The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Wickedness of Mankind
Part 3 Section III
The Torah, The Prophets, and Israel
עץ הדאת טוב ורע והרעת בני האדם

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Wickedness of Mankind

עץ הדאת טוב ורע והרעת בני האדם

Part 3 

The Torah, the Prophets, and Israel

התורה והנבאים וישראל    

Section III

The Epoch of the Building of the Second Temple, and The Rise of Gentile Empires Until the Messiah

תקופת הקמת הבית המקדש השני

והקמת אימפריות הגוים עד המשיח


HASHEM had compassion on His people the children of Israel during their captivity in Babylon.  HASHEM was a sanctuary for them, protecting them from the corruption that was all around them.  The children of Israel and Judah formed meeting places or synagogues called batei knesset בתי כנסת.  They had brought the written scroll of the Torah of Moses תורת משה to Babylon.  They would meet together and read a portion of the scroll on the Sabbath Day השבת.

HASHEM raised up prophets for His people.  Some of these prophets were Daniel דניאל, Ezekiel יחזקאל, Zechariah זכריה, Ezra עזרא, and other prophets.  These prophets gave the children of Israel hope and the truth of HASHEM while they were in their captivity. HASHEM used the prophets to give His people direction and reveal His plan for them.


The Perspective of Babylon

Babylon was a city full of idols.  It had been founded by Nimrod נמרוד in his rebellion against HASHEM.  Nimrod was a son of Ham.  He had taken the same rebellion that Adam had when Adam answered HASHEM out of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Nimrod took the knowledge that he gained from his five senses and he build great cities and constructed great works.  He started the worship of the sun, the moon, the stars, and the constellations of the stars and heavenly bodies.  He started astrology.

He began building a tower with the sons of Noah to reach the throne of HASHEM in heaven.  Nimrod created the awful tortuous death of crucifixion, being hanged on a tree, to consolidate his rule.  He ruled the people with terror.  Babylon became the center of idolatry for all the sons of Noah.  When HASHEM came down and created the confusion of languages, scattering the people and creating the nations according to their languages, the sons of Noah carried the idolatries of Babylon with them.  Babylon remained the center of idolatry, firmly entrenched in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The city flourished and became mighty.  The Babylonians gained knowledge and wisdom from their five senses.  They developed a great culture and customs that revolved around their pagan gods.  The city grew very large and they built immense walls around it that were impregnable to their enemies.  The city was beautiful.  It had the hanging gardens in its midst.  This became one of the wonders of the ancient world.  Babylon was a showpiece to the world.  The world admired and envied the Babylonians.   They developed a powerful army that used engineering techniques.  Then they began to conquer the nations that were around them.  They conquered the Assyrians, and extended their power through wars.



The Rise of Empires

The Gentile nations הגוים that HASHEM had scattered abroad

from the Tower of Babel מגדל בבל  developed their own customs and cultures that were oriented around the different languages that the people spoke with one another.  These cultures became corrupted by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They became infused with the idolatries that they had taken with them and which they had learned in Babylon.  These cultures were very diverse, and each carried with it its own wisdom and knowledge.  The people in these cultures formed nations that had their own borders so that they were distinct from each other.  They protected and defended their borders from other nations.  Sometimes a nation would develop the art of war, and the armies that they developed to defend their borders would become very skilled and powerful.  These armies could defeat the armies of other nations.  When a nation discovered that their army had this power, they began to fight and conquer other nations that were around them.   They extended the authority of their nation and their society over the cultures and societies that they had conquered.  They put these nations under tribute, and taxed their peoples.  In this manner the conquering nation became very rich.  The citizens of the conquering nations could live in luxury.  The conquering nation formed an empire.  Sometimes the conquering nation would try to force the nations under its control to adopt its customs and its culture.  But all the cultures were idolatrous.


Daniel and the Description of Empires

HASHEM gave Nebuchadnezzar נבוכדנאזר the king of Babylon מלך בבל a startling and a disturbing dream.  The king was so upset by the dream that he called together all the astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, and wise men in Babylon to come before him for a conference meeting.  He demanded that they tell him the dream and give to him the interpretation of it.  If they could not do this they would all die.  This included Daniel and his three friends who were all from the tribe of Judah. The friends names were  Hananiahחנניה , Mishaelמישאל , and Azariahעזריה .   The Babylonians changed their names to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.  Daniel and his friends prayed and sought HASHEM for the answer to the enigma.  HASHEM showed Daniel the dream, and gave Daniel the interpretation of it.

  The dream was about the future succession of gentile empires.  The last and final empire would be a Jewish empire that originated from the hand of HASHEM.  This empire would destroy all the empires that came before it.  They would be ground into dust and blown away by the wind.  Then the empire of HASHEM would fill the entire earth.

Daniel stood before Nebuchadnezzar.

The king spoke and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar: “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation of the dream?”

Daniel answered before the king, and said: “The secret which the king has asked can neither wise men, sorcerers, magicians, nor astrologers, declare to the king.

But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the end of days. Your dream, and the visions of your head that you had upon your bed, are these:

as for you, O king, your thoughts came [into thy mind] upon your bed, what should come to pass hereafter; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what shall come to pass.

 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.

You, O king, looked, and behold a great image. This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was shining with splendid glory, stood before you; and the appearance of it was terrible.

As for that image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass,

its legs of iron, and its feet part of iron and part of clay.

You gazed upon the image until you saw a stone that was cut out without hands arising, and it smote the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces.

Then the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, were broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”

“This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.  You, O king, king of kings, unto whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory;

 And in the places where the habitations of the children of men, the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the heaven dwell, He has given them into your hand, and enabled you to rule over them all; you are the head of gold.

And after you there shall arise another kingdom that is inferior to you. This is represented by the silver chest and arms.  Then after it these there shall arise a third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

The fourth kingdom that shall arise after the kingdom of brass shall be as strong as iron.  As iron breaks in pieces and beats down all things; and as iron that crushes all these, it shall break in pieces and crush.

And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom.  There shall be in it of the firmness of the iron.  You saw the iron mixed with miry clay.

And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so part of the kingdom shall be strong, and part of it shall be broken.

As the iron is mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves by the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron does not mingle with clay

And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; nor shall the kingdom be left to another people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, but it shall stand for ever.

 As you looked and beheld a stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass in the future; and the dream is certain, and the interpretation of it is sure.”

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an offering and sweet odors to him.

The king spoke to Daniel, and said: “It is true that your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing that you have been able to reveal this secret”

Then the king made Daniel great, and gave him many great gifts, and made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon, and to be chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.

And Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel was in the gate of the king.

Daniel 2:26-49  דניאל ב:בו-מט


The Beast Empires

HASHEM gave Daniel a second dream that was accompanied by visions in the night.  The dream was about the rise and the nature of these gentile empires.  This occurred during the reign of Belshazzar in Babylon.  The nature of these empires was the nature of wild beasts.  But the fourth empire was a strange hybrid beast.  It was terrifying.

In the first year of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and the visions of his mind while he was sleeping on his bed.  Then he wrote the dream and said the beginnings of the matters.

Daniel raised his voice and said: “I saw in my vision during the night, and behold the four winds of the heavens were stirring up the Great Sea

And four huge beasts were coming up out of the sea, each one different from the other.

The first one was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle, until its wings were plucked and it was taken from the earth, and it stood on feet like a man, and the heart of a mortal was given to it.

And behold another second beast, resembling a bear, and it stood to one side, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth, and so did they say to it, “Get up, and devour much flesh.”

After this, I saw, and behold a third beast, like a leopard, and it had four wings of a bird on its back, and the beast had four heads, and dominion was given it.

After this, I saw in the visions of the night, and behold a fourth beast, awesome and dreadful and exceedingly strong, and it had huge iron teeth.  It ate and crushed, and trampled the rest with its feet, and it was different from all the beasts that were before me, and it had ten horns.”

Daniel 7:1-7   דניאל ז:א-ז


These four beasts were the four gentile world empires that would arise in succession, one after the other. 

The first beast, the head of gold, was Babylon.  It was a lion.  It influenced with its idolatry all the beasts that followed after it.

The second beast, the chest and arms of silver, was a bear.  It was the Medo-Persian empire.

The third beast, the waist of brass in the image, was a leopard that ran as fast as a cheetah.  It was the Greek empire.

The fourth beast, the legs of iron, was the Roman empire.  It had teeth of iron.  It was strange, more fierce and terrible than the beasts that came before it.


Future Times and Events

It was during the reign of the second beast that Daniel began to seek the face of HASHEM concerning the return of Israel back to their land.  HASHEM had declared through the prophet Jeremiah that the captivity in Babylon would last 70 years.  Daniel sought the face of HASHEM in prayer and fasting.  He feared HASHEM.  He confessed his sins and iniquities, and the sins and iniquities of his people Israel, seeking mercy and forgiveness from HASHEM.

For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are accomplished for Babylon, I will remember you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

And ye shall call upon Me, and go, and pray to Me, and I will hear you.

And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart.

 כִּי-כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה, כִּי לְפִי מְלֹאת לְבָבֶל שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה, אֶפְקֹד אֶתְכֶם וַהֲקִמֹתִי עֲלֵיכֶם אֶת-דְּבָרִי הַטּוֹב לְהָשִׁיב אֶתְכֶם אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה

 כִּי אָנֹכִי יָדַעְתִּי אֶת-הַמַּחֲשָׁבֹת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי חֹשֵׁב עֲלֵיכֶם—נְאֻם-יְהוָה:  מַחְשְׁבוֹת שָׁלוֹם וְלֹא לְרָעָה, לָתֵת לָכֶם אַחֲרִית וְתִקְוָה

וּקְרָאתֶם אֹתִי וַהֲלַכְתֶּם, וְהִתְפַּלַּלְתֶּם אֵלָי; וְשָׁמַעְתִּי אֲלֵיכֶם

וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּם אֹתִי, וּמְצָאתֶם:  כִּי תִדְרְשֻׁנִי בְּכָללְבַבְכֶם

Jeremiah 29:10-13   ירמיה כט:י-יג


HASHEM sent the angel Gabriel גבריאל to Daniel to give him knowledge and understanding about future times and events that would occur to the children of Israel after they returned to their land.


 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;

in the first year of his reign I Daniel meditated in the books, over the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish for the desolations of Jerusalem seventy years.

And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…

 While I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;

yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, approached close to me about the time of the evening offering.

And he made me to understand, and talked with me, and said: “O Daniel, I am now come forth to make you skillful of understanding.

At the beginning of your supplications a Word went forth, and I am come to declare it; for you are greatly beloved; therefore look into the Word, and understand the vision.

Seventy weeks are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression,

and to make an end of sin,

and to forgive iniquity,

 and to bring in everlasting righteousness,

and to seal vision and prophecy,

and to anoint the Holy of Holies..

 Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the Word to restore and to build Jerusalem

unto the Messiah the prince,

shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times.

And after the threescore and two weeks

shall the Messiah one be cut off,

but not for himself;

and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week; and for half of a week he shall cause the sacrifice and the grain offering to cease; and upon the wing of the abominations shall come that which causes desolation; and it shall consume until the already decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”.

בִּשְׁנַת אַחַת לְדָרְיָוֶשׁ בֶּן-אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ—מִזֶּרַע מָדָי

  אֲשֶׁר הָמְלַךְ עַל מַלְכוּת כַּשְׂדִּים

 בִּשְׁנַת אַחַת לְמָלְכוֹ, אֲנִי דָּנִיֵּאל, בִּינֹתִי בַּסְּפָרִים:  מִסְפַּר הַשָּׁנִים אֲשֶׁר הָיָה דְבַר-יְהוָה אֶל-יִרְמְיָה הַנָּבִיא, לְמַלֹּאות לְחָרְבוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה

וָאֶתְּנָה אֶת-פָּנַי אֶל-אֲדֹנָי הָאֱלֹהִים

 לְבַקֵּשׁ תְּפִלָּה, וְתַחֲנוּנִים—בְּצוֹם, וְשַׂק וָאֵפֶר

וְעוֹד אֲנִי מְדַבֵּר, וּמִתְפַּלֵּל, וּמִתְוַדֶּה חַטָּאתִי, וְחַטַּאת עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמַפִּיל תְּחִנָּתִי לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהַי—עַל הַר-קֹדֶשׁ אֱלֹהָי

וְעוֹד אֲנִי מְדַבֵּר בַּתְּפִלָּה; וְהָאִישׁ גַּבְרִיאֵל אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי בֶחָזוֹן בַּתְּחִלָּה, מֻעָף בִּיעָף, נֹגֵעַ אֵלַי, כְּעֵת מִנְחַת-עָרֶב

 וַיָּבֶן, וַיְדַבֵּר עִמִּי; וַיֹּאמַר—דָּנִיֵּאל, עַתָּה יָצָאתִי לְהַשְׂכִּילְךָ בִינָה

 בִּתְחִלַּת תַּחֲנוּנֶיךָ יָצָא דָבָר וַאֲנִי בָּאתִי לְהַגִּיד—כִּי חֲמוּדוֹת אָתָּה

 וּבִין בַּדָּבָר וְהָבֵן בַּמַּרְאֶה

 שָׁבֻעִים שִׁבְעִים נֶחְתַּךְ עַל-עַמְּךָ וְעַל-עִיר קָדְשֶׁךָ

 לְכַלֵּא הַפֶּשַׁע

 ולחתם (וּלְהָתֵם) חטאות (חַטָּאת)

 וּלְכַפֵּר עָוֺן

 וּלְהָבִיא צֶדֶק עֹלָמִים

 וְלַחְתֹּם חָזוֹן וְנָבִיא

 וְלִמְשֹׁחַ קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים

 וְתֵדַע וְתַשְׂכֵּל מִן-מֹצָא דָבָר, לְהָשִׁיב וְלִבְנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם

 עַד מָשִׁיחַ נָגִיד

שָׁבֻעִים שִׁבְעָה; וְשָׁבֻעִים שִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁנַיִם

 תָּשׁוּב וְנִבְנְתָה רְחוֹב וְחָרוּץ, וּבְצוֹק, הָעִתִּים

וְאַחֲרֵי הַשָּׁבֻעִים שִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁנַיִם

 יִכָּרֵת מָשִׁיחַ וְאֵין לוֹ

 וְהָעִיר וְהַקֹּדֶשׁ יַשְׁחִית עַם נָגִיד הַבָּא

 וְקִצּוֹ בַשֶּׁטֶף, וְעַד קֵץ מִלְחָמָה, נֶחֱרֶצֶת שֹׁמֵמוֹת

  וְהִגְבִּיר בְּרִית לָרַבִּים, שָׁבוּעַ אֶחָד; וַחֲצִי הַשָּׁבוּעַ יַשְׁבִּית זֶבַח וּמִנְחָה וְעַל כְּנַף שִׁקּוּצִים מְשֹׁמֵם, וְעַד-כָּלָה וְנֶחֱרָצָה תִּתַּךְ עַל-שֹׁמֵם

Daniel 9:1-3; 20-27   דניאל ט:א-ג,כ-כז

HASHEM gave Daniel through the angel Gabriel the length of the time of the Epoch.  It would end at the coming of the Messiah the son of David המשיח בן דוד.



The Return to the Land of Israel

At the end of the 70 years of captivity, according to the Word of HASHEM through the prophet Jeremiah, the decree went out to restore Jerusalem.  It happened during the empire of the second beast, the Medo-Persian Empire.

HASHEM named the king who would decree that the children of Israel and Judah should return to their land and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple that had been destroyed in the midst of it.   He spoke the king’s name to his prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah delivered the prophecy to the children of Israel.  This was during the Epoch of the Kings, hundreds of years before the event actually occurred.

The LORD says about Cyrus: “He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure; he shall even say of Jerusalem: ‘She shall be built’; and to the Temple: ‘My foundation shall be laid.’”

הָאֹמֵר לְכוֹרֶשׁ רֹעִי, וְכָל-חֶפְצִי יַשְׁלִם

 וְלֵאמֹר לִירוּשָׁלִַם תִּבָּנֶה, וְהֵיכָל תִּוָּסֵד

 Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him, and that the gates may not be shut:

I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron;

And I will give to you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I am the LORD, who calls you by your name, even the God of Israel.

For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My elect, I have called you by your name, I have surnamed you, though you hast not known Me.

I am the LORD, and there is none else, beside Me there is no God; I have girded you, though you have not known Me;

 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me; I am the LORD; and there is none else.

 כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה, לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְכוֹרֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר-הֶחֱזַקְתִּי בִימִינוֹ לְרַד-לְפָנָיו גּוֹיִם, וּמָתְנֵי מְלָכִים, אֲפַתֵּחַ—לִפְתֹּחַ לְפָנָיו דְּלָתַיִם וּשְׁעָרִים לֹא יִסָּגֵרוּ

אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ אֵלֵךְ וַהֲדוּרִים אושר (אֲיַשֵּׁר)

 דַּלְתוֹת נְחוּשָׁה אֲשַׁבֵּר, וּבְרִיחֵי בַרְזֶל אֲגַדֵּעַ

 וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ אוֹצְרוֹת חֹשֶׁךְ, וּמַטְמֻנֵי מִסְתָּרִים

  לְמַעַן תֵּדַע, כִּיאֲנִי יְהוָה הַקּוֹרֵא בְשִׁמְךָאֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

לְמַעַן עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּחִירִי

 וָאֶקְרָא לְךָ בִּשְׁמֶךָ, אֲכַנְּךָ וְלֹא יְדַעְתָּנִי

אֲנִי יְהוָה וְאֵין עוֹד, זוּלָתִי אֵין אֱלֹהִים; אֲאַזֶּרְךָ, וְלֹא יְדַעְתָּנִי

  לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ מִמִּזְרַח-שֶׁמֶשׁ וּמִמַּעֲרָבָה, כִּי-אֶפֶס בִּלְעָדָי

  אֲנִי יְהוָה, וְאֵין עוֹד

Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-6    ישעיה מד:כח,מה:א-ו

HASHEM stirred up the spirit of the king to fulfil His Word.

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying:

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth has the LORD, the God of heaven, given me; and He has charged me to build a house for Him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all His people—the LORD his God be with him—let him go up.”

 וּבִשְׁנַת אַחַת לְכוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס

 לִכְלוֹת דְּבַר-יְהוָה בְּפִי יִרְמְיָהוּ

הֵעִיר יְהוָה אֶתרוּחַ כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְפָּרַס


 בְּכָל-מַלְכוּתוֹ, וְגַם-בְּמִכְתָּב לֵאמֹר

 כֹּה-אָמַר כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס, כָּל-מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְהוּא-פָקַד עָלַי לִבְנוֹת-לוֹ בַיִת בִּירוּשָׁלִַם אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה

  מִי-בָכֶם מִכָּל-עַמּוֹ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו עִמּוֹ—וְיָעַל

II Chronicles 36:22-23   דברי הימים לו:כב-בג

This decree from Cyrus released Judah and Israel from their captivity in Babylon, and sent them back to the land of Israel to rebuild Jerusalem and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem that had been destroyed by the Babylonians.

 HASHEM raised up Nehemiah נחמיה and Ezra the prophet עזרא הנביא to direct the efforts of His people. He also spoke to Zerubbabel זרובבל and to Joshua the High Priest יהשוע הכוהן הגדול through the prophet Zechariah זכריה to encourage their hearts.  He gave them the promise of the Messiah המשיח to bolster their resolve and strengthen their hands in the rebuilding of the Holy Temple בית המקדש.

Then he answered and spoke to me, saying: ”This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.

Who are you, O great mountain before Zerubbabel? You shall become a plain; and he shall bring forth the cornerstone with shoutings of Grace, grace to it.”

 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.

For who has despised the day of small things? even they shall see with joy the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, even these seven, which are the eyes of the LORD that run to and fro through the whole earth.

 וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי לֵאמֹר, זֶה דְּבַר-יְהוָה אֶל-זְרֻבָּבֶל לֵאמֹר

  לֹא בְחַיִל, וְלֹא בְכֹחַכִּי אִםבְּרוּחִי, אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת

 מִי-אַתָּה הַר-הַגָּדוֹל לִפְנֵי זְרֻבָּבֶל לְמִישֹׁר

 וְהוֹצִיא אֶתהָאֶבֶן הָרֹאשָׁהתְּשֻׁאוֹת, חֵן חֵן

 וַיְהִי דְבַר-יְהוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר

יְדֵי זְרֻבָּבֶל יִסְּדוּ הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה–וְיָדָיו תְּבַצַּעְנָה; וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי-יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם

 כִּי מִי בַז לְיוֹם קְטַנּוֹת

 וְשָׂמְחוּ וְרָאוּ אֶת-הָאֶבֶן הַבְּדִיל בְּיַד זְרֻבָּבֶל שִׁבְעָה-אֵלֶּה עֵינֵי יְהוָה הֵמָּה מְשׁוֹטְטִים בְּכָל-הָאָרֶץ

Zechariah 4:6-10   זבריה ד:ו-י

HASHEM also spoke to Joshua the High Priest about the Messiahהמשיח .

Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set the one upon the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the High Priest;

Speak to him, saying: Thus declares the LORD of hosts, saying:

Behold, a man whose name is the THE BRANCH-TSEMACH,

who shall shoot up out of his place, and build the Temple of the LORD.

Even he shall build the Temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory,

and shall sit and rule upon his throne;

 and he shall be a priest before his throne;

and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

 וְלָקַחְתָּ כֶסֶף-וְזָהָב, וְעָשִׂיתָ עֲטָרוֹת; וְשַׂמְתָּ

 בְּרֹאשׁ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן-יְהוֹצָדָק–הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל

וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר, כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת לֵאמֹר

  הִנֵּהאִישׁ צֶמַח שְׁמוֹ

 וּמִתַּחְתָּיו יִצְמָח וּבָנָה אֶת-הֵיכַל יְהוָה

וְהוּא יִבְנֶה אֶת-הֵיכַל יְהוָה

 וְהוּא-יִשָּׂא הוֹד, וְיָשַׁב וּמָשַׁל, עַל-כִּסְאוֹ

 וְהָיָה כֹהֵן עַל-כִּסְאוֹ

 וַעֲצַת שָׁלוֹם תִּהְיֶה בֵּין שְׁנֵיהֶם

Zechariah 6:11-13   זבריה ו:יא-יג


 In the midst of much opposition the children of Israel rebuilt the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem.  The children of Israel and Judah lived in Jerusalem and took possession of the land and the towns that were around it.  HASHEM blessed His people, and they became prosperous and strong.  They walked in the fear of HASHEM and kept the precepts of the Torah תורה.  They kept themselves separate from the people that were around them.  These people worshipped other gods, and were defiled by the pollutions of their idols.  HASHEM multiplied His people in the land.  They spread out and occupied the land of Judea and Samaria.  They even spread north into Galilee.  The empire of the Persians and the Medes lasted about 200 years.  This was the beast kingdom of the bear, the chest and the arms of silver of the vision that Daniel had interpreted.  The children of Israel that were in the land of Israel prospered during this time.  However some of the children of Israel stayed in Babylon and formed schools there.  These schools became corrupted in their teachings by the wisdom of Babylon.  The wisdom of Babylon was seductive.  They became defiled by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.



The Third And The Fourth Beast Empires

Then the third beast kingdom came down and conquered the land.  It was the swift leopard, or the cheetah.  It became the empire of bronze that Daniel had seen. It swiftly conquered the entire empire of the Persians and the Medes.  This was the kingdom of the Greeks.  Its leader was Alexander the Great.  He had been taught in the Greek schools by the philosopher Aristotle.  He considered the Greek culture to be superior to all other cultures.  In 332 B.C. his armies came down and crushed the armies of the Persians.  Alexander established the Greek language and customs, and Greek culture in all the territories that he conquered.

But Alexander spared the land of Israel from being ravaged by his army.   The Kohenim in Jerusalem showed Alexander that he had been mentioned in the prophecies of Daniel hundreds of years before.  When Alexander learned this, he had his army pass through the land of Israel without ravaging it, and he did not destroy Jerusalem.

In a few years Alexander conquered all the other nations in the Medo-Persian empire, and he created a new empire that was larger than the Medo-Persian Empire.  Its borders reached even as far as India.  Alexander imposed Greek culture on all the nations that he conquered.

Greek culture was more refined and sophisticated than the cultures of these other nations.  The Greeks excelled in art, sculpture, architecture, music, literature, history, poetry, plays, theatre, fashion, mathematics, philosophy, gymnastics, and other pursuits.  They strove to capture the beauty of proportion and aesthetics in all their works.  They strove for perfection and pleasant balance in their idealism.   They sought after wisdom garnered from their five senses.  They refined and developed the understanding and the knowledge that they acquired through their five senses.

But they were corrupted by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Their culture was full of idols and vanity.  They were in opposition to the Torah.

Alexander died at a young age in Babylon.  He was only thirty two years old.  His empire was torn into four parts according to the vision that HASHEM had given to Daniel the prophet.

 The ram which you saw having the two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia.

And the rough he-goat is the king of Greece;

and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

And as for that which was broken, in the place where the four stood up, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not with his power.

הָאַיִל אֲשֶׁר-רָאִיתָ, בַּעַל הַקְּרָנָיִם–מַלְכֵי מָדַי וּפָרָס

 וְהַצָּפִיר הַשָּׂעִיר, מֶלֶךְ יָוָן; וְהַקֶּרֶן הַגְּדוֹלָה אֲשֶׁר בֵּין-עֵינָיו

 הוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ הָרִאשׁוֹן

 וְהַנִּשְׁבֶּרֶת–וַתַּעֲמֹדְנָה אַרְבַּע, תַּחְתֶּיהָ:  אַרְבַּע מַלְכֻיוֹת מִגּוֹי יַעֲמֹדְנָה וְלֹא בְכֹחוֹ

Daniel 8:20-22  דניאל ח:כ-כב

The empire of Alexander was divided into four parts. Each part was ruled by one of his four generals.  One of the parts included the land of Israel and Syria to the north.  The general ruled from Syria.  Alexander had established Greek cities in Israel, including the land on the eastern side of the Jordan River.  These cities grew in size and popularity.  They flashed with the Greek culture, and they began to seduce the children of Israel.  This occurred over a period of about 150 years.  Then one of the rulers in Syria decided that the Greek culture was superior and that he would impose it upon the entire land of Israel especially including Jerusalem.  He called himself Antiochus Epiphanes.  His army conquered Judea and Jerusalem.  He forbade circumcision and the reading of the Torah.  He forbade the people of Israel to follow the commandments of HASHEM.  In 167 B.C. he defiled the Temple in Jerusalem, and offered a pig to Zeus on the altar.  The children of Israel rose up against Antiochus.  Under the leadership of the priests, a family called the Maccabees, they defeated the army of Antiochus, and they drove him out of the land.  In 164 B.C. they cleansed the Temple and they re-enacted the statutes of the Torah.

The family of the Maccabees, who were Kohenim  כהנים ruled over Israel.  They were called Hasmoneans because the followed HASHEM.  Sometimes the people of Israel were called Jews because the center of rule was in the territory of the tribe of Judah.

 Many of the children of Israel had been seduced by the culture of the Greeks, and they had become advocates of it.  They forsook the tenets of the Torah.  This was especially true in the coastal cities along the Mediterranean Sea.  It was also true of cities that were east of the Jordan River.   The Maccabees conquered these cities and reinstated the Torah.  They freed the people from their pollutions.  They enlarged the borders of Judah, and pushed them to the north, even into Galilee.  The rule of the Maccabees lasted about 150 years.

But the Hasmoneans, or the Maccabees, did not rule just as kings.  They also officiated in the office of the High Priest כהן הגדול, and they performed the duties of the Priesthood.  However they were not the descendents of Aaron אהרון through Zadok צדוק and his sons.  Zadok and his sons had been established by David and Solomon to be the High Priests for the Temple in Jerusalem.  The sons of Zadok had remained in Babylon.

During the rule of the Maccabees a sect called the Pharisees began to develop and grow in power.  They became a challenge to the rule of the Hasmoneans.  Some of these Hasmonean rulers were very cruel.  They began to persecute the Pharisees, and they mercilessly killed some of them.  They used the method of the Babylonians for killing their opponents.  This method was crucifixion.  The Babylonians had passed the method of crucifixion to the three beast empires that followed it. Crucifixion was a powerful tool of terror in the hands of the despots who ruled their empires.  It caused fear in the people and kept them in subjection.

One ruler of the Hasmonean dynasty, Alexander Jannaeus, came to power in 103 B.C.  The group that supported him was called the Sadducees.  In 90 B.C. he took his army to battle against the Nabataeans east of the Jordan River.  While he was gone to war, the Pharisees staged a rebellion against him in Jerusalem.  Alexander Jannaeus was disastrously defeated in a battle with the Nabataeans. He lost most of his army.   When he returned to Jerusalem in shame, the Pharisees mocked him.  Alexander crucified 800 of the Pharisees in front of his palace in Jerusalem where he and the women of his harem could watch them die in agony.

Alexander Janaeus died in 76 B.C.  After his death, his two sons, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, began to fight each other for power and control of the kingdom.  Hyrcanus chose Antipater to be his general of his army.  Antipater was a descendent of Edom.  One of Antipater’s sons was Herod.  In the midst of the battles and the confusion in Israel, a new foreign gentile power emerged on the scene.

This gentile power was the fourth beast that Daniel had seen in the vision.  It was the legs of iron in the dream of the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.  This beast was an exceedingly fierce hybrid beast.

Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was diverse from all of them, exceeding terrible, whose teeth were of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet.

אֱדַיִן צְבִית לְיַצָּבָא עַל-חֵיוְתָא רְבִיעָיְתָא, דִּי-הֲוָת שָׁנְיָה, מִן-כלהון (כָּלְּהֵן):  דְּחִילָה יַתִּירָה, שניה (שִׁנַּהּ) דִּי-פַרְזֶל

 וטפריה (וְטִפְרַהּ) דִּי-נְחָשׁ, אָכְלָה מַדְּקָה, וּשְׁאָרָא ברגליה (בְּרַגְלַהּ) רָפְסָה

Daniel 7:19   דניאל ז:יט

This nation was the Roman nation.  Their capital city was the city of Rome which was built on seven hills along the Tiber River in Italy.  Their powerful armies conquered all the nations around them.  They were implacable warriors.  They set up puppet kings in the nations that they conquered.  If they rebelled, they would crucify them.  They developed crucifixion to perfection, maximizing the pain and the agony.  They ruled with an iron fist.  They took the culture ol the Greeks, and adapted it to their own culture.  They were excellent administrators, but they were merciless oppressors.  Their customs and their culture were infused with corruption, violence, and idolatry from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

One of their great Roman generals Pompey laid siege to Jerusalem.  When the city was subdued, in 63 B.C. Pompey entered into the Holy of Holies in the Temple.  After he did this, HASHEM killed him.  He died a horrible death.

The Romans conquered the land of Israel.  Israel was now under the rule of a gentile nation that had the nature of a fierce beast.  The land of Israel was occupied by them.

  The Romans made Herod the Edomite their puppet king over the land.  They liked him because he was a great master builder.  He built beautiful edifices and gorgeous palaces.  He even built cities.  Herod expanded and fortified the temple mount in Jerusalem.  He refurbished the Holy Temple בית המקדש so that it rivaled and even excelled the beauty of the Temple that Solomon built.  It was covered with gold, marble, and ivory; and it radiated its splendor in the sun.

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of hosts.

  גָּדוֹל יִהְיֶה כְּבוֹד הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה הָאַחֲרוֹן מִן-הָרִאשׁוֹן–אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת; וּבַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה אֶתֵּן שָׁלוֹם, נְאֻם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת

Haggai 2:9   חגי ב:ט

The Temple was now prepared for the Messiah המשיח .

  Once Herod was king, he took away the power of the Maccabean or the Hasmonean dynasty. Herod had married into the Hasmonean family by marrying Miriam the granddaughter of Hyrcanus.  But he later killed her and all his Hasmonean offspring.  Thus he ended the Hasmonean dynasty.

 In 37 B.C. he killed forty five of the seventy members of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel.  He took their property and lands and enriched himself.  He took the power to sentence a person to death from the tribe of Judah and transferred the power to Rome.  The scepter departed from Judah. 

The time had come for the arrival of the Messiah המשיח.  This was the end of the Epoch.

Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you are gone up. He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,

 nor lawgiver from between his feet,

until SHILOH comes; and to him shall be the gathering of the peoples.

גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה, מִטֶּרֶף בְּנִי עָלִיתָ; כָּרַע רָבַץ כְּאַרְיֵה וּכְלָבִיא

 מִי יְקִימֶנּוּ

לֹאיָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה

 וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו

 עַד כִּייָבֹא שִׁילֹה, וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים

Genesis 49:9-10   בראשית מט:ט-י