And I prayed unto the Lord my God - Evidently a set and formal prayer. It would seem probable that; he offered this prayer, and then re corded the substance of it afterward. We have no reason to suppose that we have the whole of it, but we have doubtless its principal topics.
And made my confession - Not as an individual, or not of his own sins only, but a confession in behalf of the people, and in their name. There is no reason to suppose that what he here says did “not” express their feelings. They had been long in captivity - far away from their desolate city and temple. They could not but be sensible that these calamities had come upon them on account of their sins; and they could not but feel that the calamities could not be expected to be removed but by confession of their sins, and by acknowledging the justice of the Divine dealings toward them. When we have been afflicted - when we are called to pass through severe trials - and when, borne down by trial, we go to God, and pray that the evil may be removed, the first thing that is demanded is, that we should confess our sins, and acknowledge the justice of God in the judgments that have come upon us. If we attempt to vindicate and justify ourselves, we can have no hope that the judgment will be averted. Daniel, therefore, in the name of the people, began his prayer with the humble and penitent acknowledgment that all that they had suffered was deserved.
O Lord, the great and dreadful God - A God great, and to be feared or venerated - הנורא hanôrâ' This does not mean “dreadful” in the sense that there is anything stern or unamiable in his character, but mainly that he is to be regarded with veneration.
Keeping the covenant and mercy - Keeping his covenant and showing mercy. This is often ascribed to God, that he is faithful to his covenant; that is, that he is faithful to his promises to his people, or to those who sustain a certain relation to him, and who are faithful to “their” covenant vows. If there is alienation and estrangement, and want of faithfulness on either side, it does not begin with him. He is faithful to all his promises, and his fidelity may always be assumed as a basis of calculation in all our intercourse with him. See the word “covenant,” in Cruden‘s “Concordance.” The word mercy seems to be added here to denote that mercy enters into his dealings with us even in keeping the covenant. We are so sinful and so unfaithful ourselves, that if “he” is faithful to his covenant, it must be by showing mercy to us.
To them that love him - The conditions of the covenant extend no farther than this, since, in a compact of any kind, one is bound to be faithful only while the terms are maintained by the other party. So God binds himself to show favor only while we are obedient, and we can plead his covenant only when we are obedient, when we confess our sins and plead his promises in this sense - that he has assured us that he will restore and receive us if we are penitent. It was this which Daniel pleaded on this occasion. He could not plead that his people had been obedient, and had thus any claims to the Divine favor; but he could cast himself and them on the mercy of a covenant-keeping God, who would remember his covenant with them if they were penitent, and who would graciously pardon.
We here have the opening of Daniel’s wonderful prayer, — a prayer expressing such humiliation and contrition of heart that one must be without feeling who can read it unmoved. He commences by acknowledging the faithfulness of God. God never fails in any of his engagements with his followers. It was not from any lack on God’s part in defending and upholding them, that the Jews were then in the furnace of captivity, but only on account of their sins.DAR 184.4
Keeping the covenant - Fidelity and truth are characteristics of God. He had never yet broken his engagements to his followers, and was ever showing mercy to men.
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 »
We know that there are many schools which afford opportunities for education in the sciences, but we desire something more than this. The science of true education is the truth, which is to be so deeply impressed on the soul that it cannot be obliterated by the error that everywhere abounds. The third angel's message is truth, and light, and power, and to present it so that right impressions will be made upon hearts should be the work of our schools as well as of our churches, of the teacher as well as of the minister. Those who accept positions as educators should prize more and more the revealed will of God so plainly and strikingly presented in Daniel and the Revelation. 6T 131.1
The urgent necessities that are making themselves felt in this time demand a constant education in the word of God. This is present truth. Throughout the world there should be a reform in Bible study, for it is needed now as never before. As this reform progresses, a mighty work will be wrought; for when God declared that His word should not return unto Him void, He meant all that He said. A knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ “whom He has sent” is the highest education, and it will cover the earth with its wonderful enlightenment as the waters cover the sea. 6T 131.2Read in context »