Prophets Daniel and Ezekiel. Early 16 sent. Moscow
When apostles in last conversation with Jesus have asked, whether He is going to establish the Messianic kingdom just now, He has answered: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power" (Acts. 1:7).
Let's notice that He does not call in question legality of the question!
Prophesying about His future appearance in force and power, what is described in Revelation (18:11-21), Jesus speaks:
"But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels, which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" Mk. 13:32.
Speaking here about His "ignorance", Jesus, of course, means Himself as the man; as God He knows all. The man can onlyguess the future or count a probable course of events. The divine knowledge can be given to the man through revelation, but also in this case thehuman interpretation is necessary, which always has only relative reliability.
However, warning against excessive self-confidence in interpretation of prophecies and signs, Jesus severely condemns those who does not try to determine time of Advent and to be prepared adequately for it: "Ye hypocricities, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” Lk. 12:56.
Not to be under this condemnation, we will try also «to discern this time». Among set of prophecies of the Scriptures about a future Kingdom only Daniel gives chronological "binding" to event which can be interpreted as the concrete fact of the future terrestrial history. Archangel Gabriel tells to the prophet:
“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. 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. 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. And one week shall confirm the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week the sacrifice and the oblation shall cause to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and the final determined perdition shall be poured upon the desolator” Dan. 9:24-27
Here time reference point – "commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem"; "seventy weeks" – 490 years from this point till the end of the Messianic kingdom.
"Iniquity" – the rejection Jesus and future worship the Beast; "the most Holy"– Yahwe, He is also Jesus Christ in His Divine nature, the Ancient of Days, He that sat upon the throne.
"Messiah the Prince" here means Michael as the anointedKing, sovereign of the Messianic kingdom. "Seventy weeks" – 49 years of preparatory events which begin after "command". "One week" – decisive seven-year which first half is connected with the general worship to God and Michael's accession, the second - with great apostasy and the power of Beast (Antichrist). "The abomination of desolation" – Antichrist himself or an impious cult which he will establish in the Temple. " Threescore and two weeks" – real duration of a "thousand-year" kingdom, in the end of which – rebellion, destruction of the Temple and death of Michael. "Leader" – Gogh, the prince of the earth Magog (Ezekiel 38:3); desolator – the same Gogh or the Satan, the inspirer of rebellion. The sequence of events in Daniel's prophecy at such interpretation completely corresponds to Revelation of John.
Let's see one more prophecy on this theme to which exegetes give not enough attention. It is in III book of Ezra, esteemed among early Christians. The prophecy contains essential acknowledgement of chronology of Daniel and the doctrine about Michael's earth kingdom:
"Behold, the time shall come, that these tokens which I have told thee shall come to pass, and the bride shall appear, and she coming forth shall be seen, that now is hidden by the earth. And whosoever is delivered from the foresaid evils shall see my wonders. For my son Jesus shall be revealed with those that be with him, and they that remain shall rejoice within four hundred years. After these years shall my son Christ die, and all men that have life. And the world
shall be turned into the old silence seven days, like as in the former judgments: so that no man shall remain. And after seven days the world, that yet awaketh not, shall be raised up, and that shall die that is corrupt And the earth shall restore those that are asleep in her, and so shall the dust those that dwell in silence, and the secret places shall deliver those souls that were committed unto them. And the most High shall appear upon the seat of judgment, and misery shall pass away, and the long suffering shall have an end" III Ezra 7:26-33 Here the same persons and events repeat about which Daniel and John speak. "The bride, that now is hidden by the earth" – most likely, Michael's mother, i.e. "women robed with Sun", but, maybe, Church or even the Bride of the Lamb. "My son Jesus shall be revealed" – the victorious appearance of the Lamb; "four hundred years" – duration of "thousand-year" Kingdom; "shall my son Christ die" -Michael's death at Gogh's revolt; "The most High upon the seat of judgment": Jesus-Yahwe.
Distinctive feature of this prophecy of Ezra – description of earth on which after revolt of the Satan does not remain anything live. "Seven days" here – an obvious parallel with seven days of creation in the Genesis – so the duration of "ancient silence" remains uncertain.
The key moment of apocalyptic chronology is the reference point: "commandment about restoration of Jerusalem" (Dan. 9:25). Here opens the polysemy which serves as additional acknowledgement of a divine origin of a prophecy.
The creator thus protects our freedom from compulsory interpretation. It is possible to understand as this "command" the creationof state Israel in 1948, annexation of Jerusalem in 1967 or legalization of this annexation by the Israel parliament in 1980. But we believe more probable that as a reference point will servethe beginning of building of the Temple ("sanctuary" at Daniel), more precisely, decision-making about its rebuilding. Probably, at last, that Daniel's prophecy should be referred at new Israel and new Jerusalem – then time of the beginning of events becomes indeterminate.
The true sense of Revelation becomes clear only in process of fulfilment of the events predicted in it. And until then is better to follow to Jesus appeal:
for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come... Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" Mt. 24: 42-44