30
Dec
15

Notes on the Book of Daniel: Chapter 9, Part 1

Chapter 9:

All the visions of Daniel seem to concern the coming of the Messiah and his eternal kingdom, the times that set the stage for his coming, or the times wherein the establishment of his eternal kingdom will take place.  Daniel is personally concerned, however, about when Jerusalem and the temple will be restored.  As a sign of this concern, note his custom of facing Jerusalem during prayer (Daniel 6).  Daniel understands from the book of Jeremiah[1] (Jeremiah 25:8-12) that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years, and that time is approaching completion.  (If one begins counting the captivity from the first deportation of Jews to Babylon in 605 B.C., then the Jews have been captive now for 67 years.)

As it turns out, the Jews were restored to Jerusalem and the work on the temple did begin after 70 years, just as Jeremiah said, but this answer that Gabriel gives to Daniel is much more significant than simply to say that.  It is as if Daniel’s mind can only see and pray for his present circumstances, but God’s answer to his prayer, while acknowledging Daniel’s humble request, reveals events of far greater importance than even the restoration of Jerusalem: it reveals the establishment of the Eternal Kingdom (v. 24) under the Messiah and distinguishes between this kingdom and the physical kingdom of Judah by pointing out that, although Jerusalem will indeed be rebuilt (v.25), it will be destroyed again (v. 27) and thus cannot be the Eternal Kingdom referred to in previous dreams such as Daniel’s dream of the four beasts, and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue.

v. 23: This saying by Gabriel that Daniel is greatly loved and favored by God sounds remarkably similar to the words which Gabriel says to Mary when he tells her that she will give birth to Christ.

v. 24: I wonder if Christ was thinking of this part of Daniel when he said we should forgive 70 x 7 times (Matthew 18:22), especially in light of the fact that this verse seems to concern his life’s work: forgiveness of sin.  As for the interpretation of the number here, I believe most people agree that it refers to 70 weeks, or 490 days, and that each day represents a year.  The number continues the theme of “70” from Jeremiah’s prophecy, and the Oxford Bible commentary believes that it may also allude to the 49 years leading up to Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-10).

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OTHER BOOKS BY LARRY HUNT

THE GLORY OF KINGS - A proposal for why God will always be the best explanation for the existence of the universe.

SWEET RIVER FOOL - Alcoholic, homeless, and alone, Snody despaired of life until a seemingly chance encounter with Saint Francis of Assisi led him to the joys of Christ and the redemption of his soul…

ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD - Enoch had a beautiful soul and walked with God in many ways. This book invites children to imagine what some of those ways might have been while presenting them with a wonderful model for their own lives.


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