Three Angels' Messages Part 28

            Thanks for joining us as we continue to explore the Three Angels’ Messages, found in Revelation 14. In the first angel’s message we find the phrase found “The hour of His judgment has come,” and we’ve been seeing how the prophecies of Daniel tell us when the pre-advent judgment began in heaven. Sir Isaac Newton, who actually wrote more about Bible prophecy than science, referred to the prophecy of Daniel 9 as the “foundation stone of the Christian religion.”
             To review once more, we need to connect three chapters within the book of Daniel in order to discover the beginning, and therefore, the end of this time period. Daniel 7 gives us a view of this heavenly judgment, but doesn’t tell us when it starts. Daniel 8 gives us a time period, but doesn’t tell us when it begins. Daniel 9 gives us a beginning point, as well as some helpful “markers” to confirm that we’re on the right track.
            Last time we noted the content and structure of Gabriel’s explanation, found in Daniel 9:23-27, seeing how beautifully it depicts the arrival of the Messiah and outlines His work, including His being “cut off,” or dying on the cross in the middle of that last, or 70th week of the first part of the larger 2300-day/year prophecy. We’ve seen that the beginning point of 457 B.C. is established by history, that the restoring of Jerusalem commenced, including the rebuilding of the wall, all in perfect timing with the divine timeline.
            This prophecy, correctly understood, would pinpoint the arrival of the Messiah and identify His mission, as well as corroborate the reliability of the 2300 day/year prophecy, which alerts us as to the beginning of the heavenly pre-advent judgment, an event which human eyes would not see. Because it would be invisible to our eyes, the Lord graciously provided “markers” along the timeline so that we could be sure that at the end, the heavenly judgment would indeed begin.
            With all this valuable information, you wouldn’t expect Satan to stand by idly and do nothing, would you? No, the devil was ready to attack this prophecy, not once, but twice! Regarding such an important prophecy, serving both to anchor the date of the beginning of the 2300 day/year prophecy as well as provide valuable markers along the pathway of time, including insightful information concerning the mission of the Messiah, you would not expect Satan to stand idly by. No indeed! The 70-week prophecy provided far too much precious material for God’s people. Satan attacked the 490-year prophecy. He attacked it; not once but twice.
            Along with material relating to the restoration of the ruined Jerusalem, the information given by Gabriel provided a time-line by which the coming of the Messiah could be ascertained. And so it was that John the Baptist came preaching, “The time is fulfilled.” Mark 1:15. In that era there was a general expectancy that the Messiah’s approach was near. We’re told that Simeon, who saw the Baby Jesus at His dedication, was one who was “waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Luke 2:25, 26. From the prophecy given by Daniel, they knew that the time of the Messiah’s coming was near!
            Shortly after Christ’s ministry on earth, questioning Jews quizzed their rabbis about the prophecy of Daniel 9. Could the humble Galilean Teacher, the miracle-working preacher, actually be the true Messiah? Tired and frustrated by the clarity of the prophecy and the evidences of Jesus’ divinity, the priests pronounced a curse on anyone who tried to identify the date of the Messiah’s coming by means of the prophecy of Daniel 9. Talmud Sanhedrin 97b, Soncino ed., p. 659.
            In “Has Messiah Come” Avram Yehoshua says, “A most amazing thing occurs in the ninth chapter of Daniel: we’re told when Messiah would come. But instead of explaining it to us, our Rabbis curse anyone wanting to find it out: ‘Rabbi Samuel b. Nachmani said in the name (of) Rabbi Jonathan: “Blasted be the bones of those who calculate the end.”’ Some of our Rabbis, in a further attempt to keep us from Daniel, even state that Daniel was wrong.”
            Alfred Edersheim was a noted scholar in both Judaism and the Talmud who later accept Jesus as the Messiah and authored several books. He wrote, “later Rabbinism, which, naturally enough, could not find its way through the Messianic prophecies of the book, declared that even Daniel was mistaken.” Edersheim, The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah, p. 957.
            Satan was at work to hinder the work of God by obscuring what He had clearly revealed in the prophetic Word. The prayer of Daniel and the explanations of Gabriel were made of none effect by those who claimed to be skillful in the Scriptures and qualified to teach them. Incredible! Incredible that it would happen centuries ago, obscuring the identity of the Messiah and His mission to die; incredible that it would happen again and obscure not only the mission of Christ’s death, but His high priestly ministry as well!
            But the devil was not satisfied with attacking the prophecy just once. This prophecy spoke to Christ’s sacrificial and His mediatorial ministry, both indispensable functions. Since Satan’s attack against the prophecy 20 centuries ago worked so well, obscuring Christ’s death on the cross, he decided to attack it again, the result of which would detract from Jesus’ role as Mediator in the heavenly sanctuary.
How did this second attack on Daniel 9 come about? Relatively speaking, it is a newcomer to the arena of theological interpretation. It has gained traction only in the last century or so. Before that, the beautiful, harmonious and symmetrical understanding of the scope of the 70 “weeks” of Daniel was the “standard” interpretation accepted by virtually all the Protestant reformers. It has been only in recent times that another radically different view has been advanced regarding the 70 “weeks.” This alternate interpretation has taken such deep root that now it is embraced by almost all of Christianity! The devil’s second attack against Daniel 9 has been even more effective than his first one!
            While the Scriptures present a picture of the 70 weeks that is intact and whole, highlighting the mission of the Messiah in His sacrificial death and the tragic departure from the position of favor held by the Jewish nation, all of which nail down the certainty of the larger 2300 year prophecy, today a different analysis of this prophecy is given which radically shifts its contents and meaning. As shocking as it may seem, today it is taught by most theologians and assumed by most Christians that the last week of the seventy is separated from the other 69 weeks and shoved off until the end of time. However, there is absolutely no biblical justification for so doing! Who put the scissors into the hands of these theologians?
            We’ll give more study to this second attack by the devil against the 70-week prophecy next time. Join us then, won’t you?

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