The End of the Transgression
...Withstanding the Desolation It Will Bring
By Ed Corley
IT IS WITH the utmost humility that I present this article. Its subject matter is too deep for my limited human understanding. But, it is too important a matter to ignore. Therefore, please join me in asking for the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Only in this way can we begin to know what awaits us in the closing of this age. Paul calls it the evil day in Eph 6:13. There are things that could be horrifying to the natural mind, but they are awesome and wonderful for the new mind in Christ.
May your heart be drawn, as is mine, to follow on to know the LORD. Whether we have the details of every doctrine firmly embraced in our minds, or not, we can at least come to that day knowing Him. Moving toward this, we will continue to run to and fro with our eyes through the Book of Daniel. What he said in 12:4 directs us to this method of study.
DAN 9:24-27, at which we looked in the previous article, presents an amazing revelation. It came in response to Daniel's repentance. His repentance came in response to Jeremiah's prophecy that it was time for Israel's captivity to end. Seeing this, we begin to see that the fulfillment of prophecy awaits two things: the time ordained of the Lord and the preparation of hearts. This is a principle finding release in us now and bringing about much repentance.
It was Gabriel who brought the revelation of chapter 9 to Daniel. He is the same heavenly being to whom it was said in the previous chapter, Make this man to understand the vision--Dan 8:16. We only know Gabriel in these two Daniel passages plus in the first chapter of Luke. There he brought the news about the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11-20) and the birth of the Lord Jesus (1:26-37).
Although Gabriel is not called an archangel, he seems to rank with Michael who, in Jude 9, is called archangel. The ancient Jews regarded Gabriel as an archangel. Just before he brought the revelation of Dan 9:24-27, Gabriel said to Daniel, At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision--9:23.
Gabriel, the chief of all messengers in God's Kingdom, was under commission from heaven. He moved when the commandment came forth. There are two apparent reasons he was sent to Daniel. One is that Daniel had poured forth his supplications before God. We find this in the first half of Dan 9. He was a repentant and broken man, sorrowful for his own sin and for the sin of Israel. Another reason is that he was a man greatly beloved. The implication of the Hebrew here is that he was a man "of desires." There burned within him a delight in God's heavenly Kingdom and in what He would say and do. Since his desires were thus, God could trust him with the precious revelation of His will. It seems this matter of desire toward the Kingdom of Heaven may be a gift given by God to some. I believe we may ask for it that there may be released in us a hunger to know what He will say and do, especially in this latter day. We cannot presume upon this gift, however, unless we are willing to deal with our sin as Daniel did his. There is little so pathetic as a person who receives great enlightenment but refuses to deal with the sin that crouches at his door.
BY THE SIMPLE WORD UNDERSTAND--given as an imperative, that is, a command--Gabriel released into Daniel's mind the knowledge of things to come--powerful things to come. Take note of the phrase: understand the matter in 9:23. Understand is from the Hebrew bin to which we have given attention before--and will again. It is the understanding that finds release through God's help. The word matter is from the Hebrew dabar, which holds a similar meaning to our New Testament Greek word logos. This is that powerful word meaning "word." What Gabriel said to Daniel meant, "Receive the intelligence that comes out of the Word I bring you from God. Let its insight, light and power enter your mind." The word, or the matter, Gabriel brought had in it a divine energy. Daniel, however, could not receive it fully because it reached far beyond his day and comprehension. When its time is ready--which we believe is soon--it will release its full energy in us who come with the same heart and demeanor that was in Daniel.
One of the most important verses in all of prophetic revelation is Dan 9:24. It presents us with the wonderfully intriguing term seventy weeks. They were determined upon Daniel's people and what was called thy holy city. That the prophecy pertains to Daniel's people and to the holy city has lead some to conclude that the revelation belongs entirely to national Israel. But, the scope of its reach will not allow us to take this position. So, at least, let us embrace the position that it reaches both natural Israel as well as spiritual Israel.
Indeed, we in the church take much out of the Old Testament and make it apply to us. The Old Testament, written to and for Israel, was the Bible of the New Testament church, even after it branched out to embrace the Gentile nations. The first word delivered under the anointing of the Holy Spirit had Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, quoting four times from the Old Testament. He used it as his text to explain what was happening that day in Jerusalem. Paul drew copiously from the Old Testament as he took the Gospel to the Gentiles. He even dared to say to the Galatians, If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise--Gal 3:29. Yet Paul was not willing to cut off Israel. He longed for their salvation, as chapters 9 through 11 of his Epistle to the Romans attest. Neither are we willing to give up the Book of Hebrews as belonging only to Hebrew believers scattered through the nations. It was here the inspired writer said, But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem... Heb 12:22. There is a natural Israel and there is a spiritual Israel. In Christ the two flow into one. There is a natural Jerusalem and there is a heavenly Jerusalem. It becomes apparent the word that came to Daniel, in all its principle and power, pertains to both.
So, at the least, let us see that this word in Dan 9 can have a parallel reference to both Israel and to those who are redeemed from out of the Gentile nations. Many are led to believe that what we see in national Israel, still under the hand of God, is a reflection of what transpires in the church. Or, is it the other way around? One reflects the other. We have no problem here. Let us see Gabriel's word to Daniel as reaching out to embrace both.
NOW, LET US LOOK AT GABRIEL'S WORD. It's scope is too wide and deep to consider it all in this brief article. But we can at least begin to see Dan 9:24. It is the verse that lays out the intention God holds for His people with regard to sin and righteousness. Take note--as we have before--of its six important points. As we move through them time and again, we begin to discern that they are reaching for us. The whole of Scripture--from the writings of Moses in Genesis through the writings of John in Revelation--deals with the very matter to which this one verse points us. In it we find the promise of a wonderful conclusion to sin. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, • to finish the transgression, • and to make an end of sins, • and to make reconciliation for iniquity, • and to bring in everlasting righteousness, • and to seal up the vision and prophecy, • and to anoint the most Holy--Dan 9:24.
The points noted lay out the purpose God has determined will come to completion within a period of time designated as seventy weeks. This is from the Hebrew shabuim sh 'bim. It means "seventy units of seven." It becomes apparent the reference is to "years." Seventy times seven years, or 490 years, are lifted out of the plane of history to hold a distinct prophetic purpose. As we read verses 25 through 27, we find the seventy are then divided into seven weeks, threescore and two weeks, and one week. Threescore and two means sixty-two. Thus, we have three distinct periods within the prophetic time frame. The seven "weeks" equal forty-nine years. The sixty-two "weeks" equal four hundred thirty-four years. The one "week" equals seven years.
From the going forth of the commandment in 454 B.C. to restore and to build Jerusalem till the completion of the Temple in 405 B.C. were forty-nine years. From the completion of the Temple till the cutting off of Messiah in 29 A.D., we have four-hundred thirty-four years, to give us a total of four-hundred eighty-three years. (29 A.D.--According to adjusted chronology fixing a mistake that placed Christ's birth 4 years too late, 29 A.D. was the year of His death.)
But the one week remains. Although heaven has connected its seven year period to the previous four-hundred eighty-three years, in the ongoing of history it is separated by at least two thousand years. Whereas the first "sixty-nine sevens" end with the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the final "seven" ends with the death of the anti-Christ.
There is an amazing thing in the prophecy which we must note. The final seven is divided in half to give us a final three and one-half years. We intend to come back to this in a later article.
Within the four-hundred ninety years lifted out of the plane of history, the transgression will be finished. An end will come to sins. Reconciliation for iniquity--apparently a full reconciliation--will be accomplished. Everlasting righteousness will be brought in. The vision and prophecy will be sealed up. The most Holy Place will be anointed.
In great measure all of this has been accomplished. At the "cutting off of Messiah," the death of the Lord Jesus, the work of redemption found a powerful completion. We have but to look around us, however, and within our own souls, to perceive there is a work yet to be done with regard to sin and righteousness. It embraces the final seven years.
An interesting thing confirms that the unit of "seventy sevens" must be considered as one. The words are determined in 9:24 come from the Hebrew Verb chathak in its singular form. Grammatically, it needs a singular Subject. It means "to cut, or divide off." Thus, the entire unit of time, prophetically connected as one, is divided off from the rest of history. All that is to find completion in the 490 Prophetic Years awaits the onward flow of the final seven. Does not this point us to something Peter knew? He spoke to us who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time--I Pet 1:5. Paul longed for this in Rom 8:16-25.
LET US TAKE THE FIRST POINT of purpose we find in Dan 9:24. It is God's design to finish the transgression. Finish is from the Hebrew word kala which means "to shut up, or, to restrain." We are compelled to believe that the transgression to be restrained is that long strain of sin brought over upon the race of man by the transgression of Adam. Every person born, with one Exception, has come upon the scene of life with its infection.
The deadly virus Adam released has reached us all and has done so destructive a work that no one has been able to conquer its insidious spread. The time is coming when the transgression will become so full blown that it demands the judgment of Christ's appearing again in the earth. This understanding becomes apparent as we consider some verses that follow about the transgression of desolation and the abomination of desolation.
This dreadful overflow of the transgression resulting in desolation will come as the result of Satan's last day attempt to corrupt the most Holy Place. Seemingly, with restriction removed, he will advance toward this most desired goal of his. But his boldest move to take over the seat of God's government in the earth will but result in his destruction.
There are four passages in Daniel making reference to the desolation that the transgression brings. They present us with some of the most intricate and important prophetic Scriptures in all the Bible. We see how important they are when we consider that the Lord Jesus pointed us to them. See this from Mark 13:14--But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains. Matt 24:15 records that He spoke of the abomination as standing in the holy place.
We will look at the Daniel passages in succession. Then we will return to them for our eyes to run to and fro through them. We ask the Holy Spirit to quicken what He will to us. We will reach for little information outside the verses themselves; there is too much within them demanding attention. We do take note, however, of their strategic placement in the final three visions of Daniel. The scope of the prophetic revelation of Dan 8, of Dan 9, and of Dan 10-12 revolves around the restraining of the transgression and overcoming the desolation that will spread through it.
• Dan 8:13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden underfoot?
• Dan 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
• Dan 11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
• Dan 12:11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
To these, we add this passage from Paul in the New Testament.
• II Thes 2:3,4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Anyone who will read these and their contextual settings will see that only the most brave and daring will embark upon any attempt to explain them. Yet, they are so important for this hour we cannot ignore them. Different schools of theology regard them in different lights. For us, we simply hold ourselves before them and ask the Holy Spirit to bring to our understanding what is vital for us now. Actually, in this we pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
Regarding these statements on the desolation, Jesus said, Let him that readeth understand. Understand is from the Greek noéo which basically means "to perceive by the eyes." This points us back to that wonderful statement of Dan 12:4. In a strange and beautiful way, it gives us our directive for laying hold on what the prophecies of Daniel hold for us. But thou, 0 Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro (with their eyes), and knowledge shall be increased.
Because we do this, powerful hope is developing in us that the transgression shall finally come to its end. A restraint will come upon it. But, it will come when sin has reached a point so full God can no longer allow its continuance.
FIRST WE WILL LOOK at the Dan 8 passage. The chapter has three significant verses regarding the transgression. One of them makes mention of the desolation.
Dan 8:12 tells us, And an host (an army organized for war) was given him (the little horn, the anti-Christ himself) against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. This means a virtual army of followers will be given over into the camp of the anti-Christ because of their submission to the transgression. Through them truth will be trampled into the ground. This army will carry on prosperously in its abominable stride--for a while.
Next there is 8:13 in which Daniel heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden underfoot? This question arises from out of heaven. In it we perceive another host. It is the host associated with the sanctuary. This is a quite different band of people. They have found their release from the transgression. They move under the command of the Lord God and are empowered by His Spirit. So certain is their triumph that God can allow, for a limited period, that they will be trodden down in defeat--by all appearance. Remember, He allowed the Lord Jesus to enter the tomb, only to come out with the greater triumph.
Then there is Dan 8:23. It directs us to the arrival upon the world scene of the little horn. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. This has reference to one Paul, in II Thes 2:3, calls that man of sin, the son of perdition. He will stand up when the transgressors are come to the full. This means when the band of those given over to the transgression is full. This one, the anti-Christ himself, with a great company with him, will stand up with a false hope of relief for the world. His speech will come with dark riddles that no one can pretend to interpret except those who walk in darkness with him. While he promises peace, his advancement will only bring about desolation--and his own destruction. II Thes 2:8 makes clear what will happen.
NEXT WE SEE DAN 9:27, a passage upon which few can do little more than speculate, although it does have some points we can grasp. See it again: And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
That he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week leaves us with an idea that can only become clear as the time actually closes in upon us. With all the disputation over boundaries going on in this year 1998 between Israel and Palestine, we might suppose the covenant could have reference to an agreement between the two parties. I believe, however, this is but a shadow of that to which this verse points. It is a covenant of a much higher order--or, should we say nefarious order?--than the settling of borders. When this covenant is confirmed, the man of sin will cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. This revelation came to Daniel over four-hundred years before Calvary. He was still under the Covenant that offered sacrifice and oblation. It would be centuries before the offering of the final Sacrifice and Oblation on the cross. Do we not see in Old Covenant language that the sacrificial work of Christ will come under so vile an attack that it will be said to cease? Those whose trust is all in outward form will be found lacking in that day. Other Scriptures indicate to us that in the last days all evidence of redemption's work will be suppressed to the point that it can be said the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them--Dan 7:21. See also Dan 7:25 and Rev 13:7. Carefully--oh, but carefully--we see, however, that the story does not end here!
The end of Dan 9:27, which indeed brings us to the end of that chapter's revelation, closes with a statement so clear and infused with hope that we must not miss it--and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. Here we need a slight correction in translation. The desolate comes from a Participle form of the Hebrew Verb shamem. It means "the one causing desolation." There is a determination, settled in heaven, that the one who brings the desolation upon the earth shall not finally prevail. What God has determined will prevail. That wicked one shall be broken without hand--Dan 8:25. Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him--Dan 11:45.
ALL OF THIS points to the final hour of this age. There is mystery in it. No one can have a clear picture yet. It can only become clear when the dreadfully wonderful hour is upon us. In this time upon us now, we are looking to the Lord for the understanding He is ready to give us. It will lead us into our preparation for that final hour.
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