In this blog I am discussing the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24 or the 70 Weeks Prophecy. There were six works of God which the angel said must be fulfilled before the end of the 490 years. It is my understanding that the 70 Weeks Prophecy stands fulfilled, the final or 70th week occurring during the ministry of Jesus and proceeding to the time of Stephen’s death. If the six works of God are complete, so is the 70 Weeks Prophecy and to look for a fulfillment of the final week in our time or some future age would be futile.
I am discussing the first of these six works of God, namely seventy weeks of years are determined to finish or more properly to restrain the transgression. I began discussing this first work in my previous blog. The transgression or law of sin handed down to us from Adam is dealt with at the cross. It is Christ’s own life, given up as our sacrifice that deals with my life in Adam. God can forgive all my sins, but if he does not deal with who I am, what has changed? We are all born with an enhanced proclivity to sin as a result of Adam’s rebellion against God. My sinful deeds are a testimony to the fact of the sin principle within me. What happened to Adam happened also to all of us, because our humanity is derived from him. His transgression or rebellion against God released the power of the sin principle within each of us, and this causes us to do what we don’t want to do and keeps us from doing those things we desire to do. Though we know what is right, we find no power in our flesh to do right. In fact, even the great spiritual Law given to us by God is used by our nature to sin even more (cp. Romans 7:10-11). Contrariwise, if we identify ourselves with Jesus i.e. receive him as our Savior, then (as with Adam’s sin) whatever happened to Jesus also happened to us.
Romans 6:10 “The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Christ died to sin (the transgression) viz. at the cross; then lives by his resurrection. We are to reckon that we live anew to God, i.e. what happened to Christ must happen also to us who have received him. Something happens to us when we receive Jesus as our Savior. Our life essence is changed. It is wonderful and irreversible (John 1:12-13). We have a new life in Christ; our life in Adam has become the ‘old man’ of Scripture and is to be put off (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9).
What Christ did at the cross was to destroy the old creation that lies in Adam. What he did at his resurrection was to begin a new creation found only in himself. When I am born again, it is not in the flesh; i.e. I do not begin again in Adam. God is not merely giving me a fresh start. On the contrary, I am born again in the Spirit. In Christ I am part of a new creation (2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6 15). I still live in the flesh, but I am to reckon this life as dead with all its goals and desires, and live out this natural life to honor Christ (Romans 6:10-11). While it is still possible to sin, my sin activity is in choosing my old master (Adam) instead of my new Lord (Christ). In my new life, I cannot sin; that is, Christ has never sinned and therefore his life (which is now my own) cannot be prompted to do evil.
God has saved us to the uttermost. The life we now live in Christ is new, and is often referred to as a new birth. We have never lived Christ’s life until we voluntarily and deliberately receive him as our Lord. This new life is revealed in God’s word as a life that cannot be tempted to sin (John 3:6, 9). The sense in these verses is not that we never fall into sin but that sin is held in check by the Spirit of God dwelling in us, i.e. we no longer practice sin, as we were once apt to do. This is explained better in Paul’s letter to the Romans:
Romans 7:14-25 WmsNT For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am made of flesh that is frail, sold into slavery to sin. (15) Indeed, I do not understand what I do, for I do not practice what I want to do, but I am always doing what I hate. (16) But if I am always doing what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is right. (17) Now really it is not I that am doing these things, but it is sin which has its home within me. (18) For I know that nothing good has its home in me; that is, in my lower self; I have the will but not the power to do what is right. (19) Indeed, I do not do the good things that I want to do, but I do practice the evil things that I do not want to do. (20) But if I do the things that I do not want to do, it is really not I that am doing these things, but it is sin which has its home within me. (21) So I find this law: When I want to do right, the wrong is always in my way. (22) For in accordance with my better inner nature I approve God’s law, (23) but I see another power operating in my lower nature in conflict with the power operated by my reason, which makes me a prisoner to the power of sin which is operating in my lower nature. (24) Wretched man that I am! Who can save me from this deadly lower nature? (25) Thank God! It has been done through Jesus Christ our Lord! So in my higher nature I am a slave to the law of God, but in my lower nature, to the law of sin.
Therefore, it is not that the transgression is “finished,” but that it is held in check. As long as I dwell in Christ, I am ‘a slave to the Law of God,’ and I will not sin. Nevertheless, if I permit myself to dwell in the ‘old man,’ I am a ‘slave to my lower nature.’ My old life, which I draw from Adam, deeply desires to continue in sin. It cannot be obedient to God, because it is totally corrupt (Romans 8:6-7; 1Corinthians 2:14).
Thus, transgression (rebellion) as spoken of in Daniel 9:24 is not ended because I am weak through the flesh, but it has been severely limited because of the Spirit of God that dwells within me. They are in constant battle, and as an old American Indian once told a missionary concerning the war within: “The one I feed the most is the one who is winning the battle” (cp. Mark 4:38; Galatians 5:16-17).
The rebellious spirit within man has been given a deathblow at the cross. The salvation that was won there for us comes in three stages:
- THE PAST – We have been saved from the penalty of sin – death (Ephesians 2:5, 8).
- THE PRESENT – We are being saved from the power of sin – the sin principle within (Philippians 2:12-13).
- THE FUTURE – Finally, we shall be saved from the very presence of sin – when given our new bodies (Romans 8:18-25; cp. 2Corinthians 5:1-4).
The point is: if we are waiting for the transgression of Daniel 9:24 to end before the Seventy Weeks Prophecy is fulfilled, the prophecy won’t be complete until we all receive our spiritual bodies. This, of course, is incredulous. The transgression, our sin nature, has been severely limited and is fulfilled in Christ. Through his death and resurrection, we are freed from our old master. We can now reckon this body of sin as dead, not having to serve sin any longer. It is now possible for us to abide in Christ and sin no more. The reality is, however, we do sin. God has not made it impossible for us to sin, but possible for us not to be in rebellion. Thus, our rebellion is restricted to our life in Adam, our old master. As we abide in Christ (our new Lord – the last Adam), we will not sin. The life we receive from Christ does not empower anyone to sin; it has no impulse to rebel. The life energy we receive from Adam (our ancestor in the flesh) cannot but desire to sin. So there is a constant battle within us, which itself is part of the process of our salvation. We are to live in the Spirit and leave behind the desires and goals of the flesh. We have been given a mandate to work out our own salvation, and because we have been empowered to do so, this severely limits our rebellion against God. This, the first of six works of God (Daniel 9:24), stands complete!