AGCC Sun. a.m. 9/1/96
(See also: 7/5/87)
TEXT: Dan. 9:20-27;
INTRO: The only thing as
important as the first coming of Jesus Christ is the second coming of Jesus
Christ! What makes living for today valuable as a Christian? It is knowing that
whatever we do today has significance for the future! The world does not have
such assurance. For those who have no faith, life is moving toward a bitter end
that has little significance in the scheme of things.
The world is forever looking for hope in the future, and without faith in God they have gone to great lengths to try and find it: every year in January you will find headlines proclaiming the predictions for the future, our newspapers that fuss over carrying religious articles each and every day carry the horoscopes for your future. Jean Dixon and the "Psychic hotlines" gives ample evidence that the prophets for profit have a strong following...people want to know about tomorrow!
There is one source that has never been wrong about tomorrow...and only
one source...the Bible! Surprisingly, the Bible talks a great deal about the
future, but nobody seems interested in looking at it. The second coming of Jesus
Christ will be the most momentous event in the future...it is the
ILLUS: Did you know that the type most newspapers use for
astounding events is called "SECOND COMING" type!? These are large, heavy, black
letters reserved for only the most stupendous, amazing front page news...such as
the return of Jesus Christ! Many will remember the headlines announcing the end
of World War II, or the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the shooting of
President Reagan. All these huge events reported by newspapers are done in the
"SECOND COMING" print type. One day the type in newspapers called the "SECOND
COMING" type will announce the SECOND COMING of Jesus Christ...only for many it
will be too late! The future is told today...why not be ready for it
PROP. SENT: The Bible clearly
teaches that God has a plan for the future that will benefit only those who have
faith in Him.
I. GOD'S PLAN! 9:20-27
A. Readiness! 9:20-23
1. Preparation for the future is always an important thing:
a. this is true in the world in regards to our finances...retirement, pensions, etc.
b. Just as in the world, failure to prepare for the future financially can have terrible consequences...so can it when we don't prepare spiritually!
c. One does not prepare for the future when you get there, you do that
2. Daniel realizes from Jeremiah's writings that the 70 years of captivity Jeremiah had predicted was nearly over....
a. soon Israel would be set free again to return to Jerusalem
b. it was now the year 539 B.C., captivity had taken place in 605 B.C. so it was almost 70 now.
3. Daniel knowing the future was just around the corner realized that proper
preparation was necessary in order to be ready for the future...this meant
prayer for a proper relationship with God first or Israel was doomed to re-
peat the errors and the judgment of the past again!
a. God's grace should not be taken for granted!
b. though God was about to restore Israel after 70 years of captivity, there
still needed to be spiritual preparations done before it came!
c. We are best prepared for the future only when our hearts are right with
God in the present!
4. It would require more than just a good start, a continuous relationship was
ILLUS: Some years ago a young man approached the foreman of a
logging crew and asked for a job. "That depends" replied the foreman. "Let's see
you fell this tree." The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great
tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed to him that he could start Monday.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday rolled by. Thursday afternoon however
the foreman approached the young man and told him to pick up his paycheck on the
way out that day. Startled, the young man asked, "I thought you paid on
Fridays?" The foreman responded with , "Normally I do, but we're letting you go
today because you've fallen behind so much. Our daily felling chart showed that
you went from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday...and now you are
really behind." The young man protested with surprise by saying, "But I've
worked hard, I arrive first, I leave later than everyone else, and I have even
worked through coffee breaks and other breaks the other men take!" Realizing the
boy's attempt at integrity he asked him a simple question, "how often have you
stopped to sharpen your ax?" The boy stammered, "I've been working too hard to
take the time." That was the problem, the other men had taken breaks to sharpen
theirs, he hadn't. Although his intentions were good, he was unprepared for each
day and fell further behind...this can happen to us spiritually too if we
neglect our relationship to God...one day the future kingdom of God will be
here, will you find yourself way behind because you failed to prepare each day
5. The angle clearly stated that he had come to give Daniel understanding in response to his prayers...if Daniel had not prayed, this wouldn't have happened!
a. Also note that God had answered as soon as he had started to pray!
b. it isn't how well he prayed, it is that he prayed!
c. There are some things that will not happen in our lives without prayer!
d. The answer was given by God when he had just started!
e. God responds to our prayers!
6. It also set the stage for Daniel to understand...prayer gives us insight into
B. Revelation 9:24-27
1. God now reveals to Daniel (and therefore to us too!) that God's plan for
completing everything for the future was based on 70 weeks of years for
Israel, in other words, 490 years.
a. a "week" meant a period of 7 years, and there would be 70 of these "weeks"...therefore 70 X 7 = 490 years
b. Once these 490 years are fulfilled, all things will come to an end and God's own rule will take place on the earth in its fullness.
2. The starting point for these 490 years is given: "From the time the decree is given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem....given in the year 445 B.C.
a. This is remarkable in that we can know the start date of a prophecy!
b. 445 B.C. was during Nehemiah's time, it was when many of the Jews that had not returned earlier came back to rebuild the walls of the city and the city itself. The Temple had been rebuilt already.
c. The book of Nehemiah records the rebuilding...under difficult times just
as Daniel's prophecy said it would here!
3. The 490 years are broken up into 3 sections:
a. a period of 7 7's or 49 years. Interesting enough, When Nehemiah and
people were rebuilding the walls and the public square, it took them
about 49 years to complete this...just as Daniel's prophecy foretold!
b. The next period is of 62 7's that follow immediately, or 434 years.
c. following the completion of the first 69 weeks, or 483 years, the "anointed one" or Messiah would be "cut off and have nothing".
(1. This is a clear reference to death of the Messiah
(2. the "cut off and have nothing" means that his earthly kingdom
would not be established at this point...this was for the second
(3. If we take 445 B.C. and move forward in time 483 years using a Jewish year of 360 days (they did lunar not solar like today) including their leap years, we arrive at the date 32 A.D...remarkably, the year Jesus died!! How marvelously accurate God's Word is!
d. Following this cut off and have nothing section, a ruler of the "people
who will come" (the Romans) will destroy the city and the Temple again!
(1. This destruction Jesus foretold to his Disciples
(2. it occurred in 70 A.D. by Titus the Roman...just as Daniel had said, and just as Jesus had said!
4. Such a remarkably accurate prophecy in God's Word is hardly anyone's interest, yet people will be sure to buy their new issue of 1997 predictions
in the tabloids this coming January!!!
a. it is just like man to ignore the plain truth of the Bible for the more
sensational stuff of this world!
b. The Bible is taken for granted and seems plain, but it holds the greatest
mysteries of all time and is so accurate!
ILLUS: A tourist driving through West Texas stopped at a gas
station and observed a piece of rope dangling from a sign labeled "WEATHER
INSTRUMENT". The man asked, "How can you possibly have a piece of rope be a
weather instrument? The gas station man answered, "It's simple sonny, when the
rope swings back and forth, it's tells me it's windy out! When the rope is wet,
I know it rained, when it is frozen stiff, it dropped below freezing, if it is
covered with snow, it snowed, and when it's gone...tornado!" The man found
something simple to tell him the truth!
5. God's Word might avoid all the splashy details of modern psychics, but it is
at least always accurate!
6. You will notice that there seems to be a break between the first 62 weeks
that seem to run together, and this final 7 years or 70 week.
a. it states here that after the Temple and city are destroyed, "war will
continue until the end and desolations are decreed." 9:26
b. It implies here a break, of unknown time between the 69th week and
the 70th week, we know from the New Testament that this time period
that Jesus talked about is the "tribulation period"...also found through-
out the New Testament, especially in Revelation.
c. This is also known as the "time of the Gentiles"
d. But once Israel is again a nation, the prophetic time clock can start
up again...Israel ceased to exist as a nation in 70 A.D., and did not exist
again until 1948!
7. The nation of Israel is key to the final moments in God's calendar before
setting up his millennial kingdom on earth following His second coming!
8. This future anti-Christ will make a successful pact with Israel for 3 1/2
years and then he will break it!
a. the 70th week will begin the tribulation period
b. in the middle of this "week"...or 3 1/2 years into it, the Anti-Christ will
turn on Israel and defile God's temple
c. Israel will recognize their mistake and a final 3 1/2 years of terror will
fall on this planet
d. at the end of the 7 years however, he will be punished and Christ will
come with 10,000's of His saints to rule and reign over the earth!
9. This will be the moment of victory for God's people!
II. GLORIOUS PROMISE 12:1-13
A. Reassurance 12:1-12
1. In this final chapter, Daniel is told that God will bring everything to a finish and in the process protect His people!
a. it is here that the clearest statements about the resurrection are made
the Old Testament!
b. The term "sleep" simply is used because just as one "wakes up from
sleeping" so we will wake up from the grave again!
c. Death is not the end of life!
d. but only those whose names are found in the "book of life" will arise to
everlasting life with God, the others will arise to everlasting shame!
2. Though the earth goes through struggles now, God has control of the
destiny of this planet!...thus there is hope no matter what is going on in
a. Daniel himself does not understand everything told to him...his know-
ledge was incomplete!
b. we know more because of Jesus' teachings and the Apostles...yet even
our knowledge is limited...
c. but our hope is not limited, we know enough to know that Jesus is com-
ing again...and probably soon now that Israel exists again!
3. God's prophetic declarations will stand...they are "sealed" and sure!
a. One day soon, God's prophetic clock will start ticking off that last 7
years of Daniel's 70 weeks, the final 70th week.
b. The start of this will be the rapture of the Church, and God's focus turns
almost exclusively to Israel, to finish the 70th week on God's People
c. Even the Jews are praying for their temple again!
ILLUS: 3 times a day in Jewish prayers this prayer is said, "may it be Thy will that the Temple
be speedily rebuilt in our days..." The temple mount is the most volatile 35 acres in the world
today! Two Talmudic schools located near the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall) are teaching
nearly 200 students the elaborate details of Temple service. Other groups are researching the
family lines of Jewish priests who alone may
conduct sacrifices. All this was reported din TIME Magazine in their October 16,
1989 issue, pages 64-65. Can the 70th week of Daniel be far away? The time of
the Gentiles will soon end, and God's calendar and clock based on Israel will
tick away again for the final 7 years before the second coming of Christ! Are
you ready, do you that reassurance in your heart!?
4. The blessing of God awaits those who are prepared
now for the future!
B. Reward! 12:13
1. Daniel is told that he will die before all this happens, but that he need not
fear, he will be raised again and will receive a rich reward!
a. The idea of "rest" means that he can stop laboring when he dies!
b. death means the end of our opportunities to work, to prepare for the
future, for those who fail to do this in their lifetime, there is no hope
of a future with God, today is the day of salvation!
2. Daniel has an allotted inheritance...and so do all those who are prepared
for the future!
3. The reward of heaven will make all the suffering in this world pale by
4. In the same way, all the luxurious living sinners do now will pale in comparison to eternity in everlasting shame and darkness then!
5. The future is in your hand today...for it is ultimately in God's hand always!
a. what will you do?
b. Are you ready today?
c. what if God's clock started ticking today for the next 7 years of the
tribulation period, will you go in the rapture or be left behind?
6. God's word has never been wrong yet on any prophecy, no other prophet
can make this claim today in any tabloid!!!, why not trust His word... it
is all going to happen just as God said it will!
7 Be ready, though you might be in a small class of believers, the reward is
great for those who are willing to take God's Word even if the world would
rather have all biggest and best of this world...trust God!
ILLUS: There is a story about a rich baker who sent for 20 of the
poorest kids in town and said to them, "In this basket is a loaf of bread for
each of you. Take one loaf and come back every day and I'll give you more."
Immediately the kids began pushing to try and get the biggest loaf, and then
they all ran off except one little girl who waited until they were all done
getting what they all wanted and then she walked up quietly and took the
smallest loaf which was all that was left. Taking the hand of the baker she
kissed it and ran off. The next day the same scene erupted, but when the little
girl's mother cut open the small loaf she brought home that night out spilled
many silver coins! The little girl brought the coins back to the baker but he
said, "No my child, it was not a mistake, I put them into the smallest loaf to
reward you." It may seem sometimes that we Christians get the smallest loaf now
in this world, but our reward will one day spill out...and how glorious it will
CONCLUSION: Faith enables the believer to face the future with hope. Though terrible time are predicted, everything is under God's plan and is moving to a glorious future for God's people. The amazing accuracy of God's prophetic Word gives us hope for tomorrow, this creates inspiration for today, and meaning for the past! Faith is the victory!