The Mystery of Hanukkah

 

The ABOMINATION of DESOLATION Revealed!

 

 

                     What is the “abomination of desolation” mentioned by Daniel

                     and referred to by Jesus Christ in the Mount Olivet prophecy?

                     How is the Jewish festival of Hanukkah involved?  Who was

                     Antiochus Epiphanes?  What does the story of the Maccabees

                     have to do with our pulsating End Time generation, today?  Its

                     time you understood what this strange mystery has to do with 

                     YOU and your family, and your future! 

 

William F. Dankenbring

 

         The picture on our front cover shows Isser Unterman, Asheknazi chief rabbi of Israel, kindling the first light at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, 1968, the light of the Hanukkah menorah with eight lamps.   This occurred the year following the “Six Day War” of 1967 when the Israelis recaptured the Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Sinai, Golan Heights, and the West Bank of the Jordan River territory.

 

         The Feast of Hanukkah celebrates the fight for independence of Israel and victory over the occupying Syrian troops under Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 B.C. 

 

         Hanukkah is only mentioned once in the Scriptures – in the Gospel of John, where it is called the “feast of dedication” of the Temple.  Why is it mentioned at all?  And why is it even recorded in the Scriptures of the New Testament?

 

         Every word of the Scriptures was divinely inspired and placed there for a godly reason.  Every letter, every name, every item of information was encoded with a divine purpose and mission – a deliberate act of God’s will and intent (II Tim.3:16). 

 

         So why does the Bible mention, in only one place, about the “feast of dedication”?

 

The Story Behind Hanukkah

        

         According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, Hanukkah (“Dedication”), is an annual eight-day festival commencing on the 25th day of Kislev, the ninth month of the Jewish year.  It was instituted by Judah Maccabee and his followers.  It is mentioned in I Maccabees 4:59 where it is called “dedication of the altar.”  It is also mentioned in the Gospel of John where it is called “feast of the dedication” (John 10:22). 

 

         We read, “I Maccabees (4:36-59) states that Judah Maccabee, after defeating Lysias, entered Jerusalem and purified the Temple.  The altar that had been defiled was demolished and a new one was built.  Judah then made new holy vessels (among them a candelabrum, an altar for incense, a table, and curtains) and set the 25th of Kislev as the date for the rededication of the Temple.  The date coincided with the third anniversary of the proclamation of Antiochus Epiphanes in which he had decreed that idolatrous sacrifices should be offered on a platform erected upon the altar. . . . The celebrations lasted for eight days and Judah decreed that they be designated as days of rejoicing for future generations” (“Hanukkah,” vol.7, p.1283).

 

         There is no mention in the Bible of Jesus Christ or the disciples observing this celebration.  We have only the one reference in John 10:22 which simply states that as a matter of simple fact, one year Christ was at Jerusalem, teaching His disciples, and being wondered about by the Jews, and goes on to state:  At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem.  It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon”, and at this time the Jews gathered around Him and asked Him to tell them plainly if He was the Messiah. 

 

         What was this Jewish festival all about?  Says the Encyclopedia Judaica, the book of II Maccabees declares that the eight day purification ceremony was performed analogous to Solomon’s original dedication of the Temple, which lasted eight days, and the time was celebrated “with gladness like the Feast of Tabernacles.”  The Jewish historian Josephus wrote, “From that time onward to this day we celebrate the festival, calling it ‘Lights’” (Antiquities 12: 325).  He states that the name “lights” came about because the right to serve God came to the people unexpectedly, like a sudden light.

 

         None of these writing mentions the kindling of lights on Hanukkah.  Various lighting traditions were in place, however, by the time of Christ – the House of Shammai insisting that eight lights should be lit the first day, and then progressively reduced in number, whereas the House of Hillel decreed the very opposite, starting with one light and ending with eight.

 

         According to one Jewish baraita or story, on entering the Temple, the Hasmoneans found only one cruse of oil, all the rest having been defiled by the Greeks.  It had only enough oil for two days, but when kindled, lasted for eight days. Says the Encyclopedia Judaica, “All these stories seem to be nothing but legends, and the authenticity of the ‘oil cruse’ story has already been questioned in the Middle Ages.”  In fact, none of the early historical sources mentions this story – not the book of Maccabees, the original source, nor Josephus, or any other.  It would be inconceivable that these historical books would omit such an incredible story which later became one of the key justifications cited to observe this festival. 

 

         In “Shedding Light on the Hanukkah Story,” Stephen Rosenberg writes that Menelaus, successor to Jason as high priest, had him murdered.  It was the seal of this murderer that supposedly made the oil cleansed and fit for the Temple menorah.  Says Rosenberg, “The story is no more believable than the miracle of the oil, as many orthodox scholars have shown.”  He goes further, “It is unthinkable that Jews would kindle Hanukkah lights on a menorah while the real menorah was still standing in the Temple.”  The first mention of kindling one to eight Hanukkah lights is in the Gemara, part of the Talmud, dated to the fifth century A.D.  The earliest model of a eight or nine branch Hanukkah menorah dates to the 10th century A.D. 

 

         Says Rosenberg, “But where did this idea of eight lamps and a shamash (server) originate?  The two books of the Maccabees know nothing of a progression of lights.  They emphasize the miracle of the recaptured Temple and the cleansing of the altar” (Jerusalem Post, Dec.23-29, 2005, “Shedding Light on the Hanukkah story”).

 

         In fact the book of I Maccabees, the original history of the period, tells us what really occurred when Judas Maccabee recaptured and purified the Temple.  It simply states, “They restored the Holy Place and the interior of the Dwelling, and purified the courts.  They made new sacred vessels, and brought the lamp-stand, the altar of incense, and the table into the Temple.  They burned incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lamp-stand, and these shone inside the TempleI Macc.4:48-50, Jerusalem Bible).  No mention of any special miracle concerning the lighting at all!

 

         Likewise, the second book of Maccabees relates the history, stating, “They purified the sanctuary and built another altar; then, striking fire from the flints and using this fire, they offered the first sacrifice for two years, burning incense, lighting the lamps and setting out the loaves” (II Macc.10:3).  No mention of any miracle concerning the lack of oil or its miraculously lasting for eight days!

 

         However, there is no doubt that God intervened and helped the Jewish forces overthrow the wicked rule of Antiochus Epiphanes.  To commemorate this event, in gratitude, the Maccaabees created the eight-day festival Hanukkah, reminding them each year of the salvation of the nation from the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, and the cleansing of the Temple. This event was foretold by Daniel the prophet, and Jesus Christ mentions the desecration of the altar and Temple, in the Mount Olivet prophecy.  Therefore, this historical period must have great significance for true Christians.  Let’s look into the story of terrible persecution and miraculous deliverance!

 

The Times of Antiochus Epiphanes

 

         The times of Antiochus Epiphanes, his defilement of the Temple, and his subjugation of the Jews, from 167-164, B.C., was prophesied by the prophet Daniel, who wrote his prophetic statements in 553 B.C., some 390 years previously.

 

         In the 8th chapter of Daniel, the prophet describes an awesome battle between the Greeks under Alexander the Great and the Persian Empire (Dan.8:1-8, 18-24).  After Alexander’s victory, at the height of his power, “the great horn” – Alexander – “was broken, and in its place came up four prominent horns toward the four winds of heaven” (v.8).  That is, four kingdoms were to replace his empire (verse 22).  One of these was the Syrian kingdom.  Out of one of these four “horns,” another “horn” came forth – a “little one” (verse 9), “which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the beautiful land” – Israel (Dan.8:9)).  “It grew as high as the host of heaven.  It threw down to the earth some of the host and some of the stars, and trampled on them.  Even against the prince of the host it acted arrogantly; it took the regular burnt offering away from him and overthrew the place of his sanctuary.  Because of wickedness, the host was given over to it together with the regular burnt offering; it cast truth to the ground, and kept prospering in what it did” (Dan.8:9-12, NRSV).

 

         This king was a younger son of Antiochus the Great, named Epiphanes (Antiochus IV).  He was a contemptible reprobate, who came by surprise and through flattery took the kingdom. Helping him was his aide Eumenes. Says Rawlinson’s Ancient History: “Antiochus [Epiphanes] , assisted by Eumenes, drives out Heliodorus, and obtains the throne, B. C. 176. He astonishes his subjects by an affectation of Roman manners” and “good-natured profuseness [flattery]” (p. 255).  We read more about this despicable creature in Daniel, chapter 11. 

 

A “Contemptible” Person

 

         In Daniel 11, beginning in verse 21, we read of a “contemptible person on whom royal majesty had not been conferred; he shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom through intrigue.  Armies shall be utterly swept away and broken before him, and the prince of the covenant as well.  And after an alliance is made with him, he shall act deceitfully and become strong with  a small party.  Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province and do what none of his predecessors had ever done, lavishing plunder, spoil, and wealth on them. . .” (verses 21-24). 

 

         The “prince of the covenant” referred to was the Jewish high priest, whom Antiochus attempted to replace by another who would be subservient to him.

 

         Although only a few were with him at the first, Antiochus crept into power and through flattery, Roman affectations, and charming manners, he won the people to him, and his kingdom grew and prospered. He invaded Galilee and Lower Egypt. His fathers, the former kings, had shown favour upon the Jews in Palestine, but this wicked, deceitful king despised the Jews. Says Rawlinson, the Jews “were driven to desperation by the mad projects of this self-willed monarch” (p. 255).

 

         After consolidating his power, Antiochus Epiphanes went to war with the king of the South, as his predecessors had done.  “And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand; for they shall forecast wicked devices against him. Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.

 

         “And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.  Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land” (verses 25-28, KJV).

 

         In fascinating detail, Rawlinson describes from the pen of the historian, the actual fulfillment of these words of prophecy:  “Threatened with war by the ministers of Ptolemy Philometor [now king of the south], who claim Coele-Syria and Palestine as the dowry of Cleopatra, the late Queen-mother, Antiochus marches against Egypt, B.C. 171” (pp. 255-256). His forces were met by his nephew, Ptolemy Philometor, king of the south, with another immense army. But the Egyptian king was defeated through the treachery of his own officers and was outwitted by Antiochus (pp. 277-278).

 

         Rawlinson continues: “After his victory at Pelusium, Antiochus advanced to Memphis, and having obtained possession of the young king’s person [Ptolemy Philometor, king of the south], endeavored to use him as a tool for effecting the entire reduction of the country” (p. 278). In 174 B.C. the uncle of the king of the south sat at a banquet. Antiochus pretended to ally himself with the young Ptolemy, against his brother Euergetes II, but each was trying to deceive the other to gain the upper hand.

 

Antiochus the Invader

 

         In 168 B.C., after returning from Egypt with great riches, spoils of war and plunder, Antiochus showed his true attitude toward the Jewish people. He set himself against the Jews, treated them as an enemy, and massacred thousands. He then returned to Antioch with golden vessels from the Temple at Jerusalem.

 

         Daniel foretold:  “At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south, but it shall not be as the former or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim [Cyprus] shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant” (v.29-30). 

 

         The same year, B.C. 168, he again invaded Egypt, but this time he was met with a surprise. The Egyptians successfully defended their land and forced him to retreat back to his own land. Ptolemy Pilometor, king of the south, got help from Rome. The Roman fleet came against Antiochus and he was forced to surrender to the terms of Pompilius of the Roman fleet, and retire from Egypt and restore Cyprus to Egypt. 

 

         Enraged and maddened at this twist of fate, Antiochus vented his spleen upon the Jews, and extended special favors upon those Jews who would forsake their religion and ancestral customs.

 

         Notice now verse 31: “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice. And they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”

 

         This happened, precisely as foretold!

 

The Abomination of Desolation

 

         In 168 B.C. Antiochus Ephiphanes sent troops to the Holy Land to punish the Jews. His soldiers captured Jerusalem, desecrated the Temple of God and polluted the sanctuary, causing pig’s blood to be sacrificed upon the altar of God. Faithful Jews who would not recant their religion were burned alive in a large frying pan of hot scalding oil! Many were martyred for their faith.

 

         The first book of Maccabees relates:  “The king then issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people, each nation renouncing its particular customs.  All the gentiles conformed to the king’s decree, and many Israelites chose to ACCEPT HIS RELIGION, sacrificing to idols and profaning the Sabbath.  The king also sent edicts by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country, banning burnt offerings, sacrifices and libations from the sanctuary, profaning Sabbaths and feasts, defiling the sanctuary and everything holy, building altars, shrines and temples for idols, sacrificing pigs and unclean beasts, leaving their sons uncircumcised, and prostituting themselves to all kinds of impurity and abomination, so that they should FORGET THE LAW and revoke all observance of it.  Anyone not obeying the king’s command was to be put to death” (I Macc.1:41-50, Jerusalem Bible). 

 

         In this inhuman act of outrage, Antiochus abolished the daily sacrifice. On the date of Kislev 15, Hebrew calendar, he placed the abomination of the image of Jupiter Olympus in the Holy of Holies, making it desolate.  “Abomination,” in Strong’s Concodance, is #8251, shikkoots in Hebrew, meaning “disgusting, filthy, espec. Idolatrous, an idol – abominable filth, detestable thing.”  Desolation” is from the Hebrew word shamem, “to stun, grow numb, i.e. to devastate or stupefy – make amazed, be or make astonished, bring to desolation, destroy, make waste, wonder.” 

 

         The abomination that makes desolate was the idol of Jupiter set in the Holy of Holies, B.C. 168, by Antiochus Epiphanes, whose very name meant “God made Manifest,” a blasphemous claim and sacrilege toward the true God.  This was literally the “horrifying abomination” (see Daniel 12:11, 9:27, 8:13).  According to II Maccabees 6:2, Antiochus ordered the Temple to be renamed for Zeus Olympios. Olympus, the mount of the gods, was the equivalent of heaven and Zeus equated with the Syrian god “Lord of the heaven,” the Phoenician Baal Shamem, “Lord of Heaven,” who was worshipped at the Jerusalem Temple during this brief period.  In Hebrew, the name of this god would equate with “Lord of Abomination,” or “Lord of Horrifying Abomination and Desolation.”  The most terrible persecution and cruel abominations were committed in the name of this false god, leading to terrible death and desolation.  

 

         Antiochus was an eccentric, cruel and tyrannical despot.  He undertook the mission to totally eradicate and destroy the Jewish religion,, Scriptures, Torah, and sought to replace them with a universal religion of GREEK polytheism. 

 

         The observance of all Jewish religious laws and customs was forbidden upon pain of death.  His edicts were severely and firmly enforced.  Once a month a search was instituted to find any copies of the Torah and to discover any one who had observed the custom of circumcision.  Those who had done so were condemned to death.  Those who had Torahs in their possession were likewise condemned to death, and the Torah scrolls were burned.  It was a very dark day for Israel. 

 

         During that time, the Maccabean Jews rose in revolt, and after three years repulsed the troops of Antiochus, cleansed the Temple, and restored the daily sacrifice. Thus we read: “The wise among the people shall give understanding to many; for some days, however, they shall fall by the sword and flame, and suffer captivity and plunder.  When they fall victim, they shall receive a little help, and many shall join them insincerely.  Some of the wise shall fall, so that they may be refined, purified, and cleansed, until the time of the end, for there is still an interval until the time appointed” (Dan.11:33-35, NRSV). 

 

         Or, as the KJV has it, “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits [wonders]. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: Yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed” (verses 32-25).

 

Type and Antitype

 

         Here we need to understand a basic and fundamental Bible truth. In prophecy, type often blends subtly into antitype. That means, there is often a comparatively minor fulfillment of a major prophetic event pictured for the “last days.” Even so, the wicked Antiochus Epiphanes, who desecrated the temple, and abolished the daily sacrifice, is merely a TYPE of a king in these latter days, who will once again invade the Middle East, conquer Jerusalem, and raise up the abomination of desolation!

 

         All Bible students and commentators recognize that the “little horn” that grew up and became powerful, and which invaded the Holy Land, took away the daily sacrifice and desolated the Temple of God in Jerusalem, was Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria.  His empire spread across the whole Middle East, and he hated the religion of the Jews.  Says the Critical, Experimental Commentary by Jamieson, Fausett and Brown:

 

         “This horn is explained (v.23) to be ‘a king of fierce countenance,’ etc.  Antiochus

         Epiphanes is meant.  Greece, with all its refinement, produces the first – i.e. the Old

         Testament ANTICHRIST.  Antiochus had an extraordinary love of art, which expressed

         itself in grand temples. He wished to substitute Zeus Olympus for Jehovah at Jerusalem.

         Thus, first, heathen civilization from below and revealed religion from above came into

         collision.  Identifying himself with Jupiter, his aim was to make his own worship uni-

         versal (cf. v.25 with ch.11:36):  so mad was he in this that he was called Epimanes

         (maniac) instead of Epiphanes (illustrious).  None of the previous world rulers . . . had

         systematically opposed the Jews’ religious worship. . . . He is the forerunner of the final

         Antichrist, standing in the same relation to the first advent of Christ that Antichrist does

         to His second coming” (vol.2, p.427).

 

         The prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled to the very letter.  Many in Israel were adopting Hellenistic customs, erecting theaters, gymnasiums, began regarding all religions as alike – much like our modern western world and its new-found thrust for “church unity” and respect for all religions.  Jews sacrificed to God, but also sent money to pay for sacrifices to Hercules.  In the book of Maccabees, we read:  “Many also of the Israelites consented to his [Antiochus’] religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath” (I Macc.1:20-53). 

 

         The Critical, Experimental Commentary  continues the story of Antiochus:

 

         “Returning from Persia Antiochus came to Ecbatana, after having been put to flight by

         the people of Persepolis.  ‘Swelling with anger he thought to avenge upon the Jews the

         disgrace so done to him, and threatened proudly that he would come to Jerusalem and

         make a common burying-place of the Jews. . . . He not only opposes God's ancient

         people, but God Himself.  The daily sacrifice  --  one lamb was offered in the morning

         and another in the evening (Exo.29:38,39).  was taken away  -- by Antiochus” (ibid.).

 

            The first book of Maccabees tells us the details:  “The King forbad burnt offerings and sacrifice and drink offerings in the temple, and [ordered] that they should sacrifice swine’s flesh . . . Now in the fifteenth day of the month Kislev, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar . . . and they did sacrifice upon the idol-altar, which was upon the altar of God” (I Macc.1:20,24,54, 59).

 

         These calamities were directly due to the rebellion of many Jews to the laws of God and a widespread apostasy afflicting the land.  The first book of Maccabees relates further: 

 

         “In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying,

         ‘Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us’ . . .

         Whereupon they built a place of exercise (a school) at Jerusalem, according to the

         customs of the heathen; and made themselves uncircumcised and forsook the holy

         covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief”

         (I Macc.1:11-16).

 

The Mysterious 2300 Days

 

         In Daniel’s vision in chapter 8, he saw one angel say to another that the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion, and the host being trampled underfoot, was to be “2300 evenings and mornings.”  To what does this enigmatic expression refer?

 

         The Critical, Experimental Commentary gives us the historical answer. Notice!

 

         “Unto two thousand and three hundred days  -- lit., mornings and evenings, specified

         in connection with the morning and evening sacrifice.  Cf. Gen.1:5.  SIX YEARS

         AND 110 DAYS.  This includes not only the three and a half years  during which the

         daily sacrifice was forbidden by Antiochus (Josephus Bellum Judaicum, i, 1, sec.1),

         BUT THE WHOLE SERIES OF EVENTS whereby it was practically interrupted: 

         beginning with the ‘little horn waxing great toward the pleasant land,’ and ‘casting down

         some of the host’ (vs.9-10); viz., WHEN IN 171 B.C., or the month Sivan . . . THE

         SACRIFICES BEGAN TO BE NEGLECTED, owing to the high priest Jason intro-

         ducing at Jerusalem Grecian customs and amusements – the palestra and gymnasium;

         ending with the DEATH OF ANTIOCHUS, 165 B.C.” (p.428).

 

            In other words, the period of 2300 days meant literal days in the fulfillment which occurred during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.  This was the period of APOSTASY or REBELLION which began in 171 B.C. and ended in 165 B.C. with the cleansing and restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem by the revolt led by Judas Maccabeus and his brothers.  The period of wholesale apostasy lasted 6 years and 110 days – or 2300 days. 

 

         The second book of Maccabees tells us, “Jason, brother of Onias, usurped the high priesthood . . . Jason, as soon as he had seized power, imposed the Greek way of life on his fellow-countrymen.  He went so far as to found a gymnasium at the very foot of the Citadel, and to fit out the noblest of his young men in the petasos [“made them wear a hat,” Septuagint].  Godless wretch that he was and no true high priest, Jason set no bounds to his impiety; indeed the hellenising process reached such a pitch that the high priests ceased to show any interest in serving the altar but, scorning the Temple and neglecting the sacrifices, they would hurry, on the stroke of the gong, to take part in the distribution, forbidden by the Law, of the oil on the exercise ground” (II Macc.4:7-14, Jerusalem Bible). 

 

         What was so abominable about having a sports stadium near the Temple of God?  Gymnastics, running, throwing, and athletics was not the problem as such – but, as Werner Keller writes in The Bible As History,  “True to the Olympic pattern, games were played COMPLETELY NAKED.  The body could only be ‘covered’ with a thin coat of oil!” (p.313).  Naked athletes, only a few steps from the Temple and the Holy of Holies, and in full view, must have been regarded as a moral outrage.  The Jews were becoming “hellenized” – turning to a pagan, idolatrous way of life introduced by Antiochus Epiphanes and his agents. 

 

                                             The First “Great Tribulation”

 

         In 168 B.C. Antiochus plundered and desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem.  Writes Werner Keller,

 

         “The worship of Olympian Zeus was set up in the Temple of Yahweh.

         For taking part in any Jewish religious ceremonies, the traditional sacrifices,

         the sabbath or circumcision, the penalty was death.  The holy scriptures were

         destroyed.  This was the first thoroughgoing religious persecution in history”

         (The Bible As History, p.315).

 

         The cutting off of the sacrifices lasted 3 1/2 years (see also Dan.9:27 and 12:7).  Josephus declares in Wars of the Jews:

 

         “He [Antiochus Epiphanes] also spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant

         practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for THREE YEARS AND SIX

         MONTHS . . . Now Antiochus . . . compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of                              their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcized, and to sacrifice

         swine’s flesh upon the altar” (Bk.1, 1,1-2).

 

            In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus adds these points of fact:

 

         “. . . he ventured to break the league he had made.  So he left the temple bare, and

         took away the golden candlesticks, and the golden altar . . . He also emptied it of

         its secret treasures, and left nothing at all remaining; and by this means cast the Jews

         into great lamentation, for he forbade them to offer those daily sacrifices which they

         used to offer to God, according to the law.  And when he had pillaged the whole city,

         some of the inhabitants he slew, and some he carried captive, together with their wives

         and children, so that the multitude of those captives that were taken alive amounted

         to about ten thousand. . . . And when the king had built an idol 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.  He also compelled them to forsake the worship

         which they paid their own God, and to adore those whom he took to be gods; and made

         them build temples, and raise idol altars, in every city and village, and offer swine upon

         them every day. . . . but the best men, and those of the noblest souls, did not regard him

         . . . on which account they every day underwent GREAT MISERIES [a type of the Great

         Tribulation to come!] and bitter torments:  for they were whipped with rods, and their

         bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified, while they were still alive and breathed:

         they also strangled those women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king

         had appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the crosses.  And

         if there were any sacred book of the law found, it was destroyed . . .” (Ant., Bk.XII, V, 4). 

 

         The period of the abomination of desolation itself – when the Temple itself was defiled -- lasted exactly three years, from Kislev 25, 168 B.C. to Kislev 25, 165 B.C.   Josephus tells us,

 

         “Now it so fell out, that these things [the restoration of the Temple by Judas Macca-

         beus and his army] were done on the  VERY SAME DAY on which their divine

         worship had fallen off, and was reduced to a profane and common use, AFTER

         THREE YEARS’ TIME; for so it was, that the temple was MADE DESOLATE

         by Antiochus, and so continued for THREE YEARS . . . And this desolation came

         to pass according to the prophecy of Daniel, which was given four hundred and

         eight years before . . .” (Ant. XII,VII, 6).

 

            This prophecy came to pass, just as Daniel foretold it over four hundred years previously!  But that is not all.  As most Bible students are well aware, Bible prophecy is often DUAL!  There is often a previous forerunner fulfillment, and there will be a final, climactic END-TIME fulfillment as well!  Daniel was actually told by the angel Gabriel, “Son of man, understand that the VISION concerns the TIME OF THE END” (Dan.8:17). 

 

         Antiochus Epiphanes lived 165 years before Christ’s coming the first time.  He did not live during the true “time of the end.”  Therefore, his fulfillment of these cryptic Biblical passages was only as a TYPE – a FORERUNER – of the true apocalyptic END TIME fulfillment to come in OUR DAY, today!  Let’s notice another fulfillment of this prophecy, which brings us down to our modern generation!

 

                                       The Words of Ha Mashiach

 

         Scroll down to our day – this present tremulous generation.

 

         In the Mount Olivet prophecy, Jesus Christ, who is the Messiah, whom the Jews await as “ha Mashiach,” foretold that just before His Second Coming, events would parallel the apostasy and events during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.  He foretold a time of great and widespread apostasy (Matt.24:4-5, 12-13), as well as military invasion, occupation, and Great Tribulation (vs.21-22) such as the world has never before seen!  Daniel prophesied of this same cataclysmic “end time” (Dan.12:1-2). 

 

         Jesus said of those coming days,

 

                     “So when you [His servants living at this end-time!] see standing

                     in the HOLY PLACE [the rebuilt Temple of God in Jerusalem]

                     the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the

                     prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who

                     are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matt.24:15). 

 

         The Messiah also warned:

 

                     “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know

                     that its desolation has come near.  Then those in Judea must

                     flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it,

                     and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are

                     days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written” (Luke                                         21:20-22, NRSV).

 

         Once again the Temple of God will be defiled and polluted by the End-Time “Antichrist” – the Beast of Revelation (Rev.13:2-5; 11:2) – the “Man of Sin,” or “Son of Perdition” (see II Thess.2:4-10).  This “beast,” like Antiochus, will also trample the holy city of Jerusalem for forty two months, or 1260 days – which is three and one half years!  Thus the tyranny and cruelty of Antiochus Epiphanes was an EXACT DUPLICATE of the End-Time fulfillment to come – even to the exact length of the occupation of Jerusalem and the cutting off of the daily sacrifice!

 

         This tells us, therefore, that the 2300 days which were fulfilled by the apostasy lasting 6 years and 110 days in the time of Antiochus was also an EXACT TYPE of an End-Time, latter day fulfillment to come!  This is an example of the DUALITY of Biblical prophecy!  What occurred in the PAST was a “type,” a “forerunner,” of a latter day, END-time fulfillment of the prophecy!  How do we know this?

 

         Daniel was told, “Understand, O son of man:  for AT THE TIME OF THE END shall be the vision” (Dan.8:l7).  How plain!  Therefore, here is proof positive that a Temple, or “sanctuary,” must exist in the END TIME, before the return of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Anointed One)!

 

         This same end-time tyrant, or evil prince, this same “king of fierce countenance” (Dan.8:23-25), is also prophesied of in Daniel 9:26-27.  Here Daniel records, “. . . but the people of the prince that shall come shall DESTROY the city AND THE SANCTUARY (that is, the Temple!) . . . 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 upon the desolate.”

 

         This is clearly speaking of the same spectacular time frame and prophetic event to occur at the very end of this present age – the “consummation,” or “time of the end.” Here again we find mention of a Temple or “sanctuary” which must exist, in the end of days, with animal sacrifices being offered.

 

         Now notice once again in Daniel, the 11th chapter.  Daniel records that this end-time wicked king, typified by Antiochus Epiphanes in history would defile the Temple, and “have indignation against the holy covenant,” and “they shall pollute the SANCTUARY OF STRENGTH, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall PLACE THE ABOMINATION that maketh desolate” (Dan.11:30-3l).  The New Revised Standard Version has it:  “Forces sent by him shall occupy and profane the temple and fortress.  They shall abolish the regular burnt offering and set up the abomination that makes desolate” (same verses).

 

“The Abomination of Desolation”

 

         What is this “abomination” that causes desolation and desecration?  The term “abomination” in the Bible is a common term for idol worship.  The “abomination of desolation” is a technical term showing the utter extreme form of idol worship right in the Holy Place – the Temple itself – the holiest spot on earth. 

 

         In the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, it was a statue of Jupiter Olympus, the chief pagan god, which was placed inside the Holy of Holies.  But in these last days, the “abominable desolator” will be a man – a human tyrant – who sees himself as the Messiah – as “very God” upon the earth!

 

         We read the very words of Christ, “When you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoso reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. . . . For then will be great tribulation” (Matt.24:16-2`).  Notice that the episode of the abomination is the key factor which leads directly into the “great tribulation” – a world engulfed in flames and the holocaust of the final throes of World War III!

 

         During these “last days,” the greatest of all abominations is going to take place – and be committed right in the very Holy of Holies of the Temple of God itself!

 

         It seems obvious that the “feast of dedication” is mentioned in the Gospel of John to draw attention to this festival which celebrated the removal of the idolatrous image and pollution from the Temple of God, and to remind God’s people of the history of this historical sacrilege, as Jesus told His disciples that ONCE AGAIN such an abomination and defilement would occur, before His Second Coming!

 

         But what is this mysterious event itself?  The apostle Paul tells us, “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away [apostasy from the truth of God!] comes first, and the man of sin [lawlessness] is revealed, the son of perdition [destruction – this megalomaniac will lust to destroy, to brutally ravage the earth, in his quest for total power], who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits AS GOD in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (II Thess.2:3-4).

 

         When this event occurs, then this monstrous individual will halt the daily sacrifices in the Temple, and claim to be God – the Messiah.  When this occurs, the Great Tribulation will break out in full fury and force.  All will be compelled to worship him.  Everyone who refuses will suffer torture, torments, and the death penalty.

 

“The Time of the End”

 

         Notice Daniel 8:17.  We read the awesome, staggering words – “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the TIME OF THE END”!  And in verse 19, we read:  “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the LATTER TIME of the indignation; for at the APPOINTED TIME the end shall be” (NKJV).

 

         How, then, does this amazing prophecy of conquest and desolation apply to our day?  How is it being fulfilled in OUR time?

 

         When will these 2300 days of APOSTASY and rebellion against the truth of God be fulfilled?  How will the END-TIME “Antiochus Epiphanes” – the type of the end-time “Antichrist” – arise on the world scene?  When will the END TIME “Great Tribulation” begin to settle upon the world like a dense fog of cruelty, brutality, bestiality, and martyrdom of righteous men and women? 

 

         The apostle Paul foretold a great End-time Apostasy from the truth of God, as occurred in Israel during the days of Antiochus.  He wrote, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the FALLING AWAY [apostasia in the Greek, from when derives our word “apostasy”] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition . . . The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe THE LIE, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess.2:3-12, NKJV).

 

         The New Testament in Contemporary English has this passage in vivid detail, as follows:

 

                                 “Before that day comes, a couple of things have to happen. 

                                 First, the Apostasy.  Second, the debut of the Anarchist, a

                                 real dog of Satan.  He’ll defy and then take over every so-called

                                 god or altar.  Having cleared away the opposition, he’ll then set

                                 himself up in God’s Temple as ‘God Almighty.’  Don’t you                                                       remember me going over all this in detail when I was with you?

                                 Are you memories that short? . . . .

 

                                 “The Anarchist’s coming is all Satan’s work.  All his power

                                 and signs and miracles are fake, evil sleight of hand that plays

                                 to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them.

                                 And since they’re so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses

                                 in it -- gives them what they want.  Since they refuse to trust

                                 truth, they’re banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions.”

 

         This End-time Apostasy has already begun.  It is already at work.  As Paul foretold, “You will also remember that I told you the Anarchist is being held back until just the right time.  That doesn’t mean that the spirit of anarchy [lawlessness, rebellion against God’s Law, antinomianism, or “Apostasy”] is not now at work.  It is, secretly and underground.  But the time will come when the Anarchist will no longer be held back, but will be let loose.  But don’t worry.  The Master Jesus will be right on his heels and blow him away.”

 

         Will there be an “end-time” WAR like that of Alexander the Great against ancient Persia, where the WEST conquers a nation in the Middle East which has grandiose ambitions and which is related to the ancient Persian Empire?  Will this WAR lead to another period of 2300 days of utter apostasy occur, leading into the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord?  Will it culminate in the final cleansing of the END-TIME TEMPLE of God, at the coming of the Messiah Himself? 

 

         It is possible that this war has already happened!  The Gulf War of 2003 when the United States coalition conquered modern Iraq with a blitzkrieg war, just as Alexander the Great did to Persia in his time, may have been such an end-time fulfillment of the prophecy of the shaggy goat (see our article “Daniel 8 and the End Time”).

 

The Little Horn

 

         After Alexander’s victory in the war against Persia and the east, he and his men partied at Babylon, where he fell ill, and soon died, at the age of 33.  Shortly after his death, his two sons were killed, and his kingdom was divided up into four kingdoms – Seleucus had Syria and Babylon; Lysimachus had Asia Minor; Ptolemy had Egypt; and Cassander had Greece. 

 

         The prophecy states that out of this scene, instead of ONE superpower in the world, the kingdom would be divided up “toward the four winds of heaven.”  In the end-time fulfillment of this prophecy, the four world powers to follow the United States superpower would appear to be:  European Union (“King of the North”), China-Russia (“Kings of the East), the Muslim world (“king of the South”), and the United States (west, but allied with “King of the North”). 

 

         Here we see a NEW world arrangement, following the decline of the great superpower in the West.  FOUR regions begin to vie for influence and world control.  Out of one of these, the prophecy states, shall arise a ruler – a “little horn” – who begins “small,” but begins to consolidate power to himself so that the WHOLE WORLD follows his leadership.  He becomes the HEAD of the New World Order!

 

         Notice how the angelic messenger describes this man, who UNITES the four world regions into a world government, probably through the auspices of a strengthened and revamped UNITED NATIONS!

 

         “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, A KING shall arise, having fierce features [countenance], who understands sinister schemes.  His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [the powerful nations leading the United Nations will give him their support!]; he shall destroy fearfully [margin, “extraordinarily”], and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people” (Dan.8:23-24). 

 

         “Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule [“hand”]; and he shall exalt himself in his heart.  He shall destroy many in their prosperity.  He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means [“hand”] (Dan.8:25).

 

         Daniel was then told, “Seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future” (verse 26).  The vision so astonished Daniel that the color drained from his face (verse 27).  It was a fearsome vision of the future – of things shortly to come to pass in OUR OWN DAY!

 

Jerusalem – a Cup of Trembling

 

         In Islamic tradition Allah’s kingdom will not be established until Moslems kill all the Jews and subject them to Islamic rule.  This Islamic “holy war” is aimed at Christians as well as Jews.  The Moslem war chant goes something like this:  “Today we fight on Saturday, tomorrow on Sunday.”  The meaning is, they first intend to destroy Israel and then establish Islamic rule over all the nations that embrace “Christianity.”

 

         The Western world is now uniting against the growing threat of Muslim terrorism.  The focus of the struggle has already become the Middle East. 

 

         The Word of God prophesies:  “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.  And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people:  all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

 

         The Amplified Parallel Bible has this:  “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup or bowl of reeling to all the peoples round about, and in the siege against Jerusalem will there also be a siege against and upon Judah.  And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples; all who lift it or burden themselves with it shall be sorely wounded.  And all the nations of the earth shall come and gather together against it.” 

 

         In ancient times it was Antiochus Epiphanes who led the struggle over Israel, and Jerusalem, and brought on the forerunner of the end-time “Great Tribulation” which is yet to come!  He polluted the Temple of God, destroyed every Bible his soldiers could discover, and persecuted and killed all who would not forsake the true worship of Almighty God. 

 

         Even so, in these last days, a man IS NOW ARISING who will once again lift himself up against the God of gods, the Ruler of Heaven, and he will “destroy many in their prosperity” (Dan.8:25).  He will stop the daily sacrifices in a rebuilt Temple of God, for a time, and “cast truth down to the ground” (verse 12).  He will “destroy the mighty, and also the holy people” (verse 24).  This will INCLUDE the violence of the end-time Great Tribulation!

 

         The book of Revelation speaks of this horrifying time of calamity.  John writes, describing the fifth seal, “When the Lamb broke open the fifth seal, I saw at the foot of the altar the souls of those whose lives had been sacrificed for [adhering to] the Word of God and for the testimony they had borne.  They cried in a loud voice, O [Sovereign] Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?  Then they were each given a . . . white robe and told to rest and wait patiently a little longer, until the number should be complete of their fellow servants and their brethren who were be killed as they themselves had been” (Rev.6:9-11, Amplified Parallel Bible).

 

The “ROAD MAP” To Hell!

 

         How will this all come about?  The key is the Middle East.  The fight is over Jerusalem.  The whole world is intent on redrawing the map of the Middle East, and to take land from the Jews and give it to the Palestinians, to create a Palestinian state. 

 

         Even Jewish leaders have succumbed to the plot.  The Quartet of nations – the United States, Europe, Russia, and the United Nations – have agreed to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza and on the West Bank of the Jordan River.  They hope that this will lead to “peace” in the Middle East!  But will this agreement, even now being drawn up and fashioned, really work?

 

         God’s Word thunders that it is a complete non-starter. 

        

         “Therefore hear ye the word of the Lord, ye afflicted men, and ye princes of this people that is in Jerusalem.  Because ye have said, We have made a COVENANT WITH HADES, AND AGREEMENTS WITH DEATH; if the rushing storm should pass, it shall not come upon us:  we have made FALSEHOOD OUR HOPE, and by falsehood shall we be protected: therefore thus saith the Lord, even the Lord, Behold, I lay for the foundations of Sion a costly stone, a choice, a corner-stone, a precious stone, for its foundations; and he that believes on him shall by no means be ashamed. 

 

         "And I will cause judgment to be for hope, and my compassion shall be for just measures, and ye that trust vainly in falsehood shall FALL:  for the storm shall by no means pass by you, except it also take away your covenant of death, and your trust in Hades shall by no means stand:  if the rushing storm should come upon you, ye shall be beaten down by it.  Whenever it shall pass by, it shall take you; morning by morning it shall pass by in the day, and in the night there shall be an evil hope” (Isa.28:7-19).

 

         The so-called Middle East Peace Agreement will fail to bring peace.  It will prove to be an unmitigated disaster.  In God’s sight, these accords constitute a “covenant with Hades,” an “agreement with death.”   Their signing represents a major departure from the truth of God – an end-time apostasy.  The Peace Agreement is based on worthless promises and tissues of lies, and hate-filled  falsehood.   The world should have learned its lesson from the dismal record of the failure of the Oslo Accords. 

 

         God thunders in His Word: “Woe to the apostate children, saith the Lord:  ye have framed counsel, not by me, and covenants not by my Spirit, to add sins to sins: even they that proceed to go down into Egypt, but they have not enquired of me, that they might be helped by Pharaoh [today it would be the prime minister of Egypt, Mubarak], and protected by the Egyptians.  For the protection of Pharaoh shall be to you a disgrace, and there shall be reproach to them that trust in Egypt.  For there are princes in Tanes, evil messengers.  In vain shall they labour in seeking to a people, which shall not profit them for help, but shall be for a shame and reproach” (Isaiah 30:1-5, LXX).

 

         Peace agreements with Palestinians and hostile Arab states will prove to be worthless pieces of paper – worth less than mere toilet paper.  Rather than seeking counsel of the Lord, the leaders of Israel have counseled with their enemies, and each other, and vain outside nations which seek their own agendas in the Middle East.  None look to God for His wisdom or counsel or guidance.  As a result, their efforts are doomed to failure, disgrace, and reproach.

 

Ariel Sharon’s Gamble

 

         Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of Israel, whom I have referred to as “God’s Bulldozer,” in the past, has had a strategy in mind for dealing with the Palestinians, and  hopefully, to bring peace to the Middle East.  Whether he knows it or not, He has been USED by God to achieve God’s purposes in the region, and to fulfill prophecy!

 

         Sharon has been plunging down the “Road Map to Peace,” outlined by President George Bush, and backed up by the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations.  Pulling Jewish settlers out of the Gaza strip was just the beginning.  In doing this, he was losing the support of his own party, the Likkud.  So he resigned from that political party, which he was instrumental in founding in 1973,  and has formed his own new party, called “Kadima.”  Many members of the Labor party, and unhappy members of the Likkud, have joined with him, including Shimon Peres.  New elections will take place toward the end of March, 2006.  

 

         Sharon intended to fully support George Bush’s “Road Map” and to pull Israel out of much of the land of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank” of the Jordan river).  This will please world leaders and the United States and placate world opinion somewhat.

 

         Sharon was willing to give up 90 percent of the West Bank, allow a Palestinian state to be formed on Israel’s borders, and seemingly wants to retain Jerusalem and Jewish settlements under Israeli sovereignty.  However, there appears to be a secret agenda at work, where Jerusalem’s holy places may be placed under the jurisdiction of the Vatican, or some sort of divided authority.  These negotiations, whether Sharon realized it or not, will lead to the Jews being allowed to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem! 

 

         But with his recent devastating strokes, Sharon has been taken out of the picture.  The future of the Kadima party is in limbo and its survival in great doubt.  Benjamin Netanyahu may well become the next Israeli Prime Minister!  Will he follow in the footsteps of Arik Sharon?  He has been moving more to the “center” in Israeli politics, to cull more votes.  He has had experience, is a former Prime Minister, and is probably going to become the next one.  It is very likely he, too, will follow the “roadmap to peace” or some version thereof, in order to please the United States and reach an accommodation n the Middle East viz a viz the Palestinian state. 

 

         Notice what Bible prophecy says on this issue!

 

Prophesied – a Jerusalem DIVIDED!

 

            Although Sharon said he intends to keep Jerusalem under Israeli jurisdiction, this may be only a ploy to keep Jewish voters pleased, until the final decision must be made. Netanyahu and Sharon are practical men – politicians – and not necessarily “devout.”  They are not particularly religious men.

 

Yet Biblical prophecy says in two places that end-time Jerusalem is going to become DIVIDED!

 

            In the book of Revelation, chapter 11, the apostle John, looking into our day, is sees a Temple existing in Jerusalem.  He is told, “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for IT IS GIVEN TO THE  NATIONS, and they will trample over the holy city for forty two months” (Rev.11:1-2, NRSV).

 

            Also, in Zechariah’s prophecy in the Old Testament, God says, “For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses looted and the women raped; HALF the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city” (Zechariah 14:1-2). 

 

            In 1993, Shimon Peres, on behalf of Israel, made an agreement with the Vatican to give it control over the old city, East Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount.  The Oslo Plan is to make Jerusalem an international city under the control of the Vatican.  Moshe Katsav, the Israeli president, is currently negotiating to sell Mount Zion to the Vatican, which would include control over part of David’s tomb. 

 

            On February 15, 2000, Pope John Paul II signed a covenant with Palestinian Yasser Arafat calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem. 

 

            The Palestinians cry, “No Jerusalem, no peace.”  The Palestinian Authority, European Union, United States, all want a city divided.  Finance Minister Ehud Olmert, Sharon’s top deputy, has on more than one occasion said that Israel would have to relinquish the dream of an eternally united Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty. 

 

            Today, Jerusalem is indeed disputed – the hottest issue on the table.  It is a “bone of contention” to all the nations.  Reuters News, of December 16, 2005, claims, “Half of Israelis favour deal on Jerusalem.”  The Israelis themselves are equally divided, says the poll – 49% for and 49% against.  The fate of Jerusalem has always been one of the toughest, thorniest problems facing any peace negotiations.

 

            It appears very likely that some quid pro quo arrangement will be agreed upon by the nations to divide Jerusalem and the Temple Mount – whether all are in agreement to do this yet – or not.   The Temple will be rebuilt, and part of the Temple Mount will be given to the control of the nations.

 

            Despite the political turmoil, there are already far advanced preparations underway to restore the Temple services and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.  Over 200 priests are presently in training in Yeshivas in Jerusalem.  Almost all the Temple implements have been fabricated, including the royal blue cloak of the high priest with the techelet blue dye from the marine snails used in ancient times.  Ground penetrating radar is being used to locate the exact foundations of the Temple. 

 

                                           “Remove Not the Ancient Landmark”          

 

         What does God say about giving up the land of Israel for promises of “peace”? IT WAS PROPHESIED that the Jews would do this!

 

         The prophet Hosea declared, “The princes of Judah have become like those who REMOVE THE LANDMARK; on them I will pour out my wrath like water” (Hosea 5:10, NRSV).

 

         Solomon warned, “Do not remove the ancient landmark [margin, “bound” or “border”], which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28). 

 

         God told Moses, “You shall not remove your neighbour’s landmark [property line, or territorial boundary], which men of old have set, in your inheritance, which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess” (Deut.19:14). 

 

         There is no doubt that this is a warning not to tamper with or change the territorial boundaries which God has given for Israel.  Once land comes into the hands of God’s people, which He has promised to them, they are not to relinquish it to others, enemies, thus despising their heritage and God-given birthright.  For Israel to give up their birthright land is folly, and shows that they are still under a divine CURSE because they have not turned from their sins and rebellion against the Most High.  The modern state of Israel has flagrantly and defiantly spurned the Word of God and turned their backs on Him.   Israel has a secular government, and but even its religious parties have rejected God’s Messiah, and true Torah observance, to this date.  Israel and the whole world are now in a state of apostasy from the true worship of God!

 

Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy

 

         Daniel was told, in the 70 weeks prophecy, that 70 weeks would pass till the Kingdom of God is restored on the earth (Dan.9:24).  From a command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem “until Messiah the Prince” would be “seven weeks and sixty two weeks” (Dan.9:25).  Such a command was issued by Ataxerxes II in 357-58 B.C.  Counting a “day” for a “year,” 69 weeks means 69 X 7 days. 

 

         This means 483 years were to pass till the first coming of the Messiah, who was prophesied to be “cut off, but not for Himself” (verse 27).  Even so, Christ Jesus began His ministry in 27 A.D., exactly 483 years after the decree of Artaxexes.  He was “cut off” three years later, in 30 A.D., suffering death by crucifixion on the stake, thus fulfilling this prophecy!  After this, a prince was to come who was to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan.9:26), and then desolations would continue in the Holy Land.  This happened, as the Jews were driven into exile by the Romans.  Then there is a break in the prophecy timeline.

 

         Verse 27 picks up the final “week” of the prophecy.  The final “seven years.”  This portion of the prophecy must conclude with the SECOND coming of the Messiah to complete the rest of the prophecy (Dan.9:24), and usher in everlasting righteousness!  At His first coming, the Messiah came to die for our sins and to begin His Church.  But at His second coming He will restore the Kingdom of God on this earth! 

 

         We read:  “Then he [the end-time “prince” or the “Antichrist”] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week. . .” (verse 27, first part).  Could this be the Oslo Accords, which lasted 7 years, from 1993 till 2000?  It was William Jefferson Clinton who orchestrated the infamous Oslo accords, and hovered like a vulture in the background as Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Rabin signed the accords on the White House lawn in 1993. 

 

         “. . . but in the middle of the week he shall bring an END to sacrifice and offering” (v.27).  Could this “week” be the last week of the 70 weeks prophecy, ending with the coming of the Messiah? 

 

         The current “Road Map to Peace” began as a revival of the ill-fated Oslo Accords.  It began steamrolling forward in 2005, when the Israelis evacuated the Gaza strip.  Seven years from 2005 brings us to the fateful year of 2012. 

 

         Bible prophecy tells us that during the years ahead of us, the Jews will begin to rebuild the ancient Temple.  And that after a short period of time, it will once again be desecrated, with the “abomination of desolation” installed in the Holy of Holies! 

 

         The prophet Malachi wrote, “See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek WILL SUDDENLY COME TO HIS TEMPLE.  The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight – indeed, he is coming says the LORD of  hosts” (Mal.3:1).

 

         Keep your eyes peeled, and focused on Jerusalem!  Great things are going to happen SOON, to prepare the way for the Messiah’s return!  The Messiah Himself will return to inaugurate the “Kingdom of God,” and will “restore,” and “cleanse” and REBUILD a NEW Temple in Jerusalem, from which He will RULE the nations and where He will be worshipped throughout the Millennial 1,000-year reign of the Kingdom of God!  Prepare yourself to see astounding, awesome changes in the years ahead of us!