TODAY’S READING: DANIEL 9-12
“While I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, ‘O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding.'” – Daniel 9:21-22
At the start of chapter nine, Daniel says that he perceived that there would be 70 years before the desolations of Jerusalem. However, while Daniel understood that there were 70 years, he did not understand the full meaning of the 70 years. So, Gabriel came to give him insight and understanding into the meaning of the seventy years.
Gabriel was the angel that came to Daniel during his vision of the 2,300 evenings and mornings that I wrote about in yesterday’s post. But, Gabriel did not give Daniel the full meaning of the vision. Rather, he told Daniel to seal it up, obstruct it, or put a veil over it. In the post, I noted that Paul tells us that it is Christ crucified that removes the veil because seeing Jesus crucified causes us to repent or change our minds so that we can see things in a new way.
Why was Gabriel unable to give Daniel full insight and understanding in this second encounter and not the first encounter?
The answer is in Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:4-19. In this prayer, Daniel repents.
Daniel starts his prayer with confession. He states that God keeps covenant and steadfast love. Daniel says that everyone in Israel has sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled, and turned aside from God’s commandments and rules.
They haven’t listened to the prophets. Jesus speaks to the failure of Israel to listen to the prophets several times. He alludes to it in the parable of the tenants in Matthew 21:33-40. The owner of the vineyard, God, sent servants, the prophets, to speak to the tenants, Israel, but the tenants beat, stoned, and killed the prophets that God sent instead of listening to them.
Jesus spoke to the failure to listen to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. Jesus said, “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to tem from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'”
And, Jesus directly said to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:25-27 says, “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
But, in his prayer, Daniel is acknowledging the need to truly listen to what the prophets are actually saying for the prophets spoke in the name of God. When we understand what the prophets were saying, we have come to an understanding that Jesus Christ had to suffer to restore us and redeem us.
Daniel declares that mercy and forgiveness belong to God and asks the Lord to forgive.
I believe that God’s forgiveness is the greatest revelation of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus was perfectly innocent. Yet, all of mankind judged him guilty and executed in the most shameful, violent way anyone could be killed. Yet, during the midst of the crucifixion, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
And, three times Daniel acknowledges that Israel had not listened to and obeyed God’s voice.
God had always wanted a people that would listen to his voice. The law written on tablets of stone was given because Israel refused to listen to God’s voice. In John 5:37, Jesus said the Jews had never heard God’s voice because his word was not in them and they did not believe the one he sent. But, in John 10:27, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
In John 15, the night before he was crucified, Jesus told the disciples to abide in his words. He was saying to listen to his voice and obey it. They were not to listen to the voice or writing of anyone else, including Moses.
So, we see that much of Daniel’s prayer centered around the a heart change that was related to the crucifixion of Jesus.
And, note the time that Gabriel came to Daniel to give him insight and understanding. Gabriel “came to me swiftly at the time of the evening sacrifice.” The time of the evening sacrifice was the time that Jesus dies on the cross.
It is Jesus Christ crucified that opens our eyes and ears, our minds and hearts, to what God is truly wanting to reveal to us about himself. It’s only when we come to the cross and allow its full impact upon us that we are ready for true insight and understanding.
In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul says that Jesus Christ crucified removes the veil so that we can see God clearly. But, Paul says the same thing about our time of insight and understanding in a different way in Ephesians.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” – Ephesians 1:7-10
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in heavenly places.” – Ephesians 1:17-20