Ezekiel warned the Edomites the wrath of the LORD would be poured out on their nation because they continued in their hatred toward Israel (Ezekiel 35). Edom coveted the land God promised Israel for an inheritance, therefore, Ezekiel was commanded to “prophesy unto the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 36:1).
Ezekiel 36 – A Far-reaching Message for Israel
With Jerusalem destroyed and the land of Judah desolate (for the Jews were taken captive to Babylon), Edom boasted “the ancient high places are ours in possession” (36:2). The land promised to Abraham as an inheritance (Genesis 12:6-8), and given to the Twelve Tribes of Israel as a possession, was occupied by Edomites. (36:2). They had devoured and blasphemed the land that was Israel’s inheritance (37:3).
God Promised to Remember the Land, and Judge Edom (36:4-7)
Ezekiel called upon the mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys of Israel, and declared the wrath of God was stirred against Edom (36:4-5). With Israel and Judah exiled, the Edomites gleefully took that which was not theirs (36:5-6), but would bear the wrath of the LORD, and “their shame” (36:7).
God’s Promise to Restore the Land (36:8-15)
The children of Israel and the land of Israel are inseparable in the heart of God. Though that land has been a land of violence and war through the centuries, it was nevertheless the habitation God had placed His name, and which will one day be the seat of His millennial kingdom.
Though Edom occupied the land in Ezekiel’s day, the LORD revealed Israel would return, and the land would once again be fruitful (36:8-10). In that day, the population would grow, the cities would be rebuilt, and the people would acknowledge the LORD as sovereign (36:11). Israel would take possession of her land, and the day would come when wars would cease and peace would reign (36:12-15). (Though Israel returned to her land after 70 years in captivity, and today the Jews occupy the land, the promise of all the tribes of Israel returning, and lasting peace is still future).
God’s Care and Promises for Israel (36:16-38)
We are reminded that Israel and Judah were in captivity as God’s judgment of their wickedness (36:16-21). The people had murdered, worshipped idols, and profaned the name of the LORD before the heathen (36:16-21). They provoked the wrath of God with their sins, and He had scattered His people among the nations of the earth (36:18-19). Yet, the LORD had not forsaken Israel, and promised He would restore His people for His own name’s sake (36:22-2). Israel would return to her land, and the nations of the earth would know He is “the LORD” (36:23). (Ezekiel 36:24-38 recorded fifteen promises God would fulfill when Israel and Judah returned as one nation to the land.)
Ezekiel 37 – A Vision and Picture of Israel’s Resurrection
Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones has captured the imagination of believers through the centuries. The prophet declared “the hand of the LORD” carried him “in the spirit of the LORD, and set [him] down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones” (36:1).
A Valley Full of Dead Men’s Bones (37:1-2)
The valley of bones was a picture of death, and we read Ezekiel walked among the bones (37:2a). The bones in the valley were “many” and “very dry” (for there was no life in the bones, 37:2).
Ezekiel’s Commission (37:3-6)
What purpose might a prophet serve in a valley of dead men’s bones? The LORD asked Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (37:3a) The prophet wisely answered the LORD, “O Lord God, thou knowest” (37:3b). The LORD then commanded Ezekiel, “Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord” (37:4). Echoing the commission of a preacher, Ezekiel was to call upon the dead, and the LORD promised, “Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live” (37:5). With the promise the LORD would bring the bones together, cover them with flesh and skin (37:6), Ezekiel prophesied (37:7a).
Suddenly, there was a great stirring of bones in the valley, as the bones of men (perhaps slain in battle and left there) began to “come together, bone to his bone” (37:7b). When the bodies were covered with muscle and skin, Ezekiel observed, “there was no breath in them” (37:8). The LORD commanded the prophet to summon the wind to “come from the four winds” (symbolic of the Spirit of God), and “breathe upon these slain, that they may live” (37:9). Ezekiel obeyed, “and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (37:10).
Interpretation of the Vision (37:11-14)
The valley of dry bones was “the whole house of Israel” (the northern and southern kingdoms who were exiled and scattered among the nations, 37:11). The message for the people of the captivity: God was not finished with Israel, and He would revive and resurrect Israel from the grave of captivity (37:12). The LORD promised Israel would return to her land (37:13-14a), and that which the LORD had spoken, He promised to complete (37:14).
Vision of Two Sticks Joined: Israel and Judah will Become One Nation (37:15-28)
With the news, Jerusalem was destroyed, the future looked bleak for the Jews of the captivity. To give the people hope, Ezekiel was commanded to use an illustration of two sticks, that he joined together symbolizing the reunification of Israel and Judah as one nation, and one king (37:19-2).
Who was the king? He would be one of David’s lineage, and would reign as “prince for ever” (37:24-25). This prophecy will be fulfilled when Christ returns to reign in Jerusalem during His millennial kingdom. In that day, He will dwell among men, “and will be their God, and they shall be [His] people” (37:27). What a glorious day that will be!
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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