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Chapter 36

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A Prophecy To The Mountains Of Israel (ch. 36:1 27)


In verse 1 God tells Ezekiel "to prophesy to the mountains of Israel".  The Bible often uses geography as an idiom, meaning, "the mountains of Israel" is Israel itself.  God could have simply told Ezekiel to prophesy to Israel.  


In verse 2 you see the words "Sovereign Lord", as you do all the way through Ezekiel.  This is important to point out.  God is sovereign.  He can, and He will, do whatever He wants to do, and, when He says He will do something, you can bet He will do it.  All the way through the book of Ezekiel the Sovereign Lord says He will do certain things.  Many of these things He has done.  The rest, He will do.  It is important to understand the sovereignty of God, both on an individual level and a national level.


Verse 2 also says, "aha, the ancient heights have become our possession".  It is Israel's enemies who have said this, and the word "aha' tells us that they are gloating in the fact that they have conquered Israel.  This had come true when Ezekiel prophesied this.  It came to pass in a final sense in 70 A. D..  We need to understand that 70 A.D. is an important date in Israeli history, and so is 1948.


God is about to pronounce judgment on the nations of the world in the following verses.  We know when this judgment will take place.  In verses 3 and 5 we see the word "nations".  This is important.  It is these nations that will come under the judgment of God spoken of here.  In Ezekiel's day Israel was captured by just one nation, not many nations, and that was Babylon..  It wasn't until 70 A. D. that Israel was attacked by Rome and disbursed into the "many nations" of the world, where they were, until the 20th century.  So, the judgment spoken of in this prophecy is due to the destruction of Jerusalem and the disbursement of Jews in 70 A. D..  Thus, the judgment must be beyond 70 A. D..  It has yet to come to pass because the nations of the world aren't finished with their bad treatment of Israel.


In verse 5 we see the word "glee".  This suggests that when the nations of the world ridiculed Israel and did evil against her, they gloated and rejoiced in the things they did.  I think we can see that in today's world.


Note also the words "my land' in verse 5.  We should understand that God gave a particular portion of land to Israel, but in the long run, He calls the land "His land".  God calls the land of Israel His land throughout the Bible.  So, when any nation does anything to the land of Israel, God takes that very personally because that land belongs to Him.


In verse 6 we see God's "jealous wrath" against the nations of the world because Israel has "suffered the scorn" of the nations of the world.  Israel, more than any other nation has suffered scorn from other nations of the world.  This will escalate and find its climax in the Great Tribulation at the end of this age. 


We need to know, that when it comes to Israel, that is, the land and the nation, God is very protective and actually jealous, because Israel belongs to Him, and Him alone. This is important in the world of politics today, but few politicians recognize this fact.  In the long run, all the judgments that God pronounces and carries out, especially those at the end of this age are for one thing, that is, so the world will know that He is the only God.  We see this in this chapter of Ezekiel and all the way through the Bible.


In verse 7 we see God swearing with "uplifted hands".  This would be similar to us swearing on the Bible in a court of law.  It is symbolic of the fact that what God is about to declare is based on truth and will come about.  What He declares in verse 7 is that the surrounding nations of Israel will become like Israel was.  That is, they will suffer scorn as Israel had suffered scorn.  We need to note here the specific nations spoken of.  Verse 7 doesn't say "the nations of the world".  Verse 7 is directed specifically to those few nations that immediately surround Israel.  We see these nations mentioned in Psalm 85 as nations that come against Israel and will thus be judged.


Verses 8 through 12 speak of the restoration of Israel.  It speaks in geographic terms.  On the mountains and in the valleys people and flocks will increase and be prosperous.  Note in verse 11 the reason for this prosperity.  It is so that Israel will know that God is the Lord.  Again, this is the fundamental reason for everything God does throughout human history. 


Verse 13 may take a little thought.  What is said in verse 13 is spoken by Israel 's enemies.  They say, "you devour men and deprive your nation of its children".  This is what I believe this means.  I think to a degree the nations of the world are beginning to say this of Israel right now, and will say it even more in the future.  They say, and will say, "you spend too much time fighting for your land and for your country, and you're losing your children in the process of the fight. You should stop the fighting, make peace, and let your children live".  This is the ultimate argument, at least in part, of the anti-christ at the end of this age.  He will bring Israel into a temporary peace at the end of this age.


Verse 15 simply states that all the opposition to Israel, all the scorn from all the nations will end. 


In verses 16 and 17 God reminds Israel just why they were dispersed into the nations of the world.  God also reminds them that it was He who did the dispersing.  He in fact was behind the Roman invasion of 70 A. D..  It was an act of judgment on Israel for them not obeying their Lord.  Verse 19 says, "I dispersed them among the nations".  Again, we see the word nations here, not the word nation.  This can only be speaking of 70 A. D..  No other date is possible. 


In verses 20 and 21 we note that even in all other nations of the world, the Jews still profaned the name of their God.  They did this by not living the way they were supposed to live.  In these other nations, they were not obeying their God, and for the most part, they still aren't.  Yes, you can see synagogues in many nations of the world, but the worship that takes place in these synagogues is adulterated.  It is not the worship that God demands of Israel. 


Verses 22 and 23 show us again the reason why God judged Israel, and why He will judge the nations of the world.  It is for His name sake.  It is so all nations, including Israel will know that there is only one God, and it is Yahweh, the Lord God of Israel.  When it comes right down to the end, the battles and the suffering we see in the Great Tribulation, they are all spiritual, and at that time, I believe many people will see this to be true, but will still fight against it. 


Verse 24 is important.  It is clear and direct.  God simply states that the day will come when He will gather the Jews from the nations of the world and bring them back into their own land.  This prophecy began to take place in 1948.  Prior to then, Israel had no land to come back to.  They now have the land, or at least part of it, and they have been returning from all over the world.  If you visit Israel today, you will see all nations represented in Israel, but whatever nation these people came from, the bottom line is that they are Jews.  


Many theologians say that verse 25, according to the Hebrew text, should begin with the word "then".  That is to say, "then God will sprinkle "   This would also make sense in context.  First God brings Israel back to her land.  Then at a later date He restores His relationship with her.  At that point, all Israel will be saved as the apostle Paul says in Romans 11. 


Note from verses 24 to 32 God says "I will" eleven times.  There are a number of things listed here that God will do.  Israel won't do them.  God will.  He will sovereignly do them on His own and by Himself.  Again, the text states that He will do them for Himself and His reputation.  God will do these things to reclaim His good name among the nations of the earth.


Note the things that God will do.  They aren't spiritual.  They are material.  They are geographical and natural.  By these last two, I mean Israel will get her land back and the land will produce its fruit in abundance. 


The thing I'd like to point out here is the spiritual restoration of Israel.  God says that He will cleanse Israel.  He will remove the heart of stone and give the Jews a soft heart of flesh.  He will give them His Holy Spirit.  This is the Holy Spirit revival that Zechariah and others have predicted as well.  Israel will return to their God, and it will be of God's doing.  This is still to come once God brings Israel to her knees in the Great Tribulation.


So I've just pointed out the "I wills" from God.  Note also the "you wills" in this section.  Israel is to be "ashamed" for what the detestable things they have done.  This is speaking of true repentance.  Israel will mourn for their sinful condition.  God will hear her cries of repentance, and He will forgive, cleanse, heal, and pour out His Spirit on them.  Beyond reclaiming the land and nationhood, Israel will be restored to her God.


Note when the final restoration of Israel as a nation takes place.  In verse 33 God says that on  the day He cleanses Israel, then the final restoration will take place.  First comes the spiritual, then the material as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:46.  Total Israeli prosperity will not come to the nation of Israel until she  repents and God's cleanses them of all their sins and gives them the Holy Spirit.  This will be a day not unlike the Day of Pentecost, but specifically for the Jews at the end of this age.


Verses 34 and 35 speak of the land of Israel becoming like the garden of Eden.  Many people look at the prophecies concerning the land of Israel blossoming and producing fruit and think that has happened already.  To a degree it has, but not to the degree that is prophesied, especially in this verse.  I'm not sure what the garden of Eden was like, but I doubt if it looked anything like Israel today.  The fulfillment of this prophecy will only take place after Jesus returns and makes it happen.  We have never seen the land of Israel look the way it will eventually look.


When it comes to the restoration of the land that belongs to Israel, on that day, as verse 36 states, all the surrounding nations that are left, will acknowledge that it is the Lord God of Israel that has restored Israel. 


Note the idea the point concerning the surrounding nations that are left.  After the Great Tribulation, many of the surrounding nations will be in great peril and destruction.  Those who still have the capability to exist will know who rebuilt Israel.  It's hard for us to imagine, but some day, the whole world will bow their knees to God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Finally humanity will acknowledge the existence of the God they chose not to accept.  


Verse 37 states that God "will hear the pleas of Israel". This is the pleas that Israel makes during the suffering of the Great Tribulation.  The one hundred and forty four thousand Israelis of the book of Revelation will lead a national revival.  The word pleas here suggests Israeli repentance.  Only after this repentance, aided by God Himself as Zechariah and others say, will God come and cleanse IIsrael, give them His Spirit, and restore them to full nationhood.


Note in verse 38 the point God makes concerning the number of Israelis increasing.  Although the analogy is different, this is once again, another reference to the Abrahamic Covenant where God promises Israel to have  a great number of people.  Some Bible teachers, those who believe in Replacement Theology, believe that part of the Abrahamic Covenant has already been fulfilled in Old Testament times, but that's not so, and this verse proves it.  This verse speaks of a time yet in the future.  So we know that the Abrahamic Covenant is yet to be fulfilled, meaning, Israel still has a prophetic and historic future.  God is not finished with them, and never will be. 


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