KNOWING GOD IN HIS GLORY

The Promise Of Restoration

Ezekiel 35-36

Jerry A Collins

SCC

 

ō   Is there a future for the nation of Israel?

ō   How will God treat His people when He brings them back?

ō   What does God say He will do to Israelís enemies?

 

I recently took a leisurely stroll through our yard with a cup of coffee. It was especially refreshing since I had not done that for weeks. I had mowed through it a couple of times hardly paying attention to the flowers, the color, the scenery, the butterflies or bees, just hurrying to get the grass cut before my next item. This time, though, I purposely and casually walked and looked around and it restored my soul. Busy, responsible, scheduling, planning, beginning, answering, watching, preparing, correcting, had displaced me. There was a need for restoration and I had finally found it.

††††† Israel will too. Judged by God, pounced upon by her enemies, Israelís collapse, her demise as a nation, her rebellion and now her destruction had brought a humiliating end. The enemies God has used to bring her down refused to recognize her God and instead had ridiculed her, inflicted her and now greedily possessed her. But God says Israel is due for a walk in her garden. God says Israel will be restored. Not all is lost. Times of refreshing are coming. Ezekiel tells us about this in 35-36.

1. WHEN GOD RESTORES ISRAEL HE WILL JUDGE HER ENEMIES 35

Ezekiel has already givena prophecy against Edom (25:12-14) so why place this here in the midst of a prophesy of Israelís future restoration? The most likely answer is that part of her restoration is the destruction of her enemies. Edom is a prototype of all Israelís enemies. The point here is not that Edom ( to the west) is judged for her sin generally but specifically it is her hatred for Israel which in itself is a sin which God promised to judge (Gen 12:3). Four times God describes this country as Mount Seir which is a mountainous region similar to Israel. These Edomites descended from Esau and recently joined with the Babylonians in 585BC in killing Jewish refugees (v 5) and grabbing some of the land (v 10). God accuses them of (1) deep seated hatred v 5 (2) slaughter v 5ff (3) taking over the land from both Israel & Judah v 10 (4) envy v 11 (5) blasphemed Israels God v 13. Here we learn that there are no secrets. God knows everything going on. Everything that is said. 3 times God remarks that then they will know that I am the Lord (9, 12, 15). They will only come to terms with God by means of judgment. Judgment promotes knowledge! Both Israel and her enemies come to know God that way! Israel was scattered and Edom disappeared. So their judgment is part of the restoration of Israel and an example of how God will judge all of Israelís enemies.

††††† Now God has a message for the mountains of Israel 36:1. In vs 1-15 God says 5 things to the mountains & valleys of the land of Israel. He is addressing the mountains and the rest of the physical land (Deut 11:10-12) while we, along with Israel, can only listen as bystanders while God addresses this land. Then in 16-21 He speaks to Ezekiel repeating His reason for scattering Israel best summarized in vs 19. Finally in 22-37 God addresses Israel and says their restoration is something He is going to do for Himself.

2. THE PHYSICAL LAND OF ISRAEL WILL BE RESTORED

God says 5 things here.

(1) God was justified for dispersing His people and leaving them a desolate land vs 3. I take it that it was their sins that was the good cause for their judgment tho not specifically mentioned here.

(2) God says it is my nature to restore you vs 4-6. The fire of his jealousy for His people 5 & His just anger toward the ridicule they now endure and continue to do so.

(3) God says their land will once again will be replenished and prosperous. The difference between the condemnation of Israels & the condemnation of her enemies is that Israel will be restored and her people preserved! Her enemies who have plundered, hounded, slandered, rejoiced over and have had malice will shrivel and disappear.

(4) God says you will see the multiplication of the people of Israel vs 10-14. The people of Israel will flourish. (5) God says he will remove Israels reproach. The mockery, humiliation, taunts and scorn they have been forced to endure for generations will cease vs 13-15. Israel will have prestige again. This land and her people God guarantees to prosper and it will be a permanent arrangement. her inheritance as a nation will be secure and her land will never again be deprived of her children and future vs 13-14.

3. ISRAELS SINFUL PAST CONTRASTS STARKLY WITH GODS FUTURE GRACE

In 16-21 God speaks to Ezekiel and repeats His reason for scattering the people. Their defiling of the land with bloodshed and idolatry had removed them. There should be mistake about that. They deserved what had happened to them. But they will not deserve what God is going to do for them! The blackness of their past will contrast starkly with the light of Godís future grace upon them. We do not deserve any of Godís grace in our lives either!

4. GOD WILL RESTORE THE NATION BECAUSE HIS CHARACTER IS AT STAKE

The fact of Israelís future restoration seemed so remote after her fall to Babylon that God placed the emphasis upon His personal character rather than circumstances as the basis for the fulfillment he promised. Other nations viewed the sovereign God thru the actions of Israel vs 22-23. Israel had no intrinsic value prompting God to act but only His character shown in His justice when punishing Israel and in His grace when he restores her. He lists 8 things he will do:

(1) I will cleanse you from filthiness and idolatry vs 25.

(2) I will give you a new spirit and heart changing the thinking and motivation26.

(3) I will put my Spirit in you providing energy to obey Gods Word vs 27.

(4) You will live in the land so its not the church or heaven but Millennial kingdom on earth vs 28.

(5) I will not bring famine on you s the land will produce abundantly.

(6) You will repent when she recognizes she is undeserving 30.

(7) The land will be inhabited, rebuilt, cultivated like Eden 33-36.

(8) The nation will multiply like a flock of people everywhere 37-38.

So Israel will become an object lesson of Godís grace to all of the surrounding nations.

††††† The point to learn here is that while God is good to those who love him, like He will be to the restored nation of Israel who will want to honor God and obey Him when they are restored, the purpose of creation is not for the creature. The church is not for the believer. God is not doing the church for us or future restored Israel for them. That is only the thinking of idolaters. God is doing all he is doing, including all of this now and in the future, including whatever God is doing in your life and mine for Himself, for His holy name and for His glory alone! God is not competing with anyone.