The Mighty Angels of Daniel 9: The Three Questions
By Nathan Jones
Lit By Prayer
Vic Batista: Let’s carry on in our study of Daniel 9 concerning the prophecy of the Seventieth Week of Daniel. The mighty angel Gabriel has declared to Daniel some incredible prophecies that will take place long after Daniel is dead, and far into our own future as well. It’s been really exciting seeing how God has been opening up our understanding of these incredible prophecies in these last days.
Let’s return to the prophecy of the Seventieth Week of Daniel by reading Daniel 9:20-24.
“Now while I was speaking, 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, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision: Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.’”
Nathan Jones: We find Daniel doing what he did three times every day. He is praying to God. In this prayer, Daniel is asking for the forgiveness of his sins and the sins of his people.
Daniel was living in a time period when the Babylonians had come down to Jerusalem and had taken all the Jewish noblemen and leaders — the people with any kind of power and ability — and exiled them out of Jerusalem. The Babylonians then destroyed Jerusalem and left it as a heap of rubble. Only the poorest of the poor were left to dwell in the land. All of Daniel’s friends went into exile in Babylon as well.
Many years later into the exile, in Daniel 9 we find the prophet praying for the Lord to rescue the Jewish people and finally end the allotted time period of punishment. Daniel believed the exile had reached God’s appointed time and should now be ready to bring His people back to Jerusalem and rebuild it for His name’s sake.
The prophet Daniel provides us with a wonderful example for Christians today in how we should be praying. As Christians we shouldn’t be just making a little prayer maybe once a month or week, but like Daniel, we should take prayer very seriously. Three times a day Daniel prayed! We certainly don’t have to pray three times a day ourselves, but by praying at least every day, doing so will keep our spiritual life and relationship with God healthy.
Not only the amount of prayer, but how Daniel prayed also provides a great example. Daniel was asking for the forgiveness of his sins. It is important that we, too, ask for the forgiveness of our sins. Daniel went even further and also asked for the forgiveness of the sins of his people. Likewise, Americans should pray for the United States, or whatever country we hail from. We should be praying for our country and asking for the forgiveness of its sins so that the Lord will continue to work though and bless our nation.
Vic Batista: Pray for your nation, that God will grant wisdom to its leaders and judges. Recognize that because of our own sin nature that we are all at fault for degrading society. God will purpose some wonderful things in our nation, but only if we are humble and repent. Sure, we all see the terrible direction that this country is heading, and it is really, really sad. In response, we should pray like never before, for prayer changes circumstances.
Then there is the understanding prayer grants us. I love verse 22. Daniel prays: “He informed me and talked to me and said, ‘O, Daniel I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.” We gain understanding by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! Look at how Daniel was so dedicated to prayer. People want God’s guidance in their lives, or they want Him to speak directly to them, but God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit and through the Bible. God’s messages to us rarely come in an audio voice. That does happen to a few, but it’s super rare. I’ve never experienced it myself. Rather, God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit and through the Bible.
Daniel was dedicated to prayer and Scripture reading and supplication, and God honored that with answered prayer. Christians look to the Bible and in prayer, and that’s how God will be speaking to us. Christians should really then be dedicated to prayer.
Vic Batista: Especially when it comes to understanding Bible prophecy, such as this passage in Daniel 9. It’s not an easy passage, so we need to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance to understand what we are reading.
Nathan Jones: So true! And the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, or the Seventieth Week of Daniel, is probably one of the most difficult prophecies in all of the Bible to understand. It can get really deep. But, I think it is also one of the most important prophecies in the Bible. Should anyone needs an apologetic — truth of why we believe in Jesus Christ and how we know that the Bible is real — this prophecy abundantly provides. This prophecy actually gives us to the day when Jesus Christ will fulfill aspects of this prophecy! And so, Daniel 9 is extremely important to our understanding of both Jesus’ First and Second Comings.
Vic Batista: That is why we will slowly walk through these passages in prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and light our way. We are going to do our best to commit the things that we don’t know or understand to the Lord and let the Holy Spirit share His explanations. In this way we will minimize confusion.
The Three Questions
Vic Batista: The Angel Gabriel in Daniel 9:24 provides the six-fold purpose for the Seventieth Week of Daniel prophecy:
1. to finish transgressions
2. to make an end to sin
3. to make reconciliation for iniquity
4. to bring in everlasting righteousness
5. to seal up visions and prophecy
6. to anoint the Most Holy.
This six-fold purpose is reminiscent of Matthew 24, as there are a number of different time intervals in terms of when these purposes are going occur.
Nathan Jones: Yes, we could look at it that way. Matthew 24:1-3 reads:
“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’ Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’”
Vic Batista: In this passage, Jesus covers a significant prophetic event — the destruction of the Temple. This prophecy was fulfilled in the Apostles’ time when the Romans destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD. But, the Apostles wanted answers to other prophecies that have been reserved for the future. Back to Daniel 9:24, the passage appears to be talking about the end of the age, just like the Apostles wanted to know. A number of different prophetic events will be happening, but tied to the return of Christ at the end of the Church Age.
Nathan Jones: The stones of the Temple being thrown down was Jesus describing what was going to happen to the Temple. The mighty Temple in Jerusalem, the home of Yahweh Himself, would amazingly be destroyed. Of course the Apostle wanted to know the details! And so, the Apostles had three questions.
Firstly, the Apostles wanted to know just when the Temple would fall. We know historically that was in 70 AD.
Secondly, the Apostles also wanted to know the signs that would surround Christ’s coming at the end of the age, which they’d later learn is the Church Age. In other words, how would the world know that Jesus was returning in order to rapture His Church off this earth before the terrible Day of the Lord.
Thirdly, the Apostles wanted to know the events that would show just when Jesus would fulfill His promises of setting up His Kingdom. That time period is specifically the return of Christ after the Tribulation when He returns to set up the Millennial Kingdom. The Second Coming when know from prophecy occurs at the end of the Tribulation.
So, the Apostles were likely unwittingly asking Jesus to define three separate time periods. The first time period leads up to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The second involves the Church Age, which ends with the Rapture. Christians today are waiting for that event to happen soon. The third time period concerns the setting up of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth, which Daniel’s prophecy will reveal will happen at the end of the Tribulation when Jesus finally returns as King.
I believe the prophecies of Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 are tied together. The Angel Gabriel gives Daniel a time period — 70 weeks of years. Gabriel will now break down those weeks into different time periods and will describe what will happen during each.
Vic Batista: As we dive into the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy, it can become confusing because terms don’t always mean what they say at face value, such as weeks meaning years, and when these prophecies will be occurring. For us today, some of the prophecies Gabriel reveals have found fulfillment in the past, but some are going to still be future to us. It is important for people to understand the broad ranges of time Gabriel is revealing, otherwise we can easily get our end time events mixed up.
In the nineteenth segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, we’ll begin fleshing out the six-fold purpose for the Seventieth Week of Daniel prophecy.