THE PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN
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Book of Daniel, part 11
Daniel 9: Three Parts
- Daniels Study (9:1-3)
- Daniels Prayer (9:4-19)
- Gabriels Reply (9:20-27)
- Response to Study and Prayer
This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt, declares the LORD. Jer. 25:11-12
- The duration of the Babylonian Exile is for a single generations life span
- Seventy is 7 x 10 = Completion
- Two ages in view 6th century and 2nd century
- Affirmation of Gods righteousness
- Acknowledgment of sinfulness
- Appeal to Gods righteousness
Similar to prayers in 1 Kings 8, Ezra 9, Nehemiah 9, Psalm 79
In apocalyptic literature, the faithful are always subject to two forces: persecution and compromise. In Revelation, the threat to the faithful comes from the beast (persecution) and the harlot (compromise)
- Seventy sevens are decreed . . .
- To finish transgression and put an end sin
- To atone for wickedness and bring everlasting righteousness
- To seal up the vision and anoint the holy one
Seventy Weeks = 490 Years
- No chronological schedule fits
- The phases of the 70 weeks are more important than the historical chronology . . .
- 7 weeks, 62 weeks, 1 week (and half of that week)
- Jerusalem and Temple is the focus
Phase 1 7 Weeks
- Begins with the word going out to restore Jerusalem
- Jeremiahs prophecy
- Cyrus edict (Ezra 1:2-4)
- Artaxerxes permit to Ezra
- The coming of the Anointed One
- Zerubbabel and Jeshua
Phase 2 62 Weeks
- In this phase, the city is rebuilt in detail but in troubled times
- This phase ends when the Anointed One (the high priest) is cut off and will have nothing.
- The agents of the ruler who is to come destroys the city and temple.
1 Maccabees 1:11-15
In those days certain renegades came out from Israel and misled many, saying, "Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles around us, for since we separated from them many disasters have come upon us." This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.
2 Maccabees 4:7-15
When Seleucus died and Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, succeeded to the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias obtained the high priesthood by corruption ... When the king assented and Jason came to office, he at once shifted his compatriots over to the Greek way of life.
Phase 3 1 Week
- Onias III, the last faithful high priest, is killed in 171 BC
- The new leaders corrupt the Temple and bring in Greek culture [The anti-covenant]
- In 167 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes IV further ruins Jerusalem and prohibits Jewish faith
- Antiochus desecrates the Temple (1 Macc. 1:54-59 and 2 Macc. 6:1-2)
- The desecration of the Temple last about 3.5 years (The middle of the week)
- The Temple is rededicated in 164 BC about 7 years after 171 BC
So What? [The Message of Daniel 9]
- Scriptural perspective on history and circumstances
- Corporate sin: The people suffered for their lack of faithfulness and righteousness
- Prayer appeals to Gods righteousness
- Hope in God to set things right
- What are the number of years according to Jeremiah? The devastation of Jerusalem? (9:1-2)
- Apocalyptic meaning of 70 7 x 10. Completion and augmentation
- Daniel is studying Scripture.
- Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jer. 29:10 [See also Isa. 40-55]
- The message of Jeremiah and the 70 years is: None of you are going home. Make a life in exile. Your descendents will return.
- How did Judah and Jerusalem sin? What is the curse and oath written in the law of Moses? (vv. 11-13) See 9:3-14
- Note the structure of Daniels prayer Affirmation of Gods nature; affirmation (confession) of sin; appeal for forgiveness; appeal to Gods nature and righteousness. [Other examples of prayer 1 Kings 8:46-53; Ezra 9:6-15; Neh. 9:6-37; Psalm 79; Baruch 1:15-3:8; Prayer of Azariah 1-22; Prayer of Manasseh]
- Note the admission of sin. Another feature of apocalyptic is to hold accountable those who have been seduced or lost hope. It is not enough to promise the defeat and destruction of the persecutor. The persecuted have to be made accountable. (In Rev. chapter 18 functions in this way as do portions of the seven letters).
- The use of OT history is important in Daniel 9. It hasnt been used like this before in the book
- Daniels prayer refers to the covenant, prophets, kings, law of Moses, Exodus. This is the history of Gods work among his people. It is core to Hebrew faith. If God has acted like so in the past, then we can count on him to be consistent in the future.
- The prayer of Daniel is similar to the prayers of 1 Kings and Ezra and Nehemiah and Baruch- they are a reaction to the fall of Jerusalem and the Exile. The Jewish people had to come to grips with this cataclysmic event just as we have had to come to grips with 9/11. One of the ways they interpreted the event was to accept it as Gods judgment and refinement.
- The concern of the prayer is the destruction and desolation of Jerusalem. Why is this a problem (in the 6th century)? Why is this a problem (in 2nd century)?
- For someone in Daniels time (6th c.) the 70 years is expanded to seventy weeks of years or seventy sevens = 490 years. [Think decades being turned into definite periods the 60s 70s 80s etc.; one of their important multiples was 7] This could be depressing to the 6th century
- But the message is for the 2nd century and it promises change in their own day
- Sabbatical years (7 year cycle) and Jubilee years (49 year cycle)
- Israel continues to suffer because their sinfulness continues. [What was going on in the 2nd century?]
- What are the seventy weeks? [Note all that will be done in the 70 weeks] 9:24
- Gabriel is responding to Daniels concern to understand Jeremiahs 70 years. The 70 years are redefined as 70 weeks. This is a common apocalyptic technique.
- Six things happen through these 70 years:
- To finish the transgression
- To put and end to sin
- To atone for iniquity
- To bring in everlasting righteousness
- To seal both vision and prophet
- To anoint a most holy place
- 7 weeks [49 years?] Word goes out to restore Jerusalem and anointing of a prince
- 62 weeks [434 years?] rebuilding of Jerusalem in a troubled time
- After 62 weeks the anointed one is cut off, troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy city and sanctuary, end shall come with flood, war, desolations decreed
- 1 week [7 years 3.5 years for half a week] He makes strong covenant with many (for half of that week he makes sacrifice and offering cease and desolates with the abomination) All until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.
Interpretation of Daniels Seventy Weeks
- Attempts to make it fit a chronology are unlimited.
- None of the reasonable attempts fits well and none are widely accepted.
- There is no clear reference point for the 62 weeks. It is expanded time to account for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple
- The first seven is a little less vague It could be Jeremiahs prophecy. It could be Artaxerxes - In 458-457 BC Artaxerxes gave Ezra permission to return to Jerusalem with exiles. This interpretation ends in the lifetime of Christ (though not with precision 25 to 32 AD), but it doesnt account for the final week. The anointing of a prince may fit the anointing of the high priest Joshua (Ezra 3, Haggai 1:12 ad 2:2 and Zech 3) Joshua/Jeshua is Hebrew for Jesus
- The final week is the least vague of the references and it makes sense for it to fall into the second century [And if you back date the 490 years you end up in the mid 7th century which is long before the exile and it doesnt make sense to send out word to restore Jerusalem before it has even fallen]
- The 70 weeks of years has no interest in corresponding to actual chronology This is an allegorical, heavenly, visionary view of time. [The ancients were not as concerned with chronology as we are.]
- The final week:
- Onias III, high priest in Jerusalem is killed in 171 BC [2 Maccabees 4:34-38] See also 1 Macc. 1:20-35 and 2 Macc 5:11-21
- The strong covenant is between Antiochus and the reform party (Hellenistic Jews) which gave Jerusalem a charter as a Hellenistic city and introduced Greek institutions such as the ephebeion guild of young men, the boule council of elders, and the gymnasium 1 Macc 1:11-15 and 1 Macc 4:9-15]
- Ultimately, Antiochus proscribed the practice of Judaism and the sacrifices in the temple. He even desecrates it. 1 Macc 1:54-59 and 2 Macc 6:1-2
- The temple is rededicated in 164 BC (seven years)
- 3.5 years is an incomplete cycle. A short time. The time of the desolation was about 3.5 years.
- The message is that Daniels readers are in the last week (or right after it) and its all going to be ended soon and the six things promised will take place.
- The message is that there will be an end and everything that has taken place is under Gods watch and it is the consequence of the sin of Gods people (they are all guilty and culpable as a people).
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 19 August 2007
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