“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 Place. Daniel 9:24 (NIV).
This is another ‘both/and’ verse, where it is both figurative and literal in what it says. You and I get to understand it in countless ways, but God conveys His message in just these few words in ways we should understand both literally and figuratively. One source (https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/daniel-9-24) called this verse “the backbone of bible prophecy.
Gabriel reveals that there will be seventy “weeks” which, according to https://versebyversecommentary.com/2002/04/24/daniel-924/, corresponds to seventy years. It means that Israel would be in exile in Babylon seventy literal years. That’s literally, exactly what happened.
Yet consider that seven is also a biblically significant number. It signifies completeness, fullness. Thus, when Gabriel tells Daniel that, for Israel, “seventy sevens” are decreed, he’s not really talking about a figure of time but, instead, that Israel will be made complete. The overthrow of Jerusalem will be made right. God’s temple, His home, will be restored. It will not be something that men accomplish: it will be done by the Most High Himself. God Himself will make His people complete. Salvation.
Hint: it’s not literal. It’s figurative. It’s a Jesus thing: a prophecy of Jesus Christ coming to complete God’s holy plan of complete salvation. It would happen when God had made all things right for it to happen. A few generations hence from Daniel’s, Jesus would arrive to accomplish salvation. At a complete, yet (humanly) undetermined time in the future, when God’s mission of preaching to all nations and baptizing them in His name is complete as well, He will again make things complete, renewing creation by permanently defeating evil and expunging it.
Gabriel isn’t just revealing words about Jerusalem or the Temple, though. WE, the people of God’s Word, are who and what will be anointed. We will be Jesus’ most holy place, the church on which He is building His eternal kingdom. He completed the work for it: we are the rock on which He is constructing (https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/daniel-9-24.html). According to this source, https://www.compellingtruth.org/seventy-sevens.html, it also means a great deal more.
What it means to me is that God Himself finishes everything, does all the saving, makes us all brand new. No matter whether it took seventy years, or four hundred ninety (with seven still remaining), to me, the important thing is Jesus completing salvation. Nothing else remains to be done to open heaven’s gates. All of it was revealed in prayer: in Daniel’s momentous prayer.
For further reading: Isaiah 1:26, Isaiah 53:10, Isaiah 56:1, Hebrews 9:12, Daniel 9:25
Come Lord Jesus and quickly. We don’t know when You will return but need You more than ever. Complete our world today.
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