For a full understanding of all the prophecies of Israel’s rebirth and how they fit together, we need to consider one important passage from the book of Ezekiel. This set of verses shows us that God predicted Israel would be restored with fury poured out, and this reflects exactly what happened in the years before and during 1948.
Ezekiel chapter 20 may be the most important prophetic statement concerning Israel in the entire Bible. What is recorded in that chapter is a brief narrative by the Lord himself on the entire history of Israel. The curious thing about this particular discussion is that it includes the “history” of Israel past, present, and future. This is because it is written from the standpoint of one who knows the future so well that he can talk about it as though it had already occurred.
In Ezekiel 20:5, God begins by summarizing how he had chosen Israel from among all nations and helped them in the days of Jacob. He continues by reminding them how he had searched out a beautiful land especially for them, and then miraculously brought them forth out of Egypt to inhabit it. The Lord says that the only stipulation demanded of Israel before they reached that land was that they turn away from all the evil of the nations and instead follow his ways.
However, before they could even get out of the wilderness of Sinai, God says “the house of Israel rebelled against me” (Ezekiel 20:13). These same sad words are repeated again and again throughout this chapter. At every point in their history, it is almost as if these words became the proverb for Israel’s dealings with God. The Lord explains that he could not allow this rebellion to continue, because the entire world was watching. If his people were labeled as evil, then the nations might believe the Lord was evil, also. The Lord therefore says,
“I wrought for my namesake, that it should not be polluted before the nations”
Notice the similarity of this passage to Ezekiel 36:21. This is what God says he did as a result of their rebelliousness in the wilderness of Sinai:
“…I lifted up mine hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.”
Instead of entering the promised land, that entire sinful generation perished in the desert, never being allowed to even so much as see the land. The Sinai Peninsula, which was a literal wilderness, then became a “wilderness” of sin that devoured the disobedient among the people. This same symbolism concerning the wilderness is carried on throughout the chapter in a very interesting way.
First the Lord instructs the surviving children to be careful to follow his ways and not let the evil of their parents influence them (Ezekiel 20:18-20). However, in the very next statement God reveals the behavior of these people and their descendants when they finally came to live in the Promised Land:
“Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.”
As we have seen previously, the nation of Israel continued in this rebellious state until the ultimate curse finally occurred of being scattered among the nations…[more]