"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).

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The Prophecy of Daniel

DANIEL RECEIVES INSIGHT CONCERNING THE MESSIAH

Lesson Number 29

By Given O. Blakely

Part 12

THY PEOPLE AND THY HOLY CITY

“ . . . upon Thy people and upon Thy holy city . . . ” Other versions read, “For Your people and for Your holy city,” NKJV and “about Your people and Your holy city.” ESV        

In my understanding, the meaning of this text centers in the preeminence of the Messiah upstaging the prominence of the holy people (Israel), and the holy city (Jerusalem). They would remain at the heart of Divine dealings until the promised Seed would come. At that time, everything would center in Him. In Him, the covenant would no longer center upon words inscribed upon tables of stone, but upon a Person. Thus Isaiah prophesied, “I the LORD have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles” (Isa 42:6). The same promise is again stated in Isaiah 49:8: “I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” Following the birth of John the Baptist, his father Zechariah was filled with the Spirit, and also declared the centrality of a Savior over the centrality of Law. His son, the forerunner of Jesus, would prepare the way for the Savior of the world (Lk 1:67-79).         

The “seventy weeks,” therefore, are the period of time in which Israel would remain prominent, and Jerusalem the focal point of Divine activity.         

This does not mean, as some affirm, that there would be no further involvement of God with Israel. Rather, future involvement would center in Christ Jesus and their relationship to Him.         

Now, let us behold what will be accomplished by the coming of the Messiah, the Savior and anointed one of the world. The remarkable details of these accomplishments are themselves proof of heir inspiration. To this very day, there remain great numbers of professing Christians that have yet seen what was accomplished by the Messiah.

FINISH THE TRANSGRESSION

“ . . . to finish the transgression . . . ”

All standard translations use these words: “finish the transgression.” A few versions tend to garble what is affirmed by the Spirit. The NIV adds the footnote, “restrain” the transgression. Other variant translations include, “to let wrongdoing be complete,” BBE “to close the transgression,” DARBY “to put down rebellion,” NLT “until the measure of transgression is filled,” TNK and “to shut up the transgression.” YLT         

Two different views are taken on this verse, and they are reflected in the various translations of it.

    One is that an end will be made of transgression itself. That is, that the people will no longer live in sin.

    The other is that the punishment for sin will conclude, or the period of chastening will come to an end.         

The first view is the proper one, That is, as a result of the coming Messiah, the tendency to transgress would, in Him, be brought to an end. There would be a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), in which men have their stony heart removed, and a new and pliable heart of flesh be given to them (Ezek 11:19; 36:26). By putting His laws “into their minds” and writing them “in their hearts” (Heb 8:10), God would transform the people, causing them to walk in His statutes (Ezek 36:27). Those in covenant with God through the Christ would no longer be noted for sinning.

MAKE AN END OF SINS

“ . . . and to make an end of sins . . . ” Other versions read, “to put an end to sin,” NIV “sin come to its full limit,” BBE “Sin may have an end,” DOUAY “for sin to be ended,” Septuagint and “seal up sins.” YLT         

Here the idea is that of bring an end to the reign of sin. It would be toppled from the throne so that men would no longer be enslaved by it, being “servants of sin” and “free from righteousness”(Rom 6:17,20).         

This is a prophetic declaration of the taking away of the sins of the world (John 1:29). The scape-goat of heaven would bear them into an unhabitable land, where they would be remembered “no more” (Lev 16:10-22; Heb 8:12).

MAKE RECONCILIATION FOR INIQUITY

“ . . . and to make reconciliation for iniquity . . . ” Other versions read, “make atonement for iniquity,” NASB “atone for wickedness,” NIV “clearing away the evil doing,” BBE “make expiation for iniquity,” DARBY “iniquity may be abolished,” DOUAY “atone for guilt,” NLT and “to cover iniquity.” YLT         

This declares the means by which sin would be done away, expiated, or removed from Divine consideration. Apostolic doctrine elaborates on this marvelous accomplishment. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin . . . ” (2 Cor 5:21). And again, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal 3:13). And again, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet 2:24).         

From another perspective, this was God Himself laying upon Christ “the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6). It was Jesus suffering for our sins, “the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet 3:18). It was God in Christ Jesus “reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor 5:18-20).         

Sin could not be taken away by chastening the sinner, as Israel was chastened in the Babylonian captivity. No amount of punishment exacted upon the transgressor can atone for sin. Isaiah foretold the means by which reconciliation would be made. “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:4-6).         

Here, in a moment of heavenly explanation, and nearly five hundred and fifty years before it would occur, Daniel is given the privilege of knowing how the Messiah would make reconciliation for the sins of the people. It would not be by punishing the sinner, but by punishing the sin-bearer. It would not be by cursing the transgressor, but by cursing the One upon whom the transgressions were placed.

BRING IN EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS

“ . . . and to bring in everlasting righteousness . . . ” Nearly all translations read the same way. Some variant readings include the following. “The coming in of eternal righteousness,” BBE “to bring in the righteousness of the ages,” DARBY “everlasting justice may be brought,” DOUAY “introducing everlasting uprightness,” NJB “eternal righteousness ushered in,” TNK and “bring in righteousness age-during.” YLT         

If ever men were going to become righteous, righteousness would have to be brought in. At the time of Daniel, sin had reigned uncontested for around 3,500 years. It had prevailed to such an extent that the Divine assessment was, “there is none righteous, no not one” (Rom 3:10). Men have to be “made righteous.”         

Because Jesus effectively took away the sins of the world, God is now the “Justifier” of those who believe on His Son – and He is “Just” in doing so (Rom 3:26). Now, having put the believer in Christ Jesus, God makes Jesus to be “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30). From another perspective, He imputes His own righteousness to those believing on His Son. As it is written, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works” (Rom 4:6).         

This is the righteousness that is proclaimed in the Gospel – a righteousness is from God, and is obtained through faith (Rom 1:17; 3:21-22). It is “everlasting righteousness” because it is God’s own righteousness, which is the only righteousness He accepts. Jesus “brought” it in, making the righteousness of God accessible to all who believe the record He has given of His Son (1 John 5:10-11).

SEAL UP THE VISION AND PROPHECY

“ . . . and to seal up the vision and prophecy . . . ” Other versions read, “To seal up vision and prophecy,” NKJV “to seal both vision and prophet,” NRSV “so that the vision and the word of the prophet may be stamped as true,” BBE “and vision and prophecy may be fulfilled,” DOUAY “setting the seal on vision and on prophecy,” NJB “to confirm the prophetic vision,” NLT and “and prophetic vision ratified.” TNK         

This sealing does not refer to a concealment of the prophecy, but to its predetermined fulfillment. What has been made known about the coming Messiah is so sure the prophecy and vision can be stamped with a seal just as though it had already been fulfilled. There is no possibility that it would not happen – that the Messiah would not come in the fulness of the time, bringing newness of heart and spirit, taking away the sins of the world, satisfying the righteous demands of God, and bringing everlasting righteousness within the reach of fallen humanity.         

This is precisely the point Peter makes in his second Epistle. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet 1:19).         

Jesus came to fulfill all of the marvelous prophecies of a coming Savior – to place the seal of confirmation upon them all.

ANOINT THE MOST HOLY

“ . . . and to anoint the most Holy.” Other versions read, “anoint the most holy place,” NASB “Anoint the most hone One,” NIV “to put the holy oil on a most holy place,” BBE “to anoint the holy of holies,” DARBY and “the Saint of saints may be anointed.” DOUAY         

Here there is a significant difference in the translations. Some have the Holy Place being anointed. Others, the Holy of Holies. Still others, the Messiah, or Holy One Himself. First, this cannot refer to the anointing of the Messiah Himself, for He did not anoint Himself. It is written that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38).         

The vision and the prophecy related to men having access to God through an effective Mediator. In covenantal words, “And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest” (Heb 8:11). This is nothing less than entrance into the Most Holy place – the holy of holies. Our bold access to the throne of grace is involved in this. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).         

This refers to “the new and living way, which He has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh”(Heb 10:20). By anointing the holy place, Jesus has cleansed or sanctified it for our entrance. Now the sons of God may traffic in the place formerly forbidden to them. It has been sprinkled with His blood, purifying “heavenly things” for the use of the redeemed of the Lord (Heb 9:23).         

Thus, within four hundred and ninety years, the greatest achievements in the history of the world will be accomplished by the Messiah! The determination was made, and nothing could stop it from happening.

    A MORAL AND SPIRITUAL CHANGE. The transgression would be “finished.” No more would sin dominate the people. They would be made new, recreated, and given a new heart and spirit.

    THE REIGN OF SIN WOULD END. An end would be made of sin. It would be taken away, cast behind God’s back (Isa 38:17), and thrown into the depths of the sea (Mic 7:19).

    RECONCILIATION WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED. A satisfactory atonement would be made for sin, making it “just” for God to receive men to Himself.

    RIGHTEOUSNESS BROUGHT IN. Everlasting righteousness would be brought from heaven to men, causing them to be acceptable to God, and capable of walking in fellowship with Him.

    FULFILLMENT AND CONFIRMATION OF VISION AND PROPHECY. All of the marvelous visions and prophecies of a Savior are fulfilled in Christ. He is the Prophet, Foundation Stone, King, and Hiding Place. He is everything that has been promised, and everything that we need.

    THE WAY TO GOD HAS BEEN SANCTIFIED. Jesus has anointed the most holy place for the sons of men. They can come as often as they want, stay as long as they want, and receive as much as they desire.         

All of this is a sort of summation, exposing us to much more than at first appears. When I consider that all of this was made known to Daniel over half a century before the Messiah came, it once again confirms how eager the Lord is for us to know these things.

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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).

 

 

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