By Jarrod Belcher
In Daniel 9 the prophet is privileged to be shown what will take place in the future concerning God’s people and his Messiah. In verse 24 we find the prediction of the coming of an everlasting righteousness. What is righteousness? We could think of it in terms of moral uprightness. There are people who deal honestly and fairly with others because it’s the right thing to do. And on some level we can refer to such people as righteous people. Job is a Biblical example of this. But we know that despite a man’s efforts to live uprightly and honestly there is no one that meets God’s standards. Even the best of us have been in need of a righteousness that is outside of us rather than depending on our own moral goodness. We have needed a way for our sins to be taken care of. The sacrificial system in the Old Testament was part of God’s reconciling work.
But Daniel was living in a time when Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed and the sacrifices and the ceremonies had been stopped due to the Babylonian Empire’s fierce conquest of Judah. A second Temple would be built a few decades after Daniel and the ceremonies and sacrifices would be restarted. But was that the promise of everlasting righteousness? Actually, the very nature of repeating the sacrifices over and over again illustrates to us that they do not fulfill that prediction. It isn’t everlasting if you have to repeat the same sacrifice a year later.
But the everlasting righteousness that we need is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. His perfect obedience of God’s Laws uniquely makes him the only person to have earned the blessing of eternal life. His sacrificial death has put an end to all the sacrifices because when we sin now no longer need a new sacrifice. By faith alone and without any moral works we have access to this righteousness. Don’t come to God promising that you’ll do your part of the deal to be saved. You don’t have a part in adding to the righteousness of Christ. Not only that but you would fail on your end of the deal. Only Christ’s righteousness will do because it is the only righteousness that is everlasting.