Daniel Chapter 9
Daniel Prays for His People
9:1 In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, who was of Median descent and who had been appointed king over the Babylonian empire — 9:2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, came to understand from the sacred books that, according to the word of the LORD disclosed to the prophet Jeremiah, the years for the fulfilling of the desolation of Jerusalem were seventy in number. 9:3 So I turned my attention to the Lord God to implore him by prayer and requests, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 9:4 I prayed to the LORD my God, confessing in this way: “O Lord, great and awesome God who is faithful to his covenant with those who love him and keep his commandments, 9:5 we have sinned! We have done what is wrong and wicked; we have rebelled by turning away from your commandments and standards. 9:6 We have not paid attention to your servants the prophets, who spoke by your authority to our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors, and to all the inhabitants of the land as well. 9:7 “You are righteous, O Lord, but we are humiliated this day — the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far away in all the countries in which you have scattered them, because they have behaved unfaithfully toward you. 9:8 O LORD, we have been humiliated — our kings, our leaders, and our ancestors — because we have sinned against you. 9:9 Yet the Lord our God is compassionate and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. 9:10 We have not obeyed the LORD our God by living according to his laws that he set before us through his servants the prophets.9:11 “All Israel has broken your law and turned away by not obeying you. Therefore you have poured out on us the judgment solemnly threatened in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against you. 9:12 He has carried out his threats against us and our rulers who were over us by bringing great calamity on us — what has happened to Jerusalem has never been equaled under all heaven! 9:13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, so all this calamity has come on us. Still we have not tried to pacify the LORD our God by turning back from our sin and by seeking wisdom from your reliable moral standards. 9:14 The LORD was mindful of the calamity, and he brought it on us. For the LORD our God is just in all he has done, and we have not obeyed him. 9:15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with great power and made a name for yourself that is remembered to this day — we have sinned and behaved wickedly. 9:16 O Lord, according to all your justice, please turn your raging anger away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain. For due to our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people are mocked by all our neighbors
9:17 “So now, our God, accept the prayer and requests of your servant, and show favor to your devastated sanctuary for your own sake. 9:18 Listen attentively, my God, and hear! Open your eyes and look on our desolated ruins and the city called by your name. For it is not because of our own righteous deeds that we are praying to you, but because your compassion is abundant. 9:19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, pay attention, and act! Don’t delay, for your own sake, O my God! For your city and your people are called by your name.”
This would have been about 538BC and Daniel would have been about 82 yrs old by this time. Reading Scripture from the prophet Jeremiah he learned the exile of the Jews from Jerusalem in Babylon would last 70 yrs.
Jeremiah 25:11–12 says: 11:This whole area will become a desolate wasteland. These nations will be subject to the king of Babylon for seventy years.’ 12:“‘But when the seventy years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation for their sins. I will make the land of Babylon an everlasting ruin. I, the Lord, affirm it!
True to Jeremiah’s prophesy the Jews were allowed by King Cyrus to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple there. The first deportation of Jews to Babylon was in 605BC (there were 3 deportations). Many returned and started rebuilding the Temple in 535BC, 70 yrs. (different sources differ some on these dates). The books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of the return and rebuilding of the Temple.
Upon reading Jeremiah, Daniel prayed. Having typed that, immediately comes to my mind the banjo tune by Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs by that name, Daniel Prayed. I find Daniel’s prayers instructive. Notice first he praised God calling him great, awesome, faithful, righteous. On behalf of his people and himself he confesses and repents characterizing their actions as sin, rebellion, doing wrong and wicked, turning away from commandments and prophets, unfaithful and humiliated. These are hard words for some people of the 21st century to use about themselves, in a society that puts so much into self promotion, self worth, self gratification and congratulation. In contrast to what’s popular in our society, I find Daniel’s humility and confession entirely appropriate and in agreement with the bible. God is righteous, we are sinners. The righteousness we have is imputed righteousness, not our own.
Daniel also acknowledges that God is compassionate and forgiving and asks in prayer for forgiveness, to allow the return to Jerusalem and rebuilding of the Temple. He’s praying for Jeremiah’s prophesy to come to pass.
Gabriel Gives to Daniel a Prophecy of Seventy Weeks
9:20 While I was still speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my request before the LORD my God concerning his holy mountain — 9:21 yes, while I was still praying, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen previously in a vision, was approaching me in my state of extreme weariness, around the time of the evening offering. 9:22 He spoke with me, instructing me as follows: “Daniel, I have now come to impart understanding to you. 9:23 At the beginning of your requests a message went out, and I have come to convey it to you, for you are of great value in God’s sight. Therefore consider the message and understand the vision: 9:24“Seventy weeks have been determined concerning your people and your holy city to put an end to rebellion, to bring sin to completion, to atone for iniquity, to bring in perpetual righteousness, to seal up the prophetic vision, and to anoint a most holy place. 9:25 So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times. 9:26 Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing. As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince will destroy them. But his end will come speedily like a flood. Until the end of the war that has been decreed there will be destruction. 9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.”
Ok, let’s make an attempt to look closer at this prophesy of 70 weeks, but first, a disclaimer.
What follows I would characterize as the Dispensational / Pre-tribulation view of prophesy which became popular in conservative protestant churches after the Civil War, and was taught in conservative schools like Moody Bible Institute and others around the turn of the 20th century. What is the most popular end time view today is hard to say. Some believe the time periods given in this chapter of Daniel are symbolic rather than literal time periods. I do think it’s safe to say in the post-modern time we live in now, Dispensationalism and Pre-tribulationism are probably not what is being taught as the preferred interpretation in most seminaries. There is a book in the church library by Don Thorson, An Exploration of Christian Theology, which you may check out to learn more about the different views concerning the timing of End Times events. Chapter 27 of this book is on Eschatology (theology of end times).
Verses 24 give us a total of 70 weeks. The 70 weeks are generally understood to mean 70 weeks of years, that is 70 times 7 years, or 490 years. The 70 weeks are divided into 3 time periods in verses 25–27, first 7 weeks, then 62 weeks, then 1 remaining week.
Verse 25 gives 2 time periods between the beginning of the temple rebuild until the Anointed one comes. The two periods are 7 weeks (49 years), and the second, 62 (434 years). It is difficult to see the application of the 7 weeks, but the total of the two, 7 plus 62 equaling 483 years which some interpret as the time between the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the crucifixion of Christ.
Verse 26 says after this the anointed one will be cut off. Perhaps referring to the crucifixion of Jesus, the Anointed One.
Verse 27 describes that last week (7 yrs). This totals the 490 yrs mentioned in the comments above for verse 24. These 7 years are generally referred as the Tribulation Period. The time when the Antichrist rules the world.
If the last week is indeed the Tribulation period, then there is a gap between the previous 69 weeks and this last week. The only explanation I know of is that this gap is the time of the church. But why isn’t the time of the church mentioned? Don’t know except that maybe because the revelation to Daniel by Gabriel referred to “your city” and “your people” who were Jews, whereas the church includes those from all ethnicities. The idea is that this prophesy doesn’t include the church since it’s not mentioned and that according to the rapture interpretation, the church won’t be in the world during the Tribulation Period. Again, this is the pre-tribulation viewpoint which is not universally believed, however it’s the view that I take for the End Times, however this stuff is beyond my intellect to speak dogmatically about. All I can do is share what I find in my studies. There are several interpretations of this chapter of Daniel, some say it’s all symbolic, some say the numbers mean different things, some say it’s all historical, etc. I encourage you to study this yourself. It’s certainly not as clear to me as some commentators make it sound. What we do know is that we are called to be prepared to see Jesus. It could happen at any moment. The pre-tribulation rapture of the church is at least a possibility. You can arrive at this interpretation from scripture, and it makes sense to me that Christ would not leave his bride on earth through the worst time for people since creation. Whether you believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church or not, we aren’t promised tomorrow, but we are told to be ready to leave this world, however that happens. Remember the parable in Mathew 25 of the 5 foolish virgins who weren’t prepared for the bridegroom’s return. May we be prepared, and may we pray and work to see others prepared, that they might join us in eternity with our Savior. We know it’s his will that none perish. Hell isn’t death, it’s eternal punishment. We don’t want anybody to go there. My hope is I haven’t caused confusion with this lesson, but rather prompted thought on eternity. God Bless.