May 14, 2021 E-Letter
Part 4 – The Conclusion
I didn’t plan this “coincidence” but today is May 14, 2021, seventy-three years from the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Paul said in Romans 11:29, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” And Paul was talking about God’s calling of Israel as His chosen nation.
We are posting a number of e-letters Make Sure Ministries has received from David Henke, founder of Watchman Fellowship, Inc., an apologetics ministry, on a variety of subjects. They will post on Tuesdays into the foreseeable future. As always, we appreciate your comments. Please consider clicking on the link following this blog to learn more about Watchman Fellowship and what they have to offer. E-letters have been slightly edited for clarity.
Israel had been in continuous disobedience to God when Ezekiel was told to carry out an odd way of displaying God’s displeasure and judgment. God told him:
Now lie on your left side and place the sins of Israel on yourself. You are to bear their sins for the number of days you lie there on your side. You will bear Israel’s sins for 390 days – one day for each year of their sin. After that, turn over and lie on your right side for 40 days – one day for each year of Judah’s sin.Ezekiel 4:4-6 (NLT)
This prophecy is one of those that was acted out by the prophet for the sake of those who watched Ezekiel but is explained to us who read the text today.
Israel’s punishment of seventy years captivity began with Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Israel. There were two phases of this captivity. The first was the captivity of the nation, or “servitude of the nation,” when they came under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar in 607-606 BC. As a nation they lost their national sovereignty.
The second phase was when Jerusalem was destroyed in 587-586 BC. This was almost twenty years after the first phase, loss of national sovereignty.
God’s judgment on them was to serve seventy years of captivity in Babylon but Ezekiel’s prophecy of 430 years of punishment left 360 years yet to be fulfilled. Scholars had not been able to discern when, or how, this period ended. When you read the commentaries, you find there is no consistent interpretation. Then prophecy teacher Grant Jeffrey pointed out that God told Moses the following four times in Leviticus 26:
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, 21, 23-24, and 27-28
If this interpretation is correct, it is amazing. If not, then it is also quite amazing as coincidences go. But then to the Orthodox Jew, and Bible believing Christians, coincidence is not a kosher word.
The second phase of Israel’s captivity, called the “desolations of Jerusalem,” began in 587 BC with the destruction of the Temple and city. This was nineteen years after the captivity of the nation. Adding that nineteen years to 1948 brings us to 1967, the year Israel recaptured Jerusalem. The judgment of God ran on two tracks, the nation and the city.
God said through the prophet Isaiah:
… there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.Isaiah 46:9-10
Pray for Israel. The current fighting (May 2021) could expand into full blown war on multiple fronts. Both Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon are proxies for Iran. Israel could find itself faced with 150,000 rockets coming at them from Hezbollah and intermediate range ballistic missiles from Iran while still shooting down the rockets from Gaza. Israel has the military ability to defend against all these threats. However, there are developing relationships going on now between Russia, Iran, Turkey and Libya. All these nations are mentioned in Ezekiel 38.
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