Tag Archive for: Israel

The history of Ancient Israel and Judah in 6 minutes

I offer the following brief history of ancient Israel and Judah as a way to help students of Biblical history, especially young people. It takes 6 minutes to read through the following 1,000 words covering Israel’s 4,000 year old history! In an age of short attention spans, it may be a helpful tool for anyone, but especially parents to both understand and explain to others the history of ancient Israel and Judah. I didn’t add timelines and verse references on purpose. My goal was to create a smooth flowing narrative rather than a sophisticated study tool, if which there are many. George

The descendants of Abraham, to whom the land of Israel was promised, were a federation of twelve tribes in the era starting with Abraham and all the way to the era of the judges.

The judge was not a king but the twelve tribes followed him in times of conflict and war, which was often.

According to the book of genesis the Hebrews had been enslaved in Egypt before they invaded the Lavant where they completely destroyed several Canaanite city-states and their populations.

Such conquest was the only time in Israel’s history where offensive warfare would be used to seize other lands. The Bible clearly teaches that God used the Israelites for the conquest of the Promised Land as a way of executing a judgment on the peoples living there at the time. After the initial conquest they moved further north along the coast.

The period of judges lasted roughly from the fourteenth through eleventh centuries BC.

During these centuries at one time or another the Hebrew tribes would be vassals or tributaries of the Edomites, Moabites, Canaanites, Medianites, Ammonites, or Philistines.

The Philistines held a long time technological advantage over Israel in that they had iron weaponry and chariots.

In the north the Aramean kings of Damascus will be a long time foes as well. Their spoken and written language Aramaic would fuse into Hebrew around the sixth century BC in the Levant and by the first century it was the dominant spoken language throughout the Near East.

The people tired of being led by judges and wanted a permanent king. The last judge, Samuel, anointed Saul as the first king of the united kingdom of Israel.

David, a young man who initially was favored by Saul, fled after his popularity among the people soared resulting from defeating the philistine Goliath in a duel.

Ironically, he fled and lived among the Philistines working as a mercenary for the king of Gath, the city that Goliath came from.

Tragically, Saul would be killed in a battle against the Philistines.

David then returned with a motley band of international warriors known as his ‘mighty men’ and would first conquer the south. Conquering the previously independent Jebusite city of Jerusalem, he made it his capital. He then moved north and defeated Saul’s son Ishbosheth, who had ruled Israel for 2 years.

David spent much of his 40-year long reign waging war on many of the Canaanite city-states within and surrounding Israel’s borders.

His son Solomon succeeded him and was renowned for his wealth and wisdom.

Following Solomon’s death the ten northern tribes rebelled, establishing the city of Samaria as their capital city while Judah in the south remained loyal to Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

Israel and Judah would have hostile relations with each other from the beginning.

Jeroboam, king of Israel, had fled to Egypt during the reign of Solomon, receiving protection of the pharaoh Shoshenq.

The 10 northern tribes had become discontent with Solomon’s extravagance and welcomed Jeroboam as a liberator. Shoshenq saw opportunity and invaded Judah in the fifth yeah of Rehoboam’s reign.

With more than 60,000 men he subdued Judah making it a vassal state.

Finally, Egyptian influence was ended over Judah when an Egyptian backed Ethiopian army was defeated by King Asa of Judah.

The tumultuous relationship between the divided kingdoms would continue to unfold in a chaotic and blood splattered tale until the Syrian conquest of Israel ended that kingdom.

Josiah, Israel’s last king, stopped paying tribute to the Assyrian empire when he mistakenly believed that Egypt would back him up in the conflict. However, this was not the case and after 3-year siege Assyria conquered Samaria. The kingless vassal rebelled again and the Assyrians brutally crushed it. The survivors of the ten tribes were deported to distant areas of the Assyrian empire.

Their fate became unknown, giving way to many “Lost Tribes” theories and speculations, even to this day.

The last king of Judah, Zedekiah, was installed by the Babylonians as a puppet-king.

However, he did not play along and rebelled against the Babylonians at which point Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege and conquered Jerusalem, taking many captives back to Babylon.

Under the Persian empire Babylonian captives were allowed to return and enjoyed some level of autonomy as a vassal.

But in the second century BC, a group of Jews known as the Maccabeans led a revolt against the Seleucid empire (one of the empires that came into existence after Alexander the Great) and succeeded. This gave rise to the Hasmonean dynasty which ruled over the new Jewish state in the Levant.

In 69 BC the Roman general Pompey Magnus sacked Jerusalem and installed a puppet ruler loyal to him.

In 37 BC Judea would become an official client state of the Roman Empire.

The Idumaenian, Herod the Great was appointed king of the Jews by the Roman Senate. He attempted to curry favor with his subjects by reconstructing the temple in Jerusalem on a grand scale. However, this was funded through heavy taxation and he was still viewed as an unpopular foreigner and acolyte of the Romans.

After his death the kingdom was partitioned between his three sons and sister.

Following the death of his grandson, Herod Agrippa, in 44 AD Rome absorbed Judea into the empire and after a short rule by Agrippa’s son (Agrippa II) made it a full province of the Roman Empire administered by a Roman governor.

The period between 66-70 AD is known as the Great Jewish Revolt, or The Jewish War, which was followed by two more rebellions.

In 70 AD Jerusalem was sacked. The Romans destroyed the temple and either killed, exiled or enslaved all of the Hebrew leaders, elites and nobles.

In 132 AD the remaining Jews, under the leadership of Bar Kokhba, rebelled against the Roman Emperors Adrian but were defeated.

As a punishment Adrian exiled even more Jews and forbade them from living in their capital.

This marked the beginning of many centuries of Jewish exile which era ended with the creation of the modern, democratic State of Israel in 1947.

Why are the Gentiles aligning with Israel?

Thus says the LORD of Hosts: “In those days, ten men will take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they will take hold of the skirt of him who is a Yehudi, saying, ‘We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'” [Zec 8:23 HNV]

This prophecy clearly foretells the coming of a day when the goyim, the people of the world, the non-Jews will experience a spiritual awakening which will compel them to do something very interesting; they will align themselves spiritually with the children of Israel.

This spiritual realignment will inevitably spill over into the political and geopolitical arena as more and more nations will choose life over death. The current developments in the Middle East and the way President Donald Trump’s administration has brokered peace between Israel and some of their formerly staunch enemies, is an astounding miracle of Biblical proportions.

In addition, more and more believers who have grown up in traditional Christian churches, are now experiencing a longing to return to the Hebraic origins of the our faith.

Could the movement to form alliances with Israel and to return to the Hebraic foundation of the faith be part of the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy?

1. Prophesying the big picture

Zechariah prophesied these words shortly after the time of the Babylonian exile as the Jews struggled to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem. The Lord spoke through him to the Jews of the day and he spoke to them about a day when the goyim (traditionally translated “Gentiles”), will come to the Jews and form an alliance with them.

This was obviously a huge promise. A small community of around 50,000 had returned to Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel). It’s estimated that 500,000 stayed behind in Babylon. Why did they stay behind? Because they prospered there and didn’t want to go back to Eretz Israel only to be confronted with hostilities. However, the Jews in Babylon became an important resource for the “Palestinian Jews” as most scholars would refer to those who went back to Eretz Israel. “Palestine” is a derivative of “Philistine” – derogatory name given to Eretz Israel by the enemies of Israel and referring to the Philistines, Israel’s arch-enemies.

Casting a great vision for the remnant of Jews who went back to Eretz Israel was very much in line with how God spoke to Abraham from the very beginning. This was entirely a prophetic act since this was not a time when Jews were held in high esteem by the surrounding nations. Jerusalem had no drawing power for the world. “In the natural”, as we like to say, there wasn’t much to look forward to – except the promises of God!

2. Who or what moved the Gentiles to align themselves with the Jews?

It’s interesting that the promise God gave the children of Israel through the prophet Zechariah was about the restoration of Israel but it also included the Gentiles (the goyim). What was good for the Jews was also going to be good for the goyim. 

The first thing that God intends to make happen is to restore the Truth to Jerusalem (Yerushalayim). Next, He promises He will not only bless Israel, but they will also become a blessing. This is also consistent with the promise made to Abraham in Genesis chapter 12 that in Abraham the world will be blessed.

Thus says the LORD: “I have returned to Tziyon, and will dwell in the midst of Yerushalayim. Yerushalayim shall be called ‘The City of Truth;’ and the mountain of the LORD of Hosts, ‘The Holy Mountain.'” [Zec 8:3 HNV]

and I will bring them, and they will dwell in the midst of Yerushalayim; and they will be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.” [Zec 8:8 HNV]

“For the seed of shalom and the vine will yield its fruit, and the ground will give its increase, and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things. [Zec 8:12 HNV]

It shall come to pass that, as you were a curse among the nations, house of Yehudah and house of Yisra’el, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Don’t be afraid. Let your hands be strong.” [Zec 8:13 HNV]

Yes, many peoples and strong nations will come to seek the LORD of Hosts in Yerushalayim, and to entreat the favor of the LORD.” [Zec 8:22 HNV]

Clearly, the goyim are coming to seek the Lord in Yerushalayim and to entreat his favor.

It only makes sense; if you are serious about seeking the Lord you will end up in Yerushalayim. You will end up realizing the great love the Lord has for his covenant people and the blessing you will experience by aligning yourself with them. 

“To entreat the favor of the Lord” speaks of humbling oneself and seeking to be blessed by the Creator rather than being arrogant and thinking of ways to make yourself prosperous on your own. Gentiles who align themselves with Israel can be confident about seeking the blessing and favor of God without any reservations. When you sincerely honor the God of Abraham and the children of Abraham, you will have no greater friend! Great alliances are forged when the Jews are rightfully honored for who they are in God’s plan -the people who gave us the Torah, who kept the faith for thousands of years. And for those of us who believe in Yeshua, they also gave us the Messiah (even if most Jews don’t accept Yeshua as the promised HaMashiach).

This is why it’s so important to expose false Jew-hating teachings and theology. This should be obvious but millions of people are still fed demonic teachings making out the Jews to be somehow enemies of God and Christians. This is a lie from the pit of hell. You can’t sow hatred towards the Jews, persecute and murder them, and expect to serve God at the same time. This is insane. 

Many Christians have been seriously affected by Jew-hatred and the deception of the replacement theology. Until people come to grips with the fact this theology isn’t based on God’s Truth as revealed in the entire Bible, and turn away from it, they will remain stuck in deception. Such people will have a very hard time on the Day of the Lord.

3. Ten will seek one

Thus says the LORD of Hosts: “In those days, ten men will take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they will take hold of the skirt of him who is a Yehudi, saying, ‘We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'” [Zec 8:23 HNV]

This language is an exaggerated prophetic-poetic form very characteristic of the way the prophets expressed what God showed them. It means that even though the Jews are small in number, they will lead the majority. Notice, no one is forcing the majority of goyim to do anything. Their spiritual eyes have been opened. As a result, a change of heart has taken place in them. They aren’t ashamed to seek the God of the Jews in Yerushalayim. They aren’t ashamed to align themselves with the Jews and to seek the favor of their God. They are reaching out and grabbing the hem of the garment of a Jew. Something happens when we reach by faith and connect with the children of Abraham. For those of us who will never be Jews by blood, the next best thing is to align ourselves correctly with those whom God considers beloved fo the sake of the fathers – Avraham, Itzhak and Yaakov. Thus, the will of God is fulfilled and He is pleased. His people have fulfilled their calling – they have given His Truth, His Light to a dark and lost world. We, the Goyim have humbled ourselves and have received it.

The turning of the hearts of the goyim toward Israel and the Jews will be an astounding sign for the Jews that God is fulfilling his promise. It will move them to return to Him and to experience their own revival.

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Why are the Gentiles aligning with Israel? by George Bakalov is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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