The name 70x7 is synonymous with God's
eternal forgiveness. Matthew 18:21-22 in the new King James version of the Bible
reads: 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."
Jesus isn't telling us to forgive our brothers
490 times, or 70 times, or 77 times. He's telling us we should always forgive
our brothers when they have sinned against us. God in heaven has forgiven us
all of humanity's sins. How wrong it would be for us to deny our brothers and
sisters a similar forgiveness for much lesser matters. Back in the book of Matthew
(18:23-35 NIV this time), Jesus tells a parable:
Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like
a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement,
a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not
able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all
that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before
him. "Be patient with me," he begged, "and I will pay back everything."
The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
But when that servant went out, he found
one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and
began to choke him. "Pay back what you owe me!" he demanded. His fellow
servant fell to his knees and begged him, "Be patient with me, and I will
pay you back." But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown
into prison until he could pay the debt.
When the other servants saw what had happened,
they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that
had happened. Then the master called the servant in. "You wicked servant,"
he said, "I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't
you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?" In anger
his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay
back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless
you forgive your brother from your heart.