Friday, July 28, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Ezekiel 37-42
Not only is today’s reading a lengthy one, it also has details with numbers and measurements that are sure to leave the average reader wondering what possible application could this have to a 21st century student of God’s Word. For the sake of brevity, I suggest a simple outline of chapters 37 through 42.
Ezekiel 37 is a prophetic illustration of Israel’s resurrection as a nation (remember, the prophet is ministering to the Jews in Babylon after the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem). My younger readers might enjoy watching a video\audio clip of “Dry Bones” (I avoid referring to it as a “gospel song” since there is hardly a gospel lesson in the recording; however, the classy style of the “Delta Rhythm Boys” compared with today’s “recording artists” is worth the watch). Ezekiel 37 is not only a prophetic picture of Israel’s resurrection as a nation, but also the unification of the people divided into two nations since Solomon’s reign.
Ezekiel 38 prophesies events that are yet to occur on an international scale against Israel. There is neither time or space to enter into the debate of the nations portrayed in this chapter; however, it is my opinion this is a prophecy there is a day when the ruler of the north (38:14) which I believe is Russia (38:2 – “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”) will lead an invasion of Middle Eastern nations (identified as “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya” – 38:5) against Israel. Ezekiel 38:14-39:18 details the invasion of the armies and their defeat. The LORD intervenes and Israel’s victory will be so overwhelming that the burial of the dead will take seven months (39:14).
Israel’s captivity in Babylon was 70 years less one and the time of the writing of Ezekiel 40 was in “the five and twentieth year” of the Jewish captivity (40:1). Ezekiel 40-42 gives us a prophetic time not yet fulfilled when Israel, safely restored in her land will set her heart as a nation to build a new temple (the last destroyed in 70 AD) and worship the LORD. The plans, dimensions, physical attributes and future construction of the future temple are given in Ezekiel 40-42.
Our scripture reading today concludes with Ezekiel 42; however, chapter 43 continues the narrative concerning the future temple with the promise the heavenly glory of the LORD Himself will fill the temple (Ezekiel 43:2-4).
As I close, consider this: The LORD wanted His people to never give up hope!
Remember Ezekiel’s immediate audience was His own people who were captives in Babylon. Many had witnessed the devastating destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Humanly speaking, all was lost and apart from divine intervention, the Jews would be numbered among those nations that had come and gone; their cities covered by the sands of the desert and the people assimilated into the populations of the earth and forgotten.
However, such was not the case with God’s chosen people with whom He covenanted to be their God. God promised Abraham he and his descendants would be a blessing to all the earth (Genesis 12:1-3), a promise not fulfilled until the coming of Jesus Christ. The Jews rejected Christ at His first coming as a suffering Messiah (Isaiah 53); however, at the end of the Tribulation they will see Him come as a conquering King and He will rule from Jerusalem and the people will worship Him during the Millennial in a new temple.
In the midst of reading the numbers and dimensions of a future temple, consider the revival of joy and hope among God’s people when they were reminded God had not forgotten them and all was not lost! The day was coming when a new temple would be built and God’s glory would once again fill the temple and the world would know the LORD is in the midst of His people!
Friend, don’t give up hope…remember, this same LORD promised His disciples He was going away to “prepare a place” for them and “will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-4).
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith