THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION: THE INTERVAL SEPARATING THE TWO COMINGS OF THE ONE MESSIAH
IN CHAPTER X of the present section, the redemptive career of King Messiah, consisting of His first coming, His rejection, His return to glory, His session at the right hand of God, and eventually His return to establish His Kingdom, was outlined. In addition to the passages showing the entire redemptive career of King Messiah, there are portions of the Scriptures that lay special emphasis upon certain phases of His career. Some of them, for instance, turn the spotlight on the first coming and the events connected therewith. Others focus attention on the Second Coming. And others blend the two advents into a single picture. Still others show the interval separating the two comings during which the rejected Messiah is at the right hand of the throne of God.
I. THE INTERVAL SEPARATING THE TWO COMINGS OF THE ONE MESSIAH ACCORDING TO ISAIAH 42:1-4
42 Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. 2 He will not cry, nor lift up his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed will he not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench: he will bring forth justice in truth. 4 He will not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set justice in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law (Isa. 42:1-4).
With the servant of this passage God is highly pleased. This servant, moreover, is able to bring forth justice to the nationsa task which no man or group of men can accomplish. It is one that only Omnipotence can bring about. In the light of these facts one may be certain that the servant here seen is none other than the Messiah, God in human form. First, one sees Him at the threshold of His redemptive work. When this passage is read in the light of Matthew 3:13-17, it is clear that Isaiah in vision saw the Messiah immediately after His baptism, for at that time the Spirit of God came as a dove and alighted upon Him. God spoke out of glory and declared that Jesus, who had just been baptized, was His Sonin a unique and peculiar sense. Thus verse 1 is a picture of the Messiah at His first coming.
Verses 2 and 3 show that He is a preacher of truth. He is not a rabble-rouser, as is quite evident from verse 2. As a rule, He goes to the recognized places of worship and of the teaching of the Word of God, the synagogues and the Temple. He avoids doing as the political agitators of the first century did, going into public places and stirring up the people with inflammatory propaganda. According to verse 3, He is not a dictator: "A bruised reed will He not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench." Dictators ruthlessly crush all opposition, regardless of circumstances. It is not so with Messiah. Dictators have a program to carry out, which is always of a political nature. Messiah also has political aims, the establishment of justice in the earth, but He does not use earthly methods to attain His goal.
That He will reach His objective is stated in verse 3: "He will bring forth justice in truth." He will use the truth in marching forward to His goal. In other words, speaking literally, He will launch a preaching ministry. Outwardly His work appears to be a failureenough to discourage the faintheartedbut "He will not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set justice in the earth." The preaching ministry which He launches at His first coming, and which is carried on by His servants after His departure, will appear to the world to be a failurea discouraging proposition. But such is not the actual situation. He will accomplish that which He sets out to do, in the proper time and in the providence of God.
When He comes to launch this ministry, the isles, nations, will have to wait for His law, which He will give at His Second Coming. This statement shows that He does not establish a reign of righteousness at His first coming.
II. THE INTERVAL SEPARATING THE TWO COMINGS OF THE ONE MESSIAH, ACCORDING TO ISAIAH 61:1-3
III.THE INTERVAL SEPARATING THE TWO COMINGS OF THE ONE MESSIAH, ACCORDING TO DANIEL 9:1,2, 24-27
61 The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of Jehovah's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that he may be glorified (Isa. 61:1-3).
In verse 1 appears the Holy Trinity: the Messiah upon earth; Jehovah in heaven sending Jehovah the Spirit upon Him, in this way anointing Him for the work which He is to do.
Messiah does not waste any time in speaking to those who do not want the truth, but He knows the hearts that are hungry for righteousness, and that are thirsting for God. He, therefore, devotes His time to giving the good tidings to the meek. He ministers to the brokenhearted and spiritually brings out the captives that are in prison. At the end of His earthly ministry, He is put to death in the flesh, but in the spirit is energized. He then goes to the spirits that are in prison, and that were disobedient in the days of Noah, and makes an announcement to them (I Peter 3:17-22). He seizes the keys of death and of Hades and liberates the spirits of the saved who have been confined there since their departure from this life (Rev. 1:18). His doing so, of course, is in fulfillment of Psalm 68:18: "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led away captives; Thou hast received gifts among men. Yea, among the rebellious also, that Jehovah God might dwell with them." Thus He releases these saved ones and takes them to glory in fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1.
"Being put to death in the flesh" in fulfillment of these predictions, "but made alive in the spirit" (I Peter 3:18), He arises from the dead on the third day. At various times after His Resurrection He appears to certain ones of His disciples. On one occasion He manifests Himself to a company of above five hundred brethren and gives His apostles the world-wide commission which is found in Matthew 28:18-20:
18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:18-20).
Messiah instructs His apostles to go into all the world and to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation to all nations. In Isaiah 61:2 the prophet foretells that Messiah will "proclaim the year of Jehovah's favor and the day of vengeance of our God." During the personal ministry of King Messiah and after His Resurrection, He speaks about the period of time that is here called "the year of Jehovah's favor," which is followed by "the day of vengeance of our God." The first of the two periods of time here mentioned is compared to a year; the second, to a day. The year of Jehovah's favor is characterized by the special favor and grace of God; the day of vengeance, by the wrath of Godthe judgments of God that are poured out upon the world during that period. Since the age of Jehovah's favor is compared to a year and that of His wrath is thought of as a day, one is logically right in supposing that a ratio exists between these two periods of time approximate to that which obtains between a year and a day. Moreover, it is logical to assume that, during the year of Jehovah's favor, the truth of God and of His grace is proclaimed to the world. This year of Jehovah's favor is undoubtedly the present dispensation, which has now been running for nineteen hundred years. This age of grace is to be followed by the day of vengeance, the Tribulation.
According to Isaiah 61:3, at the end of this day of vengeance, Messiah will "appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." At the same time the remnant will see the mistake of the nation, will repent of their sins, and will mourn before God for their unrighteousness. They will look unto Him¹ and plead for Him to return. When they do so in sincerity and earnestness, as they certainly will do in fulfillment of many predictions, the Messiah will return and establish His reign of righteousness upon the earth.
Thus in Isaiah 61:1-3 appears the interval separating the first and the second coming of the one Messiah. During this intervening period, He is sitting in majesty at the right hand of the throne of God, exercising authority throughout the entire universe.² Also during this period, as seen above, the gospel of the grace of God is being proclaimed³ to all nations because it is the year of Jehovah's favor.
Purged and repentant Israel will be given a new heart in fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:26,27: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them." Then they will be called "trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that he may be glorified" (Isa. 61:3). Thus will dawn the great kingdom era.
9 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans, 2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years whereof the word of Jehovah came to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years. ...A. The Significance of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9:24
24 Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. 25 Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times. 26 And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: 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 even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate (Dan. 9:1,2 ... 24-27).
Viewed from several angles, Daniel, chapter 9, is one of the most important prophetic pronouncements to be considered in relation to the present theme. Because of its importance to the study of Messiah and His earthly redemptive career, one should note very carefully some of the outstanding features of this marvelous revelation.
Verses 1 and 2 show that in the sixty-eighth year of the Babylonian captivity, Daniel was reading the prophecies of Jeremiah and was studying them in the light of what he termed "the books." In his investigation he was especially interested in the completion of the years of the desolations of Jerusalem, "even seventy years."
Since in Jeremiah, chapters 25 and 29, the prediction of the Babylonian captivity is recorded, it is certain that Daniel read these two chapters. Presumably, he was reading the entire Book, but certainly he was reading these prophecies. As to what other Books he was studying, one cannot be dogmatic. Very likely, however, he was reading the Books of Kings, and probably Chroniclesor the latter part of thembecause they tell, especially II Chronicles, chapter 36, about the restoration of Israel under the mandate of Cyrus, the Medo-Persian King. Very likely, also, he was studying Isaiah, chapters 44 and 45, which foretells Cyrus's issuing a decree for the Jews to return from Babylonian captivity and to rebuild their city and their sanctuary.
According to Daniel 9:1,2, the prophet was studying the Books and understood that the time of the desolations of Jerusalem was seventy years. This point is most important. Since he was studying the historical Books of the Old Testament and Jeremiah's prophecies, the years of which he was thinking were regular solar years, for nothing but solar years is mentioned in these historical portions of the Word.
In Daniel 9:3-19 is recorded the prayer that Daniel uttered in behalf of his people, the Hebrews, and the Holy City, Jerusalem. He confessed his own private sins and those of the nation and prayed for deliverance. In verses 20-23 is a record of the appearance of the Angel Gabriel, who was dispatched by the Lord to Daniel to give him the correct information necessary for the understanding of the prophecy. Finally, in verses 24-27, is Gabriel's explanation of the situation to Daniel.
From verses 20-23 it is clear that Daniel did not understand what he was reading. One should remember that he was a prophet, inspired of God on certain occasions to make definite revelations. But when the Spirit of God was not upon him, speaking through him infallibly, he could arrive at a wrong conclusion the same as any other uninspired man can draw an incorrect conclusion from what he reads and studies. The Angel Gabriel exhorted Daniel to consider the divine message, for it was given to clarify the matters which he had read, but had not understood.
In this connection one should remember that Jeremiah, chapters 29-33, constitutes a marvelous prophecy concerning the restoration of Israel in the end time when God will gather back His people from the four corners of the globe and establish them in their own land.
Chapter 29 is a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the restless captives who had already gone into Babylonian Exile. False prophets had arisen who were urging the exiles not to settle down into an ordered life; for they would soon, declared the false prophets, return to their own land. Still in Jerusalem with the rest of the nation that had not been carried into captivity, Jeremiah wrote this inspired letter instructing the people to settle down into a well-ordered life that they might enjoy the blessings of God. Then Jeremiah made the following predictions:
10 For thus saith Jehovah, After seventy years are accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. 12 And ye shall call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith Jehovah, and I will turn again your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith Jehovah; and I will bring you again unto the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive (Jer. 29:10-14).
In verse 10 is God's promise to restore the captives who wished to return to their homeland at the expiration of the seventy years of captivity. In verse 11 the prophet explained why God would take them back at the expiration of the seventy yearsnamely, because He had thoughts of peace concerning the nation in their latter end. This prophecy of returning after the Babylonian captivity (verses 10 and 11) is followed by another prediction concerning God's regathering the Jewish people from the world-wide dispersion, which will be at the end of the present dispensation. Thus the two restorations of the people of Israel to their own land are blended into a single prophecy as if there were but one definite prediction. This passage is developed in accordance with the well-known law of double reference.
It is practically certain that Daniel failed to note in Jeremiah 29:10-14 that there are two separate and distinct prophecies of restoration of Israel to the land of the fathers. Since in chapters 30-33 there is a very extended prophecy concerning the final restoration of Israel, when King Messiah will reign over the nation, Daniel concluded that this final and complete restoration would follow the Babylonian captivity. It was to correct this error that the Angel Gabriel came to Daniel and delivered the oracle found in Daniel 9:24-27.
"Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy" (Dan. 9:24).B. The Initial and Terminal Dates of the 490-Year Period
As the text reads, according to the Angel Gabriel, seventy weeks were decreed upon the Jewish people and the Holy City. In the regular translation appears the expression "seventy weeks." A correct literal rendering of the original text is "seven seventies are decreed upon thy people and thy Holy City." The English word week does not convey to the average reader the meaning of the original text. The words in the original simply mean seven seventies or seventy sevens; namely, 490.
Instantly, the inquiring mind asks of what the 490 are. The answer is found in verses 1 and 2. Daniel had been reading and studying about seventy years of Babylonian captivityseventy literal solar years, during which Jerusalem would remain in ruins and the exiles would be in Babylon. Thus he had concluded that at the end of the Babylonian captivity the complete regathering of Israel would occur. The Angel Gabriel, in effect, said to Daniel, "No, Daniel, you are wrong. The final and complete restoration of Israel to the land of the fathers will not occur at the end of this period of seventy years of Babylonian captivity. On the contrary, there are seven periods of seventy years each before Israel will be restored to the land and the glorious era of Messiah will dawn."
That such is the import of verse 24 is evident from the following facts. At the end of the seven seventies of years, (1) the transgression of Israel will have been finishedon God's ledger the record of Israel's national sin will be a closed account; (2) an end of sins so far as the Jewish people are concerned will have been reachedin other words, the vision of Balaam in Numbers 23:21 will have been realized; (3) reconciliation* for iniquity will also have been made; (4) a new standard of ethics and morals will have been introducedthe standard of ethics and morals that obtains throughout all ages of eternity; (5) vision and prophecy will have ceased, because the prophecies will have been realized in actuality; (6) finally, the anointing of the Most Holy will have been accomplished. "Most Holy" here probably refers to the Temple of God which will have been built at that time, because at different times it is called the Holy of Holies.
At the expiration of this period of 490 years, the great kingdom age of Israel will become a reality. God's ancient people will be free from all sin, and a regime of righteousness will begin. Since the text mentions seven sevens, three score and two sevens, and a final sevenof years, of courseone wonders whether there is a gap following the seven sevens and separating them from the sixty and two sevens. He wonders, moreover, whether there is a gap existing between the sixty-ninth seven and the seventieth seven.
According to verse 25, the initial date of this period is the year that "the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem" is issued. "Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times." From all the facts connected with this passage and related ones, it is clear that the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem refers to a command issued by someone in authority, allowing the Jews to return from Babylon to their own land and to build their city.C. Breaking Down the 490-Year Period Into Its Component Parts
Who issued this decree? Isaiah the prophet, whose ministry fell in the latter half of the eighth century before the Common Era, foretold that Cyrus, King of the Medo-Persian Empire, would issue such a decree. Concerning Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, Isaiah, speaking for God, said, "26 She [Jerusalem] shall be inhabited; and of the cities of Judah, They shall be built, and I will raise up the waste places thereof; 27 that saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers; 28 that saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure, even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built; and of the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid" (Isa. 44:26-28). Continuing to speak of Cyrus in the following chapter, Isaiah foretold that God would prosper the way of Cyrus and would let him become conqueror of many nations. Finally, in verses 12 and 13, the Lord declared, "I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens; and all their host have I commanded. 13 I have raised him [Cyrus] up in righteousness, and I will make straight all his ways: he shall build my city [Jerusalem], and he shall let my exiles go free, not for price nor reward, saith Jehovah of hosts." According to these verses, Cyrus would perform all God's pleasure, "even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built; and of the temple. Thy foundation shall be laid." In these passages the Lord declared that Cyrus would build His city, Jerusalem, and would order the rebuilding of the temple.
This prophecy concerning Cyrus was made about two centuries before he did exactly what was here foretold. How was Isaiah able to make this prediction? Solely by the insight of the Spirit of God, who infallibly inspired him and gave him a picture of that which would come to pass.
Isaiah foretold that Cyrus would issue a twofold decree: first, the decree for the rebuilding of Jerusalem; second, for the rebuilding of the temple. Did Cyrus actually issue this twofold decree? My answer, based upon the Scriptures, is yes. In II Chronicles 36:22, 23, the inspired historian makes the following historical statement:
22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, Jehovah his God be with him, and let him go up.
When the foreseen time arrived and Cyrus was enthroned as the ruler of Medo-Persia, the Spirit of God stirred him to do that which the Lord had foretold through Isaiah regarding him. In this account Cyrus states that God "hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem." Whether or not some prophet of God gave Cyrus a special message, no one can say. But God's Spirit caused him, in fulfillment of the prediction, to issue the decree as recorded in Ezra 1:1-4. The decree mentions only the building of the house, that is, the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Some scholars have concluded that, since nothing is said in the decree about the rebuilding of Jerusalem, Cyrus, therefore, did not issue the decree for the rebuilding of the city. This reasoning is very shallow. All logicians know that reasoning from silence is very precarious and will lead one astray if he is not exceedingly careful.
Armed with this decree issued by Cyrus for the exiles to rebuild their temple, they went back to the land of their fathers and were building the city. This fact is seen in Ezra, chapter 4, in the letter that was written by the enemies of the Jews to the Medo-Persian king. In this letter the king is told: "Be it known unto the king that the Jews that came up from thee are come to us unto Jerusalem; they are building the rebellious and the bad city, and have finished the walls, and repaired the foundations." In the decree recorded in Ezra 1:1-4, nothing specifically is said concerning the building of the city; but, since the Jews with the decree of Cyrus in hand were building the city after completing the walls and were attempting to build their temple, one knows positively that he is the one who issued the decree for them to rebuild Jerusalem. These statements being true, one can know that the decree mentioned by the Angel Gabriel in Daniel 9:25 was issued by Cyrus in the first year of his reign, which, in the common chronology, was the year 536 B.C.E. Thus the initial date of this period of 490 years mentioned by the Angel Gabriel was the year 536 B.C.E.
In the examination of verse 24, it was seen that a kingdom age of sinlessness and righteousness will follow the 490th year of this period. The terminal date of this period, therefore, is the year that the kingdom of God will be established upon earth and King Messiah will begin His reign of righteousness from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
With the initial and terminal dates of the 490-year period established, the next step in the unfolding of this marvelous prediction is to see how the Angel Gabriel divided the period into its component parts. He said, "Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times" (Dan. 9:25). The period, therefore, from Cyrus's issuing the decree "unto the anointed one, the prince," or Messiah, consists of seven sevens of years plus three score and two sevens of years. The first part of this period, the seven sevens, is the forty-nine years of the rebuilding of Jerusalem "in troublous times." The second part, the sixty-two sevens, or 434 years, began immediately after the first part, the seven sevens, or forty-nine years, and advanced to the time of Messiah, the prince. Thus, from the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the time of Messiah, there are 49 plus 434, or 483 years.
At this point arises the question "To what event or period of time in the Messiah's career is reference made by the phrase, 'unto the anointed one, the prince'?" Some scholars have thought that it refers to His birth; others, to His manifestation to Israel or to the beginning of His labors for the nation. Still others, however, think that it refers to His execution. The significance of this phrase is explained in verse 26: "And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing. ..." From the drift of the thought one sees clearly that the reference is obviously to the cutting off of Messiah. From Cyrus's issuing the decree, therefore, to the cutting off of Messiahthe Crucifixion there were to be 483 years.
But from the first year of Cyrus, 536 B.C.E., when he issued the decree, to the year of the Crucifixion of the Messiah in A.D. 30 are 566 years, whereas, according to Daniel, there were to be only 483 years. There is, therefore, an excess of 82 years (a year is lost in the reckoning in passing from the B.C. to the A.D. dates). How do we account for the discrepancy in the chronology? The error is easily discovered. The regularly accepted chronology worked out by Ussher has a number of errors in it. As I have shown in my book Messiah: His First Coming Scheduled, the inspired prophet Daniel was correct in stating that there would be 483 years from the first year of Cyrus, when he issued the decree for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, to the cutting off of the Messiah.
Since this first period consists of "seven sevens" and "sixty-two sevens," or 483 years, only 7 of the total of the 490 years remain after the cutting off of Messiah. Did these 7 years follow immediately the 483? Obviously not; for, if they had, the blessings of the glorious millennial reign of Messiah, mentioned in verse 24, would have been brought into existence seven years after the Crucifixion of the Messiah. History proves, therefore, that the last seven years of this period did not follow His execution.
Additional proof that this interpretation of the facts is correct is seen in the latter part of verse 26: "And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: 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 even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined" (Dan. 9:26). One sees that the people of the coming prince destroy the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, the Temple. Who is the prince that will come? And who are his people? Gabriel's mentioning the coming prince, without any explanation, assumes that this prince is outstanding, being thus designated. When one examines Daniel 7:1-25, he discovers that there is a succession of four kingdoms, the fourth of which will devour the whole earth, tread it down, and break it in pieces. According to verse 24, this world kingdom will collapse and fall into ten divisions, over each of which a dictator will arise. After the rise of these ten dictators, who are represented by the ten horns of this passage, another dictator will come forth out of obscurity. He will advance in power and might and, after liquidating three of the original ten, will himself become the dictator of dictators. He stands out above all others as the coming prince of the future. The same evil, wicked prince is set forth in the symbolism of Daniel 8:23-27. There can be no doubt that this one thus represented in these two prophecies is the coming prince to whom the Angel Gabriel refers. He is known as the willful king in Daniel 11:36ff., but in the New Testament he is called the Antichrist. Who are the people of the prince? Daniel 9:26 reveals that the people of this coming prince will destroy the city of Jerusalem and the temple of God. History shows that the ones who overthrew the Jewish nation and destroyed Jerusalem were the Romans. Since this coming prince is to be of that people, he will then be of Roman extraction.
The prophecy in Daniel 9:26 concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was fulfilled in A.D. 70. The fact that Gabriel, in his message, passed over the forty years intervening between A.D. 30, when the Messiah was executed, and A.D. 70, when Jerusalem was destroyed, shows that the last 7 of the 490 years did not follow the 483rd year, the time of the Crucifixion.
In this same verse is another very significant statement: "and even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined." What is meant by "and even unto the end shall be war"? Preceding this statement is the clause "and the end thereof shall be with a flood. ..." In this sentence the end of the Jewish commonwealth which was brought about in A.D. 70 is referred to. At this point, Gabriel added, "and even unto the end shall be war." To the end of what does this reference point? There can be but one answer: the end of the period that the Angel had under consideration; namely, the end of the 490-year period. This period of time comes to a close with the passing of the last seven years. Thus the clause "and even unto the end shall be war" takes the reader from the events of A.D. 70 through the centuries to the end of this seventieth week of years of this prophecy.
Verse 27 sets forth the events of this last week: "And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate" (Dan. 9:27). This last seven-year period is spoken of in related passages as the Tribulation, the day of Jehovah, the day of wrath. This era will be one of war, as set forth in the Book of Revelation. Four wars will occur during the Great Tribulation, three of which will be world conflicts. The first one will occur soon after the seven years begin. Following it by a short period, a local war which affects only one fourth of the earth will break out. In the middle of the Tribulation will come World War II of that period of wrath. This day of judgments will be concluded by the war of the great day of God the Almighty, the war that will be fought to stop all wars. Thus wars are determined, according to Gabriel, for the Jewish people from A.D. 70 onward through the centuries to the end of the Tribulation. They certainly have been involved in wars such as no other nation has endured, but the faithful remnant of Israel will be preserved and will survive even the Tribulation.
At the end of these seven years of the Tribulation, the great kingdom age will dawn. Evil will be put down; the King of righteousness, King Messiah, will be enthroned; and His reign will become world-wide.
From the prophecy of Daniel, chapter 9, one sees that Messiah was executed at the end of the 483rd year. Then is introduced an indefinite period of timeso far as this passage is concernedwhich separates the 483rd year from the 484th. This era is known as the Christian Dispensation. During this Dispensation, God gathers out from all nations a people for His name who take the place of His ancient people Israel for the time being (Deut. 32:20ff). Isaiah the Prophet likewise foretold the gathering of people from all nations to be a peculiar people of God at the present time (Isa. 65:1). Malachi foretold that God would gather out from the nations a people for His name during the present dispensation (Mal. 1:10,11), This interpretation of these passages is in harmony with Acts 15:14-18.
¹ 10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart; 14 all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
13 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness (Zech. 12:10-13:1).
² 10 Jehovah saith unto my Lord,
Sit thou at my right hand,
Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2 Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies (Ps. 110:1,2).
"And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth" (Matt. 28:18).
³ And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14). See, also, I Timothy 2:1-7 and Revelation 7:1-17.
* The word in the original rendered reconciliation literally means "to atone iniquity" or "to make atonement for iniquity." Thus the blessed results of the atonement of Messiah will have become a reality to all Israel at that time.
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