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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 Babylon. It is the prophetic fulfilment part, which reads as follows:
"to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy" - 9:24.
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 9:26, 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 9:24 also, this has been done (cf. II Corinthians 5:19-21).
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 Ethiopia, again through Phillip, the Gospel went. Persecution set in, and many were dispersed, carrying the Gospel far and wide. Pentecost had occurred, so that the confrontation with the murderers and their establishment was by then past history; and thousands had been added to the church, which showed an enormous spirit of fellowship and love.
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:
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 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 21:28-31.