Tom: You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
If you’re new to our program, in this first segment we are going through Dave Hunt’s book, When Will Jesus Come? subtitled: Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ.
Now, Dave, over the last couple of weeks we’ve talked about lots of prophecies being fulfilled. Now, I don’t want to date you at all, but back when you had more hair and you were working in Beverly Hills, of all places, there was a movie that came out—I think it was a documentary called The Passover Plot. What can you tell us about that? That documentary took some exceptions to what we’ve been talking about, didn’t it?
Dave: Tom, you’re taking me back a long ways in time. This would have to be, my goodness, the early ‘60s, you know…the early ‘60s, I’m sure. And I had an office in the California Bank Building, corner of Wilshire and Beverly Drive, if that interests anybody out there, the premier location. It was the tallest building in Beverly Hills, five stories. It was owned by Louis B. Mayer, who used to come by in his chauffeured limousine now and then.
Tom: Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM.
Dave: Right, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. I used to run into Elizabeth Taylor on the elevator. I think her psychiatrist was in there, or maybe it was—I shouldn’t say that—maybe it was her M. D. I don’t remember. And right across the hall from my office was a Christian Science practitioner, a rather elderly lady. I never saw a client go in at all, but she faithfully came into the office every day.
Anyway, someone, I forget his name, wrote a book called The Passover Plot, and they made a movie out of it. I don’t think it was a documentary, I think it was a dramatic production. I’m not sure. I was invited to the sneak preview in a theater just across the street, down half a block. And it was pitiful. It didn’t make a very big splash, Tom.
Tom: No. I think, Dave, in those days, as I remember, docudramas, that was the big thing. And so it had a little bit of documentary feel to it, but it also had some dramatic elements, and so on.
Dave: Tom, back in those days, days of Cecil B. DeMille and others, Hollywood was not as antagonistic against the Bible—not openly, it seemed. And although they jazzed them up and they weren’t biblically accurate, nevertheless they weren’t out to destroy the Bible, as I recall, but this film was. And the basic plot was absurd: That Jesus knew the prophecies in the Old Testament and that He conspired with Judas to fulfill them. Now, if you can imagine, you’re going to get yourself crucified?
Tom: I can’t imagine. Well, how about figuring out where you’re going to be born? I mean, let’s try and rework that one.
Dave: Right, yeah, but they didn’t even get into that. It was all about the…
Tom: Of course, they wouldn’t get into that.
Dave: No. The Passover Plot. See, it’s all around the Passover and the Last Supper and so forth.
So Jesus puts Judas up to this: “We’re going to get Jesus betrayed.” It says 30 pieces of silver, so Judas is going to, you know, hold out until he gets 30 pieces of silver. Then he’s going to go back in, he’s going to throw it down in the temple, then he’s going to go out and hang himself! And Jesus, out of all of this to fulfill the prophecy, Jesus is going to get crucified, and then He’s going to rise from the dead. Well, you’re going to have to pretend you died, you know, somehow or other, and then the disciples are going to steal the body from the Roman guards…. It’s a little bit farfetched, I would say. How Jesus knew who would be at the cross on duty that day, the Roman soldiers, so that He could get one of them to pierce His side with a spear.
Tom: To orchestrate all of that would be pretty amazing.
Dave: I would say so. Tom, I remember the Rabbi, many, many years ago, hearing him, and he said that—he was a total skeptic—he believed that Moses, because of his reconnaissance of the desert area out there, that he had found a place where the Red Sea was just about up to your knees. “Reed Sea” it was, and that that’s how they crossed. And then one day he awoke to the fact that it would take a lot more faith to imagine the entire Egyptian army drowning in water up to their knees than to say that God opened up the sea and then He drowned them with water coming down on top of them. Anyway, so it was a bit farfetched.
But, Tom, you see, prophecy is the great proof God offers of the validity of His Word: that He is God, that Jesus Christ is the Savior. See, you’ve got no prophecies for Buddha or Confucius or Muhammad or any of these people—hundreds about the Messiah of Israel, and all fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And that’s how, as we mentioned, Paul and the other apostles preached the gospel. And I think that’s what we need to do today. Just go to the Scriptures, go to the Hebrew Scriptures themselves, say, “Look what it says,” and it was all fulfilled in Jesus.
Tom: Right. Dave, this brings us to chapter 11 of your book When Will Jesus Come? And chapter 11 you have titled, “The Prince That Shall Come.” You begin with scriptures from Daniel. And as we’ve been saying, Daniel, it is so amazing that people down through the ages have tried to figure out how they can undermine it by saying, “Oh, no, this happened much later and much later than was so.”
Dave: “It was written later, written after the fact,” they try to say.
Tom: Correct, yeah, because that’s the only way you can, from a fleshly standpoint, in terms of just using your reason, come to grips with it. You would have to rationalize it, or…because it’s too amazing.
Dave: Or admit that this is a prophecy from God, as the whole Bible claims to be. And once you acknowledge that this God exists, the God of the Bible, and that the Bible is His Word, then you’re faced with a choice. You’re going to either rebel against Him and refuse to accept what He says, or you’re going to submit to Him, and the world does not want to do that. So we’re going to have to destroy it.
It’s like in Acts 9, Paul—he was Saul of Tarsus, he just became Paul the apostle, and it says he proved to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. That’s right there in Damascus where he first became a believer. And then in Jerusalem three years later, he proves that Jesus is the Messiah to the Greeks, the Romans, and so forth, as well as to the Hebrews. Well, what do they do? They went about to kill him! He had to escape Damascus, let over the wall in a basket, you remember? So they had all the evidence, all the facts, and they did not want to believe. People believe what they want to believe.
So now we can escape that dishonesty by showing that these prophecies are true, or that they were uttered, written down after the fact, and that’s what it’s about. That’s the problem.
Tom: Daniel 9, I’ll read some verses from chapter 9 and chapter 8. But Daniel:9:26-27: “…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease….”
And in Daniel:8:24-25: “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy…the mighty and the holy people.… and through peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”
Dave, this is the “prince that shall come,” but before we get to who he is, could you give us a little background again? Because I know that somebody just listening to the program, even if they’ve heard it once before, the issue of 69 weeks, then a gap with regard to the 70th week—what about that?
Dave: Well, we saw—I guess it was the last week or the week before, Daniel 9 begins with Daniel saying that he’s been a captive in Babylon for, I don’t know, 68 years, something like that. He’s reading the Scriptures he has, the books of Moses, and he’s got Jeremiah’s prophecy. He probably had the entire Bible as far as it had been written up to that time. And suddenly the light goes on. He knows the prophecy of Jeremiah 25, that 70 weeks are determined upon the desolation of Jerusalem. And we explained last week, or the week before, the reason for that, because when the children of Israel were brought into the land, the promised land, God told them that there will not only be a Sabbath every seventh day, but every seventh year. “You will not till the soil. You will forgive all debts owed you by fellow Hebrews. You will let all Hebrew slaves go free,” and for 490 years they never did it once. And God said, “You’re going to be taken away from your land; you will become slaves,” and so forth. You will not be able to till the soil for 70 years because you owe the soil 70 Sabbaths. Okay?
And then the angel Gabriel comes along and says, “Daniel, there is another period of 490 years coming up, 70 weeks of years, 490 years, and at the end of 69 of them, the Messiah is going to come riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.”
Now, Daniel doesn’t give us all those details, but Zechariah says how He will come. And Daniel says, “Unto the coming of Messiah, the Prince, 69 weeks of years, then Messiah will be cut off.” He’s going to be killed. Then it talks about another week that the prince who will come, that you were just reading about…you got up through, I guess, v. 26. Verse 27 says that he is going to make a covenant. In fact, the Hebrew actually says, “He will impose a covenant upon this world and upon the people of Israel.”
Obviously it involves the rebuilding of the temple and the reinstitution of temple sacrifices, because it says, “In the midst of the week he causes the oblation and the sacrifice to cease.” So obviously, the temple has been rebuilt, the sacrificial system has been re-instituted. They haven’t had it for all these centuries, and he will force the world to allow this. Now, it gets into all kinds of speculations about, “What about the Dome of the Rock?” and all that…
Tom: Dave, before we go there, let me back up a little bit. You write that this 70th week didn’t come right after the 69th week. If it had, all things would have been fulfilled while Jesus was here. There’s a leeway in that, but basically, many, if not most of these things would have had to have been fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming.
Dave: Yeah, v. 24 does give you the list of everything that will be accomplished, including the anointing of the Most Holy. He will have taken…you know, He will have made reconciliation for sin and He will have taken the throne of David. Well obviously, it didn’t happen. The 69 weeks turned out to be true. The Messiah did come and He was cut off. Oh, but then He couldn’t do the other things that it prophesied if He’s cut off, if He’s killed. There must be another coming. And so that, of course, would be reserved for the end of this 70th week. So there are 70 weeks of years. Well, we’ve got seven years hanging, because the Messiah was crucified. He rose from the dead, but He left for heaven. So people say, “Well, wait a minute, how do you get this if there’s a gap there?” and so forth.
Tom: It has to be or else God’s a liar, because then prophecies that we’ve been saying over and over again have been fulfilled [with] 100 percent accuracy, that wouldn’t be the case.
Dave: Tom, there are so many Christians today who will then spiritualize: “Oh, well, it must have all happened.” They’ll spiritualize it away. No, we know that…. See, it says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city.” Well, that’s the Jews and that’s Jerusalem. This is 9:24. Then the prophecy was, “but Jerusalem will be destroyed by the prince who will come.” So Jerusalem is going to be destroyed. The holy people, the Jews, will be scattered. Israel will be no more, and we’ve got a problem here. How are you going to fulfill the rest of…the Messiah was killed, He rose from the dead, but He’s gone to heaven. So, as you say, there has to be a gap here, a break. And the church was formed, the gospel went out, the Jews rejected, the gospel went out to Gentiles, and that was good news for Gentiles. But it wasn’t anything new. It’s all through the Old Testament. Genesis:12:3, it says—God says to Abraham, “In your seed shall all the nations of the world be blessed.” That could only be through the Messiah. Okay? So I believe that we live in that period of time now.
Now we are obviously moving toward the termination of that gap, because Israel is back in her land. Hadn’t happened in…well, you could say it hadn’t really happened for 2500 years. After the Babylonian captivity they did get back in the land, but they were not really an independent nation, they were under the heel of Rome.
Tom: Even during Jesus’s time here, and we had Herod’s temple, and so on, but that wasn’t enough to fulfill these prophecies.
Dave: No, no. So there hasn’t been, really, an independent Israel since about 500 BC, when Jerusalem was destroyed. Although you’ve had Jews back in the land, they were always under the control of someone else, the Romans. And then, of course, the Romans destroyed about a thousand villages in 132-135 AD, and there was another diaspora. And so, although Jews have come back into the land, they’ve never been able to reform themselves as a national entity until May 14, 1948, when they declared their independence.
Now, Tom, it looks like the rest of this, these seven years, this last week, is…everything is getting in place for this to be fulfilled now.
Tom: So prior to the Second Coming, Christ returning, there’s a prince. So who is this prince that shall come, that Daniel’s talking about?
Dave: Well, it says the “people of the prince who shall come,” so this is somebody who is yet to come. He’s not there at that time, but the people of the prince who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. Well, it was the Romans who destroyed the city…
Tom: Seventy AD.
Dave: Right, and the sanctuary, the temple, destroyed the temple. It has never been rebuilt since, but the prince that will come was not there. These were his people. Of course, this is way down in history. What could be the relationship? Well, this was the Roman empire, so it seems that the prince who will come is going to rule over a reconstituted Roman empire. And, as you know, the Europeans have never given up the idea that the greatness of the Roman empire would be restored. And today we are in that process. I mean, the European Union, I think it goes beyond that. It will be worldwide, but more and more nations are joining the EU. There’s not ten…I grew up with the idea that there would be ten-nation confederacy reviving Western Europe. No, it talks about a worldwide confederacy. Antichrist will control the world, and it’s divided into ten regions, and so forth.
So, Tom, I would say we’re getting very, very close to this. So the Antichrist is the prince who will come. His people destroyed the city and the sanctuary, and now he is going to restore it. So that’s what we get in v. 27. He will impose a covenant upon Israel and the world that will allow the temple to be rebuilt and the sacrificial system to start again, and Israel will think, “Wow, this is really our friend.” But he is only rebuilding the temple to put his image in there and demand to be worshipped as God by the Jews and the world. In John 5, Jesus said, “I am come in my Father’s name, you receive me not. Another will come in his own name, him you will receive.” And this is the one we read about who, “through peace, will destroy many” (Daniel:8:25).
Tom: And it’s amazing, Dave: We’ve mentioned on this program [that] many Jewish people who rejected Jesus as the Messiah say it’s because He didn’t bring peace. Yet peace, and then the putting up of the temple again so that the sacrifice can continue, this is everything that Israel is looking for: peace and a temple and the sacrifice continuing.
Dave: So they would hail him as the messiah, and he doesn’t come in the Father’s name, he comes in his own name. He’s the one who is doing this because, of course, this is the false messiah, “the prince who will come.” The Prince, the Messiah, has come, and Israel needs to recognize that. But they do not, and therefore, they will be—most of them will be deceived by this false prince, the false messiah. And, Tom, I think we are getting very, very close to that time.