The Fifth Command

Rebuild_Jerusalem
In the 1st year of the Median king, Ahasuerus, a Judean captive named Daniel was given a prophecy concerning events which were going to happen to his people and to the city of Jerusalem.  He was told the prophecy would commence with a “commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:25  25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks.

2500 years removed from the time of Daniel, we see the history of that era in a different light than the people who lived it. How do you think they would have recognized the commandment to restore and to build”?  What would they have looked for?  Whose command would they have recognized?  From the perspective of the returning captives, what act would have constituted the building of Jerusalem?  If we want to understand the prophecy of Daniel 9 we must understand it in the context it was given.

Today most scholars identify four possible commands which they believe qualify as a “commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.”

  1. The decree by Cyrus in 536 BC (To rebuild the temple and Jerusalem)
  2. The decree by Darius (son of Hystaspes) the “Great” in 520 BC (To restart construction of the temple)
  3. The decree by “Artaxerxes” in his 7th year  (given to Ezra to return to Jerusalem)
  4. The decree by “Artaxerxes” in his 21st year (granting Nehemiah permission to build the wall of Jerusalem)

Some claim the first two “commands” are disqualified because they refer to the building of the temple and have nothing to do with building Jerusalem. I would ask if building the temple was not the de facto event in building Jerusalem, what event would have constituted it? As you will see in the verses below, building the Temple was in fact “building Jerusalem”.

First, let’s look at Daniel 9:25 a little closer: Have any of you ever wondered why the verse says “restore” and “build”? A look at the origins of the word “restore” brings some insight to the verse. “Restore” is the Hebrew word shuwb and its primary meaning is to return or turn back. When Daniel 9:25 is read in this light, it offers another perspective on how the early Judeans might have understood the commandment to return (shuwb) and to build (banah) Jerusalem.

In 536 BC, Cyrus gave the initial decree that allowed the Jews to go up to Jerusalem and build the temple. The enemies of the Jews harassed them for the next 16 years, so instead of building the temple the people worked on their own houses.  What some today may not realize but the enemies of the Jews knew without a doubt was that Jerusalem was nothing without the house of YHWH. To them building the Temple of YHWH was building Jerusalem.

KJVEzra 4:1-5  Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto YHWH God of Israel;……… Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,  5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

According to the decree of Artaxerxes (Bardis the Magian usurper) building the temple was building Jerusalem.

Ezra 4:21-24   21 Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.  22 Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?  23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.  24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

There is another underlying dynamic which is not obvious with just a casual observation of these events. Even though YHWH stirred up Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem and build the temple, (thus ending the 70 years of Jeremiah) it was not until the 2nd year of Darius that YHWH’s divine anger ended.  (See Zech 1:12-17 below) When YHWH’s anger towards the people finally ended He commanded them to return and build the temple.

KJVZechariah 1:7-17 7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of YHWH unto Zechariah, ……12 Then the angel of YHWH answered and said, O YHWH of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 13 And YHWH answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. 14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith YHWH of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. 16 Therefore thus saith YHWH; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith YHWH of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. 17 Cry yet, saying, Thus saith YHWH of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and YHWH shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

Just to make sure the people got His point YHWH expressed similar sentiments to Haggai:

KJVHaggai 1:1-9 In the second year of Darius the king….came the word of YHWH by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel …..and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,  2 Thus speaketh YHWH of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that YHWH’S house should be built…. Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? 5 Now therefore thus saith YHWH of hosts; Consider your ways.  6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.  7 Thus saith YHWH of hosts; Consider your ways.  8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith YHWH.  9 Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith YHWH of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

The whole matter was summarized by Ezra 6:14:

KJVEzra 6:14  14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, even Artaxerxes king of Persia.

Now let’s look at Daniel 9:25 as Daniel’s people would have understood it:

KJVDaniel 9:25  25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to return (shuwb) and to build (banah) Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks.

Regardless of what we believe about Daniel 9, there was only one commandment the Jewish people would have recognized.  Only one command they would have acknowledged.  That is the “commandment to return and to build Jerusalem” given by YHWH, proclaimed by Haggai and Zechariah and witness by Ezra 6:14.

16 Therefore thus saith YHWH; I am returned (shuwb) to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built (banah) in it, saith YHWH of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. KJVZechariah 1:16

Why have we ignored the Fifth Command?

 

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More Articles related to the prophecy of 70 Weeks and 2nd temple era chronology:
The “Artaxerxes” Assumption – The best kept secret of Old Testament chronology.
The Fifth Command – Why do prophecy teachers ignore it?
Ezra: Priest & Scribe – Part I – Defining “Artaxerxes” in the context of Ezra.
Ezra: Priest & Scribe – Part II – Ezra, Darius even “Artaxerxes”.
Nehemiah: The Governor– Nehemiah’s place in the 2nd temple chronology
Queen of Persia – Part I – Defining Esther is the context of the 2nd Temple era.
Queen of Persia – Part II – Defining Esther is the context of the 2nd Temple era.
A New Testament Cipher – The key to unlocking the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 Weeks.
Ezekiel’s 13th Month– Key to understanding Biblical “time” in the 2nd Temple era
6 milestones – Seventy Weeks – Defining the purpose of the Messiah within Daniel’s 70 “weeks”.
The Messiah Factors (Part I): Decoding 13 & 14 – Symbolism of the Messiah
The Messiah Factors (Part II): The Countdown – Proving Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah promised in Daniel 9.

 

Editing for this article was provided by Bradley Rohr at:
PES

 

15 thoughts on “The Fifth Command

  1. Pingback: The “Artaxerxes” Assumption | The 13th Enumeration

  2. Jim

    Very interesting angle I’ve never seen before. I’m very interested to see how you work out the 70 weeks from this starting point. I must say I have always preferred the interpretation that begins with # 4 above. A scholar (Harold Hoehner) claims to be able to show from that starting point the 69 weeks works out perfectly to the day of the crucifixion. However your website has caused me to rethink his reliability.
    Godbless

    Reply
    1. William Struse Post author

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for your response. I ask for your indulgence while I built a contextual foundation for this great prophecy before moving on. I will say this, once the prophecy is understood within it’s proper context it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Yeshua/Jesus was and is the Messiah promised in the Scriptures.

      Warm Regards,
      William Struse

      Reply
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  11. Doug Drake

    Hi Bill,
    I’m finally getting around to some of this. It takes more research than I have time for…
    I see your point on the fifth command or the divine command. At first I couldn’t see how the command by Cyrus could be any other than the one that God had prophesied. After reading again I see that this seems to be a bit of a ‘re-boot’ of the Cyrus command which never got started.
    Cyrus gave the command, the people were set free to go build but they never got to the work.
    The Lord then gave the command to the people through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to push the point to the people.

    Okay so I can agree with you on this starting point.

    On the seventy weeks being fulfilled completely…
    I interpret prophetic words to have a partial and a complete fulfillment.
    Many verses can be used to make that point but I won’t use any here.
    I could agree that the 9:24 verse in Daniel absolutely would have a partial fulfillment in the birth of Christ…the coming of the Messiah.
    But:
    I think a full and complete fulfillment will be realized once Satan is bound; the new and cleansed temple is in Jerusalem and in use during the Millennium and Jesus is seen and acknowledged as the sacrifice prescribed by the Father.

    Saying that though…I realize that there is yet a thousand years after that when there will be one last rebellion and the real end of sins and transgressions happen. That is what Daniel prophecies.
    End of sin…end of transgression…everlasting righteousness…seal up the vision…

    There are a lot of points we can go over, but I wanted to make this last point and we can continue this discussion for months and years on end until the Lord comes and makes it all clear to us.

    Time:
    I see the very strong points you make about 13 and 14.
    But:
    When we look at Daniel particularly and the scripture in general we see that the Lord uses seven, sevens, seventy, days, years, weeks, and he attaches numerical values to these.
    Why would 13 and 14 and the significance of the two be hidden and not brought out more fully in the plain reading of the text?

    We read that in the middle of the week the Antichrist will set up his abomination. I know you are aware of the interpretation that we find that in the middle of the week or the last set of seven years.

    In Revelation and in Matthew we see the warning to the Jewish people to watch and know that when you see the abomination spoken of by the prophet Daniel then you must run, hide and also know that time is short.

    What is that time?
    We have the 42 months and the 1260 days which both equate to one half of a seven year period.

    I am in full agreement with you that we need to rethink our interpretations of this and other prophecies, but I’m having a hard time breaking away from the 360 year interpretation.

    I see it throughout the scriptures and in particular in relation to the prophecies of Daniel.

    How am I wrong here?

    I also; when time allows; want to get into your interpretation of the first part of the prophecy. You see the Messiah at the end of the seven weeks and not the end of the seven and the 62 weeks. It seems the original language intends for us to combine the seven and the 62 together…much to discuss on this whole thing.

    Looking forward to having my mind changed.

    As Cool hand Luke once said. “I got my mind right now boss.”
    I’m looking to get my mind right.

    Reply
    1. William Struse Post author

      Doug,

      Just wanted to let you know I saw your post. I’m out of town for the next week or so. My internet time is limited right now but I will respond. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Thanks for the great review as well!

      Warm Regards, Bill

      Reply
    2. eWilliam Struse Post author

      Hi Doug,

      Sorry it so long to get back to you. I’ve quoted you here and will answer in bold in-between.

      Hi Bill,
      I’m finally getting around to some of this. It takes more research than I have time for…
      I see your point on the fifth command or the divine command. At first I couldn’t see how the command by Cyrus could be any other than the one that God had prophesied. After reading again I see that this seems to be a bit of a ‘re-boot’ of the Cyrus command which never got started.
      Cyrus gave the command, the people were set free to go build but they never got to the work.
      The Lord then gave the command to the people through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to push the point to the people.

      Okay so I can agree with you on this starting point.

      Good, now we have a foundation we can work from. This starting point (2nd year of Darius) is definable by eclipse records to the year 520 BC. Do you agree with this date or do you believe in a shorter version of the Persian chronology? Just want to make sure we are both on the same page re the secular date for the Divine Command.

      On the seventy weeks being fulfilled completely…
      I interpret prophetic words to have a partial and a complete fulfillment.

      Many verses can be used to make that point but I won’t use any here.
      I could agree that the 9:24 verse in Daniel absolutely would have a partial fulfillment in the birth of Christ…the coming of the Messiah.
      But:
      I think a full and complete fulfillment will be realized once Satan is bound; the new and cleansed temple is in Jerusalem and in use during the Millennium and Jesus is seen and acknowledged as the sacrifice prescribed by the Father.

      If Jesus did fulfill part of Daniel 9:24 what part of the 70 weeks did this take place in? Not trying to be tricky just trying to nail down exactly how you see it. If Jesus fulfilled any part of the 6 goals the text suggests it must have taken place sometime during the final (70th) week. Would you agree or do you see it differently?

      Saying that though…I realize that there is yet a thousand years after that when there will be one last rebellion and the real end of sins and transgressions happen. That is what Daniel prophecies.
      End of sin…end of transgression…everlasting righteousness…seal up the vision…

      You bring up a great point. If 9:24 does not refer to the work of Christ at Calvary then how does the 2nd coming fulfill it any better. Then as you point out all is not finished until the end of the 1000 years.

      There are a lot of points we can go over, but I wanted to make this last point and we can continue this discussion for months and years on end until the Lord comes and makes it all clear to us.

      Time:
      I see the very strong points you make about 13 and 14.
      But:
      When we look at Daniel particularly and the scripture in general we see that the Lord uses seven, sevens, seventy, days, years, weeks, and he attaches numerical values to these.
      Why would 13 and 14 and the significance of the two be hidden and not brought out more fully in the plain reading of the text?

      Why didn’t the angel just give Daniel the exact number of years? Cleary it was written is such a way as to reveal a greater truth. Otherwise he could have just said it would be exactly “this many” years to Jesus’ birth. Do you see what I mean. I see the prophecy of 70 weeks as a complete package which is indisputably linked to Jesus as the Messiah. Linked with specific secular dates as well as symbolism which indisputably points to Jesus as the Messiah promised in the Scripture.(OT)

      We read that in the middle of the week the Antichrist will set up his abomination. I know you are aware of the interpretation that we find that in the middle of the week or the last set of seven years.

      I will be writing about this over the weekend so I won’t answer this now. I’ll be interested in your thoughts.

      In Revelation and in Matthew we see the warning to the Jewish people to watch and know that when you see the abomination spoken of by the prophet Daniel then you must run, hide and also know that time is short.

      What is that time?
      We have the 42 months and the 1260 days which both equate to one half of a seven year period.

      Yes, but that does not mean it equals a specific 7 year period. Not say it doesn’t either. My point is that the events of Revelation is not dependent on our interpretation of Daniel 9. Or at least it shouldn’t be. If you really agree with me regarding the starting point being the Divine Command then the 7 year period can no longer be part of our end times tool box. At least until we can define exactly the period of time which the 70 Weeks prophecy was meant to represent. Today many teacher have built an entire house of cards upon an Artaxerxes Assumption which cannot be proven with a reasonable rendering of the Scriptural record. This creates a potential stumbling block for the generation which needs this information to accurate.

      I am in full agreement with you that we need to rethink our interpretations of this and other prophecies, but I’m having a hard time breaking away from the 360 year interpretation. I see it throughout the scriptures and in particular in relation to the prophecies of Daniel.
      How am I wrong here?

      I have several problems with a 360 day year.
      1. First we must assume that the 30 day months of Noah’s day did not include intercalations. Egyptian records show they (the Egyptians) had a so called 360 day year but they understood the necessity to add 5 days every few cycles. This kept the months from “wandering”.
      2. During Daniel’s day the lunar cycle was 29.53 days (eclipse records show this) Their years varied between 12 or 13 months. If Daniel’s people were meant to understand the prophecy then wouldn’t it be based in a reckoning of time they would have understood? 360 day years were not used during the 2nd temple era nor do we recognize them today.
      3. In Rev 11 why did the angel use 42 months to describe the length of time the “the holy city shall they tread under foot” and then in the next verse use days if they were meant to represent the same length of time. Why make the distinction of there was none?

      I also; when time allows; want to get into your interpretation of the first part of the prophecy. You see the Messiah at the end of the seven weeks and not the end of the seven and the 62 weeks. It seems the original language intends for us to combine the seven and the 62 together…much to discuss on this whole thing.

      Looking forward to having my mind changed.

      As Cool hand Luke once said. “I got my mind right now boss.”
      I’m looking to get my mind right.

      Me too! I love to work these things out. It’s good to look at these things from multiple perspectives. Look forward to continuing this discussion.
      Warm Regards,
      Bill

      Reply
  12. Doug Drake

    Bill,
    Excellent replies. Let me stew on your answers a little bit and then respond back to let you know how far off the range you are. Just kidding…many of us have been off the range for awhile.

    On your first question I can quickly say that yes I am in agreement about the 520 date. I trusted in the 445 date for many years because I put undue trust in the scholars who had arrived at that timing for the prophecy. I see that was a wrong assumption as you have pointed out.

    Let me take some time to put together some responses to your answers.

    On a summary note and a clue as to how I will proceed with this.

    When Peter spoke to the crowd that gathered in response to the Pentecost speaking in tongues event he made what probably would have been a shocking statement to those hearing his words.

    He said; “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.”
    I interpret and believe that this is clearly what I would call a partial fulfillment of prophecy.
    Peter, speaking by the Holy Spirit, wasn’t wrong in his interpretation. He was correct.
    But

    The full Joel prophecy didn’t come close to completion in the days of Peter but will see fulfillment during the times we read of in the book of Revelation.

    These are the types of things that make the Preterist interpretations preferable to many and yet completely miss the whole plan of God.

    I see very similar things in the writing of Daniel and expect a similar series of finished prophecies that saw partial fulfillments during the time of Christ’s first coming.

    Maybe after further study I will conclude that the 70 weeks had to have been completed but I see the words of Jesus, Peter, Paul and John telling us to expect further and in essence fuller completions.

    To be continued…

    blessings on your further studies and writings

    Doug

    Reply

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