115-110 Daniel Chapter 9
In this verse Darius the Mede is called the son of Ahasuerus. This is a name that is applied to royalty in the Medo-Persian Empire and there is no reason Ahasuerus should not be identified as the father of Darius the Mede. Daniel also states that he is the seed of the Medes which refers to the place of his birth and not the kingdom which he rules.
Darius was an under-king ruling the kingdom of the Chaldeans under the authority of Cyrus. Daniel only speaks of his first year of reign which may mean that he died before reaching the second year of reign. It is also noteworthy that Daniel within two years dates his writings in recognition of Cyrus beginning in Chapter 10. There is very little historical fact to give us much information about Darius.
Daniel possessed books and one of them was the writings of Jeremiah in whole or part. Daniel most likely had other parts of the Old Testament as well. It is probable that he had the Book of Deuteronomy. Daniel knew that the prophet Jeremiah had said that Judah’s captivity would be for 70 years. (Jeremiah 11:25) Daniel’s prayer that follows was plainly influenced by the writings of Jeremiah and the book of Deuteronomy. In his prayer Daniel uses the name YHWH which is found nowhere else in the book of Daniel.
Daniel had been in Babylon since 605 BC which was 66 years and now would have been eighty years of age. As a result Daniel would have felt that God’s time was surely near. Daniel set himself to prayer in great earnest. With repentance and humility, fasting and sackcloth
He ‘set his face’, suggesting firm intention and perseverance. The Lord who is God had promised and He must do it. Note the signs of repentance and humility, fasting, sackcloth.
God was publicly known in Babylon as the God of heaven but in privet God’s name was YHWH. Or, it may be that as Daniel read the work of Jeremiah he was reminded of the name of God. Daniel has not used this name for God until now in his book but uses it often in this chapter. YHWH is the name used for God in the covenant and it may be that Daniel is mindful of the covenant that God has with His people. Neither doe Daniel take his fellowship with God lightly and maintains a proper fear of the Lord. We ourselves often fail to have proper fear and respect when approaching God in prayer. Daniel approaches Him as the “Great and dreadful God” who would allow His temple to be destroyed because of the sins of His people. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
Daniel’s hope lay in the belief that the God of the covenant would show mercy towards those who were faithful towards the covenant. God is faithful in that He responds to those who are faithful to the covenant commandments. Thus, by their obedience they show that they are truly His people.
Daniel identifies with the people as he expresses the many sins of the people by listing their offenses. Daniel includes himself as well as none are more aware of their sin than the truly righteous.
The Israelite people had added to their sin by not listening to the prophets that God had sent in His name. (Jeremiah 7:25) Verses from Jeremiah indicate where Daniel had gotten his ideas but he must have had memories of their sin from his youth.
Daniel identifies God as the righteous one and that God was just in His dealing with Israel. Daniel states that he knows that God had done all that was possible to turn the people back to Him. God’s people could only avoid their gaze upon the Lord for they had failed their Lord God completely.
Daniel as the kings administrator he sees Israel in three sections, Jerusalem, Judah, and Israel. Where ever the Israelites were now they would not be able to look God in the face. They all have broken His law and done the things that they should have not. The evidence of their disobedience is seen in the fact that they have been scattered throughout the nations.
Again Daniel repeats his confession of the people’s sin that they all are ashamed before Him. All are responsible for their sinful behavior.
Daniel recognizes that YWHW is the faithful and forgiving God of His people. This is because God’s mercy is enduring because of His compassion towards His people. If this was not true of God then His people would have been completely destroyed. They had not listened to the law explained to them by the prophets and therefore were without excuse.
This same prayer of Daniel is true for us today, as we all have fallen short of the glory of God. Like Israel we have rebelled against the Word of God.
Because they have broken the law of God and refused to listen to the prophets of God they have been cursed with these trials and tribulations. God had given them warning through His prophet Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 44:22)
The destruction of Jerusalem was in fact a confirmation of the Word of God. It was His judgment upon His people so that they would know the He is God and will do what He promises. This is the reason that this great evil has come upon them. (Jeremiah 35:17 Jeremiah 36:31)
It was not only Jerusalem that was destroyed. Other cities in Judah were lost as well. But Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God and they had lived there with God. Therefore when God allowed the city to be destroyed the Jewish people had lost everything.
Daniel acknowledges to the people that they could have turned from their sin and sought the favor of God, but they had failed to do so. They had refused to seek the truth of God’s Word and an understanding. Daniel reaffirms that all the evil that has come upon the people is of their own doing. That God is a righteous God and His judgments are just.
There is nothing that the Israelite people could do to earn deliverance from the judgments of God. That would require favor and mercy from God. One cannot receive God’s favor without repentance, a return to obedience in His law. A responsive faith and obedience always go together.
Daniel now declares God’s deliverance of His people from the Egyptians and that it had made an enduring name for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Daniel confesses that he and the people deserve nothing from God. Daniel appealed to God to show His mercy that the approach of the people round about towards the Israelites and God might be shown false. Daniel states that God should show His mercy for the sake of His Holy name and not for the sake of an undeserving people.
Daniel now prays for the faithful of the exiles in consideration for the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Sanctuary. Their thoughts and prayers were for the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple in belief that the work of God could not move forward without them. It was not for their purpose that the name of the Lord might be vindicated. Their hearts were heavy that without restoration Israel would not again be able to rise to greatness. They were not listening to the Prophet Ezekiel that the purposes of God to establish is heavenly Temple on a holy mountain far away from Jerusalem and far holier. (Ezekiel 40:2 Ezekiel 45:2-8)
Daniel’s plea to God for the restoration of the Temple and the city were not on the bases that they deserved it but that of His mercy. Daniel wanted again for the Lord to shine on the city and the Temple making it once again His dwelling place. Daniel felt confident that once the Lord looked upon the city and Temple in its ruins He would be moved for His own name’s sake. The hope of Daniel rest fully on the mercy of God. Jerusalem was known throughout the nations as the city of the Holy God of the Israelite.
In this verse we see the growing fervency of Daniel’s prayer. He pleads for the Lord to forgive, listen, act, and not to put off the work for His names sake. It was not so much for the welfare of the people or for himself but for the reputation of the Lord. Daniel believed that the Lord must act and restore the city and Temple and His people for the vindication of His name.
Daniel here summarizes his petitions unto the Lord. Daniel had not only confessed his sin but that of the Israelite nation. Daniel had also prayed fervently for the restoration of the Israelite lands that God had given to them through the covenant of Abraham. Daniel also wanted to see the Holy City of Jerusalem restored and the Temple of God rebuilt so God could once again dwell with His people. The restoration of the Israelite nation and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple was the ultimate hope of Daniel. Daniel’s reference was to the Prophet Isaiah who say the dead being resurrected to a new life on this earth. (Isaiah 26:19) Daniel also knew from the prophet that the wicked would face their destruction in the valley of Hinnom, which is on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 66:24)
The angel Gabriel now appeared to Daniel. He appeared as a man and thus Daniel calls him a man. Gabriel had appeared to Daniel before in Chapter 8 and now has returned. Gabriel is an arch angel of the Lord and is sent to deliver the messages of God. Daniel describes Gabriel as flying in weariness. As Daniel addresses him as a man he may view his capabilities as a man. This may have been Gabriel’s appearance but this would not have been the case, as the meaning of the name Gabriel is “God is my strength.”
We can assume that Daniel had been in prayer throughout the day and now was the time of oblation. Daniel makes note that it is now very late in the afternoon just before sunset. This would have been the time of oblation, the time to make evening offerings to the Lord at His Temple, if he was in Jerusalem and if the Temple was standing. The time of Oblation was a time of worship and prayer even though it was no longer possible to offer sacrifices. In Chapter 8 Gabriel touched Daniel to prepare him to receive the vision, so the use of touching again could mean that Gabriel is again preparing Daniel for the message he has from God.
Gabriel had come to make Daniel to understand his words from God that would follow.
Gabriel first assures Daniel that from the beginning of his prayer God had already sent forth His word of fulfillment. God’s answer came quickly not because it was a long day of prayer but that God is gracious towards a faithful beloved servant. The word going forth sates the power of God’s Word. God makes His decree and sends it forth that His will shall be done according to His plan and purpose.
Long prayers filled with rhetoric are not what God sees or hears. God sees the heart and knows what our intentions and motives are and His dealings with us are in that context. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 6:7-8. In his prayer Daniel had not wasted his effort. His prayer brought him closer to God and now he would learn what God is going to do in the future.
The Seventy Sets of Seven
The Seventy Weeks are a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, the Anointed Messiah. The seventy sets of seven begin either with the decree of Cyrus (538BC; Ezra 1:1-4) or with one of the decrees of Artaxerxes. (458 or 445 BC; Ezra 7:8-26; Nehemiah 2:1-10) The death of Christ occurred at the end of 69 sets of seven. The seventieth set of seven is a time yet to be fulfilled. If the decree given to Nehemiah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem is the starting point, then there were very nearly 483 years (69×7) between that date and the death of Christ. With Christ’s death occurring at the end of the 69th set and the seventieth set is yet to be fulfilled. There is now a long gap between the 69th set and the 70th. The 70th set is still in the future and is during the reign of the Antichrist during the tribulation at the end of time. (2 Thessalonians 2:5-12; 1 John 2:18-22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7; Revelation 13:1,5; Revelation 16:13-14; Revelation 17:11; Revelation 19:20-21; Revelation 20:10)
Here the seventy sevens are seen as a time to make right Israel and God. This would be a time when the city of Jerusalem and the Temple would be rebuilt which would happen in the first set of seven. Jeremiah had said that the captivity would be for seventy years and Darius allowed the Israelites to return and rebuild. But this time is also making the way for a full and final restoration to bring the whole world into a right relationship with God.
The seventy sevens stand in contrast to the seventy years of Jeremiah’s prophecy. All that will happen will be in God’s timing according to His plan and purpose. Thus the full and final deliverance will happen according to God’s will and not that of man. Gabriel is explaining that the seventy years of Jeremiah is a limited time and the completion of God’s plan will happen by His divine intervention. The seventy sevens would be required for God’s complete plan to come about. In the Bible the number seven is the perfect number and are seen here as divinely perfect time periods. The divinely perfect time periods would be in harmony with the perfect will of God.
It would be a small interpretation to think that this vision refers to only Israel. The full purpose of God is that Israel would be a blessing to the nations. (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-3; Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 14:8-9) Israel was not born to be unto itself but to fulfill the purpose of God that the whole world would be blessed through her. (Genesis 12:3) Israel was to be a kingdom of holy priest according to the covenant made with Moses at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 19:6) God created the heavens and the earth and therefore has a universal view, not just a view of one small tiny nation. Israel was formed to be a benefit to the whole world. The law that God placed upon His people was to be for the sake of the whole world.
We see six purposes of God for the seventy sevens. “To finish the transgression.” Since the dawn of man’s creation transgression against God’s Word has reigned. Man has continued to rebel against God’s Word and now it is to be restrained. Our God is longsuffering but at His appointed time the transgression will be brought under control, it will be imprisoned and finally dealt with.
“To make an end of sin.” At a point in time God will seal up sin. (Job 14:17) Once sin is sealed up God will bring the actions of men into account. This probably has in mind the binding of the Evil One and ending the power of sin over men’s lives. This could only be effected if the debt of sin were to be paid in full. (Hebrews 9:26) God is able to transform lives through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18) allowing men to be blameless before God. The final outcome for sinful behavior would be dealt with by God’s mercy and judgment.
“To make atonement for iniquity.” This would require a reconciliation for the sins committed so that man could come to God and be received without the shadow of past sin. (2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 2:16) Removing man’s transgression would break down the barrier between God and man.
“To bring in everlasting righteousness.” The stain of sin would be forever removed before God as men will live in perfect righteousness. (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 2:21) This is the accomplishment of the perfectly Righteous One who came in the name of God. He gave His righteousness to men by sacrificing Himself for the sin debt of man. (Romans 5:17; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
“To seal up vision and prophecy.” This states that God’s plan is complete and we no longer will be looking to the future fulfillment.
“To anoint the most holy place.” The anointing is a new dedication to God, all will be set apart for Him. This could mean the anointing of the everlasting King and the Holy Sanctuary in the heavenly Jerusalem. (Exodus 40:9; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21) This prophecy will be completed upon the return of Jesus Christ.
The Word went forth to restore Jerusalem and the Temple in response to Daniel’s prayer. This began with Darius who sent the people back to Judah to rebuild the Temple. That would also include the building for those who were responsible for the Temple. This work began by decree of Cyrus in 538 BC. (Ezra 1:2-4) Nehemiah was sent in 445 BC to fortify the city by the rebuilding of the city walls. (Nehemiah 2:8) This constructive work on Jerusalem did happen in times of trouble as Israel did still have their enemies. At one point the work was suspended. (Ezra 4:21-24)
It was the authority given to Nehemiah to rebuild the city that got the progress back on track. We can see the hand of God in assuring that the work would go forward according to His plan.
We see here that the anointed one, the prince, is the Son of God Jesus Christ. Compare this verse to the Prophet Isaiah. Isaiah gives us a picture of the anointed one who came to proclaim the truth to Israel. (Isaiah 49:1-6) The anointed one will be charged falsely and tried, He will be spat upon and shamed publicly. (Isaiah 50:6; Isaiah 53:7-8) Yet, He continues to set His face towards His destiny. (Isaiah 50:7) He will suffer as the sacrifice for the sin of the world. (Isaiah 53:3-5, 8, 10-12) As a man of sorrows He remained faithful to the will of the Father. (Isaiah 53:10) after His work was finished He was exalted and has the Most High place. (Isaiah 52:13)
All of the prophets of the Old Testament were looking for the coming of the anointed One. (Isaiah 11:1-2; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 55:3; Hosea 3:4-5) They also knew that the nation of Israel would turn away from Him. (Zechariah 13:7) But they knew that in spite of this the purpose of God would be accomplished.
The First Half of Daniel’s Seventh Week
The last week in Daniel’s vision is known as the “Great Tabulation.” It is the 70th seven of the 490 year period. The prophetic clock stopped at the “Cutting off” of the Messiah at the crucifixion of Jesus. Before the tribulation period begins the Church of Jesus Christ has been called out. As the Church is indwelled by the Holy Spirit the restraint of the lawless one has been removed. The clock starts again when the prince confirms a seven year agreement with the many allowing Temple worship once again for the Jewish nation. The word “confirm” in Hebrew means to have strength and power. Thus the agreement will be effected by the use of force. Military might is the only way the lawless one can enforce his rule. In the Book of Revelation chapters 6 through 9 speaks of the first 3.5 years of Daniel’s 70th week.
In these chapters in Revelation we see the events of this time period. In Heaven Jesus is sitting upon His throne. It is He and only He that is worthy to open the seals which will affect the events transpiring on earth.
The first four of the seals describes a time of false peace which will be followed by war. During this time ¼ of the earth’s population will be lost. During this time the world will suffer nuclear war and the effects of its aftermath. All those who come to a faith in Jesus Christ will lose their life for that faith. There will also be great geological and cosmic disturbances.
Also during the first half of the seven year tribulation the Jews who had rejected Jesus as the Messiah will suddenly realize that He is the true Messiah and begin to proclaim the Gospel message. (Revelation 7:1-8) Two prophets will stand in the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming God’s judgement upon the earth. (Revelation 11:3-7)
War breaks out again and another 1/3rd of the world’s population is lost. Water and food supplies are destroyed by cosmic asteroids and comets striking the earth. Great earthquakes will shake the foundation of the earth. These events correspond with the blowing of seven trumpets by seven angels in Heaven. All the while the two witnesses warn the world of these judgments from God. By this point in the Great Tribulation more than have the world’s population has perished.
At the Midpoint of the Great Tribulation
The prince who has come breaks the agreement when he places an idol in the Temple and proclaims himself to be god. (2 Thessalonians 2:4) The two witnesses are killed. (Revelation 11:7-9)
At this time in Heaven, and unknown to the inhabitants of earth, Satan will be cast out from his position in heaven along with his fallen angels and are cast down to earth. (Revelation 12:7-9) Satan then indwells the prince who becomes the beast. (Revelation 13:4) This is the little horn in Daniel 7:8. His efforts are now to destroy the Jewish people and any who worship other than himself. He will enter into the Temple and set up an image of himself and demand that all the world worship him.
Jesus warned the people that when they see the abomination of the Temple to flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15-16) A select group of Jews flee and are preserved by God’s providence from Satan’s plans to destroy them for the next 3.5 years in the mountains.
Even so the rage of Satan grows stronger as he knows that his time in short. Satan will unite the world under one economic system. Only those who are under the control of this system can conduct business of buying and selling. Complete worship and support must be pledged to the beast before being admitted into the system.
The Last Half of the Tribulation Period
Satan is enraged further that the Jewish people have escaped to the mountains and assembles all the nations to march against them. All the surviving inhabitants of the first half of the tribulation must pledge allegiance to Satan but God in His mercy sends three angels to warn the world against receiving the mark of the beast and that they should worship the Creator alone. (Revelation 14:6-13)
Those who fail to worship the Anti-Christ and place their trust in the Christ are killed for their faith. But their spirits are seen in Heaven. (Revelation 15:2) From Heaven seven angels come with bowls containing the wrath of God poured out upon the earth.
It is then that God’s wrath is poured out. Those who chose to worship Satan and pledge allegiance to the Anti-Christ, received the mark of the beast, are filled with painful sores. All living creatures of the sea and the rivers die. The sun scorches the earth and all inhabitants. Those who are left are gathered together for battle against God in the battle know as Armageddon.