Friday, January 23, 2009

Ezekiel 37: Restoration of Ephraim and Judah

Ezekiel 37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones alive? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And 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 the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So 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. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. The Lord uses the reality of the resurrection as an allegory of the gathering of Israel in the Last Days.

The Bible is both literal and figurative. There will be an actual physical resurrection and there will be a literal restoration of the house of Israel and restoration of the 12 tribes.

15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.

Ephraim and Judah represent the lead tribes of the northern and southern kingdoms respectively, and Ephraim represents the Gentiles who are brought into or adopted into the Abrahamic covenant just as Ephraim was adopted by Abraham and made the birthright son after Joseph. Ephraim represents the Gentiles in another ways as the Samaritans who declared descendency from Ephraim had mixed blood with the Gentiles.The restoration of the House of Israel (restoration of the covenant, church, temple) would be accompanied by the restoration an bringing together of 2 records; the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim. Both records of scripture would serve to clarify doctrine and point the House of Israel to a true belief about God and Christ. Isaiah 29 also talks about a book coming forth and calls this God's "Marvelous Work and a Wonder."

Isa 29:14,24 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. . . They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and cone king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.

Ephraim and Judah will be restored to their lands. Judah is given the Land of Israel as an everlasting inheritance and according to the Book of Mormon, the Gentiles who are adopted into the tribe of Ephraim are given America as their inheritance.Remember there is a parallel between Abraham and Joseph in Egypt and America in the Last Days. Joseph is sold into Egypt and delivered from jail by receiving a vision and being able to interpret Pharaoh's dream and preparing Egypt for the famine or tribulation to come (Sealing of the forehead). Then we see how Joseph or the Gentiles prove to be the salvation of the rest of the family of Abraham by saving them from the famine or apostasy (Amos 8:11).

In the last days the Gentiles who first receive the restored everlasting covenant and gospel will dispense it to the rest of Israel. And we see that Abraham dwelt in Egypt before Israel was miraculously restored to their lands of inheritance many years later with Moses. Similarly, the Jews who have been in America have been and will be miraculously restored to Israel after a long 40-year sojourn in the wilderness because of disobedience.

Interesting how Israel has the Sea of Galilee flowing into the Dead Sea via the Jordan River and in Salt Lake City we have Utah Lake flowing into the Great Salt Lake via another Jordan River.And there will be a political as well as religious unification. And they will have one belief in Christ who is their shepherd and they will be sanctified and cleansed and not just declared clean, but be made clean in actual fact.

26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

As part of the restoration, God will establish His everlasting covenant with the church and establish the 3rd Temple. But the 3rd Temple will not be like Solomon's or Zarubabbel's. The 3rd Temple will not administer the Law of Moses and the covenant of Justification, but will administer the covenant of sanctification, consecration, and the promise of perfection. The 3rd Temple will be not be after the Levitical Priesthood but will be a Christian temple after the order of the Melchesidek Priesthood. And this temple will not just be given to one Land, and one tribe, and one nation. But the 3rd Temple and covenant will be given according to John in Revelations to every kindred, nation, tongue and people.

And after the everlasting temple has been established to every kindred, nation, tongue and people, then it will be restored to Israel; and the first shall be last and the last shall be first. This is why it is fulfillment of prophecy that the 3rd Temple be built not just in Israel but many of the same temple built all over the Earth and then finally in Israel itself. When Christ initially came he came only to the House of Israel, and then it was revealed with Cornelius that the gospel was to go to the Gentiles. But after the restoration, the gospel would then first go to the Gentiles and then last to the Jews.

Luke 12:28-30 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first (Gentiles), and there are first which shall be last (Jews).

Isaiah 11:12-13 And 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. The 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.

Malachi says the sons of Levi will offer an offering in righteousness again. But this offering will be of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and will be the offering of their whole souls in the higher and everlasting covenant of consecration. Animal sacrifice is not a offering in righteousness. Animal sacrifice is an offering in sin, to be declared clean and justified.The offering that the Levites will make one day is the higher and everlasting covenant which promises sanctification. Note the language that Christ promises to purify and purge sin from us like silver and gold. The new model, purpose and covenant of the restored temple is sanctification.

Mal. 3: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Many claim that the temple will only be restored to the Jews. But doesn't Christ say that all things would be restored; first to the Gentile and then to the Jews "and the first will be last and the last will be first" (Luke 12:28-30). Why would God only restore the temple to the Jews when He promised to restore His fullness to the Gentiles? Did God say He would withhold part of His gospel and kingdom from the Gentiles? No, there is nothing about Christ's gospel that He is holding in reserve for just the Jews that He hasn't made available to all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples. This includes the temple.

Acts 3:19-21 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

Eph. 1: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Eventially there will be no more temple, when the work and purpose of the Temple is complete and the sanctification of the people is compelete. John says after the Millennium there is no temple there but Christ is the temple. So, that day will come. But it is not yet.

Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands.

Solomons temple and Zerubbabel's temple were built by they hand of God and not of man. When God commands a temple to be built He authorizes and ordains priesthood holders to act in His name. Whatever these servants of God do in the name of the Lord it is as if God has done it Himself with His own hand.

Hag. 1: 8 Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.

When Christ came to the Earth, the Jews didn't recognize their Messiah because they had misinterpreted the scriptures and were looking for a different Savior. In the same way many Gentiles believe in the restoration of God's temple but do not recognize that it has already been restored because they are looking for a different temple than the one prophesied in the Bible.

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