Those who desire the Messiah, Daniel

December 17, 2023
Scripture: Daniel 9:24-27

 Today we are going to talk about Daniel. He was a man of prayer and in a difficult situation. He was born in Judea around 620 B.C. and taken to Babylon around 605 B.C. He was taken to Babylon when he was a teenager and learned the Chaldean language to serve the Babylonian government as an able young man. He did not serve the God of Babylon because he was a believer in the God of the Bible. Daniel kept God's law and tried to live a high spiritual life. He served as a close associate of the kings of the two great empires of the time, Babylon and Persia. God had given him wisdom and spiritual abilities.
 Daniel was a man of prayer. He actually prayed a lot. In part because his situation was so difficult that he had to pray. He prayed three times a day at set times. What we can learn from him is the diligence of prayer and the content of his prayers.
His prayer was for God's plan to be fulfilled. Jesus taught in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." He taught, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We sometimes think that "God's will be done without prayer. Others think that prayer is just a way for God to hear their requests. But prayer is communication with God, a time of spiritual communion. Prayer makes us spiritually stronger. When we are spiritually strong, problems cease to be problems, but when we are spiritually weak, problems become even greater.

 Today, I will continue to talk about Messianic prophecy. Last week we learned that the Messiah would come as King through David. God gave David the prophecy that the Messiah would be born as his descendant, along with the promise that his lineage would become a royal family. As I told you at the beginning of this series, God is the author of the Creation story. All of humanity is a performer in the Creation story. God decides the script ahead of time, but at the same time, we get to choose our actions. When making a movie or drama, the performers do what the script and the director tell them to do. If they don't, they don't know how the story will turn out. But God can make the story go the way He wants it to go, with the performers choosing their own actions. Prophecy is God telling us in advance how the second half of the story will unfold. God already told us the ending of the creation story 2,000 years ago.

Now, let us look at the Messianic prophecies from today's passage.
By the way, today's passage is one of the most heavily debated theological passages. Therefore, I cannot say that my interpretation is absolutely correct, nor do you have to agree with me. But as a biblical message, it is not wrong. So, let us look at today's passage as we consider it together.
Let us look at verse 24.
24 "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
 As you will see if you read chapter 24 from the beginning, this prophecy was given by God through the angel Gabriel as a response to Daniel's prayer for repentance. Along with the prophecy that God would use His power to grant spiritual restoration to the Jewish people whose hearts had turned away from God, He also taught the people of the world through Daniel the central point of the creation story, the redemption of the Messiah, and the climax of the Messiah's second coming.

 First, let me begin with the problem that makes this passage so difficult. 
 The Japanese Bible says 70 weeks. The Japanese Bible translates the Hebrew word, shabuim, as weeks. However, it also means 7 or 70. In verses 24 through 27, the number 7 is used in every verse. Therefore, it is up to the interpreter to decide whether to translate it as 7, 70 or weeks.
 In conclusion, this number can be taken as the time until the restoration described next is completed, “To put an end to sin, to redeem iniquity, to bring about eternal righteousness, to confirm the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place. Six contents are prophesied. Some divide this into two parts, interpreting the first half as the time of Jesus' crucifixion and the second half as the time of His second coming as King. Others interpret all six as being realized at the Second Coming. In either case, to be forgiven of sins is to receive eternal righteousness. As long as we are on earth, we cannot be perfectly righteous. However, we have received God's promises. Also, all biblical prophecy ends with the completion of the creation story. That is the time of the Second Coming. So this number 7 times 70 is 490 years, which is the time of the coming of Christ, the crucifixion, the increase of evil, and the end of the world.
Now let us see how exactly it is divided in verses 25 through 27.
Verse 25.
25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
 The first question is when this command to rebuild Jerusalem is given. In chapter 9, Daniel learned from Jeremiah's prophecy that the Babylonian captivity was for 70 years. It was fulfilled by the Persian king Cross. This was in 538 B.C. However, it was not until the time of Ezra that the Jews actually returned to Jerusalem, built the temple again, and began to worship. It was completed by Nehemiah when the walls were restored. Nehemiah, like Daniel, was a Jew, but he had the status of a servant to the king of his time. God gave Nehemiah a passion for Israel, and Nehemiah became the governor of Judea, building the wall in Jerusalem and creating a safe environment for the Jewish people to live in. It was King Artashasta who ordered this Nehemiah to go. Nehemiah 2:1 says the twentieth year. This is the year 445 B.C. In other words, this command was issued in 445 B.C.

 Next is the anointed one. The Hebrew word for the anointed one is Messiah. In Greek, it is Christ.

Next, it says, “7 weeks and also 62 weeks.” Here, the words 7 and 70 are followed by 62 and 7. Most scholars agree that 62 plus 7 makes 69 weeks. This is because, in the next 26 verses, it says, "after those sixty-two weeks. In other words, it would mean after 69, which is the addition of 62 and 7.
Multiply this 69 by 7, and you get 483. Since King Artashasta's decree mentioned earlier was in 445, adding 483 to that gives us 38 A.D. That would be eight years after Jesus was crucified. However, at that time, the Middle East used a lunar calendar, not a solar calendar. So, 69 times 7 would be 476 years, not 483 years. That would make it 31 A.D. It is said that Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D. But here we need to do the math again. That is, since B.C. and A.D. change to the same year, we must subtract 1. Then the number becomes 475. That is the year of Jesus' crucifixion.
Continue with verse 26.
26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

 The "anointed one is cut off" is the cross of Christ. The main character in the creation story is Jesus, the Son of God. And it is the cross that Jesus completed his salvation. This is the most important scene of the story. “Nothing remains” symbolizes the death of Christ. Many people do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah because His death is not heroic.

The next question is who is the "coming ruler"? The word "ruler" does not use the word Messiah. The word is nagid in Hebrew. We know that this ruler is evil because he destroys the city and the sanctuary. The ruler who appears at the end of this story and who destroys the sanctuary is the Antichrist.
 Paul describes this as this.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

 The Day of the Lord is the day of Jesus' second coming. The Antichrist will rule the whole world because he is under the power of Satan. It has been said that various figures throughout history have been the Antichrist, but in reality, he has yet to appear. Recently, some people said it was former President Trump.
We don't know for sure, but it is highly possible that if someone who can unite the world with mysterious power appears, he is the one.
 And when this Antichrist is revealed, the Creation story is just before its climax.
 Verse 27.
27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing {of the temple} he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. "

 The last seven. To explain a little, the many are the Jews. The Antichrist will first bring peace and prosperity to the world. He also protects the Jews. But in the latter three and a half years, he changes. He unifies the world by force and kills those who disobey him. And he begins to persecute the Jews. Satan is cast down to the earth and rages. But at the end of those three and a half years, the Messiah will return and destroy Satan and the antichrists in one fell swoop. At that time, Jesus will not be born as a baby, but will come with angels from heaven. He will then, in effect, become King of the world.

 In any case, the end of creation will end with the second coming of Jesus, the Messiah. After that, a new story begins, with the Messiah as King.
 This solves the mystery of the 490 years in verse 24: What is the 490 years in verse 24?
 483 years (until Christ's crucifixion) + 7 years (the last period before Christ's second coming) = 490 years

  This is God's creation story. God created the world as an eternal and peaceful nation. However, mankind chose evil and became ruled by evil. Evil, or sin, was built into our DNA, and all people born after Adam have the sin nature.
 Later in the story, the Son of God took on sin and hung on the cross so that the sins of those who sought Him could be forgiven. History then continues, and in the end, the Son of God will return, this time not as Savior, but as King of the world. After that, it will be a new story, the story of heaven.
We, too, are in this story. But only God knows whether we will be on the side of righteousness or evil. But what we do know is that we are given a choice, the power to choose. If we choose God in our lives, we have nothing to worry about. The cross of Jesus will be for us. God forgives our sins and puts us in heaven. In fact, Christmas is a time to celebrate the coming of Jesus and to wait for Him to come again.
The world is going from bad to worse. The nations cannot do anything about the war. Even if people choose to do evil, they cannot be restrained by justice. Rather, the word justice is disappearing now. If a person feels that he is just, he is just. Such an era is, in other words, the era of the need for the coming of the One who is truly just. The real justice, the righteous hero who punishes evil, is coming soon. Let us prepare for the coming time. That is Christmas.

 Let us pray.