Key historical timeline of the Jewish people from the promised land to the nation of Israel today
Israelites of the Old Testament
Israel was the new name given by God to Jacob. He was the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, to whom a covenant was made. (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 32:22-32). Today, their descendants are called the Israelites, set apart from other nations as God’s chosen people.
Around c. 1350-1250 B.C., God raised Moses to lead the Israelites, enslaved in Eygpt. God gave them the “promised land” of Canaan (Semitic-speaking area in Phoenicia), to live and thrive. (Genesis 15:18-21).
However, their disobedience, unbelief, and rebellious hearts prevented them from fully experiencing God’s blessings. The first set of tablets, inscribed by God’s finger were smashed by Moses. He was enraged when he saw the people worshipping a golden calf. A new one was rewritten by God (Exodus 31:18; 32:19; 34:1).
Despite God’s faithfulness and deliverance, they continued to complain. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. (Joshua 5:6)
→ Is Genesis history?
Isaiah prophesied the judgment and comfort for Israel. From verses 1 to 66, he wrote the “righteous judgment” against Israel and Judah, Jerusalem’s destruction, the nation’s restoration, and final judgment.
Ancient Canaan and Palestine
Palestine in the ancient world was part of a small region in (southern) Canaan where the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were located.
They were known as the “Canaanite Philistines,” who occupied a tiny part of it, according to author Joshua J. Mark. In the north were Phoenicians.
- The Israelites, among others, have established themselves in the area much earlier. [Palestine]
- The name `Palestine’ does not appear in any written records until 500 years after. [History of Herodotus]
- After Herodotus, the term `Palestine’ came to be used for the entire region, formerly known as Canaan.
- Today, only a portion of Palestine is occupied by Israel, yet they are being driven out. [Ancient History]
King Saul, David, Solomon and thereafter
The Israelites clamored for a “human king,” so God gave them King Saul, who they thought looked perfect for the role. God replaced him with King David, and subsequently, his son King Solomon.
These were great leaders, but at the same time, allowed themselves to be corrupted. Just before Solomon’s death, the united kingdom began to disintegrate.
Ancient Israel split into the North and South Kingdoms in 932 BC
Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) was the fourth king of a united Israel. Despite advice from elders, he chose to listen to his friends, raised taxes, and placed an even heavier yoke on the people.
Civil rest followed, and the north (Samaria) claimed independence (1 Kings 12:12-17). Jeroboam ( Solomon’s servant) was king of the north; Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) was king south.
- The northern kingdom (10 tribes) retained the name Israel under Jeroboam.
- The southern kingdom (2 tribes of Benjamin and Judah) retained the name Judah, under Rehoboam.
722 BC: Assyrians destroys the northern kingdom
The northern kingdom had 19 kings, and all did evil in God’s eyes. In 722 BC, the Assyrians conquered them. They were the cruelest people group known to man. God used them to discipline his people.
As many as 50 to 100,000 Israelites were exiled to Assyria, and Assyrians repopulated the northern kingdom with other (pagan) people groups.
As a result of the intermarriage, the Israelites of the north became impure, a mongrel in the eyes of God’s people, still preserved in the southern kingdom.
586 BC: Babylonians captures the southern kingdom
After the split, the center of worship remained in Jerusalem (Judah) until the second temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. The southern kingdom became known as Judah.
The southern kingdom had 20 kings, with 7 “revival kings,” delaying God’s judgment until 586 BC. King Nebuchadnezzar captured the southern kingdom (Judah). [Chronology of Kings]
The line of Judah preserved
Although many were exiled in Babylon, they did not repopulate the southern kingdom, as the Assyrians did in the north. As a result, the Jewish race was preserved (Tribe of Benjamin and Judah).
Israelites in Judah did not intermarry with the Babylonians. God raised Ezra, Nehemiah, to lead the return of God’s people to the south.
70 A..D: Diaspora of the Jewish people
The Jewish people were scattered from their homeland after the Romans destroyed the second temple in 70 AD. However, Jewish Christians (followers of Jesus) have long been scattered. They faced persecution, just as Jesus warned when He returned to heaven.
After the Pentecost in Jerusalem, Christians were forced to flee; some went to Antioch. In this (international) city port, the Gospel would explode, the stepping platform to launch Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journey to the rest of the known world.
1492: Shepardic Jews from Spain
In 1492, the Shepardic Jews in Spain were expelled after the conquest of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, finally freeing Spain from Muslim rule. Spain became a unified kingdom and issued the Alhambra Decree, mandating that all Jews be expelled from the country—an effort to rid the country of heretics.
Some Jews converted to Catholicism so they can remain but most chose exile. Many died during the exodus from Spain to neighboring countries. Some refugees, who paid for passage to other countries, were said to be thrown overboard by Spanish captains.
While the Ottoman Empire welcomed the influx of Spanish Jews, many other nations in Europe treated them as cruelly as the Spaniards—through Portugal was a popular destination, its rulers issued a similar decree five years later.
Modern historians believe around 40,000 Jews emigrated, hastily selling their properties. However, earlier estimates were about hundreds of thousands.
Much of the Shepardic Jews moved to non-Iberian territories. Thus, Jews were spread in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia Libya, and Egypt today), Southern Europe (France, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia; and West Asia (Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran.)
Discrimination and antisemitism were yet to come for the scattered Jews.
Mark Twain describes Israel as desolate
Mark Twain visited the Holy Land in 1867. He described Israel as nothing. It was completely desolate, dry, and burnt. But when God says something, He fulfills it. The Prophet Isaiah (27:6) prophesized that Jacob (Israel) will blossom and sprout. It will fill the whole world with fruit.
Today, Israel is the “fruit basket of Europe.” Among other things that have already been fulfilled, Israel continues to experience God’s divine protection.
1917: Balfour Declaration
In 1917, The Balfour Declaration of the British government supported the return of the Jews to their homeland. It resulted in the displacements of people living in the area known as Palestine.
However, very few Jews supported the return until WW2, when they’ve had enough of the antisemitism in Europe. Thus, completing the prophecy for the return of God’s people.
Wrong use of Palestine to describe ancient Philistines
The issue of “land grabbing’ Israel is misconstrued, even by secular historians and mainstream media who cleverly associate Palestine with ancient Philistia. They refuse to accept the Bible as a historical record and insist Israel has no place in the middle east.
- The word Palestine (or Palestinian) was first used by the British to refer to “Mandatory Palestine” in the early 20th century.
- Palestine was a territory from the former Ottoman Empire (1898–1914). It has no relationship with the Arabs. [Origins of Palestine]
- It is wrong to attribute Palestinians to describe the ancient Philistines (inhabitants of the northeast of Egypt).
- Palestines have NO connection ethincially, linquistically, or historically with Arabia.
- Philistines were Aegean people and it is wrong to refer to them as today’s Palestinians. [Jewish Library]
Israel’s historical rights to be in Palestine, misconstrued by “left-liberals” today who are redefining history
- The Canaanites are descendants of Noah through his son Ham and grandson.
- Philistines, Jebusites, and others occupied Canaan that the Israelites drove out in around 1300 B.C. Joshua led it. The land was promised to the people of God.
- Palestine is a name label ascribed to the region that once belonged to the Israelites.
- Today, only a portion of original Israel is occupied by “modern Israel.”
Where is the promised land today?
The promised land known as Canaan is situated in the territory of the southern Levant, which today encompasses the country Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, and the southern portions of Syria and Lebanon.
1948: A the nation reborn
In 1948, the new nation of Israel was reestablished. Many Jews returned to their homeland, even if only a portion of the promised land, ending the Jewish diaspora.
How can a nation, whose people had been scattered, a country non-existent for 2,500 years, be reborn. No people group throughout history have accomplished what the Israelites did.
- No Jews would intentionally return to a desolate land, but the Holocaust was enough reason for them to realize, they will never be safe, until they return to their own promised land.
- Scattered, the Jews was able to resurrect their dead Hebrew language and become a strong unified nation.
- Israel was desolate in 1948 but today is a thriving city, where the dessert blooms.
The Hebrew language
The Jews were scattered mostly in Europe, but they managed to preserve their culture and tradition. Their native Hebrew language was disused for nearly 2,000 years. The ‘Masoretic Hebrew’ was reintroduced after 1915, after being a “dead language” for 1,700 years. Today, more than a million people speak the Hebrew language of the Bible.
Zionism is a religious and political effort that brought the Jews back to their homeland in the Middle East region. However, not the original “promised land,” the State of Israel was established in 1948 when 33 countries voted in favor of UN Resolution 181. It partitioned the Palestine region into a Jewish and Arab state, hence the conflict.
Modern Jewish persecution begins
Between 1941 to 1945, six million Jews were systematically murdered by Nazi Germany. When the United Nations partitioned Palestine (as the British called them), Resolution 181 (II) allowed the return of a portion of Israel back to the Jewish people.
Hours after Ben Gurion declared Israel as a nation in May 14, 1948, the Arab nations surrounded them. With no army and resources, the Israelites won many wars against neighboring countries, who swore to destroy them.
1967: Six days war
The Six-Day War on June 5-10, 1967 was between Israel and the Arab coalition of Jordan, Syria, UAR, and Egypt. Winning the war enabled Israel to regain some of its ancient territories held by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.
- Sinai Peninsula (Part of Egypt from its First Ancient Dynasty, returned to Eygpt in 1979, 1989)
- Gaza Strip (Mentioned as the place where Samson was imprisoned and died)
- West Bank of the Jordan River. (Where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist)
- Old City of Jerusalem (Remains of the temples of the Jewish people, their ancient city)
- Golan Heights. (Biblical city found in Deuteronomy 4:43; Joshua 20:8)
The hatred for Israelite Jews
About one million Jews were killed in 70 AD during the siege of Jerusalem. In WW2, more than six million Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany. The hatred for the Jews began with prejudice. For example, they had a reputation for scrupulous business deals.
They were also blamed for the plague in Europe. They allegedly poisoned the wells, resulting in vast deaths. They are perceived as misers, greedy, yet rich & powerful. Today, a new wave of antisemitism is led by some US-leftist democratic politicians.
→ Why are the Jews hated?
The Third Temple of Jerusalem
The first temple was built by King Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Herod with Nehemiah in 20 BCE restored it. In 70 CE, Roman legions destroyed the second temple during the siege of Jerusalem.
Although there was a third temple built, it was smaller, much like a sub-temple. Hence, the future and modern temple should be considered as the fourth temple.
Now that Israel is restored as a nation, they plan to rebuild the Temple and bring back Old Testament practices, such as animal sacrifice.
→ Quick history of the Israel-Palestinian war.
Israelites of the New Testament
When Jesus came, died, and was resurrected, the guarantee of salvation has been sealed through the Holy Spirit (the Gospel) unto everyone who believes, even to the gentiles (non-Israelite). Although Israel still waits for the “glamorous” Messiah, the Bible says that whoever believes in Jesus is saved. We become God’s children through Christ. (Galatians 3:26)
The Abrahamic Covenant
In Romans 9,10, and 11, the “unbelieving Israel” (who refuse to believe in Jesus the Messiah) continue to enjoy a unique relationship with God (Abrahamic covenant).
God’s eternal promise to the Israelites
Paul referred to the generation down the line as the “unbelieving Israel.” Despite many of them turning their back, they remain to be “God’s beloved for the sake of the fathers” (Romans 11:28).
Their calling is “irrevocable,” and those who mistreat or despise her could be removed from the olive tree of salvation.
The “unbelieving Israel” is “beloved for the sake of the fathers,” has not been rejected
The future of the Israelites
The 144,000 people of God
In literal interpretation, the 144,000 are the “Sealed Jews” protected from the Antichrist’s wrath during the tribulation period. This group of people will evangelize the world during this period, leading the salvation of millions referenced in Revelation 7:9.
Salvation of the Jews
The “First Covenant seals the unique relationship of the Jews with God,” and Jesus’ promise of eternal life through the “New Covenant” ensures the salvation of anyone who believes in the finished work of Jesus.