An Abbreviated History of Israel on their 64th Birthday – May 14, 2012


~2000BC – (Genesis 15 & 17) God makes a covenant with Abram (Abraham) that flows through his descendants, Isaac (Genesis 26:3-5) and Jacob (Genesis 28:13) and on through the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob’s new name – Genesis 33:28). This is an everlasting covenant made by God that includes the actual land of Israel that will belong to Abraham and his descendants.


~1480BC - After captivity in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40) the Israelites are freed by Pharaoh and they wander in the desert for 40 years. God brings them to the edge of the Promised Land (Israel) and gives Moses the boundaries of the land, (Numbers 34) which is much larger than modern day Israel. Through Moses, God warns the Israelites (Deuteronomy 30-31) that when (not IF, but WHEN) they enter the land and become disobedient, rebellious, and worship other gods – then God will scatter them among the nations of the world. God also promises that when (not IF, but WHEN) they turn their hearts back to Him, He will gather them back again into this Promised Land.


~1440BC – (Joshua 3) Joshua leads the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.


~950BC – (II Chronicles 3-7) Solomon builds the first Temple in Jerusalem.


~725BC – (II Kings 17) The Assyrians take the ten northern tribes of Israel into captivity. No Biblical record shows the return of these “lost tribes of Israel


586BC – (II Chronicles 36) The Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar, lay siege to Jerusalem, destroy the Temple, and take the Jews captive into Babylon. This is the end of “political” Israel. Zedekiah was the last king of Israel, and now, for over 2500 years, at least twelve foreign nations will rule over the land of Israel.


516BC – As promised by God through the prophet Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 25:11) after 70 years in captivity, the Jews are allowed to return to Israel, being released, as prophesied, by King Cyrus, the Persian (Isaiah 41:2; Ezra 1). The second Temple is built by Zerubbabel (Ezra 5) and sacrificial worship begins there again. This is the first ingathering of the scattered Jewish people.


164BC – For a period of about 3 years, Temple sacrifice is halted by Greco-Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes when he desecrates the Temple by slaughtering a pig in the Holy of Holies. The Jewish Maccabees rebels rise up and drive out Antiochus and his armies, retake the Temple and rededicate it – which begins the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.


20BC – Roman ruler, King Herod begins refurbishing the second Temple (Zerubbabel’s)


0-33AD – Time of Jesus Christ


70AD – Jerusalem is ransacked by Roman armies; the Temple is destroyed, fulfilling the prophecy of Christ (Matthew 24:2). Jews are persecuted and begin scattering from Israel to other countries of the world. Temple worship ceases.


135AD – Emperor Hadrian occupies Jerusalem, changes its name to Aelia Capitolina, and outlaws all Jewish worship. He renames Israel to a name that will remind the Jews of their historically worse enemy, the Philistines. Israel is now named Palestina, which is the source of the name Palestine. (If a map is labeled “Palestine in the Time of Christ,” that is in error.) The Jews are driven out of Israel in even greater numbers.


Late 1800’s – the beginning of the Zionist movement led by Jews such as Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann, and even by Christian ministers in the U.S. like W.E. Blackstone. Some Jews begin returning to the land, then called Palestine.


1917 – End of WWI – the British are issued a mandate to govern Palestine. The Balfour Declaration is issued stating that the Jewish people should have a homeland in Palestine. This allows for more Jews to return to the land of Israel.


1933-1945 – The rise of Nazi Germany and WWII. The Nazi regime exterminates more than 6 million Jews.


1947 – The United Nations votes to end the British mandate of Palestine and votes to partition the land into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The Arabs reject the proposal, the Jews accept.


May 14, 1948 – After 2,534 years, Israel becomes a sovereign nation once again (Isaiah 66:8-11). Historical records show that Jews have existed in this land, in some measure, since 1440BC. The second ingathering (Isaiah 11:11-12; Amos 9:14-15) begins in earnest.


May 2006 – there are more Jews in the nation of Israel than any other single location in the world. From approximately 650,000 Jews in Israel in 1948 to almost 6 million Jews in Israel today, the ingathering continues. Interestingly, some of those “lost tribes of Israel” have been “found” and are also returning!


The Jews have made the desert bloom (Isaiah 35:1; Deuteronomy 28:1-14) and Israel has become the most prosperous nation in the Middle East. In 1948, Israel exported $6 million worth of goods – in 2011, $89 billion.


Temple Mount remains under foreign (gentile) control. The third Temple will be rebuilt before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15;

II Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 11:1-2).


Additional learning – – see/hear the following lessons:

  • Islam, Christianity and the Middle East – A Biblical History of the Middle East
  • I Will Dwell Among Them
  • Scattering Out – Gathering In