On the Count of?
One night after church in 1985, I learned how every current End Times doctrine failed to accurately develop a reliable starting or stopping point for the seven weeks segment of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy. The current doctrines tended to place the seven weeks starting point following Artaxerxes’ decree of 445 BC. Unfortunately, as is obvious and has been explained in This Side of the Whirlwind that time line cannot work. The numbers just do not add up.
On my way home from church that evening, God imparted a revelation in the form of a question. The Lord asked, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if the forty-nine years of the seven weeks [segment] were just a consolidation of all the years and months the Israelites actually worked on [restoring] the city and the walls?”
I realized at that time, the question was more than my own ruminations. As a result, I began examining historical resources to find answers. Nearly two years later, after researching the Bible and a variety of other theological resources, data revealed a period spanning between forty-eight or fifty-two years for which the Israelites actually labored on restoring Jerusalem, the temple, and the wall. From 536 BC until the wall’s completion, numerous interruptions, including minor wars, skirmishes, and raiding parties from surrounding tribes, caused temporary and long-term work delays to Jerusalem’s reconstruction (Ezra 4:1–24). This included a couple work stoppages commanded by the king of Babylon himself, Artaxerxes by that time.
I pursued this exhaustive chronological search which revealed the consolidated number of years for the Israelite reconstruction. The reports of Israel’s forced delays and repeated interruptions are well-documented. For nearly one-hundred years, the Israelites worked sporadically. At one point, due to the aforementioned issues, the Israelites even placed half of their workforce on guard duty, sword in hand, while the other half labored toward Jerusalem’s reconstruction (Nehemiah 4:8–23). Obviously, splitting their workforce would cause additional delays.
According to Josephus, an ancient Jewish historian, the walls were finally completed near 437 BC. This is a discrepancy of only two to three years gathered from information approximately twenty-six hundred years old. Bear in mind, when God first placed this thought in my mind, the likelihood of Jerusalem’s reconstruction project spanning just forty-nine years out of 101 years was to me a monumental longshot. The seven weeks segment of the prophecy began with King Cyrus’s decree and ended with the completion of Jerusalem’s wall. Though the entire project spanned nearly 101 years, what were the odds the Israelites period of labor would reduce down to just a span of forty-nine years? It was a pretty slim chance in the natural.
Should completion of the wall be calculated from 436 BC, one year later, with a start date from 538 BC to 536 BC, the consolidated number of years spanned would total between fifty and fifty-two years. The variance in these two outcomes is derived from the ambiguities in data between the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and other related historical data.
With an inflexible target number of forty-nine years (or seven segments of seven years) and the outcome extremes, resulting between forty-eight and fifty-two years, it is to me reasonable to accept the target number of forty-nine years and declare the matter chiefly resolved. With the lesser discrepancy of minus one year or the greater discrepancy of plus two years, I attributed and accepted time line inaccuracies to a lack of precise researchable materials and an event which took place nearly twenty-six hundred years ago. Even without exact historical data, I was able to reach a reasonably close, near perfect, time frame for the seven weeks segment. In my opinion, a discrepancy of only minus one year or plus two years is a small leap of faith, especially when the event took place so long ago. Therefore, I make this leap of faith and accept the seven weeks segment as being fulfilled during the one-hundred-and-one-year period between 538 BC and 437 BC. Based on this starting point for the sixty-two weeks segment, the time line is perfectly aligned with the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy. No strings needed to be pulled, twisted, or fabricated!
You see, the prophecy states: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command [Cyrus Decree in 538 BC] to restore and build Jerusalem [536 BC] until [the existence of or birth of] Messiah the Prince [approximately 3 BC], there shall be seven weeks [49 years] and sixty-two weeks [434 years]; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.”
In 538 BC, King Cyrus of Persia made this proclamation stating “… the House of God in Jerusalem would be rebuilt” (Ezra 1:2). God spoke directly to King Cyrus in scripture, conveying His desire for Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem, its walls, and the holy temple (Isaiah 44:28 through 45:1–13). The prophecy was written approximately 174 years before the reign of King Cyrus which took place long before Cyrus’ birth. Scripture mentions him by name and his role in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Upon reading the prophecy, King Cyrus financed an expedition, which sent willing Israelites home to begin reconstruction. Second Chronicles 36:22–23, written a little over seventy years before the Cyrus decree was issued also reports God’s will for King Cyrus as related to the Jews. Following the completion of the seven weeks segment, the sixty-two weeks segment promptly began and ran uninterrupted for 434 years. A few of the more obvious verses from Isaiah’s amazing prophecy are presented here in support.
Who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ” (Isaiah 44:28 NKJV)
Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—To subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut. (Isaiah 45:1 NKJV)
“I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward,” says the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 45:13 NKJV)
Is that amazing or what? Imagine if someone pointed out your name written hundreds of years ago in God’s Word. That is pretty amazing.
So, here is what happened. King Cyrus gives the decree; the Israelites begin construction and it becomes troublous or troubled times; the consolidated period in which the Israelites actually worked on Jerusalem, the Temple and the wall spanned approximately 49 years or 7 segments of seven. The wall was finished in 437 BC when the 62 weeks segment began and ran for 434 years until approximately 3 BC. Jesus the Messiah was born! Yeah! Now there is only one segment left in the seventy years of Daniel. We’ll see how that parses out next time on —
“This Side of the Whirlwind: 70 Weeks Unveiled”
<The letters above were supposed to be bigger and more impressive with a loud boom going off and a clanging cymbal with cheering crowds. Haaaaaaaaah!
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