We continue to look at the ninth chapter in the book of Daniel. On the heels of Daniel’s prayer, we see the angel Gabriel address him. Gabriel’s role in Daniel and his role in the New Testament when he appears to Mary bear similarities that are worth looking at. We also see that Daniel’s prayer is answered in a way that significantly exceeds his expectations.
Gabriel is dispatched
Verse 20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people—
Bear in mind, we don’t know of any sin Daniel had. We don’t know of any sin. But he’s just saying, look, I’m a person, I bear this too. I’m not righteous. I don’t deserve. What I ask for is mercy.
Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God,
yes, while I was speaking in prayer—while he was praying—the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.
Gabriel, as you know, is an angel. And we see him twice in the Bible: Once in Daniel, once in Luke. And he kind of says the same thing both times, which is interesting.
In Luke, he tells Mary, you are beloved among women. You are going to get this amazing gift, incredible gift. I’m going to give you an out-of-wedlock pregnancy so you’ll be ridiculed and risk being killed. Hard to think of a favor better than that.
It’s a perspective issue that we have, right? But he’s telling her, look, I’m going to explain to you something that’s going to be kind of tough to grapple with because you’re so well regarded.
Well, Gabriel does the same kind of thing in Daniel.
So, verse 22, about the time of the evening offering. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. I’m going to explain this difficult thing to you.
At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; The same message Mary got. I’m giving you this answer because you are so well regarded.
Now what is it that Daniel wants? What’s he praying for? Redemption of Israel and, specifically, Jerusalem. And what does redemption of Israel look like, and what does redemption of Jerusalem look like? Go back home and rebuild. That’s what Daniel’s asking for, isn’t it?
The answer to Daniel’s prayer
He’s going to get the kind of answer Mary got. He’s going to get a way bigger answer than he was asking for. And this is one of our problems as humans. We ask for things. We want things.
And God likes us. That’s something that’s hard for us to get in our heads. He likes us. Maybe we had parents that rejected us or parents that gave us conditional belonging or absentee parents or something, and we grow up with the idea that we’re not really liked.
But God really likes us. And he wants us to have the best. But what we ask for, as C. S. Lewis says, we ask for mud pies while God’s trying to give us a vacation by the sea. Our desires are just too little. That’s the fundamental problem and one of the reasons he doesn’t give us what we actually ask for. And what God’s about to do here is answer what Daniel would have asked had he known how to ask.
You saw Daniel talked about righteousness, and he talked about restoration. Well, he’s going to find out way more than he was actually asking about.
And At the beginning of your supplications—
So the minute Daniel asked, God said, my guy that I like so much! This is one of my favorites! Let’s get him down—He just wants to know. Let’s make sure he knows. But are we going to meet him on his terms and just tell him? No, no, no. We’re going to go way beyond what he can even dream. And it may not be too comfortable for him, right? But we’re after his best, not just his comfort.
God treats us all this way. And this is one of the perspectives we need to embrace.
So, you are greatly beloved; —therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:
And this word vision is probably better translated thing. This is more of a revelation than a vision. I gave you some information, now I want you to understand it.
So here it is. This is Gabriel’s explanation.
“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
Now he’s addressing specifically what Daniel asked about, right? I want to know about my people, and I want to know about Jerusalem. Okay. Seventy weeks.
Now this started with a 70. What was it? Seventy years. Because Daniel had read in Jeremiah and it said, “Seventy years are determined for this desolation.” So he’s like, we’re almost at the end! God, please restore!
He said, “OK, here’s what I’m going to tell you about. Seventy more.”
And at this time, I imagine he’s going, “Oh man. It’s going to be extended 70…”
Nope. No. It’s way bigger than that. But this time it’s not 70 years, it’s 70 sevens, literally, is what it says. Seventy sevens. That’s why they translated it weeks. Seventy sevens are determined.
For your people and for your holy city,
Here’s what’s going to happen during that 70 sevens.
To finish the transgression,
Well, that’s nice, isn’t it? What is the transgression? I think what the transgression is is the transgression of Adam that we all participated in. The exile of humanity from the harmony with God that we were designed to have. That’s going to be finished. It’s going to be ended.
For your people and for your holy city,
To make an end of sins,
Daniel asked about righteousness. And he said, I’m going to tell you the scenario under which sin goes away, and it stops. So, you agree this is better than what Daniel asked for. I mean, right off the bat, he just said, “For your righteousness sake.” Oh, you know what? I’m going to make you my righteousness. I’m going to tell you how within these seventy sevens.
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
This word reconciliation is the idea of covering. I’m going to cover the iniquity as though it’s not even visible anymore.
Righteousness now is going to happen in real time in a tangible way, and I’m going to tell you how it’s going to happen within these seventy sevens.
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
So not only are we going to end the transgression, end sins, make a reconciliation for iniquity, to cover over its effects, now we’re going to have a world with everlasting righteousness. It’s happy so far, right? If I’m Daniel and I understood what he was saying, I’m probably thinking, this is going to be some kind of restoration of Jerusalem.
Well, it’s bigger than that.
To seal up vision and prophecy,
So you’re telling a prophet, I’m going to put you out of business here. We’re not going to need vision anymore? Why would you not need vision anymore?
We know now what it’s going to be. The culmination of human history is for heaven to come to earth. We don’t really spend eternity in heaven. Heaven spends eternity on earth. And what we’re going to have is God in our sight. We’re not going to need vision and prophecy.
And to anoint the Most Holy.
So the Messiah’s going to come and be anointed as king within this seventy sevens.
If I’m Daniel, at this point in time, I’m pretty excited to find out how this happens.
So this is verse 25.
“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Now Daniel’s happy at this point, isn’t he? Because what does he want? He wants Jerusalem rebuilt. And what he’s being told is there’s going to be a command that this happen.
As best I can tell Darius and Cyrus are the same person. He’s got the Median name, and there was a prophecy about a Mede that’s fulfilled. And he’s also named Cyrus, which was named by Isaiah by name. Cyrus my shepherd will bring my people back. Cyrus my anointed one, he’s even called. The one I appointed.
This is going to happen shortly after this, best I can tell. There’s going to be a command to actually rebuild the temple. And then the command to rebuild Jerusalem happens in the time of Nehemiah. (I misspoke there.)
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
So 69 of the sevens happen between the restoration of Jerusalem and the coming of Messiah. So far, this is way better than Jeremiah had asked for. It’s going to be rebuilt. Not only is it going to be rebuilt, but the Messiah’s going to come within this time period.
Messiah will be cut off
However, now it gets tricky.
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Now it gets tricky because we want Jerusalem restored, and it will be. It will be rebuilt. We want righteousness, and it will come. Even Messiah will come. But then there’s this thing: Messiah will be cut off! And not only will Messiah be cut off, another prince is going to come and trash Jerusalem again!
So if I’m Daniel, I’m like, too much information. I’m glad Jerusalem’s going to be restored. But, you mean it’s going to be trashed again? Yeah. It’s going to be trashed again. We’re going to have a double fulfillment.
Not only that, we’re going to have a second Antiochus. Antiochus did the abomination of desolation. Remember when he sacrificed pigs on the altar and erected a statue of Zeus in the temple and outlawed Judaism? We’re going to have another guy like that who’s going to do the same thing! It’s like birth pains. You saw it once, and then it’s going to happen again and be way more severe.
So now we know, since we’re sitting here 2500 years later, we now know chapter 8 has already happened. We’ve had Alexander the Great come, divvied up among his generals. Antiochus Epiphanes who did an abomination of desolation, sacrificed the stuff.
And then we have another one coming that hasn’t happened yet.
And we also know that these 469 weeks have already happened because Messiah came, and Messiah was cut off because they crucified him. And there’s one more week yet to come. There’s one more seven yet to come.
So here we are in the middle of this gap between 69 and 70. 483 years and 490 years.
What’s yet in the future for us
In verse 27 we start talking about what’s yet in the future for us. So far, everything’s in our rear-view mirror. Now we’re going to start looking in the future.
As is the case typically with prophecy, you’re just right in the middle of a poem, and you just jump thousands of years. That’s normal with prophecy. It’s all stacked together.
Then he—which is the leader of the people that is to come.
Now I get to do my little grammatical thing that I messed up on before. So, this is the Young’s Living Translation of verse 26: “And after the 60 and two weeks cut off is Messiah. And the city and the holy place are not his. The leader who hath come doth destroy the people, and its end is with a flood.”
I like that: “The leader who hath come.”
And that makes it clear who this he is: It’s the leader who hath come of the people who cut off Messiah.
So we’re now in the Roman era, the legs of iron and clay, which we are of. We’re Roman. And we’re in this Roman era. And during this Roman era, there’s going to be a cutting off of the Messiah, and then there’s going to be a king who will confirm a covenant for one week. And presumably this covenant is with Israel.
But in the middle of the week—this seven-year period—
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
Now we’ve already seen that happen once, back in 8:12. Let’s just go back to 8:12. So this is the boasting horn in 8:12.
Verse 11. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices—
That was Antiochus, and that’s in the future for Daniel. It’s in the past for us. We’ve already seen this happen. But it’s going to happen again. There’s going to be a specific attack on eliminating Judaism.
Now, it’s not as though there’s been a reprieve of people wanting to kill all the Jews since this time, right? That’s like every maniacal ruler that comes to power, somewhere on his list of things to do is kill all the Jews. And we saw it most recently with Adolph Hitler.
And guess what’s happening in Europe today? Anti-Semitism is rising again. Some of the people left over from the holocaust are saying, I’ve seen this before. Why? Because this world is still ruled by the lame-duck prince, the prince of the power of the air whose most-hated group is Israel. You know, the only people he hates more than everybody is Israel.
Abomination of desolation
Bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”
Now this abomination of desolations, how can we be sure what that is? Well, we’ve got two really important pieces of information:
One is chapter 8 and a historical fulfillment of that. So we already know what that was and what it looked like. It was a world ruler in real time.
But we know something about this from Jesus. Matthew 24:15. So the disciples are asking Jesus, what’s going to happen? What’s going to happen in the future? And Jesus says in Matthew 24:15:
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
So that’s in the future to Jesus. We know it’s not the Antiochus-one because that’s in the past to Jesus. It’s in the future to Daniel; it’s in the past to Jesus, same as with us.
Jesus says this prophecy is the prophecy where Judah, where Israel will have to flee.
It’s pretty clear that it’s yet to come. It’s pretty clear that it’s to Israel. Now we’ll wrap up with this.
Great tribulation period
As we studied in Revelation, we have this great tribulation period.
And Revelation never actually says the tribulation is seven years. It never says that. It says that the Great Tribulation, or this time of suffering, is three-and-a-half years.
It actually uses two specific time periods: 42 months and 1260 days. And the 42 months are the time that the Gentiles trample Israel, and the 1260 days are a time period where great death happens. A lot of martyrs are killed. People are suffering and so forth.
So we put these things together, and we did this in Revelation, and it becomes fairly clear. At some point, there’s going to be a covenant. It will be likely, I’ll say, it will be likely that you won’t be sure which covenant it is because after the covenant, there’s a period of world peace that ensues, and probably escalating persecution, but it’s probably kind of quiet at that point in time. My guess.
And then, in the middle of that, the persecution goes overt and viral. And there’s a total breach of whatever the covenant was with Israel, and they are persecuted to be stomped out.
And now any believer on the face of the earth—myriads of believers are beheaded. Myriads of believers are killed. If you’re not killed, you’re persecuted. And the goal is to stamp out Israel.
That lasts for three-and-a-half years or shorter. You heard it say that it might be shortened, right? So sometime—three-and-a-half years or less.
And then at the end of that three-and-a-half years, just like with Antiochus, God himself takes that antichrist and throws him straight in the lake of fire. And we saw that in Daniel. We saw that depicted before the throne where the fire came out straight from the throne. He’s thrown straight into the lake of fire, which we talked about could be the presence of Jesus himself. And he was dispatched completely.
The eternal kingdom
And then the eternal kingdom comes in, the millennial kingdom which then folds straight into the new earth. Just like was predicted in Daniel 2 with the rock that’s not made with hands that comes and smashes all of the earthly kingdoms and then fills the earth with a heavenly kingdom.
And then as Revelation told us, in the middle of the New Jerusalem is the tree of life. So the garden that we were exiled from is restored for those who are able to go into the city, which is not everybody. There are people outside of the city: the dogs.
More than we ask
What’s clear from this? We end with the message of Revelation which was also the message of Daniel: No matter how bad things look, nothing happens that God didn’t authorize, and it’s all directly in his plan to restore, to restore and to bless.
And what he told us specifically in Revelation was—if we will be faithful witnesses and not fear death, he will bless us beyond anything we can imagine. Just like he answered Daniel’s prayer here with information beyond what he would have even possibly known to ask. Dramatically beyond!
It’s just like that with us. If we will believe and have faith that God has in store for us beyond what we can even imagine—Eye has not seen, ear has not heard nor has entered into the heart of man what God has in store for those who love him.
If we’ll trust him and be faithful witnesses and not fear rejection, not fear loss, not fear discomfort, not even fear physical death if it ever comes to that in our lifetimes, then he says I will bless you beyond what you can even think about. If you could ask for it, you would, but you don’t even know how.
It’s a tremendously inspiring message.