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Monday, May 6, 2013

Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks # 8

In concluding this discussion, one more question should be considered. Does the prophecy of Daniel shed any light at all upon the nature of our present age which lies between the Sixty-ninth and Seventieth Weeks? The material is scarce but very significant. The rather amazing thing is that in all this vast chasm of over nineteen centuries, Daniel identifies clearly only two events: the death of Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem. Outside and beyond these two events, he mentions nothing. All the pomp and glory and boasted achievements of the so-called Christian era are passed over with complete silence. There is something very humbling about this silence, if we have eyes to see. "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

But if the prophet mentions specifically only two events, he does not altogether ignore the general character of the age. Sweeping through our centuries of "progress" with the eye of divine inspiration, he sums up the whole period in two statements, very startling for their ominous brevity. The first is: "Unto the end shall be war." And the second is: "Desolations are determined". The first statement seems to declare the abysmal failure of unregenerate man apart from God, while the second affirms the decree of a sovereign God to permit the failure and use it for His own wise and holy ends. From these two statements, we may learn some valuable lessons.

In the first place, there will be war on earth among men until the Lord returns. Of course, there are some modern prophets who think otherwise, but we shall do well to stick by Daniel in these matters. As a prophet, he has an established reputation. Over two thousand years ago Daniel said that "unto the end shall be war," and no one can deny the accuracy of his prediction thus far. Any prophet who has been right for two thousand years is worth listening to. Let the other prophets establish their reputations before asking us to follow their prognostications. Of course, Daniel's prophecy does not mean that all efforts against war in the present age are futile. It is a matter of common knowledge that some threatened wars have been stopped in the past, and doubtless others in the future can be stopped. Such efforts are worthwhile. But the point is, no matter how successful the nations may be in avoiding a war here and there, we are to remember that no permanent peace can come to this sinful world till the Prince of Peace comes down to earth again in glory. "Unto the end shall be war." We may not like the prophecy; it may humble our rebellious pride; but God hath spoken.

The other lesson is still more important! The God of heaven is in control over the events of this sinful age of ours. If war continues to the end, bringing destruction and desolations, we are not to forget that these "desolations are determined." man is responsible for his failure, but man's failure never takes God by surprise. What man does, God has determined. The present age, even at its worst, is not running out of control. An infinite God sits upon the throne of Providence, and He always has the last word in human history. And through all the mystery and confusion of human failure, the great providential formula holds good: "Ye meant evil ... but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20).

The Seventieth Week, and The Coming of the Roman Prince

In Part I of this exposition, it was shown that the first Sixty-nine of the Seventy Weeks of prophetic years began on March 14, 445 B.C., with the issuing of King Artaxerxe's decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8); and that the period ended on April 6 32 A.D., when our Lord rode up to Jerusalem on the foal of an ass presenting Himself as the King of Israel (Luke 19:28-44) exactly 69 sevens of years (483) to the very day. In Part II, it was established that the Seventieth Week did not follow the Sixty-ninth immediately, but that between the Sixty-ninth and the Seventieth Weeks thee is a vast gap of uncharted time which has already extended over nineteen hundred years, and therefore the Seventieth Week of years is still in the future. Coming now to an investigation of this Seventieth Week and its events, it will be necessary to reproduce only the last two verses of the prophecy, which as before are given as they appear in the King James version with the exception of a few changes taken from the American Standard Revised version and indicated by brackets:

26. And after [the] threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, [and shall have nothing]: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, [and even unto the end shall be war]; desolations are determined.

27. And he shall [make a firm covenant] with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; [and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate].

Now, the reader should notice carefully that in these verses of the prophecy there are two different princes mentioned: first, "Messiah the Prince"; and second, "the price that shall come." The expression "prince that shall come" cannot possibly refer to "Messiah, the Prince" for the simple reason that it is "the people of the prince that shall come" who are to destroy Jerusalem after the death of Messiah. And since it is now a matter of history that Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Roman people, not by the Jewish people, it follows that "the prince that shall come" cannot be the Jewish Messiah but is some great prince who will arise out of the Roman Empire.

Furthermore, we need not speculate about the identity of this coming Roman prince. He is the well-known "little horn" of the seventh chapter of Daniel, with "eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things," the king "more stout than his fellows," who rises swiftly among the ten kings of the Revived Roman Empire of the end-time, and who for a brief season shall wield almost unlimited power over the nations of the world. His well-known identity is undoubtedly one reason why in chapter nine he is referred to simply as "the prince that shall come." For those who had read the great vision of chapter seven, no further identification would be needed. This same prince is, in my judgment, also the "king of fierce [strong] countenance" of chapter eight, the willful king of chapter eleven, the "man of sin" of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the beast "out of the sea" of Revelation 13:1; the last great persecutor of Israel, satan's false Christ, before whom all the world shall do homage whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life. A dark and sinister figure he is, whose ominous shadow falls constantly upon the pages of divine prophecy, until he comes to his fearful doom in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:20).

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 9)

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