Chapter 9 occurs in the first year of Darius, right after the Babylonian oppressor had been destroyed. Daniel understood (verse 2) by the prophecies of Jeremiah that the captivity of his people was to be for seventy years. This first year of Darius, as closely as we can determine, was 69 years from the beginning of the captivity.
And Daniel sets himself (verse 3) to seek by prayer and fasting and supplications for the gathering and blessing of his people. Even though the end of the time had come, and the destroyer had been destroyed, Daniel does not take the regathering for granted, or merely wait for God to move.
Prayer, supplications, fasting, sackcloth, and ashes (verse 3) indicate the fervent urgency of his appeal for his people. With such intense desire, God is well pleased. He desires those, and only those, who burn with intense longing for the fulfillment of His promises.
And then we note how Daniel identifies himself with his people and their sinful condition. There is no superior self-righteousness, but a loving sympathetic desire to stand for them and plead for them. Repeatedly, he says, We have sinned. We have rebelled. We have not obeyed. We have not made our prayers.
As he prayed (verse 21), a gracious answer came to him. The angel Gabriel, who had appeared and explained the vision of the he-goat, stood beside him again. This was the angel who appeared to Zacharias to announce the birth of John the Baptist and to Mary to announce the birth of Christ. He appears to no one else in scripture-just to Daniel, Zacharias, and Mary. It is here at the end of his life that Daniel is first addressed in verse 23, as the man greatly beloved. The beloved Daniel is the Old Testament counterpart of the beloved John. Both in their old age received marvelous apocalyptic revelations. Love is the key to the deep knowledge of God.
Gabriel's message at this time is brief, but it is one of the most striking prophecies in the Bible, perhaps it could be called the central prophecy of all. Verse 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 the prophecies, and to anoint the most Holy." What depth of meaning is contained in these words! How beautifully and wonderfully all was fulfilled in Christ! Here is the hope and salvation of mankind-to make an end of sin. Here is all the law and the prophets.
But Gabriel continues in verse 26, "The Messiah shall be cut off, and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." Daniel is left with the enigma of the end of sin, reconciliation made, everlasting righteousness brought in, the covenant confirmed, and then the Messiah cut off, the holy city and the temple destroyed. We can see now, in the wonderful working out of the eternal purpose, how all this fits together and was fulfilled in Christ. But what would Daniel's thoughts and feelings be? Here is glorious accomplishment associated with utter defeat and desolation. These were the things the angels desired to look into.
Daniel, the man greatly beloved
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
This synchronised with the fall of Babylon (Dan. 5:30-31). That dramatic event was the sign to Daniel that the long-awaited restoration was at hand. His prayer was partially fulfilled, for it resulted in angelic activity on the behalf of his people. See Dan. 11:1.
In our comment on Chapt. 5:31 we give reasons for believing that this Darius was Cyaxares who was granted temporary authority over the province of Babylon by the diplomatic Cyrus on the fall of the city (see pp. 126-127).
Cyaxares was the son of Astyages. Why then is he called Darius? It was not unusual for the kings of the east to have several names (Solomon had three names) and various titles.
According to Kitto's Bible Encyclopedia, Ahasuerus which signifies The Mighty or Venerable king was a title that was used by at least four different kings. In the Bible it is used for various rulers. For example, the Ahasuerus of Ezra 4:6 was Cambyses son of Cyrus, and therefore a younger ruler than the Ahasuerus of this verse.
"Which was made king" — The Darius of this verse did not reign by right of inheritance, but by appointment of Cyrus. See notes on p. 126.
"Over the realm of the Chaldeans" — This statement describes the limited extent of his authority. It did not extend over Persia, but was limited to the conquered territory of Babylonia.
The Christadelphian Expositor
3 And I set my face unto the Adonai Yahweh, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
This was not by command or as the acting of a part assigned to him. It was the voluntary and natural expression of Daniel's individual feelings. A certain communication of prophecy resulted from what he did; and we are rather liable to assume that all that Daniel did was a matter of course, and part of the divine arrangement.
By this assumption, we deprive ourselves of part of the benefit of Daniel's example which like every other part of Scripture was "written for our learning." Daniel's interest in the affairs of Israel was a spontaneous interest and part of his character. It is part of the character of every man who is really a child of the hope of Israel. It requires no simulation. It is not an artificial requirement. It is the natural state of the man's affections who is begotten again to the lively hope that springs out of the purpose of God with the house of Israel.
It is a something entirely foreign to the tastes and sentiments of all ranks and classes of Gentile society. The hope of Israel is an unfashionable affair altogether; and if we have to own and feel that in entertaining this hope we are outside the circle of popular sympathies, we can at all events reflect with satisfaction that we have the society and good fellowship of the prophet Daniel pronounced "greatly beloved" by an angel of God, and commended to our attention by the Lord Jesus Himself.
4 And I prayed unto Yahweh my Elohim, and made my confession, and said, O Adonai, the great and dreadful El, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
The great and dreadful El
Are we not baffled, staggered, bewildered, overpowered by the greatness? It is a greatness that is a fact before our eyes. Is not the Being who holds this in Himself, a "great and dreadful God"?
The dreadfulness is so great that we are liable to be drawn through to the other side of the subject, so to speak, and to feel as if the idea of one personal Father were incompatible with such inconceivable immensity.
This tendency this we must resist. It is a mere feeling resulting from our smallness. It is not an induction of reason. If there is any reason in it at all, it is false reasoning. It starts with the assumption that mortal capacity is the measure by which the verities of heaven and earth are to be measured. It argues that because our created brains - mere agglomerations of atoms - cannot realise how one personality could fill and cope with infinite space, therefore there cannot be such a personality.
Anyone can see the logical fallacy of this. There were eternal power and wisdom before our brains appeared on the scene, and those were in unity; for creation is a unit as we see. Our brains are a mere contrivance of this power and wisdom in unity. Shall the limited, feeble perishable contrivance set up its sensations in judgment upon the Eternal Contriver? This is what is done when men say the idea of God is too great for them to believe in.
They are to be excused if they say God is too great for them to conceive of; for as the Scriptures testify and reason declares, "His greatness is unsearchable": but when they say, "Therefore I will not believe in the existence of his greatness," then they perform the most stupendous feat of folly, and earn the treatment to be accorded to men without understanding.
Be it ours rather to recognise the self-evident fact that
"the Creator of the ends of the earth, who fainteth not, neither is weary, and of whose understanding there is no searching" (Isa. 40:28),
is a great and dreadful God whom we shall adore, and trust, and worship and obey, and before whom we will order our ways with the modesty becoming mere worms of the earth as we are, when compared with the sons of light, as we hope to become in His great goodness and mercy.
The Vision - The Seventy week prophecy.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression
[ the transgression of the law of Moses would be put an end to],
and to make an end of sins
[ an end would be made of sin-offerings by causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease],
and to make reconciliation for iniquity
[reconciliation would be made for iniquity by cutting off Messiah the prince],
and to bring in everlasting righteousness
[everlasting righteousness, as opposed to the temporary righteousness of the law, would be brought in],
and to seal up the vision and prophecy
[ the vision and the prophecy would be sealed up in the confirmation of the covenant]
and to anoint the most Holy.
"And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23). The descent of the Holy Spirit dove upon the head of Jesus, fulfilling a portion of Gabriel's prophecy: the "Sealing the vision and prophet," and "Anointing the holy One of holy ones" (Dan. 9:24, Anatolia). The apostolic testimony is in harmony, and pointedly reveals the person to whom the prophecy refers. The word in the record of John saith concerning Jesus,-"Him hath God the Father sealed" (John 6:27). And Peter, addressing the household of Cornelius, said: "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power" (Acts 10:38).
Prefiguring this anointing Spirit, the "holy anointing oil" was used in the service of the Tabernacle under the law of Moses. With the "holy oil" the Tabernacle and all the vessels
of the sanctuary, the high-priest and his sons were anointed, the One in many being thus typified also. "The Spirit is the truth," saith the apostle; "and he whom God hath sent,speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:34-36).
Sis Lasius - Yahweh Elohim Ch 3
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
[or 49 years, were allotted to the restoration of the state;], [Daniel] was informed that a decree should be made for the restoration of the Jewish state; but that at a subsequent period the city and temple should be again destroyed [second destruction AD 70]; and that this second destruction should be followed by a desolation of the country which should continue till that determined should be poured out upon the desolator [v27], that is, on the Little Horn of the goat in "the time of the end." *
and 62 weeks
[434 years more, were to elapse to the manifesting of Messiah the prince. This was 483 years to "the beginning of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ" announced by John the Baptist (Mark 1:1), who came baptizing in water "that he might be made manifest to Israel" (John 1:31). From this date there remained seven years to the end of the 490. ]: *
the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
The commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem...
This was issued by Artaxerxes on the first day of Nisan in the twentieth year of his reign, which was exactly 490 years to the crucifixion. No date of any other decree answers the demand of "the matter;" therefore there is no option but to receive it as a demonstration by fact. *
26 And after 62 weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy
[magnify himself against the Prince of the host (of Israel)]
the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood
[and the place of sanctuary (the temple) be cast down.],
and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
These things were to be brought about by the instrumentality of the Little Horn of the goat; ...
MESSIAH 'CUT OFF'
Exactly to the month "he was cut off, but not for himself," 490 years after the decree of Artaxerxes in the twentieth of his reign.
The seventieth week was the week in which the covenant was confirmed in the attestations which the Father gave to Jesus as his Son, and as the Seed of Abraham and of David, to whom he had promised the land of Canaan, and the kingdom and throne of David for an everlasting inheritance.
The week of confirmation was divided between the ministry of John and that of Jesus. The former was engaged in baptizing the people into the hope of Messiah's immediate manifestation; and when he was about finishing his work, Jesus was baptized, and publicly recognised before the assembled people, as the Son of God by a voice from the excellent glory. He was also anointed at the same time, and sealed, as the Most Holy One of Israel. John having now finished his ministry, was thrown into prison by Herod the tetrarch; and Jesus being thirty years old, entered upon the work of the latter half part of the week, or three years and a half remaining to complete the 490 (Luke 3:15,19-23).
After he had passed some months of his ministry, he was warned by some Pharisees that Herod would kill him; to which he replied,
"Go tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils and do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem" (Luke 13:31-33).
Besides showing that a day is sometimes used prophetically for a year, the Lord's reply shows also the period of his ministry as equivalent to the latter half part, at the end of which he expected to die, and afterwards to be perfected by a resurrection to life.
Exactly to the month "he was cut off, but not for himself," 490 years after the decree of Artaxerxes in the twentieth of his reign. "The matter" revealed to Daniel, who was at the same time exhorted to "consider the vision," to a part of which it referred, was all accomplished as far as the seventy weeks were concerned. *
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation
[and by him the daily (sacrifice and oblation)],
to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
IMPENDING DESTRUCTION OF JEWISH COMMONWEALTH AD 70...
To effect this "an army, (the people of the Prince that should come) should be given him against the daily; "because the transgressors in Israel "had come to the full." Therefore he should "cast down the truth (the law and covenant of Sinai) to the ground," and "prosper and practise, and destroy the mighty and the holy people."
So having confirmed the covenant by crucifixion and resurrection...
There onIy remained now the destruction of the city and temple, the taking away of the sacrifice and the oblation, and subsequent desolation of the land, by the Little Horn of the Goat.
Was that to succeed the crucifixion instanter, or after how long a time were these calamities to come to pass? As I have already shown, no one but God could tell; for he withheld the knowledge of it from every one but himself; and left it to reveal itself when the time of the judgment of Gehenna should arrive.
There onIy remained now the destruction of the city and temple, the taking away of the sacrifice and the oblation, and subsequent desolation of the land, by the Little Horn of the Goat. Was that to succeed the crucifixion instanter, or after how long a time were these calamities to come to pass? As I have already shown, no one but God could tell; for he withheld the knowledge of it from every one but himself; and left it to reveal itself when the time of the judgment of Gehenna should arrive.
This was fully accomplished about 37 years after the crucifixion, that is to say, in about seventy years from the birth of Christ. But why was it removed? Why might not the Mosaic religion continue to be practised in Canaan, as well as the false religions of the Gentiles in the several countries of the earth? Because "an abomination that maketh desolate" was to be "set up." Now, so long as the daily and its holy place continued, there would be no place for this abomination. The daily must therefore be removed to make way for it. They could not exist contemporarily; neither does it follow that ''the abomination" was to succeed the suppression of the daily immdiately. The facts in the case forbid this conclusion.
*Elpis Israel 3.4.
...when should this second destruction of the city and temple be? This was a question which Gabriel could not answer.
When Jesus was discoursing upon the same topic, four of the apostles addressed him privately, saying, "Tell us, when shall these things be?" But, after giving them certain signs by which they might know that the desolation was approaching, he added,
"Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father (Mark 13:3,4,32).
It was a secret reserved in the power of the Father only.
But if the time when "a host should be given to the Little Horn of the Goat against the city and temple" was withheld, precise information was granted concerning the time when the things testified in the twenty-fourth verse of the ninth chapter, and the cutting off of Messiah, the prince, should come to pass.
They were to be accomplished in a period of seventy weeks of years from the promulgation of a certain decree, that is, after 490 years.
Two years after this was revealed to him, Daniel's heart was rejoiced by the proclamation of Cyrus in the first year of his reign, for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 36:22-23). But had he reckoned the 490 years from this date, they would have terminated 13 years before Messiah was born. The seventy weeks, however, were not to commence with a decree for rebuilding the temple; but
''from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem;"
in other words, to restore the wastes of the city by setting up the wall and the gates thereof, that Israel's reproach might cease (Neh. 2:1,5,17).
This was issued by Artaxerxes on the first day of Nisan in the twentieth year of his reign, which was exactly 490 years to the crucifixion. No date of any other decree answers the demand of "the matter;" therefore there is no option but to receive it as a demonstration by fact.
Gabriel divided the seventy weeks of years into three portions, namely, into one of seven weeks; another of sixty-two weeks; and into a third of one week, which be subdivided into two half parts. The seven weeks, or 49 years, were allotted to the restoration of the state; after the end of which, 434 years, or sixty-two weeks more, were to elapse to the manifesting of Messiah the prince. This was 483 years to "the beginning of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ" announced by John the Baptist (Mark 1:1), who came baptizing in water
"that he might be made manifest to Israel" (John 1:31).
From this date there remained seven years to the end of the 490.
Elpis Israel 4.3.
an overspreading of abominations (there shall be) a desolating, even to destruction; and that determined shall be poured out upon the DESOLATOR".
The subject of this desolation by successive abominations, begun by the old Roman power, is the Holy Land. It is to continue under the tramp of the Desolator to the consummation; and "until that determined" against the desolating power, by whatever name it may be known at the consummation, shall be "poured out upon" him.
The Desolator is unquestionably the Little Horn of the Goat, which, in the days of Constantine, transferred its residence and Court to Constantinople, while its Senate continued to hold its sittings in Rome. In the days of Jesus and the apostles, Rome was the residence of Caesar and his Court, as well as of the Senate.
It was then the exclusive capital of the Little Horn of the Goat; but, in the subsequent division of the Roman empire into the Greek and Latin empires, Rome became in the days of Charlemagne, the capital of the Little Horn, having "Eyes like the eyes of a man, and a Mouth speaking very great things" (Dan. 7:8,20); while Constantinople continued the sole capital of the Little Horn of the Goat (Dan. 8:9).
Of this Little Horn of the Goat While its empire was as yet undivided, and the seat of its government not yet transferred from Rome, it was predicted, that he would
"magnify himself against the Prince of the Host"
of Israel; this he did in condemning and crucifying the Lord of Glory; and furthermore,
"by him the Daily should be taken away, and the place of his sanctuary cast down;"
and that he should
"destroy wonderfully, and prosper, and practise, and should destroy mighty ones, and the people of the Holy ones".
It is this power that Daniel refers to when he says, in ch. 9:26,
"and the people of the Prince that shall come shall destroy the city (Jerusalem), and the holy"
or temple. The people was "the host given against the Daily" (ch. 8:12) by the Nahgid, or prince, who sent them to destroy the city of the murderers of the Son of God (Matt. 22:7).
When this people encompassed Jerusalem, and
"cast a trench about her, and kept her in on every side,"
it was given to that generation as a sign, that her destruction was imminent; and in warning his disciples of what was predetermined against Judah's commonwealth, Jesus referred to this prophecy of Daniel, saying, as it stands in Matt. 24:15,
"when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place ("where it ought not" - Mark 13:14) whoso readeth, let him understand - then let them that be in Judea flee into the mountains",
and so forth,
"for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the State to this time, no, nor ever shall be;"
that is, upon Judah. This prediction was fulfilled about A.D. 70.
This was the first of the series of abominations of desolation that overspread the Holy Land. Its existence there was signalized by the abolition of the Jewish State; the taking away or suppression of the Daily Sacrifice; the ruin of the city; the burning of the temple to the ground; and the scattering of the power of the people of the Holy Ones.
The Daily, or continual, evening and morning sacrifice, was taken away to make room for this series of abominations, of which the principal have been the pagan Roman, the Greek Catholic, and the Mohammedan; all of them constituents of the Little Horn of the Goat; so long as these abominations overspread the land of Israel in power, the power of the people of the Holy Ones will be in a scattered state: that is, they will prevail until the consummation,
"and that determined shall be poured out upon the DESOLATOR."