Many in God's church have believed that humanity cannot be "at one" with God until Satan has been bound at the beginning of the Millennium. This misunderstanding, David Grabbe contends, has come about due to a general failure to grasp significant truths about the completed atoning work of Jesus Christ, something that Satan has no part in.
David Grabbe, reiterating that the focus for the Day of Atonement is on national, unintentional transgressions, points out that the preamble for the Day of Atonement instructions leans on the failure of the Aaronic priesthood. The sacrificial system—including the ceremony of the two goats—was added to the Abrahamic covenant because of transgressions. The Day of Atonement is 187 days into the Calendar year, possibly the same day Moses came back from Sinai the second time with a radiant countenance, giving the Law to the people a second time, making it clear that transgression of the law brings death. Israel's works had nearly condemned the nation to obliteration. The only work that could be performed was by the high priest and the man who led away the azazel, reminding us that only God can purge sins. The fasting reminds us of the three consecutive times Moses fasted. The effect of Christ's work is that we are reconciled, at one with God. The symbolism of the cleansing of Joshua's filthy robes in Zechariah 3 seems to replicate the symbolism of the cleansing in Leviticus 16. After the cleansing, the nation is absolved from iniquity. The Day of Atonement represents a bearing away of sin, removing it from the land. The Seventy Weeks prophecy is God's assurance to Daniel that God will intervene, lifting the nation of Israel out of its degenerate state to total reconciliation.
Clyde Finklea declares that our Creator is a God of purpose and order, maintaining a precise timetable, referred to in scripture as appointed times, revolving around Jesus Christ, including His birth, ministry, sacrificial death, resurrection , and His return as King of Kings. In Leviticus 23, God's festivals or holy assemblies are called appointed times. The Feast of Tabernacles actually pictures the appointed times for Israel (both spiritual and physical). One appointed time for ancient Israel was the fulfilment of the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel, when Cyrus released the captives and commissioned Nehemiah and Zerubbabel to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which had been desolate for the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity. The 70 weeks prophecy can be divided into three distinct periods: seven weeks, sixty two weeks, and one week (with each week standing for one year). Each period has significant meaning. The first period commences with the written decree from Cyrus to release the captives, commanding that Jerusalem be rebuilt. In 490 BC, exactly 49 years after Cyrus had given the decree (in 539BC), Nehemiah set things in order. The writing of Malachi commenced in 409 BC, prophesying the coming of Elijah the prophet to prepare the way of the Messiah, and preventing the earth from being destroyed by a curse. Jesus Christ identified John the Baptist as coming in the spirit and power of Elijah. Malachi was written 62 prophetic weeks (or 429 years) before the coming of John the Baptist, preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah will put away rebellion, will pour out God's Holy Spirit on all kinds of flesh, atone for iniquity, setting all sin aside, reconciling people to the father, bring forth perpetual righteousness through God's Holy Law, and seal up the prophetic vision, restoring the city of Jerusalem, anointing a Holy Place. As God's called-out ones, we will have the opportunity to share responsibility of teaching and governing with Christ.
Martin Collins reminds us that Daniel's efficacy in prayer resulted in his view of God's omnipotence and absolute sovereignty, the God of the Universe, a Being to be feared and respected. Daniel learned that faith is to be coupled with intelligence. The 70 weeks of prophecies is more accurately rendered 70 years of weeks, or 490 years. Jesus was to be cut off in the middle of the week (Wednesday) , allowing Him to finish the transgressions, make an end of punishment, and make reconciliation for iniquity. Jesus would then bring in everlasting righteousness (of ages), seal up or authenticate prophecy, and assume the role of the Most Holy, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God has a timetable in world history, working through people who seek Him with humility and desiring understanding. God's called-out ones are protected from demonic influences through the intervention of powerful, ministering angelic spirits, outnumbering the fallen angels two to one. God alone is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; Satan is absolutely no match for God's power.
Martin Collins observes that the book of Daniel at chapter 8 is recorded in Hebrew and refers more to prophetic events which occur at the end-times rather than the previous narrative recorded in the first half of the book. The ram and goat symbolize the events describing the succession of the Medo-Persian Empire and the Greco-Macedonian Empire, the latter ruled by Alexander's four generals. The vision of the little horn on the male goat is for the time of the end, in which a king or ruler with supernatural powers has the audacity to stand up to the returning Christ. Historically, Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled this role as a type or forerunner of a later prophetic fulfillment, a time when a sanctuary will be trodden underfoot and must undergo cleansing. The unfolding of these prophecies in the future will substantiate God's giving of these prophecies. Whatever God has determined cannot and will not be altered by any human interpretation of prophecy. We need to emulate Daniel by assiduously studying the Scripture and praying for understanding, asking God for what He has promised and for His will to be done. We can pray with more confidence when we are in sync with God's will. Daniel's prayer, in Chapter 9, provides a model of how we can effectively pray for our sinful nation and the degenerate culture around us.
The Seventy Weeks Prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 is best known for its prediction of the timing of the coming of the Messiah. David Grabbe explains how its detail about "confirm[ing] a covenant with many" points to Jesus and His making of the New Covenant with His elect—and hints at a future confirmation of the covenant to complete the seventieth week.
Richard Ritenbaugh observes that over two billion people faithfully observe an annual "holy week," consisting of Palm Sunday, Good Friday (the supposed time of the crucifixion), and Easter Sunday. Human tradition and Bible truth do not square. The overwhelming historical chronological evidence clashes with the traditions of billions of people. The sovereign God has been in control of history from the beginning of mankind. God makes things happen when He wants them to happen and in the way they happen. Whether the event happened in 30 AD or 31 AD, the crucifixion occurred on a Wednesday rather than a Friday. Extensive scholarship into the lunar eclipses occurring near the death of Herod, the ascendancy of his son Archaleus, and the reign of Tiberias Caesar corroborates this conclusion. Scripture gives us internal evidence with the accusation that Jesus could tear down a temple constructed by Herod 46 years earlier. Other internal evidence comes from the careful marking of the Holy Days occurring during Christ's three and one half year ministry (prophesied by Daniel's seventy weeks prophecy) in both the synoptic gospels and John's Gospel. The crucifixion took place in the middle of a literal week, with Christ remaining in the grave a full three days and three nights, and resurrected at the end of a Sabbath at sunset. Nowhere in any of the gospels does it say Christ rose on Sunday morning, but that He had already risen. The triumphal entry (labeled by the world as Palm Sunday) actually occurred on Thursday, Nisan 8. Jesus was selected as Passover Lamb on Nisan 10 (John 12:28).
...To Catholics and many Protestants, Good Friday is a semi-holy day commemorating the day Jesus died nearly two thousand years ago. These same people celebrate Easter Sunday two days later, rejoicing that Jesus rose from the dead. What has always been confusing is how normally reasonable people can observe these days that are so woefully contradictory to the biblical accounts of Christ's death and resurrection. And this is without getting into the obvious pagan fertility symbols of bunnies and eggs that have nothing whatsoever to do with the awesome significance of the death, burial, and resurrection of mankind's Savior. ...
Mentioned in Matthew 2, the wise men or magi have been mysterious figures since their appearance two thousand years ago. Their visit to Bethlehem was more significant than most realize.
Richard Ritenbaugh focuses upon the awesome cost of bringing two former enemies together. Reconciliation is the product of a sacrifice made by a person to pacify the wrath of an offended person. We are to imitate Christ in His approach toward hostility from others (1) taking abuse patiently, (2) committing to God's righteous judgment, and (3) sacrificing for the good of the other party. From the point of our justification, we must participate in the reconciliation process through our sanctification, reflecting the righteousness of God- taking on His perfect character. Our reconciliation with God leads to our reconciliation with other members of the body of Christ.
Historical dating is not as easy as it may sound. Currently, several chronological systems are vying for predominance among scholars. What impact might this have on our biblical understanding of prophecy?
Is the rapture biblical? If so, when will it occur? Where do the saints go? Richard Ritenbaugh clarifies this sometimes confusing subject from the Bible.
A scriptural explanation of the time of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, showing that He died on a Wednesday and rose from the dead on the Sabbath.
The Seventy Weeks Prophecy is a bone of contention among prophecy experts. Richard Ritenbaugh shows that simply taking the Bible at face value makes the meaning of this prophecy crystal clear!
Receive Biblical truth in your inbox—spam-free! This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving.