Sermon delivered August 26, 2006 by Dr. Doug Jacobs as Daniel

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New King James Version NKJV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Daniel: Our Punctual Timekeeper

Daniel 9

(RealAudio Version available)

Pastor Gettys: "Daniel,"

'Daniel': "I'm so glad you called me."

PG: "Would you please explain what you had do say in Daniel 9? I'm so thrilled you're here, by the way."

D: "Well, Pastor Gettys, thank you so much for inviting me to the McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist church this beautiful Sabbath."

D: "Shabbat Shalom. Sabbath peace to each one of you. Unfortunately, my people didn't experience peace in my lifetime. And I understand in your time there's not much peace, either. But, pastor I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. You asked me to explain Daniel 9. Is that correct?"

Daniel 9 contains the fourth vision God gave to me. It happened way back in the year 538 BC, mor than 2500 years ago. I'm so glad the angel's prophecy of knowledge increasing has come true. Thank you, Pastor for these eyeglasses. This English Bible is a little smaller print than the Bible I'm used to reading but imagine all of this, God's word in such a little package. How knowledge has increased! What will they think of next!

That was an amazing year; 538BC. That was the first year of Darius the Mede. The Babylonian empire had been conquered. And, oh yes, that was the year I ended up in the lion's den. Didn't you study about that just a few weeks ago, in Daniel 6? I prayed and God delivered me in a miraculous way. And as I was thinking of God's delivering me from captivity in the lion's den, I realized that Babylon is conquered, I am almost ninety years old. We've been here for almost seventy years. Didn't Jeremiah the prophet say something about that when I was a little boy in Jerusalem?

And so I got out my books. You can look in Jeremiah 25 in your English Bible, and as you look there in Jeremiah 25, you will find a prophecy that I began to restudy. The prophecy is found there in Jeremiah 25:11,12. I heard Jeremiah say this with my own ears. This whole land speaking of my country, the nation of Judah shall be a desolation and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the Lord ; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation.

It happened exactly as Jeremiah said. Just a short time after this prophecy, Nebuchadnezzar came, carried me and my friends captive to Babylon. Some years later, Jeremiah repeated his message in a letter he sent to those of us who were captives. Some of us were not too happy to be in Babylon and Jeremiah wanted us to be satisfied and realize that we were going to be there for seventy years. And he told us to build homes, plant crops. Then in Jeremiah 29:10 he said, For thus says the Lord, "After seventy years are complete at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place."

As I thought about that, and as I studied, I thought 'First, God took us to Babylon: that part of this prophecy has been fulfilled. Secondly, God predicted that Babylon would be conquered itself and laid desolate. That part has been fulfilled just in the past year as Darius and Cyrus came and the Medes and the Persians have taken over. There is only one part of this prophesy that is left unfulfilled, and that is our return back to our promised land.'

But I noticed that Jeremiah went on. And he said in Jeremiah 29:12, part of the letter he wrote to us as captives, Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you wil seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and from all the place I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. What a promise!

And so I determined to do what Jeremiah said. I determined to seek the Lord. Now, you know I pray three times a day, but I was talking about a different kind of prayer. That was a prayer of thanksgiving for daily blessing that God gave to me. But I felt that God was calling me to pray and to seek Him. God was calling me to confess. Throughout the scriptures I discovered that God said, "Whenever My people sin, whenever they are carried away captive, if they confess, I will bring them back to their land. That's what God told the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. In Leviticus 26, I studied that passage and saw the words of God there and claim them. Leviticus 26;40. God said, "But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with the unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they have walked contrary to Me. Then in Leviticus 26:42, Then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. Oh. That was a good promise!

but then I also remembered the promise that king Solomon gave at the dedication of the temple which now lay desolate in Jerusalem. This is what he said as he prayed his great prayers there. 1 Kings 8:46,47. "When they sin against you (for there is no one who does not sin) [Even I, Daniel was a sinner], and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far and near; yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, 'We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness.' 1 kings 8:49, Then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions .... grant them compassion."

Moses told us to confess when we were in captivity. Solomon told us to confess when we were in captivity. Jeremiah told us to confess when we were in captivity. And so I determined that I was going to get on my knees and pray a special prayer of confession. I took off my royal robes, like the ones I am wearing today, and I put on the coarse garb goat's hair sack cloth, the most humble kind of clothing. I poured ashes over my head to show that I was a sinner. You see, I was worried that this prophecy of the seventy years was a prophecy that God was going to extend. In addition to my confession I had some questions that I needed to ask God. Because Jeremiah had also said that when God prophesied something good about people (you can go home this afternoon and read this in Jeremiah 18) that if the people sinned and rebelled against God, God would repent of the good, and I was afraid that our sins were so bad that somehow God would extent the period.

And then there was that vision that your pastor told you about last week: the vision of Daniel 8. Remember the ram and the vision of the goat? How the ram represented Media/ Persia and the goat represented Greece? How the goat came and just destroyed the ram? And the little hornin his head grew so large and filled the land and its evil power, trampled down God's sanctuary for two thousand three hundred days. The vision was so bad, Pastor, you told them last weekend, it really made me sick. I mean, for days I just couldn't go about my work. I was so worried that maybe God was going to leave us in this captivity. 2300 day! What if it was prophetic year? What if our people were going to stay in Babylon for two thousand three hundred years? And so I put on the sack cloth. I poured the ashes over my head. I knelt down and I prayed a prayer of confession.

In Daniel 9 you find my prayer there as I prayed to the Lord. Daniel 9:4, And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments. God has made a contract with us to save us. And God is the One Who keeps His word. Do you believe that today? God does what He says He is going to do.

But our problem in Daniel 9:5 I said, We have sinned... I had to confess. I had to admit that I, as Solomon says, was a sinner as well as everyone else. We've committed sin and committed iniquity. We've done wickedly and rebelled.

How did we do this? How did we sin? I saw two ways we had sinned. First of all: we had rebelled against God's precepts and His judgments. We had not obeyed the voice of God when He told us to do something, we had not done it. But there was a second way as well: We haven't heed your servants, the prophets (Daniel 9:6) who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and the people of the land. God, we haven't paid attention to You and we haven't paid attention to the people You sent to tell us Your word. That was pretty bad. "God," I said, "Righteousness belongs to You. You own it. You're the One that is righteous, but to us, all we have is shame of face. All of us. No matter where we are. The men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those near and those far, wherever we've been taken captive, myself included, we all have nothing but shame of face because we have not obeyed You. It doesn't matter whether we're the most humble or the highest, from the king on down, each one of us, our princes, our fathers, we've sinned against You."

Now I want you to notice something very special about this prayer. Probably you don't know my language, Hebrew, and don't realize that the Hebrew people love to rhyme in thought. So, when I said in the beginning section of the prayer that 'Righteousness belongs to You, Lord.' And I told that 'shame belongs to us,' when I came back and talked about God again, it was a parallel, it was a rhyming idea. And I didn't say that righteousness belong to You, but I said in Daniel 9:9, 'To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness.' Our God's righteousness include mercy and forgiveness. Is that good news today? What wonderful news. That's what gave me courage to keep on praying because as I thought about God's righteousness I realized that it not only included His mercy and His forgiveness, but God had been righteous in His punishment.

You see, we haven't obeyed His voice, which was His law. We had transgressed everything God had said. We had transgressed by not obeying Him. We hadn't done what Moses told us to do, by taking care of the widows and the orphans. We hadn't kept the Sabbath. We hadn't followed any part of the Law. We had gone after other idols. We were without excuse, and so, the things that God brought on us, things that had never been done to any other nation under the sun.

Our capitol lay desolate; all of our people taken away. God was right in punishing us, and I acknowledged that. I said in Daniel 9:14, "...The Lord our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice" He was right to punish us. But I knew that God's righteousness was also His love and His mercy and His compassion.

As I looked at our desolate city there, and as I thought about the name of God, my mind went back to another time when our people were in captivity in the land of Egypt. Then we were slaves to Egypt. Now we were slave to our sin. We were held captive, not just by the Babylonians but our sins. God's name had been impugned among the people. The people said, "Can't God deliver them?" He brought them, out of Egypt. For hundreds of years, people talked about the deliverance from Egypt, how God brought us through the Red Sea, how He brought us through the Jordan River, how He conquered all of the cities without our having to fight.

And now as our city lay desolate and we were in captivity, people were saying, "Where is our God? Where is our God." And so I just said as recorded in Daniel 9:16, "O Lord, according to all your righteousness, ....let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, You holy mountain; because of our sins. We are the ones who have brought reproach on You name, Lord. You are what You said to Moses, 'A gracious and Compassionate God.' That's what your name is. God, the way that You can restore Your name is by showing Your love and Your mercy to You people. When we come and confess as You told us to when we claim Your promises for the return, and when we claim not top our own righteousness but to cling to You righteousness, Your justice and Your mercy." I just got carried away there and I pleaded there and I cried out, "O Lord, hear O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act. Don't delay for Your sake my God, for Your city and Your people. We're called by Your name. God, it's time for You to stand up and make a name for Yourself by freeing us again from captivity."

It was while I was just overcome with God's goodness and His mercy. It was right about the time of the evening sacrifice, or when the sacrifice would have been if the temple were still operating. It was right about that moment that there was a tap on my shoulder. I turned with a start and there was the man, Gabriel, that had tried to explain the previous vision thirteen years before, the one that neither I nor anyone else could understand, the one of the 2300 days that had bothered me so much for the last thirteen years that especially now.

He said to me, (Daniel 9:22) O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, Can you imagine that, how swiftly. When I started praying God said to Gabriel, "Go, make Daniel understand." And he came all the way from heaven to earth while I was praying. He did that. And then he said something else. "You are greatly beloved, therefore understand the vision."

Brothers and sisters, you are greatly beloved by God today. You're greatly beloved by God and the message that Gabriel then gave to me is one I understood and one I want you to understand today. Gabriel came to tell me that my people were going back to Jerusalem and that God was going to give them a period of time there for a very specific purpose: to confess, to claim God's promises and cling to His mercy to prepare the way for the Messiah that was coming.

And Gabriel went on in Daniel 9:24 and he said, "Seventy weeks (seventy weeks of seven days, four hundred ninety years) are determined (they are cut off) for your people. You're going back to Jerusalem and God is going to fulfill the seventy-year prophecy and give you another prophecy of sevety weeks of years for your people to be there in Jerusalem. And Gabriel told us that God wanted to do six things during this period of time. The first two were for my people to accomplish.

When they went back, Gabriel summarized the message of the vision first. First of all, it is time for the people to finish their transgression and make an end of sin. It's time for your people to come and confess theirs sins before God as you are confessing. It's time for them to ask forgiveness of God and to develop a holy nation in preparation for the Messiah. One that is purifying the camp, as Moses used to call it in anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah, and when they purify the camp, when they confess their sins and put an end to the sins that caused God to punish them, then Gabriel said that God was going to make reconciliation for iniquity and bring in everlasting righteousness through the death of Jesus on the cross.

That's good news, isn't it? The idea that God has a way to forgive us if we com to Him. And finally, Gabriel said two more things. This period of time, these five centuries, four hundred ninety years, was a time to seal up the vision and literally, trhe Hebrew says, not prophecy but prophet.

And so, God was going to make this a period of time for my people. You see, Gabriel was talking about two different things I had worried about. I had worried about my people, what was going to happen to them, and I was worried about my city and it's temple in Jerusalem. And Gabriel came and he said, "There is this period of time for your people, and this is going to be the time when the vision is finished. At the end of this time there will be no more vision for the Jews. And the prophet will be sealed up.

I didn't know then, but you know now that that's exactly what happened. At the end of this time, the last prophet of the Jews, Stephen was stone. And all the other prophecies were given to Christians.

But there's one last thing that he said would happen, and that is to anoint the most holy place. Jesus would ascend to heaven. Jesus would begin a work of reconciling iniquity and bringing in everlasting righteousness and forgiving our sins. And I didn't know then, but you know now that that happened on the day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit came down and the new era began. The sanctuary was anointed and God's people had access directly. They didn't have to worry about praying to a temple here on earth. They could pray directly to God.

Then Gabriel took the details of this prophecy. An again, in this prophecy there were these two parts that I had noticed earlier in my prayer. God's righteousness includes Hie forgiveness and mercy, but if we don't confess our sins, if we don't come back to Him and ask forgiveness, God has no alternative but to judge us. And in this prophecy, Gabriel was talking about my people and what the Messiah would do for them and my city, the city of Jerusalem, what would happen to it, and unfortunately, while Jesus would come and die for His people, the city would reject Him and would be destroyed.

Let's look and see what happens here. Daniel 9:25 cf. "Know, therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (69 weeks altogether); the streets shall be built again, and th wall, even in troublous times."

I didn't know then, but you know now that that decree went forth in the year 457BC, in the fall of the year. And amazingly, exactly 483 years later the gospel writer, Luke, telling the story of Jesus' life date, identified the exact date so that we would know it today. In the year AD 27, in the fall of the year, Jesus was baptized and He was anointed by the Holy Spirit. In fact, when He came out of the water the Holy Spirit came down on Him and anointed Him as the Messiah. Exactly on time. Exactly the way this prophecy said.

Now. During the first seven weeks, the forty-nine years, are cities the second part was rebuilt. Remember the troubled time in Ezra and Nehemiah . But this part was very clear and was fulfilled exactly as the prophet said. Then in Daniel 9:26,27, he said that the last week, the seventieth week would be the time when the Messiah would come and confirm the covenant of salvation. Unfortunately, in the middle of that week He would be cut off, but not for Himself. In other words, He wouldn't kill Himself, but someone would kill Him and He would die for our sins. And then it says that the people of the Prince Who is to come, unfortunately that's my people, the People of Jesus Christ, the people of the prince who is to come, they're the ones that are going to destroy the city and the sanctuary. They wouldn't accept Jesus Christ's death on the cross. They wouldn't accept His mercy, His forgiveness, His salvation that he wanted to offer to them.

And so, we find that the city itself, it doesn't say exactly when. I didn't know, but you know now that a few years after Jesus went back to heaven that the Roman general, Titus, came and destroyed the city. He didn't want to destroy the sanctuary. But the battle was so fierce that the Jews who rejected Jesus fought so desperately against the Romans that they even took refuge in the sanctuary and the Roman soldiers were fighting against them and someone threw a fire brand into the sanctuary and it went up. Titus tried to save it but he couldn't because the prophecy was clear that this was what would happen.

Well, there you have it: The prophecy of Daniel 9. My prayer and the prophecy, My questions and God's answers.

When you look at this today, you can see that it is fulfilled in detail. You see that God's righteousness includes His mercy and His forgiveness. Don't you see that Jesus came and died for God loved us so much that while we were still sinners Christ came and died for us, as the apostle Paul put it. As John, one of Jesus' disciples, you know the verse very well, What a wonderful verse. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. That's what God wants for you today. That's what this prophecy is all about. Asking my people to accept the Savior.

But there is in this prophecy another part of this prophecy. You'll notice that each one of the verses tells us what Jesus wants to do for us, but it also tells the judgment that fell on Jerusalem. That even though the city was rebuilt, it was eventually destroyed. The People didn't accept Jesus Christ.

Today, you're not worried about the fulfillment of the seventy years, because obviously we went back to Jerusalem. You're not even worried about the fulfillment or the four hundred ninety year prophecy, the seventy weeks of years because you know that Jesus Christ came on time, exactly the way Gabriel told me he would.

You know that all of these things were fulfilled exactly. You're not worried about the 2300 year prophecy of Daniel 8 because you know that that has already finished and Christ is now in heaven preparing to come back again the second time. He wants to come for you. He wants to make sure that you're with me in heaven.

But there are two prophecies that you ought to be concerned about. Daniel 2. Remember that prophecy? Do you remember the great image? Remember the fact that it was a history of the nations of Babylonia, Media/Persia, Greece, Rome, and then the nations of today, that we're down in the toes of this. That in this vision as Nebuchadnezzar saw and the I interpreted to him, a rock came cut out without hands and destroyed the image and grew and filled the whole earth. You remember what I said to Nebuchadnezzar at the end of that vision, at the end of Daniel 2. As I was talking to him, I said in Daniel 2:44, In the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. That's the time you're living today, down in the tip of that empire. The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. That kingdom will not be left to other people. Then I said, "The dream is certain and the interpretation is sure."

Today you know that God has fulfilled His prophecies, don't you? And the prophecy that Jesus is coming back and setting up a kingdom in which there will be everlasting righteousness. Friends, that prophecy is stiill as sure today as it was when God gave it to me.

And then there was the vision of Daniel 7. It's a wonderful vision ot the great beasts. You remember at the end of that vision, in verse 22, there was another little horn power to see in Daniel 8, warring against God's people. Daniel 7:21, ...horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them. Daniel 7:22, Until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.

Brothers and sisters, It's almost time for you to possess the kingdom of God. Notice verse 26, 27 in my interpretation carried on here. The angel told me, But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. The kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heavens shall be given the people of the saint of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom of everlasting righteousness. I can't wait for the day when you join me in that kingdom. What are you going to do now as you are waiting? I have questions, you may have questions of why god is delaying or seems to delay. Friends, I commend to you the prophecy of Jeremiah that motivated me in my prayer life in Jeremiah 29. And I invite you to claim this promise today. To come to Jesus, confessing you sins, claiming the promise, clinging to His righteousness. God says, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you: thoughts of peace, and not of evil." God wants to give is a shabbat shalom, not just today but for eternity. God want us to enjoy a Sabbath forever. "I know the thoughts that I think toward you," says the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and pray to Me and listen to Me, and you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Will you search for the Lord with all your heart? I believe that when you do that God will answer and the prophecies will be fulfilled and you will soon, very soon be in that everlasting kingdom forever free from sin as you confess and as you claim the promises and cling to God's mercy.

 Hymn of Praise: #11,  The God of Abraham Praise
Scripture: Daniel 9:15-19
Hymn of Response: #201,  Christ is Coming

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