The Visions and Oracles of the Prophet Ezekiel (27)
Biblical Research Monthly, January 1947 thru September 1950 — by Dr. David L. Cooper
- Some Preliminary Observations
- The Call and Commission of Ezekiel
- The Beginnings of Ezekiel's Ministry
- The Final Collapse of Judah Under the Babylonian Siege
- Jehovah's Withdrawal from the City and it's Downfall
- The Flight and Capture of the King Symbolically Represented and Warning Against a Wrong Attitude Concerning Prophecy
- Prophecy and Idolatry
- Israel, the Burnt Vine and the Unfaithful Wife
- The Riddle of the Two Great Eagles and the Messianic Reign of Christ
- God's Reply to the Proverb, “The Fathers have Eaten Sour Grapes, and the Children's Teeth are Set on Edge”
- The Young Lions and the Rods of Judah
- Israel's Past and Future Experiences
- The Sword of Jehovah
- Sinful Jerusalem and Her Punishment
- The Lewdness of Oholah and Oholibah
- The Boiling Caldron
- Oracles Concerning Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia
- The Oracle Concerning Tyre
- The Oracles Concerning Egypt
- The Watchman on the Wall (Chapter 33)
- The Untrue Shepherds of Israel
- The Flock of Jehovah and its Shepherd
- The Judgment upon Edom
- The Curse Removed from the Land of Israel
- Israel's Restoration to the Land of the Fathers and Her Conversion
- The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones
- The Scattered Nation of Israel Reunited under King Messiah
- The Overthrow of the Russian Forces that Invade Palestine (Chapter 38)
- The Overthrow of the Antichrist's Forces Invade Palestine (Chapter 39)
- The Millennial Jerusalem
- The Millennial Temple
- The Prince and the Glorified Millennial Temple
- The Land of Israel in the Millennium
The Scattered Nation of Israel Reunited under King Messiah
God's original plan for the nation of Israel as revealed in the revelation of Moses was that she should constitute a theocracy, a nation ruled directly by God. The high priest was the one who headed up the priesthood, which approached God for the nation. In the process of time, however, Israel desired to be like other nations and rejected the idea of a theocracy and insisted upon God's allowing her to have a king. The Lord, therefore, gave her a king in His anger and took him away in His wrath (Hosea 13:11). The Lord chose Saul; but, when he proved himself unworthy for the honor, He rejected him and selected David, a man after His own heart, who reigned over Israel for forty-years and was succeeded by his son Solomon, who likewise reigned for forty years.
Upon the conclusion of Solomon's reign the kingdom was rent in twain, ten of the tribes revolted from the throne of David and established a separate kingdom in the north, known as the kingdom of Israel, Ephraim, or Jacob. Thus the two governments, the kingdom of Judah in the south and that of Israel in the north, continued running along, side by side, for a period of 264 years. Finally, in the year 719 B. C., the northern kingdom was overthrown by the more powerful Assyrian Empire. According to the Assyrian records 27,290 leaders of the nation were taken into captivity and were colonized in certain portions of the Assyrian Empire. The great bulk of the people were allowed to remain in the land of their fathers. Governors, the choice of the Assyrians, were placed over those remaining in the land. There was a feeling of bitter enmity that arose at the time of the division of the Davidic kingdom and that continued through the years. This hostility was naturally heightened when the Assyrian monarch brought in Asiatics and colonized them among the masses who remained in the land. They intermarried more or less with the native Israelites. There, therefore, sprang up a mongrel nation that became known as the Samaritans. This turn of affairs embittered the Jews against the people of the northern kingdom.
Ezekiel, in chapter 37:15-28, foretold that this disrupted condition would cease, and that the twelve tribes would become a single nation under the reign of King Messiah.
Ezekiel spoke this prediction from the standpoint of his time. As stated above, the hostility that came about at the time of the disruption continued throughout the centuries. Ezekiel therefore spoke in terms of a condition that had been existing for decades.
The Symbolic Significance of The Two Sticks
Ezekiel was commanded to take two sticks. Upon one he was to write, “For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions.” On the other he was to write, “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.” Then he was to join them together, binding them so that they would be united into one stick.
The Lord interpreted the significance of the symbolic action in the following words:
... say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them with it, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in my hand 20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thy hand before their eyes. 21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore at all; 23 neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 37:19-23)
From this prediction it is very clear that the prophet was carried forward to some time in the future when all Israel — all the twelve tribes now scattered among the nations of earth — will be gathered back and will constitute one nation. In other words, the rift that was made at the time of the disruption shall be eliminated and all of them will come together, shoulder to shoulder, with one purpose — to serve the true and the living God. At that time God will restore the ancient order and will have only one sovereign over the entire nation.
When this vision is fulfilled, we are told that Israel will never more defile herself with idolatry or the detestable things; neither will she go off into the transgressions of which she was constantly guilty throughout the long centuries of her existence. This is another way of saying what Balaam foretold in Numbers 23:21:
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob;
Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: Jehovah his God is with him,
And the shout of a king is among them.”
King Messiah's Reign Over the Nation
When this prophecy is fulfilled, the Lord will put His servant David as King over His people. Who is meant by this prophecy? King David raised from the dead? Or is this King Messiah? Many are the passages which tell us that, when Israel is restored to her land, God himself personally will reign over the nation. For instance, in Isaiah 33:17-24 we have a marvelous picture of the King of Israel in all of His beauty as He will reign in purified, glorified Jerusalem. In verse 22 we have language to this effect. “For Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah is our lawgiver, Jehovah is our king; he will save us” (33:22). Zephaniah gave us a marvelous and beautiful prediction concerning Messiah, who is none other than the second person of the Trinity in human form, and His reign in the city of Jerusalem:
Sing, 0 daughter of Zion; shout, 0 Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, 0 daughter of Jerusalem. 15 Jehovah hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even Jehovah, is in the midst of thee; thou shall not fear evil any more. 16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; 0 Zion, let not thy hands be slack. 17 Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:14-17)
From these and many other passages it is quite evident that Jehovah in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ will be Israel's King, who will reign in the new Jerusalem, glorified and magnified. But why is he called David? The reason is that He is a descendant of David. This use is certainly found in such a passage as I Kings 12:16. When Rehoboam refused to relieve the burden of taxes upon his accession to the throne of Israel, the people of the northern kingdom revolted and shouted: “What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, 0 Israel: now see to thine own house, David.” They were not talking to literal David but to Rehoboam, grandson of David. Thus, since it is Jehovah who will reign in Jerusalem during the Millennial Era, and since He is called David, it is quite obvious that the name David is simply used in this secondary or accommodated sense, indicating that He (Messiah) is of the lineage of David.
When Israel is thus gathered out from among the nations, she will dwell in her own land. When the people are thus restored in fulfillment of this prediction, they will never be rooted out and King Messiah, who is again called “David my servant” will be “their prince for ever,” that is, continually, as long as the sun, moon, earth and this present material universe continues (Psalm 89:35-37).
At that time God promises to enter into a new covenant of peace with the nation of Israel. This is to be an everlasting covenant. It will never be changed. This doubtless is the covenant of which various prophets spoke. Especially did Jeremiah foretell it in 31:31.
God's tabernacle will be with Israel at the time. He will be their God; and they shall be His people. This sanctuary or Temple is described in the last section of Ezekiel, chapter 40ff.
At that time the nation of Israel will sanctify Jehovah, will reverence Him, will worship Him, and will never depart from Him any more. She will sustain a special relationship with Him. He will be the God of Israel, and they shall be His people. Israel will then be the head of the nations, instead of being the tail as at the present time.