Daniel’s Seventieth Week

Daniel

Daniel’s Seventieth Week

March 12th, 1972 @ 10:50 AM

Daniel 9:24-27

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
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DANIEL’S SEVENTIETH WEEK

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Daniel 9:24-27

3-12-72    10:50 a.m.

 

On the radio, on television you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  The title of the sermon is Daniel’s Seventieth Week.  And it is a concluding exposition of the ninth chapter of Daniel.  I read the text: “Seventy weeks,” this is Daniel 9:24:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself—and that was the sermon last Sunday; The Death of Messiah—and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, unto the end war and desolations are determined.

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and the end thereof is with overspreading, abomination… and desolation.

[Daniel 9:24-27]

As I have said in these messages in the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, this is doubtless the most significant and the most meaningful of all prophecies to be found in the Bible.  This is the key to an understanding of the prophetic outline of history and the denouement of the age.  Without this, there is hardly a key.  With it, there is an understanding of the whole present, future, unfolding program, purpose, design of God in human story.

Now the ninth chapter of Daniel presents the prophet [Daniel 9:2], the statesman, as he is reading the scroll of Jeremiah, especially chapters 25 and 29—and as he reads the scroll, the Scripture, he finds there the prophecy from God that seventy years would be the extent of their enslavement in Babylon [Jeremiah 25:11-14, 29:10-14].  And at the end of that time, God would visit them and open the door for their restoration to the Holy Land.

Now Daniel was taken captive in 605 BC [Daniel 1:1, 3-6], and he was reading that scroll in 536 BC [Daniel 9:2].  He came to the conclusion, therefore, that the seventy years captivity were just about complete or complete [Daniel 9:2-19], and that the time had come for the chosen family to turn their faces homeward.  It was on that occasion—his bowing before God in deepest humility, in sackcloth dress and seated in ashes, importuning the remembrance of heaven and the return of the chosen family back home.  While he was praying at the evening oblation—at the time when the lamb would have been sacrificed and offered before God—while he was praying at the time of the evening oblation, there was sent to him the angel Gabriel from heaven with a divine revelation [Daniel 9:20-21].  And that divine revelation is the one that I have just read which I have described as the key to all the prophecies of the Bible [Daniel 9:24-27].

Now in this revelation that was brought to Daniel by Gabriel from God in heaven, there is a time set for the coming of the King and the millennial reign of Messiah.  There is a time set for the period to commence; and there is a time for it to end [Daniel 9:24-25].  There is a given terminus a quo; a commencement time [Daniel 9:24-25].  There is given also a terminus ad quem; a consummating time; and an ending time [Daniel 9:24-25].  And between those two termini there are 490 years; there are seventy heptads, seventy sevens, translated here “weeks”: actually, seventy heptads, seventy sevens [Daniel 9:24-25].

Now the terminus a quo, the starting, Gabriel says, is from the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.  The end of the 490 years is the millennial kingdom described in verse 24, which brings to a consummation the history of Israel and the history of the world [Daniel 9:24].

We look, therefore, at the seventy heptads.  There is a stated time when they began: “…from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” [Daniel 9:25].  That commandment is easily found in the Bible.  There were four that you could look at.  There is an edict of Cyrus in 536, the first year of his reign, when he conquered the Babylonian kingdom.  There is an edict of Cyrus presented in the first chapter of Ezra when the chosen people were allowed to go back home [Ezra 1:1-3].  But when you look at that edict, the decree was to build the house of God; that alone, and that was all that the exiles attempted, nothing more.

There is a second edict by Darius Hystaspes, in the sixth chapter of Ezra, but there you find it is just a reiteration and a reconfirmation of the decree of Cyrus.  It concerned the building of the sanctuary [Ezra 6:1-12].

There is a third decree, this one in the seventh year of the Artaxerxes Longimanus, Artaxerxes I.  But that found in the seventh chapter of Ezra, when you read the whole chapter, concerns nothing else than the services of the temple in Jerusalem [Ezra 7:1-26].

There is a fourth decree, however, this one in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, the Persian king.  And this one is found in the second chapter of Nehemiah [Nehemiah 2:1-6].  And there you read that the king expressly gave to Nehemiah the authority to rebuild the city, the walls, the streets, the ramparts—to make Jerusalem once again an actual, viable city.  Now, that is the one which fulfills this: “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem…” [Daniel 9:25].

It is unusual, as I read it, that the date of that commandment is meticulously stated.  It is very purposely emphasized.  It is in the twentieth year of Longimanus [Nehemiah 2:1]; it is on the first day of the first Jewish year, which would at that time—they have changed it since to the fall—but at that time in the Bible, it’s the first day of Nisan.  And Nehemiah says that the wall and the building of the city was complete before Feast of Tabernacles, that’s the seventh day of the month [Nehemiah 7:1, 8:17].

So in that period of time, from the first day of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Longimanus, the Persian king, that commandment began and the building of the city began, which, according to the Judean calendar is the fourteenth day of March in 445 BC [Nehemiah 8:14, 18, 9:1]. Now that is our terminus a quo; that’s our beginning.

Now he divides the seventy heptads into three groups.  One is seven heptads: “From the commandment to rebuild and restore Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven heptads, and threescore and two heptads” [Daniel 9:25].

Now the seven heptads, that would be forty-nine years—seven sevens.  So from 445 BC, forty-nine years takes us to 396 BC.  In that period of time, the angel Gabriel revealed, the city would be rebuilt with walls, with ramparts, it would be again Jerusalem [Daniel 9:25].  That actually happened.  And though it isn’t intimated here, it is interesting to note that in that forty-nine years—from the commandment to restore the city until the seven heptads are complete—in that forty-nine years we are brought to the end of Hebrew prophecy [Daniel 9:24].  This finishes the ministry of Malachi and the sealing and the completion of the Old Testament Canon.  So the first seven heptads are ended in the completion of prophecy and the sealing of the Old Testament canon [Daniel 9:24].

Now the next group: “Threescore and two heptads” [Daniel 9:25-26]; that is, the period of time from 396 BC, to 30 AD—434 years.  And the angel Gabriel revealed that, in that length of time, from 396 BC, to 30 AD, that period of 434 years, the sixty-two heptads, that that would end with the coming of the Messiah and His death [Daniel 9:25-26].  And that was literally fulfilled.  In 30 AD, 434 years after the first seven heptads, the Lord was crucified and died [Daniel 9:26].  And a little later the city was destroyed and the sanctuary to this day, in obliteration [Matthew 24:2].

Now this last heptad is set apart by itself.  You had seven of them [Daniel 9:27], which ended in the conclusion of the prophetic ministry of the Old Testament [Revelation 20:6].  You have the next sixty-two, which ended in the death of Christ, and soon thereafter, the destruction of the city and the sanctuary [Daniel 9:26].  But beside that sixty-nine, there is one other heptad, one other seven.  And that is set apart by itself.  And this is the seven years that end in the coming of Christ and the setting up of His millennial kingdom [Daniel 9:27].

After Messiah is cut off—as we follow the heptads in this revelation—after Messiah dies, seven years thereafter [Daniel 9:24-27], He comes in power to set up His millennial kingdom in the earth [Revelation 20:6].  Now, when I say that, and when I read it, immediately you can say, “No such thing happened!”  Seven years after the death of Christ, the last heptad, the seventieth heptad after the sixty-nine before [Daniel 9:26-27], there was no millennial kingdom, nor are we in the millennial kingdom now [Luke 17:20].  And it’s been almost two thousand years.  Nor has Christ come.  He still delays His return.  Well, what is the answer to that?  What has happened here in this revelation that Gabriel brought to the prophet Daniel?  The answer in the study of the Bible is very clear and very meaningful.

Between the sixty-ninth heptad and the seventieth heptad, there is a great parenthesis.  There is a great interlude; there is a great interposition [Daniel 9:26-27].  And that interposition is the day of grace, the day of the church, the day in which we now live [Luke 21:24; Romans 11:25].

Well, why didn’t Daniel put that in the revelation?  Why didn’t Gabriel tell him about it?  Because God expressly says—through the prophet and apostle Paul in the third chapter of Ephesians—God expressly says that the church—the age of grace, the dispensation in which we now live—that the church was a secret kept in the heart of God from the beginning of the world; he says, “from the foundation of the world” [Ephesians 3:3-10].  No Old Testament prophet ever saw the church; and Daniel is an Old Testament prophet.  Nor was it revealed in the Old Testament.  The old covenant did not seem, did not present, did not prophesy, did not foretell the church.  The church is a secret in the heart of God.  No prophet saw it [Ephesians 3:3-10].

Now in order for us to understand the Bible, we must not take the words and the promises and the prophecies that are to Israel and apply them to the church.  They are two different things.  And the Old Testament has nothing in it about the church.  The church is a new creation.  It is a separate, distinct, unique creation.  It is a secret that God kept in His heart until He revealed it to the holy apostles, as Paul expatiates upon it in the third chapter of Ephesians [Ephesians 3:3-10].  Now if there is for us any understanding of the prophetic, and of the Bible, and of the revelation of the future, we have to remember these things that God has said.  The Bible does not speak to the same people all the time.

Now look: in the tenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, the thirty-second verse,  Paul divides all mankind into three categories: the Jew, the Gentile, and the church [1 Corinthians 10:32].  And sometimes the Bible will be speaking to the Jew; in the Old Testament, all of the Old Testament is to the Jew or to his relationships with the Gentiles.  Or he sometimes is speaking to the Gentiles.  Or he is speaking to the church, and if you want to find the church, you must look in the New Testament.  It is not in the Old Testament.  It was a thing hid from the eyes of the prophets [Ephesians 3:3-5].

Now that’s why that to many people, the Bible becomes a riddle hid in an enigma wrapped up in a mystery.  They don’t see how the thing fits together.  Because they don’t take what God says and let God say what He says, but they take what the Lord says and they apply it to something else.

I want to give you an illustration of that.  In this beautiful Bible, out of which I preach—and it is a beautiful Bible with large print so I can read it—this beautiful Bible is like your Bible; it has editorial notes up at the top.  Now, I am going to read the editorial note up here at the top of Isaiah 43.  All right, the editorial note: “The church comforted with God’s promises.”  That’s what I read up here at the top.  Now, I’m going to read what God says, listen to it:

“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine” [Isaiah 43:1].  Now up here it says: “The church comforted with God’s promises”; but when I read the Bible, it says “Jacob,” and it says “Israel.”

Now, I’m going to turn over to another passage.  Here again, the editor has done the same thing: “The church comforted.”  Then I read the text, what God says:

Yet now hear, O Jacob My servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:

Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee: Fear not, O Jacob, My servant; and thou Jesurun—that’s a pet name that God has for Israel—and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.

[Isaiah 44:1-2]

 When you do that the Bible becomes absolutely inexplicable.  It is a jigsaw puzzle that has no design and the pieces do not fit.  What God says to Israel is one thing; what God says to the church is another thing.

Now, you can take the promises of God to Israel, and they are legion.  The Bible, the Old Testament, is full of them.  Now you can take those promises and you can do three things with them.  One: you can say that those promises are fictional.  It is Hebrew poetry and imagination—and vivid and far-out imagination at that.  It’s wishful thinking.  It’s a dream and has the fabric and substance of castles and hopes that are built in the air.  That is one way you can say.

A second thing you can do is what the editor of this Bible did: you can take the promises to Israel and you can apply them to the church.  Just take all of them bodily and say, God was talking about the church.  The strange thing that—and this is practically all of the theological academic world; that’s what they do—the strange thing about that is this: that Paul expressly says that the church was hid from the eyes of the Old Testament prophet.  He did not see it.  It is a secret hid in God [Ephesians 3:3-10].  Well, when the academician, therefore, says that in the Old Testament you have all of these promises about the church, when Paul expressly says they never saw the church.  I don’t know how you could be intellectually honest and say that but that’s a possibility and that’s what is mostly done.

Now, there is a third possibility.  The first possibility was that it is fictional; it has a fabric of dreams and imagination.  The second possibility is that you can take all of those promises that are made to Israel and apply it to the church.  But the third possibility is that God meant what He said; that when He spoke to Israel, He meant Israel.  And that every prophecy and promise that God made to the chosen family, He will faithfully keep; that God did not mislead them; He did not lie to them.

Now, I have a little parenthesis there.  To me, if God could lie to Israel and mislead Israel, how do I know that, in the promises, God also could lie to me and mislead me?  If God does not keep these promises to the chosen family, I have no persuasion that He would keep His promises to me.  That is one of the reasons that I so fervently and intently believe that when God said these things to Israel, there will come a time when every syllable of His promise, every sentence of the Word, will be faithfully kept.  Not one will fall—or fail—to the ground.

Now, what has happened is this.  In keeping with the revelation given to the apostle Paul, delineated, expatiated upon at length—and I haven’t time ever to read it, in the third chapter of Ephesians [Ephesians 3:2-12]—in keeping with that, what has happened is—in this great interposition, this great parenthesis, between the sixty-ninth heptad and the seventieth heptad, in that interposition [Daniel 9:26-27]—the church age, the Gentile church, in that interposition, in that interlude, in that parenthesis, God postponed the fulfillment of all of these prophecies until the time of the end [Daniel 12:4].

They are in abeyance now.  God is doing something else now.  He is preaching the gospel of the grace of God now.  He is calling all men—whether Jew, Greek, Gentile, Roman, Bavarian—He is calling all now into the fellowship of the Messiah Christ in the church, a new creation [Ephesians 3:2-12].

But He is not done with Israel; and He is not done with the Jew; and He is not done with His sacred promises.  He has postponed them to the end time.  And that end time, according to the revelation of Gabriel, given to Daniel is this final seventieth heptad [Daniel 9:26-27].  And, when that time comes, God will fulfill every promise that He has made to the Jew.

May I speak here for a moment of God’s promises to the Jew?  The eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans begins: “Hath God cast away His people?”  Talking about the Hebrew family: “Has God cast away his people?”  Then Paul answers his own question: “God forbid!” [Romans 11:1].  God forbid that He should forget, cast out His people whom He foreknew [Romans 11:2], whom He elected in purpose before the world began [Ephesians 1:4].  And then the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans, Paul explains that the day is coming when the Lord will graft back into the olive tree its natural branch [Romans 11:23-24].  And then concludes it: “And so all Israel shall be saved” [Romans 11:26].  God is not done with the Jew.  God is not done with Israel.

May I take time to read some of the emphatic promises of God to the Hebrew people?  Look at this one in Jeremiah 30: “For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee” [Jeremiah 30:11].  Other nations may rise and fall, and they have.  I never saw a Hittite, who belonged to the Hittite empire.  The old, ancient Assyrians are gone.  How many empires and kingdoms have fallen and faded?  “But I will never make a full end of thee.”

All right, I turn again here in the Word of God:

Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars… by night, who divideth the sea…

If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me for ever.

[Jeremiah 31: 35-36]

 “As long as there is a day,” says God, “and as long as there is a night,” says God, “and as long as I have ordained the moon and the stars for light by night, just so long will Israel be a nation before Me forever” [Jeremiah 31:35-36].  That is plain language!  And if God lies there, and is mistaken there; then I have no assurance but that He lies to us and He is mistaken with us.

I turn the page—this is endless! You could read this by the hour and by the hour:

Thus saith the Lord; If you can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, that there should not be day and night in their season;

Then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant…

[Jeremiah 33:20-21]

And then He continues it again:

Thus saith the Lord; If My covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;

Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David My servant…  (But I will not cast away his seed or the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).  I will cause their captivity to return, and I will have mercy upon them.

[Jeremiah 33: 25-26]

The prophet Amos, in the last two verses of the ninth chapter of his book, describes the fact that the people will return to their Holy Land, and they will live there forever: “I will never uproot them again” [Amos 9:14-15].

What I read in the Bible is what I see in the human history and what I read in the daily newspapers.  It is exactly what I read—God says it here, I see it in history.  Look at the captivity of Babylon.  The people were enslaved there for almost three generations.  But the intense yearning of their hearts was for the Holy Land; their hearts were still in Judah.  And when they were given an opportunity, they returned to rebuild their city, and their sanctuary, and their land [Ezra 6:3].

In 70 AD, the city was destroyed; the temple was destroyed.  It’s never been replaced.  There’s a mosque there now.  And they were scattered through the nations of the earth.  Were they assimilated?  No!  Like the Gulf Stream, they have remained distinct, and separate, and apart.  Though persecuted sometimes unto death, they still live.  Why?  Because there are a thousand, thousand promises of God that rests upon their continued existence.  All those promises God shall surely fulfill.

The Jewish nation is like quicksilver, like mercury.  And it is dashed to the ground and the droplets are scattered everywhere.  But there is coming a time when God will gather together all of those bright drops and they shall be a nation again, and a family again, and a people again, dwelling in their Holy Land.

Paul says—in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans—Paul says that when the plerōma is complete, when the “full number of the Gentiles be come in” [Romans 11:25].  Jesus says, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, when that is done, then God shall once again turn His heart and attention to Israel, and the heart and attention of Jacob will be turned in belief and acceptance to God [Romans 11:26].  And then we shall have the millennium [Revelation 20:1-9].

Now, may I return in a moment that remains to complete this seventieth [week] of Daniel?  Preceding that millennial kingdom—which is described in verse 24 [Daniel 9:24]—preceding that millennial kingdom, is this terrible week, this last week that finishes the judgment of God upon Israel [Daniel 9:26-27].

That last week is delineated in Revelation chapters 4 through 19 [Revelation 4:1-19:21].  In the passages of Scripture that you just read in the seventh chapter of the Revelation, it is called “hē thlipsis hē megalē, the tribulation, the great” [Revelation 7:14].  There will never be a time of such judgment as shall fall upon the earth during that last seventieth heptad, this one here in the Book of Daniel [Daniel 9:26-27].

It says here that this prince who shall come, that is Antichrist [Daniel 9:26].  And I spent a whole message, about two Sundays ago, describing the earth’s final dictator.  In that final time, the Antichrist shall arise—the earth’s dictator, Satan’s masterpiece.  And he will make a covenant with the Jewish people.  He will make a covenant with the nations of the earth [Daniel 9:27].  The United Nations shall be… oh, there will be chaos; there will be economic, political, military, cultural, national stress, international disintegration.

The Bible says, without exception, through all of its revelation that the world is driving toward an awesome disintegration and chaotic frustration.  And in that terrible time, there will be a time of judgment and of distress because, in the middle of that week, “and he shall confirm the covenant for many for one week”; and in the midst of the week [Daniel 9:27]—now that’s why the Bible gets, in the Book of Daniel and in the Book of Revelation, that three and a half years; that time, times and a dividing of times; that time, time and half a time; that forty-two months; that one thousand two hundred sixty days [Revelation 11:3, 12:6].

You meet that period of time again and again in the Bible.  That is what it refers to.  In the last week of Daniel, it is divided into three and half years, three and a half years.  And the division is when the Antichrist, this ultimate and final dictator, breaks that covenant with the Jewish people [Daniel 9:27].  He has promised them their land; he has promised them their restoration; he has promised them their sanctuary, and their ordinances, and their worship.  And he is hailed in the sixth chapter of the Revelation—this one who comes on a white horse [Revelation 6:2]—he is hailed as the hope and Savior of the world.

But in the midst of that week, he breaks that covenant and he plunges the whole earth into a holocaust of blood [Daniel 9:26-27].  And that ends in the battle of Armageddon [Revelation 19:19-21].  And at the end of the battle of Armageddon, there is the personal intervention of Christ from heaven.  The Lord comes down, the Messiah, and this is the millennium [Revelation 20:4].  He is coming to finish transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision in prophecy [Daniel 9:24].

That is, it is all over!  There will be no more prophets; there will be no more visions.  They are all done.  It is over with.  It is sealed, signed, complete.  “Where there be tongues, they shall cease.  Where there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  Where there be prophecies, they shall be no more” [1 Corinthians 13:8].

This is the end time.  “And to anoint the Most Holy…” [Daniel 9:24].  There are those who say “to anoint the Most Holy” refers to the Most Holy Place where the great Lord God shall be seated and reign.  I think it refers to anoint the Most Holy One.  Same either way—whether it’s the Most Holy Place or the Most Holy One, it refers to the acknowledgment and the reception of Christ the Messiah before whom, as Paul said: “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” [2 Philippians 2:10-11].

And that will come, Daniel says, at the end of that seventieth week [Daniel 9:24].  That is the end of Jewish history; that is the consummation of the age; that is the coming of Christ; that is the establishment of His kingdom in the earth.  And it includes the redeemed of Israel, here described, and it includes those who by faith have accepted Jesus as their Savior [1 John 5:12-13].

We have a minute or two left.  Let me add a word, just a word, about the Lord appearing to Israel.  That is meticulously described in Zechariah the twelfth chapter, the thirteenth chapter, and the fourteenth chapter: “They shall look upon Him whom they pierced, there shall be a great mourning for Him… like as at Hadad-rimmon” [Zechariah 12:10-11], when they were mourning in Megiddo over good king Josiah.

And there will be a great turning to God in Christ.  And a nation shall be born in a day [Isaiah 66:8].  Is that unusual or separate or peculiar?  No, that is exactly what the Lord did with His brothers: James, Joseph, Jude, Simon, his four brothers did not believe on Him [John 7:5].  But when He was raised from the dead, He appeared to them, and He won His brothers to the faith before He ascended back into heaven [Acts 1:14].

That is also what He did for Saul of Tarsus, breathing out and threatenings and slaughter against the children of God, the people of Christ, he was struck on the way to Damascus by a vision of the Lord Himself.  Christ appeared to him personally [Acts 9:1-5].  And, in describing it in the fifteenth chapter of the first Corinthian letter, Paul says that he was born ektrōma, ektrōma, the word “traumatic” comes from that.  Ektrōma—the word literally means an “’abortion.”  He was born “before the time” [1 Corinthians 15:8], it’s translated in the King James Version.  That is, before He appears to Israel, He appeared to Saul personally.  And He won that breathing fiery, tormenting persecutor to Himself.  Christ did that! [Acts 9:3-17].  That is what He is going to do to the whole nation.  They all will be gathered there in Palestine.  And the Lord will appear to them and they will be converted [Romans 11:26-27].  And that ushers in the millennium [Matthew 23:39].

Are you glad?  Ah, you cannot know how happy such a prospect is.  And that’s why Paul closes that tremendous section on the election of Israel—in Romans 9, 10, and 11—that’s why he closes it with that verse: “And so all Israel shall be saved” [Romans 11:26].  What that means, I cannot quite understand.  I think the hardest verse in the Bible is that little sentence: “And so all Israel shall be saved” [Romans 11:26].  What does it mean?  I don’t know.  But I know it means something glorious.  It means something glorious for them.  And of course, it means something glorious for us.  The mercy that was extended to James, and Joseph, and Jude and Simon, the Lord’s brothers; the mercy that was extended to Saul of Tarsus is the mercy that shall be extended to the whole Hebrew nation.  And it is the mercy that has been extended to us.

We are not saved because we are lovely; we are saved because of the mercy of God [Titus 2:3].  We’re not forgiven because there is personal merit in us; we are forgiven because of the goodness of God in Christ Jesus [2 Corinthians 5:21].  It is the mercy of God that gives us hope to stand in His presence some day.  And it is God’s mercy that leads us to faith, and to repentance, and to acceptance [Romans 2:4].  And that’s the mercy and the forgiveness that you feel in your heart when you hear the gospel of the Son of God; and when you read it from the sacred page; and when the preacher stands up in the pulpit and says: “Come!  You, you.  There is a tugging at the heart; there is an appeal of the Holy Spirit; there is an invitation, deep inside the soul.  That’s God!  That’s the Lord’s mercy!  That’s His love in Christ Jesus!  And that’s what you feel.  The sweet choir will sing:

There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place.

And we know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord;

There are sweet expressions on each face.

And we feel the presence of the Lord.

[author unknown]

 That’s God—God reaching down, God reaching out, God making appeal to you.  In a moment when we sing, to answer with your heart and with your life, would you come?  In the balcony round, down one of these stairways, on the lower floor, into the aisle and here to the front, “Here I am, pastor.  This is my wife; these are our children; we are all coming today.”  Or a couple you, or just one somebody you, while we sing the song, while we make this appeal, while the Spirit says the word of invitation, answer with your life.  “Here I am.”  Make the decision now in your heart, and in a moment when we stand up to sing, stand up answering.  Into that aisle, down to the front: “Here I am.”  Do it now.  Make the decision now.  On the first note of the first stanza, you come.  Come, come, while we stand and while we sing.

DANIEL’S SEVENTIETH WEEK

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Daniel 9:24-27

 3-12-72

I. The seventy heptads

A.   Terminus a quo commencement date

B.   Divisions of the 70 heptads, 0 years

II. The great parentheses interlude

A.   Between the sixty ninth and seventieth heptad

B.   We are always to distinguish between Israel and the church

C.   Three ways to look at the promises of the OT

1.    Fictional

2.    Israel forfeited her promises when she rejected Jesus

3.    God does not lie nor mislead and He will keep His promises to Israel

III. The purposes of God for the Jews

A.   He has not cast away His people

B.   He remembers them forever

C.   God will deal divinely with Israel during the seventieth week

IV. The seventieth week

A.   Last half is the tribulation

B.   Millennial kingdom begins at the end of the tribulation