Continued 2 Interpretation: Breath of the Lord



Lee Y. Martin, Ph.D., © 2007



A New Heart

Chapter 36:24-27 of Ezekiel informs us that God plans to give the Jewish people a new heart which will cause them to live again. In the chapter following, which is our opening text, the prophet elaborates on the theme of her revival by portraying a valley of dry bones coming together to form a being. He pictures muscles, flesh, and skin forming over the bones to shape a new body. But alas, there was no breath of life in it when it was done.

Written in Hebrew: A New Heart

The existence of Israel as a nation today fulfills the prophecy up to this point. Her bones have come together through the great aliyah of the past couple of decades, and she is desperately struggling to be a viable nation among the nations of the world. Sadly, every time she is supernaturally given opportunity to establish her vitality as a worthy tree among the trees, the United Nations pushes her down.

Satan is hard pressed to destroy Israel before her Messiah King can come on the scene to rescue her because when Jesus does return, it’s all over for him. Thus, she is stressed and fraught with fear to keep from being stillborn. Stillborn babies are dead at birth illustrating that flesh and bones cannot produce life. Life comes from God who is a spirit. Therefore, even though Israel has a mock existence at this time, she needs to be quickened by her Maker with the breath of life so that she can fulfill her destiny to become the nation from which God’s Christ will rule the world.

The Breath of Life

God breathed the Breath of Life...[Genesis 2:7]

Adam did not become a living being until God breathed the breath of life into him [Genesis 2:7]. Indeed, all beings entering this world through birth or otherwise must inhale the breath of life or they are not legitimate citizens in it. The rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 brought forth an entity in need of the breath of life. She was birthed around 1445 B.C.E. when she left Egypt as God’s firstborn, a fully formed group of people of a million or more [Exodus 4:22]. She died when she went into exile under King Nebuchadnezzar at the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E., but was not put into the grave until 70 C.E. at the destruction of the second temple following her rejection of her Messiah.

God had to put His people away in obscurity in order to populate His Kingdom with a body of believers who would better represent Him to the heathen of the world. God saw that He needed a paradigm shift in order to explain Himself to the world. The law would never work in people with sin natures; so He sent His Son who did not have one and could live a sinless life and substitute for the payment of the sin penalty. It worked and a new day had begun. In effect, God buried Israel within the nations of the world until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in [Romans 11:25]. Thankfully, He did not utterly destroy her because there are dozens of prophetic promises given to them specifically which have not been fulfilled and which must be in order to protect the integrity of God’s Word. Many of those prophetic utterances cannot be construed as capable of being fulfilled by the church today. 2 Space does not permit their enumeration.

Having been resuscitated in 1948 C.E. Israel appears to be alive as she goes through the motions of a nation, but she needs a renewed vitalization by way of a new heart. She will never become an exceeding great army commandeering the world as Ezekiel pictures in verse ten until God breathes the breath of life into her. We know from Scripture that she will receive a new heart at the proper time when she acknowledges Jesus whom she rejected 2,000 years ago as her Messiah, and this will happen at the end of the tribulation period [Luke 13:35 with Zechariah 13:6].


A Progressive Resuscitation

Jeremiah 31:8-11

8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country (Moscow, Russia is due north of Jerusalem), and gather them from the coasts (borders) of the earth (peripheral countries of all land masses), and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
10 Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off (North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Japan, England, etc.), and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
11 For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.

From the above we learn that God fully intends to bring His firstborn home from the lands wherein there are Jewish graves. He has been gathering them as a Shepherd gathers his sheep ever since Israel’s rebirth in 1948. From Jeremiah’s prophecy above and from the prophecy in chapters 36 and 37 of Ezekiel, there must be a second massive regathering of the Jews to the land from the North Country and the coasts of the earth that eclipses the first return of the Israelites from Babylon east of Jerusalem. These two prophecies complement one another and confirm that the second assembling of God’s firstborn is inclusive of the final regathering of all Jews at the end of the tribulation spoken of by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse implying that not all of the flock will be gathered before the tribulation period.

Matthew 24:31

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

These elect coming from the four winds will be the miraculous survivors of the greater holocaust of the tribulation who will populate the Millennium. Albeit small, there will be survivors of the tribulation. Harmonizing all the Scriptures speaking to the regathering of Israel shows a restoration that is in process and is taking time to complete. Perhaps we should note a little Jewish history to fully understand that the restoration is not a single event in history.

The Jews did come back to their land after the Babylonian captivity, but they never received a new heart. Although they ceased worshipping pagan gods, the people continued to rebel against God’s commandments and ordinances causing more disciplinary action by God. Idolatrous practices merely shifted form. When the nation actually does receive a new heart, they will no longer be subservient to wicked imaginations. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked… no one can know it [Jeremiah 17:9] according to the Bible, which is the reason hearts need changing from stony ones to hearts of flesh [Ezekiel 11:19]. That day is close at hand for Israel.

What is it that the Jews had been waiting for ever since their exile to Babylon? Without question it was for a promised Messiah to come and rule from the throne of David and reestablish Israel’s elite spot among the nations. In short, they were, and still are, looking for the Kingdom of God to be established on earth with its King, their King Messiah, ruling from Jerusalem. Expectation for such a person was extremely high at the time of Christ which is why there were so many zealots around such as Judas Iscariot.

Many of the Rabbis knew that Daniel’s weeks of years prophecy that Messiah would come after 490 years was nearing completion. This was the climate of the culture and pulse of the people when Jesus arrived. Often when Jesus quizzed the people they would answer Him, “when Messiah comes He will tell us all things.” In the beginning of His ministry, multitudes followed Him hoping He would fulfill their expectations of restoration to glory. But when it was obvious He was not – His agenda and mission to die for the sins of the world was different from their expectations –, the crowds dwindled until at last He wondered if the select twelve disciples would defect as well. One did. Here was the King in person, but they were not looking for a meek mild gentle emperor. They wanted a militarily aggressive monarch such as David who would valiantly deliver them out of the hands of the Romans.

Jesus opened His ministry with, Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (has arrived) [Matthew 4:17]. It had arrived in the person of the King, for a king and his kingdom are one. A King’s word is law and his desires and attitudes permeate every square inch of his domain. Thus, Jesus’ entire ministry was devoted to expounding upon the Kingdom of Heaven, its culture, its ways, and its benefits to whomsoever would choose citizenship in it.

Even the forty days after Jesus’ resurrection and preceding His ascension was spent with Him …speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God [Acts 1:3]. Hence, the restoration of Israel to its former glory began at the arrival of Jesus at His First Advent. Admittedly, the Jews were blinded to what God was doing as were all people including satan and his angels [1 Corinthians 1:7,8] until the canon of the New Testament was completed and a clearer picture emerged concerning God’s agenda for humanity.

So the leaders of the Hebrews made a serious error by rejecting their promised Messiah. It is recorded that many of them did believe Him to be the One they were expecting but for fear of the Sanhedrin, they kept quiet [John 7:13; 19:38]. This behavior virtually dug their graves. Having hardened their hearts through unbelief, …blindness in part is happened to Israel UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles be come in [Romans 11:25]. They fell into graves after being cut off and blinded, but make no mistake about it, Paul tells us in Romans 11:26 that …all Israel shall be saved. So in 1948, God began to open the graves as per Ezekiel 37: 12 and cause the people to come up out of them in order for the bones of His people to come together. Looking at current events in the Middle East, evidently the full number of the Gentiles must be close. Are you ready for the rapture?

The Scepter: The Right Of The Sword — "Jus Gladii"

After returning from the Babylonian captivity, Israel never did recover the former glory she enjoyed under David and Solomon. However, they retained ‘the scepter’ permitting them the right of imposing the death sentence. Even during the Babylonian captivity, they had jurisdiction of capital punishment over their own people. This right, called the jus gladii or right of the sword, continued with Israel until 6-7 C.E. when Caesar Augustus banished Herod Archelaus to Gaul and appointed a Roman procurator, Caponius, as ruler over Judea. He curtailed the power of the Sanhedrin to adjudicate capital cases, and their national identity, also known as ‘tribal identity’, was cut off. ‘Tribal identity’ was symbolized by the word ‘scepter’ in Scripture.

Genesis 49:10

10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, UNTIL Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

This prophecy in Genesis was spoken by Jacob over his son Judah just before his death. It was from this prophecy that the tribe of Judah assumed the scepter or ruling right, and it is very important because it pinpoints Jesus of Nazareth, as the Messiah and lion of the tribe of Judah.

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