Biblical Prophecy Refutes Earthly Utopian Dreams, Part 3
Pastor Mike Spaulding
But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance. Mark 13:23
But when you see the Abomination of Desolation standing where it should not be [let the reader understand], then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Mark 13:14
Who and What is the Abomination of Desolation?
In the Scripture cited above, Jesus says that there will occur, an Abomination of Desolation. For those familiar with eschatology, the study of end times events, you will understand that this appearance and event marks the midpoint of the seven year tribulation period spoken of in the book of Revelation.
What is interesting about this statement from Jesus is that He mentions something that had already occurred to explain what was going to happen in the future. Recall that Jesus’ response in Mark 13:14 was in relation to the disciples asking Him what would be the signs of His return and of the end of the age.
To understand this completely and explain what we will see in the future we need to go back to the Hebrew Scriptures and look at the book of Daniel Chapter 8, verses 13-14. That passage says:
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?” He said to me, “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored.”
This vision that Daniel received occurred about 551 BC. What is important to know about that date is that it is was nearly 400 years before it happened! As I stated in Part 1 of this article, the Abomination of Desolation occurred in 167 BC. How do I know that? Let’s read on in Daniel 8:15-21:
When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.” So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.”
Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright. He said, “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end. The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
What Daniel is receiving is a history lesson of the future. You may recall that Daniel was taken to Babylon when the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem. Daniel was in Babylon when God raised up Darius, King of the Medes-Persians, who conquered Babylon without a fight. That’s Daniel 5 by the way.
In Daniel 8:21 cited above, Greece is mentioned. That is Alexander the Great and he defeated the Persian Empire about 331 BC. Daniel 8:22 is important for to understand. It says: “The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power.” That broken horn is Alexander the Great, who died at the age of 32 from venereal diseases, alcoholism, and some historians believe typhoid fever.
Alexander had no heirs, and so his empire was divided between his four generals. Those men are represented by the four horns that arose in the place of the broken horn who was Alexander. Those four generals were: Cassandra, reigned over Macedonia, Ptolemy, who reigned over Egypt, Lysimachus, who ruled Thrace and Asia Minor, and Seleucus, who ruled Syria and Israel.
What is pertinent to our understanding here is that one of the descendants of the Seleucids was a King named Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus was by most historical accounts insane. He was violently evil toward Israel. When we read Daniel 8:9 we see that: “Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the South, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.” That is a picture of Antiochus’ hatred of Israel, i.e. The Beautiful Land.
What did Antiochus do? Among other things he:
- Outlawed the public reading of the Hebrew Scriptures.
- He executed Jews who observed the Sabbath.
- He executed Jews who circumcised their sons.
- He forbade worship of Yahweh.
The grievous and blasphemous thing he did was to desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem by stopping the daily sacrifices, offering a pig on the Altar of Incense, and erected a statue of Zeus in the Temple. Daniel 8:11 gives us that information.
These acts so infuriated the Jewish people that a rebellion arose led by the Maccabean family. Antiochus’s army was driven from Jerusalem and the Temple was restored on December 25, 164 BC. This restoration is still celebrated today among the Jewish people as the Festival of Lights. Most Christians know it as Hanukkah.
The Reason Jesus Used the Prophet Daniel to Answer the Disciple’s Questions
The phrase that Jesus used in Mark 13:14 is found in Daniel 9:27 but we will read verses 24-27 for the bigger picture.
“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 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, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
Let me unpack this prophecy, this vision given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel. If you can grasp the meaning of this prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, it will make end times prophecy so much easier to understand.
Here are some things to consider about the abomination of desolation within the prophetic context of Mark 13:14 where Jesus quotes Daniel 9:27. I have already mentioned that the abomination of desolation is both a person and an event. The person is the Antichrist. The event is his desecration of the Temple by demanding that he be worshiped as God.
Antichrist is given many names in Scripture. J. Dwight Pentecost, in his book Things to Come (p. 334), gives a list of names compiled by Arthur W. Pink (The Antichrist, pp. 59–75) which are applicable to Antichrist:
The Bloody and Deceitful Man (Ps. 5:6),
The Wicked One (Ps. 10:2–4),
The Man of the Earth (Ps. 10:18), the Mighty Man (Ps. 52:1),
The Enemy (Ps. 55:3),
The Adversary (Ps. 74:8–10),
The Head of Many Countries (Ps. 111:6 [sic]),
The Violent Man (Psalm 140:1),
The Assyrian (Isaiah. 10:5–12),
The King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:2),
The Sun [sic] of the Morning (Isaiah 14:12),
The Spoiler (Isaiah 16:4–5; Jeremiah 6:26),
The Nail (Isaiah 22:25),
The Branch of the Terrible Ones (Isaiah 25:5),
The Profane Wicked Prince of Israel (Ezekiel 21:25–27),
The Little Horn (Daniel 7:8),
The Prince that shall come (Daniel 9:26),
The Vile Person (Daniel 11:21),
The Willful King (Daniel 11:36),
The Idol Shepherd (Zechariah 11:16–17),
The Man of Sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3),
The Son of Perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3),
The Lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:8),
The Antichrist (1 John 2:22),
The Angels [sic] of the Bottomless Pit (Revelation 9:11),
The Beast (Revelation 11:7; 13:1).
To these could be added: the One Coming in His Own Name (John 5:43), the King of Fierce Countenance (Dan. 8:23), the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15), the Desolator (Dan. 9:27).
It is extremely important that you understand that the Tribulation period spoken of in Daniel and wherever it is mentioned in the New Testament is focused on the Jews and the city of Jerusalem. Daniel 9:24 makes this clear: “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city.” So these events Daniel speaks of concerns the nation of Israel. They do not concern the church. The church was a mystery at the time of Daniel’s writing and therefore it is not in view here.
Furthermore, the church is not Israel and the church has not replaced Israel. Supersessionism also known as Replacement Theology is demonic. Its roots are Augustinian and Romish. Christian Triumphalism is heretical in the least. The grafting in of the church did not result in the exclusion of Israel.
The prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 consists of a 490 year period of time. “Seventy weeks have been decreed.” The Hebrew word for week used in this passage is “shabuwa” (Strong’s #7620) and means a unit of seen. In this context it means a week of years. We see the same thing in Genesis 29:27. There we read Laban saying to Jacob: “Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years.” Jacob served Laban seven “shabuwa’s” or years, for Rachel’s hand. Thus seventy shabuwa’s or units of seven years is equal to 490 years.
These 490 years are biblical prophetic years not years according to our Gregorian calendar. What does that mean? Our Gregorian reckoning of time consists of 365 days except for leap years. Prophetic years consist of 360 days.
We see this in a number of places in Scripture. For example, we see this in Revelation 11:2-3 in which verse two mentions 42 months and verse three mentions 1,260 days. This is referring to the same time period: 3.5 years of the Tribulation.
In Genesis Chapters 7 and 8 we read that the worldwide flood began and the ark rested exactly five months apart and it states that was 150 days. With this understanding we can turn to our calculators! What is 490 years times 360 days? It is 176,400 days. Why is all this important? It is important because it reveals to us a blueprint for the future.
What happens when 176,400 days are fulfilled? We don’t have to guess because the Holy Spirit through Daniel tells us. Read Daniel 8:24 once again. Note these six things:
Finish the transgression.
Make an end to sin.
Make atonement for iniquity.
Bring in everlasting righteousness.
Seal up vision and prophecy.
Anoint the most holy place.
In this vision then, six things will come about at the end of the 490 years. Hebrew scholar Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum says that finish the transgression means that the Jewish people will come to faith in Jesus Christ.
The meaning of making an end to sin is tied to finish the transgression in that the Jewish people will be born-again through faith in Christ. This is the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:33 where God says in reference to His people Israel: “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it.”
By faith the Jewish people will trust in the finished work of Christ upon Calvary’s cross for the salvation of their souls. They will believe on Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the atonement He secured on their behalf and this is the meaning behind Daniel’s statement concerning “atonement for iniquity.”
When these 176,400 days are concluded an everlasting righteousness will be brought in. What does that look like? The prophet Isaiah gives us that information.
“Pay attention to Me, O My people,
And give ear to Me, O My nation;
For a law will go forth from Me,
And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.
“My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth,
And My arms will judge the peoples;
The coastlands will wait for Me,
And for My arm they will wait expectantly.
“Lift up your eyes to the sky,
Then look to the earth beneath;
For the sky will vanish like smoke,
And the earth will wear out like a garment
And its inhabitants will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not [e]wane.
“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
A people in whose heart is My law;
Do not fear the reproach of man,
Nor be dismayed at their revilings.
“For the moth will eat them like a garment,
And the grub will eat them like wool.
But My righteousness will be forever,
And My salvation to all generations.”
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
This is the long-awaited Kingdom. This is what Christians pray for: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The Kingdom of God will be established when Jesus returns. All this talk about building the Kingdom now is not biblical. That kind of “Kingdom Now” theology contributes toward the utopian dreams of the God-haters described previously. The church needs to tighten up its language and theological comprehension.
The next Kingdom that will be established and already is in the process of being established visibly is the Antichrist’s kingdom. That is what Jesus destroys when He returns! Much of the church and people who claim to be Christians are blind and ignorant. They are busy as beavers building a Kingdom but it isn’t God’s Kingdom.
The “sealing up of vision and prophecy” means that all the prophecies related to Israel will be fulfilled. Every promise God has made to Israel will come to pass. Every covenant God has made with Israel will be completed. That includes the land promises that are part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Many Christians will be shocked when the truth is revealed: God is not done with Israel.
Finally, the sixth thing that will be accomplished, the anointing of the most high place, will occur when the Temple is rebuilt during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. The prophet Ezekiel says that the glory of God will fill this Temple. Ezekiel 40-48 contains those details.
There is a lot of talk about a new Temple on the verge of being constructed in Jerusalem right now. Apparently, the priests have been trained, the Temple service implements have been manufactured and recently, an acceptable red heifer has been born. My opinion is that this Temple will not be constructed until the Antichrist is on the scene.
Regardless of the timing of this third Temple, it won’t last long. I believe it will be destroyed when Christ returns. He will build a fourth Temple from which he will reign.
All of this tells us that the political and spiritual restoration of Israel is yet future. The Jewish people have been regathered in their land but they are there in unbelief. There is a day coming when just as the Hebrew Scriptures predict, just as the Apostle Paul prophesied in the Apostolic Scriptures, just as God promised, all Israel will be saved.
What Have We Learned?
This has been a lengthy examination of what the Bible says about the times we are living in and what the end of days actually looks like. The birth pangs Jesus describes in Mark 13:1-13 are upon us. Yet, they are essentially ignored by all but a few. The desire of many in these days is for peace and safety. That leads them to explore all types of activities that have spiritual components to them. Being ignorant of the devices of Satan is a sure recipe for bondage and destruction.
The drive toward a one world religion has gained momentum over the last few decades. All that remains is for governments across the earth to give their approval to a new spirituality of man-centered, earth worshipping, and humanistic amalgamation of God-hating people who have been strategically elevated to places of prominence by people with the ability to do so.
The question sober-minded people should be asking is this: is that possible? Is peace and safety possible in a world where dictators rise up and devastate nations with their greed and murderous ambitions while the world watches silently? Is it possible to have a new spirituality that allows for all expressions of alleged faith except that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life with the one true God? Is it possible to have peace and safety when entire nations of people are taught from the time they begin to walk and talk that other people groups are pigs and apes?
Is peace and safety possible without a brutal totalitarian regime that Orwell and many other modern prophets envisioned? Can the darkness in the human heart be overcome for the benefit of mankind across the world without the Light that is Jesus Christ?
All the machinations of mankind whether political or spiritual, are doomed to failure because they begin without God, and they seek an end that is anti-God. Utopian dreams void of the God who created all things are nightmares in the making.
I plead with you dear reader to consider this day whom you will serve. Will you serve the God of Creation, the God who has revealed Himself through the Son Jesus Christ? Will you trust Him for the salvation of your soul and the reconciliation with the Father that He offers? True peace and safety is only found in Jesus Christ.
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