PROMISE, PRAYER AND PROPHECY: GOD’S GLORY FROM EXILE TO EXODUS IN DANIEL 9

Renowned biblical theologian Geerhardus Vos said this very important statement regarding prophecy in order that the reader properly understand a text as it is gathered together into a single unit of redemptive history:

…prophecy something more than bar, undisciplined skill in expounding single passages, turning them to a certain preconceived account, more than acquired gift for atomistic scholarly exegesis; it requires that much rarer gift of sufficient historic sense to transport oneself into the consciousness of the nascent church of the New Testament and to gather from its sense of living halfway in the fulfillment and out of the fulfillment the knowledge of prophecy, if it was intended to fit into this fulfillment must have really meant e mente Dei (“from the mind of God”). This is a method of sounding the deep waters of the prophecy and bringing up from this depth the kernel-treasures of its original divine conception….Jeremiah 30:24.

In the fullness of time, Daniel turned his face towards God and prayed. Having been captive for some sixty plus years and seeing his people capitulate to idolatry, there was no hope of obtaining any favor in the eyes of Yahweh, but Daniel held on to the last hope of redemption: God’s proven pursuit of his own glory, and God’s proven fulfillment of His promises. The prayer of Daniel in the ninth chapter of his book is a pivotal text in the grand eschatological story of God’s redeeming plan of Israel. Realizing the prophecy of Jeremiah coming to pass (Jeremiah 25), we see Daniel thus praying for God to merely keep His promises to bring them back (Jeremiah 29). The prayer is a point of reflection, intercession and supplication as he turned toward Yahweh informed by his experience and practice as prophet and his reading of Jeremiah and The Prophets. In Daniel Chapter 9, through Daniel’s prayer and Gabriel’s revelation we see Daniel rehearse the history of Israel, a chosen race, who has turned away from God and sought after idols. We see Daniel lament over the desolation that is the removal of the presence of Yahweh and Temple from which to worship, and we see Daniel plea for Yahweh to make his name great among the captives and the captors.

As the story of redemption continues we see some specifics of this prophetic utterance come to pass. Ezra testifies to the fulfillment of the prophecy in the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple. Nehemiah testifies to the building of the city walls of Jerusalem. In a hasty reading, one may merely glance and move on thinking that God has indeed answered Daniel’s prayer. His name is upheld by restoring Jerusalem and rebuilding His temple. Though a place of worship has been rebuilt and Israel is rebuilding the kingdom, all the while it appears as though his people are still not free. The exile is not over.

Has Yahweh reneged? Has Daniel’s prayer gone unanswered and Gabriel’s word from God been rendered useless? I contend that through the judgment of exile in Jeremiah 25, the blessing of Jeremiah 29 is the basis of Daniel’s prayer in Chapter 9 versus 1 through 19. Daniel intercedes on his people’s behalf for Yahweh to hear, forgive and act so that His name might be made hallowed through the fulfillment of his promises in Jeremiah 29. I further maintain that we see the response of God work itself out in a foretaste of a future eschatological hope in Ezra and Nehemiah as it coincides with the prophesied years in Daniel, similar to the Mosaic Exodus account.

When Daniel prayed to God to restore God’s Holy City (Dan 9:19) …and anoint a most Holy Place (Dan 9:24), he is acknowledging that all of history is under the sovereign hand of Yahweh. God answered with something far greater than the temporal expectations of the exiled Jews in Babylon. For his glory, he would not let the city remain forsaken. He restored Jerusalem, yes (Nehemiah 5), He rebuilt The Temple, yes (Ezra 6), but then Jesus came and He said “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.” (Matt 12:6). He would be The Servant King of a greater city, a “city upon a hill”(Mt 5:14). Through his sacrifice he would free the captive, and again lead exiled sinners through the wondering times to the Promised Land, and build a new city, a New Jerusalem, and that city is The Kingdom of Heaven.

Read the rest here:  DanielPaperMullins

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One thought on “PROMISE, PRAYER AND PROPHECY: GOD’S GLORY FROM EXILE TO EXODUS IN DANIEL 9

  1. Pingback: Day 135: Ezra 1-4; The Exiles Return | Overisel Reformed Church

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