The Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle
10-8-17 Daniel 9:24-27 Lesson 38
Good morning everybody. Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 9 and verse 27. People are saying not again, well, I am hoping, God willing, we can finish the Seventy Weeks Prophecy today. And if we do that we will have done it in five weeks; it took us five weeks to study seventy weeks; sometimes it’s the opposite, right. But this is such an important prophecy it’s hard to just skate over it so I wanted to give you as comprehensive a picture of it as I knew how to give.
The title of our message this morning is The Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle. And I love putting together puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, especially when there’s a box top that tells me what the puzzle is supposed to look like when it’s finished; otherwise it’s very frustrating. And once you get a couple of key pieces to fall into place the rest of the puzzle starts to kind of assemble itself almost naturally. And that’s really what Daniel 9:27 is; it’s a piece of the puzzle that many Christians are missing in their view of the end. But once that puzzle piece comes into focus everything else seems to fit nicely into place.
And so we have been studying for the past four weeks the Seventy Weeds Prophecy. To help us understand this we’ve broken it down into ten parts. We said, number 1, the focus of the prophecy is who? The nation of Israel, Daniel 9:24, “Seventy weeks have been decreed 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.” We said, number 2, the prophecy consists of a time period of how many years? 490, seventy sevens. Seventy sevens have been decreed for your people and your city Daniel. It’s equivalent to a watch that has 490 years on it; we have a start button, a pause button and a stop button in this prophecy, just as you would in a typical watch; it’s just this watch is not a 60 minute watch, it’s a 490 year watch.
And we’ve talked about how each year of the prophecy consists of 360 days and why that’s significant. And then we’ve also talked about number 4, what’s going to happen when the 490 year clock runs its course. Well, very clearly it will be the establishment of the millennial kingdom upon the earth. That’s an important point that we’ll be returning to shortly.
Number 5, we talked about when this clock started. It’s my conviction that the watch started, and I’ve given you the reasons for this, on March 5, 444 B.C., about a hundred years or so after Daniel had left the scene there was an event that transpired in Nehemiah 2 where Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah permission to return and rebuild the walls around the city of Jerusalem and it’s at that point that the divine finger pushed the start button and the 490 years begin to run. When you look at Nehemiah 2:1 and the date that’s given you can document this March 5, 444 B.C.
Number 6, once that point is reached there will tick off exactly 483 years between that event and Palm Sunday when Jesus presented His Messianic credentials to the nation of Israel. There would be, according to the prophecy, verse 25, sixty-nine sevens or 483 years; if you want to be real technical about it 173,880 days would elapse between the decree of Artaxerxes and the Messianic presentation of Jesus Christ on Palm Sunday. [Daniel 9:25, “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.”]
And then the prophecy would run until Palm Sunday and the moment we hit Palm Sunday and it’s very clear that the nation of Israel is going to reject her King is the moment the divine finger moves off of the start button, which it had been on for 483 years and moved to the pause button. And the divine finger has been on that pause button for the last 2,000 years, because there is, as we have tried to explain, a gap of time lasting 2,000 years or more, in between the end of verse 26 and the beginning of verse 27. And we’ve given the reasons for that gap in a sermon that we did a few weeks ago called The God of the Gaps.
And what is happening in that gap? Well, you’re looking at it right here; you’re looking at it in this church, you’re looking at it in churches all around the country. You’re looking at it in churches all around the world. There’s a body of Christ at work where the Lord today is not fulfilling His promises to Israel but He’s doing a new work through a new man called the church of Jesus Christ or the body of Christ.
And yet we know prophetically that the body of Christ, as wonderful as it is, was never intended by God to be a permanent earthly reality. At some point the body of Christ will be made complete; they very last Gentile that’s destined to come into the church will come in through faith alone in Christ alone and it’s at that point the rapture of the church will occur. And then perhaps not too long afterwards the Lord, who has not forgotten this time clock, will put His finger from the pause button back onto the start button and the final seven years of the prophecy will elapse. Because we’ve also studied that there are 7 years left on this prophecy, 490 total, 483 elapsed, 7 future years remaining with a gap in between the end of the 483rd year but before the beginning of the 484th year.
And we moved on to fact number 9 which is an explanation of that final seven years which is found there in verse 27. Daniel 9:27, which was read earlier, is an overview of the future. [Daniel 9:27, ““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; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”] It’s the future in microcosm form.
In fact, if you understand Daniel 9:27 you know exactly what this future seven year period is going to be like. The verse says, [“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; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”] And we walked through that prophecy last week and we saw four important things.
Number 1, the tribulation period will be seven years. We would have no awareness of this if it weren’t for that verse, verse 27. We know what starts it. We know exactly what will start it; it will be a peace treaty between the antichrist and unbelieving Israel. In fact, you know exactly what’s going to happen directly in the middle of it; in the middle of the seventy the beast or the antichrist who has guaranteed up to this point Israel’s survival will betray the Jewish people by replicating what one of their villains in history has already done. He will desecrate the temple! He will go into the temple, he will tell the Jews no more Scripture, no more sacrifices, and he will actually set up, as we saw last week, a pagan image in the temple. And yet that will be the seminal event, the strategic event, the key event which shakes the confidence of the nation Israel in the systems of man from the systems of man to God and God alone.
Prophetically that is yet future for Israel and yet in a certain sense that’s what God is doing with all of us, isn’t He? You can detect the movement of God and the hand of God in your life because He is always trying to shake us away from this world, having confidence in the wrong thing to confidence in Him and Him alone. And even people that are saved need to learn this lesson because we are to walk by faith; our natural proclivity is to walk by sight and so God begins to shape things underneath our feet that we once trusted in. This is a knocking down that is yet future for the nation of Israel yet it’s consistent with God’s pattern in all of our lives.
And then we saw that the event which will conclude the seven year period will be the return of Jesus Christ, not in the rapture which will have preceded these seven years, but in the Second Advent of Christ at the end of the seven years when He returns to this earth, His feet will touch the Mount of Olives; the Mount of Olives will split in two and He will establish His long-awaited earthly kingdom. And frankly I can’t wait for that to happen.
Here is what Daniel 9:27 looks like in graphic form; you see the length, the beginning, the middle and the ending. And one of the things I didn’t have a chance to communicate last week and I’d like to go this direction this morning is the fact that if you understand these events you begin to understand what is happening in the current world. You begin to understand why things seem to be moving in the direction that they’re moving. Largely what is happening in our world, and only the Christian who gives attention to Bible prophecy can understand this, is that the Lord is setting the stage for the fulfillment of these events.
These events are not right now occurring but it’s so obvious that the Creator’s hand is in our world, active in our world, setting the stage for these events much as you would set the proper table or the proper pieces of a chess board for a chess game. You can’t have a chess game unless the table is arranged correctly beforehand. In the same way you can’t have the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27 without God moving His hand in our world to set the stage. Now this is not date setting because I don’t know how much longer the stage setting will continue but I think there are very obvious things happening today that a rational person could look at and say that’s the hand of God.
And it’s so important to have this point of view because the person that doesn’t have the Bible in their thoughts or their mind can’t make sense of this world. The only thing they’re left with is tragedies, kind of like the tragedy that we saw recently in Las Vegas, 58 dead, what was it, over 500, something to that extent, injured. Your average person without the Bible just can’t make sense of something like that and where is God in the whole thing? And I don’t know if I have an answer to things like that tragic shooting but what comforts me in the midst of it is knowing that God has not abandoned this world; this world is not careening out of control like we think it is. In fact, God’s hand is moving in the world, and history is moving in a particular direction and God is even taking great evil and atrocities in our world and using them for His glory.
So how is our world being set up for the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27. I just want to share with you very quickly this morning four things that to me are, as the kids say, the millennials say, Captain Obvious, Obvious with a capital O.
The first is the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948. Now remember last week, what starts this seven year count? He, antichrist, makes a firm covenant with the many, unbelieving Israel, for one week, or for seven years. We defended that last time. Well how can that happen unless you have an unbelieving Israel in existence as a nation to make a treaty with? And one of the tremendous things that’s happened in our general time period, in our general generation which prior generations never saw is the miraculous rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948. What you have to understand is the nation of Israel is dispersed from its homeland just 40 years after the time of Christ, in A.D. 70. And they went into worldwide dispersion in what is called the diaspora.
And as even as we talked about a little bit in Sunday School this morning it seems so crazy that God would fulfill, literally, His Word concerning Israel during that 2000 year diaspora period. Well, all of a sudden May 14, 1948 in what is called the War of Independence the nation of Israel goes right back, 2,000 years later into the very land that they were evicted from 2,000 years earlier. And beloved, that has Never, something like this has NEVER, with a capital N, Never happened before. Never do you see a nation removed from its land only to go back into that same land 2,000 years later.
As I’ve said many times from this pulpit, the sociologists are very clear that once a nation is removed from its land for a period of time they cease to exist as a culture; they lose their ethnicity, in some cases they lose their language. They lose their religion because once they’re out of their land for a few generations they assimilate into the host’s culture. And the question I like to ask to communicate this point is how many Jebusites do you know? You know the Bible mentions the Jebusites, the Amalekites, the Girgashites, the electric lights… the out of sights… the mosquito bites, the termites. [laughter] What happened to all these people; I mean, they’re mentioned in the Bible, aren’t they, right alongside Israel!
Well what happened to them is what happens to any group removed from its land—they assimilate. And yet it is nothing short of a miracle that the Jewish people are outside of their land, not for a generation or two but for two thousand years and they go right back into that same land two thousand years later with their language intact, their religion intact or untouched, their culture intact. And people today are saying I wish God would do some miracles today. Every time you pick up the newspaper and you see a functioning nation of Israel in the Middle East that is an absolute miracle of God. Any time you look at a Jewish person you’re looking at a modern day miracle.
John Walvoord, the great prophecy scholar put it this way, “Of the many peculiar phenomena which characterize the present generation, few events can claim equal significance as far as Biblical prophecy is concerned with that of the return of Israel to their land. It constitutes a preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the Lord for His church, and the fulfillment of Israel’s prophetic destiny.” [Israel in Prophecy, Page 26]
William Blackstone wrote a book called Jesus is Coming in 1908. Now 1908 is an interesting year, isn’t it? That’s forty years before Israel became a nation again. And in this particular book he, like many others who were laughed at and ridiculed said you know what, in order for all these prophecies to be true Israel’s got to come back nationally and occupy her land again. And he wrote these words forty years before Israel was restored to their land. He says: “Israel is God’s sun dial. If anyone desires to know our place in God’s chronology, our position in the great march of events, look at Israel.” [Jesus Is Coming: God’s Hope for a Restless World (New York: F.H. Revell, 1908; reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989), 238.]
What is Israel? Israel is the timepiece of God. I understand the fact that they’re not regenerated at the present time but the hand of God is obviously on this nation so that they can, in unbelief, enter into the peace treaty with the antichrist. You can’t have that peace treaty in existence as Daniel 9:27 specifically says without a functioning nation of Israel. [Daniel 9:27 (NASB) “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; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]
What else do you have to have for this Daniel 9:27 occurrence of events to manifest itself. Well, you have to have Israel’s desire for peace, don’t you? What does Daniel 9:27 again predict. “And he” that’s the antichrist, “will make a firm covenant with the many” that’s Israel, “for one week,” well how in the world can you have that unless Israel is in a psychology where she is needing peace. She has to be in a psychological state or an emotional state where she is reaching out to this country over here or that country over there for some sort of promise of peace, perhaps giving up part of her land in exchange for a promise of peace. That mindset has to exist in order for Daniel 9:27 to transpire.
May I just say to you that almost every time you open up your newspaper you will see this same mindset at work; Israel wants to enter into a peace treaty with Jordan, or Egypt, or the European Union or the United Nations, or anybody that will guarantee our existence nationally. Because what is Israel at the end of the day? She is a tiny nation fighting for her existence amongst a sea of Islamic dictatorships which are threatening to drive her into the Mediterranean Sea. That green area there is Islamic territory; that little tiny dot, you probably can’t even see it, it’s in red, I had to put a little marker there with an arrow just so you can see it, is Israel. Of course a nation like this wants a peace treaty and this is the very thing that Daniel, in the sixth century B.C. said would exist.
Here’s another map showing how tiny Israel is, about the size of Rhode Island, about the size of New Jersey and look at where she is in comparison to the rest of the world. Look at the nations that are aligning themselves to come against Israel in the last days. Wouldn’t you say a nation like this is hungry for a peace treaty? A nation like this that doesn’t understand that their security is in Jesus Christ, they’ll understand that as the events of the tribulation unfold but at the entry level they don’t even acknowledge Christ as their security so they want somebody, something, to help them.
You know, a lot of people today are trying to… and you get this from the news, they don’t give you any sense of geography, they don’t give you any sense of history, they’re trying to what I like to say transform David into Goliath. You listen to the news you would think that Israel is the bad guy, Israel is the aggressor, Israel is the stealer, the usurper and it’s just a matter of looking at a map to see that that can’t be true. Israel’s neighbors and twenty-one; Israel is one nation. Israel’s neighbors are 640 times her size; Israel is about 1/19th the size of California. Israel’s neighbors consist of 250 million people intimately connected with 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide. Israel is a tiny nation of 6 million, probably 13 million Jews worldwide. Israel, by the way, is the only functioning democracy or republic in that part of the world. Every one of these other nations that I highlighted are a dictatorship theocracy. Israel is the only nation in that whole region that has any resemblance to the type of government that we experience today in the United States, a democratic republic.
Israel’s neighbors control most of the world’s oil supply. Israel may be potentially, and I use the word “potential” sitting on top of some oil discoveries. Israel’s neighbors have a very limited desire to live in peace with her; in fact, they say over and over again (when they’re not in America fooling American politicians) what they say in their own language over and over again is this ambition to drive Israel into the sea. In fact, it’s in many of their charters, the destruction of Israel. Perhaps the exceptions might be Egypt and Jordan but by and large the nations have no desire to live alongside Israel. Their idea of peace is not p-e-a-c-e, it’s p-i-e-c-e, a piece of this and a piece of that until you don’t exist anymore. And yet Israel, unlike all of these neighbors desire to live at peace with her neighbors.
The nation of Israel is controlled by the Torah which promises a tiny strip of land off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Her neighbors are controlled by the Quran which commands worldwide submission in what they call caliphate. Even here in the United States I hope everybody understands this, that the goal of Islam is not to peacefully coexist in the United States; the agenda is to pass Sharia Law and impose that on the population. You say well how do you know that? That’s what they do everywhere. I’m not against Muslims, what I’m against is Islam as a… not just a religion, people look at it as just a religion, it is a geopolitical movement on equal par with Marxism itself in its quest for worldwide dominion. And if you don’t believe what I say about it we’re going to have a guest speaker here in March, Shahram Hadian, who will educate us further on that. But this idea that Israel is somehow the usurper, the aggressor, is silly when we get some facts on the table.
So there has to be a rebirth of Israel; check, got that one. There has to be a Jewish nation in unbelief desiring for peace; check, got that one. What else does there have to be? There has to be, according to Daniel 9:27, a desire amongst the Jews to rebuild a third Jewish temple. How can I say that with such dogmatism? Because it’s right there in the passage. It says, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week” exactly three and a half years into it, “he” that’s the antichrist, “will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate….”
We studied last week how that expression, “abomination of desolation” has a meaning; it refers to a man going into the functioning rebuilt Jewish temple, telling the Jews no more sacrifices in this temple, and setting up a pagan image in the temple itself. Now how can that prophecy happen unless you have a functioning temple? It’s so obvious, isn’t it?
And yet what do you see today? You see a growing desire amongst the Jews for the rebuilding of what is called the third temple. There are in Israel four temples total; two historical, two future. The first was the Solomonic temple which was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The second was the temple that was rebuilt by the exiles and the returnees following the return from captivity following the time period of Daniel. The temple was destroyed, number two, by the Romans in A.D. 70. And from A. D. 70 onward for the last 2,000 years the nation of Israel has not had a functioning temple. And yet was does Bible prophecy tell us, Daniel 9:27? That this third temple, probably built, I would think, out of nationalistic pride, built by unbelieving Jews without a knowledge of Jesus, that that temple must be up, it must be functioning, it must be fully in operation in order for Daniel 9:27 to be fulfilled.
By the way, that third temple is not just predicted in Daniel 9:27, it’s predicted in three New Testament passages: Matthew 24:15, quoting Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Revelation 11:1-2. Not once, not twice, not three times but four times your Bible, inspired by the Spirit of God who is omniscient says there has to be a third temple. And I’m looking here at temple number 3.
How interesting it is that Daniel had this vision about the temple in 538 B.C. How do you know it’s 538 B.C.? Go back about twenty sermon series to when we were in Daniel 9:1-2, I said the year is 538. Didn’t I say that? [Daniel 9:1-2, “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.”] Just dust off the cobwebs and you’ll remember that.
And that year, 538 is a big deal because when Daniel had this prophecy of the seventy weeks there was no temple. Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed temple number 1 and yet what is Daniel doing in this prophecy? Daniel is predicting temple number 3, verse27, temple number 2, verse 26, and temple number 4, the millennial temple which we haven’t necessarily got to yet, verse 24. In other words, Daniel, during a time when temple 1 had been destroyed, is, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, predicting a second temple, which the Romans destroyed, verses 26; a third temple that we’re reading about here, verse 27, that the antichrist will desecrate. And temple number 4, verse 24, a millennial temple which the prophet Ezekiel describes in great detail. This is an astounding thing that we’re seeing here. This is why dates and chronology and understanding all of these boring charts that I put up, these actually become a big deal. There’s actually a method to some of my madness.
And so we are living after the destruction of temple 2, waiting for temple 3 to be rebuilt. Now when you go to Israel, not “if”, “when” I would invite you to take a trip to Israel but even if you don’t you’re going there anyway because you’re going to rule the world from there for a thousand years so one way or another you’re going to get over there. When you go to Israel, when you go to the city of Jerusalem one of the places they take you, I’ve been there twice, is the Temple Institute.
There’s myself and my wife (beauty and the beast) standing there in front of the Temple Institute. Now they wouldn’t let us take pictures inside so I had to take all my pictures outside. Now Dr. Randall Price, he took pictures anyway so he’s sort of a rebel against authority, I was being submissive to the laws of the land (I just wanted to make note of that). This is from the internet, at least the right hand picture is. They have inside the Temple Mount Institute which I’ve seen with my own eyes, a caricature of what the third temple is going to be like; the measurements, its color, its texture. In fact, if you move over to the left there you see a giant menorah. Now this is big, the picture doesn’t pick this up, we did get a picture of that when we were there; it’s made of pure gold. It’s of a weight of such enormous proportions that it takes several people to move this. That is the menorah that will exist in temple number 3 very near the Temple Mount Institute.
And it’s so eerie walking through this building and seeing these plans so carefully laid because you realize that what is happening is the Jewish people are not functioning with the light of the New Testament and without even knowing it they’re building a temple for the antichrist for he will betray them in that temple as we have talked about. Here’s another picture of the pure gold Menorah, to exist in this third temple. Another picture, perhaps a little bit better one of this third temple and what it’s going to look like.
The priestly garbs are picked out. What the priests are going to carry, what the priests are going to wear is all laid out in the Temple Mount Institute in Jerusalem. There’s just one little problem… what’s called the Dome of the Rock, some call it the Mosque of Omar, Allah Aqsa Mosque. One of the holy sites in Islam, a place where Mohammed allegedly ascended back to Allah. And you say to these guides, well, what are you going to do about that, because that artifact sits on what is believed is the Temple Mount. And you talk to them and they act like oh, that’s no problem at all, they don’t give you the answer, they’re just not sweating it. I’m sweating it because if you tamper with that you’re probably going cause the next world war.
But it is interesting that some believe that the Temple Mount is underneath that giant artifact. Others, archeologists like Asher Kaufman who published an article in Biblical Archeological Review, indicated that the Solomonic temple is not exactly underneath that artifact in Islam. I don’t know who’s right; the only thing I know with any degree of precision is that halfway through the tribulation period the Jewish temple will be functioning. Maybe it will be built adjacent to this artifact in Islam. Maybe this artifact will be replaced. Maybe that’s how the antichrist catapults his way to power is he resolves this dispute. I have a sneaking suspicion, I can’t be dogmatic on it, that both artifacts will be functioning within the tribulation period itself.
And somehow the antichrist brokers what is called the art of the deal, seals the deal. And this, of course, is every politician’s dream to solve this, to figure this out. Any President that comes on the scene, the current administration, administrations yet past, they all want to go down in history as the person that gets this thing solved. I don’t think it’s solvable from a human point of view. I think someone is going to have to come upon the scene, following the rapture of the church, with a level of charisma that is extraordinary; in fact, it’s satanically induced or caused, and he’ll fix this problem, get this thing to move or get the Jewish temple to function right alongside this artifact in Islam.
Now my wife and I went to the city of Jerusalem in 1998 and this is a time period when we were allowed up onto this area and it was actually our honeymoon and we were holding hands on our honeymoon, which is allowed, amen. And all of a sudden we heard an Islamic voice, one of the guards, don’t touch holy site, and I thought don’t touch what? Don’t touch the walls, don’t touch the paint job? What he was saying was don’t touch each other because in Islam this is holy ground, as misguided as the Islamic belief system is that is their deep seated belief; it’s where Mohammed allegedly ascended back to Allah on a stead. Do you know what the stead’s name was? I can’t make this stuff up folks; the stead’s name was Barack. I can’t make this stuff up!
And somehow this has to be adjusted, this has to be moved, or maybe it just stays in place so the Jewish temple can be rebuilt. Somehow, some way this Jewish temple is going to be rebuilt. Will it be rebuilt this side of the rapture? I don’t know, I don’t have any real proof of that. I just know that at some point some way somehow the Jewish temple must be functioning because the prophecies of Daniel 9 and verse 27 cannot be fulfilled without that Jewish temple in business. [Daniel 9:27, “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; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]
Should this temple emerge before the rapture I would say this: pack your bags, we’re going home real quick. I have a feeling, I don’t know this for sure, but these things will come into existence once the man of sin comes upon the scene, this satanically empowered antichrist who is able to negotiate the art of the deal. Every politician’s dream! The problem that the State Department worries about constantly is the one I’m talking about here. Peaceful coexistence between these two great religious systems, Judaism on the one end of the stick and Islam on the other.
So what do we have to have? Rebirth of Israel in 1948—check, got that one. Israel’s desire for peace—check, got that one. There has to be a desire among some Jews to rebuild the third Jewish temple—check, got that one. You understand that God has given this generation more evidence of his return than any other generation that has ever existed? And the most frustrating thing to watch is as the stage is so obviously being set you can’t even get churches today that teach prophecy. Why is that? Because they’re afraid it’s going to scare people; they’re afraid it’s going to divide people. Well guess what folks: truth divides; that’s what it does. That’s its nature. People that don’t interpret these things literally aren’t going to feel comfortable in this church. But my job is never to make people feel comfortable; it’s to teach the truth!
We are living on borrowed time. I’m not a date-setter nor the son of a date-setter but you have to understand that every moment you have in your life is there as a grace gift from God. There is no guarantee you’re going to have today or tomorrow. The rapture could occur before this sermon is even over… some of you may be praying for that to happen. [laughter] Borrowed time, it’s like looking at the hour glass and the sand is running out and you watch that hour glass and the sand at the very end is just ready to elapse and be finally poured out, just a few grains remain. That is the time period that we’re living in.
And this is not to get weird and withdraw from life; it’s to get serious about God. That’s what all of these things do, they get you serious about evangelism, they get you serious about holy living because we could hear the trumpet sound and be face to face with our Creator and stand before the Lord at the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ, which is yet coming as well, where we will be either rewarded or not rewarded based on deeds done in the body. Did we allow the Lord to glorify Himself through our lives during our brief sojourn on earth or did we squander it and waste it in fleshly pursuits? What gets you into heaven is faith alone in Christ alone. That’s settled if you are a Bible-believing Christian, if you’ve placed your faith in Christ. The issue of rewards or lack thereof is being determined right now based on the choices you’re making today. It’s that way for your life, it’s that way for my life, and that’s what a knowledge of prophetic events do, the nearness of them.
Well, if all of this is true and the antichrist is going to walk into the rebuilt Jewish temple and put an end to sacrifices taking place in that temple then there must not only be a third Jewish temple on the horizon but that temple itself must be the home of what? Animal sacrifices. How do you put an end to animal sacrifices as Daniel 9:27 says unless the Jews in the temple are offering animal sacrifices? What does Daniel 9:27 again say? “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” what? “sacrifice and grain offering;” how do you put a stop to something that’s not happening? How do you go into a temple that doesn’t exist? How do you make a peace treaty with a nation that doesn’t want a peace treaty? How do you make a peace treaty with a nation that doesn’t exist. You see, this is logical here.
The Lord Jesus Christ, when He came into this world the first time was not just dropped cavalierly, willy-nilly into the world at just any old time; the stage was set. You can study it very carefully what God did with the Greek language in place, one of the richest dialects known to man, to record the revelation of God’s Son. That stage was set during the time of Alexander the Great, three centuries before Christ showed up. And then the Greek language stayed in place despite the conquest of Rome but the Roman Empire itself, with its Pax Romana, universal peace, it’s universal roads. You’ve heard the expression, all roads lead where? To Rome. That was the hand of God that set that up . Why? So that when Jesus shed His blood and rose from the dead and the church started the whole infrastructure was in place to transport the gospel.
God set the stage for the first coming of Christ, is it that far afield to assume that he is also setting the stage for the second coming of Christ. How is He doing that? Through what we’re talking about here, there has to be not just a Jewish nation in unbelief wanting peace; there has to not just be a temple in place, but the temple has to be functioning with sacrifices. You’re dealing with people who don’t have the light of the New Testament. They don’t have the Book of Hebrews, they don’t understand that sacrifices are gone in the finished work of Christ. You’re dealing with a mindset that has no concept of those things so they want the animal sacrifices to come back.
Now some of you are saying you don’t really believe that do you? You don’t REALLY believe that they’re going to offer sacrifices again in the nation of Israel do you? Of course that’s what I believe because that’s what the Bible says. Times of Israel, April 6, 2017, entitled, “In first, sheep slaughtered in Jerusalem Old City in reenactment of Passover sacrifice.” Here’s an excerpt from the article. Look at the year, it’s not that dated, just a little earlier this year, with (quote) “with priests blowing silver trumpets, a group of religious Jews slaughtered a sheep on Thursday in Jerusalem’s old city to demonstrate the traditional pascal sacrifice” watch this, “the first time such an enactment has been held inside the city walls in 2,000 years.”
I look at something like this, in fact, I was in Australia and I was with a prophecy minded group, I didn’t even know this had happened, they told me about it and I said can you send me the article, which they did, a reputable source, Times of Israel. Do you realize that if W. E. Blackstone, the guy I quoted earlier, who predicted the rebirth of the State of Israel forty years before it happened, do you realize that if W. E. Blackstone had read this article he probably would have been so excited he would have dropped dead, the poor guy, of a heart attack. This to me is exciting! And the state of the church is we don’t care. I just hear spiritual snoring, I hear all of these misguided sermons about how people are trying to bring in the kingdom. I hear sermon after sermon from very popular people talking about how to improve your business, how to improve your life, how to make yourself happy, and yet the prophetic Word of God is jumping right off the pages and the church of Jesus Christ, to a large extent, with some few exceptions, could quite frankly really care less. And yet God, through these things, I believe, is screaming to this generation.
May God help us to understand these things: Rebirth of the State of Israel, 1948. Check! Israel’s desire for peace. Check! The desire amongst some Jews to rebuild the third Jewish temple. Check! Desire among some Jews to restore the sacrificial system. Check! And that today was supposed to be my introduction. I was really going to spend time on number 10 which I won’t do today, and maybe the rapture will occur between now and then and you won’t have to hear it anyway. Amen.
So the next time we’re together I want to get into number 10 and I want to show you that Daniel 9:27, which is being set up right now as I speak, is in microcosm what the Book of Revelation is about. Daniel 9:27 is the movie in black and white; Revelation 6-19 is the same movie but in color. Daniel 9:27 is the basement; Revelation 6-19 is the ceiling. And see, the problem is people, to understand the end are starting with the Book of Revelation instead of starting where we are starting, with the foundation. Most people don’t have this foundation and so they’re confused about all sorts of things in the Book of Revelation. And yet when you start with the right foundation the Book of Revelation will naturally find its logical normal theological orbit, I’d better stop preaching because I’m stealing from next week’s sermon.
You know, if you’re here today and you really don’t know if you’re listening and you really don’t know about this Jesus thing, here’s the deal: Jesus is coming back whether you’re ready or not. At any minute the Creator can move into human history and fulfill His word… ANY moment! And the great question of a person’s life is are you ready for that event or not. How do you get ready? The thing you do is you trust in the gospel that has been given. The gospel means good news, it’s good news because all of the pain, all of the agony, all of the payment for sin has been done. We are not trusting in the works we do to be right with God because Jesus did the work on our behalf. That’s the gospel. The Gospel is you receive what He has done as a free gift. And the Spirit of God has come into the world to convict the world of their need to do this.
And people need to do that or they’re going to miss the rapture and they’re going to be plunged into the greatest time of human suffering the world has ever seen, where the wrath of God is going to be poured out on this earth in an unprecedented way with just the same reality that the Noahic flood, after 120 years of Noah’s faithful preaching, finally broke forth. It’s like water… and we know about this from our recent flood situation, it’s like water building behind the breaker or the damn that’s ready to give way at any minute. That’s the condition of our world! And the only reason it hasn’t broken yet is because of the grace of God.
Now if you miss the rapture because you’re an unbeliever you might be saying to yourself well, I’ll still have a chance in the tribulation, and I’m of the view that you still will but why go that route? I’m a path of least resistance guy; why not take the path of least resistance and just trust in the Lord and be removed from the earth before this whole thing happens. I mean, if that’s not an incentive to get saved today I don’t know what is. As the Spirit places you under conviction trust in what Jesus has done, trust only in that and you are given the protection of being exempted, according to the Scripture, from the wrath of God.
Now those of you that are saved, what kind of secret sins are you committing? What kind of secret sins am I committing. What kinds of things are we doing in a carnal unsanctified way where we just think nobody knows and nobody cares, I’m getting away with it. Right? Is that how you want to stand before the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ? Or do you want to have victory over that private area of your life, and not, as 1 John says, shrink away at His appearing. We don’t want to be like that; we want to, as 1 Peter 1:11 says we want to enter the kingdom abundantly supplied. [1 Peter 1:11, “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.”]
I don’t want to be that guy in 1 Corinthians 3:15 who gets in but he smells the smoke on his garments. I want to get in abundantly supplied, having consecrated under God’s power my life to God and hearing the expression “well done” what? “thy good and faithful servant.” Oh yeah, all Christians are going to be in heaven, that’s guaranteed but whether you hear that expression or not coming from the voice of the One who both created and redeemed you is not a guarantee. It’s based on choices we’re making now under His power.
The prophetic Word of God alerts us to the need to get saved; those of us that are saved it alerts us to the fact that this is the time in your life where you really need to be living for Jesus Christ. If the Holy Spirit has put on your heart to do a ministry my advice is to do it because you may not have that opportunity tomorrow. If the Holy Spirit has placed on your heart to evangelize such and such a person then you’d better do it because you may not have that opportunity forever.
If the Holy Spirit has placed you under conviction and says this choice or lifestyle behavior needs to go so I can replace it with something better, then you’d better listen because prophecy tells us we don’t always have the opportunities in the future that we presume are there. Paul, the apostle, in Romans 13, talks about the need to work while it’s still day. And Jesus also, work while it’s still day because the night is coming in which no man can work. That’s what a knowledge of the seventy weeks does; it’s not just to fill out charts and get the chronology down and get all the arguments down. This is here by God, by the design of God to alter the lives of His people and to get the unsaved saved. Shall we pray.
Father, we are grateful for Daniel 9:27 even though we’re still not finished with the verse help us to understand these things, like the men of Issachar who understood the times and knew what to do as a result, I Chronicles 12:32. Make us like those men of Issachar as we here at Sugar Land Bible Church give our minds to prophetic subjects in the Book of Daniel. We will be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen!
[1 Chronicles 12:32, “Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.”]