Once again we turn to Daniel. This time God is using him to declare on earth God’s will for the Jewish nation. The time-specific element of Jeremiah’s original prophecy is what Daniel comes to understand. “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:10-13).
Daniel was a young man when he was taken into captivity. It was not until the 70 years were almost up that Daniel comes to understand from the prophetic books the number of years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah. It is a peculiar aspect of time-specific prophecies that the Holy Spirit ensures that the knowledge of the chronos timing is quickened to the proper people as the fullness of the time draws near.
Now, with this time frame in mind, Daniel begins to intercede for his people, repenting on their behalf. Suddenly, a man-like figure stands before him. It is the archangel Gabriel. “And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision” (Dan. 9:22-23).
Since God is the one who raises up and takes down the nations, we know the command went forth from God when Daniel started praying. God speaks the Word and it happens. Ezra, an exiled Jewish priest and scribe, records the event. “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of Heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah’ ” (Ezra 1:1-2). Once again, we see that it is God who puts this in the king’s heart, even though he is a Gentile king.
Remarkably, Ezra isn’t the first to reveal the event. It is found in 2 Chronicles, in conjunction with the ministry of the prophet Isaiah. He releases the prophetic word years before, as recorded in Isaiah 44. The prophecy was released even before the Jews went into exile. It even named Cyrus as the Persian king who God would use to make the proclamation on earth—and this was before Cyrus was even born! We can only imagine what Daniel thought when Gabriel told him the prophetic proclamation would be coming to pass and that he had a part to play in the unfolding mystery-plan. No wonder he was moved to pray and give thanks!
The Chronos Lesson: Fast-forward to Paul’s time, when he received a similar heavenly encounter, only this time it came from the second Person of the Godhead. It’s recorded in Acts 26. He reveals his part in the mystery-plan in Ephesians 3.
“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.”
Like Daniel, the Apostle Paul understood the significance of this role. “…To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the Church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Eph. 3:10-12). Do you see your part in this, too?
The assignment sent Paul to his knees in prayer. The Spirit-inspired prayer is recorded in verses 14-21. It is even timelier for us now, for we are living in the last decade of the 6th great Day of God’s prophetic Week. Nothing and no one can keep God’s eternal purposes from coming to pass. As the Church, we yield our two-edged sword, adding our voice to what God has already spoken in Heaven and in His Word. Like Daniel, we call it forth in the power of agreement. We take up the whole armor of God, that we shall withstand in the evil Day, and having done all, we stand, for we know the love of our Father and our Lord. We have a sure Word!