Read 266.) II Chronicles chapter 36, verses 22 and 23, and Ezra chapter 1 thru chapter 4, and verse 5. With the beginning of our reading, we mark the end of the 70 year period of exile revealed by God thru Jeremiah, in chapters 25 and 29 of his book. That period commenced when Nebuchadnezzar took the first exiles from Judah in 605 BC. With the 70 years completed, we have come to 539 BC, and the rule of Cyrus, prophesied by Isaiah, in chapters 44 and 45, some 160 years before! The 70 years was a Sabbath rest for the Promised Land, says II Chronicles 36, and verse 21. All of ancient Israel’s history had been foretold.
We are coming to the end of The 4th Prophecy, which was Israel’s unfaithfulness unto the Lord. This was foretold by Moses and by Joshua, and commenced with the words of the Angel of the Lord in Judges, chapter 2. It is also the beginning of the end for The 5th Prophecy, also revealed by Moses and Joshua, concerning Israel’s removal from their Promised Land, which had begun to be commenced when Assyria removed the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC, but more specifically, when Nebuchadnezzar began to remove the southern kingdom of Judah, beginning in 605 BC, and was finalized with Jerusalem’s total destruction by him in 586 BC.
With the last words of II Chronicles, and the opening to Ezra, we are now witnessing the beginning of the fulfillment of The 6th Prophecy, foretold by Moses and Joshua, and the beginning of the Restoration Phase of Israel’s history. This begins here at 539 BC, and will take us the rest of the way thru the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament, to about 425 BC and the final prophet, Malachi. It’s necessary to keep in mind, however, that the actual fulfillment of Daniel’s chapter 9, verse 25, prophecy of 490 years commences with that decree which will be issued by Artaxerxes in Nehemiah chapter 2.
With this decree in Ezra, though, we see one other valuable matter, the people who are returning are not like those people God had removed. These would be a people desirous for God and His Word. Altogether some 50,000 people left for Jerusalem, and they began to implement and obey the Law of the Lord as it had been given to Moses 900 years before and to rebuild a temple unto Him. Opposition then began to arise. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell