Readings for today are Daniel 9:24-27 and Mark 4:35-5:20
What an interesting reading in Daniel! Imagine having your prayerful concentration interrupted by an angel! And one you recognise. My mind swirls with thoughts and questions.
Daniel 9:24-27 is a key biblical passage. It is the only Old Testament passage which refers to our Messiah as “Messiah.” It details the Anointed One coming, being put to death and rising to the Most Holy Place. Some of it is quite hard to comprehend.
To assist me, I read about the “seventy sevens” mentioned in verse 24 in a website called Gotquestions. The text there referenced Daniel – the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John Walvoord. It is worth a read as to how the coming of Jesus and his death and resurrection could be calculated fairly accurately via historical events.
I was also very interested in reading how God answered Daniel’s prayers.
Verses 20, 21 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.
Daniel’s prayers were ardent and heartfelt. God responds to our deepest emotions.
God says that he will always hear our prayers and answer. He is faithful.
Daniel recognised Gabriel because he had already met him previously (see chapter 8:16).
Angels do fly!
Verse 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.
God heard one man’s fervent prayers and responded.
Daniel was valued, “even highly” esteemed by God.
Verse 23 Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision.
A reminder for us to think deeply about the words given to us to help gain full understanding.
Verse 24 ‘Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
There will be an end time with much to be achieved before then. How can we, mere mortals, put an end to sin or finish transgression let alone bring everlasting righteousness? We certainly need a Messiah!
Verses 25-27 ‘Know and understand this: from the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven “sevens”, and sixty-two “sevens”. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two “sevens”, the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: war will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 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. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
The following explanation is taken from: http://www.gotquestions.org/seventy-sevens.html#ixzz3Wwe5wLxv
Exactly what is meant by “seventy sevens”? The phrase by itself is ambiguous, but taken in context the meaning is clear. Daniel’s prayer in verses 3-19 of the chapter refers to the fulfillment of a specific seventy-year period, the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity (as prophesied by Jeremiah). Daniel received the seventy sevens prophecy in response to his prayer. The prophecy foretold a period of seven times seventy yet to come, or seventy seven-year periods. Seventy seven-year periods equals 490 years.
According to this prophecy, the Messiah would show up, present Himself as Messiah to the nation and then be “cut off” some time near AD 30. This was fulfilled as Jesus Christ presented Himself to the nation of Israel on Palm Sunday, was crucified on Preparation Day (the annual day on which the Passover Lamb was slain), and rose from the dead on Sunday.
The prophecy then goes on to say that, subsequent to the Messiah’s being killed, “the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Within one generation of Christ’s crucifixion, Titus razed Jerusalem and destroyed the temple.
There is some debate about the exact date of the decree that began the 483 years. There is also debate as to whether the days should be counted on our modern 365-day calendars or the 360-day lunar calendar. Regardless, Daniel’s prophecy lays out an amazingly accurate time line. If we knew all the exact dates of Daniel’s prophecy and timing, we would find it predicted the very day of Christ’s death—over 600 years before it occurred.
What an encouraging explanation of God’s plan and explanation of Daniel’s vision. Regardless of how we calculate years or formulate calendars, God is in control. In today’s New Testament reading from Mark we see how Jesus controlled the raging seas. As the creator of the universe, he can also control the storm.
May we respond with awe to his majesty, power and faithfulness. May we each seek his will for us as we journey together to the Most Holy Place, whenever that may be.