At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace. In his wrath the Lord will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them. (NIV)
As we have been seeing in previous blogs the bulk of the prophecies take place within a seven-year period—Daniel’s 70th week as seen in this next passage.
He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (NIV)
The prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 has mostly been completed. The prophecy takes place in 7 year periods that it calls weeks. It is very clear that they are not literal weeks, but rather they are sevens in almost the exact same sense that we might measure some time span in decades. Seven year segments are more or less built into the Law of Moses. Anyway, the point is, is that if you read this entire prophecy you will see that it takes place over 70 sevens, or 490, 360 day, years. 69 of those years were fulfilled when Jesus was ‘cut off’ or crucified. The last seven years have yet to be fulfilled.
The last seven year period is divided into two halves, each 1260 days long, or 62 months long, or 3 ½ years long, or it is even called time, times and half a time long. They all mean the same thing. Traditionally the seven-year span is called The Tribulation with the last half called the Great Tribulation.
When we look at Daniel 9:27 above we see that the Antichrist makes a seven year treaty with the people of Israel and in the middle of the seven-year treaty he commits what is called here, the ‘abomination that causes desolation’. We have seen elsewhere that a new Temple is built in Jerusalem and the Antichrist enters into the Temple, which he is forbidden to do, and he sets up an image of some kind of himself declaring himself to be the Christ. That is the abomination that causes the Temple to be desolated.
We have also previously seen that Jesus returns to earth right at the mid-point of this seven-year period, and we have seen that Jesus’ return is a sweet, then bitter thing. The sweet is the Lord coming for his people and the bitter is his bringing judgment upon the rebellious of the earth. When Jesus returns he will start the Time of Wrath, which is another name for the second half of Daniel’s 70th week.
Now, all that has been said and summarized look again at the top most Scripture from Psalm 21:9. Clearly the time of Wrath is also called the Fiery Furnace. That being so let us look at some other Scriptures.
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (NIV)
Traditionally the fiery furnace here was thought to be Hell, but at the end of the Church Age Jesus will return and cast the sons of the evil one into the fiery furnace, which is the second half of Daniel’s 70th week. There they will suffer the actions of the Beast-man; the very man they put their faith in. God’s justice at work.
Notice that the above passage says, ‘into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’. I want you to notice the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those are key words that you can use to identify this particular time in the prophecies. Matthew uses that phrase several times and it usually points to the same time. See Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; and 25:30. Each of these all talk of the same time. When we know that, we can read them and better understand what Jesus means.
Fire is symbolic of judgment. The fiery furnace is sort of a special symbolic code word for saying that the time of wrath is a time of judgment. The other names for that time don’t really say that. We have the Day of the Lord, the Time of Wrath, and also the Great Tribulation. Each of these names tells us something and they are all very meaningful, but the name of the Fiery Furnace tells us that this time is a time of judgment.
You may remember the story in Daniel chapter three of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being cast into the blazing furnace because they refused to worship the image that had been set up. Well, a similar image is going to be set up during the time of the Beast and like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego those that have faith in God will pass through the ‘fiery furnace’ unharmed, if they maintain their faith.
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” (NIV)