God has been wrestling with His willful children for over 900 years – from when they first entered into the Promised Land, to the time of its destruction. And this destruction is all due to their purposeful, perpetual disobedience.God sent leaders, judges, kings and prophets to try to save them, but to no avail. He is finished wasting His breath on the hell-bent obstinate in fallen Judah. (Pun intended.) He now appeals to, and encourages, the remainder of His homeless children that have been scattered about in Babylon. We saw God begin this process with the exiled prophet Ezekiel, who ministered to the other exiles – before, during, and after the fall of Judah. God first spoke through Ezekiel to let us all know that we have a responsibility to inform our brothers and sisters of their error, when they are walking in opposition to God. After our duty is discharged, it will be up to the offender to position him or herself in order to get right with God. Ezekiel then reminds the exiles that the fault of their banishment lies with them. Yet God tempers that conviction with an invitation to return to Him, and to confess and repent. Those who take God up on His invitation will be able to enter into a new everlasting covenant with Him, (in addition to the Abrahamic promise) that He will administer through the Messiah… Then, God reveals to the prophet Ezekiel a fountain of prophetic visions concerning the role of a ‘restored’ nation of Israel, during the end times of this planet – i.e. at the end of history, as we begin our transition into eternity. Much of biblical prophecy concerns itself with the nature of these ‘end times’ and is referred to as eschatological times. Interpreting the prophetic visions that often accompany these prophecies can be daunting, even to the most accomplished biblical scholars. Fortunately, as with the entire Bible, God’s words and images can be crosschecked for accuracy, against other related subject treatments within the Bible. The book of Ezekiel ranks along with the books of Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation, as being the most prophetically intensive books of the Bible. And we can travel back and forth between each of them, to draw out the accurate significance in both the prophecies and in their respective visions. As usual, I will present what is generally accepted as accurate, what my heart says if that differs, and if so, I’ll tell you why I feel that way. But ultimately, it is what your heart tells you, that bears the greatest significance. Your life, after all, is about your conversation with God, and how you decide to act upon what is revealed to you. In other words, it is about you and your special contribution that God has given to you, to complete His majestic plan… With regards to the book of Ezekiel, it is generally accepted that Ezekiel was chosen to prophesy about the restoration of national Israel itself. Understand that God has not singled out Israel because He loves them more than any other peoples; in fact, we’ve seen that the behavior of Israel has really sucked: “…God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Acts 10:34, 35. ESV ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.” Ezek. 36:22 NKJV God loves all of His children equally, all over the world. But He must uphold the covenantal promise that He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – which was a promise where God said that their descendants would be blessed forever. And God also promised that He would forever rule the earth from Israel. God does not ever break His word. He is showing the entire world that He is a faithful, righteous, and loving God. In addition, what God is doing by showing us what the final restoration of national Israel looks like, is to give us a preview of what perfected love will look like; i.e. showing us His love with the final manifestation of it in mind. God paints His picture through Ezekiel: But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people of Israel, for they are soon to come [home]. Ezek. 36:8 AMP I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Ezek. 36:11 NKJV What God is doing is lifting up the homeless. You can live in a physical home, but still be homeless. Anyone who does not have a loving relationship with God is homeless. God is offering His children a home… God will restore the land; but the people must contribute to the restoration of their own hearts: “…the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.” Ezek. 36:23 NKJV [This charge applies to all of God's children. No one has the possibility of coming to know God's love, joy, mercy, and forgiveness, unless they can first see it in the eyes of His children. (That's us!)] And then God steps in to complete the spiritual transformation: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.” Ezek. 36:25 ESV In addition, God promises His everlasting presence and the everlasting presence of His Son: “Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.” Ezek. 37:25 NKJV “The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” Ezek. 37:28 NKJV Then God gives Ezekiel a vision regarding an end time’s invasion of Israel by a coalition of many different countries (collectively referred to as ‘Gog’): And you shall come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. In the latter days, I will bring you against My land, that the nations may know, understand, and realize Me when My holiness shall be vindicated through you [vindicated and honored in your overwhelming destruction], O Gog, before their eyes. Ezek. 38:16 AMP So, near the end of days, God will wipe out all of Israel’s enemies from the face of the earth. (We will explore this event in much greater detail when we study the book of Revelation.) Finally, God blesses Ezekiel with a vision of God’s coming eternal temple – where the entire world of the faithful will commune with their loving Creator: Then the Spirit caught me up and brought me into the inner court, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Then I heard One speaking to me out of the temple, and a Man stood by me. And [the Lord] said to me, Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever… Ezek. 43:4 – 7. AMP Wow! Ezekiel got to hang out with God Himself! And who was that Man that was standing next to him? You know… This temple where God lives will rest in a city in Israel – a New Jerusalem with a new name: “…and the name of the city from that day shall be THE LORD IS THERE.” Ezek. 48:35 NKJV God is building a house for all of us to call ‘home.’ And if you are willing, your homeless days are over. Goodnight and God bless.