TODAY’S READING: EZEKIEL 37-40
The resurrection of Israel (Chapter thirty-seven); God’s Judgment against Gog (chapters thirty-eight through thirty-nine); Ezekiel’s vision of the millennial temple (chapter forty).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Chapter 37 continues a series of prophecies given to Ezekiel the night before the messenger of Ezekiel 33:21-22 arrives. God knew that Israel would faint in their hearts once Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple was burned. The word “hopeless” comes to mind. God takes Ezekiel to a valley full of dry bones. He asks if the bones can live again. It is important to realize that if the children of Israel didn’t believe in an individual resurrection (as some liberal scholars would suggest) this vision would have no meaning. Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy to the bones (37:4) and to the wind (37:9). After Ezekiel follows God’s instructions, the bones are resurrected. God explains the meaning of the vision in Ezekiel 37:11-14. These bones represent the whole house of Israel being resurrected as a nation.
The Jews were cutoff from their homeland, defeated, without hope. God gives Israel hope. He gives them His Word. Israel, as a nation, will be resurrected (Isaiah 66:8). God tells Ezekiel to join together the sticks upon which He has written a name that represents a part of Israel, and so illustrates that Israel will be one nation (37:15-19). The rest of the chapter looks forward to the millennium.
Chapters 38 and 39 tell of a northern confederacy of nations (38:6, 15) who will invade the Promised Land and wage war against Israel (38:16). The phrase “after many days” and “latter year” in Ezekiel 38:8 indicates that this prophecy is tied to the coming of Christ at the Second Advent (39:11). This confederacy then, will be led by the anti-Christ (Rev.12:1-3) and will be the recipient of God’s fury and wrath (38:18-23). It will take Israel seven months to bury the dead (39:12)! God also instructs Ezekiel to speak to the carrion birds and carnivorous animals to consume the fallen flesh (Rev. 19:21). Chapter 39 ends with God’s promise to never hide His face from Israel again. This refers to the beginning of the millennial kingdom.
Introduction to Ezekiel 40-48
The last nine chapters of Ezekiel, beginning with chapter 40, form an inseparable unit. Explicit details about Christ’s millennial reign follow the great battle described in chapters 38 and 39. This portion of scripture provides more detail about the 1,000-year kingdom than all other Old Testament prophecies combined. In these chapters we will find a vivid description of the millennial temple and reinstated Jewish rituals and sacrifices. This portion of Ezekiel must be approached as the other thirty-nine chapters have been approached – literally. Ezekiel, who is a priest, is speaking of a literal temple and literal sacrifices that will exist in a literal future kingdom. We must be careful to understand that the reinstatement of the temple and sacrifices in no way nullifies or diminishes the finished work of Christ on the cross. Just as the sacrifices in the OT pointed to the finished work of Christ on the cross, the sacrifices in the millennium will point back to the !
finished work of Christ on the cross. These last nine chapters break down as follows: New Temple (40:1 - 43:12); New Worship (43:13 - 47:12); New Appointment of Land (47:13 - 48:35).
Ezekiel began with a vision of Christ at the Second Advent and ends with a vision of Christ in the millennial kingdom.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As “the man” in Ezekiel 40:3.