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Ezekiel 37 and the Jewish state

30-01-2014 - Posted by Andre Piet

index_2 Ezekiel 37 is perhaps the best-known chapter in the book of Ezekiel. We find, in it the vision of a valley filled with bones scattered all over the place. The bones miraculously join together and bodies appear in that valley. But they are lifeless bodies. As Ezekiel prophesies again and the Spirit comes from the four wind directions, then the corpses come to life and stand up on their feet. A huge army. Ezekiel also receives an explanation from God of what he has seen. The bones represent the whole house of Israel. Please note: the entire house, not a part of it. No Israelite will remain among the nations, as we read, elsewhere, by the same prophet (Eze.39:28). With this information we can right away set aside the two most common explanations of this vision. The resurrection of the bones is not referring to the return from the Babylonian exile, nor to the establishment of the modern Jewish state in 1948. In both cases, it is only about a relatively small part of the house of Israel. The vast majority of the Jewish people were then and now, outside the land. The reawakening of the bones speak of the gathering together of all Israel. About this gathering together, Ezekiel had already prophesied. As well- known as is Ezekiel 37, so unknown is the prophecy in chapter 20.

34 And I have brought you forth from the peoples, And assembled you from the lands in which you have been scattered, with a strong hand and with a stretched-out arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I have brought you in unto the wilderness of the peoples, and have been judged with you there face to face. 36 As I was judged with your fathers, in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, So I am judged with you, An affirmation of the Lord Yahweh. 37 And I have caused you to pass under the rod, and brought you into the bond of the covenant, 38 And cleared out from you the rebels, and them transgressing against Me, from the land of their sojournings I bring them out, and unto the land of Israel they come not, and you have known that I [am] Yahweh.

The scenario, here, is very clear: Israel will be gathered, not in their land, initially, but in the desert. Even as Israel, in the past, came out of Egypt and via the desert came into the promised land, so it will be again in the future. And even as God, in the past, entered into judgment with His people, so that only the people who believed, entered the promised land, so shall it be also in the future. A repeat of history. And under the leadership of the real Joshua, the people will go into the land. It should be clear that the return of the Israelites to the land of their fathers, takes place in two stages. First, the people will be gathered, from every wind direction, into the desert and then, the people will be spiritually prepared to enter the land. These two stages in Ezekiel 20 run parallel to the two stages in Ezekiel 37: first a physical gathering together from out of the nations, and then the receiving of God’s Spirit. Ezekiel 37 mentions something remarkable about the timing of the gathering together. Verse 11:

And He said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; lo, they are saying: Dried up have our bones, And perished has our hope. We have been cut off by ourselves.

The situation will seem completely hopeless for the people. Something similar we read in Matthew 24, when Jesus talks about the assembling of the chosen people (24:31). That will be after the great tribulation (24:29), such as never has been before and never will be again (24:21). The whole Jewish nation will be overrun. From Zechariah 14, we know that all nations with their armies, ready for battle, will be drawn against Jerusalem (14:2) when YAHWEH (i.e., in His Son) will appear on the Mount of Olives (14:4). The Mount of Olives shall cleave and an escape route will be created to the mountains in the desert (14:5). To the extent that there will be survivors at that time, these will all be located outside the land. It means the end of the Jewish state and of the Zionist dream… But the end of this great tribulation is also the beginning of the Divine gathering together of Israel; outside of the their land. There, the people will be cleansed and a new Covenant with them will be confirmed and they will receive the Spirit. Ezekiel 36:

25 And I have sprinkled over you clean water, And you have been clean; From all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, I do cleanse you. 26 And I have given to you a new heart, And a new spirit I give in your midst, And I have turned aside the heart of stone out of your flesh, And I have given to you a heart of flesh. 27 And My Spirit I give in your midst, And I have done this, so that in My statutes you walk, And My judgments you keep, and have done them.

It will be a reborn nation that will then take possession of the land that was lying in ruins. And the land will become like the Garden of Eden! Ezekiel 36 continues:

33 Thus said the Lord Yahweh: In the day of My cleansing you from all your iniquities, I have caused the cities to be inhabited, And the wastes have been built, 34 And the desolate land is tilled, Instead of which it was a desolation before the eyes of every passer by, 35 And they have said: This land, that was desolated, Has been as the garden of Eden, And the cities–the wasted, And the desolated, and the broken down, Fenced places have remained. 36 And known have the nations who are left round about you, That I Yahweh have built the thrown down, I have planted the desolated: I Yahweh have spoken, and I have done it.

The conclusion must be that Ezekiel 37 speaks indeed of the modern Jewish state. However, not about her establishment, but rather about her tragic end, when they will say: “Our hope is lost, it is done with us.” It will be on the ruins of a devastated land that God will plant a new Israel.