“ 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.”
There are certain Kingdom principles, or manners, revealed in this text. In the final days of
the Judges, Samuel explained “the manner of the kingdom,” writing it down in a book (1 Sam
10:25). Since the people were shifting to a government by a king, they needed to know that such a
kingdom operated on differing principles than those to which they were accustomed during the
Judges. Likewise, consciously living under the government of God requires some understanding.
Such a life differs significantly from life in this world. A single example will suffice.
Divine direction and communication take place within the context of Divine fellowship
– or through the knowledge of God. This is involved in the “steps of a good man” being “ordered
by the Lord”(Psa 37:23). From the New Covenant -perspective it is escaping “the pollutions of the
world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 2:20), and receiving
benefits from Him because we are “walking in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7).
This is something that must be seen. There is a strain of doctrine that represents God has
suddenly thrusting Himself upon men in advantageous ways – even when they are not involved
with Him. Thus men are taught to expect sudden and profitable illumination and direction from the
God of heaven while they walk in practical alienation from Him. Such views are only human
imaginations, wholly lacking substance.
It is true that the Lord can force His way into our lives, as He did with Saul of Tarsus (Acts
9:3-6). However, that has never been the norm of the Kingdom – and even then, it was more to get
Saul’s attention than to bestow a blessing on the persecutor. Jesus sent Saul to someone else to
receive the details concerning his call. Those details were sent to him while he was praying (Acts
In our text, a message is sent to Daniel while he was “speaking, praying, and confessing” to
the Lord. Such activities sharpen the mind, sensitive the heart, and tenderize the human spirit,
thereby enabling the individual to profit from Divine communication.
This is how the Lord works. Those who choose to live aloof from the Lord, by that very
choice, limit what they will hear from Him. This is particularly accented in Christ Jesus. It is
written, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our
knowledge of Him” NIV (2 Pet 1:3). That is, in our intimacy, or fellowship, with the Lord Divine
supplies are given to us. This is another way of saying that salvation in all of its aspects is “by grace
. . . through faith” (Eph 2:8).
SPEAKING, PRAYING, AND CONFESSING
“And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people
Israel . . . ”
“Speaking” is coming before the Lord “with words,” as He commands (Hos 14:2). It is the
expression of thought in languages – giving expression to the thoughts and intents of the heart.
“Speaking” is the presentation of a cause (Isa 41:21), and the filling of the mouth with arguments
“Praying” is making a supplication, entreating or beseeching the Lord. It is seeking
something specific from Him – making a hearty effort to “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in
the time of need” (Heb 4:16). “Prayer” is more than simply talking with God, or holding a
conversation with the Almighty. There is nothing casual about it. Real prayer is “fervent” as well
as “effectual” (James 5:16).
It might sound reasonable to view prayer in such an academic manner. However, an acute
awareness of the Person and will of God Himself will soon cause such approaches to wither, and be
seen for the folly they really are. Too much theology is developed without a proper understanding
or fear of the Lord.
“Confessing” is not empty routine. The heart is in confession, which is the acknowledgment
of something impressed upon the heart – whether it be of sin, or that Jesus is the Son of God. In this
text, Daniel is confessing sin – both his, and that of the people. He is doing so with insight and with
Confessing My Sin
Daniel is one of the few key people in Scripture against whom no specific sin is recorded. Yet,
here he is said to confess his own sin. There is no doubt that his keen sensitivity to the Lord
increased his sensitivity toward sin. Sin involves more than an obvious and flagrant transgression
of the Law. “The thought of foolishness is sin” as well (Prov 24:6). Asaph knew this well, and
recorded his own battle with foolish thinking in the seventy-third Psalm. After being “envious of the
foolish,” having witnessed “the prosperity of the wicked,” he went into the “sanctuary of God.”
There, he was made to see things with greater clarity. In the greater light of “the sanctuary” he
confessed, “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee” (Psa 73:1-22). In the
presence of God, Asaph became more sensitive about sin.
Another man against whom no specific sin is charged is Job. Yet, during his trial he cried out,
“How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin” (Job
13:23). He spoke of “my sin” and “my transgression” (Job 14:16-17). The Lord testified of him,
“In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). Yet, Job was keenly aware of
his personal imperfection – even though the Holy Spirit describes him as “perfect and upright, and
one that feared God and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). After being asked two chapters of questions by
God Almighty (Job 38-39), and being asked if he was going to “contend with the Almighty” or
“instruct Him” (Job 40:1-2), Job answered, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay
mine hand upon my mouth” (Job 40:4).
This is the kind of thing Daniel is confessing to the Lord. He is not acknowledging he has
lived in willing disobedience or rebellion against the Lord, for there is no evidence that such a thing
ever took place. He was a man “greatly beloved” of God (Dan 9:23; 10:11,19). One of the reasons
for this Divine endearment is no doubt Daniel’s sensitivity to his own frailty and proneness to sin.
The Sin of My People Israel
Like Moses and Samuel, Daniel associates himself with the covenanted people. He does not
do so because he has been caught up in their rebellion and iniquity. Rather, he is claiming identity
with them as a covenanted people – the children of Abraham, and those with whom God had made
a covenant. He confesses their sin as those who have broken that covenant (Jer 31:32; Ezek 26:59).
Daniel is not ashamed to be identified with these people – not because of their sin and
waywardness, but because they are of Abraham’s lineage. That lineage is the root of their identity
with God, and the foundation upon which Daniel builds his petition. He is praying for a people
upon whom God has placed His favor – a people to whom certain Divine commitments have been
Something to See
Here was a people chosen by God. He had “set” His love upon them (Deut 7:7). Their history
was nothing less than a confirmation of the Lord’s interest in them. No other people on the face of
the earth had heard such words as were spoken to them. “Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto
thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency!
and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places” (Deu
Surface thinkers would conclude such a people did not require repentance, confession, prayer,
and supplication. After all, flesh reasons, once God has made a commitment to a people, there is no
longer any threat of danger, or need or recovery. No man of God ever thought in such a foolish
way! We can learn from Daniel that fervent and effectual prayers for a backslidden people are in
order. It is wrong to take for granted that everything will turn out for the good, as though the
purpose of God was driven by some form of fate, or impersonal destiny.
The purpose of God are worked out with the involvement of those who know Him.
Whether it is Abraham inquiring concerning the fulfillment of God’s promise (Gen 15:3-4), Moses
interceding for a wayward people (Ex 32:31-32), Daniel praying for a chastised nation (Dan 9:3-27),
or Paul praying for the churches (Eph 1:15-20; 3:15-20) – those who walk with God are brought
into intimacy with God and the execution of His “eternal purpose.”
PRESENTING MY SUPPLICATION
“ . . . and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God . . . ” Other versions read,
“making my request,” NIV “requesting grace from the Lord my God,” BBE “bringing my pitiful case
before the Lord my God,” Septuagint “placing my plea before Yahweh my God,” NJB “pleading with the
LORD my God,” NLT and “causing my supplication to fall before Jehovah my God.” YLT
There is much to be seen in this expression. A certain formality is seen in Daniel’s prayer. It
is not a cold or routine formality, but one resulting from an understanding of both God and the
circumstances moving him to pray. The presentation is made with thoughtful and precise words,
as well as a fervent spirit and tender heart. Daniel has thought upon the matter, and thus makes
NIV his prayer to God, forming it with words and giving it life with a profound concern for the glory
of God and the benefit of His people. The man of God does not question the Lord, or make demands
of Him, but humbly requests BBE grace from Him. He does not come before the Lord “empty,” but
brings Septuagint a fashioned prayer with him. With great deliberation he places NJB his prayer before
the Lord for His consideration. He is fervent in his supplication, pleading NLT for the people. Even
though the devil no doubt attempted to hinder this prayer, yet Daniel caused YLT it to come from his
When a church is uninformed about the Lord, and unconcerned about His people, there
is little chance that any effective prayers will come from them. If only men can see it, this
provides an extensive explanation for much of the spiritual deterioration that is all about us.
FOR THE HOLY MOUNTAIN
“ . . . for the holy mountain of my God.” Other versions read, “in the behalf of the holy
mountain of my God,” NASB “for His holy hill.” NIV
Ten times God refers to“My holy mountain” (Isa 11:9; 56:7; 57:13; 65:11, 25; 66:20; Joel 2:1;
3:17; Obad1:16; Zeph 3:17). He specifically identifies it as “My holy mountain Jerusalem” (Isa
66:20). Joel declared that God dwelt there (Joel 3:17), indicating that it would be the point from
which the earth would filled with “the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa
11:9). Jesus referred to one of Isaiah’s prophecies concerning this “holy mountain” when He said,
“My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matt 21:13; Isa 56:7). God had judged Israel for
forgetting His “holy mountain” (Isa 65:11), and now Daniel prays in behalf of it.
Daniel is praying concerning Jerusalem. He is letting Jerusalem come into his mind, thus
fulfilling the word of the Lord through Jeremiah. “Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand
not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind” (Jer 51:50). He is
doing what the Psalmist enjoined. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love
thee” (Psa 122:6). He is doing what David himself did, praying for the holy city. “Do good in thy
good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem” (Psa 51:18). He is experiencing the
same attitude as the sweet Psalmist of Israel. “If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the
roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Psa 137:6).
There are some who do not feel God can possibly be associated with anything tangible. Daniel
did not think in this manner. Associations God had made with Himself have always been held sacred
by men and women of God. For Daniel, that included Jerusalem and the Temple. Jesus regarded
Jerusalem and he Temple in the same manner. Jerusalem w as the only city in all of history over
which Jesus wept and lamented (Lk 19:41). The Temple was the building He cleansed, referring to
it as His Father’s house (John 2:16). There was a specific garden to which Jesus “ofttimes resorted”
(John 18:2). Jerusalem was the only city toward which Paul hasted, striving to be “at Jerusalem the
day of Pentecost” (Acts 20:19). This is not to mention our bodies, which are said to be “the
members of Christ” (1 Cor 6:15) and “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 cor 6:19). Add to that the
people of God themselves, considering that or response to their outward needs bears directly upon
our eternal destiny (Matt 25:34-46).
We must take great care not to ignore people or places with which God has associated
A Principle to be Seen
But there is an even greater principle to be seen int this text that regards prayer. Note that
Daniel is not praying for himself, his own welfare, or his prosperity in Babylon. Rather, he is
praying for something in which God Himself has revealed an interest.
It is on the part of wisdom to focus our attention on matters in which the Living God has
a revealed interest and concern. His agenda will receive His immediate attention, and our
involvement will bring a blessing.
THE MAN GABRIEL
“ 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
Here is an example of a prayer being answered before it was completed. It is the sort of thing
God promised through the prophet Isaiah, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will
answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isa 65:24). It is evident from the heavenly
response that this prayer touched the heart of God. Daniel’s heart was beating in unison with the
heart of God, and thus he received an immediate answer. The things about which the God of heaven
wads concerned were the same things that were touching the heart of Daniel. It is no wonder he was
a man “greatly beloved” (9:23; 10;11,19). The more a person thinks in concert with the Lord,
the closer they are to Him, and the more will be revealed to them.
The people of God must wage war on the tendency to get God involved in their own agenda
or circumstances. That involvement will happen when we are occupied with things that relate to
God’s revealed purpose.
THE SAME GABRIEL
“Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision
at the beginning . . . ”
The angel Gabriel appeared to Zecharias one time (Lk 1:10). He appeared to Mary, the mother
of our Lord, one time (Lk 1:26). This is the second time he has appeared to Daniel. This is indicative
of the high favor Daniel had obtained in the heavenly realm. It is good to ponder the possibilities
of loving and serving God.
The incident instructs us in the ways of the Lord. It is possible to be especially precious to
the Lord. Those who imagine that God regards every person the same are simply wrong.
Abraham was “THE friend of God” (James 2:23).
David was a man after God’s “own heart” (1 Sam 13:14).
The Lord spoke with Moses in a way He did not speak to others – “face to face as a man
speaketh with his friend” (Ex 33:11).
Among The nations of the world, Israel was”precious: in God’s sight, and He gave men for her,
and people for her life (Isa 43:4).
John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:7).
Mary was “highly favored” (Lk 1:28).
Such people have received special consideration and revelations from the Lord – things that
were not made known to others. There is such a thing as special favor from the Lord.
The made known His acts to Israel, but revealed His “ways” to Moses (Psa 103:7).
The Lord was especially with Joseph, causing him to become a “prosperous man” in the house
of Potiphar, and showing him mercy and giving him “favor in the sight of the keeper of the
prison” (Gen 39:2,21).
Visions and revelations were given to Paul that others did not receive (2 Cor12:1-7).
There are people who are vouchsafed special insights from the Lord – people with whom He
shares His “secret” and shows “His covenant” (Psa 25:14).
Daniel was such a person – “greatly beloved,” and highly favored. Heaven treated him with
a special consideration. To be given the privilege of holding a conversation with Gabriel, who stood
“in the presence of God” (Lk 1:19) is an honor only three individuals in human history enjoyed –
and Daniel was vouchsafed two such appearances.
“The Man Gabriel”
Technically, Gabriel was an angel, and not a man. He is particularly called “the angel
Gabriel” (Lk 1:26), and when he spoke, is described as “the angel answering” (Lk 1:19). How is
it, then, that he is called “the man Gabriel?”
It is because he appeared in a human form. On one occasion, Mephibosheth said to David,
“my lord the king is as an angel of God” (2 Sam 19:27). However, in our text, Gabriel the angel
appeared as a man.
There have been other appearance of angels in human form.
Angels were sent to Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac and the destruction of Sodom. They
appeared to Abraham as “three men” (Gen 18:2). These angels spoke for the Lord, and thus
their word was described as the Lord speaking with Abraham (Gen 18:33).
“Two angels” came to Sodom to destroy it. When they went into Lot’s house, the perverts of
Sodom thought they were “men.” When the men of Sodom sought to force themselves into
Lot’s house, it is said of these two angels, “But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into
the house with them, and shut the door”(Gen 19:10). Of the incidents of Abraham and Lot it is
written, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels
unawares” (Heb 13:2).
A heavenly messenger wrestled with Jacob all night, causing his though to be out of joint when
touching him (Gen 32:24-30). That messenger is called “a man”(v 24).
When Joshua was preparing to assault Jericho, an angel appeared before him, identifying himself
as “the captain of the Lord’s host.” It is said of him that Joshua saw “a man over against him
with his sword drawn in his hand” (Josh 5:13-15).
An angel appeared to Manoah and his wife, announcing they would have a son, whose name
would be Samson. He is specifically called “the angel of the Lord,” yet Manoah’s wife referred
to him as “a man of God”(Judges 13:6-20).
An “angel” was sent to deliver Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego from the fiery furnace. He
was also referred to as the “fourth man,” whose appearance was like that of the three he came
to deliver (Dan 3:25-26).
An angel appeared to the women who entered the tomb wherein Jesus had been placed. He is
called “the angel” in Matthew 28:3. Mark refers to him as “a young man” (Mark 16:5).
Two angels were present when Jesus ascended into heaven in the presence of His disciples,
delivering a message to them about the Lord’s return. These angels are referred to as “two men”
in “white apparel” (Acts 1:10).
An “angel of God” appeared to Cornelius in a vision. When Cornelius recited the event to Peter
he said, “a man stood before me in bright clothing” (Acts 10:3,30).
A Sign Gracious Consideration
Such appearances are an indication of God’s gracious consideration. Angels have a glory
that is frightening to men. When an angel descended from heaven at the tomb of Jesus, he did so in
unveiled glory. The impact upon those who saw him was significant. It5 is written, “And, behold,
there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled
back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment
white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men” (Mat 28:2-4).
When Gabriel appeared to Daniel, however, he did so in such a manner as to neutralize
the clash of heavenly glory with human frailty. He appeared as a “man,” thereby making his
appearance bearable. Even then, however, we will find his presence and message had a significant
impact upon the man of God.
CAUSED TO FLY SWIFTLY
“ . . . being caused to fly swiftly . . . ” Other versions read, “came top me in swift flight,” NIV
“flying swiftly,” DARBY and “swooped on me in full flight” NJB
The text says Gabriel was “caused” to fly swiftly to Daniel. In other words, his mission was
considered of the utmost importance, and could thus be attended by no delay. He must have flown
through Satan’s territory in his swift flight. Later, we will read of an angel that was detained by an
evil power en route to Daniel (10:13).
Gabriel coming to Daniel with swiftness of flight provides insight into a statement made in
Hebrews. “Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire” (Heb 1:7; Psa 104:4).
This incident also helps us to understand the involvements of the 147th Psalm. “He sendeth forth his
commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly” (Psa 147:15). Here is a word from
heaven being brought to Daniel, and it is coming him swiftly! Both assistance and illumination
can come swiftly and with no delay.
It was God Himself who “caused” Gabriel to fly swiftly. We will find this was owing to the
physical condition of Daniel as well as the urgency of the message.
HE TOUCHED ME
“ . . . touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” Other versions read,”he reached
me about the time of the evening offering,” NKJV “came to me in my extreme weakness about the time
of the evening offering,” NASB and “about the time of the evening sacrifice.” NIV
Because the word translated “swiftly” can also mean “fatigue, or utterly exhausted,” STRONGS
the NKJV applies the word to Daniel instead of the fight of the angel Gabriel. One other version also
takes this view: “when my weariness was great, put his hand on me.” BBE However, this is not the
ordinary view, and is taken only because some have chosen etymology over the message. It is not,
in my judgment, a wise translation. Scriptural meanings ought not be established by lexical
writings, which are only an extension of human wisdom. Notwithstanding this observation, I am
quick to say it represents my opinion, and ought not become a matter of controversy.
Gabriel arrives while Daniel was still “speaking in prayer.” By touching him, Gabriel
indicated the answer to the prayer had now arrived, and prayer was no longer required. He had come
to deliver the understanding Daniel sought.
The time is specified as “the evening oblation,” or sacrificial offering. An “oblation” is
generally understood to be a bloodless offering, although not necessarily so. The word translated
“oblation” is frequently translated “offering.” It is used to describe Cain’s offering of grain, as well
as Abel’s offering of the firstling of his flock (Gen 4:3-5). A number of time, the word is translated
“present,”or a gift offered to another person (Gen 32:13,18, 20,21; 33:10; 43:11). It is also applied
to “drink offerings” (Ex 30:9), and “grain (meat) offerings” (Ex 40:39).
The Time of the Sacrifice
In general, the “evening oblation” probably refers to the evening sacrifice which involved
both a bloody sacrifice and one of grain, or meal. It is important to note that the revelation does not
occur during the sacrifice, but during the “time” of the sacrifice. It had been nearly seventy years
since any record of a sacrifice was provided. This sacrifice was made in the tabernacle at the first,
and the Temple following the time of Solomon. Yet, the Temple remains in a state of destruction
at this time, and there is no indication that sacrifices were being carried out in Babylon.
Right here, Daniel and John the beloved have something in common. Both were away from
the ordinary place of assembly: Daniel was in Babylon, and John was on the Isle of Patmos. Both
were being deprived of the public benefits vouchsafed to them under the covenant of their time:
Daniel of the Temple offerings and John of the weekly assembly. Yet, during the “time of the
evening oblation,” Daniel if praying, offering what he can in remembrance of the Lord at the “time
of the evening oblation.” John, on the other hand, is “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev 1:10).
Both hear from the Lord while they entered into the spirit of the occasion, even though deprived of
its ordinary accompaniments: Daniel hears from Gabriel, and John hears form the Lord Jesus
Himself (Rev 1:10-18).
The Time of the Evening Sacrifice
The “evening sacrifice” is mentioned several places (1 Kgs 18:29,36; Ezra 9:4-5; Psa 141:2).
The precise time of this offering is not known. The Passover sacrifice occurred “at the going down
of the sun,” or about 6:00 P.M. (Deut 16:6). Purported scholars reckon that the Israelites had two
evenings in one day. This is derived from the Hebrew expression from which “evening sacrifice”
is translated, which means “between the two evenings.” It is thought to have taken place at “the
ninth hour of the day, or about three o’clock in the afternoon.” BARNES and JOHN GILL
If the above assessment is correct, it coincides with the time when the Lord Jesus was “made
to be sin” for us (2 Cor 5:21). It was around “the ninth hour” when darkness covered the face of the
earth, that the ultimate offering for sin was made(Matt 27:45-50) – at the time of the evening
offering! I must admit this to be a most arresting consideration, and offer it for your contemplation.
In it you sense the direction in which God looks.
HE INFORMED ME
“ 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to
give thee skill and understanding. 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 now converses again with the mighty angel Gabriel. Once again, he will be given
understanding, but not after an earthly order. This is understanding from the heavenly point of view.
All other understanding is superfluous, and of on eternal consequence. In this understanding a
central figure will emerge, and it will be the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Time and destinies will
be measured by Him.
HE INFORMED ME AND TALKED WITH ME
“And he informed me, and talked with me, and said . . . ” Other versions read “he gave me
instruction and talked with me,” NASB “he instructed me and said to me,” NIV and “teaching me and
talking with me.” BBE
The idea is that Gabriel communicated in words the realities than had been seen in Daniel’s
vision. In doing so, he accommodated himself to Daniel, for that is the Divine manner.
Gabriel did not come to impress the prophet with a stirring or exciting sight. Nor, indeed, did
he come to produce in him a sensational feeling, or some extraordinary bodily experience. Such
things are certainly possible. However, this is a man “greatly beloved,” one with whom God would
share His mind, His purpose, and His will. The loftiest of all human experiences take place in
the heart and mind, not the body.
It seems to me that when Gabriel began informing Daniel, and taking with him, the words of
any person upon earth suddenly became irrelevant. Daniel began experiencing what David has
marvelously expressed: “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand” (Psa 84:10). The
“courts of the Lord” are being brought to Daniel, and it has caused the courts of this world to fade
and lose their appeal.
COME TO GIVE SKILL AND UNDERSTANDING
“ . . . O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Other versions
read, “give you skill to understand,” NKJV “give you insight with understanding,” NASB “give you
wisdom and understanding,” NRSV “make thee skillful of understanding,” DARBY “impart to thee
understanding,” Septuagint “teach you how to understand,” NJB and “cause thee to consider
understanding wisely.” YLT
We learn from this that God desires for His people to understand what He is doing. He takes
no delight in leaving them in a state of ignorance, or simply satiating their flesh with
sensational feelings. Nowhere does God represent Himself as working in such a way with those He
loves. When critical understanding is NOT possessed it is described as a judgment, not a
blessing (Isa 29:10; Matt 11:25).
In the matter of spiritual knowledge or understanding specific “skill” is required. Such
knowledge has a dimension in which the wisdom of this world is impotent. It is a domain in which
Divine assistance is required. There are heavenly determinations and purposes that are hidden
to flesh and blood. They cannot be penetrated by natural powers, even though they are most astute
Daniel is an excellent example of this. He was a man that excelled in natural endowments,
being most gifted. He is described as having an “excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding,
interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts” (Dan 5:12). “Light
and understanding and excellent wisdom” were found in him (Dan 5:14). God had given him “skill
in all learning and wisdom” (Dan 1:17). As a youth he was considered “gifted in all wisdom,
possessing knowledge and quick to understand,” who had ability to be taught “the language and
literature of the Chaldeans” (Dan 1:4).
Yet, when it came to comprehending some God had already said, and a vision he had already
seen, Divine assistance was required. He already had access to a specific revelation recorded in
Scripture (9:2). He had already received some extensive explanations from a heavenly messenger
(8:16-27). Yet all of that could not cause him to understand what had now been shown to him.
How much less will young men and women of today, armed with lexicons, commentaries,
and history books, be able to perceive Divine intentions in Scripture? The time has come for
worldly wisdom to be removed from the throne of intellect. Before any measurable spiritual
understanding can be realized, the dependency upon God that is driven by faith must be experienced.
For some, this is too difficult to be received. However, until this occurs, men will be shut to up an
ignorance of the things of God – educated or not.
THE COMMANDMENT CAME FORTH
“ 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to
show thee . . . ”
You will sense in Gabriel’s word the desire of the Lord to mature confidence in His
people. The angel will speak in such as manner as to promote assurance, calm the heart, and prepare
the man of God for profitable understanding.
At the Beginning
Other versions read, “As soon as you began to pray,” NIV “at the first word of your prayer,”
BBE “when your pleading began,” NJB and “the moment you began praying.” NLT
It is noteworthy when the prayer of any person causes a heavenly response at the very instant
it begins. Paul once prayed three times before he received an answer (2 Cor 12:8-9). Elijah prayed
for rain seven times before it came (1 Kgs 18:43). Elijah also prayed three times, asking the Lord
to raise a child from the dead (1 Kgs 17:21-22). But here is a prayer that causes an instant response
From this it is obvious that the matter concerning which Daniel was making inquiry was
especially vital to the people of God. Here was a matter that concerned critical Divine workings.
It dealt with things God desired for men to know – even though, from the standpoint of time, the
revelations appeared to be premature.
The Commandment Came Forth
Other versions read, “the command went out,” NKJV “the command was issued,” NASB “an
answer was given,” NIV and “a word went out.” NRSV
The idea is not merely that the angel was commanded to go to Daniel, but that he received a
word that was to be taken to the prophet. Gabriel did not move about on his own. He did not come
to the earth until he was given a commandment to do so.
Here is a marvelous example of a truth declared elsewhere. “The eyes of the LORD are upon
the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry” (Psa 34:15). And again, “Behold, the eye of
the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from
death, and to keep them alive in famine” (Pa 33:18-19). And again, “For the eyes of the Lord are
over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers” (1 Pet 3:12).
Ponder this text when you consider how Jesus taught us to pray. “Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:10). There, the response is instant
I Am Come to Show Thee
Other versions read, “I am come to tell you,” NKJV “I have come to declare it,” NRSV “I have
come to give you knowledge,” BBE and “I am come to tell you what it was.” NLT
Here was something determined in heaven, and known among those in heaven. Now the word
goes forth to share this knowledge with one who inhabits the earth, in which delusion, ignorance,
and death dominate. Gabriel does not come to discuss the vision with Daniel, but to declare its
meaning. He does not come to hear what Daniel has to say, but to make known what God has
THOU ART GREATLY BELOVED
“ . . . for thou art greatly beloved . . . ” Other versions read, “for you are highly esteemed,”
NASB “for you are a man dearly beloved,” BBE “for thou art a man much loved,” Septuagint “for God
loves you very much,” NLT and “for thou art greatly desired.” YLT
Gabriel was not merely sent because Daniel had asked for understanding, but because the
prophet was loved very much – “FOR thou art greatly beloved.” Those who are close to the Lord,
and endeared because of their faith in Him, will receive more from Him. Thus the Lord said of
Abraham, His friend, “And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do” (Gen
There is a lot of loose thinking on this subject in the Christian community. Understanding is
too often viewed in isolation of the Divine view of the individual. Enough is not said these days
about the value of walking in a manner that is “pleasing” to the Lord – “fully pleasing Him” NKJV
(Col 1:10), and conducting ourselves as “dear children” (Eph 5:1). Many a soul remains abysmally
ignorant of the things of God because they have chosen to live in ways that displease the Lord. If
the Lord gives understanding to those who please Him and are greatly loved by Him, He also
withholds understanding from those who do not please Him, and even provoke Him.
Although Daniel was probably over eighty years of age, yet he remained precious in the sight
of the Lord, and eager to learn of Divine intentions. For that reason, special arrangements were made
for him to comprehend things that would take place long after he had left this world.
UNDERSTAND AND CONSIDER
“ . . . therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Other versions read, “give
heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision,” NASB “consider the message and
understand the vision,” NIV “so give thought to the word and let the vision be clear to you,” BBE
“grasp the meaning of the word, understand the vision,” NJB and “Now listen, so you can understand
the meaning of your vision.” NLT
The appropriation of understanding will involve more, therefore, than Gabriel simply passing
information from heaven to him. The message, supernaturally brought to Daniel, must be
considered, or pondered, before it can clarify the vision given to him.
The idea expressed is this: take hold of what I am saying, and it will clarify the vision. As
Daniel pondered, contemplated, or thought upon what Gabriel declared, it would shed light upon
the vision he had seen, making it understandable.
The Experience of Asaph
This is what is involved in the expression, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then
understood I . . . ” (Psa 73:17). Asaph had been envious of the foolish – not because he wanted
riches, but because they appeared to be undisturbed, while he suffered the chastening hand of the
Lord. As he thought upon the circumstances of the foolish, “it was too painful” for him, disrupting
his peace, and disturbing him within. That condition continued “until” he entered “the sanctuary
of God.” At precisely that point, he saw the condition of the foolish quite differently. He saw that
God had put them into “slippery places.” Rather than being in an envious position, they were
slipping back and forth on the precipice of eternal ruin.
The Situation with Daniel
In Daniel’s case, “the sanctuary of God” is being, so to speak, brought to him. He is going to
be given a Divine perspective of things that were beyond his natural understanding. However, to
profit from this understanding, he must think upon it, becoming absorbed with the word brought to
him. It must begin to dominate his heart and mind.
Our Own Time
This is a time of surface religion – when thought has been dethroned in preference for feeling.
The worship of God is not viewed as primarily emotional, with little profound expression, or words
that provoke depth of thought and extended meditation. Much of the preaching of our time is not
conducive to deliberation, and brevity has become the fashion of the times.
As a consequence, the minds of professing Christians are rarely exposed to truth for any
extended period of time. We must have clear minds about this circumstance. Spiritual understanding
will not and cannot be cultured in such an environment. Every effort to appropriate the truth
must be attended by a love of the truth and a determination to gain the Divine perspective.
Further, these traits cannot be developed while men and women, at the best, slide along the surface
of the truth, dabbling in it with little interest and on commitment.
Exposure to a little truth for a short time will only innoculate the soul against “the power
SEVENTY WEEKS ARE DETERMINED
“ 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
This is one of the most arresting texts in all of Scripture. The language used in it speaks loudly
of its importance ands centrality. Finishing transgression, making an end of sins, making
reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness cannot possibly be casual
expressions. They are too closely aligned with matters relating to the Christ and the great salvation
He accomplished to be treated with indifference of a lack of interest.
Something to Remember
The fact that this passage has been subjected to contradicting judgments does not mean we
should ignore it. Rather, we ought to approach it with the words of Gabriel in mind: “understand
the matter, and consider the vision.” We should also take the attitude of Daniel as our example,
listening attentively to the words that follow.
“Seventy weeks are determined . . . ” Other versions read, “Seventy weeks are shortened” DOUAY
“Seventy weeks have been fixed,” BBE “Seventy weeks are apportioned out,” DARBY “Seventy weeks
are decreed,” NJB and “A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed.” NLT
This is a matter of Divine appointment. The time is exact, and is cast in stone. “Times” do
belong to God, and it is in His power to appoint them blessing or for cursing, for establishment or
for destruction (Acts 1:7; 17:26; Eph 1:11). He can (and in this case does) impose “times” upon
men, regardless of their agreement or disagreement with His determination.
We are told that Jesus came “in the fulness of the time” (Gal 4:4). That “time” is also called
“the time of reformation,” KJV or “the time of the new order” NIV (Heb 9:10). This was a pivotal point
in human history, and thus becomes one of the chief keys of this prophecy. It is to be understood that
if “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”(Rev 19:10), then His Person and work is at the
heart of all inspired utterance. As He Himself said of the Scriptures, “they are they which testify of
Me” (John 5:39).
This is a most remarkable prophecy! It speaks of a number of years that is the same in number
as the period in which the land was not given her sabbaths – 490 years. However, as we will find,
the period is not the same. The first was in the past, the second is in the future. The first was related
with Divine judgment, the second with great blessing. The first brought bondage, the second brings
liberty. The first resulted in the judgment of a nation, the second with the judgment of a Person.
Weeks of Years
In keeping with a revealed Divine manner, these prophetic weeks consist of years, not days
– a day standing for a year. This is how the duration of the wilderness wandering was calculated.
“After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year,
shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise” (Num
14:34). The year of Jubilee was calculated after the same manner, using a day for a year. “And thou
shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven
sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years” (Lev 25:8).
Using this method of calculating, the period before us is four-hundred and ninety years. This
prophecy deals with a period of 490 years – seventy weeks of years, or seventy times seven. It is
broken into three prophetic periods. Seven weeks (9:25a), sixty-two weeks (9:25b), and one week
(9:27). Following the day-for-a-year prophetic period (Num 14:34), the periods are 49 years (7 X
7), 434 years (7 X 62), and 7 years (7 X 1). Thus, the entire period is 49 + 434 + 7, or 490 years.
THY PEOPLE AND THY HOLY CITY
“ . . . upon Thy people and upon Thy holy city . . . ” Other versions read, “For Your people
and for Your holy city,” NKJV and “about Your people and Your holy city.” ESV
In my understanding, the meaning of this text centers in the preeminence of the Messiah
upstaging the prominence of the holy people (Israel), and the holy city (Jerusalem). They would
remain at the heart of Divine dealings until the promised Seed would come. At that time,
everything would center in Him. In Him, the covenant would no longer center upon words
inscribed upon tables of stone, but upon a Person. Thus Isaiah prophesied, “I the LORD have called
Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant
of the people, for a light of the Gentiles” (Isa 42:6). The same promise is again stated in Isaiah
49:8: “I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to
cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” Following the birth of John the Baptist, his father
Zechariah was filled with the Spirit, and also declared the centrality of a Savior over the centrality
of Law. His son, the forerunner of Jesus, would prepare the way for the Savior of the world (Lk
The “seventy weeks,” therefore, are the period of time in which Israel would remain
prominent, and Jerusalem the focal point of Divine activity.
This does not mean, as some affirm, that there would be no further involvement of God with
Israel. Rather, future involvement would center in Christ Jesus and their relationship to Him.
Now, let us behold what will be accomplished by the coming of the Messiah, the Savior and
anointed one of the world. The remarkable details of these accomplishments are themselves proof
of heir inspiration. To this very day, there remain great numbers of professing Christians that have
yet seen what was accomplished by the Messiah.
FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION
“ . . . to finish the transgression . . . ”
All standard translations use these words: “finish the transgression.” A few versions tend to garble
what is affirmed by the Spirit. The NIV adds the footnote, “restrain” the transgression. Other
variant translations include, “to let wrongdoing be complete,” BBE “to close the transgression,”
DARBY “to put down rebellion,” NLT “until the measure of transgression is filled,” TNK and “to shut
up the transgression.” YLT
Two different views are taken on this verse, and they are reflected in the various translations
One is that an end will be made of transgression itself. That is, that the people will no longer live
The other is that the punishment for sin will conclude, or the period of chastening will come to
The first view is the proper one, That is, as a result of the coming Messiah, the tendency
to transgress would, in Him, be brought to an end. There would be a new creation (2 Cor 5:17),
in which men have their stony heart removed, and a new and pliable heart of flesh be given to them
(Ezek 11:19; 36:26). By putting His laws “into their minds” and writing them “in their hearts” (Heb
8:10), God would transform the people, causing them to walk in His statutes (Ezek 36:27). Those
in covenant with God through the Christ would no longer be noted for sinning.
MAKE AN END OF SINS
“ . . . and to make an end of sins . . . ” Other versions read, “to put an end to sin,” NIV “sin
come to its full limit,” BBE “Sin may have an end,” DOUAY “for sin to be ended,” Septuagint and “seal
up sins.” YLT
Here the idea is that of bring an end to the reign of sin. It would be toppled from the throne
so that men would no longer be enslaved by it, being “servants of sin” and “free from
This is a prophetic declaration of the taking away of the sins of the world (John 1:29). The
scape-goat of heaven would bear them into an unhabitable land, where they would be remembered
“no more” (Lev 16:10-22; Heb 8:12).
MAKE RECONCILIATION FOR INIQUITY
“ . . . and to make reconciliation for iniquity . . . ” Other versions read, “make atonement for
iniquity,” NASB “atone for wickedness,” NIV “clearing away the evil doing,” BBE “make expiation for
iniquity,” DARBY “iniquity may be abolished,” DOUAY “atone for guilt,” NLT and “to cover iniquity.”
This declares the means by which sin would be done away, expiated, or removed from Divine
consideration. Apostolic doctrine elaborates on this marvelous accomplishment. “For he hath made
him to be sin for us, who knew no sin . . . ” (2 Cor 5:21). And again, “Christ hath redeemed us from
the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth
on a tree” (Gal 3:13). And again, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that
we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet
From another perspective, this was God Himself laying upon Christ “the iniquity of us all”
(Isa 53:6). It was Jesus suffering for our sins, “the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to
God” (1 Pet 3:18). It was God in Christ Jesus “reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor 5:18-20).
Sin could not be taken away by chastening the sinner, as Israel was chastened in the
Babylonian captivity. No amount of punishment exacted upon the transgressor can atone for sin.
Isaiah foretold the means by which reconciliation would be made. “Surely He hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was
wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace
was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have
turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:4-6).
Here, in a moment of heavenly explanation, and nearly five hundred and fifty years before it
would occur, Daniel is given the privilege of knowing how the Messiah would make
reconciliation for the sins of the people. It would not be by punishing the sinner, but by punishing
the sin-bearer. It would not be by cursing the transgressor, but by cursing the One upon whom the
transgressions were placed.
BRING IN EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS
“ . . . and to bring in everlasting righteousness . . . ” Nearly all translations read the same
way. Some variant readings include the following. “The coming in of eternal righteousness,” BBE “to
bring in the righteousness of the ages,” DARBY “everlasting justice may be brought,” DOUAY
“introducing everlasting uprightness,” NJB “eternal righteousness ushered in,” TNK and “bring in
righteousness age-during.” YLT
If ever men were going to become righteous, righteousness would have to be brought in. At
the time of Daniel, sin had reigned uncontested for around 3,500 years. It had prevailed to such an
extent that the Divine assessment was, “there is none righteous, no not one” (Rom 3:10). Men have
to be “made righteous.”
Because Jesus effectively took away the sins of the world, God is now the “Justifier” of those
who believe on His Son – and He is “Just” in doing so (Rom 3:26). Now, having put the believer
in Christ Jesus, God makes Jesus to be “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
redemption” (1 Cor 1:30). From another perspective, He imputes His own righteousness to those
believing on His Son. As it is written, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the
blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Rom 4:6).
This is the righteousness that is proclaimed in the Gospel – a righteousness is from God, and
is obtained through faith (Rom 1:17; 3:21-22). It is “everlasting righteousness” because it is God’s
own righteousness, which is the only righteousness He accepts. Jesus “brought” it in, making the
righteousness of God accessible to all who believe the record He has given of His Son (1 John 5:10-11).
SEAL UP THE VISION AND PROPHECY
“ . . . and to seal up the vision and prophecy . . . ” Other versions read, “To seal up vision and
prophecy,” NKJV “to seal both vision and prophet,” NRSV “so that the vision and the word of the
prophet may be stamped as true,” BBE “and vision and prophecy may be fulfilled,” DOUAY “setting the
seal on vision and on prophecy,” NJB “to confirm the prophetic vision,” NLT and “and prophetic
vision ratified.” TNK
This sealing does not refer to a concealment of the prophecy, but to its predetermined
fulfillment. What has been made known about the coming Messiah is so sure the prophecy and
vision can be stamped with a seal just as though it had already been fulfilled. There is no
possibility that it would not happen – that the Messiah would not come in the fulness of the time,
bringing newness of heart and spirit, taking away the sins of the world, satisfying the righteous
demands of God, and bringing everlasting righteousness within the reach of fallen humanity.
This is precisely the point Peter makes in his second Epistle. “And so we have the prophetic
word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns
and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet 1:19).
Jesus came to fulfill all of the marvelous prophecies of a coming Savior – to place the seal of
confirmation upon them all.
ANOINT THE MOST HOLY
“ . . . and to anoint the most Holy.” Other versions read, “anoint the most holy place,” NASB
“Anoint the most hone One,” NIV “to put the holy oil on a most holy place,” BBE “to anoint the holy
of holies,” DARBY and “the Saint of saints may be anointed.” DOUAY
Here there is a significant difference in the translations. Some have the Holy Place being
anointed. Others, the Holy of Holies. Still others, the Messiah, or Holy One Himself. First, this
cannot refer to the anointing of the Messiah Himself, for He did not anoint Himself. It is written that
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38).
The vision and the prophecy related to men having access to God through an effective
Mediator. In covenantal words, “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man
his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest” (Heb
8:11). This is nothing less than entrance into the Most Holy place – the holy of holies. Our bold
access to the throne of grace is involved in this. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).
This refers to “the new and living way, which He has consecrated for us, through the veil, that
is to say, His flesh”(Heb 10:20). By anointing the holy place, Jesus has cleansed or sanctified
it for our entrance. Now the sons of God may traffic in the place formerly forbidden to them. It has
been sprinkled with His blood, purifying “heavenly things” for the use of the redeemed of the Lord
Thus, within four hundred and ninety years, the greatest achievements in the history of
the world will be accomplished by the Messiah! The determination was made, and nothing could
stop it from happening.
A MORAL AND SPIRITUAL CHANGE. The transgression would be “finished.” No more
would sin dominate the people. They would be made new, recreated, and given a new heart and
THE REIGN OF SIN WOULD END. An end would be made of sin. It would be taken away,
cast behind God’s back (Isa 38:17), and thrown into the depths of the sea (Mic 7:19).
RECONCILIATION WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED. A satisfactory atonement would be
made for sin, making it “just” for God to receive men to Himself.
RIGHTEOUSNESS BROUGHT IN. Everlasting righteousness would be brought from heaven
to men, causing them to be acceptable to God, and capable of walking in fellowship with Him.
FULFILLMENT AND CONFIRMATION OF VISION AND PROPHECY. All of the
marvelous visions and prophecies of a Savior are fulfilled in Christ. He is the Prophet,
Foundation Stone, King, and Hiding Place. He is everything that has been promised, and
everything that we need.
THE WAY TO GOD HAS BEEN SANCTIFIED. Jesus has anointed the most holy place for
the sons of men. They can come as often as they want, stay as long as they want, and receive as
much as they desire.
All of this is a sort of summation, exposing us to much more than at first appears. When I
consider that all of this was made known to Daniel over half a century before the Messiah came, it
once again confirms how eager the Lord is for us to know these things.
SEVEN WEEKS AND SIXTY-TWO WEEKS
“ 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.”
Daniel is old, and his time in this world is drawing to a close. It appears from history that
Daniel passed from this vale of tears about four years after Gabriel’s visitation. A worldly wise
person might consider such a marvelous revelation to be wasted on such an aged man. However,
rather than being wasted, here was a faithful man who had a heart to appreciate what he was told,
and could be counted on to write it down for succeeding generations.
What a wonderful benefit to have your final days upon the earth times of your greatest
blessing! Simeon’s days drew to a close when he has seen the salvation of God (Lk 2:26-29). The
closing part of Ann’s life was the time when redemption came (Lk 2:38). And now, we read of
Daniel who received his greatest insight after nearly seventy years of productive ministry.
THE COMMANDMENT TO RESTORE AND BUILD JERUSALEM
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore
and to build Jerusalem . . . ”
Gabriel now defines the time more precisely, informing Daniel of the precise time of its
beginning. The “seventy weeks” that have been determined for the people will commence from the
time when the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem was issued.
Because of what was accomplished in his time, I am going to assign this time to the
commissioning of Ezra and Nehemiah. It was during their time that the Temple was cleansed and
the priesthood restored.
The time of Ezra’s commission is considered to be 456 B.C. That was the beginning of the real
The record of the commissioning of Ezra is found in Ezra 7:8-9. “And he came to Jerusalem in
the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month
began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem,
according to the good hand of his God upon him” (Ezra 7:8-9).
UNTO THE MESSIAH THE PRINCE
“ . . . unto the Messiah the Prince . . . ” The point of this prophecy is the coming to “Messiah
the Prince.” This does not refer to His second coming, as some suppose. We know this is so,
because it is expressly said in this prophecy that He was coming to deal with sin: finish the
transgression, make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity (9:24). Of His second coming
it is written, “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a
second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Heb 9:28).
Beside this, the term “Messiah” refers to Christ in His salvational capacity, not to His return
in glory with all of the holy angels. The word “Messiah” is used four times in our English Bibles
(Dan 9:25-26; John 1:41; 4:25). John’s Gospel provides additional information, saying “Messiah,”
being interpreted, is “the Christ”(John 1:41). Of the 555 times that “Christ” is used in Scripture,
none are used independently of His redemptive work. Our text, therefore, refers to the time when
Jesus in His salvational capacity would be revealed.
From the commission to rebuild Jerusalem (456 B.C.) to the appearance of the Messiah would
be sixty-two prophetic weeks, or 483 years. That would calculate to be A.D. 27 (456 +27 = 483).
It is generally conceded that Jesus was born in 4 B.C. He would have been one in 3 B.C., two
in 2 B.C., three in 1 B.C. and 27 years later in 27 A.D. He would have been 30 years old. This is the
exact year of his baptism when He was anointed, that is, when He became the Messiah. As it
is written, “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age” NASB (Luke 3:23).
Jesus was not the Messiah when He was born. From that time He was the Son of God. However, He
became the Messiah when He was “anointed,” and thus began His minister. He did not become the
Messiah when he was born. He has always been the Son of God but he became the Messiah when
He was anointed. That anointing commenced His ministry as declared in Acts 10:38. “How God
anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and
healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” NKJV (Acts 10:38).
SEVEN WEEKS AND SIXTY-TWO WEEKS
“ . . . shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks . . . ”
The sixty-nine weeks are divided into two groups. They are a seven-week period, and a sixty-two-week period. Using the prophetic formula of a day for a year, that would be a forty-nine year
period (7 X 7), and a four hundred and thirty-four year period (62 X 7).
The commission to rebuild the city occurred in 456 B.C., and the city was finished in 407 B.C.
– forty-nine years later, shortly before the death of Nehemiah (405 B.C.). From 407 B.C. until A.D.
27 is 343 years, thus making up the sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years from
the beginning of the rebuilding project until the anointing of the Lord Jesus.
THE STREET AND THE WALL REBUILT
“ . . . the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
The period during which the building was accomplished is covered in the books of Ezra and
Nehemiah, and it was a time of much trouble.
They were “troublous times,” indeed! The books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the long
period of difficulties met in accomplishing the completion of the city. In those books we read of “the
adversaries of Judah and Benjamin” (Ezra 4:1-24), Sanballat and Tobiah (Neh 2:10), Geshem (Neh
2:19), the Arabians, Ammonites, and Ashdodites (Neh 4:7), and Noadia and her prophets (Neh
6:14). The city was, indeed, built in “troublous times, just as Gabriel said it would be.
Once again, the 7 weeks or 49 years refer to this period beginning with 456 B.C. then the 62
weeks follow, or 434 years of waiting until the appearance of Messiah. It is the accuracy of this time
prophecy which has caused Talmudic Jews to place Daniel in the writings rather than the prophets
in the Jewish division of the Old Testament.
The remarkable precision of this prophecy is most arresting. Even though there is some
variance of opinion as to the use of calendars and other such matters, the figures still come out
exactly as Gabriel said. Forty-nine years from the commission to rebuild Jerusalem until it was
completed, and 434 years from the completion of the building to the appearance of the Messiah: 483
MESSIAH WILL BE CUT OFF
“ 26a And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself.”
Here is a prophecy of the death of the Lord Jesus – when He was “cut off out of the land of
the living” (Isa 53:8). Prior to Christ’s coming, there were allusions to the death of the coming
Messiah – but not many.
Satan would bruise His heel (Gen 3:15; Lk 22:53).
His feelings and cries upon the cross expressed (Psa 22:1-18; Matt 26:59-65; 27:46; ).
Reference to His bones not being broken upon the cross (Psa 34:20; John 19:36).
Prophecy that they would give him vinegar to drink (Psa 69:21; John 19:29).
He would be persecuted when God Himself had stricken Him (Psa 69:26; Mark 15:28-32).
They would look at Him in His death and wag their heads (Psa 109:25; Matt 27:39).
His disfigurement (Isa 52:14; Matt 26:67).
Cut off out of the land of the living (Isa 53:8; Acts 8:33)
He would be “pierced” (Zech 12:10; 13:6; John 19:14-16; Acts 2:23).
Yet, there was not much specificity in the above references. In fact, they were so vague
that when Jesus began to bring up His death, His own disciples were offended (Matt 16:21-22; John
16:5-17). And, when He died, His closest disciples were able to associate His death with the
prophecies that seem apparent to those in this day of salvation (Lk 24:17-24). Now Daniel, greatly
beloved, will be given some insight concerning the Messiah’s death. It would be a vicarious, or
THREESCORE AND TWO WEEKS
“And after threescore and two weeks . . . ” Again, the sixty-two week period, or four hundred
and thirty four year segment, is mentioned. Over four centuries will pass AFTER the rebuilding of
Jerusalem before the Messiah comes. For many, that would make the matter irrelevant. But it was
important to Daniel, even though it was well outside the perimeter of his life.
MESSIAH CUT OFF
“ . . . shall Messiah be cut off . . . ” Other versions read, “the Anointed one will be cut off,”
NIV “one on whom the holy oil has been put will be cut off,” BBE “Christ shall be slain,” DOUAY “An
Anointed One put to death,” NJB “the Anointed One will be killed,” NLT and “the Anointed One will
disappear and vanish.” TNK
The words “cut off” suggest a sudden and violent death. From an earthly perspective, His life
was terminated in its prime – something the Jews could not associate with a coming Prince and
Savior, and Seed of David.
Remember, this is not a history lesson, but a proclamation of Divine determination. In other
words, God had determined that the Messiah would be “cut off.” When Jesus was here, He clearly
said He was sent o “lay down” His life – to submit to being “cut off.”
NOT FOR HIMSELF
“ . . . but not for himself.” Other versions read, “and have nothing,” NASB, “and will have
nothing,” NIV “and have no . . . ,” BBE “and the people that shall deny Him shall not be His,” DOUAY
“and there is no judgment in Him,” Septuagint “put to death without His . . . ,” NJB and “appearing to
have accomplished nothing.” NLT
As you can see, several of the versions greatly confuse the text. The Basic Bible English and New
Jerusalem Bible represent the sentence as being broken off, without an ending – like Moses’ expression
in Exodus 32:32. Others suggest He died without any apparent accomplishments. NLT Some suggest
in His death a separation occurred between Him and His people. DOUAY
LIKE THE WICKED. The language declares his would be like that of the wicked – having
the appearance of a transgressor. It is said of the wicked, “For evildoers shall be cut off” (Psa 37:9).
And again, “But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth” (Prov 2:22). The Messiah would, in this
sense, as well as in His burial, be “numbered with the transgressors” (Isa 53:12). He would be
suddenly and violently pulled up out of the earth as though He was a sinner.
WITHOUT A GENERATION. He would also be “cut off” without a generation in the flesh
of His own. Thus Isaiah reasons, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall
declare his generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living” (Isa 53:8a). From Adam
there were succeeding generations leading up to Jesus (Lk 3:23-38) – yet there was no fleshly
generation after Him.
After saying this, however, Isaiah affirms the meaning of our text, declaring it quite
succinctly: “for the transgression of my people was He stricken” (Isa 53:8). His was a vicarious
His death was not because of any sin of His own. There was no cause for His death in His own
person. Rather, He dies vicariously, in the behalf of others. This is the meaning of the text.
THE CITY AND SANCTUARY DESTROYED
“ 26b . . . 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
Suddenly, Gabriel makes an association of the death of Messiah with something that will
follow that death.
THEY WILL DESTROY
“ . . . and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary . . .
” Other versions read, “and the troops of the prince who is to come,” NRSV “and a people, with their
leader, that shall come,” DOUAY “city and sanctuary ruined by a prince who is to come,” NJB “a ruler will
arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple,” NLT and “The army of a leader who is to come
will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” TNK
The city is Jerusalem, and the sanctuary is the Temple. Daniel relates their destruction
to the death of the Messiah. There is no need for speculation on this matter, for Jesus spoke of this
destruction, and did so at great length.
The destruction was appointed because the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus. “If thou hadst
known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are
hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench
about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with
the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another;
because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:44). Matthew records Jesus saying
this assault would leave the Temple without one stone being left upon another (Matt 24:2). He also
said their house, which was Jerusalem and the Temple, would be left “desolate” (Matt 23:37-38).
ENDED WITH A FLOOD
“ . . . and the end thereof shall be with a flood . . . ” These words speak of utter desolation
or devastation – like an overwhelming flood. By this Gabriel confirms there is no hope that this
destruction can be avoided. As we now know, it was a Divine judgment for rejecting their own
Christ, for which they had been prepared. This time, when “the enemy comes in like a flood,” the
Lord would not raise up a standard against him (Isa 59:19). Jeremiah also spoke of an overriding
enemy in this way. “Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he
saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof” (Jer
46:8). Amos used thew same kind of language. “And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the
land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a
flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt” (Amos 9:5).
DESOLATIONS ARE DETERMINED
“ . . . and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” Other versions read, “till the
end of the war desolations are determined,” NKJV “even to the end there will be war; desolations are
determined,” NASB “War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” NIV
The meaning is that Jerusalem will not merely endure an assault – one from which it can
quickly recover. The utter desolation of the city has been determined by the God who has been
offended by its rejection of His Son.
Jesus referred to this prophecy when He warned His disciples, “And when ye shall see
Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20).
This is the destruction of Jerusalem that took place in A.D. 70. The enemy causing the
desolation was the Roman army, and the “prince,” or leader, was Titus Vespasian. In celebration
of his plundering of Judea, Titus issued the commemorative coin shown above. Revealing the
significance or the coming Messiah, Gabriel informs Daniel of the devastation that will come upon
Jerusalem and the Temple because the people “received Him not” (John 1:11). God is still sensitive
about such rejection, and we ought to be sensitive to that!
THE COVENANT CONFIRMED WITH MANY