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Paul and Ezekiel

28 May
Dwelling Place

from Google Images

In the past two studies on 70 AD eschatology I’ve been discussing Ezekiel 37 and the restoration of the two Houses of Israel. Ezekiel 37, remember, points to all those dry bones in the valley, and God says they are the whole house of Israel. We’ve seen that it really didn’t mean the whole House of Israel was in a literal grave. After all, there were many from both Judah and the ten northern tribes alive and in captivity. What Ezekiel was referring to was Israel was without hope, in that both houses had broken their covenant with God, so they were depicted as dead. I have been showing how the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, has ultimately breathed life into those dry bones, and he has restored them, i.e. united them into one nation once more, as was the case in the beginning under Moses and up to the time of Solomon. This was and is a spiritual work, not a physical one, and pointed to a spiritual Kingdom of God.

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he brought up several things mentioned in Ezekiel 37. All the basic tenets of Ezekiel 37 are found in Paul epistle, chapter 3-6. Notice how Paul contrasts the two Covenants, the Old and the New:

it having been made plain that you are the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, not having been written with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tablets of stone, but in fleshly tablets of the heart. And we have such trust through Christ toward God, not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God; who also has made us able ministers of the new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit makes alive. (2 Corinthians 3:3-6; emphasis mine)

In contrasting both covenants, Paul implies resurrection, in that, “the Spirit makes alive.” Ezekiel makes a similar statement when he claims, “I shall put My Spirit in you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37:14). Moreover, Paul is clearly speaking of a New Covenant above, and Ezekiel does the same in saying, “I will cut a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them” (Ezekiel 37:26), and as Ezekiel mentions that “the Covenant of peace” will be an everlasting covenant, Paul says the same thing:

we not considering the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are not lasting, but the things which are not seen are everlasting. (2Corinthians 4:18)

The New Covenant is all about the things that are not seen. The Old Covenant had a physical Temple and a physical city. The New Covenant has a spiritual Temple (1Peter 2:5) and a spiritual city (Revelation 21:1-3). Ezekiel promised a new Temple / Tabernacle in which the Lord would dwell forever (Ezekiel 37:26-28), and Paul described how that Temple was built:

Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom every building having been fitly framed together, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord; in whom you also are built together for a dwelling place of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Notice, that the new Temple was a living Temple of God and was built, not by men, but by the Spirit! How would that kind of Temple fit into a physical Jerusalem? These scriptures do not speak of a geopolitical, physical Kingdom, or Temple. The covenant is a spiritual covenant, and Paul contrast it all against the Old Covenant, saying that which is passing away, the Old Covenant and with it the old kingdom, Jerusalem and the Temple was physical and giving way to the more glorious spiritual Covenant with its spiritual city, Temple and Kingdom (cf. Hebrews 12:22).

 

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology

 

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