The New Testament teaches that all Israel will be saved, but the question is, Whom does God account as being part of Israel today? The apostle Paul said that not everyone who thinks he is part of Israel really is.
In the first part of the Bible, the Torah, written by Moses, tells the children of Israel of the curses, the awful things that will happen to them if they are not obedient. We read in Deuteronomy 28, verses 36 and 37, “The Lord will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods—wood and stone. And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the Lord will drive you.” He goes on to explain in more detail what is going to happen. These curses that were pronounced by Moses upon the children of Israel, if they would not be obedient, were fulfilled.
“All the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the Lord which He had consecrated in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. Therefore He brought against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, on the aged or the weak; He gave them all into his hand” (2 Chronicles 36:14–17).
Verses 19, 20: “They burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions. And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia.”
The reason for this is that the words of Jeremiah the prophet would be fulfilled. Jeremiah predicted that Israel would be taken captive to Babylon and they would stay there for 70 years, before coming back again. In other words, a whole generation would pass. It would be their children and grandchildren that would be able to return to the land of their fathers, on condition that they would be obedient and not go again into idolatry.
One of the people that was taken from Judah into the land of Babylon was a young man by the name of Daniel, who wrote a book in the Old Testament bearing his name; Daniel lived to be a very old man, until the end of this 70 year period. In Daniel 9:2 it says, “In the first year of his reign,” referring to Darius the Mede, “I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
Daniel knew that these 70 years were about up, and he began to pray a long prayer, starting in verse 4: “I prayed to the Lord … and said, ‘… we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.’ ” He notes in verse 7 that they have been unfaithful. As he continues his long prayer of confession on behalf of the children of Israel, in verses 8 through 14, he prays, “We have sinned against You.” “We have rebelled.” “We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord.” “All Israel has transgressed.” “We have not obeyed His voice.” He concludes in verse 15 with “We have done wickedly.” He makes a long prayer of confession on behalf of all the children of Israel, God’s chosen people, the descendants of Abraham and those that have accepted the faith of Abraham.
In answer to his prayer, an angel was sent from heaven. In the latter part of Daniel 9 it is recorded, “While I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering” (verses 20, 21).
This angel, Gabriel, in answer to Daniel’s prayer, had a special message and prophecy to give to him. He says, in verse 23, “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision” (of the 2300 days). Verse 24, first part, says, “Seventy weeks are determined [cut off] for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression,” or it could also be translated, “to finish the rebellion.”
Daniel mentions several times in his prayer about their lack of obedience and because of this they had been taken captive, Jerusalem was destroyed, and it was a reproach and a byword to all the peoples of the earth. They said that these people claim to be God’s special people and look, they are scattered as prisoners of war, as servants and slaves all over the earth, and their nation is desolate. Their capital city and their temple is desolate. In Daniel’s prayer, he noted that the Lord had promised that their captivity would last for 70 years. Since the 70 years were about up, he wondered what was going to happen.
The angel said, “Seventy weeks are determined,” or cut off, “for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression …” in other words, to bring to an end the rebellion, “…to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness” (verse 24, second part).
It was during this 70 week period that everlasting righteousness was to be brought in. Everlasting righteousness can only be brought in by God Himself. The Bible is very clear that you and I do not have any righteousness of our own. As the result of the sin of our first parents, we have a sinful nature and cannot generate righteousness. The only way that we can have righteousness is if it is brought to us by somebody else who does not have a sinful depraved nature like we do.
In the 70 week prophecy, the angel predicts that during these 70 weeks, that everlasting righteousness is going to be brought in and the rebellion is to be finished. It says, “To bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (verse 24, last part). “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem, until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times” (verse 25).
This is one of the more astounding prophecies in all of the Bible. The angel says to Daniel, “From the time that the decree goes forth …,” in other words, from the time that the decree is implemented to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until Messiah the Prince is going to be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks (or sixty-nine prophetic weeks). Sixty-nine weeks is four hundred and eighty-three days. That would be between one and two years of literal time. But when we study the prophecy carefully, by comparing it with Daniel 7 and 8, and the prophecies in Ezekiel and Numbers, we see that the angel is using a common symbolic usage of the word time as is done with other prophets.
For example, Ezekiel is told in Ezekiel chapter 4:4–6, literal translation, “Lie on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity. For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah, forty days. I have laid on you a day for a year.” Notice, every day in the prophecy equals a year of literal time. This is a common symbolic usage of the word time in both the books of Daniel and Revelation. In fact, when we start computing it this way, we find the prophecy works out exactly. If you do not use this measuring stick, then the prophecy not only doesn’t work out, but it doesn’t make any sense.
But when you use the measuring stick of one day of prophetic time to equal one year of literal time, the prophecy works out perfectly. There are differences between calendars among the different nations and ancient nations, but we will convert the time into our time and we use AD and BC. BC was the time before Christ, and AD is the time after Christ. We are living about 2,000 years after the beginning of time when Christ came.
When we go back to when this decree was issued, when it was implemented to go and restore Jerusalem, we find that it was in the later part of 457 BC.
If you are using simply literal time, then you should be looking for the Christ, the Messiah, to come approximately sometime in 455 BC. However, nobody appeared in 455 BC. But, if you use the prophetic measuring stick for prophetic time, and a symbolic time prophecy of a day of prophetic time equaling a year of literal time, you will be astonished at what you come up with, because, in the New Testament, we find in Luke the 3rd chapter, the exact time when Jesus was baptized. It was at His baptism that He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. You can read about it in Acts 10:38.
When we look in Luke 3 we find that it happened in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, which began in the fall of AD 27. If you go from the fall of 457 BC, which was when the decree was implemented to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until the time when Jesus was anointed; in other words, when He became the Anointed One, the Messiah, then you have a period of exactly sixty-nine weeks or four hundred and eighty-three years.
Mark 1:14, 15 says, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.’ ” Daniel 9:25 had just been fulfilled. The Messiah had arrived, but for how long? In Daniel 9:26, it says, “After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off.” There were 7 weeks and then 62 weeks, for a total of 483 days, or 483 literal years, which brings us to AD 27 in the fall when Jesus was baptized, recorded in Luke 3.
But then after that time it says that the Messiah was to be cut off, but not for Himself. “Then He [the Messiah] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” That’s the 70th week. “But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering” (verse 27), a week would be 7 years, the middle of the week would be 3 ½ years.
Did Jesus bring an end to sacrifice and offering, at the end of 3 ½ years after He was baptized? Yes, He did. Notice what it says in Hebrews 10:11–14: “Every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”
Verse 18: “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” Jesus came and offered one sacrifice. It is by this sacrifice that people are saved. After this, there is no more offering for sin. That one sacrifice is sufficient to take away the sins of all those who believe in Him.
So, when Jesus offered His life upon the cross of Calvary as an offering for sin, that brought an end to sacrifices and offerings. Sometimes the Lord teaches us by what He says and sometimes He teaches us by what He does.
It says, in Matthew 27:50, 51, “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” “The veil of the temple was torn in two.” What did that represent? Oh, friend, that showed that the way into the holy places of the heavenly sanctuary were now open to the believers, and the earthly sanctuary and the sacrifices of lambs, and goats, and bullocks had no more value, as Paul explains in Hebrews 10. The true Sacrifice had come. That happened in the middle of the 70th prophetic week, exactly 3 1/2 years after Jesus’ baptism. As you follow Jesus’ life there, you will find the first Passover after His baptism would have been the Passover in AD 28 (see John 2).
The 2nd Passover after His baptism would have been the Passover when Jesus went to the Jews and they had the huge argument in John 5. It’s very clear there that it was a feast of the Jews and this feast occurred after John 4, which had occurred just 4 months before harvest time.
Remember, Passover was harvest time. If you go then to the 3rd Passover after Jesus’ baptism, then you are at John 6, the feeding of the 5,000. That would be AD 30. And the 4th Passover after the baptism of Jesus was the time when He was crucified, during Passover time in AD 31, exactly as predicted in Daniel 9.
Jesus is the majesty of heaven. He is part of the Godhead. He is the One that made everything. What is going to happen to the people who won’t accept His lordship? They will not accept Him as the Messiah; they will not accept Him as their religious leader; they will not accept Him at all.
The details of Jesus’ life in this world were predicted throughout the Old Testament by the various prophets. For example, Daniel predicted when He would become the Messiah. We just read about that in Daniel 9. Micah predicted that He would be born, in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2). Isaiah predicted where He would have the largest part of His ministry in Galilee (see Isaiah 9). Isaiah also predicted that He would be rejected by the Jewish people (see Isaiah 53; Psalm 69). His death on the cross was also predicted (see Psalm 22). The various details of Jesus’ life were all predicted.
What happens, then, to people, even God’s chosen people, if they reject God Himself, if they reject the Prince of Heaven, the Majesty of Heaven? (See Matthew 21:33–39.) It is a very interesting parable about the wicked vine dressers. The vine dressers represented the Jewish leaders, and the Son of the householder whom they killed represented Jesus Christ. The others that they killed represented the prophets and servants that had been sent to them. Verses 40, 41 say, “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will He do to those vinedressers? They said to Him, ‘He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease His vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to Him the fruits in their seasons.’ ”
“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone which the builders rejected, [He] has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”? ‘Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it’ ” (verses 42, 43).
Jesus, talking to God’s chosen people said, because you have rejected the Messiah, the kingdom of God is going to be taken from you, and it is going to be given to somebody else.
Then He says, “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (verse 44). When would the kingdom of God be taken from them?
The kingdom of God, even after the crucifixion of Jesus, was not taken from the Jews right away. The apostles went first to Jerusalem to preach the gospel to give them even another chance. In fact, at Pentecost, Peter is talking to the people who are responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus, and he tells them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). There were many Jews who became Christians at that point in time, but, unfortunately, the majority of the nation did not. The leaders did not. In fact, their opposition to the gospel, their opposition to the idea of Jesus Christ being the Messiah, became so vehement, so fierce, and so bitter, that eventually, they came to the end of the line.
They stoned to death one of the Christian leaders. Stephen was the first Christian martyr. Before His stoning he said to them, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51). He accused them of becoming the murderers of the Just One who was sent to them saying, “And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, on whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers” (verse 52).
He was filled with the Holy Spirit and they were so angry that they gnashed their teeth and drew him out of the temple, and out of the town, and stoned him to death. When they were doing this, he said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (verse 56)!
O friend, when Jesus is sitting down on His throne, that’s one thing, but when He stands up, that is a time of decision-making, a time of judgment. After that time the gospel went to the Gentiles and the Jews as a nation were no longer God’s chosen and special people.
(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)
Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.