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Prologue - Hope for Nations


Prologue - Hope for Nations

          For this is what the LORD says: "When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place. ~ Jeremiah 29:10

          In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. ~ Daniel 9:1-2

          He (the man Gabriel, Daniel 9:21) gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision. 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. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” ~ Daniel 9:22-27

          For me this is more than going to be a series event. I have wanted to understand the vision Jeremiah was given, which Daniel was given understanding upon, thtat Jesus the Messiah gave reference to, and that was revealed to John on the island of Patmos. It is as if God gave me the title for this. Hope for Nations. Why? There is not much in the verses preceding the statements I am making that God is our Hope for nations. But look again. "And they sang a new song: "Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and by Your blood You purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation" Revelation 5:9, Berean Study, bold mine).

          Here's the thing: God doesn't ever desire the destruction of people or nations, but rather to see people come to salvation to Him through His Son, Jesus the Messiah. Here's a small tangent: I always call Jesus Christ "the Messiah" as Christ in Greek means "Messiah." The Hebrew equivalent is Maschiach and it means the same thing: Messiah. It's important to know Jesus is our salvation.

          The reason is that God came to Mary telling her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:30-33). I know I jumped ahead completely to explaining Jesus and why is who He is, but we need to understand that He is God's Son given for us. I believe this needs to come first so as to understand what Jeremiah and Daniel were shown.

          Many commentaries will tell you that because Israel's overall sin was great and terrible that when God decreed for a time for her punishment, such as being taken into captivity to Babylon and how long she would be there (70 years), it didn't mean necessarily seventy years. Look at what the angel tells Daniel: "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week" (Daniel 9:27). How long is a week? It is seven days long. When the Angel tells Daniel "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress" (Daniel 9:25), it means there are sixty-nine (seven and sixty-two) seven year periods: a total of four hundred eighty-three years to be in exile in Babylon.

          There was an edict given by four Median-Persian rulers (I found this at Cyrus Decree to Rebuild), which says: "In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, we find four royal commands issued by Median and Persian kings that could possibly qualify as the "commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem." The first command was by Cyrus in Ezra 1:1-11. The second was by Darius in Ezra 4:24 and 6:1-12. The third was by Artaxerxes in his 7th year in Ezra 7:7-26. The fourth was also by Artaxerxes in his 20th year in Nehemiah 2:1-8. A careful examination of these four royal commands and what the Bible says about the kings that gave them reveal that the decree by Cyrus in his first year was clearly the command that fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27."

          Isaiah, who lived before Jeremiah and Daniel, prophesied on God's behalf: "Who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers; who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’To the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ and I will raise up her waste places; who says to the deep, ‘Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers’; 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 44:26-28). It is recorded:

          "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,

          "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:

         All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem" (Ezra 1:1-4).

          There are other verses that support the claim Cyrus was God's in having Jerusalem rebuilt: 
           
         Jeremiah 25:12, "And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, saith the LORD…"

         Jeremiah 29:10, "For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place."

         II Chronicles 36:21, "To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbaths, to fulfill threescore and ten years."

         II Chronicles 36:22-23, "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying: Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God is with him, and let him go up."

         Then when did Cyrus reign over Persia? He reigned over Persia from 559-530 BCE. Knowing this we can deduce that in the first year of his reign would be 538 BCE. Add 490 years to this date and Jerusalem would have been rebuilt by 48 BCE, prior to the birth of Jesus.

         We are also told that this Messiah "will be cut off and have nothing," Even Jesus himself told the disciples, in regards to the temple of Jerusalem, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:2). This lines up with what scripture says: "and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary," and this happened in 70 AD, not very long after Jesus had been crucified and buried. 

         So, where is this "Hope for Nations" then? How is there any hope when so much destruction talked about within the pages of God's word? Isaiah says of Jesus, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:6-7).

         "And the government will be upon His shoulder." what an adequate description of what Rome did to its prisoners of war. It is indicative that the crucifixion Jesus went through had His shoulder against a wooden beam. It was ordered by Pilate, in a sense of the word, a prelate of Rome to concede to the Jews demanding Jesus be crufied (see Luke 23:21). Through scripture and countless articles I have written on the person of Jesus and how He has worked in my life we can see how He fits God's word on Him being the Hope for nations. The hope that He is should be seen by and through the Church, His bride.