In this chapter, Ezekiel looks forward to the future restoration of Israel as God's people, when he will give them new tender hearts in place of hearts of stone, and will place his spirit within them.
Ezekiel sees beyond the impending fall of Jerusalem that was soon to take place in 586 BC, to Israel's future restoration (v17). God will give Israel one heart and put his spirit within them, giving them tender hearts in place of hearts of stone (v19). Then they will follow his statutes and regulations. They will be his people and he will be their God (v20). This restoration was partially fulfilled after the Babylonian captivity ended in 539 BC. But God has again been restoring Israel as a nation since 1948, and will restore them as his people at the second coming.
Symbols: Heart of stone, Heart of flesh
Tags: Restoration of Israel
The Fall of Jerusalem
1 A wind lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the Lord’s temple that faces the east. There, at the entrance of the gate, I noticed twenty-five men. Among them I saw Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, officials of the people.
2 The Lord said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who plot evil and give wicked advice in this city.
3 They say, ‘The time is not near to build houses; the city is a cooking pot and we are the meat in it.’
4 Therefore, prophesy against them! Prophesy, son of man!”
5 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon me and said to me, “Say: This is what the Lord says: ‘This is what you are thinking, O house of Israel; I know what goes through your minds.
6 You have killed many people in this city; you have filled its streets with corpses.’
7 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘The corpses you have dumped in the midst of the city are the meat, and this city is the cooking pot, but I will take you out of it.
8 You fear the sword, so the sword I will bring against you,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.
9 ‘But I will take you out of the city. And I will hand you over to foreigners. I will execute judgments on you.
10 You will die by the sword; I will judge you at the border of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
11 This city will not be a cooking pot for you, and you will not be meat within it; I will judge you at the border of Israel.
12 Then you will know that I am the Lord, whose statutes you have not followed and whose regulations you have not carried out. Instead you have behaved according to the regulations of the nations around you!’”
13 Now, while I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I threw myself face down and cried out with a loud voice, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! You are completely wiping out the remnant of Israel!”
14 Then the Lord’s message came to me:
15 “Son of man, your brothers, your relatives, and the whole house of Israel, all of them are those to whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘They have gone far away from the Lord; to us this land has been given as a possession.’
16 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I have removed them far away among the nations and have dispersed them among the countries, I have been a little sanctuary for them among the lands where they have gone.’
17 “Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I regather you from the peoples and assemble you from the lands where you have been dispersed, I will give you back the country of Israel.’
18 “When they return to it, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations.
19 I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them; I will remove the hearts of stone from their bodies and I will give them tender hearts,
20 so that they may follow my statutes and observe my regulations and carry them out. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God.
21 But those whose hearts are devoted to detestable things and abominations, I hereby repay them for what they have done, says the Sovereign Lord.”
22 Then the cherubim spread their wings with their wheels alongside them while the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them.
23 The glory of the Lord rose up from within the city and stopped over the mountain east of it.
24 Then a wind lifted me up and carried me to the exiles in Babylonia, in the vision given to me by the Spirit of God.
Then the vision I had seen went up from me.
25 So I told the exiles everything the Lord had shown me.