The Israel Of God Fully Restored In The Land
Let is, not be forgotten that Israel really was not “restored” to their own land when the remnant returned from Babylon under Cyrus’ edict as the king of Persia. They returned without being restored. The kingdom was not restored to them; there was no king on David’s throne! This is evident from history and from many notices in Scripture. It is explicitly stated by the disciples on the mount of Olives at the occasion of Jesus’ ascension to heaven. The disciples ask, even after having received much instruction concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
From the foregoing it is evident that the prophecy of Ezekiel is fulfilled only in the bringing in of a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness shall dwell. Wherefore Peter says to the people in Jerusalem, explaining the healing of the impotent man at the temple, that in the “name” of Jesus, in whom God sanctifies His Name in Israel’s redemption, this man stands whole before them, leaping and praising God. And he adds concerning this Jesus, this “holy child,” the following, “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began,” Acts 3:21. And truly this also includes what God has spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel, who is one of these holy prophets who spoke being moved by the Spirit. And therefore the restitution of all things will be finished when Christ returns with the clouds to make all things new! Such is the teaching of Scripture everywhere! This is the hermeneutical rule to follow lest we fall into the confusion of Dispensationalism and the many conflicting theories of Chiliasm.
There are some very beautiful and moving utterances in this prophecy of Ezekiel which we do well to read carefully.
Attend to what we read concerning Israel’s being brought back to their own land in Ezekiel 36:23-26. There we are told, “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them . . . . . for I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” And that this refers to far more than a mere bringing into the land geographically, in the earthly land of Canaan and Palestine, is evident from, the further word of the Lord, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
Here we have the realization of God’s Covenant in the heart of God’s people foretold; it is the better Covenant which is based upon better promises, a better priesthood, and a better temple; It refers to the work of God in Christ’s birth, suffering, death, burial, descent into hell, and His resurrection, ascension, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, together with all the blessings of salvation, to wit, regeneration, calling, faith, justification, sanctification and glorification! It is the realization of the tabernacle of God with man! John 1:14; Rev. 21:3: ‘Such is the Christological, Soteriological, and Eschatological perspective here of the prophetic word of Ezekiel.
Yes, the setting is here in Babylon in this prophecy. But God will not allow this to be repeated. History will have an end, a telos! There shall be a consummation of the ages. This we see realized in the fulness of times according to the purpose of God’s will, Ephesians 1:10. Gog and Magog will be destroyed and cast into Hell! But the church shall be saved through Christ’s death and much more still through His life. Rom. 5:9-11. There shall be no endless repetition of Egypt and Babylon. The vanity of vanities is finally and irrevocably overcome in Christ’s death and resurrection. By the Wonder of God’s grace the grave shall be fruitful, life is born out of death. There is a moving pathos in the words of the Lord in Isaiah’s prophecy, “Now therefore what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold it is I.” Isaiah 52:5, 6. The LORD will fulfill His promise. Abraham and His seed shall inherit the world. And that “world” (Rom. 4:13) is not merely the earthly land of Canaan, but refers to the heavenly. Hebrews 11:13-16. Has not God prepared for His people a city, the new Jerusalem? Here His name shall be no more blasphemed among the heathen because of Israel’s sin and captivity. And the saints shall never again hang their harps upon the willows in a strange land. In this land of “fadeless day” the harpers will continually make music to accompany redemption’s song!
They who refuse to see this in Ezekiel do not rightly divide the Word and are workmen who will be ashamed!
The LORD’S Sanctification Of His Great Name
The great concern of the Lord over the redemption of His people and concerning the destruction of Gog and Magog is the sanctifying of His Name. Our Savior, while upon earth, perfectly read, interpreted, and fulfilled the Scriptures. When He taught the disciples to pray, it is a note-worthy fact that the “first petition” is “Hallowed be Thy Name.” Not only is this the concern of the Lord, but it is also the chief concern of every praying saint in whose heart God has shed His love abroad by the Holy Spirit. Compare Question 122 of the Heidelberg Catechism. Nevertheless, the sanctification of God’s Name, His glory and His virtues is God’s concern. In fact we hear this in very strong and clear overtones in Ezekiel 38, 39 both as respects the salvation of His people, and as this is manifested in the final and utter destruction of the hordes of the nations, denominated Gog and Magog.
It is both interesting and profitable to read what the LORD says concerning the sanctification of His Name. In doing so we must understand that the “name” of the Lord refers to all His virtues as they are manifested and revealed in God’s outgoing works, His mighty judgments, His destruction of the nations and His saving of His people. It refers to His power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth, particularly as displayed to his people. Wherefore we say: our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1. Such is the LORD’s name! Often we read of the name of the Lord in the Psalms. His name “is excellent in all the earth (Ps. 8:1). His is the name of the God of Jacob that defends us (Ps. 20:1), in which name we set up our banners and which we will remember. (Ps. 20:5, 7) It is the name which Christ declares unto His brethren (Ps. 22:22), and for which name’s sake God. forgives us our iniquities. (Ps. 25:11)
The tragic thing about Israel’s deportation into Babylon is what the heathen say about the Lord’s covenant relationship to His people. The most precious and unique relationship is laughed to scorn by infidels and haters of God. And the Lord hears and in anthropopathic language utters his Word of concern respecting His name. Writes Ezekiel, “But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.” Yes, the ultimate reason for redeeming Israel from their iniquities is for His name’s sake! Of this there can be no doubt. For this reason we read further, “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.” Ezekiel 36:21, 22.
And now the Lord will do something which will protect His name. None will ever be able to I profane the name of God again, because the Lord will save His people wholly for His name’s sake. (see above under former heading: Israel fully restored . . . .”) After the final salvation in heaven’s glory there will be no reason to speak evilly of Israel; There sin shall be no more. They will be entirely cleansed and the law of God shall be in their hearts perfectly. ‘Yes, “the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forever.'” Ezekiel 37:28.
Gog and Magog too must take notice. God is jealous for His holy name. And in His holy jealousy He will cause Gog and Magog to perish. Even the wrath of men shall praise Him; He shall laugh at them and have them in derision. The heathen must take notice of God’s great love for His people.
We may safely say in conclusion to all that we have written on this subject of “Gog and Magog,” that the great truth permeating this entire revelation is that all things are out of God, through Him and unto Him. To Him be the praise and glory forever in His church before angels and all the nations.
We live in evil days, to be sure. But we can lift up our hearts and voices. His is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. The kingdoms were moved, and he moves them. All is in good hands and we dwell securely. For His name’s sake he has saved us at Calvary, at Pentecost; and He shall save us to the uttermost. He is the Lord.
Truly, our God is a mighty Fortress.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. And from this secret place of God we see and judge all things and are judged of none.
Ours is the victory in faith!