Daniel 9


This chapter falls into three parts.

1. The inquiry of Daniel as to when the captivity of the Jews would end.

2. The prayer of Daniel.

3. The answer to his prayer.

‘In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So, I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.’ Daniel 9:1-3

During the reign of Darius, the Mede it seems Daniel made a study of Jeremiah and in particular Jeremiah 25:12 and Jeremiah 29:10. These passages clearly stated that the captivity was to last for seventy years. The only difficulty would be in determining the exact year punishment began.

The captivity was carried out in three stages, invasions, over a period of years, thus at what point did it begin?

Knowing this it would be easy to tell when it would end. Daniel has evidently satisfied his mind on the matter and had decided on the time it would come to an end. Now the question is how would the return of the people be accomplished?

Nothing about Darius indicated he would be favourable to the Jews and allow them to return to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple.

Daniel turned his face toward Jerusalem as was his custom in prayer, Daniel 6:10. He would seek an answer by prayer. He accompanied his prayer with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes which represented the state of mind he was in at the time and also showed his deep humility.

‘I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore, the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favour of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.’ Daniel 9: 4-19

Daniel’s prayer began with a frank confession that all of Israel both northern and southern kingdoms had sinned grievously. They had not listened to the prophets. God was righteous in his punishment of the people because shame and disgrace belonged to Israel

Daniel ascribes righteousness to God. He freely admits God has been right in His punishment of the Jews. Shame and disgrace belonged to Israel. The expression “confusion of faces” is significant meaning “shame of faces.”

The rich, the poor, the rulers and the ruled were all guilty of sin thus they deserved the judgment that had come upon them. God had warned them and when they did not repent after many years of longsuffering He allowed them to go into captivity.

Daniel now pleads that God will remove His judgment from His people. His prayer was that they might be allowed to return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple which were lying desolate. Verse 19 shows the great earnestness with which Daniel prayed.

‘While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill—while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.’ Daniel 9:20-27

Daniel was greatly beloved by God and because of his earnest prayer God sends Gabriel to answer his prayer. God’s people were to be redeemed from Babylonian captivity but Gabriel tells Daniel of a more important redemption, the redemption from their sins.

Seventy weeks are going to be set aside by God to accomplish their redemption. Seventy weeks is 490 days. It has generally been accepted that in prophecy a day represents a year thus certain things are going to happen over the next 490 years. Six specific things are mentioned in verse 24.

1. To finish their transgressions. This was accomplished through the gospel, Hebrews 10:12.

2. To make an end to sins. The atonement is meant here, Hebrews 9:22.

3. To make reconciliation for iniquity. Men would be reconciled to God, Romans 5:11 / 2 Corinthians 5:17-19.

4. Everlasting righteousness would be introduced. According to Romans 3:21-31, God’s righteousness would be introduced into the world.

5. Vision and prophecy would be sealed up, that is completed, on this matter.

6. The Most Holy would be anointed. Christ would be crowned king, Hebrews 1:8-9.

While Daniel is concerned with getting back to Jerusalem, God is telling him there will be many other things that will happen after their return. This period of seventy weeks, 490 years, is divided into three periods by Gabriel.

1. Seven weeks, which is forty-nine years.

2. Sixty–two weeks, which is four hundred and thirty-four years.

3. One week, which is seven years.

The first period of 49 years would begin with the decree by Artaxerxes for the Jews to return to their homeland. Although restoration would be slow and “in troublesome times” yet Jerusalem, its walls, its streets and the Temple were restored under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The second period is composed of sixty-two weeks or 434 years which brings us up to the time of Christ. This is the period between the Old and New Testaments. God through Gabriel revealed in chapter eight some of the things that would happen during this period.

The third period is the final week, 70th, which is the seven years period. Gabriel said that Jehovah would make a firm covenant with many for one week and that in the midst of one week, three and one-half years, He would cause the sacrifices and offerings to cease.

Christ began His ministry at the age of thirty, and three and one-half years later he was put to death on the cross. This would remove the necessity of the Temple with its sacrifices for His bloodshed on the cross would forevermore atone for sins. The remainder of the week would involve Pentecost and the establishment of the church.

Also, the gospel would be proclaimed to the Jews for the next three and one-half years. The ministry of Jesus was to the Jews and the apostles continued this ministry to the Jews only, Matthew 10:6 / Matthew 15:24. During this time the Jews were given ample opportunity to hear the gospel, believe it and obey it.

Preaching was often accompanied by miracles to prove that those preaching the gospel were being led by the Holy Spirit in their preaching and teaching. As the Jews began to reject the gospel it was then carried to the Gentiles.

This would seem to complete the seven years period or 70th week. Thus, Gabriel gave Daniel the assurance for which he prayed and much more than he had asked for. But there is more to come.

In verse 26 Gabriel sounds a sad note. Jerusalem would be destroyed again. While Gabriel did not say when he did say that “the people of the prince shall come and shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

The “prince” here is Titus, a Roman general, and the son of the Roman Emperor Vespasian.

The “people” Gabriel speaks of is the Roman army. They overflowed the city like a flood, destroying it and the Temple in A.D. 70. From the death of Christ onward until the destruction of Jerusalem there were uprisings, wars, and insurrections by the Jews. This caused Nero the Roman Emperor to give orders to subdue and destroy the land of Palestine.

While Gabriel gave no date for this destruction he said, “And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate.”

The “wing of abominations” indicates the swiftness with which the prince of the people would come. Jesus had the words of Daniel in mind when speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:15-16.

We conclude therefore that the meaning of Gabriel’s words to Daniel is that a period of 490 years had been carved out of time by God and was set for a definite purpose.

His purpose was not only to bring about the immediate future of rebuilding the temple and the city of Jerusalem but the Jews’ spiritual redemption which would be accomplished by the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This was followed by the sad information about the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.


Dispensationalists say that Daniel’s prophetic clock of 70 weeks was stopped at the end of the 69th week and that we are now awaiting the 70th week to begin. Supposedly we are now in a gap period awaiting the establishment of the kingdom.

However, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that the kingdom which is the church has already been established. In Matthew 16:18-19 the words “church” and “kingdom” are used interchangeably.

The simple fact is that the kingdom is already in existence and is not to come, later on, Mark 9:1 / Revelation 1:9 / Colossians 1:13 / Hebrews 12:28.

The 70th year has already been fulfilled. Nowhere do the Scriptures indicate that the prophetic clock would suddenly stop. No mention is ever made of a gap period. All is fulfilled.

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