Lesson 5

Daniel 9: The Coming of the Messiah

(Daniel 9)
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Introduction: Last week we learned that Daniel's pleasant virtual stroll by the water of the Ulai Canal turned into a nightmare that made him sick for several days. He was sick because he learned that Babylon, in which he held a very high position, was about to fall. Worse, he learned that the temple in Jerusalem, that we determined was either in the planning or actual rebuilding stage, was going to be destroyed again! The dream of his lifetime (going home) was going down the drain. That caused Daniel to turn to God in earnest prayer for the future. God gives Daniel a prophetic answer that is one of the most important for our confidence in the divinity of Jesus. Let's jump into our study and learn more!

  1. Hope

    1. Read Daniel 9:1. Who is Darius? (He is the new king of "Babylon." The text says he is a "Mede." This means that the conquest of the Babylonians by the Medo-Persian kingdom that was prophesied in Daniel 8 (the long-horned Ram) has taken place.)

    2. Read Daniel 9:2. Is Daniel talking about the future destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Roman Empire? (No. Remember that the Babylonians destroyed the temple(Solomon's temple) the first time - which was how Daniel was in captivity in Babylon.)

    3. Read Jeremiah 25:12 and 29:10-11. This is the "70 years" prophecy to which Daniel is referring in Daniel 9:2. What "hope" is Jeremiah 29:11 providing? (God had given Daniel (and others who read God's Word) hope for the future by letting them know that the temple would be rebuilt and the people could return after a 70 year period of captivity.)

    4. Imagine having a son or daughter who you know will live only 20 years. What kind of attitude would you have about this situation? (You would be sad about the future, but you would put that behind you and try to put as much joy into the 20 years as possible. I think that is Daniel's attitude here. He knows(from Daniel 8) that the rebuilt temple will be destroyed in the future. But, he is anxious to get it rebuilt now so God's people can "enjoy" it while they still have it.)

  2. Crisis Prayer

    1. Read Daniel 9:3. Tell me what Daniel is doing to get God to listen to him. (He is doing several special things: not eating (fasting), wearing unpleasant clothes (sackcloth), pleading and putting dirt (ashes) on his body.)

      1. Why? Is God more likely to answer us if we plead, not eat, wear rough clothes and put ashes on ourselves?

      1. Will God answer your prayers if you do this, but not answer them if you do not? (At first thought, this seems geared towards a primitive god and is works oriented. However, as we read on we will see that Daniel wanted God to understand that they were truly sorry for their sins. These "things" that Daniel was doing showed humility and emptying of self. I think that is his point with God. He is not doing this to make God listen to him, he is doing this to show there is no arrogance here.)

    1. Read Daniel 9:4-7, 11. Why had bad things happened to the people? (Daniel's reference in v.11 is to Deuteronomy 28 where God essentially says to His people "You have a choice - obey Me and be blessed or disobey Me and be cursed." Christians seem to have lost this message in the (proper) belief that not every bad thing that happens to you is because of your sin. We need to get back to the "middle road" of saying a lot of the bad that happens to us IS because of our sin.)

      1. Daniel, as we have learned, has been one faithful fellow. Why does he include himself in this confession of sin?

      2. Read Daniel 9:17-19. Daniel is confessing the sins of others. Can he do that? Does God allow us to confess the sins of others? (There is something happening here that I do not understand. Daniel includes himself in the group of disobedient, even though I doubt he was disobedient in this area. He also seeks to confess the sins of others - something that we see elsewhere in the Bible. Look at Job 1:5. Job seemed to be confessing the sins of his children after they had "feasts." In the New Testament, consider what 1 John 5:16 says about the idea of praying for the sins of others. Logically, it makes no sense to me that we can confess the sins of others. However, I do pray for forgiveness for the sins of my children because of these texts.)

  1. The Answer

    1. Read Daniel 9:20-23. You tell me how long you think Daniel was praying? However long it was, the Bible clearly says that Gabriel traveled from heaven to earth in that period of time. Has God mastered travel beyond the speed of light? (There is scientific theory to support "time travel," and I believe God is the author of it. That is why God says He is beyond time. Psalms 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8, Revelation 1:4)

      1. Do you think that the next time you pray you will fast, will wear rough clothes and will put dirt on yourself? (Whatever we may have thought about Daniel's prayer aids, we cannot argue with the result!)

    2. Read Daniel 9:24-25. What question did Daniel have of God? How is this an answer to his question? (Daniel was praying for the end of captivity for God's people and the restoring of the temple. We discussed last week that restoring the temple was critical to Jews for the forgiveness of sins. God, in His normal practice of doing more than we request, gives Daniel a vision about the ultimate answer to sin - Jesus.)

      1. Last week I noted a difference of opinion among Christians as to the meaning of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:11-14. However, as to the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 I believe there is general agreement on the broad points. So let's explore this prophecy!

      2. What do you think are "Seventy `sevens'?" (Other translations say "weeks" instead of "sevens." Both Strong's and Brown-Driver-Briggs' definition of the Hebrew word "shabuwa," which is translated "sevens" or "weeks," indicate that this means a period of either 7 days or 7 years. I notice that the Revised Standard Version actually incorporates this idea by translating this: "Seventy weeks of years...")

      3. What does verse 24 say is going to happen during this "Seventy weeks" - 490 years? (It involves both the Jews and Jerusalem. It involves the end of sin, transgression and the atonement for sin. It brings in "everlasting righteousness.")

      4. Who is the "Anointed One" of verse 25? (When you add verses 24 and 25 together, you get the picture of an "Anointed One" who ends sin by atoning for it. This can only point to Jesus, the Messiah!)

      5. What is the timing of Jesus coming? (Verse 25 tells us 7 weeks plus 62 weeks. This equals 69 weeks or 483 prophetic years. This period begins to run from the decree to restore Jerusalem. The decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild the city and the temple (Ezra 7:11-28) took place in 458/457 B.C. If you add to this date 483 years, you come to 27 A.D.)

        1. What happened in 27 A.D.? (Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. See Luke 3:21-23)

    3. Read Daniel 9:26-27. Does this 62 weeks fit into the timing of the death of Jesus? (No - since 62 would obviously come before the 69 weeks we just discussed.)

      1. What answer do you have to this apparent conflict? (The text says "after" the 62 weeks. It does not use this to date the death of Jesus.)

      2. What do you think verse 27 means when it says in the middle of one "seven" "He" will put an end to sacrifice and offering? (Half of seven is 3.5. Jesus' ministry lasted for 31/2 years.)

    4. Have you ever said to yourself, "I wonder if Jesus was really God?" "Was He really the Messiah sent from God?"

      1. If you have, what does this prophecy in Daniel teach us? (Three of the major religions of the world, Judaism, Islam and Christianity accept the inspired nature of the Old Testament. This 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 clearly points to Jesus as our Messiah and our Lord. He is the one who "fulfilled" the sacrificial service of the temple. He is the one who overcame sin by His life and death.)

    5. Friend, how about you? Are you willing to acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you willing to accept that He is the only answer to our sinful life? The prophecy given to Daniel gives us great confidence that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. He came exactly when God told Daniel He would come!
  1. Next Week: The Eschatological Day of Atonement

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