Ezekiel chapter 4 The sieges of Jerusalem part II

Ezekiel Chapter 4 Sieges of Jerusalem

PART II

PART I was published April 2017  https://losttribesfoundblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/ezekiel-4-and-the-sieges-of-jerusalem/

The previous blog on Ezekiel chapter 4 identifies the sin of the House of Israel as beginning 390 years prior the 586BC siege of Jerusalem with the “Sin of King Jeroboam son of Nebat” where he cause Israel to sin by these four things:-

These are the sins of Jeroboam 

  1. Changed who was worshiped            Golden Calves
  2. Changed where to worship                Bethel and Dan
  3. Priesthood                                              Not Levites
  4. Changed times                                       Eighth month

At the end of the blog we contrasted these sins with the sins of the church. As can be seen below, they followed the same pattern as King Jeroboam. We also make the assertion elsewhere that the church is indeed full of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel (northern kingdom), hence, the reason for the pattern.

These are the sins of the church

  1. Changed who was worshiped            Mary and saints
  2. Changed where to worship                 Constantinople & Rome
  3. Priesthood                          Select few only – not all of us being a Royal priesthood
  4. Changed times                                   Synchronized pagan holidays

To recap the previous blog:-

 

Ezekiel prophesied two sieges of Jerusalem because of the iniquity of 1) the House of Israel 2) the House of Judah. What were these iniquities and how are they to be remedied? It maybe that remedying these iniquities with be the cause of/or the sign of these two houses becoming one under one king. In fact the whole house of Israel under the headship of the prophesied future King David. So let’s look at the iniquity through the prophet Ezekiel and the siege of Jerusalem.

The prophet Ezekiel had a very precise prophecy relating to the sieges of Jerusalem.

Note, the siege was the context of the prophecy and he was to lie of his side for 390 years for the iniquity of the House of Israel and 40 years for the House of Judah.

Ekekiel 4 sieges of Jerusalem

The reader is invited to understand the dates as per F.N.Jones’ meticulous work….  Chronology of the Old Testament: A Return to the Basics by FLOYD NOLEN JONES, Th.D., Ph.D. 2002 specifically chapter 2.

Ezekiel clearly portrays two houses here in chapter 4.

4 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, even Jerusalem:

And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.

Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.

For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

Continue Part I here https://losttribesfoundblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/ezekiel-4-and-the-sieges-of-jerusalem/

Other blogs on this site will argue that the church is full of Ancient Israelites that became Gentiles/nations and empires and then were grafted back into the family of God or the Olive tree through faith in the person of Yeshua the Messiah. If this is true and I believe it is then the church has continued in the iniquity that expelled the House of Israel from the land 2700 years ago.  Is turning from this iniquity part of the end-time process that brings Israel together with their brother Judah? That will be the reader’s conversation to have with Holy Spirit.

What of the House of Judah’s iniquity?

What happened to them 40 years before 70 AD?

This is the subject of this blog.

In his book Beyond Acts Paul R. Finch writes in chapter 3 The Last Days of the Temple:-

The temple in Jerusalem was the main component of Mosaic religion. No understanding of first century Judaism can be gathered without a good understanding of what the temple stood for and meant to the Jewish people at that time. [1]

He goes on:-

The temple, as a religious institution, was where the Shekinah Glory of Israel dwelt. It stood for the religion of their ancestors, of Moses, and of all the holy prophets of old. No religious Jew of the first century could help but start questioning what on earth was going on with so many people turning to be followers of Jesus? The tension that was produced between the Jesus movement and the temple establishment can hardly be ignored. If God were starting a new religious order, why was the temple still allowed to carry on and function?

The temple was the centre of first century Judaism. But Stephen suddenly comes on the scene to boldly insist that “Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place [the temple] and will change the customs that Moses handed unto us” (Acts 6:13) and that the Most High does not dwell in houses made with human hands”(Acts 7:48).How Jesus could destroy the temple if he was put to death was a question that no doubt was on the minds of the Jewish authorities.[2]

Stephen was arrested on charges of speaking against Moses and God (Acts 6:11) but it was speaking against their precious temple that really made them angry. In a fit of mob violence, Finch writes, Stephen was drug outside the city and stoned to death (Acts 7:54-60).

Now starts the first major persecution of the church and Saul (Paul) is leading the way.

This first great persecution of the church was resulting in the Jerusalem church being scattered in all directions.

The sins of the first siege and destruction and the puzzle of the second

Finch writes:-

The reason that the first temple was destroyed was mainly due to God’s people turning to idolatry. Yet, after the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, they became very strict in not allowing the slightest form of idolatry ever to surface again.

The footnote on page 30 records Talmud – Mas. Yoma 9b:-

The latter Rabbis could not adequately explain why the second temple was destroyed when they believed that the Jewish people were not guilty of the sins that brought down the first temple, so they offered the following reasoning: “The first was destroyed because of the sin of idolatry, sexual licentiousness and murder…….But during the time of the second temple, the people were engaged in the study of Torah, and the performance of commandments and deeds of loving kindness. Why, then, was the second temple destroyed? Because the people were guilty of groundless hatred. This teaches that the sin of groundless hatred is considered to be as the sins of idolatry, sexual licentiousness and murder” (Yoma 9b).

Signs recorded for the forty years before the second siege and destruction

Sign one

Forty years before the second temple was besieged and destroyed, Yeshua was tried right in the precincts of that temple by the Jews. The Sanhedrin at this time still prosecuted cases in the “Chamber of Hewn Stones” in the court of the temple. This is where Jesus in reality met his judicial death. And at the exact moment of his physical death, something happened that had a startling affect on the whole area of Jerusalem. An earthquake occurred and violently shook the whole area of Jerusalem. Darkness had already been cast over the land and the great veil in the temple had been torn in two (Matt 27:51-6; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45-9).[3]

Footnote reads

 It is also recorded in a Jewish Christian work entitled Gospel of the Narzarenes that the large stone lintel that supported the huge curtain which hung before the “Hekel” broke in two.[4]

Finch goes on to write:-

The eastern entrance to the holy place was known at the “Hekel”. Josephus said that it was over 55 cubits tall (80 feet) and 16 cubits wide (24 feet) (Josephus, B.J. 5.5.4 [210-214]). It is obvious that if an earthquake occurred at this time, the breaking up of this massive stone lintel over the Hekel is what caused the curtain to split from top to bottom. The earthquake caused severe structural damage to the temple itself, so that no longer could the Chamber of Hewn Stones be safe to use again. The Sanhedrin had to now use the Trading Station to conduct court instead of the prestigious Chamber that they had formerly occupied. The Talmud says that:-

Forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin was banished (from the Chamber of Hewn Stones) and sat in the Trading Station.[5]

Forty years prior this brings us to the crucifixion of Yeshua ha Meshach.

Forty years before the Temple was destroyed, the gates of the Hekel opened by themselves, until Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai rebuked them saying: Hekel, Hekel, why alarmest thou us? We know that thou are destined to be destroyed. For of thee hath prophesied Zecharia be Iddo: “Open thy doors, o Lebanon, and the fire shall eat thy cedars” (Yoma 39b)

Finch states that the Jewish authorities understood this to be a divine warning of the coming destruction for R. Zakkai had said as much.

So sign one forty years prior the siege and destruction included i) the veil rent ii) the Chamber of Hewn Stones unsafe for any further court decisions iii) the gates of the Hekel opens by themselves.

Sign two

Finch writes;

In the year 66 C.E., a great Passover celebration was planned to occur in commemoration of the newly rededicated temple. The Jewish elders must have wished to turn the nation to repentance and ask God to spare them for their sins and show them that he was still their God by some miraculous sign. Over two and a half million pilgrims attended this festival, the largest gathering ever witnessed at the temple. Josephus called it a vast multitude, because it was so large (Josephus, B.J. 6.9.4, [428]). If God was going to reveal His intentions to the Jewish nation, this, indeed, was the precise time to do so. And this is exactly what happened in a supernatural and miraculous way.

On Nisan 8 of that year, when the people began to assemble for their purification rites in preparation for the Passover, a supernatural light was seen (Shekinah!) at three o’clock in the morning for about half an hour at the altar in the temple and then suddenly disappeared (Josephus, B.J. 6.5.3, [289-91]). Josephus also refers to a “star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued for a year”(B.J. 6.5.3 [289]). Then the Nicanor Gates in the temple, which twenty men could barely move, opened up during the night (B.J. 6.5.3 [293-6]).[6]

Also in 66 C.E. at the time of the second Passover season Josephus records this:

For, before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding the cities (Josphephus, B.J. 6.5.3 [298-99]).

Sign three and others

The Babylonian Talmud says for forty years straight prior the destruction that the ‘lot for the Lord’ for the Azazel goat for the Day of Atonement, did not come up in the right hand of the priest. Statistically this is one trillion to one. (Yoma, 39b) [7]

Also for forty years, the light from the western Menorah, which was never to go out, went out every night on its own despite the best efforts of the priests. (Josephus, C. Ap. 1.22 [199]; Tamid 3:9; 6.1; Sifra, Emor 13,7; Sifra Num 59; Yoma 33a).

Beginning 30 C.E. the crimson thread, associated with the scapegoat of Yom Kippur, which had been a custom since the days of Simeon the Righteous (3rd Century B.C.E.) never turned white again (Yoma 39b).

Also at Pentecost/Shavuot in 66 C.E. Josephus records:

as the priests were going by night into the inner[court of the ] temple, as there custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence” (Josephus, B.J. 6.5.3. [299-300]).

Eusebius writes that Rabbi Jonathan recorded the Shekinah:

abode on the Mount of Olives hoping that Israel would repent, but they did not; while a Bet Kol issued forth announcing, “Return, O Backsliding children” (Jer 3:14).“Return unto me, and I will return unto you (Mal 3:7).” When they did not repent, it said, I will return to my place [in heaven] (Eusebius, Dem.ev.2:6.18.28).[8]

James the Just 62 C.E.

James the brother of Jesus was thrown off a wall of the temple and then clubbed to death by an angry mob in 62 C.E. The Christian historian Eusebius records thus:

So remarkable a  person must James have been, so universally esteemed for righteousness, that even the more intelligent Jew felt that this was why his martyrdom was immediately followed by the siege of Jerusalem, which happened to them for no other reason than the wicked crime of which he had been the victim. And indeed Josephus did not hesitate to write this down in so many words. “These things happened to the Jews in requital for James the Righteous, who was a brother of Jesus known as Christ, for though he was the most righteous of men, the Jews put him to death” (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 2.23.19-20).

To recap

For forty (40) years prior to the siege and destruction of the second temple there were numerous signs.

From the Messiah, Himself, then Stephen and finally James the Just warnings to repent, had been issued. Many had heeded those warnings and left the city. The One to whom Moses referred had arrived. Now listen to the One as the Torah tells us to.

Well let’s end this blog.

Us, in the Lo Ammi community, [the “not My people” of the House of Israel/Ephraim of Hosea 1:9,10] need to make the House of Judah, jealous. Deut 32:20-21 https://losttribesfoundblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/lo-ammi-or-not-my-people/

We need to live our lives so that repentance comes from seeing the GOODNESS of GOD.

Realizing that ‘our fathers inherited lies’ [Jer 16:19] and changing what we do and loving Judah will be a step towards them also looking at the things that happened prior to their captivity and dispersion.

I hope this blog has been informative of some of the history prior to the second temple’s destruction.

Psalm 133 says Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Paul in Romans 11 says 33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Both chapters Psalm 133 and Romans 11 have a promise of life from the dead.

Rom 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Ps133:3b…….for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

As Psalm 121 proclaims:-

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

 

 

[1] Beyond Acts by Paul R Finch pp21

[2] abib pp22

[3] Abib pp 32

[4] See Edgar  Hennecke and William Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha (Philadelphia  Westminster Press,1965), 1:150,153

[5]Talmud  Shabbath 15a; see also Rosh ha-Shanah 31a, b.

[6] Finch abib pp35

[7] Abib pp36

[8] Midrash Rabbah: Deuteronomy and Lamentations, ed. H. Freedman and Maurice Simon (London: Soncino Press, 1961), 7:51.

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