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Daniel 9

Chapter 8 concluded with Daniel, being “astonished at the 2300 day “mar’eh”—the  “the vision of the [2,300]  “evenings [‘er’eb] and mornings [boqer]” of verse 14, but “none [including Daniel himself] understood it” (Daniel 8:26, 27). Consequently, we can assume this chapter is intended to resolve the mystery that “none understood” as well as providing additional details designed to expand the perspective of God’s people, not only in Daniel’s time, but even for future generations including ours.

Consider the fact that the great metal image of chapter 2, the four beasts and the little horn of chapter 7, followed by the ram and the goat with its little horn of chapter 8 were all symbols designed to give God’s people a realistic sense of the future even though some things cannot, even now, be understood completely until developments allow us to look back on them retrospectively. Jesus summed it up to the disciples when He said: “so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

Verse 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;

There is much discussion regarding the exact identity of “Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes.”[1] The first person “Ahasuerus” brings to mind is the “Ahasuerus” (Xerxes of Persia[2]) in the book of Esther. But he began to rule the Persian empire 54 years later in 485 B.C. and was Cyrus’ grandson.[3] Therefore “Darius . . . of the seed of the Medes” could not have been the “Ahasuerus” of the book of Esther.

As we discussed in Daniel 5:31 and 6:1, Darius may have been “another name for Cyaxares II,[4] the son of Astyages, who  . . . was Cyrus’ uncle and father-in-law whom Cyrus might have retained temporarily as a figurehead king to please the Medes. The fact that the Persian account of the fall of Babylon to Cyrus, begins Cyrus’ reign in Babylon immediately, without any intervening reign of Darius the Mede, does not contradict the Biblical narrative. Darius was evidently recognized as a ruler in Babylon by courtesy of Cyrus, while it was Cyrus who actually held the power (see Is.45:1). It was natural that Daniel, in direct contact with Darius, should speak of him as the ‘king’ and mention his ‘first year’ (Dan.9:1)”[5] which must have begun the “night . . . Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans [was] slain” and “Darius the Median took the kingdom . . .” (Daniel 5:30, 31). Therefore, 539 B.C.[6] must have been Darius’ “first year,” 11 years after Belshazzar’s “third year.”[7]

Therefore, it was during Darius’ “first year” that it “pleased” him  “to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes” and “three presidents; of whom Daniel was first” (Daniel 6:1,2) followed shortly thereafter by Daniel being “cast . . . into the den of lions.” After that ordeal, “Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

So, it should be kept in mind that the events of chapter 6 furnish the background for this chapter even though Daniel says nothing at all about them here. Also, it should be remembered Daniel was now at the advanced age of 84.[8] But, regardless of his age, and the experience he went through, we find him undisturbed with his mind fixed on the other things set forth in the next verse:

Verse 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.

So, disregarding the soon coming ordeal in the lion’s den, or his current deliverance, he was concerned with a time prophecy in the book of  Jeremiah!

What a lesson for us who are usually greatly upset when unfavorable circumstances come our way! “He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years . . . [that] should elapse before the cleansing of God’s sanctuary. . .”[9]

This being the 66th year of Babylonian captivity with only four remaining of the “seventy,” the necessity of understanding the matter of the “sanctuary,” whether or not it would be rebuilt and the ritual services reinstituted after the 70 years or not until 2,300 years had elapsed, it is easy to understand why it was so troubling to him.

Part of the problem was that Daniel failed to recognize the “sanctuary” was in heaven where “the Ancient of days did sit” (Daniel 7:9) sometime during the “feet” period of  “iron and clay” of chapter 2, after the horn power had worn “out the saints of the most High” for “a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25) at the end of the 2300 “evening and mornings” of the “mar’eh” of Daniel 8: 14. All of that made clear that Medo-Persia and Greece (Daniel 8:20, 21) would have to slip into history followed by the “fourth beast” of Daniel 7:7. Then the horn power came along which would last more than 1260 years of the 2300!

But, the “stone” (Daniel 2:34, 35, 45), that Daniel must have had his hopes fixed upon that was to fill “the whole earth,” would not strike the “feet” even then. That was to take place at the “end” when the entire “image” would be consumed and destroyed (Daniel 2:34, 35, 45; 7:26) at the “end of the ‘chazown’” (Daniel 8:17) that was even after the 2300 days “mar’eh” of Daniel 8:14!

So, Daniel wondered, how do the “seventy years” harmonize with all that? Even though these thoughts had been swirling through his mind for almost twelve years, the time finally arrived when he determined to know more. The next verse tells us what he did:

Verse 3: And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

So, for almost twelve years, “His lack of understanding of ‘the vision of the evening and the morning’ (v.26) must have left him in deep perplexity.”[10] Even though puzzled and confused, he did not allow his state of mind to bring discouragement. He rather sought more earnestly to God for help in resolving the problem and continued praying with “his windows being opened . . . toward Jerusalem” kneeling “upon his knees [at least] three times a day” as was his custom (Daniel 6:10, 11). If there were spies outside watching him, the spectacle of the “sackcloth and ashes” with which he was clothed, must have seemed very strange to them, but he was indifferent to their scorn.

Verse 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;

For Daniel, faced with the expiration of the “seventy years” captivity, time was running out. He needed to know if the captivity was to be extended almost indefinitely, or if they were to begin preparation for returning to the homeland which had been lying in ruin for many years. “He may have feared that the impenitence of his people might postpone the fulfillment of the promise.”[11]

“As Daniel’s prayer is going forth, the angel Gabriel comes sweeping down from the heavenly courts to tell him that his petitions are heard and answered.” [12]

Where Daniel refers to the “Lord” as “great and dreadful,” understand that the term “dreadful” that suggests ferociousness in our language, really “means ‘awe-inspiring,’ or ‘revered.’”[13] That must have been his thinking because here he addressed God as a faithful, merciful keeper of His promises called “the covenant.”

So, in spite of his confusion he still believed God would keep His “covenant and mercy to [all] who love Him” and obey “his commandment” confirming that his faith did not waver. Rather, he gave God the benefit of the doubt as to the validity of his understanding of the 70 years. His mention of “the covenant and mercy” suggests he was thinking of the “new covenant” mentioned in Jeremiah 31:31 along with the “seventy years” depicted in Jeremiah 25:11, 12  and 29:10 a few chapters after the “seventy years.” Later, in this chapter when Gabriel was explaining things, he spoke of that “covenant” being “confirmed” (verse 27) telling Daniel when and how it would happen. Later still, Gabriel would tell him much more about what would happen to it in Daniel 11:22, 28, 30 and  32.

Verse 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:

“Notice these words. Daniel does not proclaim his own fidelity before the Lord. Instead of claiming to be pure and holy, he identifies himself with the really sinful of Israel. The wisdom which God imparted to him was as far superior to the wisdom of the wise men of the world as the light of the sun shining in the heavens at noonday is brighter than the feeblest star. Yet ponder the prayer from the lips of this man so highly favored of Heaven. With deep humiliation, with tears, and with rending of heart, he pleads for himself and for his people. He lays his soul open before God, confessing his own vileness, and acknowledging the Lord’s greatness and majesty. What earnestness and fervor characterize his supplications! He is coming nearer and nearer to God. The hand of faith is reached upward to grasp the never-failing promises of the Most High. His soul is wrestling in agony. . . If we as a people would pray as Daniel prayed, and wrestle as he wrestled, humbling our souls before God, we should realize as marked answers to our petitions as were granted to Daniel.”[14]

Based on the knowledge of the prophecies, Daniel felt that time was running out. The same holds true for us for we are living right on the toenails of the great image of Daniel 2. Time, as we know it, is also “running out.” How does that affect us?

Verse 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.

Daniel was intimately connected with the tumultuous, frequently upsetting political world of his day. Although he could not physically escape it, he was in a different “world” mentally and spiritually. His experience was very much like that of “the loyal and true, who would not worship the beast or his image and accept and revere and idol Sabbath.  One said, ‘Look up! Look up!’ Every eye was lifted, and the heavens seemed to part as a scroll when it is rolled together, and, as Stephen looked into the heaven, we looked. The mockers were taunting and reviling us and boasting of what they intended to do to us if we continued obstinate in holding fast our faith. But now we were as those who heard them not. We were gazing upon a scene that shut out everything else.”[15]

Even today, with many prophecies right on the verge of fulfillment, we often fail to hearken unto God’s “servants the prophets” whose messages are intended to keep us spiritually attuned to heaven enabling us to live above the concerns of everyday life and preserve us from the fear that often darkens the future prospect of those who do not rely on the messages of God’s “servants the prophets.” Daniel never called attention to the sinfulness of his people without including himself along with them.  In spite of being an “intellectual” and a “moral giant”[16] he had a humble opinion of himself.

Verse 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.

Even though Daniel was confused about the time prophecies, the expression “confusion of faces” really means “shamefacedness, the look of shame,” or being “covered with shame.”[17] Daniel recognized his nation was responsible for its own fate, for being “driven” out “of Jerusalem” into “countries” “that are far off “because of their trespass” which was to their shame. The same holds true for us. Any deviation from God’s will only bring “shamefacedness.”

Verse 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.

Jehoiakim was probably uppermost in Daniel’s mind as he pondered the shameful things many of the kings did who ruled in Judah’s history. Jehoiakim was the son of one of the good kings, Josiah. When he died Jehoahaz was anointed  king in his father’s stead.  But, the Egyptian king Pharaohnechoh,  who had killed Josiah, found him rebellious and put him in prison and heavily taxed the land. Then he made Eliakim  king and changed his name to Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:29-34). While that made Jehoiakim the 18th sovereign to rule in Judah, he also became the first to be placed on the throne by a foreign power,[18] to his shame.

“In spite of the heavy tax burden, Jehoiakim added to the people’s burden by building lavish palaces with forced labor. He avidly practiced idol worship and the sins associated with it, including human sacrifice. God sent the prophets Urijah, and Jeremiah to expose Jehoakim’s sins and called him to stop. [Nevertheless] Jehoiakim went to great lengths to kill Urijah. Jeremiah he persecuted. When Jeremiah circulated his prophecies in a hand-written book, Jehoiakim burned the book and tried to imprison Jeremiah, who escaped.[18]

“Egypt’s power in Judah was short-lived. Babylon invaded [see Daniel 1:1], as prophets had said they would. Jehoiakim submitted for three years, then declared his independence, and so the Babylonian king laid siege against Jerusalem. He intended to capture Jehoiakim and deport him to Babylon, but it didn’t work out that way. Jehoiakim’s people apparently judged him treasonous, killed him, and threw his body over the wall to appease Babylon”[19]  (see Jeremiah 22:18, 19).

After Jehoiakim came his son Jehoiachin who “occupied the throne only three months and ten days” in 597 B.C. Even during his exceptionally short reign “he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done” (2 Kings 24:9). He “surrendered to the Chaldean armies which, because of the rebellion of Judah’s ruler, were once more besieging the fated city.”[20]

He was “carried away . . . to Babylon” where he remained a captive for thirty-seven years. Then “it came to pass . . . Evilmerodach[21] king of Babylon in the first year of his reign . . . brought him forth out of prison, and spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon, And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life” (Jeremiah 52: 31-34).

Since he was only 19 when captured, he must have been 56 years old when freed. Therefore he would have outlived Evilmerodach whose reigned lasted only two years before he was assassinated. Whether Daniel had had any contact with that forlorn king is purely speculative, but it was certainly possible.

Anyway, after Jehoiachin was abducted, Zedekiah, who was twenty one years old “reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.” He too “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.” On top of all that he also “rebelled against the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 24:18-20) who promptly besieged the city, captured Zedekiah, had his sons slain before his very eyes, had his own eyes “put out,” then he was “bound . . . with fetters . . . and carried . . . to Babylon” (2 Kings 25:7) which must have been around 586 B.C. sometime after Daniel and his friends were set “over the affairs of the province of Babylon” (Daniel 2:49) but before the fiery furnace experience of chapter 3. Whether or not Daniel had had any contact with that pathetic king, is also speculative, but we can be sure his fate came vividly before Daniel’s mind as he was praying.

Verse 9: To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;

Although God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, one of the most marvelous thing about Him is His mercy and patience. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God “said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (Exodus 33:18, 19).

Possibly one of the most outstanding examples of God’s mercy is that of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah. Manasseh “reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem” but “did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. [He] shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem with it from one end to another; beside his sin with which he made Judah to sin, in doing evil in the sight of Jehovah” (2 Kings 20:21; 21:2-6, 16).

In fact, “One of the first to fall was Isaiah, who for over half a century had stood before Judah as the appointed messenger of Jehovah.”[22] “Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel. And the Lord spake of Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God” (2 Chronicles 33:9-13). Daniel, of course, knew all about that history.

What incredible patience! Evidently, there is no sin that God cannot forgive as long as man is willing to confess and ask for forgiveness.

Verse 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.

Even though Daniel must have been thoroughly familiar with the history of all the “kings, princes, and fathers” of his nation, and the evil they did, he did not make that an excuse for the behavior of his generation. “We,” he says in effect, are ALL in the same “boat” and equally blamable. True, Zedekiah and Jehoiachin are in prison, but so are we. We are no better than they!

Verse 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.

The “curse . . . and the oath . . . written in the law of Moses” is found in Leviticus 26:14-41 and Deuteronomy 28:15-68. The awful things threatened in the “curse” include terror, consumption, burning fever, sorrow, dearth, death from the hand of the enemy, nameless fear, a sky of iron and brass, crop failure, your children and cattle savaged by wild beasts, pestilence, disease, hunger that cannot be satisfied by eating bread, cannibalism, destruction of house and city with desolation of the land, faintness of heart, “thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.” But, “curse” and “oath” is not usually an arbitrary act of God. It is the withdrawal of His protective care, the natural outcome of separation from God, the Source of life. But, however infrequently He deems it necessary, He has and will reluctantly execute His “strange act” (Isaiah 28:21). God is, by nature, merciful, gracious, and long-suffering” (Exodus 34:6,7; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). It is alien to Him to inflict pain and suffering, punishment and death, upon His creatures. But at the same time He will “by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7).Sometimes divine justice seems so long delayed that men concluded it will never come (Ecclesiastes 8:11; Zephaniah 1:12; Malachi 2:17; 3:14), and that they may go on in their evil ways with impunity. All who thus presume to take advantage of God’s long-suffering and mercy are here warned that judgment is sure to come (Ezekiel 12:21-28; Isaiah 28:14, 22, 23). When Christ appears as a warrior to subdue His enemies, men will see Him acting in a role that appears vastly different from anything they have known before. The Lamb of God will then appear as ‘the Lion of the tribe of Juda.’” (Revelation 5:5,6) [23]

Several examples of His “strange act” are seen both in the Old and in the New Testaments. For example, He told Noah “I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh” that has “the breath of life . . . and every thing that is in the earth shall die.” One hundred and twenty years later, He broke open “the fountains of the great deep” causing enormous geysers of water to spew into the sky and flooding the land. Coupled with that He opened “the windows of heaven” and it rained continuously “forty days and forty nights” so that “the water prevailed exceedingly upon the earth” (Genesis 6:3; 7:11,12) covering everything, even the mountains, to a depth of “fifteen cubits” or more than 22 feet.[24]

Years later when “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly . . . . the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground” (Genesis 13:13; 19:24, 25). The spot where those cities once stood is still as barren as it was after the fire and brimstone, directly from God’s hand, had destroyed them.

Later still, “the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron saying . . . I will pass through the land of Egypt . . . and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast . . . I will execute judgment.” “And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle” (Exodus 12:1, 12, 29). But, Pharaoh failed to learn his lesson. Consequently “the waters” of the Red Sea claimed his whole army when God allowed its waters to return upon “the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea [in pursuit of Israel]. . . there remained not so much as one of them” (Exodus 14:28).

On another occasion “There went out fire from the Lord, and devoured” Nadab and Abihu when they “offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not” (Leviticus 10:1,2).

Yet again, when “the Lord [made] a new thing . . . the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed” Korah, Dathan and Abiram when they had incited rebellion in the camp “and they perished from among the congregation” (Numbers 16:27-33).

When king David foolishly decided to number Israel “the anger of the Lord was kindled.” Realizing his mistake, he confessed and pled for mercy. God gave him three options: “seven years of famine; invasion by his enemies; or three days’ pestilence.” David chose the latter. So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel . . . and there died of the people . . . seventy thousand men” (2 Samual 24:1-15).

Daniel, of course, knew all about those “strange” God ordained, Old Testament scenarios. The New Testament records only a few, the most outstanding of which is that of a couple named Ananias and Sapphira who had recently joined the new Christian church that was in dire need because many of them had suffered severe loss because of the newfound faith. This couple had pledged to donate all they had gained from a sale to the general fund. But, assuming nobody would be the wiser, they “kept back part of the price.” As a result, both died at the hand of God because they had lied “to the Holy Ghost” (Acts 5:1-11).

Probably the most outstanding New Testament example of God’s “strange act,” is not what He did, but what He is preparing to do. He will instruct “seven angels” to go their “ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” They will cause enormous pain, misery and destruction including noisome and grievous sore[s], bloody drinking water, scorching heat from the sun, and pain severe enough to cause the sufferers to gnaw their tongues (Revelation 16:1-10).

Finally, we are warned “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:9-11).

This is all seems “strange” for a God who is “merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” having “no pleasure in the death of him that dieth . . .” (Exodus 34:6,7; Ezekiel 33:11). But, stranger still, is the fact that these terrible deeds, demonstrating God’s justice, prove that God really is merciful, because mercy without justice can only be perceived as indifference, not only to those who live on this little world, but to the whole universe!

“God’s love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan’s purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God’s law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God’s plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other’ (Ps.85:10).” [25]

Now, getting back to Daniel’s prayer:

Verse 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.

Daniel’s voice may have been heard singing with his people “The “Song of the Captive.”[26] These were some of the words: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.  For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.  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” (Psalms 137:1-6).

Daniel could have been pondering the words of Isaiah who “said unto Hezekiah . . . Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 20:16-18).

It all began “in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim” when “came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.  And the Lord gave Jehoiakim . . . into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God” (Daniel 1:1,2). Even though Nebuchadnezzer considered his god stronger than Judah’s, it was really Judah’s God who gave Jerusalem into his hand. Thus, God “confirmed” the words of Moses nearly 900 years after the words were spoken by delivering His people back into the captivity of Babylon after Moses delivered them from the captivity of  Egypt.

Verse 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.

This is what was “written in the law of Moses: “And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law: . . . And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:” (Deuteronomy 29:21, 27).

So, Daniel understood where  “all this evil” came from and he blamed himself as well as his people. But, he was discouraged because the “evil” the Lord permitted to come upon them failed to produce a change in the lives of his people. Evidently they continued practicing iniquity and made no effort to understand why “all [that] evil” came upon them. Therefore, if they could only understand the reason for the “evil” they were experiencing, it would become a blessing in disguise, that was designed to draw them back to the God they had turned away from; for He is the true source of all that is good, the very opposite of “evil.”

Verse 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.

Daniel may have remembered the  “watcher and an holy one” Nebuchadnezzzar said “came down from heaven” while relating his dream to him more than thirty years before. The sense of God’s watch care is disquieting to the sinner, as it was to Nebuchadnezzar, but comforting to the righteous. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (Psalms 23:4), was Daniel’s philosophy, but, “Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate” (Psalms 34:21) as it was for the “presidents” and “princes” who were planning his death.

A sense of guilt cause “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but [a good conscience cause] the righteous [to be] bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).

Verse 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.

God required the nation never to forget their deliverance from Egypt nearly 900 years before. Interestingly, that rescue brought great honor to God, but at the same time, revealed the wickedness of the nation who, for the most part, demonstrated gross ingratitude. Time after time throughout their history they would slide back and be overcome by their enemies. Then, repeatedly, they would confess their sin, return to the Lord and He would rescue them again and again, until, at last, God gave them over to Babylon for 70 years hoping it would teach them a lesson.

Having studied the prophecy of the 2300 day “mar’eh” and the “chazown” of chapter 8, we know that God knew they would not learn their lesson. What a testimony to God’s patience and longsuffering that He would stick with them anyway for so many many long years!

But, God was not playing with them, He not only loved the Jewish nation, He also loved all the other beings of the universe who were witnessing all that was going on, and wondering, I am sure, many times, why God put up with them. But, remember, God was playing for keeps. He was allowing sin to play itself out so that when all has been said and done, nobody will be willing to start up another rebellion. They will be completely “fed up” with sin and turn from it with loathing throughout all eternity.

Verse 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.

“Israel should have been a light to all the world, but because of stubborn rebellion, Jerusalem and Israel were now a byword and a reproach among the nations of earth.”[27]

This verse is probably the best evidence that the first “mountain” of Daniel 2:45 from which the “stone was cut out of,” could represent the church represented here as “thy holy mountain.” Although it could not represent Jerusalem, as seen here, it could typify the church militant of our day, which is feeble and defective.

Because “the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands” during the time of the “feet” made of “iron and of clay,” it could very well represent Christianity as we know it today. As noted in verse 14, God is not only watching, but is preparing Himself to select from that “mountain” those who will vindicate His name during the final closing events of this world’s history.

Verse 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.

Here Daniel prays with increased intensity pleading for the assurance that he was being heard. “Have not we as great need to call upon God as had Daniel? . . . Our necessities are as urgent, our  difficulties are as great, and we need to have the same intensity of purpose, and in faith roll our burden upon the great Burden-bearer. There is need for hearts to be as deeply moved in our time as in the time when Daniel prayed.”[28]

He was nearing the end of the “seventy years” and trying to understand the 2300 years. We have passed the 2300 day “mare’h” and are nearing the very end of the “chazown!” True indeed! — our necessities are as urgent!

Verse 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.

The “city which is called by thy name” was intended to display God’s character before the whole world. The prophet Isaiah “saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. . . in the last days [that] the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:1-4).

But, like Daniel “We can do nothing, absolutely nothing, to recommend ourselves to divine favor. We must not trust at all in ourselves nor in our good works; but when as erring sinful beings we come to Jesus, we may find rest in his love. God will accept every one that comes to him trusting wholly in the merits of a crucified Saviour”[29] that Daniel was looking forward to prospectively, and we retrospectively.

“If we as a people would pray as Daniel prayed, and wrestle as he wrestled, humbling our souls before God, we should realize as marked answers to our petitions as were granted to Daniel.”[30] He “makes no plea on the ground of his own goodness . . .”[31] or righteousness, but casts his helpless soul at the feet of Christ who only is righteous.

Verse 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.

The phrase “defer not” or “do not hesitate or delay” represents the essence of his concern as he tried to understand the relationship between the seventy years and 2,300 day “mar’eh” implying he understood God to be telling him the desolation of Jerusalem would remain “desolate” for more than two millennia!

One of the most difficult trials we mortals must endure is that of “delay.” Jesus warns “if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming” he will surely begin to “smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken.” Then “The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of” (Matthew 24:48-50). While Daniel did not fall into that trap, he still earnestly sought for greater light in spite of the perceived delay

Verse 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;

So, heaven had heard correctly while he “was speaking and praying, and confessing” his “sin” and that of his “people Israel.” Note that while making “supplication . . . for the holy mountain” Jerusalem, he never specified anything about rebuilding or restoring it, only that God would make known to him His plans. In other words, “not my will, but thine be done.” So, regardless of the sinful course of his people, Daniel still regarded the city of Jerusalem to be God’s “holy mountain. “ His faith in God’s overruling providence was yet unshaken.

Verse 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.

“The man Gabriel”[32] is the same being Jesus instructed to “make this man to understand the ‘mar’eh’” (Daniel 8:16) eleven years before in 550 B.C. that was during “the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar” (Daniel 8:1). The “vision” he had “seen . . . at the beginning” was the “chazown”[33]. It appeared to Daniel in chapter 8 verses 1, 2, 13 & 15. Those verses were the first part of the “vision” of chapter 8, which was the “chazown,” the overall vision containing the ram, goat, little horn, then the king of fierce countenance. That king “shall be broken without hand” (Daniel 8:25) at the very end of time.

Why did Gabriel wait so long to continue his to Daniel? Perhaps it had something to do with Daniel’s reaction at the end of his last discussion when he “fainted, and was sick certain days” (Daniel 8:27). The message he was now about to bring contained both “good news” and “bad news,” with the “bad” largely outweighing the “good.” Note, at the end of this chapter, Daniel says nothing about his reaction suggesting that he had steeled himself sufficiently against another nearly fatal response and God mercifully allowed sufficient time for him to “digest” the material he was given in chapter 8.

So now, while Gabriel was going to reveal the relationship existing between the 2,300 days and the 70 years of Babylonian captivity, he now about to introduce another time period! a subset of the 2,300 day “mar’eh” an outline of Israel’s specific coming destiny as a nation.

Verse 22: And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

Just as the Commentary observes, the skill and understanding Gabriel came to provide was “with respect to the vision mentioned in ch.8: 26, 27. . . Daniel could not understand the relation between the 70 years’ captivity foretold by Jeremiah . . . and the 2300 days (years) that were to elapse before the cleansing of the sanctuary. He had fainted away when the angel informed him that the vision (he “chazown”) was to be for ‘many (or more) days’ (Dan.8: 26).”[34]

But, the Commentary fails to point out that “vision” in Daniel 8:26 is used twice, and translated from two different words “mar’eh” and “chazown”[35] with “chazown” lasting “more days”[36] beyond the 2300 “evening and the morning.”

Consequently, while 2300 years was bad enough, being told the “chazown” would last even longer certainly contributed to Daniel’s overwhelming bewilderment. It was just too much! That happened eleven years before during Belshazzar’s “third year.” Now, “in the first year of Darius” (Daniel 8:1 & 9:1), Gabriel comes to give him “skill and understanding” of the 2300 day “mar’eh” which Jesus originally instructed when He told “Gabriel, make this man to understand the ‘mar’eh’” (Daniel 8;16 and note again that “vision” there is from “mar’eh”).

Verse 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.

Where was Gabriel when Daniel began his “supplications?” Daniel says in verse 21 Gabriel was “caused to fly swiftly” before he “touched” him “about the time of the evening oblation.” Therefore, Gabriel must have been somewhere in heaven, probably thousands if not millions of light years away!  The time it took for him to travel such a distance would have to be a velocity far greater than the speed of light, which we consider the ultimate as far as speed is concerned. Perhaps the speed of thought comes closer to the truth.

Be-that-as-it-may, it is reassuring to know that God and His heavenly agencies are not hindered by barriers such as time and distance and are poised to immediately answer the summons in the prayers of His faithful believing saints. Reassuring Daniel that he was “greatly beloved,” suggests the possibility Daniel was facing a crisis situation such as the den of lion’s experience depicted in chapter 6.

But, regardless of that possibility, Daniel’s mind was focused on the destiny of his people, not upon himself, regardless of the possible fate awaiting him. So, Gabriel now counsels Daniel to “understand the matter, and consider the mar’eh” that we found in Daniel 8:26, to be the 2300 evening [‘ereb] and the morning [boqer]” or the “two thousand and three hundred days [‘ereb/boqer]” [37] [38] of Daniel 8:14.[39]

Therefore, he was not now coming to explain the “chazown.” Remember what Gabriel said in Daniel 8:17 that “for at the time of the end shall be the vision” or “chazown” suggesting that the “mar’eh” was not “for . . . the time of the end.”

So, “the time of the end” was not what Gabriel had now come to share with Daniel although he did refer to “the end of the war [when] desolations are determined” in verse 26 and “the consummation” in verse 27.

Verse 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.

Since Gabriel had just told Daniel to “consider the ‘mar’eh’” in the previous verse, it must have been very obvious to Daniel that the “seventy weeks” were an integral part of the 2300 days “mar’eh” that was spelled out in Daniel 8:14 & 26. The Commentary agrees saying Gabriel’s invitation to “Consider the vision” is “A reference to ‘the vision of the evening and the morning’ (ch.8:26)”[40] and from our study, the 2300 “days” of verse 14 which represent 2,300 literal years. In that case, the “seventy weeks” should also be understood to represent prophetic day-for-a-year time as specified in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6.

This diagram shows the relationship between the “seventy weeks” and the 2300 day (mar’eh) of Daniel 8:14 as well as the “chazown”: With a “week” representing seven years of literal time, “seventy week” clearly represents 490 years[41] of literal time. It being “determined[42] upon [his] people,” mandates this 490 year portion of the 2300 year “mar’eh” to be specifically set aside as a period of probationary time for the Jews to align themselves with God’s plan for their nation.

Gabriel then catalogues the purposes of God for Daniel’s people in 1-2-3 order: First, they were expected to “finish the transgression . . .” This seems to say that they were expected to preempt the corrupt “transgression” depicted in Daniel 8:12, 13 that would be instituted by the horn power centuries later (Daniel 8:12). [43] If the Jewish nation had been faithful to their calling, the “transgression” of the horn power would not have materialized!

Next, they were “to make an end of sins . . .” which was God’s intent when “the judgment was set, and the books were opened” which “one like the Son of man came” to inaugurate in Daniel 7:10 13. That was what was to be accomplished by the cleansing of “the sanctuary” at the end of the 2300 day “mar’eh.” But, it did not have to take that long if they had accepted the Messiah who “taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Then, says Gabriel, they were “to make reconciliation [or ‘atonement’] for iniquity. . .” which is what Christ did in the “midst” of the 70th “week” when He caused “the sacrifice and the oblation” services in the temple “to cease” (verse 27) at the time of His death. But, because His atonement was rejected by His chosen nation who could have spread the good news like no other, time had to drag on to allow opportunity for God’s faithful people to tell the guilt ridden world that God had made the atonement for their “iniquity.”

Then, they were to “bring in everlasting righteousness . . .” a condition to be found in the earth when the “stone that smote the image [and] became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35). Then “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27).

Gabriel’s list grew longer when he said Daniel’s people were expected to “seal up” or complete [44] “the ‘chazown’ [45] and prophecy, . . .” which we learned was for “the end” which is some more “days” beyond the 2300 day “mar’eh” according to Daniel 8:17, 26. It could have been far shorter had his people cooperated with their Redeemer.

Finally, Gabriel concludes, Daniel’s people, during their 490 years of probationary time, were expected to “anoint the most Holy.” Although “Jewish expositors and many Christian commentators have held that the Messiah is referred to,” [46] the phrase “most Holy” [47] is found forty three times in the Old Testament and refer exclusively to things or places involved in the sanctuary or its services. [48]

A “most Holy” person is nowhere designated although Moses was instructed to “anoint Aaron and his sons” in Exodus 30:30. Therefore, since the event at the end of the 2300 day “mar’eh” is the cleansing of the “sanctuary” in Daniel 8:14, the phrase “to anoint the most Holy” refers to the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary when Christ entered there in October 22, 1844 to begin the antitypical day of Atonement. Therefore, if the Jewish nation had lived up to God’s expectation, Christ would have entered the “most holy place” soon after His ascension which would have been 1810 years earlier than October 22, 1844! [49]

Verse  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.

Here Gabriel marks out the all-important beginning point of the “seventy weeks” which is also the starting point of the 2300 “day” “mar’eh” of Daniel 8:14. It was a “commandment”[50] ordering the restoration of Daniel’s beloved city Jerusalem. This was the good news. God had not forgotten His promise for the captivity of Babylon to be terminated at the end of 70 years.

Since this information came to Daniel in Darius’ “first year,” which was 539 B.C., he had to wait another two years when he actually witnessed the end fulfillment of the “seventy years.” It came in the “first year” of Cyrus king of Persia” which was 537 B.C.[51]

Then Cyrus decreed: “The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah” (Ezra 1:1, 2). The decree was proclaimed precisely at the end of the “seventy year” captivity of the Jews in Babylon.

So Daniel actually witnessed the ending point of the “seventy year” captivity, and it would have been very logical for him to conclude Cyrus’ decree also marked the beginning of the 70 weeks and 2300 day “mar’eh.”

But, on the basis of the information given him, he could not have known two more “commandments” were to be issued for Jerusalem’s restoration, the last of which occurred nearly 80 years later in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:1-4). [52] That was the actual starting point of the 70 weeks and 2300 days.

While the end of the 70 years captivity and the end of the “seven times” of Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32, could be established prospectively because their beginning points were well understood, it was different with the “seventy weeks” and the 2300 days even though Gabriel told Daniel that the seventy weeks would start with the command to rebuild Jerusalem which could only be understood retrospectively, that is, by looking backward from a future perspective after the commandment had already been issued.

As it was, the “seventy weeks” (or 483 literal years) was to extend “unto the Messiah[53] the Prince” the same “prince”[54] who was opposed by the “little horn” power in Daniel 8:11 and “the king of fierce countenance in Daniel 8:25 while Jesus was in the heavenly sanctuary. But here, we see “Messiah the Prince” on earth at the time of His baptism, 483 years[55] after 457 B.C. in 27 A.D.[56] when He was anointed for the three and a half years of His public ministry.

Verse 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.

The “threescore and two weeks” or 434 literal years, also mentioned in the previous verse, begins after the “seven weeks” or 49 years mentioned in verse 25 which brings us to the same date, 27 A.D.[57] when Christ was anointed by baptism. Sometime after that date, Jesus would be “cut off,[58] but not for himself . . .” meaning: “He died the just for the unjust, . . . Tho innocent and undeserving of punishment, our Substitute and Surety was brought under the curse and condemnation that should have been ours.”[59]

Now, as we look back retrospectively on what happened, the same “people[60] of the prince” who were instrumental in Christ’s crucifixion in 31 A.D. also came and destroyed “the city and the sanctuary” in 70. A.D. by what Gabriel called an overwhelming “flood,” a great, irresistible army of Rome, represented by the “dreadful,” devouring, breaking, stamping “fourth beast” of Daniel 7:7, 19, 23. It was the most guilty of all “the transgressors” of Daniel 8:23 who had not yet “come to the full.” This all happened, we can suppose, mid shaft of the “legs of iron” in Daniel 2:33.

So, the “in the year 70 AD . . . The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberious Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem” which “was the decisive event in the ‘First Jewish-Roman War’ followed by the fall of Masada in 73 AD.”[61]

But, that was only the beginning of “a series of revolts by the Jews against the Roman Empire.” The second was the “Kitos War (115-117)” and the third is called the “Bar Kokhba revolt (132-135).”[62] Interestingly, the “Arch of Titus, depicting and celebrating the sack of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome.”[63] But, in spite of the ongoing Jewish resistance even after the fall of Jerusalem, Gabriel predicted their revolts would be fruitless, observing that “desolations are determined” or decreed [64] in which their final destruction at “the end of the war” were inevitable.

Verse 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.

The personal pronoun “he” is the “Messiah” of verse 26. This “one week” brings the total 483 years, calculated in verses 25 and 26 to 490.  Therefore, this verse fills in the gap between 483 and 490 highlighting the significance of that final “week” which is really the most important stretch of time in human history! As the Commentary states, it “makes the entire 70 weeks, or 490 years . . . a consistent, continuous unit.”[65]  It cannot consistently be separated from the 70 and applied as a later, future “week” as some believe. Therefore, the “threescore and two weeks” or 434 years plus the “seven weeks” of verse 25 add up to 483 years  with the final “week” of the “seventy” beginning in 27 A.D, when Christ’s was baptized in the river Jordan.

Gabriel then looked forward (not only to Christ’s crucifixion sometime after Christ’s baptism without saying when He would be “cut off”) and beyond to the destruction of Jerusalem that we now know took place in 70 A.D. even though Gabriel did not specify that year.

Here, during the first half, or “in the midst” of those “one week” of seven years, the Messiah, our Redeemer ratified the “covenant” first pronounced in Eden when the Lord told the serpent He would “put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15), the first promise of hope for a lost world. Ever since that time, God has repeated His “covenant” through the voice of his prophets including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah and so on until Jesus Himself who gave the first promise in Eden, came and fulfilled it Himself right “in the midst [66] of [that final 70th] week” causing “the sacrifice and the oblation,” which was the ritual services carried out in the earthly sanctuary in Jerusalem, “to cease.”

“In the spring of A.D. 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease.”[67] “This act signified to the heavenly universe, and to a world corrupted by sin, that a new and living way had been opened to the fallen race, that all sacrificial offerings terminated in the one great offering of the Son of God.”[68]

Jesus sacrificed “in the midst of the week” instead of its end is another illustration of His forgiveness. In spite of the heinousness of the sin of actually crucifying God, mercy for the nation was to linger on for another three and a half years until one of God’s saints, Stephen was stoned (Acts 7:59) in 34 A.D. at the end of the “week.” That was what consummated the spiritually desolate nation.

Coming back to Christ’s Sacrifice “in the midst of the week,” it was prophesied to take place during “the Passover season”[69] commemorating Israel’s first deliverance from Egypt when the people were instructed “take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you” (Exodus 12:22, 23). What could be more appropriate than having that blood type fulfilled by the Great Antitype

Note that three and a half years amounts to a very familiar number: “1260 days.”[70] That splits the final “week” into two literal 1260 day periods. Did Jesus understand that? Of course He did. He was the One who told Gabriel to explain it to Daniel, and Daniel here tells us about it. Then Jesus relearned about it when as a child He studied the prophecies “spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14) as well as all the other prophecies outlined in the Old Testament. He understood from Daniel’s prophecies that 1260 literal days would elapse from the time of His baptism until he would be executed. At various times during His ministry He said: “My time is not yet come.” But, when the “time” drew near [toward the last of the 1260 literal days of His public ministry], he said “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples” (Matthew 26:18, John 7:6, 8). That left an additional 1260 day lapse of time when the Jews sealed their final rejection of the Messiah.

Is it possible that the 1260 days still retain significance?  Strange as it may seem, the answer seems to be “yes” because we have already discovered it in Daniel 7:25. We will encounter it again in Daniel 12:7. But, that is not the last time. When we come to the book of Revelation, we will find it specified five more times in chapters 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14 and 13:5; for a sum total, counting those of Daniel, of nine times! “Some prophecies God has repeated, thus showing that importance must be given to them. The Lord does not repeat things that are of no great consequence.”[71]

But lets take a look at Gabriel’s final words in verse 27: “even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Could that phrase also pertain to the “chazown” which is “for . . . the time of the end” (Daniel 8:17) for “many [more] days” (Daniel 8:26 last part) than the 2300 days “mar’eh?” We will find out more in the next three chapters, especially chapter 11 where “the prophecy of the eleventh chapter of Daniel has nearly reach its complete fulfillment. Soon the scenes of trouble spoken of in the prophecies will take place.”[72]

Summary of chapter 9: This chapter, beginning in “the first year of Darius” takes us back to Daniel’s den of lions experience in chapter 6 which furnishes us with some background information for this chapter even though it could have happened any time before, during or after Daniel was thrown to the lions. It is a testament to Daniel’s faith and courage that he makes no reference whatsoever to that experience in chapter 9. Since Jeremiah’s 70 year time prophecy was soon to expire, we find Daniel intensely concerned, especially having learned it would take more than 2,000 years before the sanctuary service would in reinstituted, that  God had dismissed his people. Therefore we find him praying one of the most impressive prayers ever recorded in the Bible. It comprises some 18 of the 27 verses of this chapter. As a result of his intense appeal to heaven he was rewarded with a gush of information carried personally by the angel Gabriel to not only set his mind at ease assuring Daniel that God had not cast His people aside but still had great plans for them. One of the most important items in Gabriel’s dissertation was not only the 70 weeks or 490 years of probation that was allowed his people, he also gave us the beginning point of the 2300 day “mar’eh” of Daniel 8:14 when he said to “consider the vision” or the “mar’eh” in verse 23. Even though that time period has expired, it has not gone out of date. Rather it established one of the most important pillar doctrines of the church of our day, a fact we dare not ignore or forget.

This diagram shows the relationship of the time periods of chapter 9 to those of chapters 8 and 7:

—————————————————————————————————————————————————

This is the diagram we started with in chapter 7, here  showing how Daniel 9 compares with Daniel 2, 7 and 8:

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[1] see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, pages 815-817 and Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary pages 254, 255 where several possibilities are offered.

[2] see Prophets and Kings page 598

[3] “Xerxes was son of Darius I of Persia and Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the Great.” He ascended  October 485. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerxes_I_of_Persia)

[4] “According to Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, Cyaxares II followed king Astyages to the throne of the Mede Empire, and was also brother of Mandane, Cyrus the Great’s mother. He describes the Persian Cyrus as cooperating with his uncle, Cyaxares, in order to conquer Babylon in 539 BC. However Cyaxares was by then an old man, and because Cyrus was in command of the campaign, the army came to regard Cyrus as king. Cyrus thus received not only the king’s daughter (his first cousin), but his kingdom, as dowry, and the aged Cyaxares became Cyrus’ viceroy in Babylon for two years until his death, when Cyrus seized that kingdom as well.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyaxares_II)

[5] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary page 254 (right column)

[6] “539 BC — Babylon is conquered by Cyrus, defeating Nabonidus; noted in such documents as that of Africanus, Ptolemy, Eusebius, and Diodorus.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/539_BC)

[7] Daniel 8:1 Belshazzar’s “third year” was also the time when Cyrus’ defeated Astyages king of the Medes (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/550s_BC)

[8] 605 B.C. – 539 B.C. = 66 years + 18 (Daniel’s age when captured) = 84 years old

[9] Prophets and Kings page 554. See also: Jeremiah 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Jeremiah 25:12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

[10] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 849 (left column under 3. To seek by prayer) The parenthesized “(v.26)” refers to Daniel 8:26.

[11] Ibid. This passage also refers to “SL 48”

[12] The Sanctified Life page 48

[13] “dreadful” from the Niphal form of “yare’ (Strong’s #3372)

[14] Mrs. E.G. White in Review and Herald Feb.-8-1881

[15] Manuscript Releases Vol. 21, page 326 “A Vivid View of Future Events” (italics supplied)

[16] Testimonies for the Church Vol. 4 page 569

[17] from the Modern Language Bible; Jerusalem Bible & New English Version

[18] http://www.geocities.com/thekingsofIsrael/biography_Jehoiakim.html

[19] Ibid

[20] Prophets and Kings, page 438

[21] See Evilmerodach in the introduction to chapter 5. He was Nebuchadnezzar’s son who ruled 562-560 B.C.

[22] Prophets and Kings by E.G. White page 382

[23] quoted from Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 212 (under “His strange work.)

[24] if a “cubit” = 18 inches; 15×18=270 inches; 270 inches divided by 12 = 22.5 feet

[25] God’s Amazing Grace page 74

[26] see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.3, page 922

[27] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 849, 850

[28] Conflict and Courage page 256

[29] Review and Herald 6-17-1884

[30] The Sanctified Life by E.G. White, page 47

[31] E.G. White in Review and Herald Feburary-9-1897

[32] The Commentary notes that eleven possible views are offered regarding the “relationship between the 2300 “days” of ch.8 and the 70 “weeks” of ch.9. Please note I consider them all worthy of discussion and are mostly correct. However, omitting any reference to the fact that the word “vision” is translated from two words “mar’eh”  (Strong’s #4758) and “chazown“ (Strong’s #2377) leaves much to be desired in the discussion. (see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 850, 851 [under 21. Gabriel])

[33] “vision” from “chazown” (Strong’s #2377)

[34] See Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 851 [bottom left, under ”22. Understanding.”]

[35] first word “vision” from “mar’eh” (Strongs #4758);  second word “vision” from “chazown” (Strong’s #2377)

[36] the word “many” is from “rab” (Strong’s #7227) meaning “many, much, abounding, more numerous than, great, strong, greater than. The word “days” is from “yown” (Strong’s #3117) while “days” in Daniel 8:14 is from two words “ereb” (Strong’s #6153)  and “boqer” (Strong’s #1242)

[37] There is one problem I had to struggle with for some time. Strong’s Concordance erroneously assigns “mar’eh” to Daniel 8:17 and “chazown” to Daniel 9:23. But, upon comparing Strong’s to Young’s Concordance, the Interlinear Bible, and the Online Lexicon, all assign “chazown” to Daniel 8:17 and “mar’eh” to Daniel 9:23. Does it matter? Clearly it does because “mar’eh” in Dan.8:17 would contradict verse 26 where “mar’eh” is the 2300 evening and morning, not the “chazown” which was for more “day[s]” yet and was for “the end.”

[38] Note the Commentary’s explanation of “Consider the vision.”  They correctly note it to be: “A reference to ‘the vision of the evening and the morning’ (ch.8:26)” without saying anything about the last half of verse 26, which would be unnecessary if both words for “vision” were the same in Hebrew, which they are not.  (see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 851 [under 23. Consider the vision.])

[39] The Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide of Oct. Nov. Dec 2004 whose principle contributor was Gerhard Pfandl, an associate director at the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference, contains a very timely note (see page 90) on Daniel 9:23: “When Gabriel says in verse 23, ‘Consider the matter and understand the vision,’ he does not use the general word chazon, which refers to the vision as a whole, as in Daniel 8:1, 13 and in Daniel 9:21. Instead, he uses the verb mareh, which is used specifically for the vision of the 2,300 days.”

[40] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 851 [under 23. Consider the vision.]

[41] This is just simple math: 70X7 = 490

[42] “determined” from: “chathak” (Strong’s #2852) also “decreed, be settled, be marked out.” The Commentary suggests “…it may be assumed that the 70 weeks would be cut off from the beginning of that [2300 day] period.” (see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 851 [right column, last paragraph]) If the word “vision” in verse 23 was understood to be the 2300 day “mar’eh” it would be provable and unnecessary to “assume” the 70 weeks was the beginning part of the 2300 days.

[43] The Commentary notes that the phrase “To finish” is “from the root kala’, “to restrain” but goes on to say that according to “some 40 Hebrew manuscripts” it clearly means “to bring to completion.” (see Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 852 [left column, third paragraph]) And, according to the Lexicon at my disposal, it is the Piel form of  “kala’ that is used here meaning “finish,” not “restrain” which is the Qal form.

[44] “seal up” from the Qal form of  “catham” (Strong’s #2856) “seal up, fasten up by sealing” which suggests “complete” or “confirming” or “ratifying” as the Commentary suggests.

[45] “chazown” (Strong’sd s#2377) translated “vision”

[46] Quote from: Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 852 [right column, second paragraph under “The most Holy.”]

[47] “most Holy” from twice used “qodesh qodesh” (Strongs #6944). Both “most” and “Holy” are translated from the same Hebrew word “qodesh.” So “most Holy” is simply “qodesh qodesh” meaning “apartness, sacredness, holiness” evidently, in the ultimate sense.

[48] for example: Ex.26:33, 34 “the place most holy” and “the most holy place.” Ex.29:37; 40:10 “an altar most holy.” Lev.27:38 “every devoted thing is most holy.” Num.4:4, 19; 18:9 “the most holy things” etc. A “most holy” person is not designated anywhere.

[49] Here is the Commentary’s view: “In view of the fact that the Hebrew phrase cannot elsewhere be shown to refer definitely to a person, and in view of the fact that the heavenly sanctuary is under discussion in the larger aspects of the vision (see on Dan.8:14), it is reasonable to conclude that Daniel is here speaking of the anointing of the heavenly sanctuary prior to the time of Christ’s inauguration as high priest.” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 852 [right column, second paragraph under “The most Holy.”]) While I agree with 90% of this, my view is somewhat different in that I see it as the beginning of Christ’s ministry as “high priest” in the second apartment in 1844 instead of A.D.31 just after His ascension.

[50] “commandment” from: “dabar” (Strong’s #1697) “speech, word, speaking, utterance, word” etc.

[51] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 853 (left column, first paragraph)

[52] The third decree was issued by Artaxerxes I who reigned 465 to 424 B.C. He was the son of Xerxes I the Great (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artaxerxes_I_of_Persia) The second decree by Darius I was “soon after 520 B.C.” as in Ezra 6:1-12. (see note 66)

[53] “Messiah” is translated from “mashiyach” (Strong’s #4899) meaning “anointed one.” Interestingly, Daniel 9:25 and 26 is the only place in the Old Testament “mashiyach” is translated “Messiah.” The parallel term in the New Testament is “Christ” from “Christos” (Strong’s #5547) meaning “anointed.” It is found 533 times, but only in the New Testament.

[54] “prince” in Daniel 9:25 is translated from “nagiyd” (Strong’s #5057) “leader, ruler, captain” while “prince” while “princes” in Daniel 8:25 and “prince in Daniel 8:11 is translated from “sar” (Strong’s #8269) “captain, chief, ruler, governor” which means basically the same thing. Interestingly, “Prince” in “The prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6 is also from “sar.” Therefore, the “prince” in both Daniel 9:25 and 8:11 and 25 is the same Person, Christ the Messiah. Just why “nagiyd” is used in Dan.9:25 instead of “sar” must have something to do with the context because “sar” in Daniel 8:11 & 25 depicts Christ in the heavenly sanctuary being opposed by the papacy in the form of the “little horn” and the “king of fierce countenance,” while “nagiyd” depicts Christ on earth at the time of His baptism in the river Jordan.

[55] “seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” = 7 + 62 = 69 weeks x 7 = 483 literal years

[56] Some might see a problem here because 457 B.C. + 27 A.D. (when Christ was baptized) = 484 years, not 483. The reason for the perceived discrepancy is that in transitioning from B.C. to A.D. 1 must be subtracted from the total because there is no such thing as a zero year. Therefore “483 years” is valid.

[57] Because 49 + 434 = 483

[58] “cut off” from the Niphal form of “karath” (Strong’s #3772) “cut down, chewed, fail”

[59] E.G. White in Signs of the Times, December 8, 1898

[60] The Commentary notes that the “marginal reading” found in some Bibles: “’and [the Jews] they shall be no more his people’ . . . is unsupported by the Hebrew.” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 854 (right column under: “And the people.”)

[61] see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(70)

[62] see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish-Roman_wars

[63] Ibid

[64] The Jerusalem Bible  translates it: “and, until the end, there will be war and all the devastation decreed”

[65] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 854 (right column under: “He shall confirm….”)

[66] “midst” from “chetsiy” (Strong’s #2673) meaning “half, middle”

[67] Prophets and Kings by E.G. White, page 699

[68] E.G. White in Signs of the Times December 8, 1898

[69] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.4, page 855 (right column first paragraph)

[70] 1 year = 360 days, 3 years = 1,080 days, 1/2 year = 180 days; therefore: 1,080 + 180 = 1260 days

[71] E.G. White in Manuscript Releases Vol.9, page 7

[72] Testimonies for the Church Vol.9, page 14