The Prophecy of Artaxerxes' Decree--Part 2
Sep 10, 2009
Yesterday in "The Prophecy of Artaxerxes' Decree" I wrote about the prophecy of Noah that Japheth would dwell in the tents of Shem (Gen. 9:27). It was 1776 years later (888 x 2) that we saw an indication of prophetic fulfillment with the decree of Artaxerxes in 458 B.C. This is what re-instituted Judah's calendar and began the 490-year countdown of Daniel's 70 weeks that would end with the crucifixion in 33 A.D.
The fact that a descendant of Japheth would fulfill this prophecy is probably hinted by the numeric value of the name Japheth. It is 490. His name is spelled with three Hebrew letters:
Yod = 10
Pey = 80
Tav = 400
TOTAL = 490
Japheth's name means "expansion," and hence Noah prophesied that God would "enlarge Japheth" or expand him. But it says nothing of how or for what purpose. The connection to Daniel's 70 weeks, however, brings this prophetic name into clearer focus, for we may finally connect this obscure prophecy to some historic fulfillment.
INTERPRETATION: The Kingdom of God will be expanded through Japheth because he will be united with his brother Shem at the end of a 490-year period.
This unification to create "one new man" (Eph. 2:15) technically began with Artaxerxes' decree and the subsequent sacrifices that were made in Jerusalem for him. Among these sacrifices were the 70 bulls sacrificed on the feast of Tabernacles for the 70 nations of the world. Hence, this prophecy is expanded still further, not only including Japheth, but the nations that came from their brother Ham as well (and his cursed son, Canaan).
The 70 nations listed in Genesis 10 are those that came from all three of Noah's sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Shem took the lead, being given the Birthright. The Birthright in those early days included the Scepter--that is, the lineage that would culminate with Jesus Christ, the King of the World. Shem would eventually unite with Japheth and remove the curse upon Ham as well.
The removal of this curse on Ham requires a bit of explanation. The curse was carried primarily by his son, Canaan. Interestingly enough, the land of Canaan became the Promised Land. So essentially, God gave Canaan the Promised Land at the beginning.
Canaan, then, became a type of the first Adam, who also came under the curse of death in the beginning. This Adamic curse came upon all mankind (all nations), as Rom. 5:12 tells us, "and so death passed into all mankind, on which all sin."
So the story of the Promised Land (Canaan) is really a prophetic type of the greater story being played out in the history of the world. The redemption of the Promised Land by the House of Israel was a microcosm of the greater story of the redemption of the whole world--all who were affected by Adam's sin.
The curse upon Adam was played out in short-story form by the curse upon Canaan and the call of Abraham to redeem the land of Canaan from that curse.
If Israel had been able to hear God's voice without fear at Mount Sinai, and if they had not run away, refusing to draw near to God and have the law written on their hearts (Ex. 20:18-21), they would have had the power to release Canaan from the curse in a New Covenant manner. It would have been done by evangelism, beginning with a Jubilee declaration on the 50th Jubilee from Adam. That is when the 12 spies gave their report.
But because they settled for an externally-written law (on tablets of stone), they did not receive the Sword of the Spirit. Hence, they had to conquer Canaan by bloodshed, instead of by baptism. It was the will of God that Israel return to their inheritance on that 50th Jubilee from Adam to redeem Canaan. However, the PLAN of God was that this was only a type, a test-run, because there was to be a greater fulfillment later.
The greater fulfillment would come in conjunction with Judah's 10th Jubilee from Artaxerxes' decree. This was the end of Daniel's 70 weeks (33 A.D.) Jesus was crucified as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and to remove the curse (judgment) of the law upon that sin. It was the event which allowed all of mankind to celebrate the greater Jubilee, of which the story of Canaan was only a type.
Yet even then, there was a seven-year discrepancy that had to be corrected in order to complete the divine plan. The 80th Jubilee from Adam fell on 26 A.D. But Judah's 10th Jubilee since Artaxerxes' decree came in 33 A.D. The 70th week of Daniel defined this seven-year discrepancy yet to be corrected.
The divine plan included this discrepancy in order to show us that there was yet a second coming of Christ to fulfill all righteousness. It was symbolized by the alignment of the two calendars: The Creation Jubilee Calendar and Daniel's Calendar.
The discrepancy was allowed to continue for another 40 Jubilees, or 4 x 490 years.
The 120th Jubilee of Creation (i.e., from Adam) came in October of 1986. The 50th Jubilee on Daniel's Calendar came in 1993. In 1986 God separated the barley from the wheat (overcomers from the church) and began to train them so that they would declare the Jubilee ten years "late" in 1996, turning the clock back to 1986 in the process. This was done by the Hezekiah Factor, which I wrote about last month. In so doing, God aligned the two calendars in 1996 on the 3000th anniversary of David's coronation over all Israel. (The Israelis held an 18-month celebration of this event at that time as well, showing that I am certainly not the only one to understand this history.)
But getting back to the prophetic purpose of God, it's all about the unification of the three sons of Noah and the redemption of the 70 nations of the world. (This was originally a literal number, if you count the beginning of nations in Genesis 10, but more broadly, it represents the idea of "all nations" and is all-inclusive.)
Another way of looking at it is to add up the numeric values of all the generations from Adam to Japheth. It comes to 3168, which is the numeric value of "Lord Jesus Christ" (in Greek). It is interesting to me that this would work out through Japheth, rather than through Shem. If we were to take it to Shem, we would fall 150 short (3018), yet even 318 is the number of the remnant found in Gen. 14:14. In gematria, the zeros can be dropped, so 3018 = 318.
Even so, taking this to Japheth, rather than Shem, takes us to the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for the sin of the world on the 10th Jubilee of Daniel's calendar, dating from Artaxerxes, a descendant of Japheth. Is that just a coincidence? No, it was meant to give us a piece of His Mind.
Likewise, Noah himself was born in the year 1056, just 600 years before the flood (1656). There are 1056 feet in a biblical "reed" (Rev. 11:1) used to measure the Temple. This is also one-third of 3168, "Lord Jesus Christ." (1056 x 3 = 3168).
May I remind you that Solomon's Temple was 3168 inches in circumference. 2 Chron. 3:3 says the circumference was 160 cubits. A cubit is 19.8 inches. Multiply it out for yourself. The temple of Solomon was an expression of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also the Body of Christ, because it was to be house of prayer for all people.
Everything in Scripture is an expression of the mind of Christ. While numbers may be confusing to many, and history may be incomprehensible, God speaks both math and history for those who speak those languages. Whether we comprehend these things or not, we can still understand the simple truth that these things express: God is redeeming the whole world, all nations. Daniel's 70 weeks has been part of that plan until that calendar was superseded in 1996 by the newly-aligned calendar.
This is the final part of a series titled "The Prophecy of Artaxerxes' Decree." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones