Sunday, September 16, 2012

Did the 70 Weeks Begin with Ezra?

Ezra 6:14 reads as follows: “And they finished building (the temple) according to the command of the God of Israel and the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”

Some believe that the decrees of the three emperors should be treated as one.  By doing so, they can justify Artaxerxes' edict that sent Ezra to Jerusalem as the commandment that began the 70 weeks.  Cyrus proclaimed the rebuilding of the temple.  Darius confirmed Cyrus’ proclamation with his own decree that threatened to impale any violators.  Then Artaxerxes sanctioned the restoration of the judiciary by commissioning Ezra to appoint magistrates & judges over the land of Judah. 

However “the command of the God of Israel” precedes the decrees of the three kings in Ezra 6:14.  The command of the God of Israel to Cyrus the Great was prophesied by Isaiah and reads as follows:

“It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd and he will perform all My desire.’  And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’ and of the temple, ‘your foundation will be laid.’  I have aroused him in righteousness; he will build My city, and will let My exiles go free.”

I believe that the command of the God of Israel, to restore and to build Jerusalem, in 540 BC marked the beginning of the 70 Weeks.  This interpretation can be understood in terms of sabbatical cycles.  To think outside the box, click The Messianic Seventy Weeks on the sidebar.

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