David Jeremiah - The Herald
The book of Daniel has, up to this point, been pretty much about the Gentiles. And now, in the 9th chapter, Almighty God has a word for his people. Let me set the context of the message. Daniel has been in Babylon for almost 70 years. He went there as a 14-year-old boy as a captive and he never left. In fact, he never did leave the nation of Babylon. He died in Babylon. And the Bible says that One day, Daniel was having his devotions, and he was reading through the book of Jeremiah. And as he read through this book, he came to a section of the book that got his attention.
Now, I used to wonder, "I wonder what part of Jeremiah he was reading". And then it dawned on me, "I could probably figure out that". Because the Bible says that, "God spoke to him about the captivity of the Jews and the 70 years". So I went to the book of Jeremiah and I found that only three times in that book is that mentioned. And I believe I narrowed it down to the place where Daniel was reading that day for his devotions, and I'd like to share it with you. "Thus says the Lord: 'After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.'" Daniel's eyes popped open when he read that. "Almighty God has promised through Jeremiah that when the 70-year captivity is over, our people are going to be allowed to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple, and once again exist as a nation in their homeland".
And as soon as Daniel read that, he went and got his calendar. Now, this is a little imagination on my part, but I believe this is what he did. He laid his scroll down on his desk and he went and got his calendar. And he began to figure how many years had happened since the day they were captive in his 14th year on this earth, and he figured it all out. And all of a sudden, it dawned on him that what Jeremiah was saying in his prophecy was about to happen to his people, that the 70 years was almost completed.
So, Daniel reads this prophecy from Jeremiah, and the Bible says that what he did when he read that, he started to pray. He got on his knees and he began to pray. Have you ever done that? Read something that God says in the Bible and then go pray and say, "Okay, God, this is what you said. Now I want you to do this". Do you know the Bible says we can do that? The Bible says, "If we pray anything in the will of God, he will do it". You know how to get all your prayers answered? Make sure they all come right out of the Bible. Just go and see what God's promised to do, then go tell God what he said he would do, and then tell God you want him to do it.
That's what Daniel did. He prayed. In fact, the early verses of the 9th chapter is this prayer that Daniel prayed before God. And it really is a prayer of confession and repentance. "O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! And do not delay for your own sake, my God, for your city and your people are called by your name". Daniel said, "I read what Jeremiah said. I believe it. I prayed it. We confess our sin. Now, Lord, do what you said you were gonna do".
And as he was finishing his prayer, expecting an answer, he was about to get the biggest surprise of his life. For, as he finished his prayer, God answered. And he answered him in a way he could not possibly have expected. You see, Daniel, was asking God about the 490 years that was in history. "God, I want you to forgive us for what we did". And God said, "Okay, what I'd like to do, Daniel, is I'd like to show you what I'm gonna do for the 490 years in the future". And God laid out a plan for the people of Israel that stretched all the way through to the end of the kingdom age. It's the most amazing span of prophetic truth in the Bible. So Daniel prays, and God says, "I'm gonna give you a vision for the future".
Now, the prayer to God is answered beginning at verse 21 of the 9th chapter, with God's messenger coming to see Daniel. Notice verse 21, "And when I was speaking in prayer, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering". Daniel says this, "I was finishing up my prayer. It was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon," which is the time of the evening offering, "and as I was finishing up my prayer, God in heaven heard my prayer and he dispatched his information angel, who is Gabriel, all the way to this earth to bring me the answer". He said: "'I have come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, Daniel, you are greatly loved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision.'"
And then he began to pour out God's wonderful plan for the Jewish people. And the message is filled with some intriguing terms. It says God is going to do something for Daniel's people, verse 24, "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city". In other words, God said, "I've got a plan, Daniel, that involves 70 weeks". Now, the word "weeks" in the Hebrew language is a special word, it means "seven". So let's read it that way. "Daniel, I have a plan for you and your people that involves 70 7s". So what does the word "seven" mean? We might say, "Well, 70 weeks of days". That's not possible. Because what God is going to explain that's going to happen in these 70 7s could not possibly happen in one week. The building of the temple, the restoration of the temple, all of that took a long period of time.
So when you see the word "seven" in the Old Testament in the language, you have to go to the context and find out what's really meant. And what's really meant by the word "seven" in the book of Daniel is "Seventy sevens of years," seventy weeks of years. If you go back to the second verse of the 9th chapter, you notice that Daniel is talking about 70 years. Now, God says, "Daniel, I have a plan for you that's going to take 70 7 of years to unfold. Daniel, my plan for you and your people goes out 490 years". The weeks are not weeks of days, they're weeks of years, 483 of those years are already passed. There's still 7 years that have yet to be fulfilled.
Now, there's another term that we need to note, and that is the term "years". Unknown to many people, the biblical year is not the same as our year today. For instance, in biblical times, the month in the Old Testament was not like it is today. The 12 months were always 30 days. So when you're gonna do the math of the Old Testament, you have to always use the biblical month, 360 days. Just store that for a moment. Now, notice what God said he was going to do, verse 24, "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city".
God said that over a period of 490 years, in the future, he had a very special thing he wanted to do for the Jews. And he gave Daniel six things that were going to happen, and they're all listed in this one verse. He said, "To finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy". "Daniel, I have a plan for you that involves six things. I want you to hear what this things are". He said, "Daniel, there's coming a time when transgression will be finished. It comes in the future sometime, Daniel. There's gonna be a time when there will be no more transgression. It will no longer grow and flourish".
Let me ask you a question. Has that ever happened? Well, you're not very clear about it, but let me ask you another question. Is it true now? Absolutely not. This is not a time of minus transgressions. It's a time of growing transgression. We seem to be creative in transgression. "But Daniel, there's coming a time for your people in the future where transgression will no longer be in control. In fact," he says, "it's even better than that. It's a time when we will make an end of sin". This phrase points to a time when sin will be eliminated. Not only in principle, but in practice. "Daniel, there's coming a time when sin will no longer be a part of the experience of people on this earth".
Ladies and gentlemen, when is that? That's when Jesus sets up his kingdom on this earth. That's what we call "the millennium". That's the kingdom age. There's coming a day when King Jesus will rule, and transgression will be finished, and sin will no longer be a part of the culture as it is today. And then he says, "And in that time, there will be reconciliation made for iniquity". When was reconciliation made for iniquity? At the cross. But if you know the Scripture, you know that the Jewish people don't get that. And their reconciliation will not happen until that future day when they will believe that Jesus is the Messiah at his Second Coming, and every eye will see him, and those who wounded him will accept him, and all Israel shall be saved. So while the reconciliation was paid for at the cross, it's not gonna be realized until that future day.
Notice next, it's not only a matter of finishing the transgression, making an end of sins, the time of reconciliation for iniquity, but it's a time of everlasting righteousness. The Bible says, "Daniel, there's coming a time when righteousness will reign, everlasting righteousness. It will rule and reign on this earth". Oh, for such a day. Oh, for just 1 day like that. Wouldn't we do anything for 1 day when righteousness reigned? But righteousness does not reign now. Righteousness is put down by sin because the enemy has been given a time. "But one day," Daniel is told, "righteousness will reign on this earth, and your people will live in this righteous time where there will be no transgression, where sin will have been ended, where iniquity will have been reconciled, where righteousness will reign.
Oh, it gets even better. And Daniel, that time is a time when we will seal up vision and prophecy. Daniel, when that time comes for your people, every single prophecy that's ever been made will be fulfilled. There will be no unfulfilled prophecy left". Can you imagine all the great prophecies we've studied and read in the Bible, having all of those fulfilled, living in a time when every prophecy concerning the future from Almighty God has been fulfilled?
And then, last of all, he says, "It will be a time to anoint the Most Holy". When you first read that, you think, "That must refer to Jesus". But it does not. In fact, in the New Testament, the term "to anoint the Most Holy," never refers to a person. It always refers to a place. And we know what that place is. "Daniel, there's coming a time when you're gonna be regathered into your own land. Sin will be mitigated. Righteousness will rule. And your holy temple will be reestablished. And you'll be able to worship in your temple". In the millennial temple, we are told, the Jews will come back as once they did. They will offer sacrifices in testimony to the fact that God has completed everything on their behalf. And they will worship as a Jewish nation in their own land in Jerusalem.
Remember, this future that God has prepared for his people is going to happen at the end of the 490 years, in the last week of the 70 weeks. But during the first 69 weeks of the prophecy, we can go back and see what God said would happen, and we can check it against history, and we can determine whether God was telling the truth or whether he was able to do what he said he would do. So go with me now to the 25th verse, and let's follow this through. Please think with me. Don't get lost. And listen carefully, and you will be blessed if you do. If you get lost, you will be unblessed. I don't want you to be unblessed.
All right, here we go, verse 25, the commencement of it, "Daniel, here's what I want you to know. From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks," that's forty-nine years, "and sixty-two weeks," that equals the rest of the four hundred and eighty-three years. So listen to me now, God's telling Daniel, "Here's a starting point I want you to check out. From the moment that the command was given in the Old Testament to go and build again the temple and the walls, from that moment," and we know when that was. The Bible tells us when that was. The decree to restore and build Jerusalem would begin the 70 weeks. And that decree is found in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah, writing by divine inspiration, records the exact date of the decree. It says in verse 1, "In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king". That's an exact date. That date fixed by Nehemiah happens to be one of the best known dates in ancient history. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica sets the date of Artaxerxes accession as 465 BC, and his 20th year would have been 445 BC.
So the command to go and build the temple again was given in 445 BC. It was the month of Nisan. And if we translate that into our calendar, let me put this up on the screen. We convert Nisan 445 BC to our calendar, we arrive at March 14, 445 BC as the date of the command to restore and build Jerusalem. That's an exact date, and we know it was that date, so file that in your computer, all right? That's the beginning of the prophecy. Now, notice we now have when the prophecy's going to end, the first 69 weeks. Verse 25, "From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince". What was Daniel to understand about this? Messiah the Prince will be the end of the 69 years of prophecy.
"Messiah the Prince" is a Hebrew term that means "The anointed one, the ruler". The terms is associated with kingly authority. And it is used to describe the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ as a Prince and a Ruler. And when did Jesus Christ appear in his New Testament existence on this earth? When did he appear as a Prince and a Ruler? Only one time, when he rode into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to present himself as the King, and was rejected by the Jewish people.
"He came unto his own and his own received him not," the Scripture says. But on that day, remember, they had the branches strewn in his pathway. He was riding on a donkey, and he came into the city of Jerusalem to present himself as God's Prince. So Gabriel said, "Daniel, from the time of the command to restore and build the city of Jerusalem until the day Jesus rides into Jerusalem presenting himself as Messiah the Prince is a certain period of time".
Now, I want you to do this math with me. And I'm not gonna try to make this more complicated than it should be. In order to find out when this end is going to happen, we have to do a little math. First of all, we have to reduce these years to days. Since we have 69 weeks of 7 years each, and each year has 360 days, the equation looks like this: 69 weeks of 7 years equals 483 years. The math is correct. Each year has 360 days. So you multiply 483 years by 360 days, and you come out with the number of days between the command to build Jerusalem and the Messiah the Prince. And that is 173.880 days. Beginning with March 14, 445 BC, add 173.880 days, and it brings you to April the 6, 32 AD.
Now, listen carefully, and this is the exact day our Lord rode in to Jerusalem to present himself as the Prince. It wasn't approximate. It was to the very day as the prophet Daniel was told. And what do you think that meant to Daniel as he pondered that? He would never live even to see the end of that prophecy. What he realized was that God was putting his own integrity on the line for his people. He was saying to his people, "I'm gonna do these great things for you at the end of the 70th week, but in between now and then, here's what's gonna happen". And he laid it out in such specific terms. And now, we as biblical students can look back and say, "That's what God said. And he meant it, and he pulled it off. He did what he said he would do".
So what that means is if he did what he said he would do in that construct that we can study, guess what? The Jewish people are gonna one day have a time in the future when transgression will be moved out, and sin will be ended, and iniquity will be gone, and righteousness will reign, and the holy temple will be open. How do I know that? Because God said it. And how do I know that God can do it? Because he continues to do it. And every time we turn the pages of this book, we see another evidence of the prophetic power of Almighty God and how we can study it in history and see. Not only is it just almost right. It's not just close. It's right, you know, if God only got close, it wouldn't be good enough. God has to make it 100% right.
And this particular equation that I've given you has been in existence for over 100 years. Every scholar has tried to rip it apart, and they all come back with, "You know, that's right. That's the way it is. That's what happened". And so God has a plan for his people. I don't know what else you'll take away from here. But as we live in this time when all of us are trying to make stand up decisions about what we do, I want to encourage you. You may not have been taught the Word of God about the people of Israel. God has a plan for his people. God loves the people of Israel. He doesn't love them any more than he loves you and me, but he ordained that nation to be a special nation to himself. Out of the nation of Israel came our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, born in the genealogy in the book of Matthew. From the Jewish people came almost 80% of everything that's written in this book, the Bible.
Ladies and gentlemen, we stand here today with the full knowledge that God has sent his Messiah to this world for us. Messiah And the Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly". He said, "I have not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give my life a ransom for many". I announce to you today on the authority of the Word of God that Messiah the Prince is here. He has come to be your Savior and to be mine. If you do not know this Messiah, I urge you today, in your heart, to invite him to be your Savior, and confess your sin and ask for forgiveness. And he loves you more than you can ever know. Will you open your heart to receive him today? Will you say, "Lord Jesus, I want you to be my Messiah, my one, my hope, my everything"?