The Daily Sacrifice: Part 5
The final seven years of the 70-week prophecy demonstrates YHWH’s desperate attempt to reverse the course of Judah’s rebellion. The Father did not stand idle as Judah’s love for the Torah declined. Instead, He sent the best communicator heaven had to offer. But this extreme measure of love for Judah provided but a brief slowdown to the inevitable. Interestingly, the betrayal of Messiah to the Roman authorities was the midpoint of the final seven years. One would think that this act of defiance would be the final straw and judgement against Judah would immediately commence.
But strangely to our viewpoint, this was not the case, Divine forbearance for sins of Judah was still held in place. According to the words of Yeshua, there was one sin worse than total rejection of the Son of God. "Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10). Apparently, the sin against the holy spirit had not yet been committed at this time. That sin would take place at the end of the seven years when revolt could no longer be repressed. Unfortunately, there is no clear statement written in the New Testament that tells us when the 490 years ended.
What we can do is look through the history of the Jews and determine when Judah went into compete revolt and fulfilled Daniel's 70 week prophecy. First, we need to recap what the last seven years entailed. According to the words the Angel Gabriel transmitted to Daniel, it was that “he (the Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” (Daniel 9:27). This covenant was the one made with the 12 tribes of Israel through Moses and Judah was in specific violation of it. So, the context of the Messiah’s ministry was to bring Judah under the terms of the Mosaic Covenant.
But once again, we seem to have a problem since Yeshua only ministered to the Jews for a period of three and a half years. Or did his ministry continue on after his ascension into heaven? Yes, the mission continued under his direction! We have to remember he promised that another comforter would attend to his work after he left this earth. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26). So, while the Jews vented their hostility towards Yeshua’s pleas to return to the terms of the covenant, a greater power came to reinforce Yeshua’s message.
The first seven chapters of the book of Acts shines a light on this period. In fact, the writer focuses his attention on what was occurring at the holy mountain (Remember that the Holy Mountain was the focus of Daniel's prayer answered by Gabriel). In the account given in the Book of Acts, the Apostles received the power of the Father’s spirit fifty days after the resurrection of Yeshua. This had a powerful effect and resulted in thousands of Jews repenting and returning to keep the Covenant. The Apostles kept returning to the Holy Mountain (the temple) under the guidance of the spirit and that spirit led them to do mighty works. To these the Sanhedrin exclaimed, “What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16).
These miraculous works proved the Father favored those repenting and returning to the covenant. Alternately, it meant those abiding under the authority of the Jewish leadership at that time were midway into rebellion against the covenant. During the final three and a half years of the prophecy, the Sanhedrin vacillated between restraint and rebellion. Rational thinkers like Gamaliel helped to stay the rebellion saying, “I advise you (the Sanhedrin): Leave these men (the covenant keeping Apostles) alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." His speech persuaded them” (Acts 5:38-40).
But the Angel Gabriel prophesied that Judah would indeed go into rebellion at the end of the 490 years. The point of no return took place in Acts chapters six, seven and eight. According to the book of Acts, anti-covenant Jews conspired together to silence the words of Stephen (a covenant keeping Jew). They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law” (Acts 6:13). He was immediately brought to the Sanhedrin to answer for his alleged remarks. But note carefully that in his testimony, he uplifts both the heritage of Israel under the Law of Moses as well as his reverence for the temple.
But at the end of his testimony, he does not mince his words against the leaders of Judah, saying “You who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it" (Acts 7:53). At this, the leadership condemned Stephen to death by stoning. Of course, this act could have been forgiven just as their sin of condemning Yeshua to death. But it the rebellion took a new course, And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1-3). Note carefully that Stephen declares these men Lawless. While the Father and the Son bore witness to his words from heaven.
From that point onward, the Jewish leaders sought to destroy covenant keeping believers, even extraditing those living outside the region of Judea; bringing them back to Jerusalem to face charges. “Meanwhile, Saul … went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2).
At that time the holy mountain had become corrupt beyond repair and fulfilled the 70 week prophecy. The curses of the covenant would soon follow as promised by Moses. Yeshua reminded his disciples of these curses (found in Deuteronomy chapter 28) "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near … this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” (Luke 21:20-22). The Holy Mountain that Daniel grieved over would again be forsaken by the Father; reaping the same Judgements that he had witnessed in his day. “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
The church at large proclaims Yeshua as the Messiah; proving this through the great 490-year prophecy. Yet at the same time, she has failed to understand the actual purpose of his mission. In its complete context, we find that Yeshua confirmed the validity of the Mosaic Covenant throughout a seven-year period. But what a different narrative we hear in the churches today; preaching that he changed, rather than confirmed the continuance of the Covenant. For if Yeshua had indeed negated the Mosaic Covenant at his death, why would Judah need to experience the curses described in the in 70 AD?
These findings are useful in helping to correct the errors that have crept into the church for centuries. Next, we will address how the misinterpretations of the 70 week prophecy will lead believers into great last days deceptions.