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Bible: What Does Ezekiel 35-37 Teach Us About Israel's Restoration and Salvation?
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Judgment on Seir (Edom)
God announces both His displeasure with Mount Seir (Edom) and His intention to make its cities desolate (vv. 1-4; cf. 25:12-14).
Its age-long animosity toward Israel, through which it shed much blood, destined it to suffer a similar fate by the sword; death will consume it everywhere (vv. 5-9).
In response to Seir's hateful avarice against Israel, Yahweh promises judgment (vv. 10-11).
Regarding Israel as easy plunder, Edom has forgotten that the LORD has heard their blasphemy, their disregard for Him, and their thoughts (vv. 12-13).
The whole region's desolation will bring joy to the "earth" (vv. 14-15).
The refrain "Then they shall know that I am the LORD" completes the section.
The Mountains of Israel
Yahweh commands Ezekiel to prophesy against the "mountains of Israel" (v. 1).
As Lord of creation, He purposes to inform the nation in a colorful way that their environment will once again become alive.
Despite the contentions and opposition of their enemies (vv. 2-5), Israel's mountains will witness Edom and others "bear their own shame" (vv. 6-7).
God's gracious work of blessing will fall upon them, causing Israel to produce super-abundantly; the land will become more prosperous than ever before.
These events will prove that He is active in their midst (vv. 8-11).
Israel's mountains, which once devoured men and bereaved the nation of her children, will no longer do so (vv. 12-15).
[The text does not explicitly state how the "mountains" accomplished these terrible things, but it suggests ritual child-sacrifice].
Her constant, past iniquity in the land notwithstanding, Israel benefits from God's favor.
After dispersing His people throughout the countries (where they proceeded to profane His name by idolatry), Yahweh will bring them back to the land (thereby showing them grace and mercy) in order to preserve His reputation (vv. 16-24).
There He will perform upon them acts of
(1) cleansing (v. 25),
(2) regeneration (v. 26),
(3) renewal to obedience by the Holy Spirit (v. 27),
(4) restoration to covenant fellowship in the land (v. 28),
(5) deliverance from unclean deeds (v. 29), and
(6) agricultural fruitfulness (v. 30).
All these works He will accomplish for His name's sake and to shame Israel for his sin (vv. 31-32).
Israel's cleansing yields a socio-economic miracle (vv. 33-36).
Not only does God's work in their lives accomplish this feat, but it will convince the nations to acknowledge that Yahweh accomplished it all.
The saved nation's prayer issues in an age of abundant prosperity and numerical growth (vv. 37-38).
The Vision of the Dry Bones
The Dry Bones
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Ezekiel reintroduces an anthropomorphism he employed in earlier visions: the hand of the LORD (see also 1:3; 3:14; 8:1).
Through the power of that "Hand," the prophet finds himself in a valley amid dry bones, a symbol he learns later to be referring to the house of Israel (vv. 2, 11).
Notice the bones lay exposed; the valley is their "gravesite," so to speak. However, this passage does not refer to the physical resurrection of Israel.
The recombination of her parts into a whole nation again must have appeared to Ezekiel as a feat that only God could accomplish; thus, his answer to the LORD's question appears in verse three.
Yahweh reveals His plan to do just that to these bones; through Ezekiel's word, He puts His miracle into action (vv. 4-8).
Israel's physical restoration takes place, but the body has no life until the prophet speaks to the "breath" to breathe on the slain of Israel's army, i.e., the dry bones (vv. 9-10).
The immediate context indicates that God intended first to bring the nation together physically.
Once separated from their Land, Israel would return physically to it; God would later regenerate her to make her alive spiritually, too (vv. 11-14).
Yahweh will join two physical entities to create one; specifically, Judah stick and Joseph stick become Israel stick (vv. 15-17).
This lesson of eventual unity answers the inquiries of Israel's children (vv. 18-20).
Their regathering into a unified, monarchical kingdom, sanctified in a covenant relationship with the LORD, is the message of the “sticks" (vv. 21-23).
Delivering godly service to one king, "David," dwelling quietly in the land under his leadership, and faithfully adhering to God's covenant of peace (which entails the presence of His sanctuary and tabernacle in their midst) will characterize restored Israel in those millennial days.
Gentile nations will also recognize that the LORD has blessed His people (vv. 24-28).
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