Daniel was an emotional man; very few have had experiences like his. Imagine being carried away captive as a teenager! We know nothing of his upbringing, but it was such that made him refuse the king’s “delicacies” (Daniel 1:8) so he would not defile himself; they probably contained blood or had been offered to idols.

Today’s in Daniel 9 he is an old man and the Medes and Persians are in power with Darius “the son of Ahasuerus” in control. We do not know if this Ahasuerus is the same man who married Esther, but if he was it would fit in well with the surprising Persian policy of the edict to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 6).

Daniel’s visions of the future were for “many days from now” (Daniel 8:26) when “the Prince of princes” destroys the aggressor “but by no human hand”. This vision results in Daniel being “overcome and sick for some days … I was appalled at the vision and did not understand it (verse 27): there was more to follow.

In Daniel 9 there are visions which include the ‘seventy times seven’ time periods (or years) which add up to 490 (verse 24). This brings us to AD 26 and the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and the reason why the people were in “expectation” (Luke 3:15). Daniel is told the climax of this period will “finish transgression and bring an end to sin” – and in a spiritual sense Jesus did this when he made one sacrifice for all time and brought an end to the Law by fulfilling that to which the Law pointed. In Hebrews we read that Christ “offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins” (10:12) and “has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (verse 14).

Daniel, in his distress sought God in desperate prayer (9:3) and saw the need of “gaining insight into your truth” (verse 13). That attitude is just as much needed today.