True to the beastly vision, the Medes-Persians conquer Babylon, which includes the Jewish captives. Darius, a Mede, is made king over the realm of the Chaldeans (Babylonia). Daniel remains in service to the new king, yet he is always conscious of the fact that he serves the Most High God first and foremost.
One day Daniel is in prayer for his people in captivity. He is searching the prophetic books, looking for insight into God’s mystery-plan. Daniel 9:2 records a remarkable incident. “In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
The desolations of Jerusalem refer to the destruction of Solomon’s Temple and the city via the Gentile empires. The specific word of the Lord is recorded in Jeremiah 29. It is in the form of a letter sent to the exiles, passing along God’s instructions as to what they are to do while in captivity. Apparently, the Jewish nation has fallen so far away from God that they have forgotten this very relevant prophecy about their future.
It’s worth noting that in the letter God’s prophet warns against listening to the false prophets who have gone into captivity with the people. They are declaring that this atrocity is not of God and that He will bring the people back quickly to their homeland. Listen to God’s response via His true prophet (Jer. 29:8-9). “Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.” Prophesying what they want to see is called prognostication. It is not of God.
The prophetic letter tells them, instead, to settle into their temporary home and continue to multiply. In effect, God is using the captivity to keep them safe and bring them back to Him. He informs them that the captivity will not be short; it will last for an extended period. Remember, only God changes the times and seasons, and not the false prophets, however sincere they think they are being.
In effect, God tells them that this captivity is part of His plan, and He assures them of His mercy and provision in the midst of it. He offers them hope. “After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The false prophecies have come not from the heart of God but from the people’s own imaginations and desires. They are, after all, God’s chosen people. Never mind that they have not been following after Him, but prefer to go their own way. And because of this, their hearts are puffed up and hardened, making it difficult for them to discern what is from God and what is from their own wishes.
The Chronos Lesson: This is why Paul warns in his letter to the Thessalonians concerning the end-times, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5:20-21). How do we test prophecies? We compare them to God’s written Word. If they do not line up with the whole counsel of the Bible, then we are not to accept it. The whole counsel includes around one-third of the Bible that contains the chronos times and kairos seasons of God’s prophetic plan. We must remember, too, that in this age, we are only “tasting” of the powers of the age to come—the gifts of the Spirit. We have not yet been perfected at the rapture, so we still see in a mirror dimly (1 Cor. 13:12).
Sometimes, when things don’t turn out the way we expect, it is difficult in our frustration to discern between what is in our spirit and what is in our soul (emotions) or mind. This is why we test any prophecy against the Bible. “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
We may believe that God is leading us to take certain actions and to work to bring a specific person into leadership on behalf of our nation. We know we are instructed to pray for all people first, and then our leadership. Yet we must avoid making the same mistakes that the Jewish people did in Daniel’s time. When we pray and it doesn’t turn out the way we think, then we have to understand that only God raises up and brings down the nations. It isn’t because the church did not pray “hard enough.”
As with the Jewish people, this doesn’t mean that God has given up on the nation. Only God knows what needs to take place. Only God knows what is truly in the hearts of mankind. Only God knows how to bring people to repentance. It is not a matter of praying more or praying harder. God hears the prayers of His children. But His ways are higher and His thoughts reign supreme (Is. 55).
Unfortunately, false prophecies have deceived many Christians in our time. The underlying problem is that these self-proclaimed prophets have failed to understand the times. They ignore about one-third of God’s Word that deals prophetically with Christ’s return and the rapture. For some, they dismiss it because they recognize there is so much confusion surrounding the man-made views. And therein lies the problem.