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The Symbolic (and True) Meaning of Seventy Times Seven





 
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV) - Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

The interesting thing about this verse is that Jesus is not saying that we should forgive 490 times or simply a lot of times for that matter. I came to understand recently that there is a very specific meaning when we look behind the symbolism of those numbers.

In the Bible, the number "7" symbolises completeness or a finished work, while the number "70" signifies 'perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance' (Bullinger, 1921, p.235). Therefore, 490, being the product of 70 x 7, signifies spiritual perfection of perfect order and completeness.

Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive someone and eagerly offered an answer to his own question. He thought that forgiving completely would suffice. But Jesus responded by saying that it wasn't good enough to just forgive completely but to forgive to the point of spiritual perfection!

If we think we have no unforgiveness... we need to stop and examine our hearts. This is one of those things that makes me go "ouch" whenever I stop to think about it or have those creeping negative thoughts against someone... We are required to forgive to the point were we no longer meditate on the hurt or have any anger or animosity towards the person who sinned against us. Our hearts need to be completely cleared to say the least.

Unforgiveness hurts us and not the person who hurt us. It also hurts and hinders our spiritual lives. I often use something I've heard to illustrate, it gets a laugh but gets the point across: "Unforgiveness is like taking poison while waiting for the other person to die!"...


I quoted E.W. Bullinger, Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance, 1921. For anyone interested, this classic study guide can be found as a free internet resource here: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/number01.htm

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I often discover areas of doubt lurking upon my canvas - by T Sia
My doubt led me to intimacy



Andrea Lynn (@allforhim)

  "Unforgiveness is like taking poison while waiting for the other person to die!"... Excellent quote! Excellent blog to follow B2U's! That is awesome to know 70 x 7, is spiritual perfection and that is what we are called to forgive to. A good reminder when those nasty thoughts and feelings creep up about a person, that we have yet to forgive them perfectly, still work to be done! Thank you Sia! Blessings! Andrea


Samantha Shemer (@youaregolden)

  Wonderful blog doulos! Unforgiveness is like taking poison while waiting for the other person to die!"... That is such a profound statement but oh so true! Thanks for posting this blog! I still am learning to practice forgiveness especially to those closest to me. YSIC, -Golden


Sarah Lidbury (@sarahl)

  Very thought provoking and an always timely subject that seems to be understated so often. I'm finding it really hard at the moment - sometimes the process is SO ongoing. But I really think there are times when I forgive the person (for the upteenth time!) and it's like I've suddenly had a breakthrough in my on walk & growth/softening of my heart.


Virginia Sills (@happytoberestored)

  Sia, I love that! "Unforgiveness is like taking poison while waiting for the other person to die!" I recently heard a wonderful explanation abuot the extant use of bitterness it the Holy Bible and how we are to have a better understanding of it. When we are told to not let a bitter root grow up, the bitter root to which is referred is one that was ground up and used to permeate whatever it was put in. Unforgiveness is that bitter root. Great post my dear brother. Much love in Christ! Happy


Beth M+ (@blest)

 
We are required to forgive to the point were we no longer meditate on the hurt or have any anger or animosity towards the person who sinned against us. Our hearts need to be completely cleared to say the least.

I think that's the best definition of forgiveness I've heard. Excellent blog...
blessings, blest



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