Book of Daniel
Chapter 9, Part 34
Once again Daniel pinpoints the time of this prayer/prophecy. It took place while Darius the Mede was on the throne, about 536 B.C. Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, the head of gold, who had sole reign over Babylon, Darius, the arms of silver, shared the rulership with 120 princes. Over the princes, Darius named three governors. Daniel, at around 80-years old, was the governor in the top position of the three (Daniel 6:3).
The first two verses of Daniel 9 give us the history of the events. Verses 3-21 are Daniel’s fervent prayer. Verses 22-27 are the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.
V. 1, 2 – “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
After Darius’ victory over and conquest of Babylon, Daniel studied the Books of the Prophets and he understood them. He knew that the prophecy Jeremiah had made concerning Israel’s captivity and release was about to be fulfilled. Israel had been held captive almost the full seventy years of desolation which Jeremiah had predicted (“And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years” [Jeremiah 25:11]). Now that the overthrow of Babylon was complete, and Darius sat on her throne, Daniel knew it signaled their soon release (“And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations” [Jeremiah 25:12]).
Daniel had always been aware of the prophecies made about Israel. Some speculate that he heard this prophecy directly from the mouth of Jeremiah. He specifically states, “I Daniel understood (discern, perceived, grasped) by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet (II Chronicles 36:20, 21), that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 29:10)” (V. 2). Daniel, a prophet, continued to study the Scriptures. He never considered he had “arrived” in all knowledge. Even though he was second in command of a large kingdom, he made time to spend in God’s Word “searching” for wisdom and understanding.
V. 3 – Watch this now: It has been established that Daniel was a man of prayer. We see this demonstrated in Daniel 2:17-19, 21-23; 6:10, 11. The majority of chapter 9 is a prayer and it begins in this verse. “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…” Daniel took a time out to seek God’s face. This was not during his regular prayer time, but a time he set apart for the purpose at hand. This was a time of impassioned prayer demonstrated by the use of sackcloth and ashes.
There are three methods of using sackcloth and ashes. One is to tie the sackcloth, a very rough material that was harsh to the skin, around the loins and toss the ashes upon the head (Esther 4:1). Another is to spread the sackcloth on the ground, roll in ashes and lay on the sackcloth (Esther 4:3). And last is the sackcloth is wrapped around the body and the person sits in a pile of ashes (John 3:6).
Fasting, sackcloth and ashes were used in times of great mourning or repentance. This is no different. Daniel, in all humility, was demonstrating to God his sadness over his own sin and the sin of Israel.
V. 4 – “And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments…” Take notice here of what Daniel points out. He stated, “…I prayed unto the LORD my God…” He didn’t speak to the gods of Babylon, to angels, or to spirits. He spoke directly to God. Some religions say we can’t approach God without a mediator (themselves) because God is too big. This verse, among many in the Word, assures us of our right to come boldly before the throne of God. We Christians are blessed in that we have a Mediator, an Advocate who stands before God in our behalf so that when the devil says we have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), Jesus says, “She is the righteousness of God in Me!” (II Corinthians 5:21)
“…O Lord, the great and dreadful (awesome) God…” Daniel he ascribes the attributes reverence, awe, to God. He knows that when God says something, He means it. If He says He will do something, He sure will do it; the captivity being one of those promises of God. God had warned Israel from its inception to honor and reverence Him alone or face disaster. They turned from Him over and over. They made a golden calf when they figured Moses had been up that mountain too long. They took up the gods of other nations even after seeing the hand of God in their lives. They built altars to other gods. They called for a king to rule them when God Himself was their King and their best resource. But, Israel wanted to be like all the other nations. Daniel knew all these things and knew that Israel had called their punishment down upon their own heads. He also knew that time of punishment was soon to be over, and he prayed earnestly for the Lord’s forgiveness.
“…keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments…” God prophesied through Moses and many other prophets what would become of Israel if she didn’t follow all His commandments. Read Deuteronomy 28 to see an example of what the Lord spoke through Moses unto Israel. This was very scary stuff, but did they pay any heed to the Word of the Lord? No, rather they went forth and did everything that God had warned them not to. It’s sad what’s happened to Israel throughout the centuries. Sadder yet is the knowledge that they brought it on themselves with their stony hearts. To this day most of the Jews refuse to accept that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. Sadly, they continue to suffer and will throughout the Millennium until the second coming of Jesus. “Will God say and will He not do?” (Numbers 23:19)
Bless the Lord, the other side of this coin is that God has promised to bring Israel out of this captivity, and He will keep His word. Grace and mercy are of the Lord, and He is always willing to extend them to His chosen race who will keep His commandments (Exodus 20:6). God promised this exile would end when the people turned back to Him (Deuteronomy 30:1-3) and Daniel sees that end in sight. However, Daniel also knew that the way to this end was through repentance. “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth (allow Him to change His mind by ones obedience) him of the evil” (Joel 2:13).
V. 5, 6 – “We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.” We know that Daniel was a righteous servant of the Lord God. He was also a man. He knew that in all he did right, he had still sinned. He sinned along with Israel before the captivity and continued to sin after being exiled as they all did. He did not set himself apart from all of Israel because of his grand position in the kingdom, but by using the first person plural pronoun “we” he brought himself low beside all the others of Israel who had sinned.
Now we see the list of sins Daniel is presenting before God for forgiveness (I Kings 8:47, 48; Nehemiah 9:33, 34; Isaiah 64:5-7). The list includes, iniquity (injustice), wickedness (evil), rebellion (disobedience), departure from the commands of God and His judgments, and ignoring the prophets that God had sent to issue warnings to all the people of the land from kings to the lowliest slaves. Every sin God had warned Israel against, they proceeded to commit.
They not only willfully sinned against God, they didn’t even listen to the warnings He sent by the mouth of His prophets. They chose to ignore them. The prophets came speaking in the authority of the name of God the explanation of His commandments, with admonitions, and with reproofs, yet Israel shut her ears and refused to listen.
(I’d like you all to read II Chronicles 34 sometime this week. I’ll ask some questions about it next week.)
We do the same thing! We don’t read and study God’s Word daily, which is the living Christ (“…and the Word was God” [John 1:1]) and we don’t pray as we should. Rather than taking time daily to develop a tender heart toward the Lord, we sin willfully, then we blame God when bad things happen to us. We are not faithful to God; therefore, He cannot be faithful and just toward us (I John 1:9).
Book of Daniel
Chapter 9, Part 35
V. 7, 8 – “O LORD, righteousness (purity, holiness) belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion (guilty consciences) of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.” Here Daniel delineates between our sinless mighty God and the sinful weak people of the earth. Righteousness belongs to God, but shame to His chosen race, be they in Jerusalem, Judah, or any other part of Israel or the world including Africa, the Middle East and Europe. They had rebelled against God and Daniel now admitted their disgrace (Judges 2:13; 8:33). Notice again in verse 7 that Daniel repeated himself
1 - but unto us confusion (guilty consciences) of faces,
2 - O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face
First he says this about the men of Judah, Jerusalem and the earth. Then he repeats it, but this time mentions the leaders of Israel; kings, princes, and fathers. In other words, the sin ran deep from top to bottom. None of God’s people listened to Him or the messages He sent them through His prophets. Rather, they took whatever course they felt led to and usually that meant mocking god by worshipping idols and giving them credit for what God was doing for them. They had sun gods, moon gods, gods they prayed to for fertility for the ground and their bodies, rain gods, and you name it. Their exile was a just punishment for turning from the one true God.
Nehemiah made this perfectly clear. “Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly…” (Nehemiah 9:33) Everything God had warned Israel not to do, they did with gusto. They built high places, carved or bought carved images of idols; they placed their children on the altar of Baal to be slowly burnt to death.
Micha F. Lindemans of Encyclopedia Mythica™ says, “’King’. The sun god of the Canaanites (Ammonites?) in old Palestine and sometimes associated with the Sumerian Baal, although Moloch (or Molekh) was entirely malevolent. In the 8th-6th century B.C., firstborn children were sacrificed to him by the Israelites in the Valleye of Hinnom, south-east of Jerusalem (see also Gehenna). These sacrifices to the sun god were made to renew the strength of the sun fire. This ritual was probably borrowed from surrounding nations, and was also popular in ancient Carthage.
Moloch was represented as a huge bronze statue with the head of a bull. The statue was hollow, and inside there burned a fire which colored the Moloch a glowing red. Children were placed on the hands of the statue. Through an ingenious system the hands were raised to the mouth (as if Moloch were eating) and the children fell into the fire where they were consumed by the flames. The people gathered before the Moloch were dancing on the sounds of flutes and tambourines to drown out the screams of the victims.
God wanted to be their only God and not share their worship and sacrifices with other gods made with human hands (Leviticus 11:45; 18:4, 30; 19:4, 31; 26:1; II Chronicles 15:2 for example).
V. 9, 10 – “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.”
God’s very nature is merciful (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 130:7, 8). That’s why we have Jesus as Savior and forgiveness of sin. Daniel knew that God was a merciful God for he knew the history of Israel and the deliverance of her people from Egypt. He knew that God had forgiven this nation many times over when her people had rebelled and fallen away. He knew that the time of God’s mercy was at hand and he made sure to pray for himself and the people to be forgiven so that God could deliver them yet again.
Daniel was like us. He knew his country didn’t deserve God’s grace or forgiveness. They had taken God out of everything, yet he prayed for it anyway. The difference being, Daniel knew he would receive what he asked. He was close to God every day of his life and never doubted for a moment that God would bring His people back to their country. Christians nowadays don’t pray with Daniel’s type of fervency. They pray asking if it’s God’s will. It is always God’s will to deliver His people. We need to pray like Moses, Elijah, Daniel and many others throughout the Bible, with believing! Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? (Read Genesis 18.)
What we need to understand is that God gave Israel the Ten Commandments, but He gave them hundreds of laws, 450 I think it was. They had to follow each one to the letter. It was hard to make sure you didn’t eat this, walk there, or touch that. We can understand why they turned to lifeless gods that demanded nothing of them. They could eat, drink, celebrate, fornicate, and do all sorts of sordid things because their gods wanted that behavior. It was totally opposite of what God required of His people which is purity of spirit, soul, and body.
We are so very blessed to be under the Grace of God and not the Law! I know there’s no way I would have done any better than the average Jew. Could you have followed each law without ever breaking one, or many? Sadly, many Christian take advantage of God’s grace saying things like, “Oh well, it’s just a small lie and I’ll just ask God to forgive me. He has to cause I’m saved,” or, “It doesn’t matter if I don’t read my Bible, God lives in me so I have all of Him already.” We all know this is untrue. To sin is to fall short of the glory of God. We are to become like Jesus. Jesus was sinless. Can we become sinless? Probably not while living here, but the idea is to run the race, strive to attain, and achieve as much as we can so that we can live in the will of God for our lives. If Israel had done that, they would be the powerhouse of this world. Sadly, they still deny the blessed Savior, for the most part.
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, Therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
Do you know why people fall for everything that comes along in the Christian world?
It's the lack of feeding on the Word! They don't read or study or meditate the Word!
They don't pray and seek God's face to know the truth either! Church has become a society of followers. Yes, we are supposed to follow our leaders because God has anointed them to minister over us, but we are not to be blind. If you don’t know the Word for yourself, you will never recognize of false teacher or false prophet. And the Bible says in the last days there will be many (II Peter 2:1)
Josiah was a righteous king, a descendant of David and in the lineage of Jesus.
Q. What did Josiah do that the other kings didn’t do?
A. He tore down all the altars of Baal, the incense altars, the wooden images and the molded images.
Q. What building did Josiah have restored?
A. The temple of God
Q. What book was found in the temple during construction?
A. It was the Bible, the Pentateuch, or first five Books of the Bible, the Law given through Moses to Israel. Shaphan brought the book to King Josiah and read it to him. Through this reading the king found out that the wrath of God was to come on the people fulfilling all that was written in these scrolls.
Q. Why was God going to bring His vengeance in Judah and Jerusalem even though Josiah had torn down all the high and low places?
A. The only one to repent, truly, deeply, with all his spirit, soul, and body for all the people had done was Josiah. I’m thinking the Israelites continued to burn incense before their false gods even after the book was read. They would be severely punished, but not till righteous King Josiah had gone home to be with the Lord.
Book of Daniel
Chapter 9, Part 36
V. 12 – “And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.”
Let’s read from the Amplified Version to get a deeper sense of what this verse is saying:
“And He has carried out intact His [threatening] words which He threatened against us and against our judges [the kings, princes, and rulers generally] who ruled us, and He has brought upon us a great evil; for under the whole heavens there has not been done before [anything so dreadful] as [He has caused to be] done against Jerusalem.”
Daniel’s prayer continues. Israel had transgressed God’s law, and because they did, He “confirmed His words” which He had spoken against the people and their judges through Moses. “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…” (Deuteronomy 28:15)
Another prophet said, “But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon” (Ezra 5:12).
Even during their captivity they did not turn back to God. They continued in their rebelliousness. As Daniel read the Scriptures in Jeremiah, he saw once again the promise that God made which said that He would return Israel to her land after the 70 years of captivity were completed. “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jeremiah 29 10-14).
V. 13 – ““As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.”
In Deuteronomy 28:15-68, Moses told the people what would happen to them if they turned from God and served other gods. They would be cursed and suffer plagues that were worse than the ones brought against Egypt and Pharaoh. He said a few times that the children the Israelites conceived would be taken captive by a foreign country, and yet they persisted in worshipping gods that had no breath, no words, and could not move.
Daniel knew that these people were far from ready to be rescued. They hadn’t changed their evil ways in all the years they were under the rule of Babylon’s kings. Their ceremonial prayers never came from the heart, but only from the law. They never broke before the Lord and confessed their sin or sought after His forgiveness (Isaiah 9:13). So, Daniel landed heavily on his knees in prayer for them. Knowing they were close to the end of the 70 years, Daniel prayed fervently for the nation that didn’t pray for itself. He prayed for God to change their hearts. He prayed for his own and their forgiveness. He prayed that the eyes and ears of their understanding would be open and the truth that God always keeps His promises be revealed to them. If they had prayed with a searching heart as Daniel did, they would not have been taken captive to begin with. Since they didn’t then, and still were not praying with intensity, Daniel took it upon himself to approach the throne in their behalf.
Sometimes when reading the Bible, the Lord seems to highlight a specific verse. If we will take time, as Daniel did, to focus on that, ponder it in our hearts, meditate on it and pray over it, we will see these things come to pass in our lives. Prayer is an active endeavor not a passive submission to a rule. If we pray believing what the Word of God says, we will realize all the promises of God in our lives. Let’s not be like the little boy I read about. “Many of us are like the little boy who said his prayers one night and got confused with his rhymes, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If he hollers let him go . . . eeny, meeny, miney, mo” Let’s be focused and in touch!
V. 14 – “Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.” God “watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us” means that God gave the Israelites a chance for many years to mend their ways. They chose not to repent, so He basically lowered the punishment boom on them. He inspired and equipped Nebuchadnezzar with all he needed to overcome the nation of Judah and Jerusalem and he kept them captive for the entire 70 years that was prophesied.
Why would a God who chose Israel and loved her dearly bring such devastation against her? It is because God is righteous and just and must do what He says.
Let’s read Nehemiah 9:33-35:
“Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly: Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.”
Her people did not do what God told them and they reaped the results of it. It’s not like a parent saying that if the child touched the frosting on the cake she would break his arm. She never intended to break his arm, and her threat was hollow. God’s threats are real and He carries them out. People say there is no hell. I assure you there is for the righteousness of God demands one. The results of our actions demand one. Live in sin and go to hell. Repent with your heart and go to heaven. It’s simple as that.
V. 15 – “And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.” “O Lord our God…” is one of the 19 times God is referenced in this chapter of Daniel. People are referred to only 11 times. God is definitely the focus of Daniel’s prayer. Notice in this verse how Daniel gives God glory and honors Him for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. It was by God’s “mighty hand” that they were brought out. He was about to do the same thing here, except he would have no need of the plagues it took to defeat Pharaoh.
When God delivered Israel from Egypt, Daniel says that He made a name for Himself. If you have read the story of Rahab and the spies, you know that His name was greatly feared after taking them forth and taking the lands to divide up for the tribes (Joshua 2:9-11). He not only took Jericho, He took it in a most unusual manner. The quiet marches for six days, then the marches the seventh day culminating in a riotous shouting caused the great walls of that city to collapse straight down so that the men just walked in and took over, killing all but Rahab and her family. Yet, even against this God who lives, breathes and moves, delivers and defeats, the people sinned greatly.
Book of Daniel
Chapter 9, Part 37
V. 16 – “O LORD, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach (Psalm 79:4) to all that are about us.” Daniel here was calling on God’s justice. It’s as though he were saying, “OK, Lord, we took our punishment, now because You are upright and just, and You keep all Your promises, take us home!” He wanted the people returned to their own land. At the time of this prayer, Daniel was almost 90. He may not have expected to make the trip back, which he did not, but he wanted to remind the Lord that the time limit He set was seventy years, and they were almost complete.
Notice again that Daniel doesn’t lay all the blame for their captivity on others. First he mentions “our sins” then the iniquities (sins) of the fathers before them.
In all that we have read about Daniel, his refusal to eat or drink what was sacrificed to idols, his courage in praying when it could have cost his life, his rise to fame under three or four kings, and his unconditional service to those kings, we never knew he was embarrassed for himself, his country and her people. The word “reproach” however, makes it clear to us. In the Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, W. E. Vine states that the reproach Daniel was talking about is that the Jews had become targets of taunts, abusive words, and lying rumors that were spread about them. In other words, they became the mockery of the day. The nations around them asked, “Where is this God whom you trust in who saves Israel from all harm now?”
This is one example of the righteousness of God. The Israelites instead of standing up for God and making Him the King of their country turned to false idols and gods and joined the other nations in putting God down. They sacrificed to idols and blasphemed the Lord’s name. It’s true that the devil was the tempter in Israel, but the flesh is what weakly gave in to the sin. It’s like that even now for us. I have heard with my own ears, men who claim to be born-again Christians and deacons in their church using the Lord’s name in vain as a cuss word. Remember, Jesus warned that we will one day answer for every “idle” word spoken from our lips (Matthew 12:36). This doesn’t just mean useless talk that doesn’t glorify God it also consists of the blasphemies spoken against Him.
Now it’s Daniel’s prayer that God will turn away His wrath and stop His punishment and return the people to her rightful nation.
V. 17 – “Now therefore, O our God (meaning the righteous covenant God of Israel), hear the prayer (petitions and requests) of thy servant (Daniel), and his supplications (appeals), and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary (the temple in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, or the Temple Mount) that is desolate (lies in ruins; Lamentations 5:18), for the Lord's sake.” He wasn’t seeking this blessing for the people’s sake for he knew they were undeserving, but for God’s sake who is worthy of all glory.
V. 18 – “O my God, incline thine ear (listen to me), and hear (understand what I’m saying); open thine eyes (see what’s become of Jerusalem), and behold our desolations (it is a wasteland of ruins, the temple defiled and ruined and the city inhabited by our enemies; Exodus 3:7), and the city which is called by thy name (it’s called the City of God; Psalm 48:1): for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses (which they had none of at this point), but for thy great mercies.” There was nothing praiseworthy about this people. Daniel knew that the only way to touch God’s heart was to plead for mercy. As he prostrated himself humbly upon the ground before the Lord He asked that God would deal with the Israelites with mercy and grace, not because they deserved it, but because He had chosen them and promised to always be their God (Leviticus 26:12). Daniel was praying as Israel had in Egypt asking for the Lord’s mercy and grace to remove them out of the bondage He had allowed them to fall into because of their great sin. Daniel knew that if God did it once, He would do it again, and he counted on that as he prayed.
V. 19 – “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken (listen to; pay attention) and do; defer (delay) not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” Daniel was asking God to hear his prayer for himself and for Israel. He wanted God’s total forgiveness. (Forgive, salach [sah-lahch]; Stong’s #5545: To forgive, pardon, spare someone; to relieve someone of the burden of their offense. The word salach always refers to God’s forgivenss, never man’s.) In this request for forgiveness Daniel asked God to “hearken and do” even what hadn’t been spoken which included the entreaty that Israel be restored to her wealth and fame also; and that Jerusalem would be rebuilt.
There is no sin recorded in the Bible against Daniel. Whatever sin he committed, God chose not to keep on record. Even the men who tried to bring a charge against him could find no fault in him. Daniel has been called “the only man in the Bible of earthly parents who never sinned.” Can this be true? No, and for one reason. Daniel was born into the same sin nature we were. To paraphrase J. Vernon McGee, if Daniel knelt down before the Lord and confessed his sin, he had to have sinned or he was sinning by saying he was a sinner. Any way you look at it, Daniel was a sinner as you and I are.
Daniel’s request that God not delay the return of the Jews, who were His chosen race, to their homeland which was the City of God, Jerusalem, was for His own sake. By removing His wrath from her and restoring her to greatness, God’s name would be lifted up in Israel and all the nations.
This prayer of Daniel’s is a marvelous example of how pastors should pray for their congregations. The pastor should first admit his/her own sin then the sin of the people. He/she should this way apart from the congregation and with the congregation as they stand before the Lord. No, the pastor cannot, or should not, name each one’s sin. He/she should simply admit that the flesh is weak, prone to sin, and always in need of cleansing and forgiveness. It’s a pastor’s duty to hold the congregation he/she is appointed to lead before God asking for His grace and mercy for each one.
If there is one lesson I’d like you all to take away from Daniel’s prayer it is that by prayer and supplication, by making your requests known to God, by seeking His mercy and grace for forgiveness, and by forgiving others, we can change God’s heart. We can be healed, our family and friends can be saved and healed, and our nation can be healed.
Yes, grace is God’s unmerited favor, “by grace are we saved” (Ephesians 28) but it’s more than that. It also means His benevolence and leniency toward us. Grace also means beauty and elegance. It means to be polite and dignified. It also means kindness and mercy. These are all attributes of our loving merciful God.
There will be no study next Sunday. It’s Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day, John. Hope it’s a great one.
Book of Daniel
Chapter 9, Part 38
THE SEVENTY-WEEKS OF PROPHECY
Now we come to the portion of Daniel we have all been waiting for: End Times Prophecy. On his website, www.PBC.org, Ray C. Stedman said, “The ninth chapter of Daniel centers clearly upon the person of Jesus Christ and is one of the few places in Scripture where God ties himself to a definite timetable of events. This passage is therefore one of the strongest evidences to prove the divine inspiration of the Bible.”
V. 20 – “And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God…” Apparently Daniel’s prayer was verbal not simply in his mind, “…whiles I was speaking, and praying...” Remember verse 3, “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…” This is all to say that Daniel travailed in prayer. It wasn’t one of those throw it up and hope God catches it prayers. He was in sackcloth and ashes, down on his knees crying out to God for himself and the people. Daniel, a holy man, was not sinless. He knew that he must seek God’s forgiveness for himself before he could ask for the people.
Once again Daniel remembered and mentioned the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, or the Mountain of God. Daniel, as all Israelites, loved the Temple Mount. As a lad he had worshipped there with his family and the tribes of God. It must have been a deep longing in his soul to see that restored even above the restoration of the Jews to Israel.
V. 21 – “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” Once again we see a repetition. In both 20 and 21 we see the words, “whiles I was speaking.” What Daniel is trying to get across this time is that his answer to prayer came even before he was finished praying. By “evening oblation” we are to understand this was during the hour the evening sacrifice would have been held in the temple if it had not been destroyed and the sacrifice forbidden. Daniel in all the years of captivity never forgot to observe the evening and morning sacrifices (Numbers 28:3, 4). He prayed three times a day, and I’m sure these were the two primary prayer times.
Daniel’s first encounter with the angel Gabriel was in 7:15 when he interpreted the visions of the animals, the lion the bear, the leopard and the beast that defied description. We next see Gabriel in 8:16 when he interpreted Daniel’s vision of the ram and the goat. In 8:15, his name is called out. Having seen Gabriel twice before and having heard his name, Daniel recognized him here and called him by name. Isn’t it also important to note that Gabriel is the one who eventually announced Jesus’ birth to Mary then Joseph? Gabriel also announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias.
Gabriel is here this time to give Daniel the prophecy of the weeks.
V. 22 – “And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Gabriel came to Daniel to give him some solid information. Gabriel had been in the presence of God and God gave him an assignment. Gabriel was to come to Daniel and give him “skill” in understanding. In other words, he would give Daniel ability to understand the prophecy about to be spoken regarding the distant future from his life.
Prophecy is considered “secret things” in the Bible. These are things no human can have knowledge of without revelation from God.
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:35).
In Daniel’s case, this would include the coming of the Lord Jesus to earth in a human tent. Daniel is the only prophet who knew the exact time, or season, when Jesus would be born and has it written out in his writing.
V. 23 – “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” As soon as Daniel’s knee hit the ground and his mouth spoke his prayer, the Lord answered this righteous man’s prayer. Take a lesson from this. We can’t pray when we feel like it, or when we think about it, or when we need something and have God ready to answer us immediately. We need to be as Daniel; in prayer all the time. “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).
It’s unsure whether the commandment that went out from the throne that day was to Gabriel as God sent him off, or to Cyrus to release the captives to return to Israel and rebuild the temple; but it was on that day when Gabriel came to Daniel that God’s heart relented and the captivity was over.
Notice this phrase, “... thou art greatly beloved.” The angel was telling Daniel that because he had found such favor with God and that God loved him so deeply that He wanted to reveal to him His plans. The “secret things” of God were about to unfold. This is the greatest prophecy ever given and recorded. Daniel was to “consider” (mull over; ponder) the matter. And he was to understand (recognize and appreciate) the vision.
V. 24 – “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” The seventy weeks of course is not literal 7-day weeks. It’s a time span fixed by God. It is seventy weeks of years, or 490 year.
The week as years is not a new concept found in Daniel. We also find it in Genesis when Jacob had worked seven years for Laban’s daughter Rachel only to be deceived on his wedding night when Laban sent Leah to him instead. “Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years” (Genesis 29:27).
“The transgression” I believe is their rejection of Jesus as Savior. God knew the hearts of His chosen people and what it would take to bring them into submission to Jesus.
The first segment of the 70 weeks is 69 weeks (or heptads).
These are 69 "sevens" of biblical years.
That 69 week time span = 69 X 7 = 483 biblical years.
483 biblical years = 483 x 360 = 173,880 days. (I borrowed this from another site. I’m not a mathematician!)
This prophecy was coming directly from the throne room of God Almighty, therefore, the timeline we see is 360 days per year instead of our calendar that has 365, usually. Below is a wheel of the months and season of God’s calendar. Each pie piece is one month of 30 days giving us the 360 day year. This timing began with the edict of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in Nissan 445 (some say 444). This edict was what allowed Nehemiah to leave his post and go to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, the wall, and the temple. Its gates were once again open for politics and for commerce so that Jerusalem could function as a state.
We know that Artaxerxes edict is the right one because the ones given to Cyrus and Ezra don’t fit into God’s timeline. Only the rebuilding of Nehemiah works out right. In the above equation we saw that 69 weeks equaled 483 Biblical years or 173,880 days. This time span was from the beginning of the month of Nissan to the coming of the Lord Jesus on Palm Sunday. This was not the birth of Christ but the disclosure of his Messiahship.
Book of Daniel
Chapter 9, Part 39
THE SEVENTY-WEEKS OF PROPHECY
V. 24 – “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Last week I gave you the mathematical formula scholars use to determine the 7-weeks. 7x70 would be 490 years. The 490 years began with the edict Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem, her wall, and especially the temple. 483 of those years were completed at Jesus’ Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
“…upon (for) thy people…” One of the most important things to remember about this prophecy is that it’s given to Daniel’s people, not to the nations or the church. This prophecy is for the Jews. They are the ones who transgressed the commandments of the Lord knowingly and willingly. Unsaved Gentiles know about sin, but they don’t really believe it counts against them. The Jews knew from the mouth of God what sin was and that it would be accounted to them and they would have to pay a penalty, of sorts, for their willful transgressing. Their penalty was captivity. It was also that Jesus gave their salvation to the Gentiles.
One example of their willful disobedience is about the land. When the Israelites were in Israel, God had given His directions about how to use the land, but they failed to keep God’s command to allow the ground to heal itself for one year every seven years. The Lord led them into the captivity of Babylon for 70 years, or the 7 Sabbaths they had failed to honor. This time was now ending for them and soon they would go home.
Another glaring example of their defiance was their worship and service to false gods and idols. They incorporated several secular practices into their worship that polluted it and made if an abomination to God. They defiled themselves and all that was holy.
“…and upon (for) thy holy city,” Israel’s holy city is the City of God, or Jerusalem. We know that this prophecy is for the Jews and Jerusalem because the last 7-years of the prophecy will be the Great Tribulation of Revelation. We need to realize that the Tribulation is about the Jews and them only. At the close of Revelation there will be a new and final Jerusalem. It’s being built by God now and will stand forever when He sets it into place above the new earth. This is one of the reasons I believe in the “catching away” of the church. We can’t be here to experience the judgment of God. We’ve already been judged and declared the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
“...to finish (kala; bring something to an end) the transgression…” which I believe is their rejection of Jesus as Savior. God knew the hearts of His chosen people and what it would take to bring them into submission to Jesus. It also means that when this time period is concluded and Jesus comes for the second time to earth, Israel’s sins and wanderings will be finished and she will accept Jesus as Savior, Messiah, and go on into eternity with Him and the church. The Jews will have the veil rent from their eyes, they will see Messiah Jeshua, repent before Him on their knees, and accept Him as the Lord. He will then receive them as He did each of us. Oh the rejoicing that will take place!
“…and to make an end (tanam; be complete; at an end) of sins…” forever. God will not allow sin to corrupt the new heaven and new earth, or the New Jerusalem. There will be no tears in heaven, no sickness or pain, or lack or poverty, and no foul weather. It will be the perfect place God intended for His dear ones to live in, Jew and Gentile alike, from the creation of the garden in Eden.
“…and to make reconciliation for iniquity…” (kipper; cover up, wipe out, cleanse). This was completed by Jesus when He hung on the cross of rejection. (Hebrews 9:11-15 especially 14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”).
Verse 15 of Hebrews 9 tells us that Jesus is now the Mediator of the new covenant. What sometimes seems confusing is how the old covenant people, the Jews mostly, could be saved. After all, Jesus hadn’t come yet and there was no blood for the remission of sin. Or, was there? We know that the Old Testament saints brought their vegetable and grain offerings to the priests, but they also brought their animal sacrifices so the priests could offer them as atonement for their sins. The priest would slaughter the animal to shed its blood as a covering over the sins, but we know that blood only covered their sin for one year and during the year they made other sacrifices for forgiveness. Is that blood what saved them?
No. As in the New Testament Covenant in Christ, it’s “by faith” (Ephesians 2:8) they were saved. They believed their sacrifices were received of God and they were confident that they were forgiven and saved. Andrew Wommack says it this way:
This phrase, "led captivity captive" is referring to Jesus liberating the Old Testament saints. Old Testament saints who died went to a place in the center of the earth which was called "sheol" in the Hebrew language (see note 3 at Mt. 12:40, p. 188; see note 3 at Lk. 16:22, p. 362). It was this Hebrew word "sheol" that was translated "hell" in Psalm 16:10, which prophesied of Jesus saying, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (compare with Acts 2:27-30).
The ungodly dead also went to "sheol" but the teaching of Jesus in Luke 16:19-31 showed that there was a great gulf fixed between the two, and those in torment (hell) envied those who were enjoying the blessings of the Lord in the part of "sheol" which was called Abraham's bosom or Paradise (see note 4 at Lk. 23:43, p. 536).
Even though these Old Testament saints were blessed, they were not able to enter into the presence of the Lord Himself because the atonement of Christ had not been completed. So, in that sense, they were captives. At the death of Jesus, He descended into "sheol" and took these captives captive. He then took them to heaven, into the very presence of God and vacated that part of "sheol." Now, all that's left in "sheol" is hell. In the New Testament, the Greek word that is used to refer to this area is "hades" and it is only applied to a place of torment.
“…and to bring in everlasting righteousness…” Righteousness is being in right standing; upright; just; blameless. Everlasting is a word we have no concept of as we’ve never experienced it. We can declare our love everlasting for someone one week and then not care for him/her the next week. We assume that because we like cooking or fishing, we’ll do it forever. One day hardship or disability steps in the way and our plans change. For us, right now, there is no “everlasting” but with God there is and one day we’ll be part of it. A right standing, sinless lifestyle will be the norm in heaven.
“…and to seal up the vision and prophecy…” When we are finished stuffing an envelope, we seal it so that nothing more can be added to it. It’s a done deal and the letter or payment is eventually mailed out to its intended recipient. This prophecy of Daniel’s is finished, sealed and ready to be delivered. He wrote this down and “mailed” it to all who would read it. People have asked me if I feel that all prophecy has been fulfilled and I say, for the church yes, it has. Everything the church needed to accomplish before the rapture and the second coming of the Lord is finished. The Jews and the nations, however, still have many prophecies to see filled before they enter the Kingdom of God eternally. How can we know what the prophecies are for the Jews and nations that the Lord has yet to accomplish? Just read the Book of Revelation.
“…and to anoint the most Holy…” To which “most Holy” does this refer? Is it the most Holy New Jerusalem? Is it the Holy of Holies in the new millennial temple? Or is it the Most Holy Jesus who is to be enthroned as King of kings and Lord of Lords during the Millennium? Personally I believe this refers to Jesus.
God set aside 490 years for the completion of the salvation of the Jews. 483 of those years have past. We are now in a holding pattern, or the church age. It will not be long before the countdown restarts and this prophecy is completed.
Book of Daniel
Chapter 9, Part 40
THE SEVENTY-WEEKS OF PROPHECY
Pastor Brian Atwood, Pathway Baptist Church, Alabama, said, “The Book of Daniel may well be one of the greatest proofs of the validity of the scriptures. In several chapters Daniel maps out the course of human activity with amazing accuracy.”
V. 25 – “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
“Know therefore and understand…” Increase your knowledge of these weeks, deepen your understanding. What are we to come to know and understand? The time the 70-Weeks began and what needed and still needs to be done during those weeks. In our case, we need to see and know what has already been accomplished.
The prophecy given here in Daniel of the 70-Weeks is one that Jew and Gentile agree on. They both believe this is the prophecy pointing to the coming of Messiah. The difference, however, is that we know Messiah has come and will return. The Jews have not openly calculated this prophecy to pinpoint the time of the “arrival” of the Messiah as King of the Jews. They are still looking for Him to arrive in grand splendor. During the time of Jesus the Pharisees could not accept what Isaiah describes as a puny, funny looking guy no one would pay attention to as Messiah. When this same Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the greeting normally reserved for a king, and riding a donkey as a king, they were incensed. And more prophecy was fulfilled during that week; they crucified our Lord.
As we saw earlier in another study, the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given by God to Artaxerxes in 444 or 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 2) and is the starting point of this timeline in prophetic history which will eventually span 490-years.
Let’s break this down once again to give us a grasp of what has happened and is going to happen yet.
The first 7 is 7X7, or 49, years began the day Artaxerxes told Nehemiah to leave and go rebuild Jerusalem, her wall and the temple. Interestingly, from that day to the end of the Old Testament, or the Book of Malachi, was the 49 years. Israel had been released from Babylonian captivity, was back in the land of Palestine, but was now under the rule of Persia and the Medio-Persian Empire. The temple had been rebuilt; although a smaller version of the original temple, and men could buy the priesthood. The lineage of the priesthood could no longer be traced back to Aaron. The next Biblical writing we read is the Gospels.
Next is the sixty-two weeks, or 62X7 which equals 434 years. Now, if we add the 49 weeks with the 434 weeks, we arrive at a very prophetic moment in history, Palm Sunday, the week of the “cutting off” of the Messiah. “Then He answered and told them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?’” (Mark 9:12, AMP)
Finally, we have the seventieth seven, or seven years. This still has yet to be fulfilled. Remember, when the Pharisees rejected Jesus and raised a commotion about having Him killed, the prophetic clock stopped. Jesus told the Jews, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit" (Matthew 21:43. That’s us! We are still in the age of the Gentiles but also in the church age. Both will end at the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
V. 26 – “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
“And after threescore and two weeks (62 years) shall Messiah be cut off (crucified), but not for himself…” Look at that! Daniel knew Jesus was going to die, not for sins He had committed, but for our sin! The prophet Isaiah knew as well when he said, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken” (Isaiah 53:8). We can extend that a little without changing the Bible to say, Jesus died for all God’s people creation. Also read Zechariah 9:9.
“…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…” This is not the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that Jesus foretold when He was rejected by His own. That was fulfilled in A.D 70 by the Roman general Titus. The Romans killed thousands of Jews when they destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. They destroyed the city so completely that Jesus’ prophecy of not one stone remaining on another was fulfilled.
There are two schools of thought about why the stones were separated rather than just torn down. First, some say that, although they were ordered not to burn the temple, the soldiers disobeyed and burned it to retrieve the gold that covered it. When the marauders burned the temple, the gold melted into the stones and they took them apart to retrieve the gold.
Second, others say that when the city was rebuilt by Nehemiah, the men used gold in the mortar when putting the wall together. It is speculated that the soldiers tore the wall apart seeking for the gold. Either way, Jesus was right; the wall was complete rubble with no two stones stuck together as though destroyed by a flood.
The people and the prince this verse is referring to is the antichrist and his followers, those of the Roman Empire. This will take place during the Tribulation.
“…and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” This means that Israel would see nothing but war, desolation, and destruction from that day forward. There would be no end to the wars and conflicts they would be involved with to survive as a nation. For a while, that didn’t happen. The Jewish nation fell apart. After the war when they regained their statehood, people thought peace would come, but it’s been continual conflict there with no end in sight till Jesus comes.
V. 27 – “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 for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…” This is going to be the last seven years that make up the 490 years of Daniel’s prophecy. It will begin at the start of the Tribulation. The antichrist, or little horn, will make an agreement, or treaty, with Israel and the nations. By the time this treaty is signed, if my understanding of Scripture is correct, the Bride of Christ will have been lifted out of the way and taken to heaven along with the dead in Christ who wait for His trumpet call. Remember, the spirit goes to be with the Lord upon one’s death, but the bodies will rise and be glorified when Jesus calls us to meet Him on the glory cloud.
“…and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Before or during the beginning of the Tribulation the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt, the priests back in office, and the three times daily sacrifices reestablished. This is in process of happening. There are some men in Israel who are reproducing the priest’s ceremonial garb and the people are fighting for the right to rebuild the temple. After the first 3 ½ years of antichrist’s rule, he will turn on the Jews and cause the daily sacrifices and offerings in the temple to cease.
“…and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” The abominations are the sin of Israel in rejecting the Messiah. This can also refer to the Abomination of Desolation of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. The Abomination of Desolation will be in power for 7 years. For the first half of the 7 years he will be peaceable and friendly. Suddenly he will turn on the Jews, demand that everyone carry his symbol on their hand of forehead. He will persecute the Jews and kill many more than Hitler did. But, when the time is determined, or consummated for this creep to do his work, his punishment will be poured out and he’ll be tossed into the Lake of Fire.
Rev. Suzanne L. Taylor
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