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Daniel 9:15, 16 says,
15 And now, O Lord our God, who hast brought Thy people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and hast made a name for Thyself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked. 16 O Lord, in accordance with all Thy righteous acts, let now Thine anger and Thy wrath turn away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people have become a reproach to all those around us.
The prophet first recognizes that God had delivered Israel from the land of Egypt centuries earlier, and he appeals for a repeat deliverance from Babylon. In both cases, the prophet desires the true God to make a name for Himself, that is, to obtain glory. In the case of Egypt, God had raised up Pharaoh in the same way that God raised up the kings of Babylon.
In Exodus 9:16 Moses was told to tell Pharaoh,
16 But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.
Paul cites this verse in Romans 9:17 as an example of the sovereignty of God. Daniel understood this and saw how God had received glory when Belshazzar was overthrown. The handwriting on the wall itself was God’s “mighty hand” in action, which proved to all the nobles of Babylon that the God of Daniel was the true God who reigns over all nations.
So now that Babylon had fallen, the next step was to set Judah free from captivity, as Jeremiah had prophesied. Daniel knew that for this to happen, repentance was necessary, for this too was part of the law (Leviticus 26:40-42). The people had to stop acting with hostility against Yahweh. And even today, in order to reverse the captivity of Mystery Babylon over Israel and the world, the people must stop acting with hostility against Yeshua-Jesus and must recognize His right to rule the nations by His law.
As long as the laws of Mystery Babylon are in force, the captivity will continue. Our only hope is that the kindness of God will cause Him to intervene by the power of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating His hand even as He did the night that Babylon fell.
Hear Our Prayer
Daniel 9:17, 18 continues,
17 So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary. 18 O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! Open Thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name; for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion.
The prophet entreats God to “hear” and “see our desolations.” Of course, God was perfectly aware of the situation, for He is neither deaf nor blind to all that happens on the earth. But Daniel was speaking in a legal sense, asking the divine court to hear his case. Until the 70 years were accomplished, the divine court would not “hear” the case, because the sentence had already been rendered (Jeremiah 7:1-16). In fact, Jeremiah himself was told not to continue making appeals for mercy in verse 16,
16 As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you.
That command was in force until the end of seventy years. It was only because the seventy years had concluded that Daniel was able to appeal for a hearing before the divine court.
Even so, Daniel did not appeal his case on the grounds of Judah’s righteous behavior, nor “any merits of our own.” He appealed to God’s “great compassion,” that is, His great “womb” (racham).
Being Called by God’s Name
Daniel 9:19 continues,
19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.
Daniel’s appeal was based on the fact that Jerusalem and “Thy people are called by Thy name.” At that time, God’s name had not yet fully departed from Jerusalem. His glory and His name had already departed from Jerusalem and from the temple, but it had gone only as far as the Mount of Olives (Ezekiel 10:18, 19; 11:23). The glory of His presence could go no further until after Jesus had fulfilled His work on the Mount of Olives. There He was crucified and raised from the dead, and from there He ascended to heaven.
But in the days of Jeremiah, we read in Jeremiah 7:12, 14,
12 But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel… 14 Therefore, I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, as I did to Shiloh.
Where the glory of God dwells is the place where He has put His name. That is then the place that is called by His name. When Joshua set up the tabernacle in Shiloh (Joshua 18:1), that became the place that was called by God’s name. Later, because of the corrupt priesthood of Eli, God called the place Ichabod, “the glory has departed” (1 Samuel 4:22) and eventually moved to Jerusalem. In doing so, the glory moved from Joseph (Israel) to Judah (Psalm 78:67, 68).
After another three centuries passed, God told Jeremiah that the glory was going to depart from Jerusalem as what happened with Shiloh (Jeremiah 7:14). Ezekiel saw the glory depart, as I said earlier. When God departed from Shiloh, He never returned. When God departed from Jerusalem, the glory never returned—even after the second temple was built. Yet the glory was still located on the Mount of Olives, where Ezekiel had last seen it (Ezekiel 11:23). The glory remained in transition for six centuries. Jesus took it back to heaven during His ascension. Then ten days later on the day of Pentecost it returned to indwell a new temple, made of living stones (1 Peter 2:5).
It is important to know how God’s presence, glory, and name has moved from Shiloh to Jerusalem to the greater temple in the New Jerusalem, which is the body of Christ. Paul refers to this final temple in Ephesians 2:20-22.
When Daniel interceded for the people in his ninth chapter, he was still able to refer to Jerusalem as the place that was called by God’s name. But after the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, it is no longer proper to refer to the Old Jerusalem as the city where God has put His name. The Old Jerusalem is now prophetically exposed as “Hagar,” not “Sarah” (Galatians 4:25, 26). The physical city of Jerusalem is not the inheritor of the promises of God, Paul says, any more than Ishmael could be the inheritor. But as believers, we, “like Isaac, are the children of promise” (Galatians 4:28), and we are instructed to “cast out the bondwoman and her son” (Galatians 4:30).
As we have already shown, Daniel’s intercession focused primarily on the people of Judah who were in captivity to Babylon. However, he also broadened His scope to include the tribes of Israel who had been taken to Assyria (Daniel 9:7). The immediate effect of his intercession affected Judah only, for the tribes of Israel did not return to the old land at that time, as all Jewish scholars will affirm.
In fact, Ezra’s note in 2 Kings 17:23 says, “So Israel was carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day.” Until what day? Until the time of Ezra, who compiled the canon of the Old Testament Scriptures after the Babylonian captivity.
The Final Regathering Place
The regathering of the lost tribes of Israel was to occur after the Holy Spirit’s change of address (Pentecost in Acts 2). Hence, Daniel’s intercession—insofar as it included the lost House of Israel—has a different application from that of the House of Judah. Judah was to return to the Old Jerusalem, where God still maintained His street address, though technically He had moved just outside of the city to the Mount of Olives. But Israel’s regathering would occur much later, and since God had already moved to a different location, they would “return” to this new location where He had placed His name.
Where was this? It is not a particular location on earth, for He has chosen to place His name, presence, and glory within the believers, whether they were Jews (of Judah) or Israelites (lost tribes) or other ethnic groups. Hence, Paul writes in Ephesians 2:13, 14,
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were afar off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.”
He goes on to explain in Ephesians 2:18, 19,
18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.
He tells us further that this united body forms the new temple that God now inhabits, and that this temple is “growing” as more people come to believe in Him. God’s presence will never depart from this temple, for it is the final temple where God has chosen to place His name. Hence, also, we are called Christians, for we are called after the name of Christ who indwells us.
So when Daniel prays to God, “do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name” (Daniel 9:19), there are two cycles of fulfillment in this prayer. The first was the immediate situation, where the people were to be set free from their seventy-year captivity to Babylon, so that they could return to the Old Jerusalem. The second was yet afar off, after the fall of Mystery Babylon, when the people of God today (believers in Christ, the new temple) are to be set free.
Yet there is also a third fulfillment, which applies on a higher level. When Jesus died on the cross, He set us free from the greater bondage of sin. Political bondage is outward, while bondage to our own iniquity is inward. Jesus’ death on the cross was a greater event that began a whole new phase of Kingdom history, wherein men and women everywhere, of every ethnicity, had opportunity to leave their bondage and be set free into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:21).
In this greater sense, the cross of Christ marked the start of the regathering of the House of Israel and Judah, and with them many “others” (Isaiah 56:8). This regathering was not to a physical location on earth, but to a position in Christ who indwells a new temple in the New Jerusalem that is the inheritor of the promises of God.