THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Ezekiel: Effective Ministry To The Spiritually Rebellious
Part XXII: God's Relentless Sovereign Purification And Restoration Of His People
A. Ezekiel 20:32-44 predicts the future restoration of the nation Israel in the Kingdom, a restoration based not on any innate righteousness in Israel, but solely in God's faithfulness to His unconditional covenant to Abraham.
B. This passage thus argues for the premillennial faith that holds to a literal thousand year Messianic Kingdom as opposed to amillennialism that denies such an literal kingdom for Israel, and we view it for our insight:
II. God's Relentless Sovereign Purification And Restoration Of His People, Ezekiel 20:32-44 ESV.
A. After describing Israel's long, repeat departures from the Lord for false gods in Ezekiel 20:1-31, the Lord clarified in Ezekiel 20:32 ESV by a play on the verb hayah, "to be, become," that Israel's thinking "We want to 'become'" (nihyeh) like the Gentiles in worshiping gods of wood and stone would "not come into existence, never occur," lo' tihyeh. (Kittel, Bib. Heb., p. 840; B. D. B., A Heb. and Eng. Lex. of the O. T., p. 224-228)
B. God explained why such a lasting change of Israel's God would never occur in Ezekiel 20:33-38 (as follows):
1. God took an oath by Himself, saying, "As I live, declares the Lord," and asserted that with great power and wrath He would be King over His people regardless of their efforts to the contrary, Ezekiel 20:33.
2. Indeed, God claimed that He would bring the people of Israel out of the lands where they had been scattered in judgment with great power and wrath poured out, i. e., wrath overtly expressed, Ezekiel 20:34.
3. The "wilderness" into which God would bring her would be a "wilderness" of judgment, with God face to face with Israel's individuals much as He had brought Israel out of Egypt into the physical wilderness and entered into judgment there with the nation's individuals, Ezekiel 20:35-36.
4. God would treat Israel's people like a shepherd, causing each one to "pass under" His figurative shepherd's staff as though counting them as sheep one by one in single file (Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1265) as He individually brought them into a New Covenant with Him, Ezekiel 20:37.
5. The Lord promised to purge out the rebels from the nation, bringing them out of the land where they had sojourned but not letting them enter the land of Israel in the nation's restoration so that the people involved in this judgment would realize that He was the Lord, Ezekiel 20:38.
C. In Ezekiel's era, the Lord was letting Israel's individuals follow after false gods, both then and later if they chose not heed Him, but the time would come when those in the restored nation of Israel would no more profane His name with their gifts given unto false gods, Ezekiel 20:39.
D. In the end, in the land of Israel on His holy temple mount, God would make sure that all the house of Israel would serve Him, that there He would accept them and require of them their contributions and choicest of gifts with all of their sacred offerings to Him, Ezekiel 20:40.
E. God declared that He would accept His people there as a pleasing sacrificial aroma when He brings them out from the Gentile lands where they had been scattered in judgment, that He would manifest His holiness among them in the site of the Gentile nations, Ezekiel 20:41.
F. The people of Israel would then know that He was the Lord when He brought them into the land of Israel as He swore to their fathers, a reference to His fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, Ez. 20:42; Gen. 12:1-3.
G. The people of Israel would then recall their past waywardness by which they had defiled themselves, and they would loathe themselves because of all the sins that they had committed, Ezekiel 20:43.
H. They would know that God was the Lord when He dealt with them for His name's sake, not according to their evil ways nor corrupt deeds, Ezekiel 20:44a. This last statement has God using the very strong assertion, "declares the Lord God," showing God had made up His mind that the nation Israel would surely, truly repent!
Lesson: God is relentlessly, strongly devoted to purifying Israel and restoring her to the Promised Land following her national judgment for sin in literal fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant so that Israel's individuals will know Who her God is and she will truly repent of all her sins, all in the public audience of the Gentile world.
Application: (1) God's purpose for Israel described in this passage has YET to be fulfilled as Israel has YET to repent so completely and individually of all her sins, so God is committed to the literal fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant! This truth supports premillennialism and counters amillennialism! (2) Applied to us, may we align with God's will in our own lives, for His will for us WILL be accomplished regardless of our plans to the contrary!