THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
#05-1150
The Number 70
Restoration of All Things
December 31, 2011
I am closing out the year with this topic because it has to do with the word that I believe the Lord has put
on my heart for 2012.
There are two main views of the meaning of the number 70.
First, in his book Number in Scripture , E.W. Bullinger states that “7 x 10 signifies perfect spiritual order
and carried out with all spiritual power and significance. Both spirit and power are greatly emphasized.”
Second, the number 70 is considered the number of universality or the restoration of all things.
Of course, these two views are mutually inclusive. In fact, they go hand-in-hand since the restoration of
all things signifies perfect spiritual order and is brought about by all spiritual power. Another way of
stating this is that when God’s perfect spiritual order comes, all things will be restored back to God. For
from Him and through Him and to Him are all things (Romans 11:36).
Before explaining this thought, let us consider some places in scripture where the number 70 appears.
The first mention is discovered with the descendants of Shem, Japheth, and Ham that repopulated the
earth after the flood. Adding up the descendants of Noah as recorded in Genesis 10 reveals that there
were 70 of them.
The house of Jacob that entered Egypt numbered 70, and from this group eventually came the nation of
Israel.
(26) All the persons belonging to Jacob, who came to Egypt, his direct descendants, not including the
wives of Jacob's sons, were sixty-six persons in all, (27) and the sons of Joseph, who were born to him
in Egypt were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob, who came to Egypt, were seventy . (Genesis
46:26-27 NASB)
When the Lord delivered the sons of Israel from Egypt and led them into the wilderness under the
leadership of Moses, God gave Moses the command to choose 70 elders to help him judge the people.
The LORD therefore said to Moses, "Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you
know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them
take their stand there with you. (Numbers 11:16 NASB)
Later and after Solomon’s United Kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, Judah
was given the iron yoke of judgment (Jeremiah 28:13-14) and sent into Babylonian captivity for 70
years, which was also the length of years for the Babylonian monarchy. With the end of the 70 years,
Judah was allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its temple (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; Daniel
9:2; Zechariah 7:5).
The Lord told Daniel that 70 weeks were set for his people to finish the transgression.
"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to
make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up
vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. (Daniel 9:24 NASB)
These 70 weeks were actually 490 years that ended with the crucifixion of Jesus in 33 AD. The last week
or 7 years of Daniel’s 70 weeks occurred from 26-33 AD. Jesus began His ministry in the midst of the
week in 29 AD when He went to John for baptism on the Day of Atonement. This is when He presented
Himself for ministry and made an end to sin, which was fully consummated at the Cross.
Finally, Jesus sent 70 disciples out into the field for a harvest.
Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and
place where He Himself was going to come. (Luke 10:1 NASB)
These are just a few examples of the appearance of the number 70 in scripture.
Now, the number 70 signifies the restoration of all things in that it refers to all the nations. As we have
already seen, there were 70 descendants of Noah following the flood, and these 70 were essentially the
beginning of the nations on earth that was restored after the flood. Thus, the number 70 represents all
the nations and their restoration.
Carrying this thought to its fullest extent means the restoration of all things. After all, according to Paul,
who used a similar word, God in Christ has reconciled all things to Himself on earth and in heaven
(Colossians 1:20), and God is not counting the world’s trespasses against them (2 Corinthians 5:19).
This thought was conveyed in the 7-day Feast of Tabernacles that the sons of Israel celebrated each
year, starting on the 15 th day of the 7 th month.
(12) 'Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do
no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to the LORD for seven days. (13) 'You shall present a
burnt offering, an offering by fire as a soothing aroma to the LORD: thirteen bulls …. (17) 'Then on the
second day: twelve bulls …. (20) 'Then on the third day: eleven bulls …. (32) 'Then on the seventh day:
seven bulls …. (Numbers 29:12-32 NASB)
Notice that on the first day, they sacrificed 13 bulls and on the second day they sacrificed 12 bulls. Each
day they reduced the number of bulls to be sacrificed by one until on the 7 th day they sacrificed 7 bulls.
There were a total of 70 bulls sacrificed over this 7-day period.
According to the Jewish Talmud, these 70 bulls corresponded to the number of the nations, 70 in the
world. Thus, the purpose of these sacrifices during the Feast of Tabernacles was to appeal to God for
the restoration of all the nations of the world, to restore them back to God. They were doing this with full
knowledge of God’s heart as revealed through His prophets. Later, Peter reminded the men of Israel of
this fact.
(19) "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing
may come from the presence of the Lord; (20) and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,
(21) whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by
the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time . (Acts 3:19-21 NASB)
One further proof of this was when Jesus, who came in fulfillment of all the prophets, sent out 70 of His
disciples into the harvest of the world as a sign that it is God’s plan to restore all the nations. God plans
to harvest (i.e., restore) all the nations to Himself through His Son who has the power to subject all things
to Himself (1 Corinthians 15:25-28; Philippians 3:21).
The Upward Call: #05-1150
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by: Stuart H. Pouliot