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Saturday, August 23, 2014

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Affirming that Gobryas "was made governor" by Cyrus over Babylon, Daniel used Gobryas’ throne-name, Darius the Mede, who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom" (v. 1).  Now that the lion's den event in Chapter 6, was over, Daniel began studying the prophecies of Jeremiah. He understood from what Jeremiah said “that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years" (v. 2). Prophets don't always understand everything and are at times baffled by what other prophets have said.

From the other dreams that Daniel had, he could see God’s hand in history. But the question now in his mind was when would these seventy years of Jeremiah end and Jerusalem be restored?  If the desolation of Jerusalem would truly continue when would it really end? He needed to ask God "what next?" So he "turned to the Lord and pleaded with Him" (v. 3). He fasted and prayed in confession of sins (v. 4). He included himself "we have sinned and done wrong" (v. 5). We have turned away from the commands and laws of God. "We have not listened to your servants the prophets" (v. 6).  A problem that is ours until this day.

The exile came because of their sins (v. 7) and all were covered with shame (v. 8). Yet they rebelled. Daniel pleaded with God for mercy and forgiveness (v. 9). He repeated to God their sins of Sabbath and law-breaking, Spirit of Prophecy rejection (v. 10), and refusing to obey the Lord (v. 11). The disaster came as a result of that (v. 12). Despite the disasters they had not turned back to God (v. 13c) and not given attention "to Your truth" (v. 13d). With cries like "away with doctrine” by the people, Daniel pointed out that true experience requires obedience to what is doctrinally given and taught in the Scriptures.

The Righteous God had to act and could not overlook sin or compromise (v. 14). Admitting wrong-doing, acknowledging that God cannot go against His own being (v. 15-16), and recognizing that they have been the scorn of the nations, Daniel pleaded with God to change the situation (v. 17). Since Jeremiah said the desolation of Jerusalem would be seventy years Daniel asked God to consider the desolated Jerusalem (v. 18). He urged God to hear and act (v. 19). While he was praying Gabriel flew quickly and at the time of the evening sacrifice (v. 21) came to give Daniel insight (v. 22). When Daniel began to pray to God, the Father had given the answer and Christ sent Gabriel to go and help Daniel (v. 23). As soon “as you began to pray, an answer was given.

The seventy weeks (seven sevens) were "cut off" (v. 24), from the 2300 day/year prophecy, which Daniel was told about earlier. They both started at the same time but the “seventy sevens” or 490 years will stop earlier, while the larger 2300 day-year prophecy will go on longer.

Daniel learned that there would be a decree (which we know to be the 7th year of Ezra in 457 BCE) for rebuilding Jerusalem and later the coming of the Messiah (v. 25). It is not 7 weeks until the Messiah and 62 weeks of city-building but 7 weeks of city building and 62 weeks to the Messiah starting from the time of the decree.

Christ was baptized in 27 A.D. by John, also the Holy Spirit anointed Him and the Father approved of Him with a voice from heaven. Much to Daniel's horror, the restored Jerusalem was to be destroyed again by the Romans (v. 26b). "The ruler at the time of Jesus would come and destroy the city and the sanctuary."

Also war was to continue until the end when the Rock of Ages would come (v. 26c). These “desolations have been decreed" (v. 26d), with starting and stopping points between 538 and 1798. Christ the Messiah will confirm an [eternal] covenant with "many" which includes all who accept Him as personal Savior (v. 27a). When Christ was here, He brought an end to the earthly sanctuary but was to continue the Priesthood and later High-Priesthood functions in the heavenly sanctuary (v. 27b).

Daniel saw shocking things that spiritual Israel would suffer: the Messiah-Anointed was to be “cut off” near the end of the 490 year period, the Temple destruction, and that a further abomination was to ride on the wings of the one who destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D.  It would be for a fixed period of time, given to Daniel in Chapter 7, as time, times and half a time or 1260 day/years. Daniel came to realize that the Messiah would not come in his day and that history is a longer corridor than he wished. Two years later, the Lord was to show him another vision outlining history with more detail until the end. He then informed Daniel, that he will rest until the Resurrection.  That is in the chapters to come.  
Dear God,
We are all hoping for a new Jerusalem, a new earth, and a solution to the desolations and abominations of this world. We rest assured that You will protect Your remnant seed through all this. Amen.  

Koot van Wyk, DLitt et Phil, ThD.
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea.