What Saith the Scripture?
1998: Year of the Apocalypse (Part 2)
Or, A Firmly Held Opinion of One Who Is Incurably Watching
"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man"
by Tom Stewart
Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) has rightly held the attention of evangelical Christians since Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918)-- a Sherlock Holmes "contemporary" at Scotland Yard-- published his classic exposition, The Coming Prince -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Voice/The.Coming.Prince.html --. He desired to defend the integrity of the prophecies of Daniel from the Higher Criticism of his day. Thus, modern prophecy teachers may sometimes refer to Sir Robert Anderson when they, too, defend and expound Daniel's Seventy Week prophecy.
As we approach the Seventieth Week of Daniel, it would greatly aid the faith of those who are watching and waiting, as the Wise Virgins of Matthew 25, to see how the LORD told Ezekiel to record a prophecy in 593 BC that would mathematically bring us to the 1967 Israeli recapture of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. And what is the significance of that June 7, 1967 date? It marked the beginning of the generation that "shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled" (Luke 21:32). Without a question, this is the Terminal Generation.
Ezekiel Predicted the 1967 Recapture of Jerusalem
Although the Seventy Weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) is the tool of greatest familiarity to students of Bible prophecy, Ezekiel deserves a closer look by all who, like the prophets, look into the matter of the timing of future events. "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (1 Peter 1:11).
Ezekiel was a prophet of the Babylonian Captivity (606-537 BC). His prophecies mainly concern the Destruction of Jerusalem. Henry Halley's Bible Handbook (p. 324) notes that Ezekiel employed the phrase, "They shall know that I am God", 62 times throughout the book. God wanted Israel to be taught this important lesson, but what a price for the education!
About a dozen times, Ezekiel identifies the exact year-- "of our captivity" (Ezekiel 33:21), which began about April 15, 597 BC (Julian) with Jehoiachin's Captivity. He also gave the month (where the 1st month is the equivalent of Nisan), and the day. Virtually everything is arranged in chronological order, with all that falls in between belonging to the previously mentioned date. Thus, Ezekiel's time oriented prophecy of Ezekiel 4:1-8 belongs to the date established in Ezekiel 1:1-2. The date was July 1, 593 BC (Julian), when Ezekiel received the prophecy from the LORD concerning the 390 days of bearing Israel's iniquity, and 40 additional days of bearing Judah's iniquity.
430 Days of Ezekiel Prophecy
|1.||Begin: 390 days of punishment for the iniquity of Israel (10 northern tribes) (4:5).|
|2.||Add: 40 days of punishment for the iniquity of Judah (2 southern tribes) (4:6).|
|3.||Total: 430 combined days of punishment laid upon Ezekiel (4:5-6).|
|4.||Convert: Each day for a year = 430 years of punishment (4:6).|
|5.||Occasion: Siege of Jerusalem (4:2,3,7 cp. 24:1)-- began on December 11,589 BC (Gregorian).|
|6.||Date of the prophecy: June 25, 593 BC (Gregorian) (4:1-8 cp. 1:2).|
|7.||Background: Servitude of the Nation already begun (Jeremiah 25:11)-- July 18, 606 BC (Gregorian).|
|8.||Result: Desolations of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:2) would begin on July 24, 587 BC (Gregorian).|
What is the prophecy of Ezekiel 4? "Thou also, son
of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even
Jerusalem: And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount
against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round
about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between
thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou
shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. Lie thou
also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according
to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.
For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of
the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house
of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and
thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee
each day for a year. Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem,
and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. And, behold,
I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another,
till thou hast ended the days of thy siege" (Ezekiel 4:1-8).
Ezekiel was intended by the LORD to be a sign to the the Jews of the Babylonian Captivity. Ezekiel showed them that they were not about to return to Israel. Jeremiah was prophesying during the same time a similar message. "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years" (Jeremiah 25:11). The LORD still had to accomplish their sanctification by an additional time of suffering.
Did not the LORD ordain that man would be sanctified by his sufferings? "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). If the Sinless Son of Man learned obedience through His sufferings, why should it be different with the children of men? Whether it is the Babylonian Captivity of Israel or the Tribulation Week Captivity of the present Laodicean Church, God will teach His sinful people holiness through their pain and suffering.
Ezekiel was to model on a tile the siege of the city of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4:1-2). He was to set an iron pan between the model of the besieged city of Jerusalem and himself (4:3). Laying on his side, Ezekiel was to bear "the iniquity of the house of Israel" (4:4). What did this all mean? The model of the besieged city of Jerusalem represented the nation of Israel. The iron pan represented the iron wall separating Israel from Jehovah. The act of setting Ezekiel's face against the model and the pan represented the LORD's anger against Israel. Bearing "the iniquity of the house of Israel" (4:4) by Ezekiel laying on his side represented the Sinless Lamb of God taking "away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
The LORD God of Israel specified in Ezekiel 4:5-6 that Ezekiel would lay on his left side for 390 days to symbolically bear the iniquity of Israel (the northern 10 tribes), and 40 additional days on his right side to symbolically bear the iniquity of Judah (the 2 remaining southern tribes). Other than the symbolism, what can those two numbers tell us? After reading an article online by Guy Cramer entitled "Ezekiel Prophesied the 1967 Recapture of Jerusalem", it is apparent that those numbers can tell us plenty!
Before discussing the significance of the 390 days and 40
days of Ezekiel 4, we need to understand the difference between the Servitude of
the Nation and the Desolations of Jerusalem. I use the term Nation in this context
to refer to the entire 12 tribes of Israel, unless the Scriptural context uses it
to refer to the 10 northern tribes. When the LORD took Jehoiakim captive by Nebuchadnezzar
on July 18, 606 BC (Gregorian)-- and the northern tribes about 120 years earlier
by Sargon-- He effectively began Israel's Servitude. This can be called the Servitude
of the Nation. When the Temple of Solomon was burned by Nebuchadnezzar on July 24,
587 BC (Gregorian)-- Av 10 on the Jewish calendar-- this began the Desolations of
Again, Jeremiah informed us about the Servitude of the Nation. "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years" (Jeremiah 25:11). Daniel enlightened us about the Desolations of Jerusalem. "In the first year of his reign I Daniel 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).
Ezekiel's 430 Day Prophecy Combined With Jeremiah and Daniel's
|9.||Subtract (inclusive): Jeremiah 25:12's 70 years (25,200 days) from the Servitude of the Nation = 360 years Additional Punishment in the Servitude of the Nation.|
|10.||Application: July 18, 606 BC (Gregorian) through July 15, 537 BC (Gregorian)-- Beginning and End of the Initial Servitude of the Nation-- is 70 years (25,200 days).|
|11.||Subtract (inclusive): Daniel 9:2's 70 years (25.200 days) from the Desolations of Jerusalem = 360 years of Additional Punishment in the Desolations of Jerusalem.|
|12.||Application: July 24, 587 BC (Gregorian) thru July 21, 518 BC (Gregorian)-- Beginning and End of the Initial Desolations of Jerusalem.|
The LORD told Moses what He would do if Israel would not obey Him. "But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise My statutes, or if your soul abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but that ye break My covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins" (Leviticus 26:14-18).
In essence, disobedience would be punished by allowing Israel's enemies to consume them (Leviticus 26:14-16). Jehovah promised that He would set His face against them (26:17). They would be in Servitude to Israel's enemies. "They that hate you shall reign over you" (26:17). But, God solemnly warns what He will do if that Servitude does not reform them. "And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins" (Leviticus 26:18). A sevenfold judgment would be pronounced.
Ezekiel's 430 Day Prophecy Combined With Moses' Sevenfold Judgment
|13.||Multiply: 7 times the remaining 360 years of punishment for the Servitude of the Nation = 2,520 years (907,200 days) Additional Servitude.|
|14.||Add: 907,200 days to the End of the Initial Servitude, and you arrive at the divinely ordained birth of Israel as a modern nation-- May 14, 1948 AD (Gregorian).|
|15.||Multiply: 7 times the remaining 360 years of punishment for the Desolations of Jerusalem = 2,520 years (907,200 days) Additional Desolations.|
|16.||Add: 907,200 days to the End of the Initial Desolations of Jerusalem, and you arrive 18 days prior to the divinely ordained Israeli recapture of Jerusalem, which was June 7, 1967 AD (Gregorian).|
The Servitude of the Nation began on July 18, 606 BC (Gregorian). 70 years of Servitude were promised (Jeremiah 25:11). Prophetic calculations are simplified, so that 1 year equals 360 days. Therefore, 70 years equals 70 x 360 or 25,200 days. Beginning at July 18, 606 BC (Gregorian) and calculating 25,200 days (inclusive) into the future, it terminated upon July 15, 537 BC (Gregorian)-- which was the last day of the Servitude of the Nation. This is also the time of Cyrus' decree for the Jews to return to their own land. "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken 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 all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and He hath charged me to build Him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up" (2 Chronicles 36:22-23).
The Nation of Israel did not learn obedience during the Initial Servitude. A good example was that Zedekiah "rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar" (2 Chronicles 36:13). In Ezekiel 4, 390 days were pronounced against Israel's iniquity, and 40 days against Judah's iniquity-- "each day for a year" (4:6). This meant that the Nation was intended to be faced with 430 years-- 390 plus 40-- of punishment. Subtract the first 70 years of punishment and probation. You now have 360 years. Paraphrasing the warning of Leviticus 26:18-- "[If after 70 years of Servitude], you still do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your iniquity". Multiply 7 times 360 years to get a result of 2,520 years. Multiply 2,520 years by 360, and you get 907,200 total days of additional punishment. Starting at July 15, 537 BC (Gregorian)-- the time of Cyrus' decree for the Jews to return to their own land-- if you added 907,200 days, you would arrive at May 14,1948 AD (Gregorian)-- the rebirth of the nation of Israel. Ezekiel predicted that the Nation would be restored from their additional Servitude after the Divine period of punishment.
As the Servitude of the Nation began in 606 BC and terminated in 1948 AD, so the Desolations of Jerusalem started on July 24, 587 BC (Gregorian)-- Av 10 on the Jewish calendar-- and proceeded 25,200 days (inclusive) to July 21, 518 BC (Gregorian). What was happening in 518 BC? The prophets Haggai and Zechariah were exhorting the people to complete the rebuilding of the Temple. "Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built. Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways" (Haggai 1:2-5).
Add another period of 907,200 days to July 21, 518 BC (Gregorian) and you will arrive at May 20, 1967 AD (Gregorian). This date is 18 days prior to Israel's recapture of the old city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount on June 7, 1967 AD (Gregorian) during the Six Day War. Obviously, the significance of this terminal date is the recapture of Jerusalem. Again, Ezekiel predicted it.
To consolidate a bit more this discussion of the Servitude of the Nation and the Desolations of Jerusalem, the Initial Servitude of the Nation of Israel began on July 18, 606 BC (Gregorian) with Nebuchadnezzar taking Jehoiakim captive from Jerusalem. Israel lost its sovereignty. 70 years later on July 15, 537 BC (Gregorian) the Initial Servitude of the Nation of Israel ended with a decree by Cyrus for the Jews to return to Israel. However, the rebellion of Zedekiah typified the Jews lack of reformation during this time.
The Initial Desolations of Jerusalem began on July 24, 587 BC (Gregorian)-- Av 10 on the Jewish calendar-- with Nebuchadnezzar destroying the Temple and deposing Zedekiah. Israel lost its Temple. Again, 70 years later on July 21, 518 BC (Gregorian) the Initial Desolations of Jerusalem ended with the completion of the Second Temple with the help of Haggai and Zechariah. However, corruption still epitomized the Temple practices. "Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible" (Malachi 1:7).
Because of Israel's lack of submission to God as demonstrated by their rebellion against their God-appointed master, Nebuchadnezzar, they brought upon themselves the sevenfold judgment of Leviticus 26:18. Subtracting 70 years from Ezekiel's 430 year prophecy of Ezekiel 4:1-8, the LORD multiplied the remaining 360 years, and added them to the Servitude of the Nation and to the Desolations of Jerusalem.
The Additional Servitude of the Nation of Israel lengthened the punishment of Israel by 907,200 days, beginning on July 15, 537 BC (Gregorian) and ending on May 14,1948 AD-- the rebirth of the nation of Israel. Israel regained its sovereignty. The Servitude of the Nation deals with the sovereignty of the nation of Israel. From Nebuchadnezzar and Jehoiakim in 606 BC to the announcement that long dead, ancient Israel had been resurrected into a modern state in 1948, God will be justified by the accuracy of His fulfilled prophecy. "So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).
The Additional Desolations of Jerusalem lengthened the punishment of Jerusalem by 907,200 days, beginning on July 21, 518 BC (Gregorian) and ending 18 days prior to the June 7, 1967 AD recapture of Jerusalem by modern Israel. Israel not only regained the old city of Jerusalem, but the most important prize of the Temple Mount. The Desolations of Jerusalem deal primarily with the Temple. Even though the Temple built by modern Israel, for the future Tribulation Week, is not the Millennial Temple, it will need to be rebuilt in order for the prophetic words of the LORD Jesus Christ to be fulfilled. "But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains" (Mark 13:14).
In conclusion, the 430 Days of Ezekiel prophecy belong alongside the Seventy Weeks of Daniel prophecy. Our God, the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13), has unsealed the understanding of prophecies that demonstrate the time of the Return of the LORD Jesus Christ, "which things the angels desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:12). Ezekiel's 430 Day prophecy mathematically brings us to the May 14, 1948 rebirth of the nation of Israel and to the June 7, 1967 recapture of Jerusalem. Nothing can be more definitive than the words of our LORD: "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled" (Luke 21:32). Again, we are the Terminal Generation.
Dates Significant to Ezekiel's 430 Days Prophecy
|July 18, 606 BC (Gregorian): Nebuchadnezzar takes Jehoiakim captive (2 Chr. 36:6).|
|July 18, 606 BC (Gregorian): Initial Servitude of the Nation begins (Jer. 25:12).|
|April 15, 597 BC (Julian): Ezekiel taken captive with Jehoiachin (Eze. 33:21; 40:1).|
|July 1, 593 BC (Julian): Date Ezekiel received the 430 Days prophecy of Ezekiel 4.|
|December 11, 589 BC (Gregorian): Siege of Jerusalem began (Eze. 24:1).|
|June 24, 587 BC (Gregorian): Jerusalem fell (Jer. 39:2).|
|July 24, 587 BC (Gregorian): Nebuchadnezzar burns the Temple (Jer. 52:12-13).|
|July 24, 587 BC (Gregorian): Initial Desolations of Jerusalem began (Dan. 9:2).|
|July 15, 537 BC (Gregorian): Cyrus decrees Jews to return to Israel (2 Chr. 36:22-23).|
|July 15, 537 BC (Gregorian): End of Initial Servitude of the Nation (Lev. 26:18).|
|July 21, 518 BC (Gregorian): Haggai & Zechariah finishing 2nd Temple (Hag. 1:2).|
|July 21, 518 BC (Gregorian): End of Initial Desolations of Jerusalem (Zec. 1:16).|
|May 14, 1948 AD (Gregorian): Israel born as modern nation (Dan. 4:35).|
|May 14, 1948 AD (Gregorian): End of Additional Servitude of the Nation (Is. 14:27).|
|June 7, 1967 AD (Gregorian): Israelis recapture Jerusalem's Temple Mt. (Mat. 24:32).|
|June 7, 1967 AD (Gregorian): End of Add'l. Desolations of Jerusalem (Lk. 21:24b).|
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