MP3: The Mighty Angels of Daniel 9 Continued
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
The Sabbath Year Exile
Vic Batista: Let’s dig deeper into the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy, particularly Daniel 9:25-26.
“Know therefore and understand, 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; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.”
So many prophecies exist in just these two verses!
Nathan Jones: That’s because Daniel is being told about future events that cover a whopping 490 year (70 “weeks” of 7 years, or 70×7=490) time period. That time period would be split up into segments (7×7=49 years, 62×7=434 years, 7×1=7 years for a total of 490 years).
The Messiah would come to the world and be cut off 483 years after the command to restore and build Jerusalem. That bears the question, when did the 483 years begin? Go back to 2 Chronicles 36:20-23 where it prophesies about a man named Cyrus. Verses 20-23 in the NIV reads:
“He [King Nebuchadnezzar] carried into exile to Babylon the remnant [of Israel], who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing. This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.'”
Mind blowing that Cyrus was prophesied by name 150 years before he even came to power! The Persian king, Cyrus, was God’s appointed ruler who would allow the Jewish exiles to return to the land of Israel.Mind blowing that Cyrus was prophesied by name 150 years before he even came to power! Click To Tweet
God had exiled the Jewish people for the long sentence of 70 years. God’s reason for that length of time was due to the disregard of His Sabbath years, where one would occur every seven years. Exodus 23:10-11 commanded, “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” So, every seventh year the Jews were supposed to respect the Sabbath Year, but they never obeyed the Sabbath Year command.
Likewise, on the fiftieth year after seven cycles of seven Sabbath years (49 years), the Jewish people were supposed to abide by a Jubilee Year (Lev. 25:10). During this special year of joy and liberation, the law stipulated that the land and people were supposed to be given rest, the poor were allowed to glean the unattended fields, Jews forgive each other’s debts so that the land titles went back to the original inheritors, and the slaves were to be set free. During the Jubilee Year, God meant to teach the people to live by faith, while providing for their needs and the soil’s conservation.
Unfortunately, over the 490 years that the Jewish people were living in the land, they never celebrated the Sabbath and Jubilee years, even during the faithful times of David and Solomon’s reigns. The Holy Land had never been allowed the mandated years of rest. So, God was going to make the Jewish people pay for those 70 lost Sabbath years by placing them in 70 years of exile.
Vic Batista: How amazingly specific this prophecy is! The whole Bible really does begin to make sense when you take all the bits and pieces of prophecy and put them together like a puzzle. Eventually, all the parts fit perfectly together to paint a wondrous picture. Prophecy makes much more sense when placed in its proper context.
Nathan Jones: Right! And while the Jewish people were exiled for their sins, God wanted them particularly to learn to follow His Law. And while the people were exiled those 70 years, the land of Israel received its much needed rest. For, when the Jewish people were taken out of the land, the land of Israel was basically let go. Like an untended garden, Israel became overgrown with weeds and brush. And so the land of Israel rested those 70 years.
God clearly understands how ecosystems work. Letting the ground rest for a period of time allows for the ground to regain its spent nutrients in order to become more more fertile and yield better crops. God knew that the land needed to go fallow periodically, so He would provide a double portion of crops in the sixth year in order to tide the people over until the seventh year. Sadly, the people never trusted God in that seventh year, so they never let the land go fallow. And, when the 50-year Jubilee came up, they didn’t obey the spiritual rest and restitution He required. The end result was that the Jewish people went into exile for the exact number of years that they disobeyed God’s command.
The Lesson of the Tithe
Vic Batista: I see a lesson in obedience from Israel’s punishment that applies to us all. The Bible is full of promised blessings if we just trust the Lord, but much of the time we do not. Take for instance the area of tithing, or giving back to God. The Bible instructs His children to tithe. God is the One who gives us our “daily bread.” He only wants us to give Him back 10%, but how many people when it comes to tithing actually come through?
Nathan Jones: The exile revealed a troubling heart issue among the Jewish people when it came to tithing. Likewise, for Christians, a lack of tithing also reveals a troubling heart issue. When will we finally realize we are being greedy when we are not giving back to the Lord? Sure, God doesn’t need our money, but He wants us to give cheerfully anyway. The money is used towards furthering the Gospel and for serving those people in need.
After all, just look at the purpose for the Sabbath Year. In part it aided the poor by allowing them to glean food from whatever grew wild. Even the wild animals got fed. The land also got fed as the rains poured minerals down to replenish the soil. By not observing the Sabbath Year, the people were killing the land, and they were sinning against the Lord by sinning against His creation.
God gives us laws for our own good, but people are greedy, and so we rebel against God’s good and perfect provision. God is a God of justice, so He made the Israelites pay for those 70 lost years by sentencing them as a people to 70 lost years.
Vic Batista: The Bible says that God will not be mocked, and whatever a man sows that he will also reap. That pearl of wisdom resonated applicably to the Jewish people of the exile, and likewise to Christians today.
In the twenty-fourth segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, we’ll be stunned by prophetic calculations which identify the Messiah.