“Forget it; it’s too hard to understand.” Of course it is–if you start in the wrong place. Who ever mastered calculus in the first grade? Math starts by adding single-digit numbers. The same is true of prophecy. Start with the simple ideas.
Daniel 9 is a great Messianic prophecy whose ideas run deep. But you–or those you are teaching–need not start in the deep water. Enter the waters gradually. Start with easy-to-grasp concepts.
Three great historical events stand out in this prophecy. When Gabriel spoke, Jerusalem and the temple were in ruins. Timewise, the prophecy begins with this promise: “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (verse 25). That’s historical event #1. Verse 25 continues: “unto the Messiah the Prince.” That’s historical event #2. Verse 26 adds: “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” That’s historical event #3.
Daniel 9 made simple–three great historical events:
1 – Jerusalem and the temple will be rebuilt;
2 – the Messiah (Christ) will arrive; and
3 – Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed again.
The third event took place in 70 A.D. when the Roman army wiped out Jerusalem and its temple. In simplest terms this prophecy thus predicts that the Messiah would come before 70 A.D. Jews today who still look for their Messiah are without excuse. The absolute deadline for Messiah’s arrival is 70 A.D. Jews must decide–and so must we. Either Jesus is the Messiah or there will be no Messiah.