Today’s reading: Daniel 7-9.
“Will believers have to go through tribulation in the end times?”
Expert at interpreting the king’s dreams, Daniel begins having dreams or visions of his own that defy his understanding. An angel tells him that he has seen events that will take place at the end of time.
The rise of the ten-horned beast. The beast is a kingdom, the last in a long succession. In the end-times a boastful man arises and overthrows three kings to take control of this kingdom and the world. He wages war against the saints of God and seeks to crush the world. The saints are handed over to him for “a time, times, and half a time,” usually interpreted as three and a half years.
The seating of the Ancient of Days. God takes his seat on the throne and ends the rule of the beast. He opens the books of judgment and throws the beast into the fire.
The coming of the Son of Man. He comes on the clouds of heaven and is given eternal authority and dominion. People of every ethnic group worship him and his kingdom never ends.
Daniel understands that the seventy years of Israel’s captivity are completed, and he prays a mighty prayer that leads God to release them from bondage. Then God gives Daniel a timeline for the coming years – not seventy years but seventy sevens of years. The timeline begins when the decree goes out to rebuild Jerusalem. After 69 sevens, or 483 years, the Anointed One or Messiah will come, but he will be cut off. Decrees to re-establish the nation of Israel went out in 457 and 445 BC, and depending on whether you use the 360-day year of the ancient world, or the modern 365-day year, the time of the Messiah’s service comes out to 27-30 AD when Jesus was actively ministering.
One final seven-year period remains unaccounted for. It is postponed until some indefinite future, but Daniel’s prophecy implies it will be after the destruction of Jerusalem (which happened in 70 AD). At that time a ruler will come, most likely the boastful man of the beast, and he will set the final years in motion.
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. Daniel 9:27
Three and a half years into the covenant the ruler will end sacrifices and offerings and set up an abominable image in a future temple. Most interpreters believe this is a desecration of a future Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Three and a half years of the final seven remain, and this is likely to be the time that the boastful man wages war against the people of God.
These future trials frighten us, but we should remain faithful and courageous knowing that God knows the end and controls the outcome. He will end the brief reign of terror of the boastful man and usher in the eternal kingdom of the Son of Man. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘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. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Matthew 24:15-22