Seventy Times Seven?

forgivenMatthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (22) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Why “seventy times seven”? Are we to believe we should forgive every wrong up until the 491st one? The way this is often taught you would think that is the message of this parable. Ironically, seventy times seven equals 490. That is the exact number of Weeks (70 x 7=490) Daniel 9 foretold what would come before “the Messiah” would be “cut off.” The generation that would see this occur was also prophesied to see the destruction of Jerusalem and her Temple system. Coincidence? Could it be that the “cutting off of the Messiah” and destruction of the city and Temple was the reason for Peter imploring his listeners to: “save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40)? “Untoward” means a generation that was wicked or crooked. Peter warning “’this’ untoward generation” was him singling out that same generation that heard him speak that day. Could it be that Peter spoke this way because he knew his generation was the generation that was foretold by Daniel? I believe, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that this is exactly what Peter was saying that day.

According to Daniel’s timescale, the people of Jesus’ generation were living during that 70th Week of Daniel’s prophecy. How do we know? Well, there are several scriptural reasons, one of which being they were the generation that saw “the Messiah cut off.” This is said to happen during Daniel’s final 70th Week. This made them the generation that, 40 years later (one biblical 40-year generation), saw Jerusalem and her Temple destroyed. Forty years is the amount of time Moses and the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness of Sin before Joshua led them into the Promise Land (see Numbers 14:32-34; Joshua 5:6; Psalms 95:8-11). The Children of Israel were delivered from Egypt as prophesied. However, it was forty years later before they followed Joshua into the Promised Land. A forty-year time period is the same length of time from when the Messiah was crucified (Daniel’s “cut off”) in 30 AD until the time God’s judgment came against Jerusalem and Her Temple in 70 AD. Both of these 40-year timespans (Moses’ and Jesus’) culminated with the unfaithful who were rebellious against God’s commands being destroyed, and the faithful who were obedient to God’s commands receiving God’s blessing and His promises.

So, was Jesus telling Peter to forgive those that repented for sins they did against him at least 490 times? Or was Jesus reminding Peter that Daniel prophesied that his generation would “fill up” the measure of sin that “their ancestors started” (see Matthew 23:32 NLT; Acts 2:36-40, Acts 7:51-52)? The sin that became the tipping point for that “untoward generation” was when they crucified their Messiah (see Matthew 23:29-39, Matthew 24:1-2, Matthew 21:33-46). Which of these two views is correct? How about both? God does call His children to forgive. In the Lord’s Prayer, and in other teachings, Jesus linked His children’s forgiveness with how they forgave those who sinned against them (Matthew 6:12; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37; Luke 11:4). However, He also promises to bring vengeance against those who sin against Him and His people (see Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30; Acts 7:52). This “both” interpretation agrees with the parable Jesus told as a follow up His “seven times seventy” teaching. In that parable, Jesus spoke of a King that eventually brought great judgment against an unforgiving, unrepentant, rebellious servant (see Matthew 18:21-22; Matthew 18:23-35)? In that story, Jesus spoke of three things. The first is the forgiveness God offers to those who sin. The second is the forgiveness God expects those He has forgiven to offer to those who have sinned against them. The third is the judgment that comes to those who refuse to reciprocate God’s example. Thus, this parable was a perfect conclusion to what Jesus said about the “seventy times seven” being the final limit of grace that God would extend to the rebellious among His people.

God does call His children to forgive. In the Lord’s Prayer, and in other teachings, Jesus linked His children’s forgiveness with how they forgave those who sinned against them (Matthew 6:12; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37; Luke 11:4). However, He also promises to bring vengeance against those who sin against Him and His people (see Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30; Acts 7:52). This “both” interpretation agrees with the parable Jesus told as a follow up His “seven times seventy” teaching. In that parable, Jesus spoke of a King that eventually brought great judgment against an unforgiving, unrepentant, rebellious servant (see Matthew 18:21-22; Matthew 18:23-35)? In that story, Jesus spoke of three things. The first is the forgiveness God offers to those who sin. The second is the forgiveness God expects those He has forgiven to offer to those who have sinned against them. The third is the judgment that comes to those who refuse to reciprocate God’s example. Thus, this parable was a perfect conclusion to what Jesus said about the “seventy times seven” being the final limit of grace that God would extend to the rebellious among His people.

 

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  1. 70 Weeks to Christ or to Antichrist? | TK Burk - May 23, 2015

    […] The timeframe for the fulfillment of these points is said to be 70 weeks of years, which is 490 years total. Please, take note that “490” is the same as “seventy times seven.” This 490 is the same number of times Jesus told Peter to forgive those who sinned against him (see Matthew 18:21-22). No wonder Jesus used this number; it was the exact amount of time God said He would forgive those rebellious to His covenant before bringing judgment upon them. For more information on Peter’s seventy times seven, see my study: Seventy Times Seven? […]

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