We are reading from the Exile Stream continuing with Daniel’s prayers and visions. What precious gems we find in today’s reading using the New English Translation.
For the reading and vision we heard today it is very late in the captivity that began in 586 B.C. The year of Daniel’s prayer happens around/between 520-516 B.C. Daniel is early in this chapter that the 70 years in captivity are nearly completed. Daniel is in his early 80’s about now. His prayer from vv. 4-19 is one of sterling theology. 9:4 states that God is faithful to His Covenant with those who love Him and keep His Commandments. It is worthy to point out other gems in vv. 17 – 19: “… show favor to your devastated sanctuary for you own sake … look on the city called by your Name … we are praying to you because your compassion is abundant … pay attention and act for your own sake oh my God for your city and your people are called by your name.” Let us never stray from the truth that The theology of God and the deeds of God are based on Him. We must remember this. He does not treat us according to our deeds. We cannot finish a string of good deeds and declare that now God owes us anything because we have been so good. That is theology on our terms and this is an oxymoronic phrase. Theology is God and about God. Anthropology is about us. The good that happens happens on His terms and we are blessed when we get on His terms, obey His commands, love as He loves, and live as He tells us to. Daniel’s stinging confessions cannot be disavowed as necessary statements that must be stated prior to the Israelites returning to their homeland.
Next Gabriel shows up to Daniel and teaches him. It is a prophecy that is fascinating and has triggered discussions to no end for 25 centuries and counting. Imagine what is packed into these four verses of Daniel ch. 9:24-27 ! The Temple was going to be rebuilt. A Savior/Messiah/ Prince (Son of God) was going to come but there is going to be stressful times that accompany these days. Antiochus Epiphanes (from Dan. 8:13) would try to eliminate Jews, there would be Romans in the land. Romans are not exactly referred to here but they encroach in upon the land too during this “70 Weeks” which is a 490 year period between when the Israelites return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and when the Son of God comes. He is the anointed one who is cut off and has nothing; [Dan. 9:26a]. These last two verses speak of agonizing days when Jerusalem and the Sanctuary; the Temple are destroyed. Then those who executed this are to be flooded and flooded quickly. The prose, without missing a beat, morphs into speaking of the End of Days when there is tribulation, there are periods of 3+1/2 years and another 3+1/2 years. He will be a destroyer who then is destroyed. This tumult is spoken of further in Daniel 12:11. Jesus quotes that passage in Matthew 24:15. The bigger picture is described in Revelation. Research all this as much as you wish. Discuss it throughout life. It’s important to be fascinated and intrigued and allured to the symbolism v.s. being frustrated by not having definitive assessments of it as well as pat answers. Let’s be looking to God in the Holy Spirit to have him reveal these things to us as well as be reading any volumes we are drawn to about prophecy by those who are committed to biblical scholarship.
“Haleluia Lord Jesus, you do fascinating things and have marvelous plans for us. May we remain committed to you and to knowing the Resurrected Christ who is the Savior that came. What a privilege for Daniel to hear this from Gabriel directly. May we be also blessed to be hearing marvelous things and seeing and reading marvelous truths about you in your Word. Amen”