So Ezekiel spent years in captivity by the Babylonians. He spent all that time warning the remaining Israelites of God's coming judgment and the fall of Jerusalem. Then one day, a Jewish survivor came to Ezekiel from Israel. He told Ezekiel of all the horrible things that were happening there, and that the city of Jerusalem had fallen just as God said it would. We saw in the previous chapters that God had warned Israel time and time again through Ezekiel's words and, sometimes through his strange actions.
Well, we have now witnessed God's wrath on surrounding nations, and upon Israel. The Bible says that God is patient and slow to anger. But He is a good God. He is faithful to His word. When He warns of His impending discipline, He cannot go back on His word. But He is also the God of hope. The rest of the book of Ezekiel reveals God's grace and mercy to Israel, the other nations, and ultimately to us. Chapters 34-37 tell of hope for Israel. God promises In Chapter 34 a new David: A new King: A Messianic King! God is letting Israel know that His son, Jesus Christ, is coming. In Chapter 36, He talks about The new King and a new Israel with a new heart for God. These are reminders of what God has promised Israel in Ezekiel chapter 11 and what God said through Moses way back in the book of Deuteronomy. God never changes and His Word is consistent throughout the entire Bible.
In Chapter 37 Ezekiel sees another strange vision. He is standing in a valley filled with dry human bones. God explains to Ezekiel that this is a metaphor for Israel's spiritual state. In other words. It is a symbol of how the Israelites have turned from the true God, and are now like dry bones. But wait! Suddenly a brisk wind blows. The bones begin to assemble themselves into skeletons, and the skeletons are filled with
breath and muscles begin to form around the skeletons. Then skin begins to wrap itself over the muscles. Before too long, Ezekiel is standing among a crowd of living breathing people! Doesn't this kind of remind you of Genesis chapter 2 when God breathed into Adam and gave him life? God will breathe new life, His Spirit, into the people of Israel, and eventually all people.
Chapters 38 and 39 talk about hope for the nations. God promises that evil will be wiped out among all the nations. Ezekiel calls this evil Gog from Magog. Gog is a symbol of all the evil kings and kingdoms. And here in these chapters, Gog will be defeated. Gog is also a symbol of the evil around us every day. Anything that is not of God, is evil. We were evil until we accepted His gift of His son Jesus to live in us. The Bible says that we were actually enemies of God, because we loved the things of this world more than we loved Him. Jesus said, "But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" John 16:33 Ezekiel uses imagery of earthquakes and fires to show the ultimate defeat of Gog (evil).
In the final 8 chapters of Ezekiel (40-48) God expresses that there is hope for all creation. Ezekiel tells of how, one day, God's presence will one day return to His people and to His temple. Ezekiel has another vision. An angel escorts him to the "new" Jerusalem and gives him a tour of it. It is more amazing, more majestic, and more beautiful than the original temple that Solomon had built with all his riches.
Now, remember that strange vision of the 4 creatures that were unlike anything he had ever seen before? These creatures each had large wings and 4 faces. The wings all touched. Each creature hovered above its own wheel. The wings of these strange creatures supported a platform. On that platform was a throne, and on that throne was a glowing being surrounded by an ember-colored ring. Ezekiel realized at that time that it was the Presence of God. Well it appears again and heads right into the "new" temple. Then Ezekiel sees a tiny stream pouring out of the doorway of the temple and it cascaded down the front steps. It quickly turns into a raging river, and then flows through the Dead Sea Desert. As it continues to flow through the desert, trees begin to sprout. Animals appear and the river is overflowing with life. The description of this river is the same description of the Garden Of Eden during creation in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. What an amazing vision! God's plan has always been to restore creation and humanity back to the way it was before Adam and Eve sinned. This vision takes us to the future when all will be restored and then back to God's original creation.
God is the god of restoration and redemption. He has restored us and redeemed us through the blood of His son, Jesus. God is the god of everything. The world will be restored. He is also the god of individuals. He loves each of us on a one to one basis. We can commune with Him, walk with Him, and talk with Him. We can trust Him. God is faithful and trustworthy. He never changes and He never gives up on us.