Today: [Daniel 09] Daniel’s 70th Week. In this chapter of Daniel, the prophet fasts and prays to understand Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years of captivity. He understands that the math of this prophetic word by Jeremiah is hard to understand, and Gabriel appears to explain to him the coming of the Messiah at the end of 483 years, after which the anti-Christ will appear. In the gap of that time a 7th seven year time is unaccounted for, in the midst of which we can calculated 2000 years of Christian history and the church age.
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[Dan 9:1-27 KJV] 1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; 2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. 3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: 4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; 5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: 6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7 O Lord, righteousness [belongeth] unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, [that are] near, and [that are] far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. 8 O Lord, to us [belongeth] confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. 9 To the Lord our God [belong] mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; 10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that [is] written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. 12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. 13 As [it is] written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. 14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God [is] righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
The previous two chapters presented visions of the prophet Daniel from the 1st and 3rd year of Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon. Chapter 9 covers events in the 1st year of Darius, king of the Medes and Persians who has now defeated Babylon and established the empire represented by the arms and shoulders of silver in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image in Daniel chapter 2. In chapter 9:2 we see Daniel studying the words of Jeremiah the prophet. It is important to remember that Daniel is a contemporary of both Ezekiel and Jeremiah as well. At the time that Daniel studies the writings of Jeremiah, Jeremiah is now dead, having been martyred in Egypt by his countrymen who had kidnapped him from Jerusalem and forced him to join them in Egypt, which now also is fallen to the Medes and the Persians.
Daniel sees in the passage we identify as Jeremiah 25:11-12 that God has declared a captivity of 70 years for the people of Judah and the desolation of the city of Jerusalem. Daniel’s desire as is the case with the whole of the captivity in Persia, is to see the city of Jerusalem restored and the temple rebuilt. Because of this, Daniel (v. 3) sets himself to seek the Lord in fasting and supplication not only to more fully understand Jeremiah’s words but to make confession in intercession for the sins of the people in captivity and for the idolatry and transgression of the nation of Judah which occasioned the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. This is important for us to know. In the protocols of Ezekiel’s restoration temple, there was a duty the priests were to carry out of sprinkling the blood of atonement for the sins of the cities where they lived. They were to live in centralized locations in each city belonging to the various tribes, and then on a prescribed scheduled go to the temple in Jerusalem and entreat the forgiveness of God by the shedding of blood for the sins of the city wherein they served as priests. Rev. 1:6 and Rev. 5:10 tell us that we as believers and priests and kings unto God.
In John 20:23 Jesus told us that whosoever’s sins we remit they are remitted. We are as intercessors, like Daniel to intercede for the sins of our city and our nation, lest we be destroyed as a people even as Judah was eventually destroyed after 400 years of idolatry from Reoboam, Solomon’s son to Zedekiah. Ask yourself the question, have you pleaded with God over the sins of your city and the nation of your birth. It is obscene for leaders to stand in our pulpits and declare we are one nation under God, and to shake their fists in the face of secularism and ungodliness, without first weeping between the porch and the altar over the transgressions of our people. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke against transgression, but they also displayed great compassion for even the deepest offenders among their people because they were imbued with the love of God for them, even in their sin. It is a common saying, not commonly in evidenced in Christian culture “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Too often that is translated, “marginalize the sin, as though it does not matter”. That is not the case. We cannot say, “well the blood covers, this is the age of grace…” The blood only applies to the penitent. Outside of a repentant heart and a reformed life, the law applies with all of its dread judgments. To be clear, those outside of Christ are under the mandates of Old Covenant justice and will face the implications of that else they “kiss the son” and accept the overture of love and redemption in the shed blood of the Cross. Hence our role in interceding not just for ourselves or for individuals around us, but for our city and our nation, that her sins might be remitted and space be given to avoid consequences arising from ungodliness and wickedness in our land, till repentant can come.
15 And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people [are become] a reproach to all [that are] about us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. 18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. 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 shew [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.
In v. 16 Daniel cries out that the judgments of God would be lifted from the ruined city of Jerusalem. It is important to note that Jerusalem lies in ruins. There are no people in it, because Nebuchadnezzar had forced all the inhabitants out of Judah and Jerusalem after two bitter uprisings of the people against his rule. The land itself is polluted by the past transgressions of her people. This is a concept that doesn’t exist in modern Christian theology. Leviticus 18:28 reflects this principle:
[Lev 18:26-28 KJV] 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit [any] of these abominations; [neither] any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which [were] before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that [were] before you.
When a nation forgets God, even the land itself will turn against it. We can see this in the escalation of natural disaster, floods, storms, crop failures, drought. Liberal voices point to global warming and call for ecological reform, but it is not industrial excess that causes our environment to heave against us, it is the sins of our people. Science will never acknowledge it but God doesn’t require a scientist to pray, He calls upon you and I to pray. These things will come into the earth and we must realize that as they decimate our cities and ruin our lands, at some level this reflects a prayerlessness among the people of God. We can shake our finger at the godless and say this is God’s judgment, but why are we not taking up the intercessory role as Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jeremiah, and here in chapter 9, like Daniel? This is our role. This is how we as believers become a part of the solution and not part of the problem of transgression and sin that is raging in society.
V. 20 tells us that as Daniel is thus praying, Gabriel shows up to discuss with Daniel the visions and dreams he has been pondering, and to explain to him the 70 years he has read about in Jeremiah’s prophecies. In verse 24 the angel tells Daniel, or repeats to Daniel what Jeremiah already declared in Daniel’s reading – 70 weeks are determined upon the people of God in order to reflect the 70 years of 7th year Sabbath rests, they refused to give the land according to the dictates of the law. In other words, in the law the people were to not sow seed every 7 years in order to let the land enjoy an agricultural rest. The Lord’s promise was to bless them with enough abundance the other years to make not planting in the 7th year be provided for that there be no famine. But this 7th year Sabbath was never observed, even in Joshua’s day, and now God had come to claim His due, in allowing the people to be expelled and be in captivity for the number of years they disobeyed His command.
What can we learn from this? Isn’t today the New Covenant season? Does any of this apply to us? Remember that in the shedding of animal blood, the Old Covenant saint looked forward to redemption in shadow, as we look back in substance to the work of the cross. God is an exacting God. The blood of atonement shed every year and sprinkled on the mercy seat behind the veil in the Holy of Holies apparently did not atone for this agricultural transgression, because it was open and ongoing. This is not just an Old Covenant exactitude. It implies to us that for all the work of the cross in our behalf, the blood of Jesus does not cover ongoing, open and unrepentant sin. This is not the teaching of Christian culture however. This is something we must stop and consider lest we make an assumption and open ourselves up to unnecessary captivity just as the captivity of the people in Daniel’s day did not have to happen, but did come about because of the transgression and presumption of the people. They believed they could sin at leisure and that the yearly atonement sacrifice by the high priest would cover it all. The Catholic church teaches this openly, the evangelical community teaches this obliquely by its emphasis on tolerance and grace without any call to a reformed life and repentant heart.
In explaining the time between the restoration of the temple (70 years from this visit by the angel to Daniel) there will be 69 sevens or 483 years until Messiah comes. This is a prophetic conundrum because there is a 70th week not mentioned by Gabriel. This omission of the 70th week is held by many, and compellingly so to be a 7 year period, a final 7 year period put on suspension after the Messiah would come, to be fulfilled at the end of the church age. It is God giving humanity in the establishing of the church for the propagation of the gospel, space to repent before the final 7 year period that will consummate the judgments of God upon all men and usher in the Millennial reign of Christ. Verse 28 predicts that after Messiah comes, He will be cut off which predicts the crucifixion of Jesus, after which “the prince that shall come” – the anti-Christ will bring great desolations upon Judah, Jerusalem and the Temple, during which he will confirm a covenant, and bring great abominations into the earth before his final removal.
This is interesting because in v. 28 between the time of the Messiah being cut off and the “prince that shall come” i.e. the anti-Christ we have now had just over 2000 years of history, encompassing the totality of the church age. What does this mean for us? When will this “prince” of darkness come? The implication in Hosea 6:1-3 is that he will come in the 3rd 1000 year day from the resurrection of Jesus, after which we will “walk in His sight”. If we are going to walk in open view of the Messiah, the implication is that the anti-Christ is then dealt with, which all points to the day we live in – the threshold time between the 2nd and 3rd Millennia from the resurrection and the 6th and 7th Millennia from Adam and the ushering in of God’s Sabbath rest of a 1000 years. We live in monumental times!
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