Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 9-11:1; 1 John 2:18-3:6; Psalm 121:1-8; Proverbs 28:27-28
Today we read the very famous ninth chapter of Daniel which gives us some very precise prophecy about the first coming of Jesus as well as some very specific actions that will be taken by the coming antichrist.
Daniel was a student of the Scriptures (Daniel 9:2). He didn’t spend his time wastefully (he wouldn’t watch TV if he were alive today). Rather he spent time with God.
In response to Daniel’s prayer, God sends Gabriel, an angel, to reveal more details to Daniel (Daniel 9:21-22). Notice Daniel didn’t make excuses to God while he prayed. He acknowledged the people’s sin and God’s holiness. When we earnestly seek God, as Daniel did in his prayer, God will speak to us.
Gabriel tells Daniel that there will be 490 years (seventy sets of seven) during which God will deal with the Jewish people and their sin (Daniel 9:24). Gabriel also tells Daniel exactly when these 490 years will begin: on the day that a decree is issued to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25). This decree, which we saw issued in Nehemiah 2:1-8, was issued on March 14, 445 BC by King Artaxerces of Persia as confirmed by historical artifacts.
From that day until the day that the Messiah is “cut off” would be 483 years (sixty-nine sets of seven). If we calculate 483 years from 445 BC, remembering that there is no year zero, we arrive at the spring of the year 32 AD. The calculations are based on a 360-day calendar which is what the Jews used at this time of Daniel. Now what major event took place in the spring of 32 AD? Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His crucifixion just 7 days later which is exactly what Daniel wrote would happen (Daniel 9:26). Absolutely amazing!
After Jesus was crucified God turned His attention away from the Jews, who rejected Jesus, to the Gentiles. This has been God’s focus for the past 2,013 years and counting. But notice that God did not complete the 490 years He said He would dedicate to the Jews. There are still seven years left (490 – 483 = 7).
These seven years are still in the future and are known as the Great Tribulation. During this time the world will be run by a single ego-maniacal leader known as the antichrist. He will make a peace treaty with Israel (“the people”) for seven years (Daniel 9:27) but half-way through it he will break the treaty thereby ending all sacrifices and offerings.
Notice that this implies that the Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt, another prophecy that we can be looking out for. In fact, plans to rebuild the Temple have been in the works for decades and are only delayed because the Muslims are in control of the Temple Mount. But that could change… perhaps as a result of their devastating defeat during the battle of Gog and Magog, which we read about a couple of weeks ago? We’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out. Bible prophecy is the ultimate coming attraction.
Interestingly John addresses the antichrist in his letter today too. Since Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside them to guide them and to reveal truth to them, we can see what is happening in this world and where it is going (1 John 2:20). The rest of the world can’t. The world thinks it is moving in a positive direction, but they aren’t. Governments all over the world are intentionally removing Jesus from their societies in the belief that doing so makes the world a better place. But we know better. We see these people running (not walking) toward their own destruction and taking millions of people with them.
Jesus said He was the only way to God and John confirms this (1 John 2:23). Many people are willing to believe in the concept of “God” but categorically reject any belief in Jesus. This is not possible. A person can’t have God without having Jesus. It just doesn’t work that way. Any “religion” that does not have Jesus at its core worships a false god (e.g. Islam, Hinduism). And even some of those who do admit to a historical Jesus actually distort who He is so much that their teaching is false too (e.g. Catholicism, Mormonism).
Those who have been saved from their sins by the blood of Jesus (aka have been “born-again” according to Jesus’ words in John 3:3) are God’s children (1 John 3:1). Not every person is a child of God. The Bible makes this clear. We also saw this in John 1:12. Those who follow the ways of the world are not children of God because they don’t know Him (1 John 3:1). Remember… the grand theme of the Bible is “God is creating a family and wants to adopt you into it”. He’s inviting you to become His son or daughter. I hope you’ll take Him up on this offer.
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