Ezekiel Chapter 4 is an amazing prophecy describing the punishment and exile of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and may foretell their eventual return and restoration in our times.
By Jonathan Photius
Many Full Preterists promote the idea that the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem was the ‘final consummation‘ of all things written and fulfilled in scripture. However, the Olivet Discourse clearly tells us that the Jews would be scattered unto the nations UNTIL the ‘Time of the Gentiles were fulfilled‘. The Full Preterists and “Israel Only” advocates also tell us that the year 1948 AD has no great biblical significance and that the the modern Nation of Israel was an idea fabricated by the Western Powers and political Zionists. However, most of these critics are not aware of the fact that there are many places in scripture that actually predict a return to Israel in 1948 to the very year. Not only that, but the bible points to 1967 as another significant return from exile. In this article, we will focus on the prophecy of Ezekiel 4 which provides a numerical calculation hidden within it’s text that reveals the exact year from the return from exile. Ezekiel 4 turns out to be the number one proof-text for a Jewish return and restoration from exile. When this prophecy is combined with Ezekiel 37, Leviticus 26 and Daniel 9:25, we find amazing proof that the Jews did in fact return back to Israel, in stages, down to the exact year, from significant exile and decree events in history, down to the notable events of our modern era as the Jews began massive waves of immigration back to Palestine starting at the end of the 19th century.
Let’s see how Ezekiel prophesied the punishment and restoration of Israel. Beginning with this chapter, we are given a description on the coming siege of Jerusalem that Ezekiel foretold in many of his prophecies.
“This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. Lie also upon your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that you shall lie upon it you shall bear their iniquity.For I have laid upon you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shall you bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.” – Ezekiel 4:4-5
And when you have accomplished them, lie again on your right side, and you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed you each day for a year.” – Ezekiel 4:6
This prophecy reveals to us a mathematical time table of the coming judgment against the 10 Northern tribes of Israel, and another coming judgment against the 2 southern tribes of Israel.
Ezekiel 4 is one of the two critical verses in all of the scriptures that promote the “day-for-a-year” principle of prophetic interpretation. We are very clearly told that a “day” in biblical prophecy represents a “year” – “I have appointed you each day for a year.“
390 years of divine punishment for Israel
+ 40 years of divine punishment for Judah
Combined, 390 + 40 years = 430 years total of combined punishment and affliction
The number 430 years of exile is very significant in scripture. This is the number of years that Abraham was told of the exile.
“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;” – Genesis 15:13 (KJV)
This is measured 30 years until Ishmael, plus 400 years of exile. And St Paul confirms this number of affliction and exile of 430 years in Egypt.
“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” – Galatians 3:17 (KJV)
The exile and punishment of the Northern Kingdom of Israel we know from history began around 740-744 BC, with the fall of the kingdom between 724-722 BCE. According to this calculation, we find the Northern Kingdom’s punishment should have ended around the time of Alexander the Great’s invasion of the Levant:
724 BC – 390 years = 335 BC (Alexander the Great & rise of the Leopard/He-Goat).
But the Northern Tribes never truly turned from their sin after their scattering and wandered in exile, many of them lost. Perhaps the would have been allowed to return if they did not continue to sin and worship other gods.
Regarding the punishment of Judah, it was to be punished for an additional 40 years, or 430 years. We can measure 40 years from the the time of Jeremiah’s prophecies warning the fall of the Southern Kingdom. In addition, after Christ appeared and was crucified in 30 AD, ther were 40 years of sin measured by the unbelieving Jews until the 70 AD temple destruction. Therefore we add the 40 years of Judah to the 390 year punishment of Israel. However, we know that the Southern Kingdom served 70 years of exile and punishment upon deportation and return from Babylon:
607 BC (Deportation to Babylon) + 70 years = 537 BC (Decree of Cyrus to return and rebuild)
587 BC (Temple Destruction) + 70 years = 517 BC (Second Temple Construction)
So we subtract 70 years of divine punishment already served in Babylon.
430 – 70 = 360 years of divine punishment remaining
However, nothing significant happened 360 years later. The Jews never truly turned from their sin after Babylon, only 10% returned, and the ones that did were scattered once again in 70 AD. Both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms never fully recovered from their scattering and dispersion to the nations. However, we are given a reason for the extended punishment in Leviticus chapter 26, and this prophecy given to Moses further provides the duration of the “times” calculation in a series of 4 distinct punishments and exile measurements. Le’ts now review the text of Leviticus 26 describing the punishment and restoration.
The Prophecy of Leviticus Chapter 26
“And after all this, if you do not obey Me,
then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.”
– Leviticus 26:18
“Then, if you walk contrary to Me,
and are not willing to obey Me,
I will bring on you seven times more plagues,
according to your sins.”
– Leviticus 26:21
Note: The first 2 seven times periods appear to indicate starting points and desolation and division of the united Hebrew Kingdom.
“I will also send wild beasts among you,
which shall rob you of your children,
destroy your livestock, and make you few in number;
and your highways shall be desolate.
And if by these things you are not reformed by Me,
but walk contrary to Me,
then I also will walk contrary to you,
and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
25 And I will bring a sword against you that will
execute the vengeance of the covenant;
– Leviticus 26:22-25
Note: This appears to be a reference to the Assyrian scattering for 2730 years
“And after all this,
if you do not obey Me,
but walk contrary to Me,
then I also will walk contrary to you in fury;
and I, even I will chastise you seven times for your sins.
– Leviticus 26:27-28
Note: This perhaps is a reference to the Babylonian exile and 70 AD scattering for 2520 years
“I will destroy your high places,
cut down your incense altars,
and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols;
and My soul shall abhor you.
I will lay your cities waste
and bring your sanctuaries to desolation,
and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas.
I will bring the land to desolation,
and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it.
I will scatter you among the nations
and draw a sword after you;
your Land shall be desolate
and your cities waste.”
– Leviticus 26:30-33
“if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled,
and they accept their guilt—
then I will remember My covenant with Jacob,
and My covenant with Isaac
and My covenant with Abraham I will remember;
I will remember the land.
– Leviticus 26:41-42
Note: Upon the completion of the SEVEN TIMES, God will remember and recall the covenant of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, and bring the Jews to return to their ancestral homeland.
“Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies,
I will not cast them away,
nor shall I abhor them,
to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them;
for I am the Lord their God.
But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors,
whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations,
that I might be their God:
I am the Lord.”
– Leviticus 26:44-45
In this remarkable prophecy of Leviticus 26, we see 4 distinct “seven times” punishments or periods of exile and scattering that would fall upon them if they did not remain faithful to God. This prophecy given to Moses is a roadmap prophecy on what was to occur to Israel starting with the time of the Kings of Israel from the time of Saul and David until the fall of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms through their scattering and exile. The key term found in the prophecy are 4 distinct “seven times” periods or warnings. This 7x factor of multiplication is what God warned would happen to Israel. He warned he would multiply their judgement and affliction and scattering SEVEN TIMES longer than he originally intended. Therefore, Ezekiel 4 provides a roadmap for the punishments to befall the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and Leviticus 36 warns that God would multiply that time frame up to 7 times longer than he originally intended due to their lack of remorse and repentance.
Going back to Ezekiel 4, we are given a critical verse that Jerusalem is the central theme to this prophecy:
“Therefore you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and your arm shall be uncovered, and you shall prophesy against it. And, behold, I will put cords upon you, and you shall not turn yourself from one side to another, till you have ended the days of your siege.” – Ezekiel 7-8
Not only was this a prophecy about the impending destruction of Jerusalem with the fall to Babylon in 607 BC, but it provides a roadmap of a larger exile and desolation for the city of Jerusalem. We can measure this exile first from the moment King David conquered Jerusalem, around 1000 BCE.
Looking at history in the times of the Kings, we know that Israel sinned with defined starting points:
1. David and Saul’s sins and disobedience
2. Solomon’s sins leading to a divided kingdom
3. The fall of the Northern Kingdom
4. The fall of the Southern Kingdom
David’s moral fall was because he was overcome by beauty and the desire for woman. He first committed the deadly sin of adultery and then, deliberately, the crime of murder in order to conceal the first crime with the second – adultery with murder. After David’s sins of adultery and murder, these same sins became rampant in the house of David according to the prediction of Nathan the prophet. David’s firstborn son Amnon, became enamored with his sister Tamar, and sister of Absalom from the same mother. Absalom also went openly into his fathers’s concubines. David’s first crimes caused his dethronement and flight from Jerusalem and he returned after the death of Absalom. After the death of David, Solomon would reign and build the temple in Jerusalem. Solomon did not maintain until the end of his life the godliness of David his father, but about the latter part of his life, he favored the gentile women who he had married against the law, and erected altars and worshipped idols with them. During Solomon’s reign the kingdom of Israel reached the apex of it’s power and glory, but the sin of Solomon was the beginning of it’s decline and fall and eventually to it’s complete extinction, shortly beginning with the division of the united kingdom of Israel in 931 BC. This split into two rival kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom was to fall first due to the worship of other gods and idols such as Baal, the golden calves. Due to their unrepentance and disregard for the law of God, the ten tribes were scattered among the nations. And finally the Kingdom of Judah would be led away in captivity by Nebuchadnezzar due to such acts as the fornication committed during the reign of Joram which led Judah astray, leading to worship of Baal and other idols, and worship of the gods of the Edomites which aroused the wrath of the Lord.
So now we can go back to Ezekiel for and apply a 7x multiplication factor to three known values derived from the prophecy:
- 430 years x 7 (United Kingdom of Israel Punishment Duration)
- 390 years x 7 (Northern Kingdom Punishment Duration)
- 360 years x 7 (Southern Kingdom Punishment Duration )
When we use these starting points for the 7 times calculations, we can see an amazing “parallel of times” pattern emerge. However, in determining the actual years of exile, we have to convert between the biblical (or geometric) calendar of 360 days for 1 “times”, to a solar calendar which calculates 365.25 days per year. We call this process “calendar conversion”, where we apply a “scaling factor” to convert between geometric years and solar years. Why is this? Because there are 360 degrees in a circle, which represents one “times” period of the prophecies in scripture. For example, the term “time times and a half of a time” is often interpreted as “three and a half times” or “1260 days“. However, for the earth to travel one full revolution around the sun equivalent to 360 degrees traveled, it takes 365.25 days.
Thus our calendar conversion factor is as follows:
360 degrees /365.25 days per year = 0.9856
You will notice that this scaling factor is equivalent to the 69 weeks out of 70 weeks of Daniel 9:25.
69 weeks / 70 weeks = 0.9857
This is a very significant relationship of Daniel 9:25 to converting between solar and biblical calendars! The ratio of the two numbers are both equivalent numbers to approximately 4 bits of precision, or to the ten-thousandth place. The conclusion we can draw here is that Daniel 9 provides a clue that the Jews would return in the 69th week from exile, that is at the end of 70 weeks, but we have to scale between calendars. Here is the critical verse from the Septuagint translation we apply to the return of the Jews from exile:
Daniel 9:25 (Septuagint Version) – “Until Christ the Prince there will be weeks seven and weeks sixty two, and (“the people” or “the time”) will return and both town and walls will be built, and the times will come to an end.”
It is interesting to note that the Jews did not return from Babylon after the seven and sixty two weeks, but as soon as the decree was issued in 537 B.C. Neither did the “times” come to an end when the town was rebuilt, because the building work finished in 408 B.C. But it the text says that after the seven and sixty two weeks the people of Israel returned. We know historically, the nation’s second return was achieved in 1948 A. D., when Israel’s state was founded in Palestine, on May 14, 1948.
So returning back to Ezekiel 4 and Leviticus 26, taking in mind the return of the Jews in the “69th week” of our Seven Times calculation, we can derive our actual solar year measurement of all of the exiles spoken of in Ezekiel 4. How do we derive our starting points? Let’s take a look.
First we need to establish our starting points for the Seven Times exile and scattering. The original 430 year period is multiplied by seven, then we scale or calendar convert the number:
430 years x 7 TIMES = 3010 years
3010 x (360/365.25) = 2697 years
3010 x (69/70) = 2927 years (this yields the same result)
Our starting point for all calculations is the year King David ruled from Jerusalem, around 1000 BC.
To find our starting point for the Northern Kingdom exile, we have to subtract out the “40 days” and use our 390 day calculation.
390 x 7 TIMES = 2730 years
2730 x (69/70) = 2691 years
Our starting point for the Northern Kingdom exile must be 7 x 40 years, and scaled to the solar calendar. i.e.
7 x 40 years = 280 years
280 x 69/70 = 276 years
1000 BC + 276 years = 724 BC
724 BC is is the year when the Northern Kingdom was attacked by the Assyrians
The punishment duration for the Southern Kingdom of Judah would last for a period of 7 Times 360 years remaining (out of the total 430 years)
360 x 7 TIMES = 2520 years
2520 x 69/70 = 2484 years
Our starting point for the Southern Kingdom exile must be 7 x 70 years. Because they served 70 years out of the 430 years.
7 x 70 = 490 years
490 x 69/70 = 483 years
1000 BC + 483 years = 517 BC.
517 BC is the year the 2nd temple was completed, and is exactly 70 years after the first temple was destroyed
What is remarkable is that from the start of David’s reign in Jerusalem, and from the start of the Assyrian fall and scattering, and from the return of the Jews from Babylon, we calculate a converged return to Jerusalem from Exile in 1967!
Here is how:
430 year exile: 1000 BC + 2967 years = 1967 AD
390 year exile: 724 BC + 2691 years = 1967 AD
360 year exile: 517 BC + 2484 years = 1967 AD
The results of the calculation is truely remarkable! What it tells us that from the time of King David’s conquering of Jerusalem, until the six day war in 1967 when Jerusalem was recaptured, we have a convergence of the termination date of SEVEN TIMES to the same exact year as the termination date for the scattering of the “lost tribes” of Israel to return and also a convergence of the termination date of the Southern Kingdom’s return from Babylon to rebuild the second temple. The chart below provides a summary analysis and graphical view of the calculations:
In addition, we can calculate a series of exile and return calculations from many significant events within the history of Israel, starting from the time of King Saul, David, Solomon’s divided kingdom, the the scattering of the Northern and Southern kingdoms, the royal decrees and rebuilding of the second temple, and realize a noticeable parallel series of SEVEN TIMES restoration aligning to significant dates in the modern history of the nation of Israel today, such as:
- The first modern settlers (Petra Tivka) arrived in Israel in 1878 AD, exactly sixty-nine weeks of years (or 2484 years) from the first deportation of Babylon in 605 BC
- The founding of the Zionist movement was founded in 1897 AD to establish a homeland in Israel, exactly 69 weeks or 2484 years after the temple of Solomon was destroyed in 587 BC
- The establishment of the modern state of Israel occurred in 1948 AD, exactly 69 weeks or 2484 years after the Jews initially returned from Babylon in 537 BC, and exactly 69 weeks after the start of the Assyrian Captivity in the Northern Kingdom in 740 BC (based on a 390 day/year times calculation taken from Ezekiel chapter 4).
- The capture of Jerusalem in the Six Day War in 1967 AD, exactly 69 weeks from the completion of the second temple construction in 517 BC, and exactly 69 weeks after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 724 BC (based on a 390 day/year times calculation taken from Ezekiel chapter 4)
The Book of Daniel teaches us that the Jews would return to Israel after “69 weeks” a SECOND TIME. Ezekiel 4 and Leviticus 26 confirms this fact with the Northern Scattering and from the United Hebrew Kingdom as well. Whether we look at is a a 69/70 weeks conversion factor, or a 360/365.25 days per year conversion factor, it is all the same. The Jews returned after SEVEN TIMES scaled to the Solar Calendar in 69 weeks. The chart below provides the proof, over multiple SEVEN TIMES starting points and calculations. This cannot possibly be a coincidence. There are too many calculations to prove the same theme over and over.
We can see that “seven times” exactly pass over a 390-year cycle from the Assyrian Scattering in 744 BC until 1948 for the Northern Kingdom. This timeline ends and converges to the same year that the Southern Kingdom of Judah returns from exile a second time measured from Cyrus 537 BC decree based on a 360-year “seven times” cycle, also to 1948. In addition, we see three convergences to 1967 measured from “seven times” from King David’s reign in Jerusalem based on a 430-year “seven times” cycle, converging at the same time as the 724-BC “seven times” fall of the Northern Kingdom to the Assyrians ending in 1967 AD based on a 390-year calculation. Also converging from the “seven times” return from Babylon and the second temple construction in 517 BC, we have a 360-year cycle terminating also in 1967 AD. 1967 AD is a significant fulfillment of bible prophecy in that Jerusalem was “liberated” by the gentile rule for the first time in over 2500 years. From King David to the Six Day War, SEVEN TIMES passed over the land until Jerusalem was free once again!
What is significant here in this chart is we notice the kingdoms of Judah and Israel would combine and converge to the same year restoration. This is foretold in the “Valley of the Dry Bones” prophecy in Ezekiel 37:
“Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; (…) – Ezekiel 37:16-22
This prediction of the “Kingdom of Israel” returning and being joined with the “Kingdom of Judah” (a second time from exile) is also foretold in Isaiah 11:
11 It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea.
12 He will set up a sign for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
Many full preterists argue that Ezekiel 37 is a prophecy of the Babylonian return from Exile in 537 BC. There is NO WAY that Ezekiel 37 was fulfilled in 537 BC. Verse 24 specifically calls out the Son of David as their shepherd. Jesus Christ would not appear for another 550+ years to a small portion of the Jews. Certainly the scattered Northern tribes did not return after Babylonian captivity.
In fact, the number of Jews from the Southern Kingdom that returned in 538 BC is “very small” , only 42,360 Jews returned (Ezra 2:64) The other 95% of the Jews never returned from Babylon exile back to Israel in 537 BC. And the number of Jews who did return did so with very little faith or true repentance that were punished for another “seven times” from 537 BC once again in 70 AD with their rejection of the “annointed one” and “the most holy” promised in Daniel 9. And the other remaining 95 percent of the Jewish exiles who never returned failed to repent of their spiritual rebellion against God and they chose to remain in pagan Babylon. Some of course were grafted into the Church as the Gospel was disseminated throughout the world.
In terms of looking at Ezekiel 37’s fulfillment as already in the past with the return from Babylon, we only have to examine the ‘numbers’ and ask ourselves: would the prophet Ezekiel have been more impressed with the return from Babylonian Exile or another “second” Diaspora, looking into the future?
Number of Jews returning from Babylon in 538/537 BC = 42,360 Jews
Number of Immigrants to Palestine/Israel since 1882 AD:
- First Aliyah (1882 – 1903) = 35,000
- Second Aliyah (1004 – 1914) = 40,000
- Third Aliyah (1919 – 1923) = 40,000
- Fourth Aliyah (1924 – 1929) = 82,000
- Fifth Aliyah (1929 – 1939) = 250,000
- Aliyah Bet, “illegal immigration (1933 – 1948) = 110,000
- Early Statehood (1948 – 1951) = 688,000
- Early 1950s (1200 immigrants a month)
- Alihah from Arab countries (900,000)
- 1979 Aliyah from Iran – 30,000
- Ethiopia Aliyah (since mid 1970s) – 100,000
- Soviet Union Aliyah (1948 to 1967) = 22,000
- After Soviet Union collapse since 1991 = 1,000,000+
- Latin America since 2000s = 70,000
- France Aliyah (2000 – 2009) = 13,000
- US Aliyah (2009) 3,300
Total number of immigrants that have returned since 1882 AD: 3,620,586
The numerical prophecies in the Bible MUST be interpreted using “years” for “days” as the scriptures direct us to do so. And when we follow this guide, we see convergences to 1878, 1882, 1897, 1917, 1948, 1967, which quite frankly. Is this alignment of dates from the exiles, scatterings, , temple destruction, and all 4 royal decrees “just a coincidence”?
One thing we will notice here with the analysis of the prophecy of Ezekiel 4… the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem is a “non-event” in the grand scheme of Ezekiel 4’s punishment on Israel and Judah. The year 70 AD is completely bypassed as the end of the exile and desolation points to dates in the 20th and 21st century. It is because the destruction of the temple in 70 AD extended the punishment of those who returned from Babylon a first time, but due to their unrepentance and rejection of their messiah, their their scattering was to be extended until the completion of the “seven times.”
The Full Preterist interpreters will continuously point to 70 AD as the fulfillment of the “generation” which everything was to be fulfilled. However, the fact is, none of the “times” prophecies and calculations in scripture that can demonstrate a fulfillment or completion of 70 AD down to the exact year, in terms of a termination of the “seven times”, the “seventy week” of Daniel, or the”time times and a half of a time” or trampling of Jerusalem for “42 months.” And again, the primary reason for failure is because all of the “times” prophecies in scripture must be analyzed using the “day-for-a-year” principle. No other method shows any relevance to what these prophecies were intended for – the punishment and restoration of Israel.
Leviticus 26, Ezekiel Chapter 4, Daniel 4 and Daniel 9, which combined together to describe a single exile and restoration… has become “a big problem” for full preterists in justifying a 70 AD fulfillment of all of the old and new testament prophecies with the temple destruction. And this is because, these prophecies CLEARLY SHOW a fulfillment beyond the 70 AD temple destruction. A fulfillment to the exact years of return from exile a second time, to the acceptance of the “Messiah the Prince” and the restoration foretold in Romans 11, according to the accurate historical records of Conventional Chronology when combined with the testimony of the prophetic scriptures.
© 2019 by Jonathan Photius
About the Author: Jonathan Photius is a lifelong Eastern Orthodox Christian who has studied biblical and non-biblical apocalyptic prophecy for over 30 years. Jonathan is a Historicist interpreter of the prophecies, which advocates a continuous fulfillment of prophecies throughout history. He is the author of “Seven Times Unto The Consummation” and “The Encyclopedia of Christianity In The Book of Revelation“, both which present neo-historicist views on prophetic interpretation.