November 18 – What turns a valley of dead bones into a standing army?

November 18
Ezekiel 37:1-38:23
James 1:19-2:17
Psalm 117:1-2
Proverbs 28:1

Ezekiel 37:3 – Ezekiel didn’t have the answers but was full of obedience (Ezekiel 37:7). Contrast this humble servant to the arrogant rebel Jonah who was full of answers (Jonah 4:2) and didn’t have obedience (Jonah 1:3).

Ezekiel 37:12 – Further in this chapter we’ll read about the coming King (Ezekiel 37:24). When that King made a way for man to connect to God (Matthew 27:51), this passage was literally fulfilled (Matthew 27:52). The bones came together (Ezekiel 37:7), breath came into them (Ezekiel 37:10), and the graves opened, and they came out into the land of Israel (Ezekiel 37:12).

Ezekiel 37:19 – This is the “two sticks prophecy.” What does it mean? Does it refer to the union of the people who will reign with Christ to those who will dwell on the New Earth as the JW’s teach? Does it refer to the union of the Bible and the Book of Mormon as the LDS teach? The union of non-Jewish believers and Jewish believers under Torah Observance? Does it refer to two Jewish nations that will exist in the Tribulation as Jimmy DeYoung teaches?  I’m inclined to see it partially fulfilled in the post-Exilic Israel – God gathered them together into the one nation, but not fully fulfilled because the King has not come (Ezekiel 37:22).

Ezekiel 37:24 – Ezekiel often repeats his key themes. The end fulfillment will be David the King ruling over Israel dwelling in their land (Ezekiel 37:25), as part of an everlasting covenant (Ezekiel 37:26), faithful to the LORD (Ezekiel 37:27). This hasn’t happened yet – there is no King in Israel. King Alexander Jannaeus of the Hasmonean Dynasty in the first century BC reclaimed much of the land, but illegally combined the office of King and Priest, and by no means was identified with peace (Ezekiel 37:26).

Ezekiel 38:2 – What is this battleof Gog and Magog? From Jimmy DeYoung:

In verse 2, “Magog” is modern-day Russia, “Meshech and Tubal” along with “Gomer and Togarmah”, in verse 6 is present-day Turkey. “Persia” in verse 5 is Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The other two names, “Ethiopia and Libya”, are also nations that will join the “alignment” to attack Israel.

These nations make up the “who” in this passage. The “when” is revealed to us in two verses, verses 8 and 11. These verses speak of the time when the Jewish people come back into the land in the last days and are “dwelling safely” in the land. They also will be living in “unwalled villages”.

Both terms are referring to a time when there is “peace” in the land. It will not be the time when Jesus has brought “peace” but a time of a “pseudo-peace” one that will be a “short-lived” peace. This “peace” comes when the Antichrist has established a “peace” in the land, which is in the very beginning of the Tribulation.

The “what” is the unfolding of the war to destroy the Jewish people and take the “land” that God has given the Jews. As these nations attack Israel, God intercedes, verses 18 to 23. Couple this with the verses found in Ezekiel 39, verses 1 to 6, and you come to an understanding that the Lord protects His “Chosen People”.

Ezekiel 38:22 – How will God judge Gog & Magog? Similar to how He judged Sodom and Gomorrah – with fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:24, Luke 17:29). The earthly judgment is but a foreshadowing of the eternal lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 19:20, Revelation 20:10, Revelation 21:8).

James 1:21 – The best illustration of “superfluity of naughtiness” was from an evangelist who told about a new intern on his team, who was tasked with emptying the sewage tank on the evangelist’s RV – if you haven’t dumped an RV, it is an interesting experience! Apparently the hose wasn’t connected properly, and gallons of raw sewage poured forth over the new intern, covering him in a superfluity of naughtiness. It’s a vivid picture of the despicableness of sin.

James 1:22 – James points out some behaviors incompatible with the Christian life:

  • Lazy listeners (James 1:22)
  • Loose tongues (James 1:26)
  • Leaving the fatherless and widows (James 1:27)
  • Leaning to the rich (James 2:1)

James 2:10 – There were 613 laws under the Torah. James declares that we can keep 612 of the commandments perfectly, and yet still break the entire law!

James 2:14 – James declared in James 2:10 that we cannot keep the law. Those who try to be saved by works fall greatly short. We are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5). But a life that displays behaviors incompatible with the Christian life needs to go back to the warning passages of Hebrews, and know that Jesus said we can know a Christian by his fruits (Matthew 7:15). James is reiterating what Jesus said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:18).

James 2:17 – Jesus said “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit” (faith without works) “is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19). We are commanded to bear much fruit (John 15:8). This is why we were created (Ephesians 2:10). But we cannot do good works without the antecedent of faith, for our good works are but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). The proof that we have turned from sin to Christ is that we Bring Forth Fruit!

Psalm 117:1 – Worship need not always be long, but it should be frequent! Reminds me of 1 John 4:9 – Why do we love Him? Because He first loved us!

Proverbs 28:1 – We need some Christians that are bold as a lion to take the news of Jesus to people everywhere!

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