2245.) Daniel 2

December 8, 2017

Dan2 prophecy_statue

Daniel 2   (NRSV)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed such dreams that his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. So the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, “I have had such a dream that my spirit is troubled by the desire to understand it.”

The Chaldeans said to the king (in Aramaic), “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the interpretation.”

From Daniel 2:4 to 7:28, the Biblical text is in Aramaic — not Hebrew. This is the only section of the Bible written in Aramaic, the language of the Babylonian Empire.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

The king answered the Chaldeans, “This is a public decree: if you do not tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you do tell me the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”

They answered a second time, “Let the king first tell his servants the dream, then we can give its interpretation.”

The king answered, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see I have firmly decreed: if you do not tell me the dream, there is but one verdict for you. You have agreed to speak lying and misleading words to me until things take a turn. Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”

Nebuchadnezzar formulated a test to see whether the advisers to the court had access to hidden knowledge, as they claimed. If they could not tell him the dream, then he would have no confidence in their interpretation.  (The Reformation Bible)

10 The Chaldeans answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can reveal what the king demands! In fact no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king is asking is too difficult, and no one can reveal it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.”

12 Because of this the king flew into a violent rage and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.

Though he was a despot, Nebuchadnezzar knew that false religion is worse than useless. He knew that it was a curse, and he had no use for wise men that could not bring him wisdom from God.

13 The decree was issued, and the wise men were about to be executed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, to execute them. 14 Then Daniel responded with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the king’s chief executioner, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon; 15 he asked Arioch, the royal official, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went in and requested that the king give him time and he would tell the king the interpretation.

God Reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

17 Then Daniel went to his home and informed his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions with the rest of the wise men of Babylon might not perish.

Dan2 praying

The battle was won when Daniel prayed with his friends.

19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20 Daniel said:
“Blessed be the name of God from age to age,
    for wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons,
    deposes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my ancestors,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and power,
    and have now revealed to me what we asked of you,
    for you have revealed to us what the king ordered.”

Daniel Interprets the Dream

24 Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will give the king the interpretation.”

25 Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king and said to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who can tell the king the interpretation.”

26 The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to tell me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?”

27 Daniel answered the king, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or diviners can show to the king the mystery that the king is asking, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has disclosed to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen at the end of days.

Just as Joseph had done in Egypt (Genesis 40:8; 41:16), so also Daniel attributes his knowledge of the dream to God. Daniel’s God revealed to this young man what astrology, magic, and the occult could not discover.   (The Reformation Bible)

Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed were these: 29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed, came thoughts of what would be hereafter, and the revealer of mysteries disclosed to you what is to be. 30 But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me because of any wisdom that I have more than any other living being, but in order that the interpretation may be known to the king and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.

31 “You were looking, O king, and lo! there was a great statue. This statue was huge, its brilliance extraordinary; it was standing before you, and its appearance was frightening. 32 The head of that statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were all broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

There is a progressive decrease in the value of the materials in the image from the head to the feet. 

Daniel first accurately reported the content of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. This gave Daniel credibility when explaining what the dream meant: the interpretation.

36 “This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation.

Gold, silver, bronze, iron — The four kingdoms have been widely understood since Josephus (1st century A.D.) to be the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  (The Reformation Bible)

37 You, O king, the king of kings—to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory, 38 into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all—you are the head of gold. 39 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. 40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. 41 As you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but some of the strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed,

Isaiah 9:7   (NRSV)

His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Revelation 11:15   (NRSV)

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
    and of his Christ,
and he will reign forever and ever.”

nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever; 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from the mountain not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation trustworthy.”

You can find all sorts of explanations for what is meant by the iron and clay portion of the image:  Was it the Holy Roman Empire? Is it Europe? Which nations are represented by the ten toes of the statue? Where does the Rapture fit in? The Anti-Christ? BREXIT? Etc. Sorting out these interpretations is way beyond me, so I leave that research to you, if you are so inclined.

Daniel and His Friends Promoted

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshiped Daniel, and commanded that a grain offering and incense be offered to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery!” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel, gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.

O God of every nation,
of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand.
Where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us,
and heal our strife-torn world.

From search for wealth and power
and scorn of truth and right,
from trust in bombs that shower
destruction through the night,
from pride of race and nation
and blindness to your way,
deliver every nation,
eternal God, we pray!

Lord, strengthen all who labor
that we may find release
from fear of rattling saber,
from dread of war’s increase.
When hope and courage falter,
Lord, let your voice be heard;
with faith that none can alter,
your servants undergird.

Keep bright in us the vision
of days when war shall cease,
when hatred and division
give way to love and peace,
till dawns the morning glorious
when truth and justice reign,
and Christ shall rule victorious
o’er all the world’s domain.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “God of All Nations”  by the Newsboys.  Lord, be glorified, as every nation lifts You high!

_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
statue from the king’s dream.   http://www.thefinalcall.org/prophecies/prophecy_statue.jpg
men praying together.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan2-praying.jpg
Daniel interprets the dream.    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c1/78/2b/c1782bd824c05fbdbd5b252dcbd3f7bc.jpg
God can.    http://image.spreadshirt.com/image-server/v1/designs/3532746,width=178,height=178/God-Can.png
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.    http://www.bwmministries.com/CommentariesContinued/NebuchadnezzarsDream1003.jpg
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.   https://falseprophetsexposed.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/ca151be4977d6ad7929e5f911892963d.jpg
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2244.) Daniel 1

December 7, 2017

Dan1 good boys
Daniel 1   (NRSV)

Four Young Israelites at the Babylonian Court

Setting the time: The prophet Daniel lived in the sixth century before the birth of Jesus. During this approximate period:

·        Construction on the Acropolis began in Athens.

·        Mayan civilization flourished in Mexico.

·        Aesop wrote his fables.

·        Confucius and Buddha lived.

·        Greek art began to truly excel.

·        The Greeks introduced the olive tree to Italy.

·        The Phoenicians made the first known sea journey around Africa.

–David Guzik

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord let King Jehoiakim of Judah fall into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought to the land of Shinar, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods.

This deportation is described in 2 Kings 24:10-16 —

At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him.

In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. As the Lord had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the Lord. He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.

Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother, his wives, his officials and the prominent people of the land. The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand skilled workers and artisans.

Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans.

Dan1 Ancient-Babylonian-tablet

Babylonian literature was written in wedge-shaped characters impressed with a stylus on soft clay tablets that were later fired to make them permanent. Thousands of these tablets have been discovered by archaeologists. The Babylonians worshiped many gods, and their culture was filled with magic, sorcery, and astrology. The common language of Babylon was Aramaic.  (The Reformation Bible)

The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.

We could call this indoctrination. The king wants to change their allegiance from their God and their Hebrew culture to himself and the Babylonian way of life.

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. 10 The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12 “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.”

Daniel requested to be excused from the king’s table. He made a polite request, showing discretion. (Note to Christians:  Making a stand for Jesus Christ does not mean we must be obnoxious.) Daniel saw the situation through the steward’s eyes and addressed his legitimate concerns. He wouldn’t let the chief of the eunuchs pay the price for the Hebrews’ consciences. Daniel was willing to put himself and his faith in God to the test.

14 So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. 16 So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

Dan1 food

Recently certain diet plans based on this and other portions of the book of Daniel have become popular. “The Daniel Fast” and “The Daniel Plan” aim to bring people to a healthier lifestyle and a closer walk with God. Far be it from me to discourage that! Yet I would give a word of caution (Don’t expect miracles! Exercise is helpful!) and some further explanation. Click  HERE  for an article that tells more about this portion of Scripture, from my good friend and Biblical scholar, Lois Tverberg.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom;

A good prayer for school-age children and grandchildren:  God, give them intellectual development and true learning!

Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, 19 and the king spoke with them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king’s court. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. 21 And Daniel continued there until the first year of King Cyrus.

Babylon fell to Cyrus in 539 B.C., or 66 years after Daniel had been taken captive to Babylon. Daniel lived through the entire period of the Babylonian captivity.  (The Reformation Bible)

Dan1 obedience

Daniel and his friends show us that inner conviction can overcome any outer pressure, and that God-honoring convictions yield God-given rewards.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone,
Dare to have a purpose firm,
Dare to make it known.

HERE  is the Mennonite Hour Men’s Quartet singing this song by Philip Bliss (1838-1876). Bliss wrote many well-known hymns, including Almost Persuaded, Hallelujah, What a Saviour!, Let the Lower Lights Be Burning, Wonderful Words of Life, and the tune for Horatio Spafford’s It Is Well with My Soul.

_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
four good boys.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/2803f-daniel2b1.jpg
ancient Babylonian tablet.    https://lphsworldgeography.wikispaces.com/file/view/Ancient-Babylonian-Poetry-.png/270892570/Ancient-Babylonian-Poetry-.png
vegetables.    http://www.newhealthguide.org/images/10415587/image001.jpgobedience.
obedience.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/7f6e6-obedience.png

1238.) Daniel 12

January 29, 2014

Dan12 stars

Daniel 12   (NRSV)

The Resurrection of the Dead

“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise.

The angel Michael is often associated with spiritual battle (Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21, Jude 1:9, and Revelation 12:7). Since Michael is called the archangel (Jude 1:9), he is Satan’s true opposite. Satan is not the opposite of Jesus; he is the opposite of Michael, this high-ranking angel. In addition to his role as a spiritual warrior, Michael has a special job in protecting Israel. God appointed Michael as a spiritual guardian over Israel.

–David Guzik

There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Philippians 2:14-16   (NIV)

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

But you, Daniel, keep the words secret and the book sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be running back and forth, and evil shall increase.”

Then I, Daniel, looked, and two others appeared, one standing on this bank of the stream and one on the other.

Vision on the Tigris.   digital art by Ted Larson.

Vision on the Tigris. digital art by Ted Larson.

One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be until the end of these wonders?” The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the one who lives forever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things would be accomplished.

I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?”

He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked shall continue to act wickedly. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. 12 Happy are those who persevere and attain the thousand three hundred thirty-five days. 13 But you, go your way, and rest; you shall rise for your reward at the end of the days.”

Adam Clarke draws the following points from Daniel 12:13:

  • Every man has his way to go.
  • Every man has an end.
  • There is a rest provided for the people of God.
  • There is an inheritance for the people of God.

THE END of the book of Daniel

_________________________

Music:

“O Love that wilt not let me go” was written by the blind Scottish preacher George Matheson over 130 years ago.  He believed, and so can we, that God’s love will not let us go –– that God’s light will follow us all our way –– that God’s joy will seek us through our pain –– and that our faith will make all the difference, because God is faithful!  Daniel lived physically as a foreigner in a far-off land, but spiritually he was at home with God all his life long.  What is pressing you now?  Take courage today, and pray this song,  HERE.  You, too, will shine like the stars as you trust in the One who is Love!

_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
stars.     http://oneyearbibleimages.com/daniel12_3.jpg
Larson.    http://home.earthlink.net/~danika13/Daniel%20Index.htm

1237.) Daniel 11:21-45

January 28, 2014

Dan11 end of time

Daniel 11:21-45   (NRSV)

21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person on whom royal majesty had not been conferred; he shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom through intrigue.

This was fulfilled in the successor of Seleucis III, named Antiochus IV. He did not come to the throne legitimately because it was strongly suspected that he murdered his older brother, the previous king. The other potential heir (the son of Seleucus III) was imprisoned in Rome.

–David Guzik (and all further comments in red)

Antiochus IV took the name Epiphanes, which means “manifest.”  The name suggests that he claimed to be the earthly manifestation of Zeus.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

22 Armies shall be utterly swept away and broken before him, and the prince of the covenant as well. 23 And after an alliance is made with him, he shall act deceitfully and become strong with a small party. 24 Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province and do what none of his predecessors had ever done, lavishing plunder, spoil, and wealth on them. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time. 25 He shall stir up his power and determination against the king of the south with a great army, and the king of the south shall wage war with a much greater and stronger army. But he shall not succeed,

Dan11 Line-in-the-Sand

This was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes carried on the feud between the dynasties but pretended friendship and alliance to catch them off guard. Despite massive efforts and epic battles, Antiochus Epiphanes did not stand, and his army was swept away.  The defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes at his second campaign against Egypt was important, because Egypt beat Antiochus with the help of Rome. At the end of it all, Antiochus Epiphanes and his kingdom were under the dominion of Rome.

In a famous battle, the Roman Navy defeated the navy of Antiochus Epiphanes. After the battle, a Roman general drew a circle around Antiochus in the dirt and demanded to know if he would surrender and pay tribute to Rome – and demanded to know before he stepped out of the circle. From that point on there was no doubt: Antiochus Epiphanes took his orders from Rome and was under Roman dominion.  Hence the expression to draw a line in the sand.

for plots shall be devised against him 26 by those who eat of the royal rations. They shall break him, his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall slain. 27 The two kings, their minds bent on evil, shall sit at one table and exchange lies. But it shall not succeed, for there remains an end at the time appointed. 28 He shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. He shall work his will, and return to his own land.

This was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes returned from Egypt, bitter from defeat. He vented his anger against Jerusalem, which was already shaken because Antiochus sold the office of High Priest and persecuted the Jewish people to conform to Greek culture, forsaking the faith and traditions of their fathers.

29 “At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but this time it shall not be as it was before. 30 For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall lose heart and withdraw. He shall be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay heed to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces sent by him shall occupy and profane the temple and fortress. They shall abolish the regular burnt offering and set up the abomination that makes desolate.

Antiochus Epiphanes set up an image of Zeus at the temple altar. He demanded sacrifice to this image, and later desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig on it. “It was in truth an abomination, which brought a desolate condition to the Temple, for now no one would come to worship at all.” (Wood)

32 He shall seduce with intrigue those who violate the covenant; but the people who are loyal to their God shall stand firm and take action. 33 The wise among the people shall give understanding to many; for some days, however, they shall fall by sword and flame, and suffer captivity and plunder.

In his attack on Jerusalem Antiochus IV is said to have killed 80,000 Jews, taken 40,000 more as prisoners, and sold another 40,000 as slaves. He also plundered the temple, robbing it of approximately $1 billion by modern calculations.

34 When they fall victim, they shall receive a little help, and many shall join them insincerely. 35 Some of the wise shall fall, so that they may be refined, purified, and cleansed, until the time of the end, for there is still an interval until the time appointed.

Daniel concluded his predictions about Antiochus IV Epiphanes in verse 35 and now begins to prophesy concerning the more distant future.  Daniel’s language in these verses seems larger than life and does not fit what is known from history about Antichus.  Further, this prophecy refers to the “time of the end” (v. 40).  At the conclusion of the conflict between the antichrist and his political enemies, he will meet his end at the “beautiful holy mountain” (v. 45), the temple mount of Jerusalem — perhaps in connection with the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-16).  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

36 “The king shall act as he pleases. He shall exalt himself and consider himself greater than any god, and shall speak horrendous things against the God of gods. He shall prosper until the period of wrath is completed, for what is determined shall be done. 37 He shall pay no respect to the gods of his ancestors, or to the one beloved by women; he shall pay no respect to any other god, for he shall consider himself greater than all. 38 He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these; a god whom his ancestors did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall make more wealthy, and shall appoint them as rulers over many, and shall distribute the land for a price.

The Time of the End

Dan11 Time-of-the-End

The precise points may be cloudy, but the general idea is clear. The end will be marked by great conflict, culminating in the world’s armies gathering in the Promised Land to do final battle.  Ultimately there is no hope for the Antichrist or for any of his followers.

40 “At the time of the end the king of the south shall attack him. But the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. He shall advance against countries and pass through like a flood. 41 He shall come into the beautiful land, and tens of thousands shall fall victim, but Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites shall escape from his power. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the riches of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall follow in his train. 44 But reports from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to bring ruin and complete destruction to many. 45 He shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with no one to help him.

_________________________

Music:

How wonderful to know that we come to the end of our time and death draws nigh — there is One to help us.  He has gone before and prepared a place for us.  We need not fear.  Many of the great hymns of the faith spend their last stanza facing death in Jesus’ name, and what encouragement we can find there as we live through our troubles here on earth knowing that we are laying up treasure in heaven.  HERE  is one example:  “My Faith Looks Up to Thee.”

And here is the story of this hymn:

Ray Palmer wrote these lyr­ics up­on re­ceiv­ing a vi­sion of Christ short­ly af­ter his grad­u­a­tion from Yale Un­i­ver­si­ty, while work­ing as a tu­tor at a New York school. How­ev­er, he kept them to him­self un­til meet­ing Low­ell Ma­son in Bos­ton, Mas­sac­hu­setts. When Ma­son asked him to write some­thing for a new hymn­al, Palm­er dug out his old notes and pro­duced these lyr­ics, writ­ten two years ear­li­er. Af­ter tak­ing the lyr­ics home and read­ing them, Ma­son com­posed this tune. Sev­er­al days lat­er he saw Palm­er again and said:  “You may live ma­ny years and do ma­ny good things, but I think you will be best known to pos­ter­i­ty as the au­thor of ‘My Faith Looks Up to Thee.'”

_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Yes I am with you always.    http://biblegodquotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/bible-god-quotes-132.jpg
line in the sand.    http://connections.teenchallengeusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Line-in-the-Sand.jpg
the time of the end.    http://www.joelstrumpet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Time-of-the-End.jpg

1236.) Daniel 11:1-20

January 27, 2014

Dan11 mapDaniel 11:1-35   (NRSV)

The Kings of the South and the North

As for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to support and strengthen him.

“Now I will announce the truth to you. Three more kings shall arise in Persia.

The Persian Empire tried to wipe out the Jewish people during the reign of Xerxes, through the plot of Haman (as shown in the Book of Esther).

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

The fourth shall be far richer than all of them, and when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece.

The Greek Empire tried to wipe out the Jewish people during the reign of Antiochus IV, when he attempted to kill every Jew who did not renounce their commitment to God and embrace Greek culture.

Then a warrior king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and take action as he pleases.

Dan11 Alexander the Great

This was fulfilled in Alexander the Great, who certainly was a “warrior king.”

And while still rising in power, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted and go to others besides these.

After Alexander’s death, none of his descendants succeeded him. It wasn’t for lack of trying. Alexander did leave three possible heirs: a half brother named Philip, who was mentally deficient; a son who was born after Alexander died; and an illegitimate son named Hercules. The half-brother and the posthumous son were first designated co-monarchs, each with a regent. But fighting amongst the regents eventually resulted in the murder of all possible heirs.

After the death of all Alexander’s possible heirs, four generals controlled the Greek Empire.

“Then the king of the south shall grow strong, but one of his officers shall grow stronger than he and shall rule a realm greater than his own realm. 

Dan11 map-greek-emp-div

This was fulfilled in Ptolemy I of Egypt, who exerted his control over the Holy Land. Soon after the division of Alexander’s Empire, the Ptolemies dominated this region. Ptolemy I had a prince named Seleucus, who rose to power and took dominion over the region of Syria. He became more powerful than his former Egyptian ruler. The Seleucids are identified with the Kings of the North, and the Ptolemies were the Kings of the South. The dynasties of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies fought for some 130 years. The stronger of the two always held dominion over the Holy Land.

After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to ratify the agreement.

This was fulfilled in the marriage between Antiochus II (of the Seleucids) and Berenice (daughter of Ptolemy II). There was peace for a time because of this marriage, but it was upset when Ptolemy II died.

But she shall not retain her power,

Once Ptolemy II died, Antiochus II put away Berenice and took back his former wife, Laodice.

and his offspring shall not endure. She shall be given up, she and her attendants and her child and the one who supported her.

Dan11 she danger

Laodice didn’t trust her husband Antiochus II; so she had him poisoned.

After the murder of Antiochus II, Laodice had Berenice, her infant son, and her attendants killed.  After this reign of terror, Laodice set her son (Selecus II) on the throne of the Syrian dominion.

“In those times a branch from her roots shall rise up in his place. He shall come against the army and enter the fortress of the king of the north, and he shall take action against them and prevail.

This was fulfilled in the person of Ptolemy III, who was the brother of Berenice (the branch of her roots). Avenging the murder of his sister, Ptolemy III invaded Syria and humbled Selecus II.

Even their gods, with their idols and with their precious vessels of silver and gold, he shall carry off to Egypt as spoils of war. For some years he shall refrain from attacking the king of the north; then the latter shall invade the realm of the king of the south, but will return to his own land.

10 “His sons shall wage war and assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall advance like a flood and pass through, and again shall carry the war as far as his fortress.

This was fulfilled in Seleucus III and Antiochus III, the two sons of Seleucus II. Both were successful generals, but Seleucus III ruled only a short time and was succeeded by his brother.  In a furious battle, Antiochus III took back the Holy Land from the dominion of the Ptolemies.

11 Moved with rage, the king of the south shall go out and do battle against the king of the north, who shall muster a great multitude, which shall, however, be defeated by his enemy. 12 When the multitude has been carried off, his heart shall be exalted, and he shall overthrow tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail.

This was fulfilled when Antiochus III was defeated at the battle of Raphia. Because of that loss he was forced to give back dominion over the Holy Land to Ptolemy IV.

13 For the king of the north shall again raise a multitude, larger than the former, and after some years he shall advance with a great army and abundant supplies.

14 “In those times many shall rise against the king of the south. The lawless among your own people shall lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they shall fail. 15 Then the king of the north shall come and throw up siegeworks, and take a well-fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not stand, not even his picked troops, for there shall be no strength to resist. 16 But he who comes against him shall take the actions he pleases, and no one shall withstand him. He shall take a position in the beautiful land, and all of it shall be in his power.

Dan11 Antiochos_III

This was fulfilled when Antiochus III invaded Egypt again, gaining final control over the armies of Ptolemy V and over the Holy Land.  Jews living in the Holy Land helped Antiochus III because the Jewish people resented the rule of the Egyptian Ptolemies.  This decision later proved unwise.

17 He shall set his mind to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and he shall bring terms of peace and perform them. In order to destroy the kingdom, he shall give him a woman in marriage; but it shall not succeed or be to his advantage.

An extremely rare  ancient gold coin was uncovered in 2010 in the excavations of the University of Michigan and University of Minnesota at Tell Kedesh in Israel near its Lebanese border.  The coin is 2,200 years old and was minted in Alexandria, Egypt in 191 BCE.   The Israel Antiquities Authority says the coin is the heaviest and has the highest contemporary value of any coin ever found in an excavation in Israel. The coin weighs almost one ounce (27.71 grams), while most ancient gold coins weighed 4.5 grams. The denomination is called a mnaieion, meaning a one-mina coin, and is equivalent to 100 silver drachms, or a mina of silver.  It is plausible that the second-century BCE mnaieia actually depict cryptic portraits of the reigning queens. Consequently, the queen represented on the Tell Kedesh mnaieion may actually be Cleopatra I, daughter of Antiochus III, whose marriage to Ptolemy V in 193 sealed the formal end of the Fifth Syrian War.

An extremely rare ancient gold coin was uncovered in 2010 in the excavations of the University of Michigan and University of Minnesota at Tell Kedesh in Israel near its Lebanese border. The coin is 2,200 years old and was minted in Alexandria, Egypt in 191 BCE. The Israel Antiquities Authority says the coin is the heaviest and has the highest contemporary value of any coin ever found in an excavation in Israel. The coin weighs almost one ounce (27.71 grams), while most ancient gold coins weighed 4.5 grams.
The denomination is called a mnaieion, meaning a one-mina coin, and is equivalent to 100 silver drachms, or a mina of silver. It is plausible that the second-century BCE mnaieia actually depict cryptic portraits of the reigning queens. Consequently, the queen represented on the Tell Kedesh mnaieion may actually be Cleopatra I, daughter of Antiochus III, whose marriage to Ptolemy V in 193 sealed the formal end of the Fifth Syrian War.

This was fulfilled when Antiochus III gave his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy V of Egypt. He did this hoping to gain permanent influence and eventually control in Egypt. To the great disappointment of Antiochus III, the plan did not succeed because Cleopatra wasn’t faithful to her Egyptian husband at all. (This is not the Cleopatra of Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar fame; she came 100 years later.)

18 Afterward he shall turn to the coastlands, and shall capture many. But a commander shall put an end to his insolence; indeed, he shall turn his insolence back upon him. 19 Then he shall turn back toward the fortresses of his own land, but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found.

This was fulfilled when Antiochus III turned his attention towards the areas of Asia Minor and Greece. He was helped by Hannibal, the famous general from Carthage. But a Roman General, Lucius Cornelius Scipio, defeated Antiochus in Greece.  Antiochus planned to humiliate Greece but was humiliated instead. He returned to his former regions, having lost all that he gained and died shortly after.

After this defeat Antiochus III had an inglorious end. Needing money badly for his treasury, he resorted to pillaging a Babylonian temple and was killed by enraged local citizens.

20 “Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an official for the glory of the kingdom; but within a few days he shall be broken, though not in anger or in battle. 21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person on whom royal majesty had not been conferred; he shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom through intrigue.

After the inglorious end of the king of the North, his successor, Seleucus III, the eldest son of Antiochus III, would raise taxes and meet a soon end.  Seleucus III was assassinated, probably by his brother Antiochus IV, a vile and contemptible person.

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Music:

All these ins and outs and ups and downs of history, of current events, of our own lives — all are safely in God’s hands.  HERE  is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”

__________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
map.   http://kenraggio.com/Daniel-11-Prophecies.jpg
Alexander the Great.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ac/BattleofIssus333BC-mosaic-detail1.jpg
map showing King of the North and King of the South.    http://endtimepilgrim.org/map-greek-emp-div.jpg
Danger.    http://wordofawoman.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/sid-logo-danger.jpg
Antiochus III (from The Louvre).  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b6/Antiochos_III.jpg/250px-Antiochos_III.jpg
gold coin.    http://www.coinlink.com/News/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Gold_Octodrachm_aug20101.jpg

1235.) Daniel 10

January 24, 2014
The Man upon the Waters.  digital art by Ted Larson.

The Man upon the Waters. digital art by Ted Larson.

Daniel 10   (NRSV)

The prophet reveals a final vision concerning the future reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but looking beyond his reign to another that culminates at the end of the age.  (The Reformation Bible)

Conflict of Nations and Heavenly Powers

In the third year of King Cyrus of Persia

By this time, the first wave of exiles had returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra (Ezra 1-2).

a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The word was true, and it concerned a great conflict. He understood the word, having received understanding in the vision.

At that time I, Daniel, had been mourning for three weeks. I had eaten no rich food, no meat or wine had entered my mouth, and I had not anointed myself at all, for the full three weeks.

Some think that Daniel was in mourning because so few Jews had returned with Ezra from exile. Others believe it was because Ezra faced severe opposition in rebuilding the temple.

Daniel did not go back with Ezra’s group of exiles because he was about 84 years old at this time. Daniel could serve the exiles better from his high position in government than he could with them in Jerusalem.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris), I looked up and saw a man clothed in linen, with a belt of gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the roar of a multitude.

The description of this angel carries with it much of the same glory as belonging to the Lord:

Revelation 1:12-16   (NIV)

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

I, Daniel, alone saw the vision; the people who were with me did not see the vision, though a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone to see this great vision. My strength left me, and my complexion grew deathly pale, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words; and when I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a trance, face to the ground.

10 But then a hand touched me and roused me to my hands and knees. 11 He said to me, “Daniel, greatly beloved, pay attention to the words that I am going to speak to you. Stand on your feet, for I have now been sent to you.” So while he was speaking this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 He said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We can’t pass this over lightly. An angel was dispatched because of Daniel’s prayer. This is another of many reminders in the Book of Daniel that prayer matters. It isn’t merely a therapeutic exercise for the one who prays.

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia

Since this prince was able to oppose the angelic messenger to Daniel, we know this was more than a man. This prince was some kind of angelic being, and we know he was an evil angelic being because he opposed the word of God coming to Daniel and stood against the angelic messenger.

Ephesians 6:12   (NIV)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

opposed me twenty-one days. So Michael, one of the chief princes,

Michael is elsewhere in Scripture depicted as a commander of the holy angels (Jude 9; Revelation 12:7).  Here is a glimpse of spiritual battles waged in heavenly places and affecting events on earth (cf. Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-9).  (The Reformation Bible)

came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, 14 and have come to help you understand what is to happen to your people at the end of days. For there is a further vision for those days.”

15 While he was speaking these words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one in human form touched my lips, and I opened my mouth to speak, and said to the one who stood before me, “My lord, because of the vision such pains have come upon me that I retain no strength. 17 How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For I am shaking, no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.”

18 Again one in human form touched me and strengthened me. 19 He said, “Do not fear, greatly beloved, you are safe. Be strong and courageous!” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” 20 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Now I must return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I am through with him, the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I am to tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth. There is no one with me who contends against these princes except Michael, your prince.

a further thought on prayer–

I once thought it was the great preachers or those people who could give substantial sums of money who were the most effective Christians.  I am convinced now that the most sacred and creative thing, the greatest work any person can ever do, is to thank God, to praise him, and to pray.  The person sitting in a wheelchair in grateful praise and adoration may be of more value to God than anyone else in his kingdom.  God does not play favorites, not does he throw people away.  No one need be useless.  All of us can be thankful and pray.  There is power in thankfulness and prayer.

–Dennis F. Kinlaw

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Music:

Prayer.  HERE  is Jesus Culture and “We Cry Out.”

_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Larson.    http://home.earthlink.net/~danika13/Daniel%20Index.htm
God hears prayer.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_c__qjMyuQ0w/TJVWEzJm3TI/AAAAAAAAAls/pPByxshnqvg/s320/god-hears-prayer.gif

1234.) Daniel 9

January 23, 2014

Dan9 70 years

Daniel 9   (NRSV)

Daniel’s Prayer for the People

Daniel recounts the revelation he received concerning the prophecy of Jeremiah about the seventy years of Jerusalem’s desolation (Jeremiah 25:11,12; 29:10).  Significantly, the revelation follows Daniel’s prayer confessing the sinfulness of God’s people and the justice of Jerusalem’s desolation, and seeking the favor of God for the restoration of the city and the temple.  (The Reformation Bible)

In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede, who became king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah, must be fulfilled for the devastation of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

When exactly did the seventy years begin?  At the time of the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar?  The time of Daniel’s own captivity?  Or is it to be understood as a round number for a human lifetime?  Opinions vary.

Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying,

The Prayer of Daniel.  digital art by Ted Larson.

The Prayer of Daniel. digital art by Ted Larson.

“Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

“Righteousness is on your side, O Lord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. Open shame, O Lord, falls on us, our kings, our officials, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him, 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

Daniel’s petitions are based on the character of God (His greatness, awesomeness, faithfulness, righteousness, forgiveness, mercies) and on His interests (Your people, Your city, Your holy mountain, Your sanctuary).

–William MacDonald

11 “All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. So the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against you. 12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers, by bringing upon us a calamity so great that what has been done against Jerusalem has never before been done under the whole heaven. 13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us. We did not entreat the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and reflecting on his fidelity. 14 So the Lord kept watch over this calamity until he brought it upon us. Indeed, the Lord our God is right in all that he has done; for we have disobeyed his voice.

15 “And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and made your name renowned even to this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 16 O Lord, in view of all your righteous acts, let your anger and wrath, we pray, turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because of our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people have become a disgrace among all our neighbors. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, and for your own sake, Lord, let your face shine upon your desolated sanctuary. 18 Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay! For your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name!”

The Seventy Weeks

Dan9 70 weeks

“The Seventy Weeks” is a name often applied to Daniel 9:24-27, a prophecy that presumably, in contrast to the general prophecies in Daniel 2 and 7, pinpointed the exact time within the fourth kingdom when the Messiah would appear.  Almost all scholars agree that the “weeks” designate 490 years.  The prophecy is (1) divided–the successive periods are described as 7, 62, 1;  (2) dated–“from” and “until” in 9:25;  (3) determinative–Its purposes regard Israel (v. 24), redemption (v. 24), the Messiah (vv. 24, 26-27),  the sacrifices (v. 27), and Jerusalem (vv. 25-27);  and debated (see below). 

Three primary views are held.  (1) The critical view posits that the “prophecy” was written by a pseudo-Daniel in 165 B.C. and synchronizes (inaccurately) with the history between 586 B.C. (Jerusalem’s fall) and 164 B.C. (Antiochus IV Epiphanes).  (2) The dispensational view has the sixty-ninth week terminating before Jesus’ crucifixion, leaving the seventieth (the present age being a “great parenthesis”) to be fulfilled in the great tribulation.  (3) The conservative or traditional view asserts that the seventieth week was introduced by Jesus’ baptism and bisected (three and a half years) by his death, thus causing the sacrifices to cease (v. 27).  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

20 While I was speaking, and was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God— 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He came and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications a word went out, and I have come to declare it, for you are greatly beloved. So consider the word and understand the vision:

24 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing,

Messiah Cut Off.   digital art by Ted Larson.

Messiah Cut Off. digital art by Ted Larson.

and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

Many interpreters agree that the assailants are the armies of Titus who destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  Others believe the prince himself is the Antichrist of the future.  (The Reformation Bible)

Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.”

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Music:

There are great numbers of books purporting the interpret Daniel’s revelations.  I do not claim to understand all the viewpoints, or even to give you a good representation of the various points of view.  As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2 — For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  For that reason,  I give you a song about our Savior, crucified and risen; desolations cease as we draw nearer to the Lord.  HERE  is “The Risen Christ” by Keith Getty and Phil Madeira.

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New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
70 years.    http://www.sil.org/sites/default/files/styles/history_colorbox/public/history/70th_logo.jpg
Larson.    http://home.earthlink.net/~danika13/Daniel%20Index.htm
70 weeks.    http://www.danielsseventyweeks.com/Picture_Files/Jerusalem_Panaroma_70weeks.gif