On my first day in Jerusalem several years ago, I had the privilege of touring the old city on a Sunday together with fresh recruits to the IDF. I personally had never been that close to so many men and women armed with fully automatic weapons let alone in such a casual setting as a tour! So much of that day is seared into my brain for forever, but none more so than the absolute respect of these 19 year-olds who were beginning their mandatory military service in defense of their country: the Jewish state reborn after almost 2,000 years of exile.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have a special love for the Jewish people, and as part of my faith, count myself as part of the House of Israel and number ourselves among the Twelve Tribes. Having traveled around the world, Israel was the only other place I'd been to that felt like home.
During my time with IDF and the rest of the tour group, we heard Old and New Testament stories about David, Jesus, Peter, and Pilate along with tales about the Crusades, and the constant struggle for the ironically named Jerusalem (יְרוּשָׁלַיִם), to be a stable place for the Jews and the rest of the House of Israel to be made whole.
As I spoke with some friends yesterday about the horrific events that have been unfolding in Israel since last Saturday, our discussion turned – as it does often with these two – to the scriptures. We read Daniel 12 together but quickly focused on the following verse:
11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
For ancient Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple was the loss of their "daily sacrifice". Our church is famous for the proliferation of beautiful temples around the world and a large focus of our faith is temple worship. As the COVID panic set in around the world, our church briefly closed all temple operations around the world.
On March 25, 2020, the First Presidency of our church announced the worldwide closure of all temples, the 25th being the last day, so starting March 26th. For us as the ancient Jews, the loss of access to this "daily sacrifice" was a bitter pill. However, at the time, I didn't realize the significance this event played in the grander plan as we march toward the Second Coming of Jesus Christ: the second Abomination of Desolation of Israel, specifically that of Jerusalem.
I believe that Daniel 12:11 prophesies that the abomination would be set up 1,290 days after this being taken away:
March 26, 2020 + 1,290 days = October 7, 2023
On this date, at the end of Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles, this happened:
Beginning in the morning of a Jewlish holiday, hundreds of attackers broke through the barrier between Israel and Gaza and spread into more than 20 locations, killing 600 Israelis on the streets, in their homes and at an outdoor festival, taking some 100 hostage and injuring more than 2,000.
I don't think anyone witnessing even the watered-down version of events most news outlets are portraying think that this is anything small. Several reporters on the ground have been quoted speaking in haunted tones about the purely evil actions they have witness first-hand but rarely are allowed to show just how terrible things have been.
My reading of Daniel 12 tells me this: more is to come and it will get far worse. Ultimately, of course, I believe Israel and Jerusalem will be saved. In the coming days, they will see physical salvation as the nations of the whole earth seemingly combine against them. Whatever is to come and in whatever time frame it does, I pray with many of you for the safety and eventual peaceful day that will see Jerusalem, Israel, and – I believe – the whole earth in a perpetual day of peace as the Jewish Messiah and the Savior Jesus Christ, who are one and the same, will usher in.
Obviously not everyone shares my faith and I can't imagine anyone that doesn't believe in the holy temples that I do will give any heed to this admittedly fringe theory. However, I know many believe we are in the "last days" as prophesied by apostles of the New Testament and anything happening in Israel is of grave concern to Christians and Jews alike.
While I do believe that dark times are ahead, they will pass and bring about miracles, the likes of which we've been dreaming about for our whole lives. Until then, I have just one more thought:
Daniel 12:12 states "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." If that's another ~3.5 years, I suppose they're in for a dramatic and long (and likely very bloody) battle. However, if you read it a little differently, it could mean instead this is an extension of 45 days to the original 1,290, or November 21st, a couple of days before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
I don't know what Daniel means by "blessed" but perhaps we will all begin to see great miracles even sooner than I'd hoped and some of the most powerful prayers of gratitude Thanksgiving has ever seen! Only time will tell. May the Lord Jesus keep you safe in His loving arms and may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob fulfill the promises to His covenant people.