Deception and Prophecy

We are living in solemn times and we need to take our relationship with the Lord seriously. In Matthew 24:2–14, Jesus answered the question His disciples asked about the building of the temple and He gave them signs of the end. Particularly look at verse 15 when Jesus said: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).”

Right before this startling statement Jesus said that the gospel will be preached in all the world. Christ admonishes those who are living in the last days to study the book of Daniel, and specifically, the abomination of desolation.

This article will touch on the phrases Christ is referring to in Daniel 12:11 which says, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Here it makes mention of an abomination that makes desolate and that it is in connection with the phrase that says, “sacrifice being taken away”—the daily sacrifice.

Notice Daniel 11:31: “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” There it is again: “abomination that maketh desolate?” In connection with that phrase, it makes mention of taking away a “daily sacrifice.” Daniel 8:11, 12 says, “Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the [His] sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground, and it practiced, and prospered.”

Here the phrase talking about daily sacrifice also mentions sanctuary and truth being cast down. What Jesus spoke is found in the book of Daniel. If you are a familiar with this book you know that the word sacrifice is a supplied word, meaning that it is not in the original text. Whatever this power represents it casts down truth to the ground.

A question is then asked in verse 13: “Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, ‘How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?’ ”

The words abomination and transgression are in the same family. Notice how they are linked to daily sacrifice. The other chapters say specifically “abomination of desolation,” but here it says “transgression of desolation.” I believe they are one and the same.

The answer to the question asked in verse 13, “How long” is given in verse 14. “And He said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Christ wanted us to understand what was happening in Daniel chapter 8, that “unto two thousand and three hundred days” there would be a cleansing of the sanctuary. This was a phrase that was used to denote a specific day and also a specific service that transpired for the Jews throughout the year.

Leviticus 16:16 says, “And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgression in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” We see here that some atonement needs to be made because of the uncleanness of the people. This service was for the purpose of cleansing the people because they were in a state of uncleanliness based on the sins in their lives.

Verse 19 says, “… he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” And verse 33 says, “And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.”

The cleansing of the sanctuary is linked with the Day of Atonement, the day of cleansing. All those who refused to participate in that service were condemned. The Day of Atonement was the only day in the whole year that the high priest was to enter into the most holy place of the sanctuary.

There were three compartments to that sanctuary. In the outer court was an altar of sacrifice and a laver. This is where the Jews washed before entering into the first compartment called the holy place. Within this compartment was the table of showbread, the altar of incense, and the minora, a candlestick holding seven candles.

Within the most holy place, the last compartment behind the second veil was the ark of the covenant which contained the Law of God. Once a year the high priest would go into this compartment. Leviticus 23:27, 28 says, “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God.”

Notice verses 29 and 30: “For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.” Because of this cutting off from the people, it became known to the Jews as a Day of Judgment. On that day it was decided who would remain in the congregation for the following year with the Jews and who was to be cut off from the people. So, the Day of Atonement was also the Day of Judgment for the Jewish economy.

As you study the abomination of desolation, you will come across the question that was asked in Daniel 8, “How long shall these things be” and as you study that time prophecy, you will come to an understanding that there must be a cleansing of the tabernacle. In Hebrews 8:1, 2 it says, “Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an high priest, Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”

The tabernacle on earth was something that Moses and the Israelites were commanded to make. The tabernacle in heaven is the true tabernacle, the one the Lord pitched. Christ is in the most holy place right now making an atonement for the people. Many teach that everything concerning the atonement was over at the cross. But that is not true according to the plan of salvation, which was preached unto Abraham (Galatians 3:8). God attempted to teach the gospel through symbols, service, and type. As the people understood this gospel, the sinner could go from the outside of the sanctuary by faith into the innermost part of the sanctuary.

The word sanctified means to make holy. It has the same root as the word sanctuary. The sanctuary was the place where the process occurred by which a sinner could be made holy. It was through the blood of the lamb from the court all the way to the mercy seat in the most holy place where atonement could be made. That being the case, it is impossible that a complete atonement was finished at the cross. The lamb was slain in the court and the blood was taken all the way into the sanctuary. When Christ ascended up into heaven, the Bible teaches that He became the high priest, offering His blood on behalf of our sins in the heavenly sanctuary.

The Bible says in Psalm 1:1–4: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but they are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” Notice, the ungodly are like the chaff that the wind drives away and then it says in verse 5, “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment.”

Daniel 2 describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dream where he saw an image with a head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet a mixture of iron and clay, representing the world powers from the Babylonian era to the end of time. Then, it says a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, which came and smote the image upon the feet. “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away.” Daniel 2:35. Compare this with Psalm 1:4, 5. God revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar, through His servant, Daniel, the importance of recognizing the power that God has to set rulers on the throne. God showed him the basic outline of the powers of the world represented by the metals in the statue. Babylon – the head of gold; the Medes and the Persians – the arms and chest of silver; Greece – the belly and thighs of brass; Roman dominion – the legs of iron; the division of nations – iron mixed with clay, which we have to this day. The stone that smashed the feet causing the destruction of the entire statue represented the everlasting kingdom to be set up at the return of Christ.

The Bible encourages us to study and meditate on God’s Law and its precepts. If we study the life of Jesus we shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water and will bring forth His fruit. However, those who neglect this will not be prepared for that coming Stone and will be like the chaff blown away with all kinds of winds of doctrines and worldly theories.

When Jesus came to the fig tree looking for fruit there was none. God is looking for us to bear the fruits of His character, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, in and out of season.

Ezekiel 37 talks about dry bones. “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And He said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:1–6.

In Luke 24, two men were walking to Emmaus when Christ began to draw near to them. They did not know it was Jesus, even when He expounded to them, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, the things concerning Himself. The end of that story reads that “as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (verse 30 NKJV). Then their eyes were opened and they began to know Him and understand the events of the past days, His crucifixion and resurrection. Likewise, Ezekiel was told to prophecy to a valley of dry bones. Why? So “… ye shall know that I am the Lord.”

Ezekiel continues in verses 7–10: “So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

The word of the Lord caused those dead and dry bones to have life. Often our spiritual experience languishes and we feel like a bunch of dry bones, but if you want a spiritual revival in your life, then as Christ said to the two men at Emmaus, and as Christ commanded Ezekiel, study Bible prophecy. See how the Lord’s word is sure to come to pass as He has spoken it and you will begin to have a revival in your life. Read Daniel, read Revelation, and take more earnest heed to the things that are being taught there. This is sure to bring revival in your spiritual walk with the Lord.

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to utilize the great image he saw in his dream to bring glory to himself. So he had a statue built, not just with the head of gold but with the entire statue of gold. When it was completed, he commanded that all people bow to it, thus giving him homage. This tower of Nebuchadnezzar’s image did not appear overnight and was built over time in the view of all. Thus the people had time to think and to pray about it, including Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These three who had previously determined with Daniel not to defile themselves with the king’s food stood firm in their worship of the only true God, refusing to bow before the image. This caused them to be cast into the fire. (See Daniel 3.)

Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful king of the most powerful dynasty ruling the world at that time. He made other nations to tremble. All the nations feared before him and yet these three young men humbly, yet firmly told the king there was no need to give them another chance to bow. Daniel 3:16–18 states: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

The boldness these men had is amazing. Something about the presence of authority can really shake a man, but these young men had holy boldness because they knew that with them was the presence of a greater authority. They believed themselves always to be in the presence of God. The Psalmist says in Psalm 16:8: “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” They were unflinching in the face of such great authority, much like Christ, Daniel, Paul, and many of these others.

Boldness does not mean aggression or forcing the truth down people’s throats. It means being confident in what you believe. We should not be ashamed of the principles that lead to eternal life. These three Hebrew men had faith in the promises of God, and as a result they stood boldly obedient to His word.

Daniel 1:3, 4 gives us some background of Daniel and his three friends. “And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of the eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; children in whom was not blemish, but well-favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” So Daniel and his three friends were all eunuchs in their Babylonian captivity.

In Isaiah 38 we are told that Hezekiah was “sick unto death” and Isaiah the prophet said unto him, “Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord … And Hezekiah wept sore.” Then the Lord told him, “I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city. And this shall be a sign unto thee from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that He hath spoken; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down” (verses 1–8).

The sun not only shines in the Palestine area but all around the globe. Many astrologers and magicians saw this. When King Nebuchadnezzar could not figure out his dream, he called the magicians and the astrologers who were students of the skies. Because the Babylonians were students of the skies, they saw what had happened to the sun. Word had spread that Hezekiah had something to do with this and that His God had done some miracle for him and men were sent to enquire. Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them “all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all of his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon.

“Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 39:2–6).

God had performed a mighty miracle for Hezekiah. He was given the greatest opportunity to present the gospel story and to present the power and mighty working of the Creator God to the Babylonians. Instead, he bragged by showing them his riches and neglected to give the glory to God. As a result, Isaiah prophesied that everything in his house would be taken to Babylon. Isaiah 39:7 says, “And of thy sons that shall issue from thee … shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Daniel and his three friends were part of the fulfillment of that prophecy to Hezekiah.

Isaiah 40:28–31 says, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is not searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youth shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

We can find comfort in Scriptures like Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” What a promise! We don’t have to fear.

Look at Isaiah 42:1, 6: “Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon him … I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.”

Isaiah 43:10, 11 says, “Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour.”

Daniel and his three friends knew the Scriptures; so we can be sure that they understood that there was no other God besides Christ and God the Father. In verses 14 and 15 it says: “Thus saith the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your king.” He reminded them that He is the Creator.

We worship God because He is the Creator. Many times in the Bible when you read about worship, it will mention the fact that He is our Creator. We worship Him because He created us.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego would have been familiar of the writings of Isaiah, including chapters 38 through 43 and there learned the promises that they could claim. They knew that they were to be the eunuchs prophesied about and that they were the witnesses that were sent to Babylon as representatives of God. So because of Bible prophecy, which Isaiah had spoken, they were able to stand with boldness before King Nebuchadnezzar, refusing to bow down. Our God is able to deliver us as stated in Isaiah 43:2. But they said in Daniel 3:17, “If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

However, if He decides not to, that is also okay because He is still the Creator God. He has redeemed us and we will not bow down to the image. Brethren, praise God!

Matthew 24:14 says, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” It was followed by the abomination of desolation, which has something to do with the connection of the cleansing of the sanctuary and the Day of Atonement, or the judgment.

Where else in the Bible do you know of where a gospel is going to the world, and then the very next statement makes mention of judgment? In Revelation 14:6, 7 the first of the three angels’ messages says, “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him.”

There is a warning today of an image of the beast being formed. Do you see it being constructed? Are you watching the progress while the pieces are being put together? God is giving us time now to study the prophecies so that when the time comes and the decree is announced that all should bow before the image and worship it, you can also be unafraid and bold just like Daniel and his three friends when they met their trials.

Bible verses are from the KJV version.

Jose Riviera delivered this message as a guest speaker at Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. Previously he has helped out with the youth at Steps to Life camp meetings.