One takeaway from this writing is that there is no “Miscellany” with God.
He is intentional, purposeful, specific, deliberate, true, and quite frankly mind-boggling. There’s more though, so please read on.
That prophetic profundity is followed by some “sticks” event that might, at cursory read, seem somewhat after-the-fact as well as matter-of-fact to us.
1. First we could declare that the division of the Jewish nation into primarily 10 tribes and 2 tribes was Old Testament pertinent and therefore a non-issue even in our time, so clearly it’ll be a non-issue at His imminent return.
2. Second the “sticks” imagery could be (mis)interpreted as presenting some small happening. No altar of commemoration was instructed for erection. Just some gathered sticks.
15 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
16 “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’
17 Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.
What’s being prophesied by God, via Ezekiel, is the reunification of all Israel and their being repositioned in their land, His land.
At the risk of sounding like a late-night As-Seen-On-TV commercial, BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE.
The Hebrew word English-translated as “stick” in Ezek 37 is “ES”. I humbly contend a better English representation might help us. Here’s the STRONG’S definition:
עֵץ STRONG’S NUMBER: Dictionary Definition h6086. עֵץ ‘êṣ; from 6095; a tree (from its firmness); hence, wood (plural sticks): — + carpenter, gallows, helve, + pine, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree, wood.
AV (328) – tree 162, wood 107, timber 23, stick 14, gallows 8, staff 4, stock 4, carpenter + h2796 2, branches 1, helve 1, planks 1, stalks 1;
The same Hebrew word “ES” is translated as “tree” in Isaiah 44:13-15, where God justifiably mocks the idolator for growing and then cutting down oaks and cedars both to cook hot dogs, warm the house, and also carve something (perhaps even large) to worship. See the “ES” become a tree in you mind?
14 He cuts down cedars for himself,
And takes the cypress and the oak;
He secures it for himself among the trees (h6086 “es”) of the forest.
He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.
To our point – the prophet Zechariah, in utilizing another word, confirms there is perhaps more particular Hebrew for what we might envision or refer to as “stick” (in Ezekiel 37). Zechariah employs “Maqqlah”. It Anglo-morphs into “staff(s) (or sapling) for us:
I took for myself two staffs (“maqqlah”): the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.
Zech 11:7 – h4731. מַקֵּל maqêl; or (feminine) מַקְּלָה maqqlah; from an unused root meaning apparently to germinate; a shoot, i.e. stick (with leaves on, or for walking, striking, guiding, divining): — rod, (hand- staff).
BACK TO bigger-than-miqqlah:
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The Hebrew word “ES” is clearly qualified to be translated TREE or TIMBER. It is not necessarily a little stick one might hold in his hand and secure together with twine. We might be talking big timbers secured with heavy rope.
Had the New Testament been presented to us in the Hebrew language I’d venture to guess it would have chronicled and descried our Lord having struggled and stumbled carrying a weighty cross or at least a weighty cross-bar “ES” to His crucifixion site.
The prophetic implication of Ezekiel 37 is that:
A. Sin had precipitated and provoked the tearing division of God-chosen covenant Israel;
B. The redemptive work of Christ on the tree (ES), was to follow – to bear the curse and pay the price in full (by His death);
C. His supernatural resurrection would confirm and demonstrate God’s authority even over death; and
D. The Savior’s timely, heaven-authorized return to overthrow rebellious governments and establish His eternal reign on earth will include the glorious reconstruction, redemption and revival of the covenant people, including every single Gentile who has reached out and will reach out to embrace the offer of full-rights adoption into the never-again-to-be-divided family of God.
Wholly, Holy, Eternally.
Ironically presented in my bible with the section heading: “MISCELLANEOUS LAWS”) is Deuteronomy 21:21-22:
22 “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree,
23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.
Nothing in God’s plan is really miscellaneous.
Everything is intentional. Every jot and tittle, in fact.
He invites us to discover His majesty, His wonderment, His unique and specific plan.
The timbers upon which our Lord hung, bled and died were (prophetically) hinted at by Ezekiel. The curse of sin and the tearing work of separation between man and God as well as between man and man, was to be resolved. That in place, the ball is in now each person’s own court.
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
All scripture NKJV