Daniel 9 • The Right Response to Prophecy


If you were in the presence of the smartest person on earth, would you learn from them? Would you even go so far as to copy or imitate their behavior so as to deal with situations the way they do? Daniel’s an interesting biblical phenomenon because what God revealed through Him is often quoted, but the substance and nature of His life and faith are often overlooked. In other words, how did Daniel himself react to God’s Word, God’s prophecy? Shouldn’t that be one of our strongest clues as to how to act upon them our self? Just as we clearly see the fulfillment of prophecy today, so Daniel in chapter 9 saw the fulfillment of a prophecy in his day. How alike or different is our attitude and reaction to that of one of the greatest and wisest of all of God’s Believers?

Read verses 1-3

Q: Throughout the book of Daniel God reveals His will through dreams and angels and prophets. How is His will revealed in this instance? Why is this so different from the other examples of God’s revelation to this point?

A: It is revealed simply by Daniel reading His Word. It did not come by so-called supernatural methods such as a dream or an angel, but in the normal course of reading Jeremiah. It was enough for Daniel to know that this was God’s Word, that what He’d spoken He would do.

Application: Especially when it comes to prophecy, do we truly believe and understand that God has provided enough information? Why do we seek other sources? What if we simply took Him at His already given Word?

Q: For those that believe we are living in the Last Days—that is, seeing the fulfillment of God’s Word—what is different about Daniel’s response from ours?

A: Daniel’s reaction is to focus on God Himself through intense prayer and fasting and personal submission—many of us never stop looking at the signs long enough to consider God Himself.

Point: The common reaction of all men who have experienced the very presence and knowledge of the One True God is great fear, humility, and worship of Him—not to become celebratory or giddy.

Application: For Believers, the correct response to prophecy is not the desire for MORE prophecy but to turn to Him in an even more and committed manner than ever before in our life.

Read verses 4-6

Q: What is Daniel’s first response to this revelation that God will be restoring the nation Israel after it’s destruction and captivity for the past 70 years and why?

A: Confession. First, Daniel realized that Israel was supposed to learn the right lesson from what happened to them so as to prevent it from happening again. Second, Daniel realized that Israel was responsible to be in a right spiritual relationship with God. That is why he identifies from the outset that God “keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments”. Biblical obedience is a matter of the condition of the heart more than anything else.

Q: What are the 2 areas Daniel initially confesses as a result of acknowledging Israel’s sin, wickedness, and rebellion?

A: “...turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances...” and “...we have not listened to Your servants the prophets...” It’s the dual rejection of His Word that they must atone for and subsequently change their behavior in regard of.

Application: Prophecy is the very Word of God; therefore, it should drive us MORE towards obedience and submission to all of His Word.

Read verses 7-11

Q: What are the 2 basic groups that Daniel identifies as bearing the blame?

A: The general population—whether remaining in Israel or still scattered throughout the known world—and the leaders (“our kings, our princes and our fathers”)

Q: What is identified as the core problem for each group?

A: In v.7 the problem with the general population is “unfaithful deeds”; in v.8-10 the core problems of leadership is sin and rebellion, the result of a complete lack of obedience to both the voice of God and His prophets.

Q: If leadership is singled out for their responsibilities in all of this, and their role is obviously to reinforce the validity of God’s Word and the authenticity of His prophets, why is the general population still being held accountable?

A: Every individual is responsible to be responsive and obedient to God’s Word and His prophets—someone else’s failure to do so never lets us off the hook. We can never blame someone else for the behavioral choices WE make that result in “unfaithful deeds”.

Q: What were the curses and the blessings detailed in the Mosaic law based on?

A: The choice to obey or disobey God’s Word.

Application: If the signs and works of God’s End Times judgment are upon us, the number one thing we should be personally concerned with is the quality of our obedience to His Word.

Read verses 12-14

Q: How does God “confirm” His Word?

A: By bringing about the exact results He promised based on our obedience or disobedience. What He says will happen.

Q: What was supposed to be Israel’s right response to God’s judgment according to v.13?

A: To turn from iniquity (a.k.a., “evil” or “wickedness”) and give “attention to Your truth”. The proper response to the works of God’s prophecies is to flee from sin and embrace His Word.

Application: Daniel’s example to us as a righteous believer is we should have an increased fervor to reject sin and employ God’s Word.

Read verses 15-16

Q: Why is Daniel’s mention of the Exodus from Egypt so appropriate?

A: It’s a reminder not only that God has the proven power and history of making the impossible happen, but that He accomplishes EVERYTHING according to His Word. The current generation of Israelites has only suffered captivity for 70 years—they had been under Egyptian rule for 430 years before being led out and established. In that respect, the return from Babylon would be a smaller thing to accomplish.

Application: God’s past fulfillments of His promises assure us He will fulfill everything before us.

Read verses 17-19

Q: For what is Daniel the most concerned? What is the core of his request?

  1. “...for Your sake, O Lord...” (v.17)
  2. “...the city which is called by Your name...” (v.18)
  3. “...not...on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.” (v.18)
  4. For Your own sake...” (v.19)
  5. “...because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” (v.19)

Point: Have you noticed that the great men of God are more concerned for the name of the Lord than for their own or others? When God proffered to Moses the idea of destroying all of Israel and starting over with Moses, his appeal to God was for the sake of His name. When Hezekiah was told of his impending sickness and death, his sorrow was expressed not for his own life but for all that was yet to be accomplished for the name of God.

Q: What is the action most sought after by Daniel? What should this teach us?

A: Forgiveness. It speaks to the most important thing on earth to God, our soul. Whether or not a building, city, or even an entire nation is restored and built into something is not as important as a soul restored to a right relationship to Him. Earthly structures are temporary—a right soul is eternal.

Application: There is nothing more important than a soul restored to a right relationship with the Lord.

Read verses 20-23

Q: In v.20, what is specifically listed as to what Daniel was doing and why?

Point: Daniel was not seeking something new or some kind of additional insight, but earnestly interceding on the behalf of God’s people because of the imminent fulfillment of that which God had already spoken.

Q: What does this teach us theologically?

A: If even a righteous example such as Daniel, for which Scripture records no instance of sin, continually confesses his sin and intercedes for believers, then there is still a need for believers to confess sin even after they have come to faith in Christ.

Q: How long did Daniel have to wait for a response?

A: Although Gabriel states that God’s response was initiated “at the beginning of your supplications” (v.23), the substance of Daniel’s prayer was not seeking a direct response from God, but rather attempting to remedy the current situation.

Q: For what is Gabriel most famous? What do we first think of concerning him?

A: He provided the announcements to Zacharias, Mary, and Joseph.

Q: How does his appearance to Daniel fit in with these other announcements?

A: Gabriel seems to be God’s designated messenger where the Messiah is concerned.

Point: This is Gabriel’s first message announcing a specific timeline for the appearance of the Messiah in the First Coming. He will next appear to Zacharias to announce the birth of the Messiah’s forerunner, John the Baptist, then the Messiah Himself to Mary and Joseph. When Gabriel appears in the Nativity Narrative, it is actually a confirmation of the fulfillment of this first announcement to Daniel.

Q: How do we know the sincere depth and intensity of Daniel’s supplication?

A: When Gabriel appears, he comes “in my extreme weariness”. (v.21)

Q: Likewise, how does v.21 reveal to us the sincere depth and intensity to obeying God’s Word and ways?

A: There is no Temple in operation for the past 70 years, but Daniel still orders his life as if it has continued uninterrupted. This is the meaning of “the time of the evening offering”, something occurring daily in the Temple. This is a time associated in Scripture with prayer. (Ezra 9:5; Ps. 141:2)

Q: Is Gabriel’s “instruction” purely informational?

A: His purpose is “to give you insight with understanding”. (v.22)

Q: What is the meaning of “highly esteemed”?

A: The underlying Hebrew depicts someone desired or highly precious. The term is elsewhere used for gold (Ezra 8:27) and garments (Gen. 27:15), combining to describe something treasured by God.

Q: How does Gabriel’s admonition to “give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision” confirm how we are to approach and handle God’s Word?

A: In order to properly understand a vision or dream from God, one must “heed” the greater message which is being addressed. Scriptural information is incomplete without scriptural application. [See Rev. 1:1]

Application: Wisdom where the deeper things of God are concerned comes in the course of faithfulness demonstrated not just for one’s personal walk in Christ, but for that of the whole Body of Christ.

Read verses 24-27

Q: So what is monumentally ironic about a message to Daniel revealing “seventy weeks”?

A: Daniel was moved to prayer and fasting because of the imminent fulfillment of Israel’s 70 years in the Babylonian Captivity, and receives a message concerning the final 70 weeks of years until the end of mankind’s captivity by the work of the Messiah.

Also, Daniel is concerned for the righteousness of Israel as the 70 years end and is shown “everlasting righteousness” to come at the end of the 70 weeks of years.

Q: For whom is the seventy weeks specifically “decreed”?

A: “…for your people…” (Israel) “…and your holy city…” (Jerusalem).

Point: This is another textual proof that God is not through with literal Israel and that all His promises concerning them and Jerusalem will be fulfilled.

Q: What are the end goals?

Q: Why is “transgression”, “sin”, and “iniquity” specified separately? Aren’t they all just expressions of sin?

A: “Sin” is to fall short of the standard of God’s Word, “transgression” is to rebel against His standard, and “iniquity” is to twist it into something to suit one’s self.

Q: What is “everlasting righteousness”?

A: It is the Messiah’s replacement for the end to sin, transgression, and iniquity.

Q: What does it mean “to seal up vision and prophecy”?

A: To fulfil the outstanding portions of God’s prophetic Word.

Point: In the historical interim are experienced many partial fulfillments which teach about their respective final fulfillments, but at the end of the seventy weeks it will all experience the final and complete fulfillment.

Q: What will initiate the seventy weeks?

A: It will begin "from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem”.

Point: There is much debate as to which of four decrees recorded in Scripture this is referring to. Even though calculating this is difficult because biblical time uses a lunar calendar instead of the modern solar calendar, and Judaism reversed the calendar in the wake of the diaspora in more modern times, many studies have successfully made a case for each recorded treaty. All such proposals establish some kind of milestone within Christ’s First Coming.

Q: What is the meaning of all the different “weeks” in v.25-27?

  1. There is a total of 70 weeks.
  2. It is divided first into 7 weeks and then 62 weeks, leaving one additional week of years.
  3. The first 7 weeks, or 49 years, corresponds to the time it took those returning from the Babylonian Captivity to finish rebuilding the Second Temple. (Ezra 6:15)
  4. From that point remains 62 weeks, or 434 years, at which point “the Messiah will be cut off”—that is, rejected by Israel.
  5. There is then an indefinite suspension for a gap until God recommences with the final week of years, what has become described as Daniel’s “70th Week”.
  6. The beginning of the final, 70th week is initiated by “a firm covenant” negotiated by the Antichrist, the precise halfway point marked by the Abomination of Desolation, and its end by the total defeat of the Antichrist.

Q: How do we know for sure that Jesus was rejected by Israel so as to be “cut off”?

A: It is actually effected by Christ Himself in a three-fold fashion after His formal presentation to Israel in the Triumphal Entry (Mt. 21)

Point: All three—the nation, the city, and the sanctuary—are all the objects of focus for the Antichrist and restoration and recovery by the Messiah in the course of the Second Coming.

Application: There is one Messiah, but two comings. In the first He will be rejected by Israel, in the second His work will be completed to “bring in everlasting righteousness”.

Overall Application