Seventy Sevens

"Seventy `sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. (Da 9:24)

The "seventy sevens" in Daniel are a much misunderstood passage of scripture. They have been forced into meaning all kinds of weird and bizarre things. Because of this, many Christians shy away from this prophecy, and would rather not say anything about it than be tarred with the same brush as the way-out dispensationalists, who love to speculate about apocalyptic passages like this.

But it is still the word of God! And it is all there to do us good. We should not surrender any part of the scriptures to false teachers. It is precisely because we remain silent on these issues, that they have room to spread all their fanciful nonsense.

In any case, I don't mean to sound arrogant, but it's really not that hard to understand, once you know how to look. Take a step back from all the details that people tend to fixate on and take in the big picture. Let me present you with the clues, and see if you can work out the mystery for yourself:

  • Does it help if you think of "seven seventies" instead? Daniel started the chapter by praying to God after he realised that the seventy years prophesied by Jeremiah represented the restoration of the Jewish people. As seven is the scriptural number of wholeness and completeness, what do you think seven seventies could represent?

  • Seven seventies are 490 years; approximately 5 centuries. Daniel prophesied around 500 BC.

  • The vision was announced by the angel Gabriel, who declared that Daniel was given the vision because he was "highly favoured" - ring any bells? (Lk 1:28)

  • "Seventy sevens" is mentioned again in the New Testament by Jesus, in reference to the forgiveness of sins (Mt 18:20-21).

  • The interpretation involves the "cutting off" of the "anointed-one" (literally: messiah). This is not the first time such prophetic language has been used. (Isa 53:8)

  • What is it that all the Old Testament prophets pointed towards? The anti-christ?? Think again! (1Pe 1:10-11)

1 comment:

piccadillywilson said...

Hi Chris

Just spotted your 'congrats' on my blog - thanks.

Interesting stuff on Daniel mate. Spring Harvest took Daniel as their theme this year and although I wasn't there as a 'punter' I did pick up some excellent tapes by Stuart Murray-Williams as I was passing through the Skegness site.

The fact that Daniel finds a powerful prophetic voice within a culture which is hostile to his beliefs and in which his people are marginalised and vastly outnumbered is a great provocation to the church at the beginning of the 21st century... there are many similarities between his context and ours!