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ch. 9:1-19    ch. 9:20-27

 

Danielís Prayer (ch. 9:1-19)

In this chapter we see Daniel interceding in prayer for his nation.  We must notice that even though he himself is a very righteous man, he includes himself as a sinful person in Israel.  This is an important fact when praying on behalf of a nation or even the church.  The one who prays should come before the Lord in humility by associating himself with the sin of those he is praying for. This is the mark of a true prayer warrior.  It is also the mark of a true prophet of God.  So, if you ever come in contact with one who considers himself or herself as a prophet, and, if he or she isn't humble and prays like Daniel; consider him or her not to be a prophet.  

 

Scholars suggest that this chapter probably takes place around 532 B. C..  

 

In verse 2 we note that Daniel was reading from the book of Jeremiah.  It was probably Jeremiah 25:12.  He understands that the captivity of Judah would last for seventy years and the seventy years were about to expire.  It is interesting to note Danielís response to this prophecy.  He didnít just wait for it to happen.  He didnít' try to make it happen.  He prayed intensively for the prophecy to be fulfilled.  He prayed that God would make it come to pass.  In light of the day in which we live today and the prophecies yet to be fulfilled, Christians would do well to pray for their fulfillment as Daniel did.  This doesnít happen as often as it should.  In some church circles people are encouraged not to even think of end time prophecy.  They're encouraged to leave this topic on the shelf and be concerned only with the present day Kingdom of Gad.  This was not the way Daniel thought and it shouldn't be the way we think.  

 

It is also important to understand just why God sent Judah into captivity.  In 2 Chronicles 36:20 Ė 21 we note that the Sabbath land rests that was mandated by the Law of Moses were not being kept by Israel.  Every seven years Israel was to stop growing crops on their land in order to give it a rest.  That practice was not kept up.  For four hundred and ninety (490) years  Israel ignored this Sabbath of the land.  Therefore, some see 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 as saying that the seventy years equals seventy Sabbaths that were missed during those for hundred and ninety (490) years.   

 

In verse 4 Daniel begins his prayer with recognizing that God is an awesome God and that He keeps His covenants with those who love Him.  As in any time when we come to the Lord in intercessory prayers, we should never jump in and give our requests right away like spoiled children.  We should take the time and give praise and thanks to Him for who He is.  Besides, this acknowledgment in one sense of the word could be seen as humbly reminding God of His promises.  

 

As I said earlier, Daniel in his prayer uses the pronoun "we".  He says that we have sinned, we are wicked, we have disobeyed, we have not listened to your servants, and so on.  Daniel, although being a righteous man associates himself with the wicked. 

 

In verses 7 through 11 we see Daniel telling the Lord that Judah and Jerusalem are in great shame due their sin and the resulting judgement of God. All Jews that have been scattered because of this judgement are seen in the eyes of the world as a shameful and lost people. 

 

The shame that Daniel speaks of is not only a refection on Israel but also could be a reflection on the God of Israel by the rest of the world.  Other nations would view Israel 's God a failure for not maintaining Jerusalem and Israel.  Of course, God was actively involved in the life of Israel.  The shame and shambles that was
Jerusalem
was God's judgment. 

 

In verses 11 through 14 Daniel admits that Israel has failed to obey the Law of Moses and thus has reaped the consequences that are spoken of in the Law. The Law clearly stated that Israel would be blessed if she kept the Law but cursed if she disobeyed the Law. 

 

It is important to understand that God is not afraid to destroy that which He has made.  He was not afraid to destroy His peopleís city and their temple.  In reality, Jerusalem and the temple was His anyway.   He can do what He wants with things that are His. 

 

Itís my thinking that God has in fact destroyed many Christian movements over the centuries because theyíve failed to live as they should.  God causes the rise and fall of nations.  He causes the rise and fall of Christian movements and ministries as well. 

 

Daniel begins to plead with God in verses 15 through 17.  He says that Godís people have become a scorn to the rest of the world.  He pleads that God would rescue Israel as He did when He brought them out of Egypt.

 

Christians should be praying the same way about modern day srael.  We should also be praying about the church because the church in many respects is in the same boat of decay as Israel was back then and as Israel is today. 

 

In verses 17 through 20 the intensity of Danielís prayer increases.  He is requesting, and at this point fairly boldly, that God intervene, but not because Israel deserves it, but because God is merciful and that Jerusalem is His.  Daniel is basically saying, "Do it for yourself, not just for us".  In the long run this is what happened.  Also in the long run, the church needs the same intervention by God, not for our sake but for His sake. He will intervene and His people will triumph, but not before His judgement is complete.   

 

 

 

The Seventy Sevens (ch. 9:20-27)

 

 

First of all, before we look at the rest of this chapter, we need to understand the idea of a week in this particular context.  In western culture we understand a week to be a week of seven days.  To the Jew in Danielís day a week could mean more than just seven days.  You could have a week of months, meaning seven months makes one week.  You could have a week of years, meaning, seven years equals one week.  Simply put, a week means any seven periods of time.  If you don't understand this, you will not understand the rest of this chapter.

 

Something else we need to consider is what a year in this time frame is.  Whether in Jewish history or Gentile history, a year consisted of twelve thirty day months.  One year had three hundred and sixty (360) days.  This began to change in centuries following, but in Danielís day he would have understood one year to have three hundred and sixty days.

 

In verse 20 Daniel says that he is confessing "my sin".  Prior to this he was confessing "our sins", that is the sins of Judah .  Now we know Daniel to be a righteous man, so why would he confess his sins, and not just associate himself with Judah ís sin?  Well, he understood what Paul understood and wrote about in the first two chapters of Romans.  Both men understood that no one is really righteous in the eyes of God.  Everyone has fallen short, and Daniel was no exception, and he knew it.  We're all fallen and sinful people, no matter how good we might actually be.

 

Daniel says that while he was confessing his sin and the sin of Judah, the angel Gabriel came and spoke with him.  In verses 22 and 23 Gabriel told Daniel that he is highly esteemed, and that as soon as he began to pray Gabriel was commanded to go to Daniel with Godís answer to his petitions.

 

In verse 24 Gabriel told Daniel that "seventy sevens" were decreed for both Israel and the city of Jerusalem .   The word "sevens" can also be translated as "weeks" and that is how we should think of this statement.  The weeks spoken of here should be understood as "seventy weeks of years", or so most prophetic Futurists believe.  This means that the weeks spoken of consist of seven years, not seven days.  That equals four hundred and (490) years. 

 

Among end time scholars there is no real controversy over the idea that these seventy weeks means seventy weeks of years, or four hundred and ninety years.  Seventy times seven equals four hundred and ninety.  The controversy concerns the seventieth week.  I will explain this in the next two verses from the Futurist view point.

 

These seventy weeks are needed to finish, or restrain transgression, put and end to sin, atone for wickedness, to bring everlasting righteousness, seal up the vision, and to prophesy and to anoint the most holy.  Pretty well everyone believes the "Most Holy" is Jesus.

 

Most everyone says that whatever the
seventy weeks of years represents, it will take that long to accomplish all of the above mentioned things.  The controversy comes when trying to determine just when all these things were or will be accomplished.  There are basically two camps.  One camp is that all these things were finished, or accomplished on the cross.  The Historical view believes this to be the case.  Futurists believe all these things wonít be accomplished until the return of Jesus to earth, which I tend to believe.  In some respects, some of these things might have been accomplished on the cross.  Sins and transgressions were dealt with in the eyes of God so that when He looks on the believer He sees what Jesus did for them instead of their sin.  In that sense of the word those two things have been accomplished.  In another sense of the word there is still sin, wickedness, and transgressions in the world today.  They have not been completely gotten rid of within the lives of both the believer and the unbeliever.  Thus, Futurists believe that the seventy weeks end with the return of Christ to earth.

 

In verse 25 thereís something else Gabriel wants Daniel to know.  Gabriel now speaks of "seven weeks, plus sixty two weeks".  Thatís sixty nine weeks altogether.  He says that when these sixty nine weeks are complete then the Anointed One will come.  Thereís no controversy over who the Anointed One is.  He is Jesus.  Also, Gabriel actually tells Daniel where to start counting these sixty nine weeks.  You start counting when Israel has been granted permission to rebuild Jerusalem. 

 

There is some misunderstanding on this point.  Some have counted these sixty nine weeks from the time Cyrus let Israel free to rebuild the temple, but Gabriel is not speaking about rebuilding the temple, but rebuilding the city of Jerusalem.  Israel was given permission to rebuild the temple before she was given permission to rebuild Jerusalem.  You must begin the count from the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

 

Once these sixty nine weeks have been finished, the Anointed One will come.  Then, "He will be cut off".  Iím sure you can understand this to be the death of Jesus.  He was cut off from among His own people when He was executed on the cross. 

 

Now without getting into detail, prophetic Futurists say the following.  Gabriel speaks of sixty nine weeks, of which we understand to be sixty nine weeks in which every week had seven years.  This totals four hundred and eighty three (483) years. (7x69)  When you consider calendars back then had three hundred and sixty (360) days in a year; the total number of days in four hundred and eighty three (483) years is 173,880 days.  What prophetic Futurists do is begin there count at April 14, 445 B. C.  when Israel was given permission to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.  When adding the 173,880 days from that point in time it comes close, but not exactly, to the day Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time.  After calculating other things, such as leap years, prophetic Futurists calculate the exact day when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. It was this day that Israel for a few brief moments recognized Jesus as being their King.  They figure it to be April 6, 32, A. D..  This is not beyond logic.  This probably is exact math, and why not.  If you believe God has a time table of events that must come to be than you should believe this formula could work.  Besides, if Gabriel did not want Daniel or us to try to figure this out, he would not have given Daniel this formula, and especially he would not have given Daniel the date to start the count.  I'd suggest God wants us to know this.  

 

The April 14, 445 B. C. date and the April 6, 32, A. D. date is not accepted by everyone, but those who derive other dates are not too far off of these dates.  Most importantly, all refer to the same events, that is, the time of rebuilding Jerusalem to the time Jesus enters Jerusalem . 

 

Concerning the separation of the sixty nine weeks into seven and sixty two, many believe that the seven weeks represent the time it took to rebuild Jerusalem.

 

Gabriel then says the "people of the ruler will come and destroy the city".  The people of the ruler are the Roman soldiers that totally devastated and destroyed the whole city of Jerusalem just as Jesus Himself prophesied.  This took place in 70 A. D..  Most prophetic Futurists see this to be the case. 

 

At this point the separation in thinking comes between the Historic view and the Futurist view.  The rest of the chapter says that wars will come; the end will come like a flood until the desolation has been completed.  The Historic view believes all this and what is mentioned in the next verse, all took place around 70 A. D. when Rome sacked Jerusalem.  Futurists believe that it has not yet taken place, and that there is a gap between the sixty ninth and seventieth week, which they call the "church age".  The church age is where Godís dealing is primarily with the church and not with Israel exclusively.  Along with this explanation they say this vision is directed towards the Jews, not the Gentiles or a Gentile predominant church.  Thus, the gap is not important to the vision.  The Gentiles already had their visions in prior chapters of Daniel. 

 

In verse 27 it says, "He will confirm a covenant with many".  Futurists believe the pronoun "he" refers to the anti-Christ.  It is also in reference to the ruler just spoken about in the verse before, and he would be the emperor of the Roman Empire .  Prophetic Futurists see the anti-Christ as a re-emerged emperor of the re-emerged Roman Empire .

 

The covenant that this anti-christ confirms
will is for seven weeks, or seven years.  In the middle of the seventh week according to Gabriel, this man will put an end to sacrifices.  The idea goes like this.  The anti-Christ confirms a covenant with Israel.  He helps Israel rebuild her temple and the institution of sacrifices, but in the middle of the last week, or the last seven year period, the anti-Christ will change his mind and stop all of these sacrifices and turn against Israel.  At this point he will do something in the temple to bring an abomination to it, much like Antiochus Epithemy did when he offered a pig as a sacrifice and put idols in the holy place.  This as Gabriel says, will eventually lead to the downfall of the anti-Christ.

 

When understanding the book of Revelation from a prophetic Futurist viewpoint, one can see how Revelation and Daniel, especially chapter 9, fit together perfectly.

 

Once again we should note Jesusí words in Matthew 24:15 where He speaks of the "abomination of desolation".  Jesus specifically referred us back to the book of Daniel to help us understand what He was saying.   Obviously, in Jesusí mind this event had not yet happened, even though a similar event did take place under Antiochus Epithemy.  Thus the double meaning to the term "abomination that causes desolation", or, possibly a triple meaning if you consider the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. to be such an abomination.   

 

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