Thursday, March 26, 2020

1888 Message Study : From Dust to Stars





'Sheltered in Place— Social Distanced No More'


When last contributing to the study on Daniel I had just returned from a trip to the William Miller farm—life was good—comparatively speaking. Subsequent to that blog three months ago both of my mentors have died and an unsettling diagnosis has come closer to home, but God remains good.

It is not news to you that right now most of the United States and the world are "sheltered in place" with "social distancing". All sports events are cancelled across the world, most restaurants are closed, many doctors' offices are shut or only addressing urgent cases; the General Conference gathering in Indianapolis postponed, the Olympics on the brink of being cancelled, and oh yes—people are beginning to hoard.

By the time this post is read the world could have changed even beyond cameras recording a skeleton pastoral team at your local Adventist church. If human nature has remained unchanged, which it has, we could see escalation as spelled out by history below. We are in portentous times. A seriousness has settled over us all. Our fondest hopes are either coming into focus or are being blurred by our possessions or feelings of wasted opportunity. Here is the bottom line. Michael is about to stand and we have no time to dillydally. He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15)—including Corona virus or the fear that is being generated by it. What a precious truth for the world in light of the Corona reality.

The year was 1893—the World Columbia fair was followed by financial depression that lasted until 1897 but there were a series of events that frames the following reference, but is present truth today. The financial depression of that year instigated riots in the streets in Ohio in March of 1894—the most significant protest march that ends in Washington on May 1st. Cleveland, Ohio was catapulted into the "May Day Riots". Ten days late was the Pullman Strike where three thousand union workers went on strike to protest lower wages. By July the news cycle is flooded with a fire at the site of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago that destroys the remaining buildings.

It is in this context that A.T. Jones pens:

"ALL men see the way that things are going, and they know that the times are perilous, and they resort to combinations of different sorts by which, if possible, to save themselves from results which they see must certainly follow, even viewed from the standpoint of the world. The laborers combine in unions, leagues, etc., to save themselves from what seems to them must certainly come. The farmers do the same, and the capitalists do the same.

NOW, in the eighth chapter of Isaiah, this course of things is described, and the word says: "Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, [that is, the Lord says to us], Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.... And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him." Isaiah 8:9-17.

THUS it is clearly shown that in the time of waiting and watching for the coming of the Lord, there will be this time of general distress and fear, in view of what is coming; and also this time of association and combination and confederation of many together to save themselves from that which they fear. It shows also that none of these associations, combinations, or confederacies will help those who enter into them. But the word which they speak "shall not stand;" the counsel which they take together will "come to nought;" and the combinations which they make, and even they, themselves, in those confederations, "shall be broken in pieces."

NO, no. Confederation or association of men will not save them in this time. Every effort made in that way will only increase the trouble and the danger which they hoped to escape. This also is apparent to everyone who looks at these things as they are today; for never was there a time in the world when there were such vast combinations of capital, and never was there a time when capital was so insecure. Never were there such vast organizations and combinations of labor, and never was labor in a worse plight. Unions, federations, combinations, will not help matters. These evils will grow worse and worse. Men themselves will grow worse and worse. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13. And by no combination or invention can men save themselves from themselves.

NONE but the Lord can save, even temporally, in this time. Therefore, in the presence of these things, when men are in fear in dread, their hearts moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind, He counsels us, "Stablish your hearts," let your hearts be fixed, so that you shall be safe and unmoved when others are in fear and in dread. "Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary," that is, for a refuge, a place of safety and security, a dwelling place, a shelter in the time of storm. For, "he that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty;" and in the shadow of His wings can we make our refuge till these calamities be over past." American Sentinel, July 26, 1894 p. 233


Our daughter had almost concluded her year abroad when it was abruptly announced last week that she could not stay in Argentina where she was studying and had to return home. WhatsApp was her lifeline to conference with her mom and me to lay out and execute the game-plan to return her to the United States. She arrived three days later in Seattle to the warm hug of her mother and tearful embrace of her brother—separated no longer. No social distancing here. Now she is sheltered in place at our home. God the Father and Jesus are working on the details of our return to our heavenly home. What we are witnessing are the final details to that grand reunion. There is healing that needs to be sped up.

Your infirmities could be the corona virus itself, or maybe financial stresses, emotional scarring, social isolation, physical abuse or diagnosis, or maybe spiritual apathy. Michael right now is in the gap for you—as you—to heal and restore you. His name means "Who Is Like God". This is where your acceptance is. We are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). We have a complete Savior Who is the Savior of all men—especially of those who believe
(1 Timothy 4:10). Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him (Hebrews 7:25) , but more important—our Heavenly Father is on our side. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

The world might be falling to pieces, but our refuge is "in Christ"—our High Priest. It is not just on the ephod as a precious stone, but His life flows out to us. We receive His life to live. There is no 'social distancing' with Him. May your life be hidden with God in Him.

Are you dwelling in the secret place of the MOST HIGH? There is no other refuge. Let us be "Sheltered in Place—in Him. The grand reunion is just before us.


Sing with me:


1 O safe to the Rock that is higher than I,
My soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly.
So sinful, so weary, Thine, Thine would I be;
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding in Thee.



Hiding in Thee, Hiding in Thee,
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding in Thee.


2 In the calm of the noontide, in sorrow's lone hour,
In times when temptation casts o'er me its power,
In the tempests of life, on its wide, heaving sea
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding in Thee. [Chorus]


3 How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe,
I have fled to my Refuge and breathed out my woe.
How often when trials like sea billows roll
Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul. [Chorus]

W. O. Cushing (1876)



In tribute to Fred Bischoff we encourage the series:  The Truth Versus the Lie.


~Richard Kearnsrichar

Friday, March 20, 2020




Modern scholarship generally sees in this chapter the wars between the Seleucids (north) and Ptolemaic (south) kings, culminating in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. However, this misses the tenor of the book as a whole, and the parallelism between this chapter and earlier ones. While there is little symbolism in the chapter, it still is difficult to identify distinctly all the historic references. Certain parts of the chapter are well recognized, others less so.

In preparation for this week's lesson, it should be admitted that sincere Christians have different interpretations and that humility is important. In reading Daniel 11, there are two dangers we need to avoid. One is to ignore the chapter due to its perplexity; the other is to be dogmatic in claiming to have the only understanding of every detail in the chapter.

For example, one main question that Seventh-day Adventist interpreters must answer is, "When does Imperial Rome enter into the prophecy?" In answer to that question, the SDA Bible Commentary and Mervyn Maxwell say Rome appears in verse 14. R. A. Anderson and William Shea argue for verse 16. Jacques Doukhan gives verse 4 as Imperial Rome's entrance. A second question is, "When does the papacy become central?" Doukhan suggests in verse 5. Maxwell argues that the papacy is central in verses 21-45, with the SDA Bible Commentary and Anderson arguing for its entrance in verse 31. Discerning between these dedicated scholars and their positions calls for humility.

Several principles can assist in the study of the chapter. First, it seems evident that the chapter is not using symbols as in the rest of the book, but the rubric of kings. There are no beasts or metals, simply a reference to kings. Second, verse 2 focuses on four kings of Persia, and verse 3 introduces Alexander the Great. This can be seen by comparing with Daniel 8:8. The four kings represent the breakup of that kingdom, and the following battles between the king of the north and the king of the south refer to various Syrian wars between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies.

Third, the Messiah's death is indicated in 11:22. The word for prince, nagid is used in 9:25-26. Therefore we have a verbal thread connecting the prince of the covenant, with the Messiah. We can thus conclude that Rome must enter before this verse. Fourth, there is the removal of the daily (11:31; 8:11). The papacy is involved in this activity (however the daily is understood), and thus must appear either with this verse, or shortly before. Fifth, the marker 'time of the end' (11:40), points to a period that begins with the fall of the papacy in 1798. (This expression appears in Dan. 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9). Thus, the events after this verse are between that event, and the resurrection mentioned in 12:2.

Sixth, since the resurrection described mentions some going to eternal life and others to eternal damnation, this cannot be the general resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) nor the one at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4-6). It must be a special resurrection and would occur around the time of the 7th plague (Revelation 16:17-18). All other historical events must fall into this general outline. The above points give us a general outline of the chapter, to which most people can agree.

In verses 44, 45 there appear to be events that draw history to a close. The King of the North, here represented by the papacy goes forth to destroy and annihilate many, reminding the reader of the death decree in Revelation 13. Tidings from the east and the north bring to mind God's deliverance of His people (Isaiah 41:25; 42:1; Revelation 7:2; 16:12; cf. Revelation 18:1-3). He will finally come to his end, with none to help him (Revelation 17:16). This introduces the next great event, Michael standing up, which indicates the beginning of His reign (Daniel 12:1-2; Revelation 11:15-18).

While every detail may not be clearly understood, the flow of the chapter can be grasped. God is not interested in war, for war's sake. The chapter highlights for us the reality of the great controversy, and that the battles taking place on earth are only a reflection of the war that began in heaven. Which side will we choose to be on today?

~Steven Grabiner

Friday, March 13, 2020

1888 Message Study : From Battle To Victory




Memory Text:  Daniel 10:19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.


I was watching a video of James Rafferty once, and he asked a question. "What chapter in Daniel is the one we never study?" I smiled, for I had asked that question in the past, with an additional twist. "What chapter in Daniel is the one we never study, and which contains the secret for victory in the Christian life?" The answer is, of course, Daniel 10, of course following on Daniel 9. The experience that Daniel had, near the end of His life, was important and necessary for him to, according to Daniel 12:13, "stand in thy lot at the end of the days." In Daniel 9, he humbled himself and corporately identified with the sins of his people. What occurs in Daniel 10 that is also absolutely critical? And how is it central to the fundamental meaning of the 1888 Message?

The great center of attraction, Jesus Christ, must not be left out of the third angel's message. By many who have been engaged in the work for this time, Christ has been secondary, and theories and arguments have had the first place. — Review and Herald, 3/20/1894; Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 383.

The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people …This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety, it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. — Christ Our Righteousness, p. 24; Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91, 92

I have had the question asked, "What do you think of this light that these men are presenting?" Why, I have been presenting it to you for the last forty-five years—the matchless charms of Christ. This is what [I] have been trying to present before your minds. When Brother Waggoner brought out these ideas in Minneapolis, it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lips I had heard, excepting the conversations between myself and my husband. — A. V. Olson, Through Crisis to Victory, p. 48, quoted from Ms. 5, 1889.

Let us look at Daniel 10 and see this in the experience of the prophet.

Daniel, after receiving additional light from Gabriel, is seen fasting and praying. We have already seen Daniel as a man of intense prayer, but now we see him also mourning and fasting. What grave historical circumstances led Daniel not only to pray but also to mourn and fast?

Upon the occasion just described, the angel Gabriel imparted to Daniel all the instruction which he was then able to receive. A few years afterward, however, the prophet desired to learn more of subjects not yet fully explained, and again set himself to seek light and wisdom from God. "In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all. . ..

Daniel wanted more understanding of the vision of Daniel 11, which was given before this chapter, for we see in Daniel 12, the prophet did not even then understand everything. (Daniel 12:8-10). When the Book of Daniel ended, there were still things He did not understand, for it was "sealed" until the time of the end. 

There is a second reason why Daniel was agonizing in prayer. The events of Daniel 10 took place in 535 BC. Just one-year earlier Cyrus had given a decree authorizing the rebuilding of the temple and had even provided materials to carry forward the task. (Ezra 1:1-4) The first wave of Jews had enthusiastically returned to Jerusalem and quickly laid the foundations of the temple and the altar (Ezra 3:8-10). At first the Samaritans feigned to have great interest in the rebuilding of the temple and offered to help (Ezra 4:1-2). But when they were rebuffed by Zerubbabel (Ezra 4:3), the opposition began. The opposition eventually became so great that for a time the building of the temple was suspended. A letter was sent to Darius demanding to know who gave permission, and He searched the archives, and found the decree of Cyrus. Darius sent a letter renewing the decree of Cyrus. (Ezra 6:7-13). As a result of this confirmatory decree and due to the help of Zechariah and Haggai, the temple was finally finished in the year 515 B.C.

Daniel was praying and fasting for He was grieving over the opposition that the Jews in Jerusalem were experiencing. Daniel's prayer and fast takes place on the first month of the year, Nisan, that is, precisely during the time of Passover and of the unleavened bread. He did not let any "meat or wine" touch his lips for three weeks, which would have been expected in the ritual meals of Passover. Jews justify Daniel's decision to transgress the commandments of eating the lamb and the four cups of wine on the grounds that the interruption of the Temple's construction warranted such a fervent response. (Doukhan, Secrets of Daniel, p. 158.) 

Daniel receives his vision on "the four and twentieth day of the first month" immediately after the week of Passover concludes (from the night of the fourteenth to the twenty-first).  Critics use this verse to say Daniel does not really advocate a vegetarian diet, assuming that after the three weeks, he would again eat flesh and wine, but they are missing the point of the passage. He, as a vegetarian, based on Daniel 1, would still have normally partaken in the Passover ritual meal, but was normally a vegetarian, with the benefits mentally and spiritually seen in various chapters of Daniel. He was so intensely into his prayer and fasting for his people that he did not observe Passover. There were times when Jesus prayed all night, even though we have laws regarding our need for physical rest. Daniel was willing to sacrifice himself for others. 

Fast on Passover Esther 4:16. Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

Esther called for a three-day fast before she went to see the king. The three days lasted until the first day of Passover—so they fasted that year instead of eating the Passover festive meal.

Daniel then receives a glorious vision. Daniel 10: 5 "Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude"

In these verses, we see a magnificent vision of Christ. The description is virtually identical with that of the glorified Christ in Revelation 1:13-16. This seems to indicate that Daniel did not see Jesus as He was garbed at that very moment, but rather as He would be garbed upon His inauguration as High Priest after His ascension. 

The others fled and Daniel was left alone, and even heard Christ speak to him. The result -

Daniel 10:8 "Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength."

Daniel, the man described, in chapter 6, as having no error or fault in him, (meaning in his work as a leader in the Babylonian empire), is humbled by the vision He saw. We have seen this theme elsewhere in Scripture. Saul was humbled by the vision of Christ He saw. Isaiah, in Isaiah 6, realizes that he is a "man of unclean lips" when He sees the "glory" of God. Moses was humbled at the glory of the burning bush. Later, Moses prayed to God to show him His "glory." In Exodus 34:6, God shows him His character. 

"And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth."

We are told in II Corinthians 3:18 "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

This principle, "By beholding, we become changed" will be actualized in the final generation, as seen in Revelation 18:1, where we see that the whole earth will be "lit with His glory." The 144,000 are described in Revelation 14:4-5. "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. Revelation 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

We have much inspired counsel in the absolute importance and necessity, and certainty as we respond to God's love, to behold the "matchless charms of Jesus Christ." 

"...Christ is our example. By beholding Him we are to be changed into His image, from glory to glory, from character to character. This is our work. God help us rightly represent the Savior to the world." –1SM 172 (RH Aug. 13, 1901).

"By beholding we are to become changed; and as we meditate upon the perfections of the divine Model, we shall desire to become wholly transformed, and renewed in the image of His purity. It is by faith in the Son of God that transformation takes place in the character, and the child of wrath becomes the child of God..." –1SM 335-338 (ST December 26, 1892).

"Satan is determined that men shall not see the love of God, which led Him to give His only-begotten Son to save the lost race; for it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. By presenting Jesus as the representative of the Father, we shall be able to dispel the shadow that Satan has cast upon our pathway, in order that we shall not see the mercy and love of God's inexpressible love as manifested in Jesus Christ...

"...Christ is our example. By beholding Him we are to be changed into His image, from glory to glory, from character to character. This is our work. God help us rightly represent the Savior to the world." –1SM 172 (RH Aug. 13, 1901).

"A legal religion has been thought quite the correct religion for this time. But it is a mistake. The rebuke of Christ to the Pharisees is applicable to those who have lost from the heart their first love. A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christ less religion.... 'This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent' (John 17:3). By beholding Christ, you will become changed, until you will hate your former pride, your former vanity and self-esteem, your self-righteousness and unbelief. You will cast these sins aside as a worthless burden, and walk humbly, meekly, trustfully, before God. You will practice love, patience, gentleness, goodness, mercy, and every grace that dwells in the child of God, and will at last find a place among the sanctified and holy." – 1SM 388 (RH Mar. 20, 1894).

"As we associate together, we may be a blessing to one another. If we are Christ's, our sweetest thoughts will be of Him. We shall love to talk of Him; and as we speak to one another of His love, our hearts will be softened by divine influences. Beholding the beauty of His character, we shall be 'changed into" the same image from glory to glory.' 2 Corinthians 3: 18." –DA 83 (1898).

"It is a law both of the intellectual and the spiritual nature that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell. It becomes assimilated to that which it is accustomed to love and reverence." – GC 555 (1888).

"It is a law of the human mind that by beholding we become changed. Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness. If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower. The worshipers of false gods clothed their deities with human attributes and passions, and thus their standard of character was degraded to the likeness of sinful humanity. They were defiled in consequence." – PP 91 (1890).

"It is growth in knowledge of the character of Christ that sanctifies the soul. To discern and appreciate the wonderful work of the atonement, transforms him who contemplates the plan of salvation. By beholding Christ, he becomes changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. The beholding of Jesus becomes an ennobling, refining process to the actual Christian. He sees the Pattern, and grows into its likeness, and then how easily are dissensions, emulations, and strife adjusted. The perfection of Christ's character is the Christian's inspiration. When we see Him as He is, desire awakes to be like Him, and this elevates the whole man; for 'every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.'" –RH August 26, 1890.

Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. When we take Him as our personal Savior, this gives us boldness to approach the throne of grace. By beholding we become changed, morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character. By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being (MS 148, 1897).  {6BC 1098.1} 

Striving to Become Christlike. --Beholding Christ for the purpose of becoming like Him, the seeker after truth sees the perfection of the principles of God's law, and he becomes dissatisfied with everything but perfection. Hiding his life in the life of Christ, he sees that the holiness of the divine law is revealed in the character of Christ, and more and more earnestly he strives to be like Him. A warfare may be expected at any time, for the tempter sees that he is losing one of his subjects. A battle must be fought with the attributes which Satan has been strengthening for his own use. The human agent sees what he has to contend with--a strange power opposed to the idea of attaining the perfection that Christ holds out. But with Christ there is saving power that will gain for him victory in the conflict. The Savior will strengthen and help him as he comes pleading for grace and efficiency (MS 89, 1903).  {6BC 1098.2} 

As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself serious defects; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees the necessity for radical changes in his life. Still he studies with a desire to become like his great Exemplar. He catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master. By beholding, by "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith," he becomes changed into the same image. {6BC 1098.6} 

It is not by looking away from Him that we imitate the life of Jesus, but by talking of Him, by dwelling upon His perfections, by seeking to refine the taste and elevate the character, by trying--through faith and love, and by earnest, persevering effort--to approach the perfect Pattern. By having a knowledge of Christ--His words, His habits, and His lessons of instruction--we borrow the virtues of the character we have so closely studied, and become imbued with the spirit we have so much admired. Jesus becomes to us "the chiefest among ten thousand," the One "altogether lovely" (RH March 15, 1887).  {6BC 1098.7} 

Daniel 10:8, Daniel's "comeliness was turned into corruption." He had beheld the glory of God, and it humbled him, and enabled him to "stand in his lot" at the end of days. We all need to see the glory of God, in order to rightly appreciate His holiness, the horror of sin, and of our need to truly repent from Laodicea, or self-righteousness. We need to understand the danger of Laodicea, a state described as "naked." If someone is spiritually naked, or without the "robe of Christ's righteousness", then he is not converted. Satan takes control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God. -- Lt 57, 1895 (TM 79)

The perils of the last days are upon us. Satan takes the control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God. Some have been cultivating hatred against the men whom God has commissioned to bear a special message to the world. They began this satanic work at Minneapolis. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. They would not humble their hearts to repent, to give God the glory, and vindicate the right. They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings, as did the Jews. They opened their hearts to the enemy of God and man. Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could. . .. {TM 79.3}

The warning of the message to Laodicea is more severe than we have grasped. It is not simply urging us to be "more on fire." It is a warning that the vast majority of the Christian world in the last generation is not truly converted, and thus being influenced by Satan. Thus, we read in Revelation 13:3 that "the whole world wonders after the beast." The converts are not renewed in heart or changed in character. They do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than before their conversion. In a genuine revival, when the Spirit of God convicts the conscience, the earnest, anxious inquiry will be heard, "What must I do to be saved?" And this not merely for a day. With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life. But where, in the popular churches of today, is the deep conviction of sin? where is the spirit of consecration to God? The spirit that controls the world rules in the church. Religion has become the sport of infidels and skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant of its principles. The power of godliness has well-nigh departed from the churches. Heart union with Christ is a rare thing now. The majority of church-members know no tie but that which joins them to an organized body of professed Christians. Love of pleasure and thirst for excitement are everywhere prevalent. Picnics, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thoughts of God. Lands and goods and worldly occupations engross the mind, and things of eternal interest receive hardly a passing notice. {4SP 294.2}

There is a great deal said about religion, and many claim to possess religion. But true religion is very rare. There are many external forms, but in many cases, these only serve as a cloak to cover up the most soul-destroying selfishness. {10MR 54.2} 

Gabriel comes to Daniel as he humbled himself and sought for more understanding. Gabriel reveals a truth we need to understand. The opposition to the Gospel occurs even in the experience of God's angels, not merely, for example, with human beings on earth, such as in Jerusalem. Here we discern how human events in the visible earthly realm were being influenced by powers in the invisible cosmic realm. The battle became so intense that it was finally necessary for "Michael" to come to Gabriel's aid.

We read again in Daniel: [Daniel 10:12, 13 quoted].  {11MR 99.1} 

By this we see that heavenly agencies have to contend with hindrances before the purpose of God is fulfilled in its time. The king of Persia was controlled by the highest of all evil angels. He refused, as did Pharaoh, to obey the word of the Lord. Gabriel declared, He withstood me twenty-one days by his representations against the Jews. But Michael came to his help, and then he remained with the kings of Persia, holding the powers in check, giving right counsel against evil counsel. {11MR 99.2} 

Good and evil angels are taking a part in the planning of God in His earthly kingdom. It is God's purpose to carry forward His work in correct lines, in ways that will advance His glory. But Satan is ever trying to counterwork God's purpose. Only by humbling themselves before God can God's servants advance His work. Never are they to depend on their own efforts or on outward display for success. {11MR 99.3} 

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Several questions emerge as we read this verse. Who is the prince of the kingdom of Persia? Who is Michael? And what are these powers fighting about? We must first of all recognize that the prince of the kingdom of Persia is not the same as the king of Persia. There are 420 uses of the word 'prince' in the Old Testament and not once is the word used to denote a king. In actual fact, the word is most frequently used to describe military commanders. Daniel 10:13 makes it abundantly clear that Gabriel and Michael were working on two fronts. First, they were contending with the prince of the kingdom of Persia and secondly, they were working with the kings of Persia. Thus, there is a clear-cut distinction between the prince of Persia and the kings of Persia. Who is this prince of the kingdom of Persia? And who is Michael who stands watch over Daniel's people? 

Before we can answer these questions, it is imperative to realize that in ancient cultures it was believed that every kingdom had its own particular 'guardian angel' which looked out for the interests and welfare of the nation. That being the case, the prince of the kingdom of Persia would be Persia's guardian angel and Michael would be Israel's guardian angel. Let's begin by checking Michael's ID. 

Michael is a fascinating personage. In Scripture the name appears five times, always in apocalyptic passages where Michael is in conflict with Satan. Michael's very name is a challenge to Satan. It means, 'Who is like God?' In Revelation 12:7-9 it is Michael who casts Satan out of heaven. It is of more than passing interest that at the beginning of the great controversy, Michael is spoken of as having his angels and Satan is spoken of as having his. At the conclusion of the great controversy, Jesus will come with his holy angels (Matthew 24:31) and Satan and his angels will be cast in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41).   

In Jude 9 Michael contends with Satan for the body of Moses. There can be no doubt that Michael had come on this occasion to resurrect Moses from the dead (see Deuteronomy 34:56; Matthew 17:3). In other words, Michael is the angel of the resurrection. Is it a coincidence that when Jesus comes to resurrect the dead at His second coming, he will 'descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God?' (I Thessalonians 4:16; see also John 5:26-29 where we are told that the voice of Jesus will resurrect the dead). 

The book of Daniel makes three references to Michael. Two of them are found in the chapter we are presently studying (verses 13, 21) and the other one is in Daniel 12:1. This last verse is of particular importance for two reasons. First, Michael is spoken of as the great prince who stands watch over Israel. That is to say, Michael is Israel's guardian angel. Second, Michael is the deliverer of Israel and the one who resurrects those who sleep in the dust of the earth. 

Michael must also be identified with the enigmatic personage who in the Old Testament is called the 'Angel of the Lord'. Though the scope of our present study will not allow us to examine every reference to the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, it is imperative that we take a look at a few key passages.

The first passage we must take a look at is Zechariah 3:1-5. This passage leaves no doubt that the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is the same person as Michael. In this passage the Angel of the Lord is in conflict with Satan and the issue of the conflict is Israel (verse 2). Of particular significance are the words: 'The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan' (verse 2) These are the very words which Michael uttered to Satan when He came to resurrect Moses (Jude 9). Thus, a comparison of Zechariah 3:1-5 and Jude 9 reveals, without any shadow of doubt, that the Angel of the Lord is Michael.   

In Genesis 32:11, 24, 26, 30 we find Jacob praying for God to deliver him from the wrath of his brother, Esau. This time of anguish is known in other places of Scripture as the 'time of Jacob's trouble.' In fact, Genesis 32 is in the background of the time of trouble spoken of in Daniel 12:1. As Jacob was praying, the Angel of the Lord (see Hosea 12:3-5) laid hold of him and they began to struggle. The result of the story is well known. Not only did the Angel deliver Jacob from the wrath of his brother but he also blessed him and gave him a new name. At the conclusion of this episode, Jacob called the place Peniel—for I have seen God face to face, and my life has been preserved' (this word is frequently translated 'delivered' in the Old Testament). Can anyone doubt that the Angel of the Lord in this story is God? 

In Exodus 14:19-20 we are told that the Angel of God led Israel in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night to protect them from their enemies. Significantly, this Angel is identified as God in verse 24. 

The episode of the burning bush is well known. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses and announced that he was going to deliver Israel (Exodus 3:8) from their bondage to the Egyptians. One cannot help but remember that Michael is spoken of as the end-time deliverer of Israel in Daniel 12:1. A close inspection of Exodus 3:2-14 reveals that this Angel is also God (see John 8:58-59).  

In Joshua 5:13-15 (Amplified Bible) this same Angel is identified as the Prince of the host. As we saw in our study of Daniel 8, the name, 'Prince of the host' is found in only one other place in Scripture, Daniel 8:11 where Jesus is called 'the Prince of the host.' In fact, as we have seen before, Jesus is referred to in Daniel as 'the Prince of the host,' 'the Prince of princes,' the 'Prince of the covenant,' and 'the great Prince.'  

There can be no doubt, then, that Michael is Israel's Guardian Angel. He is Israel's protector and deliverer from the power of Satan. He is God! Michael is none other than Jesus Christ!! What an appropriate name for one who is in contention with Lucifer who declared 'I will be like the Most High.' (Isaiah 14:14) In response to Lucifer's aspirations Jesus' name throws out the challenge: 'Who is Like God'? 

We are now ready to identify the prince of the kingdom of Persia. This identification is really a no brainer. If Michael the Prince is Christ, then the prince of the kingdom of Persia must be Satan. Jesus called Satan the 'prince of the world' on at least three occasions. (John 14:30; 12:30-33; 16:11).

The prince of the kingdom of Persia (Satan) was working to influence the minds of the kings of Persia so that they would halt the work of rebuilding the temple. At the same time, Gabriel was doing his utmost to influence the minds of the kings of Persia so that they would authorize the continuation of the work.  

For three weeks, while Daniel was mourning and praying, Gabriel struggled with the prince of Persia and with the minds of the kings of Persia. And at the very end of this period, Michael Himself came to aid Gabriel in his struggle. There is no doubt that these 21 days should be understood as literal days. However, it is tempting to understand them in a broader sense as well by applying the year/day principle. Cyrus gave his decree to rebuild the temple in the year 536 B.C. and the temple was finally finished in the year 515 B. C., exactly 21 years after the decree was given! During this whole period Gabriel was struggling with Satan and with the kings of Persia (notice the plural in Daniel 10:13). The book of Ezra itself explains that the work of rebuilding went on according to schedule because 'the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they [the Samaritans] could not cause them to cease. . ..' (Ezra 5:5) 

In short, it is as if Gabriel were telling Daniel: 'I know you have been mourning, fasting and praying for three full weeks because you wanted a clearer understanding of the end-time elements of the vision of Daniel 8. The very moment you started to pray, I had every intention of coming immediately to answer your plea as I had done the previous time you prayed (Daniel 9:20-23) but this time I was delayed. You see, I was involved in this conflict with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. He was influencing the minds of the Persian kings so that they would halt the rebuilding of the temple. But at the end of the 21 days, Michael came to help me and we prevailed. The opposition you have seen by the Samaritans is really the visible manifestation of this invisible conflict. But now I have finally been able to break away and help you understand 'what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.' (Daniel 10:14)." Don't miss the significance of the word yet. This word seems to imply that the vision (chazon) had already been partially explained in Daniel 9 (the 70 weeks) but that there were yet many days in the vision which had not yet been explained. 

The perspective presented above is corroborated by the Spirit of Prophecy: 

"Untiring in their opposition, the Samaritans 'weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius.' (Ezra 4:4, 5) By false reports they aroused suspicion in minds easily led to suspect. But for many years the powers of evil were held in check, and the people of Judea had liberty to continue their work.

"While Satan was striving to influence the highest powers in the kingdom of Medo-Persia to show disfavor to God's people, angels worked in behalf of the exiles. The controversy was one in which all heaven was interested. Through the prophet Daniel we are given a glimpse of this mighty struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus; and before the contest closed, Christ Himself came to Gabriel's aid [Daniel 10:13 is quoted]. All that heaven could do in behalf of the people of God was done. The victory was finally gained; the forces of the enemy were held in check all the days of Cyrus, and all the days of his son Cambyses, who reigned about seven and a half years." Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pp. 571-572 

"The king of Persia was controlled by the highest of all evil angels. He refused, as did Pharaoh, to obey the word of the Lord. Gabriel declared, He withstood me twenty-one days by his representations against the Jews. But Michael came to his help, and then he remained with the kings of Persia, holding the powers in check, giving right counsel against evil counsel." Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 4, p. 1173 

In response to Gabriel's words, Daniel now bows to the ground and is left speechless. The vision (mareh) fills him with sorrow and his physical strength is gone. Furthermore, he is left breathless. Gabriel remedies the situation by giving back Daniel's speech and by strengthening him.

Before further explaining the vision to Daniel in chapter 11, Gabriel informed the prophet that the battle with Satan was not over:

'. . . now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince." 

What Gabriel is telling Daniel is this: 'I must now return to continue my struggle with the prince of Persia (Satan). There is still work to do. I must still make sure that the decree of Artaxerxes is given on schedule to mark the beginning of the 70 weeks and the 2300 days. And when the kingdom of Persia has fallen, I must continue to do battle with the prince of Grecia (Satan in control of the Greek kingdom). But before I continue this battle, I will take the time to show you the events which will transpire from this point on. These events have already been written in the scripture of truth, that is, in God's calendar; therefore, their fulfillment is absolutely certain.'

Let us keep our eyes, our faith, our hope on Jesus. The outcome of the Battle is sure. I once asked Merwyn Maxwell, Seminary Professor, what he felt was the essence of the books of Daniel and Revelation. He smiled and simply said, "God wins."    God bless you all.

~Pastor Tom Cusack

Friday, March 06, 2020

1888 Message Study : From Confession to Consolation




Read for This Week's Study:  Daniel 9; Jeremiah 25:11, 12; 29:10; 2 Kings 19:15-19; Matthew 5:16; James 5:16.

Memory Text:  Daniel 9:19. "O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by thy name."

"May the bones of the hands and the bones of the fingers decay and decompose, of him who turns the pages of the book of Daniel, to find out the time of Daniel 9:24-27, and may his memory rot from off the face of the earth forever."

An ancient Rabbinic curse in the Talmud forbids people to read Daniel 9:24-27. Why? What are they trying to hide?

Daniel 9 is an incredibly rich chapter, of course providing the prophecy showing us the time in which the Messiah would come and accomplish the redemption of the human race. It also includes a wonderful prayer that illustrates to us some of the principles of Corporate Repentance and true humility before God, trusting in His mercy. Last, it provides the final probationary time for the Jewish nation, before the Gospel was then carried for by the Gentiles to be the "light to lighten the gentiles."

Daniel 8 and 9 are intimately linked, as Daniel is very impacted by the 2300-day prophecy. He has studied Jeremiah 29:11-12 and its prediction that the Jewish people would be in captivity for 70 years before God brings judgment on Babylon and releases His people to return home again. He is troubled and uncertain about the 2300 years, and at the beginning of Daniel 9, He seeks the Lord in prayer and fasting, to intercede for his people. Daniel knew that the 70 years was almost up. He also learned from Isaiah that God would use Cyrus to help rebuild Jerusalem.

Isaiah 44:24 "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; ….(Isaiah 44:28)  That saith of Cyrus, He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid."

Daniel's prayer reveals that He is concerned that the sin of his people could prevent the restoration of Jerusalem in 70 years as God had promised. So Daniel turned to God in earnest prayer.

Daniel 9:4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments;

Daniel 9:5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments:

Daniel includes himself in corporate identity with his people, a beautiful representation of the concept of corporate repentance. Daniel is interceding for his people, but recognizes the reality that we are all equally accountable to God, and that in human nature, we all have "sinned and are coming short of the glory of God."

4 parts

Daniel's prayer can be broken into 4 parts that are applicable for any believer to pray as well.

Realize the sin – verses 4-6

Wicked and rebelled

Turned away from commands and laws

Not listened

React to God's righteousness – verses 7-11


Recognize the punishment – verses 11-14


Request action by God – verses 15-19

Restoration request – Daniel recognizes that God is still in control of the situation and that He can still forgive and restore Israel

Response request – Daniel asks that God would look, listen, act, and not delay.


God Answers

Daniel requested rapid action by God and he gets it! While he is still praying Gabriel visits him. Gabriel tells him that "as soon as you began to pray, an answer was given." Gabriel goes on to give Daniel one of the most marvelous prophecies of the Bible. 1 John 1:9 tells us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." The passage is in reference to salvation but it applies here as well. If we recognize our sins and ask God to forgive and restore us, He will respond.

Is corporate identity a sound biblical teaching?

Perhaps the most obvious Old Testament example of corporate responsibility is found in the story of Achan. Joshua clearly instructed the army of Israel how to conduct themselves during the capture of Jericho, "The city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction.... But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction. . .. But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord" (Joshua 6:17-19).

In spite of this strict proscription, Achan took some of the devoted things and hid them in his tent. Describing this one man's sin, the Bible speaks in corporate terms. "But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things; . . . and the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel" (Joshua 7:1). This anger was manifested in the defeat of Israel at Ai. When Joshua threw himself upon his face before God, God told him that the whole nation had sinned. "Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant which I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, and lied, and put them among their own stuff' (verse 11).

Corporate identity can also be seen in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicals 6:24-39); in God's response to Solomon's corporate prayer, "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face. . . then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin" (2 Chronicles 7:14), and the corporate prayers of Daniel (Daniel 9) and Ezra (Nehemiah 9). Both Daniel and Ezra acknowledge that Judah's kings and princes, priests and Levites have sinned and rebelled against God; then these men of God go on to accept guilt with those who have re belled. "We have sinned, we have done wickedly," Daniel says (Daniel 9:15). "Thou hast been just in all that has come upon us, for thou hast dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly," Ezra confesses (Nehemiah 9:33).

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Paul makes it clear that the church is the corporate body of Christ. "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (verse 26). Paul's statements on spiritual gifts in Romans 12:4-8 and Ephesians 4:1-16 are also set in the context of the corporate body.

Our doctrine of the nature of man and the nature of sin is also built upon the concept of corporate identity: "Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned" (Romans 5:12). "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation of all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous" (verses 18, 19).

In defense of Jesus' high priesthood, Paul argues for the superiority of the Melchizedek priesthood over the Levitical priesthood on the basis of corporate identity: "One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him"(Hebrews 7:9, 10).

Ellen White's Understanding

In 1904 a series of 19 articles by Ellen White appeared in the Southern Watchman dealing with Nehemiah and the spiritual revival that occurred under his and Ezra's leadership. The very first words in the first article are a statement on corporate identity. "Among the children of Israel scattered in heathen lands as a result of the 70 years' captivity, there were Christian patriots, men who were true to principle; men who esteemed the service of God above every earthly advantage; men who would honor God at the loss of all things. These men had to suffer with the guilty."

In the last article of this series the following sentence appears, "Ezra and Nehemiah repeatedly humbled themselves before God, confessing the sins of their people, and entreating pardon as if they themselves were offenders." Throughout the series Ellen White portrays the responsibility of church leadership within the corporate body of Christ.

Thus, the Bible and the writings of Ellen White picture God's people as a corporate group.

In our consideration of corporate repentance, we must look at two more concepts: (1) divine punishment is shared by the corporate body, and (2) a later generation may share the guilt of a previous generation.

It is clear that the members of God's corporate people share punishment. Israelites of Achan's generation shared the displeasure of God for Achan's sin. "Christian patriots" like Daniel and his three friends were taken into Babylonian captivity because of the sins of Judah, both past and present. Ellen White says, "These men had to suffer with the guilty." But was it because they shared guilt with the rebellious that they suffered?

We must be careful not to confuse shared punishment and shared guilt. They are both corporate experiences, but they are two different things. Can the guilt of one generation be shared by another? Jesus accused the religious leaders of being the "sons of those who murdered the prophets" (Matthew 23:31), and indicated that they would be punished for the sins of their ancestors. He added, "that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:35-36). Obviously, these men had not killed Abel, Zechariah, or any of the other martyrs. How could they be accounted guilty?

Regarding Christ's statement to the religious leaders, Ellen White says, "In like manner Christ declared the Jews of His time guilty of all the blood of holy men which had been shed since the days of Abel; for they possessed the same spirit and were seeking to do the same work with these murderers of the prophets." It was because the religious leaders sought the blood of Christ and shared the same spirit that drove previous generations to kill God's messengers that they shared the guilt of their ancestors.

Speaking of the reaction of the Jews to the preaching of the apostles after Jesus' ascension, Ellen White says, "The children were not condemned for the sins of the parents; but when, with a knowledge of all the light given to their parents, the children rejected the additional light granted to themselves, they became par takers of the parents' sins, and filled up the measure of their iniquity."

Notice that the last sentence of this statement has two parts. The main statement is "The children were not condemned for the sins of the parents." This is followed by a qualifying statement that expresses a condition under which the children did share the guilt of rejecting Jesus along with their parents "when, with a knowledge of all the light given to their parents, the children rejected the additional light granted to themselves, they became partakers of the parents' iniquity."

Thus, the guilt of one generation can be shared by a later generation, if the later generation clings to and perpetuates the sins of the former generation. If the religious leaders had accepted Jesus, they would not have shared the guilt of those who preceded them. If the Jews who heard the preaching of the apostles after Jesus' ascension had accepted Jesus as their Savior, they would not have been guilty with their parents.

Notice the following in Daniel's prayer:

  1. Daniel confesses the sins of his people, "We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances" (Daniel 9:5). "To us, O Lord, belongs confusion efface, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee" (verse 8).
  2. Daniel intercedes for his people and asks forgiveness for them, "O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive" (verse 19).
  3. The burden of Daniel's prayer is an appeal to God to remove the punishment which he and his people share as a corporate group because of their sins as well as the sins of previous generations, "O Lord, according to all Thy righteous acts, let Thy anger and tTy wrath turn away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy hill; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people have become a byword among all who are round about us" (verse 16).


Ezra's prayer is similar to Daniel's. He acknowledges the past and present sins of his people and asks God to remove the punishment Israel shares as a result of being a corporate body (Nehemiah 9). Neither of these prayers support the idea that one generation repents for the sins of another generation. Daniel does recognize shared guilt, "because of our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers" (Daniel 9:16), "While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel" (verse 20). These prayers do, however, illustrate that God deals with His people as a corporate body, and punishment is shared by the corporate group.

That spirit of resistance and hostility prevented the Holy Spirit from doing the work that God intended. After the conference, the delegates carried the spirit of Minneapolis to their fields of labor.

If the church today demonstrates the spirit of Minneapolis resistance and rebellion against the testimonies, and feelings of hostility and bitterness toward fellow believers we share in the guilt of that former generation. If we resist the Gospel and cling to self-righteousness, we share in the guilt of that former generation.

God's command to Gabriel to make Daniel understand the vision. 70 "weeks" are determined for Daniel's people and for the holy city. The word "determined" is the Hebrew word "chatakh", a primitive verb which means literally to "cut off" or determined. As the explanation given to Daniel involves the 2300 year prophecy, and this explanation provides a period of 490 years, it is logical to see that the explanation of the beginning of the prophecy in full is also cutting off a section to speak of the future of the nation Daniel is praying for, with additional years leading to the "cleansing of the sanctuary."


  • To finish the transgression
  • To make an end of sins
  • To make reconciliation for iniquity
  • To bring in everlasting righteousness
  • To seal up vision and prophecy
  • And to anoint the Most Holy


We must ask the question, "What vision?" There is no vision in Daniel 9, so it must be related to the vision Daniel previously received in Daniel 8.

There are two different Hebrew words translated "vision" in Daniel 8 and 9.

  1. Chazown – refers to the vision as a whole.
  2. Mareh – refers to the vision concerning time. This is what Gabriel came to explain.


Daniel 8:26 And the vision (mareh) of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision (chazown); for it shall be for many days.

Daniel 8:27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision (mareh), but none understood it.

Daniel 9:21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision (chazown) at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

Daniel 9:22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

Daniel 9:23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore, understand the matter, and consider the vision (mareh).

The part of the vision to be explained, therefore, is the reference to 2300 days, or years, when the day-year principle is applied. Critics object to this principle and I would refer you to Stephen Bohr's excellent paper presenting many Biblical evidences for the validity of this principle.


An excellent paper regarding the beginning of the Prophecy is found at the site of the Biblical Research Institute.


Daniel 9:25 "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

Daniel 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."

In these verses, Gabriel helps Daniel understand:

  • When the Messiah would come
  • When the Messiah would die
  • What the Messiah would do: free people from sin and provide everlasting righteousness
  • That the earthly sanctuary would be restored, but then it would be destroyed again, and Israel would be given a probationary time after their national sovereignty was reestablished
  • Another sanctuary would be "anointed" with another Priesthood
  • The prophecies in total of the coming Messiah would be fulfilled


Daniel 9:24 uses a form of Hebrew poetry called a chiasm.


A1     To finish the transgression

A2     To make an end of sins (or sin offerings)

A3    To make reconciliation for iniquity


B3    To bring in everlasting righteousness

B2      To seal up vision and prophecy

B1     And to anoint the Most Holy


To make reconciliation for iniquity. When Jesus comes, He will make reconciliation for all iniquity. His death would pay for the sins of the whole human race.

To bring in everlasting righteousness. And through His perfect life, everlasting righteousness would be given to the human race, in Christ. As a result of His perfect life and death, anyone that would want to live forever with Jesus is free to do so, for He is the One who qualifies us for eternal life.

To make an end of sin (offerings). When Jesus died on the cross, He brought a complete end to sin offerings, for they were no longer needed. Daniel 9:27 spells this out when it says, "In the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering."

To seal up vision and prophecy. The prophecy of Daniel 8 would eventually be fully completed, and the universe would be cleansed from sin. The plan of salvation would be fully realized.

To finish the transgression. The word for transgression is revolt, or rebellion. Of course, the end of the 70 weeks would bring an end of the Jewish nation fulfilling their calling as the evangelizing force for God, but in a much larger sense, the atonement in total would provide the remedy for the sin problem we all struggle with.

To anoint the Most Holy. This refers to the heavenly sanctuary being anointed, for after His resurrection, Jesus was inaugurated to begin His work as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary.

"The Pentecostal outpouring was Heaven's communication that the Redeemer's inauguration was accomplished. According to His promise He had sent the Holy Spirit from heaven to His followers as a token that He had, as Priest and King, received all authority in heaven and on earth, and was the Anointed One over His people." Acts of the Apostles, p. 39.

There are several decrees that all provided aspects of the restoration of the city of Jerusalem, the Temple, etc. The decree of Artaxerxes in Ezra 7 is the one which is appropriate for applying it to the beginning of the prophecy. The reason has to do with the word "restore" in Daniel 9:25.

Many have thought that the words "restore" and "build" were teaching essentially the same thing. However, we must comprehend what Daniel means by "Jerusalem." It is not merely referring to the physical city but rather to the city as a social, religious and political entity composed of people, commerce, rulers, magistrates, judges and civil and religious laws. It is referring to the need of the city to have its self-governance as well as legal sovereignty over the land restored.

In 2 Kings 14:22 we have the same two words which appear in Daniel 9:25. There we are told that Azariah "built Elath and restored it to Judah." The text makes clear that "build" and "restore", though related, are not identical. What the text means is that the physical city of Elath was built and then governance over it was given to Judah.

Ezra 7:25 "And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not."

Only the decree of Artaxerxes officially authorized the restoration of the Hebrew civil order and the right of Israel to govern herself according to the Law of God. Israel was given 490 years, after their independent governance was restored, and thus no longer under pagan rule, or influences from pagan worship, to come back into loyal relationship with God.

Daniel 9:25 says "the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." This also refers to the political and legal restoration of Jerusalem. Why would building a street be important? The Hebrew word rachab means a "broad place", "avenue", "broad expanse." What is it referring to?

2 Chronicles 32:6 explains that Hezekiah "set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spoke comfortably to them." This is referring to the place of meeting that often existed. Even today we have "town squares". In Nehemiah 8:1-3 we read

Nehemiah 8:1 "And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spoke unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.

Nehemiah 8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

Nehemiah 8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday,"

The city square or meeting place was the center of public civil, social and religious life. In Daniel 9:25 we are thus being told that the town square or place of announcement was rebuilt in order to facilitate the establishment of social, political, and religious life. They could use it again as a part of their tradition for civil and religious governance and communication. The city gate that led to the town square was the place where judicial, military, civil and religious decisions were to be made. The word "wall" actually is "harus" which is used elsewhere to mean "determined" or "decreed." The ability for self-rule, forming decisions, and governance would be fully restored, even in the time of opposition, which we read about in Nehemiah.

The prophetic calendar extends to 34 A.D., and we see in that date the timing of the stoning of Stephen, the last prophet to the Nation of Israel, who presented to Israel a "covenant lawsuit" revealing their corporate responsibility for their continual rebellion. We also read in Acts 13:46-47

Acts 13:46 "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth."

Some critics call this "replacement theology" in a scornful way. However, it is obvious from several verses that the Jewish nation was replaced by the NT church to evangelize the world, for the obvious reason that they had no "salvation" to take to the world, as they did not believe in Christ, although some individual Jews and priests became faithful to Christ, and there are Messianic Jews and Jews for Jesus today showing that many are now coming to the truth of Christ.

Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:

The Gentile church became the "holy nation" to take the Gospel to the world.

The Jewish nation did not fulfill their calling as the "chosen people" to serve God. They still have not received Christ into their corporate identity. Therefore, 2 Corinthians 1:20 "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." has the implication that the return to Israel in 1947 was NOT according to God's covenant promises, for they are fulfilled "in Christ" and the Jews did not believe in Christ.

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The 7 weeks of prophecy probably refer to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The total 69 weeks take us to AD 27, and the "anointing" of Jesus at His baptism. This date can be verified.

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.

Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,

Luke 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

There is one person and one only who fulfills this requirement, and that is the one who was anointed as the Messiah in A.D. 27, Jesus of Nazareth. His anointing at the Jordan River, by both John the Baptist and His heavenly Father, took place in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar according to Luke 3:1, 21, 22. While there are other possible ways of reckoning this regnal year of Tiberius, it certainly is the reasonable and standard procedure accepted by many commentators, chronographers, and historians to reckon it from A.D. 12. Utilizing that procedure and starting from the beginning point established above in 457 B.C. lead us to one specific individual as the Messiah of this prophecy, Jesus Christ. In other words, the establishment of 457 B.C. as the starting point of the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9 is one of the strongest indicators among the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament that Jesus truly was all that He claimed to be.

Daniel 9:26 of course refers to the time in which Christ would be "cut off" and "not for Himself", but for every human being. Daniel 9:27 "And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. Jesus would be crucified in the middle of the final week of the prophecy, placing His death in the spring of 31 A.D.

Isaiah 53:8" He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."

Who is the "Prince" that is to come?

Daniel 9:26 "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."

This verse and verse 27 are used as a part of the proof for the "Secret Rapture" theory and the 7-year tribulation period. There are several problems with this position. First, the 490 years is a connected time prophecy, and to "wing" a part of it forward 2000 years with no anchor to know when it would apply is doing serious violation to time prophecies and their use. Secondly, of course, the rapture theory has a separate plan for the "Church" and "Israel", provides a second chance for salvation, provides EXACT knowledge when Christ would come the third time, namely, after 7 years, when the Bible says no man will know the day or hour of His "coming" or Parousia, the term used for the Second Coming. The most dangerous point is this. The only text we have providing information about the Antichrist or "Man of Lawlessness" is in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

The word used throughout I and II Thessalonians for the coming of Christ is Parousia. This verse says that the "man of sin" will be revealed BEFORE the "day" when Jesus returns. In the rapture theory, the antichrist appears AFTER the "coming" of Christ. Therefore, WHOMEVER APPEARS AS THE PEACE MAKER FOR THE WORLD BEFORE THE ANTICIPATED RAPTURE WOULD NEVER BE RECOGNIZED AS THE ANTICHRIST, FOR the timing of the antichrist, according to their theory, would be incorrect.

In Daniel, Christ is called "Messiah the PRINCE." There is no reason for assuming the "prince" in Daniel 9:26 is different. The rapture theory regards the second use of "prince" to refer to the antichrist.

If this is not so, then, who are the "people of the prince that is to come" and how did they "destroy the city and the sanctuary?" If this is referring to the Jewish people, how would they be implicated, when it was obviously the Romans and Titus who conducted the physical destruction of the city and the sanctuary. The Biblical concept is that through their sins, which are brought out in many of Christ's parables, as well as history itself, they "destroyed themselves."

Hosea 13:9 "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help."

Hosea 14:1 "O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity."

"The Jews had forged their own fetters; they had filled for themselves the cup of vengeance. In the utter destruction that befell them as a nation, and in all the woes that followed them in their dispersion, they were but reaping the harvest which their own hands had sown. Says the prophet: "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself;" "for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." Hosea 13:9; 14:1. Their sufferings are often represented as a punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God. It is thus that the great deceiver seeks to conceal his own work. By stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy, the Jews had caused the protection of God to be withdrawn from them, and Satan was permitted to rule them according to his will." Great Controversy, p. 36.


Luke 19:37-44                                                           Daniel 9:25-27

  1. Jesus comes.                                                         1. The Messiah comes.
  2. He is cut off.                                                         2. He is cut off
  3. The City and the Temple are destroyed.              3. The City and Temple are destroyed.


Vs. 26 and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

The end, thereof, refers to the destruction of the city and sanctuary. In the Bible, a military invasion is often compared to a flood. (See Isaiah 8:7-8; Jeremiah 46:6-7; Revelation 12:15-16; Daniel 11:22; Revelation 16:12 compared with Revelation 17:1-5, 15.)

"And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week."

Who is the "he" in this verse? What does the word "confirm" mean, and which "covenant" is being spoken of? Who are the "many" with whom the covenant is confirmed? Is this week the last of the seventy, or is this a 7-year tribulation period at the end of time?

Futurists believe that this person is a future Roman Antichrist who will make a seven-year pact of peace with the literal Jews only to break it in the middle of the week. According to this view, this vile person will halt the sacrificial system in a rebuilt Jerusalem temple and impose a reign of terror for three and a half literal years.

Every time the word "covenant" is used in the Book of Daniel, it is referring to God's covenant with His people. It is never used to describe a secular political covenant, or a religious agreement not referring to the Covenant. For example, Daniel 9:4 says "And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments;" Daniel 11:22 refers to Jesus as the "prince of the covenant", (notice the same words as in Daniel 9); Daniel 11:28 speaks of the "holy covenant" and Daniel 11:32 describes those who do "wickedly against the covenant." Daniel 9:27 has the definite article THE Covenant.

The word "confirm" is gabar in Hebrew, and has the meaning of being mighty, strong, etc. Jesus will "make strong" the covenant, or empower it. The Old Covenant could not save. Jesus brought true salvation to all.

Who is the "many?" Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." Matthew 26:28 "For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Isaiah 53:11 "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities."

The Jewish nation, through their continued rebellion, even after the cross, brought destruction upon themselves. Notice Acts 13.

Acts 13:45 "But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming……

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

They rejected the preaching of Paul and the Gospel, while the gentles received it with joy.  Thus, Paul proclaimed that they, in fact, "judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life." Acts 13:46.

Daniel 9:27 ends with "and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." When did this occur? Jesus said, in Matthew 23,


Matthew 23:36 "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Matthew 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

Matthew 23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."


The best translation of Matthew 24:15 is "When you therefore shall see the abomination which maketh desolate." That is, the abominable Roman standards of the legions, which consisted of an eagle surrounded by a golden wreath, and under that was a solar disk which represented the sun-god Mithra.

"And the Saviour warned His followers: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains." Matthew 24:15, 16; Luke 21:20, 21. When the idolatrous standards of the Romans should be set up in the holy ground, which extended some furlongs outside the city walls, then the followers of Christ were to find safety in flight." Great Controversy, p. 26. The abominable standards of the Romans were a sign that the desolation of Jerusalem was at the doors. The word "overspreading" refers to the wings of a bird.

Let us learn from the story of Israel, but for a more meaningful motivation, let us respond to the incredible love of Christ to accomplish a legal justification or redemption of the entire human race, to be received by a living faith.

"The Son of God, heaven's glorious Commander, was touched with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite compassion as the woes of the lost world rose up before Him. But divine love had conceived a plan whereby the lost might be redeemed. The broken law of God demanded the life of sinners. In all the universe there was but One Who could, in behalf of humanity, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen humans from the curse of the law and bring them again into harmony with Heaven. Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin—sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the Father and His Son. . .." {CT 30.3}

Let us respond as the Gentiles did, with joy and glorifying of God for His "unspeakable gift" of Christ Jesus.


~Tom Cusack