In the first lesson of this quarter, we studied how God called Zerubbabel (c. 538 B.C). and Ezra (457 B.C). to special ministries. In the second lesson, we considered God’s call for Nehemiah (444 B.C.). We need to realize that these callings were performed in harmony with God’s foreknowledge. For example, Zerubbabel was moved by God to do a specific task in response to the end of the 70 years of captivity that Jeremiah had prophesied.
In what year was Ezra called to ministry? It was the same year in which King Artaxerxes issued a decree. How is that year significant in prophecy? Look up Daniel 9:24-27.
Daniel 9:25 states that “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks” (NKJV). The last week of this prophecy is mentioned in verse 27. Since one week contains seven days, so a prophetic week equals 7 years (Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:5-6). Therefore, this prophecy talks about 70 weeks, which equal 490 years. The question that must be answered is, What is the starting date of the 70-week prophecy? The text states that it will be from the time that the decree is given to restore and build Jerusalem.
There were a total of three decrees given regarding the restoration of the Jewish people. Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes all gave commands for restorations. However, only the one from Artaxerxes includes concern for the city of Jerusalem itself, and only this decree is associated with praising God for His intervention (Ezra 7:27-28).
We count the beginning of the 70-week prophecy from the year 457 B.C., the seventh year of King Artaxerxes I as mentioned in Ezra 7:7-26. Additionally, because the year 457 B.C. is also the start of the 2,300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14 (see tomorrow’s lesson study), this decree serves as the starting point for these two prophecies. The seventy weeks end with year A.D. 34, which is when the preaching of the gospel was enlarged and also went to the Gentiles (marked by the persecution of the early church and the martyrdom of Stephen). The middle of the last week would be the year A.D. 31, which is when Jesus died on the cross.
|Review the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. How does it reveal, with amazing accuracy, the ministry of Jesus? How should a prophecy like this help firmly establish our faith?|