End Times: Back to the Future
Lesson 3Daniel’s Prophecies
We continue our study of the End Times by examining some passages in Daniel and considering time, specifically prophetic time, along with what Daniel reveals to us about the time called the Tribulation Period. From our readings in Ezekiel during the last lesson, we saw a picture of God’s plans for restoring His chosen people Israel, restoring the land, uniting the kingdom of Israel, rebuilding of all of the cities, rebuilding the Temple, and the restoring of their sacrificial system of worship. We learned that the rebuilt city of Jerusalem will be called "THE LORD DWELLS THERE". Furthermore, we were instructed that Christ will rule over his earthly kingdom from Jerusalem, and David will rule over Israel. God will dwell in the sanctuary of the Temple.
In this lesson, Daniel provides us a glimpse into what the times will be like leading up to the return of the Messiah and Israel’s restoration. As we examine this prophecy in this lesson and the next, we will be focusing on time: specific times, periods of time, and times called out as specific events. Through our study, we will be able to construct a "chronology" or order of events in time. God, through Daniel, reveals to us the sequence of key events leading up to the arrival of the Messiah on the Mount of Olives.
Let’s begin by establishing a core tenet regarding prophecy: a "prophetic month" is comprised of thirty equal-length days. This fact will help you in your understanding as we study time, times, and a half-time, the time of the Gentiles, a week of weeks, and seventy weeks. Then, let’s see what we can divine regarding God’s timing as we look forward to the return of Christ, the victorious arrival of the King of King and Lord of Lords.
Let’s continue our study by reading the scriptures below and responding to the related questions.
- Read Daniel Chapter 7 and answer this question and the additional ones that follow below. In Daniel 7:3-4 and verse 17, what are the four beasts described, and what causes each to rise?
- In Daniel 7:9-12, there is a reference to "the Ancient of Days". Who is he, and what does he do?
- What happens to the fourth beast?
- The judgment of the fourth beast ends "the time of the Gentiles". What is that period referring to? (see Luke 21:23-28)
- Read Daniel 7:19-28. Who is the "little", or "other" horn, and what does it do?
- Read Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7 and Revelation 12:14 (6?). Exactly how much "time" is referred to in these references?
- In Daniel Chapter 8, we read of another end time vision provided by Daniel, this one appearing to last 2,300 days. Fortunately for us, someone tells him what the vision is and why it is important. Who is this person, and why is this vision important? (see Daniel 8:15-26)
- Read Daniel 8:20-22. What does the fact that the two-horned ram had one horn longer than the other tell us about the kings of Media and Persia?
- See if you can locate a reference source for some information on Greek history. How did the Greek empire come to power under Alexander The Great, and what happened to this empire following Alexander’s death?
- Who were the Maccabees? Who was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and why are these entities important with respect to the 2,300 days of the vision?
- What can we learn about the coming Anti-Christ from Daniel 8:23-25?
- Read Daniel 9:20-24. When God punished the nation of Judah and the city of Jerusalem, how long a period of time did He decree would be required in order to "finish transgression", put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, and bring everlasting righteousness?
- How do we know the above prophecy has not yet been fulfilled?
- The seventy "weeks" or "sevens" represents seven seven-year periods, or a total of 490 years (7 x 70). How many of those years would pass between the time of Artaxerxes’ decree allowing Nehemiah to return and rebuild the temple (5 March 444 BC), and Christ’s death on the cross (30 March 33 AD)? (Daniel 9:25-26)
- What does the vision tell us will happen at the beginning of the seventieth "week", or "seven"? Who does it say in Daniel 9:26 will make this occur?
- What does Daniel 9:27 tell us about the new ruler’s covenant?
What an awesome and terrible set of visions Daniel is given to reveal to the people of Israel God’s plan for them and the coming end times when the Messiah will set up his earthly kingdom. God clearly has a plan for them, and for all mankind, and he lays it out here in Daniel. So, we are beginning to see the advantage that God gives us today as we exercise our ability to look back over all of Biblical prophecy and world history, and to see His revelation unfolding before our very eyes.
In our next lesson, we will be examining some of the prophecies of Zechariah, which will provide even more insight into God’s plan for Israel at the time of his return.
Thanks for being so faithful in studying with us.