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Lesson 11: God's Timetable *

Introduction: Last week we studied about Daniel's vision of reconsecrating (cleansing) the sanctuary. Daniel had been a captive and a foreigner for most of his life. His fondest hope was to have his country and the sanctuary rebuilt so that the Jewish people could go home and properly worship God again. Hold that thought while we jump into our study of Daniel 9!

  1. The Prayer

    1. Read Daniel 9:1-3. When was Daniel praying? (The first year of King Darius. The Bible Knowledge Commentary identifies this as 539 B.C. - 66 years after Daniel had been exiled.)

      1. Do you remember Darius?(Read Daniel 5:30-31. Darius, the Mede, followed Belshazzar as ruler when the Medo-Persians defeated the Babylonians. This tells us that Daniel's prayer follows in time his vision of chapter 8. Compare Daniel 8:1.)

      2. What is Daniel praying about? (Now here is a surprise - Daniel is praying about Jeremiah's prophecy ( Jeremiah 29:10)that the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews would last for only 70 years. Since Daniel is 66 years into his exile, we can understand why he is praying about this topic.)

    2. Read Daniel 9:4-19. On what basis does Daniel ask God to consider and do something about His promise regarding Jerusalem? ( Daniel 9:18:God's mercy. Daniel 9:19: God's name.)

      1. What got the people into trouble?

      2. Have the captives learned their lesson?

        1. Have you learned lessons about obedience to God?

      3. In Daniel 9:19 Daniel asks God to forgive His people. Can Daniel confess the sins of others? (Consider 1 John 5:16-17 and Job 1:4-5.)

  2. The Answer

    1. Read Daniel 9:20-21. Who shows up? (Gabriel - the angel who came to see him before. We previously learned that Gabriel stands in the presence of God and gave to Mary God's message about Jesus.)

      1. How do you like the timing of God's response? (Gabriel left heaven when Daniel began his prayer and arrived while he was still praying!)

      2. What time of day did Gabriel show up? (The time of the evening sacrifice.)

        1. What "evening sacrifice" is Daniel talking about? (Daniel was so focused on the sanctuary service that he "tells time" based on when the evening sacrifice would have taken place. Of course, no sacrifice is taking place on earth because the sanctuary was destroyed long ago.)

    2. Read Daniel 9:22-23. Understanding about what? What is the topic on which Daniel needs greater understanding? (Clearly the topic of the sanctuary in the vision of Daniel 8. Daniel is thinking and praying about the sanctuary. The last time Gabriel spoke to him (Daniel 8:26) it was about the sanctuary service. But, Daniel did not understand then. ( Daniel 8:27) So, Gabriel picks up where he left off last and continues his prior discussion. An interesting point is the Hebrew word used for the vision in Daniel 8:26, 8:2 7 and 9:23 is the same root word: "mareh." Thus, Gabriel's insight and understanding about the "vision" in Daniel 9:23 is about the same vision spoken of in Daniel 8:26 & 27.)

  3. Interpreting the Vision

    1. Read Daniel 9:24. "Seventy `sevens'" is an odd term. What do you think a "seven" means? ("Seven" would logically refer to a week. A week has seven days. Thus, Gabriel is speaking about 70 weeks.)

      1. How long is seventy weeks? (Seventy weeks would be about a year and a third (1 1/3).

    2. Read Daniel 9:25. Who do you think is the "Anointed One?" (See Acts 10:37-38. This refers to the Messiah - Jesus.)

      1. Considering that the general time frame is from the time of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, to the time of Jesus, could we be talking about a little over one year? (No. Just as in Daniel 8, these 70 weeks are clearly symbolic(1 day = 1 year). Thus, 70 times 7 (490 days)most likely means 490 years. This strengthens our prior conclusion that the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 symbolizes 2,300 years.)

    3. Consider again Daniel 9:24-25. What happens during this 490 years? (Time is given to the Jewish people and Jerusalem to "finish transgression, put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness and to bring in everlasting righteousness.")

      1. How could the Jewish people put an end to sin and bring in everlasting righteousness? (They could not. This provides further evidence that the "Anointed One" is Jesus. Jesus guaranteed the end of sin and eternal life for the righteous.)

    4. Read Daniel 9:26. What does it mean for the Anointed One to be "cut off?" (Sounds like death. Compare Genesis 9:11 and the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 53:8.)

    1. Let's look more closely at these numbers that we see in Daniel 9:24-27. How many time periods do you see? (Three. The total, 490 years (70x7) is found in verse 24. The first division of this is 49 years ("seven sevens") and is found in verse 25. The second division is 434 years (62x7) is found in verses 25-26. The last division is seven years ("one `seven'") and is found in verse 27. Together these add up to 490 years or seventy "sevens".)

      1. What happens during the 49 years? (It appears this refers to the rebuilding of Jerusalem.)

      2. What happens at the end of the 483 years (49+434)? (The Anointed One comes ( Daniel 9:25). While there were three decrees to rebuild Jerusalem, the various commentaries have relatively small differences in the starting dates. The SDA Bible Commentary pegs the decree to rebuild at 458/457 B.C. (Artaxerxes decree. See Ezra 7:1-26.) Starting with 457 B.C., the 483 years brings us to 27 A.D. - the year of Jesus' baptism and the beginning of His public ministry.)

      3. What happens during the seven years? ( Daniel 9:26 tells us that after the 483 years the Anointed One will be "cut off" and Daniel 9:27 tells us that the Anointed One will put an end to sacrifice and offering in the middle of the "seven." Continuing with our time-line from 457 B.C. to 27 A.D., an additional 3-4 years (middle of the seven) brings us to 31 A.D. - the year of Jesus' crucifixion. Gabriel's description makes sense because Jesus' crucifixion ended the need for the animal sacrifices in the rebuilt sanctuary in Jerusalem.)

        1. How do you understand ( Daniel 9:27)the "confirm[ing]" of the covenant for the rest of the "seven?" (In Matthew 21:43-45 Jesus predicts that the kingdom of God will be taken away from the Jewish officials who rejected Him and given to others - which, as we see in Acts, included Gentiles. The SDA Bible Commentary notes that 34 A.D. (7 years after 27 A.D.) marked the stoning of Stephen and the beginning of sharing the gospel with Gentiles. See Acts 7&8.)

        2. How do you understand the Daniel 9:26 reference to destroying the "city and the sanctuary?" (Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the rebuilt sanctuary in 70 A.D. This fits the description of the "ruler who will come." Psalms 79:1 prophecies that the temple is "defiled" by those who reduce Jerusalem to rubble - thus fitting the "abomination that causes desolation.)

    2. How would you feel if you were Daniel hearing this message from Gabriel? (Just as I hear good news, I then hear terrible news. The sanctuary will be rebuilt and then destroyed again!)

    3. How do you feel, thousands of years later, to read Gabriel's interpretation of the vision? (It gives me additional proof that: a) God is in charge of history; b) Jesus was the predicted Messiah; and, since Jesus came the first time just as prophesied, c) That God will keep His word for Jesus' Second Coming!)

    4. Friend, Jesus is coming again! Are you ready? Have you confessed your sins and relied upon God's mercy for your salvation?

  1. Next Week: When Kings Go to War.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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