Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 9

Outline and Background - Daniel 9

Prompting of Daniel's Prayer - Daniel 9:1-3

Particulars of Daniel's -Prayer  Daniel 9:4-15

Petition of Daniel's Prayer  - Daniel 9:16-19

Power of Daniel's Prayer - Daniel 9:20-23

The Seventy Sevens - Daniel 9:24

The Coming of Two Princes - Daniel 9:25-27

Decoding of the Seventy Sevens

The Anointed One Cut Off

Application of Daniel 9

Prompting of Daniel's Prayer - Daniel 9:1-3

The overthrow of Babylon by Medo-Persia was a momentous event. The handwriting on the wall, the first part of the dream of dreams, and the predictions that Daniel had conveyed to the first and last kings of Babylon have been fulfilled before his own eyes. The liberation of the exiled Jews was next on God’s calendar. When would it occur?

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.

Jeremiah 25:1-14 predicted that the desolation and exile would last seventy years. The prophet had sent a letter (Jeremiah 29:1-14) to the exiles with seven instructions for living in Babylon, telling them:

1. To build houses and settle down
2. To plant gardens and eat what they produce
3. To marry and have families—increase in numbers
4. To seek the peace and prosperity of Babylon
5. To pray to Yahweh for Babylon so they would prosper
6. To not be deceived by the prophets and diviners among them
7. To wait for the completion of the seventy years

Nebuchadnezzar’s first invasion of Jerusalem occurred in 605 B.C., when he took to Babylon some exiles and articles from the Temple. The desolation of Jerusalem began at that time. Daniel’s heart must have started beating faster as he read the words of the prophet Jeremiah.

This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for 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, “and will make it desolate for ever. I will bring upon that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations (Jeremiah 25:11-13).

Less than fifty years had elapsed since the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. However, the earliest terminus a quo for the seventy years could be the time of Daniel’s own captivity. Jews often counted part of a day or a year as whole days or years. Hence, the length of time from the first exile of 605 B.C. to Cyrus’ decree issued in his first official year (spring of 538 to spring 537 B.C.) could be rounded to seventy years. Daniel understood the prophecy. He knew that the end of the seventy years and the return of his people to their land were fast approaching if God marked the exile from 605 B.C.

Note that Daniel recognized the writings of Jeremiah as being inspired by God, long before they would become part of the Hebrew canon. Interestingly, Daniel does not mention Cyrus even though he knew all about him, for Yahweh had revealed his name through the prophet Isaiah in the seventh century B.C.

Who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid” (Isaiah 44:28).

I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the LORD Almighty (Isaiah 45:13).

Daniel’s heart must have been stirred when he first heard reports of the young King Cyrus of Ashan, Persia. Cyrus had brilliantly overthrown his uncle Astyages in battle and had made himself ruler of the entire Medo-Persian domain.

There are two significant hermeneutical lessons about prophecy here. First, Daniel believed in the literal fulfillment of prophecy—should not also the modern interpreter? Second, the closer the fulfillment of prophetic events become, the more the student of the Bible is able to discern the times. Those who are lazy when studying the Scriptures have a tendency to brush prophecy aside and say, “In the end it will all pan out.” Not with Daniel, he wanted to understand what God was doing in his time! He wanted to make a difference.

Like Daniel, a diligent student of the Bible builds his prayer life on the Word of God. The Scriptures and prayer go hand in hand. Serious prayer always begins with God’s will, not man’s will. We are to submit ourselves to God’s plans, not vice versa. Twice Jesus taught a model prayer to His disciples on how to pray; according to His teaching, our attitude should be that of subordinate (child, subject) to Superior (parent, sovereign), desiring His will.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10; cf. Luke 11:2).

Jesus echoed His model prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane as the Son yielded to the Father’s will.

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).

The apostle John reinforces this manner of praying.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (1 John 5:14).

Once Daniel understood the will of God, knowledge and understanding of the prophecy did not puff up the prophet, but humbled him. He turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in prayer, while fasting in sackcloth and ashes. Fasting is a sign of mourning and distress. Sackcloth and ashes show outwardly the inward reality of being a penitent sinner. Prayer has
been described as ACTS:

Adoration
Confession
Thanks
Supplication

Supplication is to ask humbly and earnestly. Daniel’s prayer moves back and forth between adoration, confession and supplication. The giving of thanks is missing from it.

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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Experiencing Exodus

Book of James

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

Romans Salvation

Life of the Apostle Paul

Other studies at Spreading Light Bible Studies

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