Tuesday, 24 May 2016

DANIEL'S 70TH WEEK


 

 
We have been told that God has yet a special period of seven years of dealings with the Jews.  At the beginning of this period, the Antichrist will make a covenant with the Jews, which he will subsequently break in the middle of the seven year period by causing the sacrifices at the temple to cease. Then will follow a time of great tribulation. However Christians won’t have to worry because they will be taken to Heaven in the event known as ‘the Rapture.’ This much anticipated happening is ‘the next great event on God’s calendar.’ Meanwhile there is much debate about whether this will happen ‘pre-trib,’ mid-trib,’ or ‘post-trib.’

All this comes from one verse in Daniel – chapter 9 verse 27.

“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering, and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate.”

[The whole passage of vs 20-27 is relevant but for the sake of space I am quoting just vs 27]

The futurists teach that the ‘he’ mentioned in vs 27 is the Antichrist who makes a covenant with the Jews for one week [seven years]. He then brings an end to the sacrifices; which means that the Jews will have built their third temple.

God had sent a message to Daniel in captivity in Babylon that seventy weeks [weeks of years] were determined for the Jews and their holy city Jerusalem – from the command to restore and build Jerusalem; -seven weeks [49 years], then 62 ‘weeks’ till Messiah the Prince. The first period of seven weeks is the period up to the dedication of the second temple; then another period of 62 weeks till Messiah the prince would come. [483 years in all]

That much is clear, what is under debate is the remaining period of one ‘week.’ Futurists teach that it is yet to come, thus the scenario as above in the first paragraph.  However the historicists view [and mine] is that the 70th week has been fulfilled. During the 70th week the Gospel was preached only to the Jews.   Jesus said I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”[Matthew 15:24] When He sent out the disciples to preach He told them not to go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [Matthew 10:6] This time period was still in the 70 ‘weeks’ determined on Israel. The pattern of redemption had to be fully completed in Israel – the pattern nation, before it went to the world.

  Looking at vs 27 again –
Then he shall confirm a covenant [i.e.  make a firm covenant ’ or cause a covenant to prevail’] with many for one week. But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering."

 At the last supper Jesus said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” [Matthew 26:28] This, I believe, is the covenant which is referred to; not some future covenant that the Antichrist makes with the Jews. After 3 and a half years ministry ’in the middle of the week’ Jesus was ‘cut off, but not for Himself’ vs 26. He thus made an end to the need for sacrifices as far as God was concerned as was signified by the rending the veil in the Temple. The Jews may or may not build a third Temple, but it is not part of God’s plan. The third temple is the Living Temple of all believers.

After the Resurrection and the coming of the Spirit, the Gospel continued to be preached to the Jews. Some believed but mostly it was rejected until finally the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was stoned. Then God raised up Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles. The time had come the Gospel to go out to the whole world. God sent Peter to Cornelius, a Roman centurion, whose household received the good news gladly, and were subsequently filled with the Spirit. The seventy ‘weeks’ that God had ‘determined’ for Israel were over! This time period was given:-

To finish the transgression
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity
To bring in everlasting righteousness
To seal up vision and prophecy
And to anoint the Most Holy.  Daniel 9:1, 2

 
This was all accomplished at the Cross. True, it has not yet been manifested; but the work was done at the Cross. It was a finished work and the end time truth which will cause the Church to rise up in victory is ‘The Finished Work of Christ.’ We have yet to lay hold of all that Christ accomplished for us. Creation waits for that day.

 
‘For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.’ Romans 8:19

Those who insert a large gap between the 69th and the 70th ‘week,’ probably believe that these things won’t be finished until the Second Coming. They are waiting to see the manifestation of them.

 
Continuing with Daniel 9 vs 27. “on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate.” In 70 AD after much persecution and tribulation, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman prince Titus.  Some believe that the ‘wing of abominations’ refers to the Roman’s Eagle standard that fluttered over the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. So let us compare the conservative interpretation of Daniel 9 which was taught for over 1800 years, with the futurists’ interpretation. We will see that they are very different.

The second part marked * is the futurists interpretation.

PRE 70TH ‘WEEK’ [SEVEN YEARS] [From the command to rebuild Jerusalem Daniel 9:25].
The temple and city rebuilt ‘in troublesome times’ during first 7 ‘weeks’ [49years].  [Ezra and Nehemiah]. Then 62 ‘weeks’ till Messiah.
69 ‘weeks’ [483 years completed].

*Same as above. Then there is a gap of about 2,000 years between the 69th and 70th week.

 
FIRST 3 ½ YRS
Messiah preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom.  Announces the New Covenant at the Last Supper. [‘confirms a covenant’]

*The Antichrist makes a covenant [pact] with the Jews.  ‘Rapture’ of the Church. 3½ years of peace.

‘MIDDLE OF THE WEEK’
Messiah ‘cut off’ for the sins of the world, bringing an end to the need for temple sacrifices. ‘It is finished.’

*The Antichrist breaks the covenant with the Jews and stops all sacrifices at the temple. He proclaims himself as God. [Some place the ‘Rapture’ here].

LAST 3½ YEARS
The New Covenant Gospel preached to the Jews. Some received but the nation as a whole rejected their Messiah. Stephen, the first Christian martyr stoned. 70th ‘week’ finished.

*3½ years of Great Tribulation. 2nd Coming.

 
POST 70TH ‘WEEK’ [SEVEN YEARS]
The Gospel preached to the Gentiles. Paul converted and becomes the apostle to the Gentiles. The Gospel to be preached to all nations.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
2nd Coming.

 
There has always been persecution and tribulation but no doubt it will be accelerated in the end times, but there is no specific 7 year period of tribulation. In 70AD Jerusalem with its temple was destroyed by the Roman army under Titus and the nation scattered among all the nations of the earth. The return of the Jews and the re-establishment of Israel as a nation as prophesied, is one of the signs of the last days of this age.

God hasn’t finished with the nation of Israel yet. Though the Glory has departed for now, they can come to God the same way as Gentiles do – by faith in the Messiah Jesus; and the Bible indicates that one day the time will come when ‘all Israel shall be saved.” [Romans 11:26] There will be a coming together of Jews and Gentiles at the end time and it will be a time of great blessing for the whole earth. [see Romans 11:15]

Friday, 6 May 2016

WHY MOSES MISSED OUT



The Old Testament reveals many graphic illustrations of Grace as in an incident at Kadesh. (Numbers 20) 

Again, as at Horeb, there was no water and the people thirsted. As before, God would provide water from a Rock. This time however, instead of smiting the Rock, Moses was told to just speak to the Rock.  Remember that in type “that Rock was Christ”  1 Corinthians 10:4
Moses, angry at the murmuring of the people, struck the Rock twice and said,

Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” 
Numbers 20:10 [emphasis added]

Psalm 106:33 says that he spoke rashly with his lips. Moses was boasting of his own ability.
Redemption is never of man’s works, “lest anyone should boast. ”  Ephesians 2:9
The Rock yielded water, but Moses disqualified himself from entering the Land. It is commonly taught that it was disobedience that kept him out, but primarily it was unbelief.

God said:-

Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
Numbers 20:12  emphasis added

Disobedience follows unbelief. If we believe then we obey. Moses typical of the Law, couldn’t believe that a bit of human effort wasn’t necessary. It was all up to him. He had to bring water out of the Rock. 

Probably we have all thought that Moses punishment was a bit harsh, after all the years of faithful commitment, but remember that God was laying down a principle here. He was leaving a vital clue for us “upon whom the end of the age have come” [Read 1 Corinthians 10:11]

That Rock was Christ. One smiting of the Rock is sufficient. It was all that was necessary to give access to all the provision of God. We need only to speak to the Rock. What is speaking to the Rock? It is prayer and our faith confession of the Word. It’s not our works which make the fountain flow; it’s faith in His work.

Moses was indeed a great man of God. He came a long way by faith but couldn’t enter in to the Land because he lapsed into works. Did he make it into Heaven? Certainly! In Matthew 17 we see him on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah talking to Jesus. Entering the land isn’t about going to Heaven as we have stated. It’s about fulfilling the mission of the Church here in the Earth.

To conquer the Land we need to see that one smiting of the Rock is enough. i.e. the Cross is all-sufficient.  In many and subtle ways we keep smiting the Rock. When we say that Jesus has yet more to do before the Kingdom is established; we are smiting the Rock. We are saying that the Cross wasn’t enough. The Scriptures say that Jesus is now seated at the Father’s right hand, waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool.  Jesus will come again when we have completed our assignment to make disciples of all the nations, and we have put His enemies under His feet.

When we say that we have to “die to self” then we are smiting the Rock.  It sounds very pious and commendable, but plainly it is works.  Jesus has already done the job:-

“I was crucified with Christ” Galatians 2:20  emphasis added

“For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God”  Colossians 3:3 emphasis added

“If One died for all, then all died.”  2 Corinthians 5:14 e.a.

“knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him] that the body of sin might be done away with..”  Romans 6:6  e.a.

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

 Galatians 5:24 e.a

We need to stop smiting the Rock and learn to rest in His completed work on our behalf. As Paul says in Romans 6:11 “Consider it done.”  By ONE offering He has perfected us forever.  [Hebrews 10:14] But doesn’t Paul say “I die daily?” [1 Corinthians 15:31]. In the context he is talking about the perils he faces daily for the sake of the Gospel. The Accuser will keep us busy wrestling the flesh, smiting the Rock.  It’s a red herring, a delaying tactic, to keep us from doing what we’re supposed to be doing – wrestling against powers and principalities and spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies and liberating the Earth from satan’s grip.  We do not need to wrestle with flesh and blood, including our own; that battle has been won. 

The battle against the enemy will be won only on the basis of what Jesus has done; not on the basis of what we can do. We do however need to consecrate ourselves and be totally available to God. That shouldn’t be difficult when we see what’s at stake and the glorious victory ahead.

How then are we changed into Christ’s image if not by battling the flesh?  2 Corinthians 3:18 gives the answer.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding, as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

We are changed through revelation.  Every time the Spirit shows us more of Him a change is effected in us because it is a spiritual principle that no man can see God and live.  [Exodus 33:20] At each glimpse of His glory, something of the old nature in us dies as the hush of holiness settles in our soul and silences Self.  Jacob saw God face to face at Peniel and thereafter he walked with a limp.  No longer did he have confidence in himself, only in God. As Paul was to say centuries later “Our sufficiency[ is] from God”. [ 2 Corinthians 3:5]

You can tell when people have seen God; it shows. Moses saw God and his face shone with glory. Isaiah saw God in the Temple and was thereafter totally sold out to Him. Head knowledge can make us proud, even just head knowledge of the Bible: [“Knowledge puffs up” 1 Corinthians 8:1] But revelation humbles us. When we see God’s glory with the eyes of our heart, the flesh is dumb, there’s nothing to say.  Job saw God and didn’t need answers
anymore. Seeing God was enough. He said;-

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,

But now my eye sees You.

Therefore I abhor [myself],

And repent in dust and ashes.”  Job 42:5,6

It is seeing the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. [Romans 2:4] When Moses asked to see God, He said “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you.”  [Exodus 33:19]  Moses received a revelation of a merciful, gracious, longsuffering God, abounding in goodness and truth and his face reflected His glory. Supremely, God is revealed in His Son Jesus:-

“God………has shone in our hearts to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  2 Corinthians 4:6

It is a humbling, purifying experience to see God. If we want to be like Jesus all we need to do is to seek His face, and we will be changed from glory to glory. Legally, our old nature died at the Cross, it was crucified with Christ:  Experientially, day by day, we are changed by revelation. We are responsible, of course, to walk in the light of what we have seen. 

For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required…..”  Luke 12:48