Bible study


[This is an excerpt from my book, Mankind’s Final 7 Years Before Christ Returns: A verse-by-verse explanation of the book of Revelation]

9 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;

We discussed the identity of Darius in Daniel 5:31. This Darius the Mede should not be confused with Darius the Persian which was overthrown by Alexander the Great, or with the Persian king Darius mentioned in Ezra 6:1-15.

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.

The prophecy that Daniel refers to is Jeremiah 25:11-12, “And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 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.”

At this point, the seventy years was very near the end. (See also- 2 Chronicles 36:16-23; Jeremiah 29:10)

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

This implies more intense prayers and supplications than simply praying three times a day facing Jerusalem (Daniel 6:10; 10:2-3).

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;

God promises to show mercy on those who love and obey Him (Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10), but Daniel sees a problem.

5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

6 Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

While Daniel understands the prophecy of the seventy years, he apparently now fears that God may not keep His promise because Israel has continually sinned and rebelled (2 Chronicles 7:14). Fulfillment of prophecy will always be connected to man’s faithfulness to God. Yet, Daniel also knew that confession could bring restoration (Leviticus 26:40-42; 1 Kings 8:46-50).

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.

(See also- Deuteronomy 4:27; Jeremiah 3:25; Leviticus 26:33-34)

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.

(See also- Lamentations 1-5; Jeremiah 14:20)

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

(See also- Psalm 86:15; Micah 7:18-19)

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.

(See also- 2 Kings 17:13-15)

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.

(See also- Deuteronomy 28:1-68; Leviticus 26:14-46)

12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.

13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.

Daniel feels that the promises of punishment have clearly been fulfilled. (See also- Lamentations 2:17)

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.

(See also- Nehemiah 9:33)

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.

Daniel shows us that it is OK to plead our case before God. It is acceptable to proclaim God’s mercy in our defense. (See also- Jeremiah 32:20-23)

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.

Daniel appeals to the character of God, because the character of His people deserved only punishment. Also, Daniel appeals to God’s mercy toward Jerusalem. (See also- Joel 3:14-17)

17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.

18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Daniel argues that for good public relations, God should show mercy rather than justice.

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;

The holy mountain refers to Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:3). This was the mountain on which Abraham offered Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14), and where David later offered a sacrifice to stop the judgment of God (2 Samuel 24:17-25; 1 Chronicles 21), and the same mountain on which Solomon later built the temple (2 Chronicles 3:1).

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 “vision at the beginning” is recorded in chapter 8, and had occurred some years before. The word translated “swiftly” literally means “in weariness”, and some debate who was weary, Daniel or Gabriel, though the word refers to flight. While the morning and evening sacrifice may not have been in existence at this time, Daniel still observes the set time.

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

As in the previous vision, Gabriel was to give Daniel understanding (Daniel 8:16).

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.

Notice that Gabriel uses the word “supplication” rather than “prayer”. We do not know if the “beginning of thy supplications” simply refers to the beginning of this recorded prayer, or if Daniel had been fasting and praying for some time (as in Daniel 10:2-3).

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.

While Daniel asks about the seventy years relating to the Babylonian captivity, Gabriel answers with a prophecy about seventy units of seven years (see Leviticus 25:8) relating to man’s captivity to sin. Yet, his answer is an assurance to Daniel’s concern, as the following verses clearly show that Jerusalem and the Temple would be rebuilt.

In the next verses, we shall see these 490 years broken down into three segments with a possible gap between each. This prophecy by Gabriel, is some of the most debated verses in the Bible. There is much debate as to when this prophecy actually begins, with what exactly it ends, and to who or what it refers.

There are six things prophesied in this verse: to finish the transgression (1 John 3:8), to make an end of sins (Hebrews 9:26), to make reconciliation for iniquity (Colossians 2:14), to bring in everlasting righteousness (Philippians 3:9), to seal up the vision and prophecy (Luke 4:18-21), and to anoint the most Holy (Hebrews 1:8-9). It appears that all six things were fulfilled at the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Yet, as we have seen, all prophecies generally have a dual fulfillment.

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.

There is much debate as to which historical command to rebuild Jerusalem and/or the wall and/or the Temple this refers, or even if it was a divine command from God. Some also view the commandment and the seventy sevens as simply symbolic.

The historical commandments are: that of Cyrus in 536 BC, for the rebuilding of the Temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-3; 6:3-8 ); that of Darius (not the ones from 5:31 or 9:1) in 520 BC, to continue the halted rebuilding (Ezra 6:1-15); that of Artaxerxes in 458 BC, for restoration of Temple worship (Ezra 7:1-26); and that of Artaxerxes in about 444 BC, for permission to rebuild the wall (Nehemiah 2:1-8). Most commentators believe the last commandment to be the one prophesied, but then many turn around and try to make the “troublous times” to occur during the earlier commandments (see Nehemiah 4).

The phrase “Messiah the Prince” is generally believed to refer to Jesus (John 1:41; 4:25; ). But, there are other historical or prophetic figures pushed into this role by commentators. The phrase literally means “priest prince”.

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.

Those who believe there is a gap between the 69 weeks, and the final week, point out that this verse says “after” rather than “at the end of”. While Daniel is told that Jerusalem and the Temple would indeed be rebuilt, he is now told that they would again be destroyed (Luke 19:41-44).

The word translated “cut off” implies a violent death of the Messiah (see Isaiah 53). The words “not for himself” seems to imply a rejection, particularly of his role as Messiah, though some believe this refers to Christ dying in our place (Galatians 3:13). There is much debate as to who this prince is: Antiochus, Titus, the Antichrist, the Messiah, or some high priest. There is also much debate as to whether this prince is the same one from the previous verse. And, there is much debate as to whether the end comes to or through the people of the prince. (See also Matthew 22:2-7; Luke 21:20-24)

If this verse refers to the Antichrist, then the reference to the flood may mirror the prophecy of John, in Revelation 12:15-16, concerning the attack of Satan against Israel.

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.

There are some who claim this verse is speaking of the atoning death of Jesus Christ doing away with the need for Temple sacrifice, but, as we saw in Daniel 8:11-14, this is clearly speaking of the Antichrist. Those who believe that this prince is Jesus, should take note that Jesus prophesied this abomination of desolation as coming before the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22), which comes before the second coming of Jesus (Matthew 24:23-31). Another detail is that Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies (Luke 21:20).

Again, there is a great amount of debate as to the meaning of this verse. Many suppose this prophecy was fulfilled by Antiochus, or Titus at the destruction of Jerusalem, or by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. There are many views as to when this week begins and when it ends. Those who hold that this prince is Jesus, generally believe the first half of the week is the literal 3 ½ years of the ministry of Jesus, but the second half is symbolic of the decades afterward until the destruction of Jerusalem, despite the fact that Daniel 12:11 says the second half is a literal 1,290 days.

The phrase “he shall confirm the covenant with many” literally means that he will strengthen an agreement with many. Therefore, it may not be a “peace treaty with Israel” as many suppose, but an enforcement of some “global community” mandate.

(Daniel 10)

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