“And you, son of man, take a brick and lay it before you, and engrave on it a city, even Jerusalem. And put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a mound against it. Set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. And you, take an iron griddle, and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; and set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel. “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year. And you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm bared, and you shall prophesy against the city. And behold, I will place cords upon you, so that you cannot turn from one side to the other, till you have completed the days of your siege.” Ezekiel 4:1-8
The prophet Ezekiel was given a number of interesting prophecies from God. Some were fulfilled in his day; others were about future events, the end of the age, and the Millennial Kingdom. These will be fulfilled in the days to come. Here we are going to examine an enigmatic task that Ezekiel was given. He literally laid on his side for 430 consecutive days to represent the punishment Israel was facing for disobedience. God even strapped him down so that he couldn’t turn. FOR OVER A YEAR. Seriously. Now THAT picture is worth a thousand words…. Each day of laying represented a year of punishment for the nation of Israel.
Scholars have struggled to glean the meaning of this strange task. 70 years are accounted for in the Babylonian captivity, but there are 360 years remaining [430-70=360]. We find a most incredible mathematical fulfillment when we turn back to Leviticus 26:
“But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will visit you with panic, with wasting disease and fever that consume the eyes and make the heart ache. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down before your enemies. Those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when none pursues you.” Leviticus 26:14-17
This part was fulfilled in the original 70 year Babylonian Captivity. Because Israel had refused to give the land its Sabbath rest (every 7th year), God took it into His own hands and rested the land for the time it was owed.
However, after the captivity, by and large the nation of Israel did not repent. Many didn’t even return to the Promised Land, and most didn’t obey God’s commandments. Even after the rebuilding of the Temple, Israel remained in rebellion. I believe this rebellion is why God’s Shechinah Glory did not fill the second temple; the Holy of Holies remained desolate and God did not “smell their pleasing aromas” of daily sacrifice.
After the 70 year captivity, Israel’s continued disobedience resulted in a greater punishment coming into effect. This was forewarned by God through Moses as we continue reading in Leviticus 26:
And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins, and I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze…. “Then if you walk contrary to me and will not listen to me, I will continue striking you, sevenfold for your sins... “And if by this discipline you are not turned to me but walk contrary to me, then I also will walk contrary to you, and I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute vengeance for the covenant. And if you gather within your cities, I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy… “But if in spite of this you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me, then I will walk contrary to you in fury, and I myself will discipline you sevenfold for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. And I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars and cast your dead bodies upon the dead bodies of your idols, and my soul will abhor you. And I will lay your cities waste and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing aromas. And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled at it. And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste. “Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were dwelling in it. And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues. They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though none pursues. And you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And you shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up… But the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my rules and their soul abhorred my statutes. Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, 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.” These are the statutes and rules and laws that the Lord made between himself and the people of Israel through Moses on Mount Sinai. Leviticus 26:18-19, 21, 23-25, 27-38, 43-46
God repeats this “sevenfold” punishment four times in this chapter for emphasis. He wasn’t joking.
Sir Robert Anderson, in 1894, noted in his book The Coming Prince that the Bible uses 360-day years in both Genesis, Daniel, and Revelation (42 months = 1260 days = time, times, and half a time). This suggests God’s prophetic calendar runs on 360 days per year (which was probably from the original creation, disrupted at the flood, and will be restored in the Millennial Kingdom). Sir Anderson found that applying this 360-day-year to Ezekiel’s prophecy yielded some interesting results.
360 remaining years of punishment x 7-fold = 2520 years of punishment remaining
2520 years x 360 days = 907, 200 days
907, 200 days divided by 365.25 days (current Gregorian calendar) = 2483.778 years (2483 years, 9 months, 10 days)
What do we do with these numbers? Well, there are two different time periods that might qualify. The Babylonian captivity is a little more complicated that it first appears, with three sieges on Jerusalem.
“The Servitude of the Nation” – prophesied to last 70 years – Started by the first siege of Nebuchadnezzar in 605BC. This lasted 70 years to the day – using a 360 day-year – ending in 536BC in Nisan (March/April) . (“When Cyrus conquered Babylon he encountered the amazing letter written to him by Isaiah a century and a half earlier, which addressed him by name, highlighted his meteoric career, and predicted that he would free the captives. His astonishment resulted in his releasing the Hebrew captives to return to Judea to rebuild their temple” – Chuck Missler, Koinonia House; Isaiah 45:1-3; detailed in Ezra 1 and 2 Chronicles 36).
Using this calculation:
2483 years, 9 months, 21 days MINUS 536 years [3-4 months/unsure day] PLUS 1 year (no year “0”) = 1948 year [undetermined month/day]
Restoration of Israel as a Nation – May 14, 1948
“The Desolations of Jerusalem” – prophesied to last 70 years – Started by the third and last siege in 587/6 BC and resulted in the destruction and desolation of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. This also lasted 70 years, until 516/7 BC, when the Second Temple was finished.
Using this calculation:
2483 years, 9 months, 21 days MINUS 516/7 years [unsure month/day] PLUS 1 year (no year “0”) = 1967 year [undetermined month/day]
Restoration of Jerusalem to Israel – June 7, 1967
While we do not know the starting dates precisely to the day, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the relevant reigns and decrees.
The days Ezekiel spent laying on his side over 2600 years ago certainly appear to have been fulfilled to the year by the restoration of Israel as a Nation and by the restoration of Jerusalem to Israel.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:4
For further reading on Ezekiel’s 430 days of laying and a more indepth analysis of the related scriptures and dates, I recommend:
Ezekiel’s Vision of the Rebirth of Israel in 1948 – Grant Jeffrey
HIStory, Our Future: Ezekiel’s 430 Days – Watchman Bible Study
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!