HISTORY OF JERUSALEM
Moses guided the children of Israel, with God’s directions, to build a tabernacle tent for worship while they were in the wilderness. It was carried everywhere they traveled. After the nation of Israel was established, King David passed on to his son Solomon the mandate to build the temple for which he made plans. After Solomon finished building the temple and the royal palace in Jerusalem, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there” (1 Kings 9:3).
The LORD also reiterated to King Solomon that if he would continue to walk in His ways, there should never fail to be a man on the throne of Israel, but if his descendants turned away from Him, all would be lost and Israel would become an object of ridicule and scorn.
The following summary is an overview of what happened after the building of the temple to God’s Name—and, therefore, to Jerusalem:
- 1012 B.C. Foundations Laid by King Solomon
- 1004 B.C. Dedicated
- 971 B.C. Pillaged by Shishak, Egyptian pharaoh during Rehoboam’s reign
- 856 B.C. Repaired by King Joash
- 740 B.C. Profaned by King Ahaz
- 726 B.C. Restored by King Hezekiah
- 605-535 Babylonian Captivity (in Iraq)
- 600-570 Ezekiel in Captivity
- 586 B.C. Temple Pillaged and utterly destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar
- 520 B.C. Temple restored with encouragement from prophets Haggai and Zechariah. Zerubbabel, the governor [took four years]
- 458 B.C. Jerusalem city walls rebuilt under Nehemiah [took three years]
- 445-332 Jerusalem under Persian (Iran) control 445 to 332 B.C.
- 198 B.C. Egyptian control of Palestine and Judah ends
- 164 B.C. Judas Maccabaeus retook Jerusalem
- 135 B.C. Jerusalem demolished by Judas’s brother
- 37-4 B.C. Jerusalem under Herod the Great and Roman rule – refurbished the temple and Temple Mount
- 70 A.D. Temple and Temple Mount destroyed by Romans
- 638 A.D. Muslim armies capture Jerusalem; Dome of the Rock built approximately where temple once stood
- 1948 Founding of the State of Israel – prophecy fulfilled (Eze. 37:3, 7-11, 21-23; Jer. 31:10, Matt. 24:32-34)
PROPHETS DURING THE FALL OF JERUSALEM
Daniels’ prayer says it well, “Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:12). This is a city that has been besieged approximately forty different times and destroyed (at least) partially on thirty-two different occasions. The rulership of Jerusalem has changed hands about twenty-six times. Since 1948 Jerusalem has experienced four wars.
Daniel, Ezekiel and Jeremiah were all prophets during the Babylonian captivity [the bolded time above], beginning in 605 B.C. We previously studied Jeremiah [Module 3], who stayed in Jerusalem until its fall and beyond. The fall occurred because, after listening to Jeremiah, the people decided, “Each of us will follow the stubbornness of our evil heart.”
Jeremiah was probably a mentor to Ezekiel who was taken to Babylon [Baghdad, Iraq] in the second invasion—eight years after Daniel was taken in the first invasion. Daniel, belonging to a family of high rank, was in the palace at Babylon the same time Ezekiel was in the country about fifty miles away. Ezekiel possibly visited Daniel.
Ezekiel’s purpose in Babylon was to be God’s voice to remind the people of the reason all these calamities happened. The phrase, “The word of the Lord came unto me,” occurs forty-nine times in Ezekiel. He was the prophet of visions: many for the Jewish people today; many for Christians today. He lived among the captives, so his mission was one on one—as a watchman warning them.
Ezekiel’s very life was God’s sign of what was happening to Jerusalem. His wife died the day the siege of Jerusalem began. One can imagine Ezekiel would have been able to reveal God’s broken heart to the people because of the great love he and God had for their wives—God’s relationship with Israel being that of a marriage. The northern kingdom of Israel had been taken captive by the Assyrians 120 years earlier, and now Jerusalem, the southern kingdom of Judah, was dead.
Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel were all very young men when God called them to voice His words to His people before, during and after this crisis. The captivity lasted seventy years as foretold by Jeremiah. At the end, the people did turn back to God, but not during it. It was Ezra and Nehemiah who would lead in that spiritual and physical reconstruction effort.
RESTORATION OF JERUSALEM
With the news of the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel prophesies about the future restoration of Israel. In Chapter 37 of Ezekiel, he sees dead, dry bones come together with a rattling sound, and tendons, flesh and skin appear on them. He says that the Sovereign LORD says He will gather the Israelites out of all the nations where they were driven and bring them back into their own land. That happened in 1948, and Jerusalem was recaptured in the 1967 war. [Jim Miesner, my husband, was twenty-four years old and with the 82nd Airborne Division in 1967. He was on alert to go to Israel, but the war ended in only six days. He deployed to Vietnam instead.]
Thousands upon thousands of Jewish people have regathered in Israel, and have been rebuilding Zion (Jerusalem). (see Eze. 37:3, 7-11, 21-23; Matt. 24:32-34 for prophecies fulfilled.)
And the LORD says, “I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms” (Eze. 37:22). That King will be Jesus Christ when He returns to the earth at the end of the seven-year tribulation period.
 www.templemount.org/tempprep.html, “Preparations for a Third Jewish Temple,” edited by Lambert Dolphin from various sources, pg. 2, accessed 1/16/08.