Letter To The Jews / Chapter 30

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30: A Time Of Distress

The prophecy continues: “And because of their alliance with him, he will practice deceit, coming up and becoming strong by a little nation.” 1

The next emperor was Caius, who became emperor by means of the Praetorian Guard. They nicknamed him Caligula, meaning “little boot.” During his short reign, he plundered the provinces while lavishing riches on his own projects, and believed himself to be a living god.

By this time, Egypt, which was the “king of the Negev” or “south,” had become part of the Roman empire; but since “Negev” is also the name of the southern part of the holy land, the phrase “king of the Negev” is ambiguous, and could also refer to the Jews, when ruling themselves or in rebellion from Roman rule.

Caligula ordered the governor of Syria, Petronius, and therefore “king of the north,” to put Caesar’s image into the Temple in Jerusalem, and to use two of his four legions to do so. The Jews very nearly went to war over this, but before it could happen, Caligula was swept away by a conspiracy. After this, Herod Agrippa returned to his land and ruled as king in the days of the next emperor, Claudius.

The final part of this prophecy describes the war between the Jews and Rome, with the “king of the north” being Caesar Nero and his generals, and the “king of the Negev” being the Jews in rebellion to Rome.

Daniel says, in reference to the king of the north: “And armed forces from him will stand and will desecrate the sanctuary, the fortress, and take away the daily sacrifice; and they put in place the abomination making desolate.” 2

This is similar to earlier prophecies given to Daniel, which indicated the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem by the Romans. It would be a time of severe testing, “and the ones with discernment from the people will explain to the many, but they will stumble by sword and by fire and by captivity and by plunder for days.” 3

In the “time of the end,” Nero’s forces would sweep through the land like a flood, but then he would be disturbed by reports from the east and from the north; and indeed, both Judea in the east and Gaul in the north were in rebellion to him; and the army under general Vespasian was near to Jerusalem when Nero came to his end, with nobody to help him.

And then, as the prophecy foretold, “there will be a time of distress, such as has not occurred since becoming a nation until that time; and at that time your people will escape, everyone found written in the book.” 4 This “time of distress” has been described in great and thunderous detail by the Jewish historian Josephus, in his 7 volume work “The Wars Of The Jews.”

Daniel’s words here are also similar to those of Malachi, where he explains more about who is in YHWH’s book. “Then each man who feared YHWH spoke with his neighbor, and YHWH paid attention and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for those fearing YHWH and for the ones who esteemed his name. And they will be mine, says YHWH of hosts, in the day I make a treasured possession; and I will spare them, as when a man spares his own son who serves him.” 5

Now, Daniel’s final prophecy may contain their own points of ambiguity, which, like a fork in the road, could also allow for a further timeline, beyond the time of the Romans. For Daniel is told, “And you Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many will roam about, and the knowledge will increase.” 6

The desolation by the Romans was certainly a “time of the end,” and so the timeline for this was unsealed once the war between Rome and the Jews began, although an understanding of this timeline is sealed to those whose eyes are still focused on the days of Antiochus Epiphanes.

However, if there is a further “time of the end,” beyond the one that occurred in the days of the Romans, then this second timeline requires a “king” who introduces a new god different from the god of his forefathers, magnifies himself above everyone, speaks blasphemies against YHWH, disregards the desire of women, and honors the god of strong ones with gold, silver, precious stones and treasures.

In this second “time of the end,” he floods into many lands including the holy land, until he comes to his end; and as this happens, the identity of the king becomes obvious and the prophecy unseals itself again.

Furthermore, the prophet mentions 1,290 days and 1,335 days in relation to desecrating the sanctuary, the holy place, which may initially fit within the 7 years of the Jewish war with the Romans, especially as these time periods are close to three and a half years each.

On the other hand, just as Daniel's previous prophecy concerning “seventy sevens” can be viewed as 490 days, but are really referring to a much longer period of 490 years, we can also consider a greater meaning for these time periods in relation to the setting up and removal of the “abomination making desolate” in the holy place.

The prophecy says: “Happy is the one who waits in expectation, and arrives at 1,335 days.” 7 In saying this, it assumes the reader is able to count a certain number of days or years from a known starting point, and to be “in expectation.” By saying “happy is the one who waits in expectation,” it implies the removal of that which is causing desolation to the sanctuary; so the ambiguity may be to allow for a secondary timeline, one that takes into account a further “time of the end.”

Nevertheless, the principle timeline is the one which leads to the initial trampling and throwing down of the holy place, the one which outlines the Roman empire in the time of its first Caesars. In this timeline, the “prince of the covenant” would be “broken” during the reign of Tiberius Caesar.

1 Daniel 11:23. 2 Daniel 11:31. 3 Daniel 11:33. 4 Daniel 12:1. 5 Malachi 3:16,17. 6 Daniel 12:4. 7 Daniel 12:12.

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