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Israel's Captivity and Return Home

Because Israel would not turn to the Lord, they are turned over to their enemies. Their cities are destroyed, their people are scattered and taken captive. After 70 years of captivity God releases Israel. They return home to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple of God and He prepares them for the coming Messiah.

The warnings – God warned Israel and Judah many times to return unto the Lord. But because Israel refused to hear the prophets and return to the Lord, they were turned over to their enemies.


The Northern Kingdom of Israel conquered and scattered – After many wicked kings in Israel, God gave Israel over to their enemies to be destroyed. The northern kingdom was overtaken and destroyed by Assyria, and all the people were scattered among the nations. This included the ten tribes of Israel who were still in the north. (This is the beginning of Ephraim becoming the multitude of nations, which is the fullness of the Gentiles prophesied by Jacob. Israel's seedline would be mixed, and their ethnicity would no longer be the same).


Samaria no longer belonged to Israel, and the nations they were scattered into were the Gentile nations that did not serve the one true God. So now, many of the people of God are no longer God’s people. (Hosea 2:23; Romans 9:22-26; 1 Peter 2:10)


The Southern Kingdom of Judah conquered and captured – Even with a few righteous Kings, Judah continued to rebel as a people, denying the prophets that God sent them. God turned the southern kingdom of Judah over to the king of Babylon, who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and burned it with fire. He then carried them away into captivity for seventy years.


Seventy years of captivity – The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would go into captivity for seventy years. This prophecy came true, and Judah spent seventy years in Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar, just as Jeremiah said. But God also promised that their seed would continue in Jerusalem and that they would be a free people again after the captivity ended. 


Note: In captivity, Daniel the prophet prophesied the continual disobedience of the people of God. After their captivity was over, he said that the saints would be given to desolations because of their abominations. But he also showed us that God would not let it end there. He then prophesied the destruction of the antichrist and the downfall of the kingdom of darkness. The saints of God would rise and rule the kingdom of God forever, never to enter bondage and captivity again (These prophecies are only fulfilled in the Spirit in Jesus Christ).


Captivity ends – After seventy years of imprisonment, a Persian king named Cyrus was in rule. God put it in his heart to release His people and to begin to send them back to Jerusalem so that they could rebuild the city and the temple of God that was destroyed when they were captured. 


The return home – They were led out of Babylon at three different times to return to Jerusalem. Zerubbabel led the first group, Ezra led the second group, and Nehemiah led the third group.


Jerusalem rebuilt – Upon returning, the construction of the city of God began. Through a process of time, the walls of the city would be restored as well as the rebuilding of the temple of God. With Zerubbabel as the governor, Zechariah as the prophet, and Joshua as the high priest, God put forth His commandments to the people to cause them to remember God's promises and look for a savior that would come and rule God’s Kingdom forever.

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