Spiritual Weapons, Part II: The Sword

Prayer

What Is the Nature of Spiritual Warfare?

The Apostle Paul tells us that the battles we wage in this life are not physical, but spiritual: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).  

We see this battle defined specifically in the life of Jesus on many occasions.  Speaking to His accusers who claim he casts out demons using the power of demons, for example, Jesus says,

Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  (John 8:44)

The Sword of the Spirit, therefore, is the true Word of God with which we may defeat the lies of Satan.  It is the same weapon Jesus used to defeat the deceptions of the enemy, who is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may destroy (I Peter 5:8) .

 

Sword

The Word of God:  The Sword of the Spirit

Since we cannot fight such a spiritual battle using a tank or an AK-47, we need to use God’s armor and weapons in this battle, and He offers them to us.  

The first Spiritual Weapon I researched in the Scriptures, therefore, after hearing from the Lord in my dream to use spiritual weapons He has given us (see Part I) was the only one I knew about–the “Sword of the Spirit.”

I turned to Ephesians, where the Apostle Paul describes the “full armor of God” with which, Paul says, we may “stand firm against the “schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).  

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (Ephesians 6:13-17)

This passage defines the nature of our warfare, the realm of truth and falsehood.  The only power Satan holds is the power of the lies he tells.  If he can succeed in persuading people that his lies are true, then he gains the victory and succeeds in bringing his lies to fulfillment because of our own complicity.

However, I soon realized that there had to be more than one spiritual weapon, for Paul also wrote about “weapons” in the following message to the Church in Corinth:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.  (II Corinthians 10:3-5)

Clearly, I needed to do more research!

What is revealing about this passage is that the spiritual weapons may be used not only in combating satanic, or demonic, forces but also in battles with human spirits.  In this case, Paul declares he is coming against the “lofty things” and “thoughts” of some people in the Corinthian church that are leading others astray.

This idea, using spiritual weapons in a human  arena, may seem unusual to many Christians, but how often have people  initiated division or strife in the Church because they have used such weapons such as gossip or defamation?  

Yet  this is where we encounter what is commonly labeled “witchcraft,” a word translated from the Hebrew word kashaph, which means “to practice witchcraft or sorcery.”

The Sword in Combat Against Sorcery

The word for sorcery in the Greek is “pharmakeia,” essentially the word from which words “pharmaceutical” or “pharmacy” derive.  This suggests that mind-bending drugs may also be associated with demonic influences, mainly because they diminish one’s ability to determine what is a lie or to  be decisive about combating the evil around us.  

The essence of witchcraft in the Scriptures relates to two conditions: the sin of rebellion and the desire for control over others, to possess control over  others’ lives.  The desire for power, whether in small relationships or large, is the sin of domination, which is comparable to sorcery, which is described in Galatians as one of the “deeds of the flesh” (Galatians 5:20).

Today, people are actually encouraged and taught to be assertive, as opposed to aggressive, but many tend to equate or confuse the two. They choose to devote themselves to obtaining power and control over others through will power, body language, verbal sparring, or mental control, thereby exercising the same kinds of power that they themselves find defeating or demeaning.  It’s the opposite of the kind of leadership the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to exercise, being a humble servant.

Divination, likewise, seeks control by learning the future.  Casting spells is a practice that attempts to put others under control by using spoken language in patterns designed to gain control over others.  This practice is a counterfeit of the Sword of the Spirit, for it entails the use of words in spoken formulas to gain one’s own desires, rather than speaking the Word of the Lord to come against evil, declaring God’s will in this world.

Jezebel even resorted to murder to obtain a vineyard for her husband Ahab, but she also persecuted the prophets of Yahweh, commanding that they be killed, all while entertaining the prophets of Baal and  Asherah at her royal table.  

In John’s Book of Revelation, the Church in Thyatira is chastized for allowing in its congregation a “Jezebel,” portrayed as a symbol of false prophecy:  

But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.  (Revelation 2:20)

Thus, false prophecy is directly opposed to the truth that is inherent in the Word, the Sword of the Spirit.

Manesseh is another biblical figure who is described in graphic terms in the Scriptures:  

For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists.  He did much evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him to anger.  (II Kings 21:5-6)

To conclude, we are instructed in the Word of God to keep the Word in our mouths and in our hearts.  We use the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, to help set the captives free and receive the salvation God has promised (Romans 10:9-10).  The power of death and life are in the tongue (Prov. 18:21), and we must use the power for God’s kingdom, not Satan’s.

deliverance

Using the Sword

One thing I realized before too long after engaging in spiritual warfare was that demons and even Satan himself cannot know what we are thinking.  He is not omniscient!  He only knows what we tell him, and all too often he hears from our own mouths how to attack us or those around us.  

This is why we are encouraged to guard our tongues and let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouths (Ephesians 4:29-30).  The Apostle James is particularly strong on this message, for he tells us that we must bridle our tongues or our religion is worthless (James 1:26).  He also says that we must “tame” our tongues, for both fresh and salt water cannot flow from the same spring (James 3:1-12).

We cannot silently speak our resistance to the evil forces in this life that surround us, therefore.  We must speak aloud the words of rebuke to the evil ones, just as Jesus and the apostles did.

Sometimes, however, speaking the words the Holy Spirit gives us may also open doors of love and forgiveness to those who are seeking salvation.  One night in a home meeting, for example, the Lord began speaking through me and others to various individuals gathered together.  Many there were new, having never come to the meeting before.

One by one, the Lord spoke to individuals in “words of knowledge,” declaring the needs, problems, and promises to each one.  It was a literal fulfillment of Paul’s words to the Corinthians:  “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you” (I Corinthians 14:24-25).

At one point during the meeting, the Lord spoke to me concerning a young woman in the group, revealing that she had experienced difficulties sleeping.  Even sleeping pills could not help her to overcome her restlessness.  As the Lord continued to reveal her deepest needs, He also shared how He wanted to meet those needs.

When I opened my eyes, before me stood a young woman I had never seen before, trembling and weeping.  She said she could scarcely believe her ears, for all that the Lord had said exactly fitted her situation.  She prayed and asked God to forgive her sins, receiving that evening the salvation and fullness of the Holy Spirit contained in the promises of the Word of God.

The Word of God, or the Sword of the Spirit, therefore, is a powerful weapon indeed, and may be used both to engage the enemy victoriously and to lead people to God.  Of course all words carry a tremendous capacity for good or evil, love or strife, edification or destruction, but as we speak the Words of God an awesome power is released.  His Word is alive and powerful.  The worlds were framed through faith by the Word of God, and if the Holy Spirit chooses to speak through us the power and authority is no less great.  We must present ourselves to Him as clean channels from which His Word may flow.

Spiritual Weapons, Part I

A Dream

A number of years ago, the Lord gave me a dream.  Not all dreams are from the Lord, of course, but this dream was like no other dream I had ever had before.  And because of its special impact on my life, I now believe without reservation that this dream was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I was in a house which was locked, not from the inside but from the outside.  I knew that I could not get out.  Suddenly, I came under strong physical attack by three evil men.  I never tried to escape from them, even though they were menacing and I was terribly afraid.  Beside me stood a close friend I now know was the Lord Jesus!

As these evil men came boldly toward me, I was strongly impressed to speak directly to them.  I said, “May you be struck blind, and deaf, and dumb in the name of Jesus!”

Immediately, these words had their effect, and the attackers were rendered helpless.  They became blind, and deaf, and dumb!

At once I awoke from this dream and found myself wide awake.  Immediately, the Lord spoke to me in my spirit, as clearly as I have ever heard Him speak.  He said, “Use the Spiritual Weapons that you have!”

Thereafter, I began to search the Word of God, the Scriptures, asking God to show me the Spiritual Weapons and how to use them.  I was familiar with the idea of putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 5), but aside from the Sword of the Spirit, I wasn’t familiar with any other weapons.

After studying the Word to find weapons, I was amazed.  Never before had I realized the extent of God’s full provision for every Spirit-filled believer for meeting and defeating the enemy.

The Weapons Jesus Used

Since we are all part of the Body of Christ, we have the same Spiritual Weapons that Jesus used while on earth in the battle against the forces of darkness.  Paul writes,

The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Romans 13:12-14)

 The word translated “armor” in this passage is the Greek word hoopla, which is also translated elsewhere as “weapons.”  Therefore, let us indeed put on, and use, the armor and weapons by clothing ourselves in Jesus Christ, for He is our armor and weapons!

The Spiritual Battle

The Apostle Paul writes this teaching in his letter to the Corinthians,

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:3-5)  

This is the same passage in the Authorized Version (KJV) translation:  

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

A “stronghold” is essentially a castle or a fortress, but in an interpretive sense, it is an argument or rationalization used to fortify an opinion.  And an “imagination” is a judgment or decision passed by the conscious mind that casts doubt on the truth of the Word of God.

We learn from this teaching that our battles in this life are  not against flesh and blood, not against neighbors, wives, deacons, or bosses.  Instead, our warfare is in the spiritual realm against strongholds and high imaginations, against Satan and the demonic powers of the enemy.  Since we are instructed to walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit, we will only find defeat if we use carnal, or earthly, weapons.  

Using Spiritual Weapons, therefore, we may pull down and negate all the lies of the enemy, even those that exist in the hearts of people that separate them from God.  This victory is not gained in the natural realm, however.  It is accomplished in the spiritual realm through spiritual revelation and intercessory prayer. 

 Uncrossed_gladius              

The Sword of the Spirit

While in a trance on the Isle of Patmos, the Apostle John saw the Lord Jesus Christ in all the glory of His power:  “In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:16).

What is this two-edged sword?  It is mentioned again in  the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where Paul writes about putting on the whole armor of God: “And take . . .  the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). 

Also, in the Book of Hebrews the Sword of the Spirit appears again, complete with a specific definition:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

The Sword of the Spirit, then, is the Word of God, in all of its various manifestations in this world.  John saw the Sword in the mouth of Jesus because Christ is the Logos, the eternal Word of God.  Every word that proceeds out of His mouth is the Word of God. 

As believers in Jesus, we also have the Word of God abiding and dwelling in us (see John 15:7).  As ambassadors for Christ, we may speak the Word of God in this world, whether it be in prayer for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven, or by resisting the Devil that he might flee from us. 

The Sword in Action

In John’s Gospel, Jesus is referred to as the “Word of God,” the word Logos in the Greek:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).    

We’ve seen how the Lord Jesus is described in the Book of Revelation as having a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His mouth.  It should not be startling, then, to realize that Jesus Himself used this weapon during His earthly ministry.  This spiritual weapon of the Word of God is particularly powerful when Jesus is engaging directly with Satan.

During the “Temptation of Jesus,” described in the Fourth Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, for example, Jesus is tempted three times by Satan, once to assuage His hunger by turning stones into bread, once to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple to see if He would be rescued by God, and once to receive all of the kingdoms of the earth as a result of bowing down to Satan.  

After every temptation, Jesus did not use carnal or earthly weapons.  Instead He used the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  Three times in response to the words of Satan, Jesus quoted the Scriptures, each time saying “It is written…”  Satan departed from Jesus at that time to renew his assault on Christ many times during the next three years, but Jesus Christ was always the victor, even when it seemed like He was defeated.  

 

 

 

Grammatical Misreadings

Daniel 925 basic

Oh, No!  Not a Grammar Lesson!

As an English Professor and a Writing and Composition teacher, I found that some of the worst problems students had writing correct standard English essays related to pronoun errors, of which there are many different kinds. For example, the following sentence contains a pronoun problem,”My professors, Dr. Walden and (her/she), both require midterm examinations.”  Which pronoun is correct?

Another pronoun problem is a vague or ambiguous pronoun reference:  “Aiden was constantly bullying Kaden because he felt superior to everyone.” The pronoun “he” in this sentence is difficult to interpret.  Does the pronoun refer to Aiden?  Does it refer to Kaden? 

Of course, in conversation, if the listener is uncertain of a pronoun’s meaning, usually that person shows a questioning expression or asks for clarity.  These remedies cannot occur in a written text, however, for the author is probably not present to offer explanations.

Other pronoun problems have to do with pronoun case (I/me, they/them, etc.) or plurality (singular or plural).

For example, the sentence “Somebody left their credit card on the table in the restaurant,” has faulty pronoun  agreement.  The word “somebody” is singular, but the pronoun that refers to this word is plural, their. This kind of error is very common in conversation, in formal speeches, and even on television, with news and sports broadcasters continually using the wrong pronoun.

Once again, we are accustomed to this kind of error in informal conversation, but the problem occurs when students write the way they talk, leading to misreadings and misunderstandings in a written text.  

Based on our own language practices and conventions which may often be imprecise or incorrect, we may often misread a written text because of our own misunderstandings of how language works.

A Grammatical Misreading

One prophetic passage in the Book of Daniel contains a passage that has been not only misread, I believe, but also misinterpreted, leading to a number of false teachings that are not only distracting, but also even blasphemous, perhaps.  This is the passage:

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.  And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” (Daniel 9:24-27)

This passage has been used by many Bible teachers to conclude that “the prince who is to come” is the “Anti-Christ,” who will bring an end to Temple sacrifices in the middle of the future Tribulation period in a  rebuilt Temple, ultimately bringing about a complete destruction of the Holy Place.  These events all occur during the seven-year “week,” or seven years, that ends the Tribulation period.

The passage is interpreted to mean that this “prince” will make a covenant with Israel for seven years, but in the middle of the seven years he will break the covenant and bring about the end of all sacrifices and lead the world to a complete destruction, to be followed by Christ’s Second Coming.  This is a false conclusion, I believe, because of what the rest of the Scriptures relate about Christ’s sacrifice.

The Problem Pronoun

The problem in the verse is derived from the pronoun “he” in the beginning of verse 27:  “And he will make a firm covenant…”

Does this pronoun refer to Messiah the Prince, or does it refer to the “prince who is to come” who will destroy the city and the sanctuary?

The Bible commentaries are clearly divided, all because of this ambiguous pronoun.  Even some translations of the Bible into English compound the misunderstandings, writing into their versions their own views of the pronoun’s meaning.

Usually, in Standard English grammar, which describes how the language works in its correct form, the pronoun refers to the  noun that is closest to the noun it is substituting for in order to avoid ambiguity.  This would mean that the “prince who is to come” is the one intended.  

Using this method doesn’t work for the Hebrew language, however, since its meanings do not depend on word order like English.  Hebrew  is an “inflected” language, which means that the order of the words does not determine the meaning. Instead, changes in the forms of the words, usually the endings, are made to reflect meanings.  As a result, the meaning is the same even when the word order changes.   

Discovering the correct interpretation of a Scriptural passage means not just considering grammatical rules, but also the full scope of the Word of God, particularly the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  A number of significant scriptural interpretations must be brought forth to understand this passage completely.

First of all, there is nothing in Gabriel’s message in Daniel 9 to lead to the conclusion that a two-thousand year interval comes between the 69th and 70th weeks in the prophecy.  If it did, this gap obviously would means that the Temple would have to be rebuilt and sacrifices would need to be re-instituted in order for the “prince who is to come, the “Anti-Christ” to destroy them.  These are both conditions that dispensationalist teachers believe must occur soon.  Instead, all of the conditions listed in verse 24 (“to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place“) must wait until future events transpire in present-day Israel.  However, all of these conditions were completed when Jesus said “It is finished” when He was dying on the cross.

Second, the Scriptures are clear concerning how the sacrifices in the Temple ended.  When Christ was crucified, the “veil of the Temple” (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45) was “rent” or torn, referring to the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple.  This veil was vital in the structure of the Temple, for it was not only formidable (according to Early Jewish tradition the Temple veil was as thick as a man’s hand, although this measurement may be an exaggeration), but also symbolic of the separation between God and humanity.  Due to Christ’s sacrifice, therefore, this veil was no longer necessary to demonstrate this separation.  Instead, the division between God and humanity no longer existed, again as a result of Christ’s final sacrifice.  The Apostle Paul explains it this way: 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  (Ephesians 2:4-6) 

Why would God want sacrifices reintroduced in another Temple when His own Son, Jesus, was the perfect sacrifice for sin?

Third, the sacrifices offered under the Old Covenant were only a shadow of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice; therefore, they were all inadequate, as it says in Hebrews: 

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.  Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?  But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.  For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:1-4)

The sacrifice made by Jesus Christ is fully sufficient, as it says later in the same chapter in Hebrews:  

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

Even to suggest that sacrifices and offerings in a rebuilt Temple in the upcoming years will be the fulfillment of God’s plan for Israel is a false teaching, therefore.  Instead, this is a more correct interpretation of verses 26 and 27 in Daniel 9: 

Then after the sixty-two weeks [the 69th week, which is 7 plus 62] the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come [most likely the future Roman Emperor Titus in A.D. 70] will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And Messiah the Prince will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week [the 31/2 years of Christ’s public ministry] He will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate [again Titus], even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.

What must we believe?

This interpretation ultimately simplifies all of the elaborate schemes, schedules, charts, and continually revised predictions of the dispensationalist teachings. 

First, we must see that there is no Seven-year Tribulation in the future, merely the continued times of tribulation that Jesus promised His followers:  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  

Second, our focus needs to be not on believing for a rebuilt Temple or the politics of the people living in national Israel except to pray for their salvation, that these people will be again “grafted” on to the Olive Tree that the Apostle Paul describes in Romans, Chapter 11:

And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural  branches be grafted into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:23-24)

In addition, like all of the Early Church, we too must await the coming of Jesus the Bridegroom, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:13-14).  

This passage refers not to a “rapture” of the Church, but instead to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Imposed Meanings

daniel_9_70_weeks

Gabriel’s Message

An analysis of one verse in the book of Daniel  is sufficient to render inadequate many of the teachings that are based on this prophecy: 

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place” (Daniel 9:24).

The term “seventy weeks” refers to “seven periods of seven,” and nearly all Bible commentaries agree that this is a number that adds up to 490 years (7 x 70 = 490).  At the end of this period, Gabriel says, the “transgression” will be finished, an “end of sin” will be accomplished, iniquity will be atoned for, everlasting righteousness will be brought about, vision and prophecy will be finished (sealed up), and the most holy place (or One) will be anointed.

Clearly, if this prophecy has not been completely fulfilled by the coming of Christ and His final sacrifice, then these significant accomplishments will not have occurred, but must wait until the end of the 490 years.  Yet even Bible teachers who agree that these changes in the sin condition of humanity have been accomplished still believe that this verse waits for future fulfillment.

Fulfilled Prophecies

Through Christ’s earthly ministry, however, all of the promises spoken by Gabriel in Daniel 9:24 have been fulfilled:  

       To finish the transgression:

The Israelites were taken in bondage to Babylon because of their disobedience.  There they remained for 70 years, after which the Israelites, when they were truly repentant of their idolatry, were allowed to return to their homeland .  The books of Ezra and Nehemiah show how the Israelites returned to the God who had delivered them from their enemies.

       To Make an End of Sin and Make Atonement for Iniquity

Jesus Christ had the sins of the entire world laid on Him while He was on the cross, as the following three passages state: 

  1. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all  To fall on Him (Isaiah 53:4-7). 
  2. He [God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:20-21). 
  3. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (I Peter 2:24).

    To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness

The word “righteousness” means “right-standing with God.”  As it says in II Corinthians 5:21, through Christ Jesus we have been made to be the righteousness of God:  “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  

This condition is true for everyone who believes, not as a result of following the Law of Moses, but through faith in Christ’s complete atonement on the cross: But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith” (Romans 3:21-25).

To seal up vision and prophecy:

  1. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18). 
  2. So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; 23 that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:22-23). 
  3. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth” (Ephesians 1:8-10).

To Anoint the Most Holy [One]

The word “place” is not present in the original language, so Bible translators and editors have added what they believe to be implied in the text.  I believe, however, that instead of “place” the word “One” should be used to connote Jesus Christ, the Anointed One.  He was anointed when He was crowned and was seated at the right hand of God, the Father, the event described by the Apostle Paul:  

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:18-21).

 Conclusion

Nothing in the context of this prophecy by Gabriel in Daniel 9 may be taken to mean that there will be a 2,000 year gap, or more, between the 69th and 70th weeks of the time periods designated for total fulfillment.  The diagram at the beginning of this post shows this graphically.  By doing an online image search, you will find many such diagrams, although a majority have some kind of gap between the 69th and 70th “Weeks” of the prophecy.

The results of this gap, a serious misreading that came about because of a preconceived idea, rather than true exegesis, have led to numerous false teachings about the End of the Age and Christ’s Second Coming.

What does this mean?  It means that we eagerly await His coming, not a rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem with renewed sacrifices.  Not a seven-year Great Tribulation period.  Not two second comings of Christ, but one glorious appearing when all shall see Him coming to take His Bride the Church.

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