Once again John Alley brings a message about “end times”, beginning with an examination of the meaning of the “coming” of Christ and then giving an overview of the book of Revelation. Revelation, John explains, is the most Jewish of all the books of the New Testament, drawing greatly on Jewish symbols, history, concepts and nuances of language. The book was written to the seven churches of Asia, at a time when there was a larger percentage of Jewish Christians in the Asian region, and there was a huge emphasis on Emperor worship. John examines events from history which all point to the book of Revelation being written in about 64 or 65 AD. With this understanding, then, it is very easy to see that most of the prophecy of the book of Revelation has been fulfilled in the great tribulation and suffering inflicted on the Church by the Emperor Nero. Therefore, the Beast referred to in the book would seem to most likely have been Nero himself. John explains many fascinating facts including the source of the number 666 and then goes on to say that as for the future, we have hope, a great calling, a great many promises and a Messiah King ruling in Heaven. We should be encouraged, says John, that although difficult times will come for some people, the Gospel triumphs over them all and we need to pour ourselves out in service to God for the furtherance of the Kingdom.
John Alley’s message begins with an overview of Daniel Chapter 9:24-27, before focusing on verse 24 in particular. John observes that many people, preoccupied with their own view of end times, have unfortunately imported difficulty into these verses that was not intended by the Lord when speaking with the prophet Daniel. It was given to Daniel, the angel said, so that he would “understand.”
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
John points out several items of great interest, including the amazing prophecies regarding Cyrus recorded centuries before he came to power as the world ruler and issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem–which decree was the starting point for the 70 heptads (70 “sevens”), a period of 490 years. At the end of 69 heptads, the Messiah was to appear to Israel, and in the middle of the 70th week, he will be “cut off.” These events were fulfilled exactly–in the precise timeframe foretold–including the six things prophesied in verse 24 of Daniel 9. John presents both New and Old Testament Scripture to demonstrate all of these things have complete Gospel fulfilment.
John points out the judgements in the prophecy that were to come, and did come, upon Israel, who rejected and put to death their Messiah. One of these was the sealing up of vision and prophecy (as foretold by other prophets as well) so that from that time, no one in Judaism had any further access to seeing or hearing (for only in Christ is the veil taken away), but at the same time the Body of Christ became the newly anointed Most Holy Place (the temple of God), the anointing of which took place at Pentecost–again, precisely in the middle of the 70th heptad. John concludes with this devotional application: We believers in our Lord Jesus cannot take God, nor the grace we have, for granted. We must be humble before God, so that we will not by default suffer the same judgement as in this passage, but rather by the grace of God have ears that hear and eyes that see. This message is filled with Scriptural and historical truths and will bring light to the passage discussed.