Before leaving the seventy weeks of Daniel, let us take a look at the six blessings to be ushered in at the end of that time period. Keep in mind that the first part of Daniel 9 contains Daniel’s confession of the sins of Judah and Israel, and his plea for mercy and pardon. He prayed for the restoration and divine acceptance of Jerusalem. It was during the course of this prayer that Gabriel came to give him understanding of Israel’s future, and inform him that “seventy weeks” must first pass before his prayer would be answered.
It is here where the six blessings that were to come are named:
Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy (Daniel 9:24).
Seventy weeks are given to the people and the holy city, which means that Israel’s restoration and blessings could be expected at the end of that time. This would bring us to the time of the fall and destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
But how can a people and a city be destroyed and blessed at the same time?
Actually Daniel’s prophecy includes both blessings and curses, all in the same “week.” The blessings promised were to be received by the new or heavenly Jerusalem of Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12:22; and the one envisioned by John which appeared after the end of the old heaven and earth.
On the other hand, the city and people destined to destruction were temporal Jerusalem and the people contained in her. These two cities and their children were to receive their rewards simultaneously, at the coming of Christ, in this final week of Daniel’s prophecy. Ishmael and Isaac were permitted to co-exist for a while, but Isaac’s blessing and inheritance demanded the casting out of Ishmael, the child born of the flesh. Even so, Daniel’s prayer for Israel (the true seed) could not be answered until the end of the seventieth week, when the tares were separated from the wheat (Matthew 13:37-43; Matthew 3:12).
The six blessings promised to Daniel’s people were to come in fullness not on Pentecost, but the fall of Jerusalem, because the perfection of Old Testament saints depended upon the victory and acceptance of the “firstfruits” of the gospel. According to the law (Numbers 15:18-21; Leviticus 23:10-11); a firstfruits offering had to precede the gathering of the harvest, and this firstfruits offering made that harvest holy. James calls the early believers “a kind of firstfruits” (James 1:18). Their suffering, growth, and eventual perfection and victory (pictured as the 144,000 of Revelation) paved the way for the rest of the harvest – that is, all humanity. This is the import of Hebrews 11:40, “God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”
The suffering of the firstfruits (New Testament saints) in overcoming their present world, or age, led not only to their own perfection, but also to the perfection of Israel. The resurrection of the firstfruits resulted in the resurrection of the Old Testament saints. It was in view of this truth that Paul asked, “Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:29). Paul’s argument here concerning the resurrection of the dead is based on the law of the firstfruits. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then there can be no harvest of Old Testament saints.
If there is no harvest, why should there be an offering of the firstfruits? Why should gospel saints be baptized, suffer, strive to bring the faith to perfection, if such sacrificial labor does not result in the establishment of a paradigm through which both the firstfruits and the harvest are accepted by God?
These are the questions we’ll explore next week.
Join us each Monday as we blog through The Spirit of Prophecy by Max King, where this post is drawn from. (And if you get impatient, of course, you can always get the book inspiring these posts here.) Please feel free to weigh in below.