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Daniel

Nuggets From Daniel (Part 4)

Nuggets From Daniel (Part 4)
By Dr. David Bowen

Let’s take a deep dive into Daniel chapter nine! This chapter is divided into two major sections: Daniel’s prayer in verses 3 to 19, and the response to his prayer in verses 20 to 23.

In verse 2, Daniel said he had been studying the writings of Jeremiah and Isaiah. Because of this, he knew the seventy years of captivity were almost up. However, he misunderstood the chronology of the prophetic events. He thought the Messianic Kingdom would be set up following the seventy years of captivity. The angel Gabriel was sent to inform Daniel it was NOT going to be seventy years BUT seventy-sevens before the Kingdom would be established!

The Background

Verse one provides us with some background by giving us a date; this takes place in the first year of Darius, 539/538 B.C. If you remember, the Babylonian captivity began in 605 B.C. In chapter two, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, was set in 602 B.C. (Daniel 2:1-45). In chapter four, Daniel’s vision of the four beasts and the Ancient of Days, was in 553 B.C. (Daniel 7:1-28). Chapter eight was the ram-goat vision, which was two years later, in 551 B.C. (Daniel 8:1-27). I say all that because we now know from the beginning of the exile to Babylon to this prayer and interpretation, there have been 67 years.

This helps us because, in verse 2, Daniel said he was studying the writing of Jeremiah. In fact, Daniel referred to Jeremiah as the “prophet.” But weren’t Daniel and Jeremiah contemporaries? Yes, they were, but a whole generation had passed since Jeremiah wrote his book.

Daniel probably also studied Leviticus, 1 Kings, Isaiah, and Hosea. From Jeremiah, he learned the time of captivity would be 70 years. (Jeremiah 25:10-14, 29:10-14). From Isaiah, he would have learned about Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1). From Leviticus 26:40-43, 1 Kings 8:46-53, Isaiah, Jeremiah 3:12-18, and Hosea 5:15-6:3 he would have learned that repentance was a prerequisite for the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.

Six times in chapter 9, Daniel uses God’s personal name, YAHWEH (9:4, 9:10, 9:13, 9:14 twice, 9:29). The reason Daniel uses God’s name is because it means Keeper of the Covenants. God had promised through Jeremiah that the captivity would last 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10). Daniel had been brought to Babylon in the first deportation in 605 B.C. It was now 539/538 B.C., which meant Daniel believed there were just three more years to go. The third deportation and destruction of Jerusalem happened in 586 B.C., and 70 years later, in 515 B.C., as God said, the temple was rebuilt.

Daniel’s Prayer

In verse 3, Daniel made one mistake as he was praying, which an angel had to correct. Daniel erroneously believed that the Messianic Kingdom would be established after these 70 years. Knowing that the confession of national sin was a prerequisite for establishing the Kingdom (Leviticus 26:40-43, Jeremiah 3:12-18, Hosea 5:15), he confessed national sin. His confession is broken into two divisions: the acknowledgment (vs. 3-10) and the punishment for sin (vs. 11-14).

Verse 3 explains his preparation for this time of prayer. He has three acts of preparation: fasting, putting on sackcloth, and throwing ashes on himself, all Biblical symbols of remorse and mourning (Joshua 7:6, 2 Samuel 1:1, 3:31, Esther 4:1-3, Job 2:12, 42:6, Ezekiel 27:30.

In verse 4, he begins to pray. He describes YAHWEH as a covenant-keeping God, a recognition of God’s majesty. YAHWEH is the God who keeps His word (Nehemiah 1:5, 9:32). In Exodus 20:5-6 YAHWEH describes Himself as a God who is merciful to those who love and obey Him. Deuteronomy 7:9 confirms YAHWEH is a covenant-keeping God, meaning He is faithful. Daniel understood keeping God’s commandments is the external manifestation of a believer’s love for God. Jesus confirms this understanding when He made a similar statement in John 14:15.

Daniel’s Confession

In verse 5, Daniel confessed the widespread disobedience to God’s law. The people have sinned, rebelled, and turned away from God. Daniel acknowledges the sin and guilt of the people in four different ways:

– They had acted perversely – meaning ‘to twist.’
– They had turned from the right way.
– They had done wicked.
– They had rebelled – meaning they deviated from

It is interesting to notice how much Scripture Daniel includes in his prayer. He references 1 Kings 8:47: “Yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly” and Psalm 106:6 says, “Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.”

In verse 6, Daniel references 2 Chronicles 36 and Jeremiah 26, as he acknowledged Israel’s disobedience to both the Law of God and His prophets. 2 Chronicles 36:15-16, “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy.”

Jeremiah 26:4-6

“And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, 5 to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened; 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth.”‘”

God used prophets to speak to all ranks of society: kings, priests, fathers, and common people. Daniel acknowledged that all the ranks of society were guilty of disobedience. In verses 7 and 8, Daniel’s prayer included admitting being shameful for their unfaithful deeds and sin against God. Daniel references 2 Chronicles 32:21, Jeremiah 7:19, and Ezra 9:7.

Israel had committed great acts of unfaithfulness against God. Israel was required to pay for her sins. She had become the scorn of pagan nations. Her disgrace was seen in the temple’s destruction and her captivity in Babylon. Wherever they went, they experienced humiliation.

Daniel Presents the Reason for His Plea

In verses 9 and 10, Daniel describes Israel’s need for forgiveness with a reminder of WHO God is. He begins his plea for forgiveness by reminding God of His attributes. Psalm 103:8 states that He is a God of mercies and forgiveness. Lamentations 3:22 says God’s love is steadfast and never ceases and that His mercies never end. History proves those verses to be accurate, and throughout the history of the Jewish people, a remnant has survived because of God’s faithfulness. They were not consumed by Divine punishment because of YAHWEH’s covenantal love. God’s compassion for His people (Lamentations 3:22) and His mercies (Daniel 9:9) have NEVER failed and they NEVER will.

Psalm 130:4 proclaims that with God there is forgiveness. Exodus 34:6-7 says, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…” Nehemiah 9:17 also states, “…you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.”

Punishment for Their Sin and Guilt

Verses 11-14 deal with the punishment for their sin and guilt. Because the people did not obey the voice of YAHWEH, they received the curse of the Law (Leviticus 26:14-39, Deuteronomy 28:15-68, 29:20). Because they sinned against God, everything Moses warned them of came to pass.

In verse 12, his prayer shows God’s Word proves TRUE. The judgment of Israel confirmed the words of Moses, and it confirmed the words of the prophets as they predicted the Babylonian captivity. A “Great evil” was brought upon Israel and the city of Jerusalem. No city had suffered as much as Jerusalem. Devastation came through slaying by the sword and the burning of the city.

Confirmation of the Prophecies of the Torah

In verse 13, Daniel’s prayer includes the confirmation and fulfillment of the prophecies of the Torah. The judgment Israel is suffering confirms the Law of Moses. Daniel prays, “As it is written in the Law of Moses…all this calamity (evil) has come upon us.”

Verse 14 restates the reasons for God’s punishment. “Therefore”, connects verse 14 with verse 13. Here, Daniel references Jeremiah 1:12, Jeremiah 31:28, and Jeremiah 44:27, all of which say God watched over His people. God allowed the captivity for two reasons: Israel did not obey His voice, and He must punish sin.

Daniel Pleads for Mercy

A transition takes place in verses 15 to 19. Despite their failures, Daniel pleads for God’s mercy. Verse 15 begins with Daniel remembering God’s past dealing with Israel. He addressed YAHWEH as Adonai — O Lord our God. This was the God of the Exodus who brought Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 7:8-12:36). Daniel was appealing to the God of the Exodus, who once before brought His people out of a foreign country and into their land. Nehemiah does the same in Nehemiah 9:9-10.

Verse 16 acknowledges God’s righteousness. Daniel clearly states that mercy should not be extended to Israel because of who they are but because of who God is. The reason why YAHWEH should fulfill Daniel’s request is because of His righteousness.

Daniel then mentions two areas where God’s anger had become manifest: the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Mountain, meaning the Temple Mount. Again, he states Israel’s responsibility. Babylon was a tool in God’s hand. It was the Jewish people, NOT Nebuchadnezzar, who were responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem. The “inequities of our fathers” refer to the generation that lived seventy years prior. The punishment came because of THEIR sins. As a result, they had become a source of embarrassment to all the surrounding Gentile nations.

Throughout the Scriptures, God’s name is linked to Jerusalem, (1 Kings 11:36, 14:21, 2 Kings 21:4, 7, 2 Chronicles 6:6, 33:4, Ezra 6:12). Daniel admits the Jewish people have been a reproach to YAHWEH’s reputation.

Daniel Pleads for Grace

In verse 17, Daniel pleads for grace. He asks God to not only hear his prayer but also to respond to it. “Let your face shine upon…” refers to the priestly blessing of Numbers 6:25 and seeking God’s favor. Psalm 67:1 asks for a gracious blessing, and Psalm 80:3 asks for restoration. Daniel was asking YAHWEH to allow the rebuilding of His sanctuary. The basis for the request was ADONAI (the LORD) Himself. Through earlier prophecies, God had promised the rebuilding of the temple.

A Passionate Plea for the Fulfillment of this Request

Verse 18 is a passionate plea for the fulfillment of this request. Daniel addressed YAHWEH personally this time, calling Him ELOHAY, “O MY God.” He asked Him to consider the city called by His name, Jerusalem. Daniel again calls on the covenant-keeping God for His loyalty, love, and mercy.

In verse 19, Daniel uses God’s name ADONAI three times and asks God to do five things. Hear, forgive, listen to, do, and defer not. He asks God not to DELAY the fulfillment of the seventy years in captivity. Daniel feared YAHWEH might decide to begin the seventy years at the 586 B.C. mark (the third deportation), NOT at the 605 B.C. mark. (The first deportation). This would extend the captivity by another nineteen years! Daniel was unsure when God would consider the start of the seventy years. He prayed, “God, please don’t delay.” He hoped God would act for the sake of His glory.

This is where Daniel’s understanding of God’s plan for Israel’s future was mistaken. Daniel believes the Messianic Kingdom will come once the seventy years of exile are over. Later, the disciples made the same mistake in understanding God’s timing. God commissioned the angel Gabriel to interrupt Daniel’s prayer to correct Daniel’s misunderstanding.

The Arrival of Gabriel

Daniel needed to recognize his misunderstanding of the planned prophetic events. He did not realize he needed an explanation, BUT God did, so Gabriel was dispatched to give the proper understanding. The angel arrived as Daniel was in the middle of confessing.

Verse 21 explains Gabriel appeared in the form of a man. Daniel recognized him because he had seen him once before (Daniel 8:16-27). Gabriel touched Daniel, interrupting his prayer time. He came at the time of the evening sacrifice, between three & four p.m. The sacrifice had not been practiced for seven decades, but Daniel remembered the hour of the day in which it took place. Had a temple existed, this would have been the time of the evening sacrifice.

The purpose of Gabriel’s arrival is explained in verse 22. He appeared to instruct Daniel to correct his misunderstanding regarding the establishment of the Millenium kingdom. It was not to begin after the seventy-year captivity, as Daniel thought.

Verse 23 explains that Gabriel was sent to Daniel as soon as he started praying. Psalm 139:4 says, “Before a word is on my tongue, … O Lord, you know it altogether.” Before Daniel began praying, God knew what he was going to pray.

Verse 24 explains that YAHWEH wanted Daniel to consider the matter and understand the vision. The Kingdom would not begin after seventy years BUT after seventy-sevens or a period of seventy sets of seven. Seventy-sevens is a total of 490 years. Daniel has been dealing with the Times of the Gentiles, which began with Nebuchadnezzar and will continue until the destruction of the antichrist. The focus of these 490 years would be the Jewish people. “70 sevens were decreed for YOUR people.” This time period pertains to Israel, NOT the church. Gabriel began outlining God’s program of the redemption of Israel. This will include Messiah’s first AND second coming.

Gabriel lists six points to the purpose of this:

– to finish the transgression,
– to put an end to sin,
– to atone for iniquity,
– to bring in everlasting righteousness,
– to seal both vision and prophecy,
– to anoint a most holy place.

Let’s look at each of these purposes.

To Finish Transgression

The Hebrew word for “finish” is to “shut up,” to “restrain completely,” “to withhold,” or “to bring to completion.” The seventy-sevens will end Israel’s history of rebellion against God. Isaiah 53:1-9 says a day will come (in the future) when Israel will pray a national prayer of confession, explicitly acknowledging the sin of rejecting Yeshua as the Messiah. Zechariah 12:10 reveals that the Jewish people will look to the One who has pierced at the time of Israel’s prayer of confession.

To Put an End to Sin

This refers to the act of locking someone up securely with the result that the person is not permitted to roam at will. The modern-day word “prison” or “jail” comes from this Hebrew root (Isaiah 27:9, Ezekeil 36:25-27, 37:23, Romans 11:27).

To Atone for Iniquity

This is the act of making an atonement, not by covering a sin but by purging it based on sacrifice. The seventy-sevens include a final atonement for sin. Ever since the fall, humanity has been born with a sinful nature. The term’ iniquity’ refers to an internal problem. Gabriel declares that an atonement would be made that would take permanent care of the sinful nature of humans.

To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness

The Hebrew word for everlasting does not speak about eternity; it speaks about an AGE. The seventy-sevens will bring in an age of righteousness, the Messianic Kingdom, which will be the Millennium (Isaiah 1:26, 11:2-5, 32:17, Jeremiah 23:5-6, 33:15-18).

To Seal Both Vision and Prophecy

Gabriel declares that there would be a cessation of prophecy, both oral and written. The reason is that within the seventy-sevens, all revelations and prophecies will finally be fulfilled. With the second coming of Jesus (the Messiah), the function and purpose of prophecy will be completed.

To Anoint a Most Holy Place

This refers to the future millennium temple. Ezekiel chapters 40-48 give great details of this future temple. This will be built at the beginning of the Millennium.

Verse 25 explains the starting point of the seventy-sevens. Gabriel provides the exact time when the seventy sevens would start, “from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince; there shall be seven weeks.” Seven weeks equals forty-nine years. Gabriel had a specific decree in mind. A king will issue it and pertain to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The king’s decree would be the starting point of the seventy weeks.

Gabriel then describes the specific purpose of this period. The Cyrus decree, which allowed the Jews in exile to return to Jerusalem, was issued in 538/537 B.C. to rebuild the temple and is found in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-4, Ezra 6:1-5. The decree from King Artaxerxes to Nehemiah (445/444 B.C.) was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-2:8).

The decree of Artaxerxes (445 B.C.) given to Nehemiah was for rebuilding the city. In fact, according to records that Sir Rawlinson found in the Palace of Shushan in the 1800’s, that order was given on March 14, 445 B.C. The first seven weeks or forty-nine years is the end of Malachi, the end of the Old Testament (445 B.C. minus 49 years = 396 B.C.).

Sixty-nine weeks or another 434 years (360 days per year) brings us to the time of the Messiah, specifically Palm Sunday and the beginning of Passion Week. The ending point of these first two units is the return of the “Anointed One, the ruler.”

The commandment given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was in 445 B.C. From the time that commandment goes forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem unto the Messiah, there will be seven sevens and 62 sevens, or 69 seven-year cycles, or 483 years. And so, from March 14, 445 B.C., according to the prediction here, the Messiah should have come 483 years from the time of this commandment.

The years in the prophecies of Daniel are 360-day years, which was predicated upon the Babylonian calendar of a 360-day year. (We now use a Julian calendar of 365 and add a quarter day a year.) But Daniel’s prophecies were predicated upon the Babylonian calendar 360 days a year. And so, it would be best to transpose the 483 years into days to figure out the time of the coming of the Messiah, the Prince. Transposed into days, 483 times 360 would give you 173,880 days. And if you take and then work that out on our calendar, you find it comes out to April 6, 32 A.D., a Passover time.

The rebuilding of the streets and walls of Jerusalem would happen in the first seven weeks. Then, there would be another 62 weeks of years until the coming of Messiah the Prince. The 70 weeks are divided into 3 parts:

– 7 weeks — 49 years until the city and its walls are rebuilt.
– 69 weeks (7 plus 62), 483 years from the decree, until Messiah the Prince appears.
– A final 70th week to complete the prophecy.

It is in verse 26 that explains a gap between the second and third period of weeks: “26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off.” Gabriel prophesized that there would be a gap of time between the conclusion of the 69th seven and the beginning of the 70th seven. The angel listed three specific events.

– The anointed One would be killed.
– Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed.
– There would be war.

The term “cut off” is found in Leviticus 7:20, Psalm 109:13, and Nahum 3:15. The term has the connotation of a violent death.

Verse 27 fills in the blank left by verse 25. The third and final division of the seventy weeks is one week or seven years. In this time, the antichrist will make a covenant, a peace pact with Israel. Halfway through the seven years, he will break the covenant and offer a sacrifice, thus desecrating the Holy Temple. The Abomination of Desolation has such an essential Biblical emphasis that five different Biblical writers describe it ten times: Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Paul, and John (Dan. 9:27, 11;31, 12:11, Matt 24:15-16, Mark 13:14, 2 Thess 2:4, Rev 13:14, 14:9, 19:20, 20:4).

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