Posted by: Grover Gunn | July 24, 2007

Dispensationalism and Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy

On July 19, 2007, I received an encouraging e-mail from a lady who had read my critiques of dispensationalism found at http://grovergunn.net/andrew/andrew.htm.  In subsequent communication, she asked me about my understanding of Daniel’s seventy weeks prophey, especially Daniel 9:27.

Daniel 9:24-27
24 “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”

In case any of you have similar questions, here is an  edited version of the response I sent this kind lady: 

Daniel 9:27 is a key verse. Dispensationalists teach that the tribulation is a seven year period after the rapture and before the second coming, that an antichrist will arise and make a treaty with the modern nation of Israel allowing them to rebuild a temple, and that he will break this treaty in the middle of the seven years of the seventieth week, prohibit the offering of sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem and demand that only he be worshipped. Their sole proof text for the breaking of this treaty in the middle of the tribulation is Daniel 9:27, which is a difficult verse to interpret. Reading their system into this verse and then citing it as the sole proof of this aspect of their system is begging the question.

Let me quickly give you my opinion on the seventy weeks. The beginning of the seventy weeks was at the end of the seventy years of exile when Cyrus decreed that the Jews had his permission to return to Jerusalem. The seventy weeks consisted of 490 consecutive years. Under the Mosaic ceremonial law, there was to be a jubilee the year after seven sabbaths of years, and 490 years is ten of those 49 year periods. We cannot establish an exact correspondence between the prophesied 490 years and the chronologies of secular history because the chronology of the Persian period is one of the most uncertain chronologies of ancient history. The end of the sixty-ninth week and the beginning of the seventieth week were marked by the coming of Messiah the Prince. This was the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, His baptism by John the Baptist when the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove (the anointing of the Most Holy). He came to confirm the covenant with the many in Israel, the elect within Israel who would believe in Him. In the middle of this week, three and one half years after His baptism, Jesus was crucified as the true sacrifice which atones for the sins of God’s people. The veil in the temple was split from top to bottom, and the bloody sacrificial rituals of the old covenant were no longer valid ceremonial laws. For a time, the gospel continued to go primarily to the Jews with the emphasis upon the church at Jerusalem. The end of this period is probably the martyrdom of Stephen. After this came the persecution of the Jewish church, the preaching of the gospel in Samaria, the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, the conversion of Saul/Paul, who was to become the Apostle to the Gentiles, and the conversion of the Roman centurion Cornelius. After the martyrdom of Stephen, the emphasis shifted to the new Gentile churches and the preaching of the gospel to the nations.

 Forty years after the crucifixion of Jesus, Jerusalem was destroyed by idolatrous Roman soldiers in fulfillment of the prophecy of the Olivet discourse. This is the idolatrous abomination which destroys or desolates: the abomination of desolation.

Pastor Grover

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Responses

  1. Hi Grover,
    Good response and explanation. That is probably the first time I have read a Reformed explanation of that passage. Thanks for the work.
    Blessings

  2. BTW,
    I am grateful you have a blog now. I’m looking forward to more postings and dialog with you concerning many of these things.
    Blessings

  3. Thank for the encouraging word, Timothy! We still remember and appreciate the time you served here as an assistant pastor. We miss both you and your family. Allow me to point everyone to your blog:

    http://fleshisasgrass.blogspot.com/

    You started blogging a long time ago.

  4. I agree with You perfectly as it pertains to the 490 year prophecy in daniel chapter 9. I basically agree with the Seventh Day Adventist or the Historistic interpretation that Luther, Tindale, Huss and others believed. Its refreshing to see that there are still others of other protestant professions that recognize that Daniel Chapter 9 is for the prophetic intorduction and recognition of the Christ and does not pertain to the ‘son of perdition’.

  5. Thank you for your kind remarks, Gary. The historistic interpretation of prophecy was widely accepted at the time of the Reformation by the Reformed, the Lutherans and the Anabaptists. This was one of the few issues they all tended to agree on at that time in history. The popular system today is the futuristic dispensational interpretation which originated in 19th century England. For a better understanding of my thinking on this difficult issue, I would refer you to my sermon on 2 Thessalonians 2, which is found at http://grovergunn.net/andrew/2th202s.pdf.

    May God bless!
    Grover Gunn

  6. Pastor Grover, I am both reformed and dispensational in background, but neither now. I pastored an independent Baptist church where I studied my way out of pretrib dispensationalism, into a post-trib futurist position that believes Israel is in the church since pentecost put plays a distinct role during the tribulation. I spent a year alone on 2 Thess 2:1-7 translating. There simply is no restrainer in 2 Thess 2:6-7. Paul is arguing that the Thessalonians are “holding fast” and therfore the “apostacy” cannot have taken place. He argues, “And now you know the (experience of) holding fast, so that in his time…” Jesus used katexo and apostacia as opposites in Lk 8 (soils) and so did the writer to the Hebrews, chapter 4.
    I invite you to read my reconcilation position on Daniel 9:24-27 at my web site, along with The Error of Pretribulationism, and Lord’s Day. I agree with all but the last part of Dan 9:27 being historically fulfilled. Daniel goes to great lengths to tell us details of a yet unfulfilled period of 3 1/2 years yet future to be fulfilled starting with the abomination of desolation, involving tribulation of God’s people, and ending with the glorious arrival of Christ and His angels. Daniel 7, 8, 9, 12.

  7. Pastor Grover, A few more thoughts, I have found that the Reformed position strains to see history in many parts of Revelation while the Dispensationalists labor to divide believing Israel away from the church. Both positions are crippeling to understanding the Scriptures. The plain sense of Paul’s warning to the Thesssalonians regarding apostasy, desolation and the man of sin who takes God’s place, would not lead one to believe that these things have already happened. The Lord certainly has not appeared and destroyed him with the breath of his mouth. Please comment.

  8. Pastor Grover, What you descriibed about the abomination of desolation 40 years later does not fit Jesus description of it.” “for then there will be a agreat tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. 22 “And unless those days had been cut short, no 1life would have been saved; but for athe sake of the 2elect those days shall be cut short. 23 “aThen if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the 1Christ,’ or ‘2There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 “For false Christs and afalse prophets will arise and will show great 1 bsigns and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even cthe 2elect. 25 “Behold, I have told you in advance.
    The New American Standard Bible. La Habra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1986, S. Mt 24:21

  9. Dear Stephen,

    Thank you for your interest and your comments.

    There is not a uniformity of interpretation of the book of Revelation among the Reformed other than their affirmation of the future bodily return of Christ to earth together with its traditional concomitants (the coming resurrection, day of judgment and ushering in of eternity) and their rejection of a dispensational interpretation. Some have a partial preterite view, others a futuristic view, some an axiomatic or idealistic view, some still hold to the historistic view which was popular at the time of the Reformation and there is also the cyclic approach of William Hendrikson which combines the partial preterite and the futuristic. I prefer the partial preterite interpretation, but this is a secondary issue. The major issue is the rejection of the dispensational view with its seven year chronological separation of the rapture from the second coming and its eschatological reestablishment of certain elements of the Old Testament economy which were abrogated in the apostolic age. If you are interested in learning more about the partial preterite view, I would recommend the section of this book on the Olivet discourse: http://www.amazon.com/Eschatology-Victory-J-Marcellus-Kik/dp/0875523137 . I refer you to Kik’s exegesis of Matthew 24:22-25. I find especially helpful the quotations from Josephus on the Jewish War and the destruction of Jerusalem.

    May God bless!
    Pastor Grover

  10. Dear Pastor Grover, Thank You for your kind response. I am a retired pastor, have written a commenttary on the book of Revelation, and am a committed futurist on the book due to Rev 1:10 that establishes the time-frame for the visions. Read my defence of this at http://www.expressright.com/day.aspx
    It is an original work. Steve

  11. Dear Steve,

    Thank you for the link. My own understanding of the term “the Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10 can be found on page 2 of the first link below and on pages 3-4 of the second link below:

    http://grovergunn.net/andrew/luk2239.pdf
    http://grovergunn.net/andrew/rev0501.pdf

    May God bless!
    Pastor Grover

  12. Pastor Grover, I urge you to allow your friends to examine the careful reasoning of the following argument about Lord’s Day. It is a crucial matter about the time frame of the events of the Revelation. If it is not persuasive, then so be it. I am not a rabid Dispensationalist. While in seminary I was an elder in a reformed church (RCA).
    “The Lord’s Day” Revelation 1:10

    [Stephen, I am replacing the full text with the URL where the text is found. Pastor Grover]

    Go to http://expressright.com/day.aspx

  13. Pastor Grover, You are gracious. God bless your ministry. Stephen.

  14. Pastor Grover, One thought on the Reformed Faith. I am not attracted to “particular” or “limited” atomnement, nor am I in agreement with “irresistable grace.” And it is no solution to rob a lunguage of expressing the word “all.” (The falsifiability challenge.) Did Jesus mean “all” when he said “Come to me all you who are weak…”? And Dispensationalism hijacked prophecy in the early 1800’s to their discredit, turning nearly all against any form of future reading of prophetic passages. Steve

  15. For my own views, see http://grovergunn.net/andrew/grace.htm, http://grovergunn.net/andrew/2pet21la.htm, http://grovergunn.net/andrew/svhc.htm and http://grovergunn.net/andrew/joh0316s.pdf.

    Pastor Grover

  16. Pastor Grover, It seems that when the gospel goes forth, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved…” (Acts 2), the hearer has the responsibility to believe, does he not? I fully admit that the hearer cannot hear and understand the message of Christ’s salavation apart from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, but the sinner must then believe, place faith. “Saved by grace through faith…” (I read your paper on Spurgeon.)

    I love the doctrine of grace. Apart from it we have no hope. But I am afraid that we have allowed the doctrines of men to deafen us to the words of the Lord Jesus to His churches in Rev 2-3, “I know your works…” and to His consequent warnings there.

  17. Yes, Calvinism accepts the Bible’s teaching on both sovereign grace rooted in God’s secret decree and human responsibility rooted in God’s revealed will. Calvinism also accepts that consistently accepting both of these biblical teachings results in a doctrinal system with some unanswered questions and some incomprehensible mysteries. Others in their pursuit of a philosophically tight system reject to some degree the biblical teaching on either divine sovereignty or human responsibility. Iain Murray’s book on Spurgeon versus the Hyper-Calvinists is especially helpful because it clarifies the Calvinist position on the free offer of the gospel. I highly recommend this book. Spurgeon, a strong Calvinist, believed in the infinite worth of the atonement, the free and sincere offer of the gospel and an efficacious atonement which will save all those individuals for whom Christ died as a substitute.

    May God bless!
    Pastor Grover

  18. Pastor Grover, When asked to label myself I have often said I am a historical premillenial Calmenian. I must say that I do not believe that God COULD save all men, or, he WOULD save all men. [Paul to Timothy, Peter]. Our God would not make any arbitrary decisions to leave a dying sinner if he could do otherwise–Luke 15: Lost sheep; lost coin; prodigal son. There is a Lamb in the center of the Throne Rev 5:6. This probably says a lot about my take on Theology, the wonderful/powerful heart/spirit of God, the efficacious will of man that hears and believes or disobeys, the unilateral work of God that enables the new birth and perseverance of the saints. I howwever cannot and wish not to get God in a box. that is foolish. I simply worship the One who was able to reach me in my darkness and show me His face in the Lord Jesus, redeeming me and making me a new man.

  19. We are getting away from Daniel’s 70 weeks vision in our discussion, but I enjoy discussing salvation as well.

    Unless we are universalists who believe all go to heaven, we must limit either God’s saving power or God’s saving intention. I believe God’s saving power through the atoning work of Christ is unlimited. Unless we are universalists, the question is not whether we limit the atonement in our theology but how we do so.

    Rather than construct a box for God, we need to accept the box God has constructed for our thoughts in His revelation of Himself in Scripture.

    “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me” John 6:37

    “No one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” John 6:65

    “You do not believe because you are not of My sheep.” John 10:26

    “My sheep hear My voice.” John 10:27

    Pastor Grover

  20. Pastor Grover, I have been challenged by your excellent replies. Yes, I have led us far astray from Daniel’s 70 weeks. I believe your quotation of the John 10 passages was an excellent way to end the discussion on salvation, sovereignty, free will. Let me offer you an insight as a gift that you may not have noticed before– in the book of Revelation there are 7 distinct scenes of worship: 4:5-11 God worshiped as Creator; 5:11-14 Lamb worshipped as Redeemer; 7:11-17 Lamb worshipped as the Provider; 11:15-17 Christ worshipped as Reigning One; 14:1-5 Worship the one who Sanctified them; 15:2-4 Worship God/the Lamb as the righteous Deliverer; 19:1-10 Worship God the righteous Judge. In the book of Revelation I find that God is correcting our worship. Indeed, Worship God is the theme of the book. And so in all the series of sevens, there is an over arching series of the seven scenes of worship demonstrating seven reasons God should be worshiped. God is our Creator, Redeemer, Provider, King, Sanctifier, Deliverer, Judge. Steve

  21. Thank you, Steve. I appreciate the tone of your comments. Your comments on worship in the book of Revelation are very helpful. That is a valuable insight that is not commonly stressed today.

    May God bless!
    Grover

  22. Pastor Grover, On a subject a little closer to Daniel 9, perhaps you would be interested in my take on the 2300 evening-mornings of Daniel 8, perhaps closely related. Daniel 8:13-14, 26
    13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, “How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?”14 And he said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored.”
    26 “And the vision of the evenings and mornings
    Which has been told is true;
    But keep the vision secret,
    For it pertains to many days in the future.”
    Discussion
    Daniel is told that the career of the little horn will be for 2300 evening-mornings as he opposes and dominates the people of the Commander of the host.

    To understand this measure of time we go first to the further explanation of the angel in Daniel 8:26. In the matter of all the other things Daniel saw, the angel had to explain what they meant. Here he says, the 2300 evening-mornings are true. In other words “What you saw is what it is.” No further explanation needed. But it is here, right at this point that most mistakes are made. Readers bring their baggage and prejudices to the passsage that keep them from accepting the simple meaning. We all know what an evening is, we all know what a morning is, we all know what a day is. But because there are those who do not understand how to reconcile the plain sense of the creation account and the findings of science, the Genesis language stating a litereal six-day creation is redefined to mean something else. Listen, God knew we were going to have a problem here, that’s why He used the evening and morning language. If you wanted to communicate to someone the word “day,” meaning a day of the week rather than a long period of time, “an evening and a morning one day,” is as good as it gets! And then when Gabriel is finishing his explanation of the 2300 evening and mornings, he says they “pertain to many days” (v. 26). Unfortunately many Bibles add the words “in the future” at the end of verse 26, but that is not in the text. Gabriel is simply anticipating the confusion and stating the truth. But here we are 2500 years later calling it everything but what he said!

    Next, we must ask, “Why is God communicating in Daniel 8 the passage of time in this Genesis One measure of time?” This conjoining of evening-morning is used only here and in Genesis One. We review Genesis One and simply note that as God did His work of creation, He recorded two events, an evening and a morning, and that would be one day. After the sixth day He rested on the seventh, but there is no mention of an evening and a morning on that seventh day. It simply says He rested. The evening-morning phrase is used exclusively for a work day, not the seventh day, or Sabbath.

    Next we notice that the little horn tampers with time keeping, as recorded in Dan 7:25, “make alterations in times and in laws,” and in like manner takes the “continual” away from Him [the Commander of the Host], Dan 8:11, 12, 13; 11:31; 12:11. (Most English Bibles say “daily sacrifice” to their discredit. But there is only one common word here which means “regular,” “continual,” “repetitive,” denoting some continuous regular act. There is no word for “sacrifice” here.)

    We should have also noted or will note that Daniel’s time sensitive words concerning the other end-time passages are in terms of 3 1/2 years, 3 1/2 units of time, or week of years divided in half (7:25; 9:27; 12:7, 11, 12).

    A Simple Answer
    The 2300 events of evening-morning are 1150 work days (here we use Genesis as our formula, “an evening and a morning were one day”). But something else is needed. This obvious end-time passage that should add up to 3 1/2 years does not, if we count it as it appears. God knows that by using this Genesis work day, evening and morning, his people will understand that this period should include something else that is not overtly stated, and that “the something” is the Sabbath to be complete. It is simply a fact that every six days (or 12 events of evenings-mornings) God’s people observe the Sabbath (Ex 20:8). So we take 1150 work days, adding a Sabbath after every six days to arrive at the total passage of time for the career of the little horn. Thus we must add 191 missing Sabbaths to the 1150 work days. (That is 2300 divided by 2=1150. 1150 divided by 6 work days reveals 191 missing Sabbaths, then adding 191 Sabbaths to the 1150 work days=1341 or 3 1/2 years and the extra time revealed in Daniel 12:12.) This, and the notification that he takes the “continual” away from Him, reveals that the end-time ruler will outlaw the Sabbath, changing the calendar. Stephen

  23. Thanks for sharing that. Here is my take. The 2300 evening-mornings refer to 2300 days, about six years and three months. When the Bible refers to days and nights as separate entities in a period, it puts a number in front of both, as in forty days and forty nights as opposed to eighty evening-mornings.

    The rise of Antiochus Ephiphanes occurred over four centuires after Daniel’s vision (v. 26). The desolations under Antiochus Epiphanes were at the end of the period of divine wrath here prophesied. (vv. 17,19). The ram refers to the Medo-Persian empire (v. 20) and the male goat refers to the kingdom of Greece (v. 21). The male goat’s one horn refers to Alexander the Great, the first king of the Greek Empire. The breaking of the one horn is the death of Alexander the Great, and the four horns which replace him are his four generals who divided the Greek Empire into four smaller kingdoms. Israel was between the Ptolomaic Kingdom to its south and the Seleucid Kingdom to its north. The little horn which came out of the four horns is Antiochus Epiphanes, the Seleucid ruler who entered the Holy of Holies, erected an altar to Zeus in the temple court and offered pigs there. He tried to destroy the Scriptures, he prohibited Sabbath observance and he outlawed circumcision. The 2300 days refer to the overall period of Antiochus’ abominations, which lasted over six years. The 1290 days or three and one half years mentioned in Daniel 12:11 refer to the period during which Antiochus Ephiphanes used the temple for pagan sacrifices. The subsequent cleansing of the temple is celebrated in the Jewish festival of Hanukah.

    May God bless!
    Pastor Grover

  24. Pastor Grover:
    I’m glad you are alive and care. Here is a reply. 2/27/08.
    A. (I do not want to sound petty, but just for the sake of accuracy) In Genesis chapter one, “when the Bible refers to” an evening and a morning “as a separate entity in a period,” it uses no number in front of either evening or morning, but it does use a number, “One,” in front of “day.”
    B. Then, note again, from my earlier argument (by implication) if you count 2300 evenings and mornings as descriptive of 2300 days, you are saying that there are Sabbaths included in those 2300 days, i.e. it is a day with an evening and a morning just like all other days. But we know from Genesis that there is no evening and morning attributed to the Sabbath (Gen 2:1-3). I concede that your point about day and night is strong, but it does not transfer automatically to an analysis of the use of evening morning in the present passage. Another problem with the 2300 day interpretation is Daniel 12:11-12 where we find the angel describing the same period of time pointed to in Daniel 8:13-14, totaling 1335 days, not 2300 days. But my evening-morning approach which sees 1150 work-days when added to Sabbaths equals 1341 days (just 6.66 days off?).
    C. The use of the Temple for pagan sacrifices for a period is at best a suggestion, not a solution, and has no historical time indicators, start to finish, that I am aware of. And then finally on the point of time, the angel did say the vision concerned “the time of the end” both here and in chapter 12.
    Antiochus Ephiphanes
    I track with you on everything down to AE. There seems to be little doubt that AE is at least a type of the one that the prophecy has in view. But he falls short of the description given in Dan 8:23-25 and 12. It appears that Daniel 8 deals with the end-time (8:17) just as Daniel 12 does (12:4,9,13). Daniel 7 is also not be to ignored as important context in this discussion, since it deals with the end of the age and coming of Christ. Antiochus simply could not be present in a time frame yet future.
    Spring is nearly here. We will soon celebrate the bodily resurrection and victory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with all other Christians.
    It gives me a new lease on life. Steve

  25. Thanks for the interaction. It is not that I am not interested. I enjoy doing this when I can find the time or make the time.

    The use of “evening morning” for a 24 hour period in Daniel 8 is probably based on the language of Genesis one, where an evening and a morning are reckoned as a full day for each of the first six days of the creation week.

    Daniel 8 does prophesy the end of an era (v. 17), and the strict futurist would assume this era to be the end of this age. I believe the context points to the prophesied era as the time of God’s judgment upon Israel during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. The chapter’s own interpretation of the symbolism mentions Medo-Persia, Greece, and the four kingdoms which rose after Alexander’s death.

    Interpreting the 2300 day period, interpreting the 1290 day period, and interpreting the 1335 period are all difficult. It would not be wise to build a system of prophecy upon such difficult passages. Rather these are difficult verses which one must interpret in terms of clearer passages.

    1 and 2 Maccabees record the history of Antiochus Epiphanes in some detail, but not every event is given a specific date. I believe the exact numbers are chosen with a symbolic significance, and also that the time periods fit the prophesied historical eras close enough to demonstrate the miracle of inspired prophecy. K&D argues that “the times of God’s visitations, trials, and judgments are so often measured by the number seven …” This 2300 day judgment is about 6 years, 4 months, and therefore just short of a full seven years. Leupold comments, “… this number signifies not even a full period of divine judgment.” Also, the round number 2300 may have been chosen because of the association of the number 69 (3X23) with the period from Israel’s return from exile to the coming of the Messiah in Daniel chapter 9.

    1290 days is a month more than 3 1/2 years. Israel’s bondage in Egypt was 430 years (Exodus 12:40), and 430X3=1290. The number is three times as large (a more intense persecution) but the period is measured in days (a shorter duration). 1335 days is 45 days longer than 1290 days. The period from the Exodus to the conquest under Joshua (Joshua 14:10), the time of rest and inheritance (cf. Daniel 12:13), is 45 years. These numbers may have a symbolic significance as well as being approximate measures of prophesied historical eras centuries after Daniel.

    May God bless!
    Grover

  26. Pastor Grover, It is at least possible, that the Lord Jesus was making reference to Daniel 8 when he answered his disciples question regarding a sign of his [second coming], and end of the age. The probability is strong because he points to the abomination (properly: that causes) of desolation. If this is the case Jesus can’t be pointing to Antiochus. And the abominable one who essentially takes the place of God (2 Thess 2), does so in a way not so very unlike Antiochus. Antiochus attacked the Temple to defile and make sport of it, the end-time little horn will do the same to the “holy people,” the church of Jesus, the current Temple of God. [Remember I am no dispensationalist.] Jesus shows us a closer picture of this in Revelation. And when we arrive there we find three separate chapters (11,12,13) discussing a yet future 3 1/2 year period of tribulation for God’s church. I believe that Daniel 8 speaks to a larger audience than Israel. And for some reason 3 1/2 has some special significance (perhaps because the Lord Jesus was crucified 3 1/2 years into His ministry in the 70th week of Daniel!) Steve

  27. There are two prophesied abominations of desolation in Daniel. One is associated with the little horn which arose out of one of the four kingdoms which resulted when Alexander the Great died. This little horn is Antiochus Epiphanes, and this desolation is mentioned in 8:13, 11:31 and 12:11. Chapter 11 is an amazingly detailed prophecy of history written a few centuries before the fulfillment. Those who do not believe in an inspired Scripture cannot accept that Daniel’s prophecy was written before these events came to pass. Here are two historical accounts of the fulfillment of this first abomination of desolation:

    1 Maccabees 1:54
    Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;

    Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews
    3.5.4.
    And when the king had built an altar upon God’s altar, he slew swine upon it, and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the law, nor the Jewish religious worship in that country.

    This abomination of desolation occurred over a century before the coming of Jesus. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus referred to another abomination of desolation prophesied in Daniel which was still future when Jesus then spoke. Daniel 9:27 prophesied an abomination of desolation which would occur after the Messiah is cut off (9:26). The event preceding this other abomination of desolation is identified in Luke 21:20, the parallel verse to Matthew 24:15:

    Luke 21:20-22
    20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
    21 “Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.
    22 “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

    In the Jewish War, a Roman army surrounded Jerusalem and then mysteriously withdrew. In obedience to Jesus, the Christians in Jerusalem took this opportunity to leave the city and found refuge in Pella. The Romans returned, laid siege to Jerusalem, and destroyed the temple and city. The idolatrous Roman army (an abomination) destroyed the temple in Jerusalem (a desolation).

    May God bless!
    Pastor Grover

  28. Pastor Grover, I meant also to call your attention to the obvious parallel between Revelation 12:4 and Daniel 8:10. Even if one is not sure what many of the symbols mean, certainly it is apparent who Satan is, and his destructive act against the stars of heaven finds its equivalent in Daniel 8:10 when the small horn causes some of the host and stars to fall to earth. We then notice that this is an end time scenario where Satan is himself cast down, knowing that he has but a short time. There is always this larger context. Steve

  29. Pastor Grover, I’ll reply later on what you just wrote. I was afraid that was going to be the answer. Steve

  30. The language of Daniel 8:10 is reflected in a statement about Antiochus Epiphanes found in 2 Maccabees 9:10: “And the man, that thought a little afore he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry for his intolerable stink.”

    The covenant people, who are citizens of heaven, are associated with God’s host and with the stars (Genesis 37:9). Daniel 8:10 refers to trampling, which is the language of oppression. See 1 Maccabees 1:41-62 for the historical fulfillment.

    In Revelation 12, similar imagery regarding stars is used for the fall of Satan and the evil angels. For my take on Revelation 12, see http://grovergunn.net/andrew/rev1201.pdf.

    Pastor Grover

  31. Pastor Grover, In the Rev 12 passsage Satan, in the image of the dragon makes an AGGRESSIVE move with his tail against the stars of heaven and casts them to the earth. The word for cast is ballo as in Matt 5:29 re your rt eye, “tear it out and throw it from you.” This is not a scene of Satan leading a rebellion of evil angels who follow him or get cast out with him. This is a move against saints as it is also in Daniel 8. Watch a few wildlife shows and notice crockidiles using their tales to sweep their prey from the shore into the water where they then eat them. That old rebellion fable is just that, my friend, an unsupported wives tale. It has no Biblical support anywhere. In the passage before us angels are called angels, not stars–as it says in verses 7-10. Satan’s fall was in the Garden when he tempted mankind to sin against God. And THAT was the occassion of his curse, not some former rebellion portrayed in of all places, the book of Revelation. I would say the Bible presents beginnings in Genesis and endings in Revelation, not vice-versa.
    And concerning two abominations of desolations, both now already fulfilled if I understand you correctly, does that mean Jesus left the bulk of the church no sign of his coming, and did not ever address such a subject? Steve

  32. I don’t view the interpretation of the sweeping of the stars by the dragon’s tail in Revelation 12:4 as a crucial detail in either your or my interpretation. I think either of the two explanations of that detail could fit with either system. I just looked at two respected non-dispensational premillennial commentaries, and they both view this action as a metaphor for the awesomeness of the red dragon and no more.

    I don’t believe Christ will bodily return to earth until He has discipled the nations through the preaching of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the rebellion at the end of this age (Rev. 20:7f), there may be some evil leaders who are manifestations of the antichrist and are typologically related to previous antichrists. I believe we will find out when these events unfold.

    The second coming is discussed in Matthew 25, John 5:25; Luke 20:35; Acts 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Titus 2:13, etc.

    May God bless!
    Pastor Grover

  33. Pastor Grover, Let’s return now to Jesus’ answer to his disciples’ question about a sign of his coming when he pointed to the abom of desolat spoken of by Daniel. He described the tribulation to follow in these words,  “for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. 22 And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.” His words descibe the events of that great tribulation as worse than anything that will ever happen again, “nor ever shall.” I would submit that we would not have to look far forward into history to find much worse events than “the sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman Army”. For that matter concerning his comparison of the tribulation with the past, much worse things had happened in the past: the great flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra, the captivity and deportation of first 10 tribes and then Judah and Benjamin. The sacking of Jerusalem and desstruction of the Temple by the Roman army is an attempt to put a square peg in a round hole. It just doesn’t fit the Lord’s words. [oh, by the way. I would like to make an out of context remark: He is risen!] Steve

  34. That is a very good question. You are asking about a difficult passage concerning which many godly interpreters have different understandings. This is not a foundational issue which makes or breaks orthodoxy.

    In studying Matthew 24, I suggest first to study the Greek word translated “generation” in Matthew 24:34. It is used 15 times in Matthew. Four of these uses are in the opening genealogy of Jesus. All the rest refer to the adulterous generation of Jesus’ contemporaries who rejected Him as the Christ. In verse 34, Jesus said that what He had predicted up to that point in His discourse would occur before this generation passed away.

    Matthew 23:34-36
    34 “Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
    35 “that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
    36 “Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

    In Matthew 24, Jesus speaks about two separate events. He tells the disciples that the temple will be destroyed, and the disciples ask when that will happen. Jesus also tells the disciples about His bodily return at the end of the age. One must decide which passages are referring to what, and in what way.

    If you really want to look into this, I would recommend this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0006CV0X8/ref=sr_1_olp_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204302990&sr=1-2

    As to your question about the tribulation that is worse than anything ever experienced, there is a quotation from Josephus which seems designed to answer that question. This book will quote it. This book is apparently out of print right now, and I noticed that there is currently only one copy available at a low price.

    May God bless!
    Pastor Grover

  35. Pastor Grover, Out of respect for your confidence in this author (Ki)I ordered the book, it should arrive in few days. But I heard all these arguments before when in seminary, then admittedly rejecting them as a dispensationalist. But now I am questioning these statements on a plain sense basis! It seems that the disciples would have walked away from that discourse believing that there was going to be an abomination of desolation which Daniel had taught, involving a terrible tribulation unlike anyting ever, that they were to be prepared, and that he would bodily present himself in the sky with his angels in a very visible way to gather his saints from the whole earth. If he wanted to say what I just paraphrased how else could he have said it to them not using the language of Matthew 24.(this is a falsifiability challenge). Are we denying Jesus them the plain sense use of words?
    Steve

  36. Pastor Grover, Allow me to add, I believe that when the Apostle Paul is correcting the Thessalonians about the Second Coming He points out that the man of lawlessness, son of destruction, must first arise. In the course of Paul’s argument he quotes for authority Daniel 11:36 in 2Thess 2:4. Since the Apostle ties the events of Daniel 11 to the future visible coming of the Lord, are you and I not bound to see the passage in the same way? Are not the actions of the man of lawlessness, son of destruction equal to the abomination of desolation, and tied by Paul’s epistle to the second coming of Jesus 2 Thess 2:1-2,8 1:7?

  37. Pastor Grover, Sorry, I know what you will say. I just read your sermon on 2 Thess 2.
    http://www.grovergunn.net/andrew/2th202s.pdf
    I couldn’t disagree with anything more strongly than this piece, especially the part about apostacy. Jesus warned of apostacy in his churches, Paul wrote of it here (and 2 Tim 3), John wrote Jesus’ messages to five of seven churches in various stages of apostacy (Rev 2-3). There are several significant warnings about what we believe about eschatology as you surely know. Why downplay the importance of our beliefs here, as you do at the end of your messages? Stephen

  38. I have had to be out of the office for a few days.

    I am afraid we have come to the point of diminishing returns in our discussion. Strong assertions are not arguments I can respond to except with my own strong assertions. In regard to actual discussion, I fear we are starting to travel in circles, and there is little purpose in repeating what has already been said.

    As to the meaning of certain statements in Matthew 24, some of the language is rooted in the OT. It can refer to a divine visitation within history, and it can also be used more literally to refer to Jesus’ bodily return at the end of this age. As Jesus later said to Caiaphas in Matthew 26:64, “Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Jesus came in a divine visitation of blessing on Jerusalem the following Pentecost. He came again in a divine visitation of judgement upon Jerusalem in 70 AD.

    I have interpreted the word “generation” in Matthew 24:34 consistently with its usage elsewhere in Matthew. This leads me to interpret the language of Matthew 24:29f. as the prophetic language of a divine visitation within history. The historical fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy through the divine visitation of judgement upon Jerusalem in 70 AD was a sign that the resurrected Son of Man was indeed in heaven ruling with authority. I believe Christ started discussing His second coming in Matthew 24:35. Kik gives a verse by verse commentary from this perspective.

    If you are convinced that Matthew 24:29f. is a literal reference to the second coming, then you will have to explain the meaning of verse 34 from that perspective.

    There are those who see the bodily return of Christ and the end of this age in every passage where the words can be turned in that direction by any stretch of the imagination. There are others who do not see the bodily return of Christ and the end of this age in any passage whatsoever. I disagree with both schools of thought. As is so often the case, the truth is a road with a ditch on each side.

    I appreciate the interaction. You helped me clarify some of my own thinking. The passages we have been discussing are some of the most challenging in Scripture. The Scriptures are clear on those things which must be known, believed and observed for salvation. The Scriptures are also profound, and no one will ever fully plumb their depths in a lifetime of devoted study. I try to maintain a Biblical sense of proportion on doctrine. Some doctrines are vital to spiritual life, and to err regarding them is fatal. Other doctrines are secondary and relate to degrees of spiritual health. I understand the doctrine we have been discussing to be in the latter category and not the former.

    I know the pain of leaving behind long held and cherished beliefs as one’s knowledge of Scripture grows. At times I have had to lay aside long held convictions because they had become like a comfortable pair of old shoes which I had outgrown. My new convictions which replaced them were at first like a stiff pair of new shoes which fit but wore blisters. I am now comfortable with all my convictions. I pray that I will always be open to learning more of God’s truth found in Scripture even if this means that I will in the future have to endure some more blisters. May God bless your study of His profound and satisfying written revelation as well.

    Pastor Grover


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