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Arithmetic is So Tidy
From Biblical Blessings 6
and News 87 *1
WHY IS DANIEL'S 70 7'S PROPHECY A TWO-EDGED SWORD ?
How does it
provide a glorious focus on Christ crucified on the one hand, and a necessary
instruction on His coming glory ?
For a full treatment of the ENTIRE SCOPE of Daniel's prophecy of seventy lots of seven units, basically years, ending only when ALL prophecy is fulfilled, see SMR pp. 889ff., 959ff.. There we see the whole coverage from first to last. 70 years of exile were being fulfilled, and now to Daniel was given one of his amazing, portentous, brief and pithy future surveys that make history look like a good holiday at the beach: known, ordered, precise and governed, without ceasing to be adventurous and pregnant with meaning
We have seen the arrival at the death of Christ around A.D.29-30, with the end of the 69 sevens, and the "midst" of the 70th. There too we traced the 70th to its ultimate end, in the midst of the pronouncements of Jesus Christ, as recorded in Acts 1, and as illustrated in Revelation in various places designated.
It is our present
interest to examine the part of the agenda for the 70 7's which were to follow
the 70 years of discipline in
"to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy" - .
That ALL prophecy is even now NOT fulfilled is obvious, for no new heavens and new earth following the disintegration in fervent heat of our current universe has occurred, nor has the coming of Christ in power to reign, occurred, when He comes as lightning visible from East to West, nor has Isaiah 2 been fulfilled, nor Ezekiel 37 where the specifically designated Jewish people, in a large and characterisable body, come to the Lord; nor has Isaiah 59, nor Micah 4, nor Psalm 72, in entirety.
THAT is just the point. Much has been fulfilled; all has not.
This is the way in which the double edged sword is operating. That the MOST HOLY CHRIST has been anointed, and being the Messiah or anointed one of Psalm 2, Daniel , has been cut off is clear (SMR Ch.8-9). "Everlasting righteousness" has indeed been brought in, for eternal redemption is available, as Hebrews 9:12 makes apparent, and the hearts of those who know the Lord, attest, His Spirit testifying to our spirits that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16). This much of the prediction for the 70 7's is fulfilled; though it is equally true, it will be made more manifest in some of its features in the New Heavens and New Earth, when this one, as Christ stated would be the case, passes away (Matthew 24:35). "Reconciliation for iniquity" as required in Daniel also, this has been done (cf. II Corinthians -21).
There are therefore TWO features remaining:
1) SEALING UP THE VISION AND PROPHECY, and
2) the residual features of everlasting righteousness.
It may be urged: Surely this is SUFFICIENT. Christ has atoned for sins for those who are His, has been offered up obtaining eternal redemption, has come, the very image of His Father, manifesting in word and in deed the wonder of God, full of grace and truth, as of the only-begotten of the Father (John 1). NO MORE PAYMENT is required; NO MORE ATONEMENT, and NO MORE ANOINTING. The MOST HOLY has indeed been anointed. The anointed, the Messiah has come and done it, shown it, accomplished it, finished it; HIS is the glory, OURS is the gift!
There is much truth in this. The ESSENTIAL features of the INFINITE gift are now worked out, carried out, demonstrated, activated, but ... they are not, in terms of ALL the prophecies, consummated in their eventual detail. Consummated even in their essence, yes again; but to be exact, in terms of prophetic particulars, there is more left.
Hence, we can see how, on one edge of the sword which is the word of God, there IS already a fulfilment of the seventy sevens. WHAT MORE COULD ONE ASK! for the spirit and reality of things! Nothing! However, an iniquitous earth, reeling and writhing, and crying and sorrowing and possessed of the devil in full flight, and spuming and fuming as he goes: this is not that settled righteousness of which the prophets have so often spoken. You could argue that the "vision" had been sealed up, and this with considerable and even impressive force.
Undoubtedly the force is magnificent, though the manifestation of its results according to the vision and the prophecy in this earth are yet to be; indeed, to me the vision itself has the intricacy as well as the substance of the vision, the breadth as well as the depth: ALL its features are mandatory, not some essence, and Christ's rule is not merely superficial, nor is this world's sorrow. What is written is what is "prophecy", rather than some essentialising wrought by man in his own mind. Every jot and tittle is the standard of Jesus Christ, and HE is the LIVING WORD; and the earth being filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea, with the return of the Lord Himself (Habakkuk 2:14, 3:3-11, Acts 2:17-21 from Joel 2:28-32).
The prophecy is what it is: it is WORDS, and these have FEATURES and NOT ALL of these are yet fulfilled, as Paul in Romans 11, for example makes most plain, as he refers to the phase of blindness of the Jews, to which Isaiah 49:7 also refers, to be followed by an opening of their sight, so fulfilling Ezekiel 36-37, Micah 4, Isaiah 2 and so on.
Hence, in the name of the word of God, the OTHER EDGE, we have to allow that if words are to judge, this we must judge, that much more remains. The suffering is seen, the atonement, the cutting off, the lopping off of the branch one of the olive tree (Romans 11), the Jewish people as a theocracy. The grafting of the Gentiles has been seen; but the fate of the Gentiles has yet to be consummated, as has the restoration of the Jewish branch to the tree, along with the Gentile branch, one tree, one faith, one Lord, one baptism (cf. Isaiah 19:21-26, Isaiah 62:1-3, 65:10-13).
It is true, that some 3 years after the death of Jesus Christ, that is, at the time of a simple, straightforward, arithmetical 70 7's of historical time from the date of the inception (SMR pp. 889ff., 959ff.,), the Church had been formulated in its New Testament pattern, Stephen would seem to have been killed: the confrontation with Jewry to have been applied in that marvellous and imaginative testimony of his, filled with love, like a surgeon, though his words were sharp, like the necessary scalpel.
Peter had used his
"keys" within the word, leading in the presentation of the Gospel to
the Samaritans and to the Gentiles: though Phillip opened the way, Peter
followed with an extraordinary result. To
YES! On one edge, the ESSENTIALS were there, the foundation and the structure for the rooms. The suffering, generating, dynamic phase was indeed in rich fulfilment; but the consummation, return, rule, deliverance and judgment were far from done. For these last elements, there was a period, the entire New Testament era, more or less, to come. The gospel to the nations had far to go, the time for the Lord's coming with ten thousands of His saints was yet past the horizon, though as we see in SMR Chs.8-9, it is by no means distant in its present appearance. Not distant? Yes, but not present yet.
Hence both the fulfilment and the reserve at that time: the essentials? done; but the finalities still to come. It is all there: the face which says, DONE! Is shining; and the face which says TO COME, is shining too. GOD has evacuated the earth in the person of His Son, and although the Holy Spirit has come in New Covenant power and testimony, the wheels of history have a little turning left before Christ returns, and the day of the Lord spoken of in Malachi, glows in its heat and judgment.
THAT residual half-week, so often found in Revelation in terms of 42 months or 1260 days, is moving along on divine auspices: the UNIT of the seven is for THIS purpose, aggrandised, mysterious but immense, not divulged, for it is NOT FOR YOU TO KNOW, as Christ told the disciples when they asked if NOW was the time for the KINGDOM (Acts 1:6-7). THAT time is set in the Father's hand, and it will be unleashed when, coming as a thief by night, the Saviour returns to the murderous premises, premises adorned by Inquisition and Pope, as well as by Calvary, by Moslem invasions and quasi-Christian novelties, with another Christ, another Jesus, another Gospel, another Spirit, as Paul indicated and both he and Peter predicted (II Corinthians 11, II Timothy 3, II Peter 2).
It is well that it is so. We have seen the substance fulfilled at infinite cost; and we await the Appendix to the Work of Divinely Controlled History which, though it be ADDED, is an addition so necessary that this disquieted earth awaits it either with longing or with fear and loathing (Romans 8:18-24, James 2:19). Wait for it! however. As the substance has been fulfilled with royal efficiency, so in His time, carefully controlled till all nations know and till the ends of the earth have heard, He will act again, and the train of prophecy will draw into to its final station.
For the present, it is enough to be aboard!
Meanwhile, dwell on Habakkuk 2:3,14:
THE EARTH WILL BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD, AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA.
A Personal Note
Gone is the day of His suffering. Now is the day of the earth's suffering; for that must suffer which will not suffer the truth. If this were not so, truth would be no longer truth. In collision with reality: this can never be a splendid affair.
The first great phase of history is long over. The remaining mystery 1260 days has been screened against all human intelligence services, as to the precise size of the units in the Messianic week (cf. SMR pp. 959ff.). Christ has made it clear both that this is so, and to a great extent, why it is so. It is NOT FOR US to know the strategies of our own examinations; it is sufficient that we pass. It is NOT FOR US to await His return with complacent timing knowledge; it is enough that we look forward to it with a lively responsibility, a steadfast faith and an earnest expectation, being alert and alight with the glow of His personal presence within our lives, minds and spirits (Matthew 24:45-51, 25:4,9, II Thessalonians 2:12,13-17)..
The FIRST fulfilments are the earnest, the guarantee, the witness and... yes, the warning. The remaining events as shown in much detail in SMR Ch.8, are being fulfilled just as the death date of the Messiah was fulfilled with a spectacular exactitude in a long range forecast which in ballistic terms, is like landing a ten cent piece on a 1 cm. Square in the midst of a chosen star in the Milky War ( with insulation appropriate, of course)! Nor is that mere humour. In the world of actual history, a million million things can happen with ease from many sides, with all kinds of dynamics, grounds, causes, reasons and quirks. Unthought paths and policies may arise, develop on all sides. Therefore to present a given datum within the affairs of mankind in this universe, world and in detail is more than heroic when it is precise and encapsulates the conditions. It is foreknowledge.
Not merely is it the time, it is the Person, the works, the people who meet Him from His chosen race, the manner of their dealing with them, of His dealing with them, the results of such dealings over ensuing thousands of years; and of course, the capacity to lob, as it were the date in the Empire chosen for the time chosen and the Person described in advance (Daniel Chs.2,7 cf. SMR pp. 886-899, & 755ff.). No one could or ever has been able to do such a thing. All that, vast as it is, however, is merely one of a entire classical, coherent, systematic whole marked out as an illustration.
THAT is over. THIS is coming; MUCH of it has already come.
The last days are running out with that delicious divine irony, to rebut the follies of Christ's murderers (who are not merely those who killed the body, but those who would tread underfoot, as the Bible puts it, His blood with careless disregard for the bounties that ply the air of this world, as the Gospel is preached - Hebrews 10:28-32, II Peter 2, Jude).
The time is near; the wonder is about to be presented. The KING has to come as the CRUCIFIED MESSIAH has come. His kingdom is available; His power is present; but His person is still on the threshold before eternity, introduced by the millenium of power, occurs in all its grandeur and simple spirituality.
The blessing is the knowledge that though THIS PART is necessarily hidden from our eyes as to the PRECISE TIME, it is equally necessarily SHOWN to our eyes as to the precise preliminaries. THESE WE SEE, just as Luke indicated would be the case in -31.
In our next
Chapter, we look beyond all this, indeed BEYOND THE CURSE altogether!
or Musical Postlude
with a Touch of Mathematics
on Revelation 11
*1 It is of interest, viewing the numerous references to this event in the Bible: the call to heaven en masse, of the saints in the height of the carnal storms of a dying earth, to see where it might appear in the book of Revelation. It appears in Rev. 11:12. The reason for seeing this in that call to
"Come up here!",
to the two witnesses may be briefly indicated as follows.
The 1260 days assigned them (Revelation 11:2-3) are of course the 42 months and the three and a half times or years, in the nomenclature used. It is dealt with in SMR pp. 886ff., 969, and refers to the arithmetic of Daniel, whose system turned the 70 years of exile of the Jews in Babylon leading into the 6th century B.C. - after which they returned to Jerusalem by predicted decree of Cyrus - into a 70 7's device, which would cover the prophetic future, including the Messianic death and triumph (see Daniel 9:24ff., and references noted above). The first magnificently accurate prediction of the Jewish exile, became the source book for the next and final stage of prophecy, one incorporating a precise foretelling of the death date of the Messiah. Let us now see its phases.
The death of the Messiah after 69 of the 7's, and involving action into the first half of the last one, left just one half seven, literally 3.5 years, to go (SMR pp. 886ff., esp. 894ff.). As previously shown (cf. SMR pp. 959ff.), this period has been symbolised, following the affront to and assault on Christ the King; and it is awaiting His pleasure. The Messianic seven, HIS OWN, is first fulfilled to the midst, and He dies, and then rises, as predicted in Psalm 16 and elsewhere (cf. Joyful Jottings 25 ), and then administers the rest.
Thus He remains in control (cf. Matthew 28:18ff., Psalm 2:7-12) with His Father, sending forth His Spirit, as the One who determines and dispenses. This control is manifested in Daniel 9 when it states that He shall make firm the covenant with many (cf. Matthew 26:28 cf. SMR pp. 894ff.), and then cause the authorised sacrifice to cease (as predicted - cf. Isaiah 52-53, 66:1-4, Jeremiah 3:16), while making the temple desolate (as He indicated and indeed predicted would occur, as He foretold His rejection and execution - Luke 19:40ff., Mark 11:28-12:12). God does not OMIT the MAIN point of the Gospel, the vast emphasis made so often in His word, on the sacrificial potency for everlasting righteousness of His Son's death. Instead, He focusses it with that same economy of expression, pungency of clarity and yet, with that, lustre of determined mercy and gravity that moves in such brilliant divine action amid such murderous human folly. That folly is then shown proceeding to its climax, and His judgment, watchful and sure, proceeds to its height in its time. There is nothing rushed; there is nothing omitted. It is all sure.
Thus Daniel's prediction in Daniel 9 is not of an evil in control, but of God in authority; not of some creaturely facet in glittering array, but of the divine Lord, resurrected, asserting His authority in the midst of it all, and dispensing history with sovereign hand, yes UNTIL everlasting righteousness is brought in.
It is not brought in as if by some evil majesty, but DESPITE THIS with His own firm control, authority being given to Him, yes ALL power in heaven and on earth while He pours the desolation due onto the unrepentant dynamisms of controlled evil, even upon the whole desolate apparatus. There is 'one making desolate', there is 'that determined' which is poured duly on the sickening site of such a pretender (in parallel with II Thess.2:4-8), such insolence, upon the whole foolish scenario of arrogance and presumption, misuse and failure to realise the Messiah who IN HIMSELF is now the focus, not some site. Indeed how drastic in the end is that outpouring (Daniel ) on the desolate.
There is a certain dueness, justice, proportion, appointment: it is DETERMINED because God has resolved. In material things, there is a a determinacy because God made the laws and procedures, the material protocols, being the lawgiver of all law. But in man's events the personal Lord makes personal provisions which, wrought with judgment and mercy, are nonetheless sure. Thus in this case: The LORD acts, the desolator enters, the Lord acts again, the end is on the desolation. What is determined is done! It is in this way that the divine conduct proceeds as from the first with the 70 year exile, to the last, with the sure conducting of the manner of salvation, so that it is indeed brought into the world, predicted, performed and paid for; and here it is duly and truly shown to be so, while its adversary is focussed only in his desolating and desolate end.
That is the way of things as they come to their forlorn conclusion after much bluster and ballyhoo; this is the way and place of deceit and theft, as if to steal the universe from its Maker and take a name, when only pretence and duplicity is there: the desolator acts, the desolation proceeds with divine apportionment of the woes on the way and the finale which manifests the impotence posturing of the evil incumbent. Such is the way of evil: as to God however, His is justice, even in salvation, the Messiah being brought to desolation (Daniel ), cut off, and there is nothing for Him; but He is raised, and for Him are all things.
It is indeed His covenant (Daniel 9:27) which, already in existence, is ratified, confirmed (Hebrews 9:13-14), and as in Psalm 40, Psalm 22 His resurrection is pre-supposed; and indeed declared as in Psalms 2 and 16 (cf. Joyful Jottings25). It is thus that in Daniel 9, the requirements for everlasting righteousnessness are not omitted, as if overshadowed, indeed eclipsed into darkness by the power of darkness; or as if present in principle (9:24) but excused in practice, a sort of contradictory parody of James.
Nothing could be further from the emphasis of Psalm 2 as also Psalm 16. Alive, active, transcendent, and in judgment, the commanding centre of attention, the Messiah, the Prince, makes His people members of His covenant (Daniel 9:27) and voids the now fulfilled Old Testament sacrifices ( cf. Isaiah 66:2-3) which He confirms by fulfilling them, in Himself duly replacing them (as in Psalm 40:1ff., Isaiah 53)), so rendering sacrifices irrelevant. Meanwhile, an unbelieving (Jewish) nation (cf. Isaiah 49:7) has a different result. Excluding Christ, it excludes it thereby own mercy, and so suffers generations of desolation (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:1-2, Luke 19:42ff.). Thus the Messiah at work as such, after the 69 sevens, and later cut off, in the midst of the 70th week, by dying, annuls animal sacrifices, and fulfilling the 1st covenant of Moses with the 2nd in Himself, covers His 'many' (as in Matthew 26:28) till the end, with its vile, violent desolations.
For all this the seventy
sevens are now seen in Daniel 9, to be prophetically unleashed. It is stated in
and we have now traced its detail as in Daniel 9:25-27.
THE VERSATILITY WITH CLARITY
The magnificent brilliance of the initial depiction of the besevened 70 of Daniel 9, inspired by God, is now seen. While the initial impact cannot rationally be distanced from its abundantly clear base in an actual 70 year exile, in precise and powerful focus in the actual context (Daniel 9:1ff.), yet the manner, the unusual manner of its statement, a seven-ing of the 70, and indeed, the emphatic word order (NOT seventy sevened, but 'sevened - seventy', i.e. with respect to the seventy it is a sevening that is to the forefront), not to mention the simple fact that it is 'seven' that is the literal term: all this means that the sevening is under jurisdiction. Its meaning is clear, but equally clear and emphatic is this: its meaning can be redefined at will, should circumstances arise to make this appropriate.
What however could make its unit length, or time, extend ? What would be appropriate ? one might ask. What might in some way on some day lead to an alteration of its eminently clear initial context ?
Why this: precisely such a thing as the crucifixion of the Prince. Here was the new impact, the novel dawning of a drastic day, one to end in darkness before its hours were up (Matthew 27:45). Here, with the very Prince of glory sacrificed, could come indeed an employment of the SEVEN concept to FIT with His dignity and glory and power. How deftly the Lord provides: it is clear, it is adequate, its arithmetical aspect is emphasised from the start, and it is significant to the end.
And what then might be the new dimension of the seven, when this extraordinary and infinitely insulting but gloriously effective thing, the crucifixion of Christ, happened ? Why a functional one to suit the Messiah! And what would better suit Him, one might ponder, than one which brought about by His death, would then allow its full significance, VIA THE GOSPEL, to be brought to all men! HENCE HE WOULD NOT RETURN, as Christ Himself stated, till the Gospel had gone throughout the earth (Matthew 24:14). It is THEN, He there declares, that the end will come.
It is this '3.5' notation
of time which appears several times in the Book of Revelation. It circles as 42
months, 1260 days, times, times and half a time, 3 and one half days, and moves
to the ultimate crisis as in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13:5, or to the overall
period from Christ to Christ, virtually death to return as in Revelation 11. It
jets, skis, cavorts like a swallow, reminding us constantly of Christ's words
in Acts 1, that the TIME of the end is not available arithmetically, and in
fact must await the WORK of the
We need thus to look at the two aspects of this thing.
If you were a Jew in the time of Daniel, dispossessed but blessed by continuing revelation from God, and about to be restored from disciplinary exile, you would see the tremendous focus that there would be on this figure of 70. In it has been incorporated much grief, much chastening, much soul searching. THAT was the number of your exile. From it would come deliverance, at its end: physical, national and personal. Its besevening to cover residual time in view, this would not pose any initial problem, proceeding till the very face of the Son of God was brutalised, and then at His pleasure till His will should be accomplished, to whom it had all pointed, and through whom, now that He had arrived and done His work, it would now be mediated.
Indeed, it would be
inconceivable that the days and weeks and months and years of the exile endured
- and this not merely emotionally, but endured with the realisation that the
work of the Jewish testimony in
WHEN however THIS grace and
mercy and reciprocity of time, in augmentation by 7 reached the NEXT vast
contribution of the Jewish nation (not the race) in crucifixion
of the Messiah, at 69.5 sevens on the scale of prophesied history, then the
WORK committed to the church would take precedence and this NEW folly, one of
regicide, again would change the consummation prospects into desolation
reality, long to be endured. Our eyes in -27 pass from this much
predicted desolation (cf. Luke 19:42ff.) for the Jews to that evil
eminence who would afflict the world till the time determined was complete. The
Jews themselves would endure till the the mercies of Abraham again should
intervene (SMR Appendix A, pp. 755ff.), and until, as in Zechariah (and Romans 11:25f.) many would
come to embrace the forsaken Messiah, and hence their own mercy once more.
THE TIME AND POWER OF THE WITNESSES
For our part, then, in our generation, we are as just shown - with the earlier references added, to be dealing only with the last half of the last seven. It may be expressed as 1260 days or 42 months, for example. Things have moved along... since then, since those former days and this is the donation of time for our Age.
We are approaching, in
fact, the end. Let us look at the picture which gives attention to the entire
Gentile period and see the ending motions in the light of their Biblical
COME UP HERE! is the call (cf. I Thess. 4:15ff.). It all has a time and the time ends, as the END itself approaches.
This has been around 2000 years so far, and there is only one body which relates to such a testimony for such a period - and it is the Christian Church. The TWO testimonial witnesses of Rev. 11, refer quite inescapably back to Zechariah 4, where they expressly represent the High Priest and the Prince in the rebuilding program for Jerusalem, which was active in the 5th and 4th century B.C.. In Zechariah 3:6ff., we have just seen the High Priest symbolised, and made to be a prototype for the coming Lord, the well-known and often noted Branch, the One to bear the sin (Zechariah 3:9 and Isaiah 49, 52:10-53:12), who is the Lord Himself in human format (Micah 5:1-3, Zechariah 12;10, Psalm 45, 72, 2).
is interesting that Jerusalem STILL has the temple site, or that near it, in
Islamic use, so that the liberation of
But what of their powers ? James 5 indicates in terms of Elijah's faith what may be done in the Lord's name for His work, and the Bible is full of such things. The church not only suffers but testifies, and this mightily (cf. Luke 21;14-15), and Fox's Book of Martyrs has much testimony on this almost stunning testimony! Indeed, it would be less than frank if one did not acknowledge most clearly that the Lord has helped this present writer in ways which to him have appeared quite spectacular, in such matters; for where there was no help but in HIM, there He was! (cf. Isaiah 58:9). The Lord so helps millions who rely on Him. The joint effects of this total thrust from the presence of the Lord are vast.
The witnesses, the two, to represent the testimonial and ruling aspects of the church (cf. Zechariah 3:6-4:14), and embodying as a pair, the concept of a sure and safe report (cf. Deuteronomy 17:6, John 8:17): these are that great body of Christ, the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23), which has existed from His calling of it into existence, and in prototype, long before that.
WHEN THEREFORE these two witnesses are called: "COME UP HERE!" in Revelation 11:12, it fills what otherwise is a missing element in this testimonial of God's coming dealings with His people (Revelation 1). It does so as is very usual in this book, in symbols; and again, as is customary here, it is done in well-known and striking, well-attested Biblical symbols, thus tying together many things, which is one reason why the book of Revelation is like the best wine, very challenging to the palate, but well worth it!
Their lying 'dead' in
appearance for 31/2 days (Rev. 11:8-11) is one more play on the
half-week, or 3.5 theme, which not merely indicates the sense of GOVERNED TIME,
but reminds of what was lost in the crucifixion of Christ. It is now HIS time,
and the half-week is to be fulfilled at HIS discretion when HE is ready and HIS
program is complete, and when the requirement that the gospel be preached
to all the world, is deemed done! (cf. Acts 1:7-8,11). The components of
preparation for the ending of their testimony are nearly complete. Pauses can
occur in heaven (cf. Rev. 8:1, Daniel 12:7-12), but the structure of things is
both clear and determinate. As for the Lord's return, that is the way it is
intended to be (cf. Acts 1:7ff., Luke 21:28).
TO REVIEW CERTAIN ASPECTS
After all, let us summarise, literally, it was seventy SEVENS which were to pass for the fulfilment of prophecy to the bringing in of everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24-27: see E.J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, p. 195). The "weeks" term is merely a way of translating it. Sevens, the literal meaning, can be of any definable length; and while the first length was undoubtedly literal, the death of Christ led to His prolonging this period, quite explicitly as seen in Acts, until the Gospel need was fulfilled, and all might hear, while the testimony of truth made its various attestations, demonstrations and exposures in the meantime (cf. Ephesians 3:10ff.).
Of course (Daniel 9:1-4), Daniel had just been pondering the 70 year exile, prophetically determined for the Jewish people, and had resolved to fast and pray, since the time of its fulfilment - 'time to go home' as soldiers in a foreign battle field might feel - was in his mind. "Open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy name; for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses, but for Thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive, O Lord hearken and do; do not defer, for Thine own sake..." (from Daniel -19). Hence it is clear that 70 years are focussed, and it will be in such terms of supplication we might legitimately expect a tender-hearted, heeding answer from the Lord.
Now the Lord addresses not merely the 70 year predicted, disciplinary exile imposed on the people, but explicitly, turns to the whole gamut of prophecy to the bringing in of everlasting righteousness (9:24). For THIS, a BESEVENING of 70 (Young, lit. loc.cit.) is to be required. As noted this does NOT mean weeks. It is sevens, and the participial form indicates this besevening. It thus comes out as : besevened seventy.
teacher - and who better! - the Lord says, as it were,
Now Daniel, your concern is 70 and current return to
, and its restoration. Jerusalem
Now look: I shall give you far beyond this. For the entire fulfilment to this vast showering of reconciliation and everlasting righteousness upon the earth, in the final domain and past the preliminaries, what ? not seventy but BESEVENED SEVENTY will come.
It will come: as to this is coming, it will ALL come. Let us be clear to the end, then. Not just this current point, but the entire global and human history disposition is under fine-tuned control and will assuredly happen.
Nevertheless, that being said, it remains true that the term chosen is not ONLY seven, arithmetically, a sevening of the 70, but one which being in the unusual masculine gender (Young, loc.cit.) calls attention to this fact rather pointedly. Elasticity of concept is certainly present, although the immediate context is equally emphatically set in what has been a simple historical routine of a 70 which was expressed in years.
Thus the POTENTIAL for the more general concept of 7 times 70 years is as surely present as is the initial reality that it is a magnification by the factor of 7 of what has just passed, which of course was seventy years. As seen elsewhere (SMR pp. 886ff.), this gives both an amazing prediction of the death date of the Messiah (9:26, cf 892-896, 943ff.) and a facility BECAUSE of that death, to allow the Church's gospel mission to be fulfilled at the Lord's own leisure, in the time both hidden and determined, which He shall set (Acts 1:6-8).
Here, following His resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ quite explicitly tells them to forget about knowing the precise point of the end, for that item is not their business, but to get on with the missioning, gospelling, teaching of the word until HE who has set it, makes that apparent. As He had already shown, it was part of the divine strategy that THIS BE NOT KNOWN (Matthew 24:42ff.), and this parting authorisation confirmed that directly.
Equally it has made yet more squalid and foolish the efforts to authenticate themselves of the various false christs and antichrists towards the end of our Age, since the time for THE MESSIAH is a couple of thousand years or so, too late! The measured time to the death of the Messiah is long over, and as we have shown (above refs.), it was to be in the vicinity of 30A.D.; and as it was to be, so it was.
Accordingly, the actual death of Christ did occur, right on time, more reliable even than old-time British rail: an attestation of the thrilling power of the Lord to consign events with precision in history, from long before, to say it and to do it, as none could (as declared to be the case in Isaiah 48); for in the precision of this prophecy is involved the millions of decisions over hundreds of years from the time it was made till it was fulfilled: in this time were the myriads of people any one of whom, doing something NOT foreseen, could overthrow any such prophecy in a moment.
None did, because ALL is foreseen and foreknown, carefully composed in the DIVINE SYMPHONY: its graces and rebukes, its opportunities and its grandeur. As the death, so the resurrection pre-announced a thousand years, duly proceeded unable to be delayed or thwarted, adjusted or consumed!
What then of these innovators, this other Jesus contingent of hopefuls, these twentieth century messiahs ? They strut onto the scene, a couple of thousand years out of kilter, two millenia or so too late; and even for today's wild religions, this is not really ... adequate!
Meanwhile, the actual end of the 70 7's, taken in one unaltered pattern, would be in the AD 30's:
so in that sense, the main thrust of Daniel's prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 would already have been fulfilled at that time of the apostles in straight line 70x7 years: the everlasting righteousness brought in, the whole gospel being paid for, the whole power being displayed over even death, and the whole plan of salvation being seen.
Nevertheless, the full manifestation of the victory, the final sealing up of the prophecy is still to come, in the Messianic rule on earth, while the final ruin of the devil awaits (Daniel 9:24 -'to seal up vision and prophecy'). It is towards this phase that the disciples would have been looking (cf. Acts 1:4-8), and it is here that the final session of the final half-seven in its final magnitude is kept back at the Messiah's discretion with His Father (andHe has assuredly earned this ! - cf. Revelation 5:1-10). It is this phase which we see in high focus in Daniel 12:8-12:13, in Revelation 11 and in the Lord's announcement that it was NOT for them to know the final timing of the 'settlement' at the end (Acts 1:6-7, cf. Luke 24:44-49).
Indeed, it is this phase of PROCLAMATION of the FINISHED WORK of CHRIST leading to His manifest place in power on earth (as in Isaiah 66:23, Micah 7, Isaiah 2, Amos 4, and all in this in the light of Isaiah 65:13-16), which is in view in Isaiah 66:18-21 (cf. Romans 15:7-16, and see SMR pp. 791ff., 875), and especially in the last of these verses.
The rains have come; the
seed is being sown continually; the growth is occurring, the comings and goings
occur, the church raises the standard (Isaiah 59:19) even as "the enemy comes
in like a flood";
the world languishes in its rebellion; but the Lord shall come personally in
triumphant brilliance (II Thess. 1) to complete this whole symphony of grace
(cf. Zechariah 14). In this epochal finale, following the return of the Jews
(SMR Appendix A), and the restoration of
So the 70 7's goes on to its climax. The two witnessing completing their
tour de force which is likewise a tour of grace with the gospel - but let us
return to the detail of our interest, in Revelation 11:7-11.
THE THREE AND ONE HALF DAYS
What, then, of the 31/2 days in which the witnesses lie as dead in Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8 - or rather their 'bodies' so lie), just before their call to heaven ? THIS ...
1) This is undoubtedly a VERY short period, as it is one in which gifts are exchanged in a party-like spirit, by those rejoicing in their apparent disaster.
2) While the gates of hell shall NOT, by assured divine promise, prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16), yet there is to be vast falling away (II Thessalonians 2) which will reveal, like a virus laid up in a rose's place the evil one, the mystery of iniquity reaching its culmination in the devil's messiah (cf. SMR pp. 721 *11, 743ff., 750Bff., 732Bff., 505ff., 513, 929, Biblical Blessings Ch. 2), a vain figure (II Thessalonians 2:4,9), and one both deceived and deceptive.
Hence at the acme, when the
power of evil is bursting on the groaning earth (cf. Matthew 24:22, 5ff.),
there will be appearance of slaughter of the church (cf. Revelation
12:11-12, 12:17, 17:6, Matthew 24:3,9, Luke 21:12, 16) as if its large
organised outwardness ('body') would equate its inner inability to be crushed.
No more indeed, the outward finery, now the reality of faith would continue for
a very short time, without the clear and obvious demonstration of public appearance.
It might then seem that all was destroyed because the outward apparatus was no longer public, and that the body was dead. Indeed, into the large outward body, increasingly compromised with statecraft (as in the Chinese control mechanism and 3 self church and so on, formal ways of masquerading as righteousness while simply acting to subvert), there come false teachers according to plan (II Peter 2:1ff., I Timothy 4:1ff., II Timothy 3ff., Jude) whose role is a very searching one, and MANY, as Peter declares, will follow this chary charade, this fifth column, this quisling apparatus, this deceitful device. MANY will be purified on the other hand, and made white (Daniel ). The dimensions of the test and of this phase of the music are of the grandest magnitude.
This fits precisely with what is said elsewhere, not only in II Thessalonians 2, but in Daniel 12:10, .
3) Just as all seems won by the machinations of evil, then all is lost. Their 'triumph' is ephemeral, their deceit exposed, their darkness fleeing before the light of the returning Lord. First, the witnesses are raptured (Revelation ), and received (Revelation 19:5-9), then the Word of God, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, taking His time, appears (Revelation -20). Then the evil devil's messiah will the Lord "consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming" , being "revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance" on those who did not know God, even on those who did not obey the Gospel, being rebellious.
Far is this from the Gospel Age, when there is a coming NOT to judge the world but that it might be saved (John 3:16-17). THIS is JUDGMENT! Long has it waited (II Peter 3:9), in a whole expanded duration of grace. Now is the happening phase, the motion motif.
As the coming of Christ FOR His saints was like "the lightning which comes from the East and flashes to the West", a thing of moments, "in the twinkling of an eye" ( Matthew 24:27, I Cor. 15:52), so His return will be militant, confrontational, corrosive and destructive of evil, categorically overthrowing the whole power and presence of evil in any form of rule whatsoever, in an advent both sudden and devastating.
the power of God is manifested, the doom awaiting the fraudulent misusers
of faith on their defeated and delinquent heels; and the Word of
God looms with the brightness of doom, declares itself with the fashion
of passion, judgment no longer stayed, and He comes with power to prevail
against those whose ruin of the earth is proudly associated with the joint ruin
of their own souls (Revelation 19:8 with 19:11-21).