Ezekiel, the prophet and priest, was taken captive to Babylon. During that time, God reminded him that he had not been forgotten. God gave him a vision on his 30th birthday. It should be noted that on his 30th birthday, had he been in Jerusalem, he would have begun his levitical ministry. Thirty years old is the age of adulthood for Jewish men. By custom, they were forbidden to speak before this in the synagog, so he was of the age to take his place among the other priests and Levites. However, since he is in captivity, he is far removed from the temple and its traditions, yet not removed from the presence and purpose of God.
In a distant enemy land, he meets a man newly come from Jerusalem who tells him that the beloved city has fallen and the temple has been destroyed. For the most part, the first part of Ezekiel is an indictment by God of the evil committed not only by the Jewish people but also by neighboring cities with whom they have made treaties and built relationships for trade and defense. Judgment has begun, and the consequences are jaw-dropping. God has kept His word, and it is terrifying, but God will always keep His word, and that is the hope that the nation of Judah and all of Israel cling to and where they will find their hope. Ezekiel’s words brought hope to the faithful remnant held captive in a foreign nation. The only steadfast hope that we can depend on today comes from the word of God rightly applied.
And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
This is a two-fold promise. The nation of Judah (the southern tribes) was under the control of the Babylonians, and the kingdom of Israel (the northern tribes) had already been conquered and scatted by the Assyrians. The family of Jacob, now two conquered nations, are experiencing the consequences of turning from God and looking to idols. Yet, God, in His mercy and wisdom, reassures them that He is aware of their suffering and His plan, as always, is to show mercy and grace to all who trust in His name. He is reminding them of the promise in Deuteronomy.
And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. (Deuteronomy 30:1-5).
Sometimes in the middle of the trial or tribulation, it's difficult to see God’s hand, especially when we know we don’t deserve His help or favor, and we forget the treasure we have in His word. The just shall live by faith.
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
They started out as one nation. Solomon’s compromise to allow His wives to worship the false gods of their homelands brought on division that was carried out in the days of his son, Rehoboam. But sin always brings division, and the Old Testament is the record of the separation brought about by sin. Jacob’s family was filled with jealousy between Leah’s children and Rachel’s children. The Tribe of Benjamin took up arms against the other tribes in defense of their sin. David’s son Absolom tried to overthrow his father as King because he wanted to repay the unpunished sin committed on his sister by another of David’s sons.
By the time Jesus walked on the earth, Samaria and Judah had no relationship at all but were bitter enemies. But there will come a day when this separation will be healed, and the family and nation of Israel will again be united. The regathering of the nation, the building back of Jerusalem, and the rededication of the temple during the time of Nehemiah was only a partial fulfillment of this prophesy, a type and a shadow of the kingdom Jesus will establish. And in the days of these kings (speaking of the many kingdoms on earth) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44).
Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
In our time, the kingdom of God is present. All believers are citizens first of Heaven and follow no leader above Jesus Christ. It is an invisible body carrying out the work of Christ in every nation and in every language on the globe. When Jesus comes, a kingdom will be built that will show the goodness of God to Israel. It will be a kingdom cleansed from idols and from sin, ruled the way it should be by the king of all kings. And how will they be cleansed? By the revelation of Jesus to them. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke1:33).
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. They have been waiting on this King since the time of the Kings. The one King to come that will rule in authority and righteousness. One unified kingdom with one leader. Showing them how to walk in correct judgment and how to observe the things of God. When will this happen, or has it happened already? Some Jewish believers predict that David will come back and be set up as King. We believe that this refers to when Christ returns to set up his throne in the city of Jerusalem . And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28).
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
As they look around in captivity and despair at ever seeing their homeland, God reassures them that they will dwell again in the land that was given to them. They will dwell where their fathers dwelt. Notice once they do, they will have a kingdom that lasts forever.
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
There will be those in the last days that come and offer peace, always with the pricetag of the abandonment or compromise of God’s word. They will never secure true peace, only peace for a little while. Jesus is the prince of peace, and His government shall be without end. He offers a contract of peace, a place for the nation of Israel to dwell in safety to grow and multiply. A place where the sanctuary of God, a place set apart and holy, will be in the midst of them forever.
My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The Tabernacle, God dwelling among men, can only be fulfilled in one person;Jesus!
And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
And finally, in the world, we see almighty God in His fullness. He is God, and there is none else, the scriptures declare. All the tables will be turned, all the wrongs made right, and all the insults and scoffing will cease. God keeps His promises. He will restore Israel. He will give them back the land they were promised. He will set up His kingdom on earth. He will unify what is separated. He will restore and provide peace. Thy Kingdom come.
Thank you for studying with us! God bless!