“’Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,’ says the lord” Ezekiel 20:44
It is always wonderfully reassuring to read the Bible and find clusters of the “I will’s” of the lord. They appear frequently in the prophets in regard to the nation Israel. In this chapter there are also two other clusters. One is the phrase, “for My name’s sake.” The third cluster is “Then you shall know …” These three clusters work together to give us a marvellous living image of our God and His desire for His people. It is a most wonderful chapter with regard to the Divine Nature and the Lord’s faithfulness in keeping His word even to wayward children.
The concept that Israel has been put out of the future plan of God because of their disobedience and idolatry is well and truly debunked in the verse above and this chapter. It also debunks the notion God will remove one who has been born of God from His kingdom. Salvation is not based on our works but on Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross and God’s faithfulness to His word. God never rejects anyone who comes to Him (John 6:37).
Several times in this passage the Lord says that He will bring Israel back into the land. This is in spite of the continuing disobedience and idolatry noted in this chapter and in many other places in the bible. In fact, it is the Lord bringing Israel back into the land from being spread among the nations, still in disobedience and rebellion, that is a sign to Israel that He is about to bring to ultimate fulfil His covenant promises to Abraham, David and Israel (vs. 37, 41-42)
When this happens Israel will know that it is the Lord who has done it for His name’s sake and not for their sake or because they are righteous.
When Israel is in the land, still in their unbelief, rebellion and corruption, the Lord will cause the nation to “pass under the rod” of correction (v 37). He will also “purge the rebels from among” them (v 38). “Then you will know that I am the Lord (v 38)”. Then will come the day that Paul spoke of in Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel will be saved.”
The time of the “passing under the rod” and the “purging” is still future but is on the ever nearer horizon. It is not difficult to equate these events with the seven year tribulation period that leads up to Jesus’ re-appearing. The description here matches the description of that time.
The Lord has no pleasure in the many who will die now or at that time (Ezekiel 18:23, 32). What He desires is Israel’s repentance and that is the purpose for the nation “passing under the rod” (18:30-31).
In our life time we are seeing the nation Israel being brought back into the land promised to Abraham even though, as a nation, they are in unbelief and still in rebellion against the Lord. That the Lord is doing this is a sign to Israel, and to the world, that we are approaching the day of Israel’s national reconciliation with the Lord and fulfilment of all that the “I will’s” of the lord promise.
“Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers” (v 42).