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FROM THE EXODUS TO THE CAPTIVITY
Genesis ends with the death of Joseph and the children of Israel in Egypt. They served Egypt for 400 years before God delivered them. Eighty years before He brought them out, a child named Moses was born. Moses was destined to become a great leader and lawgiver through whom God would bring His people out of Egypt.
God had told Moses he would be the one to deliver his people. Moses decided to forsake all the glory and honor of Egypt and go to his own people, who were despised by the Egyptians. Moses got quite a surprise when his people said, “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?” (Ex. 2:14.)
One reason they rejected Moses as a deliverer is that the timing was not right. God had told Abraham that his descendants would spend 400 years in Egypt, and they had been there for only 360. Moses fled Egypt and stayed in the Sinai Desert for forty years. At the end of these forty years God appeared to him in a burning bush and told him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go.
Moses, a man of great faith and humility, is one of the more interesting characters of the Bible. At times, however, he did things that displeased the Lord. His life was divided into three forty year spans. The first forty was spent in the comforts of Egypt, the second in the wilderness, and the third as the leader of the children of Israel.
(2) The Passover
Moses went back to Egypt with his brother, Aaron, and told Pharaoh, “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go.”a When Pharaoh refused, the Lord sent ten plagues, and it wasn’t until the tenth one that Pharaoh changed his mind. The last plague was a plague of death. Every firstborn child in Egypt was going to die, Jew and Egyptian alike. The only way that the death angel would not kill the firstborn child was for him to see blood on the door of the home. If he saw blood, he would spare the child and pass over.
When Pharaoh saw all the Egyptians dying, he got the message and told the children of Israel to leave. When they reached the Red Sea, God parted it and they went across on dry ground.
God commanded that this event be celebrated every year, as long as the world stood. They were to sacrifice a lamb as a memorial for what He had done and what He was going to do in the future. The plan was for Moses to lead them across the Sinai into Canaan, the land of milk and honey. Moses sent twelve spies into the land, but only Joshua and Caleb said it could be taken. When the people heard that the land was inhabited by giants, they wanted to return to Egypt. Even with all the miracles they had seen in Egypt and the Egyptian army being destroyed in the Red Sea, they still did not believe God would conquer the land. For their unbelief, the Lord told them they would wander in the wilderness for forty years.
It was during these forty years that God gave Israel the Law and set up the priesthood. It was also during these forty years that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible and the different feasts were established. God also changed the beginning of the year from fall to spring, knowing that there would be a new beginning in the spring of 33 A.D .
The Passover Feast was to be observed “in the fourteenth day of the first month.” On the fifteenth day, they were to observe the “feast of unleavened bread.” On the sixteenth, the day after the Sabbath, they were to bring “the first fruits” of their harvest. Fifty days later, they were to celebrate a harvest with “loaves . . . baked with leaven.”
The Passover represented deliverance from Egyptian bondage and looked forward to the cross when the “the lamb of God” would deliver us from our sins by His death.
A sheaf of the first fruits was made into bread—without leaven. The sheaf was presented to God by the High Priest the day after the Sabbath. This represented His sinless life and resurrection. And He presented Himself to God the day after the sabbath.b Fifty days later the harvest began. His Bride, the Church, came into existence. The leaven of Pentecost represents her imperfections until the resurrection. (See Lev. 23:1-22.)
(3) From Canaan to Saul
At the end of the forty years, it was time for God to fulfill His word and bring the children of Israel into the land He had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses had led them for forty years and God called him the most humble man on “the face of the earth,” but he was not allowed to lead the people into Canaan because of unbelief.c Joshua, whose name means “savior,” was the man to lead the people into the Promised Land.
It is interesting to note that two of the greatest figures in the Bible thus far had their moments of doubting God’s Word, and His wisdom. But God used and blessed them anyway. This shows us the weakness of man and the greatness of God in dealing with man.
Before Moses died, God led him up on a high mountain so he could see the land of Israel. Moses had an unusual funeral, for it was the Lord Himself who buried him in a secret place.d Satan and Michael, the archangel, even had an argument about his body (Jude 9).
After the children of Israel entered Canaan, the land was distributed among the different tribes. From the time they came out of the wilderness until Saul, they were ruled by a priest and judges who were appointed by the Lord. Samuel was the last judge, but Israel did not listen to him. They asked for a king like all the other nations. And they got one. God answered their request and told Samuel to anoint a man named Saul. In 1 Samuel 8:4-7, we have an account of Israel rejecting the Lord and what He thought about it:
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said unto him. . . . Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: FOR THEY HAVE NOT REJECTED THEE, BUT THEY HAVE REJECTED ME, THAT I SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM. (Emphasis mine.)
It seems this is when God began keeping account of their sins, one sin in particular. While they were still in the wilderness, God had commanded that they farm their land six years and let it rest the seventh. When they rejected Him and asked for a king, He started marking time and keeping account of this sin. This also may have started the “seven times” of punishment mentioned in Leviticus 26:18-19.
(4) David and Solomon
Saul, Israel’s first king, ruled for forty years.e He began as a good king and at was humble in his new position of power, but it didn’t take long for pride to do its deadly work. Before Saul was killed, God told Samuel to anoint a young shepherd boy, David.
David conquered the city of Jerusalem in the seventh year of his rule and ruled there for 33 years before his death. He wanted to build a temple for God, but God told him His Son would build it and establish an everlasting kingdom:
And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore (1 Chr. 17:11-14).
When David died, his son, Solomon, built the temple and enlarged the kingdom of Israel. The prophecy above, however, looks to another Son of David, who would also be the Son of God. Isaiah 9:6 tells us, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Verse 7 tells us this Son of David will sit on the “throne of David” and establish an everlasting “kingdom” of righteousness.
King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and, to make matters worse, he had her husband put on the front line so he would be killed in battle. The prophet Nathan came to David and told him about a rich man who had stolen a poor man’s only possession. David told Nathan that such a man should be put to death. Nathan replied, “Thou art the man.”
David repented and deeply regretted what he had done and God forgave him, but his sin was to bring tragedy upon the nation. Second Samuel 5:4 says, “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.”
Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba. When it became time for Solomon to rule Israel, God asked him what he wanted. Instead of asking for the destruction of Israel’s enemies, he asked for wisdom and knowledge to rule the kingdom. This highly pleased God, and He gave him more than any man had ever known. Solomon used this wisdom to build the nation of Israel into the greatest nation of that day, and his rule was one of peace. David had gathered the material for the temple, but it was not started until David died.
First Kings 6:1 tells us the temple was started during Solomon’s fourth year, 480 years after the Exodus. “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel . . . he began to build the house of the LORD.”
David became sick in his old age and Solomon was actually made king about three or four years before David died.f When David died at the age of seventy, Solomon was made “king the second time.”g It must have been about this time that he began to build the temple. David and Solomon ruled forty years each,h but there is an overlap with the total time being about 77 years.
Paul says God gave Israel judges for “about” 450 years (Acts 13:20). But first Kings 6:1 is a clear statement, telling us there are 480 years from the Exodus until the temple was started.
(5) The Divided Kingdom
During the latter part of Solomon’s rule, he didn’t use his wisdom very wisely. He married foreign wives who brought in idol worship, and he overworked and overtaxed the people. When he died his son Rehoboam was made king, but Jeroboam of the tribe of Ephraim rebelled and the kingdom became divided into north and south. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel or Ephraim. Second Chronicles 10:19 says, “And Israel rebelled against the house of David . . . ”
The Northern Kingdom lasted 258 years and was destroyed by the Assyrians. The Southern Kingdom lasted another 134 years. Twenty years before Jerusalem was destroyed, Judah was invaded by Babylon and many Jews were taken captive for seventy years.
2990 Israel rejects the Lord, Saul made king...........1 Sam. 8:4-7
3000 David born.
3030 Death of Saul (Acts 13:21), David made king.......2 Sam. 5:1-4
3067 David makes Solomon king (1 Kings 1:11-37)........1 Chr. 23:1
3070 Death of David (2 Sam. 5:4), temple started.......1 Kings 6:1
The Bible doesn’t give us one statement about how many years there are between Solomon’s death and the captivity, but we can find out by adding the years each king ruled Judah as recorded in 2 Chronicles.
3067 David makes Solomon king..........................1 Chr. 23:1
..40 Solomon’s years of rule...........................2 Chr. 9:30
3107 Death of Solomon, Israel rebels...................2 Chr. 10
..17 Rehoboam..........................................2 Chr. 12:13
...3 Abijah............................................2 Chr. 13:1-2
..41 Asa...............................................2 Chr. 16:13
..25 Jehoshaphat.......................................2 Chr. 20:31
...8 Jehoram...........................................2 Chr. 21:5
...1 Ahaziah...........................................2 Chr. 22:2
...6 Athaliah..........................................2 Chr. 22-23
..40 Joash.............................................2 Chr. 24:1
..29 Amaziah...........................................2 Chr. 25:1
..52 Uzziah............................................2 Chr. 26:3
..16 Jotham............................................2 Chr. 27:1
..16 Ahaz..............................................2 Chr. 28:1
..29 Hezekiah..........................................2 Chr. 29:1
..55 Manasseh..........................................2 Chr. 33:1
...2 Amon..............................................2 Chr. 33:21
..31 Josiah............................................2 Chr. 34:1
3478 1st year of Jehoiakim’s 11 year rule..............2 Chr. 36:1-5
3480 3rd year, 70 year captivity begins................Daniel 1:1-3
3488 End Jehoiakim, begin Zedekiah’s 11 years..........2 Chr. 36:6-11
3497 Jerusalem besieged 9th year of Zedekiah...........2 Kings 25:1
3499 End Zedekiah’s 11 year rule.......................2 Kings 25:2-7
3500 Jerusalem destroyed...............................2 Kings 25:8-10
The tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi made up the Southern Kingdom. It was called Judah with Jerusalem being the capitol. The other tribes made up the Northern Kingdom and their capitol was Samaria. Judah had a few good kings during this period, but everyone that ruled the north was wicked. The Old Testament says they all “did evil in the sight of the LORD.”
When Israel rejected the Lord and asked for a king, God may have began marking time and keeping account of their sins, especially the one in Leviticus 25:1-4. They didn’t let the land rest every seventh year as God commanded. Second Chronicles 36:21 tells us that the seventy years captivity was: “To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.”
If the land had seventy years of rest, we can find out when God began keeping account of their breaking the commandment of Leviticus 25:1-4 by multiplying 7 X 70, which equals 490 years. This brings us back to the date of Israel rejecting the Lord by asking for an earthly king. In Daniel 9 we will see another time of 490 years, which probably began with the Decree of Cyrus in 3550.
|<-----------------490 years------------------->|<---70 years---->|
You may ask: Where do we get the figure 2990 for Saul and the figure 3070 for the temple being started?
God gave us a clear number of years from Adam to Abraham’s father, but when He got to the birth of Abraham, He left it vague. God also gave us a clear number of years from the birth of Abraham until the Exodus and from the Exodus to the temple. Abraham’s father may have been 22 years old when Abraham was born, which would be 1900 years from Adam (see Chapter 5, Topic 6). If Abraham’s father was 22, this would put the birth of Isaac at the 2000 year mark, the birth of David at the 3000 year mark, and the birth of Christ at the 4000 year mark.
(6) Ezekiel’s 430 Years
Samaria had been defeated by Assyria and the people of Israel were scattered into the nations. The prophecy in Ezekiel 4:1-9 is about the impending “siege” of Jerusalem, which would be for “a sign to the house of Israel” that Jerusalem would also be defeated and its people taken captive. God told Ezekiel to lie on his left side for 390 days. Each day would signify a year in which he would “bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.”
Most historians believe Jeroboam of Israel rebelled and began ruling in 931 B.C. and the “siege” of Jerusalem began in 588 B.C., for a total of 343 years. I believe Israel “rebelled against the house of David” in 3107 (from Adam), and Jerusalem came under siege in the 9th year of Zedekiah in 3497, which comes to 390 years. (See Topic 5.)
The 490 years between Saul and the captivity of Judah and the 390 between Israel’s rebellion until the last siege of Jerusalem seems to confirm that the chronology in 2 Chronicles can simply be added. For more on chronology during the kings, see Appendix B.
Beginning the 390 years with Israel’s rebellion against the house of David, and ending them with the last siege of the house of David, explains the 390 years. The forty years of Ezekiel’s prophecy may have begun with the siege of Jerusalem in 3497 and ended in 3537, the first Purim. (More about this later.)
Another interesting point concerning the number 430: There are 430 years between Solomon laying the foundation of the temple in 3070 and its destruction about 3500, right in the middle of the Seventh Day if the day is 7000 years.
(7) The End of Israel’s Pride
And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power. . . . Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land (Lev. 26:18-19, 42).
After Israel entered the land, they committed many sins. They were punished for them, but it wasn’t until they outright rejected the Lord by asking for a king that God began keeping account of the broken commandment of Leviticus 25:1-4. This may also have started the “seven times” of punishment mentioned in Leviticus 26:18. At any rate, the punishment will not end and the covenant of verse 42 will not be fulfilled until Israel accepts the Lord as King, which is Jesus. Paul says, “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Rom. 11:26-27).
Even before Saul was made king there was conflict between the different tribes. When Solomon died the kingdom split into north and south. After they returned to their land, there was still conflict between those of Samaria and Judah, even until Christ.
God still looks upon Israel as a divided nation that’s rejecting their rightful King, Jesus Christ. But Ezekiel 37 gives us a picture of the re-gathering of the house of Israel, and Judah, and of them becoming a united kingdom again. God told Ezekiel to take two sticks and join them together. He was to write Judah on one and Israel on the other. When the people asked him what this meant, he was to tell them it represented the time they would live in peace with each other and have one king. The One King will be the Lord Jesus:
And the [two] sticks whereon thou writest shall be [one] 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; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all (Ezek. 37:20-22).
The prophecy of Ezekiel 4:1-8 is about the divided kingdom and their iniquity. The 390 years were for the Northern Kingdom and the forty were for the Southern Kingdom, Judah. When Joseph was sold by his brothers, the children of Israel became divided. God looked upon the whole house of Israel as being in bondage to that sin for 430 years before deliverance came. Ezekiel symbolically bore the sins of both kingdoms for 430 years.
If we take the prophecy of Leviticus 26:18-19 about the seven times of punishment and use God’s formula of seven times, times the 430 years, we come up with a total of 3010 years. Adding this to the year Israel rejected the Lord gives us the year 6000. Adding the last 1000 mentioned in Revelation 20 gives us 7000 years from Adam to the New Heaven and Earth. You may ask: Have we already past the 6000 year mark? I don’t know. When I came up with this chronology in the early 70s, it looked promising.
Scripture Index [a] Ex. 5:1, [b] John 20:17, Heb. 9:1-15, [c] Num. 12:3; 20:12, [d] Deut. 34:6, [e] Acts 13:21, [f] 1 Kings 1:11-37, [g] 1 Chr. 29:22, [h] 2 Sam. 5:4, 2 Chr. 9:30.
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