Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

OT Tuesday: Daniel and the 70 weeks

It's been years since the destruction of Jerusalem, and Daniel did a little research when Darius took over Babylon. Danial discovered that Jeremiah recorded that God promised the desolation of Jerusalem would only last 70 years. Those 70 years were drawing to a close and Danial was wondering how God would restore Jerusalem. God has revealed to Daniel the future of world empires that have yet to be dreamed about, but Jerusalem and her temple lay in ruins and the population of Judah was still captive in Babylon, Daniel wants to know about his hometown. 

So in Daniel 9:3 he began to pray, he fasted and wore sack cloth and ashes and began his prayer with confessing the sins of Israel to God. Daniel's confession of sin is in Daniel 9:4-15, he finishes his prayer begging God to restore Jerusalem, the temple, and His people as promised to Jeremiah. As Daniel prayed the angel Gabriel came to him again while he was praying and said “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding." and told Daniel that when Daniel started his prayers God commanded him to go to Daniel and explain God's plan for Israel. And with that Gabriel gave Daniel a vision that has been discussed, reviewed, studied, argued over, and prayed over ever since. 

24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” (Daniel 9:24-27)
This is one of the most incredible prophesies in the bible. This prophesy not only tells of Israel's immediate future but also Israel's place in fulfilling God's plan for the Messiah and His future Kingdom. The destiny of not only Israel but of the entire world are wrapped up in this one prophesy. Gabriel tells Daniel that there will be a specific period of time over which God will restore Jerusalem, put an end to Israel's transgressions, make reconciliation for sin, bring everlasting righteousness, to bring about the completion of the prophecy and to anoint the most Holy (Messiah Christ Jesus). 

Reading the English translation doesn't make a lot of sense, so to fully get a handle on what Gabriel said to Daniel we have to go back to the original Hebrew. The first words out of Gabriel were "Seventy weeks". The Hebrew word for weeks here is "shabuwa" which means "a group of seven" like our dozen which means a group of 12. But here a week doesn't mean a group of seven days like we would consider a week, shaubwa needs to be modified to imply seven days as happens in Daniel 10:2-3. Here a week in the original Hebrew means a group of 7 years.

Seven, in Hebrew is shevah, from the root savah - to be full, complete, or satisfied. It's where the word Sabbath comes from. On the seventh day God rested from the work of the creation because it was full and complete, and He was satisfied. Another meaning of the root Shevagh is to swear or make an oath. It points to the idea of satisfaction or fullness in an oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fullness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath. Seven is a perfect number, and so is 10. Ten signifies the perfection of Divine order. The product of 7 X 10 = 70 and 70 signifies perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance.

So you have a perfect number, 7 (a week of years), multiplied by 70, another perfect number and you end up with 490 years, which is a truly perfect number being the product of perfect times (perfect  times perfect). Gabriel could have said "Hey Daniel, God's got this awesome plan, it's going to take 490 years, but it's going to be cool." but that has no impact. Remember; Daniel was the king of the magicians (Magi) and was used to think in terms of the meanings of numbers. In today's world we don't think of the meaning behind numbers and words but Daniel and the ancient Hebrews placed great stock in them. In essence by saying "Seventy weeks" Gabriel said to Daniel "Here's the time reference you were asking about: perfect times (perfect times even more perfect) = REALLY Perfect - that's how long"

Knowing the meaning of these numbers, 7 X 70 = 490 probably hit Daniel right between the eyes with the significance of these numerical concepts. He's asking about God's plan for Israel and the answer is perfection, fulfillment, satisfaction. Daniel probably understood immediately and whooped for joy... but Gabriel didn't stop there, God had a lot more for Gabriel to tell Daniel. 

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