The “evil” God brought on Israel (v. 14) isn’t the sinful kind. It’s war, the opposite of peace (cf. Isa. 45:7). When God’s people persisted in sinning against Him, He allowed Baby-lon to make war with them and conquer them. Daniel said God was “righteous” to bring it (v. 14) because they’d sinned.
In bringing up their escape from Egyptian bondage (v. 15), Daniel was praying, “You got renown (i.e., fame, [Num. 16:2]) by ripping Israel out of the clutches of the most powerful king on earth (Neh. 9:7-10), and it will make Your name great again if You free us from Babylonian bondage.” For 70 years, God looked like He couldn’t protect His own people from bondage, so Daniel is making a persuasive plea!
But God didn’t rip Israel from Babylon, He just quietly convinced her king to let them go. How would that make His name great? It takes more power to overcome human nature than the forces of nature. When God did it, it got Him a greater name than the Red Sea crossing did (Jer. 16:14, 15).
In verse 14, Daniel admitted God was righteous to allow them to be enslaved when they disobeyed Him. But in verse 16, he asks God to be just as righteous to release them according to “all” His righteousness, now that they’d served their 70 year sentence. He wasn’t being irreverent in holding God to His Word. God delights in being held to His Word!
Jerusalem is called God’s “holy mountain” (v. 16) because a mountain is a type of a kingdom (Isa. 65:25), and God’s kingdom was centered in Jerusalem, a city on a mountain (Mt. 5:14). Israel’s sins had made the light of the world a “reproach” (v. 16), a laughingstock among the nations, as God predicted (I Ki. 9:6-9; Jer. 24:9). Daniel was asking God to turn His anger away to get the Gentiles to stop reproaching them and start looking to them for spiritual light instead.
The “sanctuary” (v. 17) was the temple Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. It had been lying in ruins for 70 years, but Daniel knew the way to get God to fix that was to ask Him to do it “for the Lord’s sake.” They didn’t deserve to get their temple back, but God deserved to get His home back, of course!
But if they ignored the land’s sabbath 490 years, and God punished them with 70 years in captivity, that was justice. But Daniel asked for “mercy” (v. 18) because if they got what they deserved they’d never have been released (Ezra 9:13).
Football fans know to “defer” (v. 19) means to put something off till later. Daniel was asking God not to defer releasing them (cf. Ps. 102:12).
Daniel was confessing his sins because, even though the captivity was only supposed to last 70 years, getting released was contingent on confessing. This is a type of Tribulation saints who will know the Tribulation is only supposed to last 7 years, but release from Antichrist will depend on them con-fessing, which is why John wrote I Jo. 1:9 to them—not you!
God responded to Daniel’s prayer by sending Gabriel with an answer (v. 20, 21)—all because Daniel prayed “in truth” (Ps. 145:18). The truth Daniel knew was that God would answer him if he confessed his sins. But God won’t answer you if you pray for manna (Mt. 6:11) because rightly divided truth says we have to work for our bread in this dispensation.
Gabriel could “fly” (v. 21), but that’s no proof he had wings. He had to fly across outer space to deliver messages from God (cf. Lu. 1:19), and there’s no air in space, so wings would be useless. A seraph could fly to Daniel in heaven (Isa. 6:1-6) because there is air in heaven.
An “oblation” (v. 21) is just another word for an offering (cf. Lev. 3:1). The Jews offered 3 a day, the last in the evening.
Daniel is said to be “greatly beloved” (v. 22, 23) because he was so sinless even his enemies couldn’t find sin in him (6:4). John was the disciple Jesus loved, and God showed him the future too in Revelation. God wants His beloved children to know the future, and we are “beloved” in Christ (Eph. 1:6), so God has given us a complete Bible, including some specific information about the future called the Rapture that neither Daniel nor John had.
A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: A Necessary Evil – Daniel 9:14-23