The Seventy Sevens of Daniel (and Jesus)

Bible Commentary

During the Chapter 9 session of our study of Daniel at the 2010 Convocation ("A People Prepared for These Last Days"), I made a comment near the end of the class regarding "the other" Seventy times Seven found in the New Testament (Mt 18:22). Our brother Phil Norcom, who organized the conference, later that afternoon gave me the homework assignment of elaborating on my point in writing. That is what I am attempting to do here.

To properly set the context, we had studied the visions recorded in the book of Daniel verse by verse on Friday and Saturday (in Chapters 2, 7 and 8 as they relate to the appearance of the antichrist in the last days). On the third day of our studies, we saw in chapter 9, that Daniel was moved to intercede for Israel when he understood ("by books") that the Seventy years of exile prophesied by Jeremiah were almost complete. While Daniel was praying and speaking, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and proceeded to give Daniel understanding concerning much more than the immediate predicament of his people's seventy year expulsion from the land of promise. "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people," to accomplish the following things:

Finish transgression,
Atone for wickedness,
Bring in everlasting righteousness,
Seal up Vision and Prophecy, and
Anoint the most holy.

There will be sixty-nine "sevens" until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes (and is "cut off"). To those of us who have found favor in the eyes of God despite ourselves, the first century incarnation of Jesus, and His death at the cross in the first third of that century is a remarkable fulfillment of the foretold Sixty-Nine of the Seventy Sevens.

And then a final "Seven" which takes us to the end of this age.

The seventy sevens of Daniel take us through the Tribulation (the great one) and right on up to the return of the Lord, which simultaneously defeats the anti-christ, translates His Church, and opens the eyes of Israel who (as an entire nation) sees Him whom they have pierced, and mourns.

THAT is the grand scriptural background for the "seventy times seven" statement that Jesus makes to Peter. So, think about that for a moment. What will take place during that last "seven" of Daniel? What kinds of persecutions, betrayals, transgressions, offenses, etc. must transpire to make the final three and a half years that precede the coming of the Lord worthy of being called that most terrible of times?

In the closer context of Matthew chapter 18, Jesus has been put on the spot by this question from His disciples:  "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" The disciples are comparing themselves to themselves (2 Cor 10:12) and they want Jesus to cast the deciding vote. Jesus, being wise, then begins to talk about becoming like a child (Mt 18:4), welcoming a little child (Mt 18:5), and not looking down on one of these little ones (Mt 18:10). In most cases, little children aren't very good at anything except being dependent and needy. They do not hold positions of power and men do not generally feel a need for gaining their approval.

When we get to the latter parts of this chapter and start discussing what to do when a brother sins against you, we really haven't changed the subject. This is basically still a "who is greatest" problem. A brother is offensive when he won't concede that you hold the moral high ground, that you have the greater devotional life, or the most correct interpretation of scripture, etc, etc. Or worse yet, an enemy is convinced that what you have belongs to him. He thinks that he is more deserving to have your land, your hard work, or even your wife and children.

When this happens, it is very important to begin dealing with the offense one on one. This is to encourage the offended one to seek God first and come to the "offender" with expectation that God is able to change anyone's heart (since after all, God has already conquered your heart and you are the chief of sinners! Aren't you?) If that fails and you must bring in a second brother (or the whole church later), it is very important that the spirit of intimidation not be employed. The world runs on the fear of death. We have not been given the spirit of fear (but a Spirit of love, power and a sound mind).

This approach to one another is not normal. It is miraculous and powerful. It is driven by a Spirit not of this world. It is the very Spirit of God, and when two or more come together in this fashion, principalities and powers are shaken and removed. When just two agree to share God's view on a matter what they ask will be given.

How do you know if you have this approach? You will know you have it if there is a determination in your heart to be reconciled with the brother, or an enemy, even if it costs you everything. When Peter asks the question of Jesus, "How many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" he may have thought that he was holding out for some observable moral perfection. But Jesus ups the ante by referring to the exact language of our beloved Daniel when he caught the vision of these horribly intense trials and travail of the seventieth "seven." These are the days when Satan is hurled to the earth and wreaks havoc on the inhabiters of the earth. Fear, intimidation and gross darkness will cover the people and be the rule of the day.

How will you deal with those who feel they are better than you? With those who kill you thinking they are doing God a service? What kind of generosity of heart will you have toward these "enemies?" The Seventieth Seven takes us right up to the last moment before the return of the Lord. Your last breath may come and go before you are vindicated by His coming. If you stop short of that last breath in forgiving your brother, there will be a part of your robe that is not washed in the blood of the Lamb. If you don't maintain the "testimony of Jesus" to the end, then you are implicitly stating that there was something in you that was superior and more deserving than the offender. Do you or don't you depend totally on the gift of God's righteousness, in the way a child depends on his parents for every good thing? Then you must hold out and believe all things for your "enemy." "Lord Jesus, lay not this sin to their charge." (Acts 7:60)

The answers to these questions will determine whether the coming flood of evil will drown you, or lift you up into the heavens. (Gen 6-8)

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