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Book of Ezekiel
Background for Ezekiel Chapter 37:
God, through His prophet Ezekiel, revealed in Chapter 34 the total failure of the Levites to teach GOD’S Truth to the nation of Israel, which led to their failure . . . but CHRIST would return one day and be the Good Shepherd and would lead Israel to be a world leader, with the LORD as the Head of all nations and David as a prince of Israel (Hos.3:4-5). Also GOD condemned the leaders when JESUS was in Jerusalem where they were accused of being blind guides among the seven woes the LORD spoke of (Mat.23:13-36).
In Ezekiel Chapter 35, we saw GOD’S judgment of Edom and His preparing for the future place where He will meet Face-to-face with the remnant of Israel who fled from the Antichrist into the wilderness (Rev.12:13-16).
Ezekiel Chapter 36, shows that the LORD is preparing the land by judging the surrounding nations of Israel, as He enters into a new covenant with Israel, to make their land like the Garden of Eden to support a great population, and where they will again be able to inquire of the LORD (Eze.36:37). This will be a much greater experience then when the LORD first brought the children of Israel into their Promised Land. In the latter days, the people would act in faith, as shown by Jabez to bless him and enlarge his territory (1 Chron.4:9-10).
Ezekiel Chapter 37 looks forward to Israel’s complete restoration. This chapter provides a remarkable display as changes occur in Israel’s physical and spiritual condition as the LORD more and more restores life into the nation. This chapter begins by displaying an incredible bleakness in Israel. Since their worldwide dispersion by Titus in 70 A.D., the Jews had been a people with no nation or no land to call their own (Deut.28:62-67), until 1948, when their history was characterized as a valley of dry bones, from 70 A.D. to 1948. There are many prophecies in this one chapter that show a remarkable rebirth of the nation of Israel. There are other prophecies not yet filled in Scripture, and will not be until the LORD Returns and becomes their GOD and they His people (Eze.20:33-38).
There are four main sections to this chapter:
#1. The prophecy of the dry bones. These bones represent the whole house of Israel (37:11). There was absolutely no evidence of life anywhere.
#2. Interpretation of the prophecy concerning the dry bones.
#3. The prophecy of the two sticks.
#4. The reign of the LORD over the world with David as a prince.
This chapter provides outstanding changes in Israel’s spiritual condition as the LORD restores life into the nation. Some of these changes have already occurred in recent history, with the Jews returning to their Promised Land, and the reconstruction of the nation of Israel.
Theme: Vision of the valley of dead bones, which pictures the Spiritual Resurrection of Israel.
The Vision of the Valley of Dead Bones (37:1-28)
In this chapter we have Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dead bones. The interpretation of this chapter concerns the future restoration of Israel. That restoration has to do both with the national entity of Israel as well as the spiritual revival or restoration which the LORD announced in the preceding chapter.
This is a remarkable vision, to say the least. This vision has nothing to do with the resurrection of the dead saints of the church (1 Thes.4:13-17), which is held by some who spiritualize the prophecies of the Old Testament. Dear one, it is wise to take prophecies literally, for it will make a lot more sense. This chapter speaks of Israel, NOT born again Christians (Jn.3:3-8). It does NOT speak about a spiritual or physical resurrection of anyone . . . it is a resurrection of Israel and only Israel. The Lord GOD gave Ezekiel a vision for a very active parable and to do so He takes him to the valley of dead bones.
God Restores Dried Bones to Life (37:1-14)
Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, (KJV)
The hand of the LORD was upon me . . . the prophetic effect was transferred to Ezekiel.
And carried me out in the spirit . . . the LORD gave me in the spirit, a vision, in which all these things that follow were without a doubt performed.
The valley which was full of bones . . . this vision of the dry bones was intended, first, as a symbol of the then wretched state of the Jews; and second, of the general resurrection of the nation.
Ezekiel 37:2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. (KJV)
And caused me to pass by them round about . . . possibly several times around, so Ezekiel might take careful notice of the dry bones, of the number, their situation and their condition.
And, behold, there were very many in the open valley . . . as the Jews were many in captivity; and as they will be when they shall be converted; and as the number of Christians will be in the spiritual reign of Christ; and as the dead will be at the time of their resurrection, both of the just and unjust. See Resurrections: http://www.lastdaysprophecy.org/L_D_resurrection.htm
And, lo, they were very dry . . . because of how long they had lain there, exposed to wind and weather; the flesh being wholly consumed from off of them, and the marrow within quite dried up; so that there was no possibility or hope, of their being quickened. These dry bones are a suitable symbol of men in a state of sin, not renewed by faith in CHRIST (Rom.5:1-2), who have no spiritual life, but are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1); and have no sense of sin or danger; no strength to redeem, nor to regenerate themselves, or do nothing that is spiritually good; have no spiritual indication; no inward desires for GOD, no affection for Him; no lifting up of their heart to Him. All those without faith and love to CHRIST JESUS are lifeless, helpless and hopeless to GOD the Father!
Ezekiel 37:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. (KJV)
And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? . . . the LORD asks Ezekiel: is there any possibility these bones will live?
And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest . . . the prophet does not say that it was improbable and impossible; he knew it was not likely, or possible, that these bones would revive of themselves; and he knew that neither he nor any creature could quicken them; but he wisely refers it to an all-knowing and all-powerful GOD, Who knew what He could and would do. The conversion of sinners is not of themselves, nor of pastors, but only of GOD . . . it is only owing to His will and His power (Jn.1:13), nothing else can make it possible.
Ezekiel 37:4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. (KJV)
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones . . . this is sarcastic and even funny. I believe that GOD has a sense of humor, which is proven here. Can you imagine what Ezekiel thinks when GOD tells him: Prophesy on these bones? Ezekiel is looking out on this valley filled with dry bones, and he is told to speak to them. In every congregation, the preacher speaks to those who are saved and those who are not saved. Many who are saved may have ears to hear, but do not hear. The ones who are not saved are dead in trespasses and sins also have ears but the sermon goes in one ear and out the other! Many preachers today are just as helpless as Ezekiel, for any preacher who understands the real state and condition of those who are lost, recognizes he is helpless in speaking to them. Ezekiel is to say to these bones, GOD has something for you to hear.
And say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD . . . Ezekiel was to declare to his miserable countrymen the gracious plans of the LORD; to show them that their state, however deplorable, is not hopeless.
*****Ezekiel is commanded to prophesy upon these bones here in verse 4 and also in verse 9, and he is commanded to prophesy to the wind. So he prophesied just as he was commanded, see verses 7 and 10.
Ezekiel 37:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: (KJV)
Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones . . . the LORD speaks through His prophet, who was sent to prophesy over the dry bones.
Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live . . . breath indicates soul, breath and wind, and sometimes the Spirit of GOD. Breath is its proper meaning in this vision, where it refers to the bones: I will cause breath to enter into you, and none could do this but the living GOD, who breathed the breath of life into Adam at first (Gen.2:7), and he became a living soul; to which there seems to be an reference here; and when the LORD puts His Spirit into men, or bestows His grace on them, only then they shall live, and not till then.
Ezekiel 37:6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. (KJV)
And I will lay sinews upon you, and I will bring up flesh upon you . . . meaning before GOD would cause breath to enter into them; for although it is first mentioned, it is the last done, for this is the orderly process; first sinews are laid to join the bones together; then flesh is laid to cover them, and fill up all hollows, and form muscles to make the bones capable of motion.
And cover you with skin . . . cover bones, sinews and flesh with skin; for this is uppermost of all, and which makes the whole smooth and beautiful. Job expresses his formation in much such language, thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and has fenced me with bones and sinews (Job 10:11).
And put breath in you, and ye shall live . . . which is repeated for the confirmation of it.
And ye shall know that I am the LORD . . . the all-powerful Lord GOD, the LORD gracious and merciful, and their LORD and their GOD! When people are called by grace, they know the LORD, where they did not know Him before. Having an experience of His powerful and effective grace upon their hearts, they know Him to be theirs and own and acknowledge Him, and they proudly profess Him before men. Dear one, do NOT ever be ashamed of JESUS! Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (KJV) Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. (KJV)
Ezekiel 37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. (KJV)
So I prophesied as I was commanded . . . the prophet was not disobedient to His Master about the heavenly vision. He obeyed the commands and instructions given, and whatever was the result and success of them; that He left with the LORD. So too, Gospel preachers and teachers prophesy [bring the Word of God] or preach according to the commission given them, and leave the result of their work with the LORD.
And as I prophesied, there was a noise . . . some say this was the proclamation by Cyrus, giving the Jews leave to return to their own land (Ezra 1:1), but at the revival of the interest of CHRIST, a great voice will be heard from Heaven, saying to the witnesses, come up hither (Rev.11:12).
And behold a shaking . . . of the bones; a rattling among them, as may be considered must be where there is a tumbling of dry bones one over another, to get to their proper place.
And the bones came together, bone to his bone . . . so the Jews scattered up and down in the provinces of Babylon gathered together upon the proclamation of Cyrus, and went up in a body to their own land; as they will do also at the time of their conversion in the latter days (Hos.1:11).
*****So I prophesied as I was commanded . . . this man Ezekiel obeys GOD, and when he did, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to bone. This had to be an amazing sight for the prophet.
Ezekiel 37:8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. (KJV)
And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them . . . as Ezekiel watched, the bones began to come together in the shape of men, and there was a great body of them, as the Jews did when gathered together.
And the skin covered them above . . . and so looked remarkable and beautiful, as the proper form of men; as the Jews were enriched and protected by Cyrus.
But there was no breath in them . . . before the breath of life was breathed into it; there was no spirit in the Jews to return to their land, even though they had freedom, not until the LORD stirred up their spirits (Ezra 1:5), all this, in a spiritual sense, shows how far persons may go under short-term persuasions by the Word of GOD, and still not be TRUE Christians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.godcannotlie.org/true_children_of_god.htm
*****Consider, the first thing Ezekiel sees is the dead, dry bones that are scattered in the valley. Then they start to come together, with the sinews and flesh coming upon the bones. This is a process . . . it is not something that comes in a moment of time. So, at this point in the vision, all there is, is a bunch of bodies, actually corpses, because there was not yet any breath in them. Ezekiel no longer sees dry bones, but bodies with flesh upon them. They are human beings even, but they do not have any life in them.
Ezekiel 37:9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. (KJV)
Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind . . . before the prophet had prophesied to the bones, and over them; something was done, but there was no breath in them . . . so he is told a second time to prophesy, not to the bones this time, but to the wind, afterwards called breath; and may refer to the soul or breath of man re-entering the body, as at a resurrection, which causes it to live. It indicates the spirit of man, for the same word is used for the wind, breath and the spirit; and in the spiritual sense may be applied to the SPIRIT of GOD. If preachers and teachers prophesy or preach to any worthwhile purpose, it must be by the SPIRIT of GOD, both to assist them in their work, and to make their teachings effective . . . for without the help of the HOLY SPIRIT, no matter how many well educated professors may bring the Word of GOD, NOT one dead sinner will be quickened. It is only by the grace of the HOLY SPIRIT, that the Gospel converts sinners.
Prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind . . . preachers must not only preach, they must also pray for the SPIRIT to accompany them as they bring the Word with His power, and make it the savor of life. Prophesy unto the wind . . . Ezekiel was to address himself to the soul, and command it to enter into these well-organized bodies, that they may live (37:9).
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds . . . the Jews were to be brought from the different parts where they were, as they will be at their conversion in the latter day . . . so too, the LORD has a people in each of the parts of the world, that lie dead in sin, and must be quickened by the SPIRIT. Come from the four winds (37:9) . . . this expression reminds us of another saying, four corners of the earth (Isa.11:12; Rev.7:1).
O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live . . . breathe upon these slain, that they may live; although not slain with the sword, yet they are as dead men in a spiritual sense, who are slain by death, because in a spiritual sense, men are slain by sin, and are slain by the words of the LORD'S Mouth; killed with the law and it is only the SPIRIT of GOD that can give them life; and the breath or spirit here is applied by the SPIRIT of CHRIST (Rom.8:9), the MESSIAH by the ancient Jew.
Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (KJV)
So I prophesied as he commanded me . . . the first time Ezekiel prophesied to the bones (37:4), the second time he prophesied to the wind (37:9), just as he was told to do . . . and the result of it was,
And breath came into them . . . the spirit of courage came in the Jews, to go up to their own land; the Spirit of life from Christ, which will enter into the witnesses slain (Rev.11:11), and revive them; and into the Jews in the latter day, and convert them; and which enters into spiritually dead sinners, and quickens them . . . this the HOLY SPIRIT does while people hear the Gospel, the Word of GOD.
And they lived . . . as men do spiritually, when the SPIRIT OF GOD has produced a faith in CHRIST, which brings about spiritual life in them . . . they then live by faith in CHRIST, in union and fellowship with Him; giving them a wonderful newness of life.
And stood up upon their feet . . . a great army; similar to the Jews when they returned from the Babylon captivity; there were many, and in a position of defense; as they will be in the latter day, when converted (Hos.1:10), and as the number of the saints will be upon the first resurrection (Rev.7:9), so when men are quickened by the SPIRIT OF GOD, they stand upon their feet, because they stand in the grace of GOD, and on the One and Only Foundation, which is CHRIST JESUS! They stand firmly by faith in Him, and in the doctrine of faith, for they are in GOD’S family, secure against all their enemies. The Jews will be converted when the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in (Rom.11:25); and then they will be all gathered together at the Coming of Christ (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21).
*****Ezekiel spoke, and life came into those bodies. We must remember that the spirit of life comes only from GOD; He at first in the Creation breathed into man the breath of life (Gen.2:7), and so He will also do when we are resurrected. The disheartened captives were revitalized with a firmness to break through all the discouragements that lay in the way of their return and applied themselves to it with all possible strength. And then they stood on their feet, an very great army; not only living but effective men, fit for service in the wars and formidable to all that gave them any opposition. Let us never forget that with God all things are possible (Mat.19:26). He can out of stones raise up children unto Abraham (Mat.3:9), and out of dead and dry bones bring up a great army to fight His battles and plead His cause. What an awesome GOD we have!
The next verse explains the meaning of the vision.
Ezekiel 37:11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. (KJV)
Then he said unto me, Son of man . . . what follows explains and applies the above vision.
These bones are the whole house of Israel . . . the dry bones are a symbol of Israel, of their state and condition in the Babylon captivity, and too, of Israel in their present state . . . the whole of Israel while in a state of unregeneracy; meaning the ten tribes, as well as the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah, which returned from Babylon; and shows that respect is needed for something more than just restoration.
Behold, they say, our bones are dried . . . our bones are dried (Ps.141:7), explained by the LORD has forsaken me (Isa:49:14). Their national state is as hopeless of recovery, as marrow-less bones are of being enlivened.
And our hope is lost . . . of being delivered from the present captivity; or of the MESSIAH'S Coming; or of ever enjoying their own land, and of the Promises of those things made to them.
We are cut off for our parts . . . cut off from the land of Israel, having no hope of possessing it again. They felt as if it was all over with them, they felt lost and undone; all the expressions show the desperate and despairing condition Israel was in. There is nothing to give hope, they were like a withered branch cut off from a tree.
*****These bones represent the whole house of Israel, and show the depth of despair to which they are now reduced. They all had given themselves up as lost and gone; their bones are dried, their strength is drained, their spirits are down, their hope vanished. When troubles continue, hopes are often frustrated, and all creature-confidences fail, and it is not strange when spirits sink, for there is nothing but an active faith in the power, Promise, and providence of GOD that will keep them from dying away. Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. (KJV) . . . Let us, as the apostles did, pray that the LORD increase our faith!
Ezekiel 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (KJV)
Therefore prophesy, and say unto them . . . prophesy for their comfort, to revive their hope, and encourage their faith, in their distressed circumstances.
Thus saith the Lord GOD, behold, O my people . . . the Jews were His people still, and He had a covenant concern in them, and they in Him, and even though they were in such a low state of mind; the LORD wanted them to consider what Ezekiel says, He wanted them to be assured that the dry bones he had seen, and were miraculously revived, and standing up in power as a mighty host, so shall they do.
I will open your graves, and cause you to come out of your graves . . . the cities and prisons in Chaldea and other places; where they were confined and held captives, and out of which they could no more deliver themselves than a dead man by himself rise up out of his grave. This seems to be a symbol of the resurrection of the dead at the last day when they shall come forth out of their graves, some to the resurrection of life, and others to the resurrection of damnation (Dan.12:1-3), and of dead sinners, raised out of the graves of sin by the Voice of Christ and the power and effectiveness of the grace of GOD (Jn.5:25-29). And cause you to come up out of your graves . . . GOD is determined that Israel shall be restored.
And bring you into the land of Israel . . . to dwell in it, with no more being dispossessed of it; as they will not, any more, when once settled in it, upon their lifestyle in the latter day.
Ezekiel 37:13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, (KJV)
And ye shall know that I am the LORD . . . (37:6).
When I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves . . . which is doing that for them which none but the all-powerful GOD could do; and they seeing His Hand and power, His grace and mercy in it, will know, own and acknowledge Him. Then shall ye know that I am JEHOVAH (Ex.6:3; Ps.83:18; Isa.12:2; 26:4).
Ezekiel 37:14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live . . . not only a spirit of courage to go up into their own land, and live a comfortable life there; but the SPIRIT OF GOD, as the SPIRIT of grace and supplication, of truth and holiness, of faith; and as a spirit of life, having produced a principle of life in them, and so should live spiritually and soberly, righteously and godly (36:27).
And I shall place you in your own land . . . the Lord GOD would settle them there in peace and quietness, in safety and security, so they could enjoy all the mercies and privileges, both temporal and spiritual.
Then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD . . . all this was a Promise of GOD, foretold by Him, told to them by His prophets, and now fully accomplished precisely; which they would observe with wonder and thankfulness, and give Him the glory of it.
ALL Israel Represented As Enjoying the Blessings of CHRIST's Kingdom (37:15-28)
Prophecy of the two joined sticks was a kind of parable, in which the ultimate union of the two nations of ancient Israel was foretold. Ezekiel evidently prepared these two sticks and then united them in the presence of the people, who were of course accustomed to this type of symbolical behavior on the part of Ezekiel. This led to the question they immediately asked him.
We are not told how Ezekiel did this, there is no kind of miraculous joining of the sticks indicated in the text.
The meaning of the prophecy is clear. It foretells the eventual reunion of Ephraim and Judah, the Northern Israel and the Southern Israel, Samaria and Jerusalem under one king, thus healing the long breach that had begun in the days of Rehoboam who succeeded Solomon.
Ezekiel 37:15 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, (KJV)
The word of the LORD came unto me again . . . very soon after Ezekiel had the above vision of the dry bones, and the explanation of it.
Ezekiel 37:16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: (KJV)
Moreover, thou son of man take thee one stick . . . a stick of wood; or a board or plank.
And write upon it . . . the following words:
For Judah, and the children of Israel his companions . . . for the tribe of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin, which joined together, and as many of the other tribes which joined them, meaning the righteous of the rest of the tribes, who would not give into the idolatry of Jeroboam, made up one kingdom. See: Special Comments, Chapter 19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.judgmentcoming.org/book_of_ezekiel_ch19.htm
Then take another stick . . . like the first one,
And write upon it . . . these words:
For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions . . . for the tribe of Ephraim, and the other nine tribes, which made up one kingdom. It should be observed, that in the times of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, there was a division in the kingdom of Israel; ten tribes revolted from him, and only the two whole tribes of Judah and Benjamin continued with him; and from that time to the captivity, and even during that, it seems there were non-stop hostilities and bickering between the two kingdoms, because of both of their political and religious matters, especially the religious ones; and a union between the two kingdoms seems to be a symbol to indicate, as will in the future happen. Jeroboam, the first king of the ten tribes, was of the tribe of Ephraim; and Samaria was the capital of that kingdom, so Ephraim often stands for all the ten tribes, for the kingdom of Israel, as opposing that of Judah. Writing words on sticks or rods seems to be a reference to what was done (Num.17:2).
***** Judah and Ephraim [both divisions of Israel], were both called Israel, and they all were called Israelites. The two divided kingdoms were called Judah and Ephraim. The symbol here is the taking of two sticks, writing on them the names of the two divisions of the kingdom of Israel, and joining them together in his hand as one stick (37:16-18). This symbolizes that both divisions of Israel will become one nation again, in the latter days, upon the mountains of Israel, as they had been before the division in the days of Rehoboam and Jeroboam (1Ki.11-12). They will then be one nation forever under the MESSIAH (37:19-28).
Ezekiel 37:17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (KJV)
And join them one to another into one stick . . . clap the sticks, planks or boards together, or tables, glue them together, or set them so close to one another, that they may seem as one stick, plank or board.
And they shall become one in thine hand . . . they shall look as if they are one. Some think they really became one by means of a miracle done; there really is no need to suppose this; it seems to me, that this was so. GOD can do miracles. It does not matter how GOD did it, the two sticks became one in Ezekiels’ hand.
Ezekiel 37:18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? (KJV)
And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying . . . the children of Israel and Judah in captivity, were the people Ezekiel was sent to here as a prophet; who seeing him take two sticks, and write on them, and then join them together, would naturally have a question for him:
Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? . . . when they heard what the prophet said, they knew there had to be a meaning to it, they knew that it was not a simple childish diversion and amusement . . . so they wanted to know what it was that he wanted them to do.
*****Ezekiel 37:18-23, are some of the things Ezekiel is to respond to those who ask what is meant by all this:
#1. The signs and words are from the LORD.
#2. Both Ephraim and Judah will become one in the hands of the LORD.
#3. The LORD will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone.
#4. The LORD will bring them back to their own land.
#5. He will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.
#6. There will be one King over all of them.
#7. They will never again be a divided nation.
#8. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, vile images, or with any of their offenses.
#9. The LORD will save them from all their sinful backsliding.
#10. The LORD will cleanse them.
#11. They will be His people, and the LORD will be their GOD.
The uniting of the kingdoms of Israel is symbolized by the joining of two sticks, when He brings the people of Israel back into their land in the latter days, when they again shall be one nation. They will no longer be divided into the northern and southern tribes, as during the days of King Rehoboam, nor will they ever defile themselves with idols or any other form of transgression (37:21-23). Then the nation of Israel will know the LORD their GOD, and the LORD will be their GOD, have been consistent and repeated statements in these few chapters in Ezekiel. There will be a total spiritual and physical adjustment between the LORD and His people, the LORD with the land, and the people with the land.
Ezekiel 37:19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. (KJV)
Say unto them, thus saith the Lord GOD . . . what follows is the explanation of the sign or symbol.
Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows . . . meaning the kingdom of Israel which consists of the ten tribes, of which Ephraim was the chief.
And will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah . . . with the kingdom of Judah.
And make them one stick . . . these two kingdoms will again be one kingdom.
And they shall be one in my hand . . . in CHRIST the Shepherd, the Hand and Arm of the LORD. They shall be one nation, secure under His care, His government and His protection, as after explained: this had in part, and as a shadow of what was to come, its fulfilment upon the Jews' return from Babylon. When many from the ten tribes, as well as the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, become one nation and one kingdom under ONE Prince, after the Coming of Christ (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21). This is chiefly meant as a symbol of the union of all the Jews together, when they shall be converted in the latter day; when they shall join together in seeking the LORD, and David, their King, the MESSIAH; who shall be the one King over them, and when all hostilities shall cease, both among them, and among all the spiritual Israel of GOD in general (Isa.11:13).
Ezekiel 37:20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. (KJV)
And the sticks whereon thou writest . . . or are about to write the above things, according to order and direction.
Shall be in thine hand before their eyes . . . shall be held up to them so they can look at them for some time, and see the that the two sticks are joined together; and learn and remember what is meant by this symbol; and feel secure that what is hereafter said as a further explanation of it shall certainly be fulfilled.
Ezekiel 37:21 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: (KJV)
And say unto them, thus saith the Lord GOD . . . the Targum says, thou shalt prophesy to them; What follows is a prophecy of what shall be in the latter day.
Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the Heathen, whither they be gone . . . or from among the Gentiles; not only the Chaldeans, where they were carried captives; but from among the nations where they are now dispersed, and among whom they go freely of their own accord from place to place. Whither they be gone, or are traveling about from one country to another, which better describes the present Jews, and their state, than those in the Babylonian captivity.
And will gather them on every side . . . gather them from the several parts of the world where they are.
And bring them into their own land . . . the land of Canaan, given by the LORD to their fathers, and to them their posterity, for an inheritance; although now in the possession of others, who, it seems, are not the right owners.
*****They shall be one in their return out of captivity. I will take them from among the heathen, and gather them on every side, and bring them together incorporated into one body to their own land. They shall be one in their separation from the heathen with whom they had mingled themselves: they shall both agree to part from them, and not have affections for them. They will agree to join together in walking according to GOD'S Word.
God's loving them all was a good reason why they should love one another. Times of common joy, as well as times of common suffering, should be healing and loving times. They shall all be the subjects of one King, and so they shall become one. The Jews, after their return, were under one government, and not divided as formerly. But this certainly looks much further, to the Kingdom of CHRIST; He is that one King in allegiance to whom all GOD'S spiritual Israel shall cheerfully unite, and under whose protection they shall all be gathered. All believers unite in one LORD, one faith, and one baptism (Eph.4:5). And the uniting of Jews and Gentiles in the Gospel church (Gal.3:26-29), their becoming one fold under CHRIST the one great Shepherd (Heb.13:20), and is no doubt the union that is mainly considered in this prophecy. By CHRIST and partition-wall between them was taken down, and the hatred slain, and of the two was made one new man (Eph.2:14-15).
Ezekiel 37:22 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: (KJV)
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel . . . as they were in the times of David and Solomon, who were both types of the MESSIAH; and to whose times is referred this prophecy by the ancient Jews, as then to have its accomplishment. Only when the Beloved, the Peace-maker, the MESSIAH shall be King, and on His throne exercising His kingly power, they shall be once more be one again.
And one king shall be king to them all . . . one king, the King predicted here will be David, who will be over all the tribes of Israel in their national restoration under the MESSIAH. This is very clear in verses 24 and 25, and also (Eze.34:23-24; Jer.30:9; Hos.3:5). CHRIST will be King of kings and Lord of lords over David and all other earthly kings in eternity, and over all the resurrected kings and priests (Rev.19:16).
And they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all . . . which is the symbol of the two sticks made one. No more two nations; the union under the MESSIAH'S visible and actual exercise of His royal power shall be perpetual.
*****They shall again be one nation. They shall have no separate interests and no divided affections. There shall be no shared distrusts and hostilities, no remembrance, no remains of their former conflict. There shall be perfect harmony between them, a good understanding one of another, a good disposition to each other, and willing to do all good things for each another’s comfort. Instead of two sticks hating and upsetting one another, beating and bruising one another . . . now they shall become one, supporting and strengthening one another. It will be so good to see Judah and Israel that had long been at variance, now dwelling together in unity. Only then shall they become acceptable to their GOD, kind to their friends, and difficult to their enemies (Isa.11:13-14).
They shall be one in GOD'S Hand; and by His power they shall be united, and being brought together by His Hand, His Hand shall keep them together, so that they shall not be separated again. They shall be one in His Hand, for His glory, they shall be the center of unity and His grace shall be glue of it. In regard to His service and worship, they shall unite, and so shall become one. Both sides shall totally agree to put themselves into His Hand so they can be one. Those are always best united that are one in GOD'S Hand, because that union with each other comes from their union with CHRIST and their fellowship with GOD through His Son (Eph.1:10).
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (KJV)
Ezekiel 37:23 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 dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. (KJV)
Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols . . . defile themselves, idolatry is a very polluting sin, and the Jews in both kingdoms were very addicted to it, so stubborn in it, to the utter ruin of both kingdoms; but after the return from Babylon captivity, we find nowhere that they fell to idolatry. Their idols: it may refer to the heathen idols that they worshipped; or to the Jew’s own idols, with which they shall no more be defiled.
With their dung . . . meaning their dunghill gods; either the idols of the Gentiles, or their own. After their return from the Babylon captivity, the Jews were no more addicted to idolatry; and the image worship of the Papists is an abhorrence to them to this day, and a big stumbling block to them in their embracing TRUE Christianity. But when they are effectively called and converted to CHRIST; they will no more have any desire for idols, the works of their own hands; or to the idol of their own righteousness, which they have set up, and have gone about to establish, for they will then see it to be as filthy rags (Isa.64:6), defiling them, instead of justifying them. They shall no more defile themselves with it; but seek the righteousness of CHRIST (1 Cor.1:30), which is the only thing that justifies from all sin, and renders them pure and spotless in the sight of GOD.
Nor with their detestable things . . . detestable = abominable, offensive, terrible. They chose traditions of the elders (Mat.15:9; Gal.1:14) over the Word of GOD, and made that the rule of their faith, worship and lifestyle; which had made them detestable to GOD. Their detestable things aretheir idols which show the dreadfulness of their sin.
Nor with any of their transgressions . . . especially their disbelief of CHRIST and their blasphemy against Him; nor shall they indulge themselves in those sins which now prevail among them, such as pride, covetousness, uncleanness, fraud and deceiving in their trade and commerce. Their transgressions . . . the former stubborn, bold, daring transgressions that they defiled themselves with (36:25; 11:17-18).
But I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned . . . as wherever they dwell they do; for they are notorious for their wickedness, for ALL people are sinners (Rom.3:10, 23); but GOD will bring them out of all those places where they have lived in sin, and also followed the example of others. GOD will save them and He will bring them safely out of the places where they were. Wherein they have sinned . . . where out of fear or bad choice they sinned, as did the heathen with whom they dwelt.
And will cleanse them . . . by sprinkling clean water upon them; by applying the Blood of CHRIST to them (1 Pet.1:18-19), which cleanses from all sin (36:25). Will cleanse them . . . both sanctify [set them apart] and make them holy, and justify and pardon them (36:29).
So they shall be my people, and I will be their God . . . the Loammi (Hos.1:9) will be taken off, and the covenant of grace shall be renewed with them, and made clear to them; and the blessings and Promises shall be applied to them, and particularly this (Jer.31:1, 33). My people: (11:20; 37:23, 27). . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.judgmentcoming.org/hos_ch1.htm
*****It is here promised that the Jews shall by their captivity be cured of their desire to worship idols. This will be the happy fruit of that affliction, the taking away of their sin (36:23). They shall not defile themselves any more with their detestable, defiling idols, nor any of their former transgressions. One thing we must consider, when a person is SINCERE about their sin, and casts it away, all their other sins are also abandoned . . . for anyone who truly hates sin, will hate ALL sin.
Two ways God will take to cure them of their idolatry:
#1. Taking them out of the way of temptation to it (Isa.52:11; Jer.51:45; Zec.2:7; 2 Cor.6:17; Rev.18:4). It is a great mercy when GOD, in His wisdom, brings us out of the dwelling-places where we have sinned, saving us and keeping us from damage by keeping us out of harm's way. It is an answer to our prayer, Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Mat.6:13).
#2. Changing their minds, for GOD shall cleanse them (36:28) and sanctify them He will place in them a hatred to the pollutions of sin and a satisfaction in the pleasures of holiness, and then they will not defile themselves any more with their idols. All those whom GOD has cleansed, He will keep clean. Once you are GOD’S child, you are GOD’S child forever! He does not invite you into His family, and when you sin, throw you out into the devil’s family (1 Jn.3:10). Once saved, always saved.
Ezekiel 37:24 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. (KJV)
And David my servant shall be king over them . . . David (34:23-24). It is JESUS, the Son of David, who was also his LORD that is intended (Mat.22:44-45) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.godcannotlie.org/matthew_ch22.htm My Servant, the MESSIAH, in His mediatory office, is GOD'S Servant and our Saviour.
Over them . . . over their hearts where He shall rule there in spiritual way.
And they all shall have one shepherd . . . or one king, the same as before: kings are called shepherds (34:23). One shepherd . . . this King shall be a Shepherd that feeds . . . not fleeces, the flock. There is only ONE Chief Shepherd, others that feed and rule the flock are shepherds by commission from the King, the Chief Shepherd (1 Per.5:4).
They shall also walk in my judgments, and keep my statutes, and do them . . . not the statutes and ordinances of the ceremonial law, which are abolished (Rom.6:14; Heb.9:15); and which the Jews, when converted, shall have no regard unto; but instead the teachings of the moral law, and mainly the ordinances of baptism and the LORD'S supper; in which they shall walk in, and attend to with faithfulness and pleasure. They shall also walk . . . this declares their duty, foretelling of the event, and promises ability and assistance to keep the holy commandments of GOD. The Kingdom of CHRIST is that which by law and guideline commands righteousness, and which by grace and power strengthens its subjects to do this. This prophesied event is certain, and it is His free grace makes holy lives in the latter days and also in today’s world. New covenant: (36:26-27).
*****That ONE Shepherd is none other than the Lord JESUS CHRIST. When He came, He was born in the line of David (Mat.1; Lk.1 & 2). Both Gospels clearly record that JESUS came in the line of David. JESUS is the One that came in that line is the Shepherd, the TRUE Shepherd, and He will rule over them.
It is here promised that they shall be the people of GOD, and as their GOD, they shall be the subjects and sheep of CHRIST their King and Shepherd. These Promises are here repeated to encourage the faith of Israel. They shall be GOD’S people, to serve Him, and He shall be their GOD, He shall save them and make them happy. David, My servant, shall be King over them, to fight their battles, to protect them from injury, and to rule them, and overruling all things that concern them for their good. He shall be their Shepherd, guiding and providing for them. CHRIST is this David [my servant], Israel's King of old; and those whom He urges to Himself, and makes willing in the day of His power, He gives power to walk in His judgments and to keep His laws.
Ezekiel 37:25 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. (KJV)
And they shall dwell in the land which I have given to Jacob my servant . . . Abraham and Isaac are not mentioned, because they had other children, who did not inherit the land. Jacob alone is mentioned, because the land was given to him, and his seed alter him. The land that I have given unto Jacob my servant . . . Jacob here refers to the twelve tribes; and the land given to them was the whole land of Palestine; so the Promise states that, when they return, they are to possess the whole of the Promised Land. Forever: (Isa.60:21; Joel 3:20; Amos 9:15) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.hisservants.org/israel_promised_land_h_s.htm
Wherein your fathers have dwelt . . . and so it is all the more desirable to them; and whose inhabitation and possession of it was a promise to them.
And they shall dwell therein, even they and their children, and their children's children for ever . . . unto the end of the world, or personal Return of CHRIST: and so everything after promised to them is said to be forever: this shows that this prophecy had not had its accomplishment in the return of the Jews from Babylon to their own land. Since they have been dispossessed of that again, in which state they are now; but this refers to a time to come, when being converted to CHRIST, they shall possess their land again, and dwell in it, as long as the sun and moon rises and sets.
And my servant David shall be their prince for ever . . . this cannot be understood of any temporal prince, but of the King MESSIAH, whose throne is for ever and ever . . . whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom; and who shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever and ever (Ps.45:6). The MESSIAH was often called David because He is David's descendant. David was a good king, a very good king, but the MESSIAH would be the perfect King (Rev.17:14; 19:1:16).
*****During the Millennial reign of CHRIST (37:24-25), it is indicated that David will be resurrected and again serve the LORD as King over Israel. There seems to be some debate if David will actually rule or if this is just symbolic of the Lord JESUS who is in the line of David will rule. It may very well be that the former will be true, that David will ascend to his throne over Israel, mainly because of the parceling of the land of the future Israel during the Millennial reign of CHRIST. But, the LORD will rule the world as shown in Psalms 2:
#1. The nation of Israel will follow the LORD’S laws.
#2. Israel will carefully keep His decrees.
#3. Israel will live in the land that the LORD gave to Jacob (Gen.23:13-15).
#4. Israel will live in the land forever, for all the succeeding generations.
#5. David will be their prince forever.
Ezekiel 37:26 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. (KJV)
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them . . . so the covenant of grace is called (Isa.54:10), one main object of which is peace and reconciliation made between GOD and His people by the precious Blood of CHRIST (1 Pet.1:18-19), agreed on in that covenant, from where it has its name. Now here it indicates that this covenant would be made known to the converted Jews, and their interest in it; in virtue of which they shall see that peace is made for them by the Blood of CHRIST; and they shall have a true conscience of peace in themselves, through that Blood of the covenant being sprinkled upon them; and would be at complete peace with converted Gentiles (Gal.3:26-29), and even with their worst enemies, enjoying all kinds of prosperity, temporal and spiritual.
It shall be an everlasting covenant with them . . . the covenant [agreement, pledge] will not grow old, nor go away, as the old covenant did; under which they were before the Coming of CHRIST (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21), which was exhibited in types and shadows, legal sacrifices and carnal ordinances. GOD will always have a covenant people among them from this time to the end of the world; so that a Loammi (Hos.1:9) shall no more be written upon them.
And I will place them, and multiply them . . . that is, place them in their own land, and increase their number there. He will give them a place in their land, and every blessing temporal and spiritual. The Targum says: I will bless them, and multiply them.
And will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore . . . not a physical Temple (Rev.21:22), but His Word and His spiritual Presence with them (Rev.21:23-24), and which shall continue forever.
*****Temporal mercies are doubly sweet when they come from the Promise of the covenant, and not merely from common providence. The land was the inheritance of their ancestors, and therefore shall be theirs. They are beloved for their fathers' sakes. They shall dwell therein forever, and never be turned out of it, and they shall leave it for an inheritance to their children and their children's children forever, who shall enjoy it when they are gone, the prospect of which will be a satisfaction to them. They shall live under a good government, which will contribute much to their comfort. My servant David shall be their prince forever. This can be none other than CHRIST JESUS, of whom it was said, when He was brought into the world. Luke 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (KJV)
It is truly unspeakable comfort of all CHRIST'S faithful subjects that, since His Kingdom is everlasting, so too, He is an everlasting King, who lives to reign forever. The agreement by which they hold all their privileges is unassailable. GOD'S covenant with them shall be an everlasting covenant; as the covenant of grace is, for it secures to us an everlasting happiness. We have a wonderful GOD!
Ezekiel 37:27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (KJV)
My tabernacle also shall be with them . . . tabernacle is the symbol of His Presence: the meaning is, that He shall dwell in them by His Spirit (Rom.8:9) and grace; and every one of them shall be the Temple of the living GOD (Rom.12:1), in whom He will walk and dwell.
Yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . (37:23), which is repeated for the confirmation of it.
Ezekiel 37:28 And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. (KJV)
And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel . . . heathen or Gentiles, the converted Gentiles, shall observe and take notice of the gracious wisdom of GOD with His people the Jews; that He calls them with a holy calling; imbeds principles of grace and holiness in them; separates and consecrates them for His service, and enables them to walk in a holy, sober and righteous way.
When my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore . . . when His worship shall be set up among them; the Gospel of CHRIST shall be preached unto them, and shall be received by them; and His ordinances administered unto them; and which shall continue until the Second Coming of CHRIST (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21).
*****This shall come to pass, although it has not yet happened. When GOD’S sanctuary [Presence] shall be in the midst of them for evermore. In Revelation where it speaks of there not being a Temple, it is referring to the New Jerusalem, which is where the church will be and which is not to be upon this Earth. The eternal home of the children of Israel will be upon this Earth, and GOD'S Temple will be there in their midst. Although there is no doubt that Israel is the subject of Ezekiel, and especially of chapters 37 - 39, we can certainly make an application of it for our personal lives. Today’s world that we live in is a valley, full of dead bones, spiritually dead people. http://www.hisservants.org/death_then_what_1.1.htm
People talk about being alive and say they are where the action is, but they are really dead in trespasses and sins. They have NO spiritual life. That is why they must have to have a drink or two, or take some sort of drugs, or do something to make them THINK they are alive.
God has made it very clear: 1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (KJV) . . . IF you have the Son of GOD, you have life. IF you do NOT have the Son of GOD, you are spiritually dead. There are two kinds of people: live people and dead people. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (KJV) . . . This means that the person without the Son of GOD [JESUS] is dead. God is very clearly saying that you are spiritually dead to Him if you are not a TRUE Christian. You must hear, or read the Word of the LORD, and accept CHRIST JESUS as your Saviour and LORD. This is what we today must apply from this portion of Scripture . . . while the subject of the prophecy is for the nation of Israel.
The complete purpose of CHRIST'S Millennial reign over the world will be that the entire world will know that the Lord GOD has sanctified the children of Israel and that His sanctuary [Presence] is among them (Ps.2:1-12; Eze.37:26-28. This is a permanent relationship that will last on through future eternity. The LORD'S tabernacle will always be within them, and the relationship between the LORD and His people will not ever be changed. He will dwell with His people. The LORD will make a covenant of peace with His people where:
#1. It will be an everlasting covenant of peace (34:25-30).
#2. He will establish them.
#3. He will increase their numbers (Hos.1:10-11).
#4. He will put His sanctuary among them forever (Eze.40-48).
#5. The LORD’S dwelling place will be with them.
#6. He will be their GOD, and they His people.
#7. The complete purpose will be that the entire world will know that the LORD has sanctified the children of Israel and that His sanctuary is among them.
Book of Ezekiel
Eze.Ch.1 . . Eze.Ch.2 . . Eze.Ch.3. . Eze.Ch.4 . . Eze.Ch.5 . . Eze.Ch.6 . . Eze.Ch.7 . . Eze.Ch.8 . . Eze.Ch.9 . . Eze.Ch.10 . . Eze.Ch.11 . . Eze.Ch.12 . . Eze.Ch.13 . . Eze.Ch.14. . Eze.Ch.15 . . Eze.Ch.16 . . Eze.Ch.17 . . Eze.Ch.18 . . Eze.Ch.19 . . Eze.Ch.20 . . Eze.Ch.21 . . Eze.Ch.22 . . Eze.Ch.23 . . Eze.Ch.24 . . Eze.Ch.25 . . Eze.Ch.26 . . Eze.27 . . Eze.28 . . Eze.29 . . Eze.30 . . Eze.31 . . Eze.32 . . Eze.33 . . Eze.34 . . Eze.35 . . Eze.36 . . Eze.37 . . Eze.38 . . Eze.39 . . Eze.40 . . Eze.41 . . Eze.42 . . Eze.43 . . Eze.44 . . Eze.45 . . . Eze.46 . . . Eze.47 . . . Eze.48 . . . Eze. Millennial Temple . . . Eze.Special Comments . . . Eze.What is Shekinah Glory? . . . Home Page