5  Prophetic Plan
Home Up Introduction 1 Noah's Flood 2 Dinosaurs 3 Age of the Earth 4 No Mech for Evol 5  Prophetic Plan 6 Israel's Return

 

Chapter 5

God's Prophetic Plan

Have you ever considered the incredible ability required to predict the future and bring it to pass? As we move into the area of predictive prophecy the Bible is the only book that specifically and with 100% accuracy meets this challenge. No other religion has predictive prophecy in its writings with regards to the history of planet earth.

The Bible can be shown to outline human history from Creation to Jesus Christ's reign from Jerusalem covering a 7 day or 7,000 year period. From Creation to Abraham was approximately 2,000 years, from Abraham to Jesus Christ's first coming was approximately 2,000 years, from Jesus Christ's first coming to present is approaching 2,000 years. Our generation is witnessing the stage being set for the drama of end-time events. Prophecies not as clearly understood in previous generations have come into focus. The end-time events climax with Christ returning in Revelation chapter 19 to set up his 1,000 year rule.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ISRAEL

The nation of Israel's founding father was a man named Abram (later changed to Abraham). In around 2,086 B.C. God called Abram from his homeland in Chaldea (modern day Iraq) to sojourn to a land God would give him. God's intention was to bring the Messiah through Abram's descendants. In Genesis 12 v 1-3 God promised to make his descendants a great nation, that all people would be blessed through his seed (the Messiah) and God's blessing or cursing would be on each nation depending on how they treated the Israelites. In Genesis 17 v 5-8 God promised Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan (modern day Palestine) as an everlasting possession.

Abraham had two sons Ishmael and Isaac. God had promised Abraham and his wife Sarah a son yet Sarah was well past childbearing age (76 years) and still had not seen God fulfill his promise. Rather than trusting God to fulfill a seemingly impossible situation they took it upon themselves to help God. Abraham had relations with Sarah's handmaiden named Hagar. Hagar bore him a son named Ishmael. However God again met Abraham and confirmed that Sarah would indeed bear him a son. When Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 she bore him Isaac the son of promise. In Genesis 26 v 1-4 God appeared unto Isaac and passed the promises to him and not to Ishmael.

From Isaac the promises were passed to his son Jacob (later named Israel) in Genesis 28 v 10-14 and Genesis 35 v 9-12. Jacob had twelve sons from which descended the twelve tribes of Israel. The twelve tribes grew out of Jacob's twelve sons, Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, and Joseph who had two sons named Manasseh and Ephraim. The tribe of Dan because of their sins against God would forfeit their place to Manasseh. When we arrive at Revelation chapter 7 the list of tribes include Manasseh and excludes Dan. In Genesis 49 v 10 God indicates that the Messiah (Shiloh) would come from the tribe of Judah.

Israel's Time in Egypt

In Genesis 15 v 13,14 God told Abraham that his descendants would serve in the land of Egypt but would come out again in the fourth generation. So at the end of the book of Genesis we find Israel (Jacob) and his sons and families entering the land of Egypt (circa 1871 B.C.) due to great famine.

During this time in Egypt the twelve tribes of Israel grew to an estimated 2 to 3 million people. After 430 years in Egypt Moses leads them out (circa 1441 B.C.). In Exodus 12 v 40,41 it says that Israel came out of Egypt on the exact day God had set for them. Israel spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness because of their disobedience. She entered the land of Canaan and began to conquer it (circa 1401 B.C.). Before we move on to the reign of David and Solomon it is important to understand that Israel's possession of the land was conditional upon their obedience to God. Deuteronomy chapter 28 details the blessings and cursings for Israel. Of particular note is verse 36 and 37. If Israel did not harken unto the Lord they would be scattered out of the land and would become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all the nations whither the Lord would lead them.

It's also important to realize that during the 430 years that Israel was in Egypt God was calling the Canaanites to repent and turn from their wicked ways. In Deuteronomy 18 v 9-14 God gives the reasons why these nations were being driven out in judgment. The Canaanites practiced idolatry where they actually sacrificed children by fire to appease their gods. They had sunk to incredible depths of bondage to Satan the god of this world. The land was full of occultic practices such as astrology, witchcraft, divination, spirit guides, fortune tellers, sorcery, etc.. All these practices God called an abomination because they lead into stronger forms of demonic deception, oppression and possession. God gave the Canaanites a long time to repent and turn to him but their refusal lead to the time for judgment.

Israel in the Promised Land

The twelve tribes of Israel began to conquer the land of Canaan (circa 1401 B.C.) and gradually extended their dominion until it reached its apex during the reigns of David and his son Solomon. King David reigned for 40 years circa 1004 B.C. to 965 B.C. and Solomon reigned for 40 years circa 965 B.C. to 926 B.C.. It was during the reign of Solomon that the first temple was built. As we come to the end of Solomon's reign the people of Israel began to go through a time of good kings and bad kings. The good kings kept the nation on track spiritually however the bad kings lead the people into idolatry and all the old Canaanite practices.

As this process of good and bad kings went on the 10 northern tribes split politically and spiritually from the 2 southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The northern tribes established their capital at a place called Shechem and also established their own idolatrous worship centers. God warned the northern tribes about their impending expulsion from the promised land yet they ignored the message. The prophets Hosea (circa 760-710 B.C.) and Amos (circa 755-750 B.C.) were used by God to warn them of the coming invasion by the Assyrians. In 721 B.C. Assyria invaded the Northern kingdom and exiled the northern tribes from the promised land. This sad moment is recorded in 2 Kings 17 v 1-6.

The Southern Kingdom centered in Jerusalem lasted just over a hundred years longer. By this time the Assyrian empire which reigned from 824-625 B.C. was succeeded by the Babylonian empire which ruled circa 612-539 B.C.. Again God sent prophets such as Isaiah (circa 740-690 B.C.) and Jeremiah (circa 627-586 B.C.) to warn the Southern kingdom that their sins were going to lead to expulsion from the promised land. In a series of stronger campaigns by Babylon the Southern kingdom was exiled over the period of 605-586 B.C.. In 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar razed Jerusalem and destroyed Solomon's temple. These events are recorded in 2 Kings chapters 24 and 25.

At this time in history we move to the book of Daniel. Daniel had been exiled to Babylon during the first wave of deportations out of the promised land. Through circumstances God allowed Daniel to serve in Nebuchadnezzer's government and also as a prophet to the exiles in Babylon. It is through the book of Daniel that God revealed and outlined his plan for the nation of Israel, the Gentile nations, the Messiah and the Messianic kingdom.

God's Plan for Human History

In Daniel chapter 2 and 7 God outlines the Gentile kingdoms which will rule until the Messiah comes to set up his 1,000 year kingdom. Let's examine these chapters in detail.

Daniel 2 v 31-44

Verse 31 Thou, O king, (King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon), sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

Verse 32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

Verse 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay

Verse 34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

Verse 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Verse 36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Verse 37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

Verse 38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

Verse 39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

Verse 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

Verse 41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and the toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

Verse 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

Verse 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

Verse 44 And in the days of these kings (ten toes) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

Looking at this chapter God has given Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon a dream which greatly disturbed him. He called all the wise men in his kingdom together and asked them to tell him about the dream. They replied that if the king would tell them the dream they would interpret its meaning. I think Nebuchadnezzar over time had grown weary of his counselors who claimed to have special powers of discernment because he really puts them under dire pressure. He says he does not remember the dream and commands them upon pain of death to tell him both the dream and its interpretation. Needless to say those who had any real powers of discernment had better step up now. Everything was on the line. At this point Daniel who belonged to this group entered unto the king and appealed for some time which was granted. Daniel and his three friends sought the God of heaven and the dream was revealed to Daniel in a night vision.

Daniel seeks audience with the king and verses 31-44 records the revealing of the dream and its interpretation. In verses 27-30 Daniel gives credit to the mercy of the God of heaven rather than use this knowledge to exalt himself. Daniel describes a great image with a head of gold, arms and breast of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron and feet of part iron and part clay. Then a great stone cut out without hands smote the image upon its feet and crushed the image. The stone became a great mountain which filled the whole earth. I can imagine the stunned look on Nebuchadnezzar's face as the dream again flooded his mind. Who on earth could have known this secret and read his mind? The God of heaven was breaking into Nebuchadnezzar's grasp of reality.

Then comes the interpretation, the head of gold is the Babylonian kingdom (v37, 38), the arms and breast of silver is the next kingdom, the belly and thighs of brass is the third kingdom, and the legs of iron is the fourth kingdom (v39, 40). Verses 41 and 42 describes the last phase of the fourth kingdom which will be united but partly strong and partly weak. Verse 44 says that in the days of the last phase of the fourth kingdom the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. For our generation most of this prophetic passage has been fulfilled. History shows the second kingdom was the Medes and the Persians circa 539-331 B.C., the third kingdom was the Greeks under Alexander the Great circa 331-163 B.C., and the fourth kingdom was the Roman Empire 163 B.C. to 476 A.D.. From this point onwards the Roman empire split into parts with an east and west leg developing. In the last generation before God establishes the millennial kingdom in Revelation chapter 19 and 20 the parts of the old Roman empire will unite. The final phase of the Roman Empire is currently in formation.

The Revived Roman Empire

The fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. was not really the end of the last great world empire for her parts continued dominance throughout the last two millennium. The desire to bring back the Roman Empire in united form again has always been there. Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler, and many of the Popes desired to reign over the revived Roman Empire once more. The Bible is clear that only in God's timing would its final phase be allowed to come together.

The importance for our generation is that the revival of this last phase leads to the rapture of the Church, the seven year tribulation and the 1,000 year Messianic kingdom. For our generation has witnessed the final phase developing to its current state as the European Union. The final form will be 10 kings or nations which will give their power (Revelation 17 v 12) to the Anti-Christ during the seven year tribulation. The Bible is very clear about the final phase of the Roman Empire being in place as the last days develop. From Daniel chapter 2 we have solid evidence which has been proven historically accurate and verifies the existence of God and the trustworthiness of the Bible. To predict the dominant Gentile kingdoms from Babylon to present is beyond all finite comprehension and exhibits the fingerprint of God.

Proverbs 9 v 10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."

Daniel 7 v 1-8, 17-25

Verse 1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.

Verse 2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

Verse 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

Verse 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.

Verse 5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

Verse 6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had on the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

Verse 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

Verse 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

Verse 17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

Verse 18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.

Verse 19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

Verse 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

Verse 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

Verse 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

Verse 23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

Verse 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

Verse 25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and a dividing of time (3 1/2 years).

Verse 26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

Verse 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

This chapter is a parallel to Daniel chapter 2 covering Gentile world powers. It portrays the four kingdoms as beasts and provides additional detail on the Anti-Christ. The fourth beast and the Anti-Christ will be found in great detail in the book of Revelation.

Daniel sees in a vision by night four great beasts, verses 3-8. The first beast was like a lion, the second beast was like a bear, the third beast was like a leopard with four wings and four heads, and the fourth beast was fearsome and dreadful with 10 horns. In verse 8 it says a little horn came up and plucked up three horns by the roots having the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things. The interpretation of Daniel's vision covers verse 17-27 of which we will highlight certain aspects.

Verse 17 says the four beasts are four kings or world empires. This is also verified in verse 23 which says the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth. These four kingdoms parallel the image in Daniel chapter 2. The kingdom of Babylon's national symbol was the lion. The Medo-Persian's symbol was the bear. The Greek kingdom conquered rapidly like a leopard and was divided up into four kingdoms when Alexander died. The Roman Empire was a combination of these previous kingdoms but much more fierce.

In verse 24 we are told the 10 horns are 10 kings. The one who arises after them will be the Anti-Christ who Jesus Christ defeats upon his physical return to earth in Revelation chapter 19. Verse 25 indicates that his dominion is nearly absolute for the last three and a half years of the seven year tribulation. The words in verse 25 for "a time and times and half a time corresponds to Revelation chapter 13 v 5. Here the Anti-Christ as leader of the Revived Roman Empire is given power for 42 months or three and a half years. Daniel chapter 7 closes in verses 26 and 27 with the Anti-Christ's defeat and the setting up of the millennial kingdom. From Daniel chapter 7 we can now move to Daniel chapter 9 and look at the framework for God's prophetic plan for Israel. Daniel chapter 9 reveals the future 7 year tribulation time mentioned above.

God's Prophetic Plan for Israel

One of the reasons Israel was exiled from the promised land to Babylon was her refusal to work the land six years and in the seventh year to let it lie fallow. Israel did not obey or trust God to provide for them in the seventh year by giving extra abundance in the sixth year. In Daniel 9 v 2 the prophet Daniel realizes that the 70 years of exile in Babylon prophesied in the book of Jeremiah was almost complete. Jeremiah 25 v 11,12 and 29 v 10 record this prophecy.

Jeremiah 25 v 11,12 And this whole land (Israel) shall be a desolation and a astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

Jeremiah 29 v 10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

As Daniel understands Jeremiah's prophecy he begins to pray. He confesses his own sins as well as the sins of the nation of Israel in Daniel 9 v 3-20. Daniel is in a spot where God wants us all to be, humbling ourselves before him. In response to Daniel's prayer God sends the angel Gabriel to give Daniel the prophetic outline for Israel, verses 21-23.

God begins the outline in Daniel 9 v 24-27.

Verse 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Verse 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

Verse 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

Verse 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.

The period covered is from the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the setting up of the 1,000 year millennial kingdom with the Messiah reigning. In verse 24 God says that the prophecy concerns the people of Israel and the holy city Jerusalem. The period of time given is 70 weeks of years or 490 years. The people of Israel were very familiar with the term weeks as a week of years. Leviticus chapter 25 v 8 mentions seven weeks of years or 49 years which led to the 50th year which was to be celebrated as a year of jubilee where all debts were forgiven. History will verify the seventy weeks in verse 24 as weeks of years. God told Daniel that by the end of this time period Israel's rebellion and separation from God would end, everlasting righteousness would be brought in, and the prophecies of Israel's Messiah and the 1,000 year kingdom would be completed.

God gives us the starting point for the seventy weeks as the going forth of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. This decree is recorded in the book of Nehemiah 2 v 1-8. We read in verse 1 that it was the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king of the Medo-Persian empire. Verses 2-8 record Nehemiah's request of the king that he may go and rebuild Jerusalem. In verse 8 the king granted the request. History records this date as March 14, 445 B.C.. From this decree we can calculate the first 69 weeks of years until the Messiah is presented 483 years later. Sir Robert Anderson in his book "The Coming Prince" calculates from this decree to the exact day of the Messiah's presentation to Israel. The day was none other than Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass (Luke 19 v 30-44). The Lord Jesus mentions the significance of this day to Israel in Luke 19 v 42-44. He says that if they had studied Daniel they would have known of this day but because of their rejection of him they would suffer the destruction and scattering which happened under the Romans in 70 A.D..

Sir Robert Anderson's calculation covers the period from March 14, 445 B.C. to Palm Sunday April 6, 32 A.D.. The 69 weeks times 7 years times 360 days per year gives 173,880 days. God's prophetic time clock uses a 30 day month or 360 day year. This was known at that time as the lunar year and was adjusted periodically to reflect the solar year. Aside from that, the period covered equals the first 69 weeks or 483 years. This leaves the 70th week of Daniel or the last seven years. When Israel rejected her Messiah God's prophetic time clock was stopped at 483 years. As we look at Daniel chapter 9 v 26,27 we observe that the people (Romans) of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city (Jerusalem 70 A.D.) and the sanctuary (the temple). From this reference to "the prince who shall come" we know the yet future Anti-Christ will arise out of the Revived Roman Empire. In verse 27 the leader of the Revived Roman Empire (Anti-Christ) confirms the last week of Daniel by signing a middle east peace pact with Israel and her neighbors. When this pact is confirmed God will begin the prophetic clock and complete the 70th week of Daniel. Our generation can observe the middle-east peace process knowing that there will arise a leader from the Revived Roman Empire which shall broker and guarantee peace for a period of seven years.

Having established prophetic outlines for the Gentiles and Israel numerous passages in the Old and New Testaments add or fill in details on this foundation. In the next chapter we will look in more detail at Israel's prophesied return to the promised land after its exile in 70 A.D..

 

Some Reference Material on the Book of Daniel

1. The Most High God - A Commentary on the Book of Daniel

by Renald E. Showers Published by The Friends of Israel

Gospel Ministry, Inc.

2. Exploring the Book of Daniel by N.W. Hutchings

Published by Hearthstone Publishing/Southwest Radio Church

WATS Line 1-800-652-1144

3. Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks by Alva J. McClain

Published by Zondervan

4. The Coming Prince by Sir Robert Anderson