August 22, 2015.
Daily Reading: Ezekiel 37-42.
Background: Ezekiel 31-36.
Concepts and Connections.
1. The valley of dry bones: Ezekiel vision of the valley of dry bones has been on of the most famous encounters with God throughout the years, though the actual meaning behind the vision is not as well circulated. Here we find Ezekiel being called away in the Spirit of the Lord to a valley that is covered in dry bones. When the Lord asks the prophet if the bones can live, he simply responds with “O Lord, you know,” and with this he is told to prophecy over the bones and the Lord would bring them together, bone to its bone, and cover them with sinus and flesh. Then Ezekiel is told to prophesy over the revitalized bones again that breath might come in them and they might live, which is exactly what happened as a great army then stood before Ezekiel. This was the whole house of Israel, who had lost hope and become as the dry bones, defeated and scattered amongst the nations in their captivity. But the day was coming when the Lord would once again visit His people, bringing them back into their land and building them up. This prophecy likely has a double fulfillment, especially when taken in light of the second oracle in this chapter, as a remnant of the children of Israel would be allowed to come back to their land and rebuild the temple, but the ultimate fulfillment would be found in Christ and the kingdom established under His authority as the anointed one of David. Christ would be the one to bring the ultimate hope and salvation.
2. The gospel according to Ezekiel: The second oracle given in this chapter may be related to the first, as it deals with the renewal of Israel and the new covenant that God would make. Ezekiel is told to take two sticks, writing Judah on one and Joseph on the other, representing the divided kingdom, and join them together. This was to be a sign when the people asked what these things meant, so that Ezekiel could tell them the word of the Lord. The Lord was going to once again unite the kingdom of Israel under one rule, the offspring of David. They would be His people, and He would be their God. This would have its ultimate fulfillment in Christ, the offspring of David, who sits on the thrown of His kingdom now and forever. Israel has been renewed into a spiritual kingdom that houses more than just physical sons of Israel, but reaches to all nations and ethnicities who would put on Christ (see Romans 9-11). He has made a new covenant, an everlasting covenant, a covenant of peace with us, and Christ sits on the throne of David forever more. The good news of salvation has gone out into the world.
Prophecy against Gog: Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 have been the subject of different interpretation and thought throughout the years, and different ideologies are derived from them. They are collectively a prophecy against Gog, who seems to be a ruler in the land of Magog, a nation to the north of Israel. The identity of the nation is not extremely clear, as some would say that this is referring to a place in modern day Russia (in coalition in Iran), whereas others pinpoint this enemy of Israel much closer to their own land. Some would assert that this prophecy has yet to take place whereas others believe it to have happened during Israel’s history, perhaps unrecorded. An echo to this prophecy is heard in Revelation (see Revelation 20:7-10) as John describes the vision that is given to him to represent the defeat of Satan. Regardless of the exact details, this prophecy is against an enemy of Israel who has come up against the nation when they are in a vulnerable state. They live without walls or protection, and the land of Magog has brought against them a great army to invade and take the spoil of the land. However, when Magog comes against the land of Israel, the wrath of the Lord would be kindled against them, a great earthquake would come on the land and the Lord would rouse a sword against Magog to strike them down. Though this, His glory would be seen in many nations, and they would know that He is the Lord.
The aftermath of Gog: This chapter is a continuation of the prophecy against Gog that began in the previous chapter. At the end of the last chapter, we say that the Lord was going to bring His wrath against Gog, who had come up to fight against a vulnerable Israel, and destroy him and the multitude with him from Israel. This continuation of the oracle describes the aftermath of the wrath of the Lord, how He would break the bow of Gog and Israel would come and plunder them just as they set out to plunder Israel. The destruction is depicted as great, and Israel would use the weapons of the people of Magog to burn fires for seven years. This speaks to the great number of people that Gog had with him. The fallen of Magog would be buried in Israel, a process that is depicted as taking seven months, again emphasizing the great magnitude of the fallen. They would be given to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field as a sacrificial feast, and the glory of the Lord would be known among the nations. Then the Lord would restore His people Israel, making them to dwell securely in their own land, and would pour out His Spirit upon them.
The vision of the new temple: Chapter 40 starts a vision that was given to Ezekiel, lasting to the end of the book, about the temple of the Lord. Ezekiel is brought in the Spirit of the Lord onto a high mountain to be shown a vision that he was to declare to all of Israel, depicting the measurement, plan and worship of the temple. In this chapter, he gives the measurements and sizes of the east gate to the outer court, outer court, north gate, south gate, inner court, chamber for the priests and the vestibule of the temple in great detail, show to him by a man whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand.
The inner temple: Chapter 41 continues on with the vision that was begun in the previous chapter of the man who was measuring the new temple and giving these measurements to Ezekiel. This chapter focuses on the measurements and plans of the inner temple. It details the measurements for the naves, walls, buildings, jambs, doorposts, yard and temple itself.
The chambers of the temple: Chapter 42 continues on with the vision that was begun in chapter 40 of the man who was measuring the new temple and giving these measurements to Ezekiel. This chapter focuses on the chambers of the outer court of the temple. It details the measurements of the building in the north, the southern wall of the court, the north chamber and south chamber and finally the temple area all around.
Tomorrow’s Reading: I Timothy 1-3.
The Lord be with you.
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