Tuesday after the Last Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Ezekiel 37:15-28 (NKJV)
15 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 16 “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.
18 “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’– 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”‘ 20 And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.
21 “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
24 “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25 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. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”‘”
After the death of Solomon, son of David, the nation of Israel was torn in two pieces. The northern kingdom, Israel, was eventually taken into exile and has long since been dispersed through the nations. The southern kingdom, Judah, ended in 586 BC at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, and only again existed briefly during the Hasmonean dynasty during the Intertestamental time. When the Lord promises in Ezekiel 37 the reconstitution of Israel and Judah in the Promised Land, He is not prophesying the literal return of all the dispersed Jews and the reestablishment of a Jewish state. He is foretelling the Church, the New Testament Israel. If the Lord were to reestablish Israel, with earthly king and tabernacle, what would that do to the preaching of the cross? It would empty it of its meaning.
Through the preaching of the gospel to Jew and Gentile alike, God is reconstituting His people, bringing them out of this wicked and perverse generation into His glorious Church where there is forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. The Land He promised to bring them to is the Promised Land of the New Creation from yesterday’s reading. There, David will again be king over them, not David son of Jesse, but King David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ. Christ is the eternal King of the Church. He is also the Tabernacle, that place where God’s wrath is appeased through the blood sacrifice of Christ’s atoning death upon the cross. This prophecy shows Christians how the Triune God will protect His people through this life and into eternity, for this is an eternal dwelling He promises.
We pray: Lord God, heavenly Father, keep us, by Thy Holy Spirit, in the true faith, so that we may enjoy the blessing of our heavenly Promised Land with Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.