I know this isn’t anything new. It’s just an observation I made by my own little lonesome.
We know that in Biblical numerical symbolism 7 is a number of completion or perfection. When it is used it typically means “in it’s entirety,” or “always,” or “every time.” It can also mean “complete in every way.” 7 days of creation. 7 times a man stumbles but he gets back up. Etc. Likewise, when we see 70 at times, it can mean an extension of such. As if to say to infinity (and beyond).
Isn’t it interesting that the nation of Israel went into captivity in Babylon for 70 years. This equaled one year for every sabbath year they blew off. In fact, Israel never observed a sabbath year. A sabbath year was commanded by God every seventh year. Israel would not do anything that year. They would let the land replenish by not farming it. Seas as well would replenish not having fished them. They would prepare early on and then trust God solely for that year for His provision. (Similar to when they first entered the wilderness and God supernaturally provided manna, quail and water). There were other aspects that were part of that commandment as well but those are a couple of the biggees. This is not to be confused with the year of Jubilee that took place on the 50th year. But the Sabbath year was a precursor to it. However, every time a sabbath year rolled around, Israel wouldn’t keep it. They kept on planting and fishing and living life as they always had.
So God disciplined them for their disobedience. After all, it was a command...to rest.
He allowed Babylon to take them captive. Finally after 70 years God brought them back home. Again, one year for every Sabbath year they did not observe. This means that the nation of Israel as a whole, not just a few people, went 490 years without ever observing a sabbath year. Ok, so follow me on the math here. It’s interesting that every 7th year there was a sabbath year and their disciplinary action for not obeying God was 70 years of captivity under the rule of another nation. He then relented and forgave them. He forgave nearly 500 years of disobedience. And that was just ONE sin. Think of the countless others they committed against him. Think of the ones we still commit!
Fast forward to Jesus' day. I wonder if that’s what Jesus had in mind when He was asked how often should a person forgive another, should it be 7 times? (Remember the symbolism here) Jesus answers actually, you should forgive them 70x7. In essence saying choose to release people from their offenses against you just like His Father did for Israel when He forgave and released them from their bondage for disobeying Him 70x7.
Just a thought. Maybe nothing. But in a very creative way, it seems we are being told by Christ that regardless of who hurts or offends us, and regardless of how many times someone hurts us or offends us, we need to consistently and completely forgive. Think of it this way. Each time a person commits some kind of infraction against you in anyway, you have to think, "well God overlooked 500 years, so we must do the same." Even if you were to think of it literally, we should be ready to forgive each person 500 years worth pain and offense they bring into our lives. Either way, it's going to be utterly and completely covered because...just in case you haven't notices... we just don't live that long anymore. :)