Israel Will Be Spiritually Reborn in One Day
7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child. 8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? shall a nation be brought forth at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith Jehovah: shall I that cause to bring forth shut the womb? saith thy God (ASV,1901).
This text is prophesying that there will be a complete spiritual rebirth of the nation Israel. When it comes to pass it will happen quickly as if a pregnant woman gave birth before she experienced birth pangs (Romans 11:26). God here is saying that nobody has ever heard of such a thing happening. He Himself says it is all caused by Him. Will the LORD begin and not finish work of restoring Israel? Will He bring to the (point of) birth, and not grant delivery (Isaiah 37:3)? Shall He who begets restrain the birth? The answer to these rhetorical questions is a resounding no. This is nothing short of Israel’s Spiritual Rebirth as a Nation. (Isaiah 66:7-9). The people and their land will be reborn in one day suddenly at the Messiah’s coming (Zechariah 12:10–13:1), unaccompanied by travail pains (Isaiah 54:1,4-5). That will be prefigured by Israel being delivered of a male child. The birth of a boy is a matter of special joy in Bible lands. The figure of the male child represents the spiritually regenerated nation, the many sons being viewed as one under the returning Messiah, who will then be manifested as their one representative Head. The land of Israel, Zion is inseparably associated with its inhabitants. Its restoration being compared to fertility is also established under the example of a birth. Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? Will the LORD begin and not finish work of restoring Israel? Will He bring to the (point of) birth, and not grant delivery (Isaiah 37:3)? Shall He who begets restrain the birth (Hosea 13:13; Romans 11:1)? This is a process that has been coming slowly over time and when the final spiritual rebirth of the nation Israel takes place it will be quickly. Over time it will be as a telescoping development.
Ezekiel chapter 37 is the ultimate description of the final return of Israel to its property. It covers the core of all of the prophecies about their return to the Promised Land in the Bible. However, the most important lesson is not the return to the Land, it is to pay attention to God, and what He says. When a believer purposely does this, they become more obedient, and His Word takes on an entirely new importance for the believer. Ezekiel chapter 37 provides the general outline of the telescoping developing of the reemerging of the state of Israel and their final spiritual restoration shown in Isaiah chapter 66:7–9.
While Ezekiel is communing with God as a captive in Babylon he received the message of the complete resurrection of the Nation Israel, He takes him out into a valley to show him what will come to pass in the future history of Israel. Physically, Ezekiel is in Babylon, and previously in Ezekiel 3:22, he is told by God to physically go to a valley on his own to receive a revelation from Him. The valley he chose was a location in Babylon, by the river Chebar, where God’s Spirit enters him, and speaks to him. In this instance, the circumstances are different. Here, God enters Ezekiel and transports him to “the valley” under consideration to receive the prophecy. Since it is called “the valley”, it must mean the Jezreel Valley in Israel, not the valley near the river Chebar from chapter three. Today, the Jezreel Valley is just referred to as “The Valley.” The discussion that will ensue from this point forward is a vivid description of the resurrection of Israel in the land of Israel, not in Babylon. As seen in Ezekiel chapter thirty-six, “The Valley” was reborn in the second stage of the four that will finalize the complete resurrection of Israel. Those stages are:
- The Zionist Movement.
- The end of WW I, and the establishment of the Mandate.
- The end of WW II, and the creation of the sovereign State of Israel.
- The National Regeneration of Israel and beginning of the Messianic Kingdom.
1aThe hand of Jehovah was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of Jehovah, and set me down in the midst of the valley;” 1b… and it was full of bones, 2And he caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord Jehovah, thou knowest. 4Again he said unto me, Prophesy over these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah. 5Thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. 6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. 7So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and, behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8And I beheld, and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. 9Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army (ASV, 1901)
Valley of the Dry Bones of Ezekiel by Gustave Dore. Cir 1850
Ezekiel does as the Lord commands, and first states, “behold, an earthquake”, which begins a four-stage process. Stage one is the bones coming together forming intact skeletons. Stage two is where the sinews were laid upon the bones. Stage three sees flesh covering them, and Stage four is the breath of life from God that causes them to stand up in what God calls “an exceeding great army”. The source of this breath is cited as “from the four winds”. The “four winds” is a general reference to the entire earth. So, the four stages are:
- An earthquake causes the bones to come together.
- Sinews (muscles) come upon the bones.
- Skin or flesh covers the bones and sinews.
- Breath of God’s Spirit enters them.
One way to explain what is referred to later in verse 11 as “the whole house of Israel” coming together in stages, is to compare it to what has happened to them already, and what will happen in the future:
- Bones coming together. Zionist movement coming back to Israel
- Sinews coming on the bones. WW I and the League of Nations Mandate
- Flesh covering the body. WW II causing the UN to give Israel Land
- Breath of God’s Spirit. Israel’s National Regeneration
The first three stages have already taken place. Jesus, in the book of Matthew, describes their final regathering as coming from “the four winds”. This final regathering will also include the inhabitants of Heaven, in addition to those from the entire earth:
30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (MEV)
Stage four is a future event at the end of the Great Tribulation when they cry out in belief to God that their Messiah is the Lord Jesus (Matthew 23:39). They will mourn over the way they rejected Jesus:
“12And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart; 14all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.” (ASV, 1901)
These verses describe the extent of the mourning in every family from the leaders of the government and the Temple, down to the general population. All of Israel will mourn in national repentance for the way they rejected the Lord Jesus when He came the first time.
Israel’s Final Restoration
11Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. 12Therefore prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O my people (ASV, 1901).
Now, God explains to Ezekiel the meaning of the prophecy. The bones represent “the whole house of Israel”. And, He says that currently those captives in Babylon are despairing by stating, “our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.” God promises a resurrection of the Land, and of their saints who have died knowing God, when He says, “I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people.” This regathering of all the Jews who know God, and confess Her Messiah, is expressed in many prophetic books. For example, in the book of Isaiah, the Lord describes the size of the final regathering:
5Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; 7every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made (ASV, 1901).
This regathering will be worldwide, and God stresses that fact by referencing all four points of the compass. The magnitude of this regathering is illustrated in verse 7 above, by the usage of three words: created, formed and made. God used these same three words in the Creation account of Genesis 1–2. In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word for “beginning” is rasheet. It is used to mean that within the onset of the time domain God created the heavens, and the earth, and all that is in them in one single creative event. The Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1 reads, “In beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In the Hebrew, it does not say “in the beginning”, but rather it says “in beginning”. The physical universe, including space, were merged into one single event of creation contained within the word “beginning” as stated in Genesis 1:1. This implies that, within the very first instance of time, all of creation was formed out of it! First, He created, then from that creation, He formed and made all that is within it, including mankind. So, from God’s perspective, the final regathering of Israel to their Promised Land will be of the same magnitude as that of the original Creation! God does huge and magnificent things for the purpose of having us realize, and respond to, His Glory and Strength.
God’s Spirit Enters the Jews
Valley of the Dry Bones of Ezekiel by Gustave Dore. Cir 1850
14And I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land: and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, have spoken it and performed it, saith Jehovah (ASV, 1901).
Finally, God says that He, “will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live.” This is when the New Covenant will be inaugurated. God told us this through the prophet Jeremiah:
31Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more. (ASV, 1901, underlining added)
It is God’s Spirit that energizes the final stage of the restoration of Israel, and then they will be ushered into the Messianic Kingdom as genuine, born-again believers of the Messiah, King Jesus. Only the Lord can provide salvation, and He promises salvation to those who confess His name. The phrase “I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it” means that God will be within the believers, and they will obey Him. A true believer would not want it to be any other way.
“12And I will strengthen them in Jehovah; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith Jehovah.” (ASV, 1901)
It is overwhelming to assimilate the prophecies stated so far in this section of Scripture. The Lord will re-gather the Jews from all the places in the world where He has scattered them. Then He will remove every obstacle that can be imagined that could block their return back to the Land. Finally, as stated in verse twelve above, He will provide a plentiful outpouring of His Spirit to enable the Jews to do marvelous works in His name. His revealed character will then be fully,and gloriously manifested, in their midst in the person of Jesus their Messiah, the very image of the invisible God. This prophecy concludes with a divine promise making certain that the whole prophetic panorama of returning to the Land is accomplished. God is affirming His pledge to enable the Jews to take command of the Land, and of the earth, as He says they will “walk up and down in his name, saith Jehovah.” “Walking up and down” means moving back and forth, and looking over their Land as owners.
As with all of God’s actions, the purpose is to glorify Himself. Affirming this, He ends this section of Ezekiel by saying, “and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, have spoken it and performed it, saith Jehovah.”
Israel Partial Restoration In 1948
Because there has never been a dead nation or a dead language that came back to sovereignty or daily usage of their ancient language it is frequently thought that Isaiah chapter 66:7–9 refers to the declaration of Israel’s independence on May 14, 1948. While that event is miraculous in and of itself it is hermeneutically referred to as repeat foreshadowing. That is, it is an event that will be similar to the final fulfilment but not complete as the final event will be. In this case the nation Israel is back in the land but, in unbelief. Presently it is not the complete spiritual fulfillment as it will be when the Lord Jesus the Messiah returns to establish His Kingdom. The Land Covenant and the Land promises made to Abraham are also not fulfilled at this time.
The following passage in Zephaniah shows God telling the Jews that after gathering them they will be experiencing no shame before a “decree” which He will bring upon them. The context of the previous passages in the first chapter of Zephaniah is the Great Tribulation and this passage shows that they are gathered together and unashamed of their sins:
1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation that has no shame; 2 before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of Jehovah come upon you, before the day of Jehovah’s anger come upon you. (ASV, 1901)
Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the resulting gathering of the Jewish exiles back to their land has been the phenomenal. There has been an immigration of over one million Jews from over 100 countries to the State of Israel. Today Israel is a secular nation at best with a wide range of attitudes toward God. The vast majority of Israelis are not Orthodox believers. There are even many varieties of the Orthodox. Most citizens in Israel would classify themselves either as atheistic or agnostic. This is what Zephaniah means by the phrase “O nation that has no shame”. Verse 2 above clearly states that this will be the attitude of the Jews, and God’s anger will come upon them because of it. Because God has gathered the Jews out of wrath (The Holocaust of Adolph Hitler), He also states they will be in the Promised Land, and moves on to describe the coming wrath the Nation Israel will experience. God says that He will cause them “to pass under the rod”. This is a direct reference to the coming Great Tribulation when the Antichrist, at the mid- point of the seven-year Great Tribulation, will unleash a horrific persecution of the Jewish people. Under the Holocaust of Adolph Hitler one-third of the world’s Jews died. Under the Antichrist’s persecution God says that two-thirds will die (Zechariah 13:8).
It is important to realize that prophecies and other components of Old Testament Scripture can be stated without actually being fulfilled. Some prophecies awaiting final fulfillment, are deemed as repeated foreshadowing. The prophecy regarding the Antichrist and the Abomination Desolation (Daniel 9:27) is foreshadowed in the intertestamental person of Antiochus Epiphanes. Another illustration of foreshadowment, one that is crucial to the interpretation of prophecy, is the quotation of Joel 2:28-32 in Acts chapter 2. It was made by the apostle Peter on occasion of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Peter’s speech and the quotation from Joel follows:
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lift up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (KJV).
Peter is excited as he is partaking in the birth of the Church and realizing that it is tied to the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32. The events of that day must have been miraculous to say the least. The Holy Spirit came first upon the apostles during the feast of Pentecost. He felt like a mighty wind and filled the house where they were sitting. He appeared as cloven tongues similar to fire and sat upon each one of the apostles. Immediately they began speaking with other tongues (languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance. This prophecy of Joel is contextually scheduled for fulfillment just before the millennium. Why then did Peter quote it at Pentecost? Peter sees the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to be related to Joel’s prophecy in a twofold way. The apostle Peter recognizes the uniqueness of the of Pentecost. This event had been predicted by Christ and expectantly awaited by the disciples (John 14:16; 15:26; 7-15; Acts 1:8). The coming of the Holy Spirit launched a new order of things, such as the formation of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13). Moreover, it ushered in the “end age” (I John 2:18) where the characteristics of the millennial age would become evident and should be eagerly anticipated. Thus, although the millennial kingdom not yet come, Christians are even now spiritual citizens of that the blessings of the that the blessings of the millennial kingdom, by virtue of being ready citizens of the spiritual kingdom
Peter does not say that the entire prophecy of Joel fulfilled that day at Pentecost. The customary formula of fulfillment (“that it might be fulfilled”) is not used by Peter, the introductory “this is that,” a phrase not customarily for actual, complete fulfillment of any prophecy. Peter desires to point out to the Jews that what is taking place among them is not something unheard of or induced under intoxication, but something actually conformed with their Old Testament Scriptures.
This is the same hermeneutical support for the modern state of Israel foreshadowing the final spiritual rebirth of the nation Israel.