Click to donate today!
Cause for Prayer
The rule of the Babylonian empire has come to an end. The government is in the hands of the Medes and Persians, the second world empire. We are here in the first year that Darius has been appointed king “over the kingdom of the Chaldeans”, the conquered Babylon. Daniel has been in exile for more than seventy years now. He experienced the rise and fall of Babylon. The Medes and Persians are now in power. He has a high position both in one world empire and the other.
But everything he has experienced and the high position he holds have not diminished his love for God, God’s Word and God’s people. For him, what we read in Psalm 137, which reflects the feelings of those in exile in Babylon, is completely true (Psalms 137:5-Joshua :).
His love for Jerusalem leads him to “the books”, which are the Scriptures of the Old Testament, as far as they are available to him. In one of them, the book of the prophet Jeremiah, he notices that there is talk about the number of years that the destruction of Jerusalem would last (Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 29:10). Daniel sees that the first part of the prophecy has been fulfilled, that is the downfall of Babylon. He also believes in the second part, which is the restoration of Jerusalem.
Although Daniel himself is a privileged prophet who receives and transmits the thoughts of God, he also takes the place of a disciple. He would like to learn from other God-inspired prophets in order to get to know God’s thoughts. This attitude is necessary to grow spiritually and to increase in wisdom and knowledge.
Daniel makes his discovery “in the first year of Darius”. The actual return will not be long in coming. However, at the time Daniel reads about the end of the seventy years, there are still no indications that justify the hope of a return. That God opens a door for His people to return to His land, he discovers in “the books”. He is guided by God’s Word and not by the circumstances. He also does not ask for special revelation. God’s Word is sufficient.
This is an important indication for our time. There are deceived people who believe that God still gives revelations and that they receive them. But God has given a full revelation of Himself and His thoughts about us and the future. He expects us to study His complete revelation, given to us in His Word. From His Word we learn how to know His purpose and how to live in this time. The Word of God gives the right key to prophecy. We do not need to explain the prophecy by events, nor do we need to wait for the fulfillment of the prophecies to understand them.
Daniel Prays and Confesses
What Daniel read could have made him very glad. He has read that the seventy weeks are over and that the recovery is therefore imminent. But there is no joy in Daniel. What he has read leads him to confession. He knows God and knows that God only grants mercy when there is confession of sins. Without that He can do nothing.
The direct consequence of what Daniel read was that he turned to God. He does not go with the good news of his discovery to his friends or fellow exiles. Through his fellowship with God he sees the low spiritual state of the people. He sees its true character, and that leads him to confession instead of a cry of joy. Only in that position and in that feeling intercession for others can be done.
Those who are spiritual are first when it comes to confession. They feel more than others how much God is dishonored by His people. That makes the prophet an intercessor. Knowledge of the future leads in the first place to intercession, that is to say, to speaking to God for the benefit of the people, and only then can there be spoken to the people on behalf of God. God makes the future known in order to speak to our hearts and not to satisfy our curiosity. Prophetic statements are not about processing sensation, but about an experience according to God’s thoughts.
Daniel begins his confession by honoring God in His greatness and awesomeness. He is deeply impressed by that. Anyone who knows God and has a relationship with Him will address Him with great respect – and also speak of Him with great respect. That is general. At the same time, this mighty majesty gives the great confidence that He keeps to everything He has said. He does not only say, He acts as well. He is able to do what He says and has promised.
Daniel reminds God, as it were, of His covenant and His faithfulness to it. To this Daniel also connects His mercy. That is God’s side of the covenant. However, there is also the side of human responsibility. The covenant and mercy of God apply to those who love Him and keep His commandments. And there it went completely wrong. That brings Daniel to his poignant position of confession.
We Have sinned
Daniel makes himself one with the people in their turning aside from God and His commandments by speaking of “we”. He confesses the sins of God’s people. It is striking that he expresses himself in all kinds of ways. It is as if his feelings need all these words to get a way out of the enormous burden that weighs on his heart. He does not get rid of it with a quick, meaningless, general “we are sorry”, but he speaks of “committed iniquity”, “acted wickedly”, “rebelled”.
The cause of the misery in which God’s people find themselves is the departure from God’s commandments and ordinances. But not only that. When the people turned aside, God also sent His servants, the prophets, to His people. The wicked state of the people became all the more apparent then. This evil situation was present in all parts of the people, with kings, princes, fathers, yes, all the people of the land. To all is spoken by the prophets in the name of the LORD. But what does Daniel say? “We have not listened. From the account in 2 Chronicles we know how much the LORD has made an effort to make the people return to Him, but that they have even despised and dishonored His prophets (2 Chronicles 36:15-Nehemiah :).
This confession of the sins of the people by Daniel also has something to tell us. We also have not only personal to do with God, but also as a community. If we call ourselves Christians, we bear the blame for the dishonor that Christians bring to the Name of Christ, after Whose Name we call ourselves. Even if we honor Christ as Lord in our personal lives, we are ashamed and confess our guilt for the injustice that occurred in the Name of Christ. We are to blame with all Christians as one.
This also applies to the faith community of which we are a part. There is weakness and unfaithfulness, worldliness, carnality, legalism. There is nothing to boast about, as if we were better Christians if in “our” faith community certain sins do not occur or are removed through discipline. It takes faith and a spiritual mind to come to such a confession. These are only there when there is knowledge of one’s own heart and when there is an awareness of the grace that must always save us. Who can say that he has always listened to God’s voice in His Word?
The People and the Lord
After Daniel has confessed the sins of “all the people of the land”, he justifies God in that He has judged the people (cf. Lamentations 1:18). He is aware that when division and scattering occur, these evil things must be accepted from the hand of God. They are certainly also the consequences of man’s evil deeds, but above all we must see that God acts in holy discipline.
We see this clearly, for example, in the great division of Israel, when the people fall apart into ten tribes and two tribes. Rehoboam was the actual cause of this tearing. But if he wants to undo this tearing by himself and on his own initiative, God says: “This thing is from Me” (2 Chronicles 11:4). Four hundred and fifty years later Daniel acknowledges this for the situation which he finds himself in. He confesses to the Lord that He has expelled His people to all the countries in which they are now.
Daniel does not mention any names and does not point a finger at a certain person. He does not speak of Zedekiah and his follies. Nor does he refer to Nebuchadnezzar and his brutal performance. He looks above people and circumstances upwards and sees in the division and scattering the hand of a righteous God. Thus, sometime later the LORD speaks through the prophet Zechariah: “but I scattered them with a storm wind among all the nations whom they have not known” (Zechariah 7:14).
A little later, Nehemiah recalls in his prayer the words of the LORD, Who said through Moses: “If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples” (Nehemiah 1:7-Ruth :). We do not read that these men speak of a ‘permission’ to scatter. They say clearly that God has driven the people away and brought this evil upon them.
Contrary to justifying God in His dealings with them, Daniel speaks of open shame of the people. God did nothing other than what He said He would do if the people were unfaithful. The people have become unfaithful, and all that suits them is shame for the sins they committed against God. The only thing Daniel can still call upon is God’s mercy, for they depend on it.
He knows God as the righteous God, but also as the God of “compassion” and of “forgiveness”. Compassion means full of compassion and forgiveness means manifold forgiveness. This is a beautiful expression, which flows over with hope and trust. There is not just a little compassion in God, no, He is full of it. There is no need for a little bit forgiveness for a single sin, no, with God there is manifold forgiveness for a multitude of sins. God “will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7) and is “willing to forgive” (Psalms 86:5). Nehemiah knew God as “a God of forgiveness”, which means that He forgives many times (Nehemiah 9:17). Daniel clings to this as the only possibility, for the reality is that “we have rebelled against Him”, so that every right to blessing has disappeared.
Once again Daniel speaks in these verses about the fact that the voice of God has not been obeyed. All the misery that has come upon the people can be traced back to this. If we do not obey God’s Word and take the warnings to heart, God will fulfill His Word on us, not for good, but for evil. We lose the promised blessings and receive the promised curses. Daniel acknowledges that what has come upon the people is nothing but the fulfillment of what God said would happen if they turned aside. He understood that well. We see Daniel emphasizing time and again in his confession that none but God Himself has broken His people (Daniel 9:7; Daniel 9:12Daniel 9:14). That is the basis of his pleading.
We also see that the disaster is unparalleled. Never has a city been judged as severe as Jerusalem. That is because there has never been a city that has been so privileged. It is the only city God has chosen to establish His throne and to have His dwelling place, His holy temple. Of these people He says: “You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:2). Judgment has come upon those nearest to Him and in whom He sanctifies Himself (Leviticus 10:1-:). “For [it is] time for judgment to begin with the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17; Ezekiel 9:4-Judges :).
These verses also imply a serious message to God’s people for the days in which we live. The people of God are scattered and divided because of their sins. But who is grieving about that? We see it and accept it resignedly or even see it as a ‘valuable multicolor’. It shows that the truth of God about the unity of the church is hardly known. What is worse, there is hardly any desire to know that truth.
It is to be hoped that we will be spiritually touched about the condition of God’s people. Then it will drive us out to prayer before the Lord our God. God will be able to let His Word speak to us and we will learn to deal wisely with God’s truth. The latter means that we will know God’s truth, absorb it and obey it. Dealing with God’s truth wisely means taking every word of it seriously, both the promises and the warnings.
Because the people of God did not deal with the Word of God wisely, evil came upon the people. God keeps Himself to His Word. He watches over it. He also watches over the doom that He has pronounced in it, so that it may come when the actions of the people demand it. The LORD also said this to Jeremiah: “Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good” (Jeremiah 44:27) and also: “As I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy and to bring disaster” declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:28).
We can understand – and we like to hear it – that the LORD watches over His people to protect them. But here we find that He watches over them for evil and that Daniel justifies Him in it: “For the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice” (Daniel 9:14).
Confession and Request
After his confession Daniel calls upon the “Lord our God” as the One Who once redeemed his people and thereby “made a name” for Himself. He also speaks to God about “Your people”. God does not yet see it this way, for the people are not yet His people. But faith speaks in all circumstances thus about God’s people. The name “Lord” is the translation of the Hebrew Adonai, that is the Ruler, the Commander, while “LORD” is the translation of Yahweh, that is the God of the covenant with His people. Daniel now addresses the Lord as the sovereign God Who has acted in the past for the benefit of His people.
At the same time he says to Him that “this day” He still bears the Name He made then. So he begs the Lord first to think back to His redeeming work He did before by saving His people from slavery. Then he calls upon Him to live up to that Name once more and now because they have sinned and acted wickedly.
The Name of God is magnified in a glorious way when He shows grace, for He proves grace by virtue of His righteousness. Because the Lord Jesus has fulfilled all God’s righteous demands, God can prove grace to the repentant sinner. With this, He has made a Name forever. When people ‘make a name’, it’s because of a certain achievement. But there are always imperfections to this achievement. God has made a Name through a redemption that is perfect and that remains forever.
After his confession “we have sinned, we have been wicked”, Daniel pleads with “the Lord” to turn away His anger and His wrath from Jerusalem. He speaks to the Lord about Jerusalem as “Your city” and “Your holy mountain”. He sees and acknowledges in faith that the Lord is the Owner of it and not the nations, although the city is given by God into the hands of the nations.
He also identifies the city and the mountain on which the city lies, that is Mount Zion, with each other. It is a “holy mountain”. It is the mountain on which Abraham sacrificed his son Isaac long ago. This speaks of the sacrifice God the Father brought by giving His Son. Because of that sacrifice there could be a temple in which God could dwell. So it is with the church in which God now dwells and which is also called a temple (1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:22). For faith, the church is the dwelling place of God in the Spirit, no matter how much the church has in practice become a place where people who do not have the Spirit regulate the service.
It strikes Daniel deeply that God’s city and God’s people have become a reproach to all around them. How is it with us? Do we also go through everything that the church and the living together of God’s children have become a reproach to the world around us? What my brother and friend John Bax experienced when he told the gospel to someone, illustrates it painfully clearly. In a report of this illustration, he writes the following:
An older man came to me when I shouted loudly: “Let yourself be tempted with God” and John 3:16 “God so loved the world” etc. We had a conversation about the Bible. He had a lot of criticism and commentary and ‘why-questions’. He did not understand that if there is a mighty God, He does not intervene because of all the evil in this world. When I said: “And if God should intervene one time because of all the evil in your own life?”, he was no longer so open and complained about the Christians, what they have done about it. He said, “How many churches are not empty today? What kind of happy message is brought when people run away? How many splits have there been in history where you can’t even get together? Just look at all the different churches and denominations that are there nowadays. In your churches you have great conflicts about faith. If you had something precious together, you should certainly show what keeps you together.
I told him: “If I have to look at man and at Christianity, I must unfortunately agree with you. What we have made of it is shameful. But I want to tell you about the person of the Lord Jesus who died in my place for all my sins. And for everyone who believes in him. I wanted to explain the gospel to him further, but he walked away. After that I was a little distressed by this conversation, and sad, because the world is indeed watching us and seeing how we deal with each other. And also that this is put forward as a reason to reject the precious gospel. I was reminded of the Bible verse: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). [End of quotation.]
I don’t think I need to add something to this. Let us take it to heart and beg God to forgive us in His grace and give us another opportunity to be the church according to His thoughts. He desires to have a dwelling place on earth. That is where His own come together and live together in subjection and unity to His Word and guided by His Spirit.
The Lord Jesus said: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). God dwells where He can be God, that is, where He is recognized in His rights as God. We can still ask for and search for that place. If we use His Word as a guide and follow the instructions of the Spirit, He will certainly lead us there.
Daniel Begs God to Listen
Daniel does not beg for an end to the exile nor for his personal interests. The subject of His supplications are the city, the holy mountain, the holy temple and the people of God. He begs God “for Your sake” to let His face light on His sanctuary. He is concerned about the glorious Name of the Ruler and the Commander. Daniel draws His attention to the fact that His sanctuary is desolate. He exclaimed that God can’t leave it that way, can He?
So we must also learn to beg in view of what is now God’s sanctuary, His church, which is “a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21). If we see what remains of that in the practice of Christian faith, we must also say that that temple has been destroyed. If we were to share more in God’s feelings about this, we would be more like a Daniel begging God to let His face shine on it. What comes into His light He redeems and restores (Psalms 80:3). His light reveals what is going on and also shows the solution. Without His light everything remains in darkness. If we long for Him to shine His illuminating and restorative light upon His church, we will take to heart the word of Isaiah and do it according to it: “And give Him no rest until He establishes And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:7).
We will continually, vigorously, and almost shamelessly, beg God to open and incline His ear and open and see with His eyes (Luke 11:5-2 Kings :; Luke 18:1-Ruth :). Daniel clearly mentions that he does not cause to fall [as it is literally] or cast down his supplications before God – another powerful expression that fits this intense prayer – on account of any merits of their own, for they do not possess them. He casts them down on the basis of God’s “great compassion”. The deeper we are permeated by this, the more boldly we will approach God, yea, rushing at Him and, as it were, continuing to bombard Him with our supplications.
Daniel does so with a threefold “Lord”, in which he insistently pleads that the Lord hears, forgives, listens and takes action, and does not delay any longer. In short sentences, he strongly states his words. The various expressions show a heart that is completely overwhelmed by the matter that is before his attention. It expresses an intense commitment. He also pleads with God not to wait with His actions in favor of His city and His people. The seventies are over, he read in the book of the prophet Jeremiah.
The prayer is that of a prophet, a man of God, a man who loves his land, a man who has the glory of God as the highest goal of his life. He has a close, personal relationship with God, whom he calls “my God” for the first time in his prayer in Daniel 9:18. If such a person intercedes in this intense way and confesses sins and puts forward arguments for action, he will be accepted by God.
He does not say these things to teach God and he does not argue to influence God. This is the way God wants to be called, for it is the only way our thoughts can be brought into the right state. If we have the spirit, the faith, the repentance and the seriousness of Daniel, we can be sure that our prayers will be answered, just as his prayer will be answered.
The ground on which he begs all this is “for Your own sake”. He seeks in everything the honor of God. It is about His Name. That Name is by Himself inextricably bound to His city and His people, for that is where His Name is proclaimed. What happens to His city and His people touches Himself. That is the argument for Daniel. We must also have this plea to beg God to stand up for His church, “which He purchased with the blood of His own [Son]” (Acts 20:28).
The Answer Comes
Daniel experiences that God hears while he still speaks and prays (Isaiah 65:24; Isaiah 30:19). That Daniel “was speaking and praying” seems to indicate that he prayed out loud. Speaking while praying he is busy confessing “my sin”. This is very personal. He has always involved himself by talking about ‘we’ and ‘us’. But now he says “my”.
We do not read from Daniel any sinful deed or a wrong word. Yet he is also a man to whom the words Solomon speaks in his prayer apply: “For there is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). Believers who live most devotedly to the Lord are most aware of their own sins and deficiencies. Daniel is also fully aware that he is one with the sinning people, whom he calls “my people Israel”. He knows he is not better than they are.
After he had spoken before about casting down his supplications before God, he now speaks about causing to fall [as it is literally] his supplications before the LORD his God. He knows that he himself is in the presence of God. This places him directly at “the holy mountain of my God”. The mountain where the city of God and the house of God are, are the cause of his supplication. He keeps it personal by talking about “my God” once more. We will only be able to share in God’s feelings about His home if we have such a personal and profound relationship with God. If we look at God’s church with His eyes and if we know God’s heart about it from His Word, our prayer for God’s church will increasingly resemble that of Daniel for God’s people of that day.
In Daniel 9:21 it is again said that Daniel is still busy expressing his prayer, to which is now added that this is the moment he gets a visit. This underlines the value of his prayer to God. This prayer is a prayer according to His will. God is quick to answer that prayer.
The timing of the response is also significant and interesting. It is “about the time of the evening offering”, that is to say the time when the daily burnt offering was brought in Jerusalem. This is not happening literally at that moment, because there is no temple and no temple service anymore. But faith does think about what is due to God and what God takes into account. Daniel lives in it and thinks about it. The same applies to us. When God intervenes through our prayer, it is always in connection with His Son and His work on the cross, of which the sacrifices are a shadow.
There are some remarkable events in Scripture associated with this “time of the evening sacrifice”. So it is at this same time that Ezra is appalled by the sin of the people (Ezra 9:4). It is the hour of prayer, the hour when Cornelius receives an answer to his prayer (Acts 10:3; Acts 3:1). God likes to hear at that hour. The reason for this is that at that hour He did not listen to someone else. The ninth hour is the hour when the Lord Jesus was not heard for our sake (Matthew 27:45-1 Corinthians :).
Daniel is so much in prayer that Gabriel must touch him to let him know he is there. Gabriel could also have made his presence known by speaking a few words. But the touching shows that the angel is actually personally present with Daniel. The touch means the end of Daniel’s prayer. For God it is sufficient. He knows the desires of his heart.
Gabriel tells Daniel that as soon as he has started praying, a word of God has gone out in heaven. That word was addressed to Gabriel and contained the instruction to go to Daniel and teach him and to give him insight into what he has heard and seen in the vision. Here we see how God is ready to answer a prayer of His own. Sometimes the answer can be stopped for some time, as we will see in the next chapter (Daniel 10:12-2 Chronicles :). This does not mean that the answer does not take place, but that the answer is postponed. We may know that this also fits into God’s plan.
It is not enough that Daniel has received revelations about future things. What he also needs is insight into its meaning. Only then will he benefit from it. The Lord Jesus also opened the Scriptures, and He opened the disciples’ understanding of the Scriptures (Luke 24:32; Luke 24:45). We also need an open understanding, as well as an open Scripture. Thus, Paul says to Timothy: “Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Timothy 2:7).
If we want to understand the thoughts of God, we have to consider them. We have to draw our attention to them, reflect on them, and compare the Biblical texts with each other. The fact that the revealed will of God is so often unknown to us and that we are mistaken is because we so often lack real attention to detail.
Our understanding is opened and we are given insight into the meaning of God’s Word when we can also be told that we are “highly esteemed”. All the children of God may know that they are “esteemed”. Every child of God may know that he is in God’s favor (Romans 5:1-Exodus :). That is not because of who he is in himself, but because he is favored “in the Beloved”, that is the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 1:6). But there are children of God of whom He says they are “highly” esteemed. These are those children who desire to act and to walk in everything according to His will and to His honor.
It will be clear that He looks at them with greater pleasure than believers who are unfaithful. Abraham and Lot are both believers. However, God cannot share His thoughts with Lot, but He can share His thoughts with Abraham (Genesis 18:17-Psalms :). Daniel is one in whom the fear of the LORD is and with whom the LORD can therefore deal confidently and make known what is on His mind (Psalms 25:14).
The Seventy Weeks
The verses we now come to, Daniel 9:24-:, are called ‘the ABC’ of the prophecy. First a short overview:
In Daniel 9:24 we read about
1. the duration of the period: seventy weeks,
2. Who it is about: your people and your holy city, which are Israel and Jerusalem and
3. what happens during that period: finish the transgression, etc.
In Daniel 9:25 we learn that the first and main part of the seventy weeks fall partly into two periods: seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, which is sixty-nine weeks together. The events in these sixty-nine weeks are described. These weeks are concluded with the mention of one person: Messiah the Prince.
In Daniel 9:26 it is said that after sixty-two weeks, so in total after sixty-nine weeks, the Messiah is cut off. This is followed by the announcement that Jerusalem will be destroyed.
In Daniel 9:27 we are informed of the events that take place in the remaining week, the seventieth. We also read there about the division of this week into two halves with an indication of what happens halfway the week and what the consequences are for the second half of that week.
The weeks mentioned in Daniel 9:24 are not weeks of seven days, but periods of seven years. The seventy weeks are a total of four hundred and ninety years. This number of years will pass before the full blessing can come for “your people and your holy city”. Before that happens, a few things have to happen:
1. First, “transgression” must have finished, that is to say, the people and the city no longer live in rebellion against God, but are obedient to Him.
2. The sins must also come to an end, that is to say that they are no longer committed.
3. “Iniquity” must be atoned. God can only pass over the iniquity of His people if atonement has been made for it.
These events are negative, they have to do with what has to stop and be removed because it cannot exist before God. The following events are positive. In them we see God’s work for the benefit of His people and His holy city.
1. He will bring in “everlasting righteousness”. That indicates the kingdom of peace, under the government of the Messiah.
2. Sealing up “vision and prophecy” means invariably recording what has been shown by and on behalf of God in the vision and said by the prophet. Both vision and prophecy bear the stamp of God’s work in its fulfilment.
3. The last event is the anointing of “the most holy”. What this refers to is not immediately clear. Several possibilities have been suggested. Some possibilities are that it can refer to the most holy of the temple or to the whole temple or to the city of Jerusalem or to the Lord Jesus, the Messiah. In any case, this is something that is sanctified before God by a special ordination and will have a special place in the realm of peace, to the glory of God.
Seven Weeks and Sixty-Two Weeks
Now Daniel is told – and we are told – when to start counting the seventy weeks, that is to say the four hundred and ninety-year period. We have to “know and discern” that, otherwise we will miss the meaning. The counting should start at “the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem”. This cannot refer to what Cyrus ordered, for he did not command to rebuild Jerusalem, but to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:2). Only a hundred years later has permission come to rebuild the city and that is what this verse is about. Artaxerxes is the king who gives Nehemiah the permission to rebuild the city, in the fourth year of his reign (Nehemiah 2:1), that is the year 445 BC. Then the four hundred and ninety years begin.
Then an intermediate event is given, namely the coming of the Messiah. When He comes, sixty-nine weeks have passed. This period of sixty-nine weeks is divided into a period of seven weeks and a period of sixty-two weeks. The first period, that of seven times seven weeks, that is forty-nine years, is the period in which the restoration of Jerusalem takes place. The second period of sixty-two weeks is linked to this period in one breath. The end of those two periods – that of seven weeks (forty nine years) and that of sixty-two weeks (= four hundred and thirty-four years), that is four hundred and eighty-three years together – is connected with a person: “until Messiah the Prince”.
A certain characteristic of this time is given: “It will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.” This shows that Jerusalem has been rebuilt, but that in those four hundred and sixty-three years (sixty-nine weeks) it is always under pressure from foreign peoples.
The Messiah Is Cut Off
The end of the period of sixty-nine weeks in total is not only linked to the Person of the Messiah but also to an event. This event is the cutting off of the Messiah. “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing.” As we can see from the number of weeks that have passed, since Nehemiah Jerusalem began to rebuild, four hundred and eighty-three years has elapsed at the moment that the Messiah is cut off.
Then we have entered history at the time of the walk of the Lord Jesus on earth. He is the ‘Messiah’ or ‘Anointed One’. He comes to fulfill the last week to complete the period of seventy year weeks and to establish the kingdom of peace. But what happens? His people reject and murder Him. Being innocent – ‘while there is nothing against Him’, as can also be translated – and is put to death. It also means that He has “nothing”. He didn’t get what He came for: His people as His kingdom. At the same time His death on the cross is the basis for the fulfillment of God’s plans for His people.
A simple calculation shows how accurate God’s Word is. The years in the Bible are years of 360 days. The period of 483 years is 483 x 360 = 173,880 days. This means that, counting from the date of the order to rebuild the city, we arrive at the Lord Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Sunday before the Friday on which He will die the death of the cross. For an exact calculation see Jerusalem – Hindernis für den Weltfrieden (Jerusalem, obstacle to world peace) by Roger Liebi.
This is how the sixty-nine year-weeks end. Because the people reject their Messiah, that last, seventieth, year-week cannot directly connect to the sixty-nine already expired year-weeks and the kingdom of peace cannot be established. Are the plans of God thus annulled? No, it means that the seventieth year-week is yet to come, because the sealing of the prophecy (Daniel 9:24) concerns seventy year-weeks and not sixty-nine year-weeks. ‘Sealing’ means that everything, including the seventieth year-week, comes true and that everything that has been communicated in visions and by the prophets is fulfilled. It means a postponement of the fulfillment, for that the fulfillment comes, is certain.
What now happens between the sixty-ninth and seventieth year-week? Important events take place during this indefinite period. Daniel, and therefore we too, are further informed about this by the angel. The sixty-nine year-week ends with the death of the Messiah, as stated in the beginning of Daniel 9:26. He is cut off “and have nothing”. This means He is leaving earth without receiving the kingdom He came for.
Then the interpretation continues and Gabriel speaks of “the people of the prince who is to come”. He also says what that people will do: it “will destroy the city and the sanctuary”. Also the end of that people is made known by Gabriel: “And its end [will come] with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”
Here it speaks of a people of a prince who is to come. That people are the Romans. In the year 70, the Roman armies, led by Titus, destroyed Jerusalem as God’s punishment for the rejection of the Messiah. God gives up the city to the nations. Luke gives more details about this in his account of the speech on the end time by the Lord Jesus (Luke 21:20-Jeremiah :). The Lord Jesus says there: “And Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
When the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, what Gabriel here calls “the end” comes. “The end” is the end time, the return of Christ and the related events. In the middle of this Daniel 9:26 a big leap is made from the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 to the return of Christ in the end time. The destruction of Jerusalem and of the Roman empire, both then and in the end, are determined. The people, the Romans, have been there and have come to their end. Germanic tribes have destroyed the empire. Europe has disintegrated into many different countries.
But the prince of that people is yet to come. He will also come. About him is written in Daniel 9:27. The events of then, in the year 70, are a foreshadowing of the events in the end time, events that directly precede the establishment of the millennial empire of peace. The events of the end time are the events of the seventieth year-week. These are described in Daniel 9:27.
The Seventieth Week
The second part of Daniel 9:26 gives the transition from the situation in the year 70 to the situation in the end time or the seventieth year-week. About that seventieth year-week it goes in Daniel 9:27. During the seventieth year-week, Israel is back in its land. This is demonstrated by the fact that sacrifices are being made again. There is another temple service.
The “he” of this verse is the prince of the previous verse who will come. It is the ruler of the restored Western Roman empire, the fourth world empire, the united Europe that gave its power into the hands of a single dictator, the beast from the sea (Daniel 7:3; Daniel 7:7; Revelation 13:1-2 Samuel :). It points to the time when the Roman empire is again present and Israel is again present and both empires have a ruler.
The covenant that he makes firm is the covenant that he, the autocrat of the united Western Europe, will make with the unbelieving mass of the Jews, “the many”, possibly under the leadership of the antichrist. Seen from the Jewish side, it is a treaty with death (Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 28:18). The apostate mass of the Israelites will do this to defend themselves and protect themselves against the enemies surrounding them, of which the greatest enemy is Assyria. By Assyria we can understand Syria in an alliance with some other Arab states. Assyria is so strong because it is supported by the mighty Russian empire that lies north of them. That is what the prophetic word shows and what we see confirmed in current events.
“In the middle of the week”, however, a dramatic change takes place. This change heralds the most terrible time the earth has ever experienced. This time is called the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21) and also “the time of Jacob’s distress” (Jeremiah 30:7) and also “the hour of testing, that [hour] which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10). This period will last half a year-week, i.e. three and a half years.
In that time an unprecedented suffering will affect mankind. What people will do to each other defies any description. Violence of war and natural disasters will uninhibitedly cause their slaughter. The spiritual torments to which men are exposed will drive them to insanity. An impressive description of it can be found in Revelation 6-19. The introductory event is the casting of the devil from heaven to earth, knowing that he has little time, i.e. three and a half years (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 12:12).
His first activity is to put an end to the Jewish religion, which we see in the prohibition to sacrifice. Through his servant, the Roman ruler, who is supported by his ally the antichrist, he puts an end to worship in Jerusalem. The Roman ruler and the antichrist establish their own idolatrous religion. The antichrist will erect an idol of the Roman ruler, the beast out of the sea, in the temple (2 Thessalonians 2:3-Numbers :), most likely the court of the temple.
This image is intended as protection against the enemies. As a result, the antichrist will propagate the alliance with Western Europe. He will convince the remaining mass of the Jews to expect their salvation from that great power when they are threatened by Assyria and all Arab countries. He will make sure that people worship the image and even let it speak. He who withdraws from this mass psychosis and does not worship the beast will be killed (Revelation 13:15).
God calls it “the wing of abominations”. A wing indicates protection and an abomination is an indication for an idol image (Matthew 24:15). But instead of protection, this abomination will bring destruction to Israel. There “[will come] one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate”. It is an abomination that will lead to destruction, that is God’s judgment on the apostates, on the most horrible idolatry that has ever happened. This destruction happens because it is decreed by God.
The one who will come and makes desolate” is the king of the North, the ancient Assyrian empire, supported by Russia. This is the beginning of the last world war. The destroyer will quickly pour himself out “on the one who makes desolate”, that is Jerusalem. It will happen so quickly that the alliance does not appear to offer any protection. Jerusalem will be taken and the inhabitants will suffer terribly (Zechariah 14:2).
This brings the angel to the end of his teaching (Daniel 9:22). It seems to be an abrupt end, where judgment seems to be the last word. But we have to think of two things. The fact that the explanation about the future ends here means that it is not about the continuation, but about the elaboration of what has been announced. What does it do for me now that I know how it will eventuate? The other is that the angel said at the beginning of his statement that “everlasting righteousness” will come when the seventy weeks have passed (Daniel 9:24). After the judgments follows the glorious kingdom of peace under the reign of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Daniel 9". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter