Contending For The Faith

January 31, 2009

Daniel 9: Israel’s Future

The second half of Daniel 9, the answer to his prayer, is contained in seven important verses, Daniel 9:20-27, and here I review the three sermons MacArthur preached, “Israel’s Future.”   Here are part 1, part 2, and part 3.

MacArthur focuses on three features and three main characters:

  • The Circumstances of Daniel
  • The Coming of Gabriel
  • The Communication of God

First, Daniel and his circumstances: he was praying, a very strong, fervent prayer, as described in the first 19 verses and the previous sermon set.

Second, the coming of Gabriel: he is an angel, though he comes in the form of a man, and his name literally means “The strong one of God” from the hebrew words gabar “the strong one” and el “God.” Gabriel also appeared in other important situations: to Zechariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary to announce the birth of the Messiah. God wants Daniel to know that His message is a high-priority one, sent by Gabriel personally; this information also connects the events with Gabriel in chapter 8, Gabriel’s previous visit to Daniel.

Third comes the communication, the prophecy in verses 24 to 27, a well-known prophecy about 70 weeks. Daniel had been praying about the ending of 70 years of captivity, and God responds that there is much more to come, not just 70 years but 70 times 7 years. An interesting side note here regarding scripture: when Daniel read the term “seventy years” in Jeremiah’s writings, he thought it actually meant seventy years. As MacArthur points out, so many Bible commentators and when the Bible says seventy years, “they immediately go into instant hocus-pocus and they invent all kinds of fantastic symbols which were not the case in Daniel’s mind.

Now for a summary of the prophecy: the entire prophecy has to do with Daniel’s people and Daniel’s city, the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.

Two different princes are mentioned: “Messiah the Prince” in verse 25, and “the prince that shall come” in verse 26 — the first is Christ, the next one is antichrist.

The entire time period involved is exactly specified as 70 weeks, which are divided into three sections: the first seven weeks, then 62 weeks, and a last week.

Verse 24 is important, as it tells the purpose of these 70 weeks in God’s redemptive plan. Six purposes are described, of which the first three are negative — finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity. The following three purposes are positive: to bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint a Holy of Holies. The prophecy for the 70 weeks goes from Daniel’s time to the end. The first three purposes point to Christ’s work on the cross; the last three purposes go beyond the cross to the kingdom, which lets us know there’s a time gap.

These seventy weeks are “determined” for God’s sovereign eternal plan. The Hebrew word literally means “to cut off,” and so “it’s as if God has just cut off or cut loose a seventy-week period, pulled it right out of human history and in that period He will accomplish His purposes with His people Israel.” These weeks are determined by God, and determined by God “upon thy people and upon thy holy city.”

MacArthur gives reasons for stating that the years are according to the Jewish calendar, 360 day years (see previous blog entry “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks“). Parallel texts in Revelation say that the great Tribulation will last 42 months (Rev. 13) and specifically, 1260 days (Rev. 12:6), and 1260 days means you have to be using 360 day years.

In the third part of this series, MacArthur looks more closely at verses 26 and 27. We note from the text that Messiah is cut off, killed, AFTER the 69 weeks, not during it. Then come more events AFTER the 69 weeks; “the people of the prince that shall come” describes the antichrist (the prince or ruler that shall come), and the people of the prince are Romans, who “will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This part refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by the Romans. Then, “War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” The gap continues, and then, verse 27, “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.” We know there’s a time gap before the 70th week, though we don’t know how long it lasts — only that it ends when antichrist comes to confirm a covenant with Israel. As MacArthur relates, the book of Revelation gives us additional information not disclosed here in Daniel, describing the same time period. Additional texts describing the antichrist and the great Tribulation include Revelation 13: 4-5, also 2 Thess. 2.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: