The Book of Daniel - Chapter 9

God's Ultimate Program for Israel

What you are about to read is a reflection on one of the most important chapters in the book of Daniel, and one of the most remarkable passages in all of the Bible.

Its dual theme of prayer and prophecy is like no other portion of God's word:

Daniel's Prayer stands as a model for any person serious about seeking the Lord and HIs holiness in his or her life.

The Prophecy of the 70 Weeks contains the most precise information in scripture that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah promised to the children of Israel through their own prophets.

Verses 1 and 2:

In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom-in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

Here we see Daniel doing some math, and he's doing it by looking at God's timetable for the restoration of Israel.

He reads in Jeremiah 25:11-12:

This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
"But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever.”

I'm sure Daniel also turned to 2 Chronicles 36, where he observed that the Jews, because they failed to protect their land (breaking to sabbatical years), would be punished for a period equal to their disobedience.

The more Daniel read, the more excited he must have felt, because he calculated that the 70 years of judgement on his people had almost come to an end --- the captivity of the Jews had started in 605 B.C. and now it was the year 538 B.C. --- (67 years) --- and that the Jews would soon be allowed to return to their home.

But here we must say that Daniel has only a partial understanding of what is still to come.

-And it is this "still to come" end-time information that is the essence of Chapter 9.

Verses 3-19

So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:
"O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
"Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.
"Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
"Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
"Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."
As Daniel bowed before the Lord, his heart was filled with sadness for his own sin and the sins of his people. -- He fasted, wore sackcloth, and put ashes on his body to show his humble spirit.
He was alone with God -- no distractions - no interruptions ---
I encourage each of you to read and re-read Daniel's prayer, because it is a model for any Christian!
Even though Daniel was an upright, faithful, godly man, he still confessed that he had also sinned.
Because of his tender heart toward God and a conscience that could be quickly and easily touched, he was unusually responsive when he heard the word of the Lord.
Being sensitive to the spirit of God also increased his sensitivity to the predicament of his people, the Jews, as he recited the various ways in which they rebelled against God, failed to obey his voice, refused to walk in his laws, and chose not to obey his commands.
Daniel recognized that for these reasons, the curse had been poured out upon him.
Daniel's Prayer is Also Personal
Daniel also sees that God was righteous for what he did to the Jews, admitting that we-- Daniel and his people -- were at fault, were the transgressors, were the ones who didn't obey God's voice -- and also failed to keep his commandments.
H.A. Ironside comments: "How much we may learn from all this! When we look around and see the failure in the church, the fleshliness and the worldliness that prevail on every hand, let us not be content to pass our judgement upon them, and lift up our hearts in spiritual pride and say, "Thank God we are not as others," but oh, let us remember that we too are part of that church which has failed. We cannot dissociate ourselves from other Christians. We have to take our place with them, bow our heads in the presence of God, and own that we have sinned. If we could but remember this always, it would cure us from railing against the people of God who have less light than we have, or than we fancy that we have."
Daniel's prayer was not a whining exercise to get God to overlook the past sins of his people, but a prayer of love and intercession for national and personal forgiveness, and contrite heart, reminiscent of the words of the Psalmist who prayed in Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a clean heart, oh God; and renew a right spirit within me."
Daniel refused to offer excuses for Israel's behavior.
Once again, I urge you to read this prayer over and over -- because each time you allow Daniel's heart of confession to intertwine with your own, you will be blessed and encouraged in your own Christian walk.
Unfortunately, for many "modern" Christians, the idea of true and honest confession is a lost spiritual art.
Unless we re-capture this spirit of humility, face up to what we've done to distance ourselves from God, our own spirits will remain shallow and insensitive to the work that God wants to do in our lives.
That's why it is always in our spiritual best interest to spend time reading and applying such verses as Psalm 66:18-20, which says -
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
       the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
       and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God,
       who has not rejected my prayer
       or withheld his love from me!
These verses are amplified by what we read in Isaiah 59:1-2, which says:
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save,
       nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
       you from your God;
       your sins have hidden his face from you,
       so that he will not hear.
There is a direct correlation between our unconfessed iniquities and God's blessings for our lives -- to the extent that God cannot even hear our cries if repentance is sidetracked or not addressed.
-- Daniel knew this!! --
That's why his prayer is so powerful -- a model for us to follow today.
Daniel walked close to God, and the closer he walked, the more he saw the imperfections in himself and in his people because the spirit of God lived in Him.
Verses 20 - 27
While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill - while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.  He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.  As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:

"Seventy 'sevens'  are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

"Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.'  In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
We see in verses 20-23, as Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel suddenly appearing before him, offering comfort and understanding to Daniel's troubled heart.
Gabriel's purpose was to bring an end to Daniel's inner confusion by imparting to him a new revelation from God.
The angel began his conversation by saying something you and I should want to hear more than any other phrase in our language:
"For thou art greatly loved" (KJV)
"For you are highly esteemed" (NIV)
Daniel was concluding his prayer when he was surprised by these joyous words from God.
And now verses 24-27 -- the 70 weeks!
In this new Revelation delivered by Gabriel, Daniel learned, sadly, that God would continue to punish Israel for at least 70 more sevens of years beyond the end of the Babylonian captivity - a number that gives us the only Old Testament prophecy that speaks of the precise hour of our Messiah's first coming.
It's fascinating that it was to be Gabriel, who centuries later, would also deliver the good news of Messiah's conception and birth to a young virgin by the name of Mary (Luke 1:26-28).
We now come to one of the most important prophecies in all of scripture - a predication to be applied exclusively to Israel and to the holy city of Jerusalem.
First, let's look at the meaning of the phrase, "70 weeks are determined upon thy people".
The amount of actual time covered by this prophecy is 490 years - literally - 70 weeks.
The question from scholars has always been, "Are these 490 'units' of time years, days months or weeks?' - The math only works if these units are seen as "years".
So for this prophecy to be fulfilled, our Messiah would have to arrive - the first time - before the 490 "units" would end.
Remember that the 490 years began in 445 B.C. --- More details in a minute ---
At this point I'm going to quote a verse that is arguably the greatest prophecy ever recorded, proving that God alone could have written this book!!
Why? Because we now come to the exact day that is prophesied in these texts. -- Verse 25 reads -- "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
Let’s turn to Nehemiah 2:1-8 and read -
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart."

I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?"

The king said to me, "What is it you want?"
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it."
Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.
I also said to him, "If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah?  And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?" And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.
Let's review the significance of verse 25 in the context of Nehemiah 2:1-8 where we learn that some Jews who had visited their homeland were deeply troubled because their nation was in such disarray.
That's why they requested that the city of Jerusalem - including the wall - be rebuilt.
With that background, let's consider Nehemiah 2:1 to look in to the chronology of dates mentioned,
"And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the 20th year of Artaxerxes the King..."
The Encyclopedia Britannica says this king came to power in 465 B.C. -- but now it's Xerxes 20th year of rule, which takes us down to 445 B.C.
Here's the math! -- 465 - 20 = 445 B.C. - This is the month Nisan, but no specific date is given. Not to worry however, because Jewish custom tells us that whenever there is no date, we are to assume it is always the first day. This means it is the first day of Nisan, 445 B.C.
Translated into our modern calendar, that's March 14, 445 B.C. -- That is the beginning point of the rebuilding of the wall and city of Jerusalem - a task that had to be completed in "seven weeks", or literally, 49 years. -- This did happen right on schedule.
Now, for a moment, let's move to the second part of this prophecy that refers to the presentation of Jesus Christ as coming and then being cut off after the "62 sevens" -- we see this in verse 26 of Daniel 9.
Now, contrary to a vast number of scholars, observe that it is not said in verse 26 that the prince shall come at that time. -- In fact it distinctly states that the city shall be destroyed not by the coming prince, but by his people!
The prince is that dreadful character yet to arrive upon the scene, who will abrogate to himself supreme power in the days of the 10-kingdom period of the Roman Empire.
In other words, he is the Beast of Revelation 13:1 and 17:3.
He is the one who at once comes to the front in Daniel 9:27. He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week. - This is the third part of the prophecy, the 70th week.
Now, let's go back to the math and pick up where our beloved Messiah was cut off -- at the end of the seven weeks and 62 weeks, for a total of 69 weeks, or 483 years.
Now, let's take the 483 years and multiply it by the Jewish method of reckoning - which is 360 days in a year.
Now, 483 times 360 = 173,880 days. From the date that Nehemiah said, "You may go ahead and rebuild your wall and Jerusalem." (March 14, 445 B.C.) to the day that Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey (April 6, 32 A.D.) is exactly 173,880 days!
Now, do you believe that prophecy is accurate?!
If the Jews had only studied their Old Testament prophecy, they would have known that Jesus was their Messiah.
Briefly, a point which many have overlooked -- Daniel's great prophecy of the 70 weeks is divided into three parts:
First -The 7 sevens, or 49 years - this period is called the strait, or narrow, times in which the city and its walls are rebuilt - (Jerusalem)
Second - The 62 weeks, or 434 years, after which the Messiah is cut off
Third - The one week, or 7 years, yet to be fulfilled and could not have been until the Jews regained their land and controlled Jerusalem.
Now seeing that we have three separate groups of years, equaling 490 years -- they do not necessarily have to run in direct chronological order.
It is true that the 62 weeks immediately followed the completion of the 7 weeks. - But the chronological clock stopped after the Messiah was cut off so as to fulfill "the times of the Gentiles".
The third part, or 7 years, which is the Tribulation period, looms in the immediate future -- prophecy has been fulfilled for this to now take place.
Once again, by the time we reach verse 27, the Antichrist is already in full power, and Daniel's 70th week is in effect.
It begins when this evil one confirms his peace contract with Israel. This is the start of the 70th week and the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation period.
If the first 69 weeks, or shabuas, total 483 years, or 173,880 days on the Jewish calendar annually, and this prophecy was fulfilled in every detail on the final day -- then the final week (or Hebrew shabua), the last 7-year period of 2520 days, will also be fulfilled right up to the exact moment.
That's why Revelation 11:2 and 13:5 mention 42 months, and Revelation 11:3 and 12:6 cite 1260 days as 1/2 of the Tribulation period (1260 x 2 = 2520).
I truly believe that this 70th week is right around the corner and we must spread the news and prepare to reach the lost -- for the time is short!

Addendum: Daniel’s 70 Weeks -- By the Numbers
Daniel 9:24-27


One week represents 7 years (or) 70 weeks = 490 years


The "70 week" prophecy comes in three parts:

7 weeks = 49 years
62 weeks = 434 years
1 week = 7 years

Total of 70 weeks = 490 years

Additional info on the three parts:

1The 7 sevens, or 49 years - This period is called the strait, or narrow times in which the city (Jerusalem) and its walls are rebuilt.

2The 62 weeks, or 434 years, after which the Messiah is cut off ---

3The one week, or 7 years, yet to be fulfilled and could not have been until the Jews regained their land and controlled Jerusalem.

Now, seeing that we have three separate groups of years, equalling 490 years -- They do not necessarily have to run in direct chronological order.

It is true that the 62 weeks immediately followed the completion of the 7 weeks, but the chronological clock stopped after the Messiah was cut off so as to fulfill "the times of the Gentiles"!

The last piece, or 7 years, which is the Tribulation period, looms in the immediate future -- prophecy has been fulfilled for this to now take place.

The Time Table

In Nehemiah 2:1-8, it states that the Jews were allowed to return to their land and rebuild the temple. 00 It states that this occurred in the 20th year of Artaxerxes' rule.

The Encyclopedia Britannica says that Xerxes came to power in 465 B.C.

Here's the math:
465 - 20 years = 445 B.C.

This occurred in the month of Nissan, but no date is given. - This is not, however, a problem because Jewish custom states that whenever there is no date, we are to assume it is always the 1st day, (or), it is the 1st day of Nissan, 445 B.C.

Translated to our modern calendar, that's March 14th, 445 B.C.

This addresses the 1st segment of the "70 weeks" or 7 weeks, or 49 years --- the temple was built right on schedule. (Daniel 9:25)

Now, let's move to the 2nd part of this prophecy that refers to the presentation of Jesus Christ as coming, and then being cut off after the "62" weeks. (Daniel 9:26)

The math here says that Messiah was "cut off" at the end of 7 weeks and 62 weeks for a total of 69 weeks, or 483 years.

Now, let's take the 483 years and modify it by the Jewish method of reckoning --- which is 360 days in a year.

Now, 483 times 360 = 173,880 days.

From the date stated in Nehemiah, March 14, 445 B.C., to the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem, April 6, 32 A.D., is exactly 173,880 days!!!

This leaves only the 70th week of the prophecy still to be fulfilled.

This 70th week, as previously mentioned is the Tribulation period. It will begin when the evil one confirms a peace contract with Israel.

Using the same math formula, the last 7 years will total 2520 days.
(7 times 360 = 2520)

Revelation 11:2 and 13:5 mention 42 months (3 1/2 years) and Revelation 11:3 and 12:6 cite 1260 days as 1/2 of the Tribulation period.

1260 x 2 = 2520

Which is 7 years (360 days per year)

- Have a good day!!! -

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