In the book The Last Trumpet: The Mystery of God is Finished and a New Age Begins, author Robert Johnston explores biblical prophecy and the promises of God that relate to the end times. This excerpt is from chapter 2.
Now I have come to make you understand what is to befall your people in the latter days, for the vision is for [many] days yet to come.
—Daniel 10:14 (AMP)
DANIEL AND HIS people were living as exiles and captives in Babylon because of God’s judgment on them. One day as Daniel lay on his bed, he had a dream that contained visions, and the dream left him weak and pale. He understood that four great beasts, which he had seen in the visions, would rise on the earth. He understood that these four great beasts symbolized four great kings, who would establish their kingdoms and extend them over Daniel’s people. The beasts in the visions were described as follows and were symbolic of the following kingdoms (Dan. 7:4–7):
First Beast—A lion with wings like an eagle. This beast symbolizes the Babylonian Empire, which was in existence at the time of Daniel’s servitude in Babylon.
Second Beast—A bear. This beast symbolizes the Medo-Persian Empire, which was also in existence at the time of Daniel’s vision.
Third Beast—A leopard with four birdlike wings and four heads. This beast symbolizes the Greek Empire, which ruled from about three hundred years before Christ and became an empire divided into four parts.
Fourth Beast—A dreadful, terrifying beast with iron teeth and ten horns. This beast symbolizes the Roman Empire, which started ruling in the first century before Christ and ruled during the days of Christ.
These four kingdoms ruled over Israel from the time of King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon and beyond the time of Christ. The last three of these four kingdoms ruled from about 445 BC when the Jews returned to their homeland from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem. The last (the Roman Empire) also ruled up to and after the date when Jesus was crucified at about AD 38. No one knows the year when Jesus was crucified or exactly how old he was when he was crucified, but this date satisfies most researchers. The date doesn’t really matter because it’s only important to know that Jesus was crucified (cut off from the living) after the 483 years, which the angel Gabriel foretold concerning Daniel’s vision, had expired, (God had given Israel 490 years to fulfill his plan for them—see following).
We can determine that this timing is so based on what Daniel was told about the Messiah as follows:
Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until [the coming of] the Anointed One, a Prince, shall be seven weeks [of years] and sixty-two weeks [of years]. . . . And after the sixty-two weeks [of years] shall the Anointed One be cut off or killed and shall have nothing [and no one] belonging to [and defending Him].
—Daniel 9:25–26 (AMP)
We see from this Scripture that after sixty-nine weeks of years or 483 years (7 x 69 years) the Messiah would be killed. The starting point to count the years is from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. This commandment was given to Nehemiah by King Artaxerxes in Nehemiah 2:1–8. The introduction to the book of Nehemiah in the Amplified Bible says that Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 445 BC.
490 YEARS DECREED FOR ISRAEL
The angel Gabriel also told Daniel that God was going to give the nation of Israel 490 total years to turn from their sins and to bring in everlasting righteousness according to what he had planned for them to do in his covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17:6–8). Gabriel explained,
Seventy weeks [of years, or 490 years] are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city [Jerusalem], to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin, to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin, to bring in everlasting righteousness (permanent moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) to seal up vision and prophecy and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.
—Daniel 9:24 (AMP)
The Jewish people made the full measure of their sin when they rejected Jesus as their Messiah, which happened in the 483rd year of the above decree when Jesus was crucified. They have only seven years remaining in the decree in which “to purge away sin and make expiation and reconciliation for sin, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.” The decree was put on hold at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, and seven years remain to fulfill the decree.
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