As we come to Chapter 35, Ezekiel begins to deliver a series of prophetic messages that reach far into the future, even beyond our current times. These prophecies concern the future of Israel and its central role in God’s eternal kingdom.
Ezekiel’s message focuses on Israel’s physical and spiritual reawakening in the end times. Global empires that have dominated world history in the interim period will begin to cede the world spotlight to this little nation.
The prophet Daniel also has much to say about the unfolding history of the Gentile nations, with many of his prophecies already having been fulfilled. We plan to take a closer look at these prophecies in future meditations.
Throughout its history, God has sometimes chastened and punished Israel for its idolatry and faithlessness to Him. After King Solomon’s reign, He divided the nation into two parts, and later sent both the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) into their own separate exiles. But speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord tells us that this was only a temporary arrangement. God planned all along to regather His people and to rejoin the two parts of the nation, using them as the centerpiece of His future kingdom on earth. These halves will be joined together as one, and blended with a redeemed and faithful Gentile church, cleansed and justified by faith in the crucifixion and resurrection of the eternal king, Jesus Christ.
A very important principle we can learn from the Old Testament prophets is that the Jewish nation belongs to God. They are His special people to punish or to redeem as He chooses when He chooses. They are His exclusive property. When others seek to play a role to punish, harm, steal from, or otherwise take advantage of them, the Lord does not receive this well, and a steep price will be paid. Referring to one of Israel’s enemies as “Mount Seir”, Ezekiel spells this out.
5 “Your eternal hatred for the people of Israel led you to butcher them when they were helpless, when I had already punished them for all their sins. 6 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, since you show no distaste for blood, I will give you a bloodbath of your own. Your turn has come!
10 “For you said, ‘The lands of Israel and Judah will be ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care that the Lord is there!’ 11 Therefore, as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I will pay back your angry deeds with my own. I will punish you for all your acts of anger, envy, and hatred. And I will make myself known to Israel by what I do to you. 12 Then you will know that I, the Lord, have heard every contemptuous word you spoke against the mountains of Israel. For you said, ‘They are desolate; they have been given to us as food to eat!’ 13 In saying that, you boasted proudly against me, and I have heard it all! Ezekiel 35:5-6,10-13 (NLT)
Ezekiel will have a lot more to say in the next few chapters about the regathering, repopulation, and restoration of the prosperity of Israel towards the end times. The favor of God towards them will then present a great temptation to Israel’s enemies, leading to a global confrontation of heavenly and cosmic proportions. This final battle will set the stage for the physical return of Jesus Christ to rule the earth.
As Jesus told His disciples towards the end of His ministry:
29 “Immediately after the anguish of those days,
the sun will be darkened,
the moon will give no light,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
30 And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. Matthew 24:29-31 (NLT)
World events have sometimes borne the appearance of the end times, sharing many of its terrifying attributes, but so far, none of these have been this final episode. Today we can pray for peace in the world, for the peace of Jerusalem, for improving global health and a measure of prosperity for all to enjoy.
May God’s kingdom spread and grow bringing peace, joy, and love to all who would seek it.
Lord, grant us peace on earth today as we seek to love others, as is Your will. Grant peace to Jerusalem, the center of future world events. Help us to support the weak and the hurting and to be the hands and feet of Christ on earth. Forgive us for all of the times that we have failed to represent You in a positive way and help us to truly do better the next time we are at risk of falling short. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.