Notes on Ezekiel 36:1-15

Ezekiel 36:1-15
Following the denunciation of mount Seir Jehovah now addresses Himself to the personified mountains of Israel and declares the consolation in store for them, whatever the proud malice of the Edomite might have said against them.
“Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of Jehovah.” (Ver. 1.)
It is well to bear in mind that in Israel of old it was a question of government under the revealed name of Jehovah, but oil the conditions of law, which, being taken up by man in the flesh, could only issue as it did in ruin. Now it is a wholly different state of things; for on a rejected Christ, who is the Son of God, the assembly is built, His body and bride in grace pure and absolute, and hence formed out of believers, Jews and Gentiles indiscriminately, who are destined to be with Him on high and reign with Him over the earth. But the government of the world in Israel is not abandoned by God forever. He will take Israel up once more at the coming of the Lord, the glorious Son of man, and display His government perfectly then to His own glory under the new covenant, and hence on a principle superior to the weakness or the evil of the creature. This will be the epoch and turning-point of the world's blessing, not merely as now grace gathering out of it for heavenly glory with Christ, but judgment returning to righteousness on earth, and all the upright following it. Hence the second advent of the Lord for the world is characterized by the execution of judgments; and the rather as all scripture shows that the state of the earth will just before it be one of unexampled evil in apostasy, not only the rebellious rejection of the truth, but the great lie consummated of man sitting as God in the temple of God. And God will deal not with the most flagrant offenders only, but with each and all who have risen up against Him, when He delivers and exalts His ancient people still justly abased because of their sins.
To this time these prophecies look onward, whatever may have been their partial application in the past. If Israel will come forth from their hiding-place for His mercy, so will Edom for His judgment. I mean now of course for the judgment of the quick not of the dead, which will follow at the close of all when the wicked of every age and clime shall rise again and be judged by the Son of man.
But here it is the earth dealt with, not that eternal judgment; and the prophet was to speak comfort to the long desolate mountains of Israel. For God has not made the earth or man upon it to be ever the victims of sin and sorrow, of vanity and corruption. He will surely show Himself a deliverer from all the mischief Satan has wrought; but there must be judgment as well as mercy, and both we see here. Had the enemy taunted the land of Israel, saying Aha, even the ancient heights are become our possession? (2.) Jehovah's answer through His prophet is, “Because, even because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up un every side, that ye might become a possession unto the residue of the nations, and ye are taken up on the lips of talkers, and a reproach of the people, therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of Jehovah: thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys,” (Vers. 3, 4.)
If the unuttered taunt is recorded before Jehovah, how much more that malicious boasting over the needed humiliation of Israel and the consequent desolation of the land, as if it were their victory over the only true God! But He heard and was soon warned by His servant the prophet; yet was He slow to judge. But His hand will ere long make good what His mouth then declared; and a yet more tremendous downfall yet awaits the haughty Edomite. The unbelieving Jews may divert their maledictions to their so-called Christian adversaries meanwhile; for both Jews and Christendom have lost all simplicity and consequently power of faith in the word of God. But neither good nor evil have perished from before His eyes. Edom and Israel but slumber in the dust and will soon come forth, Edom with still indomitable pride and vengeance, Israel at length repentant and subdued by the patient infinite grace of God. And then in this world shall each race receive its portion in that day, and Edom finally by the hand of Israel. (Compare Isa. 11:10-14; 3410And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 11And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. 14But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. (Isaiah 11:10‑14);. xxxv.; lxiii; Obadiah.)
For it would be a sorrowful and altogether unworthy conception of that day, were” it only divine wrath dispensing its death-blows on the wicked. But No. 5. Vol. X.-May, 1874.
the prophecy holds out no such monotony of gloom, but contrariwise the dark ways of man's iniquity followed by the judgment but ushering in the day of the Lord. “Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. But ye, Ο mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations; therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord Jehovah. Neither will I cause men to bear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord Jehovah.” (Vers. 6-15.)
The Lord thus pledges His oath, jealous for the blessing of Israel and indignant at their reproach not yet come, still continued from the heathen. In vain do men apply such glowing words to the return from Babylon, which was but an earnest of what is coming for the entire people. Can any one who respects scripture and knows the facts pretend that the Lord multiplied men on the mountains of Israel, “all the house of Israel, even all of it?” (Ver. 10.) Such words seem expressly written to guard souls from such meager and misleading views. Did Jehovah settle the returned remnant after their old estates, and do good more than at their beginnings? (Ver. 11.) Did the land, did the mountains, become Israel's inheritance and no more bereave them? (Ver. 12.) Do we not know that under the fourth empire a still worse destruction came and a longer dispersion, instead of the land devouring no more, neither bereaving its own nations nor bearing the insult of the Gentiles any more? (Ver. 15.) No! the fulfillment of the prophecy is yet to come, but, come it will as surely as Jehovah lives and has thus sworn through His prophet concerning the land of Israel. To suppose that the gospel or the church is meant by such language is both ignorance and infatuation.