Recovering the classic, Protestant interpretation of Bible prophecy.

Rejection, Desolation and Restoration

by J. L. Haynes

Moses prophesied that if the Hebrews rejected the Covenant, their cities and sanctuary would be destroyed and they would be scattered among the nations. This was fulfilled in the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, and the ravaging of Palestine, Jerusalem, and the Temple, by the Roman armies in the Zealot wars leading up to A.D. 70, and the scattering of the Jews among the nations from then until the 20th Century.

23 "‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, 24 I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over. 25 And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands. 26 When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied. 27 "‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, 28 then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. 31 I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. 32 I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. 34 Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it. 36 "‘As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them. 37 They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword, even though no one is pursuing them. So you will not be able to stand before your enemies. 38 You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. 39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sins they will waste away. 40 ¶ "‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers— their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies— then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. 44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD.’" (Leviticus 26:23-45 NIVUS)

Daniel also prophesied about this same rejection of the Covenant, resulting in desolation. Moses referred to the punishment as a direct result of the breaking of the covenant (v. 25). Moses refers to the breaking of the covenant as the final straw in the rejection, by the people of Israel, of God's laws and decrees (Lev 26:14-15). The result would be, in the fullness of time, utter desolation. Dr. Oral Collins observes that this is more clearly seen in the original language that it is in English, in his paper on this subject, to which I am indebted (www.historicism.com/Collins/moses.htm). But even in English translations of the following passage, particularly verse 24, we can see that Daniel was in essence saying, "your time is running out. If you don't put an end to your transgressions and accept your Messiah before the end of '70 weeks', you will be punished with desolation!"

24 "Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. 25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (Daniel 9:24-27 NIVUS)

From the first decree of Artaxerxes to Ezra in 458 until Jesus' crucifixion in AD 29, there passed approximately 486 years. 486 divided by 7= 69.42 "weeks" of years. This properly fulfills the words of Daniel that, "after the sixty-two sevens" or in the midst of the 70th seven, "the Anointed One will be cut off..." and "he will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven'. In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering..." aptly signified by God in the tearing of the veil of the Holy of Holies. This was also, perhaps dually, fulfilled, not only in solar years of 365 days each, but in lunar years of 354 days each. From the second decree of Artaxerxes in 444, until Jesus' crucifixion in AD 29, there passed 486.5 lunar years, from the Passover month until the Passover month. 486.5 divided by 7= 69.5. Jesus was "cut off" in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel 9.

In consequence of the rejection of the Covenant, foreseen by Moses and Daniel, fulfilled in the rejection of the personification of the Covenant in Jesus, destruction came upon the people of Israel "like a flood." Famine, wars, seiges, political unrest and civic turmoil, even the appearance of false-messiahs, continued until Jerusalem was beseiged by the Roman armies and finally destoroyed in 70 A.D. (see Josephus). As promised, the surviving Jews were scattered among the nations of the world, until their regathering began in the late 1800s, climaxing in the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948, and continuing even today.

Jesus spoke of these things in Matt 24, a passage that is often quoted to support the idea of a future time of trouble and desolation to come upon the Jews. As we have seen, Daniel and Moses preached that desolation would come as the result of the people rejecting Gods' commandments and finally the Annointed One Himself. This becomes more clear when we consider the words of the Lord that come right before Matthew chapter 24:

"28 "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 "So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 "Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? 34 ¶ "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’"" (Matthew 23:28-39 NAS95)

Now, with the context of the warnings of Moses and Daniel, and Jesus, in mind, re-read this next excerpt from Matthew 24 and consider if it speaks on the same theme. Granted, the disciples asked two questions in verse 3: when will this destruction take place? and when will you come again? As a result, it is easy to confuse these two ideas in the answer that Jesus gives to them. I would suggest , though, that if you remember the prophecies that desolation would be the consequence of unrepentance, and remember that Moses foretold that this desolation would cause the nation of the Jews to be scattered among the nations until God relents, then the concept of "the tribulation" or the time of "great distress" can be understood as occupying the entire history of the Jewish people from the time they were scattered until the time when they are regathered to Palestine and Jesus returns (Deut 30:3ff).

4 ¶ Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, ‘and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (all of this is recorded in Acts) 15 "So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel— let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now— and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect— if that were possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. (Matthew 24:4-25 NIVUS) (Italics mine.)

In Luke 21:

5 ¶ Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down." 7 "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?" 8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." 10 Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life. 20 ¶ "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:5-24 NIVUS)

These "times of the Gentiles" correspond to the duration of the succession of Gentile powers foreseen by Daniel in Daniel 2 and 7. The rising again of the Jewish people, independent of the Gentiles, and the gradually increasing power of the Jewish state, mark the final stages in the end of the "times of the Gentiles" and the gradual restoration of the Jewish nation.

The Times of the Gentiles, 4 Empires, 70 Weeks, Jewish Tribulation, Islam, Papacy, Israel, Rapture and Millennium in a chart of Prophetic History.

Next comes a gathering of the nations against the Jews, and the appearance of the Redeemer, Jesus the Messiah, who will be recognized at that time as the "one whom they have pierced."

1 ¶ This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: 2 "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. 4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness," declares the LORD. "I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5 Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.’ 6 "On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. 7 "The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8 On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. 9 ¶ On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives. 13:1 ¶ "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. (Zechariah 12:1-13:1 NIVUS)

See also the Flash "movie" about the Gentile empires at www.historicism.com/menu/dan7.htm and the Armageddon Watch news clippings page at www.historicism.com/news.

For a copy of the writings of Josephus, visit our page, www.historicism.com/olb and download the Online Bible and Works of Josephus. Also see commentary on this subject by Dr. George Dawe, Thoughts on the Great Tribulation, and Philip Mauro, The Tribulation in Mark 13.

About Me

Historicism.com is owned and operated by me, Joe Haynes, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I serve as a pastor in a church plant in Victoria since 2013. My wife, Heather, and I have five kids. In 2011, I completed a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Northwest Baptist Seminary at the Associated Canadian Theological Seminaries of Trinity Western University. Feel free to visit my blog at Keruxai.com.
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