Read Daniel 9:20-23
Daniel was a prayer warrior, he was even thrown into a lion’s den because of his dedication to prayer. He takes his prayers seriously as we can see here in vs. 20 the elements he included in his prayer. He writes, I was speaking, praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people, and presenting supplication (asking for what he wanted) before the Lord. There is a lot of work that goes into a breakthrough prayer. If you think lazy prayers are going to give you a breakthrough you might be mistaken. Daniel did not pray lazy prayers, he prayed power filled prayers and received a breakthrough.
Also, notice this prayer was not self focused in any way. The sole focus for Daniel was for the Holy Mountain of God, for God’s plan for Israel. He was getting on board with God’s plan, he was praying for God’s glory to be seen. I hope you see the difference between your prayer and Daniel’s prayer and learn to pray like Daniel.
The actual prayer Daniel prayed is written out in verses 3-19. It was while he was praying this exact prayer that God began to move. In fact, the man wasn’t even finished when God moved. It says in vs. 21, the man Gabriel, yes the same Gabriel, the angel, that had the job of delivering life altering and world shaking news, swiftly and quickly flew to Daniel with another revelation. He arrived about the time of the evening offering. Now we see another element to this prayer and its oblation or offering.
The oblation is under an old covenant that required the Jews to offer daily sacrifices. The evening offering, in particular, was a time for repenting. Before their captivity the Jews would go to the temple to offer a sacrifice, it was a meal offering and a drink offering.
A lamb would be slain for their sin and offered up to God. The person bringing the lamb would lay their hands on the lamb, they would confess their sins and the lamb would be sacrificed. Here’s Daniel approximately 69 years later, and he has not forgotten the importance of the evening offering even though there has not been a sacrifice for 69 years. The temple was destroyed, the Jews could not offer up sacrifices in the temple.
Daniel was not offering an actual lamb for sacrifice, but he was still being faithful to what God requires of his people. God requires a repentant heart. The three oclock prayer time was the time set aside for the Jews to confess their sin, and Daniel was determined to do that even without a lamb. He had such a strong sense of his need to be cleansed. He was doing what I call “lingering in repentance”. We do this when we are overwhelmed with a sense of sin.
I also want to point out that at the beginning of this chapter Daniel was also fasting for his breakthrough. Fasting is a form of sacrifice. This is the type of sacrifice we are most familiar with. Daniel’s sacrifice may not have been a lamb but he was still meeting all required elements in his prayer.
It wasn’t just the prayer, it wasn’t just the sacrifice that created a breakthrough, it’s both of those things combined with integrity that make a difference in answered prayers. How you live your life, your convictions also come into play with receiving a breakthrough of answered prayer.
Gabriel arrives in Daniel’s war room, he finds him praying earnestly, eyes closed, face down to the ground, Daniel didn’t even realize Gabriel was there until he touched him. Of course Daniel recognized him, he had the same manly appearance as in Daniel’s previous vision. Verse 22 says, “he informed me and talked with me”. I like that. It’s as if they spent a few minutes catching up on some things.
I used to think the verbiage in the Bible always had to be solemn and serious. That this verse would have been spoken, in a deep booming voice, “O Daniel, I have come forth”. I don’t think that way anymore. I don’t take away from the seriousness of the word of God, but I also don’t think everything was always spoken with such a lack of warmth.
Daniel writes that Gabriel was talking “with” me, they were having a conversation and then Gabriel says, “O, Daniel, I’ve come here to give you skill and understanding.” Less scary, less formal and more relational. Gabriel is there to answer a prayer not convict him of a felony.
I did a quick word search for the word skill (strong’s 4678 sophia) and the original meaning is “the art of using wisdom”. Apparently there is an art to using the gift of wisdom. Daniel will know how to use wisdom. The skill Daniel is receiving is knowing how to use what it is that Gabriel is about to share with him; to know how to handle this prophecy. He will understand it and he will know what to do with it once he understands.
Gabriel continues, when you began to pray God gave me a command to come to you and share this with you. There was no hesitation in heaven, the moment you began to pray, God commanded, God sprang into action, commanding me to get here as quickly as I could.
Why did God respond so swiftly to Daniel’s prayer? Heaven was activated because Daniel was “greatly beloved”. Imagine living a life so worthy of God that when you open your mouth he immediately sends his messenger to tell you that you are greatly beloved in heaven. To have this type of confirmation of God’s love for you would be amazing. Daniel must have been thrilled to hear this. BTW, the Hebrew meaning of greatly beloved means man of desire, or one desired, or one precious.
Read Daniel 9:24-27
So far in Daniel we’ve studied two other massive prophecies. They both covered gentile rule, then flowed into the kingdom of heaven and introduced Christ and also the antichrist as an added element. This prophecy is different because its focus is not on gentiles but on the people of God; it covers the future of Israel which makes sense since Israel is the focus of Daniel’s prayer.
The first thing we need to cover and understand is the verbiage of “weeks”, the term is shavua or shavuim in Hebrew and it means “seven”. Just seven, so you have to look at the context of the surrounding scripture to figure out if it means days, weeks, or years. In this case Daniel is already thinking in terms of years so we can use this term to be years. The verse reads seventy shavua which means 70 years.
Verse 24 Gives us six different objectives in this prophecy. Three focus on correction and three focus on positives. The negatives that need to be addressed are: to finish the transgression; make an end to sins (plural); make reconciliation or iniquity. The three positives are: bring in everlasting righteousness; seal up vision and prophecy; anoint the Most Holy.
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 prophecy, and to anoint a Holy of Holies,”
Gabriel is explaining that seventy weeks (or 70 years) have been determined for your people and your holy city to take care of the six things outlined in vs. 24. At the end of the 70 years God will have totally dealt with sin and will completely bring in righteousness.
Notice also the word determined. The meaning is to “cut out”, to set boundaries, to end or limit. We can also see that this is intended for Daniel’s people, aka the Jews, and for the holy City, Jerusalem. What we have here is a set amount of time that God has carved out with the specific intention of accomplishing these six things in His people Israel. God has carved out a 70 years span of time that will deal with sin and reconciliation, to have his people stand before him in righteousness, he will seal up this vision and prophecy, anoint the Holy of holies meaning his temple will be a place of worship like never before. Side note: we are the church, the holy of holies, I believe we will worship like never before.
Verse 25 gets a little trickier to decipher, but the time span will begin when the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and it will end when the Messiah the Prince comes. The city will be completely rebuilt, from the streets to the marketplace to the fortified walls surrounding it during this timeframe which boils down to be 490 years. The seventy sevens in verse 24 equals 490 years.
To Daniel this is all prophecy, to us it is history. The rebuilding of Jerusalem took place under the ruling of Artaxerxes and with Nehemiah’s desire to go back and rebuild. The prophecy also states that it will be during troubled times. If you want to reference this more you can read Ezra 9 & 10, and Nehemiah 4, 6, 9.
Verse 25 also gives us another timeframe, seven sevens, and sixty-two sevens. Or in KJ seven weeks, three scores and two weeks. Which boils down to 69 x’s 7.
The time from the decree from Artaxerxes until the day Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem was 483 years. The reason it’s his triumphal entry and not his birth or baptism is simply because verse 24 uses the wording either prince or ruler. During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Jews layed palm branches on the road like we do with red carpets. And they shouted Hosanna to the King of David, the Messiah. This was essentially Jesus’ inauguration parade. Jesus was officially recognized as the King.
Reread verse 26-27. After the sixty two sevens, the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. Sadly just a few days after the worship of the new King, the Messiah was “cut off”, Jesus was crucified to the day as was prophesied.
Daniel was hearing from Gabriel the future of their coming Messiah. The very one they were looking forward to, and it was grim. To hear that your Messiah, the one who was to come and save the world will die a horrible death had to be shocking for Daniel.
Essentially this prophecy states a decree will go out to rebuild the Holy city, you’ll wait 483 years for the Messiah to be seen as the King and once he is he will be executed as a criminal. He will receive nothing honorable, instead he will receive everything he does not deserve, our sins.
There will be one more “week” or year, do you see it? In verse 27. “He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven (year)”. After the death of Jesus will come another “determined”, another period of time “cut out” by God to continue his plan of redemption. From the finish of the 483 years until the next seven years there is a gap. We are living in this gap. So future.
This period of time involves a prince, in this case it is a prince with a little “p” so that tells us it is not Jesus as he is recognized with a capital “P”. This prince is the antichrist and he will form a covenant with many for one seven, for seven years.