Jesus and Daniel’s seventy weeks

casino-37174_640Daniel 9:24: “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

“…finish the transgression…put an end to sin…atone for iniquity…bring in everlasting righteousness…seal vision and prophet…anoint the most holy.”

The first three phrases are about cleaning things up, while the latter ones are about setting things up. Since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, the work of God has been in two forms: breaking down and building up; cleaning up and setting up.

The mandate that God gave Jeremiah was about breaking down and building up. He said he has set him above the nations to pluck down to root out, to break down and to build up, to plant, construct, to establish (Jeremiah 1:10).

In the first phrase of what the book of Hebrews says are the elementary principles of Christ, there are repentance from dead works and faith towards God i.e. that is dealing with filth and expression of faith (Hebrews 6:1).

In the journey into Christ we see the same two divisions. There is the cleansing with the blood of Jesus for salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit for empowerment. Hannah said that God takes the poor from the dunghill and make him to sit on the throne with princes (1Samuel 2:8). There was the lifting up and there is the sitting up on high.

The resurrection of Jesus did not end at the coming out of the grave, but in his ascension to heaven. The process of the deliverance of Israelites from Egypt was in two phases: there is the bringing out of Egypt and the taking into the land of promise (Deuteronomy 9:28).

The process of being baptized in water has two parts. There is the immersion which is followed by emersion (coming out of the water).

Paul writing about our identification with Jesus said that we were buried with him in baptism in death (his death and burial), i.e. immersion and he added that we are raised up with him in his resurrection, raised up by the power of God to walk in newness of life, walk in heavenly life (Romans 6:1-11). It is in the context of his ascension that we are now seated in the place of authority in Jesus at the right hand of the father.

The heart needs to be purged by the blood of Jesus before the Holy Spirit can find a place there. Sin needs to be dealt with, and not glossed over. Any preaching that treats sin less than it is, a cancer, is wrong.

But it is better to emphasize the solution. The solution for the ill of men in Jesus Christ. You should not preach a message that does not communicate hope, which will also be a message without love. Love, hope and faith abide together forever (1Corinthians 13:13). When you see one you find the others.

Therefore a message that saps the energy from people, or one which makes them want to rely on their own effort is not right. Such a message ignores the fact things do not get done, by power nor might but by the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6); that God is at work in us both to will and do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). What is needed is a balance, sin is bad but the redemption in Jesus is greater.

Nothing can stand before the redemptive force. God trusted Jesus with redemption, sending him to undertake the task (Luke 2:49, 19:10), according to the timeline God revealed to Daniel in the focus verse.

It was only through Daniel that the specific date was revealed. Through Isaiah the pain that the redeemer would go through was captured in the 53rd chapter of his book.

Daniel was not just a prophet but was a foremost intercessor (Daniel 9). His intercessory effort started when he noted the time in the writing of prophet Jeremiah that the captivity judgment that God declared on Judah was going to last for seventy years.

He refused to keep quiet but decided in a course on repentance in prayer and fasting to seek that the word of God comes to pass. God responded to Daniels’s intercessory search by showing him the future. He sought God for the moment but God showed him what will happen many years after, something about seventy weeks, using prophetic depiction, in which one week stands for seven years with one day standing for one year. Therefore seventy weeks is 490 years.

So here was Daniel praying about a prophesied seventy years, and God showed him stuffs of about seventy “weeks.” God revealed to Jeremiah about a seventy years timeline, and he revealed to Daniel seventy times seven years (seventy weeks).

And we meet that phrase again (seventy times seven) when Peter asked Jesus: how many times should I forgive when someone offends me, seven times? Jesus said: no, seventy times seven times (Matthew 18:21-22).

You may think that is just an euphemism for “just continue to forgive,” but Jesus does not use words lightly, being God the Word (John 1). And when you juxtapose that with the seventy weeks (i.e. times seven) of Daniel’s prophecy and what that stands for when it comes to sin: putting an end to it, atonement, bringing in righteousness, atonement, it all points to Jesus.

What Jesus was telling Peter in a veiled sense was: in me there is full forgiveness of sin, I stand for forgiveness, complete forgiveness. “How many times should I forgive,” Peter asked? Jesus answered: “In me there is fulfilment of the seventy times seven prophecy of Daniel, there is eternal forgiveness. So be like me.”

And the bible says in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:5-7). He is the atoning sacrifice for sin (Romans 5:11). He died exactly 490 years after the prophetic word to Daniel. He is the fulfilment of the focus verse through his blood. And on the day of Pentecost, we have the fulfilment of the last two: seal vision and prophets and anoint the most holy. Peter said that the baptism of the Holy was the fulfilment of the words of Prophet, and the coming of the Holy Spirit (the holy oil) on that day was to mark them as holy to God, and Jesus was the one who poured him out (Acts 2:33).

Jesus is the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), the embodiment of the seventy weeks prophecy. Sin is no more a problem between man and God through the blood of Jesus. This will definitely be a song in the ears of Daniel, because there was no guarantee that after God forgives Israel and returns them back to their land that they will not return to their bad ways. So God told Daniel: I have a plan to end the issue of sin. That plan was Jesus. The whole dynamics of the relationship between God and man has changed. Everlasting righteousness (2Corinthians 5:21) was brought in after it was lost in the first Adam.

 

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