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Ezekiel portrays the siege & destruction of Jerusalem for forty years

Ezekiel 4:1-6 NIV

4 “Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2 Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it.6 “After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year

Jeremiah also portrays the siege and destruction of Jerusalem for seventy years

Jeremiah 25:11 NIV

11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Both prophets seem to be pointing to the Babylonian empire as the aggrressor but the years of siege and destruction seem to differ.

1)Are the prophets pointing to the same time in the history of Judah?

If so

2)Why are the years different?

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  • According to this interpretation, the other half of the chosen people should have been enslaved for 390 years (based on the three verses you left out), which clearly did not happen, so the premise seems faulty.
    – Lucian
    Mar 7, 2020 at 9:14
  • @Lucian - I fully agree
    – Dottard
    Jul 6, 2020 at 23:41

2 Answers 2

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Ezekiel presents us with two prophesies one to the Northern tribes i.e. House of Israel and one southern House of Judah made up also of tribe of Benjamin. There are two distinction here 390 days for 390 years and 40 days for 40 years. The 390 days is easy, there are 390 years from the final prophet Malachi to the John the dipper (baptizer) The Church refers to this as the inter-testamental period of around 400 years. Ezekiel prophesy 390 refers to this period that lies to the future of the prophet beyond the Babylonian captivity and the return. The words 390 only appear in this prophet and no where else in the Hebraic text. No other references to say 390 = thus. It is beyond reasonable doubt that Malachi to John the Dipper was 390 years. As far as can be determined no other 390 years for 390 days fits the model.

The 40 days for 40 years is not as clear cut. The word forty (‘arba ‘iym) in the KJV 158 times and in the texts around 135 times. The term 40 years appears 45 times (KJV trans) 31 references predate Ezekiel and so has no answer for us as to when or where. Ezekiel has three references to 40 years. Ezekiel 29:11-13 and the references are not to the House of Judah yet to Egypt and the surrounding countries. See Ezekiel 29. So where are these 40 years?

Understanding the prophet Daniel is key to understanding these 40 years. It is also key to understand Messiah’s words, “this generation shall not pass...” A generation for the Hebraic world is around 40 years. In previous times, Abraham’s time a 100 years i.e. in the fourth generation. Daniel the prophet from Gabriel speaks on this wise, “until the anointed one governor sevens seven and sevens sixty and two...” In English 69 weeks of Shimitah years. (69x7) and thus perverted because the nations no very little about Divine Sabbaths. Simply put there is no break in the sequence of Divine Sabbaths, Seven days (weekly), Seven years (Shimitah), Fifty years (Jubilee the great reset) See Lev 25. It would be 69 of these from the edict until the appearing of the governor i.e. Christ the King of Zion.

It would be 62 of these, the sevens (Shi'mitah) sixty and two until Messiah is cut off (katath) fulfilling the prophesies of Isaiah’s suffering servant See Isa 49-55. Also it is written, “Christ must first suffer then enter His esteem (glory)” The time between the suffering and the esteem is 40 years. The prophets inquired as to this time but it was not divine and all the majors had died long before Daniel had spoken.

Ezekiel lays on His side for 40 days for the burden of Judah, yet what is this burden this iniquity? The murder of the Mashiach. Messiah speaks, “when you see the abomination and desolation of the prophets Daniel” This abomination is the murder of Messiah in the flesh. At Messiah’s time there was no nation of Israel per'se. The land was called the Land of Judah because the tribe of Judah dwelt there since the days of Jeroboam the King. The divided kingdoms. All modern notions of Israel must be disregarded that which is Jerusalem is in bondage with here children see Gal 4:25. She is the Great Whore that sits on many waters drunken with the blood of saints and prophets See Rev 11:18; Rev 16:6; Rev 18:20; Rev 18:24. Messiah speaks concerning them Matt 23:37: Luke 13:34: Matt 12:41-42; Matt 23:35. In 69AD that blood was required 40 years after the resurrection of Messiah.

Judah is charged by Peter as having assassinated the Messiah, “you by wicked hands have taken an slain” Repentance is commanded after is it spoken that this wicked deed was predestined and should Judah repent the times of refreshing will come. The times of refreshing are Zion answering to the prophet Isaiah (See Isa 2, Ezekiel 40-48, Jer 31 and Hebraic eschatology) They refused and were cut off 40 years after the resurrection of the Christ (69AD). The mystery of Israel spoken by Paul refers here. Yet a redeemer will come out of Zion turning back the iniquity of Jacob (future tense) however until such time the mystery of the body, the Gentile call is revealed. The mystery of Christ dependent upon no convent old or new, no law old or new no ordinances (ritual) but solely upon Divine clemency at the pleasure of His will. See Eph 1:1-9 and hence a Dispensation of Grace. The mystery of Israel and the Mystery of the Body are co-dependent one cannot be without the other. Many things hard to be understood and many wrest things written to their own destruction.

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  • As best I can determine, this is factually incorrect. The 390 days/years was for the sin of Israel (the northern kingdom), at V5 says: "For I have assigned to you 390 days, according to the number of years of their iniquity. So you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel." Malachi to John the Baptist has nothing whatever to do with the northern kingdom!!
    – Dottard
    Jul 6, 2020 at 23:33
  • Second, Abomination of Desolation" or more correctly, "depopulating sacrilege" was something to do with the siege of Jerusalem and Jerusalem being surrounded by armies that precipitated the desolation or depopulating of Jerusalem according to Messiah Himself Matt 24:15, Mark 13:14, Luke 21:20. The same is true in Daniel 8:13, 9:27, 11:31, 12:11. In 2 Thess 2:1-12 the desolation is associated with the coming ruler called the Man of lawlessness.
    – Dottard
    Jul 6, 2020 at 23:40
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Executive Summary

Two times are given in Ezekiel 4, indicating two separate prophetic periods. Both periods are presented in days which represent years, and the years of their prophecies are 390 years and 40 years. Both prophecies are linked to sins: the sins of Israel and of Judah, respectively. Those sins are what mark the beginning points of the prophecies. The end point of both is what is described throughout the chapter--the siege and breakup of Jerusalem. Of special focus in Jerusalem is the Temple. Whereas the actual siege may last for an indefinite period of time, the Temple's destruction clearly marks the endpoint of the prophecies. Twice, the Temple was destroyed; and these twin prophecies predict the times for both destructions of the Temple.

Understanding the Prophetic Symbols

The symbols of the prophecy are the key to understanding it.

  1. The context clearly indicates a siege;

  2. The city involved is clearly Jerusalem;

  3. The prophecy is given for "iniquity" (both of Israel and of Judah);

  4. The prophecy for Israel is given before that of Judah, indicating their order; and

  5. The iniquities are not equal, as indicated by Ezekiel's left versus right sides.

The Iniquity of Israel

The iniquity of Israel is so often mentioned throughout the books of the kings as to be unmistakable.

1Ki 14:16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.

1Ki 21:22 And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.

1Ki 22:52 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:

2Ki 10:29 Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan.

2Ki 23:15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.

(See also 1 Kings 15:26, 34; 1 Kings 16:2, 19, 26; 2 Kings 3:3; 2 Kings 10:31; 2 Kings 13:2; 2 Kings 14:24; and 2 Kings 15:8-9, 24, 28.)

It is plain to see that Jeroboam caused Israel to sin, and that this was a significant event. What did he do? He built the golden calves at Dan and at Bethel and caused the people to worship them instead of going to Jerusalem to worship God. He was afraid they would return to serving king Rehoboam, instead of himself, if they returned to Jerusalem for worship as had been their custom.

The fact that they had turned away from the worship of God in Jerusalem, and had turned away from God's temple, wonderfully built by King Solomon to the glory and honor of God, is what brought God to allow the destruction of that beautiful temple 390 years later, as indicated in the prophecy. The years were not years of punishment, they were years of probation before the punishment would come.

The Iniquity of Judah

However, as the Bible places greater significance to the right side than to the left, the prophecy indicates that Judah's sin would be greater yet. In spite of this fact, much less appears to be said about it--in the Old Testament, at least. The one text specifically mentioning it seems ominous:

"The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars" (Jeremiah 17:1)

When one thinks of a "pen of iron," what comes to mind?

In Jesus' day, the remnants of the 10 tribes (the Northern Kingdom / Israel) had become the hated Samaritans. They had intermarried with the surrounding nations, and, thinking them impure, the Jews (Judah) would not even permit them to enter the temple. Thus it was Judah for whom Christ labored.

And it was Judah who rejected Christ. The "pen of iron" is a fitting description for the nails which pierced Christ; and the "point of a diamond" is a fitting symbol for the spear that would pierce his side.

Just forty years later, the second temple was also destroyed. Not only had Judah rejected the true worship of God; they had murdered him. Their probationary time was much less, and their punishment came more swiftly and in greater severity.

Thus, Ezekiel's prophecy foretold both apostasies, and both destructions of the temple that would come on account of them.

Analysis

At the end of the 390-year prophecy, Jerusalem is broken up and Solomon's temple is destroyed. Judah's sin happens much later in time, is much greater in significance, and less probation is granted afterward before the temple, the second one, is again destroyed, along with those who had taken refuge inside. It was 40 years after Christ's crucifixion that Jerusalem was broken up and the temple destroyed. So the 40-year prophecy begins at the murder of Christ and culminates with the destruction of the Temple and of the Jews in Jerusalem.

Conclusion

The 40-year portion of the prophecy in Ezekiel 4 is unrelated to the 70-year prophecy of Jeremiah, but stands as its own prophecy which is fulfilled around 600 years later.

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