"The 70 Weeks of Daniel"
Contiguous / Unbroken
"The 70 Weeks of Daniel"
Contiguous / Unbroken

3. The Decree to Free Israel From Captivity
    3a. The Persian Conquest of Babylon
    An examination of historic record will show that Babylon was invaded in 539BC by the Medes/Persian Empire under the command of King Cyrus. The mergered empire consisted of the Medes who upon hearing of Cyrus's victories as ruler of Persia forsook their own King and pledged allegiance to Cyrus. This new empire known as the Medes/Persian Empire became "the breasts and arms of silver" from the image in King Nebuchadnezzar's earlier vision in Daniel chapter two. The "head of gold" had now passed into history.
    3b. Cyrus's Decree to Free Israel from Captivity
    It is important to our study, to understand that King Cyrus made an important declaration upon his successful conquest of Babylon. According to Ezra 1:1 in that first year of Cyrus, (539BC) the Jewish captives of the now conquered Babylon were to return to their ancient home land and rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. This edict is recorded in Ezra chapter one:

Ezra 1:1-4
1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
    3C. Shortly after this edict in 536BC, Zarubbabel led forty to fifty thousand Jews back to Israel in the first "Aliyah" or return, and laid the foundation for the second temple at Jerusalem. This first "Aliyah" back to Israel ended the seventy years of Israel's captivity in Babylon that was prophesied by Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 12:11-12
Jeremiah 12:11-12 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

4. A Summary of the Background Setting of Daniel Chapter Nine
    4a. During the time that Israel was a kingdom unto itself, the prophet Jeremiah prophesied that because of Israel's sins, she would be taken as a captive nation into bondage for a period of 70 years [Jeremiah 25:11,12].
    4b. This captivity happened beginning with the 606BC invasion of Israel by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. During this seventy year captivity, Daniel - a prophet of God, received an interpretation of a dream that the King had. This dream featured an image representing five kingdoms that would rule the world, prior to the eternal Kingdom of God. In this dream the 'head of gold' represented this Babylonian kingdom, and the subsequent "breasts & arms of silver" which followed represented the Medes/Persian Empire.
    4c.In 539BC, this Medes/Persian Empire under the rule of King Cyrus invaded Babylon and terminated their rule while they themselves rose to world domination. As was already stated, this Medes/Persian Empire was represented in Daniel's interpretation (in chapter 2) by the "breasts and arms of silver". King Cyrus in his very first year of reign over this consolidated empire, issued a decree (recorded in Ezra 1) that Israel would be freed to return to their homeland and rebuild a second temple at Jerusalem.
    4d. In 536BC, a Jewish leader named Zerubbabel led 40,000+ Jews back to Israel to lay the foundation of the second temple. This ended the seventy year period of captivity prophesied by Jeremiah 25:11,12. This also fulfilled the second part of that prophecy which foretold of the destruction of Babylon after that seventy-year captivity.
    4e. It is important to note that a co-regency leadership existed in the new Medes/Persian Empire which now included Babylon. King Cyrus, was the overall leader of this Empire. Darius, the Mede, who may have been the nephew of Cyrus, was installed as a King/Governor of the newly conquered Babylon, so that when we read in Daniel 9:1, that the timing of the seventy "weeks" prophecy was in the very first year of Darius- it is also the first year of King Cyrus mentioned in Ezra 1:1-4. The is because of a co-regent leadership between the two.
    This vision/prophecy would point to the coming and the anointing of the Messiah Himself. With this background setting, let's move on into Daniel chapter nine and explore this fascinating prophecy.

  1. Part 1.    Searching Out The Seventy Week's Prophecy
  2. Part 2.    A Short History of the Captivity and Freeing of Israel
  3. Part 3.    Daniel's Understanding of Prophecy & Prayer of Redemption
  4. Part 4.    A Special Announcment From the Angel Gabriel
  5. Part 5.    Determining the Starting Point
  6. Part 6.    The Accomplishments of Messiah
  7. Part 7.    "...to finish the transgression"
  8. Part 8.    "...to make an end of sins"
  9. Part 9.    "...to make reconciliation for iniquity"
  10. Part 10.   "...to bring in everlasting righteousness"
  11. Part 11.   "...to seal up the vision and prophecy"
  12. Part 12.   "...to anoint the most Holy"
  13. Part 13.   The Accomplishment Question
  14. Part 14.   The Contiguous Seventy Weeks of Daniel


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 Web Author:Michael Stevenson Updated: 1/25/2005 10:01PM