I Daniel understood by books - The prophecy referred to here is found Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:10. The people must have been satisfied of the Divine inspiration of Jeremiah, or his prophecies would not have been so speedily collected nor so carefully preserved. It appears that there was a copy of them then in Daniel's hands.
I Daniel understood by books - By the sacred books, and especially by the writings of Jeremiah. It has been made a ground of objection to the genuineness of Daniel that he mentions “books” in this place (ספרים sephârı̂ym ) as if there were at that time a collection of the sacred books, or as if they had been enrolled together in a volume. The objection is, that the writer speaks as if the canon of the Scriptures was completed, or that he uses such language as the Hebrews did when the canon of the Scriptures was finished, and thus betrays himself. See Bertholdt, “Commentary” p. 78. Compare DeWette, “Einl.” Section 13. This objection has been examined by Hengstenberg, “Beitrag.” pp. 32-35. It is sufficient to reply to it, that there is every probability that the Jews in Babylon would be in possession of the sacred books of their nation, and that, though the canon of the Scriptures was not yet completed, there would exist private collections of those writings. The word used here by Daniel is just such as he would employ on the supposition that he referred to a private collection of the writings of the prophets. Compare Lengerke, in loc. See the Introduction, where the objection is examined.
The number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah - The number of the years in respect to which the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah; that is, which he had revealed to Jeremiah. The “books” referred to, therefore, were evidently a collection of the writings of Jeremiah, or a collection which embraced his writings.
That he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem - That Jerusalem would so long lie waste. This was expressly declared by Jeremiah Jeremiah 25:11-12: “And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity,” etc. So also Jeremiah 29:10: “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.” The time of the desolation and of the captivity, therefore, was fixed and positive, and the only difficulty in determining when it would “close,” was in ascertaining the exact year when it “commenced.” There were several occurrences which might, perhaps, be regarded as the beginning of the desolations and the captivity - the “terminus a quo ” - and, according as one or another of them was fixed on, the close would be regarded as nearer or more remote.
Daniel, it seems, by close study, had satisfied his own mind on that subject, and had been able to fix upon some period that was undoubtedly the proper beginning, and hence, compute the time when it would close. The result showed that his calculation was correct, for, at the time he expected, the order was given by Cyrus to rebuild the city and temple. When he instituted this inquiry, and engaged in this solemn act of prayer, it would have been impossible to have conjectured in what way this could be brought about. The reigning monarch was Cyaxares II, or, as he is here called, Darius, and there was nothing in “his” character, or in anything that he had done, that could have been a basis of calculation that he would favor the return of the Jews and the rebuilding of the city, and there was then no probability that Cyrus would so soon come to the throne, and nothing in his character, as known, that could be a ground of hope that he would voluntarily interpose, and accomplish the Divine purposes and promises in regard to the holy city. It was probably such circumstances as these which produced the anxiety in the mind of Daniel, and which led him to offer this fervent prayer; and his fervent supplications should lead us to trust in God that he will accomplish his purposes, and should induce us to pray with fervour and with faith when we see no way in which he will do it. In all cases he can as easily devise a way in answer to prayer, as he could remove Cyaxares from the throne, and incline the heart of Cyrus to undertake the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple.
Students that exalt the sciences above the God of science, will be ignorant when they think themselves very wise. If you cannot afford time to pray, cannot give time for communion with God, for self-examination, and do not appreciate that wisdom which comes alone from God all your learning will be deficient, and your schools and colleges will be found wanting. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” What faith are we cherishing? Have we a faith that works by love and purifies the soul? Have we faith according to the light we have received? Satan would be exultant if he could work himself in at Battle Creek to deter the work of God by pressing in human inventions in advice and counsel. He would be delighted to have the workers absorbed in years of preparation, so that education would become a hindrance instead of an advancement. FE 358.1
The Holy Spirit of God has been striving with many youth, and has been urging them to give themselves to the cause and work of God. When they offer themselves to the Conference, they are advised to take a course of study at Battle Creek before they shall enter the work. This is all very well if the student is evenly balanced with principle; but it is not consistent that the worker should be long delayed in preparation. Most earnest work should be given to advance those who are to be missionaries. Every effort should tell to their advantage, so that they shall be sent forth as speedily as possible. They cannot afford to wait until their education is considered complete. This can never be attained; for there will be a constant course of education carried on throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. FE 358.2
There is a large work to be done, and the vineyard of the Lord needs laborers. Missionaries should enter the field before they shall be compelled to cease labor. There are now open doors on every side; they cannot afford to wait to complete years of training; for the years before us are not many, and we need to work while the day lasts. It is not best to advise men and women to take a course of study at Ann Arbor. Many who have been there have not been benefited in the past, and will not be in the future. FE 359.1Read in context »
In the holy place was the candlestick, on the south, with its seven lamps giving light to the sanctuary both by day and by night; on the north stood the table of shewbread; and before the veil separating the holy from the most holy was the golden altar of incense, from which the cloud of fragrance, with the prayers of Israel, was daily ascending before God. GC 412.1
In the most holy place stood the ark, a chest of precious wood overlaid with gold, the depository of the two tables of stone upon which God had inscribed the law of Ten Commandments. Above the ark, and forming the cover to the sacred chest, was the mercy seat, a magnificent piece of workmanship, surmounted by two cherubim, one at each end, and all wrought of solid gold. In this apartment the divine presence was manifested in the cloud of glory between the cherubim. GC 412.2
After the settlement of the Hebrews in Canaan, the tabernacle was replaced by the temple of Solomon, which, though a permanent structure and upon a larger scale, observed the same proportions, and was similarly furnished. In this form the sanctuary existed—except while it lay in ruins in Daniel's time—until its destruction by the Romans, in A.D. 70. GC 412.3
This is the only sanctuary that ever existed on the earth, of which the Bible gives any information. This was declared by Paul to be the sanctuary of the first covenant. But has the new covenant no sanctuary? GC 412.4Read in context »
Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard “one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?” Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years’ captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God's sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, “The vision ... shall be for many days,” he fainted away. “I Daniel fainted,” he records of his experience, “and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Verses 26, 27. PK 554.1
Still burdened in behalf of Israel, Daniel studied anew the prophecies of Jeremiah. They were very plain—so plain that he understood by these testimonies recorded in 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 9:2. PK 554.2
With faith founded on the sure word of prophecy, Daniel pleaded with the Lord for the speedy fulfillment of these promises. He pleaded for the honor of God to be preserved. In his petition he identified himself fully with those who had fallen short of the divine purpose, confessing their sins as his own. PK 554.3Read in context »
Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that “at the end of the days”—in the closing period of this world's history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. “Shut up the words, and seal the book,” he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed “even to the time of the end.” “Go thy way, Daniel,” the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.... Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:4, 9, 13. PK 547.1
As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. “The wise shall understand” (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. PK 547.2
From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. PK 548.1Read in context »
As the time approached for the close of the seventy years’ captivity, Daniel's mind became greatly exercised upon the prophecies of Jeremiah. He saw that the time was at hand when God would give His chosen people another trial; and with fasting, humiliation, and prayer, he importuned the God of heaven in behalf of Israel, in these words: “Oh Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments; neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land” (Daniel 9:4-6). SL 46.1
Daniel does not proclaim his own fidelity before the Lord. Instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet humbly identifies himself with the really sinful of Israel. The wisdom which God had imparted to him was as far superior to the wisdom of the great men of the world as the light of the sun shining in the heavens at noonday is brighter than the feeblest star. Yet ponder the prayer from the lips of this man so highly favored of Heaven. With deep humiliation, with tears and rending of heart, he pleads for himself and for his people. He lays his soul open before God, confessing his own unworthiness and acknowledging the Lord's greatness and majesty. SL 46.2Read in context »