Let’s set the stage: In chapter 9 of Daniel, we find Daniel reading the Bible book of Jeremiah. In the timeline of Daniel’s life, this happens after the events of Daniel 5 when the Babylonian kingdom (also known as the Chaldeans) is taken over by the Medo-Persian army.
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.
And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
~ Daniel 5:30-31
So now we find Daniel in the first year of Darius’ reign, and he is reading the book of Jeremiah, and in reading, he comes across this passage in Jeremiah 25.
‘And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.
So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations.’ ”
~ Jeremiah 25:11-13
This passage of Jeremiah is a prophecy for the future of Israel and of Babylon. It predicts that Israel will serve Babylon for 70 years, and then Babylon will be destroyed.
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans—
2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
~ Daniel 9:1-2
Daniel reads the prophecy and understands it. This is a beautiful example for you and I today that the more we read God’s word, the better we understand it. When I first became a believer, I was about 13 years old. Mom bought me a children’s Bible, I think it was an NIV Bible (New International Version).
I think I remember asking where I should start reading and her response was “Anywhere.” So I opened it somewhere in the middle-ish and started reading in Ezekiel 1. This is the prophecy of the four cherubim with four different creatures’ faces, and the wheel within the wheel. This is a confusing passage if it’s your first time reading it, and completely confusing if you’ve never read the rest of the Bible. The more we read it, the more we understand it. That was true of Daniel and it’s true of us today.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
~ 2 Timothy 3:16
This may not be the first time Daniel has read this passage. Yet, Daniel now understands what the prophecy is saying, and it moves him to prayer.
3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments,
5 “we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. ~ Daniel 9:3-5
The Jews were taken out of (exiled) from Jerusalem and from the Promised Land because of their sin. God had given them a warning that they would be removed from Israel if they continued their sinful ways and did not repent and turn from sin. This should speak to us in our world today as well. God has called on each person and every nation to turn from sin, and turn to God.
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14
6 “Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.
7 “O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.
~ Daniel 9:6-7
Daniel is repenting and praying on behalf of his whole nation. Is that what God asks us to do?
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
God wants us to pray “for all men, for kings and all who are in authority”. What does “all” mean?
“All” means “all”. Everyone. Every. One.
The Bible tells us “this is good and acceptable in the sight of God”, and that He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Men and women get saved by the blood of Jesus when we pray! What an awesome responsibility we have then!
8 “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.
~ Daniel 9:8
We own the shame of our own sin. It’s ours.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
~ Romans 3:23
However, God offers us hope!
9 “To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. ~ Daniel 9:9
God owns mercy and forgiveness. It is His to give even though we have sinned. How does He give us that mercy and forgiveness for our sin?
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
~ 1 Timothy 2:5
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” ~ John 3:36
10 “We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.
11 “Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him.
12 “And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. ~ Daniel 9:10-12
Daniel says “we’re being punished like no one else has ever been punished. God did to us exactly what He said He would do.” You see, there are no other options for us beyond Jesus’ blood and sacrifice. God said there is one way to heaven, and that’s through Christ. “He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Those that do not believe and confess Jesus as Savior will not go to heaven, but will go to eternal punishment. What God says He will do, He will in fact do. When Daniel says “He has confirmed His words”, he means that God will do what He says.
It was 1984. I got my driver’s license shortly after my 16th birthday. I was so excited! When you get your license in our state, you have to take a course of driving lessons, then you have to take a written test, then you take an actual driving test before a state examiner to prove your skill. Through all of that, I learned the driving laws of our state. In Washington, it’s illegal to go through a stop light when it’s red. Imagine that, they want you to stop. I was out late one night about 11pm, one month after getting my license. I knew the law. Knowing the law didn’t seem to keep me from disobedience. I ran right through a red light with a police officer sitting at the corner watching me. I immediately received the punishment for my crime which was a $124 ticket.
Sometimes, God allows us to suffer the immediate and short-term consequences of our sin – like a $124 ticket was the consequence of my actions that night. However, God tends to offer us lots and lots of opportunity to repent from our sin before suffering the long-term punishment for our sin – an eternity in hell.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
~ 2 Peter 3:9
God wants us in heaven with Him for eternity! How many chances do we get to turn from sin? It’s different for each person, and it’s up to God.
Almost every single verse in Daniel’s prayer confesses some sin of Israel starting with verse 5:
“We have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.” You see, Israel didn’t spend much time reading and studying God’s word. For years, they had been “departing from” God’s “precepts” and “judgments”.
When we study God’s word as Daniel had been, we stay closer to God. We grow in our daily walk with Him. We begin to understand his heart and His will for us.
Imagine if, after you were born, you had the option of leaving your parents at the age of one and trying to figure out life on your own, no conversations with Mom or Dad. How far do you think you would get? Not very far I’ll bet! The Bible is God’s instruction book to us. When we read it and study it, we grow and learn. God teaches us!
13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.
14 “Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice.
15 “And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly!
16 “O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us.
17 “Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate.
18 “O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.
19 “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” ~ Daniel 9:13-19
We can go to God anytime to confess sin. As a matter of fact, God wants us to come to Him with our sin. He will forgive if we ask.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
~ 1 John 1:9
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. ~ Romans 10:9
When you feel convicted in your heart for something you’ve done wrong, that is God’s Holy Spirit pressing upon you to confess it to The Lord!
20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God,
21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.
23 “At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:
24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
~ Daniel 9:20-27
Now the angel Gabriel comes back on the scene. Remember we saw him back in Daniel 8 when he arrived to interpret the vision for Daniel.
Gabriel explains that this 70 weeks is a prophecy not only for this period of the time of Daniel, but also for a period of time for the coming Messiah and the end of time.
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
~ John 14:2
Jesus is preparing our eternal home for us! Remember, on earth He was a carpenter by trade. 🙂
I love what verse 23 tells us:
“At the beginning of your supplications the command went out”. From the very moment your prayer (supplications) left your lips, God’s answer was on the way. Our God is a God who answers the prayers of His people! (Keep in mind that sometimes His answer is for us to wait. That doesn’t mean He is not answering your prayer.)
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
~ 1 John 5:14-15