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Albert Barnes on Daniel 9

The "no gap" Prophecy!

DANIEL 9

FROM THE ALBERT BARNES BIBLE COMMENTARY:


ANALYSIS OF THE CHAPTER (an over-view)

This chapter is properly divided into  three parts, or comprises
three things I. The inquiry of Daniel into the time that the
desolations of Jerusalem were to continue, and his determination
to seek the Lord, to pray that this purpose in regard to the
restoration of the city and temple might be speedily
accomplished, vers. 1-3. Daniel says (ver.1), that this occurred
in the first year of Darius of the seed of the Medes. He was
engaged in the study of the books of Jeremiah. He learned from
these books that seventy years were to elapse during which the
temple, the city, and the land were to be desolate. By a
calculation as to the time when this commenced, he was enabled to
ascertain the period when it would close, and he found that that
period was near, and that, according to the prediction, it might
be expected that the time of the restoration was at hand. His
mind was, of course, filled with the deepest solicitude. It would
seem not improbable that he did not perceive any preparation for
this, or any tendency to it, and it could not but be that he
would be filled with anxiety in regard to it. He does not appear
to have entertained any doubt that the predictions would be
fulfilled, and the fact that they were so clear and so positive
was a strong reason why he should pray, and was the reason why he
prayed so earnestly at this tuna. The prayer which he offered is
an illustration of the truth that men will pray more earnestly
when they have reason to suppose that God intends to impart a
blessing, and that an assurance that an event is to occur is one
of the strongest encouragements and incitements to prayer. So men
will pray with more faith when they see that God is blessing the
means of restoration to health, or when they see indications of
an abundant harvest; so they will pray with the more fervour for
God to bless his Word when they see evidences of a revival of
religion, or that the time has come when God is about to display
his power in the conversion of sinners; and so undoubtedly they
will pray with the more earnestness as the proofs shall be
multiplied that God is about to fulfil all his ancient
predictions in the conversion of the whole world to himself. A
belief that God intends to do a thing is never any hinderance to
real prayer; a belief that he is in fact about to do it does more
than anything else can do to arouse the soul to call with
earnestness on his name.

(Ah, indeed this is so. Maybe thousands have come to this Website
over the years, maybe the many years, but have not taken things
too serious. For sure when the world scene is as the explanation
of the prophecies of the Bible have been expounded on this
Website, people will flock to it again, and prayers will be that
more earnest and their living will be turned to serious action,
if it was not before - Keith Hunt)



II. The prayer of Daniel, vers.4-19. 

This prayer is remarkable for its simplicity, its fervour, its
appropriateness, its earnestness. It is a frank confession that
the Hebrew people, in whose name it was offered, had deserved all
the calamities which had come upon them, accompanied with earnest
intercession that God would now hear this prayer, and remove the
judgments from the people, and accomplish his purpose of mercy
towards the city and temple. The long captivity of nearly seventy
years; the utter desolation of the city and temple during that
time; the numberless privations and evils to which during that
period they had been exposed, had demonstrated the greatness of
the sins for which these calamities had come upon the nation, and
Daniel now, in the name, and uttering the sentiments, of the
captive people, confessed their guilt, and the justness of the
Divine dealings with them. Never has there been an instance in
which punishment has had more of its designed and appropriate
effect than in prompting to the sentiments which are uttered in
this prayer: and the prayer, therefore, is just the expression of
what we should feel when the hand of the Lord has been severely
laid upon us on account of our sins. The burden of the prayer is
confession; the object which he who offers it seeks is, that God
would cause the severity of his judgments to cease, and the city
and temple to be restored. The particular point: in the prayer
will be more appropriately elucidated in the exposition of this
part of the chapter.


III. The answer to the prayer, vers.20-27. 

The principal difficulty in the exposition of the chapter is in
this portion; and indeed there is perhaps no part of the
prophecies of the Old Testament that is, on some accounts, more
difficult of exposition, as there is, in some respects, none more
clear, and none more important. It is remarkable, among other
things, as not being a direct answer to the prayer, and as
seeming to have no bearing on the subject of the petition - that
the city of Jerusalem might be rebuilt, and the temple restored;
but it directs the mind onward to another and more important
event - the comin of the Messiah, and the final closing of
sacrifice and oblation, and a more entire and enduring
destruction of the temple and city, after it should have been
rebuilt, than had yet occurred. To give this information, an
angel--the same one whom Daniel had seen before--was sent forth
from heaven, and came near to him and touched him, and said that
he was commissioned to impart to him skill and understanding,
vers.20-23. "The speediness of his coming indicates a joyful
messenger. The substance of that message is as follows: As a
compensation for the seventy years in which the people, the city,
and the temple had been entirely prostrate, seventy weeks of
years, seven times seventy years of a renewed existence would be
secured to them by the Lord; and the end of this period, far from
bringing the mercies of God to a close, would for the first time
bestow them on the Theocracy in their complete and full measure."

Hengstenberg, "Christology," ii. 293. Tile "points" of
information which the angel gives in regard to the future
condition of the city are these:

(a) That the whole period determined in respect to the holy city,
to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make
reconciliation for the people, and to bring in everlasting
righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to
anoint the Most Holy, was seventy weeks - evidently seventy
prophetic weeks, that is, regarding each day as a year, four
hundred and ninety years, ver.24. The time when this period would
commence--the terminus a quo--is not indeed distinctly specified,
but the fair interpretation is, from that time when the vision
appeared to Daniel, the first year of Darius, ver.1. The literal
meaning of the phrase "seventy weeks," according to Prof.Stuart
("Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy," p.3), is seventy 
sevens, that is, seventy sevens of years, or four hundred and
ninety years. "Daniel," says he, "had been meditating on the
accomplishment of the seventy years of exile for the Jews, which
Jeremiah had predieted. At the close of the fervent supplication
for the people which he makes, in connection with his meditation,
Gabriel appears, and announces to him that 'seventy sevens are
appointed for his people,' as it respects the time then future,
in which very serious and very important events are to take
place. Daniel had been meditating on the close of the seventy
years of Hebrew exile, and the angel now discloses to him a new
period of seventy times seven, in which still more important
events are to take place."

(b) This period of seventy sevens, or four hundred and ninety
years, is divided by the angel into smaller portions, each of
their determining some important event in the future. He says,
therefore (ver.25), that from the going forth of the command to
rebuild the temple, until the time when the Messiah should
appear, the whole period might be divided into two portions--one
of seven sevens, or forty nine years, and the other of threescore
and two sevens - sixty-two sevens, or four hundred and
thirty-four years, making together four hundred and eighty-three
years. This statement is accompanied with the assurance that the
"street would be built again, and the wall, even in troublous
times." Of these periods of seven weeks, sixtytwo weeks, and one
week, the close of the first is distinguished by the completion
of the rebuilding of the city; that of the second by the
appearing of the Anointed One, or the Messiah, the Prince; that
of the third by the finished confirmation of the covenant with
the many for whom the saving blessings designated in ver.24, as
belonging to the end of the whole period, are designed. The last
period of one week is again divided into two halves. While the
confirmation of the covenant is extends through it, from
beginning to end, the cessation of the sacrifice and
meat-offering, and the death of the Anointed One, on which this
depends, take place in the middle of it.


(c) The Messiah would appear after the seven weeks - reaching to
the time of completing the rebuilding of the city - and the
sixty-two weeks following that (that is, sixty-nine weeks
altogether) would have been finished. Throughout half of the
other week, after his appearing, he would labour to confirm the
covenant with many, and then die a violent death, by which the
sacrifices would be made to cease, while the confirmation of the
covenant would continue even after his death.


(d) A people of a foreign prince would come and destroy the city
and the sanctuary. The end of all would be a "flood"--an
overflowing calamity, till the end of the desolations should be
determined, vers.26,27. This fearful desolation is all that the
prophet sees in the end, except that there is an obscure
intimation that there would be a termination of that. Put the
design of the vision evidently did not reach thus far. It was to
show the series of events after the rebuilding of the city and
temple up to the time when the Messiah would come; when the great
atonement would be made for sin, and when the oblations and
sacrifices of the temple would finally cease; cease in fact and
naturally, for the one great sacrifice, superseding them all,
would have been offered, and because the people of a foreign 
prince would come and sweep the temple and the altar away.

The design of the whole annunciation is, evidently, to produce
consolation in the mind of the prophet. He was engaged in
profound meditation on the present state, and the long-continued
desolations of the city and temple. He gave his mind to the study
of the prophecies to learn whether these desolations were not
soon to end. He ascertained beyond a doubt that the period drew
near. He devoted himself to earnest prayer that the desolation
might not longer continue; that God, provoked by the sins of the
nation, would no longer execute his fearful judgments, but would
graciously interpose, and restore the city and temple. He
confessed ingenuously and humbly the sins of his people;
acknowledged that the judgments of God were just, but pleaded
earnestly, in view of his former mercies to the same people, that
he would now have compassion, and fulfil his promises that the
city and temple should be restored. An answer is not given
directly, and in the exact form in which it might have been hoped
for; but an answer is given, in which it is implied that these
blessings so earnestly sought would be bestowed, and in which it
is promised that there would be far greater blessings. It is
assumed in the answer (ver.25) that the city would be rebuilt,
and then the mind is directed onward to the assurance that it
would stand through seven times seventy years - seven times as
long as it had now been desolate, and that then that which had
been the object of the desire of the people of God would be
accomplished; that for which the city and temple bad been built
would be fulfilled--the Messiah would come, the great sacrifice
for sin would be made, and all the typical arrangements of the
temple would come to an end. Thus, in fact, though not in form,
the communication of the angel was an answer to prayer, and that
occurred to Daniel which often occurs to those who pray - that
the direct prayer which is offered receives a gracious answer,
and that there accompanies the answer numberless other mercies
which are drawn along in the train; or, in other words, that
Godgives us many more blessings than we ask of him.

                       ............................


End of part one. 

To be continued in detail

Note:

We see an overview that is all connected, all to do with the
coming of the Messiah and a seven year covenant confirmation. All
one prophecy that finalizes in the once more destruction of
Jerusalem. There is no "gap" anywhere needed in this prophecy,
certainly not some gap of 2,000 years to suposedly finish the
last 7 years or last week of this  7 x 7 week prophecy. This is a
prophecy that as Albert Barnes and others of his day, before and
after him, rightly knew, was a prophecy that had been fulfilled
entirely as one continuous prophecy, with no "gaps" anywhere.

We shall see as Albert Barnes meticaloucy brings out in his Bible
Commentary, the logic and in-depth facts, that no "gaps" are
intended or required to fulfil this prophecy of 490 - 7 x 7 weeks
or 490 years, a day = one year.

Keith Hunt 


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