The Increase of Knowledge and Repentance
...in the Closing of this age
Recall the Hebrew word, yadag ("to know") that drew attention in the Daniel Series Part Two. We found it significantly placed one time in each of Daniel's last six chapters. These placements direct us to five dimensions of knowledge that will find increase as the time of the end comes on. We looked, albeit too briefly, at the first two in the last article. Daniel 9 directs us to Number 3, the knowledge regarding the time frame in which God will move as He brings the age to its completion. Along with this, we discover His sixfold purpose for the closing of the age--and we find the utter importance of our full repentance as the time of the end comes on.
Please take time and read Daniel 9 in your Bible. Going over and over its verses will only enhance in you the call to repentance and the release of the supplication the last days demand.
AS WE HAVE SPENT TIME with Daniel 9, something powerful has been opening to us. I trust some of what we are seeing can come through in this article. It is primarily this: as the time of the end draws on, the Lord is drawing us into a repentance that reaches into two dimensions. It reaches for the depth of the sin in us, and it reaches for the width of the sin of which we are a corporate part. We are learning to say, "We have sinned," and include in it our family, our church, whatever company we may be a part of, and our nation. In this, a spirit of repentance is finding release and the depth of sin in us is meeting its judgment.
It is apparent the Holy Spirit was drawing Daniel in his pursuit of truth. He said, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the Word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet. that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:2). The prophetic word to which Daniel was drawn was Jer 29:10.
See it: For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. Adding to this was Jer 25:11 and 12. Perhaps few had access to the books, which were actually scrolls, in which these prophecies were inscribed, but Daniel, because his heart longed for understanding, found them. He gained a simple insight; the seventy years to be accomplished at Babylon were coming to their end. But only Daniel found it--because he had set his heart to know and to understand. We are setting our hearts for the same in this hour.
The Hebrew word from which understood comes in Daniel 9:2 is bin. In all the prophetic section of Daniel it is the kind of understanding that comes by divine enlightenment. A light came on in Daniel's mind; suddenly, he understood it was time for the harassment of Babylon's bondage to end. He also saw the horrifying condition of Israel, and that drew him to repentance of the highest order. This same kind of understanding, born of the Holy Spirit, can come to any whose heart is open and diligent in the pursuit of truth today.
Now, as we hold ourselves before Daniel's prophecy--like Daniel did before Jeremiah's--it is ready to open unto us. In Daniel 9 three areas of revelation present themselves. First is the revelation that repentance intensifies--and even becomes vicarious--as the time for the fulfillment of prophecy draws on. Second is the revelation that God has a sixfold purpose to be completed within a distinct period of time that includes the last seven years of this age. Third is the unveiling of the timetable in which God will move as He brings His purpose for the age to completion.
FIRST WE MUST SEE this matter of repentance. It gives birth to what Prophets speak. Powerful words from out of the heavens, telling God's will for His people, wait for two things: their effectual time and the preparation of hearts. For Daniel, praying and repentance took on a precision when he understood it was time for Israel's captivity to end. He perceived the people could not be released from their bondage until the matter of their sin was addressed--even though the prophetic time for their deliverance had come.
An amazing thing about Daniel's praying was that he identified himself with the people's sin, although he was, by all human standards, a pretty good man, perhaps the most righteous in the land. This is the reason we call it vicarious repentance. He identified with the people in their rebellions and said, We have sinned.
Even in that, one dimension of confession was not enough. He also said, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly, we have rebelled--Daniel 9:5. Through verse 16 he went on to elaborate upon this. Finally he could make his strong plea for the removal of the judgment that came through Babylon's hand. Although this should come according to the word of the Prophet, Daniel's final plea came to be based solely upon God's great mercies.
We need to look more closely at what he prayed. He said, We have sinned. This is from the Hebrew chata which means "to miss one's way; to go wrong." Daniel's prayer meant, "We are off the track; we have missed the mark; we have stumbled; we have forfeited our place." He said, We have committed iniquity. This is from avah which means "to bend, or twist; to deal perversely." His prayer meant, "We have made our way crooked; we have dealt perversely; we have overturned what was right." He said, We have done wickedly. This is from the Hebrew rasag which means "to have an unjust cause; to be guilty of a crime." His prayer meant, "In our restlessness we have given ourselves to mischief; we have embraced the cause of the enemy." Then he said, we have rebelled. This is from marad which means "to be bold and audacious in rebellion and disobedience." It is interesting that this is the same root word from which the name Nimrod came. He who was the first human being to stand in the anti-Christ office presents us with a picture of the final-day rebellion. Daniel's praying meant, "We have joined with the enemy." Those today who take up rebellion against the Lord, in any dimension, set themselves over into the camp of the anti-Christ and will be open prey for him in his last day swoop through the land to gather in his recruits.
If any tendency toward sin remains unbroken in us, the last-days pull of the anti-Christ system will, in all probability, prove to be too strong for us. We may well fall into the company of the apostates as sin comes to its full and demands the judgment of God.
Most of us cannot grasp how deep is the sin that has laid hold on us. This is because it has a deadening power that influences the sense and feelings of our conscience. Therefore, we are learning to pray that conviction will come upon us from the Holy Spirit. Only then can we understand what our repentance must become. It deepens to reach the root of sin in us. It broadens to draw others in.
FOR SOME TIME I've been taken with the idea that sin has three dimensions. All find their result in our rebellion against God. Every dimension of sin must be addressed if we are to arrive free in the Day of the Lord and if we are to have the privilege of function in His Kingdom. Daniel's praying addressed this depth of sin.
That sin has three dimensions first came to my attention in Paul's Epistle to the Romans where we also learn of the extent of our Redemption through Christ. There, Paul begins by speaking of the motions of sins in the mass of humanity. They are many and terrible and they which commit such things are worthy of death (Rom 1:32). Then he speaks of both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin (Rom 3:9). This sin is a ruling principle that has come over into the life of every person, for all have sinned (Rom 3:23). Then, at a point from which he does not turn, Paul begins to speak of sin in a deeper dimension. Wherefore, as by one man sin (Greek: harmartia) entered into the world (Rom 5:12). The word translated sin in this verse has the Definite Article preceding it. It should be translated "the sin." This is never the case before; it is always the case afterward in Romans. So, in the unfolding of the Epistle, we find Paul deals first with sins. Then he deals with sin. From 5:12 onward he deals with the sin. All individual sins are the expression of sin already resident in the heart and soul of the individual. This has come upon all because of the sin that found entrance into the race by one man, even Adam.
Men of the Old Testament also saw three dimensions of sin. In Ex 34:7 Moses made reference to iniquity, transgression, and sin. David named the same three in Ps 32:1,2 where he spoke of transgression, sin, and iniquity. In Ps 51:2,3 he pleaded with God, Blot out my transgressions, wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Isa 53, that great prophetic chapter on the Redemption, made mention also of these three: He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. He bare the sin of many. By the Lord Jesus we have propitiation, that is, the satisfaction of God's wrath against sin. Time and again we have found release from the power of some sin in our lives because we understood this.
But in this age, each one of us--even the most pious--is left with something of sin still crouching at the doors of our lives like an animal ready for attack. We have never seen a movement of the Holy Spirit but that every open heart is convicted that sin is still present with them. We must always be on guard against it. How many, how many, have fallen in its snare. We have seen too many walking for a while in victory, only to trip and fall over some foolish stone placed in their path by the adversary. Be aware of this: it is his intent to trip us all before the end and make us fall into his snare. Paul was aware of this. He said, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (I Tim 4:1). Apparently Daniel was aware of the same. He said, ... he (the vile person) shall even return, and have intelligence with (take psychic control of) them that forsake the holy covenant (Daniel 11:24).
As one of the strongest proponents of the Finished Work of Christ, I say this: there is something yet to be accomplished with regard to the power and presence of sin with us. Daniel 9 gives us understanding in this.
WHEN DANIEL REPENTED and made supplication regarding the sin, iniquity, wickedness, and rebellion that had taken hold on himself and Israel, the Lord responded with a word of promise to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24).
The hope that sin, in its every dimension, shall come to its end embraces the Cross where the Lord Jesus died. But it becomes apparent in the prophecy we are about to see that it also embraces a work yet to be accomplished in a period of time that belongs to the end of this age. We find that after Messiah is cut off--Daniel's prophetic word in 9:26 about the death of Christ--there yet remain seven prophetic years to bring the prophecy regarding sin to completion.
Observe the immensely full statement that came to Daniel through Gabriel. After he had repented and made his supplication, Gabriel spoke to him of all those dimensions of sin to which Moses, David, and Isaiah had made reference, and concerning which Daniel had prayed. When the age is finished, they all shall have been put away and everlasting righteousness shall have been brought in.
What follows is the high point of all prophecy. No passage demands closer attention. It takes us through the closing of this age and points the way to the opening of the new Day for which our hearts long. After viewing it with little emphasis on its parts, we will begin to consider its points.
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.
25 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.
26 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.
27 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.
It is evident we need understanding in this prophetic word. We can only begin with it in this article.
THE TIME FRAME for the completion of God's stated purpose as we see it in Daniel 9:24 is ready to become clear. It is limited to seventy weeks. This is literally "seventy units of seven." While the Hebrew term translated weeks could have reference to units of seven days, the wise opening of the Scripture makes us know that, here, its reference extends beyond that. "Weeks" has no meaning; "years" has much meaning and makes the passage fit in with other Scripture both in Daniel and Revelation. Thus, all agree we are presented with seventy units of seven years. This makes a total of 490 years. We call them the 490 Prophetic Years.
These 490 years are determined. Significantly, the Hebrew word translated determined occurs only here in the Scriptures. It means "to divide off or to lift out." Thus, we have 490 years lifted out of the plain of history with a prophetic significance. I think we might well come to the conclusion that all other prophecy in the Scripture points to and is standardized by this period of time.
As we proceed, we find that one unit of the seventy "units of seven" has yet to see its apparent fulfillment. It belongs to the consummation of the age. Though separated from the prior 483 years on the plane of ongoing human history, the prophetic connection between the two periods is firm. We call the unit of seven years awaiting completion the Last Seven Prophetic Years. The sixfold purpose stated in verse 24 cannot see its completion until these years see theirs, for the prophecy belongs to the whole.
The first three points of the sixfold purpose have to do with the sin that has become the blight upon the human race. To deal with it all, it is God's purpose to finish the transgression--the great sin of Adam that was transposed upon us all. Then it is His purpose to make an end of sins--the countless evils in which all of us have participated. Furthermore, it is His purpose to make reconciliation for iniquity-- that inward principle of sin that has burrowed its way into the heart of every soul. These are the three dimensions of sin that have plagued us. They intrigued the Prophets. They called for Paul to write Romans. Unless, finally, they are brought to their end, the power and authority of God's Kingdom cannot come in its fullness in the earth.
When we see the stated purpose of God in this Daniel prophecy, Rom 8 takes on new meaning. The pangs of birth in which creation cries find new hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of (the) corruption into the glorious liberty (or, the liberty of the glory) of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain (birth pangs) together until now And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption ("son- placement"), to wit, the redemption of our body--Rom 8:21-23.
But, the scope of God's purpose revealed to Daniel reaches further than the eradication of sin. It is to bring in everlasting righteousness. What a hope! Then it is to seal up the vision and prophecy. The seal might have reference to closing something tightly, but its more likely meaning here is that of a seal from a signet ring used by a king to validate a document. Both the vision and the prophecy will receive their divine validation at the end.
Then there is the wonderful finality. It is God's purpose to anoint the most Holy. Could this have reference to any other than that to which Paul made reference in Eph 2:21? He spoke of Jesus Christ, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord? What an expectation! What a longed-for hope! All the building, made of living stones, cleansed and ready, indwelt by the Spirit of Him Who is the Heir of All Things! This building, spread throughout the earth, can then become the throne room of the Kingdom of Heaven from whence the Lord can extend His righteous rule over every nation.
IT IS THE EVIL ONE'S INTENTION to gather back into His fold all who have aligned themselves with the Lord Jesus and who remain on earth till His return. This desire of his can only be confounded by the utter repentance of every one joined with the Lord. It will be a repentance that goes deep and that is brought on by the heaviest conviction of the Holy Spirit. It will deal not only with what we have done that is wrong, but with what we are that is wrong. And, amazingly, it is a repentance that is becoming vicarious as we repent for the wrong in our family, our church, our business, our school, our neighborhood, our nation.
This brings us back to the repentance we found in Daniel 9:3-19. He touched on all the dimensions of sin into which Israel had fallen. It was vicarious in that Daniel identified himself with the sins of the people and said, We have sinned.
Recently, it came to Glenda and me that we should repent for the sin of our family. With just the two of us, we read this Daniel passage as a guide. We sensed no deep emotion but only the conviction that there were things displeasing to the Lord in our family. With no judgment, but with a keen awareness of God's tender mercy, we laid things before Him that had been troublesome to us--and to Him. Identifying with those who were weak, we found the release to say, We have sinned. We have committed iniquity. We have done wickedly. We have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments--Daniel 9:5. As this has continued with us, we have also found release to forgive those who preceded us for the sin they released into our lives. We have included them in our repentance as we have continued to say, We have sinned.
It came to us that we should repent for our nation, especially for our President. Whereas, before I had found myself disgusted with his actions and extremely judgmental in my spirit, I began to repent and say, We have sinned.
Something was released in my spirit. Contrition came upon me. I became truly sorry before the Lord for the moral condition of our country.
The next day we knew we must repent for our church--not simply the congregation with whom we worship, but for the whole Church of which we are a part.
Something is happening in our spirits that is drawing us on toward that Day for which we continually long.
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