The prophet Daniel served as under the Babylonian and Medo-Persian rulers. He was taken as a hostage from Jerusalem in 605 B.C. to the Babylonian court. Daniel was promoted to a position of high responsibility after interpreting Nebuchadnezzar dream.
During the last decades of his life Daniel had several divine revelations which correlated with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in portraying the rise and fall of successive worldly kingdoms, the rise of the antichrist, which finally culminated in the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these…You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. (Daniel 2: 28, 31-36 NKJV)
My intention is not to make a detailed study of key prophetic events but am simply highlighting specific prophecies as given by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24). As we already saw in our previous studies, Jesus warned of the time when the Antichrist will stop the offering and sacrifices in the Temple.
The first desolation, coming after the first advent of Jesus Christ happened when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. Jesus warned His contemporaries by urging them to flee into into the mountains (Luke 21:20). A good number of Christians heeded the warning and escaped the siege, slaughter and enslavement.
This is reminiscent of the horror in the death camps of Europe during World War II. It is difficult to imagine that the Holocaust could ever happen again, but the prophets predict that it will happen again. The Antichrist will achieve what Hitler only dreamed about. In his vision of the Ram, the Male Goat and the Little Horn, the prophet Daniel tells us that:
And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means. (Daniel 8:23-25)
Daniel gives us a further picture of the Fourth Beast in his interpretation:
The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces….. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:23,25)
The second desolation coming just prior to the conclusion of the Gentile domination was defined in Daniel 9:27:
And he shall enter into a strong and firm covenant with the many for one week [seven years]. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and offering to cease [for the remaining three and one-half years]; and upon the wing or pinnacle of abominations [shall come] one who makes desolate, until the full determined end is poured out on the desolator.
This is the verse that Jesus referred to hundreds of years later in His prophetic discourse. He said we should look for certain prophetic developments as they unfold and specifically mentioned Daniel’s vision. The Lord revealed to Daniel that:
At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)
In Daniel 7:25 the time span for this period, often referred to as the Great Tribulation, is given as three-and-a half years. The same time frame is also mentioned in 12:11
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.
It is amazing that Jesus mentioned Daniel’s vision and not any other prophet. This is what Jesus confirmed to His disciples in the Olivet Discourse:
Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation, ‘spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand…. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:15,21-22)
Daniel prophecy identifies three main events that will describe the end of this age: the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, the antichrist himself, and the great empires. Right now in Israel, there are plans to construct a new Temple.
According to World Bulletin, The Israel Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel on Friday expressed his wish to see the construction of a “Third Temple” in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Al-Quds (East Jerusalem). According to the Alray Palestinian News Agency, Uri Ariel said “The first Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE, the second Temple in 70 CE, and ever since the Jews have been mourning its loss.”
He then went on to say “Al-Aqsa Mosque is currently in place of the temple, despite the temple being much holier than it. Al-Aqsa Mosque is only the third most holy mosque in Islam. The subject of the third Temple is extremely controversial. Right now in Israel, plans are well underway to construct a new Temple. The architectural plans and all the structural details have been reportedly completed. Here is the full story from CBN:
But there is even considerable disagreement among Christians as to whether another Temple should be built. However, both the Old and New Testaments suggest that a third Temple will be built in Jerusalem prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures indicate that if another Temple is built, just like the first and second one, someone energized by Satan will defile it. The fulfillment of this prophecy will be a sure sign that the return of Jesus Christ is very close. This will confirm what Jesus and Paul referred to in Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4:
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Image Source: Gospel Coalition