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Daniel Nine

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Daniel 9:1 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;

Daniel 9:2 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.

seventy years. See Jeremiah 25:11-12. Daniel, now an aged man, had been in Babylon since the very beginning of the prophesied seventy year period of exile. He realized from studying his Bible that this time had almost been accomplished.

Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

prayer and supplication. Daniel realized that God desires us to claim His promises in prayer. Thus the fulfillment of a divine prophecy can also be understood as an answer to a believer's prayer. Over and over, Christ has promised to come again, yet John closes the revealed Word of God with a prayer: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

Daniel 9:4 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;

Daniel 9:5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

from thy judgments. Although Daniel is recognized in Scripture as almost uniquely righteous (Ezekiel 14:20), he confesses himself a sinner and even as sharing in the sins of his nation.

Daniel 9:6 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 9:7 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.

Daniel 9:8 O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.

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

Daniel 9:10 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.

Daniel 9:11 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.

Daniel 9:12 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 9:13 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 9:14 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 9:15 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 9:16 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 9:17 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.

Daniel 9:18 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.

Daniel 9:19 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 9:20 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;

Daniel 9:21 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.

fly swiftly. Angels fly very swiftly, but not instantaneously. Gabriel flew from God's presence above all heavens to Daniel's presence on earth in the time it took for Daniel to pray his prayer of seventeen verses in length.

Daniel 9:22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

Daniel 9:23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

Daniel 9:24 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.

Seventy weeks. The word for “weeks” is actually “sevens;” in the context, it obviously means “seven-year periods.” Daniel had been meditating on God's promise that the captivity of his people would be seventy years, but then Gabriel brought the message that, not just seventy years, but seventy sevens of years, were determined on his people. That is, God would be dealing with Israel as His covenant people for a period of 490 years. The events prophesied for these 490 years are critical for the proper understanding of eschatology and prophecy. Furthermore, the remarkable fulfillment of the key portions of the prophecy of the seventy weeks is certainly one of the strongest evidences for the supernatural inspiration of Scripture.

finish the transgression. Much of the prophecy has been fulfilled, but not all. Its complete accomplishment (e.g., “an end of sins,” “everlasting righteousness”) awaits the second coming of Christ. Consequently, since far more than 490 years have already passed, there must be at least one significant gap implied in its development. This seems to be clear in the following verses. However, many eminent expositors have understood it as an unbroken sequence, terminating in the first coming and death of Christ.

Daniel 9:25 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.

commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem. The 490-year period begins with the commandment to rebuild the holy city. Some have taken this to be the decree of the emperor Cyrus, in about 536 b.c., recorded by Ezra. This is unlikely, because that commandment only decreed the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1:3). Evidently there was no formal commandment to rebuild the city itself until the time of Nehemiah, when a later Persian emperor, Artaxerxes, did make such a decree (Nehemiah 2:4-8). This was in about 446 b.c.

seven weeks. The 490-year period is divided into three components, 49 years, 434 years, and 7 years, respectively, in duration. The first was evidently to be occupied with the actual completion of the streets and walls of the city, in “troublous times,” as described in the books of Nehemiah and Malachi. Perhaps most significantly, the 49-year period did terminate with Malachi's prophecy, which marked the close of Old Testament revelation.

threescore and two weeks. After the 49-year period was to be another period of 434 years before Messiah would come as Prince of Israel. This period between the two Testaments was marked by the fulfillment of some of Daniel's other prophecies—the fall of Persia, the rise of Greece, then of the great Roman empire and, in Israel, the conflicts with Egypt and Syria and the wars of the Maccabees. In all, there would be 69 weeks, or 483 years, “unto the Messiah the prince.”

Daniel 9:26 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.

Messiah be cut off. If the 483-year period began in 446 b.c., its terminus would seem to be in a.d. 37. However, there is much evidence that what might be called a “prophetic year” was 360 days instead of 365¼. The original created year was apparently twelve 30-day months (compare Genesis 7:11, 24; 8:3, 4). Also, the year associated with the end-times seems to be the same (Revelation 11:2-3). If this factor were applied to the 70-week prophecy, then 483 calendar years would only be 476 prophetic years. Allowing for the fact that Jesus was actually born about 4 b.c. (this was the date when King Herod died, soon after Jesus was born), then the terminal date of the prophecy becomes sometime in a.d. 30, the year when Jesus was between 33 and 34 years of age. This, of course, is the year of His crucifixion, when He was “cut off, but not for Himself.” This prophecy was given in about 536 b.c., well over half a millennium before its fulfillment. The probability that Daniel could guess the date of the manifestation and crucifixion of the Messiah is essentially zero. Only supernatural inspiration can account for fulfilled prophecies like this. In fact, these events were fulfilled almost two centuries even after the date assigned to Daniel by liberal scholars who deny that such prophecies can be valid!

prince that shall come. The “prince that shall come” is obviously not “Messiah the prince,” for He will have been cut off.” In the context of the previous prophecies given by Daniel, this prince can be none other than “the king of fierce countenance” of the preceding chapter (Daniel 8:23).

the sanctuary. The city and sanctuary were destroyed by the Roman general (later emperor) Titus in a.d. 70. This would indicate that the coming evil prince would be a great leader from one of the many nations which eventually developed out of the old Roman empire.

a flood. The “flood” marking the end of the destruction of Jerusalem can also be translated “overflowing,” probably referring to the great dispersion of the Jews into all nations, enforced by the Romans in a.d. 135.

desolations are determined. A better translation might be, “and unto the end wars and desolations are determined.” When Messiah, the Prince of Peace, was “cut off,” peace was permanently cut off from the world as well. This is another remarkable prophecy. In the 1900-plus years since, there have been “wars and rumours of wars” (Matthew 24:6) in one part of the world or another practically every year since that time. In the current world (2004), probably over forty local wars are raging in various parts of the world.

Daniel 9:27 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.

he shall confirm. The antecedent of “he” must be the person last mentioned, that is, “the prince that shall come” (Daniel 9:26), the one whose “people” had destroyed the city. The context in these verses seems clearly to preclude any reference to Messiah. This can be none other than the future Antichrist.

one week. Finally the seventieth week begins, with a treaty made by the Antichrist with the Jews, apparently allowing them to reestablish their temple and its ceremonies in Jerusalem. But note that this “week” of seven years only begins after the following events have taken place after the sixty-ninth week was finished: (1) The Messiah has been cut off, or put to death (a.d. 30); (2) Jerusalem and its temple have been destroyed (a.d. 70); (3) The Jewish people have been exiled into all the nations (a.d. 135); (4) Wars and desolations persist in the world to the end (at least from a.d. 135 to the present, and beyond).

midst of the week. The future seven-year period will be divided into two halves. The first 3½ years will see the ancient temple worship restored in Jerusalem, under the protection of “the prince that shall come,” who will have achieved sufficient power by this time to make such a treaty (see note on Daniel 7:25; notes on Daniel 8:23-25; etc.). The last half will begin when he breaks this treaty, and demands worship of himself and his Satanic master, setting up his own image in the holy place (Matthew 24:15-21; Daniel 8:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; etc.). Much of the book of Revelation is occupied with the details of this climactic seven-year period of world history.

overspreading of abominations. The “overspreading of abominations” can be paraphrased as the “ultimate in blasphemous idolatry.” “Abomination” is a word often used in Scripture for an idol, and “overspreading” refers to wings. Replacing the mercy-seat in the holy place in the temple will be the image of the Beast, and the wings shadowing his image will replace the out-stretched wings of the cherubim. Christ called this “the abomination of desolation” (Mark 13:14). In citing this event as still future, Christ acknowledged that Daniel was, indeed, a prophet.