A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 17 — Spiritual Warfare

Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.”

Daniel 10:20-21

Daniel 10 is one of the most fascinating and foundational passages when it comes to establishing a Biblical understanding of spiritual warfare. As with most of Daniel’s prophecies, we are given a sneak peek behind the veil and what we discover is rather astonishing.

Spiritual principalities at war, fighting for power and dominion in the supernatural realm.

Daniel’s vision reinforces the supernatural context for the spiritual influence and control of the nations. These heavenly princes are just as territorial as the kings of the earth, and ultimately the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places wield power over and determine the course of the nations.

It should be noted that there are several Hebrew words that can be translated prince or ruler, but most of them are used in reference to human rulers. Only one word, however, is predominately used in regard to a supernatural being — the Hebrew word sar [שַׂר] — which is the word used here in Daniel’s vision.

So, from where do these supernatural princes come? I’m glad you asked.

The ORigin of Principalities

“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.”

Deuteronomy 32:8-9

There is One True God — the Most High — who is also known as the LORD — Yahweh — the God of Israel. He is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the Creator of all things in heaven and earth.

The Bible tells us that subsequent to the rebellion at the tower of Babel, the Most High divided up the nations and set their appointed boundaries, and then God apportioned the nations according to the number of the spiritual sons of God. In other words, the LORD temporarily disinherited the rebellions nations and handed the Gentiles over to lesser supernatural rulers — aka the sons of God, princes, lords, rulers, authorities, thrones and dominions.

The short story is that these supernatural princes did not rule according to the principles of justice and mercy but instead became cruel masters who desired glory for themselves and lorded their power over the nations through oppression, darkness, and fear. These rebellious princes became known as the heathen gods of the nations. They have been wreaking havoc on the Gentile nations of the world ever since.

God has taken his place in the divine council;

in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:

“How long will you judge unjustly

and show partiality to the wicked?”…

I said, “You are gods,

sons of the Most High, all of you;

nevertheless, like men you shall die,

and fall like any prince.” 

Psalm 82:1-2, 6-7

“And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.”

Deuteronomy 4:19-20

Daniel’s vision provides a clear reference to warring princes from Persia and Greece, who were contending against Gabriel — a faithful prince to Yahweh — and Michael, who is identified as one of the “chief princes” and who has been placed in authority over God’s people Israel. The supernatural scene reveals Gabriel battling the evil principality over the Persian kingdom for 21 days and then receiving help from the prince of Israel — Michael — before returning to fight against both princes of Persia and Greece.

These spiritual powers are still operating behind the scenes today, pulling the strings, as it were, on the all the nations and their human governments. The sobering reality is that for all the people living within the hostile territories of these evil princes, they are oppressed and blinded by the spiritual forces of darkness. Only those spiritually redeemed and who have received the light and life of the Prince of princes — Jesus Christ — are no longer under spiritual bondage of these wicked rulers.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:12

The Prince of the Power of the Air

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”

Ephesians 2:1-2

Although the various principalities and powers over the nations operate at some level autonomously and independently of one another, I am of the persuasion that there is a chief prince of darkness who is the leader of them all. The angelic realm is highly organized with rank and file, which means that there is a ruler over all the various rebellious powers in the heavenly places.

I do believe this unique prince is Satan — the devil, the ancient serpent — who is the deceiver of the whole world. Let’s take a closer look at Satan’s unique role in the angelic order.

  1. He is known as the prince of the power of the air. [Ephesians 2:1-2]
  2. He is known as the god of this age. [2 Corinthians 4:4]
  3. He is known as Beelzebub — the prince of demons. [Luke 11:14-23]
  4. He is known as the prince of this world. [John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11]
  5. The devil has authority over all the kingdoms of the world. [Luke 4:5-7]

Now that we have a more comprehensive understanding of the origin of these rebellious principalities and rulers in the heavenly places, the mission of Jesus Chris is amplified beyond the natural, earthly perspective into the cosmic realm.

Yeshua — The Prince of princes

“By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.”

Daniel 8:25

Jesus Christ is King of kings, Lord of lords, and Prince of princes. After accomplishing the work of redemption that the Father gave Him to do, He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Power on high — which is the most powerful position of authority in all the universe.

Knowing what we know now about the evil principalities and wicked rulers in the heavenly places, the cosmic mission of Jesus comes into full view. He came to conquer all the forces of evil and has been exalted above them all.

“He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him … See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority … He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

Colossians 1:16, 2:8-10, 15

“That he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”

Ephesians 1:20-21

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. “

1 Peter 3:21-22

Finally, on the Day of the LORD, Jesus will judge all the princes and kings in both heaven and on earth, bringing everything under His rule and reign so that He might be all in all!

“On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth.”

Isaiah 24:21

The wicked principalities and powers who have oppressed the nations for so long will one day be judged by the Prince of princes and Lord of lords, and they will die like men.

Even so — Maranatha!

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 16 — The Prince to Come

“And after the sixty-two weeks, Messiah shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.”

Daniel 9:26

The prophecy of 70 weeks revealed to Daniel is one of the most amazingly accurate and critically important passages in all of Scripture. There is a reason the Lord Jesus specifically referred to Daniel’s prophecy when teaching about the last days and the great tribulation [Matthew 24:15]. Jesus wants us to read and understand Daniel’s prophecy as the foundational text for the end times.

As I’ve demonstrated in my last several posts, Daniel’s 70 weeks = or 490 years = provides a precise timeline not only for when the Messiah would first be revealed and then “cut off,” but also for the determined end of this present age that will transpire over the final week — or 7 years.

With that being said, this prophecy also warns us about another “prince” to come, who is God’s central adversary during this final 7-year period. As noted, there is tremendous debate within the believing community and the arena of scholarly critics about the identity of this “prince.” I will share my interpretation in a moment, but before then, let us simply state how Daniel identifies this prince.

  1. The prince to come will either make, confirm, or strengthen a covenant with “many” for one week — 7 years
  2. The prince to come will lead an invasion and trample the city Jerusalem
  3. The prince to come will cause the offerings and sacrifices in the Temple to cease at the MID POINT of the week (3 1/2 year mark)
  4. The prince to come will destroy/desecrate the sanctuary — the holy Temple
  5. The prince to come shall set up the abomination that causes desolation in the Temple
  6. The prince (desolator) to come will himself be judged and will become desolate in the end

What about 70 A.D.?

One of the biggest areas of controversy surrounding the 70 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy is concerning the Roman invasion and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The preterists — those who believe most if not all of Old Testament prophecy already has been fulfilled in history past — would point to the destruction of Jerusalem as the culmination and fulfillment of the 70 weeks.

This unfortunate interpretation rips the redemptive element of the Day of the LORD away from the Scriptures and ignores God’s promises to restore the fortunes of Jacob and reestablish the Kingdom of Israel in the end. Preterism reinforces the dangerous teaching of replacement theology, which suggests that the LORD divorced and fully rejected Israel in 70 A.D. and replaced her with the “church.” I have many other reasons for rejecting the preterist perspective but will save that for another day.

Furthermore, many dispensational prophecy teachers consider the “people of the prince who is to come” to be the Romans, since it was a Roman legion under Titus that laid siege to Jerusalem and burned the city to the ground. The Roman connection in 70 A.D. is the reason why many believe the final Antichrist — the prince to come — will emerge from Rome or a revived Roman Empire.

I also reject this interpretation for many reasons, which you can read in this earlier post.

Like most prophetic passages, Daniel 9:26 most certainly could have the Roman invasion of 70 A.D. in view as a partial fulfillment and prophetic prefigurement of the final invasion of Israel at the hand of the Antichrist. In other words, 70 A.D. merely was shadow of what is to come.

If you need more than my words, however, let’s hear what Jesus has to say about this future invasion of the “prince to come.” Jesus clearly places the final invasion of Jerusalem as one of most obvious signs that will precede His return in power in glory!

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Luke 21:20-28

Jesus makes the direct connection here to Daniel’s prophecy. Wars and desolations are decreed to the end, until the determined end is poured out on the Antichrist [see Daniel 9:26-27]. Jesus is describing the final, future desolation of Jerusalem — the days of vengeance to fulfill ALL THAT IS WRITTEN!

Antichrist was not revealed in 70 A.D., nor did the Lord Jesus return in power and glory from heaven. The events of 70 A.D., therefore, cannot be the ultimate fulfillment of Daniel 9 or Luke 21.

Who were the People of the Prince To COME?

Finally, I would like to revisit fascinating historical testimony of what happened in 70 A.D. that actually identifies the “people” of the prince who is to come.

It is easy to assume that because Rome was the conquering empire in power during the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, it must have been an army of Italians, or Europeans, who leveled the city and burned the temple to the ground. But history reveals a different story altogether. Rome conquered many different provinces and people groups during its expansion and was forced to recruit these “provincials” to man their armies. 

By the time of A.D. 70, Italian soldiers were reserved for the elite Pretorian Guard, but the rest of Rome’s armies consisted of people from various other ethnic groups on the fringes of the empire. The “provincialization” of the army was true for all of the Roman legions of this time period, and this specifically was the case with regard to the Eastern legions that were used to attack Jerusalem.

Author Joel Richardson points out that the Roman legions had been stationed in Judea, Syria and Egypt and that there was also “a strong contingent of Arabs, who hated the Jews” who accompanied the soldiers. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus confirms this.

“Malchus also, the king of Arabia, sent a thousand horsemen, besides five thousand footmen, the greatest part of which were archers; so that the whole army, including the auxiliaries sent by the kings, as well horsemen and footmen, when all were united together, amounted to sixty thousand” 

(Flavius Josephus, The Complete Works of Josephus, The Wars of the Jews or The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, Book III, Chapter 4, Paragraph 20).

History reveals that over 55,000 soldiers during the siege of Jerusalem were of Middle Eastern descent. As Richardson has said, “that would mean that there was a maximum of one Western European soldier to every eleven Middle Eastern soldiers. Eleven to one! Yet in all likelihood, the ratio was much higher; perhaps closer to twenty to one.”

Furthermore, according to Josephus, it was not the Roman General Titus who ordered the destruction of the Temple, but rather the Middle Eastern provincials under his command who determined to exact their hatred on the Jews. As a matter of fact, these provincial soldiers directly disobeyed the orders of Rome in burning down the temple. 

“Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself might yet he saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire…yet were their passions too hard for the regards they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them, too hard for them also…And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation” 

(Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 6, Chapter 4).

Based on the historical record, we must determine that the “people of the prince to come” spoken of by the prophet Daniel were not Italians from Europe, but rather they were Syrians, Egyptians, and Arabians — provincial soldiers under Roman command — who hated the Jews and delighted in destroying their most holy city. Once we have an accurate view of history, Daniel 9:26 makes complete sense and fits perfectly into the greater Biblical narrative. 

The ethnic people groups who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 are the same people groups who are surrounding Israel today in Muslim majority nations. It only stands to reason that the Antichrist will establish his 10 king coalition from these Muslim nations and revive the ancient Islamic Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire. The stage is set and the pieces are in place for the right leader to unite these nations under the same evil spirit of antichrist that already is at work in the world.

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 15 — The Amazing Precision of Prophecy

“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. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing …”

Daniel 9:25-26

In my last post, I demonstrated how the LORD has decreed 70 weeks of years — or 490 years — to accomplish His prophetic purposes through His people Israel. When revealing the vision to Daniel, the angel Gabriel makes notable divisions in the weeks, which is why most scholars and Bible students interpret the 70 weeks as broken into defined periods of time, not as one continuous interval.

Now within the Christian community, there are many different interpretations of how these divisions are to be understood. Most preterists believe that all 70 weeks have been fulfilled in the past, culminating with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Many futurists also disagree about the interpretation of these divisions, especially in how they are connected to the first advent of Christ. One easily can get lost in the weeds when trying to determine how to calculate years using solar, lunar, or sabbatical measurements and so on.

Granted, this prophecy creates some challenges, and my aim in this post is not to be too technical but simply to explain how I interpret the divisions of the 70 weeks. More than anything, my goal is bring God glory for the precision of His prophetic word!

StartING the Clock

The Issuing of the Decree to Rebuild Jerusalem

Daniel received this vision roughly 100 years prior to the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Biblical historians have identified several candidates for which decree was in view for this prophecy, but only one decree fits the description. The decree of Persian King Artaxerxes (circa 445-444 B.C.) is the only one that specifically called for the rebuilding of the city Jerusalem and its walls. This decree is connected to the ministry of Nehemiah.

So the prophetic clock started when King Artaxerxes gave the command to rebuild Jerusalem in 444 B.C. Gabriel did reveal to Daniel that there would be a division of seven weeks = 49 years = and then another division of 62 weeks = or 434 years.

Many have debated what the first division of 49 years signifies. Some believe it refers to the amount of time required by Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem. Others suggest it is connected to the close of prophetic ministry of the Old Testament.

Either way, to simplify the first part of this prophecy, the clock began at the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem, which triggered the start of 483 prophetic years (49+434=483).

What matters most is that Gabriel gave Daniel a precise timeline for the arrival of the Messiah the Prince. In other words, the long-anticipated Messiah of Israel was predicted to come 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

That is an amazingly precise prediction, and that is precisely what happened.

The Coming of Messiah the Prince

“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.”

Daniel 9:25

As God would have it, the ministry of Yeshua of Nazareth, the Messiah, culminated precisely 483 years after the giving of the decree by Artaxerxes. Most calculations place the exact date of fulfillment at the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem.

  1. The decree from Artaxerxes as recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8,17-18 given on March 5, 444 B.C.
  2. 483 sabbatical years (the first 69 weeks) were fulfilled to the day on March 30, A.D. 33, the date of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (This is 476 years according to the Julian Calendar). Jesus was crucified four days later on April 3, A.D. 33.

Critical scholars and many Jewish scholars scoff at this amazing prophecy because of its accuracy. But one obvious observation remains, if Daniel’s prophecy is correct — which it is! — then the Messiah of Israel should have been revealed somewhere around 30 A.D. Is it mere coincidence that Jesus of Nazareth began His public ministry precisely at this time? If not Jesus, then what other possible candidate fulfills this prophecy?

Daniel’s prophecy most likely explains why there was such a universal expectation for the Messiah when Jesus arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, many of the Jews were expecting the conquering King to deliver Israel from the oppression of the pagan Roman Empire.

But had the Jews simply read Daniel’s prophecy a little closer, they would have learned that not only would Messiah come at this time, but also that He would be cut off — dying not for Himself.


Messiah will be Cut Off

After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

Daniel 9:26 — NIV

Daniel’s prophecy is clear that the advent of Messiah would result in His death. As the King James Version says, “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself.” There is no clearer prophecy in all of Scripture that describes the coming ministry and tragic death of Messiah. Only Jesus Christ fits the profile and fulfills this prophecy. No other figure in the history of the nation of Israel even comes close.

In my next post, I will address the “people of the prince to come,” and I will demonstrate how the “prince” to come is in reference to the Antichrist because of his connection to the abomination of desolation. But for now, I do hold the interpretation that the prophetic clock was put on hold at the death of Christ, which means the final 7 years — Daniel’s 70th Week — is yet future.

Here are my top reasons why I believe this last week has not yet been fulfilled.

  1. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ initiated the times of the Gentiles, as the LORD expanded His reach and extended His saving grace to all nations through the redemptive work of Christ. I have written extensively about this unique “summer” season of grace — read here. The Great Commission will continue until the full measure of the Gentiles is complete [see Luke 21:20-24, Romans 11:25-26]. At that time, the LORD will redirect His attention exclusively to the redemption and restoration of His people Israel.
  2. Jesus and Paul referred to this prophecy in Daniel and the abomination of desolation as the sign of the end of the age, which is yet future. [see Matthew 24:15-29 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8]
  3. The 70th week is a 7 year period, and Daniel is told that the Antichrist will cause the sacrifices to cease and set up the abomination of desolation in the “middle of the week.”
  4. There are multiple prophetic passages that designate 3.5 years as the period of time that Antichrist (little horn) will have authority and God’s people will be persecuted. This timeframe is also given as 1,260 or 1,290 days [Daniel 12:11, Revelation 12:6], 42 months [Revelation 13:5], or times, time, and half a time [Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:14]. Obviously 3.5 is half of 7 years, so I believe that the final prophetic week — the last 7 years — is yet future and will mark the definite end of the age.

Next time I will investigate how Daniel’s 70 weeks relates to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and how the people of the prince to come may not be who you think.

Until then — Maranatha!

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 14 — 70 Sevens are Decreed

“Seventy [sevens] weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.”

Daniel 9:24

The entire Bible is Israel-centric — emphasizing the chosen people of God and the chosen land of God. Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks [Hebrew shabua – שְׁבוּעַ] is no different. God has revealed through this prophecy that all of His purposes and plans for His people will be fulfilled in a determined window of 490 years.

In the same way Daniel understood by reading the prophet Jeremiah that the Babylonian exile would be 70 years, Gabriel informed Daniel that the entire prophetic program of Israel would fit into a period of 70 times 7 years = or 490 years. Much of what was prophesied — the first 69 weeks — initially has been fulfilled at the first coming of Messiah, but there remains a final 7-year period — one last week — to bring everything to its appointed end. This final shabua is sometimes referred to as Daniel’s 70th week, and it is yet future.

Before I examine some critical details, I should address one unfortunate objection that many raise to this and many other Biblical prophecies. Some distinguish the covenant people of Israel from the Gentile believing community and claim that this prophecy does not pertain to the “church.” Others are preterists and believe that all 70 weeks of this prophecy has been fulfilled in the past. Both ideas of replacement theology and preterism grossly have misinterpreted the prophetic word and disregard the future salvation and restoration of Israel on the Day of the LORD.

As a Gentile believer, I have been incorporated into the commonwealth of Israel. I have been adopted into the family of Israel. I have been grafted in to the original tree of Israel. I have been granted the blessing to participate in the everlasting covenants of Israel. I have been given the right to enjoy God’s eternal promises made to Israel. I have become a citizen of the Kingdom of Israel to serve the King of Israel — Yeshua.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:28

You get the point. One God. One people. One faith. One kingdom. One Lord Jesus Christ.

Now this is important because Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks has been decreed about God’s people (Israel) and God’s holy city (Jerusalem). Having been granted the privilege to participate in the commonwealth of Israel, this prophecy applies primarily to covenant Israel — first the Jew — but also to all believers for all time.

So let’s look a little closer at how God has promised to bring about these specific conditions at the completion of Daniel’s 70th week.

  1. To finish the transgression
  2. To make an end of sin
  3. To make atonement for iniquity
  4. To bring in everlasting righteousness
  5. To seal up vision and prophecy
  6. To anoint the most holy place.

All Israel will be Saved!

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

Romans 11:25-27

The first three promises that will be fulfilled at the conclusion of the 70th week involve a surviving remnant and the leadership of Israel corporately turning to God in repentance and faith — believing in Jesus Christ. In this way, the perpetual transgression and rebellion of God’s people will be finished, God will take away their sins and banish ungodliness from Jacob, and the atoning sacrifice of Christ will be applied to all who believe. This will happen when Christ returns — the Deliverer who comes from Zion!

There is no short supply of passages that describe this amazing turning of Israel to Messiah at the end of the age. Here are a only a few.

“And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

Zechariah 12:9-10

“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

In the whole land, declares the LORD,
two thirds shall be cut off and perish,
and one third shall be left alive.
9And I will put this third into the fire,
and refine them as one refines silver,
and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”

Zechariah 13:1, 8-9

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah 31:33-34

The Coming Kingdom of Everlasting Righteousness

When the Lord Jesus Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords to establish His kingdom on earth, then and only then will there be everlasting righteousness. At the end of the 70th week, this present age of injustice and evil will be brought to a close and the new age of justice will dawn upon the earth.

Again, there are so many passages that convey this fulfillment. Here are some key Scriptures concerning everlasting righteousness.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 9:6-7

But about the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

Hebrews 1:8-9

To Seal up Vision and Prophecy

One of the amazing benefits of the return of Jesus will be the revealing, fulfilling, and unveiling of all mysteries, prophecies and visions. Our faith will become sight and all things will fall into place as we are changed and transformed into the image of the Lord Jesus. Everything will make sense for the very first time, and beyond that, we will have access to the personal teaching of Messiah Himself, as He will expound on the Word of God and open up the Scriptures to us in ways we never conceived or imagined.

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

1 John 3:2

For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.”

Habakkuk 2:14

God’s Holy Hill — Zion — Will be Anointed

As I shared in my last post, Zion is God’s dwelling place forever and throughout all generations. When Christ returns, He will take His rightful place on His throne upon the holy mountain of God, which is Mount Zion in Jerusalem. At that moment, Zion will be the most holy place in the universe.

This reality has not yet happened — when heaven and earth are reunited under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Consider how the Scriptures speak of the day when God will anoint His most holy place and dwell with His people once again.

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Isaiah 2:2-3

“In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. 3And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. 5Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.”

Isaiah 4:1-5

“So you shall know that I am the LORD your God,
who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
and strangers shall never again pass through it.

Joel 3:17

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

Revelation 21:1-3

As you can see, Daniel’s 70th week has yet to be fulfilled. Next time, we will take a look at the amazing prophetic precision of the first 69 weeks — or 483 years — and how they were fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus Christ!

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 13 — God’s Holy Hill

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.”

Daniel 9:24

The prophecy of 70 weeks revealed to Daniel is one of the most intriguing yet intimidating in all of Scripture. Like most prophetic passages, there is enough ambiguity to create room for interpretive diversity and yet enough clarity to bring some level of continuity. Over the next several posts, I will do my best to unpack and hopefully shed some light on this fascinating prophecy.

After Daniel humbled himself in prayer, confessed sin, and pleaded to God for mercy, the angelic messenger Gabriel was sent to give insight and understanding concerning the vision and prophecy. One of the first keys to understanding the meaning of the 70 weeks is found in Daniel’s own words. Let’s take a closer look.

“While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.”

Daniel 9:20-21

To my detriment, I have read past this critical detail so many times. Daniel’s plea and prayer specifically was “for the holy hill of my God,” which means that the historical context and future fulfillment of the 70 weeks pertains to God’s holy hill.

So what exactly is God’s holy hill?

Zion –The Holy Mountain of God

Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised

in the city of our God!

His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,

is the joy of all the earth,

Mount Zion, in the far north,

the city of the great King.

Psalm 48:1-2

Daniel is speaking, of course, of ZION — God’s holy hill — His holy mountain and desired dwelling place for all time.

The Bible is comprehensive in it’s distinction of Zion as the holy mountain of the LORD our God. Yahweh has chosen one unique plot of real estate on earth to be His dwelling place forever [see also Psalm 132:13-14]. Israel is the epicenter of the earth. Jerusalem is the epicenter of Israel. Zion is the epicenter of Jerusalem. And the universal throne of Jesus Christ is the epicenter of Zion.

Zion is connected to the most significant events in human history. Let’s recall how important this mountain in Jerusalem truly is.

  1. Zion is where Abraham offered his beloved son, Isaac, in faith before the LORD intervened and provided a substitute. [Genesis 22]
  2. Zion is the mountain that David captured and claimed for Yahweh as the capital city of Israel and the royal throne of the king of Israel. [2 Samuel 5]
  3. Zion is the site of the threshing floor that David purchased from the Jebusite Ornan to stop the plague sent by the Angel of the LORD. [1 Chronicles 21]
  4. Zion is where Solomon built the Temple of Yahweh. [1 Kings 8]
  5. Zion is where our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified as the perfect sacrifice for sin.
  6. Zion is where the Lord Jesus was buried and on the third day was raised from the dead.
  7. Zion will be ground zero on the Day of the LORD when Christ comes to judge His enemies and take His place on His throne to rule forever as King of kings.

As you can see, Zion has been set apart by the LORD for His eternal purposes, and Daniel of all people understood this.

With that in mind, everything that pertains to the vision of 70 weeks revolves around God’s holy mountain — the city of our God! Gabriel revealed six purposes that will be fulfilled within these 70 weeks of years [70 x 7 years] = 490 total years.

1. to finish the transgression
2. to make an end of sin
3. to make atonement for iniquity
4. to bring in everlasting righteousness  5. to seal up vision and prophecy
6. to anoint the most holy place

These were fulfilled in part at the first coming of Jesus, but they will not be ultimately fulfilled until Christ returns to strike down His enemies, crush Satan, save His people and establish His kingdom.

Next time we will take these in order to gain a better understanding of the 70 weeks of Daniel’s vision.

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 12 — The Abomination of Desolation

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Matthew 24:15-16

Picking up in the prophetic visions of Daniel, we have come to first mention of what is known as the abomination that causes desolation. This single future event is “the sign” that will trigger the beginning of the end. When the Apostles asked Jesus what signs would precede His return and the end of the age, Jesus pointed to the abomination of desolation “spoken of by the prophet Daniel.” This abomination is performed by the Antichrist — aka the “little horn” or the Beast.

Daniel explicitly mentions this pivotal event at least 4 times [Daniel 8:13, 9:26-27, 11:31, 12:11]. Jesus reminds us of the necessity to “let the reader understand” Daniel’s prophecies in order to recognize when the great tribulation will begin.

As I shared in my last post in this series — read here — part of the profile of the Antichrist will be to cause the daily sacrifices in the Temple to cease. As we await the inevitable reconstruction of the Third Temple, it is just a matter of time before the Jews reenlist the Levitical priesthood , reinstitute the sacrificial system, and resume animal sacrifices in Jerusalem.

Once the Antichrist intervenes and puts an end to the daily sacrifices, then he will proceed to desecrate the Temple with some type of abomination that triggers the time of Jacob’s trouble. The satanic wrath unleashed toward God’s people during the great tribulation will leave Israel and Jerusalem desolate. Let’s take a closer look.

Defining the Terms


In order to gain a better understanding of what the abomination of desolation will be, it is important to define the terms.

An abomination from a Biblical perspective is anything God declares evil, wicked, perverse, or shamefully vile; a detestable or profane behavior; an object or state that induces loathsome disgust and abhorrence. There are several categories identified by Scripture for abominations.

  1. Heathen gods, such as Ashtoreth (Astarte), Chemosh, Milcom, Baal, the “abominations” of the Zidonians (Phoenicians), Moabites, and Ammonites, respectively (2 Kings 23:13), and everything connected with the worship of such gods. 
  2. Anything offered to or associated with the idol, all the paraphernalia of the forbidden cult, was called an “abomination,” for it “is an abomination to Yahweh thy God” (Deuteronomy 7:25, 26). For example, the Israelites participated in the abomination of offering of their own children to Molech in ritual child sacrifice.
  3. Everything akin to occult practices of magic or divination is an abomination; as are sexual transgressions (Deuteronomy 22:5Deuteronomy 23:18Deuteronomy 24:4), especially incest, homosexuality, and other unnatural offenses: “For all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you” (Leviticus 18:27; compare Ezekiel 8:15).

As noted before, the most significant historical prototype of the Antichrist was the Syrian tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes IV [175-164 B.C.], who prohibited worship of Yahweh, desecrated the Temple by erecting an altar and performing ritual sacrifices to the pagan god, Zeus. The foreshadowing of Antiochus provides the historical backdrop for the future abomination of desolation to be performed by the Antichrist.

Jesus, preaching some 200 years after Antiochus, would most certainly have this event in mind when prophesying about the final fulfillment of Satan’s blasphemous defiance.

When it comes to the the sign of the end, any combination of these abominations is on the table as far as I am concerned. After laying siege and conquering Jerusalem, I would expect nothing less from the Antichrist than to enter the Jewish Temple, erect an altar to Satan (the Dragon), perform occult ritual magic followed by child sacrifices, topping it all off with some form of grossly perverse sexual escapade.

This abomination apparently will performed publicly because Jesus says that when we “see” it, it’s time to flee because the desolation of Jerusalem has come. Daniel and Paul both share interesting details surrounding this critical event.

Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate32He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 33And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time. 36“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.

Daniel 11:31-36

“Let no one deceive you in any way, for [that day] will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness—the son of destruction—is revealed. He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4


The word desolation is an interesting Hebrew word that carries the meaning to lay waste, destroy, depopulate, ruin, or to desert. It is imperative that we understand the connection between the abomination that “causes” desolation. It is the abominable act of the Antichrist that will lead to, or cause, the desolation of Jerusalem and the land of Israel.

This final invasion of Israel has been foreshadowed as well throughout history through the invasions of the Assyrians [722 B.C.], Babylonians [586 B.C.], Romans [70 A.D.], and Muslims [636 A.D.]. Like these brutal invasions by ruthless pagan kings, the abomination of desolation will lead to devastating war, bloodshed, captivity and total plundering of the Holy Land.

Nearly all of the prophets spoke of this day of final desolation. Jesus reminds us once again that this time of desolation is yet future.

““But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written23Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

Luke 21:20-24

The great tribulation will be a time of unparalleled desolation. There will be wars and revolutions and famines and earthquakes and great distress among the nations. There will violence and bloodshed and lawlessness. There will be demonic deception and intense persecution of God’s people — both Jews and Christians. There will be divine judgments poured out on the earth and divine provision for God’s people. This also will a time of great purification and refining for the saints, as precious metal is refined through the fire.

The Bible says that from the abomination that caused desolation is set up, there will 3.5 years for the Antichrist to exercise power and authority over the nations. It is the sign of the end of the age. Those who are wise must understand.

Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. 8I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days12Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”

Daniel 12:6-13

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 11 — The Daily Sacrifice will Cease

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

Daniel 8:13-14

Before diving into the complexity of Daniel’s vision in chapter 9 concerning the 70 weeks, I need to back up and drill down on some important details provided in Daniel 8. Although it is easy to get lost in the proverbial “weeds” of this vision, there are several key details that can be identified and rightly interpreted concerning the last days and what Jesus calls the “abomination of desolation.”

For time’s sake, I will acknowledge that the historical archetype of the Antichrist is most prominently portrayed in the person of Seleucid Tyrant, Antiochus Epiphanes, about which you can read here. While Antiochus provides a type and shadow of the coming son of destruction, he is nothing compared to the last days Antichrist.

Daniel 8 must be interpreted with Antiochus in the forefront of the vision — partially fulfilling the prophecy in history — but also by seeing the Antichrist in full view during the future appointed time of the end. The little horn described in Daniel 8 is the coming man of sin, and this chapter provides key clues about his campaign in the Holy Land of Israel.

“Then from one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and the east and toward the glorious land of Israel.”

Daniel 8:9 — NLT

Antichrist will Cause the Daily Sacrifice to Cease

In A.D. 70, hoards from the Roman legions in the Middle East laid siege to Jerusalem and turned it into rubble. Although Roman General Titus commanded his soldiers to preserve the Jewish Temple, the enlisted Syrian and Arabic soldiers defiantly set fire to the Temple, burning it to the ground. Once Titus realized that the Temple complex was lost, he ordered his troops to cast down the massive stones in order to salvage as much gold as possible.

Jesus had predicted this very thing some 40 years earlier.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Matthew 23:37-39, 24:1-2

The Roman siege of A.D. was devastating, leaving the city of Jerusalem and the holy Temple desolate. The Jews were slaughtered, carried into captivity, and dispersed as a people for over 1,850 years. The Levitical priesthood was abolished, the ceremonial rituals ended, and the daily sacrifices ceased. To this very day — despite the miracle of the rebirth of Israel in 1948 — there is no Temple in Jerusalem, which means there is no sacrificial system.

So the obvious line of logic is … without a Temple in Jerusalem, there is no sacrificial system, and without a sacrificial system, then how will the “little horn” cause the sacrifices to stop?

The simple and logical answer is that the Jews will be permitted to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem and resume their ceremonial system of worship, according to the law of Moses. A third Temple in Jerusalem is not just possible, it’s not merely probable, it is prophetically promised. The stage is already set for the reconstruction of the Temple, it will only take the right political players and conditions to give the green light.

Jesus Himself said the sign of the end of the age would be the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel. He said that when we see the Antichrist standing in the holy place — the inner sanctuary of the Temple — then we know the clock for the great tribulation has begun.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Matthew 24:15-16

Now consider how the Scripture connects the activity of the Antichrist with the prohibition of the sacrifices in the Temple. Once the Temple is rebuilt and the regular burnt offerings are permitted again in Jerusalem, the Antichrist will eventually put an stop to it and defile the sanctuary with his abominations.

“It (the little horn) became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. And a host will be given over to it together with the regular burnt offering because of transgression, and it will throw truth to the ground, and it will act and prosper.”

Daniel 8:11-12

“And he (Antichrist) shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

Daniel 9:27

“Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate.”

Daniel 11:31

“And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.” 

Daniel 12:11

So from the time that the regular burn offerings begin to the end is 2,300 days, and the time from when they are cut off and taken away is 1,290 days. These give us some parameters for the tribulation period.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

Daniel 8:13-14

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 10 — Prayer Opens Prophecy

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Daniel 9:3-4

When dealing with the prophetic, typically I encounter two extremes within the church. On one end of the spectrum is a group that dangerously elevates modern-day “prophets” and sensationalizes the prophetic gifts. What is most strange about the modern-day, charismatic understanding of prophecy is that it is almost always divorced from the the teachings of Biblical prophets themselves — such as Isaiah, Zechariah, or Daniel.

On the other extreme end of the spectrum is a group of pastors and teachers who completely ignore and purposefully avoid the prophetic word because it is either too difficult to interpret or too deep to appeal to the average audience. Once again, the actual words and writings of the Biblical prophets are largely ignored in this camp, virtually eliminating 30% of the Bible.

To make matters worse, prophecy preachers are so often stereotyped with those on the fringes who unnaturally obsess about prophecy, usually making bold headline predictions and foolishly setting dates for the return of Christ.

All of these approaches to the study and interpretation of prophecy are unbiblical and dangerously misleading.

We need a balanced approach when studying prophecy. We need a Biblical approach. And more than anything, we need a prayerful approach.

We are indebted to the prophet Daniel for providing one of the best examples of someone who handled God’s prophetic word responsibly and faithfully. Let’s take a closer look.

Daniel Studied the Prophetic Word

“In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.”

Daniel 9:2

At the time Daniel is writing this portion of Scripture, the Jews had been in Babylonian captivity for about 60 years. Daniel was getting older and approaching the final season of his life and ministry. Daniel had been studying Torah and the writings and Psalms and the prophets for years. He would have disciplined himself in learning the whole counsel of God.

The prophet Jeremiah was older than Daniel but still a contemporary. Daniel would have been quite familiar with his writings, but for some reason on this particular day, Daniel saw something in the prophecies of Jeremiah that apparently he had not seen before. According to Jeremiah, the exile was only to last 70 years [see Jeremiah 25:11-12].

What can we learn from Daniel?

We can learn that we must study all of Scripture, faithfully and consistently. We can learn that in the same way God has progressively revealed Himself to mankind, He also progressively reveals truth to His people who diligently study the Scriptures. We also can learn that when studying prophecy, it may take years to understand and rightly interpret the mysteries of God’s prophetic word.

Daniel Committed to Fasting and Prayer

This is where Daniel 9 gets really interesting. God had already revealed to Daniel that the Babylonian exile was almost over. He already understood Jeremiah’s prophecy about the 70 years of captivity, but he didn’t stop there. He wasn’t complacent. He wanted to go deeper and know more about God’s bigger picture.

So what does Daniel do? He committed to a season of prayer and fasting. Daniel says, “then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes” [Daniel 9:3].

So often we want to understand prophecy without first putting in the hard work and spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting. We often are so content with a surface level understanding of Scripture that we rarely reach a place of deeper interpretation and insight. Daniel knew there was more, and he demonstrated to the LORD that he was willing to deny himself and seek God’s face in order to find out.

Daniel’s example shows us how prayer is the key to unlocking prophecy. Fasting is the proof that one is serious about getting closer to God and being dependent on the LORD. When examining my own life, I must confess that dedicated times of prayer and fasting are too few and far between. I am fully convicted that I often try to tackle the difficult passages of prophecy in my own strength instead of with the divine discernment of the Holy Spirit.

Daniel Consecrated Himself and Confessed His Sins

“We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules … To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.”

Daniel 9:5,9-10

Notice that Daniel confessed both his own sin and the sins of his people. Daniel agreed with God about the rebellion and unbelief of the Jewish people. Daniel knew that God was just in chastising His own people, using the Babylonians as a rod of His punishment. Daniel was grieved over his sin and the sin of his people and made pleas for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

How many times do we seek God’s favor and face when we fail to acknowledge the glaring sin in our own lives and hearts? How often do we minimize our unbelief and rebellion and expect it to have no effect on our relationship with the LORD? How much can we ignore spiritual complacency, idolatry, apathy, and indifference?

Daniel reminds us that there is direct connection between confession of sin and drawing close to a Holy God. We will never grow deeper in our walk with Christ while harboring unconfessed sin in our hearts. We especially won’t experience fruitful Bible study when we refuse to address the deeper issues of the heart.

Daniel Gained Wisdom, Insight and Understanding

“As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth … At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision.”

Daniel 9:13, 23

As a result of Daniel’s approach to prophecy, what did God reveal to Him?

The LORD graciously revealed one of the greatest prophetic visions in all of Scripture.

The vision of Daniel 9:24-27 was the result of Daniel’s study, prayer, fasting, confession, and utter dependence upon God. The 70 years of captivity was just the tip of the ice berg. The LORD wanted to show Daniel everything else that was underneath the surface, and the result is fascinating. God would reveal a prophetic timeline for the ages — 70 weeks of years = 490 years.

Daniel’s heart obviously was with his God, his people, his holy city Jerusalem, and the holy sanctuary. Because Daniel’s heart was right before God, he was ready to receive the vision that would unravel the mysteries of the coming Messiah and the final judgment and restoration of the Jews and Jerusalem.

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”

Daniel 9:17-19

In my next installment, I will begin to unpack the amazing details in Daniel 9:24-27 involving the 70 weeks in Daniel’s vision. Until then, I invite you to join me in a season in prayer and fasting.

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 9 — The Little Horn Rising High as Heaven

“And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.”

Daniel 8:9-10 — NKJV

As I’ve said in my earlier posts, the visions of Daniel can be both daunting and downright difficult to interpret. Daniel chapters 7-12 is overlaid with cross references that describe the same subject matter from different perspectives. None of the parts in Daniel can be rightly interpreted independently of the whole. It is important to identify the common phrases, ideas, and images to make the connections and build a complete picture.

When it comes to the identity, ascension, and activity of the little horn — aka the Beast or Antichrist — there are some deeper waters to navigate. It is easy to get bogged down in the finer details, so I will do my best to focus on one component at a time.

As I shared in my last post, Daniel 8 begins by providing the geopolitical backdrop behind the emergence of the little horn. The little horn will emerge after a regional war between Turkey and Iran. He will start out relatively small but eventually will grow exceedingly great.

The little horn will supplant three other regional kings and begin to advance militarily to the south [Egypt], the east [Iraq/Iran] and toward the Glorious Land [Israel].

The next part of the vision in Daniel 8, however, takes an unexpected turn and is nothing less than mysterious. The little horn will “grow up” to the host of heaven and “cast down” some of the stars to the earth and trample them.

So the obvious question is … in what way does the little horn — this earthly king — grow exceedingly great up to the host of heaven? What does that mean? How are we to interpret such a concept?

The language about the host of heaven and the “stars” deserves a closer look.

The Host of Heaven

“You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Nehemiah 9:6 — ESV

The Biblical concept of the heavenly host always alludes to the angelic beings who operate in the spiritual realm. The Bible says that there are myriads upon myriads of these heavenly beings, an innumerable host that exists behind the scenes. These heavenly beings are often referred to as “stars,” bright celestial entities that are far removed from our earthly realm.

Some of these stars are divine princes who remain loyal to Yahweh — the Most High God — while others are divine rebels who have followed the path of Satan. These evil principalities and powers in the heavenly places seem to be in some way subservient to the prince of demons and the prince of the power of the air — Satan — the god of this age. This is precisely why the LORD warned the Israelites about the temptation of forsaking Him and bowing down to the heavenly host.

“And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”

Deuteronomy 4:19 – ESV

So if the little horn grows in power, even to the host of heaven, then he somehow is interacting and interfering with the spiritual realm. Although there may be various speculations and conjectures about how an earthly, human ruler potentially could engage in some type of spiritual warfare with the “stars” of heaven, I will share my interpretation here.

I believe the key to understanding this prophecy has everything to do with the supernatural union of the little horn with Satan himself. If this son of destruction becomes the earthly vessel of the devil, then he and the devil will be one as it were. So as the little horn expresses power and authority while waging war on earth, Satan will be working behind the scenes in the spiritual realm, waging war with the stars in heaven. In other words, the little horn is the earthly reflection of the devil, who is the spiritual reflection of the little horn. They mirror each other.

We know that Daniel 8 says that the little horn somehow casts down the stars of heaven and tramples on them. Let’s take a closer look at Revelation 12 to see how this potentially will play out in the last days.

WAr in Heaven

Most Bible scholars see the direct correlation between Daniel 8 and Revelation 12. I believe these parallel passages provide some clues of interpretation concerning the little horn.

Let’s read Daniel 8 and Revelation 12 together.

“And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.  10And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.  11He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.  12Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices;and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.”

Daniel 8:9-12 – NKJV

“And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.

Revelation 12:3-4 – ESV

These two passages are most certainly connected. The Dragon — who is the Devil — cast down 1/3 of the angels — the stars of heaven — and threw them to the earth. The common language is undeniable, but the classic interpretation of Revelation 12:4 is wrong in my opinion. Almost every commentary will suggest that the “stars” in this verse represent the evil angels who are loyal to Satan and are the same group of angels mentioned in Revelation 12:9.

But I believe Daniel 8:10 and Revelation 12:4 are describing something else entirely. I believe the Dragon first delivers a considerable blow to the good guys by defeating 1/3 of the heavenly host, casting them down and trampling on them. The language of these verses clearly implies that the Dragon and little horn are hostile to these “stars,” not friendly.

Why else would the Antichrist be trampling on these stars? Why would the Dragon sweep his own angels down and cast them to the earth? That seems counterproductive to say the least. No kingdom is divided against itself. That is why I believe Daniel 8:10 and Revelation 12:4 are describing a heavenly assault against the loyal angels that results in a considerable blow to the angelic army. Satan exalts himself as high as the Prince of the host — which is the Lord Jesus Himself [Daniel 8:11].

Now I don’t pretend to understand everything about this prophecy, but I believe it is yet future. Contrary to what almost every Christian has been taught, Satan never convinced 1/3 of the angels to follow him. The reference here to 1/3 of the angels are the good guys. Satan launches a successful attack against the stars in heaven and casts them down and tramples on them.

I’m not sure how all of that plays out in spacetime, but I believe it is the only possible explanation that makes sense of Daniel 8 and the rise of the little horn.

An all out war breaks out in heaven AFTER this initial trampling of the stars of heaven, which is described in the following verses in Revelation 12.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.  9So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.  12Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.

Revelation 12:7-12 — NKJV

So in response to the Dragon’s initial attack, Michael will rise up against the Dragon and finally will cast him and his angels down to earth. Satan will be expelled from heaven and confined to the earth.

It is at this point that the Dragon — Satan — will give all of his authority and power to the little horn and unite himself to the son of destruction, creating the Beast.

“The dragon gave him [the Beast] his power, his throne, and great authority.”

Revelation 13:2

Once the Beast — or little horn — has all of Satan’s power and authority he will boldly pursue total domination and destruction. Daniel 8 speaks to this. The king of bold face will succeed, not by his own power, but by the satanic, supernatural power of the Dragon.

“And in the latter time of their kingdom,

When the transgressors have reached their fullness,

A king shall arise,

Having fierce features,

Who understands sinister schemes.

His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;

He shall destroy fearfully,

And shall prosper and thrive;

He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.”

Daniel 8:23-24 – NKJV

In my next post, we will begin to develop the concepts surrounding the sanctuary and the profane transgression known as the abomination of desolation.

A Deep Dive into Daniel — Part 8 — Iran vs Turkey

“As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. And the shaggy goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king.”

Daniel 8:20-21

As I said in my last post about Daniel 8, the vision Daniel received was concerning the appointed time of the end, which means that it will occur in the latter days and is yet future. If this interpretation is accurate, then we should expect a regional conflict between the modern states of Iran and Turkey in the comings days. This regional war will be critical, primarily because of the geopolitical shuffling that will take place afterward.

According to Daniel, the little horn — aka Antichrist — will emerge on the world stage following the war between Iran and Turkey [see Daniel 8:8-14].

So let’s investigate this a little further from both a Biblical and a geopolitical perspective.

Biblical Greece is JAVAN — Modern-Day Turkey

While most scholars, historians, and political pundits universally agree that the ancient empire of Medo-Persia represents the modern-day state of Iran, there is some debate and disagreement about the modern-day identity of ancient Greece — or Javan. From a contemporary western perspective, Greece is usually associated with the Greek Isles of Eastern Europe, but a closer look at the Biblical identity of Greece — Javan — provides a more accurate picture.

Javan was the fourth son born to Japheth, son of Noah (Genesis 10:2), whose descendants traditionally settled in the coastlands of Asia Minor around the Aegean Sea. Javan is identified with ancient Ionia — or Anatolia — which occupied the territory of modern-day Turkey. Ancient Greece primarily is associated with the Macedonian Empire that reached its zenith under Alexander the Great, King of Javan. Of course ancient Greece included the Greek Isles, but the heart of Javan has always been Asia Minor — aka modern-day Turkey. Under Alexander, Greece expanded south and eastward into Northern Africa and the Middle East, eventually conquering Persia.

This distinction is essential in understanding Daniel 8 because modern-day Turkey (Javan) not only is the most powerful Sunni Muslim nation in the world, but also it has been flexing its muscles and expressing ambition to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Erdoğan became Turkish Prime Minister in 2003 and since has established unprecedented unilateral power of the government. His blind ambition to enforce Turkish dominance in the Middle East is no secret. Turkey has the means and motive to demonstrate their military power at any given moment.

If we are reading Daniel 8 correctly, then there is good reason to believe that the shaggy goat is representative of Turkey and the “first king” could be President Erdoğan, especially if he succeeds in reestablishing the Caliphate.

Iran is a Time Bomb Waiting to Explode

Then there is Iran — the two-horned ram represented by the ancient empire of Medo-Persia. Ancient Media [circa 680-550 B.C.] rose to power first and represents the disputed land of the modern-day Kurds — or Kurdistan. Cyrus the Great later conquered Media creating the massive Persian empire in 550 B.C. Persia came up later but conquered a much greater land mass than Media. The Persians maintained dominance in the Middle East for 200 years until Alexander the Great conquered them in 330 B.C.

Many have speculated how Iran could have “two kings,” or horns in the last days, as predicted by Daniel 8. One possibility is that a reunification of Kurdistan in the near future could create a province under the authority of the Iranian regime. The Kurds have been fighting for survival and identity for generations. Kurdistan is in no-man’s land and is landlocked on both sides by Iran in the east and Turkey on the west.

Iran already is operating in Kurdistan and Iraq through military proxies, and it only makes sense that Iran could potentially become more aggressive in the region pushing up against Turkey’s presence in the west. Any Iranian expansion to the west would automatically be considered a threat to Turkey, which could provoke Erdoğan to launch an all out assault against the Shiites. The radical, apocalyptic regime in Tehran has proven to be a time bomb just waiting to explode.

Other factors like the current social instability surrounding COVID-19, plummeting oil prices, locust plagues and potential food shortages could also have these two regional competitors on edge. The fragile geopolitical climate in the Middle East is one trigger event away from war.

If Daniel 8 is true, then we should pay close attention to every future development in the region. As the story goes, we can expect Iran to begin an aggressive military campaign in Kurdistan and Iraq, forcing Turkey to respond and stop them in their tracks.

Once Turkey cripples Iran, Daniel says that the “first king” will be suddenly broken off and replaced by four kings. I believe one possible scenario is that once Turkey defeats Iran in a regional conflict and gains control over Iraq, Kurdistan, and Iran, then the presiding president will either die or be ousted, which will create the four provinces of Turkey, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Iran.

“I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.”

Daniel 8:7-8

Then four kings — or horns — will assume power in each province, and out of one of these four kings, the little horn will emerge and grow exceedingly great.

There may not be a more definitive prophecy in all of Scripture that reveals the identity of the Antichrist. Suddenly, this difficult passage shows great prophetic value for the generation living in the last days.

Next time, I will do my best to dive deeper into the initial career of the little horn, as revealed by Daniel 8. Until then …