Judgment - Part 1

Scripture: Daniel 8:, Daniel 9:, Ezekiel 4:6
This broadcast discusses Daniel 8 & 9 and the Great Judgment Day. No one can escape the judgment. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The longest time prophecy in the Bible tells about some amazing predictions of the future and the judgment.
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Daniel in the Old Testament. It has to do with the greatest and the most inevitable event in all the world's history, the great judgment day. Not a soul among us can escape the judgment. Rich and poor, small and great must all stand together before the judgment seat of Christ. In connection with this subject, we want to consider today the longest time prophecy in all the Scriptures, containing some amazing predictions about the future.

When Daniel received his vision of Chapter 8, he was a captive in the mighty city of Babylon. A few years earlier Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had besieged the city of Jerusalem and carried away many of its young men as slaves or war captives. For several years Daniel had been a captive there in Babylon, but he was highly respected as one of the wisest men of the kingdom. As a Jew he was naturally concerned about the desolation of the Holy City, Jerusalem. He was especially anxious about the sanctuary because it had been left in ruins so that the services could no longer be conducted there. He yearned for the time when the temple could be rebuilt once again. Of course it had been told through the prophet Jeremiah that after 70 years the Jews would be able to go back and actually establish themselves again in their own city.

While he was thinking upon this subject, Daniel had a vision in which God revealed some of the events of the future. He was shown a ram with two great horns standing by the River Ulai. One horn was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. This ram pushed in all directions and gained mastery over all the other beasts. No one was able to stand before him. Then suddenly a he-goat came from the west with great speed and ran into the ram with great fury. The he-goat had a notable horn between his eyes, according to the description in the Bible, and in his anger he broke the horns of the ram and cast him down to the ground and stamped upon him. Daniel 8:8 tells us the next development; "Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven."

Now this was the first part of the vision of Daniel and he could not understand the meaning of it, of course. But God sent the angel Gabriel to explain what those things really meant. Daniel 8:20, 21 tells us in the words of the angel speaking to Daniel: "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king." Now friends, here's a perfect example of how the Bible explains itself. We don't have to guess as to the identity of these two beasts or whom they symbolize. The angel Gabriel told Daniel just exactly who was represented by the two animals. From these words Daniel understood that Babylon would be overthrown by the Medo-Persians and that Greece would then come along and defeat Medo-Persia. The great horn of the goat represented Alexander, the first king of that nation. When he was young and strong Alexander died in a drunken debauch and his kingdom was divided among his four leading generals, represented in this vision by the four horns which came up afterward. We're not guessing at these things for they're all given to us clearly in the Bible itself.

Even though these events were of interest to Daniel, he was most interested in the second part of the vision as recorded in Daniel 8:13, 14: "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Now anything that had to do with the sanctuary of Jerusalem was very close to the heart of the Hebrew prophet. The thought that the sanctuary would be established once more and that the Day of Atonement would be observed again among his people was a thrilling thought to Daniel. He waited for the angel Gabriel to explain that part of the vision to him but in verse 26 Daniel was told, "And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: (this referring to the twenty-three evenings and mornings) - wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days." In other words, the angel was not going to tell him the meaning of that part of the vision which had to do with the twenty-three hundred days, at the end of which the sanctuary was to be cleansed. When he realized that he would not be able to understand about this part of it and the cleansing of that sanctuary, Daniel became sick with disappointment. Verse 27 says, "And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it."

But Daniel did not give up the idea that it might be revealed to him because he began to pray in the next chapter, Chapter 9, confessing the sins of the people and asking God to give him light on that sanctuary question. Notice his words here, and by the way, the whole prayer is contained in that chapter, but in verse 17 we break right into the middle of the prayer. Here is what Daniel is saying, "Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake." Somehow this earnest prayer entered into the ears of God and He sent Gabriel once more to explain the rest of that vision to Daniel. Before he had finished his prayer, Gabriel appeared at his side and told him that he had come to give him understanding.

Notice how he brought Daniel's mind back to that earlier vision. He said, "Therefore understand the matter and consider the vision." Verse 23. So Daniel focused his mind once more upon the vision, and recalled the prophecies about that twenty-three hundred days. Gabriel said, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins." Verse 24. Now that word "determined" actually means in the Hebrew "cut off," so he said then that seventy weeks of that time of the twenty-three hundred days would be cut off and assigned to the Jewish people, to Daniel's own people. For what reason? "To make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to annoint the most Holy." In other words, it was a time of probation, assigned to the Jewish people to see what they would do with the Messiah when He would appear.

Now right at this point we should understand the principle of prophetic interpretation. In prophetic reckoning a day stands for a year. Let's read a text on that to be absolutely certain of our ground. In Ezekiel 4:6 God said to His prophet, "I have appointed thee each day for a year." Now this is not true in history or narrative or anything except in the prophecies of the Bible, a day stands for a year there; it always will. So this twenty-three hundred days, then, would actually represent twenty-three hundred years. And seventy weeks of this twenty-three hundred day period were to be assigned to the Jewish people, or to the Jewish nation. In that period they were to fill up their cup of iniquity by the rejection of the Messiah.

But now we must determine when the twenty-three hundred years began. Only then can we hope to understand the events during that period. In verse 25 we get the answer, "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks." Now here is the beginning date, friends, which coincides with the going forth of the commandment to restore Jerusalem. Can we find when that decree did go forth? Yes, the Bible makes it very clear and actually gives the words of the decree itself. The Persian king Artaxerxes sent out that decree in the year 457 B.C. You'll find that decree in Ezra 7:11-13. We'll read it: "Now this is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord and of his statutes to Israel. Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, . . . and at such a time, I make a decree that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee." Please notice the date right there beside the text, there's no date more fully established in all the Old Testament Scriptures than this, it's 457 B.C.

Now since this point is the beginning of the twenty-three hundred days or years, we can immediately cut off seventy weeks of that time for the Jewish period of probation. Now how much is seventy weeks, how many days? Seven times seventy is four hundred and ninety days, so that would be actually 490 years, a day for a year. So cutting off 490 years from the 2300 years beginning in 457, brings us down to the year 34 A.D., and in that year Stephen was stoned as a climax of the opposition of the Jews to the gospel of Christ. In that year Paul began his ministry to the Gentiles because the Jews had sealed their rejection of the Messiah.

Next, according to the prophecy, there would be a period of seven weeks and three score and two weeks from the beginning date until the appearance of the Messiah. So, if we count down 69 weeks beginning from 457, that's the point of beginning. If we begin there and count 69 weeks, which is actually, of course, 482 days or years, we are brought to the year 27 A.D. What happened in that year according to the prophecy? The Messiah was to appear! And sure enough, at that very time, in that very year, Jesus was baptized by John in the River Jordan. Now the word "Messiah" actually means "the anointed," and it was at His baptism that Jesus was anointed by the descent of the Holy Spirit. That event took place at a specific time according to the words of Scripture. In Mark 1:15 we read about John preaching and he said that "The time is fulfilled," showing that something should take place because of the fulfillment of a specified period; and that was the fulfillment of the prophecy that would bring one right down to the appearance of the Messiah. The Anointed One, the Messiah, did come in the baptism of Jesus in the year 27 A.D.

Now please notice that the 69 weeks or 483 years brings us down to 27 A.D., but that still leaves one week of time before the rejection of the Jews at the end of seventy weeks. In other words, we've got 69 weeks to the appearance of the Messiah, and 70 weeks would bring us to the end of the period of probation for the Jews; so during that 70th week something very important was to happen. According to verse 26, the Messiah was to be cut off, but not for Himself. Then verse 27 states, "In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." And in the exact center of that last week, friends, just 3 1/2 years from His baptism, Jesus was cut off and crucified, bringing an end to the sacrificial system. The veil in the temple was rent in twain to signify that there should be no more typical offerings. Jesus died in 31 A.D., leaving another 3 1/2 for the Jews to seal their rejection of the gospel. In 34 A.D. Paul turned to the Gentiles, and the full 70 weeks was completed. In Judgment - Part #2, we'll take up our study at this point and find out what happened in 1844, to fulfill the cleansing of the sanctuary. This is a fascinating subject, friends. Your eternal interests are involved in this subject.

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