If you are like me, you have a version of the One Year Bible and are reading it every day.
If you ARE NOT reading the One Year Bible (or something like it) every day… if you are a Christian… or even Jewish… There’s something wrong. This world has become a crazy, evil place, and your soul doesn’t have a hope unless you are getting regular booster shots of moral fiber. This world will roll you under without maximum strength help – help that will really only reach you through the bible.
But, let’s assume that you ARE a good little boy or girl and HAVE been reading your bible… flipping the pages… Congratulations! You’ve gotten to Ezekiel 36 – the beginning of what I believe to be one of the most important four chapters of the Tanakh (Old Testament) for those of us living in this age.
Why are the chapters 36, 37, 38 and 39 of Ezekiel so important?
It talks about the day that we live in right now, and it shows us how it all works out. More importantly it talks about the return and building up of God’s Chosen People, the Jews.
WARNING: Those of you who cringe at the idea of calling the Jews the ‘Chosen People’ had better turn away now, because my choice of words will not improve for you.
But, back to chapter 36.
Notice, as we go through this that this is a very general description. God doesn’t really say HOW He makes this come about in chapter 36. You’ll see what I mean when I tackle 37, 38 and 39.
1 And thou, son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of Jehovah.
This bit is interesting. God speaks to the Mountains of Israel, expressing an irrevocable relationship between the Land of Israel, the Geography of Israel and God.
I think that it would even be safe to say that God has a relationship with the Land of Israel in a way that is distinct from God’s relationship with the People of Israel. This is a story of two relationships. The relationship between God and His land, and the relationship between God and His people.
But, God has a bit to say about other people first.
2 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha! and, The ancient high places are ours in possession;
3 therefore prophesy, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because, even because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the nations, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and the evil report of the people;
4 therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the mountains and to the hills, to the watercourses and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the cities that are forsaken, which are become a prey and derision to the residue of the nations that are round about;
5 therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the nations, and against all Edom, that have appointed my land unto themselves for a possession with the joy of all their heart, with despite of soul, to cast it out for a prey.
BECAUSE the enemies of Israel have claimed the ancient places of the land for their own, God says, “Enough! You will no longer consider this place your own. It belongs to someone else.”
6 Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains and to the hills, to the watercourses and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my wrath, because ye have borne the shame of the nations:
7 therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I have sworn, saying, Surely the nations that are round about you, they shall bear their shame.
BECAUSE Israel has suffered shame at the hands of the gentiles living in the area, God will make the people living around suffer their own shame. In fact, you could make something of a case for them suffering THE SAME KIND OF SHAME.
What has happened to every country that invaded Israel, every time? They were defeated so badly, each time, that the rest of the world had to step in to save these nations from becoming completely destroyed. When the world stepped in to stop Israel, nothing lay between the armies of Israel and the capitals of Syria, Jordan, and Cairo.
To think that a tiny little country could whup the combined armies of the Middle East…
Well, it’s delicious.
8 But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they are at hand to come.
And, God says that He will cause the land to prepare itself for the coming of the Jews. Before the Jews, Israel was a malaria-infested, barren land – a horrific place to live.
After the Jews came, the land became a paradise. The Arabs sold the Jews the worst of the Land of Israel, and the Jews made it the best.
9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn into you, and ye shall be tilled and sown;
10 and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places shall be builded;
11 and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah.
And, this really has happened. Israel is stronger today and more prosperous than at any time in its history. True, it controls less area now than during the times of King David and King Solomon, but David and Solomon didn’t have the global reach that the Government of Israel has today.
12 Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of children.
The people of Israel WERE coming back!
13 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because they say unto you, Thou land art a devourer of men, and hast been a bereaver of thy nation;
14 therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nation any more, saith the Lord Jehovah;
15 neither will I let thee hear any more the shame of the nations, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the peoples any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nation to stumble any more, saith the Lord Jehovah.
Interesting what it says here… God says, “thou shalt… neither bereave thy nation any more.”
What does that mean?
Does the Land of Israel have a Nation of Israel that belongs to it?
Do a people and a land belong to each other?
Or, maybe is it just the Land of Israel the the people, Israel, belong together?
It could very well be, and I think that y’all know which way I’m leaning.
16 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying,
17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their way and by their doings: their way before me was as the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity.
Okay, good thing that’s over. We can move on.
18 Wherefore I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood which they had poured out upon the land, and because they had defiled it with their idols;
19 and I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.
Whoa, wait a second. I just had an idea.
No. No. It’s not about the Jews. It’s about us. You. Me. Everyone else.
If we defile our country with the blood of unborn children… Do you think that we are going to escape the above?
Almost 55 million induced abortions since 1973 is a lot of blood. A lot.
And, if God did this to the people of His friend Abraham, what do you think He’s going to do to us?
ESPECIALLY, those of us who claim to be His children?
20 And when they came unto the nations, whither they went, they profaned my holy name; in that men said of them, These are the people of Jehovah, and are gone forth out of his land.
How many of us have made faith in God look bad?
If someone accused you of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
The people of Israel were evicted because they didn’t fulfill the promise that they had made. What about the promises that WE have made? Promises that we made to God?
Those of us who claim to be Christian, and act anything but Christian… You are asking for serious trouble.
21 But I had regard for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations, whither they went.
22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I do not this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for my holy name, which ye have profaned among the nations, whither ye went.
23 And I will sanctify my great name, which hath been profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, saith the Lord Jehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
24 For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.
25 And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.
28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
But, I like THIS part.
God begins the process of redeeming His people. He brings them back and brings them close to Him again. His people are reunited with His (and their) land.
The relationship is almost restored. Good things come.
29 And I will save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the grain, and will multiply it, and lay no famine upon you.
30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations.
Like I said. Good things. As in, good things that have been happening since the beginning of the State of Israel.
31 Then shall ye remember your evil ways, and your doings that were not good; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
What was begun, is completed. Israel wakes up to see what they’ve been and the mistakes that they’ve made. Israel is finally, and forever, back.
And, of course, that is what we call the Salvation of Israel. And, to my Jewish friends who may be reading this, this is the point in which we will finally settle the question of who is right and who is wrong.
Is Jesus The Mashiach?
Did the Jewish people get it wrong 2,000 years ago, or did WE Christians get it wrong?
We are very close to having that question resolved, once and for all.
Oh, and remember verse 31. Chapters 38 and 39 are contained in that verse.
Now, just in case anyone starts to get a little too proud to be a Jew…
32 Nor for your sake do I this, saith the Lord Jehovah, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.
33 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be builded.
34 And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, whereas it was a desolation in the sight of all that passed by.
35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.
36 Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I, Jehovah, have builded the ruined places, and planted that which was desolate: I, Jehovah, have spoken it, and I will do it.
God brings Israel back and redeems her… not because of who Israel is… but, because of who GOD is.
And, because of the land that God loves. There’s something special about the Land of Israel, something that God loves more than any other part of His creation.
I don’t understand it, but I think that I feel it – because, I love His land, too.
37 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: For this, moreover, will I be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them: I will increase them with men like a flock.
38 As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.
The Lord is saying that He will PACK Israel FULL of His people.
It will be a glorious time.
And, it’s coming.