The Abiding Gift of Prophecy

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Chapter 15—P rophets after the Captivity

The promised time of deliverance from captivity was nearing. The fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of restoration necessitated an event unusual in the history of nations. Not only must there be royal permission for the captives of Judah to return to their own land, but the material necessities for their journey and the rebuilding of their ruined cities and homesteads must be provided. AGP 150.1

In 538 B. C., two years before the termination of the captivity, the aged prophet Daniel studied and “understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:2. With prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes, Daniel besought the Lord to remember and keep His promise. The prayer, recorded in the ninth chapter of Daniel, is a model of eloquence, yet of simplicity and earnestness, in pleading his cause. In concluding his petition, he said: AGP 150.2

“O my God, incline Thine ear, and hear; open Thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy name: for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousnesses, but for Thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name.” Verses 18, 19.

Had the successors of Nebuchadnezzar heeded the light that came through Daniel and his faithful associates, they, as kings of the Babylonian Empire, might have been the instruments for the fulfillment of God’s word. But they sank lower in vice and degradation, until their corruption of heart and their contempt for Jehovah were signally illustrated in the impious feast of Belshazzar. Not content with a drunken orgy, coupled with debauchery, the king sent for the vessels of Jehovah’s house, that he might use them as receptacles for the wine they drank while praising the inanimate gods of Babylon. “In that night was Belshazzar AGP 150.3

the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.” Daniel 5:30, 31. AGP 151.1

In the new government of Babylon, after its conquest by Cyrus, Daniel was given prominent office. Here he had opportunity to bring to the attention of the rulers of Media and Persia the prophetic scrolls of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and to impress their minds with the remarkable fact that the work of Cyrus had been foretold more than a century before his birth. Of him the Lord had declared through the prophet Isaiah: AGP 151.2