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2.9 - Historical Setting Listen to Historical Setting



CONTENTS

(Work in progress.)

(Work in progress.)

A familiarity with the historical setting of the book of Daniel is essential in order to understand how the events recorded within the book contribute to larger themes running throughout Scripture. Without this background, the student of Scripture will be robbed of an understanding of God’s motives at work in history, especially in relation to His promise concerning the throne of David, the preservation and restoration of Israel, and the limited period of Gentile dominion within history.

Sadly, a familiarity with Biblical history—or even a belief that such knowledge may be important—seems to be on the wane in our times:

Given Christianity’s status as a historical religion, with roots deeply entwined in the recorded past, one would think that Christians would possess a relatively high degree of historical awareness. Certainly, one might expect that a Christian, who looks for salvation in God’s self-revelation in history would place a relatively higher premium on getting history straight than, say, a Buddhist, who searches for salvation within a timeless sphere. One would think this . . . however, I don’t think there is evidence that such is the case. In my experience, Christians care about national and world history about as much or as little as their neighboring Buddhists or Hindus—no more, no less. . . . why is that when it comes to “sacred events” (call it the “history of Israel” or the “human history of the kingdom of God”), it is almost a mark of piety not to know about precise dates and times? Why is it considered in so many circles almost a matter of true spirituality not only not to know the historical facts but also not to care? It is an odd state of affairs but it is a dynamic which I think can hardly be denied in the contemporary church.1

A lack of interest and knowledge in Biblical history leads to all manner of problems, but perhaps none more serious than a misunderstanding of the context within which various Biblical events take place. This results in a failure to appreciate the implications of Biblical events and even a tendency to misinterpret or ignore otherwise-puzzling statements made by Jesus (e.g., Mat. 18:22; Mat. 19:28; Luke 21:24; Acts 1:6-7). How can we say that we truly love Jesus when we demonstrate an ongoing ignorance of the history from which Christ draws His teaching in the NT? This sad state of affairs is perhaps exacerbated by the seemingly common belief among Christians that most of what the OT reveals has been superseded or reinterpreted by the NT—a faulty view of how the two testaments relate to one another. The progressive revelation within the NT does not abrogate or redefine the OT, but augments, clarifies, and enhances truths God had already revealed.2

2.9.1 - The Throne of David

Throne of David and Son Solomon

Throne of David and Son Solomon

3

Our survey of the historical context begins by remembering the early days of Israel when the kingdom was unified under David. At that time, God made a promise to David concerning the eternal nature of his throne:

When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)

God said that David’s house (dynasty), kingdom, and throne would be eternal. This is an important promise to be considered in our study of the book of Daniel, because the book records the historical interruption in the reign from the throne of David (known as the Times of the Gentiles). The Babylonian Captivity, of which Daniel was a part, brought about the end of the line of Davidic kings reigning from Jerusalem. If we are familiar with God’s promise to David, we will approach the events of the first chapter of the book of Daniel with several questions: “What happened to God’s promise to David? Has it been canceled? Will it ever be fulfilled? If so, how and when?” Answering these questions becomes the thrust of much of the prophetic content within the book.

We find the promise reiterated to David’s son Solomon:

And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’ ” (1 Kings 9:3-5)

The condition God incorporates into this promise is of great importance to an understanding of the book of Daniel: “If you keep My statutes and My judgments , then I will establish the throne of your kingdom . . . You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.” Israel’s failure to keep this condition triggers the major historical events which form the backdrop to the book of Daniel.

The failure to keep God’s statutes and judgments began during the reign of Solomon. In his old age, through the influence of his foreign wives, Solomon was induced to sanction the worship of idols (1K. 11:9-11). God responded by visiting the king’s house with chastisement—leading to the revolt of ten of the twelve tribes upon Solomon’s death. Even so, God preserved the Davidic kingdom through the continued loyalty of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin centered at Jerusalem with the temple (1K. 11:13). During this time of the divided kingdom, the ten tribes under the rule of Jeroboam constituted the northern kingdom, often referred to as “Israel” or “Samaria” (1K. 11:31, 35-36), while the two tribes under the rule of Solomon’s son Rehoboam formed the southern kingdom, often referred to as “Judah”.

2.9.2 - Fall of Israel (Northern Kingdom)

Assyrian Archers

Assyrian Archers

4

For most of the period of the divided kingdom, the sins of the northern kingdom are the more flagrant of the two kingdoms. Golden calves (idols) are set up in the northern kingdom as a substitute for the proscribed worship of God which was to take place in Jerusalem within the southern kingdom (1K. 11:27-29). Some of the rulers of the northern kingdom were particularly evil (e.g., Omri, Ahab, cf. 1K. 16:25, 30).

After many years of rule characterized by idolatry and disobedience to God, the northern kingdom fell to Assyria (2K. 17:5-23).5 Many from the ten northern tribes were taken captive and the Assyrians imported people from foreign regions and resettled them in the place of the northern kingdom.6

The fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to Assyria was intended to serve as a warning to the southern kingdom of Judah that God’s judgment would not be withheld indefinitely (Jer. 3:8-11; 7:15; Eze. 16:46-55; 23:1-21, 31-49). Unfortunately, this fearful demonstration of God’s judgment largely fell on deaf ears and the southern kingdom continued in disobedience. It would appear that those in the southern kingdom believed that the throne of David and Jerusalem were both so special to God that it was inconceivable that He would also overthrow Judah. Events of history would soon prove otherwise.

2.9.3 - Twilight of Judah (Southern Kingdom)

After the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel, the southern kingdom of Judah stood alone as the sole representative of the nation of Israel and the promised “eternal” Davidic throne. Yet she also was marked for judgment by her continued slide toward idolatry and apostasy.
2.9.3.1 - Judah Alone
Judah had outlasted Israel for a number of reasons. One reason was the influence of some godly kings who occasionally interrupted the otherwise dismal record of leadership (e.g., Hezekiah, Josiah). Another reason was God’s promise concerning the Davidic throne and favor toward His “house,” the temple, which stood in the midst of Jerusalem—the unique place where He had placed His name (2Chr. 6:5-6).

Yet the Scriptures teach the principle that to whomever much is given, much is required (Amos 3:2; Luke 12:48). For the southern kingdom of Judah, with the Davidic throne and the temple in her midst, God had correspondingly higher expectations (Eze. 16:51-52).7 Eventually, the disobedience, idolatry, and injustice that characterized the very throne of David became so great that God’s hand was forced to bring judgment. There were periods when it appeared the southern kingdom might turn around, but eventually the die was cast: the reign of the rulers after Hezekiah constituted a Countdown to Captivity which could not be averted.
2.9.3.2 - Shifting Powers
During the final stages of the southern kingdom, a major regional power shift was taking place. The Assyrian empire would diminish in influence to be supplanted by the Babylonian and, eventually, Medo-Persian empires (Jer. 50:17; 51:11, 28). As God had used Assyria to judge the northern kingdom, He would use Babylon to judge the southern kingdom. Babylon, in turn, would be judged and overthrown by Medo-Persia.

Winds of change began in 626 B.C. when the Neo-Babylonian dynasty began under Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar8 (who plays a large part in the events of the book of Daniel). The Neo-Babylonian power joined with the Medes in the destruction of the Assyrian capital, Nineveh, in 612 B.C.9 The remnant of Assyrian power relocated to Haran, only to face defeat by the Babylonians and Medes in 611 B.C.10 As Assyrian dominance faded, Egypt attempted to step into the power vacuum in western Palestine.11

From the perspective of the kings of Judah, the regional power shift involved three major powers: Assyria, then Egypt, then Babylon. It was during these times that one of the most godly kings of Judah, Josiah, lost his life opposing Egyptian forces (2K. 23:29). The historic role which Babylon played in the eventual downfall of the southern kingdom, bringing an end to rule from the throne of David, is important to understand. The biblical significance of Babylon is seen in numerous prophetic passages, especially the six major chapters which prophesy her judgment (Isa. 13; 14; Jer. 50; 51; Rev. 17+; 18+).
2.9.3.3 - The Message of the Prophets
As the northern and southern kingdoms continued in their godless behavior, God sent faithful prophets to warn the rulers and their people. These warnings consisted of two main themes: (1) God’s continued patience and offer of grace and forgiveness in response to repentance; (2) God’s sure judgment in response to continued hard-heartedness.

During the twilight of Judah, the prophets who ministered to the southern kingdom included Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Habakkuk. During the Babylonian Captivity, Daniel and Ezekiel ministered to the nation. Upon the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4) and the return of the remnant to rebuild the temple and city of Jerusalem, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi ministered. A survey of the writings of these prophets helps us understand the historical context surrounding the downfall, captivity, and restoration of Israel during this period. For our purposes, we will focus primarily on the messages associated with the impending fall and destruction of Jerusalem given through Jeremiah and Ezekiel. (For those who desire to study the passages in more detail, scripture references are given in the endnotes.)
2.9.3.3.1 - The Condition of the Nation
The prophets God mercifully sent to warn the southern kingdom made it abundantly clear that the kingdom of Judah was sick and near death. The symptoms of her sickness were manifested in matters of faith and worship as well as socio-political practices.12 The prophets repeatedly emphasized the lack of justice which characterized the dealings of the rulers and the people, especially those in positions of responsibility. This ungodly behavior included the failure to uphold legal justice and allowing the oppression of the vulnerable among the population such as widows and the orphans.13 These practices were evidence of the rejection of God by the leaders and the majority of the populace. The hearts of the people had grown unresponsive to God’s truth. Although they had access to the truth, their hearts were hard—they would not receive correction.14 Thus, this was a particularly difficult time for ministering prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel because their God-given mission was to speak correction to a culture which strongly and continually rejected their message. In their rejection of God, the nation was deep into idolatry of the grossest sort.15 False prophets abounded who opposed the message of the true prophets. They continually denied the warning messages of judgment and substituted a message of, “Peace, peace; when there is no peace.”16 The true prophets reminded the people that the nations from which she had learnt her idolatry would prove to be of no help when the judgment of God fell (Jer. 4:30). At times, there was the appearance of a response to the message of God on the part of the people, but generally it was superficial—their lives betraying a deeply-rooted case of religious hypocrisy.17 Even from the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry, during the reign of the godly King Josiah, the developing apostasy of Judah could be seen in Jeremiah’s commission:

For, behold, I have made you this day a fenced city, and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you. (Jeremiah 1:18-19) [emphasis added]

God predicted that Jeremiah would be opposed by kings (plural). Indeed, the rule of Josiah would turn out to be the last glimmer of reform by the rulers of Israel prior to the continued descent of the nation into captivity.

Those readers, like the author, who occupy a privileged place in history living in a nation which was a bastion of the Christian faith, but now seems intent on galloping toward apostasy, will find it difficult to read Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Ezekiel. The parallels between the condition of Judah prior to the Babylonian Captivity and certain Gentile nations of today are striking. Like Judah, we’ve had the benefit of receiving great revelation from God. Although Jeremiah and Ezekiel were not writing to us, they wrote for our learning: the principle of God bringing judgment on nations which are given great light, but subsequently depart from Him to follow after darkness is evident.18
2.9.3.3.2 - Ungodly Rulers
It is a fearful principle within Scripture that the people suffer for the sins of their leaders (e.g., 2S. 24:17). In some cases, this result is due to the simple fact that the people are part of the political entity affected by the actions of their leaders. In other cases it is because the leaders, in their error or apostasy, actively lead the nation by example so that the people themselves emulate the leaders. Instead of serving as models of righteous behavior, the leaders model godlessness (Ps. 125:3).

Although God opposes all ungodly leadership, when the ruler occupies the throne of David, as did the kings of Judah, this is particularly egregious because this geopolitical throne was intended to reflect God’s righteous rule (e.g., Isa. 9:6-7). Therefore, it is no surprise that Jeremiah’s ministry included words of judgment for the line of kings as the nation continued its spiral downward. Jeremiah predicted the impending judgment of the throne of David in general19 as well as the thrones of Judah’s individual kings, including Jehoahaz,20 Jehoiakim,21 Jehoiachin (Coniah),22 and the final king reigning at the destruction of Jerusalem, Zedekiah.23 But, as God had told Jeremiah, “the kings of Judah . . . will fight against you” (Jer. 18-19).

The kings violated an important principle: opposition to God’s prophets is opposition to God Himself (Mat. 10:40; Luke 9:48; 10:16; John 14:24). Their continued hard-heartedness sealed the fate of the nation, guaranteeing the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of her people.
2.9.3.3.3 - The Judgment
God showed great patience with the southern kingdom. If we consider the ministry of Jeremiah alone, he prophesied warning to Judah for a period of 40 years (626-586 B.C.). This is a relatively long time and witnesses to the patience of God in withholding judgment.

During this period, God gave a great deal of information concerning the nature of the judgment to follow. He revealed that the instrument of His judgment would be the growing regional superpower: Babylon.24 He also indicated that the overthrow of Judah would be by way of siege and that they would suffer famine,25 resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem by fire.26 As a result, the nation would be exiled to Babylon27 for a period of seventy years (see Seventy Sevens).28 Rather than resisting this judgment from God, the people were encouraged to prosper in Babylon and seek the well-being of the city.29

God also revealed that the basis for the coming judgment was curses associated with the Mosaic Covenant,30 especially the violation of the sabbath for the land every seven years. He also revealed that the nation used in judgment (Babylon) would find itself subsequently judged for opposing Israel.31
2.9.3.3.4 - Restoration
Because God is perfectly righteous, in the face of continued rebellion, He must bring judgment. Even so, His heart is always oriented toward forgiveness and restoration, even in the midst of judgment, “ ‘Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?’ says the Lord GOD, ‘and not that he should turn from his ways and live?’ ” (Ezekiel 18:23). In the midst of judgment, God always preserves a faithful remnant which serves at least three functions: (1) fulfilling His promise never to terminate the nation of Israel and the throne of David (Ps. 89:35-37; Jer. 31:35-37; 33:20-26 cf. Rev. 12:1+); (2) preserving a line of promise which finds fulfillment in the future Millennial Kingdom (e.g., Mat. 19:28); (3) faithfully carrying forward the message of God to future generations (Ps. 102:18; 145:4; John 17:20; 20:29). As Paul did in his day, Jeremiah communicated God’s promise to preserve a faithful remnant (Jer. 44:28 cf. Rom. 9:27; 11:5). It is no surprise then, to find some of the most important passages related to the New Covenant among the words given by Jeremiah during this period (Jer. 31:31-40; 32:40). The passages which attest to God’s intention to preserve and restore Israel through the judgment of the captivity are manifold.32 Perhaps the most beautiful restoration passage in all of Scripture was given through Jeremiah to Israel in the context of the Babylonian Captivity:

For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:10-12)

This restorative purpose of God is a demonstration of His divine love and a theme found very early on in Scripture.33 Some of the restoration passages given at the time of the impending Babylonian Captivity go beyond the near historical setting and ultimately find their fulfillment at the second coming of Christ and the Millennial Kingdom to follow (Rev. 20+).

2.9.3.3.4.1 - Encouragement through Zechariah

As mentioned above, Zechariah ministered following the release of the Jews by Cyrus and their return to the land. This was the beginning of a restorative process which had very meager beginnings. Zechariah (and Haggai) were used by God to encourage the Jews who returned to rebuild Jerusalem.

Zechariah’s visions were given in the 2nd year of Darius (I of Persia, c. 520 B.C.). Although Cyrus had given the edict to rebuild the temple in 538 B.C., due to various delays, the temple had not been completed. Zechariah was used to encourage the people in the rebuilding process (Zec. 1:16-17). This followed the seventy year judgment (Zec. 1:12b).

Although it is not our purpose here, it should be noted that many passages of Zechariah have both near-future and far-future referents and find their ultimate fulfillment in another time of restoration for the Jews and Jerusalem yet future to our time. This future time of restoration dovetails with much of what is revealed in Daniel concerning the time of the end (e.g., Zec. 2:7 cf. Rev. 18:4+). This is because history has not yet reached the restorative culmination of the Seventy Sevens for the Jews and Jerusalem which Gabriel told Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27+).
2.9.3.4 - Countdown to Captivity
To help establish the historical context, we’ll discuss the reigns of the final five kings of the southern kingdom of Judah, beginning with the last of the godly kings, King Josiah.
2.9.3.4.1 - King #5 - Josiah
Josiah begin his reign while a boy at age eight (2K. 22:1) and reigned for 31 years. His reign was patterned after the godly King Hezekiah. He initiated repairs to the temple, whereupon the high priest Hilkiah rediscovered the book of the Law which had been neglected for many years (2K. 22:8). Upon reading the Law, it became apparent how far Israel had neglected her duties leading Josiah to repent of the ungodliness of the nation. But it was “too little too late”—God confirmed through the prophetess Huldah that judgment would not be averted (2K. 22:16-17). This was also evident from the prophecy previously given to Hezekiah that Babylon would eventually seize Israel’s treasures and some of her people: 2K. 20:12-18. Nevertheless, Josiah continued following closely in the footsteps of his great-grandfather Hezekiah by instituting religious reforms.34

Josiah oversaw the public reading of the Law and the renewing of a covenant by the people to follow the Law (2K. 23:3). Like Hezekiah before him, he cleansed the temple and destroyed the high places with their idolatrous priests (2K. 23:4-20). He also reinstituted passover, which had not been kept since the days of Hezekiah (2K. 23:23), even providing from his own personal herds.

In our study of Daniel, we should take note that both Ezekiel and Daniel were born during the reign of this last godly king. It was also during Josiah’s reign that Jeremiah began his ministry (c. 625 B.C.).35 The religious reformation during Josiah’s reign, although it may have had some superficial aspects, evidently had great influence over Daniel’s formative years. Thus, Daniel’s amazing testimony throughout the book bearing his name underscores the importance and effectiveness of raising up young men and women to know God.

In Matthew’s genealogy of Christ, Josiah is the last king of the second group of 14 between David and the time of the Babylonian Captivity (Mat. 1:11-12, 17). His was the last reign from the throne of David which enjoyed sovereign reign. Thereafter, the kings of Judah were continually subject to foreign powers as vassal kings.36

In 609 B.C., in conjunction with the shift in powers in the region, Pharaoh Necho of Egypt marched northward toward Haran to engage in a conflict between Assyria and Babylon. Without seeking God first, Josiah went up to intercept Necho. Unfortunately for both Josiah and the southern kingdom, he was killed (2K. 23:29 cf. Jer. 2:16). “Josiah’s reign was the final ray of light before the darkness of idolatry and foreign intrigue settled over the Davidic Throne.”37
2.9.3.4.2 - King #4 - Jehoahaz (Shallum)
After the death of Josiah, his son Jehoahaz reigned. He proved to be an ungodly king who reigned for only three months before being deposed by Pharaoh Necho and taken to Egypt where he eventually died (2K. 23:31-34; 2Chr. 36:1-4; Jer. 22:1-12).
2.9.3.4.3 - King #3 - Jehoiakim (Eliakim)
After deposing of his father Jehoahaz, Eliakim was appointed as a vassal king by Pharaoh Necho of Egypt and renamed Jehoiakim. Like his father before him, he was an evil king (2K. 23:37). He reigned 11 years. It was during his reign that Daniel was taken captive to Babylon. In his 4th year, the battle of Carchemish also took place during which Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh Necho marking the beginning of Babylon’s ascendancy over Egypt in the region of Palestine (Jer. 25:1; 45:1; 36:1; 46:2). Thereafter, Jehoiakim was made vassal king of Babylonia by Nebuchadnezzar until late 60138 when Nebuchadnezzar suffered defeat while advancing on Egypt, whereupon Jehoiakim switched allegiance to Egypt (2K. 24:1). This proved to be a fatal mistake when in 598 Babylon attacked Jerusalem and Jehoiakim was killed.
2.9.3.4.4 - King #2 - Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah)
Upon the death of his father Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin (also known as Jeconiah or Coniah) reigned for a period of three months before he surrendered to Babylon. After surrendering to Babylon, he was deported and his uncle, Mattaniah was installed as vassal king and renamed Zedekiah (2K. 24:12-16).39 Treasures were carried out from the king’s house and the temple (2K. 24:13) in fulfillment of the Word of the Lord given to Hezekiah by Isaiah (2K. 20:16-19; Isa. 39:5-7).40 Ten thousand captives were taken to Babylon (2K. 24:14), including Ezekiel (Eze. 1:2)41 and Mordecai’s great-grandfather Kish (Est. 2:5-6). See Deportations. Jehoiachin was imprisoned in Babylon until the reign of Evil Merodach (who reigned after the death of Nebuchadnezzar). He remained in Babylon and was provided for by the king (2K. 25:30).42
2.9.3.4.5 - King #1 - Zedekiah (Mattaniah)

Slaying of Zedekiah’s Children

Slaying of Zedekiah’s Children

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The final king to reign over Judah was Zedekiah, who reigned for 11 years as a vassal king subject to Babylon.44 Like all the kings following Josiah’s reign, he was evil. When a new Egyptian Pharaoh (Hophra) came to the throne in 588 B.C., Zedekiah took the occasion to rebel against Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar responded by the siege which led to the final downfall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the city and temple, and the deportation of the majority who were left. The siege began in the 9th year, 10th month, and 10th day of Zedekiah’s reign and lasted 18 months. The wall of Jerusalem being penetrated in the 11th year on the 4th month, on the 9th day of the month.45 Thus was the fall of “The kingdom of Judah, comprised [primarily] of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Following the kingdom division at the beginning of Rehoboam’s reign, these two tribes were all that continued faithful to the family of David, holding Jerusalem as capital. Nineteen kings ruled over Judah until its fall to Babylon in 586 B.C.—a total period of 345 years.”46 In fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecies that Zedekiah would be taken to Babylon but never see it, his sons were killed before him, his eyes were put out, and he was taken to Babylon where he died (Jer. 39:6-7; 52:9-11; 2K. 25:6-7 cf. Eze. 12:13; 17:16). After capturing Jerusalem, the Babylonians burned the leader’s houses and the temple and broke down the city walls.47

It is an immensely significant event whenever the temple is destroyed, because the temple is “God’s house” where the manifestation of his glory resides. It would be impossible to destroy the temple if it were not for the fact that God was “not home.” Because of Israel’s idolatry, Ezekiel records that God’s glory previously vacated the temple.48 To the Gentile enemies of Israel, the destruction of the city and temple would make it appear as if the God of Israel were impotent in the face of the superior gods of the Gentiles, “When they leveled Yahweh’s temple to the ground and burned its ruins, the Babylonian troops served notice to all the world that their gods were mightier than Yahweh, no matter what titles the Hebrews gave him.”49 Thus, one of the Themes of the Book of Daniel is to show that Israel’s God is sovereignly in control over all history, be it Jewish or Gentile. He allowed this shocking event to occur because of the serious and persistent sin of Israel.50 Rather than providing evidence of the failure of Israel’s God, the fall of the southern kingdom testified of His active control of history in bringing out her judgment as stipulated in the covenant made with Israel prior to entering the Promised Land:

God had made a covenant with Israel in Moab (Deu. 28-30) just before she entered the land (Deu. 29:1). In this covenant God set forth the principle by which He would deal with His people. Their obedience to Him would bring blessing (Deu. 28:1-14) but disobedience to Him would bring discipline (Deu. 28:15-68). In this second portion God outlined the disciplines He would use to correct the people when their walk was out of line with His revealed Law. These disciplines would seek to conform them to His demands so they would be eligible for His blessings. The ultimate discipline He would use to correct His people was the invasion of Gentile nations who would subjugate them to their authority and disperse them from their land (Deu. 28:49-68). Moses then stated when Israel would come under God’s discipline, that discipline would not be lifted until the people forsook their sin, turned in faith to God, and obeyed His requirements (Deu. 30:1-10). The Northern Kingdom of Israel had gone into captivity to Assyria in 722 B.C. This was the outworking of the principles of Deuteronomy 28. From time to time (though not consistently) the Southern Kingdom (Judah), in light of the fall of the Northern Kingdom, had heeded the prophets’ admonitions and turned to God. The Southern Kingdom continued for more than a century longer because of her repentance and obedience under her godly kings. That condition, however, did not last. Judah also ignored God’s covenant, neglected the Sabbath Day and the sabbatical year (Jer. 34:12-22), and went into idolatry (Jer. 7:30-31). Therefore, because of the covenant in Deuteronomy 28, judgment had to fall on Judah. God chose Nebuchadnezzar as the instrument to inflict discipline on God’s disobedient people (cf. Jer. 27:6; Hab. 1:6).51

2.9.3.4.6 - Times of the Gentiles
From the perspective of the Jews, the unthinkable had happened, “Some, in a sense of superstition, and others, in a sense of belief in the providence of God, had held that such a calamity as the overthrow of God’s city and God’s Temple could never take place. Now the unexpected had happened.”52 In the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, it seemed as if the kingdom of Israel had come to a close. After beginning with the struggles of Saul and David and reaching its apex under David’s son Solomon, the divided kingdom had initiated a protracted period of decline culminating in the fall of both the northern kingdom of Israel (after 200 years) and the southern kingdom of Judah (after over 300 years). Most significantly, no longer could anyone point to a throne in Jerusalem from which a Davidic king ruled. Jeremiah’s words to Jehoiachin had come to pass,53 “Say to the king and to the queen mother, ‘Humble yourselves; Sit down, For your rule shall collapse, the crown of your glory.’ ” (Jeremiah 13:18).

2.9.3.4.6.1 - Davidic Rule Judged

As mentioned in our discussion concerning the promise of The Throne of David, God was duty bound by His Word to Solomon to discipline any Davidic son whose rule abused the throne (2Chr. 7:17-22). An important passage in the prophet Ezekiel predicted God’s judgment against the ruling scepter of David (Eze. 21:10-27) from which several key verses appear below:54

Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD!’ Say: ‘A sword, a sword is sharpened And also polished! Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, Polished to flash like lightning! Should we then make mirth? It despises the scepter (שֵׁבֶט [šēḇeṭ] ) of My son, As it does all wood. (Ezekiel 21:9-10)

‘Because it is a testing, And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter shall be no more,’ says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 21:13)

Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, ‘thus says the Lord GOD: “Remove the turban, and take off the crown; Nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted. Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, Until He comes whose right it is, And I will give it to Him.” ’ (Ezekiel 21:25-27)

Crown Overthrown

Crown Overthrown

55

The passage concerns God’s sword, poised to string in judgment. This sword of judgment despises the scepter of My son. The passage calls the ruler of Israel at that time, Zedekiah, profane and wicked. It teaches that the Davidic rule, whose righteous scepter he was supposed to uphold,56 would be terminated, “It shall be no longer, until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.” This is a clear reference to the promised ruler in the line of Judah:

The scepter (שֵׁבֶט [šēḇeṭ] ) shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. (Genesis 49:10)

Rabbinic interpretation associated the title “Shiloh” with the Messiah: a Midrash takes “Shiloh” to refer to “King Messiah” (Genesis R. 98.13), the Babylonian Talmud lists “Shi’loh” as one of the names of the Messiah (Sanhedrin 98b), and Medieval Jewish Biblical expositor Rashi makes the following comment: “Shiloh - i.e. King Messiah whose is the Kingdom.” The term “Shiloh” denotes, “to whom it belongs/pertains.”57

Ezekiel is telling us that in the judgment of the Davidic throne,58 Zedekiah59 will be the last ruler to sit on the Davidic throne until it is occupied by Messiah.60 This same message concerning judgment of the ruling scepter occurs in another of Ezekiel’s warnings given to Zedekiah61 (Eze. 19:4-14), which concludes:

‘Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline, Planted by the waters, Fruitful and full of branches Because of many waters. She had strong branches for scepters of rulers. She towered in stature above the thick branches, And was seen in her height amid the dense foliage. But she was plucked up in fury, She was cast down to the ground, And the east wind dried her fruit. Her strong branches were broken and withered; The fire consumed them. And now she is planted in the wilderness, In a dry and thirsty land. Fire has come out from a rod of her branches And devoured her fruit, So that she has no strong branch-a scepter for ruling.’ This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation. (Ezekiel 19:10-14) [emphasis added]

Judgment of the Davidic throne is also the subject in Psalm 89 where very strong promises to uphold the throne are followed by a passage speaking of the throne being cast to the ground (Ps. 89:44ff).

This is a most important point to understand when considering the implications of the prophetic dreams and visions which are the subject of the book of Daniel, because the sequence of Gentile kingdoms predicted therein begin with Babylon (Dan. 2:32+, 38+; 7:4+) and continue until the reign of Messiah (Dan. 2:44-45+; Dan. 7:14+, 22+, 27+). From the fall of Zedekiah to the enthronement of Messiah is a time characterized by Gentile dominion and especially by the lack of a Davidic ruler in Israel seated on the throne of David. This is the period Jesus referred to as the “times of the Gentiles62 which will not come to an end until the second coming of Christ:

And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24) [emphasis added]

The “Times of the Gentiles” do not come to an end whenever Israel enjoys a period of relative autonomy and self-rule.63 The key factor which determines the period of this time is that the throne of David remains unoccupied by a legitimate ruler in the line of David. Thus, the nation may be reconstituted and the city or temple restored (as in the return from the Babylonian Captivity), but this would not end the “Times of the Gentiles” because no legitimate Davidic monarch seated on the Davidic throne has ruled since the Babylonian overthrow of Judah. During the return from Babylonian captivity, although Zerubbabel was of Davidic descent, Scripture never describes him as occupying the throne of David as a true king.64 This is not a mere accident of history, but is a direct result of Ezekiel’s prophecy which specified that the Davidic scepter would not be restored until “He comes Whose right it is” (Eze. 21:27)—that is, King Messiah.65

During this period when the throne of David is unoccupied, the glory of God is absent from His “house,” the temple.66

2.9.3.4.6.2 - Davidic Throne is on Earth

The continuation of the Times of the Gentiles provides additional proof that Jesus does not presently occupy the throne of David. Showers explains some of the many distinctions between the presently unoccupied throne of David on earth and God’s throne in heaven where Jesus is presently seated to the right hand of the Father:

Several factors indicate that David’s throne is separate and distinct from God’s throne in heaven. First, several descendants of David have sat on his throne, but only one of his descendants ever sits on the right hand of God’s throne in heaven. That descendant is Jesus Christ (Ps. 110:1; Heb. 8:1; 12:2). Second, David’s throne was not established before his lifetime (2S. 7:16-17). By contrast, since God has always ruled over His creation, His throne in heaven was established long before David’s throne (Ps. 93:1-2). Third, since God’s throne in heaven was established long before David’s throne and since God’s throne was established forever (Lam. 5:19), then it was not necessary for God to promise to establish David’s throne forever (2S. 7:16) if they are the same throne. Fourth, David’s throne was on the earth, not in heaven. David and his descendants who sat on his throne exercised an earthly, ruling authority. They never exercised ruling authority in or from heaven. By contrast, as noted earlier, the Bible indicates that God’s throne is in heaven. Fifth, the Bible’s consistent description of David’s throne indicates that it belongs to David. When God talked to David about his throne, God referred to it as “thy throne” (2S. 7:16; Ps. 89:4; 132:12). When God mentioned David’s throne to others, He referred to it as “his throne” (Ps. 89:29; Jer. 33:21), “David’s throne” (Jer. 13:13), and “the throne of David” (Jer. 17:25; 22:2, 4; 22:30). By contrast, the Scriptures’ consistent description of the throne in heaven indicates that it belongs to God the Father. 67

Lacking an understanding of the difference between the Davidic throne based in Jerusalem ruling over Israel68 and the throne of the Father in heaven, we cannot make full sense of the gospel record where Jesus arranges His fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 by riding into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey (Luke 19:30-31), presenting Himself as the promised Davidic king. This was “Shiloh” (He Whose right it is to rule) arriving to take up His rule as Zechariah predicted:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.’ (Zechariah 9:9-10)

Zechariah indicates that the coming of this Ruler to His throne will usher in a time of worldwide peace due to His righteous global rule. But, as prophesied by many passages in the OT (including Dan. 9:26+), instead of being crowned with a royal crown, Messiah was given a crown of thorns and “cut off” (killed). In the context of Jesus’ presentation to Israel as the promised Davidic king, the response of the chief priests to Pilate are of particular significance: “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15). With these very words, the religious leaders chose a Gentile king over their promised Davidic king and ensured the continuation of the Times of the Gentiles. Thus, our age is not characterized by global peace and the throne of David remains unoccupied until Jesus returns to take up His throne and rule from Jerusalem at His second coming (Isa. 9:7; Luke 1:32-33; Mat. 25:31-32).69

2.9.3.4.6.3 - Gentile Influence over Jerusalem

Nebuchadnezzar’s Army Burns Jerusalem

Nebuchadnezzar’s Army Burns Jerusalem

70

In the meantime, the Times of the Gentiles must be viewed as a temporary situation during which the ruling authority to be invested in the midst of Israel has been transferred into Gentile hands. This can be seen in the predicted termination of Gentile rule at the initiation of God’s kingdom at the end of this age.71 Moreover, the question, “What became of the promise concerning the Davidic throne?” is answered in the restoration of the future throne:

This is a promise that the Davidic covenant has not been annulled. The kingship that was taken away from Jehoiachin (Jer. 22:24-30) will be restored “in that day” (Hag. 2:23), i.e., at the return of Christ when the times of the Gentiles are brought to a close (cf. Ps. 2:7-9; 89:19-29; Luke 1:32-33).72

The times of the Gentiles begins when the Davidic throne was empty, which would begin in 586 B.C. . . . [and] goes all the way up until the throne of David is reoccupied by a Davidic descendant, which would be the Second Advent, not the rapture. So the times of the Gentiles began in 586 B.C. when the throne was empty, we’re still in the times of the Gentiles, [to be] continued after the rapture, [and through] the tribulation period, because there is no . . . Davidic descendant on the throne in the tribulation period, not until the Second Advent will the times of the Gentiles end.73

Hosea’s prophecy, found in the third chapter of his remarkable book, has had its fulfilment. Israel still abides without a king, without a prince, without a priest, and so shall it abide until Messiah Himself appears the second time to take His great power and reign.74

During this period, God continues to set up, depose, and turn the hearts of kings—as He always has. But the period is characterized by no direct or immediate government by God upon the earth.75 This temporary shift in God’s focus away from the theocracy and Davidic throne toward Gentile rule can be seen in the fact that the first and most comprehensive prophecy in the book of Daniel is neither given to Israel nor concerns Israel, but reveals matters of interest to a Gentile king.76

This is much like the Day of Pentecost when God used the tongues of foreign nations to proclaim His glory while purposefully avoiding the native tongue of the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 2:5-13).77 The unthinkable had happened: the Holy One of Israel was shifting His emphasis away from Israel and toward Gentile nations. This could only be cause for great alarm among any Jew who understood the subtleties of what was transpiring.78 Moreover, the dispersion of Israel during the Babylonian Captivity was essentially the reverse of the Exodus. Israel had been birthed out of captivity in Egypt to serve God in the wilderness. Now, she was being given into captivity at the hand of the new regional superpower, Babylon.79

After the Exodus all the nations in that part of the world were terrified at the name of the God of Israel, because they had seen what God did to deliver His people from Egypt, and they had seen what Israel’s God had done to the gods of Egypt and the armies of Egypt, so that Israel’s conduct was a testimony to the power of their God. Now what’s happened? Israel has so discredited their God that their God is no longer feared by the nations that border on the land of Israel . . .80

It is in the midst of these momentous developments that God chose to speak through Daniel, providing the overview of the Times of the Gentiles (Dan. 2+; 7+; 10-11+) and the related judgment and restoration of Israel (Dan. 9+; 12+). See Sequence of Kingdoms.

2.9.3.4.6.4 - Purpose of Gentile Dominion

The revelation given within Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2 and Daniel’s vision in chapter 7 concerns the sequence of Gentile kingdoms during the Times of the Gentiles. Both indicate a protracted period of history during which Gentile powers will supplant the throne of David. During this period of time, the nation of Israel remains under disciplinary judgment. This disciplinary action has a restorative purpose.

The times of the Gentiles as an extended period of discipline and the discipline is designed to bring a guilty people to confession, to repentance, so they can be restored to blessing. There is a vast difference between discipline and punishment. Punishment is payment back for wrong done. God is not punishing His people, He is disciplining them and discipline is didactic, it is pedagogical, it is to produce an end and the end is that Israel should acknowledge their sin and turn in faith to God.81

Thus, one of the purposes of the Times of the Gentiles, which climax in the Great Tribulation, is to bring Israel to faith in Messiah Jesus (Mat. 23:38-39; Rom. 11:26) such that numerous OT promises can find their fulfillment (e.g., Isa. 65:18-25; Jer. 31:33-34; 33:8-18; 36:24-28, 35-36).

The dream and vision of Daniel 2+ and 7+ also indicate another purpose of the Times of the Gentiles. The sequence of Gentile kingdoms indicates a decrease in quality coupled with an increase in viciousness. These two trends culminate in the final, ruthless, global, God-rejecting kingdom headed by the Antichrist—the “best” humanism has to offer. While rule on the Davidic throne remains in abeyance, the Gentile world is given a chance to fulfill the dominion mandate originally given to Adam.82 Just as Israel before them, the Gentile governments fail miserably. So another purpose of the Times of the Gentiles is to demonstrate the ruthlessness and ineptitude of the Gentiles apart from God. Just as Israel failed to carry forward a Godly theocracy, so too will the Gentiles fail in their attempt to achieve a humanistic nirvana apart from God.

2.9.3.4.6.5 - Fullness of the Gentiles

An important passage concerning the eventual restoration of Israel in faith is found in Romans 11.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:25-27) [emphasis added]

Paul is warning the Roman Church not to be proud about the fact that Gentiles have found Messiah Jesus when most of the Jews continue to reject Him. He reveals that the blindness which results in Israel’s rejection of Jesus will one day come to an end. It will come to an end when, “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Although it is not our purpose to explore this pregnant phrase in great detail, it does point out the need to clarify the difference between the “times of the Gentiles” vs. “the fullness of the Gentiles.”83

Times vs. Fullness of the Gentiles
AttributeTimes of the GentilesFullness of the Gentiles
Measure
Temporal—the period of time when dominion is in Gentile hands.Numerical—the full number of believers who come to salvation within the body of Christ prior to the Rapture.
Begins
Deportation of the southern kingdom of Israel to Babylon (ca. 606 B.C.).Creation of the Church, the body of Christ, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2, A.D. 33).84
Ends85
The Second Coming of Jesus in judgment to overthrow the kingdoms of a rejecting world.86The Rapture of the church—the removal of the body of Christ to heaven.87
Character
The throne of David remains unoccupied, Israel labors under Gentile oppression.Ongoing salvation of believers, mostly Gentiles, who are added to the Church.
Focus88
Global salvation.Gentile dominion, Israel under discipline.

Since the deportation of the southern kingdom of Israel to Babylon the world has been living in the Times of the Gentiles. Since the Day of Pentecost, with the creation of the body of Christ, the Church, the count of believers which will eventually trigger the full number of Gentiles has been underway. At some point in the future, the full number of Gentiles will have come in and the Rapture will take place. At an indeterminate period thereafter, the events which usher in the end of the Times of the Gentiles will commence—as described in Revelation 6+-19+.
2.9.3.4.7 - Deportations

Nuremberg Chronicle - Expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar

Nuremberg Chronicle - Expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar

89

The table below lists the different deportations to Babylon identified within Scripture. As can be seen, Daniel was part of the first deportation. This served God’s purposes by providing additional time for Daniel’s reputation and position to be established before the majority of his countrymen arrived in Babylon. The Jews remained captive in Babylon until the reign of Cyrus. See Return to Jerusalem.

Deportations to Babylon
B.C.Year of Nebuchadnezzar
(non-accession)90
King of JudahNumber of CaptivesPassageNotes
60691
0 (crown prince)
Jehoiakim
?
2K. 24:1; 2Chr. 36:6-7; Dan. 1:1-3+Daniel and a limited number of other Jews, including nobles and Jehoiakim’s descendants, taken to Babylon.
59892
8th
Jehoiachin
3,023
Jer. 52:28The accession year value of 7 (Jer. 52:28) becomes 8 in non-accession year reckoning.93 See column heading.
597
8th94
Jehoiachin
10,000
2K. 24:10-16; Eze. 1:1-2Jehoiachin, Mordecai’s great-grandfather Kish (Est. 2:6)95 and Ezekiel taken captive (Eze. 1:2; 40:1).
58796
19th
Zedekiah
832
Jer. 52:29The accession year value of 18 (Jer. 52:29) becomes 19 in non-accession year reckoning. See column heading.
587
19th
Zedekiah
?
2K. 25:1-12; Jer. 39:8-14; 52:12-15; Eze. 33:21Fall of Jerusalem
Siege began in Zedekiah’s 9th year (Z9/10/10)97. The wall of Jerusalem is penetrated 18 months later (Z11/4/9). Zedekiah taken. Nebuzaradan arrives (Z11/5/7), Jerusalem and temple burned and the walls broken down. Jeremiah released by Babylonians.98
58299
24th
?
745
Jer. 52:30Following Gedaliah’s assassination. The accession year value of 23 (Jer. 52:30) becomes 24 in non-accession year reckoning. See column heading.


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Notes

1Andrew E Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2011), xxi-xxii.

2The concept that statements appearing in the OT must be repeated in the NT in order to remain relevant in our day is flawed. Remember that the only scriptures which the early Christians had were in fact the OT. It was from these scriptures that Paul reasoned that “Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 17:2; 28:23).

3Image courtesy of CRDP Académie de Strasbourg. Image is in the public domain.

4Relief depicting Assyrian archers attacking a besieged city, most likely in Mesopotamia. An Assyrian soldier holds a large shield to protect two archers as they take aim. From the Central Palace in Nimrud and now in the British Museum, London. Circa 728 BC. Image courtesy of ChrisO. Image is in the public domain.

5Most scholars give this date as 722 B.C. Jones believes this is an erroneous date based upon the faulty Assyrian Eponym list. He prefers a biblically-derived date of 740 B.C. [Floyd Nolen Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament: A Return to Basics, 4th ed. (The Woodlands, TX: KingsWord Press, 1993, 1999), 81n1]

6Prior to the fall of the northern kingdom to Assyria, many from among the ten northern tribes emigrated south to the kingdom of Judah. Thus, the ten tribes were not lost. “It must be noted that even though the Kingdom of Israel had been terminated and all but the poorest of its people carried away from the land and resettled in the farthest regions of the Assyrian Empire back in B.C. 721 (2K. 17; 18:9-12), Judah had long before become a truly ‘representative’ Kingdom. On several occasions, mass emigrations of people from all the tribes left the northern kingdom and went down to live in the southern kingdom (2Chr. 11:1, 13-17; 12:1, 6; 15:8-9; 35:17-19). In this manner, the Kingdom of Judah became not only heavily populated, but around a century after the fall of Samaria, capital of the northern realm, members of all the tribes of Israel were still said to be living there (2Chr. 35:17-19).”—Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament: A Return to Basics, 4th ed., 139. For additional information concerning the migrations of the ten tribes to the southern kingdom, see [Anthony C. Garland, A Testimony of Jesus Christ : A Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Vol. 2 (Rev. 15-22) (Camano Island, WA: SpiritAndTruth.org, 2004), 4.17].

7“It has been denied that God’s people were actually worse than the pagans about them, but reckoning must be in proportion to spiritual knowledge and privileges enjoyed. The judgments of God are always relative to light and privilege granted. . . The Latins have a pointed saying: Corruptio optimi pessima (‘The corruption of the best issues in the worst.’)”—Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1969), 37.

8The Meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s name is uncertain: “The meaning of the name formerly given as ‘O Nabû, protect the boundary’ is more likely to be interpreted as ‘O Nabû, protect my offspring.’ ”—Donald J. Wiseman, Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1985, 2004), 3. “The name’s Hebrew spelling can be explained philologically . . . but van Selms . . . suggests that Nebuchadnezzar corresponds to Nabu-ku̇danu-uṣur, ‘Nabu protect(s) the mule,’ a corruption devised among opposition groups in Babylon which would naturally appeal to foreigners such as Jews.”—John E. Goldingay, “Daniel,” vol. 30 in Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker, eds., Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word Books), Dan. 1:1.

9Charles H. Dyer, “Jeremiah,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications, 1983), 1:1125.

10“Some Assyrians fled westward to Haran, from which they claimed authority over all of Assyria. Nabopolassar, the king of Babylon, moved in 611 B.C. against the Assyrian forces in Haran. The next year, 610 B.C., Babylon, allied with Media, attacked the Assyrians in Haran. Assyria withdrew from Haran westward beyond the Euphrates River and left Haran to the Babylonians.”—J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications, 1983), 1:1326.

11Dyer, Jeremiah, 1:1125.

12The perceptive reader will realize that it is impossible to separate the socio-political practices of a government from underlying matters of faith and worship among its populace. As our own country continues to abuse the principles of its founders in pursuit of a secularized society, the resulting socio-political malaise is unavoidable.

13Concerning lack of justice in Judah: Jer. 7:5-6; 9:3-5; 19:4; 21:12; 22:3, 13-17; Eze. 9:9; 11:2, 6-7; 13:22; 22:1-7, 12-13, 27, 29; 33:26; 34:4.

14Concerning the hard-heartedness of Judah: Jer. 5:3; 7:26-27; 17:23; 18:12; 25:4-7; 26:5; 29:19; 35:14-15; 36:23-24; 37:2; 38:15; 42:21; 43:4; 44:5, 10, 16; Eze. 2:8; 3:7, 26; 12:2, 9; 17:12.

15Considering the idolatry of Judah: Jer. 1:17; 2:5, 11; 3:6; 7:18, 30-31; 8:2, 19; 9:14; 11:13, 17; 13:27; 18:15; 19:4-5, 13; 32:34-35; 44:17-19, 21-23, 25; Eze. 6:3-6, 9, 13; 7:20; 8:3-17; 13:18-20; 14:3-8; Eze. 16:3, 15-34; 20:7-8, 18, 24, 26, 28-32, 39; 22:3; 23:37-39, 49; 33:24; 36:18.

16Considering the false prediction of peace: Jer. 6:14; 8:11; 14:13-15; 23:17; 28:9; Eze. 12:22-28; 13:10-16.

17Concerning religious hypocrisy in Judah: Jer. 5:2; 6:20; 7:9-11; 12:2.

18An important distinction is that Gentile nations are not Israel and were not a party to the Mosaic Covenant given at Sinai (Ex. 24:1-11). The specific blessings and curses of that covenant do not apply to us, but Israel. Yet the principles reflected in Israel’s covenant would seem to apply: no nation which abandons God can expect to retain His blessings.

19Concerning the judgment of the throne of David: Jer. 22:1-6, 30; 23:1; 29:16; 46:28.

20Jer. 22:11, 18.

21Jer. 26:1; 36:28.

22Jer. 22:24; 24:1.

23Concerning the judgment of Zedekiah: Jer. 21:7; 24:8; 27:12; 32:3-5; 34:2-6, 21; 37:7-10, 17; 38:17-18, 22-23; 52:2 Eze. 12:12-13; 17:12-21.

24Concerning Babylon attacking Israel: Jer. 1:14-15; 4:6, 13; 5:15; 6:1, 22; 8:16; 10:22; 13:4-7, 20; 15:12; 20:4; 21:4, 10; 22:25; 25:9; 27:6-8, 12-22; 28:14; 32:24, 36; 33:5; 34:1, 7, 21; 35:11; 36:29; 37:8; 38:2-3, 17-18; Eze. 1:3; 10:22; 11:24; 12:13; 17:3, 12; 19:9; 21:19-22; 23:23; 24:2-14.

25Concerning famine during siege of Jerusalem: Jer. 6:6; 8:3; 11:22; 14:16, 18; 15:2; 16:4; 19:9; 24:10; 32:24; 33:4; 52:4; 32:24; 33:4; Eze. 21:22; Eze. 4:1-3, 16-17; 5:16-17; 6:11; 7:15; 14:13, 21.

26Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem by fire: Jer. 9:11; 12:7; 15:6; 17:27; 19:8, 11; 21:10; 25:18, 29; 26:9; 32:29-31; 34:2, 22; 37:8, 10; Eze. 4:7; 5:5-8, 14-15; 10:2; 12:20; 15:6-8; 16:35-43; 21:2, 22; 22:19-22; 24:6, 21. Fulfilled: Jer. 39:8; 44:8; Eze. 33:21.

27Concerning captivity in Babylon: Jer. 5:19; 8:19; 9:16; 10:18; 13:17-19, 24; 15:1-2, 14; 16:13; 17:4; 20:4-6; 22:26-28; 24:5; 29:18; 32:28; Eze. 4:13; 5:10; 6:8-9; 7:24; 11:9; 12:11-15; 22:15; 36:19. Fulfilled: Jer. 39:9; 40:1.

28Jer. 25:11-12; 29:10.

29Jer. 27:11; 29:4-7, 28.

30Concerning the Mosaic Covenant as the basis for judgment: Jer. 11:7-8 cf. Lev. 26:26, 29, 31, 33-34; Deu. 28:36, 49-58.

31This principle applies throughout the Times of the Gentiles, including our own day. Concerning subsequent judgment of Babylon: Jer. 12:14; 25:12-14, 26; 30:16, 20; 50:18, 34; 51:24.

32Concerning the preservation and restoration of Israel: Jer. 3:12, 22; 4:1-3, 14, 27; 5:10, 18; 12:14-15; 16:14-15; 18:7-8; 23:3-8; 24:6-7; 27:22; 29:14; 30:3, 10-11, 17-24; 31:2-14, 16-17, 23-28; 32:15, 37-44; 33:6-25; 42:10-12; 44:28; 46:27-28; 50:19-20; Eze. 4:3; 6:8; 7:16; 9:8; 11:13, 16-20; 12:16; 14:22-23; 16:60-63; 17:22-24; 20:33-38, 40-44; 34:11-16, 22-31; 36:4-15, 24-38; 37:1-28.

33“Take the revelation in Gen. 3—that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. When was it given? Not when Adam walked sinlessly, but after he and his wife were fallen. Then God appears, and His word not only judged the serpent, but took the form of promise to be realized in the true Seed—certainly a blessed disclosure of the future, on which the hope of those who believed rested. It was the condemnation of their actual state. It did not allow the faithful who followed to sink into despair, but on the part of God, presented above the ruin an object to which their hearts became attached.”—William Kelly, Lectures on the Book of Daniel (3rd. ed.) (Richardson, TX: Galaxie Software, 1881, 2004), 8.

34The line from Hezekiah to Josiah is: Hezekiah - Manasseh - Amon - Josiah (Mat. 1:10).

35Dyer, Jeremiah, 1:1126.

36“Josiah is the last of the sovereign Kings of David’s lineage that sat upon his throne. The point that is being made is that God promised David that his throne and kingdom were to have an enduring and everlasting fulfillment and that the throne of David was a sovereign dominion, not a puppet or vassal of any foreign kingdom (2S. 7; Ps. 89). Whereas it is true that some on the list such as Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh did have periods during their reigns in which they endured subjugation and the paying of tribute to various monarchs of the Assyrian Empire, all enjoyed intervals of sovereign autonomous rule. All of Josiah’s sons and his grandson, Jeconiah (Mat. 1:11, ‘Jeconiah and his brethren’) were vassals to either Egypt or Babylon and not sovereign rulers; thus they do not belong in Matthew’s second set.”—Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament: A Return to Basics, 4th ed., 41.

37Dyer, Jeremiah, 1:1125.

38Donald J. Wiseman, “Babylonia,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979, 1915), 1:395.

39“Jehoiachin’s captivity is confirmed by texts from Babylon.”—Ibid.

40Isaiah’s prophecy was given about 15 years before the death of Hezekiah (c. 701). It came to pass over 100 years later (597 B.C.), providing a sobering reminder of how the actions of an ancestor can negatively affect their descendants.

41“King Jehoiakim, whom he commanded to be thrown before the walls, without any burial; and made his son Jehoiachin king of the country and of the city: he also took the principal persons in dignity for captives, three thousand in number, and led them away to Babylon; among whom was the prophet Ezekiel, who was then but young.”—Flavious Josephus, “The Antiquities of the Jews,” in Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus : Complete and Unabridged. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996, c1987), 10:97-98.

42Four tablets found in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace name Jehoiachin and his family as among those who were receiving rations from the king (Weidner 1939; Wiseman 1985:81-82).”—Bryant G. Wood, “Nebo-Sarsekim Found in Babylonian Tablet,” in Bible and Spade, vol. 20 no. 3 (Landisville, PA: Associates for Biblical Research, Summer 2007), 67.

43God prophesied through Jeremiah and Ezekiel that Zedekiah would see the eyes of the king of Babylon (Jer. 34:3) and be taken to Babylon, but he would not see the city (Eze. 12:13). This puzzling prediction was fulfilled by the blinding of Zedekiah prior to being taken to Babylon (Jer. 39:7). The last thing Zedekiah saw before being blinded was his own sons being put to death (2K. 25:7). Image courtesy of François-Xavier Fabre (1766-1837). Image is in the public domain.

44Even though Zedekiah reigned as king, it is important to recognize that he was not a qualified descendant in the line of David, since he was not a son of Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah). Thus, the curse placed on Jehoichin’s line (Jer. 22:24-30) precluding any of his physical descendants from reigning as king was not violated in the reign of Zedekiah. This is also seen in the omission of Zedekiah from Matthew’s genealogy (Mat. 1:11). Neither did any of Jehoiachin’s physical descendants occupy the throne or have the title of “king” (Mat. 1:12-15). This curse does not affect the legitimacy of the rule of Jesus, since He was born of the virgin Mary who was a descendant of David through a different lineage (Luke 3:23-38).

45Concerning the significance of the 9th of Ab: “As to the month and day, the Jewish sources claim a striking identity between the destruction of the Second Temple and of the First Temple. 2 Kings 25:8 states that the First Temple was burned by Nebuzaradan on the seventh day of the fifth month, while Jer. 52:12 gives the tenth day of the fifth month. The rabbis reconciled these data by explaining that the Babylonians entered the temple on the seventh day of Ab (which is the fifth month), ate and did damage to it on that day and the eighth, and on the ninth day toward dusk set fire to it; it then continued to burn through the whole of that day which is presumably extended through the tenth. As to the recurrence of disaster at the identical time, they said, ‘The same thing too happened in the Second Temple.’ For a single day, the ninth of Ab was taken as the exact date: ‘On the ninth of Ab . . . the Temple was destroyed the first and the second time.’ . . . The date of the burning [of the Second Temple] is stated explicitly by Josephus: ‘the tenth of the month Loos the day on which of old it had been burnt by the king of Babylon’ (6.250). In the later correlation of the Macedonian calendar as it was used in Palestine . . . Loos was parallel to Ab, the fifth month. Therefore Josephus’s date of Loos = Ab 10 is identical with Jeremiah’s (52:12) date of the tenth day of the fifth month for the first destruction, and just one day later than the ninth day of Ab taken as the official date by the rabbis. . . . Along with Josephus’s eyewitness account of the destruction of the temple by the Romans, there is also an account by Rabbi Yose ben Halafta in Seder ’Olam Rabbah (30.86-97) . . . the passage reads: Rabbi Yose used to say: “Propitiousness is assigned to a propitious day and calamity to a calamitous day. As it is found said: When the temple was destroyed, the first time, that day was immediately after the Sabbath, it was immediately after the Sabbatical year, it was (during the service of) the priestly division of Jehoiarib, and it was the ninth day of Ab, and so the second time (the temple was destroyed).” . . . it is also of interest to note how the Mishna associates yet other untoward events with the same date of the ninth day of Ab: On the ninth day of Ab it was decreed against our fathers that they should not enter into the land (of Israel), [For this date see Seder ’Olam Rabbah 8.45-47, Milikowsky, Seder ’Olam, 473.] and the temple was destroyed the first and second time (by Nebuchadnezzar and by Titus), and Beth-Tor [or Bethar, modern Bettir southwest of Jerusalem, the scene of Bar Kokhba’s final defeat in A.D. 135] was captured, and the City (Jerusalem) was ploughed up (by Hadrian) [Taanich 4:6; Danby 200].”—Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1964, 1998), 106, 110.

46Leon J. Wood, A Commentary on Daniel (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998), 29.

47“It is also suggested that the rebellion involved some of the Judean deportees in Babylonia since Nebuchadrezzar also put to death by burning Ahab ben Kolaiyah and Zedekiah ben-Maaseyah who had prophesied that the Jewish exile would last only two years in contrast with the seventy predicted by Jeremiah (Jer. 29:21-22).”—Wiseman, Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon, 35.

48There is an intentional parallel between the departure of God’s glory from the first temple to the Mount of Olives in Ezekiel’s day (Eze. 10:18; 11:22-23) leading to the destruction of the temple by Babylon and Jesus’ departure from the second temple to the Mount of Olives (Mt 23:38; Mt 24:1-3) leading to its destruction by Rome.

49Gleason Leonard Archer, “Daniel,” in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 7 - Daniel and the Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1985), 3.

50“Indeed, it was essential for him to prove by his miraculous acts that he had allowed his people to go into captivity in 587 B.C., not through weakness, but rather to maintain his integrity as a holy God, who carries out his covenant promises both for good and for ill according to the response of his people.”—Ibid., 4.

51Pentecost, Daniel, Dan. 1:1.

52H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1949, 1969), 15.

53Dyer, Jeremiah, 1:1146.

54Unfortunately, a number of popular translations muddy this passage by translating שֵׁבֶט [šēḇeṭ] as “rod” rather than “scepter” giving the possible impression that the rod is meting out discipline when the scepter is the object of discipline (KJV, ESV, NASB). Interestingly, the same translations render the term as “scepter” in Genesis 49:10 which is closely related to Ezekiel 21:27. Although “rod” or “scepter” are both valid translations of the underlying Hebrew term, “scepter” is more naturally understood as referring to kingly ruling authority by many readers.

55Copyright © 2010 by Heralder. “Heraldic Royal Crown, Generic Design in Europe with 8 half-arches.” This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

56Jer. 22:3.

57 “THE SCEPTRE SHALL NOT DEPART FORM JUDAH (XLIX, 10): this refers to the throne of kingship . . . Rather than transliterating into English ‘Shilo’ as though it were a proper name, the Rabbis translated the exact meaning of ‘Shilo’ as ‘to whom it belongs/pertains.’ ”—Tom Huckel, The Rabbinic Messiah (Philadelphia, PA: Hananeel House, 1998), s.v. “Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCIX, 8-9:.” “The transmission of dominion shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor the scribe from his children’s children, forever, until the Messiah comes. to whom the kingdom belongs, and whom nations shall obey.”—Huckel, The Rabbinic Messiah, Targum Onkelos, Gen. 49:10. “Kings and rulers shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor scribes who teach the Torah from his seed, until the time when the King Messiah shall come, the youngest of his sons, and because of him nations shall melt away.”—Huckel, The Rabbinic Messiah, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Gen. 49:10. See [Huckel, The Rabbinic Messiah] for many more Rabbinical comments concerning the identity of Shiloh as Messiah with the meaning of “He whose right it is” to hold the scepter.

58“But when not only the people, but the king anointed of Jehovah, blotted out His very Name from the land; when His glory was given to another in His own temple, all was over for the present, and ‘Lo-Ammi’ was the sentence of God. They had become now the most bitter in their idolatry, being apostates from the living God, and, if maintained, would have been the active champions of heathen abominations. By God’s judgment, therefore, the people and the king at length passed into captivity.”—Kelly, Lectures on the Book of Daniel (3rd. ed.), 20.

59“With v. 25 the address turns to the chief sinner, the godless King Zedekiah, who was bringing the judgment of destruction upon the kingdom by his faithless breach of oath.”—Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), Eze. 21:25.

60“The profane and wicked prince of Israel was King Zedekiah. . . . This prophecy recalls Genesis 49:10, which speaks of ‘the scepter’ in the line of Judah. The line of David would not be restored till the righteous, God-appointed King would come. There were no valid claims till Christ rode into Jerusalem to claim His rightful rule (cf. Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:1-11; Rev. 19:11-16+; 20:4+). Christ will fulfill Ezekiel’s prophecy; He will be the King of Israel.”—Charles H. Dyer, “Ezekiel,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications, 1983), Eze. 21:24. “It is true the tribal ‘scepter’ continued with Judah ‘till Shiloh came’ (Gen. 49:10); but there was no kingly scepter till Messiah came, as the spiritual King then (John 18:36, 37); this spiritual kingdom being about to pass into the literal, personal kingdom over Israel at His second coming, when, and not before, this prophecy shall have its exhaustive fulfilment (Luke 1:32, 33; Jer. 3:17; 10:7; ‘To thee doth it appertain’).” [emphasis added]—A. R. Fausset, “The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel,” in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Eze. 21:27. Although the throne lasted until the overthrow of Zedekiah’s reign by Babylon, it had already lost its independence when previous rulers were made subject to Egypt and Babylon (Jer. 22:30; 36:30).

61“These verses seem to be addressed to the present king, Zedekiah, as a reminder that in her past Israel was fruitful and full of branches. However, her doom is so certain that it is pictured as completed: she was plucked up in fury (v. 12). The statement that she hath no strong rod is a reference to the fact that Zedekiah was the last king of the nation. Not until the millennial reign of Jesus Christ will Israel have another king.”—King James Version Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), Eze. 19:14.

62The closest direct reference to this phrase in the OT is found in Ezekiel’s prophecy: “For the day is near, Even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, the time of the Gentiles.” (Eze. 30:3). In Ezekiel’s context, the event is referred to in the singular: “the time of the Gentiles” and would seem to refer to a time when the Gentile nations are to finally be judged. In other words, it relates to the end of the “times of the Gentiles” referred to by Jesus. Some interpreters object to the notion that Jesus was referring to the continuation of a time period which began hundreds of years prior to His statement. “This is probably one of the most misinterpreted prophecies in the Bible. The term [sic.] times of the Gentiles has been taken out of its context and given a meaning not found anywhere in the Bible. . . . Jesus is merely saying that Jerusalem will be trodden down by Gentiles until their time is up—not from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, who is not in view here at all, but from the time of the beginning of Antichrist’s invasion. Jesus was not talking about some long period of time, beginning supposedly with Nebuchadnezzar and ending when the Jews are all back in Palestine and Jerusalem is an all-Jewish city. Jerusalem will be an all-Jewish city long before the invasion of Antichrist. The four world empires of prophecy, which began with Nebuchadnezzar and which will continue until the saints possess the kingdom, are nowhere in Scripture called the times of the Gentiles. In this part of the Olivet discourse, Jesus is certainly not talking about the four world empires of Daniel. He is talking about the siege of Jerusalem by Antichrist and says that Jerusalem will be trodden down by Gentiles until their time is fulfilled. Revelation 11:2+ states that the length of this time is 42 months or 3 1/2 years . . . The times of the Gentiles, then, is the last 3 1/2 years before the return of Christ, the last half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, or the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7).”—Arthur E. Bloomfield, A Survey of Bible Prophecy (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, 1971), 162. But such an interpretation fails to recognize the significance of the emphasis given to the sequence of Gentile kingdoms in the book of Daniel along with the book’s historical context concerning the Babylonian captivity which resulted in the termination of the last vestige of Davidic rule—a rule which has never been reestablished down to our own times—which even this same author admits: “The return after the Babylonian Captivity was only a partial return, for many of the Jews remained in Babylon. Palestine never again became independent until this century. Throughout the years it was always a captive country so that the Jews never again had a reigning king. Successively, Palestine was dominated by Persia, Greece, Syria, and Rome. Finally the Jews were scattered once more among all countries, where they have remained until this day.” [emphasis added]—Bloomfield, A Survey of Bible Prophecy, 175. This lack of a reigning king began with Zedekiah was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar and continues down to our own day: “I believe that these times of ours (as also all the times of the four monarchies [Dan 2+]) are the times of the Gentiles; and that Jerusalem and Israel shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”—Horacio Bonar, “The Jew” in “The Quarterly Journal of Prophecy”, 211, cited in—Barry E Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2007), 10.

63“The Times of the Gentiles can best be defined as that long period of time from the Babylonian Empire to the Second Coming of the Messiah during which time the Gentiles have dominion over the City of Jerusalem. This does not rule out temporary Jewish control of the city, but all such Jewish control will be temporary until the Second Coming. Such temporary control was exercised during the Maccabean Period (164-63 B.C.), the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (A.D. 66-70), the Second Jewish Revolt (the Bar Cochba Revolt) against Rome (A.D. 132-135), and since 1967 as a result of the Six Day War. This too, is temporary, as Gentiles will yet trod Jerusalem down for at least another 3½ years (Rev. 11:1-2+). Any Jewish takeover of the City of Jerusalem before the Second Coming must therefore be viewed as a temporary one and does not mean that the Times of the Gentiles have ended. The Times of the Gentiles can only end when the Gentiles can no longer tread down the City of Jerusalem.”—Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev. ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1982, 2003), 21.

64“Note that none of men in the Davidic line leading to Jesus are referred to as ‘king’ following the Babylonian captivity (Shealtiel through Joseph, Mat. 1:12-16). Zerubbabel, who qualifies as a leader on the return from Babylon is only ever referred to as ‘governor’ (Ezra 5:14; Hag. 1:1, 14; 2:2) and ‘prince,’ (Ezra 1:8-9) but never ‘king.’ ”—Horner, Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged, 10.

65Scott is convinced that Zerubbabel fulfilled the predictions to restore Davidic rulership and attributes the lack of Scriptural clarity on this point to political motives. “A number of the prophets had predicted the restoration and future blessing would include the return of rule by the house of David (Isa. 9:7; 16:5; Jer. 17:25; 23:5; 30:0; 33:15, 17, 20-22; Eze. 34:23-24; 27:24-25; Hos. 3:5; Amos 9:11). Moreover, the promise to David and his descendants led to the expectation that the Messiah (the leader/king par excellence) would arise from that family. As would be expected, then, the immediate postexilic hopes for the reestablishment of the Hebrew kingship centered on the Davidic family. Two individuals are mentioned in Ezra as political leaders: Sheshbazzar the prince and governor, and Zerubbabel the rebuilder of the temple. The book of Ezra gives no lineage for Sheshbazzar, and Zerubbabel is called simply ‘son of Shealtiel’ (Eze. 3:2; 5:2; Ne. 12:1). First Chronicles 3:16-17 makes clear that Shealtiel was the son of King Jeconiah (Jehoiachin/Coniah) (see also Mat. 1:12; Luke 3:27). Hence Zerubbabel, who was himself later appointed governor in his own right (Hag. 2:21) was of Davidic descent. To this silence of Ezra about Zerubbabel’s royal heritage we must add Haggia’s assurance that Zerubbabel and Joshua the high priest would be protected in the midst of dangerous times (Eze. 2:4-5). . . . The silence in Ezra about Zerubbabel’s Davidic descent, coupled with the LORD’s reassurance to him, may indicate that some of his contemporaries viewed him as the messianic king. . . . The reason for the silence was that talk of his being a king could have placed Zerubbabel at risk in the Persian Empire. . . . The restoration of the monarchy did not come during the time of Ezra, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, and their contemporaries. Nor in fact did it come through the Davidic family, but through the priestly Hasmonean line. Although Aristobulus I was the first of the Maccabees actually to claim the title of king, several of his predecessors held the office in all ways save the name. In them we see the joining of the offices of priest and king.” [emphasis added]—J. Julius Scott Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1995, 2007), 162-164. As Scott observes, during the times of the Maccabees, some Hasmonean rulers claimed the title of “king.” Yet none of these had the necessary Davidic lineage to be recognized as a legitimate continuation of David’s rule. “Hyrcanus [134-104] did not claim the title of king, but acted as if he occupied that position. . . . Unlike his predecessors, Aristobulus [104-103] openly claimed the title of king. . . . Aristobulus’s widow, Salome Alexandra, released his brothers from prison and offered herself in marriage to one of them, Alexander Jannaeus [103-76]. This enabled him to become both king and high priest. . . . Antigonus, the last Maccabean ruler, was locked in a bitter struggle for control with Herod and his brother Phasael until the invasion of the Parthians in 40 B.C. In response to promises by Antigonus, the Parthians captured Phasael and Hyrcanus II. They then enthroned Antigonus as king and high priest of the Jews. Herod, however, gained Roman assistance and was given authority in the land of Israel. A return of the Parthians in 38 briefly restored the rule to Antigonus. By 37 Herod emerged the victor, theoretically an independent monarch, but in fact a puppet of Rome. It is he whom history labeled King Herod (Mat. 2:1) and Herod the Great. The execution of Antigonus ended the Hasmonean Dynasty.”—Scott Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament, 86-87. MacArthur understands Zerubbabel’s rulership as reestablishing the Davidic line of kings, “The pre-Exilic signet of Jehoiachin was removed by God (Jer. 22:24) and renewed here in his grandson, Zerubbabel, who reestablished the Davidic line of kings.”—John MacArthur, ed., The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1997), Hag. 2:23. However, MacArthur recognizes that the continuation of the Davidic line did not in any sense include an active reign upon the throne of David: “He reestablished the Davidic throne, even though it will not again be occupied until the time of Messiah (cf. Ps. 2).”—MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, Hag. 1:1. The divine perspective on whether the Davidic line extending from Zerubbabel following the restoration from the Babylonian Captivity can be considered as having ruled as “kings” is reflected in Matthew’s genealogy of Christ (Mat. 1:1-16). This genealogy is crafted in such a way as to highlight the break in the kingly line at the time when the scepter was judged, Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.” (Mat. 1:11-12) All the men mentioned in the genealogy from David (Mat. 1:6) through Jeconiah and his brothers (Mat. 1:11) are mentioned in the OT as kings. However, from Zerubbabel to Joseph, the husband of Mary, none of the Davidic descendants is ever referred to in the inspired record as a king. Whoever heard of “king Abiud” (Mat. 1:13), “king Matthan” or “king Jacob” (Mat. 1:15)? Although Zerubbabel qualifies as the Davidic leader on the return from Babylon, he is only referred to within Scripture as “governor” (Ezra 5:14; Hag. 1:1, 14; 2:2) and “prince” (Ezra 1:8-9) but never “ ‘king.’ Clearly, the Davidic throne remained unoccupied after the scepter was judged in the reign of Zedekiah.

66And the physical temple may not even exist, as is the case in our age. “In the great dream in the second chapter the period of time is revealed which in Scripture is called ‘The Times of the Gentiles.’ These extend from the time God withdrew from Jerusalem, where His Glory dwelt, until His Throne is once more established upon the earth.”—Arno Clemens Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel: A Key to the Visions and Prophecies of the Book of Daniel, 2nd (New York, NY: Our Hope, 1911), 8.

67Renald Showers, Israel My Glory, January/February 2001, 30.

68The eventual Davidic rule of Jesus will span the entire globe and include dominion over all nations (Isa. 9:6; Zec. 14:9-16; Rev. 11:15+).

69We disagree with Keil who makes the deportation to Babylon the end of the Davidic rule for all time. “Accordingly the exile forms a great turning-point in the development of the kingdom of God which He had founded in Israel. With that event the form of the theocracy established at Sinai comes to an end, and then begins the period of the transition to a new form, which was to be established by Christ, and has been actually established by Him. The form according to which the people of God constituted an earthly kingdom, taking its place beside the other kingdoms of the nations, was not again restored after the termination of the seventy years of the desolations of Jerusalem and Judah, which had been prophesied by Jeremiah, because the Old Testament theocracy had served its end.”—Carl Friedrich Keil, “Daniel,” in Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 9:489.

70The burning of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar’s Army. Image courtesy of Juan de la Corte (1580 - 1663). Image is in the public domain.

71 “Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image, and Daniel’s vision in interpretation of that dream, were a Divine revelation that the forfeited sceptre of the house of David had passed to Gentile hands, to remain with them until the day when “the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.”—Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, 10th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1894, 1957), 31. “The ‘Times of the Gentiles’ began when God transferred earthly rule from the Kings of Israel to the Gentile king Nebuchadnezzar, and they will continue until Israel again becomes the ‘Head of the Nations.’ ”—Clarence Larkin, The Book of Daniel (Glenside, PA: Clarence Larkin Estate, 1929), s.v. “The Gentile Nations.” Notice too that the final ruler of the “kingdom of man” during the Times of the Gentiles is the Antichrist. This another reason why we believe the Antichrist will be a Gentile and not of Jewish origin. “It would be contrary to the prophetic sequence of Daniel to have a Jewish kingdom (Dan. 2:32-45+; Rom. 11:25). . . to say that the Antichrist is to be a Jew would contradict the very nature of the times of the Gentiles.”—Randall Price, The Coming Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1999), 478.

72W. A. Criswell and Paige Patterson, eds., The Holy Bible: Baptist Study Edition (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), Hag. 2:21-23.

73J. Dwight Pentecost, Class Notes on Daniel, Dallas Theological Seminary (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso [transcriber], 2006), 2:9.

74H. A. Ironside, Expository Notes on Ezekiel, the Prophet (New York, NY: Loizeaux Brothers, 1949), Eze. 21:24-27.

75“Looking then at the moral character of Daniel’s prophecy, the key to the ways of God at the time it was given lies in this, that God no longer exercised a direct or immediate government upon the earth.”—Kelly, Lectures on the Book of Daniel (3rd. ed.), 16.

76“In Daniel all is changed. There is no message to Israel at all; and the first and very comprehensive prophecy contained in the book was not at first given to the prophet himself, but rather a dream of the heathen king, Nebuchadnezzar, through Daniel, was the only one who could recall it, or furnish the interpretation. The later visions were seen by Daniel only, and to him all the interpretations were given. What is the great lesson to be drawn from this? God was acting on the momentous fact that His people had forfeited their place—at least for the present.”—Ibid., 12.

77It was the Jews of the dispersion, from foreign lands, who understood the Spirit-filled proclamations. The “other” Jews—those native to Jerusalem—heard nothing in their native tongue. To them it was as drunken babbling.

78“The monarchy also held both a national and religious significance. Although God was recognized as the only true king of Israel, rulers from the house of David were his representatives. God promised David that his descendants would rule over Israel forever (2S. 7:12-16). The overthrow of the kingly line caused many in Israel to question the nation’s relation to God and the dependability of his promise. Their shock is reflected in Psalm 89:38-45 . . .”—Scott Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament, 109.

79There is an interesting typological relationship to consider between the dispersion of the Jews into all Gentile nations (especially following 70 A.D., Luke 21) and the subsequent gathering of all Gentiles to Jerusalem in the Millennium to come.

80Pentecost, Class Notes on Daniel, Dallas Theological Seminary, 2:11.

81Ibid., s.v. “Disciplinary.”

82“There need be no controversy as to the identity of the empires therein described with Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. . . . it is sufficient here to emphasize the fact, revealed in the plainest terms to Daniel in his exile, and to Jeremiah in the midst of the troubles at Jerusalem, that thus the sovereignty of the earth, which had been forfeited by Judah, was solemnly committed to the Gentiles.”—Anderson, The Coming Prince, 32.

83A related phrase, “the time [singular] of the Gentiles” occurs in Ezekiel 30:3. This differs from both the “times” [plural] and the “fullness” of the Gentiles. Ezekiel is describing a period of time, associated with the Day of the Lord, during which God will judge the Gentile nations. As such, it can be thought of as the last part of the Times of the Gentiles” during which God begins to draw Gentile rule to a close.

84Although the fullness only concerns an end, it has in view the number of predominantly Gentile believers who are foreordained to be part of the body of Christ. It is in this sense that the period which it brings to an end finds its beginning with the formation of the Church on the Day of Pentecost.

85“The ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ will end at the Rapture. The ‘times of the Gentiles’ will come to a close at the Battle of Armageddon when the Antichrist and his armies are annihilated and King Jesus sets up His kingdom on earth and sits on the throne in Jerusalem to reign for one thousand glorious years!”—Oliver B. Greene, Daniel (Greenville, SC: The Gospel Hour, 1964, 1974), 84.

86Concerning the second coming in judgment: Dan. 2:32+, 44-45+; 7:13-14+, 18+, 22+, 26-27+; Isa. 63:1-6; Zec. 14:2-5; Mat. 24:29-31; Mark 13:26-27; Luke 21:25-27; Rev. 19:11-21+.

87Concerning the Rapture: 1Cor. 15:51-52; Php. 3:20-21; 1Th. 4:14-18. Although a strong case can be made for understanding the fullness as the completion of the Church, it is best not to be too dogmatic on this point. In the same way that Jews are saved in the Church age, so too will Gentiles continue to be saved after the Rapture. Salvation always extends to all nations and races, but the work of the salvation of Israel will become a greater focus after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

88“The church is within the times of the Gentiles. . . . the times of the Gentiles has to do with God’s program for Israel. The fullness of the Gentiles has to do with God’s program for the church, and the amillennialist would say they are one and the same so that the church has become Israel.”—Pentecost, Class Notes on Daniel, Dallas Theological Seminary, 3:17.

89Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493). Image courtesy of Michel Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwerff. Image is in the public domain.

90The values given in Jer. 52:28-30 use the accession year system and have been converted to non-accession year equivalents. “Jer. 52:28-30 gives the number of captives taken by Nebuchadnezzar in his seventh, eighteenth, and twenty-third years. There is one thing certain about the counting of captives—the captives themselves are in no position to do it. Every king and pharaoh must have had an official assigned to this task, so that the number of those vanquished could be recorded on a stela or in the annals glorifying the king’s exploits. Thus the list of captives in Jer. 52:28-30 could not have originated in a Judean record—it came from the official records of Nebuchadnezzar. The years of the monarch would therefore be the Nisan, accession years used in Babylon. This is an independent verification of the use of non-accession years when Jeremiah and the author of the last two chapters of 2 Kings referred to Nebuchadnezzar: the seventh (accession) year of Jer. 52:28 corresponds to the eighth (non-accession) year of 2K. 24:12, and the eighteenth (accession) year of Jer. 52:29 corresponds to the nineteenth (non-accession) year of 2K. 25:8. These are not mistakes, as some have assumed. They are a valuable clue that the synchronisms to Nebuchadnezzar in 2 Kings were to be taken in a non-accession sense. The 52nd chapter is not . . . from the pen of Jeremiah (Jer. 51:64).”—Roger C. Young, “When Did Jerusalem Fall?,” in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, vol. 47 no. 1 (Evangelical Theological Society, March 2004), 36-37. See Accession Year.

91Jeremiah 25:1 is associated with the battle of Carchemish after which some chronologists believe Daniel was taken. “During the summer of 605 B.C., which was both Jehoiakim’s fourth year and Nebuchadnezzar’s first year by non-accession reckoning (Jer 25:1), Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem. Daniel, using accession year reckoning, called it Jehoiakim’s third year (Dan 1:1+).”—Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, 158. We follow Anderson who believes Daniel was taken prior to the battle of Carchemish. “The Bible states that there was a deportation in the reign of Jehoiakim . . . Nothing can be clearer than the language of Chronicles (2Chr. 36:6) . . . Kings gives clear corroboration of Chronicles. Speaking of Jehoiakim, it says: ‘In his days Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years; then he turned and rebelled against him’ (2K. 24:1). Daniel (Dan. 1:1+) tells us this was in his third year, and that Jerusalem was besieged upon the occasion.”—Robert Anderson, Daniel in the Critic’s Den (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1909, 1990), 15. See commentary on Daniel 1:1.

92Dyer, Jeremiah, 1:1205.

93“[A] Babylonian tablet states that Nebuchadnezzar in the seventh year of his reign made an expedition to the Hatti-land in the month of Kislev (17 December 598 to 15 January 597). He besieged Jerusalem and captured the city on 2 Adar (Saturday, 16 March) 597. The king of Jerusalem was taken prisoner and a new king was placed on the throne. . . . The biblical account places the capture of Jerusalem in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:12), but the Babylonian account places it in the seventh year. The Babylonian account is in accord with Nisan regnal years and the biblical account starts the years of Nebuchadnezzar with Tishri. . . . The last half of the Babylonian Nisan year overlaps the first half of the Hebrew Tishri year. Thus Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar in his seventh year according to his own reckoning but in his eighth year according to the reckoning in Kings. The overlap was from Tishri in the fall of 598 to Nisan in the spring of 597. Since Jerusalem fell in Adar, the last month of the Babylonian year, this was in the spring of 597.”—Edwin R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1983), 186.

94“The Babylonian Chronicles date the siege and the deportation of King Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) of Judah from the 7th year of Nebuchadnezzar. . . . However the Hebrew account seems to conflict with the Babylonian record as it declares that the second deportation which brought Jehoiachin to Babylon . . . occurred in the 8th year of Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki 24:10-12). The ‘discrepancy’ resolves itself when it is seen that the Hebrews count the accession year of foreign monarchs as their first year of reigning. Thus Nebuchadnezzar’s 7th year by Babylonian dating becomes his 8th by Hebrew reckoning.”—Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament: A Return to Basics, 4th ed., 132. “There is an apparent discrepancy in the chronology in the fact that 2K. 24:12 dates the taking of Jerusalem and the capture of Jehoiachin in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar rather than the seventh year as per the Babylonian Chronicle. But it will be remembered that in Judah the kings’ years were counted from Tishri 1 in the fall (rather than from Nisan 1 in the spring as the Babylonians did), and if the Tishri year was applied to Nebuchadnezzar his first regnal year would begin a half-year earlier on Tishri 1 (Oct 7) 605, his eighth year would start Tishri 1 (Oct 20) 598 and extend to the last day of Elul (Oct 8) 597 . . . and the campaign of Nebuchadnezzar beginning in Kislimu (Nov/Dec) 598 and the fall of Jerusalem, capture of Jehoiachin, and appointment of Zedekiah would all fall within this year correctly.”—Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, 256. “[Some] have suggested that the first two deportations listed in Jer. 52:28-30 were not the same as those in 2 Kings but were minor ones preceding the major deportations associated with Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of the city in 597 and 586 B.C. Two arguments are said to support this second view. First, the years given (the 7th and 18th years of Nebuchadnezzar) are each one year earlier than the years given in 2 Kings for the two major assaults on Jerusalem by Babylon (the ‘8th,’ 2 Kings 25:8-12, years of Nebuchadnezzar). Second, the numbers of captives who were exiled in these deportations do not correspond with the numbers taken during the 597 and 586 deportations. In 597 about 10,000 people were taken (2 Kings 24:14), but Jeremiah 52:28 mentions only 3,023. In 586 Nebuchadnezzar deported ‘the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had gone over to the king’ (2 Kings 25:11). The figure in Jeremiah 52:29 of 832 seems far too low to correspond to this final deportation. So according to this second view it seems reasonable to assume that these two deportations in verses 28-29 are secondary deportations. The author included them (along with a third minor deportation, v. 30) to show the full extent of Babylon’s destruction of Judah.”—Dyer, Jeremiah, 1:1205. See also [C. W. Eduard Naegelsbach, “The Book of the Prophet Jeremiah,” in John Peter Lange, ed., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1880), Jer. 52:28].

95In Esther 2:6, the NKJV inserts the name Kish in italics indicating the word is not found in the original. This may be unwarranted: “From [Est. 2:5-6] it is perfectly clear that Mordecai is the man whom the writer means to indicate as having been carried away with Jeconiah in the 8th year of Nebuchadnezzar. His name appears as one of the leaders of those who returned with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2, Neh. 7:7), but in consequence of the misdating of the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, this verse has been misinterpreted, and made to mean that it was not Mordecai, but Kish, his grandfather, who was carried away with Jeconiah.”—Martin Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1) (London, England: Marshall Brothers Ltd., 1913), 224.

96Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 226.

97The 9th year, 10th month, 10th day of the reign of Zedekiah (Z9).

98“Thus Nebuchadnezzar began his siege of Jerusalem in the ninth year of Zedekiah, on the tenth day of the tenth month (2K. 25:1; Jer. 52:4), in the eleventh year, the fourth month, and the ninth day, the city wall was broken through (2K. 25:3-4); in the seventh day of the fifth month of the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and destroyed its temple, palace, and walls (2K. 25:8-10); and on the fifth day of the tenth month of that year, which was the twelfth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity, word of the fall of Jerusalem reached the exiles in Babylon (Eze. 33:21).”—Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, 35.

99 [Dyer, Jeremiah, 1:1205], [Yohanan Aharoni and Michael Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas (New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1993), 125], [Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, 172].


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