jacob.
    Levi, Moses' great grandfather, lived to the age of 137 (Exodus 6:16). Moses' grandfather, Kohath, lived to the age of 133 (Exodus 6:18). Moses' father, Amram, married Jochebed, who was both his father's sister and thus (technically) his aunt. Jochebed was probably one of the last and youngest of Levi's children (Exodus 6:20). Amram lived to the age of 137.
    Given these longevities, and the fact that Moses did not confront Pharaoh until he was 80 years old (Exodus 7:7), it is altogether possible that 200 years or more transpired between Jacob's arrival in Egypt and the Exodus. Given the amazing reproductive rates of the Hebrew people, this would have provided ample time for their numbers to become a real threat to the Egptian leadership, and account for the large population that Moses led out of Egypt (Exodus 1:7-10).
    3) Thirdly, the apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us that there was a total of 430 years between God's promises to Abraham, and God's giving of the Law (the 10 commandments) through Moses after the Exodus.

And this I say, that the covenant (Abrahamic) that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the Law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot annul, that it should make the promise of no effect.

Galatians 3:17
    Paul's testimony confirms that the Israelites did not spend all of those 430 years in Egypt. Abraham remained a wanderer in a land that was not his. Isaac did the same. And Jacob, both while he lived in Haran with his uncle, Laban, and after he returned to Canaan, remained a landless stranger as well. During all of those years that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob dwelt in tents, they could only look forward to a promised land (Hebrews 11:9).

Why am I going to the trouble of clarifying the length of time Abraham's family spent in Egypt? Because it is critical for understanding the timeline of Biblical history and prophecy. In this web page, and throughout my web site, I use a date of 1000 BC as the point in time when David's son, King Solomon, built the first Temple in Jerusalem. I do not believe that this is a perfectly accurate date for that event. There are an infinite number of opinions about when the first Temple was constructed. I use a date of 1000 BC because it is fairly close to the date that many scholars give, and because it is a nice round number that makes it easy for people to think about the major events in Biblical history.

1 Kings 6:1 tells us that Solomon began to build the Temple 480 years after the children of Israel came out of Egypt. Given my approximate date of 1000 BC for the construction of the Temple, this would put the Exodus at 1480 BC. The apostle Paul wrote that the giving of God's Law (through Moses) occurred 430 years after God's covenant with Abraham. This would put the date of the Abrahamic covenant at 1910 BC. And arriving at a reasonable date for the Abrahamic covenant is very important for an overall understanding of Bible prophecy as it applies to our present day.


OT Timeline

ROUND NUMBERS FOR EASIER UNDERSTANDING



THE MOSAIC COVENANT

True to His word, God fulfilled the timetable He announced to Abraham, authorizing and empowering Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt 430 years after Abraham.

Moses' Journey
www.freeworldmaps.net

MOSES' JOURNEY


While He was delivering the children of Israel, God established a covenant with them known as the Mosaic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was a system of moral laws and animal sacrifices, together with an official priesthood that would oversee everything. These laws and sacrifices were symbolic of the future means whereby God would bring blessing upon all of the nations, bringing about the forgiveness of our sins and our ability to obey His Law through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because those sacrifices were only symbolic, and could not accomplish God's promise of forgiveness and bless, they are represented with dashed lines in the illustration below.

In addition to the Mosaic Covenant, God brought the Israelites back to the promised land, and led them to take possession of it. In the illustration below, the change from a dashed green line under the Abrahamic Covenant to a solid green line under the Mosaic covenant, represents Israel's new possession of the land.

Mosaic Covenant

THE MOSAIC COVENANT: HOW THE BLESSING WILL BE ACHIEVED



The golden promise of blessing and the Mosaic Covenant are paired together, because the Mosaic Covenant was a sub-covenant or extension of the original Abrahamic Covenant. It was an explanation of how God would bring blessing upon all the nations of the world; by putting away their sins through the death of Christ, and empowering them to obey the Law through faith and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Because this would be accomplished through the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice, the Mosaic Covenant is represented by a 'blood red' line in these illustrations.

The Mosaic Covenant addressed the two needs of a rebellious human race;

    1) Deliverance from the penalty of sin through forgiveness.
    2) Deliverance from the power of Sin through sanctification; enabling those in Christ to keep God's Law.

THE DAVIDIC COVENANT

Around 1030 BC, approximately 10 years into the 40-year reign of King David of Israel, God established a third covenant with David and the people of Israel. God promised David that someday a man in his family, a promised 'Son of David', would someday establish the kingdom of David in Israel forever (2 Samuel 7). Again, like the Mosaic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant is really an extension of the original Abrahamic Covenant. It tells us how Abraham's Seed would come to possess the land of Canaan; He would be a great King who would not only rule over Israel, but over the entire world.

When David received the Davidic Covenant, he already possessed the kingdom of Israel. For all he knew his family would continue to maintain the kingdom until his promised 'Son' came to establish it forever. For this reason I have represented the Davidic Covenant as a solid blue line (rather than a dashed one), because although 'David's Son' was an unfulfilled promise, the Kingdom was nevertheless a present-possession of David and his family, just as the land was a present-possession of the people of Israel. With God's giving of the Davidic Covenant, we see the two threads of the Abrahamic Covenant fully laid out; the blessing/atonement thread, and the land/kingdom thread.


Davidic Covenant

THE DAVIDIC COVENANT: HOW THE PROMISED LAND WILL BE KEPT



DANIEL AT THE CROSSROADS

King David died around 1000 BC. Then David's son, Solomon, built the first Temple and reigned over Israel for another 40 years. After King Solomon's death, the nation of Israel split into two parts; the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah (which was ruled by David's family).

The northern kingdom was conquered and destroyed by Assyria around 720 BC. The southern tribe of Judah continued on until 586 BC, when it was conquered and destroyed by Babylon. The conquests of both Israel and Judah represented the judgment of God, because they had departed from God and His laws. The Biblical prophets plainly warned the people of both kingdoms that this judgment was coming upon them; warnings that we can still read in the Bible today.

The kingdom of Judah was conquered in two stages by the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar first conquered Judah in 597 BC, putting it under tribute and taking many of its best and brightest citizens back to Babylon to serve him. A young man named Daniel was one of those captives. His story is recorded for us in the book of Daniel.

While he lived in Babylon, Daniel observed as Nebuchadnezzar returned to Judah in 586 BC, laying waste to the country and removing many more of its citizens from the land (these citizens became known as 'Jews' at this point in history, because they came from 'Jew-dah' (Judah or Judea). Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its great Temple, bringing an apparent end to the Mosaic Covenant. And he removed David's family from power, achieving a seeming end to the Davidic Covenant (there has not been another king from David's family who has ruled in Israel since that time).

Being a devout, God-fearing man, the destruction of his homeland raised serious questions in Daniel's mind. Foremost among them was 'What would become of the covenants that God had established with Israel; His covenants with Abraham, Moses and David?

Daniel graphic

586 BC: END OF THE COVENANTS?



For Daniel the destruction of Israel was not the worst of it. In uprooting the people from the land, and causing them to be carried as captives back to the very place where Abraham had begun 1400 years earlier, God had made His fierce anger toward Israel overwhelmingly clear. Daniel had every reason to wonder whether or not Israel had any future at all.

Daniel's Journey
www.freeworldmaps.net

REVERSING ABRAHAM'S JOURNEY


It is important to realize what a profound development this was for Daniel and the Jewish people. Their forefather, Abraham, had left the region that would eventually become Babylon, and had journeyed to the land of Israel where he had received God's promises. Now, because of their sins, the family of Abraham had been ripped from their homeland and cast back where they came from.

Daniel could not help but wonder what would become of God's covenant promises to Israel. God gave Daniel answers to his questions. Those answers are found in the book of Daniel, and are the primary subjects of the prophecy section of this web site. Daniel was a faithful servant of God, and his character is important for all Christians to study and follow. But his book is more important because Daniel lived at a crossroad of world history, when God's covenant promises to Abraham were coming face to face with the rise of Gentile world power. It was in the context of those circumstances that God began to foretell how that confrontation was going to play out; both for Israel and for all of the nations of the world.

DANIEL SAW A NEW BEGINNING

The prophet Jeremiah had foretold that the land of Israel would lie desolate for 70 years after the Babylonian conquest; before the people of Israel would be reestablished in their country (Jeremiah 25:11-12, 29:10). Israel's first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC, and true to God's word, King Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their land in 536 BC, and a new Temple was dedicated exactly 70 years after the first one was destroyed, in 516 BC. This return of the people to their land, and restoration of Temple worship is represented in the graph below, which shows that with the revival of Mosaic worship there came also the renewed hope of God's blessing upon all mankind. We know that Daniel lived to see the day when King Cyrus authorized the rebuilding of the Temple, because Cyrus gave his authorization in the first year of his reign, and Daniel's final prophecy was received from God in the third year of Cyrus' reign (Daniel 10:1).

Post-Daniel graphic

516 BC: TEMPLE REBUILT, MOSAIC COVENANT RESTORED


Although the Jewish people had been allowed to return to their land, they had not yet become a nation again. Cyrus only granted permission to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem; not to rebuild the city of Jerusalem itself (with its walls and gates). This is an important distinction, because the timetable for the Messiah's first coming (Daniel 9) begins with the authorization to rebuild the city, not the authorization to rebuild the Temple. God made this clear when He providentially delayed the rebuilding of the Temple. The Jews had been accused of attempting to rebuild the entire city (Ezra 4:12,21), and they were ordered to stop their work on the Temple when that accusation was made. They did not renew their work on the Temple until it had been made very clear that Temple-work was the only construction that had been authorized.

For the Persians to permit the rebuilding of Israel's fortified capital city would have amounted to granting them a large portion of independence and nation-status. It would be another 70 years after the dedication of the Temple, in 445 BC, when the Persian king Artaxerxes would grant that permission to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:1-8). With the rebuilding of Jerusalem came the hope among the Jewish people that someone from David's family would again rule in Jerusalem as Israel's king, providing true independence, sovereignty and safey. This hope was not to be realised, however.

Although the Jews had clearly identified the surviving family of David within their populace, no one from that family was allowed to reestablish the Davidic kingdom; not by Persia or by the following empires of Greece and Rome. The Jews became 'renters' in their ancient homeland, as we see in the words of Nehemiah, who led the rebuilding of Jerusalem:

Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that You gave unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it. And it yields much increase unto the kings whom You have set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests seal it.

Nehemiah 9:36-38

This is why Israel's return to the land after the Babylonian conquest is represented with dashed lines in the graphic below; because although the Jews had returned to the land, they no longer owned the land. As God had revealed to Daniel in Babylon, a full restoration of the Jewish people to possession of the land and of the kingdom of David would not occur until the people of Israel had been dominated by the four successive Gentiles Empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.

445 BC: JERUSALEM REBUILT, CONNECTION TO THE LAND RESTORED


THE NEW COVENANT ESTABLISHED

It is important to remind my reader that the Abrahamic Covenant consists of two threads:

    1) The Blessing/Atonement thread, which promised a universal blessing made available by God unto all mankind.
    2) The Land/Kingdom thread, which promised that Abraham's 'Seed' would possess the land of Israel forever.

When Jesus came, people called Him the 'Son of David', and hoped that He would restore David's kingdom immediately. It was not unscriptural for them to hope this, because they were then under the rule of the fourth Gentile empire (Rome) foretold in the book of Daniel. But they did not realize that Jesus would have to fulfill the Blessing/Atonement aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant first, in order to make fulfillment of every other promise possible.

Through His death on a cross Jesus established a new covenant, with both Israel and the entire world, that replaced the Mosaic Covenant. This replacement of the Mosaic Covenant was foretold by Jeremiah:

"Behold, the days come" saith the Lord, "that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant (Mosaic) that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant they broke, although I was a husband unto them" saith the Lord. "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days" saith the Lord, "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying 'Know the Lord'. For they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them" saith the Lord. "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31: 31-34

The greatest Mosaic priest who ever lived, John the Baptist, indicated that Jesus would replace the sacrificial lambs of the Mosaic Covenant; by sacrificing Himself as the true 'Lamb' of God:

The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said "Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world".

John 1:29

And on the night before His crucifixion, as they were eating the old Mosaic Passover, Jesus told his disciples that the bread and wine of their meal would now represent the New Covenant:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Then He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins".

Matthew 26:26-27

JESUS FULFILLS AND REPLACES THE MOSAIC COVENANT


Jesus' did not disrespect the old Mosaic Covenant. In fact He came to honor and fulfill it. He emphasized the ongoing validity of the Old Testament Law:

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks of of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no menas enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:17-20

Jesus knew that the Mosaic system of priests and animal sacrifices had been established to instruct mankind about the necessity of an atoning sacrifice in order for sins to be forgiven, and to point forward to a time when a truly effective sin-forgiving sacrifice would be provided. The Mosaic priesthood and sacrifices were given as a teacher of mankind, as the apostle Paul pointed out. In fact the Old Testament system of priests and sacrifices still serves to instruct people who are seeking the truth today.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:24

But while the moral Law of Moses was being established by the Lord Jesus as a part of His New Covenant, the Mosaic priesthood and its sacrifices would have to come to an end. For God to allow the old Mosaic priesthood and animal sacrifices to continue would have been dishonoring to the New Covenant, would have obscured the atoning death of Christ, and would have left people in confusion regarding God's way of salvation.

Because God desired to bring an end to the old Mosaic Temple, with its priesthood and animal sacrifices, and secondly because the majority of the people of Israel had rejected Abraham's Seed, and had done everything within their power to prevent the proclamation of God's promised blessing to all the nations of the world, God used the armies of the Roman Empire to destroy Jerusalem and its Temple, and to remove the Jewish people from their land and scatter them throughout the world a second time.

In 70 AD, with the destruction of the Temple, God openly validated the New Covenant in Christ before the entire world. And with the destruction of Israel and the scattering of the Jewish people throughout the world, He again revealed that sin has its cost, that He is not partial in His judgments (a respecter of persons or nations), and that true circumcision is not in the body, but in the heart.

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart; in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not from men but from God.

Romans 2:28-29

THE ROMAN DESOLATION OF JERUSALEM - 70 AD


The Jewish people would continue as persecuted wanderers in the world until 1878 years later, when the nation of Israel would be reborn in 1948. With Israel's birth as a sovereign nation, the green land arrow once again appears solid in the graphic below:

1948: ISRAEL REBORN, CONNECTION TO THE LAND RESTORED


With the graphics already presented in this web page, I have sought to portray the past. Now, with the graphic below, I portray the future, when Jesus Christ will come to earth a second time to establish the kingdoms of David and of God upon the earth. At that time Jesus will begin His government of the world from the land of Israel for 1000 years (the Millennium). With Jesus' coming, all of the promises given to Abraham, and further explained through Moses and David, will find their final fulfillment.

JESUS COMES AGAIN - THE KINGDOM OF DAVID RESTORED


In the graphic above I have used a date of 2050 AD for the second coming of Christ. This is based upon my belief that the black time lines (above) represent three major events that define something called the 70th Week of Daniel (from Daniel chapter 9). This '70th Week' is an important concept familiar to many students of the Bible. It is my contention (which I explain in my web pages titled The Olivet Discourse, and The Timetable for Jesus' Return) that the 70th Week of Daniel is the great week of the Abrahamic Covenant; a week nearly 4000 years long, beginning with God's covenant promises to Abraham, divided in the middle by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and completed at the second coming of Jesus Christ.


DANIEL'S 70th WEEK


As I have already explained in my section titled Setting Dates (above), I have used an arbitrary date of 1000 BC for Solomon's building of the first Temple, and have then used other Bible passages to place dates of 1480 BC on the Exodus, and 1910 BC on God's initial covenant with Abraham. Because 70 AD represents the very middle of Daniel's 70th Week (a conclusion that Dispensationalists will disagree with), and because the first half of the Week therefore extends backward 1980 years to Abraham (1910 + 70), extending the second half of the Week forward 1980 years from 70 AD brings us to 2050 AD.

Jesus warned, in Matthew 24:36,42,44 (also Mark 13:32,35), that no one knows the day or the hour of His second coming, and that Jesus' coming will take many by surprise. But I do not set dates in this web site. As I have already explained, my date of 2050 for Jesus' second coming is based upon a generalized date of 1000 BC for Solomon's construction of the first Temple. I chose that date for the purpose of simplifying my illustrations, and I do not claim strict accuracy for those dates. And thus I do not claim accuracy for the 2050 AD date for Christ's return either. If Solomon's construction of the first Temple occurred 20 years later, in 980 BC, that would shorten the first half of Daniel's 70th Week by 20 years. A corresponding shortening of the second half of the Week would place the date of Christ's second coming at 2030 AD, instead of 2050 AD. I am merely seeking to provide generalized timeframes for understanding Biblical prophecy.

Jesus did, however, instruct us to be watchful for His coming, and I believe that God has given us important information that can enable us to have a clear sense of when Jesus will come back. In the prophecy section of this web site I present Jesus' instruction that the mid-point of the 70th Week is the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (see The Olivet Discourse). Then I explain John's Little Book (Revelation 10-13) in The Timetable for Jesus' Return, where we are shown that the 70th Week of Daniel is the great week of the Abrahamic Covenant. I invite my visitor to examine those web pages and see for yourself. It is my hope and prayer that, as you examine my prophecy web pages, God's word will become simpler and more easily understood for you.

IDENTIFYING THE PLAYERS


1) THE BEAST (Daniel 7, Revelation 13:1-10, Revelation 16:13, Revelation 17:3-18, Revelation 19:19-20)

The Beast first appears as the fourth beast of Daniel 7, having one head and 10 horns. In the New Testament it becomes a Beast having 7 heads and 10 horns. The Beast is militant, organized, God-opposing humanity. We are told that the Beast of Revelation has been authorized by God to continue throughout the second half of the 70th Week of Daniel; in other words from 70 AD until the present. For a fuller explanation of the Beast, I refer my reader to my web page titled The Beast and the False Prophet.


2) THE FALSE PROPHET (Revelation 13:11-18, Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10)

This is the second Beast described in Revelation 13. It is described as coming up out of the earth or land. It possesses the traits of a false prophet, appearing like a lamb while speaking like a dragon (Satan). The False Prophet does not experience the long lifespan of the Beast; from 70 AD until the present. The False Prophet is a product of our modern times. It performs three miracles, corresponding to today's technology. It brings down fire from heaven through the technology of airplanes and powered flight. It causes an image to come alive and speak, through the technology of movies, television and smart phones. It will impose the 'Mark of the Beast' upon the world through Block Chain technology; a 'distributed ledger' computer system that will revolutionize the economy and the administration of the world in the immediate future.


3) THE WOMAN, HARLOT, WHORE, BABYLON (Revelation chapters 17 & 18)

This is the city of Rome, confirmed for us in Revelation 17:9,18 where she is described as being seated upon seven hills, and as 'that great city' which was ruling over the kings of the earth when John received the book of Revelation.

I have discussed the city of Rome, and its transition from being the seat of Roman power prior to 69 A.D. to being a religious center after 69 A.D., in my web page titled The Beast and the False Prophet. I explain Bible prophecy regarding the religion of Rome in my web page titled The City of Rome in Prophecy.


4) THE APOSTLE PAUL'S 'MAN OF SIN' (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

The apostle Paul's 'Man of Sin' is described in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.

Let no man deceive you by any means. For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first. And that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped. So that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

Paul was not describing a single man, but a unique class of men; the Roman Catholic priesthood. How is this true? The Roman Catholic priest claims that, in the Roman Catholic sacrament of the Mass, he is literally reconstituting the very body and blood of Jesus Christ at his altar, and is re-offering it to God on behalf of mankind as an atonement for sins. In addition, the Roman Catholic Church claims to be Christ's 'vicar' or representative upon earth, exercising His authority to interpret the Bible and add to it, and exercising His authority to authorize holy wars.

This is how Rome's priests portray themselves to the world as God, seated in the Temple of God. The only Persons who can rightfully make that claim are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Mary is not one of these divine Persons. The Roman Catholic Church has usurped the Biblical offices of the Lord Jesus Christ; that of Prophet, Priest and King. And so while God tells people to come directly to His Son by faith, hearing Him by reading their Bibles and speaking to Him by prayer, Rome says that we must come to Rome. Rather than represent Jesus Christ before the world, Rome competes directly against Him for the souls of men. For further information about Rome, I refer my reader to my web pages titled 'The City of Rome in Prophecy', 'The Beast and the False Prophet', and 'The United States in Prophecy'.


5) THE ANTICHRIST

The Antichrist is mentioned in only four verses, all written by the apostle John, and found only in his letters. The word 'antichrist' never appears anywhere else in the scriptures. It means what it appears to mean; one who is against or opposed to Christ.

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

1 John 2:18-19

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 2:22

And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4:3

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

2 John 8

As we examine John's words, the one thing that defines the antichrist is false doctrine. More specifically, John defines antichrists as

    A) Those who once professed faith in Christ, but have departed from biblical Christianity.
    B) Those who deny the Father and the Son.
    C) Those who deny that the Son of God has come into the world in human flesh.

John's description of an antichrist could apply to any one of a number of people, religions or cults that have claimed to be Christian or to respect Christ, but have departed from the true Christian faith.

It should be observed that John never says anything about the Antichrist establishing covenants, ending sacrifices, claiming to be God, having miraculous powers, cooperating with the Beast or being destroyed at the second coming of Christ. Nor does he link 'the Antichrist' with any other passage of scripture. The term 'antichrist' is not even found in that greatest of all prophetic books, Revelation, which John himself wrote.

Rather than take caution from this, Dispensationalists have taken advantage of it. Because of his sinister name, and because so little is known about him, Dispensationalists have felt free to plug the Antichrist into their end-times scenario. For them the Antichrist is 'the Prince who is to come' (of Daniel 9:26), the 'Abomination of Desolation', Paul's 'man of sin', and 'the Beast' that gets thrown into the Lake of Fire (along with the False Prophet). One cannot count all of the books, articles and movies that have flowed out of John's very limited words about 'the Antichrist'.

Although John says that there are many antichrists, in 1 John 2:18 he seems to refer to one specific person, 'the Antichrist', who surpasses all other antichrists in his opposition to God. So who is this Antichrist? I do not know. One candidate to consider would be Mohammed. Islam claims Biblical roots, but fiercely denies that God has a Son, and that Christ was 'Emmanuel'; 'God with us' in a human body. There is no other religion that more directly and forcefully denies the deity of Christ today than Islam.

Muslims have written 'God has no son' inside their mosque, the 'Dome of the Rock', sitting on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This will ultimately prove to be a profound embarrassment to them. It was this One who declared Himself to be the Son of God, and who predicted the desolation of the Temple and its possession by the Gentiles until His second coming, whose words they now fulfill with their mosque on the Temple Mount.


6) THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14) The Roman general Titus and his army, which destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD (see The Olivet Discourse for an explanation of this fact, and see The Timetable for Jesus' Return for a discussion of Titus).


7) THE 'PRINCE WHO IS TO COME' OF DANIEL 9:26 - also the Roman general Titus.


8) THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL 7:8 The United States of America (see The United States in Bible Prophecy)


9) THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL 8:9 The City of Rome, beginning as a very small power on the edge of the Greek Empire. Rome first expelled Greece from the Italian peninsula in the Pyrrhic War, defeated its southern enemy Carthage in the Punic Wars, and then proceeded to move east, conquering Greece, Asia Minor (defeating Antiochus the Great) and eventually the rest of the Middle East (including Israel).

This Little Horn exalted itself against the Prince of God's host, the Lord Jesus Christ. It then brought an end to the daily sacrifices, destroying Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 AD. Because of Israel's transgressions the Roman Empire was allowed to continue its dominance over the Jews, and to establish a religion (Roman Catholicism) that casts truth to the ground. No better combination of brevity and accuracy regarding Rome's complete history can be found.


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(Bible quotations are from the old King James version, with modifications by the author.)