When the appointed time came for Judah’s deliverance, Daniel fulfilled his calling as a prophet and as an intercessor for Judah by repenting on their behalf. Dan. 9:4 begins,
4 And I prayed [palal, “interceded”] to the Lord my God and confessed [yada, “to use the hands, throw, praise with extended hands”] and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments,”
This is more than a prayer. This is a palal, which literally means to judge, mediate or intercede. Daniel was mediating between God and Judah on account of Judah’s sin which had brought them into captivity seventy years earlier.
Daniel’s intercession fulfilled the word of the Lord prophesied in Jer. 29:10-14,
10 For thus says the Lord, “When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”
This writing, in fact, was part of the letter that Jeremiah wrote to the captives in Babylon when he advised them to settle down, build houses, plant crops, and give their children in marriage for the next seventy years. Verses 10-14 above then tells them that at the end of this captivity, they were to call upon God and pray for deliverance. No doubt Daniel saw this prophecy and determined to fulfill it. For this reason, he prayed, knowing that his prayer would be answered, because the timing was right for Judah’s deliverance from captivity.
Daniel also “confessed,” which comes from the Hebrew word yada, “an open hand.” It is from the same word where we get the name Judah, which means “praise.” It seems that Daniel chose his words carefully in order to suggest that he was interceding for Judah and confessing their sins, while praising Him with outstretched hands for the promise of deliverance.
The start of Daniel’s confession refers to God as the One “who keeps His covenant.” This is not an appeal to the Old Covenant in Exodus 19:8, which, in fact, had resulted in their captivity, but to the New Covenant, where God had promised, vowed, and made oaths to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and even Moses (in Deut. 29:10-15).
In God’s New Covenant, He vowed to make us His people by turning our hearts from the inside by the power of the Holy Spirit. The blessing, deliverance, salvation, and “lovingkindness” of God is extended only to “those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Under the Old Covenant, this requirement excludes all men, because, as Paul said later, “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). Yet under the New Covenant, this requirement includes all men, because it is based upon God’s oath and His ability to keep that oath. In other words, the work of the Holy Spirit in the earth will eventually see His glory filling the whole earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2:14; Isaiah 11:9).
Daniel identified with Judah as a whole and interceded from that position. He includes himself as part of that iniquitous nation, saying in Dan. 9:5, not THEY but…
5 WE have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly, and rebelled, even turning aside from Thy commandments and ordinances.”
Intercession requires identification with those who have the problem. Judah as a whole had a big problem, which was why they were in captivity, but Daniel did not take the part of the righteous prophet who was good enough to approach God and intercede for them. Daniel was obviously a righteous man. In fact, he is said to be the only biblical character (other than Jesus) where no sin is attributed to him. Yet Daniel knew himself well enough to know that he was yet imperfect.
King David had gloried in the fact that God had imputed him righteous (Psalm 32:2). Likewise, because of Abraham’s faith, righteousness was imputed to him (Gen. 15:6). Paul discusses the idea of imputed righteousness, defining imputation in Rom. 4:17 as calling what is not as though it were.
If Daniel had not known that God’s righteousness had been imputed to him, then he would have lived his life without knowing true forgiveness, lovingkindness, and grace. But there is no indication that Daniel lived his life burdened by guilt and fear. It is only by knowing God’s imputed righteousness that one can grow spiritually without hindrance.
Some men, of course, have the opposite problem. They think they are truly righteous, not by imputation but by actual experience. That is a position of blind pride, for even if they begin to move in the direction of experiential righteousness by the power of the Holy Spirit, what about the past? Paul says, “all have sinned.” No amount of present righteousness can erase the past. Good deeds do not overrule or eliminate bad deeds.
Daniel’s position, confessing his sin as part of the nation of Judah, is the proper one to take while in intercession. Though he was no doubt more righteous than most or all of his contemporaries, he had the same temptations that are common to all flesh. So he did not claim righteousness, but identified with the people in their sin and lawlessness.
Judah’s Failure to Hear the Prophets
Dan. 9:6 continues his confession,
6 Moreover, we have not listened to Thy servants the prophets, who spoke in Thy name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land.
We do not know how many prophetic writings Daniel had in his possession, but we do know from verse 2 that he had a copy of Jeremiah’s writings. He was therefore familiar with the refusal of the people and their leaders to hear the word of the Lord that was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet. In fact, Jer. 32:2, 3 says,
2 Now at that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard, which was in the house of the king of Judah, 3 because Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up, saying, “Why do you prophesy, saying, Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am about to give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will take it?”
Later, Jeremiah wrote another prophecy to the king and told his scribe, Baruch, to read it in the temple on one of the days of fasting (Jer. 36:6). Government officials heard about it and asked Baruch to read it to them (36:14). They were alarmed at the message and advised Baruch to go into hiding along with Jeremiah (36:19).
The king soon heard about it, and asked to have the scroll read to him. Jer. 36:23-25 says,
23 And it came about, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut it with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the fire that was in the brazier, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the brazier. 24 Yet the king and all his servants who heard all these words were not afraid, nor did they rend their garments. 25 Even though Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah entreated the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.
Daniel was familiar with this story and how the king had rejected the word of the Lord, even going so far as to burn Jeremiah’s prophecy. So when he said in Dan. 9:6 that the kings had not listened to the word of the prophets, there was weight behind his words. The fact that Judah had indeed spent seventy years in exile, as the prophet had foretold, proved that this was indeed the word of God.
The Shame of Exile
Daniel 9:7, 8 continues,
7 Righteousness belongs to Thee, O Lord, but to us open [paniym, “face, surface”] shame [bosheth, “confusion, shame”], as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which Thou hast driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against Thee. 8 Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against Thee.
The exile of both Judah in Babylon and Israel in Assyria were an “open shame” to them. They could not hide it, because these exiles were in captivity. God had publicly shamed them. In that sense, shame was written on their faces. When Daniel includes Israel here, he broadens his intercession beyond Judah to include the ten tribes of Israel which had been carried to Assyria two centuries earlier.
Both Israel and Judah had been exiled for the same reason. It was for their lawlessness, which violated the covenant that they had made at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:8. Daniel also confesses the righteousness of God, saying “righteousness belongs to Thee, O Lord.” In other words, the prophet recognizes that God did right in exiling both Israel and Judah. He does not blame God as if God had mistreated them. The Law of Tribulation in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 had made it clear that Israel’s lawlessness would result in their captivity.
The prophet thus justified (or vindicated) God in His judgments. He agreed with God. David did the same in Psalm 51:4, saying,
4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when thou dost judge.
Hence, the “open shame” of exile, as a judgment of God, was a public judgment for their lawlessness. The lesson here is that this exile begins to come to an end when the people acknowledge their transgression and agree that God was righteous in His judgments. Without agreeing with God’s judgment, there is no true repentance but only resentful submission. For this reason also, in the Law of Tribulation we read in Lev. 26:40-42,
40 If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against me [Christ], and also in their acting with hostility against Me— 41 I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies—or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember My covenant with Isaac, and My Covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.
In other words, tribulation does not end until the people agree that the divine judgment was justified. It does not end until the people confess their hostility to Yahweh, the Covenant God, who has become Yeshua, Jesus Christ (Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 12:2, 3; Psalm 118:14).
God’s Compassion (Womb)
The prophet continues his prayer of repentance in Daniel 9:9, 10, saying,
9 To the Lord our God belong compassion [racham] and forgiveness [seleekhaw], for we have rebelled against Him; 10 nor have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.
The Hebrew word translated “compassion” is racham. It is the root word (verb) for the noun, rechem, or “womb.” In the New Testament, the Greek equivalent is splanchnon. In 1 John 3:17 KJV we read,
17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion [splanchnon] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Here is an example of how a Greek word in the New Testament must be interpreted with a Hebrew mindset. In Greek culture, the word splanchnon was understood to be the intestines, but metaphorically it was the seat of strong, violent passions, such as anger and love. The Hebrew concept of racham, however, is a womb and is metaphorically the seat of tender affections, or tender mercies, kindness, benevolence, and compassion. In 2 Cor. 6:12 and 7:15 the NASB renders splanchnon as “affections” and “affection.” We must understand that the Hebrew concept of racham was being expressed in its nearest Greek equivalent.
Such tender affection and compassion is from a woman (womb-man) and is pictured as a motherly attribute of El Shaddai, “The Breasted One.”
In Isaiah 46:3, 4 God’s feminine side is pictured once again,
3 Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have been borne by Me from birth, and have been carried from the womb; 4 even to your old age, I shall be the same, and even to your graying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you; and I shall bear you, and I shall deliver [malat] you.
The Hebrew word malat, here translated “deliver,” has much the same range of meaning as in English, where it can mean to deliver or save from a dangerous situation or to give birth (“deliver”) a baby. Hence, God conjures up a word picture of a mother who carries a baby until its time of deliverance.
This is the “compassion” that God attributes to “our God.” God has all of the attributes of male and female, though He chose to separate mankind into male and female to make them incomplete without each other.
Daniel says also that God has “forgiveness” (seleekhaw). This is, perhaps, meant to express the male side of God’s nature, since forgiveness is more of a legal term. In Psalm 130:4 we read,
4 But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.
Where there is no forgiveness, there is also no “fear,” which in this case means respect. When we repent, we should expect forgiveness, but when none is given—or when the past sins are continually brought up and used against us after they should have been forgiven and forgotten—we lose respect for the one who should be forgiving us.
We see this in the case of children who are punished for bad behavior and then punished ever after with no hope of true forgiveness. The first sin is punished, and then again when the next sin is done. The first two sins are then added to the third, and so on. That type of parenting can only produce bitterness and anger, derived from a sense that forgiveness is not possible. The child is discouraged, gives up trying to behave properly, and then sets out to prove that his parents’ view of him is correct. Being told that he was a bad boy, he determines in himself to prove them right. Forgiveness implies confidence in a child, and confidence breeds the desire to meet its expectations.
Many are under the impression that God is a bad parent. Everyone is told that God is theoretically a good parent, but when they speak of God’s never-ending punishment, they convey the reality that God is presented as a parent who is so “holy” that He cannot forgive. Such people do not understand that God’s holiness is bound up in the fact that there is always forgiveness with God, and that when applied properly, His holiness does not contradict His temporary judgments.
Daniel knew God as being compassionate and forgiving, even as the psalmist had discovered.
A large part of the problem throughout history is that men have had a wrong idea of God’s character. God has been presented as a rather mean God that men should avoid in order not to offend Him. Any offense is punishable, not only by death, but by torture in a fire that never ends. They have been told that God’s forgiveness is restricted to the very few, and that there is no forgiveness for most of humanity. This has caused vast numbers of people to be bitter against God, saying, “I don’t want to serve a God like that.”
It is mostly because men do not really know God that they rebel against Him. Once they know who He really is, they will love Him and want to serve Him. In fact, this will actually be what happens in the future, as Rev. 15:4 prophesies,
4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou alone art holy; for all the nations will come and worship before Thee, for Thy righteous acts have been revealed.
In other words, once the nations learn that God is not like the one presented to them by many religious leaders, they will all want to know Him and glorify His name. The problem has been the misunderstanding of His character, as set forth by the religious leaders of all religions, including the Christian religion. But once Christ is unveiled to the world, and men realize that there is forgiveness with Him, and that He has devised a plan by which He will save all mankind in the end, then the heart of God is truly manifested.
Once men realize that God has actually vowed to save all mankind through the New Covenant, then it becomes apparent that judgment, or punishment for sin, is not everlasting but olam and aionian, “pertaining to an age.” The law of Jubilee releases us from debt (sin) in the end, purely by the Law of Grace.
Many years ago a man in prison read my book, Creation’s Jubilee. When he finished, he said, “That is the kind of God that I want to serve!” He did not become a believer by having preachers threaten him with fiery torture if he did not submit to Christ with a statement of faith. He was not drawn by fear. He became a believer by learning of the love of God and seeing how God intended to save all humanity. He could respect this kind of God.
The Temporary Curse of the Law
Daniel 9:11 continues,
11 Indeed, all Israel has transgressed Thy law and turned aside, not obeying Thy voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him.
Daniel was referring to Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, where God took an oath to bring judgment upon Israel if they continually broke their vow to be obedient to God’s law. The captivity of Judah was the manner in which God fulfilled that vow. Yet even then God gave them hope that His judgments would eventually come to an end, saying in Lev. 26:44,
44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God.
If Israel had received only the Old Covenant, they might have been destroyed for their disobedience. But God also had instituted the New Covenant even before the time of Moses. This New Covenant was an oath that God made not only with Israel but with the whole earth (Gen. 9:17). God had made an oath to save all mankind, but He also made an oath to bring judgment for sin. The only way God could keep both of His oaths was if the judgment was temporary and if, in the end, mercy would triumph over judgment (James 2:13).
The temporary nature of divine judgment is seen everywhere in the law, and also in history. Judah’s judgment was for seventy years only. Israel’s judgment was for 2,520 years, or “seven times.” The earth’s judgment is for the duration of a Creation Jubilee, which I believe is 49,000 years. All judgment is temporary, because there is forgiveness with God. There is forgiveness, because compassion is inherent in His character. He was wise enough to build it into His plan for the earth, and He has the power to implement that plan.
Daniel 9:12-14 continues,
12 Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the law off Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Thy truth. 14 Therefore the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.
The Old Covenant was based on man’s vows to God, which the people could keep only in a limited way. For this reason, divine judgment came upon the nation, as Daniel recognized. He says also in verse 13 that the people had not sought God’s “favor” (i.e., grace) by “turning from our iniquity.” In other words, the people had not repented, even while in captivity. They had not repented to the extent that was needed to gain God’s grace. But they were about to be set free anyway. How? Why?
Their sentence was limited to seventy years. Divine judgment is always limited, and at the end of the sentence, they were to receive grace. Grace is primarily a legal term that refers to winning a case before a judge. In any dispute between two parties, the judge was to hear both sides, view the evidence, and then render a decision. The verdict “favored” one side and “condemned” the other. The one receiving “favor” was given grace.
The Blessing of Abraham
Daniel said, however, that Israel and Judah were to seek God’s favor, or grace, by turning from their iniquity. Here again we must see this in the context of the two covenants. Under the Old Covenant, man exercises his own will and desire to repent. Under the New Covenant, God works within the hearts of men to cause them to repent. Hence, Paul says in Rom. 2:4, “the kindness of God leads you to repentance.”
Threats of punishment lead men to cower before God and act in a repentant manner. But the lovingkindness of God leads us to repent from the heart. Peter related this to the New Covenant as it was given to Abraham, saying in Acts 3:25, 26,
25 It is to you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 26 For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”
In other words, Abraham’s mandate was to bless all the families of the earth. How? What was the nature of this blessing? It is “by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” This is the New Covenant blessing of God, which is the Abrahamic mandate. God took the initiative by sending first Jesus and later the Holy Spirit to do a work in our hearts, so that the kindness of God could lead us to repentance and turn us from our wicked ways.
We see in this also that the effects of Abraham’s blessing would be seen upon “all the families of the earth.” It was not limited to Abraham’s physical seed, but was extended to all who have the faith of Abraham. Those who follow Abraham’s example of faith are His “children,” as Paul says in Gal. 3:29.
In the Hebrew way of thinking, a “son” was not just a biological offspring, but also one who did the deeds of his “father.” Thus we see children of wisdom, sons of thunder, sons of perdition, children of the devil, and children of light.
Hence, God’s judgment proceeds out of a heart of love and must be viewed as coming from good parenting. When we view God as a judge rather than as a parent, we get a warped idea of divine justice. God’s Judgment was meant to discipline and correct His children, not to destroy them forever. Judgment was designed to set His children free from the carnal desires that enslave them. Judgment was designed to drive away bad behavior, so that people might love their neighbors as themselves. Whether this purpose succeeds in their life time or in the age to come, God’s will is strong enough to prevail in the end.
Daniel Appeals to God’s Righteous Acts
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 Rom. 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 (Lev. 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 (Jer. 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, taking the glory with Him.
But in the days of Jeremiah, we read in Jer. 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 Sam. 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 had happened earlier with Shiloh (Jer. 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 Eph. 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” (Gal. 4:25, 26). The earthly 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” (Gal. 4:28), and we are instructed to “cast out the bondwoman and her son” (Gal. 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 (Dan. 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 Eph. 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 Eph. 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” (Dan. 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 (Rom. 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.