Study Notes

Daniel 9:20-27


In 1988, at the age of 21, I attended my very first church service as an adult. Although I was a confirmed atheist, a series of miracles had brought me to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa that evening. Pastor Chuck Smith was teaching out of these very verses in Daniel 9 that we have come to in our study.

That Bible study proved to me plainly that God did exist, which changed my entire life's outlook and direction.I hope that God speaks as powerfully to you through these verses as He did to me that night.

9:20-21 Gabriel Arrives

As you recall, Daniel had been reading the book of Jeremiah, and realized that the prophecies clearly stated that the desolations of Jerusalem were quickly coming to an end. Because of this discovery, Daniel had given his attention to the Lord, praying and fasting, repenting and confessing personal and national sin.

While he was praying, Gabriel appeared to him. He had seen this person before. Back in chapter eight, Daniel had seen a vision of a ram being defeated by a goat. As he was trying to figure out what the vision meant, he heard a voice which...

Dan. 8:16 ...called out and said, "Gabriel, give this {man} an understanding of the vision."

Gabriel had come to Daniel and explained the meaning of the vision. Now, he has been sent to Daniel again, to reveal another piece of the prophetic puzzle.

Extreme Weariness Or Swift Flight?

There is a Hebrew phrase in verse 21 that has given translators some difficulty. The NAS translates it,

Dan. 9:21 ...came to me in {my} extreme weariness...

But the NIV says,

Dan. 9:21 ...came to me in swift flight...

The King James likewise says,

Dan. 9:21 ...being caused to fly swiftly, touched me...

Obviously, it cannot mean both things. However, either statement could be backed up by other Scripture. Certainly Daniel would be extremely weary after a long period of fasting and prayer. On the other hand, it seems from 9:23 and 10:12-13 that angels are bound by time and physical limits, even in the spiritual realm. So, I don't think I can be dogmatic about either translation.

The Evening Offering

Gabriel showed up at the time of the evening offering. A simple fact which Daniel relates, that we might simply skip over. But remember - the evening offering had not been made for over sixty years, because Nebuchadnezzar had trashed the temple and killed the Jews. Why would Daniel make reference to something that wasn't even happening? Because Daniel's world view was always from God's perspective, not an earthly one.

9:22-23 You Are Highly Esteemed

Gabriel told Daniel that he was about to be given insight with understanding. A lot of Christians pray for revelation, for insight, for understanding, for vision. Why was Daniel singled out to receive this? The Scripture is clear: because he was highly esteemed.

Saints, I believe that this is what prevents many Christians from receiving great revelation. Who received the book of Revelation? The apostle John, referred to five times in the Scripture as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20).

Noah was told about the coming destruction of the earth by water. Why? The Scriptures say,

Gen. 6:8 ...Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

But how did Noah find that favor? Because he was...

Gen. 6:9 ...a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.

Walking WITH God is a key to receiving revelation FROM God. Living a righteous LIFE is important when you're wanting vision from a righteous GOD.

Think of Abraham, to whom God appeared and spoke. He was considered in the Scripture as God's friend. How did that happen?

James 2:23 "...ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.

A man of righteousness, a man of faith, is the true friend of God. Are you seeking revelation? Make sure that you are living a life that would cause you to be highly esteemed in heaven.

9:24 Seventy Weeks

In English, there is only one interpretation for the word "week." That is seven days. But the Hebrew word actually represents any group of seven time periods. You could have a week of hours, days, or years.

In this case, we understand by comparing this prophecy with others which speak of the same time period that these are weeks of years - seven-year periods of time.

For Your People

Seventy weeks, or 490 years, had been decreed for Daniel's people, the Jews. This is important to note, because when Bible students fail to understand that this prophecy specifically speaks of God's dealing with the Jews, they fall into all kinds of wrong assumptions and bad eschatology.

The Purpose Of The Weeks

The purpose of these 490 years is for six things to be accomplished:

1) To finish the transgression. This word "transgression" literally means "rebellion." Although God's people were continually in rebellion against Him, they would one day come to a point when they never rebel again.

2) To make an end of sin. The sin of God's people would also be completely done away with.

3) To make atonement for iniquity. Somehow, all the iniquity, that inward sin of their hearts, would be paid for.

4) To bring in everlasting righteousness. The promise was that at some point, a kingdom of righteousness which would never end would be set up.

5) To seal up vision and prophecy. All of the prophetic visions and messages that God had spoken to His people would be fulfilled.

6) To anoint the most holy place. God's holy temple would once again be established.

Now, as we look at these things, have any of them happened yet? Rebellion continues among the Jews, and they still sin. A kingdom of everlasting righteousness has never been established, and so logically we know that all vision and prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. A temple was rebuilt, but none exists today. Practically speaking, the only one of these prophecies that has been accomplished is the third one: atonement for iniquity. When Christ died on the cross, he paid the full price of all iniquity.

So the question remains, "Have these 490 years come and gone, are we in that time period now, or are they still yet future?"

9:25 The Issuing Of A Decree

Now we get the start date of this time period. It was going to start with the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. When was that decree issued? We know Biblically that this decree was given by King Artaxerxes in Nehemiah 2:8. We know historically that he issued the decree on March 14, 445BC.

Until Messiah The Prince

The prophecy is of Messiah. But not Messiah the Baby, not Messiah the Lamb of God. No, it is of Messiah the Prince (Maw-SHEE-akh Naw-GHEED). "Naw-GHEED" is Hebrew for a leader, ruler, or prince. Notice too how it is sandwiched into this prophecy regarding Jerusalem. The prophecy clearly states that there would be 69 weeks (7 and 62) from the decree until Messiah entered Jerusalem as a ruler.

Zechariah prophesied that it would happen like this:

Zech. 9:9 ...Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Did this ever happen? Remember what we have read in the gospels. In the town of Bayth-fag-AY, Jesus sent two disciples to get a donkey and a colt. Jesus then rode into Jerusalem, being hailed as Messiah the Prince.

Mark 11:8-10 And many spread their garments in the road, and others {spread} leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went before, and those who followed after, were crying out, Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Blessed {is} the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!"

The date was April 6, 32AD. Now, this is where the math comes in. As we learned in an earlier study, all Bible prophecy is based on the 360-day year of the Babylonian calendar. Calculating 69 weeks of years results in 483 years (69x7). 483 years of 360 days results in 173,880 days (483x360). Looking at the calendar, if you started at the day of the decree, March 14, 445BC, and counted off 173,880 days, you arrive at April 6, 32AD, the very day of the Jesus' Triumphal Entry!

You Are To Know And Discern

Gabriel told Daniel that he was to know and discern this date. Unfortunately, it was a command that was not obeyed by the Jews as the years progressed. As Jesus rode towards Jerusalem on that colt, we read,

Luke 19:41-44 And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."

They did not know or discern the day - they had not recognized the time of their visitation.

9:26 Messiah Will Be Cut Off

After Messiah the Prince would be Messiah the Dead. Just a week after the Triumphal Entry, Jesus hung on a cross and died. The man who had nowhere to lay His head while on earth (Matt 8:20), died with nothing - not even the shirt on his back, which was stolen by the Roman soldiers (Luke 23:34). He truly had nothing.

The People Of The Prince To Come

The prince to come is a title of the antichrist. Who are his people? He arises as a leader of the Roman Empire. We see clearly that the temple and all of Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Roman Empire. This prophecy was fulfilled in 70AD, under the command of Titus Vespasian. As Gabriel had prophesied, and Jesus confirmed, the Jews' enemies would lay them to waste.

9:27 A Firm Covenant

The prince to come, the antichrist, will make a seven-year covenant with "the many." This accord involves more than the Jews - it is also with their enemies. It is interesting to me to watch leader after leader try to broker a peace deal in the Middle East. While I would love to see peace in the land of Israel, when a man finally manages to do it, he is the antichrist. True and lasting peace will only come in the Millennial Kingdom under Jesus Christ.

This seven years is the final week, the 70th week, that we commonly refer to as the Tribulation. That seven year period that most of the book of Revelation is centered around.

The key to understanding this 70 weeks, then, is realizing that from the time that Messiah was cut off until the time that the antichrist rises to power, the clock is not ticking. There is a parenthesis in God's plan for Daniel's people that we call the church age. For the last 2,000 years, God has had His thumb on the stopwatch of Israel's countdown while He saved us, making the Jews jealous of our relationship with Him (Rom 10:19).

A Stop To Sacrifice

Notice that the antichrist will break this covenant himself after just 3 1/2 years by putting a stop to the sacrifice. This tells us that during this final seven years, a temple will be standing in Jerusalem. (This is the same temple that John was told to measure in Revelation 11.)

At the midpoint of this seven year period, the antichrist will commit the "Abomination of Desolation." Jesus referred to this, telling the Jews of the last days,

Matt. 24:15-22 "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days! But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.

Paul told the Thessalonians that during this event, the antichrist...

2Ths. 2:3-4 ...opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

On that day, a terrible persecution will break out against the Jews. Those in Judea will flee into the wilderness and be protected by God for the final 3 1/2 years (Rev 12:6; 12:13-16). Those who live in the rest of the world will not be so fortunate, as the antichrist makes war with the Jews and those people that will have come to faith in Jesus Christ over the previous 3 1/2 years.

Much of this prophecy given by Gabriel to Daniel has been fulfilled. The stage is set for the rest of it to come to pass. I firmly believe that the church age is rapidly coming to a close, that the church will be raptured, and that stopwatch will resume its count - ticking away the final seven years God has appointed to accomplish His purpose for the Jews. We live in exciting times.

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