Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Ezekiel 37:1-14): What an amazing scene. This is something that we have not seen at all. Did he really do this or is this something that Ezekiel is supposed to tell the living exiles?
A. Ezekiel is receiving a vision of resurrection, but it is an important image that will become a reference point for both Jews and Christians about God’s vision for an afterlife. God is speaking here of restoring the dead, which foreshadows the action of the gospels.
Q. (37:15-28): Why is uniting Israel and Judah important?
A. God’s desire for Israel/Judah was that they be one. He had no desire to split the Kingdoms, so part of restoring Israel is “reuniting” His people.
Q. (38:2): Gog had not been friendly to Israel? This is the first that I have heard of him … I think. Why was God mad at Gog?
A. It is difficult to say. These chapters appear to point to a massive confrontation between God’s restored kingdom of Israel and a great army of the nations, led by a king or ruler named Gog. We don’t really know much about this ruler, and it is very possible that God left it intentionally vague in this vision for Ezekiel, pointing to some shadowy enemy as yet unrevealed. There are references to Genesis 10 here, with Magog (which probably means ‘land of Gog’) being listed as part of the lineage of one of Noah’s sons, Japheth (Abraham and his descendants coming from the line of one of Noah’s other sons- Shem). According to my notes there had been a long period of hostility, which apparently is not recorded in scripture, between Israel and other tribes from the lineage described above (other Semitic people, in other words), so it is probably not a surprise that the “great enemy” of Israel would be a ruler from this lineage. Ultimately, these verses are shrouded in mystery, but you will note in December that the writer of Revelation pulls from these verses in casting a vision for the final confrontation between good and evil.
O. (39:12): Remember that “7” represents completeness and fulfillment, traced back to the seven days of creation. For more symbolic numbers to take not of, see Day 3 of our readings.
Q. (39:17-20): I hope this wasn’t a real feast. I hope it’s just a metaphor.
A. It is a vision of the great defeat and humiliation of these enemy people, and not a “real” event.
Q. (39:27-29): This reminds me of God’s promise in the rainbow. He never again flooded the earth. So, in this instance, we know that God will never cause such devastation and abandonment as he did here. He says he will “pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel.” Sounds comforting!
A. Israel’s tribulation is done, and God is beginning the process of restoring her, for it is through Israel that God will restore all humanity to right relationship with Himself via Christ. The role of the Spirit in that process will be more clearly defined in Acts.