It is more than just numbers. However, the numbers help tell the story. Daniel chapter 9 is also known as the “70 Weeks Prophecy.” It was a message given to the prophet Daniel. Daniel had sought to know the purpose and plan of God. He called upon God to save him and his people. For his piety, God revealed to Daniel His mighty works. In particular, God revealed to Daniel the events that would happen at the end of this age. Even though this is called the “70 Weeks Prophecy,” the spotlight falls to the 70th week or the last week. Each week is really “week of years.” Since each regular week has seven days, each week of years has seven years. The 70th week, then, is really the last seven years of this age. It is the seven years prior to the return of Jesus Christ in glory.
As the prophecy unfolds for us in Daniel 9:26-27, a person who is called “the prince who is to come” makes a covenant or a treaty with Israel at the beginning of the seven years. Perhaps, unknown to most people, this “prince who is to come” is the same as the “little horn” of Daniel chapter 7. He is the same as the “small horn” of Daniel chapter 8 and as the ‘king of the North” and the “despicable person” in Daniel chapter 11. He is also the same as the “beast” in Revelation chapter 13 and the ‘lawless one” in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.” He is known widely as the antichrist.
In the middle of the week or after 3 ½ years, the “prince who is to come” dramatically breaks the covenant with a horrible abomination. This is the very prophetic sign that Jesus warns us about in Matthew 24:15: “…when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place….” What is this abomination of desolation? In Thessalonian 2:2, Paul says of the “lawless one, “…he takes his seat in the temple of God displaying himself as being God….”
More importantly, this horrible and unmistakable event initiates the “Great Tribulation” according to Matthew 24:21. The antichrist will make war upon the saints during that time. Again the numbers help to tell the story. The tribulation begins in the middle of the week. Of course, this is the 3 ½ year point. So, the Great Tribulation endures for 3 ½ years. This length of time turns up in other places too. In Daniel 7:25 he reports that the length of the little horn’s rampage is “time, times, and half a time.” Time being one. Times being two and a half being a half for a total of 3 ½. The period of time, times and half a time is repeated in Daniel 12:7 and even in Revelation 12:14. Revelation 12:6 mentions a period of 1260 days (A 360 day calendar was used in Bible times. When 360 days is multiplied by 3 ½, it equals 1260 days!). Revelation 13:5 notes that the beast’s authority lasts for 42 months. 42 months, of course, is 3 ½ years. However, as dramatic as the beast appears so his end will be at the return of Christ. Daniel 9:27 reads, “…even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
Hello again! This week we will be going into the slightly-confusing-at-first-glance book of John. My hope is that you either find something new from my thoughts today or are just reminded of the truth you already know!
Thought #1 – Vs. 1 – 18: Do you ever want to find the person that wrote this book and say, “You know, you could have written this much more clearly for us and a lot of doctrinal debates would be very different…”? Because I sure do. But then again, much of the confusion that comes from this chapter surrounds translation issues and reading out of context, which I’ve noticed our world today does quite often. To truly get at what the author of this book is trying to say, it is critical to go back to the first translations. When looking at verse 1, we see “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And thus starts many doctrinal debates right with that tiny little word ‘was’. But if we go back to the Greek, we see that the “Word” here is ‘Logos’, a Greek word meaning “plan.” That little translational difference dramatically changes how people may interpret this first verse. This entire book is such a great reminder to always dig a little bit deeper. As someone who is part of the COG faith, I’ll be honest in saying it can sometimes get tiring to feel like I constantly need to defend my beliefs. And sometimes it’s a little scary because I’m afraid I’ll be proven wrong. Over the past two years or so, I have been very motivated to dig for truth in Scripture. At first, it was a little nerve-wracking and truthfully just plain exhausting. But as I continually found passages of Scripture that aligned with what I believed to be true, I found such joy in the process of digging! It was so encouraging and grew my faith as I grew in confidence of the God that I believe in. When having discussions with other Christians with different perspectives, it is important to come with an open mind and heart. It’s also important to be comfortable answering difficult questions with “I’d like to look into that more, can I get back to you?” Don’t rush the process, detectives don’t solve a case in a day! Sometimes after difficult conversations with others I would find myself praying later that day for wisdom in how to respond, and BOOM, someone somewhere would lead me straight to a Scriptural reference or two to help. You will find an answer if you’re willing to DIG. Have you become tired or afraid of defending your beliefs? Have confidence in our God; find joy in the process of digging into Scripture with an open mind to seek truth!
Thought #2 – Vs. 46-51: Jesus is a little sassy, and I love it. In these verses Nathanael has no faith that Jesus is the true Messiah. When he does believe, Jesus basically tells him, “Oh my friend, you haven’t seen anything yet. I’m just getting started.” I wish that I could have been there to witness that! It would’ve been a perfect “oooooh snap” moment. The best part is, Jesus has every right to say these things! He is the true Messiah, and he was about to do some absolutely amazing things that would radically change the entire world FOREVER. We are right in the midst of the Easter season, and these verses come at a great time to remind us of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth. I can’t even imagine being alive during Jesus’ time on earth and how COOL that must have been! To witness miracles, to witness him simply being the promised one that I had been hearing about probably since I was born! And he was just getting started! I wonder if Jesus’ followers at that time were just as confident as he was when speaking to Nathanael, or if there was still some hesitation and doubt. As we prepare for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, pause and reflect for a moment. How do you react when faced with doubt about truths within Scripture? Do you stand up with confidence as Jesus did, or do you question like Nathanael first did?
Thanks for sticking with me during this longer post! I look forward to continuing John with you in the next few days.