Daniel Chapter Nine

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In our study of Daniel chapter nine, we will look at his prayer and God's answer delivered by the angel Gabriel which is the explanation of the prophecy of the seventy weeks.

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Daniel 9:1 & 2

In the first year of Daryavesh the son of Achashverosh, a Mede by birth who was made king over the kingdom of the Kasdim - in the first year of his reign, I, Dani'el, was reading the Scriptures and thinking about the number of years which ADONAI had told Yirmeyah the prophet would be the period of Yerushalayim's desolation, seventy years.

Daniel saw another king come to power and so he studied the Scriptures of Jeremiah and, in that prophecy, he found that the captivity in Babylon would last for seventy years. Daniel calculated and realized that this period of time was coming to an end and that the Jewish people would be going back to the land of Israel. This is a reminder to us that we need to look at the world events of today and study our Bible to understand what is going on.

Daniel 9:3

I turned to Adonai, God, to seek an answer, pleading with him in prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.

He knew that the only way that he could influence the events of his time was through prayer and so he turned to God. In this verse, we see a pattern for effective prayer. First, we see that he did not go to God with a bunch of babbling but instead took his request to the throne of God. We also see that he prepared for prayer in the fact that he fasted and put on sackcloth and ashes. The sackcloth and ashes were signs of repentance and coming to God in humility.

Daniel 9:4-6

I prayed to ADONAI my God and made this confession: "Please, Adonai, great and fearsome God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his mitzvot! We have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled and turned away from your mitzvot and rulings. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our leaders, our ancestors and to all the people of the land.

Daniel's prayer begins with confession of the fact that he and all of Israel were sinners. He, then, gets specific with their sins of disobeying the commands of God and ignoring the warnings delivered by his prophets. A big part of effective prayer is going to God in humility by admitting that we are sinners. Although we are not under the Mosaic Law for salvation, we still disobey and sin against God every day. We see that the basis for Daniel going to God in prayer is their covenant relationship and the fact that God keeps the covenants that he makes which also includes the new covenant under Yeshua Messiah.

Daniel 9:7 & 8

"To you, Adonai, belongs righteousness; but to us today belongs shame - to us, the men of Y'hudah, the inhabitants of Yerushalayim and all Isra'el, including those nearby and those far away, throughout all the countries where you have driven them; because they broke faith with you. Yes, ADONAI, shame falls on us, our kings, our leaders and our ancestors; because we sinned against you.

Daniel goes on to acknowledge that God is right in his punishment of the people. He admits that there is not one who has obeyed his commands and so all deserve what they have gotten. Our prayers should acknowledge the same fact that, on our own, we deserve death and separation from God.

Daniel 9:9 & 10

It is for Adonai our God to show compassion and forgiveness, because we rebelled against him. We didn't listen to the voice of ADONAI our God, so that we could live by his laws, which he presented to us through his servants the prophets.

As he confesses their disobedience, Daniel also praises God for his mercy. We must remember that mercy is the fact that God does not give us what we deserve for our sins.

Daniel 9:11 & 12

Yes, all Isra'el flouted your Torah and turned away, unwilling to listen to your voice. Therefore the curse and oath written in the Torah of Moshe the servant of God was poured out on us, because we sinned against him. He carried out the threats he spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us disaster so great that under all of heaven, nothing has been done like what has been done to Yerushalayim.

Daniel now speaks of God's just punishment and it seems like a contradiction to what he just prayed about the mercy of God but it is not. Daniel is speaking of the fact that God's people were taken into captivity and Jerusalem was destroyed. That was bad but it was not as bad as the prescribed penalty of death.

Daniel 9:13 & 14

As written in the Torah of Moshe, this whole disaster came upon us. Yet we did not appease ADONAI our God by renouncing our wrongdoing and discerning your truth. So ADONAI watched for the right moment to bring this disaster upon us, for ADONAI our God was just in everything he did, yet we didn't listen when he spoke.

Daniel continues his confession with the fact that, even after this judgment, the people have not turned to God. He says that the people have not repented and looked for the "favor of the Lord our God" which speaks of his forgiveness and restoration. We are reminded that God holds out this gift (grace) but we have to turn from the direction that we were headed in. Today, it seems like many speak of the grace of God but fail to mention that it must be preceded by a change in direction.

Daniel 9:15 & 16

"Now, Adonai our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, thereby winning renown for yourself, as is the case today - we sinned, we acted wickedly. Adonai, in keeping with all your justice, please allow your anger and fury to be turned away from your city Yerushalayim, your holy mountain; because it is due to our sins and the wrongdoings of our ancestors that Yerushalayim and your people have become objects of scorn among everyone around us.

He continues to pray by acknowledging the fact that they have sinned against the very name of God. Everyone knew that they were the people of God as it was displayed when they were brought out of Egypt by his power. This should cause us to ask some questions of ourselves such as: Do those around you know that you are a child of God because they see his power at work? Do we realize that when we sin and those who do not believe see it, we dishonor the very name and power of God?

Daniel 9:17 & 18

Therefore, our God, listen to the prayer and pleadings of your servant; and cause your face to shine on your desolated sanctuary, for your own sake. My God, turn your ear, and hear; open your eyes and see how desolated we are, as well as the city which bears your name. For we plead with you not because of our own righteousness, but because of your compassion.

Daniel appeals to God based on the fact that it is God's city and temple that has been destroyed. His name is associated with them and so not honored while it is in this state.

Daniel 9:19

Adonai, hear! Adonai, forgive! Adonai, pay attention, and don't delay action - for your own sake, my God, because your city and your people bear your name!"

Daniel makes it very clear that the basis for his requests is the very nature of God and a desire to honor his name. We can learn a lot from this part of Daniel's prayer as he says that he does not appeal to God based on his righteousness. This speaks to the fact that we can all call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. If we were required to be righteous before we asked God for anything, it would be impossible to ask him to save us from our sins.

Daniel 9:20-23

While I was speaking, praying, confessing my own sin and the sin of my people Isra'el, and pleading before ADONAI my God for the holy mountain of my God - yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gavri'el, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, swooped down on me in full flight at about the time of the evening sacrifice, and explained things to me. He said, "I have come now, Dani'el, to enable you to understand this vision clearly. At the beginning of your prayers, an answer was given; and I have come to say what it is; because you are greatly loved. Therefore look into this answer, and understand the vision.

While Daniel was still in prayer, Gabriel showed up with the answer. He explains that the answer was given because he was "highly esteemed" by God. If we are in Christ, then, we, too, are "highly esteemed" and God will answer our prayers. The vision that Gabriel refers to is the vision of the ram and goat (from chapter 8). We are reminded that Daniel had been very troubled about the vision and did not understand it. God's answer to his prayer was to bring understanding. This is comforting to us as well, if we realize that God does not want us wondering about the end times and so he has made it all known to us.

Daniel 9:24

"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and for your holy city for putting an end to the transgression, for making an end of sin, for forgiving iniquity, for bringing in everlasting justice, for setting the seal on vision and prophet, and for anointing the Especially Holy Place.

Gabriel begins to explain the vision by giving Daniel an overview of the time period. The "sevens" is a unit of measurement of time and here it speaks of Jewish years. This time is divided into three parts that concern the Jewish people: First, the ultimate sin of the people would occur which is the rejection of Yeshua Messiah. Then there will be a time of great trouble and, finally, Yeshua will return as King of Kings.

Daniel 9:25 & 26

Know, therefore, and discern that seven weeks [of years] will elapse between the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Yerushalayim until an anointed prince comes. It will remain built for sixty-two weeks [of years], with open spaces and moats; but these will be troubled times. Then, after the sixty-two weeks, Mashiach will be cut off and have nothing. The people of a prince yet to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, but his end will come with a flood, and desolations are decreed until the war is over.

Gabriel now goes into more detail by explaining that from the time that the order is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the time when the Messiah will come there will be a total of 69 "sevens" (483 Jewish years). The order was given to Nehemiah by King Artaxerxes in the year 445 B.C. This 69 "sevens" is further divided into two parts which are the actual rebuilding of the temple (seven "sevens") and the coming of Messiah to pay for our sins (sixty-two "sevens"). He even tells of the destruction of the city and temple that happened in the year 70 A.D.

Daniel 9:27

He will make a strong covenant with leaders for one week [of years]. For half of the week he will put a stop to the sacrifice and the grain offering. On the wing of detestable things the desolator will come and continue until the already decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator."

Gabriel continues by explaining the second division of the 70 "sevens" which is the time of Great Tribulation as described by John beginning with Revelation 6. The "he" speaks of the antichrist and the unholy trinity (see Revelation 13). Although the Jewish people have had more trials and troubles than any group of people on the earth, this period of "Great Tribulation" has not even begun yet. There have been many attempts to mathematically explain when the last division of the "seventy sevens" (the start of the Millennial Reign) will occur. The attempts are futile as Yeshua said that even he did not know when that would be. So, why all of the confusion? The simple fact of the matter is the period of time that is not described in the "seventy weeks" which is commonly called the Time of the Gentiles or Time of Grace. It is not counted in the "seventy sevens" because it does not apply to the Jews. We are currently between the 69th and 70th "sevens" and holding because of the grace of God.

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