DANIEL 9      Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  Daniel  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

CHAPTER IX. DANIEL'S PRAYER AND THE ANSWER

  1. In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of
  2. the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by the books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years.
  3. And I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and
  4. ashes. And I prayed to the lord my God, and made confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him
  5. and keep his commandments; we have sinned, and have dealt perversely, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even turning aside from your precepts and from your judgements:
  6. neither have we hearkened to your servants the prophets, which spoke in your name to our kings, our princes,
  7. and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to you, but to us confusion of face, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither you have driven them, because of their trespass that they have
  8. trespassed against you. O Lord, to us belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because
  9. we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses; for we have rebelled against him;
  10. neither have we obeyed the voice of the lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his
  11. servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed your law, even turning aside, that they should not obey your voice: therefore has the curse been poured out upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God;
  12. for we have sinned against him. And he has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven has not been done as has been done
  13. upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet have we not entreated the favour of the lord our God, that we should turn from our
  14. iniquities, and have discernment in your truth. Therefore has the lord watched over the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which
  15. he does, and we have not obeyed his voice. And now, O Lord our God, that have brought your people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have gotten you renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
  16. O Lord, according to all your righteousness, let your anger and your fury, I pray you, be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people are become a reproach to all that are round about us.
  17. Now, therefore, O our God, hearken to the prayer of your servant, and to his supplications, and cause your face to shine upon your sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's
  18. sake. O my God, incline your ear, and hear; open your eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by your name: for we do not present our supplications before
  19. you for our righteousnesses, but for your great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not; for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.
  20. And whiles I was speaking, and 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
  21. of my God; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of
  22. the evening oblation. And he instructed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to make
  23. you skilful of understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the commandment went forth, and I am come to tell you; for you are greatly beloved: therefore consider
  24. the matter, and understand the vision. Seventy weeks are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to
  25. anoint the most holy. Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks: and threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again,
  26. with street and moat, even in troublous times. And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and his end shall be with a flood, and even to the end shall be war;
  27. desolations are determined. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and for the half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that makes desolate; and even to the consummation, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolator.


 

REFERENCES

Verses Numbers
1-3. P. P.
2, 13, 14, 20. Dict. P. 12
2, 25-27.. Dict. P. 12
3.. AR 492; AC 637
3, 4, 7-9, 16-19 Dict. P. 12
4-19. P. P.
10... AR 3; AE 409
11,13. AC 6752; AR 662; AE 937
16 AE 405
17.. AC 5585, 9306
18 AC 3869
20 AE 405
20-23 P. P.
21 D. Lord 52; D. P. 134; AR 36, 945; TCR 157
24 AC 1857, 2025, 9680, 9715, 9954, 10129; D. P. 134; AR 779; AE 204, 375, 624; P. P.
24, 25 AC 395, 728, 6508; D. Lord 6
24-27 D. P. 328; AE 684
24 to end AC 411
24. 27 AC 4535, 10497, 10622
25 AC 2336, 6508, 9228, 9954; D. Lord 64; AR 501, 880; B. E. 100; TCR 782; AE 375, 652; P. P.; Dict. P. 12
26 AC 622; AC 315; Coronis 34; P.P.; Dict. P. 13
26, 27 AE 83
27 AC 988, 1857, 2180, 5376, 10042; AR 658, 757; B. E. 100; TCR 179, 181, 378, 755, 758, 761, 782; AE 397, 1045, 1100; P. P.; Dict. P. 13
Chapter cited HH 171; C. L. 26; TCR 851; Ath. Cd. 41

COMMENTARY: Daniel's Prayer and the Divine Answer.

in the explanation given of chapter six, we considered the questions in regard to Darius, who he was and what place he had in the history of those times. He is mentioned again at the opening of this chapter and also at the beginning of chapter eleven. Nothing need be added here respecting him.

The closing of Daniel's vision recorded in chapter eight left him in a state of grief and sickness. He felt the desolation that had come upon the Jewish Church and nation, and that would come upon the whole church of the future, and no doubt reflected deeply upon the vision he had seen. As one of those who had been carried into captivity, he knew what trials and sufferings had come upon his people in consequence of their own violations of the Divine commandments. These outward trials and sufferings were not only known to him but to Jeremiah the prophet; and to the latter it was revealed how long the Babylonish captivity would continue. This ninth chapter of the book of Daniel begins with these words:

In the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years whereof the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Jerusalem, even seventy years. (Ver. 1, 2.)

The period of the duration of the captivity was made known to Daniel, not by a vision or a special revelation, but by the prophecy already declared by Jeremiah, which is recorded in the twenty-fifth chapter of that prophecy, verse 11:

And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the King of Babylon seventy years. (Jer. 25:11)

And in chapter twenty-nine, verse 10, of the same prophecy, we read:

For thus says the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished for Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. (Jer. 29:10)

It would appear that the manuscript rolls on which Jeremiah had written these things were known to Daniel and had been read by him as he says:

I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years whereof the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet.

This may be thought to be doubtful, unless we believe that these manuscript rolls, or some of them, were carried to Babylon from Jerusalem, and there seems to be good ground for believing this. We are told that Jeremiah commanded Seraiah to read all the words he had written, when Seraiah and the other captives should come to Babylon. (See jer. 51:59-64.) We have no reason to doubt, however, that the period of the captivity was made known to the writer of the book in some way, and also the fact that the Lord would afterwards through Zerubbabel restore Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.

Seventy years denotes a full period of profane worship, the vastation of the church and its consummation, thus it applies to the consummation of both the Jewish Church and the Christian Church. We have noted frequently the difficulty of applying the times mentioned in the Word to natural times, or the duration of earthly things. The same may be said in reference to the numbers seven and seventy. The effort to explain this book of Daniel literally has given rise to great confusion and error. As for instance what is said in verse twenty-five:

Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, to the Anointed One, the Prince, shall be seven weeks: and threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times. (Ver. 25.)

Now the words "three score and two weeks" cannot be correctly applied to the time intervening between the restoration or rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple under the decree of Cyrus, and the coming of Messiah, who was the Lord, on earth, If we suppose, as some commentators have done, that the word "weeks," in this passage, means weeks of years or four hundred and thirty-four years, we are still in difficulty.

It may be asked if we interpret the numbers in one passage with reference to natural time, as the seventy years of captivity in Babylon, why not in the other passages? Ought not the rule of interpretation to be uniform? The answer will now be given. The seventy years of captivity had an actual and literal fulfillment in the history of the Jewish Church and people. The captivity lasted that period, and the end of it was near at hand when Daniel referred to Jeremiah's prophecy. This period was also representative of the complete state of profane worship in which the Jewish Church had sunk. The numbers seven and seventy in a good sense denote what is holy, and in the opposite sense what is profane. But this prophecy of Daniel extended beyond the period of the captivity, not only to the coming of Messiah or the Lord at the end of the Jewish Church, when all the Jewish representatives ceased, but even to the Second Coming of the Lord and the consummation of the first Christian Church. Indeed in its universal spiritual meaning, it refers to the desolation that comes upon every member of the church when he is carried away into captivity by the love of dominion, which originates in the love of self. The Lord then judges his life as He judges the evil state of the whole church in every age.

In this broad and universal application of the Word of prophecy to the state of the church in general and particular, we may see that natural times have only a correspondential meaning, and are not to be considered in any other way when we are interpreting the Word of the Lord. Even the seventy years of captivity which comprised an actual historical period are of little moment to us, only as they represent a state of complete vastation.

This idea may be still more clearly seen in the book of Revelation, the Apocalyptic book, which treats in its spiritual sense of the end or consummation of the first Christian Church, the Second Coming of the Lord, and the establishment of the New Jerusalem. We read in it that the number of those who were sealed was 144000; that the number of the beast was 666, "the number of a man"; that the two witnesses should prophesy 1,260 days, and that afterwards their dead bodies should lie three and a half days "in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt." Without a spiritual signification for these numbers, they have no meaning for us we cannot understand them. But let us return to Daniel.

We find a change now in the narrative. After realizing the desolation of his people and their sin, he sets his face towards the Lord in prayer as he had done before, with his face towards Jerusalem. (Chap. 6:10.)

This prayer of Daniel is full of the spirit of humility and repentance. As he felt the sin of Judah and Jerusalem he made supplication to the Lord for forgiveness. He prayed not for himself but for his people, for the restoration of Israel. He stands not merely as the representative of his people in this attitude of prayer and supplication, but of every devout and penitent soul who sees the sin of his own life and seeks, by prayer to the Lord, for power to overcome. At the end of every church there are a few left who still retain some faith in the Lord, and in states of innocence turn to Him for salvation.

In a still higher sense, Daniel here represents the Lord who wept over Jerusalem and prayed to the Father for the redemption of His people.

This prayer of Daniel from beginning to end is a confession of sin, and may serve as a model for all prayer; for in its spiritual sense it contains a full acknowledgement of the cause of evil and sin, that is, disobedience to the Divine law, and supplication that the power of the Lord may remove the evil or overcome its influence. In the mere letter there is the appearance of a visitation of the Divine vengeance a punishment inflicted by the Lord.

Yea, all Israel have transgressed Your law, even turning aside, that they should not obey Your voice: therefore has the curse been poured out upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. (Ver. 11.)

And again:

Therefore has the Lord watched over the evil and brought it upon us. (Ver. 14.)

It must have appeared to Daniel, as it did to all the Jews, that the Lord inflicted punishment and suffering upon them because of their transgression and their sin, but in reality evil punishes itself; the Lord casts no one into hell, and He is ever ready to forgive. Yet it must appear to the natural mind that the Lord inflicts the punishment. A confession of sin is necessary on man's part that the door may be opened for the Lord to enter in, so that man may feel that He is mercy itself.

There was no spiritual change in the Jewish people as a church. Its worship was restored, but it never became a true church. It was only held back, as it were, and prevented from sinking into deeper evil, until the Lord came to judge it. All this was for the Divine end of the future salvation of the human race. The Jewish Church was restored and preserved on the earth, so that the knowledge of a Divine Being might not be lost. This was done through the written Word, in the histories and prophecies of which He is constantly spoken of, and the promise is given that He will come to rebuild the temple of humanity.

Now, beginning with the twentieth verse of this chapter, to the end of it, the answer is given to Daniel's prayer. He says:

And whiles I was speaking, and 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; yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. (Ver. 20, 21.)

The angel Gabriel, as we have before explained, stands for a heavenly society with which Daniel was in communication, and this heavenly society which Gabriel represented was in the love of making known the truth respecting the Lord's coming. Gabriel is said to "fly swiftly," to denote the lively affection and desire of the angels that man should know the Lord in His Divine Humanity. He appeared to Daniel about the time of the evening oblation and touched him, to denote the communication of heaven with man even at the last time of the church, when his mind is turned to the Lord in holy worship.

Daniel said:

And he instructed me and talked with me and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to make you skilful of understanding. (Ver. 22.)

What was revealed to Daniel contained in its deeper sense the wisdom of the Lord concerning His coming to save the human race. This wisdom was concealed under the letter of the words which were spoken to Daniel. He saw only their natural meaning, which related to the restoration of the city of Jerusalem and rebuilding of the temple on the "holy mountain," for which he prayed; but in the heavenly meaning, which was known to the heavenly society with which he was in communication, this promise given in answer to prayer refers to every state of the church of the future and of the individual man, in which the Lord comes to enlighten and to save. It contains the Lord's answer to every prayer the coming of the Lord, after every period of darkness and desolation, to restore and renew and rebuild the temple of humanity. And Daniel, to whom the answer is given, represents those who are in the sincere desire or love of the truth for its own sake and for the sake of amendment of life. Spiritual enlightenment is given to those who thus "seek the Lord while He may be found." Further the angel said to Daniel, that is, communication was given by an internal way, and at the same time Daniel heard an audible voice, saying:

At the beginning of your supplications the commandment went forth, and I am come to tell you; for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision. (Ver. 23.)

As soon as man puts himself in the mental attitude of prayer, that is, when he turns his thoughts and affections to the Lord, influx is determined into his mind and he begins to see the truth and to feel the influence of the Divine Love. By "the commandment went forth" is meant that the Word of Divine Truth began to be opened so that its influence could be received. This is the effect of prayer. The degree to which man is enlightened and elevated must depend upon his previous states of instruction and regeneration, but every one who, in a state of innocence, looks to the Lord, receives light and guidance from Him.

The remaining verses, from the twenty-fourth to the twenty-seventh, we have already partly explained. In their lowest natural sense they have reference to the return from the captivity, the rebuilding of the city and temple, and afterwards to the coming of the Messiah and the judgement upon the Jewish Church. But the Jewish Church came to an end when the Lord came into the world. Then followed the first Christian Church. This also came to an end and was judged, as appears from the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew and the Apocalypse. The Lord suffered the Jewish Church to remain until His coming, lest those who were in simple good should be destroyed with those who were only in external or seeming good. So it was at the end of the first Christian Church. This continuance is meant in the Gospel by suffering the tares and the wheat to "grow together until the harvest." The evil must come to the full before the judgement is effected and a New Church is established. The establishment of a New Church is meant by the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The decline of every church is caused by the loss of charity which is followed by the loss of true faith in the Lord. By the flood in the twenty-sixth verse is meant the breaking up of the church by false persuasions. "The Anointed One shall be cut off," that is as the Lord was crucified by the Jews so will all love to Him and faith in Him be extinguished. In the twenty-seventh verse we read:

And He shall make a firm covenant with many for one week; and for the half of the week, He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that makes desolate, and even to the consummation, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate.

This is the conclusion of the Divine message given to Daniel by the angel. It is a prophecy of the end of the church when "iniquity shall abound and the love of many shall wax cold."

It is often supposed by Protestants that the period of the Reformation was the beginning of a new era in the Christian Church. So it was. But this era did not restore the primitive faith in the Lord Jesus Christ nor bring peace and harmony into the world. It prevented the further increase of the Papal Dominion and opened the Bible in some lands to the common people. The Word, however, was not understood, false doctrines were drawn from it, and the Dragon cast a flood of waters over the earth. This short period of comparative purity and agreement with the truth was ended in the middle of the eighteenth century. This is predicted in these words: "And He shall make a firm covenant with many for one week." This is foretold also in the Apocalypse where the Roman Catholic and Reformed Churches are treated of with respect to their faith and worship. "For the half of the week," or "in the midst of the week," we are told, here in Daniel, "He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease;" that is, the genuine worship of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth from true faith in Him and genuine love to Him came to an end. Lastly, it is written, "and for the overspreading of abominations, He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, wrath shall be poured upon the desolate."

In the Revised Version the "overspreading of abominations" is translated the "wing of abomination." Swedenborg translates it according to Schmidius, "upon the bird of abominations." The idea is that by mere reasonings and intellectual flights the men of the Reformed Churches brought in the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. This is the bird of abomination which brought desolation upon the church.

"Even to the consummation" signifies the last state of the church, where there will no longer be any truth or good remaining. Then the Last Judgement was executed in the world of spirits and a way was opened for the Lord's Second Coming in the spirit and power of His Word, by which a new church will be established in which the Lord alone will be worshiped.

That the consummation of the church at the time of the Last Judgement is thus predicted by the prophet Daniel appears from the Lord's words in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter twenty-four:

When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso reads, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

 

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