Today, we get into chapter 9 and discover why the nation had been exiled into captivity and how long that captivity was prophesied to last.
Verse 1: "In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;" Notice, "in first year of Darius" which would have been the year 538 BC.
Student of Scripture
Verse 2: "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 apparently was a student of Scripture and he had been studying the book of Jeremiah. 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Apparently, Daniel had looked at Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10-11.
History tells us that Israel had been destroyed by King Nebcuchadnezzar in 605 BC and it was now 538 BC. How many years had they been in captivity? 67 years. And Daniel knew this and understood that their captivity was almost over.
You know, something that amazes me is that Daniel just opened up his Bible…..read Jer_25:11…..and believed it. Can you believe it? He took it literally! Why is it that "Bible Scholars" of our day can't seem to do this? They make every excuse under the sun not to take something at face value from the Bible. "Well, he didn't mean 70 years….God was speaking in a metaphorical sense." Well you know, in the original Greek….."
Why can't we just open up the Bible and take it at face value? Daniel did! John wrote in 1 John, "I write these things that you may know…" We need to stop second guessing God! "WHERE GOD HAS PUT A PERIOD, DON'T CHANGE IT TO A QUESTION MARK!" God has not, and never has been, in the business of confusing people. Paul told the Corinthians, "God is not the author of confusion 1 Corinthians 14:33. Sadly, much of our is the direct result of our arrogance.
Why 70 Years?
The first question that I asked myself when I read this was, Why 70 years?" We are told why in Leviticus 25:1-7 where God told Jeremiah, "And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, (2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. (3) Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; (4) But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. (5) That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. (6) And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, (7) And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat."
And he goes on to say in Leviticus 26:33-35, "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. (34) 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. (35) As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it."
And of course the Israelites did not trust the Lord by giving the land its rest, and as a result God fulfilled His promise to exile them! 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 speaks to this when God says, "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: (21) 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." So, God brought destruction upon them because of their failure to trust in His promises.
There is a principle here that you and I must come to grips with as well. God's expectation is that we trust Him! When we trust Him, He brings about blessing. When we fail to trust Him, He doesn't bring about his blessing. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;" From this verse we see, that the blessing or lack thereof is entirely dependent upon how much the nation trusted him.
The same can be said of us today. God promises blessings for obedience! But if we choose not to trust him, the Bible says in Haggai 1, "You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes." Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!" We must learn how to trust God! Amen? We can also see an excellent example of this in Deuteronomy 28. In the end, the world says, "Show me and I will believe you", while God says, "Believe me and I will show you!"