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CONTRASTS IN CHRIST AND ANTICHRIST
IN THE PROGRESSION OF HISTORY
In Daniel 2 and 7-8, as we have often seen on this site (as in the last Chapter, *1), we have the tracing of the four Empires to have world-rule status, following Assyria, already defeated in Daniel's day. The first, head of gold in Daniel 2, was Babylon, then ruling, the second, silver below, was the dominion of the Medes and Persians, the third was Grecian, and the fourth, the residual, at foot level in the statue, that which come next in history, was Rome.
We have been looking at some of these things in the last Chapter.
Now we come to a fascinating, intriguing development, rich in comprehensibility in terms of today.
With one centre of our study of the last Chapter, Nebuchadnezzar, of so varied a tenure and sad an end, we moved into the First of the Empires of Daniel's prophecy. With its fall, which came with the sub-King Belshazzar (who offered to make Daniel 3rd in his kingdom for good reason) as in Daniel 5, there came the divine provision so trenchantly and yet kindly presented by the Lord. Who was this ? It was to be a ruler of that third empire, named by the Lord long before his birth, as Cyrus.
It was to be, and was he whom the Lord would use. He would and did anoint and appoint him and give him victories; and then He gave him employment in bringing back, authorising the return of the now exiled Israel to its own land (Isaiah 44-45). With them went sacred objects of vast value, not a few, of which the Temple had been despoiled: these now accompanied the people of that exile, now in the fear of the Lord, returning.
The more to His glory, who makes things small and great: Ezra and Nehemiah were used in leadership roles, seemingly slender means of achieving a result that, in its time, would change the world: the use of this appointed and protected, restored site for the incarnation of the Messiah.
As to Cyrus, then, this ruler being in the empire overturning the first of the four, that is the Babylonian, was as in Daniel 8, not only ruler of the Medes and Persians, but liberator of the Jews. His Empire lasted till the famed, fast-winging Grecian potentate, Alexander the Great, ruler of the third, the Grecian Empire. It is he who always seems to have something of the flamboyance of youth about him, almost of the boy, wanting his way, even to the point of his trend to forcing religion to do his bidding, as in a dream, and making extravagant gestures, almost hard to be believed as he pursued his little, short-lived vision or vista of world-rule. This, it reminds one of a boy wanting to be an engine driver. Certainly, it was on a larger scale, but as to quality...
What happened in the day of the Grecian rule, that of Alexander ? Did Darius, the Persian ruler in the Second Empire, want to make peace and give up ever so much to tempestuous, soon-to-rule Alexander, in order to make peace ? Not a bit of it. Sack, loot, take and move on: had not Alexander the might spoken. Let it be done: now!
Was India yet to be conquered by the now tiring troops of this youthful monarch, trained, athletic, imperious, impetuous, always moving forward, as the Labour politician in our land is so keen on noting: arise and do it, move on.
But where! The other question is always this: WHENCE ? Where did you come from and why ? where are you going, just where, give it any direction notation you like, and WHY ? and WHAT do you expect to gain when you get there ?
In India, he met elephants et al, and soon his death followed. Gone was the victorious, and even his wife was to receive harsh treatment. Be careful to what you hitch your wagon, for directions can be given a forward nomenclature when they fail even to be based on truth, and their end is mere fatuity, derisive their destiny. After his death, at a very young age, Alexander's Empire split into four sections, one of which was the Syrian, which entertained its ideas about Palestine in particular, as many empires have done since.
The Turks had such a rule, till 1917, when Jerusalem was taken from their not-so-tender care, and it was not till 1967 that Israel rescued it from considerable defilement from the preceding hands, in terms of religious structures and liberty. Hitler had ideas before that, it seems, but did not manage to implement his Middle East plans, being stalled in Africa. So it goes with the puissant; for let them have never so much power, they pout, they lower, they glower, or whatever else seems potent, or grow weak and die. Power is a foolish pre-occupation; for while it is crucial, yet it is the direction and purpose and destiny and credentials and authority and above all this, the LORD Himself, that is the point of the exercise, and as to Him consult Him: He knows, and where one goes for Him, it has something of beauty always in it: for HE is with it (cf. Acts 5:32).
What a quintessence there is in the Gospel presentation in word, paralleled in deed, a grand news that is to glow without show or pageantry, but with truth and peace amidst His people!
We turn back to Syria, that one of the four parts into which Alexander's empire fell. This partition had another of the abrupt-power breed. It was the famed Antiochus Epiphanes, who like some others, liked to think of himself in divine terms. Some like it for the Party, in effect, like Stalin, who for all the philosophic putsch, could not push God around, and ended up not being able to transcend the laws of nature with class-warfare 'past' at last (which is dictatorial mumbo-jumbo for tyranny in tirade and troops in control), but according to one report, mishandled in his final hours. For all that, he lasted far longer than he might, receiving a push from the mistaken alliance of World War II, till despite all this, his regime fell as the 1990s sang their song.
This Antiochus schemed on how to divide Israel, how to have progressive parties, moving forward, in the Middle East, which actually meant moving from the foundations of the land, its past, its religion, its Rock, its temple, its worship; and he gave them the gift of an atrocity in the Temple.
Indeed, sacrifices were stopped by this god-toppler (rather like Sennacherib as revealed in Isaiah 37), who however met his end, as did the sacrificial intrusion; for as the Maccabees came to power (eventually almost carving out an Empire for themselves, a mini-version), so came the Temple liberation: as predicted by Daniel, even to the prediction of the number of the days of its defilement.
It is good to trace these intervening things between Nebuchadnezzar's day and that of Christ on this earth, a little, because a fascinating contrast now arises.
These three rulers which we now consider in sequence and in style, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar and Antiochus, all used military force and power to insist, however spuriously, on surging furiously on with their own will. They got several things, fame and name, infamy and confusion and complexity of life. They forced their ways into religion, and were forced out. They tilted at God and met the sod.
It is not a very original thing to do, and when what is going to be done by these, the mighty, is even predicted, as by the prophet Daniel, it is the more obviously the meretricious and not the meritorious, the banal and not the splendid, which is their lot. Daniel, who also served in interpreting the royal dreams, and showing history to come, on one occasion THROUGH that very dream, and on another, a personal result for the sovereign himself, was instrumental in such ways, in the debunking of pseudo-deities, and the exhibition in spirited but lowly form, of the wonder of that Lord of all splendour and power, who neither desires nor is moved to throw it about. He does, however, when the time comes, act.
Think of this: Daniel through royal dreams exposed what was to be, and something of the weakness of human boasting before the oversight of God - this, when it was not even his own dream! So is the commonplace character of mighty power, sometimes bruited by brutes (the beasts of Daniel 7), the better exposed.
As to Christ however,
His power was unique in kind, a
category above all categories,
His motivation was likewise,
His death was willing, foreordained,
in lively dutifulness and love, embraced, though
His regality is internal. Here is a
King indeed! the sort ... but what sort is this ?
His being is one of a character
unique, a power glorious
Now in terms of contrast this produces one specific point to ponder. Not only is all this a matter of contrast with the power-mongers and hungers of the others, but this more. While, to take one pointed case, a king could stop the sacrifices in the Temple which the Lord had ordained for the Jews, and so humiliate those who themselves had misrepresented the Lord in their new land; and though he could do this by vilely violating so much as we have seen in Chapter 1 above, his end was foreknown, predicted, his methods analysed and his case dismissed in a few words, at the end. Thus while he could molest the things of the law of God, things both just and equitable in themselves (though misused by hypocrisy not a little by the Israel of that day), yet this was mere power. He could be used to rebuke such hypocrisy, but ended like a squeezed crumpet (Daniel "He will be broken without human agency" - Daniel 8:25.
Liberty and love, mercy and truth, each of the preceding three in the heights of their dominion, lacked in it. In Christ, THESE were His ways!
THEY stopped things by will; but in the heart of the matter, Christ's brought a terminus with a sovereign certainty and an anguish of love, to what had been only a preliminary and a prelude to His heights of compassion: He turned symbols into substance, depiction into performance, pictures into life, and conferred from the depths, deliverance for many, drawn from the depths to the heights. Nor were these petulantly preferred, but those who received His wisdom, pardon and peace, through the love that would have all, and secured His own in infinite wisdom, apt in performance, glorious in power, intimate in realism, preceding time.
If few are of these are magnificent and great, yet theirs is a liberty on which love insists; just as those lost have a liberty, which preference secures, even their own (John 3:19). God's sovereignty, for these, it is no excuse under which they can hide; for His DESIRE is as stated, for ALL, and their loss is as stated through their dark preference, however this is determined by the Lord, who has no limits in sin, but sees all, knows all, and does good.
It is there, and it is not God who is stingy and niggardly, such is His love who IS love (I John 4:7ff., John 3:16-17), nor He who REFUSES to consider all (Colossians 1:19ff.); but rather, longing for them (Luke 19:42ff.), and often softening His approach as much as integrity can (Jeremiah 13, 17), He secures only those in whom, in the last, as from the first in the divine knowledge, provide access with accuracy to their heart, Him their desire. In history, the divine knowledge of eternity, on which all is based (cf. Romans 8:30ff.), moves to embrace all who before His eye, do not before the very advent of sin, secure their own loss by their default.
Sovereign in entirety, loving in absolute measure, here is a King to worship, a wonder of righteousness, kindness and pity. Some intruded; He invited.
In Jesus the Christ, moreover, there was another SORT of stoppage of the Temple sacrifices. It differed absolutely from that of Antiochus, for example. Consider now His stoppage ...
FIRST, it was not wrought by force.
SECOND, it was deeper in the divine
depths of meaning,
THIRD, as sacrifice of God
incarnate, it would neither need nor suffer further sacrifice
FOURTH, it ended priestly
FIFTH, the officiating priesthood en
There was nothing to be renewed by Maccabees or anyone else. That phase was all past.
Sacrifice had served its day in symbols, and now Christ served His people as their Saviour, condensing all sin-bearing into one, in Himself, in one life, epitomised on one day, when the penalty was required of Him, who willingly gave of the riches of His own purity in love, to pay the penalty vicariously for as many as received Him, foreknown to God before our kind of time so much as wafted its way into its progressive parade (Ephesians 1:4).
What then ? The sacrifices of animals went right on, unauthorised now that the One who gave them their position had come as arranged, to replace them. However, they DID STOP in this, that their efficacy was now zero, the authority back of them was rescinded BECAUSE the point of them had now been paraded on the Cross once for all, making them something fulfilled.
ALL will be fulfilled, said Christ, to the jot and tittle of the law and the prophets; but ONCE it IS fulfilled, it ends. The fulfilment rather, it is this which stays.
If it splutters on, like an orator who having made his first point, forgets the second and speechifies appallingly without directed thought, then it is mere vapour, murder, misuse of animals (cf. Isaiah 66:3). The poor and contrite heart is the need, for its sin-payment is already made to cover all who would ever come, enough for reconciliation in heaven or on earth (Colossians 1:19ff.). Isaiah 66 follows 53 for good reason! The replacement had already been paraded in the prophetic past, just as history did the same for Him, at Calvary.
Thus even the WAY in which He stopped the sacrifices, by fulfilling them and making them both unnecessary and an error in the future as it then unfolded, was not by force. Keil in the Commentary on the Old Testament of Keil and Delitzsch, makes an interesting addendum here. He renders the stopping of the sacrifice in such terms as these: to make the sacrifice to rest, to be quiet. Rest indeed it does, and its labour is no more, but in vain; for this is arrested which once brought commotion, and this is quiet which once resounded. Not by invasive force is this done; it is done in anguish and the activation of death, concentrated, contrived, slow, bleeding, on the Cross. It is not thrust as it were into the mouth, this food, but is harvested slowly and available to faith (as in Isaiah 53:1, 10 cf. Bible Translations 3, n. 20 ).
It was by faith, for those who seeing, turned from them to Him, who now and forever was and became THEIR OWN PERSONAL ETERNALLY AVAILING SACRIFICE (Hebrew 9:12, Romans 3:27ff., 5:1-12, Revelation 5, 21-22). What of the Jerusalem of Christ's day, many of whom shouted for His death ? These had a whole generation to think, before SOMEONE ELSE, named TITUS of Rome, came and deleted the Temple, as if to remove the page from those who would not read on it the word: CANCELLED.
Unlike Antiochus who used force to stop the sacrifices, Christ used reason and truth and action and power and purity, to render them void*1. Unlike Antiochus was this also, that He GAVE in order to stop them, rather than oppressed to do it. Again unlike, He gave ETERNAL life to those who received Him as Lord and Saviour, duly once for all the sacrifice to secure glory for them with Him (John 14, 16). Further in contrast, Christ WAS (as He is) God manifest, and was God in the flesh, now glorified with the glory He had with His Father before the world was (John 17:1-5). His work was not to secure higher status, but to lower Himself, to the point where His death in human format became efficacious for man, sufficient for all, effective for many, bearing the sin of many (Matthew 20:28), since all would not come (John 8:24).
Here was the power inherent, a reality which those kings of pretension sought in vain, and here the glory, here the majesty, here the dominion, here the heart to enthral, the wisdom to relish, the example to follow - as far as relevant to sinners - Matthew 20:27; and what a joy is that! It is God who is eminently worth following. Here was the resurrection, life overflowing the barriers of sin with exuberance, even its format secure; and life distraught or gaunt, as it might be, here it had its instruction!
Did Israel reject this sort of King also ? this One unique in His own nature ? God whom they ostensibly worshipped, just as England became more and more, just ostensibly Protestant ? Yes it did as many a nation has moved from the truth, once held high within it.
Did God in His mercy bring them back as He promised in the allegorical saga of Hosea ? and in particular as in Hosea 3 ? Yes He did, and Paul notes it - Romans 9:25ff..
Is the antichrist type of pseudo-sovereignty in man, still hungry for takers ? Assuredly so! just look at Napoleon in his heyday, at Hitler, at Stalin, at Mao, and many more lesser non-luminaries, some of whom are still shedding their darkness, as if mistaken as to the nature of their irradiation! Will the prince of this world, cited by Christ as having NOUGHT in Him (John 14:30), the prince then to come, parade his non-glory, ingloriously before a gaping world, some of the gaping being from the credulous, some from the wounds of his adversaries ?
Of course it is so; for from the days before Daniel it has been made clear (Isaiah 59, Psalm 2, Isaiah 66:16ff.), both in atmosphere and in furore. It was Daniel who gave it further focus, as that prophet to whom was given authority and light in which to specify the personal power in the darkness, and its end (as in Daniel 7 in the 'little horn' cf. Tender True, and Job 1).
Ah! to have a King who is as shown in Isaiah 40:10, 53:5-11, yes and 53:2, as in Psalm 73, as with the apostles in their early days of learning, so succinct, able so to thunder, yet with such manifest self-control, so to determine things meteorological, financial (even to having Peter collect the temple tax from what as a fisherman, he could take!) and social, even in purging the Temple with no small hint but no real damage, speaker of truth with eminence, deployer of dynamics unstoppable, with love unerodable, extending even to the death throes (Luke 23:39ff.). This is the King. You do not need anyone else from among all the men who ever were or could be, or women, or natural powers imagined and dressed up, as is the common current and ancient mode of the people who sit still in darkness, whether on earth or elsewhere.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The King!
THE SEVEN LEAGUE BOOTS OF DANIEL
The Surrounding Seas
One remembers a cartoon of long ago, in which Uncle Sam, alias the USA, is seen striding across the seas in his seven league boots. Those were kinder days in international relations between Britain, the USA and Europe, and much, very much, had not happened then. Yet the image of a kindly and vital people with their leader with such boots on, was impactive.
Daniel, had been pondering the seventy year exile and its near completion so that the Lord might act in restoring His people to their land. This was looked for in His prevailing and countervailing mercy. Israel had been subjected to that ancient, but anguished Babylonian exile, of which the prophet himself had been a distinctive and distinguished part, himself raised to eminence in the court of the Babylonian King. (In fact, he still had eminence even in that of the prince of the next Empire to come! that of the Medes and Persians).
As the prophet ponders that the time is now about up, for this exile, one of 70 years as stated by Jeremiah before the fall of Jerusalem, he is given a magnificent revelation.
Now in a vision comes the perception that is clothed in such arithmetic. A vast scene comes before his eyes - one stretching not to a mere 70 years, but to an extended sight, that of 70 lots of 7, and this is to move to the fulfilment of prophecy itself.
It is not now a matter of prophetically striding into the future in one league boots, each covering a year, as for the 70 year exile revealed as coming, by Jeremiah: now it would be seven league boots, each covering a seven. While this would be seven years, and from this comes the prediction of the death date of the Messiah (cf. Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2, Highway of Holiness Ch. 7, SMR pp. 886ff., 943ff., 959ff.), the important datum stressed by Professor E. J. Young, is this: that it is a SEVEN that is specified. A numeric, it can be used to accomplish whatever task to which it is set, a point to which we shall return shortly.
Now in Daniel 9:27, we come to a picture of things to come at an ultimate level, even after 69 of the said sevens have passed. We find reference to the Messiah, and that "there is nothing for Him", for He is set at nought, and there is indeed for that matter, nothing that could be set against Him, attributed in evil to Him; but for all that, He is cut off.
A people will come, a people of the prince who is to come (and Daniel specialises in empires and powers to come, as in Daniel 2, 7, 8), and the great modus operandi of the 'people of the prince' will be that of destruction, and that will be a signature for the arrival of this surging people. As to that, it will include the devastation of the Jewish Temple. Thus Messiah has come and been cut off, and there is nothing to him, but a prince of the people (not of God), he is also to come, arrives on the scene; and with the Messiah cut off, easy is his office to destroy, to demolish the temple, and indeed, we find that desolatory devastations are to go on till the end of the war. We should remember that this being a series leading to "the consummation which is determined", and to "seal up the vision and prophecy", indeed, a time "bringing in everlasting righteousness", it is an epoch.
Such a consummation is in the latter Messianic mission, that past the sufferings and entering into the glory as in Luke 24, in Christ's admonition, and as in Psalm 72, Isaiah 65, Psalm 2.
Thus the criterion has come, the King has come (cf. Daniel 7), but instead of being given the power which is apt, He is cut off (as in Isaiah 52-53, where at 52:12ff., His eminence is suddenly contrasted with His sacrificial cutting off. Indeed, in Isaiah 52:13-15, this is done with an exceedingly dramatic intensity AND suddenness, It is now that we see a new entrant. Along come this "people of the prince" who are to destroy, as did the army of Titus in A.D. 70. We then read that "he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week." Now although the Messiah is cut off, as all the prophets who handle His holiness make clear, He is by no means finished! (Psalm 2, 16, 22, 110). In fact, His restoration and resurrection, His power and His coming glory constitute one of the major themes of both Testaments (cf. Luke 24:25), even to the point that Jesus Christ called His disciples "foolish ones and slow of heart" not to have realised this.
Thus, this being the only singular, and personal reference preceding the statement, "He will confirm a covenant with many for one week", except for a collective phrase concerning people, it is indubitably He to whom this reference in continuity is made, precisely as in the movement in Psalm 22. Cut off, yet He will be in the congregation of His people. This theme is often found in prophetic ascriptions.
"He will cause to prevail a covenant", it states, as E. J. Young carefully renders it. What is to be so caused to prevail ? With the Messiah, there is no question; for not only is the Covenant one which reaches through the seed of Abraham to a seed through whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12), but the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31 is found in the results of the Isaiah 52-53 sin-sacrifice in the Messiah, where we read in the following Chapter 54, that though the mountains will be removed, the Lord's covenant will not be removed, just as in 55 that it is all quite free, and in 66, we find that animal sacrifice is to become virtual murder, mere folly. It is over.
Thus the covenant to come, the New Covenant, instead of being blasted out of existence by this ineffably horrendous atrocity effected against the Messiah, available source of all wisdom, protection, grace, mercy and peace, there is quite a contrary result. This abominable act of the crucifixion of the Messiah, abandoned by man, received by His Father, is merely part of the plan of the Ages, for the redemption of many. Thus while, as so often seen in prophecy in various ways, the Messiah was to be CUT OFF, and there is nothing either to or for Him: yet as always so prominent, for all that, it is He who causes a covenant to prevail.
It is as in Psalm 22: cut off, hated, despised, loathed, yet He brings glory to God in the congregation, and proceeds with that piety of Psalm 2, where although the kings of the earth set themselves against the Lord and His Messiah, yet in power He will respond and the Lord will laugh at their folly and pride. Indeed, it proceeds apace to the days of judgment in the setting of that Psalm, cited in Acts 2.
He, then, in Daniel 9:27, the One cut off, the sole, singular subject of the preceding words, will cause to prevail a covenant, yes the new one for the newly come Messiah whose work is to BE a covenant (Isaiah 42:6). Not into nothingness will THAT be relegated, but rather IN being cut off He lays the foundation for that very covenant as in Isaiah 53. In the midst of that last seven, He will do this, that is after the initial expenditure of His Messianic Ministry, by which He attested the divine power, the co-operation in the utmost intimacy of the Deity in heaven (cf. John 5:19-23), as this the Sent One on earth acted (as in Isaiah 48:16), and uttered the words, the like of which no man ever spoke (John 7:46 cf. John 15:22-34).
It will be right in the midst of this final seven, succeeding the first 69 as stated in the prophecy of Daniel, that this is done. Thus will He bring indeed to an end "to sacrifice and offering." Yet this is HIS work; for to the uttermost point of possible depravity, there will not be a universal and immediate response to this covenant in His blood, the New Covenant, the Messianic covenant, to this Messiah who IS the covenant. On the contrary, we find in 9:27b, a desolator will supervene in the land, and according to all that is written on this topic, and this will go on in its gaunt horror, till "that which is determined is poured out on the desolator."
Such is his fate as in Revelation 19-20, and in such a style does the evil, stopping at nothing and seeking to bring to nothing the Messiah Himself, precisely as in Psalm 2, meet his Maker, more than match, and desolator though he be, yet will he become desolate himself, and that from the mouth of God.
With this background, let us examine a little more closely the text concerning this "he will cause to prevail a covenant for many" of verse 27 of Daniel 9.
In Daniel 9:26, as to persons, there is but one in the singular, apart from the phrase 'the people of the prince', when although the term prince is certainly singular, the phrase in which it forms a part, refers to a plurality. Hence in verse 27, the term 'he' has only one referent, 'the Messiah' of verse 26.
It is useless to try to germinate plants from seeds in such sentences, for clarity, which God promises (Proverbs 8:8), certainly at times with great depth, is not found in imagination but in the text. It is there without fail for all that is needed, and requires that imaginative substitutes be disregarded. ONE person is in view, ONE noun is available for this pronominal pronouncement, this 'he', and it is,moreover, the only One (or one for that matter), who COULD make a covenant in the last and 70th 'seven' of the broadcast series (v. 24). The reason for this is simple: ONLY He appears in force to uphold it and make it relevant TO THE END of the Age itself, a thing involving judgment; and it is to reach this that the 70th statedly propels us.
Its ambit as in verse 24 includes this: "to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy." Certainly, it refers to what is "for your people and for your holy city" - but Christ made it clear that that kindred, the Jewish people, would be around to the end, till all the preludes to His own return in power were complete; as does Micah 7, as does Deuteronomy 32 and Joel 3, Zechariah 12-14 and so on. Indeed, to make an end of sins and bring in everlasting righteousness is not an ambiguous aim, topic, theme or target designated, or as it is sometimes put, target ad quem.
WHO ELSE then COULD make a covenant to the end in these its specifications, but GOD who alone has power to the end, all evil and passing pageantries of presumption such as false prophets, antichrist figures, the man of sin (of II Thess. 2), and the devil, being mere passing thralls in their powers, and duly buried in their dooms.
For then this phase to last till the end of prophecy, only the Lord can make, as He did make a covenant, in His own blood indeed, a new covenant as He most meaningfully indicated, thus fulfilling not only Jeremiah 31:31ff., but Daniel 9 in this way; for nothing is left unfulfilled, and this is one more contribution. The covenant, it is there, from millenia before, in specification; the covenant, it is there in blood, at Calvary: it is finished, completed, make firm, established, brought from prospect to retrospect in one act, one glorious action, one consummatory strengthening, even to the limits of eternity, its echoes ascending.
Grammatically and historically we have no other option: for the prince of this world has no part in Him as He stated, and HE has no part in him, and it is He only who endures to the end as potentate and provider of covenantal conclusion.
Thus when Christ makes the one seven covenant, that is the one in operation for the 70th seven, the only one left: it is for His Messianic seven, moving from His advent, preaching repentance and that the kingdom of heaven is near, to the end; and when He gives cause for the sacrifice to cease, in such ardent contrast to the evil work of the temporary, the passing salient little horn of Antiochus (Daniel 8), it is when He is put to death, so that as Daniel is inspired to stated, "there is nothing for Him."
The confirmation of this covenant comes in the midst of that last seven: and this, it is in the most obvious, yet practical manner one could imagine, though it is surpasses in potency, even transcending in fact, what might be hoped. The confirmation specified in v. 27 is multiple. It includes the following.
1) He did not baulk, like a
fearful cow at the stall, when faced not with food,
2) He did not relent in speaking the
truth at the palace of authority,
3) He made provision for everything following His death, by His 'will' (John
4) He did not dally in death, but
having appointed (Matthew 17:22-23 cf. SMR Ch. 6)
Even arithmetic is subject to Him who made DNA, the language of life, which gives not only information but orders, not only indications but specifications, the code work of collated thought. This, it is not in snatches of intelligibility from space, but in a package so sizeable as to likened to 1000 volumes of a large encyclopedia, and it includes provision for the materials for orders to be fulfilled, sequences for the combinations in view and their scheduling contrivances, meaningful symbolism in a systematic manner, and consistency of specificative provision.
It is in fact language, and its nuances and subtleties in abstraction becoming actuality, is one of the criteria of that very thing, while implementation is another, and codification is a third (cf. Jesus Christ, Defaced, Unfazed ... Ch. 4).
It is a simple thing for God to specify, then, the particular day after the death of His sent Son, the Saviour for the world and the only One to be provided, on which He would arise from the dead, taking His own body with Him, to leave the tomb deprived of its prey. He thus confirmed the covenant in TIME.
Moreover, He confirmed the covenant "with many" as in Matthew 26:28 (cf. SMR pp. 894ff.), using precisely that term; and in fulfilling His own word, and that of the prophets (SMR Ch. 6), He did it with a certain splendour of quiet power and sublime sovereignty. The resurrection of the body with power, was indeed a mode of confirmation of Him as the Son of God (Romans 1:4), and hence in this also, through power and intelligence, wisdom and control, at the divine level, He was ABLE to confirm such a covenant, as in a lesser regard, was the inference as in Mark 2.
Then He committed to raising up the paralytic, having already forgiven him his sins, as a show of the reality of His pardon, it being in this case easier to say than to do. Thus He did, and the man arose. Had He failed to heal here, in this laboratory-type exercise, there would be no Christianity and indeed no God of all power at all! It was not so, for God is!
The residual time, now that the 69 sevens had past, and His own ministry had proceeded for half of a seven, three and one half years in this instance, was that last half seven. This was to make up the final period so that the full 70 would be done and all fulfilled. Christ specifically refused to set a time, however for this culmination, and make it clear this was not available for man to know or the Messiah to show: it was a secret because His actual coming was in itself a trial, a test for vulnerability, as in Matthew 24:36-51. In the functionality of the Messiah, it was an exclusive not given, for it was not for man to know, and to man was He sent.
It was sufficient, as it is yet, that the 70th seven was the last in the series, and that it was this seven, the final unit in the flow of 70 of them, which He possessed and it was held in, by and through Him as Messiah, with the utmost privacy as His own. ITS terminus, as a seven of now hidden size (you can have 7 units, hundreds, thousands ... depending on the size specified - Christ refused to specify, having once gained that seven as His Messianic own). He did however indicate that when He DID return, it would be in a MANNER parallel to that of His going, of which we read in Acts 1. The Father has not chosen to divulge this and so Christ declared. Here was part of His humbling of Himself, not taking what did not apply to His mission, as in the refusal to turn the stones into bread, as noted in Matthew 4.
This is one more exhibit of the wonder of the Bible, for had He specified, and had it been for some period nearby, it would have been wrong. It is enough that the Messiah being murdered, that His gift of life being refused by His own people, to whom He came, that the time for ALL people to hear and to draw near be at His own desire, as the Word of God, and that of His Father, who in sacrificial love had sent Him. As II Peter 3:9 points out, He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, and not at all slack. WHEN all that was intended was done (cf. Revelation 6:9ff.), THEN and not till then would the seventieth seven finish.
Christ did, further, make it clear that WHEN the time was 'near' (Luke 21), Israel would no more have their capital, Jerusalem, trodden down by Gentile power; and that of course has happened in three stages, 1948, 1967 and 1980, the first when one half of the city was gained (as foretold in Zechariah 14:1, in the eschatological setting it narrates), the second when the rest was secured, and finally, that of 1980, when Israel proclaimed Jerusalem its eternal capital. Much attends this once in two millenia event as in Matthew 24, Luke 21 for example, and this is given attention in Answers to Questions Ch. 5.