As soon as you [Daniel] began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: “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.” Dan. 9:23-24
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27
Dear Lord Jesus, every time I read certain portions of Old Testament prophecy, like this one in Daniel, I get flashbacks of big charts, bombastic preachers, and a bevy of fears. As a young believer in the late 1960s to early 1970s, I was convinced ours was the terminal generation. Surely you were going to come back within a few years to secretly lift your bride from the face of the earth, before things got really messy.
The political climate was “perfect” for the last of the last antichrists to emerge. All things 666 were eschewed—credit cards, phone numbers, driver’s licenses. The topic of the antichrist got more attention than Satan himself. Some of us spent more time try to identify the antichrist than really getting to know you, the real Christ! We proved Martin Luther’s dictum, “Bad theology is the worst of all taskmasters.”
Jesus, I grieve that, as a young believer, I didn’t know how to look for you in all the Scriptures, and therefore in all of history and life. You who’ve given me more than seventy-times seven worth of forgiveness (Matt. 18:22) are best qualified to help me understand Daniel’s seventy sevens and every other prophecy, simple or complex.
Whatever else is going on in this portion of Daniel (chpt. 9), this I know for sure: Jesus, only you will one day put an end to all sin. Jesus, only in you can perfect and complete atonement for sin be found. Jesus, only you will one day usher in a world of everlasting righteousness—the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1-5).
Only you could seal up vision and prophecy, because you’re the last Word from God the Father (Heb. 1:1-2) and the yes and amen to all of God’s promises (2 Cor. 1:20). Only you could fulfill every symbol and stick of furniture in the Holy of Holies and make a way for us to enter there (Heb. 10:19-22).
Only you, Jesus, are worthy of our adoration, affection, attention, and allegiance—only you! You are the Yes to every promise God has made (2 Cor. 1:20) and the point of every prophecy spoken. I am so thankful you are coming back to finish making all things new; but I am equally thankful you are currently in control of all kings and crises, microbes and moments. So very Amen I pray, in your most glorious and gracious name.