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Chapters 10 and 11
Daniel's confession, intercession and plea. God's answer
Daniel 9 gives us a vision concerning the people and the holy city, consequent on Daniel's confession and intercession. It is, as has been remarked, in connection with the oppression of the western power. Indeed, the details relate to oppression. The prophet had understood (not by a direct revelation, but by the study of Jeremiah's prophecy, by the use of those ordinary means that are within the reach of the spiritual man) that the captivity, the duration of which Jeremiah had announced, was near its end. The effect on Daniel's mind (true sign of a prophet of God) was to produce an ardent intercession on behalf of the desolate sanctuary, and the city which Jehovah loved. He pours out his heart in confession before God, acknowledging the sin of the people and of their kings, the hardness of their hearts, and the righteousness of God in bringing evil upon them. He pleads the mercies of God, and demands favour for Jehovah's own sake. The prophecy is God's answer to his prayer. Seventy weeks are determined upon the people of Daniel and upon his holy city. Jehovah does not yet acknowledge them definitely for His own; but He accepts the intercession of the prophet, as He had formerly done that of Moses, by saying to Daniel, "thy people and thy city." Daniel stands in the place of mediator. He has the mind of God — His words; and thus he can intercede (compare on this deeply interesting point, Gen. 20:7; Jer. 27:18; John 15:7).
God's revelation: His seventy weeks upon the people and the holy city
At the end of these seventy weeks, separated from among the ages, the time should come, decreed of God, to finish the transgression, to seal up, that is, to make an end of sin, and to put it away; to pardon iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness; to seal up [all] vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy of holies: this, observe, with respect to the people of Israel and to the city. It is the entire re-establishment of the people, and of the city, in grace.
The three parts of the seventy weeks
This period of seventy weeks is divided into three parts — seven, sixty-two, and one. During the first part, or the seven weeks, the desolate city and its overthrown walls would be rebuilt in troublous times, or in the strait of times. After sixty-two weeks, that is, after sixty-nine altogether, the Messiah should be cut off, and should have nothing (this is the true sense of the words). He to whom the kingdom and the glory belonged, instead of receiving them, should be cut off and have nothing. But after this event the city and the sanctuary, which had been rebuilt, should be destroyed, and the end should be like a desolating flood; and there should be an ordinance, or determinate decree, of desolation until the end of the war. This is, in general, the complete history of the desolations. Sixty-nine weeks have been accomplished — after that, the Messiah is cut off; but the precise moment at which this takes place is not indicated. The course of the seventy weeks is thus entirely interrupted. The cutting off of the Messiah was not the moment of the re-establishment of the people and of the city. The result is plainly announced — a period of desolation until the end: its duration is not given. We shall find in Daniel 11 the same manner of treating an analogous period. The people of a prince who was yet to come should destroy the city.
The seventieth week: its last half
After this, the Spirit of God takes up the seventieth week, the
details of which were not yet unfolded. The prince that shall come
confirms a covenant with the mass of the Jews. (The form of the word
many* indicates the mass of the people). This is the first thing
that characterises the week; the Jews form an alliance with the head,
at that day, of the people who had formerly overthrown their city and
their sanctuary. They form an alliance with the head of the Roman
Empire. This refers to the week as a whole. But, the half of the week
spent,** things assume another aspect. This head causes the
sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and on account of the protection
of idols, there is a desolator; and until the consummation that is
determined,*** there shall be poured [judgment] upon the desolate.
The seventy weeks as a brief history of the period to elapse until judgment on the Jews was past
That which is here announced, then, is, that seventy weeks are set
apart for the history of the city and people of Daniel. During these
seventy weeks, God is in relationship with Israel;* nevertheless, not immediately so, but in connection with the faith
of the believing remnant, of a Daniel, of an intercession which,
linking itself with the existence of a remnant, serves as a bond
between God and the people: an intercession without which the people
would be rejected. It is the same principle as that which governed the
relations between God and the people by means of Moses, after the
golden calf — the people being called the people of Daniel, as
formerly the people of Moses. This position is remarkable, as taking
place after the establishment of the authority of the Gentiles. The
Jews are at Jerusalem, but the Gentiles reign, although the empire of
Babylon is overthrown. In this anomalous position prophetic faith
seeks the complete re-establishment of the city, the seat of
government of God and of His people. It is to this that the answer of
God refers. A brief but complete history is given of the period which
should elapse until the judgment upon the Jews was accomplished and
Messiah cut off: the consequences
A new element of great importance is also introduced: the Messiah should be cut off. He would have nothing of that which in right belonged to Him. The consequence of this would be the destruction of the city and of the sanctuary, desolation and war. It would be the prince of another empire, not yet in existence, who should thus destroy the city and the sanctuary. The relations between God and the people were now completely broken off for the time — even as regarded a believing remnant. The faith of Daniel was rejected in the Person of Christ as the prophet, and in the denial of Christ expressed by the declaration that they would have no king but Caesar; and the people and the city were given up to desolation.
The covenant and the idolatry
But there remained one week yet unaccomplished with this faithless and perverse, but yet beloved, race, before their iniquity should be pardoned, and everlasting righteousness brought in, and the vision and the prophecy closed by their fulfilment. This week should be distinguished by a covenant which the prince or leader would make with the Jewish people (with the exception of the remnant), and then by the compulsory cessation of their worship through the intervention of this prince. After that the Jews having placed themselves under the protection of idols — this unclean spirit, long driven out of the people, having again entered into them with seven others worse than himself, the desolator comes, and the final judgments are inflicted on the people — terrible judgments; but the extent of which is definitely fixed by God when their measure shall be full. Thus we find a very precise answer is given to the prophet's request; an answer which very distinctly unfolds the consequences of the connection of Daniel's people with the Gentile power. Their position is very clearly set forth, while the relationship with God, by means of the prophet's intercession, still exists.
Messiah's rejection, the Jews dispersion and the great tribulation
The prophecy announces at the same time the general fact of the people's desolation after the sixty-ninth week was past, and (with a seeming lull from the favour of the beast), on to the end of the seventieth, occasioned by their rejection of the Messiah, which took place at the very time when the promise attached to the prophecy should have been on the point of fulfilment; and the rejection of whom (coming in the name of His Father) has led to the long dispersion of the Jews, which will continue until the time of their being gathered, a prey to the iniquity of the head of the Gentiles; the time, in fact, of their falling into the hands of the one who should come in his own name — a sorrowful condition developed during the last week, but to which God has set a limit; and beyond that, no malice of the enemy can reach.
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