Summary: A brief overview of Israel’s history relative to the prophecy of Ezekiel
Timeline for Israel: Ezekiel’s Four Purposes of Prophecy
1. Proclaim the grievous sin of the Jewish nation which justified its captivity and judgment, illustrating that God was not unfaithful or powerless.
2. Record the withdrawal of the Glory of God from the Temple before it’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, indicating that Israel, not God, was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar’s army.
3. Proclaim the coming judgment of surrounding nations, illustrating that their gloating and mischief toward Israel during her defeat and captivity would not go unpunished.
4. Proclaim the re-gathering and redemption of the people to their land at the end of the age, illustrating that their captivity was remedial punishment, and not permanent judgment, and that God will fulfill His promises to the patriarchs of old, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In 606 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiakim, king of Judah, submit to his authority and took some of the royal seed captive back to Babylon, including the prophet Daniel and his three companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
In 598 B.C. rebellion by the remaining Jews in the land brought about a second attack by Nebuchadnezzar and further punishment. This time he took approximately 10,000 Jewish captives back to Babylon including Ezekiel.
In 586 B.C another rebellion against the rule of Nebuchadnezzar brought the city of Jerusalem under siege, and the city was destroyed completely including the Temple and more Jewish captives were taken back to Babylon.
However, the Jews would return after 70 years of captivity in 536 B.C. under the leadership of Zerubbabel (Ezra 1-6) and eventually rebuild the Temple. It was completed in 515 B.C. A second return of the Jews under the scribe Ezra occurred in 458 B.C. and he restored obedience to the Law and Godly worship by the people.
A third return was led by Nehemiah in 444 B.C. which was decreed by Darius and is the starting point for Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks. Nehemiah’s burden was to build the wall around the city of Jerusalem and this was miraculously accomplished through his leadership in 52 days!
As world powers changed Israel went from domination by Babylon, Persia, Greece and finally Rome in 68 B.C. In A.D. 66 the Jews rebelled against Rome, and four years later, after an extended siege, the Romans under Titus broke through the walls of the city.
Jerusalem was sacked and completely destroyed not leaving one stone upon another as the Romans extracted the gold from the very joints of the Temple stone literally moving each stone from atop the other fulfilling the Lord’s prophecy found in Matthew 24:2.
The Temple was once again destroyed and the Jews were scattered across the face of the earth as these horrendous calamities upon the Jews were God’s judgment for the rejection of their God-sent Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Through the centuries that followed many powers claimed control of the land of Israel, including the Byzantines, Muslims, Seljuks, Mamluks, Crusaders, Turks, and the British. The land was abused, the trees cut down, the topsoil was washed off the hills and the valleys became malaria infested swamps.