God has been so gracious to His people for giving them the sure word of prophecy; for giving them His word as so plainly explained in the book of Daniel. Before we begin our study into Daniel chapter 9 let us review what we have learned so far. In the previous article we read that Daniel had been left with some unanswered questions regarding the prophecy that was revealed to him in chapter 8. Daniel is even quick sick because he just cannot understand or comprehend what has been told him in relation to the 2300 days (or prophetic years) and how it correlates with the 70 years’ prophecy in Jeremiah 25. Here we find Daniel thinking in this context. He is currently a captive in Babylon and is anticipating that in his time, shortly, there will be deliverance for his people and a reestablishment of the Temple in Jerusalem. He was thinking in the context of how the 2300 years’ prophecy fits. That is why Daniel became ill for few days. He was unable correlate the connection between the 2300 days (years) and the 70 years. Since the prophesy belongs to the time of the end, it cannot be literal days, but the Bible gives us the answer. One day in Biblical prophecy equates to one year in literal time. (see Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6). The Angel Gabriel told Daniel specifically that “The vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.” Daniel 8:26. Although the angel tells Daniel it was for the time of the end, he still did not understand it. He is still thinking in the immediate historic context of his days, but the angel said, “no, Daniel, this vision is about the future.”
In Daniel 9, which was written in the first year of Darius, Daniel begins to pray. He wanted to know about the deliverance of his people. “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; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:1–2. Since the Medes and Persians overthrew the Chaldeans, or Babylonians, in 538 BC and if this is the first year of Darius, this must be then in the year 538 BC. Daniel was taken captive in 605 B.C. when he was 17 years old. Therefore, Daniel is an old man at this point in time, in his 80s, and he is coming to the end of his life. And so we find him searching the Scriptures of the Old Testament for the fulfilment of the 70 years’ prophecy regarding the captivity of God’s people.
Daniel knew that God keeps His word and he was looking for deliverance. He then begins to fast and pray, making requests and supplications to God. He recounts the sins of Israel, acknowledging that the result of their captivity was due to their sin. “As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth.” Daniel 9:13. The law of God simply states that when any individual, any family, or any nation, knowingly and willingly turns their back on God, they forfeit God’s divine blessing and God’s divine favour. As a result, God’s protective hand is withdrawn, and their lives face a heartache, sorrow, and disaster that they would not have faced had they not entertained that rebellious attitude.
Prayer is powerful and when we pray Satan and his hosts tremble. It is vital for us to understand that Satan is trying to do everything he can to stop us from praying, from supplicating, from connecting with God. Daniel, in chapter 9, is supplicating to God and he begins by confessing his sins and the sins of God’s people, Israel; he is before the Lord in a humble state seeking forgiveness and understanding. As Daniel prays the angel Gabriel interrupts in the midst of the prayer. “And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Daniel 9:20–22. Gabriel therefore started at the place where Daniel fainted. He could no longer receive instructions or yet understand the remainder of the vision, and so for Gabriel to fully complete his mission he had to start at the point where he left off—the 2300 days, as found in verse 14 of Daniel 8. “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
This prophecy is the foundation of Christianity. It is about the first coming of the Messiah when He gave His life for humanity, and for the time of the end. The explanation is found in Daniel 9:24–27. While the previous parts of the vision in Daniel 8 featured beasts and a kingdom, this final part of the vision revealed a period of time, and so he opened the explanation of this prophetic period of time starting with Daniel’s people—the Jews. Verse 24 reads: “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 the most Holy.”
This is truly an amazing prophecy. Gabriel explains that this section of the vision is “determined”. In the original Hebrew, what does the word determined mean? The Old Testament book of Daniel was written in Aramaic and Hebrew, and the Hebrew word, “chathak (khawthak’)” has been translated “determined.” A literal translation of this word means “to cut off or separate from.”
We are now therefore to take it to mean that 70 weeks are cut off from the period in question—the 2300 days (years).
The first part of this prophecy about the Messiah and the judgement reveals Jesus as the Messiah. God gave a 70-week time period for the nation of Israel to repent of its apostasy, during which time Jesus would come to the world as the long-awaited Messiah. In prophetic symbolism, a day represents a year as mentioned earlier. This principle is validated by numerous prophecies. It would be impossible for the events of Daniel 9 to apply to a literal 490 days. The 70 weeks (490 days) represent 490 literal years.
The starting point of this prophecy was a command allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city. “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, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” Daniel 9:25. This decree, found in Ezra 7:11–26, was made by King Artaxerxes in the seventieth year of his reign, in 457 BC. Daniel was told that the Messiah would come after 69 weeks. Since the command was given in 457 BC, therefore 69 weeks (483 literal years) brings us to the year AD 27 (when calculating this, remember there is no year 0, so we must add a year). According to this prophecy, the Messiah would appear in AD 27. The word Messiah means, “The Anointed One.”
In that exact year (AD 27), Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was baptized in the Jordan River and He was anointed by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 10:37–38). He then began His public ministry as the Messiah. Jesus Himself confirmed it when He was at the beginning of His ministry, stating, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” Mark 1:15. Daniel predicted hundreds of years in advance the exact year for the baptism of Christ. Luke 3:1 says that Jesus’ baptism took place in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, which history places at AD 27. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, came at the correct time as prophesied—in the year AD 27! The Bible is accurate and gives us confidence in God’s word. This beautiful prophecy is revealed in such a way that there is no doubt about Jesus being the Messiah that was prophesied already in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:15. Jesus was announcing that He was the Messiah, but what was predicted to happen to the Messiah?
The answer is found in the last subdivision—the final seven days (seven years) of the 70 weeks (or 490 years) that was allotted to the Jesus. We read, “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 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 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.” Daniel 9:26–27. Here the Angel Gabriel explains when Jesus would die for the sins of the world.
In the middle of the week something would happen. Gabriel stated further that “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease.” Daniel 9:27. Christ’s ministry after He was baptized lasted three and one half years (half of the prophetic week). His life was cut off but not for Himself—He atoned for the sins of the whole world. Christ was crucified in AD 31, three and one half years into prophesied seven years.
When Jesus died, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” Mark 15:38. This indicated that the sacrificial system was now finished, because Jesus—the true Lamb—had died for the sins of the world. In the temple service, the Passover lamb was sacrificed once a year on a specific day at a specific time (the afternoon of the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan). Jesus was dying on the cross as the priests were preparing to kill the Passover lamb. On that dark afternoon, prophecy was fulfilled as “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. The time prophecy demonstrates that the Bible can be trusted and that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah of Bible prophecy!
The prophecy however stated that He would confirm the covenant with many for one week. The remaining three and one half years was completed by the disciples as they continued the work in Jerusalem with the Jews.
After being baptized by John and anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah in AD 27, Jesus instructed His disciples to focus on preaching to the Jewish people. He longed for the Jewish nation to accept and present Him as the Messiah to the whole world. Even after His death, Jesus told His disciples to begin their ministry at Jerusalem. There was still time for them to repent of their sin in rejecting the true Messiah. Jesus loved the people of Jerusalem. He knew the prophecy of Daniel 9, and He passionately warned them about refusing to accept the gift of salvation.
Exactly three and one half years after Jesus’ death, in AD 34 at the stoning of Stephen, a devout leader within the new faith, the remaining three and one half years was completed—thus fulfilling the 70th week. Jesus declared that the great promise of a glorious future would be taken away from the Jews and given to another people. The Jews’ 490 years were determined exactly as prophesied—the sacrificial system was now concluded.
When Stephen was stoned by the Jewish religious leaders, he became the first Christian martyr. The blessings of the Gospel were now to be extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Israel was no longer God’s chosen nation.
What a pity; the Bible tells us that Jesus “came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” John 1:11. Could it be that at the end of time His own people today would also receive Him not? History reveals that it can happen again. Do not let it happen to you, but make sure you are acquainted with Jesus the true Messiah. Make sure you have received Him now as your personal Saviour, so that you will be glorified with Him.
Today, all who accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour are considered to be a part of spiritual Israel. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. Paul wrote, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2:28–29
The first 490 years of the 2300-year prophecy was about the Jews, and that portion ended in A.D. 34. The last part of the 2300 years have to do with God’s people today—with you and me, the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, and the second coming of Christ. The Lord combined an event we can see—the first coming of Christ—with an event we have not seen as it is future still, the second coming of Christ. If the events came true during the first part of the prophecy, the events will most certainly come true during the second part of this prophecy.
Leviticus 23:27, 30, tells us how the Day of Atonement was observed in Ancient Israel. In that day only the high priest was called to perform a specific task that took place once a year. As animal sacrifices were offered each day, the priest took some of the blood of the sacrifices and sprinkled it inside the Holy Place of the sanctuary. This service symbolized the transfer of sin from the animal into the sanctuary. But on one day each year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Most Holy Place into the very presence of God and His Law. The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, was a day set aside to ensure complete harmony between God and man. To atone means to restore, “at-one”-ness with God. The purpose was to cleanse both the sanctuary and the sinner. The record of sin left by the sacrificial blood had built up in the sanctuary throughout the year. On the Day of Atonement these sins were symbolically “blotted out” and the sanctuary was cleansed of sin. This was a day of judgment and the people of Israel would afflict their souls by making sure there were no specific sins left unconfessed or unforsaken. On this day those who refused to confess their sins were judged guilty and cut off from God’s people (“For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.” Leviticus 23:29).
Now, the question is; how will the heavenly sanctuary be cleansed? “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:23. This refers to Jesus’ blood. Jesus entered into the heavenly sanctuary with His own blood to intercede for us.
The cleansing of the Sanctuary referred to by Daniel does not involve an earthly sanctuary. The Jewish temple was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans and has never been rebuilt. The events and symbols of the earthly sanctuary point to Jesus and the sanctuary in heaven. The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary is the removal of the record of our sins from the books of heaven (“the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:10); sinners are forgiven when they repent of their sins, and even the very record of our sins is blotted out in God’s judgement. What good news, brothers and sisters, dear friends; now is the time to make your salvation sure by letting Jesus cleanse you and prepare you for His Second Coming.
The starting date of the 2300 days (years) as we have seen was a command given by Artaxerxes allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city; this command was issued in the year 457 BC. Continuing 2,300 years from 457 BC brings us to the year 1844 AD, the starting date of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, or antitypical Day of Atonement. In 1844 Jesus began the work of judgement in heaven. According to the Bible we are now living in heaven’s judgment hour! Living at this time in earth’s history is a very solemn time. God’s judgement is now in session; therefore, we can confidently worship God knowing that as we yield our lives fully to Jesus Christ, we have a High Priest in heaven who is advocating for us. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:24
Three very important things to remember:
1) Since 1844, we have been living in the time of
2) Jesus is both our Advocate and Friend.
3) Now is the time to accept Jesus as our Lord and
In earth’s final hour, God invites men and women to come to Him. In the last days of earth’s history, the call of the judgment hour is a call to a deeper study of the Bible. The call of the judgment hour is a call to faithfulness to Christ. The call of the judgment hour is that Jesus is our only Saviour. Jesus is our only Priest. The call of the judgment hour is a call to the backsliding ones to return to the obedience that God asks for in His Word. Time is running out. Is there anything in your life that is not in harmony with His will, anything in your life that separates you from Him? Do you spend time with His Word? Are you willing to commit your life to Jesus today? Amen!