Daniel’s Seventieth Week – Daniel 9:24-27

 I mentioned last week that I deliberately chose not to study all of Daniel’s seventy weeks at one time. I have my reasons: First, under the circumstances of last week, we might have lost our attentions by the time we reached the seventh week, long before we got to the seventieth. And then there is the fact that the first sixty-nine are very different in nature and purpose to the last week. We were also able to take care of some of the preliminaries such as the six point purpose for Gabriel’s visit. We also looked at the interpretational problem of the “weeks” – meaning weeks of years, rather than days. One thing that I didn’t deal with thus far is the first seven weeks.“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” These seven weeks are a period of 49 years, but why are they separated from the sixty-two weeks? I can’t tell you the specific reason, something which lays only in the heart of Almighty God, but when we temporarily leave out the mention of the “threescore and two weeks,” we tie together the seven weeks and the street and wall being built in troublous times. It is believed by most fundamentalist scholars that this first seven weeks refers to the time that was taken to get Israel re-established in their land, under Nehemiah and Ezra. And if you will remember...

The Angel Gabriel – Daniel 9:20-22

 Earlier in this study of Daniel, we had a lesson on angels. It was a doctrinal message, dealing with some of the general information that the Lord has given to us about His very special messengers. Then about 6 or 8 weeks later, when we came to Daniel 8, I referred to angels, but opted not to preach about them again so soon after the first message. And now we come to “Gabriel.” This time I feel led to spend a few minutes thinking about him. I would like you to consider some of the things that are said about him, and some of the things not said. And then we’ll close, considering his message, because that brings us back to the Lord Jesus. As I have often said, with God’s help I want to try to preach Christ on Sunday mornings. I want you to have the confidence that when you invite an unsaved friend to our church, if they attend in the morning, among whatever else they might hear, at least they will also have some of the rudimentary principles of the gospel. Having said that, I think that we still have things here that will stretch even the most theological minds. The angel Gabriel.The first thing that we ought to do is reestablish the fact that we believe in angels. The words “angel,” “angels,” “angelic” and similar words are found nearly 300 times in our Bibles. They are found in both Testaments, and both the Hebrew and Greek words speak about a “messenger.” And as we find with Gabriel, the context proves that these angels are...

When – the Cut Off – Daniel 9:20-27

 I’m going to try to avoid overburdening you this afternoon. This is one of the most important scriptures in all the Word of God, so we need to go slowly and to try to get it right. And then there is the fact that many of you have eaten more than you should have, and you are now ready for your afternoon nap. So rather than getting into the Antichrist this afternoon, let’s confine ourselves simply to the timing of the death of Christ. As I say, this in an important scripture. That is because it gives us one of the key pieces to the jig saw puzzle of prophetic chronology. It opens up some of the secrets of other passages. First, let us reset the ground rules for Bible interpretation. We must agree to interpret the Bible as literally as possible. Sometimes we can’t do that, but we must purpose to look in that direction first. This is without a doubt the primary reason that there are errors made when interpreting prophesy. Second, we are reminded by that word “determined” that the things of prophecy are guaranteed. The Lord is not making educated guesses about future events. He is not suggesting that “if” certain criteria are reached “then” certain other things will transpire. He is actually setting in order the way that things will transpire, and thus they are certain. Third, as far as nations go, Israel comes first. Especially is this true in this prophesy. Unless there is a statement that such-and-such is a prophesy about Egypt, then its not about Egypt. The things of this chapter...

W-5; The Messiah Cut Off – Daniel 9:26

 When Judy and I were still in Canada, we sometimes watched a television news magazine called “W-5.” It was on the same line as “60 Minutes,” “Dateline,” and “20/20” here in the States. I’m not thinking about the 6:00 or the 10:00 news, but the supposed “in-depth” news programs. These are the shows professing to find the story behind the story – filled with detailed interviews and abundant editorial comment. Why was that Canadian program called “W-5?” “W-5” refers to the five most important questions that any news article should answer. “Who,” “what,” “where,” “when” and “why.” The police detective, the newspaper reporter and anyone who is interested in the truth usually needs to begin with this standard set of five “W’s.” We should also add the person who wants to understand his Bible – anyone interested in the truth. As we read a few minutes ago, the Ethiopian ruler was reading the Book of Isaiah, chapter 53. He was astonished by what the prophet had said, and it was quite mysterious to him. “The eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of WHOM speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” That Ethiopian started with “W-1” – “Who.” I am convinced that before he was finished, Philip had taken him through the other four “W’s.” This morning, I’m going to jump ahead in our text, in order to come to the heart of this divine revelation. The heart of Daniel 9 is not the seventy weeks, as important as they are. The heart of Daniel 9 is not the angel Gabriel, nor is it...

The God of Renown – Daniel 9:15

 If you had all the resources available to any human being, and you could become world famous through one of those means, what would you choose as your avenue toward fame? Just about everyone knows the name Al Capone. His name is famous, or perhaps we should say “infamous.” He is famous for crime. I suppose that there are hundreds of people famous for their sins and their crimes – Nero, Caligula, Stalin, Hitler. All of those just mentioned were politicians – as were Lincoln, Washington and Churchill. Daniel is now famous – as a Godly statesman. A handful of scientists have earned spots in history and various virtual halls-of-fame. Everyone knows the names Shakespeare & Dickens whether or not they have ever read any their works. And for what is Bill Gates best known? His computer genius, or for the money that he has earned? There are hundreds of people whose names are well-known in sports. There have been hundreds of musicians and other entertainers who have become famous. One thing about most sports and entertainment stars is that their fame is even more particularly fleeting. They have their place in the record book until someone else does what they did – better. Music preferences change, styles change, even rules change, and the famous today, become the forgotten of tomorrow. We could go on for an hour, pointing out why shouldn’t really be interested in joining our names to theirs. But again, if you were as smart, strong, rich and powerful as some of these, for what would you choose to be best known? The fact that you...

Promise of Judgment – Daniel 9:9-12

 In the course of Daniel’s confession of Israel’s sin, he mentioned a warning made by Moses. Commentators argue just a bit about to what place in the writings of Moses Daniel refers. John Gill summarizes those quarrels to either Leviticus 26 or Deuteronomy 28. Having read both, I’m of the opinion that it is probably Deuteronomy. We are currently reading our way through the Pentateuch in the adult Sunday school class. Two or three months ago we finished our study of Leviticus, and now we are about a month away from looking at Deuteronomy 28. In order to grasp some of what was in Daniel’s mind here in chapter 9, I think that it might be appropriate to jump ahead in our Sunday School lessons to look at chapter 28 this evening. I know that this will be a small break in tradition, but I think that we shall survive. Let’s read through the negative side of this chapter which outlines God’s blessings and curses. The fact that Judah was in captivity during the days of Daniel was directly due to that people’s disregard for the promise of judgment that God had made. Deuteronomy 28.The first part of the chapter is the mirror image of the second part, so we are going to skip over it. Following the reverse image, the warning and promise of God goes on. Even though this promise was given to Israel, the principles which lay behind it, apply to any people claiming to be the people of God. Deuteronomy 28 should be a warning to the United States of America. Verse 15 – “But...

Daniel’s Confession of Sin – Daniel 9:1-19

 On Wednesday nights, for a couple of months now, we have been looking at lessons which come from David’s terrible sins of adultery and murder. If it was nothing but the sin itself, it would be a very sad and painful study – yet still it would be important. But fortunately for us, we have progressed from the sin, to God’s conviction, to David’s repentance, and then on to the Lord’s forgiveness. Sadly however, following the forgiveness, there was still the necessity for severe chastisement – David and Bathsheba were punished when the Lord stuck down the baby with some sort of illness. Now, after looking at David’s confession of sin, we come to Daniel’s confession. There are similarities between the two, but there are some interesting differences as well. In the light of these two confessions, do you believe in coincidences? Do you believe in serendipity? Fortunate accidental discoveries? Is there an antonym for “serendipity?” The accidental discovery of evil things? If we believe that Jehovah is in absolute control of the events in our lives and around us, then even when events may appear to be coincidental, we should realize that they really aren’t. And here we are serendipitously (?) confronted with two Godly men’s confessions of sin. Should we ask ourselves if the Lord doesn’t have a special message for one or more of us here? Is there sin which you need to confess and forsake for the glory of the Lord? Would you like to know some Biblical pattern to follow in your confession? Then don’t listen to the lessons of heretical Christian priests. Don’t...

Daniel’s God – Daniel 9:1-19

 In my reading over the last few weeks, several authors have reiterated to me what I have also said… One of the primary problems with modern Christianity – and obviously the world in general – is the incorrect and very low perception that people have of the Lord. It is impossible to be too exuberant, too exulting, too full of praise to Jehovah. But to think of Him in some weak and slovenly way is a terrible mistake and sin. When we misperceive the Lord, then every other important doctrine or thought becomes inexact. There is no reason to fear sin, when we think that the God who once defined sin no longer cares. There is no reason to fear sin, if that God is not capable – or has no plans – to judge that sin. The deist’s god and the agnostic’s god – so removed – so uncaring – is not a god at all. The god who is not omnipotent, and the god who is not omniscient doesn’t need to be feared or worshiped. The god who must learn things the way that we learn things, or even as children learn things, is not worthy of our honor. The god who is surprised by some deed of wickedness or even by someone’s faith and repentance is not the God of the Bible. In fact, the Bible was given to man with the primary purpose of revealing the Lord to us. If “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,” then those things...

Thou Art Wiser Than Daniel – Daniel 8:15-19

 This is a chapter of prophesy, and so, in a special way, it is important. But it is more important than most prophecies in the sense that it is also now history. If this chapter, which is so hated by God’s enemies, can be placed before the mind of the agnostic, the unbeliever, or liberal-minded thinker, it could open his heart to receive all the rest of God’s revelation. In this regard I need to repeat myself from last week just a little bit. In a vision Daniel saw a ram, apparently coming from the river Ulai in what is now Iran. This ram pushed towards the north, the west and the south. It had two horns, which is not unusual in rams, but one was unusually larger than its counterpart. After the initial vision, Daniel was given its meaning – The ram with the two horns was the unified kingdom of Medo-Persia. We can surmise that the larger horn represented the Persian aspect of the empire, which was far stronger than the Medean side. And we have to remember that this revelation was made by God years before the rise of Medo-Persia. Then the prophet saw a goat with a single notable horn, which destroyed and crushed the ram. The single horn on this unicorn goat was eventually replaced by four more ordinary-looking horns. At the conclusion of the vision, Daniel was told that this animal represented the Grecian Empire. The notable horn was undoubtedly Alexander the Great, who was succeeded by four of his generals. What is so extremely important is that this prophecy and its explanation...

Interpreting the Vision of Daniel 8 – Daniel 8:1-27

 You may think that I have gotten lazy, or that I’m not prepared this evening, but such is not the case. I have spent hours looking at this chapter, trying to come up with some marvelous sermon outlines. Unfortunately – I have not been successful. Despite the wonderful material in this chapter, it doesn’t develop into neat sermonic packages. Therefore, we are going to have little more than a shallow exposition tonight. Furthermore, except for one particular section, this is a fairly straight-forward chapter. Sure, we will have some questions, but they are only about interesting details. Introduction.“In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.” This vision was given to Daniel about two years after the vision of the previous chapter. For two years, the Lord left Daniel confused and disturbed, despite the man’s prayers for enlightenment. Once again we are reminded that God is not obligated to reveal things like this to us. Shushan, the palace of the Persians, by the river Ulai, was to the east of Babylon, in what is now Iran. But was Daniel actually at Shushan, or did it merely seem that he was there at the time of this vision? I tend to think that he was actually there. And...

The Historicity of the Book of Daniel – Daniel 8:1-7; 15-21

 One of my concerns, as I was first thinking about preaching from this book, was that I wasn’t always going to be able to find subjects which I considered appropriate for our Sunday morning services. I have always pictured you inviting most of our visitors to come in the morning rather than the evening. And so I have always tried to have a message which can be logically concluded with the gospel. I want you to give those invitations, knowing to some degree what to expect from the sermon. After the gospel, I have looked for Bible doctrines which are fundamental to the gospel in some fashion. I have been taught, and I believe, that every message should be able to conclude with the Lord Jesus Christ in one fashion or another, but with some messages it is easier than with other messages. Usually, there is enough in any chapter so that I can do a bit of juggling for the morning service. But, as I say, I was concerned about Daniel. And with this chapter, my fears are somewhat realized. I read and reread each chapter, jotting down general themes, and then any incidental references which could be developed into messages. And in that regard, here in chapter 8 we are introduced to the angel Gabriel. But just a month ago, we had a message on angels. And then there is the fact that “angels” aren’t high on my “Sunday morning” list – that is an evening subject to my way of thinking. This chapter is all about a vision about two major kingdoms – Persia and Greece....

Interpreting Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts – Daniel 7:1-28

 Last Sunday night, we got an overview of Daniel’s dream – without a lot of explanation. Then this morning we cut out Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days, examining Him in more detail. Tonight let’s go through the chapter again, paying more attention to some of the arguments offered for the interpretation we made last week. As we come to this point in our study, we open-up the possibility for lots of disagreements. But keep in mind that most of these disagreements are over little details and personal opinions. It is perfectly permissible to disagree on the finer points, so long as we remember the over-all purpose of this revelation. Despite the powerful kingdoms that man and Satan might raise, ultimately the Lord will cast them all down to make manifest His eternal kingdom and dominion. Without getting too serious with ourselves, let’s proceed back through this chapter a little more slowly than we did last Sunday night. The Introduction.“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.” Does the “great sea” have more or less meaning, depending on which actual sea it was that Daniel saw? I don’t believe so. From the prophet’s perspective it was probably the Mediterranean. The more pertinent question is whether or not it has prophetic significance. It might be argued that since the four...

The Ancient of Days and His Son – Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

 Daniel has been given a dream – more specifically, a vision about four vicious beasts. I am reasonably sure that we can identify the meaning of these beasts and some of the details about them. I did that last Sunday night, but without proving my case. Tonight I will try to fill in some of the details. But to reiterate for now – the first beast – the lion – was the Babylonian Empire. The second beast – the bear – was to be that of the Medes and Persians – the Medo-Persian Empire. But of course, Daniel had not yet experienced the Medes or Persians, because it was in the first year of the reign of the last Babylonian king that this vision was given. The third beast – the leopard – was to be that of the Greeks, beginning with Alexander. And I believe that the fourth beast was, and still is, that of the Romans. These are the same nations as those given to Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 2, during his dream of the colossal statue with the head of gold. Beyond the description of these kingdoms, the primary point of both visions was that they would be destroyed. The kingdoms of men will be replaced with the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. That fifth Kingdom, if you will, will be universal and eternal. That final Kingdom will involve the eternal dominion of the Son of man, whom we know as the Lord Jesus. I believe that you and I are living in the days of the fourth beast. These are a part of the “last days” toward...

Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts – Daniel 7:1-28

 “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed.” With the end of Daniel 6 we come to the conclusion of the historical part of the Book of Daniel. The second half of this book, begins long before chapter 6 and then it skips around chronologically. This is the difficult section – the prophetical section – which is open to debate by all the experts. This chapter takes place during the first year of Belshazzar’s reign – about 17 years before the last chapter. I have decided that our best approach is to look at this entire prophesy in one sitting. We’ll probably come back to some of the details and special applications later, but it’s important that we begin with a basic understanding of the chapter as a unit. And to this end, we have a simple exposition, skipping some details, so that we can grasp the whole. Verse 2“I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.” Perhaps the very language of this verse approves my approach for this evening. Daniel probably meant the Mediterranean when he referred to “the great sea,” but he doesn’t tell us. Apparently it really isn’t important what sea it was, if any sea at all. The language suggests that we move on to the general principles rather than getting bogged down in the details. There are some experts who really stress the point that “the sea” is a reference to mankind in general. Well then what about the...

Daniel’s God from Darius’ Perspective – Daniel 6:25-27

 We need to remind ourselves from time to time that the basic purpose of the Bible is to reveal God. Yes, there is a great deal that we can learn of Jehovah through the study of biology, sociology, mathematics, physics and other sciences. But as we know, because man’s heart is wretchedly depraved, what he does see about God in these studies, usually gets twisted around. Man is without excuse for his ignorance of the divine, because he is surrounded by this evidence, but if the Lord Himself didn’t step in to open man’s heart and to explain the details, we’d all be hopelessly lost in our self-imposed stupidity. So from Genesis to Revelation Jehovah has been describing himself to anyone who is interested in listening. Sometimes He has uses His saints to make that explanation, and sometimes He uses His enemies. Whether Darius’ is a saint or an enemy, is something about which we can’t really be sure. But like Nebuchadnezzar – also in this book – Darius’ makes some significant comments about the Lord. I realize that you have heard these things before. So why are we looking at them again? First, because God in the context of this revelation has laid them out before us once again. He is almost demanding that we spend another thirty minutes looking in His direction. “Forget about the future, forget about yourselves, forget about Daniel for a moment and look at Me.” And second, the very fact that some hearts are saying, “not this again,” proves the depravity of us all. We need to refresh ourselves in basic Biblical theology...