Timing is Everything
COMFORT - THE REASON FOR PROPHECY
There is no book on earth other than the bible that prophecies with pinpoint accuracy about events yet to come. The purpose of prophecy is so that God may comfort His people. His people often experience persecution, therefore, they need comforting.
After living in exile for almost his entire long life, Daniel came to realize by the prophet Jeremiah that Israel's time to return home was near. "I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years." (Daniel 9:2)
"This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years." (Jeremiah 25:11) The exile lasted seventy years because Israel failed to keep the Sabbath year seventy times. "Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year, the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard." (Leviticus 25:3, 4)
THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL REALIZED
Imagine how Daniel must have felt when he read of God's timing to return His people to their land. “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place." (Jeremiah 29:10)
Daniel was so excited that he gave himself to seek the Lord. "So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes." (Daniel 9:3) To read chapter nine is to get caught up with Daniel's ability to confess sin and humble himself before God as holy men do.
The reason for the answer to Daniel's prayer was stated by none other than Gabriel, the same angel that announced the birth of Christ to a virgin girl named Mary. "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." (Daniel 9:23)
Daniel was told that he was highly esteemed. Therefore, he should give heed to the message so that he might gain understanding. The prophecy given to Daniel is the most precise in all of scripture.
“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." (Daniel 9:24)
Seventy sevens were decreed or four-hundred and ninety years upon Israel. As recorded in Leviticus every seventh year, the land was to rest for an entire year. Daniel confessed the sins of the people that they had not done as God commanded. Therefore, time was placed upon Israel to bring to pass God's desired end. The time allotted would include victories and woes.
“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. “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. “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” (Daniel 9:25-27)
THE PRECISION OF PROPHECY GIVEN TO DANIEL
Artaxerxes Longimanus ascended to the throne of the Medo-Persian empire in July 465 B.C. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1990 ed.). The twentieth year of his reign would have begun in July 446 B.C. The decree occurred approximately nine months later in the month of Nisan (March/April on our calendar). Hebrew tradition is given to be the first day of that month when the day of the month is not explicitly stated (as in Artaxerxes decree). Consequently, the very day of Artaxerxes' decree was the first day of the Hebrew month Nisan in 445 B.C. The first day of Nisan in 445 B.C. corresponds to the 14th day of March. These dates were confirmed through astronomical calculations at the British Royal Observatory and reported by Sir Robert Anderson (Robert Anderson, "The Coming Prince," Kregel. Reprinted in 1984.).
The prophecy states that 69 weeks of years (173,880 days using the 360-day prophetic year) after the command goes forth to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem, the Messiah will come. If we count forward 173,880 days from March 14th 445 B.C., we arrive on April 6th, 32 A.D.
The 30 day month is accurate because it is biblical as it appears in both Genesis and Revelation.
The prophecy would take four-hundred and ninety years to be fulfilled, but at the crucifixion of Christ, only four-hundred and eighty-three years had passed. Seven years were left on the clock. "Coincidently," the period described in Revelation regarding the period known as the tribulation. The period in Revelation is counted by days, months, and years, so there would be no confusion. Confusion, however, is the way of the world.
Israel is the key. No one can understand prophecy apart from the prophetic calendar placed upon the nation of Israel. The clock stopped with the rejection of Israel and the commencement of the Church. The clock will start again in the very last days. Israel will be restored to its prominent place of usefulness to God, as God promised. (Romans 9-11)
There is no more apparent distinction between people groups in the bible than that of Jew and Gentile. An Israelite is a physical descendant of Abraham. A Gentile is not. An Israelite with the saving faith of Abraham is a true and complete Israelite. A Gentile with the saving faith of Abraham is a saved Gentile.
This is not brain surgery. Be careful what you believe, be sure you are not practicing anti-semitism. Moses when writing his song, found in Deuteronomy 32:10, spoke of Israel, " ...He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye." At the center of God's eye or as the apple is Israel.
For two thousand years, God has rejected all but a remnant of Israel. For that same period, all but a remnant of Gentiles have been rejected. The distinction is in their usefulness as a people group. The Church is comprised of all nations. Israel is but one until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled (Luke 21:24; Romans 11:25).
1. Prophecy is not for morbid curiosity to learn what most people do not know. If the reason for learning the future is other than for obedience to God and His glory, it can lead to witchcraft and spiritual warfare.
2. Prophecy is to comfort the redeemed because of the accuracy and reliability of the promises for His people.
3. God's children should be comforted but also always on their guard; they should be prepared for Christ's second coming and not be like a world living in the dark.
4. At this present time, the Church should not be arrogant in their faith as if they have permanently replaced Israel in the prominent place of usefulness in God's kingdom. God is sovereign, and He will use whom He chooses. (Romans 11)
“Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves."
“But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” (Luke 12:37-40)