Many of you reading may be wondering when we are going to be getting into the book of Revelation. That is where all the prophecy about the end of time is located, right? Well, no. In the first chapter we looked at prophecies from the books of Matthew and 1 Peter, for instance, to prove we are indeed in the end times. In the second chapter we looked in the book of Daniel to prove that Bible prophecy is true and reliable. Now, in the third chapter, we are going to look in Daniel further but for different reasons. Before we can get into the specifics of Revelation we must start with the bigger picture because we not only want to understand what everything in Revelation means, we want to know why each thing means what it does and how it fits in with the others. So one more chapter in Daniel and we will move on to Revelation.
The book of Daniel gives us very useful timelines that we can follow like maps, where we can mark on them different events prophesied in the Bible. These timelines are described as days, weeks, and months, but a day in prophetic language is actually a year. (see Appendix 2).
|If one day equals one year (Ez. 4: 4-6 and Num. 14: 34), then…|
|One Week||7 Days||7 Years|
|One Month||30 Days||30 Years|
|One Year||360 Days||360 Years (see Appx. 2)|
We are going to start with a timeline that gives us a clue as to when the starting point for some major timelines lie and to prove that our understanding of timelines is correct.
‘Seventy weeks have been declared 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. 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….” Daniel 9: 24-27
This passage was spoken by the angel Gabriel to Daniel so it comes straight from heaven.
Gabriel was saying that the Hebrews and the city of Jerusalem had 70 weeks, or 490 years (7 days per week multiplied by 70 weeks equals 490 years), of probation left to straighten out and start keeping their side of the bargain they had made with God way back when God brought them out of Egypt. The start of the probation period would begin when a decree was issued allowing the Hebrews to “restore and rebuild” the city of Jerusalem.
It was not long after the Medo-Persians conquered the Babylonians that many of the Hebrews were allowed to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed.
Jerusalem with orders that, in part, called for Ezra to organize the city so it could rule itself independently while still being part of the Persian Empire. Ezra was to appoint magistrates and judges and was to ensure the carrying out of the king’s laws. (Ezra 7: 25, 26) Although the decree from Artaxerxes did not specifically say that the city of Jerusalem was to be rebuilt, Ezra and the rest of the Hebrews knew the orders they held implied the rebuilding. How else was a city to function without buildings for the government, the courts, etc? So Artaxerxes’ decree “restored” Jerusalem to the Hebrews and they began to “rebuild” the city in 457 BCE.