The Seventy Weeks Prophecy
When and why did Daniel pray?
What are you praying for?
Our Heavenly Father listens also to our prayers. And He answers them usually in three different ways, "YES", "NO" or "NOT NOW". But we have to know Him in order to hear those answers. This chapter in the book of Daniel contains one of the most powerful prayers we find in the Scripture, together with John 17 or 2nd Chronicles 6, among others. And we can learn quite a few things about our Heavenly Father by understanding the reasons of the believers' prayers, the attributes of God's mind on which they base their prayers, and their knowledge of God's plan for them or their nation that underlies their petitions.
Daniel chapter nine is one of the most amazing chapters of the Bible. If this chapter was the only one left of the Old Testament, and the rest would be lost, only with it you could know about our Messiah Jesus Christ and about God's covenant with Israel. Daniel 9 can be divided in two greater parts: Daniel's prayer and God's answer. This answer, the so called "Seventy Weeks Prophecy", is the basis to know when the Messiah would come, that He would die on the cross, and that Israel would be restored under the Persians, then persecuted, then rescued by God again.
The first part - from Daniel 9:1 to 19 - is Daniel's prayer, with an introduction which tells us the occasion and purpose of his petition. We can find in Daniel's prayer his praises to God, confession of sin, acknowledgement of God's justice and intercession for Israel. If we understand that "Jesus is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever", that the God who gave the Jews the Old Testament, beginning with the Torah in the XIV century BC, is the same One who gave us Christians the New Testament in the first century AD, then we'll find precious teachings about prayer in this chapter.
The introduction, showing the time, motive and purpose of Daniel's prayer, is found in the first two verses:
"In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom - in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years"
The Hebrew Original text sounds like this:
"Bishnát akhát le-Darejáves, ben-Ahasverós, mitséra madáy, ashér homlák al-malkút kasdáy, bishnát akhát le-malkút, aní Daniél binóti basefarím mishpár hashaním, ashér khayá devár Yaweh, al-Jirmiyá hanabí, le-malót lekhorbót Yerushaláyim shibím shaná"
The New International Version has a pretty literal translation for the original.
The first year of Darius - the same king in Daniel chapter 6 who ordered that the prophet should be cast in the lions' den - is 539 BC, the year when Babylon fell and then Persia conquered the Babylonian Empire. This year is also the first one of king Cyrus over Babylon (the one who "made" Darius "ruler over the Babylonian kingdom") You can read in this blog more about Cyrus and Darius in the final NOTE to the message under "Daniel 5:29-31".
That said about the time and context, observe the motive that triggered Daniel's prayer. He was reading the Scriptures - more precisely the book of Jeremiah - and found that the prophet announced seventy years of captivity in Babylonia. For the Jews in times of Jeremiah, the prophet's message was a scandalous one, and he suffered persecution because of it. But when Daniel was reading this, Nebuchadnezzar had invaded Jerusalem three times and subyugated the Kingdom of Judah long ago. The prophecy about seventy years of captivity had become now a radiant hope for the Jews - both those who were left in their country and the captives in the fallen Babylonia, now Persia - after 66 years from the beginning of the captivity (Daniel himself had come to Babylonia in 605 BC)
What is the link between Daniel's prayer's occasion and purpose, and ours?
The Bible shows us an awesome revelation about the things to come, ending with the restoration of Israel, the rapture of the church, the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming of Jesus, the Millennial Kingdom, Satan's last rebellion, the Last Judgement and the eternity in the New Jerusalem (in that order) The "things to come" are intertwined with "God's plan", both His plan for Israel as it is extensively prophesied in the Bible, and His plan for the whole world, to which Israel is meant to be "light". We can pray to God for many things, as children ask their parents for all they want, but God will not alter His plan because of our prayers. The Word of God says about this,
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him."
1 John 5:14-15
God's will is implicit in His plan. This knowledge is the reason that for most Zionist Christians, their support for Israel has nothing to do with Jews accepting Jesus. God's plan with Israel is a different one than God's plan with the church. Prophecies about both Jewish and Christian believers show us that. Only when our Messiah comes, then we will become one people - by the way, only then will be one body again, as Jesus prayed, and not a divided one which includes antisemites, atheists and all kinds of evils.
This knowledge should show anyone open to it that if you're pursuing One World Government - aka pushing for the European superstate, meaning the EU becoming a state - then you're advocating for the kingdom of the Antichrist. If you want a "palestinian state" inside Israel's borders as they are defined in Ezekiel's prophecy, then you're asking for something outside God's plan. Your "politics" are not just politics, they are the acknowledgement of God's plan, sovereignty and might, or rebellion against Him.
Are your prayers according to God's Word?
Or are you praying against the will of God?
If you don't have the answer to this question yet, keep reading! You'll find it.
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus is coming soon!