End Times: Back to the Future
Lesson 2Ezekiel’s Prophecies
In our last lesson, we studied New Testament prophecy concerning the time just prior to the Tribulation Period from the Church’s perspective. Paul instructed us that the "Man of Lawlessness" will not be revealed until "He who restrains" is taken away. Further, we learned that during those days a rebellion from truth, an apostasy, will spread throughout the Church; as it adopts false doctrines for truth and follows after the teachings of demons and false Christs. However, Paul also had words of reassurance for those who follow Christ and put their faith in Him. They will be caught up to be with Him when He returns for us, his Church.
In this lesson, we will explore God’s plans for the nation of Israel and His chosen people, the Jews. Following that, we will briefly review what Christ and his Apostles taught regarding Christ’s return and the end times. With these two pictures, namely, (1) God’s plans for Israel and (2) Christ’s plans for His Bride (the Church), as the backdrop for our study; we will be better prepared to more fully understand the book of Revelation. As we will shortly discover, Revelation is the culmination of all Old and New Testament prophecy; and, more importantly, it is the culmination of God’s plan for all mankind and the revealing of Jesus as the true Messiah.
Let’s begin our study by examining some select passages from the book written by the Prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s messages of coming judgment and hope, written during the Babylonian exile, continue to ring true today. As will be evident from our study of the scripture references in this lesson, much of this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled; and much of it will be found in similar form within the book of Revelation.
God has a plan for Israel, yet to be fulfilled, that includes fully restoring Israel to spiritual wholeness (with respect to its relationship with God) and physical wholeness (with respect to God’s promises of a land, a king and a lasting nation).
Ezekiel 37:11-14 readsThen he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them; ‘this is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’" [NIV]
Let’s continue our study by reading the scriptures below and responding to the related questions.
- Ezekiel 11:16-21. What do these verses tell us about God’s plan for His chosen people?
- Ezekiel 36:8-12. What do these verses tell us about God’s plan to restore His chosen people?
- Ezekiel 36:22-32. What does God tell us about His chosen people in those days?
- What does Ezekiel 36:33-36 tell us will also be restored?
- When God says that He will restore the land and the people He is emphatic in how restored they will be. Read Ezekiel 36:37-38. What does it say about the people and their cities in those days?
- See Jeremiah 31:33-37. What does Jeremiah say about the restoration of Israel as a people and as a nation?
- What will God do with regard to the neighbors of Israel when he restores the nation?
- As we look at the end time chronology, we know that the people of Israel, the Jews, God’s chosen people, will be especially targeted for punishment and even death by the Anti-Christ; particularly during the second half, referred to as the period of Great Tribulation. We learned from the reference above that God will punish Israel’s neighbors for this injustice. Is it possible that the judgment mentioned by Christ in Matthew 25:31-46 coincides with this? What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?
- Ezekiel 29:8-16. What does God tell us about His plan for Egypt?
- God is not only going to restore the people and the land of Israel; He is also going to restore their kingdom. What does Ezekiel 37:15-23 tells us about this, and how God will do it?
- Ezekiel 37:24-28. When God restores the nation of Israel and brings them back to their land, who will be their King? He is given two titles. What are they?
- What will the final days be like before God restores Israel? Read Ezekiel Chapter 39 and note some of the specific things, and specifics times that God calls out. These events will end the period of the Great Tribulation.
- Ezekiel Chapters 40-42. In addition to restoring the people, the land, and the nation of Israel; God plans to restore something else. What is it?
- Ezekiel Chapters 43-44. In addition to restoring the Temple, what else will God restore in those days?
- Ezekiel 47:1-12. In addition to restoring the Temple itself, the land is also restored. What is new about the Temple, as it relates to restoring the land around it?
- Ezekiel Chapter 48 closes with a descriptive map of the new land, and how the chosen people of God will distribute the land that will be the new nation of Israel. It also tells us that Jerusalem will get a new name. What will be Jerusalem’s new name?
As we see from this study, there will be a lot of activity, and a lot to do, in the days following Christ’s return and the defeat of the Anti-Christ. Following this great battle and Christ’s triumphant entry in Jerusalem, the judgment of the sheep and goat nations will occur. God will call home all of His chosen people, and a resurrected David will become King over the restored nation of Israel.
Following the Tribulation Period, there will be widespread desolation and death. Egypt will be completely evacuated, the land surrounding Jerusalem will be full of dead bodies and bones, and it will take seven months just to bury the dead. The Bible tells us that people will be employed to look for and bury remains, and to cleanse the land for seven months. Even after that period, people will still find remains and will use a special flag, or marker, beside it until the gravediggers take the remains and bury them in the Valley of Hamon Gog. In addition, the landscape will be littered with the debris of war, weapons, tanks, bombed-out fortifications, etc. From the clean-up of the war zone, Israel will find enough materiel provide fuel to the nation for seven years.
The Temple will be restored, as will the altar and the priesthood; and God will dwell in the Temple. A river will flow from the temple to the sea, it will have lots of trees on each side of it. It will feed fruit trees that will provide fruit for food; and leaves of these trees will not wither, and they will be used for healing.
The time leading up to Christ’s return and God’s restoration of Israel will be horrific beyond description; but Christ’s return will put an end to the war, famine and disease, and will usher in the beginning of a thousand-year reign. Imagine, one thousand years to reign with Christ; as He restores Israel and saves the world from destruction, bringing a peace like none the world has ever known.
Have a great week everyone and thanks for studying with us.