Middle East Meltdown 007 – Ezekiel 37Ezekiel 37:14-23 • Dr. Andy Woods • February 20, 2022 • Middle East Meltdown
The Middle East Meltdown 007 – Ezekiel 37
By Dr Andy Woods – 02/20/2022
Alright! Well, let’s open in a word of prayer, we’ll get started. Father, we’re grateful for today and grateful for Your church, Your truth, Your word. Grateful for Your people, grateful for the illuminating ministry of the spirit that you have given, that you promised will help guide us into all truth. So we do pray, Lord, this morning for the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit and we’re just going to take a few moments of silence, Lord, to get ourselves right with you by way of fellowship so that we can receive this morning from Your word. 1st John chapter 1, verse 9 (1 John 1:9) says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness… We do know Lord that nothing can change our position but unconfessed sin or worldly thinking can distance us from you in terms of fellowship and so we’re thankful for that promise and I do pray Lord that you would guide this teaching the way you would have it go. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen. 1:35
Alright! Well, let’s see if we can locate this morning the book of Ezekiel chapter 37, and verse 14 (Ezek 37:14). So we’ve been doing this teaching on what’s called the Middle East Meltdown and what it actually relates to is a verse by verse study through Ezekiel, 36, through 39. I think we’re on lesson 7 and we have completed Ezekiel, 36 and we have done, I believe, a couple of lessons in Ezekiel, 37.
- Ezekiel recommissioned (33)
- False shepherds removed (34)
- Edom destroyed (35)
- Israel’s restoration: physical & spiritual (36)
- Israel’s restoration illustrated (37)
- Means of restoration: Northern invasion (38)
- Results of the Northern invasion: conversion (39)
- Millennial Temple (40‒46)
- Tribal land allotment (47‒48)
Ezekiel, 36, is that great prophecy of the end time restoration of the nation of Israel, physically and spiritually.
- Vision: Valley of the Dry Bones (Ezek 37:1-14)
- Vision (Ezek 37:1-10)
- Interpretation (Ezek 37:11-14)
- Sign: Two Sticks (Ezek 37:15-28)
- Sign (Ezek 37:15-17)
- Interpretation (Ezek 37:18-28)
Ezekiel, 37, basically moves from point to picture and it gives you two metaphors, two illustrations, two word pictures, if you will, depicting what Ezekiel saw in chapter 36. So as if chapter 36 wasn’t clear enough, the Lord then gives Ezekiel two illustrations in chapter 37, sort of depicting what He predicted will happen for Israel in the end times back in chapter 36. So those two visions are the vision of the valley of the dry bones, which we’ve almost completed verses 1 through 14 (Ezek 37:1-14) and then also the vision of the two sticks, which we’re going to start today verses 15 through 28 (Ezek 37:15-28). But we, I think for the most part, completed the vision of the Valley of the dry bones. Ezekiel, you know, it’s taken basically to a Valley of vision, I guess you could call it that, and he sees scattered, you know, all over the valley these bones. They are dried up and they’re obviously disconnected to each other and the whole thing looks so helpless and God tells Ezekiel to prophesy and as he prophesies, the bones come together to form a human skeleton and then you see muscles and skin form over that skeleton so it’s an actual body and then Ezekiel notices that the body is assembled but there is no breath. The word for breath there in Hebrew is Ruah, which is typically used to describe the Holy Spirit. So there’s physical life but there’s no spiritual life and Ezekiel is told to prophesy a second time and he does and suddenly breath enters the body. It’s a very similar situation to what you have in Genesis, 2, verse 7 (Gen 2:7), where God formed the first man Adam out of the dust of the earth, that was step one and then in step two, God breathed into the first man the breath of life and man became a living being. You’re seeing that same process right here in Ezekiel, 37, with the vision of the dry bones and when you look at verse 11 (Ezek 37:11), they tell you exactly who the dry bones are: Then He said to me, Son of man, these bones are… The first Presbyterian church of whatever, no. It says: Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel… So there is no ambiguity as to who Ezekiel is told these bones referred to. So what it’s dealing with is, in the end time, a twofold restoration process of Israel. First, Israel is going to come back to life physically and I would contend that when you look at what Mark Twain saw or said about the holy land around 1867 to 1869, there was absolutely nothing there but a barren expanse and you look at the state of Israel today, you look at the Jerusalem Post, you look at the revival of the Hebrew language, you look at millions of Jews in the land and I think it’s very clear that God is fulfilling phase one of this vision; and a lot of people get hung up on that because they say, well, you know, they’re not a believing nation. So how could God be at work with an unbelieving nation? As if God was not at work in our lives before we got saved. I mean, I can look back very clearly before salvation. Hindsight is 2020, but I can look back very clearly and see God was working and setting things up whereby the circumstances would be right and ripe whereby I would trust Christ as my savior. So if God can work in our lives before we are saved, why can’t He do that with the nation of Israel? So when people say, well, they’re just a bunch of unbelievers over there. I guess my response is, well, just keep watching. Because the next phase of this is going to be executed on God’s timing. We would connect this with the events of the seven year tribulation period, which are the circumstances through which a believing remnant within Israel will be saved and that will be phase two of this vision, when the Ruah or the breath or the Holy Spirit enters every single Hebrew on planet earth at the end of the tribulation. 8:03
So we’re literally living in between the first part of this, physical life and we’re waiting for the second part of this to be fulfilled, spiritual life; and you see that sort of summed up there in verse 14 (Ezek 37:14), which is where we left off, I think, a couple of weeks ago. This is the concluding thought of this vision before we shift to a new vision. God says through Ezekiel: I will put My Spirit… That’s breath… within you… Israel in other words… and you will come to life, and I will place you… Into somebody else’s land. Oops! It doesn’t say that… I will place you into your own land… So obviously Ezekiel would have been a terrible commentator for CNN and MSNBC, because every time you turn those stations on, they give you the impression that the Jews stole someone else’s land. That’s not what your Bible says. What your Bible says is God says, when I do this I’m going to put you back into your own land. The land of Israel belongs to the Israelis and every single other group in that land is what we would call a squatter and that’s not my opinion. It is my opinion but my opinion doesn’t matter, it’s what God says. God who owns heaven and earth and created the heavens and the earth has bequeathed that land to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So that’s why I keep saying I’m going to put you back into your own land. So I will put my spirit within you and you will come to life and I will place you in your own land. So there are the two key words spirit and land. Spirit, Ruah, breath, land, erets (in Hebrew) and so this is clearly speaking of the spiritual and physical restoration of the nation of Israel. In other words, what God is doing in Israel today is wonderful, but it’s just the beginning of a process. By the time this process is finished, not only are you going to have Israel in her own land, which as you know she was kicked out of for two thousand years, but she will be in that land and she will be in faith and God even associates His own credibility with this miracle, because when you look at the end of verse 14 (Ezek 37:14) it says: …Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it, declares the LORD… Because something like this has never happened in human history. The sociologists tell us that when a nation is outside of their homeland for a few generations, they assimilate into the host culture, they typically lose their distinctiveness as a culture, they lose their language many times. They lose their religion and here is the nation of Israel outside of their land for two thousand years and they go right back into the land that they were evicted from, speaking Hebrew again and that’s when you study how Hebrew became revived, that’s a miraculous story in and of itself, speaking Hebrew again, practicing their same customs and religion and with their culture and ethnicity totally intact and people say, I wish God would perform miracles today, you know, if God would just do a miracle I could believe. Well, look at the Middle East, there’s your miracle and as you know, there are many other people groups mentioned in the Bible, you know, the Jebusites, the Amalekites, the termites, the mosquito bites and all that stuff and those groups are mentioned in the Bible right alongside Israel and they don’t exist anymore. I mean, they became what sociologists said happens to people groups when they’re displaced. But not so Israel. So when you’re looking at a Jew, when you’re looking at a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you’re looking at an absolute miracle God. It’s something that should not be. 12:44
So and I forgot to bring in the exact quote but one of the great kings of the past, turned to one of his people in his cabinet and said, you know, you are a Bible reader, why do you believe the Bible is true? Give me some proof the Bible is true and the response was, your majesty, the Jews. In other words, the Jews themselves, the fact that they are in existence proves that the Bible is so and God says, if I don’t do this then you will never know that I am the Lord, but I’m attaching My own credibility to this miracle that I’m going to do in the end times. So Jesus said that in the upper room in John, 13, verse 19 (John 13:19) concerning futuristic predictions. He said: From now on I am telling you before it happens so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He… And in John, 14, verse 29 (John 14:29) it says: Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe… And so Jesus in the upper room told the disciples, I’m going to start making some short term predictions, a lot of them related to the last week of His life and you’re going to start to see these prophecies happen in real time. Peter, for example, you’re going to betray Me not twice, not five times but exactly three times and there’s prophecy after prophecy after prophecy like that and those things happen that same week, many of them, most of them, that he’s referring to here and Jesus attaches His own credibility to the fulfillment of those prophecies. He says in chapter 14, verse 29 (John 14:29), see, this occurs back to back in the upper room: Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe… And think about this, all of those eleven disciples that heard this, cause Judas the only unbeliever had left in chapter 13, the only people Christ is addressing in chapter 14, etc.. are the saved disciples. If those prophecies didn’t happen, would those eleven men have gone to their martyrdom graves for the cause of Christ. I mean, these are people that went out and they turned the world upside down. Most, if not all of them with the exception of John, did not die of natural causes, they died of martyrdom and why in the world would they… That’s a historical fact, you know, that’s easy to document. Why would they do that if the prophecies Christ said would happen that week didn’t happen? It doesn’t make any sense. So Jesus attached His whole credibility to His ability to predict the future and the book of Ezekiel is doing the exact same thing concerning this miracle that we’re talking about here, the miracle on the Mediterranean, the nation of Israel. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken and have done it, declares the Lord. 16:12
So we have today in evangelical Christianity all of these apologetics ministries and to be honest with you, I appreciate a lot of them but it’s almost like Michael Jordan going out to play on one leg. I mean, Michael Jordan was an amazing basketball player. But I don’t know how far he could do, if he just decided to play on one leg. I mean, he could probably beat me given that, but in the NBA he wouldn’t have lasted long; and so, God has given us all of these apologetic devices and we have all of these apologetics ministries today that will fight evolution, rightfully so, they will defend the resurrection of Jesus, rightfully so, they will defend the transmission of the Scriptures in terms of a reliable document, rightfully so, they will even talk about prophecies fulfilled in Christ’s first coming, rightfully so, but they won’t say a single word about what I’m talking about here. They won’t connect the dots with the obvious prophecy that God is doing in the Middle East and part of the reason they won’t go that direction as many of them come from reformed theological backgrounds where they’ve already bought into the idea that the church has replaced Israel and the miracle on the Mediterranean is a refutation of replacement theology. In fact, David Reagan of Lemon Lime Ministries calls it D-Day for replacement theology. I mean, for two thousand years they’ve been saying God doesn’t have a purpose for Israel. All of Israel’s promises have been transferred to the church and then all of a sudden God moves His hand in history and brings the nation of Israel back to physical life, exactly what Ezekiel said would happen. So what do you do with your replacement theology then? You have to conclude that my goodness! We have interpreted all of these prophecies incorrectly from Augustine forward, and a lot of apologetics ministries and a lot of mainline denominations simply won’t do that and so they won’t utter a single word about the modern state of Israel cause it goes against their belief system. These are people within Christendom, you know, Christianity that will do this and it’s a tragic thing. In fact, a lot of them, you know what they do? And I can think of two mainline reformed oriented denominations as I speak, a lot of them will actually start boycotting the nation of Israel and my response is, let’s not boycott Israel, let’s “buycott” Israel. Let’s start buying Israeli products to sort of counterbalance some of this insanity that goes on in modern day Christianity and so we have to pay attention to this cause God stakes His whole credibility on this prediction. That’s what He’s doing at the end of verse 14. I know a lot of people that follow us have followed the ministry of the late Chuck Missler and he has a very good quote on this.
He says: The Bible is the only book that hangs its entire credibility on its ability to write history in advance, without error… I know of no alleged holy book that has the ability to do this. I mean, I don’t think the Quran in it has a single predictive prophecy. I mean, how could it? Since it was written basically by, you know, a single person supposedly. It doesn’t span the centuries in terms of authorship the way the Bible does and so you’re holding in your hand something completely unique, is its capacity to predict the future and many of its prophecies are happening in real time right before our very eyes. They may not be the completed picture but Ezekiel predicts a two phase restoration process and I would contend very strongly that we are seeing the first part of that materialized and why every pulpit in the nation is not screaming at the top of their lungs about this? It’s completely beyond me. I mean, I don’t understand it. I just think this is like one of the greatest things ever and I’m wondering why we’re going out and playing in the NBA with one leg? I mean, we have all these arguments against evolution, we have all of these arguments for the resurrection, we have all these arguments for the accurate transmission of the Bible. Why not put the other basketball shoe on the other foot and let’s go full Michael Jordan? and let’s talk about the Middle East also, along with all of those other wonderful arguments that people raise. Well, I’m starting to preach, this is supposed to be Sunday school. Preaching is the next hour, okay. 21:37
Okay! So we move away from the vision of the Valley of the dry bones and now we have miracle or metaphor number two that God gives to explain to Ezekiel the contents of chapter 36 and that’s the vision of the two sticks. So you have a sign, verses 15 through 17 (Ezek 37:15-17) and then an interpretation, verses 18 through 21 (Ezek 37:18-21), just like we had with the vision of the Valley of the dry bones.
- Vision: Valley of the Dry Bones (Ezek 37:1-14)
- Vision (Ezek 37:1-10)
- Interpretation (Ezek 37:11-14)
- Sign: Two Sticks (Ezek 37:15-28)
- Sign (Ezek 37:15-17)
- Interpretation (Ezek 37:18-28)
There was a vision verses 1 through 10 and then an interpretation. So what is the sign? If you look at chapter 37, verse 15 (Ezek 37:15). He gives you a structural clue: Then the word of the Lord came to me saying… Aha! New subject. Just like we had back in chapter 37, verse 1 (Ezek 37:1). Then the hand of the Lord was upon me and He brought me by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley and it was full of bones… So when it says “the hand of the Lord was upon me” or something very similar, we’re not making up outlines here. We have a new point in the outline cause Ezekiel obviously, through that literary rhetorical device, is seeing something brand new. So what exactly did he see? Look at verse 16 (Ezek 37:16). It says: You, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions then take another stick and write on it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions… So Ezekiel has two sticks. One stick represents Judah or the southern kingdom, which was headquartered in Jerusalem and it mentions his companions and in that southern kingdom was also a tribe called Benjamin; and let me see if I can read my own writing here, also Simeon and also when the kingdom divided subsequent to the days of Solomon, a lot of the Levites were unhappy about the direction of the north, because the north was not doing things God’s way, they were setting up their own sanctuary somewhere else and so a lot of the Levites defected from the north and came and joined the south. So that’s what one stick represents, it represents the southern kingdom and then the second stick represents Joseph, from Joseph came Ephraim and Manasseh and so when it uses those tribes, it’s basically using them as a synonym for the ten northern kingdoms, which were headquartered in Samaria. So the two sticks represent the two divisions of the divided kingdom of the nation of Israel and so that forces us to sort of back up in the history, why exactly did the nation of Israel divide between the north and the south? Well, it has to do with the Mosaic Covenant that God put Israel under at Mount Sinai and in the Mosaic Covenant there are, when you look at Deuteronomy, 28, there are blessings for obedience and then there are curses for disobedience and the curses can be very, very severe.
Six Parts of a Suzerain-Vassal Treaty in Deuteronomy
- Preamble (Deut 1:1-5)
- Prologue (Deut 1:6–4:40)
- Covenant obligations (Deut 5–26)
- Storage and reading instructions (Deut 27:2-3; 31:9, 24, 26)
- Witnesses (Deut 32:1)
- Blessings and curses (Deut 28)
One of those curses is a nation from afar whose language you don’t even know is going to come against you. So once you start to understand the significance of these curses, then you start to understand why God, subsequent to the time of Solomon, divided the kingdom of Israel between the north and the south. 25:53
All the way back in Deuteronomy, 17, verses 14, through 17, okay? In the Mosaic Covenant, God told kings how they’re to act. It says in Deuteronomy, 17, 14 through 17 (Deut 17:14-17): When you enter the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and you take possession of it and live in it, and you say, I will appoint a king over me like all the nations who are around me, you shall in fact appoint a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses…. Look at this, oh my goodness!… One from your own countrymen… Look at his birth certificate very carefully, in other words… One from your own countrymen you shall appoint as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves, anyone who is not your countryman… And then it says in verse 16: In any case, he… That’s the king… is not to acquire many horses for himself, nor shall he make the people return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, You shall never again return that way and he shall not acquire many wives for himself, so that his heart does not turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself… Now, here you find something totally unique in the Mosaic Law that you don’t find in any other ancient near eastern culture and it’s this idea that the king is under the law. You look at other ancient near eastern cultures of the time and they never put their kings under the law because their kings were deities and here the king is under the same law that the people are under and there’s actually a man in Scotland, whose last name is Rutherford, who called this the Lex Rex principle. You know, the prince and the law. The king and the law and he did not like, in Europe at the time, this idea of the divine right of kings, where the king could do whatever he wanted because he was almost like a God and he was put there by God and so he was over the law and was actually the voice of God on the earth and Rutherford didn’t like that and so he developed this idea of the Lex Rex, the king is under the law. Now, Rutherford was a Presbyterian minister. So he obviously got this idea from the Bible and I believe, he probably got this idea right out of Deuteronomy, 17 and Rutherford influenced a man named John Witherspoon. John Witherspoon came across the pond to our early Ivy League Institutions and taught America’s founding fathers, who were many of the signatories of the declaration of independence and also the United States constitution, this idea that the king is not over the law, the king is under the law. That’s why when you read our constitution it says things like, you know, we don’t accept… It says something to the effect that we don’t accept royalty here. We don’t believe in the divine right of kings. We think the king is under the law. Lex Rex. So from Deuteronomy, 17 to the mind of Rutherford to the mind of Witherspoon, who became a great teacher of America’s founding fathers, from there right into the United States constitution and in fact, you’ll see things in the United States constitution that when you read them you say, my goodness! I’ve read that before in Deuteronomy, 17. 30:09
So with all of that being said, the king is not over the law, the king is under the law and Solomon woke up one day and it’s almost like he was looking at Deuteronomy, 17 and he said, I’m going to do the opposite. So it says very clearly here, the king is not to amass wealth for himself. What did Solomon do? He amassed wealth for himself. The king is not to multiply wives. What did Solomon do? He multiplied wives. I think it was, I don’t know, seven hundred wives and several other hundred concubines, something like that. It’s like he looked at Deuteronomy, 17 and then he said, I’m going to do the opposite to the nth degree and so God, according to the terms of the Mosaic Covenant, was forced to bring discipline and that’s why after the empire of Solomon, and you have to understand that the kingdom of Israel reached its furthest borders in terms of prosperity and geographical expanse under Solomon than probably any other time in her whole history and Solomon towards the end of his life did exactly the opposite of what God said. He got involved with all these wives and part of it relates to the fact that the king is not to enter treaties with other nations and look at that in the United States constitution, you’ll see that very clearly. The president is not supposed to enter into a treaty with foreign powers unless there’s a two thirds supermajority approval in the Senate. So when the current administration puts us back into the Iran deal or the Paris climate accord with absolutely no ratification from the Senate, obviously you’re dealing with a presidency that’s basically unconstitutional and lawless and you know, I know lawyers have all of their little gimmicks and games trying to explain that, but the truth of the matter is here we are embroiled in these international treaties with no approval whatsoever in the United States Senate; and so when Solomon had all these wives basically the way it worked is he started entering into treaties and part of the deal was you got the princess. So if he’s having all these wives and concubines, think of all the treaties he entered into and Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived besides Jesus, should have known better. In fact, in Deuteronomy, 17, you’ll see that one of the terms for becoming a king is you had to write out the Law of Moses by hand in the presence of the priests, plural not just one priest, looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing your homework, because the king had to know exactly what the Law of God was and what better way to do that than God making him write it out by hand. I mean, shouldn’t we have that as some kind of requirement to be a leader in the United States? Hey! Why don’t you sit in the presence of two pastors and why don’t you write out the United States constitution by hand, because I can guarantee you, most of them have no idea what the constitution says. How do I know that? Because I went to law school myself, I took constitutional law, two semesters of it and we spent zero, zero time studying the actual text of the constitution. You spend all your time reading how judges have interpreted the constitution but zero time in the actual text of the constitution itself. It would be like going to seminary and spending all your time studying the great theologians but you never really get around studying the Bible. 34:19
So my point is God said to Solomon, go this way and he went the exact opposite way and he is the third king of the United Kingdom. Saul king one, David king two, Solomon king three and so when he leaves the throne, God brings discipline and divides the nation between the ten northern tribes headquartered in Samaria and the two southern tribes headquartered in Jerusalem. So God many times in Israel’s history brought discipline to wayward kings because God was obligated to do that because that was the terms of the Mosaic Covenant that Israel herself entered into with God.
- Division of the kingdom in 931 B.C. (1 Kgs. 12)
- Assyrian judgment in 722 B.C. (2 Kgs. 17)
- Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. (2 Kgs. 25)
- Rome Diaspora in A.D. 70 (Luke 19:41-44)
This is why God scatters the north, why he takes the south into captivity and it’s why he brought the Romans against Israel about forty years after the time of Christ. So we’re looking at discipline cycle number one and that’s why the kingdom was divided. So when Ezekiel sees these two sticks, now we have an explanation of why there’s two sticks here. One represents the north, one represents the south and then what is Ezekiel told to do? By the way, there’s a picture there of the divided kingdom.
Northern kingdom, called Israel. Southern kingdom, called Judah. What is Israel supposed to do with those two sticks? Verse 17: Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may be one in your hand… So Ezekiel, I want you to take these two sticks and I want you to put them together. So that they are one stick. Now, not if, but when the Mormons come to your house, many times they will argue that we don’t have a completed canon. We don’t have the complete revelation of God, because haven’t you heard about the manifestation of Jesus in North America that’s recorded in the book of Mormon? And then you say, well, you know, my Bible teaches that what I have in the Bible is the final and sufficient authority and what they will say is, Oh! Well, you haven’t read Ezekiel, 37. You haven’t read about the two sticks coming together. One of them is named Joseph. I’m not kidding when I say this to you guys, people get a good laugh out of it, but this is absolutely true. Our leader is Joseph Smith. So don’t you understand about the revelation that God did through Joseph Smith joining the biblical canon? And they’ll quote this verse. The two sticks coming together. Now, let me just explain something about the cults. The cults and what do I mean by a cult? I’m talking about a group that claims to be Christian but denies one or more essentials of the Christian faith. You know, they goof up the trinity, they goof up salvation by faith alone, they goof up the Bible is the only authority. That’s what I mean by a cult. The Jehovah’s witnesses for example, recycle the Arian heresy which is, Jesus was a created being. He is not the eternally existent second member of the Godhead, which is Orthodox Christianity and so what you have to understand about the cults is the cults particularly here in like Texas and Bible belt places, okay? They thrive on people who believe the Bible is true. I mean, they basically have a conviction that the Bible is true. But simultaneously, they don’t know much about the Bible. I mean, that’s who they target. That’s who they pick off and so your average person that never hears in a local church anything about Ezekiel, 37, in the proper context of it says, well, it’s in the Bible and after all these two young men are very well dressed, they look very patriotic. They even put forward a presidential candidate not too long ago that we all voted for, I tried to vote for anyway. So what’s wrong with what they’re saying? and they’re quoting the Bible. So when I go into some of this detail and you know, people say oh! here he goes again, you know, why is he going into all this? That’s the reason because unless someone explains to you the context, you’re just a person out there that’s ripe pickings for the kingdom of the cults, because the cults intentionally target people who have a conviction that the Bible is true but simultaneously know very little about the Bible. So obviously, when you look at this in context, it’s laughable what they’re doing. Unless you don’t understand the context. The context has nothing to do with Joseph Smith, the book of Mormon, it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the northern and southern tribes being reunited in the millennial kingdom. This is what it’s talking about. So what this is going to predict is the north and the south are going to come back together again and the division that happened post Solomon will never happen again once Jesus is reigning from David’s throne from Jerusalem over the entire United Kingdom. 40:27
Now there’s this view floating around out there that the northern tribes have been lost. Nobody knows where they are. In fact, very, very sadly, I had a professor in seminary that would basically ridicule literal interpretations like the one I’m giving here, because we all know that the northern tribes are lost and how can anybody think that they can actually be recycled back into a United Kingdom? So there’s this mindset out there that when the Assyrians came and scattered the north in 722 BC, the nation went into dispersion and the northern tribes are lost. They’ve been lost since seven centuries before the time of Christ and I’m here to tell you that is not true. When you look at Luke, 2, verse 36 (Luke 2:36) this is seven hundred years later. It says in early Luke: There was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel… And then it says, look at this… of the tribe of Asher… I mean, sure it doesn’t look like that tribe was lost seven hundred years earlier, does it? When you look at Acts, 26, and verse 7 (Acts 26:7), this is New Testament, this is Paul the apostle preaching and he says: The promise to which our… What’s the next word? Not two tribes… twelve tribes hope to attain. So Paul didn’t think the northern tribes were lost and have you read the book of James lately? I hope you have cause we taught the book of James in this church. How does the book begin? This would be what? AD 44 to 47, we are now in the first century. It says: James a bond servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the… How many tribes?… Twelve tribes who are dispersed. Greetings… And of course in the book of Revelation chapter 7, we know that the whole world is going to be evangelized by the hundred and forty four thousand Jews and when you look at who these hundred and forty four thousand Jews are, it says twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes.
The tribes are not lost, I don’t care how many times on the History Channel and A&E and Mysteries of the Bible or whatever, they tell you the tribes are lost. They’re not lost and even if man doesn’t know where they are, God is pretty good at keeping an eye on them, right? So this idea of the lost tribes is a myth. There is no such thing as the lost tribes and so from there, we move into the interpretation of the two sticks, verses 18 through 28 and look at the first part of verse 18 (Ezek 37:18), it says: When the sons of your people speak to you saying, Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?… In other words, here comes the interpretation and I bring this up because a lot of people get confused as to what’s literal in the Bible and what’s not. Speech only comes at you two ways. It comes at you through plain literalism, sometimes called denotative language or it comes to you through figurative language, sometimes called connotative language.
Those are the only two ways speech can occur. You’re either talking plainly or using a figure of speech, you know, I slept until 8:00 AM, I slept like a log. Well, obviously the first part of that is denotative, the second part of that is connotative and what is the clue to the hearer that I’ve just switched in the middle? The word “like”, right? Which is a what? A simile. So obviously, these sticks are not denotative but they’re connotative and we know that because Ezekiel says, here’s what the sticks mean and the Valley of the dry bones is not denotative but it’s connotative because back in verse… Let’s see, what was it? Verse 11 (Ezek 37:11) God says to Ezekiel, here’s what the Valley of dry bones means. So whenever a vision is interpreted, you know that that vision is a figure of speech, connotative language, figurative language, representing something. You just have to find the referent. What is it that this figure speech refers to? And when the referent is identified in the passage, you know that you’re dealing with a figure of speech that’s about to be interpreted. 46:15
So, how would we understand this Valley of the dry bones? I mean, it is something Ezekiel saw but it represents something. Why? Because it’s interpreted for us. How about these two sticks coming together? I mean, Ezekiel saw that, but they represent something. How do I know that? Because the Bible interprets them for us. So a lot of people when they come to something like this, rely on their own sanctified imagination to interpret what the figure of speech means and you see very clearly here, you don’t have to rely on your own sanctified imagination. All you do is pay attention to the context and typically in the context itself, it will tell you exactly who the dry bones represent, it will tell you exactly who the two sticks coming together or what the two sticks coming together represents as well. So verse 18 (Ezek 37:18) tells us there’s an interpretation coming. So what’s the interpretation? By the way, John Walvoord in his commentary on the book of Revelations says the book of Revelation does this twenty six times.
Personally, I think his number is too conservative. I’ve got other commentators that I could show you, which say the number is much higher. In other words, when you read the book of Revelation, the book of Revelation itself by putting certain clues in the text will tell you where a figure of speech is and within the same chapter usually. Sometimes within the same verse. It will tell you exactly what that figure of speech or that symbol means and this is what’s not happening on social media and the internet and YouTube. As people are giving their interpretations of Bible prophecy. I’ve heard some completely insane things people are saying and I just say to myself, I wish they would read the rest of the passage, because if they just read the rest of the passage, this insane interpretation that they came up with, they wouldn’t have come up with it cause God himself tells you what these things mean. 48:41
So the two sticks coming together. What does that mean? Take a look at verses 19 and 20 (Ezek 37:19-20): say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel and his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, to make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand… So the two sticks coming together, all it means is the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom, which had that terrible division after the time of Solomon, that whole scenario is going to be erased and God’s going to put the whole nation back together again as a unified nation and there won’t be this northern and southern division anymore; and you can appreciate that, trying to read the book of 1st and 2nd Kings, what a dizzying maze that is, because you’re reading and it’s talking about a guy up north and then it jumps again to a guy down south, north, couple guys down south, three guys up north. I mean, to be honest with you, it’s just confusing reading 1st and 2nd Kings and the reason it’s confusing is because you’re dealing there with a post-Solomonic divided kingdom. But in the millennial kingdom that won’t happen anymore because there’s going to be one nation and one king reigning over that entire nation. When you look at verse 21 (Ezek 37:21) you see this as a process. First of all, verse 20 (Ezek 37:20) says: The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes… And then you jump down to verse 21 (Ezek 37:21) and it says: Say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from the nations… Plural… where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land… Ezekiel wrote this during the days of the Babylonian captivity and so a lot of people misinterpret this as just a return from Babylon and I’m here to tell you that could not be. This cannot be just the return from Babylon because of the plural word nations. When the nation of Israel returned from Babylon, they came back from one place. That’s not what this is predicting here. This is predicting a recycling of the Jews, the Hebrews into their ancient homeland. Where they will be brought to life first physically, then spiritually and then there will be one United Kingdom in the millennial kingdom and God specifically says, He will do this after they have been pushed among the nations. So this is talking about something that would happen post AD 70 because only in AD 70 with the Roman invasion under General Titus was the nation pushed into worldwide dispersion.
- Division of the kingdom in 931 B.C. (1 Kgs. 12)
- Assyrian judgment in 722 B.C. (2 Kgs. 17)
- Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. (2 Kgs. 25)
- Rome Diaspora in A.D. 70 (Luke 19:41-44)
It’s called the diaspora and it’s talking about the Jews being in that condition for a while but then God is going to move His hand in history and bring them right back into their land from the nations, plural, from which they’ve gone. So when people try to make this the return from Babylon, it just doesn’t fit the details of the text. 52:46
Charles L. Feinberg – The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord, Paperback ed. (Chicago: Moody, 1969; reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1984), 207.
“These prophecies, especially those in verses 12-15, could not have been fulfilled in the return from Babylon…Thus many take the primary reference to the return from Babylon. But the predictions will not be completely fulfilled until the future restoration, of which the return from Babylon was a foreshadowing.”
Charles Feinberg of these verses says: These prophecies, especially those in verses 12 through 15, could not have been fulfilled in the return from Babylon. Thus many take the primary reference to the return from Babylon. But the predictions will not be completely fulfilled until the future restoration, of which the return from Babylon was a foreshadowing…. What exactly was the return from Babylon? It’s the second time God announced you will leave your land and you’ll come back into it. The first time He announced it is in Genesis, 15. You’re going to sojourn in a foreign land… We know that is Egypt… and you’re going to come right back into this land with many possessions. Did that happen? Check, happened in the book of Joshua. Then God in the time of Jeremiah, just prior to the Babylonian captivity, in Jeremiah, 25, verse 11 (Jer 25:11) and Jeremiah, 29, verse 10 (Jer 29:10) said, you’re going to go into Babylon for seventy years and you’re going to come right back into this land. Did that happen? Check. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, etc… tells that. Then God says, the day’s going to come where you’re going to be pushed into the whole world and that in and of itself is divine sarcasm, because what was Israel’s ambition? We want to be like the other nations. God says, okay you can have your way. In fact, you can become so much like the other nations, that I’ll put you into their lands to see how well you do; and after this time of discipline, I’m going to bring you back from those nations back into your homeland and God at the end of verse 14 (Ezek 37:14) says, I’m staking my whole reputation on the fulfillment of this prophecy and we say to ourselves can this happen? I would say, check! It’s already starting to happen and even though we don’t see the final product, we can be absolutely sure that the final product will materialize exactly like God said because it happened exactly like He said the first time and it happened exactly like He said the second time. So how hard is it to believe it’s going to happen exactly like He says, the third time? I mean, that’s the kind of thing Chuck Missler is saying when he says, God has staked His whole reputation, the Bible has staked its whole reputation on its ability to give history in advance. 55:52
So what is going to happen at that point take a look at verse 22 (Ezek 37:22): and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel… Watch this now… and one king will be king over all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms… So the day in history’s going to come where you’re going to be one nation under one king, like it was in the days of Saul and David and then Solomon. Now, who’s that king that they’re going to be under one day? Well, that’s an interesting question because if you look at verse 24 (Ezek 37:24) it tells you that king is going to be David. Well, is that like David, David? I mean, surely you wouldn’t say something like that from the pulpit, would you? I mean, you’re not really saying David is going to be resurrected and reign over the United Kingdom, are you? Certainly that just typifies Jesus, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t. This is David. When David is used to point to Christ, you’ll see little words in there like a root of Jesse, branch of David, son of David, seed of David.
The Millennial David – Hosea 3:5; Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23; 37:24
- Root of Jesse
- Branch of David
- Son of David
- Seed of David
All the text here says is David. I mean, the textual clue telling me that this is not literal but typological is in here. David means David. Hosea, 3, verse 5 (Hosea 3:5) same prediction: Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king… Jeremiah, 30, verse 9 (Jer 30:9): But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king… This is not the first time this is introduced in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel, 34, verse 23 (Ezek 34:23) says: Then I will appoint over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd… If this was just talking about Jesus it would say, root of David, branch of David, son of David but none of that language is here. It’s not here in Ezekiel, 37, it’s not in Ezekiel, 34, it’s not in Hosea, 3, verse 5 and it’s not in Jeremiah, 30, verse 9. So what are you going to do with that? Most interpreters would just make this Jesus. But the language of the text doesn’t allow that. The truth to the matter is David is going to be resurrected isn’t he?
Along with all Old Testament saints and tribulation martyrs at the beginning of the millennial kingdom. That’s what Daniel, 12, verse 2 (Dan 12:2) says, that’s what Revelation, 20, verses 4, and 5 (Rev 20:4-5) says and one of those Old Testament saints that will be resurrected at the beginning of the millennial kingdom is a man named David and God is going to take David in his resurrected body and he’s going to assign him authority over the land of Israel in the millennial kingdom.
Yeah! But what about Jesus? Oh! don’t worry about Jesus. You never have to worry about Jesus, because Jesus is going to be governing the whole world. So what you have in the millennial kingdom, I would sort of call it a co-regency. Jesus is governing planet earth and under His delegated authority is the resurrected David who’s given assignment, you know, over the whole land of Israel. 1:00:09
So there’s absolutely no need to rewrite this and make it sound like something it’s not saying. God means what He says and He says what He means and if you look at verse 23, chapter 37 (Ezek 37:23): They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God… The end game is not just re-gathering unbelieving Israel into her land. It is seeing the Ruah or the breath enter the body. If you look at Ezek 36:28, end of the chapter: And all the nations will know that I am the Lord to sanctify Israel when my sanctuary is in their mists forever. It’s not just talking about a physical re-gathering, it’s a spiritual re-gathering. If you look at chapter 39, verse 22 (Ezek 39:22): And the house of Israel will know that I am their God from that day forward… And look at chapter 39, verse 29 (Ezek 39:29): I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD… See how it keeps mentioning the spirit, the Ruah, the regeneration, the breath. This is a national regeneration which is phase two of Ezekiel’s prophecies.
So we will pick this up next time. Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for these ancient prophecies and the truth they speak to our lives and also to our world. Help us not to be obtuse and spiritually blind and deaf to what you’re doing all around us and help us to use these things to teach others about you and to actively walk this week in our relationship with you. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus name and God’s people said, Amen. Happy intermission.