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the people return, God will deliver them   tured nation to remain in its own land
        from their bondage. There is always the   under the supervision of the conqueror.
        possibility of restoration with God.  The political stage was set for the possibil-
                                              ity of restoration to the land.
        Reaping                                 It was now 536 B.C. and Cyrus was on
          But the nation never hearkened unto   the throne. God had promised through the
        God. He sent His prophets “rising early”   ministry of Jeremiah that there would be
        and pleading with the nation. The proph-  70 years of captivity for the nation. That
        ets set before the nation the way of life and   time period was drawing to a close. So,
        the way of death. Heedless, the nation   the calendar was right.
        plunged headlong into judgment. That    There was one ingredient missing be-
        righteous judgment of God is summarized   fore God could accomplish His purpose
        for us in 2 Chronicles 36: “They mocked   for the nation. According to Deuteronomy
        the messengers of God, and despised his   30:1-3, the nation had to turn to God in
        words, and misused his prophets, until   their captivity. Enter Daniel. Representing
        the wrath of the LORD arose against his   the nation, taking their sin upon himself
        people, till there was no remedy” (v16   as his own sin, he made intercession and
        KJV). The judgments came in three stages   confession before the Lord. His prayer
        over a course of approximately 20 years.   became the final piece that enabled God
        They began with the first deportation,   to act and restore His people to the land.
        including King Jehoiakim in 607 B.C.,
        a deportation that included Daniel and   Realization
        his friends. Finally, in 587 B.C., the final   It was in the first year of Cyrus, King
        invasion occurred, and the Chaldeans   of Persia, that he issued his decree allow-
        carried the remainder of the nation and   ing the exiled Jews to return to the land
        King Zedekiah away into Babylon. God’s   (Ezr 1:1-4). His decree became a moral
        word to Habakkuk was fulfilled (Hab 1).   challenge to the nation. The response to
          The nation had reaped what it had   that decree is detailed for us in Ezra 1.
        sown. The land was to lie desolate to   The journey up to Jerusalem and the sub-
        “keep her sabbaths” for three score and   sequent initial attempts at rebuilding the
        ten years. The government of God cannot   Temple occupy the remainder of the books
        be ignored or avoided.                of Ezra, Nehemiah, and the prophecies of
                                              Haggai and Zechariah. God’s promise was
        Restoration                           realized, and the people were once again
          But God, being a God of restoration,   in the land of the fathers.
        was at work. The rise and fall of nations   God employed Jeremiah the prophet
        and empires are all under His sovereign   years before, Daniel the aged prophet in
        control. The Medo-Persian Empire came   his Bible study and prayer, and the nations
        into ascendancy as Babylon declined in   of Babylon and Persia to chasten and then
        power (Dan 5:30,31). The “foreign policy”   restore His people.
        of the Medo-Persians differed from that of   In subsequent articles, we will look in
        the Chaldeans. While the latter took their   more detail at Daniel and at the interpre-
        captives away to the land of Babylon, the   tation of the prophecy of 70 weeks given
        policy of the Medes was to allow a cap-  to Daniel.

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