Daniel, the “missing link” to understanding the End Times
In my journey to comprehend the enormous subject of the End Times and to open up my heart to the book of Revelation (and all the end time passages — there are over 150 chapters in the Bible that deal with the subject!), I can honestly tell you that one verse has stirred my thinking like none other. That verse is Matthew 24:15.
Here is the verse in its larger context. Read it slowly and out loud:
14 “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 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), 16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains… 21 “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (Mtt 24:14-15, 21)
In Matthew chapters 24 – 25, we find Jesus describing to His disciples “the sign of His coming” (parousia) and the keys to being victorious at His Second Coming. IN the middle of this passage, Jesus abruptly shifts the storyline to the prophet Daniel.
Why Daniel of all the Old Testament prophets?
Jesus could have mentioned the prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc. but He pointed to instead to Daniel and to the reference there of the “Abomination of Desolation”. Curiously enough, it is in Daniel (and only Daniel) we read about the Abomination of Desolation in the Old Testament. Jesus pointed His disciples back over 500 years to help the gain understanding on what would happen over 2000 years in the future.
I believe that it is right here — in the “red letter” words of Christ — that we have our “Missing Link” to unlock the End Times!
“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) (Mtt 24:15)
In the parallel passage in Mark a small caveat is added: “But when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be (let the reader understand ), then let those in Judea flee to the mountains. ” (Mk 13:14)
The “It” that Jesus indicated will one day stand in the holy place, “where it should not be” is the Antichrist. Jesus said that when you see “It” — also called the “beast” in Rev. 13 — standing in the holy place (and that place is the temple in Jerusalem!), then that is like the “CRACK” of the starter’s pistol. The “man of lawlessness” is being revealed (2 Thess 2) and the end of all things is just around the corner…
”It is called the Abomination of Desolation because it is an Abomination to God that results in the Desolation of the nations by His Great Tribulation judgments. The Antichrist brings tribulation to the saints using his worldwide government (Rev. 13). God brings tribulation against the people in the Antichrist’s empire by the 21 numbered judgments.“ (Mike Bickle)
To fully grasp the context of the above quote, I want to review with you briefly what I believe is the setting of the last 3 1/2 years (1260 days) of earth as we know it, during what Jesus called the Great Tribulation:
There will be 21 consecutive judgments, growing in intensity and frequency. Jesus takes the scroll, sealed up with seals, from His Father and opens the 7 seals judgments, which in turn opens the scroll to release the 7 trumpets judgments. Finally, the 7 bowls of wrath are poured out on the earth. At the last trumpet, Jesus will return to earth with the dead in Christ and we who remain will be caught up together with Him. When the last of the “Bowls of Wrath” is poured out, a loud voice cries out from the throne in heaven: “IT IS FINISHED!” (Rev 16:17)
Before the 7th trumpet sounds and Christ returns “coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him” (Rev 1:7), a staggering number of people on earth will be killed — over 1/2 of the world’s population (as you can ascertain from the judgments of the 4th seal and the 6th trumpet).
Jesus tells us that if we are to comprehend all of this we need to go back into the book of Daniel and look for answers.
Who (or what) is the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION?
When you turn to the book of Daniel you read about this “abomination of desolation” in three main passages:
Daniel 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.”
Daniel 11:31 “Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.
Daniel 12:11 “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.”
It would takes pages and pages to explain who “he” is and who “he” is not… My desire is to whet your appetite and get you reading for yourself. In Daniel we have the clearest picture of the Antichrist and his character to be found anywhere in the Bible.
Before we go any deeper into this subject I want to clear up one little-known fact:
The name “Antichrist” is really a misnomer.
If you do a word study on the name “antichrist”, remarkably you will find that it is only cited five times and all of those are in the epistles of I and II John .
“Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour.” 1 John 2:18
For more light on this I want to turn you to the NIV Study Bible:
“John assumed his readers knew that a great enemy of God and His people will arise before Christ’s return. That person is called ‘antichrist’ (vs. 18), ‘the man of lawlessness’ (2 Thess 2: 3) and ‘the beast’ (Rev 13:1-10). But prior to him, there will be many antichrists.”
In Daniel not only do we read about the abomination of desolation but also we see an “unveiling” of the Antichrist. In the following passage from Dan. 7 you can read about him symbolic language. Don’t be dismayed by the symbols (i.e. 4th beast, ten horns.) As you will see, the context will usually give the meaning: “the ten horns are ten kings”.
Symbols describe realities!
“The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time [3 1/2 years]. But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. ” (Dan 7:23-26)
Here is the Antichrist and THIS is what Jesus wanted us to understand!
Truth be told, we need to read and re-read Daniel as it is the Old Testament’s equivalent of the New Testament’s book of Revelation. Perhaps this is where the trouble of our “muddled interpretations” of the Last Days! These two books are “center stage” and yet most of us are content with knowing about Shadrach and Meshach in a fiery furnace and Daniel in the lion’s den and that Jesus will return on a white horse and save the world someday…
Take this one example:
“Now I [Gabriel] have come to give you [Daniel] an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” Dan 10:14
Surely you know of the spiritual warfare in connection with Daniel’s three weeks of prayer and fasting BUT did you also know that the answer Gabriel brought him was two chapters on the Antichrist!
The Antichrist IS the Timeline.
What I find most compelling in Daniel is the accuracy of the “length of days” and timing of the end of the age. In Daniel we find the BEGINNING, MIDDLE and END of the Last Days. You can read it all in one verse straight from the mouth of Gabriel. (Please do a study someday of who Gabriel talks to in the Bible!!)
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Dan 9:27 (NIV)
The Antichrist will “covenant with the many” for seven years Dan 9: 27a
The “abomination of desolation” will come in the middle of those seven years (i.e. 3 1/2 years or 1260 days) (Dan 9: 27b, Mtt 24:15/ Mk 13:14, 2 Thess 2:4 Rev 13:5)
The Antichrist’s destruction in the lake of fire (Dan 9: 27c, 2 Thess 2:8, Rev 19:20)
I found an excellent graph for this exact timeline that I think will be helpful. (Please note that they use the title “Rule of the Prince” for the Antichrist.) It shows the correct place for the 1260, 1290 and 1335 days of Daniel 12:7, 11-12. You would laugh your head off if I told you of all the confusion and contradiction from just these three verses you can find in one hour on the Internet!!
The Type, or the Antitype.”
In closing, I want to touch briefly on one of the main struggles you can experience in trying to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) about the End Times. I am not trying to be too cryptic here but I feel I need to use these two words to help us move forward.
1. TYPE – A type is a person, place, thing, or event that is a foreshadowing of a future person or event.
2. ANTITYPE – The antitype or thing the type foreshadows is greater and clearer to understand.
“For example, a rubber stamp is a type. It is not clear and simple to understand. However, its antitype, that print that appears when the rubber stamp is pressed on paper, is much clearer than the type. The type was a shadow, or promise of the revealed antitype to come. We must never expect the type and antitype to be the same… Remember too, that the antitype is always superior to the type. If it were not, there would be no need of the type. The antitype is always clearer and more revealing. ” (by Grady Scott)
In the following verse I think you will agree with me that Moses is the type and that Jesus is the antitype:
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14).
Melchizedek, the “king of peace” (Heb. 7:2), is another the type of a Jesus, a Man who would be called “Prince of Peace”, the antitype, who is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him.
I like how A. W. Pink has developed this thought in this quote:
“As it is in the natural world, so it is in the spiritual: there is first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. So there is first the shadow, and then the substance; the type, and then the antitype.”
Well, dear brothers and sisters, we ALSO have type/antitype of the Antichrist!
Pharaoh was a striking and accurate type of the Antichrist.
“Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” (Ex. 5:2). The Pharaoh had magical resources at his disposal (Ex. 7:11), but not as great or powerful as the antitype, the Antichrist; the lawless one (2 Thess. 2: 8-9)
Many see in Nimrod an obvious type of the Antichrist.
Gen. 10:10 informs us that the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom was Babylon and we all know where that led. Fast-forward to the end of the Bible and we see Babylon again, this time depicted as the Great Harlot sitting on a scarlet beast, “drunk with the blood of the saints”! (Rev 17)
In 168 B.C. Antiochus IV was a type of the Antichrist. The Jewish holiday Hanukah commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the forces of Antiochus IV. He exalted himself by using “divine epithets”, which no other Hellenistic king had done, such as “Theos Epiphanes” which means “God Manifest”.
In 70 A.D. armies from another type of the Antichrist, the Roman Emperor Titus, completely destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. Josephus claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish.
Both of these men were not the fulfillment but the foreshadowing!
So was Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, Saddam Hussein…
If the church could grasp this one truth much insight and strength would come to the body. But since we have already a doctrine / theology that splits into “a, pre, and post”- millennium and splits again into “past, present, future and symbolic” interpretation camps, we are weak and fractured!
God help us!! (If what I just wrote makes no sense at all consider yourself one of the fortunate ones.)
Church, take courage and strength from Daniel!
“Those who have insight [at the end of the age] will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Dan. 12:3
Yours for the least in the kingdom,
P.S. Just to good to leave out:
“Almost everyone looks at the book of Daniel with a sense of wonder and anticipation, because this is usually regarded as a prophetic book foretelling the future. This is true. The book of Daniel, together with the book of Revelation, marvelously unfolds future events as God has ordained them in the program of history. By no means has this book yet been fulfilled, neither has the book of Revelation. These two books, one from the Old and one from the New Testament, remarkably complement each other in their symmetry and harmony. The book of Revelation explains the book of Daniel. The book of Daniel lays the basis for the book of Revelation. If you would like to know God’s program for the future, it is essential that you understand this book of Daniel.”(Ray Stedman)
Sample chapter from Future History: Understanding the Book of Daniel and End Times Prophecy