Summary: This is the most amazing prophetic passage in all the Word of God, because God not only tells us WHAT will happen, but He gives us the PRECISE TIMING of these plans.
The ninth chapter of Daniel centers clearly upon the person of Jesus Christ and is one of the few places in Scripture where God ties himself to a definite timetable of events. This passage is therefore one of the strongest evidences to prove the divine inspiration of the Bible. I am sometimes asked why I believe the Bible to be the Word of God, and Daniel 9 is one of the reasons. If you ever wonder whether this is a divine book or just a book of religious stories, it is helpful to know certain passages which clearly set forth predictive elements that are unmistakable and then check to see if they have been fulfilled. The ability of the Bible to predict events far in the distant future should serve as an intellectual wake-up call to anyone who is honest enough to consider the evidence. The passage we are looking at is that kind of passage. It pinpoints the exact moment in history when the Jewish Messiah would present himself to the Jewish people, and it does so more than 500 years before the event took place.
By the way, some people are always trying to compare Christianity with other religions. Christianity is not a religion; it is a personal relationship with God. But in case you still are trying to compare it to other religions consider this: None of the other major religious writings (the Koran, or the writings of Confucius, or Buddha) have prophetic predictions that can be reliably verified in history. They contain stories and teachings, and principles but the Bible is the only book that contains prophecy that can be verified. The possible exception to this is Zoroaster, who lived about 700 years before Jesus and some believe to be a Gentile “God fearer” like Balaam. Some see close parallels between Zoroaster and Bible prophecy, which might be proof he was at one time on the correct path to knowing the One true God. Only eternity will resolve this issue.
Daniel’s prophecy in Chapter 9 is neither a vision nor a dream. There are no strange symbols of animals or statues. It is a direct message to the prophet from God, delivered by the angel Gabriel. This is the same angel that appeared to Joseph and to Mary, as recorded in the opening chapters of the New Testament. The angel Gabriel was sent to the prophet Daniel to give him a clear and undisguised look into the future in answer to a prayer of the prophet.
I. GOD’S PLAN EXPRESSED (24)
Daniel was on his knees in prayer, pouring out his heart to God in confession and petition. God sends the angel Gabriel with the answer in Daniel 9:23. “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision.”
Gabriel says this is a message that can be understood.
Six phases of redemption
In verse 24 Gabriel outlines what we may call six phases of total redemption. These are six big things God is going to do. “Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and your holy city to (1) finish transgression; (2) to put an end to sin; (3) to atone for wickedness; (4) to bring in everlasting righteousness; (5) to seal up vision and prophecy; (6) and to anoint the most holy.”
Notice this message is to Israel (your people) and it involves Jerusalem (the holy city). As you read the Bible, it is very important you distinguish between what is addressed to Israel and what is addressed to the church. All the Bible applies to us as Believers, but not all the Bible is addressed to us. As God reveals His plan for Israel there are six major phases of God’s total redemptive plan. It includes what Jesus did on the cross. He put an end to sin and He atoned for wickedness. But it also refers to the total scope of God’s plan in the future, when, during the 1,000-year reign of Christ, righteousness will cover the earth, when all visions and prophecies will be sealed up (finished). So you must understand God is giving Daniel a glimpse into the future that takes us up to the very end of the world, as we know it.
Of all the problems of mankind, the two most basic are sin and death. Every other problem fades in comparison. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, sin and death must be dealt with. That is the purpose of God’s redemption, to solve those two human problems.
II. GOD’S TIMING EXPLAINED (25-26)
This is the most amazing prophetic passage in all the Word of God, because God not only tells us what will happen, but He gives us the precise timing of these plans. Go back to verse 24 and pick up the first phrase relating to timing: