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Background to understand this prophecy
    Backgroud to help understand the 'Seventy weeks' prophecy

                         presented to Central Park Fellowship by Ted Robertson on Sept. 4, 2010 
It is important to spend time understanding the prayer of Daniel in the beginning of Chapter 9 as this gives the background for the 70 Week Prophecy and answers questions such as: 
 - Why would God give humans a clear and precise prophecy of the coming of the Messiah? 
 -  And what are the implications of this prophecy?
    Click to read the prayer that Daniel prayed  now or continue with the introduction.

It is noteworthy that Daniel’s prayer of confession for the Jews in chapter 9 is similar to other prayers by other prophets for God's people
Moses prayer of intercession for the Hebrews asks for God to forgive the people of their sin
And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin – ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. Exodus 32:31-32
Elijah’s prayer on Mount Carmel asks for God to demonstrate Himself so that the people will return to Him
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Eli'jah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. 1 Kings 18: 36-37.
Through Moses, God warned that desolation, exile, and captivity would come about through disobedience
But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; and if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:
I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
and your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.
And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.
And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;
then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.
And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;
then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors.
And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you:  and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. Leviticus 26: 14-39
God followed up on His warning by delivering the wayfaring Hebrews into the hands of the the Babylonians
In the third year of the reign of Jehoi'akim king of Judah came Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
And the Lord gave Jehoi'akim king of Judah into his [Nebuchadnez’zar’s] hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.   Daniel 1:1-2
Then, the answer to such a condition is given
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me;
and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.
And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.
But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORDLeviticus 26:40-45
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
Jeremiah prophesied the end of the Babylonian captivity
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Jeremiah 25:11
For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:10-14
In the first year of Dari'us the son of Ahasue'rus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chalde'ans;in the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Daniel 9:1-2
Daniel prays for the condition of the Jews and follows the instruction from Leviticus and when he started this prayer, Gabriel was sent to Daniel to give him understanding.

  So now let's read theprayer that Daniel prayed which God answered so quickly and dramatically.

  That's right while Daniel was praying, the angel Gabriel arrived to give him understanding

Daniel 9:20   And whiles I [was] speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;  
9:21   Yea, whiles I [was] speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.  
9:22   And he informed [me], and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 
9:23   At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show [thee]; for thou [art] greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 

 Daniel must have been pleased when Gabriel arrived so quickly. Mervyn Maxwell writes on page 194 of "God Care" that Daniel did six things that should be noted.
He depended on God's righteousness, not his own.
(2) He used the Bible.
(3) He confessed his own sin and the sins of his people.
(4) He prayed in earnest.
(5) He sought the glory of God.
(6) He claimed God's promises.
 It is recorded in scripture that Jeremiah’s prophecy was fulfilled (see text below). The Babylonian exile lasted from approximately 605 B.C. to 538/537 B.C. (Mervyn Maxwell, God Cares, vol. 1, pp. 15, 244)
And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:
to fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21

Gabriel arrives from Heaven – traveling during the length of time of Daniel’s prayer
And while I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
yea, while I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Daniel 9: 20-23
Comment: As we can see, Gabriel received an instruction to fly to Daniel at the beginning of the prayer. While Daniel is still praying, Gabriel touches him. So at the beginning of the prayer, Gabriel was in Heaven, toward the end of the prayer, Gabriel was on Earth.
Sister White tells us that Heaven is beyond the Orion Nebula
"Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back; then we could look up through the open space in Orion, whence came the voice of God. The Holy City will come down through that open space."  Early Writings, p. 41.
How fast does an angel fly? (Verses 21 and 23)
The Orion Nebula is estimated to be 1.344 x 1020 light years from Earth. (See Wikipedia entry: “Orion Nebula”)
Assuming Daniel’s prayer took about 5 minutes
Speed =    distance/time
            =    (1.344 x 1020 light years)/(5 mins.)
            =    [(1.344 x 1020 light years) x (186,282 miles/sec.) x (3,600 secs./hour) x (24 hours/day) x (365.26 days/year) x (1)] / [(5 mins.) x (1 hour/60 mins.)]
            =    1034 miles/hour
            =    2.8 x 1031 miles/second
Earth’s orbit is 30 million miles.
An angel can fly around the sun 9 x 1023 times per second in Earth’s orbit (which takes us one year to do once).
Or in other words, if there were a trillion Trillion-dollar stimulus plans, and an angel were to fly around the sun in Earth’s orbit one time for every dollar, then he could do that a million times in a second.
That’s how fast Gabriel flew to Daniel in during this prayer.
Gabriel came to give skill and understanding (verse 22)
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold!
and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!  Proverbs 16:16
Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it:
but the instruction of fools is folly.  Proverbs 16:22
The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding
shall remain in the congregation of the dead. Proverbs 21:16
Gabriel informs that God loves Daniel (verse 23)
God is love.   1 John 4:8
Because God loves Daniel, He wants him to understand His secret
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7
The understanding that Gabriel gives is one of the most elegant, important, and least understood prophecies in the Bible
and now we will study the prophecy in our next message.

Additional material
Study this Prophecy with Stephen Bohr  ( Video Part 1 )
Study this Prophecy with Stephen Bohr  ( Video Part 2 )

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