From Repentance Comes Revelation
by Richard Billingsley
Most people don’t realize this, but Daniel chapter 9 is the single most influential chapter in the Bible when it comes to interpretation of Bible Prophecy. It has become a foundational belief upon which most of our related understanding of eschatology has been built upon. And yet God designed this chapter explicitly to focus more on repentance of ones beliefs and actions over its own influence and understanding because He knew the impact it would have on the events of the last days.
While studying the book of Jeremiah, Daniel came to understand that Jerusalem would lay desolate for seventy years. He understood that those seventy years were drawing to a close and he turned himself to prayer and fasting in repentance for him and his people. Daniel set himself before the Lord humbling himself and praising God for fulfilling His word. He repented of the actions of his people who had sinned and rebelled against God in creating their own interpretations of the Word He had established. They had refused to listen to the words of the prophets and as a result of that rebellion the Jewish people were exiled into Babylon for seventy years. Daniel set himself to intercession for himself and his people giving up prayers of repentance and supplication before the Lord. His people had chosen to follow after their own ways, not listening to the Word of God, yet Daniel reminded God of his mercy and His forgiveness toward His people even though they did not recognize His truth. Daniel humbled himself before the Lord and reminded the Lord of His love for Jerusalem and His holy mountain. Calling upon the Lord to act and restore his people to Israel and Jerusalem (Daniel 9:1-20).
While Daniel was praying and interceding for his people, the Lord was so moved by Daniels actions that He sent Gabriel to speak to Daniel and give him a revelation in answer to his prayers. This happened at the evening sacrifices, which occurred around 6:00 PM and for the Jews represented the beginning a new day. Our Western culture blinds us from seeing what is happening here because we see midnight as the beginning of the next day, but the Jews view the setting sun in the evening as the beginning of the next day. The arrival of this message at the close of the day gives emphasis to the importance that this message is a new opportunity; a new beginning is possible if the people will humble themselves and listen.
Gabriel tells Daniel in verse 22:”...Daniel, I have come here to give YOU insight and understanding” (NLT). The next verse is very important but is generally ignored. Because Daniel was precious before God and willing to repent and seek the Lord, a new command was released at the very moment Daniel started praying and Gabriel was sent to give him understanding into that command that was issued. Therefore, Daniel is called upon to pay very close attention to what this command says in order to understand it and we should do the same. I want to make you fully aware of what is happening here. Because Daniel was willing to humble himself, repent and intercede for his people God issued a command at that very moment that would release new revelation that would impact the lives of all Jews and Christians worldwide. This revelation, while it was known to God was not released from God in the form of a commandment until Daniel realized the place of his people in God’s plan and was willing to call upon God reminding Him it was time to release His power to restore them to their homeland. It was at this very moment at the release of this commandment that resulted in the events in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah. This one time of prayer and intersession on the part of Daniel had tremendous impact on the Word of God as we know it. How much more should we consider this passage of great value and carefully consider what it reveals to us?
After discovering that the Babylonian exile would last only 70 years Daniel spent considerable time in prayer and repentance before the Lord. The Lord then revealed to Daniel a new decree of 70 Sevens or Seventy periods of seven years each (490 years), what we call The 70 Weeks. This decree for the Jewish people would bring the fulfillment and completion of the rebellion of the Jewish people, which would put an end to their sin and atone or cover their guilt and bring in everlasting righteousness. It will also seal up (close or complete) all visions and prophecies and the need for them. From the time of the command to rebuild the temple there would be seven periods of Sevens, which is believed to correlate with the time it took to rebuild the 2nd temple. After that there would be a period of Sixty-Two Sevens until the time of the Messiah or 434 years or a total of 69 Sevens or 483 years. After this period the Messiah would be cut off and killed never having received the authority to rule from the city and temple. While the King James Version uses the phrase “to anoint the most Holy,” it more accurately applies to anointing the “Holy of Holies,” in the temple not the anointing of the Messiah, which is an important difference if one is going to truly understand this commandment.
There are a lot of things that could be said about these lasts two verses 26 and 27 including how they were translated and even the order of the words. But this is not my purpose in this teaching and would take up too much space for this article. For more details read my book: Tell Them to Prepare – The Final Restoration. What I want us to do here is focus on the influence the last verse has had on our understanding of Bible Prophecy and the importance for us to be like Daniel in humbling ourselves before the Lord in understanding this important Word.
Daniel 9:27 presents what is commonly called the Seventieth Week a period of seven years that has yet to be fulfilled within the context of this prophecy and history. It speaks of a ruler who will strengthen a treaty involving the Jews for a period of seven years. Then in the middle of that week stop the sacrifices and from that point on cause desolation and destruction until time is completed. A time assumed to be three and one-half years known as Jacob’s Trouble, even though there is no explicit explanation given here as to how long that period actually is. Be very careful about making assumptions, because they can really mess up ones understanding of what is actually happening.
For example, in the 1850’s a teaching began that established the belief that this seven year period was actually related to events found in the book of Revelation. It taught and represented that the Seven Trumpets and Seven Bowls of Wrath in the book of Revelation were in a literal sense the Seventieth Week found in the book of Daniel 9:27. Where the Seven Trumpets were the first three and one-half years and the Bowls of Wrath represented the second three and one-half years, creating what we now call the “Seven Year Tribulation.” This simple idea created a cascade of interpretations of Bible Prophecy, which has birthed countless other teachings and perspectives, all finding their root and origins in this one teaching. Yet what we don’t realize is that this teaching, which became a foundation that much of our Bible Prophecy is built upon, has some very serious scriptural assumptions to which God Himself established commandments to prevent this from happening.
When the beginnings of this “Seven Year Tribulation” teaching began scholars did not know what to do with this last seven year period. Someone came up with the idea of overlaying those seven years over the Seven Trumpets and Seven Bowls of Wrath to fulfill those seven years and used the break between the two stories of the Dragon and the Beast to represent the midst of the week. But what they did not realize in doing this is that they were violating not one but two clear commandments that God had established in His Word.
The first commandment is found in Revelation 22:18, 19 where we are explicitly warned not to add or remove anything in the book of Revelation. It is a book that was written to stand on its own and violating this commandment comes with consequences for those who do so. In going against this commandment this teaching clouded our ability to see what is right in front of us. We have believed in a tradition and in doing so refused to see the possibilities found within the book of Revelation. We have suffered great loss of understanding by violating this one commandment, which has resulted in misinterpretation throughout the Bible. It is a scriptural principal that those who follow after the ways of their forefathers in what they believed will experience the same judgment as their forefathers. Revelation 22:18 warned us if we add anything to the book of Revelation He will add him the same plagues in the book. We must not harden our hearts to wisdom because we are comfortable with our traditions or we may find ourselves under the judgment of the same commandments that our ancestors broke. But if we repent of our unwise beliefs and look to His word for the truth then we will receive the gift of Daniel in discovering a new and wonderful understanding of the book of Revelation.
The second commandment that was ignored is found in Daniel 12:4 where Daniel is told that his book would be sealed until the last days when travel and knowledge would be greatly increased. Back in the 1850’s when this teaching began they couldn’t see it, but they could have heeded the warning. Today looking back we can see these things. We know now that the time of increased travel and knowledge did not begin until around the 1950’s with the advent of the computer and international travel, more than 100 years after this teaching began. So, if our understanding of Daniel would not even begin until after the 1950’s, how can we let our understanding of Bible Prophecy rest upon a teaching that began 100 years before that time?
To understand these things we must approach the Word of God in the same way Daniel did in the beginning of this chapter with humble willingness to be obedient to the word of God. As Daniel saw the truth in the Word of God when it was revealed to him in Jeremiah that Israel would be in exile for only seventy years he humbled himself to understand the plan of God through God’s word. Daniel repented for his own attitude and that of his people who willfully rebelled against the Word of God to believe what they wanted to believe rather than believe what the Word of God had actually told them. In the same way we have not realized that this teaching has actually blinded us from seeing the simple revelation of the word found within the book of Revelation, transforming this teaching into a “Tradition of Men” that has overpowered us and made our understanding of the Word of God to have no effect in our lives. We have believed this teaching long enough and strong enough that we now see what we want to see and not the truth of what the word is actually saying.
Had these two commandments not been violated our understanding of the book of Revelation and Bible Prophecy itself would not be clouded. Then our understanding would clearly see that there is no scriptural support for a “Seven Year Tribulation.” When the power of this tradition is broken over our lives then it can be clearly seen that all references to this period within the Bible refer to a period of only three and one-half years, not seven and I go into this in detail in the book. Over the years the church has been lulled into a sleep thinking that accepting teachings that violates the commandments of God is okay. But there are consequences to our actions and we will have to answer for choosing the “Traditions of Men” over the Word of God.
When Daniel was presented with the revelation that it was the time for him to understand the scriptures, he humbled and submitted himself to understanding the Word of God not the traditions of his people. He repented of mistakes he and his people had made and sought the Lord for greater understanding and clarity of God’s Word and in return for his submission and humbling himself, God gave him new insight and new revelation for the last days. If we, like Daniel are willing to repent of our sin of following after the traditions of men and turn to following the Word of God for what it says then we too can receive the same reward that Daniel received. Daniel received a new revelation and by opening our hearts to the revelation you have just discovered you can also receive new insight into the book of Revelation also.
God has reserved this day to call His people into action, to prepare them and reveal to them new insight into His Word. To repent over following after the teachings that leads us away from the truth of God’s Word and follow after the comfort and passions of our own traditions. God is now revealing what He has kept hidden, reserved for these last days as a blessing. He has trained and tested his servant for over 40 years, commanding him to silence until the appointed time to release His revelation for the last hour. Now that time has come and there is much more still to be revealed. Now the Lord asks, are you are ready for this revelation? With this new insight you have received from Daniel are you going to follow the traditions you have always followed or are you going to set yourself before God and seek him as Daniel did and receive Daniel’s Blessing revealing new insight into His Word for these last days? You have been given new insight into the Word of God; God has set before you “Truth” or “Tradition.” So, choose “Truth” and seek God and He will open before you a new revelation that is more wondrous than you could ever imagine. The choice is yours.
If you are ready to discover these new insights then begin by reading: Tell Them to Prepare - The Final Restoration. And prepare for a year of wonderful revelation.
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