Pentecost and the Last Days

The outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost signaled the arrival of the last days, the era of fulfillment .  In the book of Acts , the application of Joel’s prophecy to the Day of Pentecost links the outpouring of the Spirit to the commencement of the “ last days .” In this book, the activity of the Spirit beginning on that day is essential for understanding the rapid spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, and from Pentecost until the arrival of Jesus in glory.

End of the Indignation

In chapter 7, the timeframe during which the “ little horn ” is authorized to wage war “ against the saints ” is described as a “ time, times, and part of a time .” At the end of the period, this malevolent ruler will lose his domain. In chapter 8, the angel Gabriel describes it as “ the END OF THE INDIGNATION, for at the appointed time will be an end .” However horrific the “ desolation ” might be, it will not last forever.

The Time of Tribulation

Daniel’s final vision concludes with the description of a period of intense “ tribulation ” that is about to befall the Jewish nation, one more severe than any preceding trial in its history. There are no chapter divisions in the original document, and contextually, chapter 12 is the continuation of the vision of chapters 10 and 11.

In Plain Sight

Daniel’s “ seventy weeks ” prophecy presents a 490-year period that culminates in the “ Abomination of Desolation .” Crucial to dating it and its proper interpretation is the identification of the “ commandment to restore and build Jerusalem ,” and commentators have gone to great lengths to link it to one of several known decrees issued by Persian rulers.

He Removes and Appoints Rulers

In its opening paragraph, the book of Daniel labels Babylon the “ land of Shinar ,” a verbal link to the “ tower of Babel ” incident. The Neo-Babylonian Empire has an ancient pedigree, and like his ancient forbears, Nebuchadnezzar determined to unite all men under one language and one government so all men might render homage to his great golden image.

Babylon Then and Now

The story of Ancient Babylon’s demise is reflected in the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl of wrath . In Daniel , on the eve of the city’s conquest by the “ Medes and Persians ,” King Belshazzar gave a feast “ for a thousand of his lords ” and “ tasted wine ” from the sacred vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the Temple in Jerusalem, thereby disrespecting the God of Israel while also praising the false gods of Babylon.

Seven Bowls - Overview

Chapter 15 introduces the seven angels who unleash the “ seven last plagues on the earth ,” and chapter 16 describes their effects. These plagues are labeled “ last ” because they complete God’s “ wrath .” The “ seven bowls ” comprise the third sevenfold series of the book. Each series concludes with “ flashes of lightning, voices, and claps of thunder .”