Summary: We love to talk about time! We wish God would tell us the "when." But in this fascinating passage, He gives us hints and landmarks to watch for without give us a date and time. And so we serve Him while we wait for His time.
Passage: Daniel 9:20-27
Intro: Time is a very mysterious thing to us
1. we are stuck in it, moment by moment, but dream of being outside it, to move back and forth in it.
PP “The Time Machine”
PP “Back to the Future”
2. hard for us to conceive of anyone being outside of time, being in charge of events with full knowledge, instead of just reacting as things happen.
3. this is our God, and while we are justifiably amazed at the pinpoint accuracy of prophecies such as this one, it is not surprising when we consider God’s nature.
4. of course there will always be those who seek to explain these prophecies in some more human way.
5. and perhaps no passage in Scripture has more alternatives interpretations than this one.
6. let’s stick with the text, bring in clarifying Scripture, find out what God is telling Daniel, and us!
I. Visions and Angels!!
1. Daniel has already described 4 dreams, one “writing on the wall”
2. there have been angelic interpreters along the way.
3. this is how God does it! Visions and interpreting angels!
4. throughout Scripture, angels are very often the messengers of God, as they are in Daniel and in Revelation.
5. so when an angel speaks, he is delivering the word of God.
6. don’t worship them! Just listen to what they say as recorded in God’s Word.
7. and here in v21, the angel Gabriel comes “in swift flight” (cool) as the messenger sent by God in response to Daniels prayer. V23
8. just like angel in Revelation, sent to give insight and understanding, to explain.
Il) like a tour guide when you are in an unfamiliar place, like a cave. Full of questions.
9. and this tour is all about time!
10. but also specifically focused on the Jews, v24. “your people and your city”
II. God’s Specific Goals in a Clear Time Frame
1. this is the stuff that charts are made of
2. “sevens” clearly refer to blocks of time, blocks of seven years.
3. so there are three blocks mentioned, 7x7=49, 62x7=434, 1x7=7. Total 490 years
4. that is the time frame for God to accomplish some goals.
5. both time and accomplishment of goals are equally important!
6. we have learned this in Revelation, that God has particular requirements He is fulfilling, and is not motivated by a calendar.
7. what are these goals?
PP v24, “finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, anoint the most holy”
8. essentially, three have been done, three are still in the future.
PP finish transgression=rejection of Jesus. Put an end to sin=also completion of sinfulness, atone for wickedness=Christ’s death on cross
PP bring in righteousness=future Seal up vision=complete fulfillment of prophecy, anoint most holy place=heavenly temple, Jesus once- for=all sacrifice.
9. clear that last three must still be in the future, even after Antiochus or Titus in 70 A.D. and destruction of Jerusalem.
10. this is God’s big plan, and it has a start and an end in time.
III. When Did The Clock Start?
1. v25, starts when a decree is issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
2. couple choices, because there were some decrees to restore parts by a couple rulers
3. 1 by Cyrus in 538 B.C. two by Artaxerxes in 458 and 444 B.C.
4. my favorite, Artaxerxes in 445
5. scholars fix the date at March 21st, 445 B.C.
6. 483 years from that date put us in 38 A.D., too long for reference to Christ. But wait!
IV. Where Are We Now?
1. Jewish prophetic year has 360 days, and that equals 173,880 days.
2. factor in differences in calendars, leap years, brings you to Palm Sunday, 32 A.D. And what was supposed to happen on that date according to Daniel 9:26? Anointed One cut off
3. this is the end of sin, the rejection by the nation of Israel of their promised Messiah.
4. remember the definition of sin?
PP “Sin is the consistent refusal to obey the clear revelation of God” And what does God require?
PP John 6:29
5. Jesus was “cut off”, rejected by the Jewish people.
6. but in that rejection He was crucified for the Jews and for us, and so “made atonement for sin”
7. and his death and resurrection established the foundation for those “still future goals” to be realized.
V. The “Seven” That’s Left
1. now people argue about this, but the Bible makes it very clear.
2. either the 490 are done with, and ended with the Roman general Titus destroying Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
3. question: did Titus fulfill all these prophecies?