The On-Line Commentary
on the Book of Daniel

By Brother Given Blakely.

The Prophecy of Daniel

Lesson Number 29
TRANSLATION LEGEND: ASV=American Standard Version (1901), BBE=Bible in Basic English (1949), DRA=Douay-Rheims (1899), ESV=English Stand Version (2001), KJV=King James Version (1611), NKJV=New King James Version (1982), NAB=New American Bible, NASB=New American Standard
Bible (1977), NAU=New American Standard Bible (1995), NIB=New International Bible, NIV=New International Version (1984), NJB=New Jerusalem Bible, NLT=New Living Translation, NRSV=New Revised Standard Version (1989), RSV=Revised Standard Version (1952), TNK=JPS Tanakj (1985), YLT-Young’s Literal Translation (1862).
“ 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and 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; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 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. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause
the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” KJV (Dan 9:20-27)
As a man “greatly beloved” by God, truth will be vouchsafed to Daniel that is most extraordinary. Things are revealed to him that would occur well after his own time – things pertaining to the coming Savior of the world – the Messiah. Such exposures to the truth of God unveil the folly of approaching truth only from a here-and-now point of view; that is, seeking to confine the relevancy of truth to the present generation. This approach to Scripture has become altogether too popular in our time. Those who would have us believe that the contemporary application of Scripture is more important than the Scriptures themselves have greatly erred. Such an approach would make the Divine explanation before us wholly irrelevant to Daniel. He is going to be told things that will take place nearly half of a millennium after he will die. That would like speaking to people today (2003) of events that will take place some time after 2500. The sophist would conclude that such a message is irrelevant, having nothing to do with “us.” However, that is not a proper assessment of the case.
The power and relevancy of truth are owing to its origin and purpose, not its perceived applicability to a given generation or circumstance. Truth originates with God Almighty, who is not even capable of saying or doing something that is irrelevant – in or to any age. All irrelevance pertains to the works and works of man, and none of it pertains to God or what He has said.
Truth is always couched within the context of the purpose of God, which is really the ONLY truly relevant matter.
The fact that God has said something MAKES it relevant. As it is written, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:16-17). Any word that is inspired, is profitable for teaching, reproving, correcting, and instructing in righteousness, cannot be irrelevant – whether it is found in Genesis, Daniel, or Revelation.
The fact that God has purposed something MAKES it relevant. The purpose of God – particularly His “eternal purpose” (Eph3:11) – is the driving force behind all that has happened, is happening, and will happen in this world. We are “saved” and “called” according to that purpose (Rom 8:28; 2 Tim 1:9). Further, everything that God does is in strict accord that His purpose (Eph 1:10-11).
The prophet Daniel was “greatly beloved” of the Lord, yet the working of the Lord did not revolve around him. The nation of Israel was chosen by God, and He dealt exclusively with them prior to Jesus Christ (Rom 9:4-5). Yet, the working of the Lord did not revolve around them. Even in our day, the church has been purchased by Christ’s blood, and is the solitary custodian of the truth of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim 3:15). Yet Divine activities do not revolve around, or center in, the church. God works in strict accord with His own immutable purpose. So far as a person is concerned, His works all center in His “only begotten Son,” the Lord Jesus Christ.
This point is of such importance that I am compelled to elaborate still more upon it. Nothing is really relevant, crucial, or of critical importance, that is not related to the purpose of God, which is revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Necessary To Say These Things
The necessity of making this observation is found in many of the approaches that are taken to the book of Daniel. For some, Daniel’s primary message is of a coming Antichrist – and such an one is represented as being effective in the world following the removal of the church. All manner of fanciful human interpretations are put forth from this book that have very little, if anything, to do with the Lord Jesus Christ. However, God simply does not have anything to say that is unrelated to Christ. The fulness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus (Col 1:19; 2:9), and the entirety of His “eternal purpose” is found in “Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph 3:11).
“All judgment” has been given into the hands of the Lord Jesus (John 5:22), and none has been given to the Antichrist, or any other personality. The world is going to be judged in righteousness by Christ (Acts 17:31), not by the Antichrist. The preeminence has been given to Jesus (Col 1:18), not to the Antichrist. The “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”(Rev 19:10), not a word about the Antichrist.
This does not suggest there is no such personality as “the Antichrist,” for the Word of God affirms the existence of such a personality (1 John 2:18,22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7). However, although there is only one Christ, there are “many antichrists” (1 John 2:18). Therefore, neither “the Antichrist” or the “many antichrists” are ever the emphasis of Scripture.
If I read the passage of Scripture before us, and come away thinking about “the Antichrist,” I have not profited from it. At some point, my thoughts must become absorbed with the Person, accomplishments, and ministry of the Lord Jess Christ.
In these days, there has been a remarkable resurgence of emphasis on prophecy. It is not unusual to hear of those who are experts in prophecy, and their books are quite prominent in religious book stores. It is interesting to note, however, that few of them focus on the Lord Jesus – upon whom God, the holy angels, and the Scriptures are focused. The word of the angel is worthy of constant affirmation: “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev 19:10).
Jesus is to prophecy, what the spirit is to the body. Without Him, prophecy has no relevance or value, but is like a body without a spirit. But allow me to be even more precise, as the angel was
with John. It is the “TESTIMONY of Jesus” that is he “spirit,” or life, “of prophecy.” This means that ultimately, the word of prophecy itself concerns the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the subject-matter of the prophetic word. The “testimony” is the “witness” of Jesus, not a hidden and subtle reference to Him. Technically, the word “testimony” means concrete and objective information given in proof of something . . . giving a witness . . . declaration . . . presenting evidence. Jesus said it more clearly than any lexical aid. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). Here, the word “testify” is precisely the same one used in Revelation 19:10 (marturi,an). The use of the word in John 5:39 is as a verb ( – i.e., “are testifying.” In Revelation, it is as a noun – i.e., “the testimony” (ai` marturou/sai). The statement made in Revelation is this: Prophecy is a testimony, or witness, of Jesus. It is like a living witness called to testify in a court. Prophecy, therefore, is a Divinely appointed means of making Christ more clear to our hearts and minds.
All of this will become evident in our text, which will zero in, so to speak, on the Lord Jesus – “Messiah the Prince.” Think of it in this way. Whether we look at Scripture through a telescope or a microscope, Jesus is the substance of it. If we view it as through a telescope, we see a grand overview of Divine words and dealings – and they all center in Jesus. If we get down to the finest details, they concern the Lord Jesus, and find their ultimate meaning and significance in Him.
God has made known many things to Daniel. He has revealed the rise and fall of Babylon, the Medes and the Persians, Greece, and Rome. Alexander the Great, Antiochus Epiphanes, and a spiritual despot that competes with Jesus have also been revealed. Daniel has been exposed to the desecration of the Temple, the ending of the daily sacrifices, the day of judgment, and the resurrection of the dead. But at the heart of it all is the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything that has been revealed relates to His entrance into the world and the superiority and prominence of His kingdom.
We cannot fail to see this, or afford to be distracted by allowing carnal curiosity to move our attention to lesser things. We will see in the passage before us that when an explanation from heaven is given to Daniel, it centers in the Lord Jesus. Everything else is subordinate to Him and His role in the salvation of God. We must not allow ourselves to entertain a view or Scripture that makes the Lord Jesus a secondary consideration.
“ 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and 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.”
There are certain Kingdom principles, or manners, revealed in this text. In the final days of the Judges, Samuel explained “the manner of the kingdom,” writing it down in a book (1 Sam 10:25). Since the people were shifting to a government by a king, they needed to know that such a kingdom operated on differing principles than those to which they were accustomed during the
Judges. Likewise, consciously living under the government of God requires some understanding. Such a life differs significantly from life in this world. A single example will suffice.
Divine direction and communication take place within the context of Divine fellowship – or through the knowledge of God. This is involved in the “steps of a good man” being “ordered by the Lord”(Psa 37:23). From the New Covenant -perspective it is escaping “the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 2:20), and receiving benefits from Him because we are “walking in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7).
This is something that must be seen. There is a strain of doctrine that represents God has suddenly thrusting Himself upon men in advantageous ways – even when they are not involved with Him. Thus men are taught to expect sudden and profitable illumination and direction from the God of heaven while they walk in practical alienation from Him. Such views are only human imaginations, wholly lacking substance.
It is true that the Lord can force His way into our lives, as He did with Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:3-6). However, that has never been the norm of the Kingdom – and even then, it was more to get Saul’s attention than to bestow a blessing on the persecutor. Jesus sent Saul to someone else to receive the details concerning his call. Those details were sent to him while he was praying (Acts 9:11).
In our text, a message is sent to Daniel while he was “speaking, praying, and confessing” to the Lord. Such activities sharpen the mind, sensitive the heart, and tenderize the human spirit, thereby enabling the individual to profit from Divine communication.
This is how the Lord works. Those who choose to live aloof from the Lord, by that very choice, limit what they will hear from Him. This is particularly accented in Christ Jesus. It is written, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him” NIV (2 Pet 1:3). That is, in our intimacy, or fellowship, with the Lord Divine supplies are given to us. This is another way of saying that salvation in all of its aspects is “by grace . . . through faith” (Eph 2:8).
“And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel . . . ”
“Speaking” is coming before the Lord “with words,” as He commands (Hos 14:2). It is the expression of thought in languages – giving expression to the thoughts and intents of the heart. “Speaking” is the presentation of a cause (Isa 41:21), and the filling of the mouth with arguments (Job 23:4).
“Praying” is making a supplication, entreating or beseeching the Lord. It is seeking something specific from Him – making a hearty effort to “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need” (Heb 4:16). “Prayer” is more than simply talking with God, or holding a conversation with the Almighty. There is nothing casual about it. Real prayer is “fervent” as well as “effectual” (James 5:16).
It might sound reasonable to view prayer in such an academic manner. However, an acute awareness of the Person and will of God Himself will soon cause such approaches to wither, and be seen for the folly they really are. Too much theology is developed without a proper understanding or fear of the Lord.
“Confessing” is not empty routine. The heart is in confession, which is the acknowledgment of something impressed upon the heart – whether it be of sin, or that Jesus is the Son of God. In this text, Daniel is confessing sin – both his, and that of the people. He is doing so with insight and with fervency.
Confessing My Sin
Daniel is one of the few key people in Scripture against whom no specific sin is recorded. Yet, here he is said to confess his own sin. There is no doubt that his keen sensitivity to the Lord increased his sensitivity toward sin. Sin involves more than an obvious and flagrant transgression of the Law. “The thought of foolishness is sin” as well (Prov 24:6). Asaph knew this well, and recorded his own battle with foolish thinking in the seventy-third Psalm. After being “envious of the foolish,” having witnessed “the prosperity of the wicked,” he went into the “sanctuary of God.” There, he was made to see things with greater clarity. In the greater light of “the sanctuary” he confessed, “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee” (Psa 73:1-22). In the presence of God, Asaph became more sensitive about sin.
Another man against whom no specific sin is charged is Job. Yet, during his trial he cried out, “How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin” (Job 13:23). He spoke of “my sin” and “my transgression” (Job 14:16-17). The Lord testified of him, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). Yet, Job was keenly aware of his personal imperfection – even though the Holy Spirit describes him as “perfect and upright, and one that feared God and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). After being asked two chapters of questions by God Almighty (Job 38-39), and being asked if he was going to “contend with the Almighty” or “instruct Him” (Job 40:1-2), Job answered, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth” (Job 40:4).
This is the kind of thing Daniel is confessing to the Lord. He is not acknowledging he has lived in willing disobedience or rebellion against the Lord, for there is no evidence that such a thing ever took place. He was a man “greatly beloved” of God (Dan 9:23; 10:11,19). One of the reasons for this Divine endearment is no doubt Daniel’s sensitivity to his own frailty and proneness to sin.
The Sin of My People Israel
Like Moses and Samuel, Daniel associates himself with the covenanted people. He does not do so because he has been caught up in their rebellion and iniquity. Rather, he is claiming identity with them as a covenanted people – the children of Abraham, and those with whom God had made a covenant. He confesses their sin as those who have broken that covenant (Jer 31:32; Ezek 26:59).
Daniel is not ashamed to be identified with these people – not because of their sin and waywardness, but because they are of Abraham’s lineage. That lineage is the root of their identity with God, and the foundation upon which Daniel builds his petition. He is praying for a people upon whom God has placed His favor – a people to whom certain Divine commitments have been made.
Something to See
Here was a people chosen by God. He had “set” His love upon them (Deut 7:7). Their history was nothing less than a confirmation of the Lord’s interest in them. No other people on the face of the earth had heard such words as were spoken to them. “Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places” (Deu 33:29).
Surface thinkers would conclude such a people did not require repentance, confession, prayer, and supplication. After all, flesh reasons, once God has made a commitment to a people, there is no longer any threat of danger, or need or recovery. No man of God ever thought in such a foolish way! We can learn from Daniel that fervent and effectual prayers for a backslidden people are in order. It is wrong to take for granted that everything will turn out for the good, as though the purpose of God was driven by some form of fate, or impersonal destiny.
The purpose of God are worked out with the involvement of those who know Him. Whether it is Abraham inquiring concerning the fulfillment of God’s promise (Gen 15:3-4), Moses interceding for a wayward people (Ex 32:31-32), Daniel praying for a chastised nation (Dan 9:3-27), or Paul praying for the churches (Eph 1:15-20; 3:15-20) – those who walk with God are brought into intimacy with God and the execution of His “eternal purpose.”
“ . . . and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God . . . ” Other versions read, “making my request,” NIV “requesting grace from the Lord my God,” BBE “bringing my pitiful case before the Lord my God,” Septuagint “placing my plea before Yahweh my God,” NJB “pleading with the LORD my God,” NLT and “causing my supplication to fall before Jehovah my God.” YLT
There is much to be seen in this expression. A certain formality is seen in Daniel’s prayer. It is not a cold or routine formality, but one resulting from an understanding of both God and the circumstances moving him to pray. The presentation is made with thoughtful and precise words, as well as a fervent spirit and tender heart. Daniel has thought upon the matter, and thus makes NIV his prayer to God, forming it with words and giving it life with a profound concern for the glory of God and the benefit of His people. The man of God does not question the Lord, or make demands of Him, but humbly requests BBE grace from Him. He does not come before the
Lord “empty,” but brings Septuagint a fashioned prayer with him. With great deliberation he places NJB his prayer before the Lord for His consideration. He is fervent in his supplication, pleading NLT for the people. Even though the devil no doubt attempted to hinder this prayer, yet Daniel caused YLT it to come from his lips.
When a church is uninformed about the Lord, and unconcerned about His people, there is little chance that any effective prayers will come from them. If only men can see it, this provides an extensive explanation for much of the spiritual deterioration that is all about us.
“ . . . for the holy mountain of my God.” Other versions read, “in the behalf of the holy mountain of my God,” NASB “for His holy hill.” NIV
Ten times God refers to“My holy mountain” (Isa 11:9; 56:7; 57:13; 65:11, 25; 66:20; Joel 2:1; 3:17; Obad1:16; Zeph 3:17). He specifically identifies it as “My holy mountain Jerusalem” (Isa 66:20). Joel declared that God dwelt there (Joel 3:17), indicating that it would be the point from which the earth would filled with “the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa 11:9). Jesus referred to one of Isaiah’s prophecies concerning this “holy mountain” when He said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matt 21:13; Isa 56:7). God had judged Israel for forgetting His “holy mountain” (Isa 65:11), and now Daniel prays in behalf of it.
Daniel is praying concerning Jerusalem. He is letting Jerusalem come into his mind, thus fulfilling the word of the Lord through Jeremiah. “Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind” (Jer 51:50). He is doing what the Psalmist enjoined. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee” (Psa 122:6). He is doing what David himself did, praying for the holy city. “Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem” (Psa 51:18). He is experiencing the same attitude as the sweet Psalmist of Israel. “If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Psa 137:6).
There are some who do not feel God can possibly be associated with anything tangible. Daniel did not think in this manner. Associations God had made with Himself have always been held sacred by men and women of God. For Daniel, that included Jerusalem and the Temple. Jesus regarded Jerusalem and he Temple in the same manner. Jerusalem w as the only city in all of history over which Jesus wept and lamented (Lk 19:41). The Temple was the building He cleansed, referring to it as His Father’s house (John 2:16). There was a specific garden to which Jesus “ofttimes resorted” (John 18:2). Jerusalem was the only city toward which Paul hasted, striving to be “at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:19). This is not to mention our bodies, which are said to be “the members of Christ” (1 Cor 6:15) and “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 cor 6:19). Add to that the people of God themselves, considering that or response to their outward needs bears directly upon our eternal destiny (Matt 25:34-46).
We must take great care not to ignore people or places with which God has associated Himself.
A Principle to be Seen
But there is an even greater principle to be seen int this text that regards prayer. Note that Daniel is not praying for himself, his own welfare, or his prosperity in Babylon. Rather, he is praying for something in which God Himself has revealed an interest.
It is on the part of wisdom to focus our attention on matters in which the Living God has a revealed interest and concern. His agenda will receive His immediate attention, and our involvement will bring a blessing.
“ 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.”
Here is an example of a prayer being answered before it was completed. It is the sort of thing God promised through the prophet Isaiah, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isa 65:24). It is evident from the heavenly response that this prayer touched the heart of God. Daniel’s heart was beating in unison with the heart of God, and thus he received an immediate answer. The things about which the God of heaven wads concerned were the same things that were touching the heart of Daniel. It is no wonder he was a man “greatly beloved” (9:23; 10;11,19). The more a person thinks in concert with the Lord, the closer they are to Him, and the more will be revealed to them.
The people of God must wage war on the tendency to get God involved in their own agenda or circumstances. That involvement will happen when we are occupied with things that relate to God’s revealed purpose.
“Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning . . . ”
The angel Gabriel appeared to Zecharias one time (Lk 1:10). He appeared to Mary, the mother of our Lord, one time (Lk 1:26). This is the second time he has appeared to Daniel. This is indicative of the high favor Daniel had obtained in the heavenly realm. It is good to ponder the possibilities of loving and serving God.
Special People
The incident instructs us in the ways of the Lord. It is possible to be especially precious to the Lord. Those who imagine that God regards every person the same are simply wrong.
Abraham was “THE friend of God” (James 2:23).
David was a man after God’s “own heart” (1 Sam 13:14).
The Lord spoke with Moses in a way He did not speak to others – “face to face as a man speaketh with his friend” (Ex 33:11).
Among The nations of the world, Israel was”precious: in God’s sight, and He gave men for her, and people for her life (Isa 43:4).
John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:7).
Mary was “highly favored” (Lk 1:28).
Such people have received special consideration and revelations from the Lord – things that were not made known to others. There is such a thing as special favor from the Lord.
The made known His acts to Israel, but revealed His “ways” to Moses (Psa 103:7).
The Lord was especially with Joseph, causing him to become a “prosperous man” in the house of Potiphar, and showing him mercy and giving him “favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Gen 39:2,21).
Visions and revelations were given to Paul that others did not receive (2 Cor12:1-7).
There are people who are vouchsafed special insights from the Lord – people with whom He shares His “secret” and shows “His covenant” (Psa 25:14).
Daniel was such a person – “greatly beloved,” and highly favored. Heaven treated him with a special consideration. To be given the privilege of holding a conversation with Gabriel, who stood “in the presence of God” (Lk 1:19) is an honor only three individuals in human history enjoyed – and Daniel was vouchsafed two such appearances.
“The Man Gabriel”
Technically, Gabriel was an angel, and not a man. He is particularly called “the angel Gabriel” (Lk 1:26), and when he spoke, is described as “the angel answering” (Lk 1:19). How is it, then, that he is called “the man Gabriel?”
It is because he appeared in a human form. On one occasion, Mephibosheth said to David, “my lord the king is as an angel of God” (2 Sam 19:27). However, in our text, Gabriel the angel appeared as a man.
There have been other appearance of angels in human form.
Angels were sent to Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac and the destruction of Sodom. They appeared to Abraham as “three men” (Gen 18:2). These angels spoke for the Lord, and thus their word was described as the Lord speaking with Abraham (Gen 18:33).
“Two angels” came to Sodom to destroy it. When they went into Lot’s house, the perverts of Sodom thought they were “men.” When the men of Sodom sought to force themselves into
Lot’s house, it is said of these two angels, “But the menput forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door”(Gen 19:10). Of the incidents of Abraham and Lot it is written, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2).
A heavenly messenger wrestled with Jacob all night, causing his though to be out of joint when touching him (Gen 32:24-30). That messenger is called “a man”(v 24).
When Joshua was preparing to assault Jericho, an angel appeared before him, identifying himself as “the captain of the Lord’s host.” It is said of him that Joshua saw “a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand” (Josh 5:13-15).
An angel appeared to Manoah and his wife, announcing they would have a son, whose name would be Samson. He is specifically called “the angel of the Lord,” yet Manoah’s wife referred to him as “a man of God”(Judges 13:6-20).
An “angel” was sent to deliver Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego from the fiery furnace. He was also referred to as the “fourth man,” whose appearance was like that of the three he came to deliver (Dan 3:25-26).
An angel appeared to the women who entered the tomb wherein Jesus had been placed. He is called “the angel” in Matthew 28:3. Mark refers to him as “a young man” (Mark 16:5).
Two angels were present when Jesus ascended into heaven in the presence of His disciples, delivering a message to them about the Lord’s return. These angels are referred to as “two men” in “white apparel” (Acts 1:10).
An “angel of God” appeared to Cornelius in a vision. When Cornelius recited the event to Peter he said, “a man stood before me in bright clothing” (Acts 10:3,30).
A Sign Gracious Consideration
Such appearances are an indication of God’s gracious consideration. Angels have a glory that is frightening to men. When an angel descended from heaven at the tomb of Jesus, he did so in unveiled glory. The impact upon those who saw him was significant. It5 is written, “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men” (Mat 28:2-4).
When Gabriel appeared to Daniel, however, he did so in such a manner as to neutralize the clash of heavenly glory with human frailty. He appeared as a “man,” thereby making his appearance bearable. Even then, however, we will find his presence and message had a significant impact upon the man of God.
“ . . . being caused to fly swiftly . . . ” Other versions read, “came top me in swift flight,” NIV “flying swiftly,” DARBY and “swooped on me in full flight” NJB
The text says Gabriel was “caused” to fly swiftly to Daniel. In other words, his mission was considered of the utmost importance, and could thus be attended by no delay. He must have flown through Satan’s territory in his swift flight. Later, we will read of an angel that was detained by an evil power en route to Daniel (10:13).
Gabriel coming to Daniel with swiftness of flight provides insight into a statement made in Hebrews. “Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire” (Heb 1:7; Psa 104:4). This incident also helps us to understand the involvements of the 147th Psalm. “He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly” (Psa 147:15). Here is a word from heaven being brought to Daniel, and it is coming him swiftly! Both assistance and illumination can come swiftly and with no delay.
It was God Himself who “caused” Gabriel to fly swiftly. We will find this was owing to the physical condition of Daniel as well as the urgency of the message.
“ . . . touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” Other versions read,”he reached me about the time of the evening offering,” NKJV “came to me in my extreme weakness about the time of the evening offering,” NASB and “about the time of the evening sacrifice.” NIV
Because the word translated “swiftly” can also mean “fatigue, or utterly exhausted,” STRONGS the NKJV applies the word to Daniel instead of the fight of the angel Gabriel. One other version also takes this view: “when my weariness was great, put his hand on me.” BBE However, this is not the ordinary view, and is taken only because some have chosen etymology over the message. It is not, in my judgment, a wise translation. Scriptural meanings ought not be established by lexical writings, which are only an extension of human wisdom. Notwithstanding this observation, I am quick to say it represents my opinion, and ought not become a matter of controversy.
Gabriel arrives while Daniel was still “speaking in prayer.” By touching him, Gabriel indicated the answer to the prayer had now arrived, and prayer was no longer required. He had come to deliver the understanding Daniel sought.
The time is specified as “the evening oblation,” or sacrificial offering. An “oblation” is generally understood to be a bloodless offering, although not necessarily so. The word translated “oblation” is frequently translated “offering.” It is used to describe Cain’s offering of grain, as well as Abel’s offering of the firstling of his flock (Gen 4:3-5). A number of time, the word is translated “present,”or a gift offered to another person (Gen 32:13,18, 20,21; 33:10; 43:11). It is also applied to“drink offerings” (Ex 30:9), and “grain (meat) offerings” (Ex 40:39).
The Time of the Sacrifice
In general, the “evening oblation” probably refers to the evening sacrifice which involved both a bloody sacrifice and one of grain, or meal. It is important to note that the revelation does
not occur during the sacrifice, but during the “time” of the sacrifice. It had been nearly seventy years since any record of a sacrifice was provided. This sacrifice was made in the tabernacle at the first, and the Temple following the time of Solomon. Yet, the Temple remains in a state of destruction at this time, and there is no indication that sacrifices were being carried out in Babylon.
Right here, Daniel and John the beloved have something in common. Both were away from the ordinary place of assembly: Daniel was in Babylon, and John was on the Isle of Patmos. Both were being deprived of the public benefits vouchsafed to them under the covenant of their time: Daniel of the Temple offerings and John of the weekly assembly. Yet, during the “time of the evening oblation,” Daniel if praying, offering what he can in remembrance of the Lord at the “time of the evening oblation.” John, on the other hand, is “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev 1:10). Both hear from the Lord while they entered into the spirit of the occasion, even though deprived of its ordinary accompaniments: Daniel hears from Gabriel, and John hears form the Lord Jesus Himself (Rev 1:10-18).
The Time of the Evening Sacrifice
The “evening sacrifice” is mentioned several places (1 Kgs 18:29,36; Ezra 9:4-5; Psa 141:2). The precise time of this offering is not known. The Passover sacrifice occurred “at the going down of the sun,” or about 6:00 P.M. (Deut 16:6). Purported scholars reckon that the Israelites had two evenings in one day. This is derived from the Hebrew expression from which “evening sacrifice” is translated, which means “between the two evenings.” It is thought to have taken place at “the ninth hour of the day, or about three o’clock in the afternoon.” BARNES and JOHN GILL
If the above assessment is correct, it coincides with the time when the Lord Jesus was “made to be sin” for us (2 Cor 5:21). It was around “the ninth hour” when darkness covered the face of the earth, that the ultimate offering for sin was made(Matt 27:45-50) – at the time of the evening offering! I must admit this to be a most arresting consideration, and offer it for your contemplation. In it you sense the direction in which God looks.
“ 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.”
Daniel now converses again with the mighty angel Gabriel. Once again, he will be given understanding, but not after an earthly order. This is understanding from the heavenly point of view. All other understanding is superfluous, and of on eternal consequence. In this understanding a central figure will emerge, and it will be the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Time and destinies will be measured by Him.
“And he informed me, and talked with me, and said . . . ” Other versions read “he gave me instruction and talked with me,” NASB “he instructed me and said to me,” NIV and “teaching me and talking with me.” BBE
The idea is that Gabriel communicated in words the realities than had been seen in Daniel’s vision. In doing so, he accommodated himself to Daniel, for that is the Divine manner.
Gabriel did not come to impress the prophet with a stirring or exciting sight. Nor, indeed, did he come to produce in him a sensational feeling, or some extraordinary bodily experience. Such things are certainly possible. However, this is a man“greatly beloved,” one with whom God would share His mind, His purpose, and His will. The loftiest of all human experiences take place in the heart and mind, not the body.
It seems to me that when Gabriel began informing Daniel, and taking with him, the words of any person upon earth suddenly became irrelevant. Daniel began experiencing what David has marvelously expressed: “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand” (Psa 84:10). The “courts of the Lord” are being brought to Daniel, and it has caused the courts of this world to fade and lose their appeal.
“ . . . O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Other versions read, “give you skill to understand,” NKJV “give you insight with understanding,” NASB “give you wisdom and understanding,” NRSV “make thee skillful of understanding,” DARBY “impart to thee understanding,” Septuagint “teach you how to understand,” NJB and “cause thee to consider understanding wisely.” YLT
We learn from this that God desires for His people to understand what He is doing. He takes no delight in leaving them in a state of ignorance, or simply satiating their flesh with sensational feelings. Nowhere does God represent Himself as working in such a way with those He loves. When critical understanding is NOT possessed it is described as a judgment, not a blessing (Isa 29:10; Matt 11:25).
Spiritual Understanding
In the matter of spiritual knowledge or understanding specific “skill” is required. Such knowledge has a dimension in which the wisdom of this world is impotent. It is a domain in which Divine assistance is required. There are heavenly determinations and purposes that are hidden to flesh and blood. They cannot be penetrated by natural powers, even though they are most astute and impressive.
Daniel is an excellent example of this. He was a man that excelled in natural endowments, being most gifted. He is described as having an “excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts” (Dan 5:12). “Light and understanding and excellent wisdom” were found in him (Dan 5:14). God had given him “skill in all learning and wisdom” (Dan 1:17). As a youth he was considered “gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand,” who had ability to be taught “the language and literature of the Chaldeans” (Dan 1:4).
Yet, when it came to comprehending some God had already said, and a vision he had already seen, Divine assistance was required. He already had access to a specific revelation recorded in Scripture (9:2). He had already received some extensive explanations from a heavenly messenger (8:16-27). Yet all of that could not cause him to understand what had now been shown to him.
How much less will young men and women of today, armed with lexicons, commentaries, and history books, be able to perceive Divine intentions in Scripture? The time has come for worldly wisdom to be removed from the throne of intellect. Before any measurable spiritual understanding can be realized, the dependency upon God that is driven by faith must be experienced. For some, this is too difficult to be received. However, until this occurs, men will be shut to up an ignorance of the things of God – educated or not.
“ 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee . . . ”
You will sense in Gabriel’s word the desire of the Lord to mature confidence in His people. The angel will speak in such as manner as to promote assurance, calm the heart, and prepare the man of God for profitable understanding.
At the Beginning
Other versions read, “As soon as you began to pray,” NIV “at the first word of your prayer,” BBE “when your pleading began,” NJB and “the moment you began praying.” NLT
It is noteworthy when the prayer of any person causes a heavenly response at the very instant it begins. Paul once prayed three times before he received an answer (2 Cor 12:8-9). Elijah prayed for rain seven times before it came (1 Kgs 18:43). Elijah also prayed three times, asking the Lord to raise a child from the dead (1 Kgs 17:21-22). But here is a prayer that causes an instant response in heaven.
From this it is obvious that the matter concerning which Daniel was making inquiry was especially vital to the people of God. Here was a matter that concerned critical Divine workings. It dealt with things God desired for men to know – even though, from the standpoint of time, the revelations appeared to be premature.
The Commandment Came Forth
Other versions read, “the command went out,” NKJV “the command was issued,” NASB “an answer was given,” NIV and “a word went out.” NRSV
The idea is not merely that the angel was commanded to go to Daniel, but that he received a word that was to be taken to the prophet. Gabriel did not move about on his own. He did not come to the earth until he was given a commandment to do so.
Here is a marvelous example of a truth declared elsewhere. “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry” (Psa 34:15). And again, “Behold, the eye of
the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine” (Pa 33:18-19). And again, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers” (1 Pet 3:12).
Ponder this text when you consider how Jesus taught us to pray. “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:10). There, the response is instant
I Am Come to Show Thee
Other versions read, “I am come to tell you,” NKJV “I have come to declare it,” NRSV “I have come to give you knowledge,” BBE and “I am come to tell you what it was.” NLT
Here was something determined in heaven, and known among those in heaven. Now the word goes forth to share this knowledge with one who inhabits the earth, in which delusion, ignorance, and death dominate. Gabriel does not come to discuss the vision with Daniel, but to declare its meaning. He does not come to hear what Daniel has to say, but to make known what God has determined.
“ . . . for thou art greatly beloved . . . ” Other versions read, “for you are highly esteemed,” NASB “for you are a man dearly beloved,” BBE “for thou art a man much loved,” Septuagint “for God loves you very much,” NLT and “for thou art greatly desired.” YLT
Gabriel was not merely sent because Daniel had asked for understanding, but because the prophet was loved very much – “FOR thou art greatly beloved.” Those who are close to the Lord, and endeared because of their faith in Him, will receive more from Him. Thus the Lord said of Abraham, His friend, “And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do” (Gen 18:17).
There is a lot of loose thinking on this subject in the Christian community. Understanding is too often viewed in isolation of the Divine view of the individual. Enough is not said these days about the value of walking in a manner that is “pleasing” to the Lord – “fully pleasing Him” NKJV (Col 1:10), and conducting ourselves as “dear children” (Eph 5:1). Many a soul remains abysmally ignorant of the things of God because they have chosen to live in ways that displease the Lord. If the Lord gives understanding to those who please Him and are greatly loved by Him, He also withholds understanding from those who do not please Him, and even provoke Him.
Although Daniel was probably over eighty years of age, yet he remained precious in the sight of the Lord, and eager to learn of Divine intentions. For that reason, special arrangements were made for him to comprehend things that would take place long after he had left this world.
“ . . . therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Other versions read, “give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision,” NASB “consider the message and understand the vision,” NIV “so give thought to the word and let the vision be clear to
you,” BBE “grasp the meaning of the word, understand the vision,” NJB and “Now listen, so you can understand the meaning of your vision.” NLT
The appropriation of understanding will involve more, therefore, than Gabriel simply passing information from heaven to him. The message, supernaturally brought to Daniel, must be considered, or pondered, before it can clarify the vision given to him.
The idea expressed is this: take hold of what I am saying, and it will clarify the vision. As Daniel pondered, contemplated, or thought upon what Gabriel declared, it would shed light upon the vision he had seen, making it understandable.
The Experience of Asaph
This is what is involved in the expression, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I . . . ” (Psa 73:17). Asaph had been envious of the foolish – not because he wanted riches, but because they appeared to be undisturbed, while he suffered the chastening hand of the Lord. As he thought upon the circumstances of the foolish, “it was too painful” for him, disrupting his peace, and disturbing him within. That condition continued “until” he entered “the sanctuary of God.” At precisely that point, he saw the condition of the foolish quite differently. He saw that God had put them into “slippery places.” Rather than being in an envious position, they were slipping back and forth on the precipice of eternal ruin.
The Situation with Daniel
In Daniel’s case, “the sanctuary of God” is being, so to speak, brought to him. He is going to be given a Divine perspective of things that were beyond his natural understanding. However, to profit from this understanding, he must think upon it, becoming absorbed with the word brought to him. It must begin to dominate his heart and mind.
Our Own Time
This is a time of surface religion – when thought has been dethroned in preference for feeling. The worship of God is not viewed as primarily emotional, with little profound expression, or words that provoke depth of thought and extended meditation. Much of the preaching of our time is not conducive to deliberation, and brevity has become the fashion of the times.
As a consequence, the minds of professing Christians are rarely exposed to truth for any extended period of time. We must have clear minds about this circumstance. Spiritual understanding will not and cannot be cultured in such an environment. Every effort to appropriate the truth must be attended by a love of the truth and a determination to gain the Divine perspective. Further, these traits cannot be developed while men and women, at the best, slide along the surface of the truth, dabbling in it with little interest and on commitment.
Exposure to a little truth for a short time will only innoculate the soul against “the power thereof.”
“ 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
This is one of the most arresting texts in all of Scripture. The language used in it speaks loudly of its importance ands centrality. Finishing transgression, making an end of sins, making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness cannot possibly be casual expressions. They are too closely aligned with matters relating to the Christ and the great salvation He accomplished to be treated with indifference of a lack of interest.
Something to Remember
The fact that this passage has been subjected to contradicting judgments does not mean we should ignore it. Rather, we ought to approach it with the words of Gabriel in mind: “understand the matter, and consider the vision.” We should also take the attitude of Daniel as our example, listening attentively to the words that follow.
“Seventy weeks are determined . . . ” Other versions read, “Seventy weeks are shortened” DOUAY “Seventy weeks have been fixed,” BBE “Seventy weeks are apportioned out,” DARBY “Seventy weeks are decreed,” NJB and “A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed.” NLT
This is a matter of Divine appointment. The time is exact, and is cast in stone. “Times” do belong to God, and it is in His power to appoint them blessing or for cursing, for establishment or for destruction (Acts 1:7; 17:26; Eph 1:11). He can (and in this case does) impose “times” upon men, regardless of their agreement or disagreement with His determination.
We are told that Jesus came “in the fulness of the time” (Gal 4:4). That “time” is also called “the time of reformation,” KJV or “the time of the new order” NIV (Heb 9:10). This was a pivotal point in human history, and thus becomes one of the chief keys of this prophecy. It is to be understood that if “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”(Rev 19:10), then His Person and work is at the heart of all inspired utterance. As He Himself said of the Scriptures, “they are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).
This is a most remarkable prophecy! It speaks of a number of years that is the same in number as the period in which the land was not given her sabbaths – 490 years. However, as we will find, the period is not the same. The first was in the past, the second is in the future. The first was related with Divine judgment, the second with great blessing. The first brought bondage, the second brings liberty. The first resulted in the judgment of a nation, the second with the judgment of a Person.
Weeks of Years
In keeping with a revealed Divine manner, these prophetic weeks consist of years, not days – a day standing for a year. This is how the duration of the wilderness wandering was calculated. “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise” (Num 14:34). The year of Jubilee was calculated after the same manner, using a day for a year. “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years” (Lev 25:8).
Using this method of calculating, the period before us is four-hundred and ninety years. This prophecy deals with a period of 490 years – seventy weeks of years, or seventy times seven. It is broken into three prophetic periods. Seven weeks (9:25a), sixty-two weeks (9:25b), and one week (9:27). Following the day-for-a-year prophetic period (Num 14:34), the periods are 49 years (7 X 7), 434 years (7 X 62), and 7 years (7 X 1). Thus, the entire period is 49 + 434 + 7, or 490 years.
“ . . . upon Thy people and upon Thy holy city . . . ” Other versions read, “For Your people and for Your holy city,” NKJV and “about Your people and Your holy city.” ESV
In my understanding, the meaning of this text centers in the preeminence of the Messiah upstaging the prominence of the holy people (Israel), and the holy city (Jerusalem). They would remain at the heart of Divine dealings until the promised Seed would come. At that time, everything would center in Him. In Him, the covenant would no longer center upon words inscribed upon tables of stone, but upon a Person. Thus Isaiah prophesied, “I the LORD have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles” (Isa 42:6). The same promise is again stated in Isaiah 49:8: “I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” Following the birth of John the Baptist, his father Zechariah was filled with the Spirit, and also declared the centrality of a Savior over the centrality of Law. His son, the forerunner of Jesus, would prepare the way for the Savior of the world (Lk 1:67-79).
The “seventy weeks,” therefore, are the period of time in which Israel would remain prominent, and Jerusalem the focal point of Divine activity.
This does not mean, as some affirm, that there would be no further involvement of God with Israel. Rather, future involvement would center in Christ Jesus and their relationship to Him.
Now, let us behold what will be accomplished by the coming of the Messiah, the Savior and anointed one of the world. The remarkable details of these accomplishments are themselves proof of heir inspiration. To this very day, there remain great numbers of professing Christians that have yet seen what was accomplished by the Messiah.
“ . . . to finish the transgression . . . ”
All standard translations use these words: “finish the transgression.” A few versions tend to garble what is affirmed by the Spirit. The NIV adds the footnote, “restrain” the transgression. Other
variant translations include, “to let wrongdoing be complete,” BBE “to close the transgression,” DARBY “to put down rebellion,” NLT “until the measure of transgression is filled,” TNK and “to shut up the transgression.” YLT
Two different views are taken on this verse, and they are reflected in the various translations of it.
One is that an end will be made of transgression itself. That is, that the people will no longer live in sin.
The other is that the punishment for sin will conclude, or the period of chastening will come to an end.
The first view is the proper one, That is, as a result of the coming Messiah, the tendency to transgress would, in Him, be brought to an end. There would be a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), in which men have their stony heart removed, and a new and pliable heart of flesh be given to them (Ezek 11:19; 36:26). By putting His laws “into their minds” and writing them “in their hearts” (Heb 8:10), God would transform the people, causing them to walk in His statutes (Ezek 36:27). Those in covenant with God through the Christ would no longer be noted for sinning.
“ . . . and to make an end of sins . . . ” Other versions read, “to put an end to sin,” NIV “sin come to its full limit,” BBE “Sin may have an end,” DOUAY “for sin to be ended,” Septuagint and “seal up sins.” YLT
Here the idea is that of bring an end to the reign of sin. It would be toppled from the throne so that men would no longer be enslaved by it, being “servants of sin” and “free from righteousness”(Rom 6:17,20).
This is a prophetic declaration of the taking away of the sins of the world (John 1:29). The scape-goat of heaven would bear them into an unhabitable land, where they would be remembered “no more” (Lev 16:10-22; Heb 8:12).
“ . . . and to make reconciliation for iniquity . . . ” Other versions read, “make atonement for iniquity,” NASB “atone for wickedness,” NIV “clearing away the evil doing,” BBE “make expiation for iniquity,” DARBY “iniquity may be abolished,” DOUAY “atone for guilt,” NLT and “to cover iniquity.” YLT\
This declares the means by which sin would be done away, expiated, or removed from Divine consideration. Apostolic doctrine elaborates on this marvelous accomplishment. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin . . . ” (2 Cor 5:21). And again, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal 3:13). And again, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet 2:24).
From another perspective, this was God Himself laying upon Christ “the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6). It was Jesus suffering for our sins, “the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet 3:18). It was God in Christ Jesus“reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor 5:18-20).
Sin could not be taken away by chastening the sinner, as Israel was chastened in the Babylonian captivity. No amount of punishment exacted upon the transgressor can atone for sin. Isaiah foretold the means by which reconciliation would be made. “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:4-6).
Here, in a moment of heavenly explanation, and nearly five hundred and fifty years before it would occur, Daniel is given the privilege of knowing how the Messiah would make reconciliation for the sins of the people. It would not be by punishing the sinner, but by punishing the sin-bearer. It would not be by cursing the transgressor, but by cursing the One upon whom the transgressions were placed.
“ . . . and to bring in everlasting righteousness . . . ” Nearly all translations read the same way. Some variant readings include the following. “The coming in of eternal righteousness,” BBE “to bring in the righteousness of the ages,” DARBY “everlasting justice may be brought,” DOUAY “introducing everlasting uprightness,” NJB “eternal righteousness ushered in,” TNK and “bring in righteousness age-during.” YLT
If ever men were going to become righteous, righteousness would have to be brought in. At the time of Daniel, sin had reigned uncontested for around 3,500 years. It had prevailed to such an extent that the Divine assessment was, “there is none righteous, no not one” (Rom 3:10). Men have to be “made righteous.”
Because Jesus effectively took away the sins of the world, God is now the “Justifier” of those who believe on His Son – and He is “Just” in doing so (Rom 3:26). Now, having put the believer in Christ Jesus, God makes Jesus to be “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30). From another perspective, He imputes His own righteousness to those believing on His Son. As it is written, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Rom 4:6).
This is the righteousness that is proclaimed in the Gospel – a righteousness is from God, and is obtained through faith (Rom 1:17; 3:21-22). It is “everlasting righteousness” because it is God’s own righteousness, which is the only righteousness He accepts. Jesus “brought” it in, making the righteousness of God accessible to all who believe the record He has given of His Son (1 John 5:10-11).
“ . . . and to seal up the vision and prophecy . . . ” Other versions read, “To seal up vision and prophecy,” NKJV “to seal both vision and prophet,” NRSV “so that the vision and the word of the prophet may be stamped as true,” BBE “and vision and prophecy may be fulfilled,” DOUAY “setting the seal on vision and on prophecy,” NJB “to confirm the prophetic vision,” NLT and “and prophetic vision ratified.” TNK
This sealing does not refer to a concealment of the prophecy, but to its predetermined fulfillment. What has been made known about the coming Messiah is so sure the prophecy and vision can be stamped with a seal just as though it had already been fulfilled. There is no possibility that it would not happen – that the Messiah would not come in the fulness of the time, bringing newness of heart and spirit, taking away the sins of the world, satisfying the righteous demands of God, and bringing everlasting righteousness within the reach of fallen humanity.
This is precisely the point Peter makes in his second Epistle. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet 1:19).
Jesus came to fulfill all of the marvelous prophecies of a coming Savior – to place the seal of confirmation upon them all.
“ . . . and to anoint the most Holy.” Other versions read, “anoint the most holy place,” NASB “Anoint the most hone One,” NIV “to put the holy oil on a most holy place,” BBE “to anoint the holy of holies,” DARBY and “the Saint of saints may be anointed.” DOUAY
Here there is a significant difference in the translations. Some have the Holy Place being anointed. Others, the Holy of Holies. Still others, the Messiah, or Holy One Himself. First, this cannot refer to the anointing of the Messiah Himself, for He did not anoint Himself. It is written that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38).
The vision and the prophecy related to men having access to God through an effective Mediator. In covenantal words, “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest” (Heb 8:11). This is nothing less than entrance into the Most Holy place – the holy of holies. Our bold access to the throne of grace is involved in this. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).
This refers to “the new and living way, which He has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh”(Heb 10:20). By anointing the holy place, Jesus has cleansed or sanctified it for our entrance. Now the sons of God may traffic in the place formerly forbidden to them. It has been sprinkled with His blood, purifying “heavenly things” for the use of the redeemed of the Lord (Heb 9:23).
Thus, within four hundred and ninety years, the greatest achievements in the history of the world will be accomplished by the Messiah! The determination was made, and nothing could stop it from happening.
A MORAL AND SPIRITUAL CHANGE. The transgression would be “finished.” No more would sin dominate the people. They would be made new, recreated, and given a new heart and spirit.
THE REIGN OF SIN WOULD END. An end would be made of sin. It would be taken away, cast behind God’s back (Isa 38:17), and thrown into the depths of the sea (Mic 7:19).
RECONCILIATION WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED. A satisfactory atonement would be made for sin, making it “just” for God to receive men to Himself.
RIGHTEOUSNESS BROUGHT IN. Everlasting righteousness would be brought from heaven to men, causing them to be acceptable to God, and capable of walking in fellowship with Him. FULFILLMENT AND CONFIRMATION OF VISION AND PROPHECY. All of the marvelous visions and prophecies of a Savior are fulfilled in Christ. He is the Prophet, Foundation Stone, King, and Hiding Place. He is everything that has been promised, and everything that we need.
THE WAY TO GOD HAS BEEN SANCTIFIED. Jesus has anointed the most holy place for the sons of men. They can come as often as they want, stay as long as they want, and receive as much as they desire.
All of this is a sort of summation, exposing us to much more than at first appears. When I consider that all of this was made known to Daniel over half a century before the Messiah came, it once again confirms how eager the Lord is for us to know these things.
“ 25 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.”
Daniel is old, and his time in this world is drawing to a close. It appears from history that Daniel passed from this vale of tears about four years after Gabriel’s visitation. A worldly wise person might consider such a marvelous revelation to be wasted on such an aged man. However, rather than being wasted, here was a faithful man who had a heart to appreciate what he was told, and could be counted on to write it down for succeeding generations.
What a wonderful benefit to have your final days upon the earth times of your greatest blessing! Simeon’s days drew to a close when he has seen the salvation of God (Lk 2:26-29). The
closing part of Ann’s life was the time when redemption came (Lk 2:38). And now, we read of Daniel who received his greatest insight after nearly seventy years of productive ministry.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem . . . ”
Gabriel now defines the time more precisely, informing Daniel of the precise time of its beginning. The “seventy weeks” that have been determined for the people will commence from the time when the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem was issued.
Because of what was accomplished in his time, I am going to assign this time to the commissioning of Ezra and Nehemiah. It was during their time that the Temple was cleansed and the priesthood restored.
The time of Ezra’s commission is considered to be 456 B.C. That was the beginning of the real restoration.
The record of the commissioning of Ezra is found in Ezra 7:8-9. “And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him” (Ezra 7:8-9).
“ . . . unto the Messiah the Prince . . . ” The point of this prophecy is the coming to “Messiah the Prince.” This does not refer to His second coming, as some suppose. We know this is so, because it is expressly said in this prophecy that He was coming to deal with sin: finish the transgression, make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity (9:24). Of His second coming it is written, “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Heb 9:28).
Beside this, the term “Messiah” refers to Christ in His salvational capacity, not to His return in glory with all of the holy angels. The word “Messiah” is used four times in our English Bibles (Dan 9:25-26; John 1:41; 4:25). John’s Gospel provides additional information, saying “Messiah,” being interpreted, is “the Christ”(John 1:41). Of the 555 times that “Christ” is used in Scripture, none are used independently of His redemptive work. Our text, therefore, refers to the time when Jesus in His salvational capacity would be revealed.
From the commission to rebuild Jerusalem (456 B.C.) to the appearance of the Messiah would be sixty-two prophetic weeks, or 483 years. That would calculate to be A.D. 27 (456 +27 = 483).
It is generally conceded that Jesus was born in 4 B.C. He would have been one in 3 B.C., two in 2 B.C., three in 1 B.C. and 27 years later in 27 A.D. He would have been 30 years old. This is the exact year of his baptism when He was anointed, that is, when He became the
Messiah. As it is written, “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age” NASB (Luke 3:23). Jesus was not the Messiah when He was born. From that time He was the Son of God. However, He became the Messiah when He was “anointed,” and thus began His minister. He did not become the Messiah when he was born. He has always been the Son of God but he became the Messiah when He was anointed. That anointing commenced His ministry as declared in Acts 10:38. “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” NKJV (Acts 10:38).
“ . . . shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks . . . ”
The sixty-nine weeks are divided into two groups. They are a seven-week period, and a sixty-two-week period. Using the prophetic formula of a day for a year, that would be a forty-nine year period (7 X 7), and a four hundred and thirty-four year period (62 X 7).
The commission to rebuild the city occurred in 456 B.C., and the city was finished in 407 B.C. – forty-nine years later, shortly before the death of Nehemiah (405 B.C.). From 407 B.C. until A.D. 27 is 343 years, thus making up the sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years from the beginning of the rebuilding project until the anointing of the Lord Jesus.
“ . . . the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
The period during which the building was accomplished is covered in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and it was a time of much trouble.
They were “troublous times,” indeed! The books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the long period of difficulties met in accomplishing the completion of the city. In those books we read of “the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin” (Ezra 4:1-24), Sanballat and Tobiah (Neh 2:10), Geshem (Neh 2:19), the Arabians, Ammonites, and Ashdodites (Neh 4:7), and Noadia and her prophets (Neh 6:14). The city was, indeed, built in “troublous times, just as Gabriel said it would be.
Once again, the 7 weeks or 49 years refer to this period beginning with 456 B.C. then the 62 weeks follow, or 434 years of waiting until the appearance of Messiah. It is the accuracy of this time prophecy which has caused Talmudic Jews to place Daniel in the writings rather than the prophets in the Jewish division of the Old Testament.
The remarkable precision of this prophecy is most arresting. Even though there is some variance of opinion as to the use of calendars and other such matters, the figures still come out exactly as Gabriel said. Forty-nine years from the commission to rebuild Jerusalem until it was completed, and 434 years from the completion of the building to the appearance of the Messiah: 483 years!
“ 26a And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself.”
Here is a prophecy of the death of the Lord Jesus – when He was “cut off out of the land of the living” (Isa 53:8). Prior to Christ’s coming, there were allusions to the death of the coming Messiah – but not many.
Satan would bruise His heel (Gen 3:15; Lk 22:53).
His feelings and cries upon the cross expressed (Psa 22:1-18; Matt 26:59-65; 27:46; ).
Reference to His bones not being broken upon the cross (Psa 34:20; John 19:36).
Prophecy that they would give him vinegar to drink (Psa 69:21; John 19:29).
He would be persecuted when God Himself had stricken Him (Psa 69:26; Mark 15:28-32).
They would look at Him in His death and wag their heads (Psa 109:25; Matt 27:39).
His disfigurement (Isa 52:14; Matt 26:67).
Cut off out of the land of the living (Isa 53:8; Acts 8:33)
He would be “pierced” (Zech 12:10; 13:6; John 19:14-16; Acts 2:23).
Yet, there was not much specificity in the above references. In fact, they were so vague that when Jesus began to bring up His death, His own disciples were offended (Matt 16:21-22; John 16:5-17). And, when He died, His closest disciples were able to associate His death with the prophecies that seem apparent to those in this day of salvation (Lk 24:17-24). Now Daniel, greatly beloved, will be given some insight concerning the Messiah’s death. It would be a vicarious, or substitutionary death.
“And after threescore and two weeks . . . ” Again, the sixty-two week period, or four hundred and thirty four year segment, is mentioned. Over four centuries will pass AFTER the rebuilding of Jerusalem before the Messiah comes. For many, that would make the matter irrelevant. But it was important to Daniel, even though it was well outside the perimeter of his life.
“ . . . shall Messiah be cut off . . . ” Other versions read, “the Anointed one will be cut off,” NIV “one on whom the holy oil has been put will be cut off,” BBE “Christ shall be slain,” DOUAY “An Anointed One put to death,” NJB “the Anointed One will be killed,” NLT and “the Anointed One will disappear and vanish.” TNK
The words “cut off” suggest a sudden and violent death. From an earthly perspective, His life was terminated in its prime – something the Jews could not associate with a coming Prince and Savior, and Seed of David.
Remember, this is not a history lesson, but a proclamation of Divine determination. In other words, God had determined that the Messiah would be “cut off.” When Jesus was here, He clearly said He was sent o “lay down” His life – to submit to being “cut off.”
“ . . . but not for himself.” Other versions read, “and have nothing,” NASB, “and will have nothing,” NIV “and have no . . . ,” BBE “and the people that shall deny Him shall not be His,” DOUAY “and there is no judgment in Him,” Septuagint “put to death without His . . . ,” NJB and “appearing to have accomplished nothing.” NLT
As you can see, several of the versions greatly confuse the text. The Basic Bible English and New Jerusalem Bible represent the sentence as being broken off, without an ending – like Moses’ expression in Exodus 32:32. Others suggest He died without any apparent accomplishments. NLT Some suggest in His death a separation occurred between Him and His people. DOUAY
LIKE THE WICKED. The language declares his would be like that of the wicked – having the appearance of a transgressor. It is said of the wicked, “For evildoers shall be cut off” (Psa 37:9). And again, “But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth” (Prov 2:22). The Messiah would, in this sense, as well as in His burial, be “numbered with the transgressors” (Isa 53:12). He would be suddenly and violently pulled up out of the earth as though He was a sinner.
WITHOUT A GENERATION. He would also be “cut off” without a generation in the flesh of His own. Thus Isaiah reasons, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living” (Isa 53:8a). From Adam there were succeeding generations leading up to Jesus (Lk 3:23-38) – yet there was no fleshly generation after Him.
After saying this, however, Isaiah affirms the meaning of our text, declaring it quite succinctly: “for the transgression of my people was He stricken” (Isa 53:8). His was a vicarious death.
His death was not because of any sin of His own. There was no cause for His death in His own person. Rather, He dies vicariously, in the behalf of others. This is the meaning of the text.
“ 26b . . . and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
Suddenly, Gabriel makes an association of the death of Messiah with something that will follow that death.
“ . . . and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary . . . ” Other versions read, “and the troops of the prince who is to come,” NRSV “and a people, with their leader, that shall come,” DOUAY “city and sanctuary ruined by a prince who is to come,” NJB “a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple,” NLT and “The army of a leader who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” TNK
The city is Jerusalem, and the sanctuary is the Temple. Daniel relates their destruction to the death of the Messiah. There is no need for speculation on this matter, for Jesus spoke of this destruction, and did so at great length.
The destruction was appointed because the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus. “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:44). Matthew records Jesus saying this assault would leave the Temple without one stone being left upon another (Matt 24:2). He also said their house, which was Jerusalem and the Temple, would be left “desolate” (Matt 23:37-38).
“ . . . and the end thereof shall be with a flood . . . ” These words speak of utter desolation or devastation – like an overwhelming flood. By this Gabriel confirms there is no hope that this destruction can be avoided. As we now know, it was a Divine judgment for rejecting their own Christ, for which they had been prepared. This time, when “the enemy comes in like a flood,” the Lord would not raise up a standard against him (Isa 59:19). Jeremiah also spoke of an overriding enemy in this way. “Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof” (Jer 46:8). Amos used thew same kind of language. “And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt” (Amos 9:5).
“ . . . and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Other versions read, “till the end of the war desolations are determined,” NKJV “even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined,” NASB “War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” NIV
The meaning is that Jerusalem will not merely endure an assault – one from which it can quickly recover. The utter desolation of the city has been determined by the God who has been offended by its rejection of His Son.
Jesus referred to this prophecy when He warned His disciples, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20).
This is the destruction of Jerusalem that took place in A.D. 70. The enemy causing the desolation was the Roman army, and the “prince,” or leader, was Titus Vespasian. In celebration of his plundering of Judea, Titus issued the commemorative coin shown above. Revealing the significance or the coming Messiah, Gabriel informs Daniel of the devastation that will come upon Jerusalem and the Temple because the people “received Him not” (John 1:11). God is still sensitive about such rejection, and we ought to be sensitive to that!
“ 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Here is a section of Scripture that has been greatly distorted. Even though Gabriel has affirmed a period of seventy weeks, some have said there is a massive gap between the sixty-ninth and seventh week, putting this part of the text at the end of time. However, if this is true, then this is not a seventy week prophecy as Gabriel declared.
In dealing with this verse, I will assume the continued priority of the Messiah. I cannot conceive of a sudden switch in emphasis to the heralding of the Antichrist in this passage.
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week . . . ”
Gabriel now returns to a consideration of the Messiah, who is the Subject of this prophecy. He, and He alone, is the “spirit of prophecy,” and the them of Scripture (Rev 19:10; John 5:39).
The language in this passage bears some similarities to the text in the eighth chapter, which spoke of the wickedness of Antiochus Epiphanes, who also caused sacrifices to cease (8:11-13). The wording, however, was quite different in the eighth chapter. There the sacrifices were taken away from God Himself. Here, the Messiah causes tem to cease through His own vicarious death.
“He,” the Messiah, will confirm the covenant, not the prince who destroys the city. Viewing the “he” as the prince and his armies causes the prophecy to cease being a 490 year prophecy, as the seventieth week is yet to come. Incredibly some see in this text the last seven years of the history of the world and Antichrist. But this is a 70 week prophecy, The last week refers to the seven years following A.D., or it is not a 70 week prophecy. That seven-year period would be approximately from A.D. 27 until A.D. 34.
The “covenant” of reference is the New Covenant, which He ratified with His own blood (Matt 26:28; Heb 10:29; 13:20).
“With Many”
Jesus Himself confirmed the covenant “with many.” I take the word “many” to stand for all, as it does in the fifth chapter of Romans (5:15,19). It is also used to stand for all who are in Christ (Rom 6:3; 8:14,29).
“For One Week”
The confirmation of the New Covenant is said to extend over a period of one week – the last week of the seventy-week determination. It is generally agreed that from the beginning of Christ’s ministry until the conversion of Saul of Tarsus was seven years. Of this is true, the confirmation of the covenant would refer to establishing that both Jew and Gentile were brought together within the covenant. This is a significant point in Scripture. Jesus made a point of it when He said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16). Paul declared this was an eternal purpose – a mystery that has not been unveiled, and is being brought to fulfillment. “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph 3:4-6).
It is my understanding that the confirmation of the covenant refers to the establishment of this purpose, which was exceedingly difficult for the early church to grasp.
“ . . . and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease . . . ”
The real significance of the last week is found in this reference – “the midst of the week.” This is a reference to Messiah being “cut off,” and to the effect of that death upon the Jewish economy. Jesus caused the sacrifices and oblations to cease by offering a superior sacrifice. When that sacrifice was found pleasing to God, it invalidated all other sacrifices for sin, causing them to cease before God.
“ . . . and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate . . . ” Other versions read, “And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,” NKJV “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,” NIV “and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator,” NRSV “and in its place will be an unclean thing causing fear; till the destruction which has been fixed is let loose on him who has made waste.” BBE
The thought is this: after Jesus has obviated the sacrifices commanded by the Law, the door will be opened for the conquering hordes of Rome. In the place where commanded sacrifices had formerly been offered, abominations would not be placed. This is the “abomination of
desolation”to which Jesus referred in Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14). When the people saw that abomination, then they were to quickly flee from the city, for its time of judgment had come. Thus Jesus said, “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: and let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: and let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment” (Mark 13:14-16).
Messiah came to bring and confirm a New Covenant. That confirmation would be accomplished in the seven years following Jesus' baptism in 27 A.D. The rest of 27 (28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33), would make 30 A.D., the midst of the week. It is the year Messiah was cut off, but not for himself, as verse 26 affirms. Consequently, when Jesus made the sacrifice and the oblation non effective. He caused it to cease in effectiveness. Once Jesus died on the cross lambs can be offered by the millions, but they have no validity – they are desolate. Jesus made the Temple worship desolate at the cross and it would remain desolate. That is why the Temple veil was violently ripped in two from the top of the bottom when He died (Mark 15:38).
When the Temple was destroyed some years later by the Roman armies, they formally desolated what had already been made desolate by Jesus in His death. What remarkable coincidence is in this wonderful 70 week prophecy. No human could have devised this before the events declared transpired. The hand of the Lord is obvious in these things. It is a faith-building prophecy.
“ . . . even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Other versions read, “Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate,” NKJV and “even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate,” NASB
The idea is that the enemies who attack Jerusalem with aggressiveness until every jot and tittle of God’s word against the city is brought to fulfillment. Not a single aspect of it will fall to the ground, but everything will come to pass. The thought is this: after Jesus has obviated the sacrifices commanded by the Law, the door will be opened for the conquering hordes of Rome. In the place where commanded sacrifices had formerly been offered, abominations would not be placed.
Thus we come to the end of this remarkable passage of Scripture. The exact time of Christ’s death is foretold, together with why He died, and the mpact that death would have upon the whole Temple order. We should learn from this that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Heb 10:31). Take that to heart!

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