In the first year of the reign of Darius, Daniel considered the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah and came to the correct conclusion that the time had come for the Lord’s people to return to the Promised Land. “Then I turned my face to the Lord.”
Daniel “made confession” to God concerning the sin of Israel. God’s people had not listened to the Lord’s appointed messengers. He testified that the troubles that had come to Israel were not the fault of the Almighty. “To You, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame.” The prophet acknowledged God’s abundant “mercy and forgiveness.” He asked for God’s kindness to His people “for Your own sake.”
While Daniel was still “speaking and praying,” an angel “came to me in swift flight.” The Lord reassured Daniel of His divine affection for this man of God. “I have now come out to give you insight and understanding.” What followed was a symbolic “vision” of “seventy weeks” concerning the sovereign purposes of God.
Certain parts of the Lord’s revelation that follow have been difficult for the church to interpret over many centuries. We would do well to focus on three points that are clear from Daniel 9.
First, God heard and answered the prayers of Daniel. How much more will the Father hear the continual intercession that Jesus offers up for us? As with Daniel, the Lord’s provision for us will be firmly based on God’s established decrees revealed to us in the Scriptures.
Second, there would surely come a definitive “Anointed One” who would Himself face the suffering of being “cut off.” The trials of Christ would not come as a shock to the Omniscient God, but would be consistent with His own plan already revealed in His Word.
Third, regarding the future, the Lord would most certainly accomplish all His gracious and just purposes. Yes, there would be much suffering. Predictions of a lengthy “troubled time” and the coming of “one who makes desolate” could not be fulfilled without pain. The Lord knew all of this far in advance of the incarnation of His Son. The cross of Christ was not a surprise to the Father. It was the cornerstone of His design of redemption.
Our conclusion can only be that which the beloved John comes to at the end of the book of Revelation: “Come, Lord Jesus!” Bring in “everlasting righteousness,” and “anoint” us as Your “most holy place.” Until that great moment of glory arrives, may “the grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.” (Revelation 22:20-21 and Daniel 9:24)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, hear us when we cry out to You. You are perfectly righteous, but we have committed treachery against You. You have mercy and forgiveness which we need so desperately, for we have sinned against both Your Law and Your grace. Please incline Your ear to us again. Do this for Your own glory, for we are Your people for whom Your Son shed His precious blood. We know that we are greatly loved by You. We have been given a holy union with Your Son, who is the King and Head of Your church. Please grant to us Your salvation and sanctify Your children.