George C. Lubbers is a minister emeritus in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
The Mystery of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9
Full and complete redemption in the Messiah (Dan. 9:24)
In the former part of this verse we noticed that the transgressions were finished, that sins were sealed and that reconciliation was made. God made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21). Yes, salvation is wholly from the Lord. Not only the removal of the guilt is from God, but also that which Christ obtained for us is of God. That which Christ obtained for us we have given here in the text in the terms,righteousness, sealed vision and prophecy, and the anointing of the Holy One! (K.J.V.)
The first benefit which we consider here is this: to bring in everlasting righteousness. It is good to notice that this too is the end, the crowning point, of the “seventy sevens” which were appointed upon desolate Jerusalem and the desecrated city of God. When this happens, Daniel’s prayer is answered, and God’s Name is sanctified forever in Christ in His people. The words of Moses in all the Scriptures are fulfilled. For here we see the Christ of God as the end (telos) of the law for righteousness to every one who believes (Rom. 10:4). No longer can the law say to the people of God, as legal taskmaster to Christ, that the man that doeth the same shall live thereby. Here is the glad refrain of Deuteronomy 30:12 ff.: “. . . It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, who shall go up for us to heaven, and make us hear it, that we may do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who will go over the sea for us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”
This benefit Christ “came to bring in.” We read inHebrews 7:18, 19, “For there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness. For the law made nothing perfect, (but there is) a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh to God.” It is to this great gospel-truth that Gabriel refers when he interprets the meaning of the fulfillment of the seventy “sevens.” The text reads that Messiah will “bring in” everlasting righteousness. And we know from Hebrews that this was possible because Christ is not a high priest after the order of a carnal commandment, but that he is a king-priest after the order of Melchisedec. This priest has, in his priesthood, “neither beginning of days nor end of life, but was made like unto the Son of God. He abides a priest continually” (Heb. 7:1-3).
This is the Messiah which is seen here in the searchlight of the prophetic Scriptures. We had better believe this for our very life’s sake. To deny this is antichristian! But those who have this work of salvation in their hearts, who have the unction of the Holy One, will see this clearly when the Scriptures are opened up to them. They will exclaim, “How our hearts burn when we hear this Christ interpreted for us from the Prophecies, and we see Christ Jesus evidently set forth before us crucified.” For this is the day of the Lord’s power in the ministry of reconciliation (Psalm 110:4). Jehovah hath sworn and will not repent (I John 2:27). Yes, yes, we do need teachers (Eph. 4:11-16). However, we do not need any errorists to teach us contrary to the Scriptures. In that sense it is true that “we know all things.” Christ came to “bring in everlasting righteousness” as the Son of God. Great is the mystery of the “seventy sevens”; it is the mystery of godliness which is great (I Tim. 3:16); yes, it is the mystery “foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake, who through Christ believe in God, that raised up Christ from the dead . . . so that our faith and hope might be in God’ (I Peter 1:20).
It is the precious blood of the Mystery of the “seventy sevens” that is meant when we read that Christ was decreed to “bring in everlasting righteousness.”
What is this righteousness. The Hebrew term is “tsedek.” It is the righteousness of God as the free gift of grace. It is not a righteousness of works or merit. It is that righteousness of which all the “law and the prophets” testify on nearly every page (Rom. 3:21). It is a righteousness of God which we receive by a true faith (Rom. 3:25). Yes, this is the righteousness which is ours by virtue of the fact that it was merited for us by Christ on the Cross, together with the merited gift of faith, so that we may receive this benefit by a true faith.
This term righteousness is employed only in the prophecy of Daniel in this text. However, the very essence of this righteousness is heralded in Jeremiah 23:6, where we read, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD (Jehovah) that I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, ‘Jehovah (is) our righteousness.’ ” That this refers to the essence of “Jesus, the son of God, who came to save his people from their sins,” is clear as crystal. And as to the time when this shall be realized, we read here in Jeremiah 23:7-8, “Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, As the LORD liveth who brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, but as the LORD liveth, who brought up and who led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all the countries whither I had driven them. And they shall dwell in their own land.”
This latter benefit is connected by the Holy Spirit inJeremiah 23:5 to the “righteous Branch,” who is the root out of the dry ground (Isaiah 11:1; John 15:5; Zech. 3:8). It is all connected with the Wonder-Child to be born in Israel, Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:10-17; Isaiah 9:6, 7).
It might be worthy of note that the verb form of the Hebrew verb “to bring in” is causative. He will causeeternal righteousness to come; He brings it in. He nails our sins to His cross so that we are crucified with Him, and He makes an open shame of principalities and powers; forever they shall no more be able to bring any accusations against the saints. Rejoice, O heavens, and ye that dwell in them! Sing, O heavens! Now is come the salvation and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of the brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God day and night (Rev. 12:10 ff.). Yes, they came from the north country and from all the countries whither they had been driven, first the Jew and also the Greek (Rom. 1:16, 17; Rom. 10:11-15).
Thus teach the holy Scriptures!
Thus we have been instructed and thus we believe unto salvation!
Closely connected with the foregoing, yea, as the fruit of the foregoing, Christ also is said “to seal up Vision and Prophecy.”
The Vision and Prophecy do not refer merely to some particular “vision” by which God came to reveal Himself at a certain crucial time in Israel’s life and history, but refers to all the visions, as they constitute the one great vision. The same thing is true when we read in the singular of “the Scriptures,” as these constitute an organic whole from Genesis 1:1 to Malachi 4:6. The same must also be observed concerning the term “prophecy.” If prophecy is not fulfilled it is not the word which God gave the prophet to utter. Such an unfulfilled word comes not from the heart of God but from the heart of those who mutter and peep (Deut. 18:15-22; Isaiah 8:19-22). Such prophets are mere dreamers (Jer. 27:9-11).
However, at Calvary all the promises of God became yea in Christ, and in Him Amen to the glory of God the Father. Not one word of God fell to the ground. Every jot and tittle of the law is fulfilled in perfect sacrificial love. Christ is the faithful and TRUE witness, is sealed in His blood. What Moses did typically, symbolically, when he sprinkled the people and “the book” (Exodus 24:6 ff.; Heb. 9:19-22) Christ did at Calvary. We should observe carefully that Moses sealed the “book’ with blood. Not the book alone was sealed by itself, but it was sealed in conjunction with the people that were sprinkled. We read so emphatically “. . . and sprinkled both the book itself, and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God commended to you-ward” (Heb. 9:19-20).
If ever it was clear that it is true that “Moses wrote of me,” as teaches Jesus to refactory Jews, it holds for this passage of Moses which speaks of the sealing of the Covenant prior to the reception of the law on Horeb’s stormy heights (Gal. 3:19).
Yes, vision and prophecy were sealed in the sacrifice which merited everlasting righteousness. Hear Isaiah’s beautiful prophecy in Isaiah 51:1: “Hearken unto me ye that follow after righteousness . . . . My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth—the isles shall wait for me, and on mine arm shall they trust . . . . but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished” (Is. 51:5, 6).
Here I cannot refrain from pointing out that the fiction of a “church-age,” which had not been foretold in the Old Testament, is shown up to be just that! Truly, these winds of doctrine of dispensational teaching are proven to be some cunningly devised fables, as they are called by the Holy Spirit, who bases His teaching on His own inspired prophecies. And these prophecies are clear teaching, and not some mumbo-jumbo jargon!
But we must press on.
Christ also came to “anoint the most holy.” We know that the term in Hebrew “to anoint” is the same word which is ascribed to the Son of God in the Counsel of peace. The verb for “to anoint” in Hebrew is the infinite form lemishoa from the verb Mashach. Here is the One who is not merely anointed with oil, but who is anointed with the Holy Spirit without measure (Isaiah 11:2; John 1:32, 33; John 3:34). For this Messiah, the anointed One of God, all Israel looked in eager and hopeful anticipation. The aged saint Simeon could not really die happily as long as the Christ, the Messiah, had not yet come, could he? But hear him jubilate when he takes the child Jesus in his arms: “Now lettest thou thy servant to depart, Lord, according to thy word, in peace; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” And Andrew runs in great joy to Peter saying, “we have found the Messiah” of whom Daniel writes as announced by Gabriel, MESSENGER of the Mighty God!