The sixth essay in the book The Coming Millennial Kingdom is titled Evidence from Ezekiel by Mark F. Rooker. I would say summarily that this chapter sets forth solid evidence of a coming time period when Israel will be restored to the promised land to be in a covenant relationship with the LORD. The main thrust of the chapter involves a discussion surrounding Ezekiel 36:16-38, which should rate high on our list of prophetic passages. I really liked how the author based God’s future actions on His reputation, and I would add, his reputation as the God of Israel. Here is his outline for the Ezekiel 36:18-38 passage.
I. Yahweh’s present concern about His reputation (36:16-21).
A. Yahweh has sent Israel into exile for defiling the land (vv. 16-19).
B. Israel’s exile causes Yahweh to have concern for His reputation (vv. 20-21).
II. Yahweh’s future restoration of His reputation (36:22-38).
A. Yahweh will vindicate His name among the nations by restoring His people to their homeland (vv. 22-32).
B. Yahweh will renovate the land (vv. 33-36).
C. Yahweh will increase the inhabitants of the land (vv. 37-38).
This outline is enough to carry the author’s thought through to completion. Various aspects of the new arrangement that is coming are discussed. Other passages are briefly mentioned, but not explored in depth at all as they are only listed as peripheral to the Ezekiel 36 passage. In spite of the limited scope of this section, it seems that those who do not hold to God’s promises being literally fulfilled for the nation of Israel have some seriously explaining to do if they were to engage this text here. Since this restoration is based on God’s reputation, and since a fulfillment of this passage did not come to pass during the Medo-Persian Empire or during the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, this restoration of God’s reputation remains yet future.
The second portion of this chapter involves a presentation of the views of Ezekiel’s temple in Ezekiel 40-48. One by one the author eliminates differing views until only a literal temple remains. Of course the real issue is whether or not animal sacrifices will be instituted during the millennium. I’m going to cut through the lengthy arguments and present the main thrust here. Since those OT sacrifices did not forgive sins, what did they actually do? And could they function in the same way in the future? Quoting the author now, “The sacrifices in the Millennium, though they should not be viewed as a reinstitution of the Mosaic system, would function in a similar manner for the nation of Israel.”
Overall this is a good chapter with some solid argumentation. There are a few other passages that could have been explored in Ezekiel such as 11, but that could be given a strictly spiritual application whereas 36 cannot. Chapters 37-39 would get too lengthy for an essay like this. So all in all I think the author did a good job at staying focused and presenting a position for which those with opposing views would be at a loss to find a simpler explanation for the passage.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman