Journey Through The Scriptures
Lesson 6: Daniel Receives Further Visions
(Scripture to Read: Daniel 9:1–11:45)
The saga of Daniel as the great receiver of dreams and visions from God continues in these chapters, which include the famous section in 9:24–27 often called the “seventy weeks” of Daniel. This prophecy of Israel’s future was just part of the panorama of the future given to Daniel over a period of days and weeks as God revealed great things to His servant. But what is perhaps most striking in this section is Daniel’s tremendous prayer of confession and petition before God.
Daniel realized from his study of Scripture that Israel’s exile in Babylon was the result of the nation’s disobedience to God. And like Nehemiah, another great and godly Jewish leader in exile, Daniel assumed responsibility to confess for his people and seek God’s favor.
As was the custom in those days, Daniel dressed in sackcloth and ashes, bowed his head to the ground, and prayed a prayer that was refreshingly open and honest. It was in answer to this prayer that Daniel was given his next great sweep of visions concerning the Gentile nations and Israel. The famous prophecy of the “seventy ‘sevens’” (9:24) traced the history of the Jewish people from the decree issued by King Cyrus of Persia in 538 BCE to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BCE, when the Temple in Jerusalem was desecrated by an altar he erected for a burnt offering. Chapters 10 and 11 again describe the course of Gentile kingdoms, ending with a dramatic prophecy of Antiochus that revealed this Syrian king’s true nature.
- What was it about the seventy years of Israel’s exile in Babylon that particularly moved Daniel to offer his great prayer?
- What is the significance of the appearance of the angel to Daniel?
- Why did the angel mention the activities of the second angel, Michael, in relation to Daniel receiving the answer to his prayer?
- What was the outcome of the evil King Antiochus, and why would this be an encouragement to Daniel’s Jewish readers (see 11:45)?
Something to Think About
Among all of the wonderful and spectacular things in the life of Daniel, I believe his prayer life is the most impressive. He was able to interpret dreams and have influence on world powers because he openly communicated with God and confessed where he fell short. We may not have the powers that Daniel did, but we can seek to emulate his exemplary prayer life.