They will be my people (Zech 8:7-8:8)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will save my people

From the east country,

As well as from the west country.

I will bring them

To live

In Jerusalem.

They shall be my people.

I will be their God,

In faithfulness,

In righteousness.’”

Yahweh of hosts, via Zechariah, said that he would save his people not only from Babylon in the east, but also those scattered in the western countries.  He wanted to bring them all together to live in Jerusalem, the holy city.  They would be his people.  He would be their God, faithfully and righteously.

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Seventy weeks (Dan 9:24-9:24)

“‘Seventy weeks

Are decreed

For your people,

For your holy city,

To finish the transgression,

To put an end

To sin,

To atone

For iniquity,

To bring in

Everlasting righteousness,

To seal both vision,

As well as prophet,

To anoint

A most holy place.’”

Thus, we have the prophetic statement of Gabriel. The terminology here is weeks and not years. Jeremiah had used 70 years. 7 was generally a complete or perfect number. Therefore, the popular terminology developed about lucky 7. During these 70 weeks or 70 years, they would make up for all the transgressions of the people and the holy city. Does 70 weeks imply 70 years times a week of 7, or 490 years? This time would atone for their sins and their iniquities. This would then bring about an everlasting righteousness, sealing both the vision and the prophet. Thus, they could anoint this holy place at the end of this period.

The holy portion of the land (Ezek 45:1-45:1)

“When you allot the land

As an inheritance,

You shall set apart

For Yahweh

A portion of the land

As a holy district,

Twenty-five thousand cubits long,

Twenty thousand cubits wide.

It shall be holy

Throughout its entire extent.”

Here is the grand design for the new Jerusalem. Yahweh wanted Ezekiel to set aside a large portion of the land to be holy, a true holy land. This was the expectation of a new configuration for Jerusalem, the holy city, not just the Temple itself. This rectangular area was about 25,000 by 20,000 cubits, a large section of land about 9 miles by 8 miles wide. How he was going to get this really big area was not clear.

 

The outside occupation of the land (Ezek 7:22-7:24)

“I will avert

My face

From them.

Thus they may profane

My treasured place.

The violent ones

Shall enter it.

They shall profane it.

Make a chain!

The land is

Full of bloody crimes.

The city is

Full of violence.

I will bring

The worst

Of the nations

To take possession

Of their houses.

I will put an end

To the arrogance

Of the strong.  

Their holy places

Shall be profaned.”

Outsiders will occupy Jerusalem. Yahweh was going to turn his face away from the inhabitants of the holy city. Thus these outsiders would profane the treasured places of Jerusalem. Violent wicked people would enter the holy city and desecrate it. The people of Jerusalem would be captured. They would be forced to make a chain, and to be put in chains. The land would be full of bloody crimes. The city would be full of violence. Yahweh was going to bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses. Yahweh was going to put an end to the arrogant and strong ones of the city, while their holy places would be profaned.

Prayer to end the desolation (Isa 64:10-64:12)

“Your holy cities

Have become a wilderness.

Zion has become a wilderness.

Jerusalem has become desolation.

Our holy beautiful house,

Where our ancestors praised you,

Has been burned by fire.

All our pleasant places

Have become ruins.

After all this,

Will you restrain yourself?

O Yahweh!

Will you keep silent?

Will you punish us so severely?”

This prophet wanted an end to the desolation in Jerusalem. The holy city had become a wilderness. Zion or Jerusalem was desolate. The beautiful house that his ancestors had worshipped in had been burned by fire, so that it lay in ruins with many other pleasant places. He wanted Yahweh to act and not be silent. Why had he punished them so severely?

 

The city of God (Ps 46:4-46:7)

“There is a river whose streams

Make glad the city of God.

This is the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of the city.

It shall not be moved.

God will help it

When the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar.

The kingdoms totter.

He utters his voice.

The earth melts.

Yahweh of hosts is with us.

The God of Jacob is our refuge.”

Selah

The symbolic river around the holy city of Jerusalem called streams only leads to the enchantment of this city of God. Those who live there are holy because God is in the midst of them. The city will not be moved since God is with them from early morning on. Even when the nations are in an uproar, or kingdoms are falling, God’s voice would be there to melt the earth. This section ends with the refrain of Yahweh, the God of Jacob, as his refuge. Perhaps this should have been in the first section also, before the Selah, musical interlude pause, as it is here.

King Antiochus IV reverses himself about the Jews (2 Macc 9:13-9:18)

“Then the abominable fellow made a vow to the Lord, who would no longer have mercy on him. He stated that the holy city, which he was hastening to level to the ground in order to make it a cemetery, was now declared to be free. He had not considered the Jews worth burying. He had planned to throw them out with their children for the wild animals and for the birds to pick on. However, now he would make all of them equal to citizens of Athens. The holy sanctuary, which he had formerly plundered, he would adorn with the finest offerings. All the holy vessels he would give back many times over. The expenses, incurred for the sacrifices, he would provide from his own revenues. In addition to all this he also would become a Jew. He would visit every inhabited place to proclaim the power of God. However, when his sufferings did not in any way abate, for the judgment of God had justly come upon him, he gave up all hope for himself.”

This deathbed reversal of King Antiochus IV goes into greater detail here than in 1 Maccabees, chapter 6. For Jerusalem, the city that he was going to make into a cemetery, now he was declaring it a free city. For the Jews themselves, instead of letting their bodies lay in the open for the wild animals and birds, he was making them citizens like the people in Athens. He was going to give fine offerings for the sanctuary he had plundered. He was going to return all the holy vessels that he took and more. He would pay for the expenses of the sacrifices out of his own revenue. He also was willing to become a Jew. He was going to go every place to proclaim God. However, his own just sufferings did not stop. He gave up all hope for himself. Thus this born again conversion of the king included the idea of becoming a Jew, which was extraordinary.