Bible Chronology Timeline

Chronologies of the Mysteries of God

Genesis 5:1
“This is the book of the generations of
Adam. In the day that God created man,
in the likeness of God made he him”
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Haggai Prophesies on Behalf of the Temple in 3745

In the second year of King Darius the Persian, which corresponds to the chronological year 3745, the Prophet Haggai received word from God and came to address Zerubbabel the Governor of Judah, and Joshua the High Priest (Haggai 1:1). At that time the Jewish people were arguing that the fulfillment of the prophecy to finish rebuilding the temple had not yet come (Haggai 1:2). But the prophetic time had come for finishing the temple. Therefore, Haggai called the attention of these two dignitaries to the unbelief of the people of Israel. Haggai encouraged Judah’s Governor Zerubbabel and Jerusalem’s High Priest Joshua to examine the prophecies and learn that the house of the Lord should be finished at the time appointed by God:

“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 the LORD” (Haggai 1:8).

Therefore, both Zerubbabel and Joshua, together with the remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God through Haggai (Haggai 1:12). They feared before the Lord and, together with the people, were stirred to resume their task of finishing the work in the house of the Lord (Haggai 1:14). The resumption of the work in the temple took place on the 24th day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius (Haggai 1:15).

One month later, as the work in the temple was once again resumed by the faithful Israelites (Haggai 2:1); Haggai addressed Zerubbabel and Joshua once again with the question: “Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?” (Haggai 2:3). Obviously there were some elderly people among them who had seen the glory of the first temple, the temple of Solomon. On that occasion Haggai prophesied:

“Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:6-7).

This beautiful prophecy was uttered by Haggai regarding the coming of God Almighty, the Prince of Peace; the Lord Jesus Who would enter through the gates of the second Jewish temple. The prophet wrote:

“The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:9).

God Commands the Rest of His People to Leave Babylon in 3745

Zechariah also prophesied that the time for finishing the work in the house of the Lord had fully come. He began his ministry a few months after Haggai in 3745, particularly in the 8th month of the second year of King Darius the Persian (Zechariah 1:1). The word of the Lord in the mouth of Zechariah was a rebuke for Israel’s incredulity and also an encouragement for them to obey the Lord (Zech 1:3). Then again on the 24th day of the 11th month in the second year of Darius (Zechariah 1:7) Zechariah urged Israel to search the prophecies, and proclaimed: “Thus saith the Lord: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it…” (Zechariah 1:16).

The temple prefigured an eternal emblem of God’s salvation for the people of Israel. Therefore, Zechariah compelled his fellow Jews with the following message: “Come forth and flee from the land of the north” (Zechariah 2:6). And yet again he said: “deliver thyself, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon” (Zechariah 2: 7).

Prophecy of the Candlestick Prefigures 49 Years

The time had fully come for the temple to be finished. God’s holy prophets had announced that it would take forty nine years for the house of the Lord to be built. And it was ratified by one of the greatest visions given to Zechariah (Zechariah 4:1). Zechariah was in bed when the angel asked the prophet to tell him what he saw. Zechariah answered him saying that he saw a candlestick of pure gold with a bowl on top of it, it had seven lamps and seven pipes to the seven lamps (Zechariah 4:2). He also saw two olive trees, one on each side of the candlestick (Zechariah 4:3). The prophet was not aware that the vision meant that the temple should be built in 49 years. Zechariah was very eager to know what the interpretation of the vision was, so he asked what are these, my lord? (Zechariah 4:4). The angel expected Zechariah to know what the two olive trees represent. Therefore, the angel answered him with a question: “knowest thou not what these be?” “No, my lord,” Zechariah answered (Zechariah 4:5).

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, this is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” Zehariah 4:6.

Now, therefore, the two olive trees in the vision of Zechariah signify the Word of God. For the end-time remnant of God, this is the Old Testament and the New Testament. But in the days of Zechariah it was the Word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel (Zechariah 4:6), which for the Hebrews was the Law and the Prophets. Accordingly, the prophet and his contemporaries were presented with one of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, so that the honest searchers of truth could understand the prophecies. The seven lamps and seven pipes (Zechariah 4:2) in the vision represent 49 years. Multiply seven by seven to understand that the temple was to be built in 49 years. The Word of God revealed that Zerubbabel shall oversee the temple work for the span of forty nine years.

 7 x 7 = 49.

What an honour for one of God’s faithful men, Zerubbabel, the builder in chief of the house of the Lord. The angel continued with the explanation of Zechariah’s vision:

“Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it” (Zechariah 4:7).

But not just the headstone, Zerubbabel was to be the second temple’s builder for the whole span of 49 years. The Word of the Lord made this clear to the prophet, when he said:

“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you” (Zechariah 4:9).

Jubilee: a Symbol of Judgment

Another statute of judgment instituted by God was that of the Jubilee (Leviticus 25: 18). It was intended that Israel should be purged of the degrading wickedness of oppression, the sinful act of great monopolies in control of goods. God therefore commanded: “ye shall not oppress one another” (Leviticus 25:14). Moreover, He commanded: “ye shall grant redemption for the land” (Leviticus 25:24). That redemption of the land consisted in returning every man to his possession in the year of the Jubilee (Leviticus 25:13). Consequently, every year of Jubilee the land was released from mortgage and also the mortgagees were set free to return to their properties.

Jubilee served the purpose of converting the Israelites into the image of God, so that God’s people should administer justice and judgment in Israel. It was celebrated in connection with the Day of Atonement or Day of Judgment. The Holy Scriptures reveal that on the very day of atonement, in the tenth day of the seventh month, they sounded the trumpet of the Jubilee (Leviticus 25:9).

The span of time that was counted to celebrate freedom and redemption through the Jubilee was as follows:

“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years” (Leviticus 25:8).

The fiftieth year was named the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:11); it was the following year after the Day of Atonement celebration in the forty-ninth year. Therefore, the Lord commanded:ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants (Leviticus 25:10). It was counted as seven sabbaths of years, that is, seven weeks of years; which in this case would result in 49 years; which was the same span for the building of the second temple.

God intended that through the meaning of the Jubilee Israel should see a type of the Messiah, Who was their redeemer. And it was necessary that the building of the second temple and the celebration of the Jubilee should coincide so that the Messiah should be represented as their place of refuge and their Redeemer. Because the Jubilee conveyed the message that in Him we have redemption, it was necessary that the second temple should be completed forty nine years after their liberation from Babylonian captivity in the year of Jubilee.

The Prophet Hosea began his prophetic ministry in the reign of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (Hos. 1:1); he was contemporary of Isaiah from the year 3458 to 3519. Hosea told Israel that God will cease their feast days, new moons, Sabbaths and all their solemn feasts (Hosea 2:11). This prophecy was fulfilled a century later when the prophet Jeremiah exclaimed: “The Lord has caused the solemn feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest” (Lamentations 2:6). “The Lord has cast off his altar, he has abhorred his sanctuary” (Lamentations 6:7).

But the completion of the temple was not going to take place until the Jews should experience a spiritual reform and acknowledge that they needed to change their attitude towards the oppressed poor. Through the Jubilee, God had envisioned a prophecy that had to do with liberating Israel from all vestiges of oppression. It was due to their oppressive systems that the Jews had been punished and taken captives to Babylon. It was therefore necessary that Israel be purged of national apostasy and oppression. The temple and Jerusalem had already undergone 70 years of desolation, yet the people of Israel still had to learn another lesson. Therefore, the completion work of the temple was going to take 49 years, which are the seven sabbaths of years until the celebration of the Jubilee. They had been released from their temporal captivity, but not from their spiritual enslavement, that is, from their oppressive way of thinking.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Nehemiah Against Corruption

Israel’s corruption was intensifying as they continued falling into idolatry. Then God sent the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz in the days of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (Isaiah 1:1). He prophesied from the year 3458 to 3519. Isaiah’s message conveyed God’s disillusionment with regards to Israel’s fallen state of immorality; so God raised the question: “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” (Isaiah 5:4). Then He forewarnd: “I will lay it waste” (Isaiah 5:6). Isaiah explained that the vineyard is the house of Israel, where God “looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry” (Isaiah 5:7). And the message was against the immoral monopolization, where a few magnates held control of the means for food and daily living. Such monopolists in the house of Israel were condemned harshly with a word of retributive judgment: “Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! (Isaiah 5:8). Their due punishment was a severe famine because of their wickedness (Isaiah 5:10).

Prior to the Babylonian captivity Israel’s moral decadence had peaked as corruption had invaded all institutions of society, even the very priesthood. God sent Jeremiah from the 13th year of King Josiah to the 11th year of King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 1:2-3). Thus, for the span of 41 years, from the year 3589 to 3630, that faithful prophet warned Israel of the impending judgment to punish their wickedness. His message was against Jerusalem; as he said: “this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her” (Jeremiah 6:6). Jeremiah also pronounced Israel’s wretchedness as their condition was ripe for God’s retributive judgments. He said: “Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work” (Jeremiah 22:13). So degraded was Israel’s spiritual condition that the whole nation was sold to greed and dishonesty; even the prophets and priests were profane and their wickedness was found inside the temple (Jeremiah 23:11). Jeremiah therefore, disclosed their wickedness:

“For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely” (Jeremiah 6:13).

From the midst of Babylon God also raised Ezekiel the prophet who reproved Israel’s wickedness for having oppressed the stranger (Ezekiel 22:7). Israel had a spiritual problem, they committed lewdness (Ezekiel 22:9). Many of their people were accustomed to take usury, which they had greedily exacted from their neighbours by extortion (Ezekiel 22:12). There was a conspiracy by false prophets who coveted the sustenance of the widows in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 22:25). Likewise the priests violated God’s law and profaned His holy things (Ezekiel 22:26). Jerusalem’s princes were ready to destroy souls and shed blood, to gain dishonest gain (Ezekiel 22:27). And the nation as a whole used oppression and exercised robbery and vexed the poor and needy (Ezekiel 22:29). But God was purging Israel of all their wickedness. Ezekiel proclaimed: “My princes shall no more oppress my people” (Ezekiel 45:8). Then the counsel was readily given: “O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 45:9). And the command was delivered to all classes of society: “Ye shall have just balances…” (Ezekiel 45:10). God’s reproach was directly to the priests who had for a long time used extortion and robbed the people of their sustenance (Ezekiel 45:13-14).

The Jubilee was coming in 3749; this was a most significant celebration because it also concurred with the dedication of the second Jewish temple. But the Jews should rid of their oppressive lifestyle. It wasn’t long after the Jews returned from Babylon that they returned to their old habit of oppression. The word of God came to Judah’s Governor Nehemiah prior to the completion of the temple work. Nehemiah was shocked by the exactions that were imposed by the more powerful in Jerusalem. Complaints were addressed to the Governor revealing their sorrowful condition. “We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses so that we buy corn” they complained (Nehemiah 5:4). Some of the peoples’ complaints were that they had to borrow money for the king’s tribute (Nehemiah 5: 4). Others had been driven to extreme poverty to the extent of selling their children as slaves, whom they had no means of redeeming because their lands were in the hands of different landowners (Nehemiah 5:5). Then Nehemiah appealed to their consciences and protested against their conduct. He recalled their recent exile experience in Babylon, and how they had been released from captivity, and yet the Jews were continuing to oppress their own people (Nehemiah 5:8-9). Therefore, the Governor said: “I pray you, let us leave off this usury” (Nehemiah 5:10). Nehemiah finished his speech by pleading with Israel to restore on that very day, all the lands, vineyards, olive yards, and houses; plus a hundred per cent of the money, corn, wine and oil that they had exacted from them (Nehemiah 5:11). And the people responded positively, as they said: “We will restore to them and will require nothing of them.” (Nehemiah 5:12). Thus, on that day, the people of God won the victory over their enemy; the love of money!

Second Jewish Temple Finished in 3749

The people had finally understood God’s providence in King Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the temple. The prophecy indicated that it would take 49 years to re-build it. Therefore, the seven weeks of Daniel 9:25 is a reminder of the counting of seven Sabbaths of years in Leviticus 25:8. Both accounts would indicate that a great celebration of the Jubilee took place at the opening ceremony of the second Jewish temple. After 49 years, Israel was ready to celebrate their Jubilee of liberation from Babylonian captivity. But more importantly, theirs was a Jubilee of liberation from selfish oppression of one another. What else could bring greater joy than the completion of the house of the Lord culminating in Israel’s spiritual reform as urged by the prophets of the Lord?

Centuries later, when the Lord Jesus entered that temple, He rebuked the changers of money and expelled the merchants of oxen, sheep and doves together with their stock (John 2:14). As he drove them out with a scourge (John 2:15) He told them: “make not my Father's house an house of merchandise” (John 2:16). The puzzled Jews asked Jesus for a sign in regard to His authority for having cleansed the temple in such a dramatic way (John 2:18). The Lord Jesus replied to them: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). They misunderstood Him, but He spoke of the temple of His body (John 2:21). However, the Jews tried to correct the Lord in regards to His knowledge about Israel’s history, they said: “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” (John 2:20).

Of course the cunning Jews were wrong even in their historical data. They erred as they relied on their traditions and apocryphal books and did not search the Law and the Prophets for authentic historical data. The Scriptures clearly reveal that King Cyrus issued his decree in the first year of his reign (2 Chronicles 36: 22 Ezra 1:1), which was the year 3700. Although Cyrus had released Israel from captivity and given them permission to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, they did not lay the foundation stone nor begin working in the building of the second temple until the second year of their return to Jerusalem (Ezra 3:8). Technically the temple work began from the moment that the Israelites carried building materials from Babylon to Jerusalem. Here we gain one more year.

Another matter to consider is that there were at least two years when work ceased because the fickle Artaxerxes abolished his own decree. Notice that when Artaxerxes declared sanctions on Jerusalem, he commanded that the city be not built until another commandment shall be given from him (Ezra 4:21). At the writing of Artaxerxes’ abolition of his own decree the arch-enemies of Israel compelled the Jews to stop building the temple as well as the city walls. Thus the work was stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius King of Persia (Ezra 4:24). Here we have the last year of Artaxerxes when he abolished the permit for building the temple and the first year of Darius who had not yet reopened the construction permit until his second year in power (Haggai 1:15). Therefore, we conclude that the stoppage time for building the second temple was three years but the finishing work and dedication happened at the end of 49 years.

The Word of God declares that “to do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice” Proverbs 21:3). Forty nine years had elapsed since the day when King Cyrus had issued the decree to rebuild the house of the Lord. Justice and mercy had prevailed; the people of God had been granted deliverance in the name of the Lord. The temple work was finished and the temple inaugurated in the year 3749; Ezra wrote that historical date as follows:

“And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king. And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy” (Ezra 6:15 -16).

Bear in mind that there were two Kings named Darius. Darius the Median who took the kingdom (Daniel 5: 31; Daniel 9:1; Daniel 11:1) after Cyrus had conquered Babylon, this Darius died in the same year of his reign and Cyrus the Persian took over the kingdom. In the Medo-Persian Empire reigned yet another Darius, he is called Darius the Persian, he ordered the completion of the temple at Jerusalem (Ezra 4:5; 4:24; 6:15; Nehemiah 12:22).

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