06.03.2020 FROM CONFESSION TO CONSOLATION
“O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name” Daniel 9:19
This week we study Daniel chapter 9. There are 2 themes:
- Daniel’s prayer of intercession: Daniel 9:3-19
- Gabriel explains the vision of the 2300 days (evening-mornings): Daniel 9:20-27
The Centrality of God’s Word
Chapter 9 is the centrepiece of this book. In it, we are reminded of God’s covenant promises to His people and God once more proclaims His faithfulness to the covenant He has made with His people. Though He has sent them into exile for their unfaithfulness and they have been oppressed, ultimately God will renew His covenant with His faithful remnant.
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” Deuteronomy 30:1-6
Daniel 8 ended with Daniel being sick and astonished after the vision because He had not been given an explanation of the 4th part of the vision, though he had been told it referred to the end-time. This vision was given to him during the 3rd year of the reign of King Belshazzar.
Daniel 9 is written in the first year of Darius the Mede i.e. 538 BC. Scholars place it at between 10-14 years after the vision of Daniel 8.
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.9:1, 2
Jeremiah had prophesied that the Babylonian captivity would last 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11, 12 and 29:10). But Daniel was perturbed because Gabriel had told him that the vision regarding the trampling of the sanctuary and God’s people was until the end-time. (Daniel 8:14). Did that mean that his people, the Jews would not be released from captivity as promised by Jeremiah and Isaiah (Isaiah 44:28)?
The Appeal to Grace
Daniel’s response to his uncertainty was to go to God in prayer. He was familiar with the words of Jeremiah that followed the prophecy of the Babylonian captivity… ‘Then you will call upon me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ Jeremiah 29:12, 13
His prayer is one of the great intercessory prayers recorded in the Bible; the prayer of a man who is seeking God with all his heart. His prayer contains corporate confession ‘we have sinned’ (not…’they have sinned’); it contains petition and an appeal to act for the honour of God’s name because He is the faithful God of the covenant. In all our unfaithfulness, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).
Daniel’s corporate confession…we have sinned (9:5), we have not listened (9:6), we are ashamed (9:8), we have disobeyed You (9:10)…all Israel has transgressed and refused to obey Your law (9:11).
In this great prayer of intercession, Daniel reveals that he is one in whom God’s grace has not been in vain (1 Corinthians 15:10). Though his people have brought upon themselves the consequences of unfaithfulness to God and apostasy, Daniel does not set himself apart from them. He identifies himself as one of them, a miserable sinner who lives only by the grace and mercy of God. He makes confession on behalf of his people, and acknowledges that God is righteous and does righteously in all His judgments. He recognises that we have no claim on God, but that when we fall upon our faces in repentance and penitence, He will keep His promise – when we humble ourselves and pray, He will hear from heaven and will forgive (2 Chronicles 7:14). Above all, Daniel asks that God’s Name be hallowed and glorified.
Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” Daniel 9:17-19
The Burden of Daniel: Daniel 9:16-19
From his prayer, it becomes obvious that Daniel is not thinking of the time of the end. He is concerned for the honour of God at that time, because the Jewish nation was enslaved; its capital city Jerusalem and the Temple lay in ruins. In ancient times, it was believed that a victorious people had a victorious god; and a defeated people had a god who was inferior to the god of the victorious nation. He is asking God to intervene at that time for the prophesied 70 years of captivity was nearing its end.
“…and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name.”
The Answer to Prayer – God sends Gabriel: Daniel 9:20- 23
Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God, yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.
There was no actual evening sacrifice in Jerusalem (the Temple was in ruins), but the Psalmist says… ‘Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice’ Psalm 141:2
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision.”
God responds to Daniel’s prayer by sending Gabriel to explain the vision of Daniel 8:13, 14. Daniel recognises Gabriel as the one he had seen in the previous vision of Daniel 8. Daniel is expecting reassurance about his people and the Temple in Jerusalem, but the words of Gabriel “…therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision” indicate that the vision requires understanding beyond just the future of the Jewish people.
Gabriel says this because Daniel 8:14 clearly refers to the time of the end. But as we will see, Gabriel explains for Daniel’s benefit, the future of the Jewish people and based on this, interprets the meaning of the longer vision ‘until 2300 days’.
Gabriel’s interpretation therefore, is similar to Christ’s explanation to the disciples in Matthew 24. He described both the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (the end of the 70 weeks) and the time of the end.
The Work of Messiah: Daniel 9:24-27
The Work of Messiah was to redeem all mankind. The privilege of accepting the Messiah and sharing the good news of salvation was first given to the Jews as a nation. The 70 weeks of the 2300 days describe the time allocated to the Jews. We know however, that the nation failed to accept Messiah. After 70 weeks i.e. 457 BC to AD 70 (490 years), the gospel was given to the Gentiles. The apostolic church carried the gospel to the ends of the earth. But the little horn rose up and persecuted the people of God and trampled the message of the sanctuary (the gospel of Jesus Christ) until 1798 AD. But after 2300 years (prophetic days) i.e. 1844, the sanctuary was to be cleansed, justified, vindicated and restored to its rightful place.
We have seen in our previous studies that the sanctuary reveals to man the saving work of Christ. The restoration of the sanctuary primarily means that the pure gospel of Jesus Christ was to be restored to the world after 1844.
The 70 weeks of the 2300 days determined for the Jewish nation – let us look at the main points:
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city… know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times…”
- The commandment. The 70 weeks begin with a commandment. The commandment is to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. This occurred in 457 BC.
- Come out of Babylon and go to desolate Israel. For that commandment to be carried out — for Jerusalem to be restored and the temple to be restored — what did the Jews had to give up? Babylon and go back to desolate Israel. They could not remain in the beautiful houses that they had built in Babylon. They had to come out of Babylon and go to Israel.
- Restore the Temple and the city. Having come to Israel, they had to restore the temple and the city. Note what Daniel 9:25 says about the restoration (not the commandment but the act of restoration). The hardest part of the 70 weeks is the restoration itself. There will be much opposition. There will be many difficulties, but its restoration is guaranteed! We know that Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel faced many difficulties while rebuilding the Temple, the city and walls of Jerusalem.
“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and 62 ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench (wall), but in times of trouble.”
‘The commandment to restore and build  Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, went into effect in the autumn of 457 B.C. See Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9. From this time four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the autumn of A.D. 27. According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One. In A.D. 27, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit and soon afterward began His ministry. Then the message was proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled.” Mark 1:15.
Then, said the angel, “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years].” For seven years after the Saviour entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself, and afterward by the apostles. “In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Daniel 9:27. In the spring of A.D. 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease.
The one week—seven years—ended in A.D. 34. Then by the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel; the disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4); and shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted and became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.’ Prophets and Kings p. 699
- The Confirmation of the Covenant. After the restoration comes the confirmation of the covenant. What confirmation? For years, for generations, God had promised the Jews the Messiah. They were looking for this promise for years. Was this promise fulfilled? Yes, it was fulfilled in the last week of the 70 weeks: when Christ came, He confirmed the promise. That means He fulfilled what was promised for years. And, in the middle of the week, the 70th week, He fulfilled all that was promised in the sacrificial system. He met the atonement requirement. He died on the cross.
Gabriel says Messiah will confirm the Covenant.
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week…” The word ‘many’ indicates that is is universal in its effect.
Here is clearly indicated that the blessing that Messiah brings is not just for the Jewish people, but that it is universal. The work of Messiah brings salvation to the world.
Jesus Himself stated that His mission was to save the whole world:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28
By His death and resurrection Messiah the Prince would:
- Bring an end to sacrifice and offering – no longer would earthly sacrifices be necessary (Hebrews 9:26, 28).
- Finish the transgression
- Make an end of sins
- Make reconciliation for iniquity
Messiah has paid the penalty for transgression, sin and iniquity and reconciled us to God.
- Bring in everlasting righteousness
He brings everlasting righteousness; the righteousness of God.
‘God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ 2 Corinthians 5:21
- Seal up vision and prophecy,
All vision and prophecy is fulfilled in Christ, the Messiah.
- Anoint the Most Holy.
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11, 12
“Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption. In every sacrifice Christ’s death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt.” Acts of the Apostles: P.14
The sanctuary on earth is a type of the heavenly sanctuary. It reveals to us salvation history and the work of Christ in redeeming lost mankind and guaranteeing by His death, the destruction of sin and death, the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8). David sang, “In His temple every whit of it utters His glory.” Ps. 29:9 (margin). All the doctrines of salvation through Christ are symbolized in the sanctuary – the gift of God’s only begotten Son to the world, His crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension; His work as High Priest, as Judge, and as King Eternal; the work of the angels and of the Holy Spirit.
The earthly sanctuary is important because it was God’s object lesson to illustrate redemption in the heavenly. But the heavenly sanctuary itself is the real sanctuary, “the great original”, where the work of redemption is actually in progress.
The Consequence to the Jewish nation of Rejecting the Messiah
And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood,
and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Daniel 9:26b
Gabriel speaks of another prince, the Destroyer who will destroy the city and the sanctuary. This was a direct consequence of the Jewish nation rejecting Christ. Even after His death, God gave the nation another 31/2 years to accept Christ as Messiah. With the stoning of Stephen, they sealed their destiny and the gospel was sent to the Gentiles.
Application of the 2300 day vision:
‘Closely tied to the message that Gabriel brought to Daniel is the concept of two exiles. Daniel’s prayer focused on the shorter exile to Babylon, which lasted for seventy years and ended when Cyrus captured Babylon and issued an edict allowing the captives to go back home. Yet this return from exile was incomplete because most of the Judeans did not take part in it (only a remnant did). Moreover, those who did return to Palestine were faced with a number of obstacles and disappointments, aptly expressed in the conclusion of the prayer recorded in Nehemiah: ” ‘We are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our forefathers so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress’ ” (Neh. 9:36, 37).
The new revelation cantered on the longer—the continuous—exile in which God’s people are captives to sin in the world. They will be set free when the Messiah comes and through his life and death puts an end to the necessity of the
sacrificial system. These events will take place in the context of wars and religious conflicts through which Jerusalem is destroyed and the sanctuary made desolate. The ruler whose army causes the destruction and abominable desolation
will be destroyed because God has decreed that outcome. “It is only at the end of this longer epoch that true restoration
will take place, and on a more comprehensive scale than the ‘restoration’ under Cyrus. This will be the culmination of a history in which Jews have lived under a succession of foreign rulers, when a final and eternal kingdom of God’s chosen people will be inaugurated.’ Daniel: Wisdom to the Wise. D.Stefanovic. p. 365
The 2300 days (years) prophecy gives great assurance to us, God’s people. It assures us that God is sovereign over history and He and His people with ultimately triumph over the Devil and all who (under the Devil’s control), oppress God’s people.
The vision of the 2300 years should also awaken us to our great responsibility to restore to the world the truth of the pure gospel. We are called to restore the message of the sanctuary to its rightful place; to preach the pure gospel without the additions of men. There will be much opposition, but God has promised that it will not be done in our might or in our strength, but by the power of His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).
The world is perishing and we are called to proclaim by our words and by our lives that there is salvation full and free through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are to proclaim that this is offered ‘without money and without price’. It is given to us by grace alone, through Christ alone and we appropriate it by faith alone.
The Jewish nation failed in their task (though many Jews were personally faithful and even gave their lives for the gospel). The Scriptures tell us that the church was appointed to carry forth the gospel, but because of persecution and deception, only a faithful remnant will remain true to the pure gospel of Christ. May we each individually determine to remain true to the high calling of God.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:16, 17