This is going to sound strange, and I know it before I type it, but there is something on my chest that I must talk about. It's actually a very familiar verse, but one that today God opened my eyes to in a new light. First I'm going to give the verse, then I'm going to talk about what it really means.
Mathew 18:21 Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times ?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
So many times I've read that seven times seventy is about unlimited forgiveness, and well it is. Yet there is a reason that it is about unlimited forgiveness besides being a 'big' number. 490 times a day is a lot of forgiving, I agree. Yet there is another thing to consider, something God showed to me earlier today.
You see, there is a concept that was commonplace to the Jewish people of that time, that we as Christians really wouldn't be thinking about but they would. God instituted the Sabbath for a day of rest, a day in which we were to draw closer to Him, imitating the day of rest not because God needed rest, but because he knew before hand that we His children would need rest. Then he instituted a system of letting the land rest every seven years. Then in the sixth year the land would produce enough for three years. What is significant about that?
Well if you harvest enough in the sixth year to last three years, you have enough for the sixth, the seventh and then the 8th year. The 8th year you start fresh again, planting and tilling living off God's provision. That's very important. That we realize the 8th year is a year of fresh starts, and yet God is providing for us because we kept his Sabbath.
Then we look again and there is a period of 49 years, after which everyone forgives each other their debts. Seven times seven. Why seven times seven? Well it's seven periods of seven years, it's a year of Sabbath. During the Jubilee everyone gets back their land, they no longer owe money, and every slave is freed back to his family. This is something that Israel has stopped doing, and it's something that we don't hear about. God wanted us to do this for a reason. He wanted people to not amass wealth and have all their brothers poor servants to them. They were all to remember every 49 years that they were equal in God's eyes. To return the money and the land to the Lord because it was His already! It was a matter of faith.
Why are 10 Jubilee cycles so important? Well some call it a grand Jubilee. Yet there is even more there. You see Daniel chapter 9 says, 24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens
Guess what happened 490 years after Daniel said this? Daniels decrees have been calculated to have been 490 BC... exactly 70 times 7 years before the birth of Christ. Now think about what that means in terms of forgiving 70 times 7.
We are to forgive in the manner of the Jubilee, the Grand Jubilee! We forgive in the way that God forgave us when He sent His only Son to earth, to be our goel, our kinsman redeemer. Not just 70 times 7 but forgiving in a manner that wipes away sin, forever blotting it from our eyes. Remember we are living in the perfected Jubilee of Christ! In this year we are to trust in God and his promises, forgive each other our debts. God has provided everything we need, the Word of God, to feed us through our year of rest. Now it is up to us to have enough faith in God to follow Him in obedience!