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A BROTHER inquires how he shall answer those who claim that Daniel 9:24 teaches that our Lord Jesus made an end of sin at his First Advent and that therefore the Church could not share with him in his antitypical or "better sacrifices" for sins.
The passage refers to the 70 weeks of Israel's favor, the 69th of which reached to our Lord's baptism at Jordan, and the 70th, beginning there, reached to 3-1/2 years beyond the cross—our Lord's death marking the middle of that 70th week (v. 27), and the acceptance of Cornelius by the holy Spirit marking its end. A number of things were to be accomplished before the termination of those 70 symbolical weeks—490 years. We therefore should inquire: In what sense were all of these fulfilled? In what sense were transgressions finished at that time? Were there no more after the close of the 70th week? Are there none now? "Everlasting righteousness" was to be brought in. Does "everlasting righteousness" prevail throughout the whole earth, or has it at any time prevailed either during or since the 70 weeks of Israel's favor? The same query would be applicable to the making "an end of sins." Have sins come to an end? Are there no more sins? And in what sense did sins come to an end at any time during the 70 weeks? "Reconciliation for iniquity" was to be made. Are we sure that all iniquities were reconciled for at that time? What proof have we to that effect, since the Scriptures do not so say? These questions suggest their own answers.
We still hold that the sense of this prophecy is that before those 70 symbolical weeks—490 years—would end, long-looked for important events would begin to have their fulfilment—not to the world, nor yet to nominal Israel, but to "thy people." For "Israelites indeed" these blessings were provided and foretold—others to be blessed in due time. Those loyal to the Lord like Daniel were specially "thy people"—the most holy of verse 24. "Israelites indeed" who accepted God's mercy were the "most holy," who were anointed by the holy Spirit at Pentecost. To them and all of their class since, the incidents of that time sealed or made positive the prophetic utterances of the past, and confirmed the visions of coming glory declared by the prophets. In Christ and his redemptive work believers realized the beginning of God's blessing for humanity.
To this class applied the "reconciliation for iniquity" which our Lord Jesus made at the heavenly Mercy Seat, when "he ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us." The iniquities of the Church were thus cancelled. The reconciliation of believers was thus effected. But the reconciliation went no further than believers; unbelievers are still unreconciled. The great Redeemer did not appear as their Advocate or make reconciliation for their iniquities. We are glad, however, that he will begin a reconciling work for them at a later time, as shown by other Scriptures. To those whose iniquities were thus reconciled for by our Redeemer's sacrifice there was an end of their sins—they were no longer under condemnation. The offense was by one man unto condemnation, but a free gift of God through Jesus effects for "Israelites indeed" the forgiveness of many transgressions. (Rom. 5:12-19.) Moreover, transgression was finished so far as these were concerned; because since then it is possible for these to abide in Divine favor to keep the Law blamelessly—as the Apostle declares, "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us, who are walking not after the flesh, but after the spirit." (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:14.) The work of redemption and reconciliation effected opened to every Jew an opportunity for release from bondage to the Law by becoming dead with Christ; and likewise the close [R4504 : page 327] of that 70th week opened the secondary door of Divine favor to the Gentiles.
We see nothing whatever in this Scripture to contradict the plain statement of other Scriptures, to the effect that our Lord's great work of reconciliation is divided into two parts—the first for the Church and the second for the world. As we read, "He is a propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins [the Church's sins] and not for ours only, but also [additionally and subsequently] for the sins of the whole world." Full satisfaction was in our Lord's sacrifice. It merely waits to be offered. It is nearly nineteen centuries since the first application for the Church. This use of the Lord's merit will soon be accomplished—and that merit (passed through the Church) will again be in the hands of the great High Priest to be used on behalf of the sins of the whole world.