Revelation’s Time of the End
It has been said that the most familiar text in the Bible is not John 3:16, but Matthew 7:1. While one succinctly describes the sacrifice Jesus made to give humanity a way out of the sin problem, the other is explicit about not judging others otherwise you will be judged. Judgment/Judge/Judging holds negative connotations in today’s society. But why? Why is the “J” word unattractive? How does the Bible view the “J” word and how does it relate to the end times? Here’s a summary (ok loose on the summary perhaps) of what we discussed:
In tonight’s lecture we looked at Revelation 14 again, but more specifically Revelation 14:7. The Bible says we should worship God because the hour of His judgment has come. This is coming from the angel carrying a message for everyone (v. 6). Matthew 24:14 says that the Gospel will be preached in the entire world before the end comes. So we know that that this message the angel is carrying is not for a select few, but for all to hear!
These verses (14:6-12) consist of three angels with warnings for everyone! The first angel says to worship the Creator, the second refers to Babylon who deceived others into participating in her iniquity, and the third angel follows with a message on worship. Here we see a call to worship the Creator who made all things, but in Revelation 13 we see the world wondering and worshipping a beast/dragon (something created).
There is quite a bit of worship going on in the end times, and it is in this context that we explore the judgment. Earlier we saw in Revelation that the judgment is finally here (past tense, see v. 7). We went back to Daniel 7:9,10 and saw a judgment scene unfolding (for your information we have gone over the close link between Revelation and Daniel in the lecture that we will unpack online later on!). Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:10 that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. There is no escaping judgment. On Earth if you commit a crime you might get away with-for so long-but no one can escape God’s judgment. It is for all. Acts 17:31 reveals that God has set aside a day for judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:9 (written by Solomon – a wise man) says that you can enjoy good things but remember that you will have to account for them. And that same book ends by saying that God will bring every work into judgment, whether it is good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:4).
Wow. That is a lot to swallow. But there’s a little bit more. In Revelation 22:12 we see Jesus says that he will give a reward to every man based on his work. So we see in parts of the Bible that there will be a judgment. In Daniel we see a judgment scene unfolding. In Revelation we see that there is a judgment already happening. And in Revelation 22 we see that right before Jesus comes a judgment will have already taken place – that’s how He is able to deliver a reward.
So before Jesus comes while we are living on Earth, there will be a judgment. Does that mean there is a judgment happening now? Has it already happened? Are we close to the opening statement that will begin the judgment? The Bible actually reveals when this will happen!
In Daniel 8:14 we see that the sanctuary will be cleansed after 2300 days. Now this is not as clear cut as December 25, but with a little bit of work, the Bible tells us.
We discussed the background of the sanctuary services that you can find in Leviticus. In short, each person brought an unblemished lamb to be sacrificed by the priest. The sacrifice symbolized the transfer of sins from the person to the lamb. The blood was then put on the horns of the alter or on the curtain in the Holy Place. This sacrifice was to point God’s people forward to the time when the Lamb of God (John 1:29) would sacrifice Himself and take away the sins of humanity. Once a year though, this blood that symbolically contained the sins of the people had to be cleansed from the sanctuary. That happened on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) or the Day of judgment. On this day the High Priest took the blood into the Most Holy Place, where God’s presence resided. He would atone for the sins of the people, and the sin record would be cleared from the people. They were now “at one” with God.
That was the cleansing of the sanctuary back then.
There is much to say about the sanctuary services, but for the sake of time you can listen to an in depth series about it by clicking here. We did see that the pattern of the tabernacle God gave Moses was modeled after the one in Heaven. We saw how the sanctuary was cleansed on Earth when the old temple services were in place, but what happens now with Jesus’ death taking away the need for the earthly temple?
We also showed how the Holy Place (the room with the candlesticks, table of showbread, and an altar of incense) had more to do with the daily sacrifices and how the Most Holy Place was important especially on the day of judgment (day of atonement). In fact, if you check out Hebrews 9 you’ll see a nice description of the Holy Place and what specifically was in the Most Holy Place. You’ll see the ten commandments in the ark of the covenant, and right above that is the mercy seat! So even though you feel worthless and imperfect, know that God has mercy on those who break His law and repent.
Now in Hebrews 9:24 we see that Jesus did not enter the Most Holy Place on Earth (the “made with hands”) but he entered the into heaven, into the presence of God for us! Hebrews was written after Jesus ascended to heaven, so what is Jesus doing now? He is being our High Priest in heaven in the presence of God for our sake. That is what the high priest did in the day of atonement back then, and that is what Jesus our High Priest is doing now! He knows what you have been through, and as a result we can boldly approach the throne of grace and find mercy (Hebrews 4:14-16). Whoa!
So now you do not have to be afraid of the “J” word, but what about a time frame for the beginning of judgment? Daniel 8:14 was pretty ambiguous about what time period the sanctuary would be cleansed. Daniel did not understand (Daniel 8:15). But later on in v. 17 we see the angel tell Daniel that the vision he is seeing refers to the time of the end. The rest of the chapter (v. 19, 26) reveal that this will happen near the end and that it happens many days in the future.
When Daniel received this vision it was 500 years before Jesus. God is telling him this vision will be for the end. If we took the 2300 days literally, it would be about six or seven years. Seven years from Daniel’s time is not the time of the end (as we write this thousands of years later). In prophecy the time scale is different. A day represents a year (See Ezekiel 4:6, Numbers 14:34).
Let’s see this principle in action!
In Daniel 9:21 we see Gabriel is told to be more clear about the vision. In v.24 we see that 70 weeks are given to God’s people (70 x 7 = 490 years) to come to repentance. Daniel 9:25 gives us the beginning of the prophecy. With that we, can go forward 2300 years (2300 prophetic days = 2300 literal years) and determine when judgment begins (sanctuary cleansing).
Remember, Daniel 9 is connected with Daniel 8. Daniel did not understand the vision in Daniel 8, but after the explanation Daniel fainted. Then in Daniel 9 we see him praying on behalf of God’s people for eventual deliverance. Then God sends Gabriel to make Daniel understand the vision.
Daniel 9:25 says that there will be 7 weeks (69 prophetic weeks * 7 days = 483 literal years) from the command to rebuild Jerusalem until the appearance of the Messiah. The Persians were meticulous record keepers, so in Ezra 7:11-23 we see that the specific decree was issued in 457 BC.
The Messiah means “Anointed One” and in 27 AD Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Luke 3:1 tells us this happened in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, which is 27 AD (also see v. 21, 22). As the prophecy predicted, “when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His son” (Galatians 4:4).
Then Daniel 9:26 says that after that time the Messiah would be cut off, but not for himself (death on the cross). Verse 27 says that he will confirm the covenant for one week, and in the middle of that week he would cause sacrifices to cease. Remember when Jesus died the temple veil was torn in two (Matthew 17:51)? The Lamb of God that the daily sacrifices pointed to became the ultimate sacrifice. There was no need for the priests or earthly temple services! After 69 prophetic weeks (out of the 70 weeks in v. 24) there would follow 1 prophetic week (7 prophetic days = 7 literal years), and half way between that (3.5 prophetic days = 3.5 literal years) Jesus would be crucified. Then, 3.5 years later (3.5 prophetic days = 3.5 literal years = last half of the 70th week) the Gospel would be preached to the Gentiles! Remember in v.24 70 weeks were given for God’s people to repent and accept the Gospel. This would take the timeline out to 34 AD. What happened then? The Gospel-which had been preached exclusively to the Jews-would now go to the Gentiles. In Acts 13:45-46 we read that the Gospel had been given to the Jews, but they rejected it as a nation. As a result, Paul and Barnabas said the Gospel would go to the Gentiles. This did not mean that Jews could no longer be saved, but since they rejected the Son of God the Gospel would be spread further. This was the end of the theocracy that spanned the majority of the Old Testament with God as the ruler. So here’s how the 70 week prophecy looks:
Remember, this prophecy was accessible to the Jews long before Jesus’ time, and they chose Barabbas over Jesus. We do not want to ignore this prophecy! So let’s finish it. Remember the 70 week prophecy is part of the 2300 day prophecy. Daniel 8 and 9 are a part of the same vision, but Daniel was unable to take it all in at once. If we add 1810 years (2300 prophetic days – 490 prophetic days = 1810 prophetic days = 1810 literal years) from 34 AD we come to 1844 AD:
After 2300 prophetic days (2300 literal years) the sanctuary would be cleansed. Earlier we saw that the cleansing was an act of judgment that happened on the day of Atonement. We know from Hebrews that Jesus was in the heavenly sanctuary (that the early sanctuary was modeled after) as our High priest atoning for our sins!
When you are on the train, and the conductor is coming by to hole punch your ticket, should you be nervous? If you have the ticket, you have no need to be afraid of the conductor. You are allowed to be on that train!
The judgment is nothing to be afraid of if you have the ticket. If you and Jesus are one, then the judgment is good news for you! Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus always makes intercession for us.
And that’s why you don’t have to be afraid of the “J” word! 😀