Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1998
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 4: Disciplinary Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 5: Partial Restoration: The Discipline of Hope
Lesson 97 – Review Exile Period, Post-Exilic Restoration, Daniel 9, Jeremiah 25:8-10
10 Sep 1998
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
One of the things I hope you catch onto in this class is that the Bible is a packaged deal. You can’t take pieces of it and you can’t split it up. If you allow the doctrines and truths of Scripture to lie on the table unconnected, the non-Christian and the carnal mind can always swallow the Bible up piece by piece. But if you lay all the doctrines out on the table connected, they can’t, it jams the system. We’ll see a little of that and how that worked out practically tonight. But the big idea in the framework series is to think in terms of the large world view. We’re not talking about a truth here and a truth there, we’re talking about an overall system of truth that the Scriptures present. And we are not embarrassed to use the word “system.” That kind of offends people sometimes because they think of system as somehow artificial, academic, but that’s because they start with a non-biblical idea of the word system. If you think place of system, the idea that God thinks orderly, and if He reveals Himself here, there and does this work and does that work, then the work might be done in an orderly fashion. God thinks rationally.
Looking at the Creator/creature distinction, we reviewed the chart that we’d gone over and over, that there aren’t 18 answers, basically in the world there are only two systems. There’s the system of the carnal mind whose author is Satan and there is the system of God Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ. There aren’t any other systems. All non-Christian religions are part and parcel of the fleshly mind that’s working. Over and over again we want to go back to this difference.
Last time we concluded the class imagining ourselves in the Garden of Eden at the moment of the fall. We reminded ourselves that Eve is standing there contemplating something. We want to get inside her mind because if we can get inside her mind as it’s presented in Scripture we have the essence of sin. It’s not quite what we tend to think of when we think of the world sin. Inevitably we think of sin we think of some moral issue. That’s involved but that’s not the issue, that’s not the root of it. One of the things we concluded with last week was that as Eve positioned herself with, on the one hand Satan’s statement that the day that you eat of the fruit you will not die. And over here she had God’s proposition, exactly opposition, in the day that you eat thereof you will surely die. So here she is faced with mutually opposite positions; there’s no middle ground. Either she dies or she doesn’t die when she eats the fruit. There are no more answers to the question. Those are the only two positions.
So here she stands and she walks into the situation thinking of those two propositions as of equal merit, and that she has to, as the independent human judge, exercising her independent human mind, make an independent human judgment between these two propositions. That’s exactly… that’s EXACTLY the way the world views the Christian faith, the Bible or anything else. Over here we have non-biblical alternatives. Here we have the Bible. They’re both opposite; everybody knows there’s a collision here between biblical and non-biblical religion, between the claims of Jesus Christ and the claims of all other religious leaders. Everybody knows that, we know there’s a contradiction and a conflict. That’s not news. The question is, how do we view that conflict? So here Eve is in the Garden …, and by viewing those two propositions, we want to be clear about this, this is the heart of the spiritual conflict that’s going on, it cuts across our lives every day that we breathe, every time we make decisions, every time we have a struggle in faith, every time we just look and analyze our own lives we’re going through this mental process. And it’s always a temptation because it’s imbued in us because we’re depraved fallen beings.
When Eve looked at those two propositions, one from Satan and one from God as equal and opposite propositions in conflict, she’s already misanalysed the problem; she basically has already fallen. She has already placed herself as the ultimate judge, the umpire that decides between one or the other. It is she who makes the ultimate choice, she is the final arbiter. After God has spoken God’s Word must receive her personal approval. Therefore what has happened, and I hold my hands out like this to show you it’s an equal plain because I want to relate it to something on this chart. When we say that between these two views, over here we have the Creator/creature distinction, we’ve said that thousands of times in the last few years, Creator/creature distinction, repeat, repeat, repeat. Why? Because the Creator is qualitatively different from the creature. The Creator is THE final authority, not the creature. That is the essence of the biblical position.
Eve has already departed from that when she stands between God’s Word and the word of Satan. Now she, to her own mind, views herself as uncertain of one as she is of the other, denying the fact that God’s Word is self-authenticating, and implicitly carries its own authority. She has bought into the position that God’s Word isn’t clearly authoritative, to it must be added man’s approval, in order that man walk by faith. But the Word of God doesn’t come with authority, it’s rather given authority by our testing. After we’ve tested it, then it has authority. But it doesn’t implicitly carry its own authority from the very start. When she’s in here, this is the favorite idea that there are two views of reality here, Christianity and non-Christianity, etc. but there’s a neutral in between zone, a sort of demilitarized zone that stands between the two. And if you’re going to be neutral, and objective, and honest, and have intellectual integrity, you must occupy this demilitarized zone between the two competing positions and then by the result of your own study you decide which one is true.
What I’m trying to get you to see is that that itself is not a neutral position. Let’s think why. Let’s go through this very carefully and very slowly because we have to go through this again and again so we see what is sinful and deceptive about this kind of thinking. What we’re trying to do is master a pattern of biblical thinking. Eve has already bought into the Continuity of Being. How has she done that? Because she’s basically said that God and Satan are sort of on the same scale. If God speaks a word, it’s maybe a little more authoritative than if Satan speaks a word, but after all, we can’t really be sure that God speaks the word in truth because it might be possible, it might just be that I could eat of that tree and not die. In other words, Eve posits that in this universe certain things are possible, and certain things are not possible. She posits that it’s possible that God might not be God, that in back of God there’s a realm of chance and probability, and possibly I can get away with it.
If that isn’t an analogue of what goes on in our hearts every time we sin, because ultimately when we personally get involved in the struggles of the sin nature versus the Holy Spirit, the flesh, the filling of the Spirit, occupation with Christ, when we have these inner battles that go on inside, it’s always somewhere connected that the universe is so structured that it might be possible to succeed in a sinful life, that it might be possible to choose our own way without the consequences God says will follow. After all, if we really believe that if we sin and the consequences the Word of God say follow, we wouldn’t do it. The very fact that we do sin tells us that implicit in our programming, from the inner maps of our mind, there are a lot of propositions in there of the so-called possibility that God’s Word doesn’t verify. That’s what we mean when we say Continuity of Being; it’s not just a philosophic concept. What it means is that God, man, Satan and everybody else is sort of on the same platform together. That’s one view, and it comes out by the degree of authority that we grant them.
On the other hand, over here, the Creator/creature demands that when the Word of God comes to us it is clearly and implicitly authoritative without checking. That it is unnecessary to authenticate the Word of God. We don’t add to the Word of God something else. This is the position that we used the illustration previously, of the interior decorator, your house is in a big mess and somehow you’ve got some money and now you want the whole thing redone. So you call an interior decorator and you expect them to come with wallpaper, paint, etc. and instead the day that he shows up all of a sudden you hear this loud noise on the front lawn and it turns out to be a bulldozer headed straight for your front door. And you say there’s some sort of disagreement about what I ordered, I wanted the home decorated, not destroyed. And he tells you, well in order to fix your house we’re going to have to bulldoze it all over and start from the bottom. That’s humbling and humiliating to think that your house is so messy that the only way to fix it is bulldoze the whole thing out of the way and start all over. But that’s precisely the gospel.
Jesus Christ doesn’t want to be added to a pantheon of other gods any more than in the Old Testament. Remember Dagon, the false gods, etc. Jehovah would not take a position in a pantheon with the other Gods. God always insists on coming in and destroying the pantheon. That’s the idea of the authority of Scripture that accompanies the Creator/creature distinction. When we don’t have that view of Scripture, then we’ve already compromised and drifted over here, and made God, man and everybody else that happens to exist in sort of the same area.
We want to move on to pick up where we were at the end of last year. We want to back in history to the beginning of the exile, because having dealt with the creation and the fall, and the authority of the Word of God. Now we come to this idea that the Scripture gives us that God has disrupted our sinful history, that the world we live in is not a normal world. The Scriptures doesn’t view this world as normal. That’s the non-Christian position; that’s the unbelief position. Before going into these events we’d better review this chart again. We must get this firmly in mind, particularly now because we’re coming into the revelation of prophecy and that sort of thing, and to prepare for the coming of Christ in the New Testament we want to see how the Old Testament saints looked at this.
We have to realize that once again the biblical position is totally, emphatically and radically different from the non-Christian position. The non-Christian position has no hope. Without God, without hope in the world, we hear those words and they become so familiar we really don’t get the meaning. What they’re saying is that the world is full of good and evil, it’s mixed. In that little thing on the Korean flag is the Oriental symbol for the yin and the yang. It means it’s a mixture of the bad and the good, and all of history from eternity past to eternity future is bad and good, bad and good; it’s always bad and good. It’s always life and death, it’s always sorrow, sickness and happiness, it’s always joy and it’s always sadness. There’s always this equality between that dark side of life and the light side of life. This is considered to be normal, it always was. After all, if everything evolved through death, sorrow, competition and suffering, wasn’t it true that good and evil always existed, even before man supposedly evolved. So the unbelieving universe has this hopelessness to it. There’s no future here. Just look at that bottom line, there is no future to the non-Christian position.
It’s just hopeless, absolutely hopeless because the good and evil stay there. This is reincarnation; the eastern people, New Age people in America being the only ones foolish enough to think that reincarnation is a hopeful thing. The Orientals who have thought about this for a thousand more years than the New Agers of America have already concluded you’re wrong, reincarnation is a horrible thing, it’s something to be avoided. Who wants to be reincarnated back into that mess again, over a hundred times or a thousand times?
In the Christian position and only in the Christian position you have this other view, and here the view is that God is the One that is good from eternity to eternity, in whom there is no darkness or shadow of turning, who is purely the light, who is always good. Below Him on the scale is the creation, perfectly created until there was a fall. So in here the creation was good. Between the fall and the final judgment is good and evil mixed together, but notice this good and evil is a temporary thing, it is bounded on the left and on the right, it’s bracketed. So we view the presence of good and evil as an abnormality. The non-Christian has to view it as a normality.
Finally we come to the time of judgment when God will eternally separate the good from the evil, a very sobering thought, because what this means is that once it is separated it is forever separated. Some applications to this as we go through Scripture, vocabulary sort of thing: repentance can only occur between there and there. After the separation of good and evil, repentance is impossible. That’s what makes hell hell and that’s what makes heaven heaven. There is no more repentance. There is no more grace; the day of grace is gone. There’s no offering of salvation for the third, fourth, and fifth time. There is once to man appointed a day of judgment, and then it’s over.
This is sometimes viewed by the non-Christian when you’re discussing the gospel, you’ve probably had people say oh, I don’t believe in a God who does that kind of stuff, and they like to make fun of us, and they like to ridicule the idea of a heaven and a hell. Now looking at that diagram you should be able to look them right back in the eye, graciously and say well I’m glad there is a heaven and a hell because that’s the only answer to evil. What is your answer? What would you propose as the alternative to heaven and hell? How do you propose to deal with the mixture of death, sorrow and sin? What is your position? It’s not my position, it’s the position of Scripture, so I didn’t come up with it, it’s been around for a number of centuries. That’s the position we have and we just would like to know what your position is on this issue, surely you’ve thought about it.
We come to The Kingdom Period because the Bible is telling us that God is moving from this position to this position. Every event in the Scripture, every moment of history is an advance when Satan will be cast from the field and replaced with Jesus Christ. It is the advance in history, we have optimism about history, we are going to get to that point and nothing will stop that progress. The gates of hell shall not prevail. It’s a powerful incentive and motive. When we come to the end of the Old Testament, we come down to these last events. The last one we’re studying preparatory to the introduction of Jesus Christ in history is the restoration of Israel. We want to get into why Israel is being restored, why she went into exile in the first place. Why did she?
On page 55 we went through the reasoning and the circumstances of the exile; remember that Israel was under a contractual arrangement. Israel had a constitution that was more than something that we have in our country that was written in Philadelphia. Israel had a constitution given to her by God by direct revelation. There was no constitutional bureaucracy that sat around, with a lot of men in the conference or convention for weeks trying to hammer this thing out. It was God said to the nation, you have a destiny, and you will certainly arrive there, but if you obey Me I’ll bless you and if you disobey Me I’ll curse you. Remember the tension, we said that’s one the unresolved tension points in the Old Testament, because Israel on one hand is elect to forever exist in the presence of God, but on the other hand she’s also cursed every time she disobeys. So how do you take a disobedient sinful nation who’s going to be cursed every time they disobey, and get them over to this point where they’re going to be forever safe in the holy presence of Jehovah? That’s the tension that’s in the Old Testament.
When, in 586 BC God had had enough with the disobedience, He imposed a disciplinary cycle upon the nation. That disciplinary cycle is outlined in two key chapters in the Old Testament. Two key chapters in the Old Testament outline God’s program of history with Israel. One is Deuteronomy 28 and the other one is Leviticus 26. Both of those chapters give you the blessings and the cursings in very literal terms, in very historically specific details.
So Israel went into exile, but keep in mind the exile is not the final destruction of the nation. Why can’t the exile be the end of the Jew? What do we know about the nation? It’s elect. So it’s not going to be ultimately and totally destroyed, but it’s going to be disciplined. So the exile is a time of the beginning of discipline in 586 BC. There are three historic signs of the exile, one of the bottom of page 55, which is the “Loss of the Kingdom of God,” on page 56 “The Transfer of Political Supremacy.” That’s the first characteristic of this exile.
Now the ultimate political power of the land of Palestine fell into Gentile hands. So the powers that be are no longer Israel. Israel does not have say over her own land. By the way, that extends even today. The nation of Israel exists by U.N. mandate. The power has shifted to the Fertile Crescent; that is the center of world power. God has said in Daniel 2 that wherever you go, O Nebuchadnezzar, even the animals are subservient to you. So we call that that paganism, that total global paganism is imperial. I use the word “imperial paganism.” Its first characteristic is you have this political supremacy.
On page 57 we went into the second characteristic of that period, which was with the demise of Israel, you had the demise of the Solomonic line. That will play a critical role in the genealogies of the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament. So while it may not appear right now to you to be important, it is important in the design of history. Solomon’s son will not sit on the throne. Why? Because the Solomonic line died with Jechoniah. So however the Messiah comes, it’s not going to be through that part of the Davidic line, it’s cut off.
On page 58 we got into the third thing, a rather dramatic objective historical event that happens witnessed by Ezekiel the prophet as he watched the Shekinah glory that had occupied the Jewish temple, the physical sign of the presence of God. It moved, first to the temple door, then it moved into the temple courtyard, then it moved east, the temple’s facing east here, it moved east across the Kidron valley to that mountain. What’s so powerful about this pathway of the departure of the Shekinah glory? What does it parallel 400-500 years later? The Lord Jesus Christ left the temple, He was crucified on the Jerusalem side of the Kidron valley, He rose again from the dead, and what was His exodus path? It was over to the Mount of Olives, the Mount of Olives is on the side, it’s an olive grove, they call it the Mount of Olives, it’s actually an olive grove. It’s still there, growing on the side of this hill, it’s not really a mountain from our point of view. On the top of that mountain is where He ascended into heaven. Exactly the geometrical spot when Shekinah glory left in 600 BC there when Ezekiel was tracking it, 591 BC to be exact. So we have these things, the political supremacy of the pagan, the end of the Solomonic dynasty, the departure of the Shekinah glory, and the Jews now go into captivity. It’s a horrible time in the nation’s life.
Turn to Chapter 5, page 77 we’re ready to talk about the return. This event will teach us certain things to add to our doctrinal repertoire of the tools of truth that the Scripture gives us. All these events we talked about have something to do with our own sanctification, and they carry over into the New Testament. But the restoration period, we’ll see moves over and gives us canonicity and gives us a very good insight into praying. In this section of Daniel we’re going to see what most people think of as a passage on prophecy. But I want to approach it just a little differently tonight, and approach it as an example of a believer living under an imperial pagan governmental regime, surviving and being blessed through prayer. We’ll get to the doctrinal part of prayer later but now we want to look at Daniel 9, a very famous passage in the Old Testament.
If you are new to prophecy and that sort of thing, here’s where we start to get into what we’ll develop, we’ll stop and give you a survey of the millennial view of prophecy, premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism, so you’ll be acquainted with and aware of the terms and why we are premillennial in our beliefs.
In Daniel 9 we have a situation where Daniel is in exile in what is now Persia. Today it’s Iran. Daniel was actually… you could say he functioned somewhat like a Prime Minister of Iraq and Iran, it’s ironic, those two countries sit in the geographical areas of Babylon and Medo-Persia empires. They had profound effects on the history of those two countries. Another example, those are two countries that have heard the gospel. That’s the case, oh what about those who haven’t heard, excuse me but they had a Diaspora Jewish community in those countries for centuries and they had the Scriptures available to them for centuries; they are not people who never heard. They heard again and again and again. They had the gospel, they had the Messianic promises around and they did what they chose to do with them. But they’re not people that are innocently ignorant.
Daniel 9:1 is the situation. “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel,” now do you notice something immediately about this text? Observe this text a minute. What do you notice that strikes you as you start reading this? Just observe the words. If you were writing this, what is emphasized here? Is it Daniel or is it the historical moment? It’s the historical moment, look at how verse 2 starts, “in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of years,” etc. So Daniel is very akin, remember he’s high up in the government, Daniel is not somebody out in the street here, he is a consultant to the highest levels of a pagan government, and He is a believer in the preincarnate Jesus Christ. So it’s an interesting role model that we have here. He is able to function inside a pagan society without compromising his personal beliefs. And being respected by the non-Christians who live around him, obviously by him or they would never have invested him with the authority that he was invested with.
But I want you to notice what’s on his heart. “In the first year … I observed in the books the number of years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.  So I gave my attention to the LORD God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” What is the connection, between verses 1, 2, and 3? Verse 1 is talking about the historical situation; verse 2 what is Daniel doing, and verse 3, what is the second action; there’s two actions, verse 2 action, verse 3 action. Which precedes what?
In the New Testament epistle of Romans there’s a saying, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” So the launching pad for faith is always God’s revelation. It doesn’t come by operation bootstrap, trying to emote yourself into a mood, trying to work up a consecrated feeling, it doesn’t come that way. All of us who have tried it always failed, fall flat on our face, you can’t work it up. You’ve got to receive it, and you receive it by exposing yourself to God. Where is God? Not in His temple, in the sense of the Old Testament. Where is He? He speaks today through the Scripture. So we confront God through Scripture. That’s out medicine, that’s what heals the soul.
Here Daniel is, and he’s not uppity because he’s high up in the government to come submissively under the authority of Scripture. Obviously in verse 2 what’s on his mind? He’s a Jew in a foreign land, and he’s studying his Scripture. Why do you suppose he’s studying this particular section of the Scripture? Hold the place and turn to this section that he’s talking about. It’s actually repeated several times, but turn to Jeremiah 25 and we’ll actually have a chance to peak at the text that he was looking at. Whenever you get an opportunity to do this in the study of the Word of God, this is one great time to show yourself how to interpret Scripture. Of all the arguments people have about how to interpret Scripture, half of them would just go out the window if we’d just carefully observe how other authors of Scripture interpreted the precious authors of Scripture.
Now we have an author, Daniel, who wrote his book under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, but he’s going to tell us that he was studying the book of somebody else whose book was also given by the Holy Spirit. In Jeremiah 25, the first part of the chapter, verse 8, “Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words,  behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them, and make them a horror, and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation.” This is Jeremiah, what a great ministry he had. This would be like telling us that I’m going to take the Chinese communists, My servants, and I’m going to invade the United States through Alaska, and I’m going to ICBM nuke San Francisco with missiles that our defense department says they don’t have yet, and we’re going to take out the United States, and I’m going to call the atheists communists My servants. That strikes you doesn’t it? They’re His servants? That’s right, that’s what he’s saying. I’m going to take Nebuchadnezzar and I’m going to come against your land and I’m going to wreck it.
Verse 10, “Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp,” talking about the destruction of the home. I will destroy your families. This is historical judgment that actually happened people! This is the nature of the biblical God.
Verse 11, “And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” That’s the passage that Daniel has read. Now Daniel was an astute enough student of the Word of God to understand something. He’s a man of history, the reason that God chose him is [that] God gave this man such great wisdom that the non-Christian were so impressed by this guy’s grasp of where history was going they elevated him to basically foreign minister of the nation. This guy is really impressive. He was sort of a biblical view of Henry Kissinger. He had a great grasp of where history was going and what the nation should do.
Daniel realized he was here in the exile. So what did he do? Did he moan and groan and fuss? Probably at times. But when he got his head straight he went back to where he could get a divine viewpoint analysis of his situation in life. Where would he go to understand the mess that he was in? Go back to the Old Testament prophets that told Israel this was going to happen. So he goes back to the Word of God, to precisely the passages that say this is going to happen, to look for tips on what God is doing. I am suffering, my people are suffering, every day it’s a mess out here. How did we get here? What is God doing with us in the middle of all this crud?
Back to Daniel 9, it’s illuminating that this is the man who in the highest levels of government is puzzled; he’s vexed by what he sees in history. But because he’s illuminated under the authority of the Word of God, he doesn’t go to the Chaldean astrologers. He doesn’t call a 900 line to get the latest hand-holding witchcraft. He goes back to the Scripture and he finds a special verse, because at the end of verse 2 he’s quoting, basically it’s an allusion to the passage we just read. Those of you who have a little text cheater on the side with a little context you’ll notice that it has Jeremiah 25:11 and it probably has Jeremiah 29:10, because those are the specific points in Jeremiah that he referred to.
After… after verse 2, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” now what does he do in verse 3, after he’s straightened out, after he gets a grasp of what God’s doing here, now he goes to prayer. See he doesn’t walk into God’s presence and say God, what are you doing? You can imagine the conversation. God says why don’t you go back and read Daniel before you come in here and find out what I’m going, I told you what I’m doing. Oh, okay, so he goes back and he says now I know what you’re doing God. “Seventy years,” and I’ve got a calendar here, and this is coming on 516 BC, so that’s not too many years away, and if I subtract the 70 years from the Jeremiah passage, it’s 607 BC and 70 off of 607 comes out to the year right about now, 535 BC. So he’s saying whichever date you take here, we’re getting awful close to the end of this exile. So Lord, I want to pray that we deal with this situation.
Let’s look at his prayer, verse 4, “And I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, ‘Alas, O LORD, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments  we have sinned, [we have] committed iniquity, [we have] acted wickedly, [we’ve] rebelled, even turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances.  Moreover, we have not listened to Thy servants the prophets, who spoke in Thy name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land.  Righteousness belongs to Thee, O LORD, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which Thou hast driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against Thee.”
Think of what’s going on in verses 6 and 7. That’s a way that Daniel managed the problem, and if we want to draw it in a diagram, what is on his mind was the suffering of the exilic Jews. These were the Jews who were with him in a Gentile land. He’s also thinking in terms of the Palestinian Jews, these are the Jews left back in the land. Also on his mind is probably a lot of the suffering under pagan authorities, their meanness, their hatred for the gospel and for all people associated with the gospel, the institutional animosity.
It’s like young people today, it wasn’t but 4-5 years ago we had an incident in the high school that really made me furious. We had a young girl in one of the classes in the high school and they were going to discuss evolution, creation, and I can’t imagine there was a Christian on the faculty but obviously of them had the boldness to speak up, so they left it to this girl, and who did she have to go up against? The coach. So here automatically we make it look like nobody but some obscure little sophomore believes in creation, but we on the faculty of course we are educated, we have degrees and we all believe in evolution. So you can set the whole debate up to ridicule this girl. Then when they came to the afternoon they were going to have the discussion the coach got up, gave his thing, and walked right out the door while she was talking. It’s just rudeness, it’s crude, and it’s bullying that goes on to believers. It goes on all over the place. It’s just because it’s the hatred of the world system of the truth, and it’s going to show up in all these little instances.
Daniel saw that, so he’s bothered by all this, and here’s his problem. But if you’ll notice, in verses 4 and 5, he relates that problem and biblically controls it. He comes back to Scripture. First of all in verse 4 what does he say about God, after he gets through saying O Lord God, you’re great and awesome, that’s His essence, he goes back to the attributes of God, God is great, God is omnipotent, so he understands the attributes of God over against his frailties. So immediately his eyes are fixed on who God is, not who he is, not the size of his problem but the size of God. This is how he mentally controls himself.
Then he advances one more phrase, and he says “who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness,” lovingkindness is a parallel to keeping the covenant. What’s he talking about there? He’s talking about the fact that God has a plan, it is God’s sovereign plan, God has an omnipotent plan, and God keeps His plan and I know where history is going. There is a plan in all this. Somebody is in charge, this is not a pile of marbles rolling around, Someone is in charge here and I’m going to the Someone and I can even go back and read His contract, I read the fine print, it is all there in Deuteronomy, it’s all there in Leviticus, it’s all there in the books of the Kings.
Then he goes on in verse 5 and he gets into the anchor problem and he understands, from reading those texts, sin. He understands and he accepts personal responsibility. He doesn’t take a fatalist attitude, well whatever God wills. No-no, something’s wrong here and it’s got to be due to some cause, and I want to find out what the cause is. So obviously reading the Scripture he came to a conviction of his sin and the nation’s sin. Then to make sure that he understands it, he prays out the details that were on his mind. Verse 6, “we have not listened to Thy servants, the prophets,” now what is he talking about? We haven’t read the Old Testament. We haven’t read the Scripture, and when we have we haven’t listened to them in the sense we haven’t obeyed them.
Then he points out that all our society was saturated at one time with the Word of God. The kings heard the Word of God; the princes heard the Word of God; the fathers or the heads of the families heard the Word of God; and all the people of the land heard the Word of God. We weren’t ignorant bozo’s, we were people who were carefully schooled in the Scriptures and we willfully chose to rebel. Do you see what this does, by the time the guy gets down to verse 6 he can take these problems that he sees and now there’s a purpose in all of this. He’s starting to get [can’t understand word] and purpose, he starts to see and puts this whole thing into bigger perspective. What he’s doing is he’s taking his problem and he’s bracketing it with the Word of God. He’s enveloping it under the control of Scripture. That’s what we need to do, because every time we get off in the toolies it’s because we have a problem and we let it loose, like marbles rolling all over the floor, and we’ve lost control of things, it’s all over the place. But what he’s trying to do is get them all under some sort of structure and the structure isn’t him, the structure is God, Creator/creature distinction.
And then he begins to petition… [blank spot] another example of it, let’s look at the bottom of this slide that we show all the time. You notice on the right hand side what’s there? Notice on the non-Christian position when you have this God, man, nature and the whole universe coexisting, see what you get down at the bottom: everybody’s a victim. Do you know what that means? That’s nobody’s responsible. See, there’s a sinful agenda that creates this, this isn’t some little innocent thing, this is a shady deal, a package of deception that yields a very useful end product. It gets me off the hook, I can deny my responsibility, and I don’t have to be judged. It’s an elaborate schema to justify sin, that’s the bottom of this.
But over here under the biblical position, ultimately we have to face Him who is our Creator and our redeemer and our judge. Ultimately it is not a person, it is not circumstances, it’s not my hormones, it’s not something else, it is He that I have to face. That’s the bottom line, and that’s what you see in the prayer of all great biblical prayers. So he says that Israel has transgressed, he brackets the problem, he understands the plan and he begins to realize what they need to do. See what’s happening here, illumination is taking over. As he studies Scripture he brackets the problem, he understands what the problem is, he sees it’s a problem of responsibility, and now what does he do? Confess, repents. And he begins the process.
So he says verse 11, “Indeed all Israel has transgressed Thy law and turned aside, not obeying Thy voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the Law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him.” What does he mean in verse 11, “the curse is poured out on us,” God we’re not blaming you. Before he could have blamed God but he’s getting his heart oriented to God’s sovereignty, God’s omnipotence, and God’s grace and no, it’s not God’s fault. I’m not coming to you God and blame you for this circumstance. This is a circumstance we are personally responsible for. This is our own self-induced misery. And it’s because it’s so stupid and so rebellious and we confess that. Confession!
There’s no time for hitting himself on the back with a whip, no self-atonement involved in this prayer, it is a simple, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The world might not like that either, oh, that’s too easy. Oh really? Whose blood is it that allows this to happen? Or would you rather go to a psychiatrist and pay $60.00 an hour without Medicare backing you up, and get some phony plan to mess up your life with, when we can come directly to God Himself, our Creator, our Redeemer, and simply acknowledge and confess our sin. Notice the last of verse 11, “For we have sinned against Him.”
Verse 12, “Thus He has confirmed His words which he had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem.” Remember that passage we went over in Jeremiah? That’s where he’s getting all this stuff.
Verse 13 tells you he did some more Bible study. What do you suppose he did to get to verse 13? What books of the Bible did Daniel study besides Jeremiah. “As it is written in the law of Moses,” the first five books of the Bible. Gee, he had five books of the Bible, he had seven books, this guy was a real Bible student here. “…all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Thy truth.”
Verse 14, “Therefore, the LORD has kept the calamity in store,” see what he’s starting to notice, verse 14 is a progress in his thinking. He’s saying aha, what’s happened in these years, the reason why 70 isn’t because of some fatalistic computer program that says seven zero coming up, and bing, that’s your number. It’s not that position. It’s rather that he sat here and he said do you know why it’s taken 70 years? It’s started to click with me, for 69 years what haven’t we done as Jews? We’ve sat here and we’ve fussed and we cursed God, and we blamed Him, and we felt sorry for ourselves, and oh what a horrible thing we’re involved in, and this has gone on for two generations, and now he says wait a minute, I’m going to be a man of decision, I’m going to stop this blaming God business, and we’re going to start confessing our sin business.
So he says, [13b] “all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Thy truth,” or Thy Word Scripture. Verse 14, “Therefore, the LORD has kept the calamity store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.”
In verses 15, 16, and 17 he begins to pray, he begins to confess, he begins to ask Lord, verse 16, “O Lord, in accordance with all Thy righteous acts, let now Thine anger and Thy wrath turn away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people have become a reproach to all those around us.” So Lord, listen.  “So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary.” By the way, in verse 17 what goal is he praying for? Look at that one. It’s very easy when you’re suffering to pray for the relief of the suffering. But you notice when he gets down here it’s not quite a prayer for the relief of suffering. If you look carefully, that’s not really his heart. His heart is that we sinned; the people have become a reproach to everybody. What’s his concern? The testimony of God’s program in history, because we’re a block, we are supposed to be God’s chosen people, we are supposed to be a witness to You, O Lord, and all we have done is so screw up that the non-Christian pagans think we’re weird. We do stuff that they don’t do. He says that blots Your essence. So he says in verse 17, “for Thy sake, O Lord,” not for our sake, it’s not ultimately Israel’s sake, it’s “for thy sake. And when you can get there in prayer and mean it with your heart, I mean, that’s hard to get there. When you’re suffering… I know because I’ve been through this thing many times, and it’s very difficult to get to verse 17 type thinking, you’ve really got to work with it so that you can honestly before God pray the situation, see the situation, such that it’s His glory that is foremost in your mind. It’s so hard to do when you’re suffering and hurting. But he got there.
And then he said, [verse 18] “O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! Open Thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name;” whose name, Daniel’s name, Jewish name, “Thy name.” Whose glory is at stake here, the Jew or the Jewish God? Notice that he says, “for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion.” Talk about Paul being the guy that talked about justification by faith, oh no, it’s all through the Scriptures. He’s not saying we’ve got a bunch of brownie points now, we’ve suffered for 69 years and we get 20 points every year, so we’re over the thousand mark, so now we’ve earned enough, self-atonement, “poor me”, we’ve got 800 “poor me’s” and we’ve got all the goodie things we’ve done, and all this adds up God, you’ve got to forgive us now. NO, he’s not pleading works, he’s says “on account of Thy compassion” or we would say God’s grace, because of your grace.
Verse 19, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.” See how powerful that prayer request is and does this prayer ever get answered. Look what happens in the next verse, “Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God,  while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering,” so he’s maybe prayed all day long and he was still continuing to pray, and all of a sudden this guy shows up in his room, and he didn’t come through the door. All of a sudden he faces Gabriel, and he knows who he is, a fantastic mover of history. I don’t know how big these guys are, but these angels are pretty impressive creatures, and all of a sudden here he is, right from the throne of God. You talk about FedEx, how about this one. So he says while I was praying, this guy showed up.
Verse 22, “And he gave me instruction and talked with me, and said, ‘O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding.” Now at this point we want to notice the answer that comes, because it’s this answer that’s going to teach us something about interpreting Scripture. Daniel understands this; he understands that from this point through the exile, to the point where he lives it’s going to be 70 years. He doesn’t see this yet, he doesn’t see what Jeremiah… what was Jeremiah’s promise? Jeremiah promised literally the end of the world, he said you will be… let’s remember what we read in that Jeremiah passage, at the end of 70 years, you’ll serve the king of Chaldea for 70 years and then what will happen? He says, well, then, I will bring you from where? Back to the land, but from all the nations, you’re going to have 100% Jewish return and it says in the context of the passage there’s going to be judgments on the earth, all kinds of Second Advent type stuff.
So Daniel sees this could be the end of history and the beginning of the restoration of the kingdom of God. That’s his view of history. Now the angel begins to interpret to him, and he says well, I’ve come from God, and I want to show you something about His Word. There are some things you didn’t quite see in Jeremiah. So now I’m going to enlarge your vision.
He says,  “At the beginning of your supplication the command was issued, and I have come to tell you,” boy, isn’t that neat, the Lord knew what kind of a prayer was coming up, and He said okay, here it comes, now Gabriel you get down there and by the time this guy finishes I want you there and I want you tell him something. “At the beginning of your supplication the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, you are highly esteemed;” here you have God on the throne of the universe paying attention to the foreign minister of Iran, he was highly esteemed, “so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”
Verse 24, “Seventy sevens,” literally, “Seventy sevens have been decreed for you people and your holy city, to finish [or complete] the transgression, to make and end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to ‘seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.  So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seventy sevens and sixty-two sevens; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.  Then after sixty-two sevens the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.  And he will make a affirm contract [covenant] with the many for one seven, but in the middle of the seven he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
What a weird thing that is, we’ll have to deal with that next week, but what I want you to notice about this is that we have a principle of how God thinks. It’s a prophecy thing but it’s something that we can apply even without knowing all the prophecy. Daniel sees, we’re going to get into a conflict, he sees a conflict of sorts here. If this is seventy years, and Daniel is making his prayer right here, how can there be only seventy years in history to this climactic event, when what was the other prophecy he had already given them in chapter 2. Remember, how many kingdoms would have to come and go? Four. He’s only in the second. So there’s a problem here and an apparent conflict between Jeremiah 25:29, talking about seventy and this long range four kingdom vision that is given in Daniel 2. So he could be like a lot of skeptics and say oh well, contradiction in the Bible, throw out, it doesn’t meet our logic criteria, we’re so smart and we’re going to apply our own human logic criteria.
Gabriel is going to show him the logic criteria and he’s going to enlarge his vision, and he’s going to say woven into this thing, to tie this together with this, let me tell you something. I haven’t told anybody in the world yet about this, but you Daniel, we’re going to talk. He said we’re going to sit down, you’ve already got a good insight into history, let me share with you what God’s going to do. That’s the topic of these three verses at the end of Daniel 9. These set up for the coming of Jesus Christ, they describe the gospel situation, they describe the Second Advent situation, so there’s a lot packed in these three verses, and out of that we’re going to learn a little bit more about logic and how God thinks over against how men think. I think it’ll be an interesting lesson to discipline our mind and control them so that we begin to use biblical logic instead of non-biblical logic. 2 + 2 = 4 but it means two different things to the flesh and to the Spirit.
We’re going to try to touch on some of the prophetic implications in a week or two, cover the promise of the kingdom, what that’s all about, and what premillennialism is about, you should know those terms if you don’t already, just so when you fellowship with other Christians and they believe this and they believe that, at least you know what they’re talking about.
One of the things that you want to notice in that passage tonight, I didn’t mention it, but one of the things that is an example of good biblical thinking is how Daniel analyzed history. He’s very acutely aware of history. We noticed he puts in the date, the place where he went. He’s not some guy, as much as I’ve stressed that he was getting his attention on the Lord over history, that didn’t mean that he didn’t pay attention to history. He knew very well what was going on, and he probably, being in the high office he was in in that culture he got reports, he saw what the king’s messengers were bringing from all the parts of the Persian Empire, he knew of Jerusalem, he probably knew what was going on in India. Remember that country borders on India to the east. He was very well aware of what was going on in the world. So it’s not like he’s some guy that’s off in an ivory tower somewhere. Don’t get that idea of Daniel.
That’s why the book of Daniel is not considered in the Hebrew canon as a prophet. It’s not listed in the Hebrew Bible as part of the prophetic collection; it’s listed as a wisdom book. What the heck, why is the book of Daniel, all the prophecies in it, collected along with the wisdom books? You go to a university campus and you’ll have some PhD get up and say that’s because it’s written late. No, it wasn’t because it was written late. It’s because Daniel fits into the category of how to live. All the wisdom books, Psalms, Proverbs, those books are all there to instruct us on how to live. So even though Daniel has these flamboyant prophecies in is, apparently when the Holy Spirit classified and set up the canon thought more of the fact that this is how to live in history. It’s kind of amazing. The prophetic details are very important, but in the final analysis it’s not a case of sitting there going oh gee, isn’t it neat, prophecy. It’s rather doesn’t this prophecy show me God’s footprints through history, and that He is in control, and that history has meaning because He has meaning.
Question asked: Clough replies: Maybe some segments of the Jewish community haven’t [been] allowed to read it, it’s not in the Torah, if by Torah you mean the first five books of the Bible; the Torah itself, the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. The Torah is separate, then come the Prophets, then come the Writings and it is in the Writings. I’m not aware of Jews not being allowed to read it, I’m aware of the fact that very few of them read it but very few of them read the whole Old Testament anyway. I’m amazed when I listen to Arnold Fruchtenbaum, who is a Hebrew Christian friend of mine, and he tells me that the average Jew knows less about the Bible than we do. I would think of them, I guess, as knowing more than I do about the Old Testament for some reason, but he said no. When [can’t understand name] came here he said the same thing. I guess we think of them that they somehow should know that, and they should but they don’t.
Question asked: Clough replies: That’s an interesting thought. One of the problems with the sea people Israel connection, identification, is that they came very, very late in Egyptian history and who they are gets back to which chronology you follow, because when you get into these things you just slip and slide around and I just don’t feel comfortable that these chronologies are tight enough to reason with, because there’s been so much reconstruction. There’s a new book out that I mentioned last year, an English fellow has come out dealing with the very thing you’re talking about, and he’s been an Egyptologist. I’m interested to see how he handles this because Velikovsky is the guy that made the big breakthrough back in the 1950s. He was a Jewish atheist, but interestingly his Jewishness sort of overcame atheistic beliefs in that he, while disbelieving in God believed in the historicity of the Old Testament, therefore made the identification that the Exodus happened at the end of the middle kingdom of Egypt.
But one of the things that question reminds me to point out, on the notes that we were looking at, I have a quote there from John Bright, who for many years taught at the Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, not conservative by any means, but you’ll notice on that passage he makes a big deal out of the fact that Israel was restored. Here’s just a little historical note that I think applies to us in the Christian life. The testimony of the restoration is a rather stunning example of God’s ability to preserve His people in adversity, because if you think of it, can you think personally of a culture or nation that you know of that literally was taken off the map, physically moved hundreds if not thousands of miles, driven out; the land repopulated deliberately with non-Jews, and to have that country, whatever corresponding country it would be, come back into existence, in a hundred years come back into that land. Then on top of that, to have the same thing happen again in AD 70, AD 135 and all that period of history, have them kicked out of the land for 1,900 years and have them come back into the same land to the same cities to the same tribes.
Name one other nation in history that does that. Maybe there is, I don’t know, but I’m not aware of any other nation in history that has ever come back after being destroyed. Think about that; let’s treat that as a fact of history. Think about what that fact means. If we’re Christian people and we’re thinking biblically, how do we handle that? Do we throw it out as just a random fact of history and so ooh, that’s interesting, or do we seek and explanation of how could it be that a nation like Israel would be destroyed, wiped off the map twice, and be dispersed through the whole world, and be able to come back. What is the nature of their role in history that does that? It gets back to what? God’s plan for that nation. They will not be destroyed. Arafat can go ahead and declare his Palestinian state; he may if he wants to, no problem. God’s decrees still stand and Israel will still exist. Israel cannot be erased. They’ve come awful close to it, awful close to it. When you think of the total Jewish population of the world, and 6,000,000 of them killed in say a 15-20 year period, that’s a pretty high casualty rate and yet they came back.
We know they have to be in the land because this passage we read tonight, Messiah has to come back and He has to come back to a temple. The temple that He’s coming back to is the city that Daniel prayed about. What was the city that Daniel prayed about? It wasn’t Rome, it wasn’t Washington D.C., it was the historic city of Jerusalem. Start noticing that history has anchor points, and I think it will make history much more interesting for you. I never was interested in history until after I became a Christian, before it was just kind of a meaningless sequence of events. But once I became interested in the Word I began to realize, wait a minute, something’s missing here, my education was sadly and woefully deficient. Nobody ever taught me that history has a purpose, nobody ever sat me down and said Charles, have you see how these facts fit together. After I became a Christian I started studying the Bible and realized there’s a God of history who has appointed the history.
We surely want to convey that to our kids, that history has a purpose. If history doesn’t have a purpose, what application does that immediately result in in our personal lives? If history doesn’t have a purpose, what else doesn’t have a purpose? Our lives don’t have a purpose. These are not optional curriculum questions; these are not the case where we don’t want to discuss that. If we don’t discuss it we’re trying to tell kids and ourselves that our lives are important, when they’re just bubbles floating on an ocean. What’s important about a bubble if the sea itself doesn’t have a purpose? So when you see these details in Daniel and we’re going to get intricately involved in some of the details of the prophecies, that’s why they’re there. And the fact that Israel survived its history is a testimony that God can preserve. The application to me, my personal life, is that that means God can preserve me, God can preserve you. You can go through death or anything else and the Lord Jesus Christ said I’ve prepared a place for you. That’s not some sort of a Buddhist nirvana state. If you take it in context, He’s talking about a physical place, a physical place where we will be located.
One of the things that we want to look at this year is the implications of the human body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s consider this, just the concept of God becoming abstract. Let’s consider at this moment, close to 9:00 o’clock, there exists somewhere in the universe Jesus in His human body, located at a point, on a throne, such that under certain conditions He can be seen. His image can be projected as it was to Stephen when Stephen was about to die, Jesus wasn’t sitting on the throne, Jesus stood up to receive Stephen. What a vision! How is this, wherever this location of the throne of the Lamb is, it’s a place, and there sits on it a man who has fingernails, and who runs history. That’s pretty stunning to be able to sit down and say that it’s not the force, it’s not some nuclear gas that’s in control, but there’s a human being from planet earth who has on His own body the scars of past history. It’s pretty amazing to think about. Put it your computer and let it [can’t understand word] a couple of times.
Next week we’ll go on, we’re going to go a little slow through the handout because I want to finish up that Daniel 9 decree, and then we’ll move on to some of the doctrinal consequences of what was going on there. And just before we get into the next section on the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s a large section, I want to take a pause and go through the different views of the Millennial Kingdom so that we can get that under our belt.