Daniel’s Two Great Determinations and Prayers
Updated: Feb 9, 2022
Shiloh Lord's Day Service
Date: January 23, 2022
Scripture: Daniel 9:1-3,10:1-3
Speaker: Pastor James Park
This sermon is based on book 11, volume 2 of the history of redemption series regarding the Israelites’ return from the Babylonian deportation and consecrated genealogies recorded upon their return.
I. Three Essential Elements for Understanding
1. The Bible has both outward and inward meanings.
"Remember the days of the old" talks about genealogies. "Consider the years of all generations" is about the dates and chronology of the past (Deut 32:7). The genealogy and dates are examples of the Bible’s outward meaning, yet they also contain an inner meaning. The inner meaning can also be seen as the "administration of the mystery" which God has hidden (Eph 3:9). So today, we need to understand the names and dates contained within the genealogies and put them together like a puzzle to understand their secrets.
2. We must learn about Daniel to be victorious in the end time.
We must learn about Daniel’s faith and how he was able to be victorious in a foreign land (Matt 24:15).
3. We must understand the background of Daniel's faith.
Daniel went to Babylon in 605 BC at the age of 17. How did Daniel live an unwavering life of faith toward God despite being in captivity for almost 70 years? By studying the chronologies and dates, we can learn how Daniel was brought up in his early life of faith. Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah in 640 BC. In King Josiah's 18th year of reign in 622 BC, they found the book of the law. This caused a great reformation through the law (2 Kings 22:1-3). The critical fact here is that Daniel was 17 years old in 605 BC. If we add 17 years to 605 BC, we get 622 BC. This means that Daniel was born at the exact time that the religious reformation started in Judah. So, for the 17 years that he lived in Judah, he was raised in the Word of God. Even after the destruction of Babylon, Daniel was commissioner over the entire Persian Empire and had a significant influence on the Persian king, Cyrus. For us today, we need to use the wisdom that God gives us and become skilled in our work. And when we become proficient in our specific fields. God will use us to influence leaders and transmit the Word of redemptive history.
II. 539 BC, approximately 2 years before the return
Two years before the return to Judah, Daniel understood the meaning of the 70-year prophecy that Jeremiah had given. Daniel was 84 years old when he started to fast and pray (Dan 9:3). Through the constant reading of the Bible and prayer, God gave Daniel the prophecy of "70 weeks" (Dan 9:24). In 538 BC, Cyrus became the King of Persia, united the Kingdoms of Media and Persia, and formed the Persian Empire. Around that time, Daniel showed Cyrus the prophecy by Isaiah that mentions his name (Isa 44:28). Thus, in his first year of reign, Cyrus made a decree allowing all the Jews living in Babylon to return to Judah and rebuild the temple in 537 BC. This was all done through God's great sovereignty, but the great man of prayer, Daniel, was behind this. For us today, we need to become people of prayer like Daniel.
III. 536 BC, 1 year after the return
How did the construction of Zerubbabel's Temple begin? First, in the first month of 536 BC, Daniel prayed about the temple's construction, and continued to pray for three weeks (Dan 10:2-3). At this time, Daniel was 87 years old. Daniel prayed from the 3rd day to the 23rd day of the first month. During this time, some festivals are held according to Jewish traditions, notably, the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. Both of these festivals are commemorations of the Exodus from Egypt. Due to Daniel’s fasting and praying for 21 days in the first month (of the first year return to Judah), the following month, the construction of the Zerubbabel's Temple began (Ezra 3:8). As his prayers transcended time and space, Daniel became one with the people of God through the covenant. Through his unsparing devotion and prayer, the nation was restored. Today, we are also one in the Word of God. Even though there are branch churches all over the world, we are one through the covenantal promises and the Word of God.
Conclusion: Restoration starts with repentance and fasted prayer
It begins with us. As humans, we tend to judge others, but we must first repent for ourselves if we want to be restored spiritually. God's work of salvation and redemption starts with and are fulfilled by those who believe His Word (1 Thess 2:13). However, if we don't believe in God's Word and covenant, we cannot stand at the forefront of the work of redemption. God wants to use us to do His work of salvation in the end time. But, to do this work, the first prerequisite is that we must genuinely and sincerely believe in the Word. Suppose we stay in the background and do not do anything. Even then, God's work of redemption will not stop just because we quit. Instead, that responsibility will be passed on to someone else. God will do His work through another person that He finds worthy, and s/he will get God's blessing instead of us (Esth 4:14). That is why we need to rise to the occasion now when God chooses us to help with His work of salvation. We need to dedicate ourselves with unsparing devotion to God. We need to pray, worship, and stay focused on the work that has been given to us so that God will continue to work through us and bless us during these end times.