666 and Mark of the Beast

By Kent Crockett

Revelation 13:16-18 says, "And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six." There are three things mentioned in this passage:

1. The mark of the beast

2. The name of the beast

3. The number of his name
The Mark of the Beast is not 666, but a mark that everyone must have to buy or sell. This mark may be some kind of computer chip or code, but it probably won't be "666."

666 is the number of the Beast's name. The number of the beast is the number of a man. That means that the beast is not a political system, a country, a computer, etc., but a man--the Antichrist.

This verse teaches that the Antichrist will control the world's economy with some kind of mark, which everyone will be required to take. No one will be able to buy or sell without having the mark on his or her right hand or forehead. Whoever worships the Antichrist and receives the mark will be cast into hell (Rev. 14:9-11). (The mark is not credit cards, in case you are wondering.)

The Antichrist's name can be calculated to be 666. We assume that means the letters of his name can be calculated to add up to the numerical sum of 666. He has not come to power yet, but when he does this is one way of figuring out who he is. He will confirm a covenant with Israel for 7 years (Dan. 9:27) and will attempt to make alterations in time and in law (Dan. 7:25)

The Feast of Tabernacles in the Millennial Kingdom

By Randall Price

Once Messiah has returned to earth as King and established His Messianic Kingdom, with its center at the gloriously rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem (Zech. 6:12-15; 8:3; Ezek. 40-48; Matt. 19:28; 25:31-32; Rev. 20:4), the festival calendar will be resumed as predicted by the prophet Ezekiel: "They shall also keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts, and sanctify My sabbaths" (Ezek. 44:24; cf. Zeph. 3:18). However, of the seven feasts of the Lord only the Feast of Tabernacles has its typical fulfillment in the Millennium as a demonstration of God's restoration program for Israel in keeping with the terms of the Abrahamic and New Covenants. These covenants promised safe territorial boundaries to Israel where it would serve spiritually as a blessing and witness to the Gentile nations (Gen. 12:2-3; 15:18; Isa. 2:2-4; 60:3; Jer. 32:37-41; 33:16; Ezek. 37:25-28).

Confirmation of a Millennial setting for this feast is evident from its many messianic and prophetic features which could only be realized in the time of Israel's future redemption and restoration. For example, the term "tabernacles" (Hebrew, succot; Greek, skene) has its meaning as part of a restoration promise of God to return to earth and "tabernacle" with Israel in a way never before experienced in history: "Thus says the Lord, 'I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem ..." (Zech. 8:3a); "I will set My Sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them ... (Ezek. 37:26-27); "the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders" (Isa. 24:23). While this "tabernacling" with Israel will take the form of God's renewed presence in the Temple, the prophet Isaiah indicates that a greater display of this will be witnessed than at any time or at Temple in the past: "Then the Lord will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy" (Isa. 4:5). The "canopy" (Hebrew, huppah) of God's glory in this verse is stated in the next verse to be a "tabernacle (Hebrew, sukkah) from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain." This wording is intended to connect the past experience of deliverance (from the Pharaoh in Egypt) and temporary man-made shelters (Lev. 23:42-43) with the future deliverance (from the Antichrist in the Tribulation) and permanent God-given sanctuary. Ezekiel depicts the method of this future "tabernacling" with the return of God's Shekinah Glory to the Temple (Ezek. 43:1-7), while Jeremiah's reveals its result as Jerusalem becomes "the Throne of the Lord, and all the nations will be gathered to it..." (Jer. 3:17).

Such a divine preview of this future "tabernacling glory" was given to correct Peter's limited concept of building temporary "tabernacles" for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah at the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-5; Mk. 9:2-7; Lk. 9:28-35). Indeed later Jewish interpretation saw in the reference to "tabernacles" not only the Israelites temporary shelters in the wilderness but also the divine sukkah (the Shekinah) which had "brought them out of the land of Egypt" (Lev. 23:43). In this way they connected the Feast of Tabernacles with the promise that God's presence would dwell with Israel in the future as it had in the past (Hag. 2:5-9; cf. Zeph. 3:15c).

In a similar way Jesus had made this connection in His own Person as the "Word become flesh tabernacling among us" (Jn. 1:14). At the Feast of Tabernacles He combined two of the messainic symbols of the feast - the water libation and the light of the candelabras in the Temple precinct - to illustrate the fulfillment in Himself of the promised restoration of Israel under Messiah in the Millennial Age. The significance of this was displayed on the final day (seventh day) of this feast is known as Hoshana Rabbah (The Day of the "Great Hosanna), taken from liturgical passages recited throughout the feast which begin with the Hebrew imperative hoshana ("save now").

At this time the people waved their lulavs (palm branches) while the Levites chanted the Hallel (Pss. 113-118). The name of this day - Hosanna - comes from the closing words of Psalm 118 which reads: "Save now, I beseech Thee, O Lord... Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord..." This prayer for the speedy advent of messianic redemption accompanied a special ceremony known as the "water-drawing festival" (Hebrew, simhat bet hassoevah). At this ceremony water was drawn from the Pool of Siloam in a ceremony known as) and poured on the corner of the Altar in the Temple as a libation offering. Its purpose was in connection with prayers for the annual rains, but also had symbolic messianic connections. It was here at the Siloam (Hebrew, Shiloach, "He sent") that the fuller's had washed their clothing (Isa. 7:3), a figure drawn upon by the prophets to illustrate the messianic purification of the Millennial Temple's servants (see Mal. 3:2-3).

Here, too, the Prophet Isaiah had challenged Ahaz to trust God not man and revealed a messianic sign (Isa. 7:7-14). Succot also celebrates God's provision of refuge in the wilderness and recalls His prophetic promise of rescue at the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7), and restoration in the future kingdom of Messiah. This water was taken to the Temple and poured over the corner of the Altar, a ritual based on an oral tradition that dated to the time of Moses (Ta'anit 3a, Succot 44b, 44a). The significance of the pouring of water was both symbolic and prophetic. Its symbolic purpose was a prayer for rain, since the summer was about to end and the rainy season begin.

This prayer for rain demonstrated Israel's dependence upon the Lord, an act of faith that will be required of all nations in connection with this ceremony in the Millennial Temple (Zech. 14:16-19). Its prophetic purpose was messianic, looking forward to the outpouring of the Ruach Ha-Kodesh ("the Holy Spirit") upon Israel and the nations under the New Covenant in the Kingdom Age (Ezek. 36:27; Joel 2:28).

This ceremony forms the background for Jesus' arrival at the feast as described in Matthew 21:9 and John 7:37-39 riding into the Temple precinct through the Eastern Gate entrance, greeted by shouts of Hosanna, "Save us please!", and then proclaiming to the crowds that He was the true giver of the "water" and the "light" of the world (Jn. 7:37-38; 8:12). On this day during Temple times willow branches were beaten against the pavement next to the Great Altar to symbolize the casting away of the nation's sins. In addition, at this time Israel's return to blessing will include the spiritual instruction and blessing of the nations, who will join with them in the ongoing celebration of Succot (Zech. 14:16-19).

It is also significant that the Scripture portion from the Prophets read in the synagogue on the Sabbath during the Feast of Tabernacles is Ezekiel chapter 38 which deals with the future battle of Gog and Magog in which the Lord miraculously preserves Israel in an end-time war.

The use of "tabernacle" also recalls the famous prophecy of the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom ("the tabernacle of David") given in Amos 9:11: "After these things I will return and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins and I will restore it, in order that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name ..." The fulfillment of this prophecy, as explained in Acts 15:14-18, will take place after the full number of Gentiles has been grafted onto the olive tree (in keeping with the blessing of the Gentiles in the Abrahamic Covenant) through faith" (Rom. 11:25) at the completion of the Church Age.

those Gentiles (of the sheep nations, who came to faith in the Jewish Messiah during the time of Jacob's Trouble, see Matt. 25:34-40) will join with redeemed Israelites in the true worship of God. In addition, the apostle John specifically used the imagery of the Feast of Tabernacles in relation to the Tribulation martyrs from among the nations. He depicted these Gentiles as having "palm branches" and "serving in His Temple" while God "spreads His tabernacle over them" and Jesus "guides them to springs of living water" (Rev. 7:9-17). Such Gentile inclusion was anticipated by the alternate name for the feast as "the Feast of Ingathering" (Exodus 23:15-16) and demonstrated during the feast in Second Temple times as Jewish men took part in a Temple ritual where seventy sacrifices were offered in atonement for the sins of the nations that had come from the sons of Noah. The prophets cited this future inclusion of Gentile nations, who formerly oppressed Israel, but will become a part of the worshipping community, as one of the evidences of the changed conditions under Messiah's New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34).

For example, Zechariah states that "many nations will join themselves to Lord in that day and will become My people ..." (Zech. 2:11), while Isaiah describes the Millennial Temple as "a house of prayer for all the peoples" (Isa. 56:7; cf. Matt. 21:12; Mk. 11:17; Lk. 19:46) to which all of the nations of the earth will come to learn the ways of the Lord (Isa. 2:2c-3; 60:3; 62:2), to behold God's glory (Isa. 60:3; 62:2; 66:18), offer sacrifices (Isa. 56:6; 66:20) and to pay material tribute (Isa. 60: 5; 66:18-19; cf. Hag. 2:7-8; Zech. 8:22; Rev. 21:24).

This last reference to Gentile payment of tribute also forms the subject of the only explicit mention of the Feast of Tabernacles in a Millennial context: "Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zech. 14:16). This statement is part of the conclusion to a section of Zechariah (chs. 12-14) which detail the Gentile invasion of Jerusalem during the campaigns of Armageddon. In the immediate context (ch. 14) a summary of events reveal prophetic aspects predicted by the feast: (1) the advent of Messiah (vss. 3-4), the rescue and restoration of the Jewish Remnant (vs. 5; cf. Lk. 21:27-28), the experience of heaven-sent light and living water (vss. 7-8), the recognition of Messiah as universal King (vs. 9), the transformation of Jerusalem (vs. 10), and the gathering of the wealth of the Gentile nations (vs. 14).

Those who are addressed as being obligated to observe the Feast of Tabernacles in verse 14 are the remnants of the Gentile nations who were previously allied with the Antichrist in the war against the Holy City (Zech. 12:3, 9; 14:2, 12; cf. Rev. 19:19; Psa. 2:1-3). Although those in the armies who were present in the battle will have been destroyed by a deadly plague (vss. 12-13), others will remain in these countries to appear before Messiah's judgment seat at the conclusion of the conflict (Matt. 25:31-32). Those who converted to Messiah and His rule (Rev. 15:3-4), as evidenced by their costly compassion to the Jewish Remnant (Matt. 25:35-40) will continue into the Millennial Kingdom.

Nevertheless, under the rod-of-iron rule of Messiah (Psa. 2:9; Rev. 19:15), representatives of these nations will be required to demonstrate their allegiance to King Messiah by annual appearance at His Throne-City with tribute and material offerings (as token appreciation of divine provision). This act is in accordance with an ancient association of the Feast of Tabernacles with the recognition of the king as God's son, an act alluded to in Psalm 2:10-11: "Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry and you perish in the way ..." The ancient observance of the feast was also followed by a levitically-led ceremony of covenant renewal (Neh. 9:1-38) in which a national allegiance to the Lord was reaffirmed (Neh. 10:29). Therefore, a warning is issued in this passage to these national representatives if they should fail to observe the Feast of Tabernacles (vss. 17-19), which would be tantamount to an act of spiritual and national rebellion. Remembering that part of the ritual of the Feast of Tabernacles was in view of receiving rain (specifically the former rains), one punishment for those nations that fail to appear annually in Jerusalem will be a withholding of rain, the very gift which made possible their gifts.

The other punishment will be a plague, which would allow the inclusion of Egypt whose natural productivity depends more on the gift of the Nile than the gift of rains and whose punishment to secure their acknowledgment of Lord's sovereignty during the time of the exodus had been plagues.

The Feast of Tabernacles will serve as the instrument to universally unite these nations in their allegiance to Jesus as King Messiah and Sovereign Lord and Judge (Zech. 14:9, 17; Isa. 2:4) and possibly provide an occasion for the Jewish People to fulfill their destiny as a light to the nations in spiritual instruction to these national representatives (Zech. 8:22-23; Isa. 2:3; cf. Hab. 2:14). Because the nations become vassals of Lord, they have also the right to be called "His people," just as He as their suzerain can be called "their God." This covenantal language of identification ("My people") is absent in Zechariah's presentation of the restored Gentile nations, but it is found elsewhere (cf. Jer. 24:7; 30:22; 31:33; 32:38).

Isaiah elevates the nations of Egypt and Syria to covenantal status (Isa. 19:24-25), making them co-participants in both the obligations and benefits of the Temple (Isa. 19:21; 27:13; 56:6-8; 60:3, 21; 66:20). The tribute gifts required by the nations (mentioned in Zech. 14:14 but not in the Feast of Tabernacles text) are elsewhere described as the spoils of war which Lord as the suzerain (over vassals) has full right to receive. The wealth of the conquered nations will accrue to Messiah's Millennial Temple in such a way as to fill it with abundance (a fitting contrast to Israel's past post-exilic poverty), increasing its splendor and value (Zeph. 3:20; Hag. 2:6-7a, 22).

All that God has purposed and planned through His provision as the Lord of His people will be finally fulfilled and celebrated in the Millennial Feast of Tabernacles. The revelation of this Millennial realization should prompt us to gratefully acknowledge God's gift of Messiah for us today and His constant "tabernacling" with us through His indwelling Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:20b; Eph. 2:22). As the future feast will openly demonstrate the unity of Jew and Gentile as they alike bow to Jesus as their Messiah and Lord, it encourages the Body of Messiah today to foster greater unity among all its members before a watching world (Jn. 17:20-21; Eph. 2:14-18). As we do these things in the present age, we honor the Lord of the feast who will one day tabernacle with us forever: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them" (Rev. 21:3; cf. vs. 22).

Dr. Randall Price is President of World of the Bible Ministries, Inc., an organization that explores and explains the ancient, modern, and prophetic Middle East. For a free subscription to his bi-monthly newsletter please e-mail him at wbmrandl@itouch.net or address him at: P.O.B. 827, San Marcos, TX 78667-0827.

God's Future Program for Israel (Daniel 9)

By Randall Price

No book in the ancient world or the modern is as enigmatic, yet essential, to unlocking the mysteries of the prophetic plan for God's future program for Israel than the book of Daniel. The late seminary president and author Alva J. McClain once declared: "... with reference to its importance, I am convinced that in the predictions of [Daniel's] Seventy Weeks, we have the indispensable chronological key to all New Testament prophecy."1 Daniel's great prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Dan. 9:24-27) is part of the division of his book that records visions of future earthly kingdoms, both human and divine (chapters 7-12).

It belongs to the larger program of future restoration promised to national Israel as a comfort in her captivity (Isa. 40:1-66:24; Jer. 30:1-33:26; Ezek. 33:1-48:35). When the Persian Empire overthrew the Babylonians in 539 BC as predicted (Isa. 41:25-26; 44:26-45:3; Dan. 5:25-31), Daniel realized the day of Israel's release was at hand. This was confirmed for him by Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer. 25:11; 29:10) which had prophesied the exile would last for 70 years (Dan. 9:2). Recognizing that the ultimate fulfillment of restoration depended on national repentance (Jer. 29:10-14), Daniel sought to personally intercede for Israel through a prayer of penitent petition with its focal point of the restoration program - Jerusalem and the Temple Mount (Dan. 9:3-19).

From Daniel's prayer it appears that he expected the immediate and full fulfillment of Israel's restoration with the conclusion of the seventy-year captivity. However, the prophetic revelation brought to him by the archangel Gabriel in response to his petition revealed that the complete fulfillment of the restoration program would be yet future and progressive in nature. Gabriel explained this in terms of divisions of time during which prophetic activity would occur as preparation for the final fulfillment.

Discerning Daniel's Divisions

Gabriel's revelation to Daniel was that the full course of time would extend for "seventy "weeks" (verse 24). These "weeks" are to be understood as weeks of years since Daniel's prayer were based on the years of Jeremiah's prophecy. Therefore, rather than the restoration coming with the return of a remnant of the exiles after the 70 years, it would be 490 years before all that was promised for Israel's future would be performed. This resulting period of 490 years (70 x 7) is divided according to verses 25-27 into periods of seven weeks (49 years), sixty-two weeks (434 years), and one week (7 years).

Dispensational scholarship has traditionally accepted the context of this passage as messianic, with the death of Messiah and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple coming after the sixty-two weeks (i.e., after the 7 weeks + the 62 weeks = 483 years). The final "week,"the "seventieth week" of verse 27 will then be fulfilled when the Temple is rebuilt and desecrated by the abomination of desolation in the Great Tribulation. This interpretation requires that the seventieth week of Daniel be understood as eschatological, that is, having its fulfillment in the end time. That this is the correct understanding can be demonstrated by considering the goals to be met in the fulfillment of the seventy weeks as outlined to Daniel in verse 24.

The Prophetic Plan for Israel

Six goals (six infinitives) serve to establish the time of the prophecy's fulfillment: (1) "to finish the transgression, (2) "to make an end of sins"), (3) "to make atonement for iniquity," (4) "to bring in everlasting righteousness," (5) "to seal up vision and prophecy," (6) "to anoint the most holy [place]." Some commentators argue that although these goals were once future they have now all been fulfilled historically in the first advent of Messiah.

In this case the entire prophecy of the seventy weeks is viewed as being fulfilled consecutively without interruption within the first century. One difficulty with such a past historical interpretation is the fact that with the conclusion to the prophecy in verse 27 no specific answer to the time of the end of captivity had been given to Daniel. Yet it was this was very thing that he was attempting to "understand" (verse 2a; cf. 8:17; 9:23), and the motivation behind his prayer (vs. 19).

This view must find an end to the exile in temporary Jewish revolts, all of which were unsuccessful and ultimately led to the destruction of the city, the Temple and further exile. This, of course, offers no solution to Daniel's specific petition for his people's restoration (which included a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple, vss. 16-19). Furthermore, the climax of Gabriel's promise to Daniel was that the one who would one day desolate the Temple would himself be desolated completely. This did not occur historically with the Roman general Titus who destroyed the Second Temple. Rather, he and his emperor father Vespasian enjoyed the triumph of parading the Temple vessels through the streets of Rome.

On the other hand, a number of factors argue rather for a progressive future fulfillment of these goals in both the first and second advents of Messiah. First, it is crucial to observe those for whom this prophecy is to find fulfillment, namely "your people and your holy city" (verse 24). In other words, the fulfillment of the seventy weeks prophecy must occur with respect to Daniel's "people and city" - national Israel and the city of Jerusalem. In other words, it is not a universal "salvation history" that is being addressed here but the future history of the Jewish People in their historic Land.

Because a Jewish remnant did historically return to Judah as a Nation to resettle the Land and to rebuild Jerusalem, in direct answer to this prayer, and because a Jewish Messiah did come to the Land of Israel to historically "make atonement for iniquity" (Dan. 9:26), these prophetic goals cannot be interpreted other than in terms of literal fulfillment for the same people and place that Daniel knew. Therefore, in context, this excludes finding fulfillment for these six goals with people other than the Jewish People, such as with the church in this age. Looking at the messianic mission to Israel described in these goals can substantiate this.

Messiah's Mission to Israel

The first three goals relate to the sins of national Israel while the final three-goal respect her salvation. Thus the period for the fulfillment of all the goals must be seen in conjunction with Messiah's mission to Israel which historically encompasses both advents. That Messiah is clearly on center stage in this prophecy can be observed by the unambiguous mention of him in verses 25-26.

In verse 24 the terms connected with the first set of goals: "finish" (transgression) and "end" (sin), both look at the culmination of a condition.2 A similar expression is found in an eschatological context in the Dead Sea document known as Pseudo-Daniel (4Q243-245).3 Although in the year that the "Seventy Weeks prophecy" was given, Cyrus freed the Jews, ending their foreign captivity and their unavoidable contact with idolatry and desecration, the remnant that returned to Judah found that idolatry and transgression continued (cf. Ezra 9:1-2; Nehemiah 9:2).

This fact revealed that the prophetic plan was unfulfilled by Israel's return at the end of the seventy years but required the coming of Israel's Messiah to fulfill it in the future. Jewish commentators also held that the final fulfillment of these goals had not been accomplished with the return and restoration under Zerubbabel in 538 BC According to the Jewish commentator Abarbanel, the nature of Israel's sin required not 70 years, but 490 years to complete the sins committed in addition to the violation of the sabbatical law (2 Chronicles 36:21). Other Jewish commentators such as Rashi and Metzudos, held that this referred to a period following the 490 years (which they believed ended with the destruction of the Second Temple): "the last exile whose purpose it will be to terminate [i.e., to atone for] transgression."4

What Daniel's prophecy clearly reveals is that the Messiah came and accomplished the first part of His mission at the time predicted in verses 25-26, that is, 483 years into the 490 years. In the context of verse 26 Messiah's "cutting off" must refer to a death in the same time period as the destruction of "the city [of Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [Temple]," that is, in the late Second Temple period. This was precisely the time expected for the arrival of the Messiah in the rabbinnic sources (see the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Sanhedrin 97a-b).

Based on these sources the revered Vilna Gaon accepted the messianic era as beginning at this appointed time, but without the Messiah! In explanation he proposed that an initial transitional age (of apostasy) would precede the final fulfillment.5 Therefore, Messiah's death was to "make an end ["atone for"] sin" and "make atonement for iniquity" as predicted in verse 24. This act serves as the basis for Israel's future salvation at the Second Advent (Zech. 12:10; Matt. 24:30-31; Lk. 21:27-28; Rom. 11:26-27). The words "and have nothing" added after the words "cut off" may mean "without inheriting the messianic kingdom" (verse 26a).6 This fulfillment, as declared by Jesus (Acts 1:6-7) awaits the future, or the end of the final week when the prerequisite for the establishment of the messianic kingdom, the overthrow of the Temple desolator (the Antichrist), is completed (verse 27).

> The fulfillment of the last set of goals also waits the time of the end. The phrase "to bring in everlasting righteousness" looks at the predicted millennial restoration or "age of righteousness" (see Isaiah 1:26; 11:2-5; 32:17; Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-18) that reverses the theological scandal (note Dan. 9:15-16) of the Israel's national rejection of her Messiah (see Ezekiel 36:17-38; 37:21-28). This eschatological restoration may also be intended in the goal "to seal up the prophetic vision," which has the fulfillment (or "confirmation") of Jeremiah's prophecy in view. The final goal "to anoint the most holy" must also look to the future, and specifically a future dedication of the Temple's Holy of Holies. Rabbinic interpretation referred this to the Third Temple, since according to Tosefta Sotah 13:2 the Second Temple had not been anointed since it lacked both the Ark of the Covenant and the Shekinah (the Divine Presence). Rather, according to Yoma 21b, the Ark would be revealed by the Messianic king, who would also build the Third Temple (cf. Zech. 6:12).

When Messiah returns in glory, He will build the millennial Temple (see Ezek. 40-48), it will be filled with the Divine Presence (Ezek. 43:1-7), and will be consecrated for use throughout the messianic age (Ezek. 43:11, 18-27; 44:11-28; 45:13-46:15; Isa. 56:6-7; 60:7; Jer. 33:18; Zech. 14:16-21). Therefore, Daniel describes Messiah's mission to Israel beginning with His crucifixion as Israel's Savior and culminating with His reign as Israel's king. Thus, Daniel's prayer for an end to exile can only be fulfilled when all of the elements of his petition will be realized, and this can only be accomplished in the coming age of Messiah's reign.

The Program of the Seventieth Week

In verse 27 it was revealed to Daniel that in the seventieth week another significant event with relation to the Temple would occur. A leader (called a "prince" like the messiah in verse 25) related to the people (the Romans) who destroyed the Second Temple would make a covenant with the leaders ("the many") of Israel. While the specific nature of this "covenant" is unclear, it is clear that it relates to the Temple in some way. Dr. Harold Foos came to this conclusion in his doctoral dissertation written for Dallas seminary: ... it the conviction of this writer that the repossession of the Temple site and the rebuilding of the Temple with its renewed worship will be in direct consequence of the covenant that the Antichrist makes with Israel for the "one week," the seven years of the Tribulation period.7 Several reasons may be given to support this conclusion: (1) The Second Temple was rebuilt by the permission and power of a Gentile ruler (Cyrus), setting the precedence for the rebuilding of the Third Temple. (2) If a political power or leader could guarantee the rebuilding of the Temple, any covenant made with Israel would be expected to include this, (3) When the covenant moves from policy to persecution in the middle of the seventieth week, the Antichrist takes the prerogative to cause the sacrifices to cease (Daniel 9:27; 12:11) and to occupy it himself (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

This could imply that he had been involved in some prior relationship with it, (4) A pivotal event marked both the beginning and end of the first sixty-nine weeks and the interval between the end of the sixty-ninth and the beginning of the seventieth (Daniel 9:25-26). Such an event might be expected at the beginning of the seventieth week as well, especially when it would appear to mark a revival of God's direct dealing with the Nation, (5) Since the purpose of the Tribulation is to prepare Israel for the fulfillment of its promises in the Millennium where the Temple is prominent, and the Temple suffers with the Nation during the Tribulation, its rebuilding should be connected with the beginning of the Tribulation (the signing of the covenant, Daniel 9:27a).

Daniel's focus on the Temple's future desecration as a signal event in the seventieth week, "the time of distress" (Dan. 12:1), was announced by Jesus as the unavoidable sign to Israel of the time of Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14). The apostle Paul also used it as evidence for the unmistakable rise of the "man of sin" (the Antichrist) and of the judgment of God to come in the Tribulation, especially upon the Antichrist whose act of "abomination" will be accompanied with deceptive "signs and false wonders" (2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13). With the destruction of the Antichrist and his armies by Messiah (Rev. 19:20), and the national repentance of Israel (Rom. 11:26-27), the final restoration of Israel for which Daniel prayed will be at hand.

Daniel searched the prophets and prayed for an answer to the mystery that surrounded the desolation of the Temple in his day. The answer he received by divine revelation was that the times of the Gentiles, imposed from the captivity of his day, would not end until it was brought together in an international empire headed by a coming wicked ruler. Daniel was told that this would occur in the end time, and that with the final act of Temple desolation would come the final judgment of God against the Gentile powers and Israel's realization of the promises of God. He left to us this key to the prophetic puzzle so that we who live closer than he to the times of fulfillment might know what to expect and have confidence in our own day of the outworking of God's program for Israel.

1Alva J. McClain, Daniel's Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 6.

2 The term kala' means to "terminate" or "complete," while hatem has the idea of "making whole," i.e., "completing." This is the end of a condition that is described by the objects as "the rebellion," i.e., the rejection of the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 53:1-9; Zechariah 12:10), and innate sin (chata'), i.e., sin which prevents ritual purity (cf. Isaiah 27:9; Ezekiel 36:25-27; 37:23; cf. Romans 11:27) .

3 In line 51 we read: lmsf rs'' ("to bring Evil to an end"), cf. Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered (Massachusetts: Element, 1992), 67-68.

4 Scherman and Zlotowitz, Daniel. The Artscroll Tanach Series, 260. One reason for this interpretation is because these commentators believed that Jewish suffering would atone for their transgression. Abarbanel noted that the return to Jerusalem and even the rebuilding of the Second Temple did not bring the expected redemption nor atone for past sins, since it was itself a part of the exile and atonement. He held that the real and complete redemption was still far off in history, and thus not yet fulfilled according to Daniel's prophecy.

5 See further, Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus. Volume 1: General and Historical Objections (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, forthcoming), pp. 71-75, 78-79.

6 This is one interpretation of the phrase 'eyn lo ("will have nothing"); an alternate translation is "not for Himself," meaning that the Messiah's death was either not for Himself; i.e., it was substitutionary (for others), or that He was innocent (i.e., there was no guilt or criminal reason for His death). The former interpretation strengthens the eschatological argument, but the latter does not detract from it.

7 Harold D. Foos, "Jerusalem in Prophecy," Th.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1965, p. 230. Prophetic Postponement- R. Price - Page