CONNECTING COGS ON YAHWEH’S TIMELINE
Let’s begin with one of the great Sacred Chronology synchronisms in the Scriptures. Towards the end of the Kingdom of Judah, when Babylon was on the rise, Yahweh began to sychronize Hebrew history with secular Babylonian history, in Jeremiah 25:1, “The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon).” This verse synchronizes Judah’s final years with the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, beginning with the fourth year of King Jehoiakim in 605 BCE. This synchronism is not the focus of our study today, but it does give us a tie in to when in history Jeremiah made his desolations prophecy to Judah in chapter 25 of his book. Notice Jeremiah’s theme in verse 5, the same theme we preach today, “‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that Yahweh has given to you and your fathers forever and ever.”
In verses 8-12, Jeremiah pronounces judgment upon Judah, because they refused to repent and turn from their wicked ways back to their Heavenly Father, Yahweh, ““Therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘Because you have not heard My words, 9behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says Yahweh, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. . . .11And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says Yahweh; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation.”
Several chronology scholars, Martin Anstey, and Sir Robert Anderson, in particular, distinguish between the servitudes, captivity, and desolations of Judah, but we know this era as the 70-year captivity of Judah. Today, we’re just going to look at the years of the desolation. When did they begin? When did they end? Sir Robert Anderson, in his great book, The Coming Prince, spelled it out for us in detail. I will only cover the highlights in this brief post. The reason Yahweh judged Israel at that time was because they had stopped observing the seventh-year rest years, or shemitahs. He was going to judge them for 70 years, one year for each shemitah, or Sabbatical year, that they had refused to let the land and people rest. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21, “And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him (Nebuchadnezzar) and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, 21to fulfill the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she (the land of Judah) lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.” This was in direct fulfillment of the law of Moses from Leviticus 26:34-35, “Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35As long as it lies desolate it shall rest—for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt in it.” The Sabbatical years are to be years of joy and rest for the people and their land. Why do we continually give up our joy for servitude to sin?
Well, barely sixteen years after Jeremiah prophesied the desolations over Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded Judah again and besieged Jerusalem. 2 Kings 25:1-2, “Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign (King Zedekiah of Judah), in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around. 2So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.” Note the year, month and day that Nebuchadnezzar began the siege against Jerusalem. According to Sir Robert Anderson, the desolations of Jerusalem had begun. Using modern calendar conversion programs, we can pinpoint the exact day that the siege began. The 10th day, in the 10th month, in the 9th year of King Zedekiah occurred in the Jewish year of 3173 (10-10-3173), or Friday, December 11, 589 BCE, if our Gregorian calendar had been implemented then. The siege lasted for about two and one half years, until the summer of 586 BCE, when Solomon’s Temple was destroyed, along with the rest of Jerusalem. Mark that day as the beginning of the siege and the desolations of Jerusalem.
On that day, exactly, Yahweh also told Ezekiel, who had already been taken captive to Babylon along with young King Jehoiachin, to record the beginning date of the siege and desolations of Jerusalem, in Ezekiel 24:1-2, “Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 2“Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day—the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem this very day.” Isn’t that amazing? There was Ezekiel, hanging out with the captives of Judah, 500 miles away in Babylon, and Yahweh spoke to him on the very same day that King Nebuchadnezzar began his siege against Jerusalem. Ezekiel wrote down Tevet 10, 3173 (10-10-3173), or Friday, December 11, 589 BCE, in our reckoning. That’s better communication than any modern cell phone. Ezekiel did not need a smartphone, he had the Holy Spirit of Yahweh breathing inside of him!! Ezekiel would not have had any idea what was going on in Jerusalem, but Yahweh was watching over His Word to perform it, and He wanted Ezekiel to keep track of it also. Notice, dear sacred chronology scholars, that the first 11 years of Ezekiel’s and King Jehoiachin’s captivity are synchronized with King Zedekiah’s reign. Zedekiah was placed on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar upon King Jehoiachin’s capture, back in the spring of 596 BCE.
With this simple, amazing synchronization, Sir Robert Anderson has “proven” that Jerusalem was captured in the summer of 586 BCE. King Zedekiah’s 9th year began on Tishri 1, in the fall of 589 BCE, his 10th year began on Tishri 1, 588 BCE, his 11th year began on Tishri 1 of 587 BCE, and therefore Zedekiah was taken captive in the summer of 586 BCE. Is this really a “proof” of when Solomon’s Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed? Yes, because we’re talking prophetic years, not solar years, when discussing the desolations of Jerusalem. Let’s now tie in the END of the 70 years desolation.
How many days make up 70 prophetic years of 360 days each? 70 X 360 days = 25,200 days, exactly. So, when did the desolations of Jerusalem end? Well, let’s add 25,200 days to Saturday, Dec. 12, 589 BCE (the day AFTER the siege began, the FIRST FULL DAY OF DESOLATIONS) and see where we end up. Dec. 12, 589 BCE is Julian serial day # 1506643 + 25,200 days = Julian serial day # 1531843. That day was Saturday, December 10, 520 BCE, or Kislev 23, 3242 Jewish calendar, the FINAL FULL DAY OF DESOLATIONS. The following day, Kislev 24, 3242, or Sunday, December 11, 520 BCE, Haggai prophesied in 2:18-19, “‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of Yahweh’s temple was laid—consider it: 19Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’” Dear reader, you’ve got to get ahold of this. Yahweh prophesied through Jeremiah, EXACTLY 70 years of desolations for Jerusalem. That equates to EXACTLY 25,200 days. Since the siege of Jerusalem began on Tevet 10, 3173 Jewish, THE FIRST FULL DAY OF DESOLATIONS BEGAN THE NEXT DAY ON TEVET 11, 3173. THEN, AFTER EXACTLY 25,200 FULL DAYS OF DESOLATIONS, WHICH ENDED ON KISLEV 23, 3242 JEWISH, YAHWEH HAS HAGGAI PROPHESY THAT FROM THE NEXT DAY, KISLEV 24, 3242, THE DAY THE FOUNDATION OF THE SECOND TEMPLE WAS LAID, HE WAS GOING TO BLESS ISRAEL AGAIN!!! Isn’t that incredible? Yahweh had prophesied exactly 70 prophetic years of desolations MUST BE FULFILLED, before He would bless Israel again. The land had to rest for EXACTLY 70 years. Then EXACTLY after 25,200 days of desolation were completed and fulfilled, the VERY NEXT DAY THE ISRAELITES FINISH LAYING THE FOUNDATION OF THE SECOND TEMPLE AND YAHWEH PROMISES TO BLESS THEM AGAIN!!! I don’t know about you all, but I’m blown away by Yahweh’s greatness, sovereignty, and exact accuracy in fulfilling His word, how carefully He watches over His word to perform it! Do you see it? Yahweh, by using evil men, delayed the construction of the second Temple for 28 years, in order to FULFILL 70 YEARS IN THE DESOLATIONS OF JERUSALEM!!!
This is even more amazing when you realize that 25,200 days equal 68.99 solar years, not quite close to 70 years! No wonder so many scholars are confused about the 70 years captivity, servitude, and desolations of Jerusalem. So, what year was Kislev 24, 3242, on our Gregorian calendar? It was Sunday, December 11, 520 BCE, in the second year of King Darius I Hystaspes of Persia, as Haggai told us plainly just a few verses earlier in chapter 2:10, “On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of Yahweh came by Haggai the prophet,” Notice, that the Israelites began work again on the Temple foundation on the DAY FOLLOWING THE SABBATH, on the first day of the week, Sunday! The second Temple construction had actually begun back in about 548 BCE, as Ezra explained in Ezra 3:8-11, “Now in the second month of the second year (548 BCE) of their coming to the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, Jeshua the son of Jozadak . . . 10When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of Yahweh. . . 11And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to Yahweh: . . . because the foundation of the house (Temple) of Yahweh was laid.” But the Temple construction had been HALTED for about 28 years, as Ezra explained in Ezra 4:5, “and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus (the Great) king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius (I, Hystaspes) king of Persia.” and Ezra 4:24, “Thus the work of the house (Temple) of Yahweh which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius (I, Hystaspes) king of Persia.” (From 548 BCE to 520 BCE)
So what you say? Well, Darius I, Hystaspes, was known by the throne title of Artaxerxes!! When the Temple construction was re-started in 520 BCE, in Darius’ 2nd regnal year, Yahweh’s blessed servant Nehemiah was in his third year as cupbearer to King Darius, Artaxerxes, having begun as cupbearer in 522 BCE, when Darius ascended the throne of Persia! In 520 BCE, Nehemiah had been in captivity about 79 years!! if you consider that he was taken captive in the same deportation with Ezekiel, King Jehoiachin, Esther and Mordecai. Esther 2:5-6, “Now there was a Jewish man in the palace of Susa whose name was Mordecai son of Jair. Jair was the son of Shimei, the son of Kish. Mordecai was from the tribe of Benjamin,6 which had been taken captive from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. They were part of the group taken into captivity [in 596 BCE] with Jehoiachin king of Judah.” (New Century Version) Well, you know what happened in the 20th year of Artaxerxes, in 502 BCE, Nehemiah, in his 97th year of captivity, was commissioned to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild Jerusalem, including its wall! That decree of a Persian king kicked off the 490-year, or 70 weeks, prophecy of Daniel 9!
So now we’re tied back to Daniel 9, one of the most profound chapters in the entire Scriptures. And notice how Daniel introduces chapter 9:1-2, “”In the first year of Darius (the Mede) the son of Ahasuerus (Cyaxares I), of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans [on the night of King Belshazzar’s death, after he saw the writing on the wall, during King Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity]—2in the first year of his (Darius the Mede’s) reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of Yahweh through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”” Blessed Daniel, he was reading the books of Jeremiah back in 573 BCE, when he had been in captivity only about 33 years, and was witnessing great upheaval in Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar had gone insane a few years before. Young King Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son, had just been slain, and a Median by the name of Astyages, or Darius the Mede, had just been made king over Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar’s wife, who was Astyages’ sister! You think Daniel was confused? You wonder why he was praying so earnestly that day? Daniel knew that Babylon, the captivity, and the desolations were no where near 70 years in length at that point in time!! But Daniel did have the desolations on his mind while he fervently prayed to Yahweh, 9:17-18, “Now therefore, our Mighty One, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for Yahweh’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18O my Mighty One, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.” And then, while Daniel was praying about the 70 years of desolations, which were the result of 490 years of disobedience, the angel Gabriel shows up and gives him the 70 WEEKS (490 years) prophecy that would tie up human history in their Messiah!! Doesn’t that sound like Yahweh? You’re praying about one matter, and Yahweh gives you another word, related, but deeper, more meaningful and farreaching!! Ah, blessed Daniel, I love your heart and understand your feelings of confusion and mystification! We’ll have to come back to the 70 weeks prophecy again in another post.
I just wanted you to see how Yahweh tied Hebrew history together with the 70 years desolation prophecy of Jeremiah. That one prophecy tied together the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple with the reconstruction of the second Temple during the reign of Darius I Hystaspes, who was the Artaxerxes who commissioned Nehemiah to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, which kicked off the 490-year Daniel 9 prophecy to Messiah and then the final 70th week of human history. If there is a problem with history from 502 BCE to 447 BCE, it’s with Persian history, not Hebrew history, nor Yahweh’s prophecies, chronology, calendar, clock, or timeline. His chronology cogs are precise, ancient humans cogs, not so much.
Gene Benjamin II
April 28, 2012 CE