For an introduction to this series, click here.
Oct. 25, 2006
The first part of chapter 9 is one of the most profound prayers found in the Bible. Daniel learns that Jeremiah has prophesied that Israel is to be captive 70 years. He comes before God and begs forgiveness for his people's sin. Here is a sample:
"O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolation, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy." (9:18)
Then Gabriel comes to Daniel and gives him the prophecy of the seventy weeks. I don't pretend to understand all of it, but I have learned from others' work who have researched this passage. It predicts seven weeks, or 49 years, until Jerusalem is rebuilt, and 62 weeks, for a total of 483 years, until "an anointed one shall be cut off." Practically all dispensational and even some covenant Christian scholars point to this as a prophecy of Christ's death, and I believe that as well. The dispensationalist and the covenantalist view diverge on what the last week means.I'm sure it exists, but I would like to see some Jewish scholars' interpretation of this passage. In fact, Jewish perspective on the entire Old Testament is something I would be fascinated to read.
Anyway, during the last week another prince will deceive the Jews into a peace agreement, but he will turn and persecute the Jews. Then at the end of the week of years, he will be punished for his sin. Dispensationalists, of which I am one, view this as a prophecy concerning the tribulation period, in which the Beast will rule the world and set up a world religion. One of the few groups of people who will not be either be fully deceived or go through the motions of the religion set up by the Beast will be the Jews, which will give the Beast an excuse to try to fulfill Satan's dream of wiping out the Jews.
In chapter 10, Daniel sees a vision of a mighty angel. This is not Gabriel, whom Daniel describes as having the appearance of a man in chapters 8 and 9. The very sight of this angel puts Daniel on his face at his feet and Daniel is unable to speak. Those who were with Daniel did not see the vision, but they knew something was up because "a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled and hid themselves." (10:7, ESV) The angel tells Daniel that he had been trying to get to Daniel to deliver the message for 21 days, but he was deterred by "the prince of the kingdom of Persia." This is not a reference to Cyrus, who was king when Daniel saw the vision. This has to refer to a demonic spirit, whether it is Satan himself or one of his lieutenants. The angel was only able to defeat the prince of Persia with the help of "Michael, one of the chief princes." This has to be a reference to the angelic warrior in Jude who contended with Satan over the body of Moses. We'll get to that later.
A lot of people use this passage to say that Satan has a demon in charge of every nation or every city or whatever. That could be true, and I have no doubts of Satan's and his minions' power. But this could be a reference to Satan himself. Both Isaiah and Ezekiel, when they speak of the fall of Satan, speak of him as either the king of Babylon or the king of Tyrus. I'm certainly not going to make a definitive statement. I hate to even speculate on what actually goes on in the unseen spirit world. I do know that if we were to catch a glimpse of what goes on, it would scare us to death.