Israel in Prophecy

Shalom! This paper is a short synopsis of a much larger topic of Israel in Prophecy. One could actually write volumes on this subject! I wrote this sermon in response to a request from a Japanese pastor friend of mine in town. He asked me to write out my sermon ahead of time so he could translate it into Japanese before the service. The problem for me is that I do not write out my sermons. I preach from notes and am led by the Ruach (Spirit). So I had to write out this sermon from notes. The extra blessing is now I can share this teaching with everyone on the web – so enjoy and be blessed! Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). As usual, any and all comments can be shared with me at richardh@cjfm.org. Todah (thanks)!

Please open your Bibles to the book of Daniel 9:24-27. This is the famous section of prophetic Scripture in Daniel concerning the “70 weeks” for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. This prophecy includes the arrival of the Jewish Messiah before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. In addition, the Anti-messiah (or commonly known as the Anti-christ) is identified as the evil one who performs the Abomination of Desolation in the middle of the future Tribulation Period (a.k.a. Jacob’s Trouble, Jacob’s Distress and the 70th week of Daniel).

Daniel’s prophecy is the cornerstone in understanding that Israel is the focal point of God’s judgment of the world in the 70th week of Daniel. Although the Lord is judging the world in this last seven-year Tribulation Period, He is specifically judging the nation of Israel for His purposes. As we read through the prophecy we will see a nice progression of God’s plan for Israel described. To paraphrase John Walvoord, “In V.24, the prophecy as a whole is presented. In V.25, the first ‘69 weeks’ are described. In V.26, events between the 69th week and the 70th week are detailed. In. V.27, the 70th week is explained.” (John Walvoord, “Daniel The Key to Prophetic Revelation”, 216)

9:24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.”

God sent the angel Gabriel to give Daniel understanding of the vision. “70 weeks” are decreed for the Jewish people and the holy city which is Jerusalem to finalize 6 prophetic events. The Hebrew word for “weeks” is shavuim. Shavuim means “sevens” and is the plural form of shavua which means “seven.” So here we have a prophecy that needs to be fulfilled in 70 X 7’s or 490 periods of time. These periods of time can be days, weeks, months, years, etc. It is our job to figure out which one is correct.

Most of the time, shavuim is used to mean 7 days or a week. Hence, we find the English word “weeks” commonly used. However, in each and every occurrence of shavuim the context needs to dictate the meaning of the word. In Dan. 9:1-2, the context shows that Daniel’s prayer of confession of sin was brought about by his understanding of Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning Jerusalem and the Jewish people. 70 years were determined for the desolation of Jerusalem. The context of Daniel 9 shows us that “years” are in order.

The Aramaic equivalent word iddanin is used to describe Nebuchadnezzar’s seven “times” of periods as a beast living in the fields (Dan. 4:16, 23, 25, 32). It is significant that these seven periods of “time” turn out to be seven years. So we have some Scripture found in Daniel to confirm that “times” can be interpreted for “years.”

The Rabbis also agree that the time periods for shavuim are “years” in the context of Dan. 9. One commentary states, “… this phrase [seventy weeks] refers to seventy times seven years, or 490 years. This refers to the seventy years of exile that have passed from the Destruction of the First Temple until this vision, and the entire 420 year period of the Second Temple (Rashi).” (The Stone Edition Tanach ArtScroll Series, 1996, 1802) Although Rashi agrees that shavuim is talking about “years,” he mistakenly applies the 490 years to the 70 years of Babylonian captivity plus the 420 years of Second Temple life.

Other aspect of interpretation that can help us is historical hindsight! The question is, “Were those 6 prophetic events fulfilled in 490 days, weeks or months? The answer is a resounding, “No!” So through a process of elimination we can determine that “weeks” equals “years.” Therefore, each “week” equals 7 years and “seventy sevens” means “490 years.” In addition, the rest of this paper will show us why the 490 time periods are 490 years.

To summarize this verse, there are 490 years for the Lord to fulfill 6 prophetic events through the Jewish people and Jerusalem. A question needs answering, “Is this prophecy for the church?” “Is this prophecy for the United States, Japan, Russia, Iran, China or any other nation?” No! The Scripture is very clear that it is for Israel and the Jewish people only! This is the key to understanding that the Lord is especially dealing with His chosen people during the Tribulation Period, Daniel’s 70th week. Yes, He is certainly judging the world during this time as we see in the book of Revelation. No doubt about this! However, during the Tribulation Period, God is fulfilling His plan of restoration for Israel (more on this later in this article)!

Before we continue let’s take a rabbit trail. One of the 6 prophetic events that needs to be fulfilled is “to anoint the most holy.” “Anoint” (mashach) means “to smear or anoint. Things (such as the tabernacle, altar, laver, priestly garments, etc.) and people were anointed with oil for purposes of sanctification, consecration or dedication (Exo., Lev., Num.).” (The Complete Biblical Library, the Old Testament, Hebrew – English Dictionary, Kaph – Mem, 1998, 685-686) The Hebrew words for “the most holy” are “kodesh kadashim.” “Kodesh kadashim” means “holy of holies.” This phrase is typically used for the holiest compartment of the Temple that houses the Ark of the Covenant (Exo. 26:33) (CBL, OT Hebrew – English Dict., Pe – Resh, 1999, 300-304)! The Rabbis confirm that the “holy of holies” interpretation is the correct one. (The Stone Edition Tanach ArtScroll Series, 1996, 1803)

To anoint the holy of holies would then be the consecration of a new Temple for service! The Jewish people are currently ready to rebuild the third Temple. All of the implements have been created, cohanim (priests) and the Levites are being trained and the newly formed Sanhedrin is deciding where to build the next Temple on the Temple Mount. However, this “holy of holies” of 9:24 is talking about the Temple that will be built when Yeshua comes again to destroy the enemies of the Jewish people at the end of Jacob’s Trouble. It is the Messianic Millennial Temple and it will take 490 years to fulfill this prophecy. 483 of these years have already been fulfilled in Jewish history. We still have seven years left and then the fourth Temple will be built!

9:25 “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

9:26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

In verses 25-26, we see that “7 weeks” plus “62 weeks” equals “69 weeks” or a total of 483 years. Yeshua has fulfilled these “69 weeks” or 483 years in His first coming as He died on the tree (cross) to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin and to make atonement for iniquity. Messiah Yeshua, the prince who was to come, showed us how to live a holy life through His example. He conquered the power of sin by not sinning and offered up Himself as the sinless sacrifice. His destiny was to die on the tree and resurrect on the third day so that we could be saved from our sins and going to hell, and obtain eternal life by repenting from our sins and trusting in Him as our Lord and Savior.

Therefore, “69 weeks” or 483 years have been fulfilled in Yeshua’s (Jesus’ Hebrew name) first coming. But there is a problem: we are missing “one week” or the last seven years. Take a look at verse 27. Here is where we find the last 7 years or what is known as the 70th week of Daniel. It is discussing the future 7 year period that we, the church, call the Tribulation Period where the Anti-messiah takes control over the entire world! Please remember, this is the same Tribulation Period that is detailed in the book of Revelation.

9:27 “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

The “he” that is found in verse 27 is the Anti-messiah. One way for us to know this is true is through the context. This verse discusses the final 70th week of Daniel and thus we know the leader of this one world government would be the Anti-messiah. The other way is through Yeshua’s warning to the Jewish people in Matt. 24:15-31. He states that the false messiah will perform the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple prophesied by Daniel at the middle of the Tribulation Period.

Anti-messiah will make a “firm” covenant with the many for one week. The Hebrew word for “firm” is gibor. This word gibor is also found in Isa. 9:6 where the Messiah is described as “mighty God” or El-Gibor. Gibor means “mighty, strong, and firm.” So the Anti-messiah is going to make a firm, strong covenant of peace with the many of the Jewish people of Israel for seven years. This is a peace treaty that Israel is very anxious to enter into. They are very desirous to have peace with the world and with the Muslims and Persians!!! The Tribulation Period spoken of here is also known as Jacob’s Trouble for the Jewish people. Why? Because Israel is going to be in a lot of trouble! Unfortunately, there will be another Holocaust during this time period.

For thousands of years the Jewish people have endured many Holocausts. The worst so far was WWII with Hitler and his Nazis. Six million Jewish people were exterminated. What is the reason for all these unprovoked Holocausts? Plain and simple, people and nations hate the Jewish people. We even see in the news today, where Iran’s president has told the world that he & Iran want to destroy Israel! How straight forward does the world need to hear it before there is action to help Israel? But do we see the world coming to Israel’s defense or do we see the world strategically aligning themselves with the Muslims and coming against Israel setting up the end times scenario found in the Bible?

However, I believe today’s events are only setting up the birth pangs that Yeshua spoke of in Matt. 24:8. These events are not only for the Jewish people, but for the whole world. We know that during Daniel’s 70th week God will judge the whole world, but He is also going to specifically judge Israel. This is why the Lord is even today calling all Jewish people back to the Land of Israel.

Ezekiel 36:24 is one of many Scriptures that shows God calling all Jewish people back to the Land of Israel from all nations including the land of the North which is Russia. History shows that God is calling His Jewish people to Israel. In the early 1900’s, there were only thousands of Jewish people living in Israel. Today there are about 6 million! Why is God calling all the Jewish people back to the Land? There are at least three reasons:

1. He is going to judge the Jewish people in the Tribulation Period. 2. He is going to save the Jewish people at the end of the Tribulation. Rom. 11:25-27 says that “all Israel will be saved.” 3. He is going to properly restore the Jewish people back to the land. He will fulfill what is known as the Abrahamic Covenant. Within the Abrahamic Covenant, God said, “I am going to give you the land…to you and your descendants.” Ultimately, this will happen at the end of the Tribulation and of course, be ultimately fulfilled when Jesus comes back in the Second Coming and sets up the Kingdom.

Therefore, Anti-messiah will make a 7-year peace treaty with Israel. However, as V.27 says he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering in the middle of the Tribulation Period. So right at the 3.5 year mark of the 7-year Tribulation Period, Anti-messiah will stop the Jewish sacrificial system. What does this tell us? That the Third Temple of the Jewish people is going to be rebuilt and be in use by the middle of the Tribulation Period!

Today, the Jewish people have plans to rebuild that temple and begin the animal sacrificial system once again. This is Israel’s desire and they are almost ready to do it. The implements are made, the plans for the building are set, even the priests and the Levites are being trained. There are only a couple of items that have not been found as yet. These are most talked about in the Christian World: the Ark of the Covenant and the gigantic golden Menorah. Israel can either find them or rebuild them. So they are ready to begin this new worship of God through the temple system in Jerusalem.

As the Jewish people are worshiping in the third Temple during the Tribulation Period, Anti-messiah, in the middle will stop all animal sacrifices to the Lord and perform what is known as the “Abomination of Desolation.” The Abomination of Desolation is the very act of the Anti-messiah setting himself up as God in the Temple and requiring worship from not only the Jewish people, but from the whole world. 2 Thess. 2:3-4 tells us the man of lawlessness who is the son of destruction is going to take his seat in the Temple and set himself up as God! Then, all hell on earth will break loose and the worst Holocaust will occur to not only the Jewish people but to all people. We know this is true because Yeshua tells us in Matt. 24. Please turn to Matt. 24:15 as we look at verses 15-22. In this section of Scripture Jesus warns the Jewish people of the Tribulation Period and specifically warns about the second half of this period called the Great Tribulation.

Matt. 24:15 “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),”

Here, Yeshua warns the Jewish people of the Tribulation Period that the Anti-messiah will perform the Abomination of Desolation which Daniel prophesied about. The Abomination of Desolation is when they see the Anti-messiah set himself up as God in the Temple at the middle of the Tribulation Period. Notice what Matthew has written in parenthesis (“let the reader understand”). Although Jesus is warning all of Israel, He specifies His warning to those who read Matthew and Daniel. Who are these people? Believers of Yeshua of course! Then Jesus tells Israel what they must do in V.16.

24:16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains,”

Judea is a term that specifically means “southern Israel” which includes Jerusalem. It can also refer to the whole nation of Israel. Here in V.16, Yeshua warns all of the Jewish people in Israel and specifically all the Jewish and Gentile believers (I would imagine that there will be Gentile believers of Jesus living in the Land and they will adhere to Yeshua’s instructions as well) to flee the Land of Israel and go to the mountains! Should they pray about when they should leave? No! Jesus tells them to quickly leave when they see the Abomination of Desolation.

24:17-18 “let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak.”

Yeshua says that they should not even pack up household items or go back to get their coats but they should get out of Israel as fast as they can!

24:19 “But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days!”

Why would Jesus pronounce a “woe” upon pregnant and nursing women during this mid-tribulation period event? Well, let me ask a question to any ladies who have children. “Ladies, how easy is it to get ready and pack up the family every Sunday morning to get to church on time for service?” I know it’s difficult because I have 3 children of my own. You have to feed them, change diapers, pack diapers and milk, and extra clothes and so on. It is almost an impossible task. For the Jewish mothers it will obviously take them much time to get the family ready to leave and unfortunately they will suffer for it.

24:20 “But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath;”

Why pray against this happening in the winter or on the Sabbath? The rainy season occurs during winter time in Israel. When it rains a lot in Israel then floods occur and if the Jordan River is flooded it will be virtually impossible for people to leave Israel traveling to the east. How about the Sabbath day? Law abiding Jewish people will not travel more than one mile on the Sabbath and will not drive or even start a car on the Sabbath. So if they follow the law more than heeding the warning of Yeshua, they will be in a lot of trouble. Why?

24:21 “for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.”

Here is where the worst Holocaust of the Jewish people will occur. Jesus calls it the “Great Tribulation.” The Great Tribulation is the last 3.5 years of the Tribulation Period where Anti-messiah not only tries to destroy all Jewish people but causes the worst Tribulation to occur to the world! Can you imagine anything worse than what Hitler’s Nazis did to the Jewish people? He killed 6 million Jewish people and Yeshua tells us this still future Holocaust of Anti-messiah is going to be worse! However, among all this bad news is the Good News!

24:22 “And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.

Yeshua comes back just in time to save the day for the Jewish people and all believers living at the end of the Tribulation Period. Praise the Lord for the Good News but let’s take a look to see how bad the bad news is for the Jewish people. Please turn to the book of Zechariah 13:8-9. These two verses are specifically discussing what will happen to the Jewish people during the Tribulation Period. If you are really interested in this topic, you can read Zech. 12, 13 and 14 which discuss events surrounding the Tribulation Period and the Second Coming of Jesus.

Zech. 13:8 “And it will come about in the land,” declares the Lord, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; but the third will be left in it.”

The Lord declares very specifically that 2/3’s of the Jewish people are going to die and perish in the Land of Israel!!! The Hebrew word for “cut off” is karat which means “to cut off, to cut down and to exterminate.” When it is associated with humans it means to destroy and exterminate. (CBL, OT Hebrew – English Dict., Kaph – Mem, 1998, 155-160) Two thirds of the Jewish people are going to be exterminated by the Anti-messiah in the Tribulation Period! We have about 17 million Jewish people living in the world today. Please remember that God is calling all the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel so that He can judge them and this judgment will be very harsh. He is going to allow the Anti-messiah to kill 2/3’s of 17 million people, which is almost 12 million! So if this were to happen today, about 12 million Jews would die. Yeshua says it is going to be the worst Holocaust ever!

13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Although almost 12 million Jewish people will die in the Tribulation Period there is good news! One-third of the Jewish people will be left in the Land of Israel and God will preserve them through the tribulation fire. They will be tested by God during this time and finally they will call on His name and be saved. How do I know this 1/3 of the Jewish people will call on Yeshua’s name and be saved? Let’s take a look at Zech. 12:10.

12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.”

Once again God is speaking in this verse to the prophet Zechariah. He says He is only going to pour out the Holy Spirit upon the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem! He does not pour out the Ruach Kodesh (Holy Spirit) on the world nor on any other nation nor on the whole nation of Israel but only those in Jerusalem. Why only those in Jerusalem? I believe Zech. 14:2-3 gives us the answer. God gathers all nations to fight in the final battle to win the nation of Israel. It is the battle over Jerusalem! It is the final battle of Anti-messiah to physically take Jerusalem and the Land of Israel and destroy all the Jewish people. All of the Jewish people who have made it through the Tribulation Period have gathered in Jerusalem!

In this age, God cannot give them the Ruach Kodesh unless they truly believe in Jesus! This is exactly what happens. After the Jewish people of Jerusalem receive the Holy Spirit, they then see God who was pierced coming from heaven! But who is the God of Israel who was pierced? Yeshua, of course! This is a great verse for us to share with our Jewish friends and acquaintances. It very clearly shows that Yeshua is God in the Old Testament. This prophecy is also stated in Rev. 1:7, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him; even those who pierced Him and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him, even so, Amen.”

Not only will the newly saved Jewish people see Yeshua’s Second Coming but the whole world will see Him coming and will mourn for Him. I believe Israel will mourn over Jesus because they will finally realize there was a missed opportunity for the last 2,000 years for the Jewish people to believe in Yeshua as their Jewish Messiah. The world will mourn because Jesus is coming back to wipe out the enemies of the Jewish people (and of all the believers, too). There is a section of Scripture that actually details the Second Coming of Yeshua and it is found in Rev. 19:11-16. Please turn to this Scripture.

19:11 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 19:12 And his eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. 19:13 And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. 19:14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 19:15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 19:16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORDS OF LORDS.”

This Scripture speaks loud and clear for itself. Jesus comes down from heaven to earth to smite the evil people of all the nations who survived until the end of the Tribulation Period. Yeshua is shown as a Conquering King with His eyes glowing like fire and His robe dipped in blood. The armies in heaven are His saints, the holy ones – they are us, the raptured Assembly of believers (a.k.a. the Church)! Praise the Lord! We get to come back with Jesus in His return riding horses! This will be an awesome day! I always like to encourage any saved children, especially the ones who always request horses for their birthdays. I tell them that although they may not receive a horse in this lifetime, they most certainly will have one in heaven! It is Yeshua’s promise! Then Jesus will destroy the enemies with God’s wrath and set up the Millennium Messianic Kingdom so He can rule and reign for 1,000 years. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and no else can compare to Him! How bad is it going to be for the enemies of the Jewish people in the Second Coming of Yeshua? Let’s turn to Rev. 14:19-20 to find out.

Rev. 14:19-20 “And the angel swung his sickle to the earth, and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.”

The wrath of God spoken of in these verses is discussing the battle of Armageddon when Yeshua comes in His Second Coming. Where does this Armageddon take place? V. 20 tells us, “outside the city.” What city could this be? Jerusalem, of course! This makes sense since Anti-messiah and his army have just taken the city of Jerusalem in battle. His armies will be stationed throughout the Jordan Valley and the Jezreel Valley (which is where Armageddon will occur). The Jezreel Valley stretches from Mt. Karmel through Nazareth and Megiddo down to Jerusalem. Jesus comes just in time and saves the day and starts the Armageddon War against the evil ones. The blood will flow up to the horses’ bridle because of Yeshua’s attack on the evil ones. How high is the horses’ bridle? Depending on the horse it could be anywhere from 3 feet to 6 feet deep! And for how far does the Scripture say the blood will flow? 1,600 stadia or furlongs which equates to about 200 miles! That, my friends, is devastation like we have never seen before. Israel is only 270 miles long. Two hundred of those miles are going to be filled with blood that could be about 5 feet deep! Just try to imagine this destruction of the evil ones. This is what the enemies of the Jewish people and of God have to look forward to at the Second Coming of Jesus. It is going to be a terrible time, my friends….but this is Israel in Prophecy.

In summary, Israel, unfortunately, has at least one more Holocaust to withstand. This Holocaust is led by the Anti-messiah who is empowered by Satan. The last 3.5 years of the Tribulation Period is where Anti-messiah sets himself up as God in the Temple and requires worship from the world and the Jewish people. He then embarks on a terroristic war trying to destroy and annihilate the Jewish people. He is allowed by God to destroy 2/3’s of the Jewish people. 2/3’s of the Jewish people will die! This equates to approximately 12 million people at this time. This Holocaust will be the worst holocaust ever for the Jewish people. The good news is that 1/3 of the Jewish people (about 6 million) make it through Jacob’s Trouble alive. God brings them through the Tribulation Period to not only judge them but save them. Finally at the end of the Tribulation Period when Anti-messiah attacks Jerusalem, they believe in Yeshua, become born again and receive the Ruach Kodesh. Then Jesus returns to earth to destroy the evil ones in the Armageddon War and sets up the Millennial Kingdom. All believers at that time will enter into the Millennial Kingdom with Yeshua who will rule and reign over the world as King. He will build His temple in a new city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel will live once again with the properly, godly restoration of the Jewish people to the Land! Amen! Please remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6).