Let's open up our Bibles to Daniel, Chapter 9 tonight.
There's a pastor who said that he never would preach on prophecy because he said prophecy distracts people from the present. A colleague of his, in hearing that, said well, then there certainly are a lot of distractions in the Bible. In other words, he recognized that a fourth of the Bible is prophetic. God writing history in advance in such incredible, meticulous detail. And it demonstrates, in part, the difference between the Bible and other, what are called, sacred books.
You know, somebody will say, well, what makes the Bible so special? Everybody has their holy books. The Bible was written by a bunch of senile, old guys, and it's irrelevant to this generation and our situation.
What marks the Bible as so different from other books is prophecy. God writing history in advance, in incredible detail, as we have seen, and we see again tonight. You don't get it in the Quran. You don't get it in the Book of Mormon or the Upanishads of the Hindus. You get it in no other book, except in the sacred scriptures.
Prophecy is not a distraction. It is a motivation. And it motivates Daniel in chapter 9 to pray for the current present situation of the children of Judah, the Israelites in Babylon.
I heard a story about a young couple that bought a parrot, and the parrot could only say two words. Let's kiss.
And, you know, it was cute when people would come over, but a little bit embarrassing, when the only words the parrot would say are
(MIMICKING PARROT), let's kiss.
Well, their pastor found out about it. He also had a parrot.
And he said, "The only two words my parrot can say are, 'Let's Pray.'"
So he suggested that they cage the two birds together, hoping that his parrot would influence their parrot.
So they put them together in the same cage.
And soon as they got them together, the couple's bird said, "Let's kiss."
Whereupon the Preacher's bird said, "Thank you, Lord. My prayers have been answered." (CHUCKLES)
Daniel's prayer, based upon what he reads, is about to be answered, but in a way that will absolutely blow his mind. He'll get more than he bargained for. Daniel Chapter 9 is one of those landmark chapters in the Bible. It's been called the backbone of prophecy. It's like the Eiffel Tower, or Mt. Rushmore, or some great landmark portion of the Bible.
In fact, so many other portions of the Bible would be enigmatic, indiscernible without this key that unlocks prophecy. So, "In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made King over the realm of the Chaldeans"--
So it's 539 BC, shortly after Babylon under Belshazzar has fallen.
"In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel"-- now about 80, early 80's-- "understood by the books"-- or the scrolls-- "the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the Prophet, that he would accomplish 70 years in the desolation of Jerusalem."
So the chapter opens up with Daniel reading the Bible. Studying it. Poring over it. Pondering what it means.
Then, "I set my face toward the Lord, God to make request by prayer and supplications with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes."
Daniel's conversation-- and it really was a conversation-- with the Lord, his praying to God, was prompted by his reading of the Bible.
You know, the Lord loves conversation. He wants to talk to you and have you talk to him. There's really no relationship in a monologue. You just talking to God without you hearing from God, and there's no relationship. And God just speaking to you his word without you praying in response to what you read.
A relationship isn't a monologue. It's a dialogue. It's a conversation. So Daniel hears from the Lord reading the prophecies of Jeremiah, and that what he reads prompts him to pray about it.
George Mueller-- You've heard his name before. He ran the Bristol Orphanage by Faith for a number of years in England-- talked about reading the Bible, and he said, regarding prayer that our spiritual vigor in prayer is directly proportional to our reading of the scripture.
In other words, he would wake up every morning and first read the Bible, hear from God, and that would be the fodder by which he would then pray and reflect back to God, based on what the Lord told him in giving him direction that day.
George [? Whitefield, ?] a great vessel of God used in the Great Awakening, would open his Bible every day on his knees, and he would read his Bible while kneeling. Ready for God to speak to him, so that he could converse back to the Lord.
What was Daniel reading? He was reading the scroll, the Book of Jeremiah.
And he came upon Jeremiah Chapter 25 and Jeremiah Chapter 29, both of which declare that the children of Israel will be in Babylon for 70 years, and that God would bring them back into the land.
And so he said in Jeremiah 21, "'After 70 years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,' says the Lord. 'Thoughts of good and not of evil, to bring you a future and hope.'"
And the future and the hope that God was speaking of was bringing them back to the land after 70 years.
So Daniel's reading that, and he says, wow, 70 years. Well, we're just about there. The timetable has been completed. So he prays that God would accomplish that good work in bringing them back, because the 70 years were completed.
An interesting thing to notice, no one would have to convince Daniel of the inerrancy of scripture. No one would have to convince Daniel of a literal interpretation of the Bible. He didn't look and say, Oh, 70 years, it must be allegorical. It must not literally mean 70 years. It could mean 7,000 years or 7 years. He knew that 70, when God says 70, means 70. So that's the best approach to the rest of the Bible.
Instead of saying, well a thousand years probably really isn't a thousand years, and to look at the Book of Revelation and assign some allegorical, mythical application to it, rather than the literal approach, would be to defy the way other biblical writers and readers took it.
Daniel believed like the Lord Jesus. Not one jot, not one tittle, will by any means pass from the law. All will be fulfilled.
Well, his prayer begins in Verse 3, and it starts with a humble adoration-- or Verse 4-- "I prayed to the Lord, my God and made confession, and said, 'O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love him and with those who keep His commandments.'"
Notice the name he addresses God with, O Lord, great and awesome God. In Hebrew--
--which means you are magnificent in magnitude. You are awesome. You are singular. You are to be elevated and honored. That's the idea.
He begins his prayer in recognizing who he's dealing with, who he's talking to.
And it's always important when we pray to not just rush into the throne room, sweating it out, going, (MIMICKING DISTRESS) "O, God, I'm really in trouble. Things aren't working out."
Hey, stop and wait. You're approaching God. Recognize you're dealing with God, the Creator.
And as you come in that humble adoration, and your perspective is adjusted, it gives you that platform of faith. Oh, I am addressing the God who created the Heavens and the Earth, who spoke it all into existence. That's the one you're talking to. That's how Jesus taught us to pray.
When you pray say, Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. That is the pattern. Daniel followed it.
And then look at Verse 5. That humble adoration is followed by an honest confession.
"We have sinned and committed iniquity. We have done wickedly and rebelled even by departing from your precepts and your judgments. Neither have we heeded your servants, the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers, and to all the people of the land."
13 times in this prayer Daniel uses the plural, We. So Daniel includes himself in the confession. He doesn't bow his head and say, God, they, the children of Israel, those bad people-- not me, of course-- they sinned, and they rebelled. And would you please be merciful because they really are creeps? Rather he includes himself.
And you might think, well, why would Daniel include himself and add the we? What does Daniel have to confess? He was a young teenager when he was taken captive from Jerusalem and brought to Babylon. He lived a pretty stable life. In fact, as you go through the Book of Daniel, it was an exemplary life.
Why does Daniel say We have sinned? Two reasons. Reason number one, he's identifying with his people. He's seeing himself as part of the problem before he offers himself in prayer as part of the solution. So he is identifying with his own people as he includes We instead of pointing the finger.
So often, people will come to church, and they'll point the finger at other people in the church, who they think aren't as spiritual as they are.
O, I wish people could be more spiritual, like I am, Lord, and get with it, and work, and volunteer, like I do, Lord. But rather, they'll become critical of other folks, and they'll point the finger.
And you might want to just stop and ask yourself this question if you get into that mode at church, if everybody in your church were just like you, what kind of church would it be?
You see, when you look at it that way, well you might say, oh, it's a fabulous church. Well then we need to counsel with you afterwards. I'd like to have a heart to heart with you. But I think you realize, well it's going to come short then, if everybody in church were just like me. So Daniel identifies with the whole.
Number two, it is a mark of maturity, the closer you grow in spirituality. When you grow with the Lord, you realize how short you fall. You realize that.
Paul the Apostle said, "Here is a worthy saying, a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptance, that God sent Christ Jesus into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."
I'm number one.
So not only did Paul identify, Paul, the longer he walked with the Lord, called himself the chief of sinners. He sensed his need.
"O Lord, righteousness belongs to you. But to us, shame a face, as it is this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel; those near and those far off, in all the countries to which you have driven them because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against you."
"O Lord, to us, belong shame of face to our kings, our princes, and our fathers because we have sinned against you."
We live in a culture today in America, probably now in most Western countries, where the idea of personal shame and blame is not well handled. In fact, we're doing everything we can to banish shame, to silence the conscience. I had somebody say that the idea of saying shame on you to somebody should never be permitted, because a child, a person, should never have a sense of shame.
Well, that's crazy. You know what you call a person who feels no guilt and no shame? A sociopath. They're ultimately not fit for society. So to take sin and recast it and rename it, which we're doing today, is awfully dangerous. To make certain things politically correct, and renaming practices because they're politically incorrect, the old names, politically correct, the new names.
According to the Politically Correct Dictionary, which helps us navigate our modern day speech, a shoplifter should now be called a nontraditional shopper.
I understand there's lots of nontraditional shoppers out in New Orleans in the last week who are looting. A serial killer should now be called a person with difficult to meet needs. An evil person or evil itself is to be called morally different. Here's one. A drunk is now chemically inconvenienced. And a bum, can't call a person a bum, but rather a nongoal-oriented member of society.
Now you bring that back to the Bible. When a person feels shame and guilt and is driven to Christ in repentance, that's where the blessing is.
Jesus said, "Blessed, O how happy are those who mourn? They shall be comforted."
It's when you are poor in spirit and you mourn in repentance, that's where you feel the comfort and sense the comfort and joy of the Lord.
"To the Lord, our God"-- Verse 9-- "belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, our God, to walk in His laws which He has set before us by his servants, the prophets."
"Yes, all Israel has transgressed your law and has departed so as not to obey your voice. Therefore the curse and the oath, written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, had been poured out on us because we have sinned against Him."
"And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us, and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster. For under the whole Heaven, such as has never been done, as what has been done to Jerusalem."
"As it is written in the law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us. Yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord, our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand your truth. Therefore, the Lord has kept the disaster in mind and brought it upon us. For the Lord, our God, is righteous in all the works which he does, though we have not obeyed his voice."
"And now, O Lord, our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and made yourself a name, as it is this day, we have sinned. We have done wickedly."
This guy Daniel was not only reading Jeremiah and picking up on the 70 years that were now fulfilled. But this man, Daniel, knew his Bible, knew his Torah, knew the Pentateuch-- the first five books of Moses.
And he recalls Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 27, 28, and 29, which list the blessings, as well as the cursings. Blessings if you obey. Cursings if you disobey. And part of the promise was that your disobedience will get you kicked out of the land until there is repentance. He recognized that.
He saw the 70 years. He recognized what Moses had said. He pieces it all together, and he realized God has kept his promise. And he's approaching the Lord based upon God's character as the promise keeper.
Listen, in all due respect, God is the only promise keeper. We are-- Daniel knew it-- promise breakers, and that's what he's praying.
Lord, you know us. We've broken all the promises. Shame of face belongs to us. You're righteousness. You keep your promises, and we're experiencing them right now.
Verse 16, "O Lord, according to all your righteousness, I pray."
Now, the prayer's going to turn to not adoration, not confession, but intercession. He's going to pray on behalf of those people who will return as well.
"I pray let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain. Because for our sins, and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us."
Now I want you to notice something as we work our way through these verses. In Verse 16, Daniel prays to God.
He says, "For Your people."
He calls them, "Your people".
In Verse 17, he prays for "Your sanctuary," again to the Lord.
And then down in Verse 19, he prays for "Your people."
That's important, because when we get to Verse 24, the answer to Daniel-- which includes the 70-week prophecy-- will be based upon that prayer of Daniel.
"Now, therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant in his supplication, for the Lord's sake cause your face to shine on your sanctuary, which is desolate."
"O, my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by your name, for we do not present our supplications before you because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies."
Now, Daniel, as we've mentioned, is old at this point. He's very aware. He's still brilliant. He's walking with the Lord, but he's not going to return to Jerusalem as the decree will go out from Cyrus for the people, the Jews, to go back. They'll go, only about 50,000 of them.
But Daniel won't go. He'll stay in the court in Babylon. But though he stays in Babylon, his heart is now turned toward those who will go and build the city.
Now, this is called intersession. And intercession is the type of prayer that could be called laboring in prayer.
You see, it's easy, when I pray, to pray for myself. I know my needs. They fall off my lips readily as I come before God hourly with needs that I have, desires that I bring before Him.
I also find that worshipping God is easy. God is good all the time. He's wonderful. He's worthy to be praised. He's so lovely, praise comes quite easily and readily.
But when I turn my focus to other people's needs, now it's a little more difficult. They're not God, number one. Number two, they're not me. So to pray for another person could be called laboring in prayer.
Paul the Apostle spoke about a Epaphras, and this is what he said, "He is a bond servant of Christ, laboring fervently for you in prayer, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."
I recommend a book to you, if you haven't got it already, that Pastor Chuck has written on effective prayer life. A must have. A must read. An excellent practical approach that will cause you to have a great desire to pray more. Intercessory prayer, though it's tough, if you want to add zing to your life, this is it.
Some of you guys are thinking, man, I come to church. I read the Bible. I sing the songs. My life is sort of dry. What could I do to pep it up? Intercessory prayer.
You say, you mean that men's prayer thing where I have to sign up and spend a few hours at a time with other guys praying? Absolutely. It's one of the best things you could ever do for your spiritual life. It'll add pep to your walk with the Lord.
Maybe you've sense recently, ah, you come to church. You're becoming a little more blase, maybe even a little bit critical. You read through the Bible, and yet you get distracted easily. This, Calvary Chapel, is the most wonderful place to be, truly. You get fed the word. We worship the Lord in spirit.
And in truth, at the same time, it's a dangerous place to be, because the tendency can be for us to become spiritually fat. There's so much to intake every night of the week that we can become like the Dead Sea. We have an inlet, but no outlet.
There's a reason they call it the Dead Sea. It takes in. It never gives out. The Sea of Galilee takes in and gives out. And around it, there's not death. There's vibrant, living things. It's the artery that feeds the nation of Israel.
So while we are taking in, we need an outlet, and one of the greatest outlets is intercessory prayer. You'll walk away from it invigorated and enlivened.
"O Lord, hear," Verse 19.
"O Lord forgive. O Lord, listen and act."
And notice this, "Do not delay for your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by your name."
Now that verse shows us the motivation by which Daniel prayed. Daniel isn't praying that God would do this so that Daniel personally would get something out of it. He's not going to even go to Jerusalem and help rebuild the city.
What is on Daniel's mind, of ultimate concern, is that God, through answering this prayer, this promise, in Jeremiah 25 and 27, will be glorified.
It's his reputation. He made the promise that the Jews were going to return. Do it Lord, for Your sake.
There was a little boy. He was being tucked into bed at night, and he was saying his prayers.
Lord, thank you for the day. Bless mommy, and bless daddy, and bless my brother, and bless my baby sister.
And Lord, (SHOUTING) please get me a bicycle!
He shouted at the top of his lungs.
And his mom said, well, son, you don't have to yell. God can hear you. He's not deaf.
He said I know Mommy, that God isn't deaf. But Grandma's in the next room and she's hard of hearing."
Yeah, he prayed it, but he was hoping grandma would hear it and get him the bicycle.
Daniel's prayer is so that God would get the glory in fulfilling his promise.
Now, we turn to the answer to Daniel's prayer, the backbone of biblical prophecy. And in going through this next section, these next few verses, as Pastor Chuck did this morning, you'll walk away with an incredible appreciation for the Bible, and especially the God of the Bible.
Let's look at it generally, first of all, specifically, messianically, and then futuristically. Generally, it refers to the Jews.
"Now while I was speaking, 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, yes while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel"-- we remember him from last week in Chapter 8-- "whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning being caused to fly swiftly, reach me about the time of the evening sacrifice."
He is still computing his time on Jerusalem temple sacrifice time. In the evening, the afternoon, 3:00, when the second lamb was sacrificed in the temple that was standing anymore. But that's how he's computing the time.
"And he informed me and talked with me and said, "O, Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications, the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved. Therefore, consider the matter and understand the vision."
"70 weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city to finish the transgression to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring an everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy."
We notice that it's a set period of time. 70 weeks are determined. Now the word determined means to cut or to mark out. In other words, God has reserved a timetable what is called 70 weeks to accomplish certain things at a prescribed period of time.
There's a belief. It's what the deist believes in, and this verse would overturn that ideology, that belief system. The deist would say there is a God. He exists. He created the heavens and the earth, but then after creating them, he stepped back after winding up the clock, so to speak, and he really isn't involved in day to day affairs of mankind. He just stepped back and he watches what's going to happen, and learns as time goes on.
Well, this prophecy would counteract that. 70 weeks are determined. There is a timetable, and we find out it's very exact, given by God, and it happened historically. Well, it says 70 weeks. Literally, 70 7s. You could write that in the margin of your Bible, if you're so inclined. 70 7s literally. [SPEAKING HEBREW] 70 7s
Now you say it says 70 weeks. It could refer to weeks of days or it could refer to weeks of years, the term seven. The question is, what does it refer to here? It must refer to 70 weeks of years, not 70 weeks of days. Now the Hebrews computed, just like we think of history in terms of decades, we'll call a decade and refer to a period of 10 years, though a decade, the term could refer to 10 anything.
Jews would think in terms of heptads, periods of seven. So 70 7s are determined. Sometimes in the Bible, like in Daniel 10, Verse 2, it refers to a week of days. At other times, the idea of a seven or a week, refers to a week of years.
For instance, Genesis 29, when Laban pulled a switcheroo on his future son-in-law Jacob. And instead of being able to marry Rachel, he married Leah instead. And he woke up the next morning and said, what is this? This guy tricked me.
Laban came to him and said, "Fulfill her week. Work yet another seven years."
So he worked for another week, a period of seven years, and then he was able also, after 2 weeks, 14 years, to have both gals.
Something else, the 70 is, at least in Daniel's mind, relating to the captivity. And remember Daniel is reading Jeremiah, and he discovers, huh, 70 years that God promised is almost up.
And if you'll recall, the reason the children of Israel went into captivity is because they failed to keep the Sabbath year for 490 years.
So in Second Chronicles 36, God says you owe me 70 years. I'm going to let the land rest for 70 years and take you into captivity. Because for the previous 490 years, Israel had failed to keep the Sabbath year. Working six years. Seventh year, let the ground lay foul. So that's in his thinking, this idea of 490 and 70.
You know, Daniel's thinking, we sinned for 490 years. We've owed God 70. That 70 is almost up. We're going to go back to the land. But the answer that the angel gives to Daniel goes far beyond going back from the captivity.
Now the consensus of scholars, Jewish and Christian, is that 70 weeks is 70 weeks of years. So if you were to pull up a Jewish commentary or the Mishnah, they would say 70 periods of 7 years, or 490 years. There's that general consensus.
Even modern versions of the Bible, like the New Century version, render it, "God has ordered 490 years for Your people."
It couldn't refer to a week of days. Here's why. Because if it was 490 days, that would only be, not even a year and a half, about a year and a third. Certainly not enough time for the things mentioned in these verses to take place.
So Verse 24, "70 weeks are determined for Your people, for Your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint thee most holy."
Six things are mentioned that must take place in that 70-week period. Three have already been fulfilled. Three are yet to be fulfilled.
Look at the list. To finish the transgression, probably referring to Israel's transgression of rebellion and their return to the land; to make an end of sins-- That's why Jesus came the first time, to deal with the sin issue, his atonement upon the cross-- to make reconciliation for iniquity.
The word reconciliation means to cover or to expiate. It's the word kaffar. The idea is that of the cross.
So when Jesus came the first time, His first coming was all about dealing with those first three; the sin issue, taking away, and atoning for our sins.
Have you ever had people say, well, Jesus came simply to be a good example. Jesus came simply to give us high and lofty teachings like so many others who have come. No, he didn't.
Jesus came the first time to take away sin.
"You will call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
That's the first coming, and he fulfilled those first three.
The second are yet to be fulfilled; to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.
"Know therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be 7 weeks"-- or 49 years-- "and 62 weeks."
"The streets shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the 62 weeks, Messiah, shall be cut off, but not for himself.
"And the people of the Prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with the flood until the end of the war, desolations are determined."
To me, this is the pinnacle of the book of Daniel. It reaches its zenith here. It's one of the most amazing prophecies, because it says the very time of Messiah's coming.
Verse 25, he says, look, there's going to be a commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. And if you were to count from that day that commandment was given, these 483 sets of 7, 69 weeks, you'll arrive at the coming of the Messiah.
So find the date at which the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, count 483 years, and the Messiah, the prince, will show up. It's an amazing prophecy.
Now this has been greatly discussed. But understand something, even the Jews who lived in the Qumran community down by the Dead Sea before and during the time of Christ also saw this as the fulfillment of the Messiah and expected him to come around the time that Jesus Christ did come.
One rabbi by the name of Rabbi Jacques [? Rie ?] saw Daniel and this prophecy as referring to the Messiah, saying quote, "In Daniel is delivered to us the end. That is the time of the appearance and the death of the Messiah."
Three distinct periods in it. A period of 49 years, seven weeks; 434 years or 62 weeks; and then a last and final period, the 70th week of Daniel.
The question is then, when was the command given? And there are several different places you could start from. You could count from Ezra Chapter 2, where Cyrus gives the command for the Jews to go back and build the temple. But that wouldn't fulfill the prophecy because it says the street and the wall shall be rebuilt.
You could go to Ezra Chapter 6, when the command is sort of reiterated and fortified. It's the same command just given again. You can go to Ezra Chapter 7, where the command is given to re-institute the temple services, the sacrifices.
But the only edict that fits this prophecy was given in Nehemiah, when Artaxerxes Longimanus gave the commandment on March 14, 445 BC, for the Jews to go back under Nehemiah and finish the job. The temple was there, but the wall was down in the streets, and the gates were destroyed.
So he went back, and it took, interestingly enough, 49 years or 7 7s to complete the task. But look again.
Verse 26, "After the 62 weeks"--
So you had the 49 years or 7 weeks, and then another 62 weeks, or 434 years. So 483 years altogether.
"After the 62 weeks, Messiah shall be cut off"-- Karat, to be killed by piercing-- "but not for himself.
Now, that tells me that if I were to begin on March 14 445 BC and count 483 years, I should arrive at the Messiah. That's exactly what Sir Robert Anderson said in his mind, and he wrote a book called, "The Coming Prince." And he computed the number of days in 483 years starting, in March 14th 445 BC, and he computer it, and he came up with 173,880 days. And he counted for March 14th for 45 BC 173,880 days, and he discovered it ended up at a very interesting date in history in the Jewish calendar, the 10th of Nissan. The time when lambs are selected for the Passover.
It was the time Jesus entered Jerusalem from the east and gives his disciples and then usual command. Go in the village next to you and get a young donkey, a Colt, upon which never a man sat And Jesus sat on that donkey and came into Jerusalem, for the first time, introducing himself as the Messiah, fulfilling Zechariah Chapter 9, Verse 9, riding on a donkey.
Exactly 173,880 days after March 14 445 BC when the command was given, fulfilling this prophecy exactly. But Jesus said something interesting as he saw Jerusalem. He stopped.
And Luke 19 says, "He wept over the city and said, 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if only you would have known, even you, especially in this, your day, the things that make for your peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes.'"
He predicted the Romans casting a trench about them and the city falling, not leaving one stone upon another in the temple, because, he said, "You did not know the day of your visitation".
"If only you would have known in this, thy day. If only you would have known the day of your visitation."
What is he talking about? The 173,888th day from March 14, 445 BC. It was predicted to the Jews when the Messiah would come, plainly.
I'm going to give you a warning. If you go home, and you go, I'm going to try it, and you start getting in your calculator. You figure out the number of years and the days. You're going to come back next week and go, Skip, you're wrong. It's not 173,888 days. I tallied it up and I came up with 176,295 days.
That's because you're wrong in your calculation. It's probably because you are working off the Julian calendar of 365 and a third days. That's what we work off of. The ancient calendar, the Babylonian and the Jewish calendar, were 360 days. It was the lunar, not the solar calendar. If you do that--
And it's well documented by Sir Robert Anderson in his book, "The Coming Prince". And by the way he checked all of his figures with the British Royal Observatory and published the work. He was knighted for it, I've heard even. Fascinating study.
But Verse 26 concludes with something else. And the people of the Prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end of it shall be with a flood, until the end of the war desolations are determined. So we're introduced to another prince who will destroy Jerusalem, and in destroying it, also destroyed the temple. Now that's a matter of history.
We know what history said. We know that Jesus even predicted this very thing. He said, look the City's going to fall. In Matthew 24, he predicted it. It's a matter of history. On August 6, 70 AD, Titus Vespasian and the Romans encircled the city, burned the temple, leveled the town, and it's fulfilled.
Now, here's a very important note. The Messiah of the Jews can't be somebody who's going to come any day now in the future for the first time. The messiah of the Jews had to have come before 70 AD. There had to be a temple standing, and the temple then had to be destroyed. Because the prophecy of Daniel includes a temple in existence, the coming and the death of the Messiah, and then the destruction of the city and the temple.
Now futuristically in Verse 27, is the final [INAUDIBLE], the final seven, the seven year period, the tribulation period.
"Then He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of the week, He shall bring an end to sacrifice, an offering, and on the wing of abominations, shall be one who makes desolate. Even until the consummation which is determined is poured out upon the desolate."
So there's still more to come, and the prediction here clearly refers to the end of the age, to the future, something before the second coming.
You say, well, how can you be sure of that? Simply because where is everlasting righteousness? That's part of the prediction, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal a vision and prophecy, to anoint the most holy.
And to anoint the most holy, by the way, refers to the temple in the millennium. Kodesh kodashim, to anoint the most holy, always refers to the temple. And so the millennial temple will be rebuilt. And that's yet future.
So when Jesus predicted this same event, he looked at it in the future, just before his coming. He said in Matthew 24, "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), and then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."
Going on a little further, "Immediately, after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven, the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the son of man will appear in heaven. And then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and with great glory."
So in the future, in that 70th week of Daniel, the seven year of tribulation, another temple will be rebuilt by the Antichrist, presumably, or by Israel under his hand in allowance. In the middle of that week, the covenant will be broken. The abomination of desolation-- of which Antiochus Epiphanes, if you remember last week, was a model of that-- that is yet future, according to Jesus in Matthew 24.
A temple will be rebuilt. The Antichrist will proclaim himself as God. The abomination of desolation will take place at that point. Jesus will come back at the end of that seven year period. Takes us now into Daniel Chapter 10, which we have just a few moments to cover. But good news, Daniel 10 is an introduction to Daniel 11 and 12, so it goes pretty quickly. The real meat of it is the next two chapters. It's the fourth and final version-- the fourth and final version-- excuse me-- of Daniel.
Now something you've noticed in going through this book. Every time there's a new vision that Daniel gets, they increase in complexity and in the length. And the effect, the toll that it takes on Daniel is more severe.
"In the third year of Cyrus the King of Persia,"-- so about 335 BC-- "a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long. And he understood the message, and he had understanding of the vision. In those days, I, Daniel was mourning three full weeks."
Now these are weeks of days, obviously, not weeks of years.
"I ate no pleasant food. No meat, nor wine came into my mouth. Nor did I anoint myself at all until three whole weeks were "fulfilled.
The vision that Daniel gets, and again you'll it next week in Daniel 11 especially, is of the future atrocities that will happen to his own people. He gets a vision of the future. It makes him sick.
For the life of me, I don't know why somebody would go to a fortune teller or to an astrologer to find out their future in the next few years. I don't want to know. I know the end of the story prophetically. I know where it's all going to end up. I rejoice in that.
But would you want to know about a loved one dying in the next few years? Would you want to know about a child being born with birth defects in your life? No, God will give you the grace at that time. But to have all of that future, all of the atrocities, all of the troubles unfold, would be very painful. And Daniel sees it. And we'll enumerate it, we'll go through it, next week.
"On the 24th day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, behold a certain man clothed in linen"-- that's the garment of a priest-- "whose waist was girded with the gold of Uphaz."
Uphaz was down in the Persian Gulf, and it's place where they mined gold for that area.
"His body was like beryl. His face like the appearance of lightning. His eyes like torches of fire. His arms and feet like burnished bronze in color. And the sound of his words, like the voice of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision. For the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.
Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me. For my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retain no strength. Yet I heard the sound of his words, and while I heard the sound of his words, I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground."
Vision of the man that he sees is like someone who appeared to be a jewel, like pure gold. Beryl is a transparent, ancient stone that has a golden hue to it. So just like this luminescent jewel, he sees this man who is dressed in linen.
Now some people say this is the Archangel Gabriel because he appears in the vision, and in Chapter 8 as well. Some people say it's the Archangel Michael who appears in this chapter. But most, and I would agree, see this as an appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. A Christophany, a theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ; because his description could be compared to Revelation Chapter 1.
The vision that John sees, a voice speaking with him saying, I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. And he said, I turned to see in the direction of that voice, and the description is identical to this description.
Now here's an important principle; in seeing into the future, the future conflict, the suffering that the Jews, his own people, will suffer, and those kinds of things that make him sick to his stomach-- in the midst of that vision of suffering-- he sees the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is important that in any of our life's situations, in any of those things which befall us, times of suffering, trial, hardship, to fix our eyes on the Lord.
That's why Paul, when he wrote the book of Philippians, could say, though he's in prison, "Rejoice in the Lord, always. And again, I say rejoice."
You can't rejoice in your circumstances. Paul didn't know if he was going to live or die. But to rejoice in the Lord is the secret.
The Automobile Association of America put out an interesting article about a phenomenon of drivers, an unusual amount of drivers, who were hitting cars parked on the side of the road. And they couldn't figure out why so many people were veering off and hitting park cars. They were all over the country. Perfect weather conditions. These people were not on drugs or alcohol.
And they came up with the explanation they called the moth effect, that they just turned their head to wonder why is that car parked by the side of the road? And in staring at it too long, their car would veer to where they were looking. And so they noticed this high incidence of weird accidents. That people will end up where they look. That's where they drive. So the key isn't to look at the car parked at the side of the road while you're driving, but to look at the road. Makes sense. You weren't taught that in Driver's Ed.
In life, that's a principle, as well. If you are always looking at the problems, that's where you end up. But if in the midst of them, you see that vision of the glorious Lord, makes all the difference.
"Suddenly a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and the palms of my hands. And he said to me, O Daniel, greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you. While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling."
By the way, Daniel is only one of two people in all the Bible called beloved. One is Daniel; the other is John The Apostle, the one whom Jesus loved. And it's interesting that both of them wrote great prophetic books; John, the Book of Revelation, Daniel, this prophecy.
"You are greatly beloved."
Now, this second being seems to be someone else. It makes no mention that the first being touched him, but a hand touched him.
"And then he said to me, Do not fear Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. And I have come because of your words."
When we pray, our prayers are heard immediately in heaven. You're right with God. You walk with God. You've confessed your sins. Every prayer you breathe is heard immediately in heaven. You say, well God doesn't answer my prayers immediately in the way that I would like. Well, that's OK.
The angel will say, look I was dispatched but it took me 21 days to get here because of this conflict that I had. Never give up praying in tough times. Never say I prayed and nothing has worked. Jesus said men ought always to pray and not to faint.
Acts Chapter 12, Peter was in prison, and says the church immediately went to prayer. I love that. The church didn't go out and say we've got to picket the Roman government. Let's get out the signs, boys. Get some of these other apostles up front. Let's picket the Roman government and say release our guys from jail.
No, why do that when you can take out the big artillery, prayer? Let's go to prayer. Let's watch what God will do. Those are the big guns. And so they did. And so God answered them.
That's why it's sure got to be an insult to God when we say, (MIMICKING SADNESS) there's nothing left to do-- gulp-- but pray. Nothing left but prayer? Hey, those are the smart bombs. Get them out. Watch them work.
"But the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia withstood me 21 days, and behold, Michael, one of the Princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the Kings of Persia."
Now the kings of Persia are Cyrus and Darius the Mede. But there's this Prince of Persia, an entirely different being. Now, we're pulling back the curtain and getting insight into the satanic battlefield.
"Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come."
And that will be the vision we read next week in the last two chapters of the book.
"When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips. And I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, 'My Lord, because of the vision, my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. For how can this servant of my Lord talk with you, my Lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.'"
"Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me, and he said, 'O, man, greatly beloved, fear not. Peace be to you. Be strong. Yes, be strong.'"
"So when he spoke to me, I was strengthened, and said, 'Let my Lord speak, for you have strengthened me.'"
This Prince of Persia must be a demonic emissary, perhaps one who even possessed, at some point, the King of Persia, Cyrus. And the battle is the battle against what the Persians might do to the Jews. Now we know that they let them back and release them to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and the temple, but the battle is over the future, what might happen to the Jewish nation.
It seems that this demonic representative of Satan was dispatched to hinder the Jews. The Prince of Persia, now he's a bad guy. He's so bad that it took 21 days to quarrel with him before he could come down and answer this prayer of Daniel as the Lord dispatched him. Now if the Prince of Persia was that bad, what might the Prince of San Francisco be like, or the Prince of Hollywood or the Prince of Los Vegas?
"Then he said, 'Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the Prince of Persia. And when I have gone forth, indeed, the Prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the scripture of truth, no one upholds me against these, except Michael, your Prince.'"
And the worst is yet to come as we get into Chapter 11, describing the future atrocities in detail of Antiochus Epiphanes and Alexander, et cetera.
A word of caution about this. We believe, as the Bible says, that there are principalities and powers and workers of wickedness in high places i.e., demonic hosts. Satan has a whole network of demons to do his work around the world.
But here's the warning. Some Christians have an unhealthy fascination with what they call territorial demons. And so they will have meetings, seminars, around the country, around the world, where it is sort of like a Satan-fest. They'll get together and they'll address certain principalities, they say, of the nations, the governments, rulers, of this world. They've identified them through demons giving them the information.
Now, the Bible talks about the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece, but nowhere else are territorial demons mentioned. But there's a whole new theology built on this, and they'll even shout at the devil and-- Listen, it's always weird when you start praying to the devil. You're standing on bad ground. It's not solid. Best to direct your prayers to God and let him handle your enemy. Let's do that.
Heavenly Father, we conclude this study, this time in your word, scratching the surface, getting a glimpse, of your plan for the people of Israel, Jerusalem, the holy city, and the holy mountain, the Temple, Mount Zion. Where the temple will be rebuilt in future days, one in the tribulation period, and ultimately, in the Kingdom Age.
Heavenly Father, we think about our own lives. And we know that if all of this is in your hands, and so meticulously and carefully predicted and cared for-- You administrate all of the details of history and prophecy-- we know that you're going to take care of us. And so Father, in prayer, we come to you and we give you those concerns of our lives.
We are prompted to pray when we realize that we have really nothing to fear. You're going to take care of us. You will perfect that which concerns us, so make us men and women of prayer. And thank You for this time in the word. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Tonight, if you are in need of prayer, the pastors are down here at the front to minister to you and to pray with you.
As Jesus said and Skip told this tonight, "Men ought always to pray and not to faint."
A lot of times we look at our problems and our troubles and we faint. But we ought to pray and to allow God that opportunity to show himself strong on your behalf. So these pastors are here. They're here to pray with you. Whatever the need might be that you might experience in your life at this time, I know that God is able to meet that need. Give him the opportunity, present the need to him, and watch God work.
Wonderful to go through the Bible and to see, as was pointed out tonight, with what minut accuracy God spoke of things that would happen and have happened. History has proved the inspiration of the scriptures.
As we move into chapter 11, we're going to get some interesting, again, intricate, prophecies that have brought a lot of criticism against the Bible by those who do not believe in miracles. And so they say that Daniel could not have been written by Daniel because you could not write with such accuracy events that had not yet taken place. And so that is their proof that Daniel didn't write Daniel, that it was written later after the fact, because you couldn't, with such accuracy, make the predictions that we find there in chapter 11.
But God said he knows the end from the beginning, and as God inspired Daniel, so he wrote. And we have this wonderful record of history in advance. But then he goes on into the future, and he deals with the Antichrist, and the coming again of Jesus Christ in Chapter 12. So fascinating prophecies ahead in the next two chapters of Daniel. And we trust that you'll be here to go through the word of God with us.
But as we look at these things, as John, at the end of the Book of Revelation, "The Lord said unto him, 'I'm coming quickly.' He responded, 'Even so, come quickly, Lord, Jesus.'"
And that's our prayer tonight, Lord, come establish your kingdom. May your kingdom come, and your will be done here on Earth, even as it is in Heaven.
(SINGING) Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, in Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.