Yesterday’s reading ended with the Lord promising one day to restore the land – “So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited’” (Ezekiel 36:35).
Today the Lord promises to revive the people spiritually. He illustrates this promise by giving Ezekiel a vision of a valley full of dry bones. Then the Lord says to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.’”
So just as the Lord breathed life into Adam in the garden of Eden and he became a living man, the Lord also brought life into these dry bones by speaking breath into them. It’s the power of His word that brought life. Then the Lord says that these bones represent the house of Israel which is spiritually dead and hopeless. However, the Lord gives them a word of hope – “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it.”
God also has Ezekiel take two sticks, representing Judah and Israel, and bind them together as an illustration that He will one day bind the nations together under a new covenant. This restoration will be much greater than the restoration that will occur after the Jews return from exile in Babylon. The Lord promises that they will be one under one King and under one covenant, a covenant of peace – “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”
Then the Lord gives Ezekiel a vision of the future with a message for Gog and Magog. There are differing views over what this message exactly means. Ezekiel’s description here is similar to what we will read at the end of the story in the Book of Revelation, when John is describing the Great Tribulation. It will be a time of awful calamity, but God has promised that He will have ultimate victory over all of His enemies. Then the earthly Eden, described at the beginning of this story in the Book of Genesis, will be restored as a heavenly Eden at the end of this story, as described in the Book of Revelation – “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:1).
We end the reading with Ezekiel warning Pharaoh, king of Egypt, of their future destruction. We will read more about the fate of Egypt tomorrow, so keep reading. (Ezekiel 37:1-39:29, Ezekiel 32:1-16)