Year 3 Day 39
Read - Daniel 9v24-27
Message - Scott Woodburn
Welcome to part two of our look at the seventy weeks of Daniel chapter nine! If you want a whirlwind tour of the first sixty-nine weeks then I point you to Thursday's devotion. Today we'll consider the final week of the seventy. The Lord God sent the angel Gabriel to Daniel in response to the prophet's heartfelt prayer of repentance.
Gabriel told Daniel that a seventy week period lay ahead. This isn't a literal seventy weeks that we can count on our calendar but instead a symbolic number which tells the story of human history until the return of Christ. The first seven weeks saw a return of the exiles to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple. The next sixty-two weeks moved from the rebuilt temple to the first coming of Jesus. Sixty-two plus seven is sixty-nine, leaving one more week to discuss.
Gabriel said that in one week "he shall make a strong covenant with many" (v27). Who is the "he" of this verse? It is Christ. Some have argued that this verse speaks of an end-times figure who makes a new covenant with the people of Israel. Others say that the "he" is the "prince who is to come" from verse twenty-six. But the Hebrew language behind this verse does not speak about a "new" covenant but a confirmation of an existing covenant. The "he" of this verse is Christ and the strong covenant he confirms with many is the covenant of grace. This covenant declares that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.
How can we be so sure? It is only Christ who fulfils the six standards of verse twenty-four. The last week of the seventy speaks of Christ's ministry and it's impact. Jesus was the sinless suffering servant. He has finished transgression by putting away sin. Sin is still in the world but Christ has broken it's back. He has paid for the sins of His people - He has finished transgression and put their sin away. Jesus has atoned for the iniquity of His Bride and He has brought them everlasting righteousness. The one who trusts in Christ has the righteousness of Jesus imputed to their account. He has fulfilled the vision of Daniel and Christ Himself is the true prophet. Finally Christ's work has anointed a most holy place. Where is this place? Jesus is the place. He is the true temple that was torn down but raised on the third day.
With that stated what did Gabriel mean when he said that Christ would put an end to sacrifice and offering for half the week (v27)? Christ's sacrifice was enough, glorious and sufficient. The sacrificial system centred around the Jerusalem temple was temporary and brought to a close by Christ. When Jesus died the curtain of the temple was torn in two. How could the blood of bulls and goats ever compare to the blood of the Lamb of God? It could not and cannot. Christ's sacrifice does not need to be repeated. He has put an end to sacrifice and offering and He did it at Calvary.
Finally during the first half of the week there would come one who made desolate (v27) Who is this one? Jesus would later refer to Daniel when He spoke of the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24v15) relating it to the destruction of the temple in 70AD. Therefore this phrase in Daniel speaks of Titus and his Roman legions who brought great destruction and death to Jerusalem. They destroyed the temple and to this very day it remains in ruins.
So half of the final week is taken up by Christ ending sacrifice and making a strong covenant with many. His work was majestic and all who believe in Him will be saved. Then in the middle of the week Titus marched into Jerusalem and smashed the temple into bits. What about the rest of the week?
My friends the final three and a half days describe the period in which we currently live. Can I support that statement? I believe so. Scripture interprets scripture and in Revelation John would speak of the period between Christ's ascension and His return in various ways. He would speak of forty-two months and 1260 days (Revelation 11v2-3) The woman is comforted by the Lord for 1260 days (Revelation 12v6) and time, times and half a time (Revelation 12v14). Finally, the beast exercised authority for forty-two months (Revelation 13v5) What do all these phrases have in common? They all describe three and a half years. Daniel's three and a half days is the same period as John's three and a half years. It is the period of time between Christ's first and second coming.
What do we make of all of this? Quite simply history centres around the person and work of Christ. His sacrifice means that many will be saved. History isn't about the Romans, the British or the Russians. Biden and Putin may be on the news but one day they will give account to Jesus. Christ alone is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Finally, we are living in the last days of human history. Time is short. Hear the Word of God...
"Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." (Romans 13v11-14)
Q42 What is the sum of the ten commandments? The sum of the ten commandments is, to love the Lord our God, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.