Lesson 9 - The Bible’s Longest and Most Amazing Prophecy
A party of Arctic explorers were hopelessly lost in the freezing snow. Their supplies were running low. They had a few meager rations left. They lost all radio contact with their home base. Now they were frantic. In the midst of their despair someone spotted a puff of smoke on the horizon. That one puff of smoke buoyed their spirits. Help was on the way. Someone knew they were lost and was coming to take them home.
Our world is frantically searching for some message of hope. The book of Revelation reveals a “puff of smoke” on the distant horizon. Jesus is on the way. He is coming to take us home. Our lesson today unfolds one of the Bible’s most amazing prophecies. In our last lesson we discovered God’s special message in Revelation, chapter 14—a message to prepare a people for the coming of Jesus. Jesus’ final, last-day message announces, “The hour of [God’s] judgment has come” (Revelation 14:7, NKJV).*
In this lesson we will study where this judgment takes place and when it began. If we are living at the time of the end in God’s judgment hour, it makes all the difference in how we live our lives.
Although Revelation reveals that the hour of God’s judgment has come, it does not tell us when. To discover when the judgment began we must turn to the prophetic book of Daniel. The prophecies of Daniel unlock the mysteries of Revelation. These two Bible books are designed by God to be studied together.
1. According to the prophet Daniel, where does the judgment take place? Daniel 7:9, 10The Bible Answer: Beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit...books were opened and court seated
The angel directed Daniel's attention to the throne room of the universe. There the prophet saw the setting up of the supreme court of the universe in heaven's sanctuary.
2. When does this heavenly judgment take place? Daniel 8:14
The Bible Answer: After 2,300 days
3. What does the prophet Daniel say would happen to the sanctuary at the end of the 2300 prophetic days? Daniel 8:14
The Bible Answer: Will be cleansed
4. What did the cleansing or restoring of the sanctuary mean to each Israelite? Was it a form of judgment? Leviticus 16:29, 30; 23:27-29The Bible Answer: Afflict your souls...make an atonement for you; holy convocation
Each day during the earthly sanctuary service the Israelites confessed their sins. They came to the sanctuary with their sacrificial animals. Each sacrificial animal represented Jesus. Day by day, sin was transferred from the sinner to the substitute and through the blood of the sacrificial victim carried into the sanctuary by the Jewish priest. Each priest represented Jesus, our priest, who represents us in heaven's sanctuary. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the sanctuary was cleansed of all the guilt transferred in by the confessed sins of the Israelites. It was a day of judgment! At the end of the day the sins of the repentant Israelites were either confessed, forgiven and renounced, or unconfessed, unforgiven and cherished. All Israelites who refused to confess their sins were banished from the camp. They were judged. The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary takes place at the end of time. It is God's final judgment on sin.
5. When does the vision of the 2300 days especially apply to? Daniel 8:16, 17, 19
The Bible Answer: The time of the end
6. Who was Daniel's guide to explain the vision? Daniel 8:16The Bible Answer: Gabriel
When the angel attempted to explain the vision, Daniel fainted. (Daniel 8:27)
7. Does Gabriel return to continue the explanation of the vision which was interrupted by Daniel's fainting? Daniel 9:21-23
The Bible Answer: Yes. Touch me...Gabriel
8. What portion of the prophecy applies directly to Daniel's people, the Jews? Daniel 9:25The Bible Answer: Seventy weeks
Gabriel begins his explanation by stating that 70 weeks (490 days) are determined (cut off from the 2,300 days) especially for the Jews (Daniel 9:22-24).
9. In Bible prophecy what does one prophetic day equal? Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6The Bible Answer: One year
The entire 2,300 days leads us to the time of the end and the opening of the judgment
10. When does this entire prophetic period begin? Daniel 9:25The Bible Answer: From the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem
The entire prophetic period begins with the command to restore and build Jerusalem. Jerusalem was attacked in 605 B.C. by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. In 587/586 B.C. it was largely destroyed. The Medes and Persians overthrew the Babylonians in 539 B.C. In 457 B.C. the Persian king, Artaxerxes, passed a decree allowing the Jews to return to their homeland to rebuild Jerusalem. You can read about this decree in Ezra 7, verses 12 and 13.
11. How long would it be from the decree to restore Jerusalem to the anointing of Jesus as the Messiah? Daniel 9:25The Bible Answer: 7 weeks and threescore and two weeks
The prophecies of Daniel predict that from the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 457 B.C. until the coming of the Messiah would be 69 prophetic weeks, or 483 prophetic days (7 x 69 = 483). Since one prophetic day equals one literal year, 483 years from the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem the Messiah would appear. The chart below will clarify this prophecy.
12. What happened when Jesus was baptized? Luke 3:21, 22; Acts 10:38
The Bible Answer: The Holy Ghost descended; God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power.
13. When would Jesus bring all sacrificial offerings to an end with His death on the cross? Daniel 9:27The Bible Answer: In the midst of the week
The first 69 weeks of the 70-week prophecy ran out in A.D. 27 at Christ's baptism. One week, or seven years, remained. In the middle of this last prophetic week all animal sacrifices would cease. The Messiah would be cut off or crucified. According to the prophecy, Jesus would be crucified three and one-half years from His baptism in A.D. 27. This leads us to the spring of A.D. 31. Jesus was crucified in the spring exactly on the Passover as the prophecy predicted.
14. What event occurred in the Jewish Temple when Christ was crucified? Matthew 27:51The Bible Answer: The veil of the temple was rent it twain.
The tearing of the veil in the Jewish Temple signified the end of the sacrificial system. On Passover of A.D. 31, Jesus Christ, our Passover, was crucified for us. The sacrificial system lost its significance. Christ, our substitute, was sacrificed in our behalf. Historically the whole sacrificial system came to an end with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70. In A.D. 34, as the prophecy predicted, the Jews finally sealed their doom as a nation. The Jewish high priest speaking on behalf of the Sanhedrin, the high Jewish Council, officially rejected Jesus. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned, and the gospel was preached to the Gentiles. The 490-year period is a smaller section of the 2,300 days. The 490 years applies especially to the Jews and the coming of the Messiah. The longer prophecy of the 2,300 days leads us to the end of time, the cleansing of the sanctuary and earth's final judgment. Adding 1,810 years to our last date, A.D. 34, brings us to 1844. Just as surely as Christ was baptized in A.D. 27 and crucified in A.D. 31, the judgment began in A.D. 1844.
15. Adding 1810 years to our last date, A.D. 34, brings us to 1844. Just as surely as Christ was baptized in A.D. 27 and crucified in A.D. 31, the judgment began in A.D. 1844. Does it make any difference in the way we live knowing we are living in the judgment hour? Romans 13:11-14
The Bible Answer: It is high time to awaken out of sleep; put on the armor of light; walk honestly; put on the Lord Jesus Christ
16. What assurance does God give us in the judgment? Hebrews 7:27The Bible Answer: He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered up himself
If any of us had to stand alone, we would have no hope. Jesus will stand in our behalf in the judgment. What assurance! We can rejoice in the hope of the Christ who is our best friend representing us before the throne of God.
* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.