Eternal optimism | Pineandlakes.com - Pineandlakes Echo Journal

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Eternal optimism

Posted: February 19, 2013 - 5:48pm

Optimists are a strange lot. The pessimist observes that the glass is half-empty while the optimist notices that it’s half full. All the while the pragmatist is trying to measure just how much water the glass will hold.

Our vantage point may not change reality but our perception certainly changes how reality shapes us.

Religion and spiritual pursuit are not exempt from this phenomenon. Some would suggest that we should each have the freedom to define God, as we understand Him. This may be an appropriate perspective when judging abstract art but is in no way relevant in defining the Creator of the Universe.

In our pursuit to know the God of the Bible we are also prone to read and interpret Scripture in light of our preferences. Our theology regarding the End Times is no exception.

The Old Testament Book of Daniel is filled with imagery that is difficult to interpret with certainty. Daniel chapter 9 contains information that is worthy of our consideration. Daniel has engaged in a prolonged time of fasting and prayer. The Lord has reminded him of a prophetic message written more than six decades earlier by the prophet Jeremiah. It is recorded in Jeremiah 29:1-14.

In summary Jeremiah has advised the exiled remnant to “put down roots” in the land of Babylon as the Lord has decreed that they will be there for 70 years.

Daniel has served King Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar of Babylon for 66 years. Now with the overthrow of the Babylonians by the Medo-Persian Empire, Daniel is reminded of the Lord’s promise. But what would cause a conquering king to release captive Israel?

The answer is found in another prophecy found in the Book of Isaiah. More than 200 years earlier the Lord declared through the prophet Isaiah the name of the ruler that would release His people and rebuild their temple. Isaiah 44:28-45:1 list King Cyrus by name!

In response to Daniel’s prayers recorded in Daniel chapter 9 he is visited by the angel Gabriel. The angel explains a vision of 70 “sevens.” Many Bible translations note this as 70 weeks. Many interpretations have been offered regarding the meaning of this text. I limit mine to the interpretation offered by Gabriel.

He notes six specific outcomes with the completion of the 70 “sevens.” Daniel 9:24 reads, “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people (Israel) and your holy city (Jerusalem) 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.”

There is only one event capable of fulfilling these six items: the New Heaven and New Earth. The Millennial Reign brings peace yet sin is not vanquished until the Great White Throne Judgment. This is the purpose of the 70 “sevens.”

The Bible has much to say regarding the events that precede the consummation of all things. God’s plan is just and He will bring it to pass. His offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ is worthy of consideration.

Seek Him now while He may be found.

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