Mountains in prophecy [pdf]
Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9 was about the city of Jerusalem, which in those days lay in ruins, and was desolate.
Daniel mentioned Jeremiah’s prophecy of the 70 years of desolation upon Jerusalem. [vs. 4]
The people of Israel and Judah had been removed from the land; some were in Babylon, but Daniel indicates they had become scattered in many countries. In verse 7, Daniel acknowledged that “confusion of faces” belonged to “the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.”
Daniel said that the curse of the law of Moses had been poured out upon Israel. [vs. 11] The curse alludes to Leviticus 26, where four periods of seven times are specified. In the last of these four periods, God would remember his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he would remember the land. [Leviticus 26:42]
Daniel’s prayer was for “thy holy mountain” [vs. 16] and “the holy mountain of my God,” [vs. 20] the same mountain that Isaiah said would be “exalted above the hills.” Isaiah said that “the mountain of the Lord’s house” would be established in the tops of the mountains, and exalted above the hills. [Isaiah 2:1-3] As discussed here, there is continuity of the land promise, from the Old to the New Covenants, and from the Old Covenant to the New Testament era.
Comparing Daniel 9:20 and Isaiah 2:1-3 indicates these prophecies apply to the same Jerusalem, the “mountain of the Lord’s house,” the Jerusalem which is raised up to heaven in the New Testament. The promised land is represented by Mount Zion, and by Jerusalem, which in the New Testament, are names applied to the church. Paul referred to the church as “Jerusalem which is above” and “the mother of us all.” [Galatians 4:26] In Hebrews, the saints are said to have come to “Mount Sion,” and the “heavenly Jerusalem.” [Hebrews 12:22] The saints of all nations have come to the heavenly Mount Sion, and the heavenly Jerusalem. Isaiah’s prophecy, and a similar prophecy in Zechariah 14:10, say that Jerusalem will be raised up; both witness to the continuity of the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the heavenly city of the New Testament. The heavenly city is the part of the promised land that was raised up, when Jesus ascended to heaven.
Daniel asked God to look upon the desolations of Jerusalem, and cause his face to shine on his holy city again. Just as the earthly city was desolate when Daniel offered up his prayer of confession, the church has been made desolate, and many of the saints are captives in the worldly religious system referred to in prophecy as Babylon, in the present age. A prayer similar to Daniel’s might be prayed about the church today. The state of desolation, that Jesus referred to in his prophecy about the abomination of desolation, is the condition of the church; he was not referring to an earthly temple becoming desolate.
This seems to be supported in Acts 15:16, where James applied an Old Testament prophecy about the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David, which had fallen down, to the church.
The angel Gabriel appeared, and gave Daniel the prophecy of the 70 weeks, which was “to give him skill and understanding.”
While the first two sections of the 70 weeks and part of the third apply to the earthly city, after Jesus ascended to heaven, the Jerusalem to which Daniel’s prophecy applies is the church, the heavenly Jerusalem of Hebrews 12:22. The temple also is the church, rather than one made with hands.
Thus, the last half-week of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy applies to the heavenly Jerusalem.
The 70 weeks prophecy outlines a time frame, and limits the duration of the desolations of the holy city. This was the earthly city in Daniel’s time, but when Jesus ascended to heaven, and in the period since then, the prophecy refers to the church. For the first two sections of the prophecy, the time periods are fulfilled in earthly units. In the 70th week Christ confirms his covenant with many. It began in the first century when Jesus began his ministry. In the midst of the week, Jesus was crucified, or cut off. The first half of the 70th week was his earthly ministry. In the last half week, when Jesus ascended to heaven, earthly time units no longer apply. The last half-week is symbolic of the entire age of the church. In the last half-week of the 70 weeks, all the things mentioned in Daniel 9:24 must be accomplished. These things are all related to the gospel.
The three sections of the 70 weeks correspond to the last three of the four periods of seven times in Leviticus 26. The first of the four periods can be identified with the exile in Babylon.
Leviticus 26 says that in the last of four periods of “seven times,” God will remember the land. What does it mean?
If the land is symbolic of spiritual things promised to the church, one of those promises is that the Spirit will lead the church into the truth. [John 16:13]
There is no place for false teachings in the land of promise.
John the Baptist taught the message of Isaiah 40:4, that every mountain will be made low, and every valley will be filled. Mountains represent promises and prophecies. Mountains being made low must mean all the prophecies will be explained. Every valley filled, must mean missing information will be provided. The prophecy implies that false teachings will be exposed.
When God “remembers the land,” the meaning of the land will be properly understood. It is not the literal land of Palestine; the promised land is represented by the heavenly Jerusalem, and a heavenly country.
The present is a time of spiritual darkness and confusion, but while there is gross darkness in the world, light will shine in the holy city. The holy city is the part of the land that is raised up. [Isaiah 2:1-3] Jesus described a time when the saints will “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” [Matthew 13:43]
Isaiah said the saints will have light, in a time of darkness.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
There is to be a time of “restitution of all things,” which Peter referred to in Acts 3:21. It is when all the things mentioned in Daniel 9:24 will be fulfilled.
Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks is actually a prophecy about the land; the 70 weeks are about the city of Jerusalem which was raised up to heaven as foretold by Isaiah; the last half-week of the 70th week applies to the heavenly city. The final week is the time when Christ confirms his covenant with his saints.
Daniel 9:27 says that in the 70th week, “that determined shall be poured upon the desolator.” The enemy responsible for the desolation of the church will be destroyed.
In Genesis, God promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the promise includes the heavenly city, which is Jerusalem raised up as Isaiah said. The prophets said all Israel will be brought into the land. These are all things that relate to the prophecy that God will “remember the land.”
Copyright © 2011 by Douglas E. Cox
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