Daniel 9:25
Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, until the Messiah, the Prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of distress.
Sermons
The Church Built Up in TroubleBishop Samuel Wilberforce.Daniel 9:25
The Wall Built in Troublous TimesE. D. Griffin, D.D.Daniel 9:25
Times as EvidenceH.T. Robjohns Daniel 9:25
Prayer Opens Wider Horizons of God's KingdomJ.D. Davies Daniel 9:20-27
Ministry of Angels in Individual LifeG. A. Johnston Ross.Daniel 9:21-27
The Great Spirit-WorldH. S. Holland.Daniel 9:21-27
Words of the AngelHomilistDaniel 9:21-27
Know therefore and understand, etc.

I. THE STATE OF MIND DEMANDED FROM THE STUDENT OF PROPHECY,

1. A certain temper. "Know and understand." The angel anticipates difficulties of interpretation. A skilled and spiritual mind necessary. So also industry, pains, care. The worst temper would be the proud, self-sufficient, and dogmatic. Compare words of Jesus, "Whoso readeth, let him understand;" "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

2. Spiritual insight. "The going forth of the word to restore." Whose?

(1) God's. To see a truth like this demands insight of a spiritual kind. The sovereign word of the Eternal King!

(2) But given through the edict of Cyrus.

II. THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE PASSAGE. We might study separately the prophecy, and then the fulfilment in history. But take them together - study the prophecy in the light of its historical development. But consider the kind of agreement we may expect between the prediction and the history. No greater than the circumstances admit of. Chronological exactness is only to be looked for when the event is defined and limited to some moment in time. But some events develop slowly; e.g. the restoration of a city, the confirmation of a covenant. If events are not defined, prophecy must be indefinite. We suggest the following outline for the preacher, to make all clear (for detail, see the histories, secular and sacred):

1. Before the time-section of four hundred and ninety years. Eighty years from the time of Daniel's prayer to "the restoration," the moment whence the four hundred and ninety are to be reckoned. Here the principal events are: Jerusalem a desolation; the first migration at the decree of Cyrus; the building of the temple only; interruption; Joshua and Zerubbabel; finished in eighteen years, B.C. 534-516. Then fifty-eight years, of which history is silent. The temple standing, but no wall; no city.

2. Commencement of the four hundred and ninety ( B.C. 457). The coming of Ezra, the restoration and rebuilding of the city. "From the going forth of the word to restore," etc.

3. The forty-nine years. "Hebdomads seven and," etc. These are made up thus: Ezra at work alone about twelve or thirteen years; first visit of Nehemiah about twelve years; Nehemiah's return to Persia, and second visit to the time of Joiada becoming high priest (his father, Eliashib, died in B.C. 413), about nineteen or twenty years. This accounts for forty-five out of the forty-nine. The other four may be reckoned to the death of Nehemiah, but the date of his death is lost.

4. The four hundred and thirty-four year's. "Hebdomads sixty and two? This period extends to the baptism of Jesus; i.e. to the public manifestation of "Messiah-Prince." This could be none other than the Redeemer. (Prove this in detail.)

5. The seven years. Three and a half to the Crucifixion; three and a half to establishment of Christianity and the Church.

III. THE ARGUMENT FROM CHRONOLOGY FOR THE DIVINITY OF THE GOSPEL.

1. Its place. Strange that both sceptic and Christian should object to this kind of evidence. The sceptic: "Faith cannot depend on chronology." The Christian: "Questions of events and times do not become the spiritually minded." But the evidences for revelation are not all of one kind, nor all for the same class of mind (see Hengstenberg's 'Christology,' vol. 3:199, Clark's edit.).

2. its value. On this we had better quote Preiswerk: "We ought not, considering the uncertainty of ancient chronology, to lay much stress in calculating the exact year. For, though the calculation be very successful, yet so soon as another interpreter follows, another chronological system, what has been so laboriously reared up is apparently thrown down. But if we grant, from the outset, that ancient chronology is uncertain, and be content to point out a general coincidence of the historical with the prophetical time; if we show that possibly even a minute coincidence took place, and at least that no one can prove the contrary, we shall have done enough to prove the truth of the ancient prophecy, and our work cannot be overthrown by others."

3. Its availability; i.e. to ordinary readers of Scripture. Before Christ, the Jews knew about when to reckon from, and so when to expect Messiah. And now, though learned chronological arguments may not be within reach of the many, yet plain people may come to that simple knowledge of history which shall teach that prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ. - R.







Even in troublous times.
Jerusalem was a type of the Church of God; and as the former was built "in troublous times," so is the latter.

I. THIS IS TRUE OF INDIVIDUALS. This world is the house of discipline in which Christians are broken to the Divine service by severe management. There are seasons which in a peculiar sense are "troublous times." And it is in such seasons more than any other that they grow in grace, and thus prepare to carry up the walls of the Heavenly Jerusalem, or to enlarge the Church triumphant. Their choicest experiences are obtained, and their selected graces are acquired, in times of trouble. Afflictions are the rod which chastises them to duty — the furnace in which the gold is purified from the dross.

II. THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM GENERALLY ARE BUILT UP IN TROUBLOUS TIMES. In such times the greatest advances have been made in the interests of the Church. Illustrate from the history of the Church from the time when the foundation was laid in the promise of the woman's seed. To the civilised world at large these are troublous times. While the enemy are vapouring and raging; while, leagued against all morality and religion, they are bearing away the ancient landmarks of society; while the apostles of infidelity are fast proselyting the world, and a third part of men are gone after Baal — even in such times the walls of Jerusalem are rising. Things are likely to continue the same in our day. Let not troublous times stagger the faith of Christians. Let us not be terrified "as though some strange thing happened to us." We have company enough in these matter. From the days of Adam all the saints have had to encounter similar trials.

(E. D. Griffin, D.D.)

It was a feeble and a broken remnant which wound its weary way out of Babylon to rebuild the city d their fathers and the Temple of their God. Long captivity had wrought its sure work upon the people. They had been "mingled with the heathen, and learned their ways." They were so slow to build the Temple that the threatening voices of Haggai and Zechariah hardly stirred them to the work by every entreaty and menace and judgment. With such mingled materials, the Tirshatha and the priest had a great work to do. Though the king's edict was clear, and his favour undoubted, the Jews had many enemies, and they fierce, strong, unscrupulous. Slander, falsehood, and violence, open attacks and secret wiles, must all be repelled. Yet all difficulties were overcome. "The street was built again, and the wall," though the times were troublous. The Temple of God did arise out of its ashes. Why was this result only to be attained through these difficulties? These are some of the reasons. By their being thus tried a provision was made by which, amongst, those who undertook his work, the true-hearted might be sifted from the false and hollow. For though at last the will of God must be done by all, by good and bad, the obedient and the disobedient, by saints and reprobates, by angels and devils; yet to do consciously and rejoicingly His will, this is the blessing only of the faithful. And not only were the good severed from the bad, by the difficulties with which they had to struggle, but in the several hearts of the faithful, this same work was being wrought. A sifting was going on in their moral nature; a parting of the precious from the vile. And this trial of their faith drove them to God in their work. What is all this which we have traced out, but the universal law under which the Church of Christ is placed. From first to last this is its history. It is built up, but in troublous times. How plain is this feature in its earliest history! What was the earthly life of our blessed Master but a service under trial? With what tribulation and, suffering were the foundations of the Church laid. Since the apostles' time this has been the law of the Church. They who at any time have done great things in it have been trained and exercised in manifold sufferings, inward and outward. Thus only can the Church be purged. Thus only can the work be done within God's servants. The countersign of sanctified affliction should be on the Church; the patient waiting, the burnished arms, the earnest prayer, the united hearts, the untiring watchfulness, the deep humility, the prevailing intercessions, the unwearied labours, the godly jealousy, of those who hold fast to God amidst a self-choosing, and, therefore, a gainsaying generation. There is for each one of us, as separate members of Christ, the self-same voice. Here is the secret of our inmost life. To hold on amidst discouragements — to lift up to God, a face often wet by tears, and soiled by mourning — to know outward trials and inward — to be tempted, buffeted, yea, above all, betrayed! This is our life. Hardly, and after many a struggle, does the evil depart from us. The building goes on slowly — with arms in our hands — amidst reproaches — with watching unto prayer. Let us seek to know this for ourselves in very deed.

(Bishop Samuel Wilberforce.)

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