“Ah, Lord God! Will You make a complete end of the remnant of Israel?” (Ezekiel 11:13)
Ezekiel was not the first person and will not be the last to ask this question. It is still being asked today. In this respect nothing has changed through the centuries. As in the days of Ezekiel there are people who claim to speak for God who have not heard from Him.
As the Lord says, “They hope that the word may be confirmed” (13:6). That is, they prophecy according to their own wisdom and then wait to see if it comes to pass. A true prophet does not act in such a way. He speaks that which the Lord puts in His mouth to speak. The test of a true prophet that people have had for a long time is given in Deuteronomy 18:22. However we also have the Bible, God’s own word to us, as a measure.
Israel had a choice to listen to the prophets who spoke from their own wisdom or to a prophets who told them what God said. The choice is no different for us today. We can either use our own wisdom to answer life’s questions or we can rely on what God has said.
How many times does God have to say something for it to be so? The revelation of the Bible is that once is absolutely sufficient. There are many occasions and circumstances in which God affirms His patient and longsuffering purpose for Israel and affirms that He will accomplish it. This is the reason God gives for Israel’s repeated and continuing refining through tribulation. The very fact that Israel, while in unbelief, is suffering tribulation gives assurance that a glorious day lies ahead for the nation.
Among the many occasions that the Lord affirms that He will never bring an end to Israel is the one in answer to the above question:
“Thus says the Lord God: ‘Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’ Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel’” (11:16, 17).
The context of this passage (and all similar passages in the Bible) dictates that it is meant to be taken literally. Verses 19 and 20 affirm that this is tied to the fulfilment of the New Covenant as recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
We watch in anticipation as the “bones” of Israel returns and the “flesh” is added (ch. 37). This was the expectation of Jesus (Matthew 24, 25) and Paul (Romans 11:26, 27).
Anyone who believes that God cannot or will not literally fulfil His Covenant with Abraham and David must of necessity live without assurance of salvation because that one sees God as either impotent or unfaithful. He is neither!