Category Archives: Second Coming of Christ

Four Beasts, Four Kingdoms, and God Who is Sovereign (Daniel 7)

Scripture reading – Daniel 7

An old adage goes, “Hindsight is 20\20,” and that is certainly true when we are privileged to look at Bible prophecy “in the rearview mirror.” Continuing our chronological study of the Scriptures, we are in the midst of The Book of Daniel, and its engaging and illuminating prophecies. I do not have time or space for an in-depth study of the prophecy recorded in Daniel 7, yet, I pray a simple study and interpretation of today’s Scripture will be a blessing,

Daniel 7

With the historical events of the rise and fall of Babylon behind us (Daniel 1-6), the next six chapters of our study will be prophetical (Daniel 7-12). The year before us is 553 BC, and was “the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon” (7:1). Perhaps remembering the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams (Daniel 7), “Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters” (7:1). As you will see, Daniel’s dream paralleled Nebuchadnezzar’s great image and was a vision of future events.

I suggest there are three parts to Daniel’s dream (7:2-14), with the first section being of four beasts that represented four kings and their kingdoms (7:2-6). The second part of the dream was a dramatic, and terrible transformation that occurred to the fourth beast (7:7-12). The third section was a heavenly vision of the LORD sitting on His throne (7:13-14).

Four Beasts and Four World Empires (7:2-8)

Awakened from his sleep, Daniel wrote, “I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea” (7:2). The “great sea” was the “sea of humanity,” and represented the Gentile nations of the world (Isaiah 57:20; Revelation 17:1, 15). “The four winds of the heaven [that] strove upon the great sea” (7:2) portrayed the judgment of God coming from all directions…the east, north, south, and west winds.

The four beasts of Daniel’s dream were a parallel of the depiction of Nebuchadnezzar’s great image (Daniel 2) that foretold four great Gentile kingdoms. The first beast was depicted as a lion with the eagles’ wings (7:4). Like the head of gold of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, it was a symbol of Babylon. The prophets often depicted Babylon as a lion and eagle (Jeremiah 4:7, 13; 48:40; 49:19, 22; 50:17; Habakkuk 1:6, 9). The “lion-hearted” man was said to have his wings plucked, and to “stand upon the feet as a man” (possibly reminding us how Nebuchadnezzar had been humbled for seven years until he acknowledged God, and then his beastly heart was replaced with “a man’s heart” 7:4).

The second beast in Daniel’s dream resembled a bear with three ribs in its mouth (7:5). Corresponding to the silver arms and chest of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (2:32, 39), the bear represented the Medes and Persians who would overwhelm Babylon in a night. The bear was portrayed as rising up on one side, and must symbolize how the Persians would become the greater of the Medo-Persian kingdoms. The three ribs in the bear’s mouth might represent three kingdoms that were overcome, but that would be mere speculation on my part.

The third kingdom was represented by a leopard with four wings and four heads (7:6). We have the privilege of looking back on history, and know Greece would supplant Persia as the world empire, and was portrayed in Nebuchadnezzar’s image as having a belly and thighs of brass (2:32, 39). The swiftness of the leopard was a tribute to the speed with which Alexander the Great led Greece, conquering the world in three years’ time (334-331 BC). When Alexander died as a young king of 32 years, Greece was divided into four regions and ruled by four generals, hence, the four wings and heads of the leopard (7:6).

Rome, portrayed as a “dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly” beast with “great iron teeth” was the fourth beast of Daniel’s dream (7:7). Equivalent to the legs of iron of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (2:33, 40), Rome was portrayed as a brutal kingdom. The ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (2:33-35) are represented in Daniel’s dream as the ten horns of the fourth beast (7:7). Representing the strength of a beast, the horn served in the Bible as a symbol of kings (1 Samuel 2:10; Psalm 132:17).

The Antichrist: The Rise of the “Little Horn” (7:19-20)

Daniel observed a “little horn” arose in the midst of ten horns (a league of ten kingdoms), and dislodged three horns (kings) in its rise to power (7:8). The prophetic significance was a king would arise in the midst of what would be the Roman Empire, and rise above other kings to reign (7:19-20). Students of prophecy believe the “little horn” will be the antichrist of the last days, for he is depicted as having “eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” (indicative of pride, boasting, and blasphemy, 7:8, 11, 20, 25). He will be the enemy of the saints, and will reign for 3.5 years (“a time,” being one year; “and times,” two years; “and the dividing of time,” a half year, 7:25).

Closing thoughts (7: 9-14, 26-28) – The reign of the “little horn” (antichrist) will fail, and be destroyed (7:11, 26), when God, who is “the Ancient of days” sits in judgment (7:9-10).  When Jesus Christ, “the Son of man,” descends from “the clouds of heaven” (7:13), the “little horn” (antichrist) will be judged and cast into the lake of fire (7:11; Revelation 19:20). Christ, the “Son of man,” will be sovereign of a perpetual kingdom (7:14, 28; Mark 14:61-62) and will rule the world a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-8). We join Daniel in being overwhelmed by the vision of history that is yet to be (7:28), but resting in the sovereignty of God and His promises.

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

Bible Prophecy: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of Four World Empires (Daniel 2)

Scripture reading – Daniel 2

Our study of the Scriptures returns to the Book of Daniel, with a fascinating chapter that presents us with a prophetic panorama of world empires. We will observe in Daniel 2 an image of a man that symbolized four successive empires: Babylon, the Medo-Persian, Greece, and Rome. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation by Daniel is the focus of today’s devotional. The historical setting of our study is “the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar” (2:1).

A Sovereign’s Dream (2:1-13)

We find Nebuchadnezzar’s “spirit was troubled” (2:1). The phrase, “Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams” (2:1), implied he was troubled by a recurring dream and perplexed he was unable to remember the dream. Unable to sleep (2:1), the king summoned his counselors and related he had a dream, and his “spirit was troubled to know the dream” (2:3). Ever willing to please the king (especially since the power of life and death was in his hands), the king’s counselors proposed, “tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation” (2:4).

Nebuchadnezzar’s response caused the wise men to panic, for he said, “the thing (dream) is gone from me” (2:5). The king was not only demanding an interpretation of the dream, but the dream itself! Shaken by his demand, the king warned his counselors, “if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill [a refuse; a heap of ruins]” (2:5). Nebuchadnezzar promised a reward for the man who interpreted his dream (2:6), but the counselors answered again, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it” (2:6).

With the threat of death over their heads, the Chaldean counselors protested, “There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter” (2:10). Provoked by their words, the king commanded every wise man of Babylon be put to death (2:12). Though Daniel and his friends were not numbered among the wise men that had appeared before the king, the command was universal, that the “wise men should be slain,” and so “they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain” (2:13)

A Servant’s Dilemma (2:14-16)

Learning the king decreed all wise men of Babylon be slain, Daniel respectfully questioned the haste of the decree, and “Arioch (the captain of the king’s guard) made the thing known to Daniel” (2:14). Daniel then sought an audience with Nebuchadnezzar (2:16a), and requested an allotment of time and “he would shew the king the interpretation” of his dream (2:16b).

A Sovereign Divine (2:17-24)

With the king’s agreement, Daniel went home, and requested “Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions” (2:17), intercede for him in prayer, that God would reveal to him the king’s dream and its interpretation (2:18). The LORD answered their prayers “in a night vision” (2:19a), and Daniel worshipped the LORD rejoicing He is “God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His” (2:20). Daniel boasted, His God is sovereign of creation, for “He changeth the times and the seasons,” (2:21a), and “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (2:21b).

With knowledge of the “deep and secret things” revealed to him by the LORD (2:22), Daniel went to Arioch, the king’s captain, and urged him to stay the execution of the wise men (2:24). He then vowed he was able to make the king to know not only his dream, but also its interpretation (2:24).

Daniel’s Appearance Before Nebuchadnezzar (2:25-35)

Saying, “there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days” (2:28), Daniel told the king he had dreamed of “a great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible” (2:31).

The vision was of a man whose “head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay” (2:32-33). The golden head of the image was Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom (2:32a, 38), and was followed by a lesser kingdom represented as having a “breast and his arms of silver” (the Medo-Persian empire, 2:32b, 39). The brass belly of the image represented the Greek empire that succeeded Persia (2:32c, 39), and was followed by a “fourth kingdom [that was] represented as “strong as iron” (2:40a), with “legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay” (this would be Rome, 2:33, 40).

Daniel’s Analysis of the Dream (2:36-45)

The dream concluded with a violent event, for Daniel had a vision of a stone “cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces” (2:34, 40). The image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream came to a violent end, when it was crushed and broken by a stone that “was cut out without hands” (2:34a), and “smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces” (2:34b). The feet and toes of the image, representing ten nations that would emerge from the Roman empire (“the iron legs”) would be crushed and scattered by the wind like chaff (2:35). The mix of clay and iron feet represented man’s futile attempt to seek peace and unity among the nations (2:41-43). “The stone [that] was cut out of the mountain without hands” and crushed the image, would itself become the fifth kingdom that grew to become “a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (2:35).

Closing thoughts (2:46-49) –Overwhelmed with the knowledge of the dream and its meaning, Nebuchadnezzar paid homage to Daniel (2:46), who reminded the king he was merely a messenger. The king answered Daniel, “your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret” (2:47). The king promoted Daniel, and made him “a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon” (2:48). Daniel remembered his friends who had prayed for him, and they were set over the governance “of the province of Babylon” (2:49a). As a man second to the king in authority over Babylon, “Daniel sat in the gate of the king” (2:49b).

Do you know “the stone [that] was cut out of the mountain without hands” (2:45), and “smote the image…and filled the earth?” (2:35) The stone is none other than the LORD Jesus Christ, whom the Scriptures reveal to be “the stone which the builders rejected” (Matthew 21:42-44; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 1 Peter 2:7-8). The stone is symbolic of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom!

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

The Judgment of the Nations (Joel 3)

Scripture reading – Joel 3

Today’s Scripture reading marks the end of the Book of Joel (only three chapters long), and an introduction to the prophetic Book of Daniel. This devotional will conclude our study of Joel. A second devotional will follow, and serve as the introduction to the Book of Daniel.

I believe this final section of our study actually began with the closing verses of Joel 2. In its immediate context, the prophecies of Joel were given as the Assyrian army laid siege to Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah recorded how the LORD intervened for the city, and sent His angel who smote 185,000 soldiers (Isaiah 37:36). King Sennacherib had been forced to retreat to his homeland, where he was later assassinated by his sons (Isaiah 37:33-38).

The Day of the LORD is the prophetic day of God’s judgment, when He will take vengeance on those nations that abused Israel and Judah. With the assurance of His perpetual presence “in the midst,” Israel would know Him as “the LORD your God,” and the day would come when Israel would “never be ashamed” (2:27).

In my opinion, the “last days” began with Christ’s earthly ministry, and the prophecy of the outpouring of His Spirit was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (2:28-30; Acts 2:16-20). Nevertheless, the events recorded in the closing verses of Joel 2 and Joel 3, will not be fulfilled until the close of the Tribulation, and will mark the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.

Joel 3 – The Judgment of the Gentile Nations

A Day of Reckoning for the Nations (3:1-2)

Joel 3:1 was partly fulfilled when the LORD moved on the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia, to grant the Jews liberty to return to their homeland where they would rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-3). Yet, the final fulfillment of Joel 3 will not come to pass until the close of the Tribulation. The LORD promised He will one day gather His people from the nations (3:1), and exercise judgment on the Gentile nations for their sins against Him and His people (3:2).

Enumeration of the Sins of the Gentiles (3:3-6)

The nations of the earth have forever been at war with God and His people, yet, the sins of some nation have been so egregious, they are specifically named for judgment: Tyre, Zidon, the nations of Palestine (3:4), Egypt, and Sodom (3:19).

The sins committed against God’s people are an offense to God, and He judged the Gentile nations guilty. Tyre, Zidon, the nations of Palestine, Egypt, and Sodom had scattered His chosen people with their persecutions, and parted the land He gave as an inheritance to Israel (3:2c). Those nations had enslaved the Jews (3:3a, 6), trafficked boys and girls as sexual slaves, and placed no more value on their lives than wine (3:3). Spoiling the gold and silver of the land, they had taken away that which was the LORD’s (3:4-6).

Justice and Judgment (3:4, 7-8)

The sins of the Gentile nations will be punished, and they will receive the recompence (be repaid) in kind for the sins they committed against the LORD and His people (3:4). The LORD determined to gather His people and restore them to their land (3:7), and the nations that enslaved them would themselves become slaves (3:8a). Their sons and daughters will be sold “to the Sabeans” (a caravan people of the southern Arabian Peninsula), and trafficked to far away lands (3:8b).

Warfare of the Nations (3:9-16)

Through His prophet, the LORD summoned the nations to gather and prepare for war (3:9). Contrary to the Millennial kingdom and its peace (when the weapons of war will be fashioned into plows, Micah 4:3), the LORD commanded the nations to “beat [their] plowshares into swords, and [their] pruninghooks into spears” (3:10). The nations of the world will assemble for battle (3:11), for the LORD was prepared to judge them “in the valley of Jehoshaphat” (its geographic al location cannot be ascertained, 3:12).

Drawing a picture of Himself as a farmer readied to harvest, the nations of the world were portrayed as ripe for judgment. The LORD’s judgment is likened to a farmer coming with his sickle sharpened, and ready to tread nations underfoot like grapes in a vine press (3:13). A multitude will gather against God’s people (3:14), but it is the LORD whose judgment will darken the sun, moon, and stars (3:15). Suddenly, He will “roar out of Zion, And utter his voice from Jerusalem; And the heavens and the earth shall shake: But the Lord will be the hope of his people, And the strength of the children of Israel” (3:16).

The Promise of the LORD’s Perpetual Presence (3:17-21)

Through the LORD’s judgment of the nations, the children of Israel and Judah will come to know Him as “the LORD [their] God” who dwells in Zion (3:17a). The city of Jerusalem would be holy, and no “strangers” (unbelievers) will “pass through her any more” (3:17b). The land will be fertile, the waters will flow, and the River of Life will flow from “the house of the LORD” (3:18). The LORD will avenge the wickedness of Egypt and Edom, for they were guilty of violence and shedding the “innocent blood” of Judah (3:19).

Closing thoughts (3:20-21) – Joel’s prophecies end with the LORD promising Judah the nation will “dwell forever” in the land, “and Jerusalem from generation to generation” (3:20). He will purge the people of their sins, and will forever dwell among them “in Zion” (3:21). Our study of Joel began with a judgment of locusts (Assyria’s army) descending upon Judah and Jerusalem (1:4), and ends with the triumph of God’s people restored to their land and the LORD reigning forever in Jerusalem (3:20-21).

The day of judgment is coming, not only for the nations, but for all men and women. Are you prepared for God’s day of judgment? When the books are opened, and “every man [and woman] will be judged “according to their works?” (Revelation 20:13), will your name be “found written in the book of life?” (Revelation 20:15)

Revelation 20:1515And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

He that is Mighty Watches over Israel! (Ezekiel 48)

Scripture reading – Ezekiel 48

Today’s Scripture marks the conclusion of our study of The Prophecies of Ezekiel, the prophet of God to the children of Israel living in Babylon. Ezekiel 48 returned to the matter of dividing the Promised Land among the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.

The prophet had recorded the borders of the land of Israel in Ezekiel 47:15-20. The westernmost boundary was the Mediterranean Sea (47:15-17, 21). The northern boundary of Israel in the Millennial began with the Mediterranean Sea in the west and reached eastward to Damascus (47:15-17). The eastern boundary of the land was the Jordan River (47:18). The southern border, located south of the Dead Sea, followed a river westward to the Mediterranean Sea (48:19).

Instructions were also given in Ezekiel 47 for dividing the land among the sons of Joseph (47:13-14). Joseph was father of two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were numbered among the Twelve Tribes (for the Tribe of Levi was chosen by the LORD to serve Him as priests to Israel). The descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would each receive a portion of the land (47:14).

Ezekiel 48 – The Division of the Land in Messiah’s Kingdom

Faithful to His promise, the LORD will gather the Twelve Tribes of Israel from the nations of the world, and restore them to their land in His Millennial Kingdom.

Seven Tribes North of the Sacred District (48:1-7)

Beginning with the tribe of Dan in the north and reaching south, the first seven tribes were assigned their portions (48:1). To the south of Dan was Asher (48:2), and was followed by Naphtali (48:3). Next to Naphtali was Manasseh (48:4; Genesis 48:5-6, 22), and south of Manasseh was Ephraim (48:5). The tribal land of Reuben was south of Ephraim (48:6), and next to it was Judah (48:7).

The Central Land Dedicated to the LORD (48:8-22)

The central land was set aside by the LORD to serve as the location of the Temple (48:8-9), and the city of Jerusalem. The portion assigned to the Levites bordered Judah’s southern border (48:13). The priests’ portion was north of the city, but south of the land assigned to the Levites (48:10-12). South of the priests’ land was New Jerusalem, described as “a profane place,” meaning a common, not holy land (48:15).

The city will be 9 miles square, with houses and “suburbs” (open spaces for pasture) found within its borders (48:15-17). There will also be land for farming, to provide “food unto them that serve the city (48:18). Workers, representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel, will reside in and serve the city (48:19).

The “prince” of the land, who will serve as the administrator for the LORD, will be assigned a portion of land to the east and west of the Sacred district (48:21-22).

Four Tribal Lands South of the Central Land (48:23-28).

Land for the tribe of Benjamin was immediately south of the Sacred section (48:23), and was followed by Simeon(48:24), Issachar (48:25), Zebulun (48:26), and Gad, the southernmost tribe (48:27-28). Ezekiel 48:29 reminded Israel that the division of the land was determined by the LORD.

The Gates of Jerusalem (48:30-35)

Jerusalem of the Millennial Kingdom will have twelve gates, with each bearing the name of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel (48:30-34). The circumference of the city will be 35.8 miles, or about 9 miles square (48:35).

Closing thoughts (48:35b) – The name of the new Jerusalem will be changed, for it will be called “Yahweh Shammah,” meaning, “The LORD is there” (48:35b).

For some, the boundaries and geographical locations may seem unimportant, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  The locations given to each tribe serves as a legal transaction between Yahweh and His people.  No nation today may lay perpetual claim to these lands, for they have been given to the Twelve Tribes as an inheritance.

What a great inspiration for the Jews living in captivity, and to the other tribes that they will one day receive their inheritance! The LORD promised His people there would come a day when He would draw the Twelve Tribes of Israel out of the nations, and bring them home. That day is yet to be, but the promise of “Emmanuel” (“God with us”) will be perpetual, for the glory of the LORD will dwell forever in the midst of His people. What a glorious day that will be!

He that is Mighty watches over Israel!

Copyright 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

The Millennial Kingdom and the River of Life (Ezekiel 46; Ezekiel 47)

Scripture reading – Ezekiel 46; Ezekiel 47

Our study of the Millennial Kingdom continues, even as our study of The Prophecies of Ezekiel nears the end. Thank you for taking this journey with me, and for persevering through difficult passages that were unfamiliar to some.

We have considered the Temple of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom (Ezekiel 40:48-41:26), its dimensions, courtyards, sanctuaries, and décor (Ezekiel 41:16-21). Ezekiel had witnessed the glory of the LORD filling the Temple (42:15), and recorded the ordinances and laws that the priests and Levites would follow in its administration (Ezekiel 43-44). The prophet was instructed to record the division of the land, beginning with the sacred district where the priests and Levites would reside (Ezekiel 45).

Ezekiel 46 – Worship in the Millennial

In the Millennial Kingdom, Israel will worship the LORD on the Sabbaths, and on the New Moon. The “Prince” of Jerusalem ((45:7-8; 46:2), whom I suggested will be a government official serving the LORD as administrator, was observed by Ezekiel entering the east gate of the Temple grounds (46:2). The prince, the representative of the people, came to the Temple for worship, entering through the east gate even as the people entered through the north and south gates (46:3).

Guidelines were given for the sacrifices (46:4-8), which the prince was obligated to bring for the priests to offer on his and the people’s behalf. The prince was to enter and depart by the east gate, while the people were to enter by either the north or south gates, and depart from the one opposite of that which they entered (46:8-9). The prince and the people would worship together, with him being in their midst (46:10).

Ezekiel recorded the procedure for offerings and worship on the feast days (46:11), as well as the freewill offerings of the prince (46:12). There will also be an observance of daily sacrifices in the Millennial Kingdom (46:13-15). A one-year-old male lamb will be offered every morning, along with a grain offering accompanied by oil (46:14-15).

Regulation of Land Inheritances During the Millennial Kingdom (46:16-18)

As noted in the previous devotional (Ezekiel 45), the prince of the millennial kingdom will have sons, and bequeath to them a portion of his lands. The sons could not divide the lands and assign any portion to another not of the prince’s family (46:16). Should the prince give land to a servant, it would be returned to the prince on the Year of Jubilee (every 50 years, 46:17). Furthermore, the prince was forbidden to take possession of lands that belonged to the people (46:18).

Kitchens of the Temple (46:19-24)

Two sets of kitchens are noted as places the priests would prepare and cook the trespass and sin offerings. There will be kitchens located on the west side near the buildings of the priests, and designated for the priests and the preparation of their meals (46:19-20). Four kitchens, located in the four corners of the Temple courtyard (46:21-22), will be used by the priests to prepare and cook the sacrifices of the people (46:23-24).

Ezekiel 47 – The River of Life in the Millennial Kingdom

A “Pure River of Water of Life” (Revelation 22:1-2) flowed from the Temple (47:1), its waters bringing new life to the land of Israel. The source of the river was the Temple (47:1), and its waters began as a trickle, flowing east, southeast, and only ankle deep at first (47:2-3). As the waters flowed, the river became deeper, moving from the ankles (47:3), to the knees (47:4), the waist (47:4), and finally so deep the river was uncrossable (47:5).

The Purpose of the River of Life (47:6-12)

Beginning in the Temple, the waters brought new life, and transformed the land by nourishing the trees, bringing sustenance and healing to the desert (47:7-8). Flowing into the Dead Sea, its waters were seen teeming with all manner of fish (47:9), and fisherman cast their nets and brought in an abundance of fish (47:10). While salt marshes provided salt for the people (47:11), the waters of the river nourished fruit trees whose leaves never withered (47:12; Psalm 1:3).

The Boundaries of the Land (47:13-21)

While Ezekiel 48 will identify the division of the land among the Twelve Tribes of Israel, we find instructions regarding the inheritance of Joseph’s sons (Ephraim and Manasseh), who would each receive a portion (47:13-14). The north, east, and southern boundaries of the land are given, with the Mediterranean Sea serving as the western border (47:15-21). The land will be divided “according to the tribes of Israel” (47:21).

Guidelines for Strangers (Gentiles) in the Midst of Israel (47:22-23)

Being assured the children of Israel will receive all the LORD promised in His covenant, we conclude with an additional guideline and provision for “the strangers” (non-Hebrews) who identified themselves with the LORD and the children of Israel. The distinction between Jew and Gentile will be done away, and the “stranger” that lived among the children of Israel will be given an inheritance among God’s people (47:23).

Closing thoughts – Perhaps you have experienced broken promises. There are some who promise friends and family an inheritance, only to have others swoop in like thieves and steal what was pledged. There are others who beguile loved ones, leading them to believe they are valued and will be remembered in a tangible way, yet knowing they have no plans to fulfill their promises. The LORD, however, is faithful and true to His promises. What He promises, He will certainly fulfill. What a blessed promise believers have, and one no thief can wrest away from us. Christ has promised:

John 14:1–21Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

The Millennial Kingdom: The Prince, the Land, and the Sacrifices (Ezekiel 45)

Scripture reading – Ezekiel 45

Continuing our focus on the Millennial Kingdom, when Christ will reign from His throne in the new Temple, and new Jerusalem, today’s devotional brings us to the division of the land in the Millennial Kingdom.

Ezekiel 45

Remembering His covenant with the children of Israel, the LORD directed Ezekiel to record the dimensions of the land as it will be divided among the Twelve Tribes in the Millennial Kingdom (Ezekiel 45-48).

The Division and Consecration of the Sacred District (45:1-8)

An offering of thanksgiving would begin the division of the land to be dedicated to the LORD. Here will be located the Temple, and the lands for the priests and Levites. Assuming the measurement of a rod (reeds) is 10.5 feet, the sacred district will be 49.7 miles long and 39.8 miles wide (45:1). Located within the district will be the Temple grounds which will be 5,250 feet square (45:2).

The “holy portion of the land” for those priests who minister in the Temple (the sons of Zadok), will measure 49.7 miles long and 19.9 miles wide (Ezekiel 48:8-12). The portion assigned to the Levites will be 49.7 miles in length, and 19.9 miles wide (45:5; Ezekiel 48:13-14). Measurements for the city of Jerusalem, in which the Temple will be located, were 49.7 miles long and 9.9 miles wide (45:6).

Who is the Prince? (45:7-8)

Ezekiel 45:7 chronicles two portions of land over which the “prince” will preside.  Consider with me, Who is the prince? He was first mentioned in Ezekiel 44:1-3, and will be mentioned several times in today’s study.

Some have asserted the prince is the LORD Jesus Christ. Yet, there are several considerations that make that impossible. For instance, the prince offers “a bullock for a sin offering” (45:22). In Ezekiel 46, the prince will worship and offer sacrifices at the Temple (46:2). He is also described as having sons, and giving his sons an inheritance (46:16-18). Therefore, I believe the prince, though a great man, will be an official serving the LORD, and overseeing the governing of Jerusalem and Israel (45:8).

The Establishment of a Just Society (45:9-11)

The world of Ezekiel’s day, and the captivity of God’s people in Babylon was in many ways like our own. Sin, ungodliness, violence, and depravity have defined man’s existence since the fall (Genesis 4), and so it was and continues to our day. Reminiscent of Romans 1, we live in a world that has rejected the LORD, His Law, and Commandments (Romans 1:20). Words like, vain, foolish, immoral, unrighteous, and unmerciful only begin to paint the picture of mankind’s depravity (Romans 1:21-31). Yet, Christ’s Millennial Kingdom will be one of perfect justice (45:9-11). Government will not oppress the people (45:9), and the weight and measurements of commodities will be fair and right (45:10-12), because God’s righteous Law will prevail.

Stewardship and Offerings of the Millennial Kingdom (45:13-17)

The people of the Millennial will bring to the prince the offerings and dues required (45:13-16). He will allot the necessary portion and sacrifices on the Feast Days, New Moon (monthly service), and for Sabbath worship (45:17). Three annual feasts (festivals) will be observed in the Messiah’s kingdom. The New Year (45:18-20) will require the sacrifice of “a young bullock without blemish” for the purpose of cleansing the Temple (no doubt reminding the priests of their own sins, 45:18).

The sacrifice and offerings of the Passover Feast (45:21-24) will remind God’s people they were delivered from slavery to sin (Exodus 12:1-3, 14-20; Leviticus 23:48; Numbers 28:16-25).  Here also, the prince prepares himself to offer “a bullock for a sin offering” (45:22).

The Feast of the Tabernacles will be the third annual festival observed in the Millennial Kingdom. As it was for Israel in the wilderness, it will be a testimony of the LORD’s promise and power to bring His people home (45:25;Leviticus 23:33-44; Numbers 29:12-38). The sacrifice and offerings will be the same as for the Passover Feast.

Closing thoughts – Why will the people bring sacrifices and offerings in the Millennial Kingdom? Like the sacrifices of the Old Testament, they will serve as a testimony of one’s faith in God’s grace and mercy, and His willingness to forgive sin. Like our observance of the Lord’s Supper, the sacrifices of the Millennial will serve as a picture of Christ’s sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:1-18; Psalm 51:16-17).

Is Jesus Christ your Savior?

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

What Does God Require? Cool or Holy Ministers? (Ezekiel 41; Ezekiel 42)

Scripture reading – Ezekiel 41; Ezekiel 42

Our consideration of the new Temple of the Millennial Kingdom continues with a description of the outer and inner sanctuaries of the Temple (Ezekiel 41-42). Rather than belabor the dimensional details of the Temple (height, length, breadth), I will highlight the various aspects of the Temple grounds that includes the walls, doors, courtyards, buildings, and the Temple itself.

The Outer Sanctuary of the Millennial Temple (40:48-41:26)

The heavenly messenger led Ezekiel up the steps and through the portico of the Temple (40:48-49), and into the outer sanctuary (41:1-2) which measured 70 feet long and was 35 feet wide (41:2).

The Inner Sanctuary – “The Most Holy Place” (41:3-5)

The inner sanctuary was a perfect square that measured 35 feet by 35 feet. Unlike the Tabernacle and the earlier Temples (Solomon’s, and Zerubbabel’s built after the Babylonian captivity, and Herod’s Temple), the Millennial Temple did not have a veil that separated the inner sanctuary from the outer sanctuary.

Other Details of the Temple (41:6-26)

Ezekiel noticed there were side rooms of the Temple that stood three stories, with 30 rooms on each floor (41:6). Connecting the floors was a winding staircase that extended from the ground floor to the upper floors (41:7). The foundation of the Temple was elevated, and stood 10.5 feet high (41:8). There was a separate building at the west end of the Temple, but its use was not identified (41:12). The measurement of the Temple was 175 feet square (41:13-15).

The Décor of the Temple (41:16-21)

The walls, floor and ceiling of the Temple were covered with wood, as were the long, narrow windows (41:16-17). The walls of the Temple were of paneled wood (41:17), and were carved with an alternating pattern of cherubim and palm trees (41:18-20).

Before going further, let’s visit the subject of the missing veil. Beginning with the Tabernacle and continuing through the Temple era, a veil separated the outer court of the sanctuary from the innermost room of the Temple known as the Holy of Holies (also the “Holy Place” and the “Most Holy Place”). The veil represented a barrier of separation that was between sinful man and God who is holy. It served the purpose of preventing men from seeing or entering into the presence of God (Exodus 26:31-35). When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, the veil was torn from the top to the bottom, for His sacrifice removed the barrier between God and sinners (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; Romans 5:1-2; Hebrews 10:19-23; 1 Peter 3:18).

The Furniture of the Temple (41:21-26)

The tabernacle and earlier Temples were furnished with the Ark of the Covenant and its Mercy Seat, upon which there were two cherubim that faced one another (all gold-plated, Exodus 25:10; 37:1-9). This was the place of God’s presence on earth. In the Temple of the Millennial Kingdom, only a wood altar (perhaps used for burning incense), 3.5 feet square, and standing 5.25 feet tall was found in the most holy place (41:22).  Double doors served as the panel between the outer and inner sanctuary (41:23-24).  Carved cherubim and palm trees decorated the panels of the doors, and the narrow windows were decorated with palm trees and wood overhangings (41:25-26).

Ezekiel 42 – Buildings for the Priests (note 40:44-46)

Located in the outer court of the Temple, and against the wall of the inner court, were buildings for priests. We are given the dimensions of the buildings (42:2-3), as well as the fact they stood three stories tall (42:3b). The upper floors of the buildings were narrower than the first, making room for walkways (42:4-6). A wall separated the priests’ building from the outer court (42:7-9). On the south side of the Temple was a second building for the priests, and its dimensions were identical to the first (42:10-12).

The Purpose of the Priests’ Buildings (42:13-14)

The buildings for the priests provided a place to prepare for their ministry in the Temple. They were described as “holy chambers” (42:13), for there the priests prepared to minister before the LORD. It was in the “holy chambers” that food offerings were stored, and to be eaten (42:13). This was also the place the priests were to change out of their priestly “garments wherein they minister; for they are holy; and shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which are for the people” (42:14). The priests were not to wear their priestly robes outside the Temple complex. Also, they were not to wear the clothes of their secular lives when ministering for the LORD in His holy Temple.

Closing thoughts (42:15-20) – Our study concludes with the angelic messenger leading Ezekiel out the east gate, where he measured the wall that surrounded the Temple area. It was perfectly squared, with the north, south, east, and west walls being 5,250 feet in length (42:15-20). The outer wall of the Temple complex provided a separation between the world, and God and His holy Temple.

The Holiness of God and the Doctrine of Separation – I suggest the overriding lesson from today’s study is the reminder God is Holy, and deserves and demands we be the same. Today’s churches advertise, “come as you are,” and even pastors have succumbed to being “cool” and wearing ripped jeans, and even shorts. While the clothes of the priests reminded everyone the LORD required holiness (Leviticus 20:7), it appears that preachers and believers of this generation are more interested in looking “cool” than they are in being holy.

1 Peter 1:15-16 – “15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

The Temple of the Millennial Kingdom (Ezekiel 40)

Scripture reading – Ezekiel 40

I have suggested in earlier devotionals that Ezekiel, and perhaps Daniel, were among the first captives taken from Judah and to Babylon when king Jehoiachin was removed from his throne. Ezekiel dated the time and year of his visions, with Jehoiachin’s captivity, and therefore I believe his own.

Ezekiel 40 – Israel’s Glorious Future

The vision recorded in Ezekiel 40 comes 25 years after Ezekiel received his first vision (he was 30 years old at the time (1:1), and it was the “fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity” 1:2). We can determine the prophet was 55 years old, and Israel’s captivity would last another 45 years when the vision of the new Temple occurred (Ezekiel 40:1-2).

The Vision and a Heavenly Messenger (40:2-4)

In Ezekiel’s vision, he was taken “into the land of Israel” to a “very high mountain” from which he was able to observe the rebuilding of Jerusalem (40:2). The LORD sent a man whose appearance gives us the opinion he was an angelic messenger, for his appearance was like bronze (40:3a). In the man’s hand was a line of twine and a measuring rod (40:3b). Ezekiel was instructed, “Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel” (40:4).

The Temple of the Millennial Kingdom (40:5-26)

In his vision, Ezekiel followed his heavenly guide through a gate that entered into the outer court of the Temple. They passed through the East Gate and the wall that secured the outer court of the Temple (40:5). The verses that followed were a schematic of the dimensions of the outer court of the Temple, and described the porches, doorways, windows, and chambers, giving the dimensions by cubits (a cubit believed to be 18 inches).

Inner Courtyard of the Temple in the Millennial Kingdom (40:27-47)

Ezekiel, accompanying his heavenly messenger, observed the man as he directed the prophet to record the measurements of the inner courtyard of the Temple, including the palm trees that adorned the posts, and the steps that led into the Temple (40:27-37).

Within the inner courtyard, Ezekiel observed various “chambers” (rooms), with doorways and porches. He noticed eight tables made of hewn stone for slaying and washing the animals for the burnt offering, sin offering, and the trespass offering (40:38-40). The other four hewn stone tables served as a place “whereupon also they laid the instruments wherewith they slew the burn offering and the sacrifice” (40:41-42). On the walls of those rooms were hooks, where the flesh of the offerings was hanged that all the blood might drain from the flesh (40:43).

Apartments for the Priests (40:44-46)

In the inner courtyard, were rooms dedicated to the Temple singers (40:44). Facing toward the south was another compartment that was used for priests who served as “keepers” or guards of the Temple (40:45). At the south gate, and facing northward was another apartment that was used by the priests in charge of the sacrifices and who served the altar (40:46).

The Temple (40:48-49)

Following his heavenly messenger, Ezekiel was led up the steps to the porch entrance of the Temple (40:48), and the entrance to the outer sanctuary of the Temple (40:49).

Closing thoughts – Ezekiel’s record of his vision of the Temple will continue through chapter 41 and will include the inner sanctuary of the Temple, “The Most Holy Place” (41:4).

I close today’s devotional reflecting on the gates and doors of the Temple, and the analogy the LORD drew of Himself when He taught His disciples: “I am the door of the sheep… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 10:7; 14:6)

The only way of salvation is through Jesus Christ, His sacrificial death for your sins, and resurrection from the dead. There is no other way to enter heaven, and into the presence of God than through Jesus Christ. Is He your Savior?

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

The Defeat of Gog of Magog (Ezekiel 38; Ezekiel 39)

Scripture reading – Ezekiel 38; Ezekiel 39

You may recognize today’s Scripture reading if you are a student of Bible prophecy. Ezekiel 38 and 39 have been the subject of much debate in the past century. I acknowledge there are various interpretations for today’s passage, and I do not want to add my voice among the speculations, nor add to the confusion.

Remembering many prophecies have an immediate application and a far-reaching implication, I believe the near setting of today’s study was in the decades and centuries after Israel returned from captivity. The far-reaching implication has been suggested by some to reflect the gathering of the nations against Israel preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Whatever your interpretation, the overriding lesson for me is the oversight and loving compassion the LORD has for Israel, His chosen people.

Ezekiel 38

Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy against Gog, the ruler of the land of Magog, who was identified as “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal” (38:1-2). Many have suggested “Magog” is today’s Russia, and the cities “Meshech and Tubal” are Russian cities we know today as Moscow and Tobolsk. I am satisfied to name Gog as the king of Magog, whom the LORD would employ to move a coalition of nations from the north against Israel (Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, and Gomer might be identified as nations of today’s Middle East, 38:5-6).

Though it was Gog who sat his heart on invading Israel, it was the LORD who brought forth (figuratively, putting hooks in his jaws, 38:4) to the end He would accomplish His divine purpose. The armies of Magog and its allies would descend upon Israel “like a storm…[and] like a cloud to cover the land” (38:9). All this evil would spring from the mind of Gog, that he might make spoil of Israel (38:12-15). Yet, it was the LORD who determined He would destroy those armies of the heathen that gathered against Israel (38:16-18).

King Gog and his coalition of nations would come to destroy Israel, but they would face the God of Israel who in His jealousy and wrath, would send “a great shaking in the land of Israel” (38:19). The whole earth, and all its creatures would be shaken by the earthquake, and men would be terrified (38:20). In their confusion, the soldiers would turn on each other until “every man’s sword [would] be against his brother” (38:21). The LORD would send “pestilence” (disease), and rain, hail, fire, and brimstone would fall from the sky (38:22).

Closing thought (38:23) – We do not find any mention of Israel sending soldiers against the invading armies, for it was the LORD who determined His name would be magnified among the nations, and they would know and acknowledge Him as “the LORD” (38:23).

Ezekiel 39 – Burying the Dead

As we noted in Ezekiel 38, the LORD intervened and gave Israel a victory over insurmountable odds, thus defeating her enemies. The task of burying the dead would take seven months (39:14). Corpses would fill the land of Israel, and birds and beasts of prey would feed upon the dead (39:4). The LORD’s wrath also turned against the land of Magog and her allies, for Ezekiel foretold the LORD would “send a fire,” that “they shall know that [He is] the LORD” (39:5). Israel would witness the LORD make His holy name known not only to His people, but also to the heathen (39:7). In that day, Israel would gather the weapons of war and burn them for seven years that the land might ultimately be cleansed (39:8-10).

Closing thoughts (39:21-29) – Throughout our study of Ezekiel, the LORD has stated one overriding purpose for His judgments: To the end His people and the nations would know He is God, the LORD and Sovereign of the earth. It was His desire that the heathen would see His glory, and His judgment executed (39:21). It was to the end the “house of Israel [would] know [acknowledge] that [He] was the Lord their God from that day and forward.” (39:22; note 39:28).

Sometimes we wonder why trials and troubles come upon us. Have you considered it may be to the end you will humble yourself, and confess He is “the LORD” and sovereign of your life?

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd, Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.

A Valley of Dry Bones, and Israel’s Resurrection (Ezekiel 36; Ezekiel 37)

Scripture reading – Ezekiel 36; Ezekiel 37

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

Heart of A Shepherd Inc is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3, and is a public charitable organization. Mailing address: Heart of A Shepherd Inc, 6201 Ehrlich Rd, Tampa, FL 33625. You can email HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com for more information on this daily devotional ministry.