The fall of Jerusalem, deportation of its inhabitants, and destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BC did not alter God’s ultimate plans for them. He had sealed the destiny of the land and the Jewish people dating back fifteen hundred centuries with His promises to Abraham. In addition God had revealed His eternal purposes for Jerusalem and the Temple mount to David and Solomon four hundred years earlier. Nevertheless, this catastrophic event did set in motion an unimaginable cycle of judgments and restorative miracles, the repercussions of which are still unfolding today in God’s relentless pursuit to fulfill that destiny.
Fall of Jerusalem
At the dedication of the Temple, following Solomon’s prayer, “fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple” (2 Chronicles 7:1 NIV). This took place around 950 BC. Later the Lord appeared to Solomon one night reassuring him again that his prayer had been heard. “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices” (7:12). But it was much more than a simple personal reassurance. God’s intent was to spell out for all the people of Israel, including every succeeding generation, three predictions that would shape their destiny for nearly three millennia. First, He promised to answer their prayers. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place” (7:14-15 emphasis mine). Second, He confirmed once again the sacredness of Mount Moriah and the temple built upon it. “I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be here forever. My eyes and my heart will always be here” (2 Chronicles 7:16 NIV emphasis mine). And finally, accompanying these eternal promises of answered prayer and His lasting presence in this place was also a solemn warning. Should Israel turn away from Him and worship other gods, He cautioned, they would be uprooted from the land and made an object of ridicule among the nations. The Temple He predicted, would “become a heap of rubble” (7:21).