Ezekiel 36

CHAPTER XXXVI

The Edomites or Idumeans, during the Babylonish captivity, took

possession of the mountainous parts of Judea, and the

fortresses which commanded the country, intending to exclude

the Jews if ever they should return from their captivity. The

prophet therefore, by a beautiful personification, addresses

the mountains of Israel; and, ascribing to them passions and

emotions similar to those of his own breast, consoles them with

the prospect of being soon rid of those usurping foes; of being

freed from the dishonour of idols under which they groaned; and

of flourishing again in their ancient glory under their

rightful owners, 1-15.

The idolatry and other sins of the Jews are then declared to be

the cause of their captivity and dispersion, 16-20;

from which however they are promised a deliverance in terms of

great force and beauty, 21-38.

This chapter contains also, under the type of the happy

condition of the Israelites after their restoration from the

Babylonish captivity, a glorious prophecy of the rich blessings

of the Gospel dispensation.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXXVI

Verse 1. Prophesy unto the mountains of Israel] This is a part

of the preceding prophecy though it chiefly concerns the Jews. In

it they are encouraged to expect a glorious restoration; and that

none of the evil wishes of their adversaries should take place

against them.

Verse 2. Because the enemy hath said] The Idumeans thought they

would shortly be put in possession of all the strong places of

Israel; the ancient high places shall be ours.

Verse 4. Therefore-thus saith the Lord God to the mountains,

&c.] They shall neither possess mountain nor valley, hill nor

dale, fountain nor river; for though in my justice I made you

desolate, yet they shall not profit by your disasters. See

Eze 36:5-7.

Verse 8. For they are at hand to come.] The restoration of the

Jews is so absolutely determined that you may rest assured it will

take place; and be as confident relative to it, as if you saw the

different families entering into the Israelitish borders. It was

near at hand in God's determination, though there were about

fifty-eight of the seventy years unelapsed.

Verse 9. Ye shall be tilled and sown] The land shall be

cultivated as it formerly was, when best peopled and at peace.

Verse 11. I will multiply upon you man and beast] The

agriculturalist and the beast of burden.

And will do better unto you than at your beginnings] I agree

with Calmet, that it would be difficult to show the literal

fulfilment of this prophecy from the days of Zerubbabel to the

birth of Christ. The colouring is too high for that period; and

the whole falls in better with Gospel than with Jewish times.

Verse 17. When the house of Israel dwelt in their own land] Had

they continued faithful to me, they had never been removed from

it: but they polluted it with their crimes; and I abhorred the

land on that account, and gave both them and it up to the

destroyers.

Verse 20. And when they entered unto the heathen] So bad were

they, and so deeply fallen, that they profaned the Lord's name

among the heathen; and, on their account, the true God was

blasphemed. These, say they, are the people of Jehovah! O what an

abominable people are these! and what a being must that God be who

can have and own such for his people!

Verse 23. I will sanctify my great name] By changing your hearts

and your conduct, I shall show my hatred to vice, and my love to

holiness: but it is not for your sakes, but for my holy name's

sake, that I shall do you good in your latter days.

Verse 24. I will take you from among the heathen] This does not

relate to the restoration from Babylon merely. The Jews are at

this day scattered in all Heathen, Mohammedan, and Christian

countries. From these they are to be gathered, and brought to

repossess their own land.

Verse 25. Then-at the time of this great restoration-will I

sprinkle clean water upon you-the truly cleansing water; the

influences of the HOLY SPIRIT typified by water, whose property it

is to cleanse, whiten, purify, refresh, render healthy and

fruitful.

From all your filthiness] From every sort of external and

internal abomination and pollution.

And from all your idols] False gods, false worship, false

opinions, and false hopes.

Will I cleanse you.] Entirely separate you.

Verse 26. A new heart also will I give you] I will change the

whole of your infected nature; and give you new appetites, new

passions; or, at least, the old ones purified and refined. The

heart is generally understood to mean all the affections and

passions.

And a new spirit will I put within you] I will renew your minds,

also enlighten your understanding, correct your judgment, and

refine your will; so that you shall have a new spirit to actuate

your new heart.

I will take away the stony heart] That heart that is hard,

impenetrable, and cold; the affections and passions that are

unyielding, frozen to good, unaffected by heavenly things; that

are slow to credit the words of God. I will entirely remove this

heart: it is the opposite to that which I have promised you; and

you cannot have the new heart and the old heart at the same time.

And I will give you a heart of flesh.] One that can feel, and

that can enjoy; that can feel love to God and to all men, and be

a proper habitation for the living God.

Verse 27. And I will put my Spirit within you] To keep the heart

of flesh alive, the feeling heart still sensible, the loving

heart still happy. I will put my Spirit, the great principle

of light, life, and love, within you, to actuate the new spirit,

and to influence the new affections and passions; that the animal

spirit may not become brutish, that the mental powers become not

foolish. I will put my Spirit within you, so that as the new

spirit may influence the new heart, so will MY SPIRIT influence

YOUR new spirit, that each may have a proper mover; and then all

will be pure, regular, and harmonious, when passion is influenced

by reason, and reason by the Holy Ghost.

And the cause shall be evidenced by the effects; for I will

cause you to walk in my statutes-not only to believe and

reverence my appointments relative to what I command you to

perform; but ye shall walk in them, your conduct shall be

regulated by them. "And ye shall keep my judgments;" whatsoever I

enjoin you to avoid. And ye shall do them-ye shall not only avoid

every appearance of evil, but keep all my ordinances and

commandments unblamably.

Here is the salvation that God promises to give to restored

Israel; and here is the salvation that is the birthright of every

Christian believer: the complete destruction of all sin in the

soul, and the complete renewal of the heart; no sin having any

place within, and no unrighteousness having any place without.

"But where are they that are thus saved?" Ans. Wherever true

Christians are to be found. "But I know many true Christians that

have not this salvation, but daily mourn over their evil hearts?"

Ans. They may be sincere, but they are not true Christians;

i.e., such as are saved from their sins; the true Christians are

those who are filled with the nature and Spirit of Christ. But I

will ask a question in my turn: "Do those you mention think it a

virtue to be always mourning over their impurities?" Most

certainly. Then it is a pity they were not better instructed. It

is right they should mourn while they feel an impure heart; but

why do they not apply to that blood which cleanses from all

unrighteousness, and to that Spirit which cleanses the very

thoughts of the heart by his inspiration? Many employ that time in

brooding and mourning over their impure hearts, which should be

spent in prayer and faith before God, that their impurities might

be washed away. In what a state of nonage are many members of the

Christian Church!

Verse 28. Ye shall be my people] Wholly given up to me in body,

soul, and spirit.

And I will be your God.] To fill you with love, joy, peace,

meekness, gentleness, longsuffering, fidelity and goodness, to

occupy your whole soul, and gratify your every desire.

Verse 29. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses] I

repeat it; "I WILL save you from all your sins."

Verse 30. Ye shall receive no more reproach of famine] Ye shall

be daily and hourly fed with the bread that endures unto eternal

life. "But will not those get proud, who are thus saved, if there

be any such? and will they not undervalue the blood of the

covenant, for then they shall not need it?" Ans. Hear what the

Lord saith,-

Verse 31. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways] Ye shall

never forget that ye were once slaves of sin, and sold under sin;

children of the wicked one; heirs to all God's curses, with no

hope beyond hell. Such cleansed people never forget the horrible

pit and the miry clay out of which they have been brought. And can

they then be proud? No; they loathe themselves in their own sight.

They never forgive themselves for having sinned against so good a

God, and so loving a Saviour. And can they undervalue HIM by

whose blood they were bought, and by whose blood they were

cleansed? No! That is impossible: they now see Jesus as they ought

to see him; they see him in his splendour, because they feel him

in his victory and triumph over sin. To them that thus believe he

is precious, and he was never so precious as now. As to their not

needing him when thus saved from their sins, we may as well say,

as soon may the creation not need the sustaining hand of God,

because the works are finished! Learn this, that as it requires

the same power to sustain creation as to produce it, so it

requires the same Jesus who cleansed to keep clean. They feel

that it is only through his continued indwelling, that they are

kept holy, and happy, and useful. Were he to leave them the

original darkness and kingdom of death would soon be restored.

Verse 35. This land that was desolate by sin, is become like the

garden of Eden by righteousness.-Satan's blast is removed; God's

blessing has taken place.

Verse 36. Then the heathen] They shall see how powerful Jehovah

is, and how fully he saves those who come unto and worship him.

Verse 37. Thus saith the Lord God] In answer to the question,

"Who shall have such blessings?" we say, they that pray, that seek

earnestly, that strive to enter in at the strait gate. "Thus saith

the Lord, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of

Israel." Neither Jew nor Gentile shall be thus saved who do not

earnestly pray to God; and for this thing; for this complete

salvation; this setting up of the kingdom of Christ upon earth,

and particularly in their own souls.

Verse 38. As the holy flock] The Church of Christ, without spot,

or wrinkle, or any such thing.

The flock of Jerusalem] The Jerusalem that is from above, the

city of the living God, the place where his Majesty dwells. As

they came in ancient times to the solemn national feasts so shall

they come when they have fully returned unto the Lord, and

received his salvation by Christ Jesus.

I do not ask my reader's pardon for having considered this most

beautiful chapter as relating, not to the restoration from the

Babylonish captivity, but to the redemption under the new covenant

by Jesus Christ. There is no period of the Jewish history from

that time until now, to which it can be applied. It must belong to

the Gospel dispensation; and if the Jews will still refuse,

contradict, and blaspheme, let no Christian have any fellowship

with them in their opposition to this Almighty Saviour. Let none

be indifferent to his salvation; let all plead his promises;

and let the messengers of the Churches proclaim to the Christian

world a FREE, a FULL, and a PRESENT SALVATION! And may great grace

rest upon themselves, and upon all their flocks!

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