-Daniel Chapter 9-a “The 69 Weeks”

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Some Say the Antichrist Has Already Come

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Famous Failures of Prophetic Interpretation

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Alexander the Great comes to Jerusalem

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Daniel Chapter 8 preview

The Government?

Pres ObamaI don’t usually like to write about secular and especially political things. But the other side of the coin is that many, if not most people, are largely concerned with secular and political “affairs of this life”. (II Timothy 2:4) So I’m going to share something here that’s mainly going to go against the grain of modern American Christian thinking. Because so very much talk by Christians now here in America is about how very bad our government is and how very bad our society is.

From one perspective, it’s refreshing in some ways because for generations Christians here were some of the most “Pollyanna” pro-American society folks you could find. But now so many Christians can hardly start a conversation without cursing the President and our government, saying they think this is about as bad as it can get.

You think America right now is really bad? Let me tell you about my experiences abroad for 36 years. I have utterly no regrets concerning my calling as a Christian missionary. But I can tell you, as much as I love the countries I’ve lived in and the people I’ve ministered to, the things I’ve seen and experienced can make me really appreciate the things that are in the USA right now.

Let’s say your house catches on fire. I lived 5 years in a wonderful country where, if your house is on fire, you will negotiate in your front yard with the fire department for how much you’ll pay to save your house while it burns down behind you. This was just business as usual and how it was done.

They’re doing good: pencils and paper! So many don’t have that. And it’s 60 students, sitting on the floor.

They’re doing good: pencils and paper! So many don’t have that. And it’s 60 students, sitting on the floor.

I’ve lived in at least 3 countries, large, famous “third world” countries where, if you’re an adult with children and you had any money at all, the first thing you did was put your children into private schools. The government schools in those countries, I won’t name them, were so utterly failing that it was virtually a curse to your children if you let them go to government school.

You make $3 a day to support your family.

You make $3 a day to support your family.

You as the bread winner make $3 a day. You, your wife and kids live in a two room house. You, your wife and kids ride on your 125 cc motor scooter, all 5 of you, as you wind through traffic in the capital of 20 million, but you actually are definitely middle class. And your goal is to get your kids into private school so they can get some kind of education.

American house

Lower middle class in America

How does that compare to us living here in the US? Makes you feel you have it pretty good? Many, if not most folks here, live in a house with 3 bedrooms, two baths, a front yard and a back yard, and probably you’ve got two cars. You’ve got TVs, cell phones and all the things that “normal people” have here. But that would be in the upper 1% of so many countries worldwide. But it’s virtually lower middle class here. And yet we often complain about our society and government and think we’re really suffering.

A sin often mentioned as grieving God in the Bible was murmuring. “Neither murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” (I Corinthians 10:10) Griping, belly aching; we’re all prone to it. But it seems to be rife today among Christians, especially towards our government. Many seem to think that the democratically elected officials of this county are all that’s standing in the way of this nation’s greatness. As if changing the political party in power is what’s needed for God’s blessings to be poured out on the nation.

Working in Denmark, I drew minimum wage and still paid 50% income tax.

Working in Denmark, I drew minimum wage and still paid 50% income tax.

On the other hand, I’ve lived in “Post Christian” quasi-socialist societies in Northern and Western Europe where I had a job for a while and drew minimum wages at that job. Nevertheless I paid 50% taxes on that income as that was the minimum tax rate in that country. And yet virtually no one in that country complains about the tax rate or hardly even the government. They feel they have it pretty good and the society at large has agreed to that level of taxes. Almost all Americans pay way below 50% taxes. But it’s probably the single most  harped on issue that’s the source of unhappiness for so many Americans. We here virtually have a heart attack about the taxes we pay and make that the center of our conversations and focus in life.

The point is, for my American Christians friends, we have it really pretty good. Many now look forward to what they expect to see soon: a complete breakdown of law and order in the USA and a police state imposed after the collapse of American society and government. Maybe that will happen; I wouldn’t be real surprised.

I ate beans-flattenedBut you may come to wish that you had the days we have right now, with a government that’s trying to maintain law and order, schools that children can go to, a President that is flawed but sincere and trying, institutions that were set up over 200 years ago which have been the envy of the world since that time.

There’s a lot that is wrong here. But on the other hand, there’s really a lot that’s not as bad as others have it. And yet so many Christians bad mouth, complain and go on and on with how bad we think it is and how bad our leaders are.

Maybe some of them are. The gridlock in our government has been really disturbing and concerning. But constantly complaining and leading the charge of negativity and hatefulness should not be the place of godly Christians. “Let no corrupt communication proceed forth out of your mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)

We’ve got a lot to be thankful for. The day may soon come when we look back to these times as absolute days of heaven which will never be able to return. I suggest we count our blessings, including our government, and stay busy trying to bring souls to Him, rather than being constantly heard to be a fountain of negativity about our lot and our society.

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  (Philippians 4:8)

It could be worse. It is in so many places around the world. It may very well be that way here before long. May we all count our blessings while we have them and not be heard to gripe and complain.

Text to “The Last 7 Years” video

[This is the text to the video “Daniel 9:27—The Last 7 Years”. To view this video, click here. Also, this blog post is longer than normal.]

 

D9b video text post headingHi again, I’m Mark. This video is going to be different from the ones I’ve done before. All the videos I’ve done till now have mostly been about prophecies that have been fulfilled. This one is going to be about prophecies yet to be fulfilled. Also, we’ll mainly be focusing on just one verse, the last verse in Daniel chapter 9.

You might wonder why a whole video would be centered around one verse. Well, we’re first going to have a short review of what we’ve seen already in Daniel chapter 9. That way, we’ll see how much prophecy is still to be fulfilled in this last verse in the chapter. At the beginning of the chapter, we found Daniel reading the prophecies of Jeremiah which predicted a 70 year captivity for the Jewish people who’d been carried away to Babylon. Daniel had read in Jeremiah 29:10,For thus says the LORD, After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.”

Daniel hands raised for D9  blog postAnd then we read that Daniel was moved to pray a very heartfelt prayer to God, for the Lord to forgive the Jews and for Him to fulfill His Word. While praying, Daniel had a visitation from the angel Gabriel who touched Daniel and then began to give him one of the most significant prophecies in the Bible. Gabriel told Daniel, “Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24)

Gabriel told Daniel of a mysterious “70 weeks” “to make an end of sins”, “to bring in everlasting righteousness”. In our last class, we saw how that this “70 weeks” spoken of here is not what we would think of in our times. The meaning seventy weeks was “70 sevens of years”. And we saw this “70 weeks” was speaking about a period of 490 years.

I’m going over this somewhat quickly and you may want to review the class that was done before this if you have questions here. After Gabriel told Daniel about the 70 weeks, he broke this down and spoke of a period of “69 weeks”, 483 prophetic years. This was to be the period of time between “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” and “Messiah the prince.”

the commandment to rebuild for D9 blog postThe commandment to restore Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes in 444 BC and Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in 33 AD. We saw in our class that the length of time between these two periods, “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” and “Messiah the Prince”, amounted to “69 weeks”, 483 prophetic years, just as Gabriel had said would happen. [For an explanation of “prophetic years”, go to the text of the previous class on Daniel, about “The 69 Weeks” which can be read here.]

Going further, the prophecy said that “after” “Messiah shall be cut off”, Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed again. This happened in 70 AD. But we still haven’t come to the conclusion of this prophecy. The 69 weeks of this prophecy were fulfilled at the crucifixion of Jesus. But Gabriel’s prophecy of 70 weeks, 490 years, to bring in everlasting righteousness hasn’t happened yet. There’s still one “week” left. One last 7 year period is yet to be fulfilled in this prophecy in order to bring in God’s Kingdom on earth.

And that brings us to Daniel 9:27. But this is such a key verse; it’s fundamental to most of the prophetic verses in the Bible which are still not yet fulfilled. So I think at this point we should take a brief review of the chapters we’ve studied up till now. Because, in each of those chapters, we found things that are not yet fulfilled. And each one of those parts is an integral component, a piece of the picture that Daniel 9:27 is going to help us put together.

In Daniel chapter 2, we found Daniel as a young teenage who’d been carried away to Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had dreamed a dream that he couldn’t remember. In his fury the king commanded to kill all the wise men of Babylon and Daniel was in training to be one of those. After he prayed desperately, God revealed the secret of the king’s dream to Daniel.

Dan & Neb for D9 postSo Daniel went before the king to tell him his dream. The king had seen a statue with a head of gold, arms of silver, a belly of brass, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. Then in his dream the king saw a stone which hit the statue on its feet so that the whole statue crumbled to dust and was blown away. And the stone became a great mountain that filled the earth. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the head of gold was his kingdom of Babylon. After him would come another kingdom, then a third and then a fourth. We now know from history that those coming kingdoms represented Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.

But here’s the part that’s really for us in this class. What did that strange stone represent when it hit the statue, causing it to crumble to dust, and then the stone became a great mountain that filled the earth? What was that? Here is Daniel’s explanation of this to Nebuchadnezzar. “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

The 4 beasts of Daniel 7

The 4 beasts of Daniel 7

Those kingdoms that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream have come and gone. But that final kingdom, the coming kingdom of God on earth has not yet happened. Then, many years later Daniel himself had a similar vision, but different. In Daniel’s vision in chapter 7 he saw 4 beasts rising out of the sea: a lion, a bear, a 4 headed leopard and then a great and dreadful beast. These four represented the same 4 kingdoms, seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream decades earlier.

But we’ve found that each prophetic chapter builds on the revelations of the previous prophetic chapter and then also introduces important new elements of the future to come. In Daniel 7 we were first told of “the little horn”, the future endtime dictator that’s spoken of more clearly in Daniel 8 and then also in the book of Revelation. It says of this “little horn” (Daniel 7:8) …“he shall speak great words against the most high” and “shall wear out the saints of the most high.” And a length of time was given for this period. “They shall be given into his hand …for a time, times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25).

But Daniel 7 also, like chapter 2, had a happy ending. Verse 27 ended the angel’s explanation to Daniel when he said, “And the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the most high, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

[This blog post is longer than average ones. To continue reading this article, click on “Continue reading” below this text here.]

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Mighty Angels

mighty angels first scene-flatttenedWhat I’m going to tell you here is the truth. But it might be hard to believe. I’m pretty sure this is the most supernatural experience I’ve ever had, at least when I was wide awake and on my feet.

In an earlier blog post I told you about “That’s not how to talk about Jesus.”, during a time in the early 70’s when I was witnessing daily at or near the University of California at Berkley campus. This is something that happened during that time there. My friends and I would daily take our “hippy bus” that we’d converted into something like a mobile coffee house and drive to a place near the Berkley campus. witnessing Jesus Rev 1

We’d break up into teams of two, like when Jesus sent his disciples out “two by two” (Mark 6:7). Then everyone would be off with their guitars and Bibles, witnessing to the students as well as the thousands of drop-outs and travelers that were everywhere around there at that time.

Since I was already one of the “older ones” in the Lord, as well as already being into my 20’s, I was the one who stayed back with the bus to take care of it, as well as to pass out sandwiches to anyone who came up and asked for one.

So this “person” came up to me. He seemed to be around my age and size. He had long red hair and a red plaid shirt. So far, so good; right? No big deal. But next I’m going to have to do some explaining. Because things quickly got different from anything I ever experienced, before or after that.

guardian-angelsFirst, let me give you a verse that is important. We are “sealed by the Holy Ghost” (Ephesians 1:13). Someone may attack us physically and even hurt us, if God allows that. The devil can tempt us mightily. But the plain spiritual truth is that we are now the Lord’s, if you are one of His. We belong to a mighty God and no one can enter into our spirits and souls, except of course the Lord Himself. Or one of His messengers.

I started talking with this “guy” and rather quickly things got very different. I’ll try to explain it but it may not be as clear as you’d like. Of course we were speaking English. But what happened was that this being, also speaking English, had such weight, depth and significance in what he said that it was like I was quickly being taken by an elevator up into much higher levels of spirituality. I would say something and then he would respond. But each time, what he said dwarfed what I had said, leading our conversation into depths of spiritually that are hard to describe.

glowing angelI probably should have written down every single thing I could remember from the experience, immediately after it was over. Sadly I didn’t do that. But the impact of it all was so overwhelming that I might not have even been able to do that.

After our conversation went on for a little bit, basically it got to where it transcended language and English. I guess we were speaking English but our communication was on a higher, more heavenly level than normal English can transmit. And actually, this was all more than a little bit disconcerting. Basically I was facing a being that was much more powerful than me, which could get through any kind of defense or normal ways of man that I might throw up.

I had faced demon-possessed people before and I’d had some spiritual experiences of different kinds. So I was aware at the time that this was an extremely spiritual experience I was having there in the parking lot. There was some fear on my part. But at the same time I could tell and feel that this being was benign, not malevolent. And the fact that basically it was able to get past everything of me and to be speaking and interacting with my innermost soul and spirit was disturbing and a little scary. I guess if I’d wanted to, I could have run off. I was not forced to be there. But basically what ended up happening can only be described as some kind of energy transfer.

He didn’t look like this. But this is what he was.

He didn’t look like this. But this is what he was.

This angel was very serious and sober. It’s a shame I don’t have anything I wrote down from that experience but back then I didn’t know I should do that. But my strongest remembrance of the experience was that it was like he reached out, gripped my soul and spirit and just sent a strong surge of spirit and energy into me.

The message, if there was one, was that I’d been shown and knew a lot. And that I was very accountable. That I should be very sober and should very much “walk worthy” (Ephesians 4:1) of all that had been shown me and done for me. It wasn’t that this angel was mad at me. But it was just an extremely sober, serious moment and the presence of the fear of God and the knowledge of how important all of this is was just immense.

In many ways, words kind of fail me to be able to describe this experience much more than this. It was in broad daylight in a parking lot near the Berkley campus. I felt like that “being” could have tossed me 100 feet in the air or struck me dead on the spot if that had been his will. Also, I guess it’s like another blog post I wrote “Fear God“, where I talked about the verse “the fear of the Lord is clean”. (Psalm 19:9)

I was afraid. But there was nothing destructive happening with this. If anything was destroyed, it was my shallowness, wavering or anything other that just utter commitment to serving the Lord. I guess I wasn’t thinking that I was shallow or wavering at that time. But the Lord wanted to really strongly impress upon me the imperative of commitment and focus to put Him and His will first.

Actually I was in the first weeks of getting ready to move abroad, to Europe to be a missionary there. So maybe this visitation was a strengthening and sobering message and experience from the Lord to prepare me for the times and battles to come as I left my home country to be a missionary abroad.

It was almost like an umbilical cord. This guy never touched me but he didn’t have to. His spirit and words got passed my mind and my own spirit and just infused me with a warning, with power, with spirit and with thoughts I can’t even put into English. It’s a little like it was pictured in the movie “Matrix” where the Keanu Reeves character, Neo, got a link into his neck and got a data transfer of knowledge. Except in this case, it was real, it was face to face and it was like the angel’s spirit infused my spirit and soul with things of the Lord that I can’t really explain as well as I would like.

mighty angels second scene-flattenedAnd then he left. I was ok, very shaken up but all the better for it. I’ve never had an experience like that again. I’ve had one or two other angel experiences, I’ve shared some of those in these posts and I’ll try to tell about the others. I know, if I was someone reading this post, I might be tempted to think that guy is lying or just making this up. But I’m not.

Angels are out there. “The angel of the Lord camps round about them that fear Him and delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7) They’re there to keep us on the straight and narrow for the Lord. But it’s all not even really easy to write about as it just is above our normal experiences so much that the words used don’t seem equal to the experience.

 

Good news from the Middle East

Iraq refugee campThis is the first time I’ve made a news item the main substance of a blog post. But this article so struck me as good news, as well as an antidote to what I feel has been so much fear and terror that’s been spread on Christian web sites in response to recent events in the Middle East.

So this is a great article for the fear mongers and terror advocates. God’s not dead or even sick! It’s not all beheadings and terror in the Middle East. Here are Christians witnessing and singing, worshiping and bringing others to Him, even during their personal “great tribulation”!

For many Christians here in the West, they teach and believe that the Church will be waft away before the “great tribulation” (Mathew 24:21). But the Lord didn’t rapture out these suffering Middle Eastern Christians and we won’t be raptured out either, at least not the way many teach and believe.

This is a great article to show that “they that understand among the people shall instruct many.” “They shall be strong and do exploits”, (Daniel 11:32 & 33) even during great tribulation. I’d already been hearing this news from my missionary friends who have been in those places for decades. This article shows that there are those there who are standing up for Him, as more of us will be someday in similar circumstances.

This was found on the web site www.breakingchristiannews.com. I don’t know these folks and I don’t know what they believe. But it’s great that they are letting us know about these victories for Him as this Middle Eastern Christians stand strong for Him. Here’s the article:

Despite ISIS Grip, Holy Spirit is at Work:

Tent Churches Emerge in Iraqi Refugee Camps

Christian Aid Staff: Sep 12, 2014: Christian Aid Mission

“They asked us if God even exists for this to be allowed to happen. It was very difficult, but the Lord has given us grace in their sight to represent Jesus and the love of the work, which was shown to be wonderfully accepted among the Yazidis. They asked us to come back and took all our Bibles ‘in secret.'”

Iraq Christian aidIn the Kurdish area of Iraq, where people of different beliefs fled atrocities of the Islamic State (ISIS), the Iraqi ministry team supported by Christian Aid Mission found people in need of water, food and medicine.

Fatima, an Iraqi woman who fled atrocities committed by the Islamic State, was drawn to the sound of singing in a tent in a refugee camp in Dohuk, in the Kurdish region of Iraq. She approached cautiously.

Though embarrassed when the Christians worshiping inside saw her, she came closer and asked if she could enter and listen to what they were saying. By the time the meeting finished at 4 AM, she was on her way to embracing Christ as Savior and asked if she could bring friends and family to the next meeting.

Fatima, her husband and three daughters put their trust in Jesus for their salvation, and within a few weeks her involvement led to another 60 families making the same commitment, according to an area ministry leader supported by Christian Aid Mission.

“Tent churches are going on everywhere,” said the ministry leader. “Last week we had 68 families openly surrender their lives to the Lord. With all their large needs and difficult situations that they are going through, they thank God for the indwelling of Christ in their hearts. Twelve of those families were Muslims.” In addition, 200 children who received Bibles and coloring materials prayed to accept Jesus into their hearts.

Broken Hearts
Near Amerli, which Islamic State fighters besieged for more than two months before Kurdish and Iraqi forces aided by US warplanes drove them out on Sept. 1, the ministry leader’s team encountered people in need of water, food and medicine. In a visit with a group of families able to escape before the ISIS siege, the team found opportunity to meet both spiritual and physical needs. “The Lord gave us many souls who believed in Christ there,” the team leader said.

In northern Erbil, the leader’s team met with displaced Yazidis, a predominantly Kurdish ethnic group practicing a mix of Zoroastrian, Islamic, and Christian rituals, who suffered the slaughter of an estimated 500 of their members at the hands of ISIS. Some 130,000 Yazidis of Sinjar had fled to Irbil or farther north to Dohuk. “Our ministry to them was filled with tears and broken hearts to hear scary stories about abducted children and women and the slaughter of men,” the team leader said.

The Iraqi ministry team has prepared 2,000 Bibles, including those for children, plus 2,500 New Testaments in Arabic, Aramaic and Kurdish, along with tracts and Bible-based coloring books.

Iraq mattreses“We have a lot more that is needed, such as gas, workers’ support, radios, clothing and miscellaneous ministry items,” the team leader said.

Christian Aid Mission is helping the ministry to provide two kinds of food to Iraq’s internally displaced people – one for those who have cooking facilities, and another for those who are homeless. A box containing eggs, salt, oil, rice, cheese, beef, tomato paste, powdered milk, macaroni and bread costs $25. For 300 tents for small families, the cost comes to $7,500.

The team provides 800 sandwiches a day to different areas and groups at a cost of $2 per sandwich, which amounts to a weekly cost of $11,200. The ministry has borrowed sleeping bags and mattresses from a local store with the hope of repaying the merchants at $20 per mattress. “Four hundred mattresses cost $8,000, and we are almost out,” the leader said.

The ministry team also provides medicines for blood pressure, diabetes, headaches and stomach ailments, along with personal hygiene items. “Our goal was to provide $10,000 worth. We are starting with only $2,000 now,” he said. “Thank you so much for your prayers and support.”

For more information on indigenous Iraqi ministries, visit ChristianAid.org or see #HelpLocalIraq on Twitter.