Cover to Cover
Let’s remember our context! Previously, Jesus was talking about how to handle conflict among believers and how much power is available when believers are walking in unity.
THEN Peter asks, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? To the Hebrew, the word seven means full and complete. Jesus’ answer to the number seven was “seventy times seven.” This is a multiplication of the number seven, meaning there is an indefinite number of times that Peter, and we, should forgive someone who wronged us.
To forgive means “to release.” When we let go of someone who wronged us, it doesn’t mean we are to put up with abuse. It doesn’t mean that we have to partner with them in business or in ministry. It doesn’t mean that we necessarily have to trust them or restore them back into position. However, we let go. We don’t make ourselves their judge. We let God do whatever He wants to do with His child. If someone repents and trust is rebuilt, then we can reconcile. That would be the best outcome – a restored relationship! Repentance and reconciliation are two different things.
Jesus continues to illustrate His point with a parable. In this story we read the story of the unforgiving servant. In this story the one forgiven of his debt owed 10,000 talents. One talent is 6,000 denarii. One denarii is worth about one day’s labor. This man owed a debt that would have taken 60 million days to work off. If someone worked for 50 years, the pay would only be 18,250 denarii. The point is, this man owed more money that he could have possibly paid in a lifetime, actually in over 3,000 lifetimes! The man was released from his debt; however, when a fellow servant offered to work off a debt for this man, a debt of 100 denarii, the man refused to forgive. Do we understand the debt we owed to sin? Who are we to not turn around and forgive a brother or sister who wronged us? Wow, what a comparison! In the way our Father has loved us and forgiven us, we ought to love and forgiven one another!
In chapter 19, we read about Israel at Mount Sinai. Let’s look at a few details from this event:
· The people were to consecrate themselves for two days
· God withdrew for two days
· God returned on the third day
· There would be a trumpet blast
· There is thunder and lightening
· The Lord came down in fire and smoke and in a thick cloud
· There was an earthquake
· They heard God’s voice
It is interesting to compare these signs with the time at the end of the Great Tribulation when the rapture occurs. There is a trumpet sound, a loud voice, Jesus comes in the clouds, there is an earthquake, there are thundering and lightning.
In addition, in Hosea 6, we see the Lord returns to the people after a two day withdrawal. At the end of chapter 5, we see God strikes and tears Israel into pieces. The third day Jesus returns and reigns. If we were to consider Jesus’ reign during the Millennium, that would be 1,000 years. That would leave two days, or two thousand years from whenever Israel is struck. When did Israel get struck and scatter? It was in 70 AD at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. What is 2,000 years from 70 AD at 360 days a year? That would be the year 2041. Could it be that Jesus will return on or before 2041? Are we experiencing an increase in frequency and intensity for the beginning of sorrows found in Matthew 24? It seems we are close to His return, and it seems that this prophecy of Hosea could be lining up!
In chapter 20, after Israel was delivered from Egypt after ten plagues, Israel receives ten commandments. God will give many more rules, but the Lord starts off with these ten.
We see the holiness of God in these two chapters, a holiness where sin cannot exist. The holiness of God will obliviate sin like turning on a light in a dark room will push out the darkness. The people stayed at a distance from God, but Moses drew near.
Today, there are people who stay at a distance from God, afraid they won’t measure up, afraid that God will be angry with them. However, through Christ Jesus, the penalty for sin is removed, and we can draw near to God (Hebrews 7:19; 10:22; James 4:8). Hallelujah!