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©Michael Player (Jordan River)

Chapter 36:1-15 (ESV)

Posted on March 27, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 36:1-15 (ESV) - “And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God: Because the enemy said of you, ‘Aha!’ and, ‘The ancient heights have become our possession,’ therefore prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God: Precisely because they made you desolate and crushed you from all sides, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you became the talk and evil gossip of the people, therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, the ravines and the valleys, the desolate wastes and the deserted cities, which have become a prey and derision to the rest of the nations all around, therefore thus says the Lord God: Surely I have spoken in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave my land to themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they might make its pasturelands a prey. Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I have spoken in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations. Therefore thus says the Lord God: I swear that the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach.

“But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. And I will multiply on you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful. And I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I will let people walk on you, even my people Israel. And they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children. Thus says the Lord God: Because they say to you, ‘You devour people, and you bereave your nation of children,’ therefore you shall no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the Lord God. And I will not let you hear anymore the reproach of the nations, and you shall no longer bear the disgrace of the peoples and no longer cause your nation to stumble, declares the Lord God.”

Question to consider: What is another place in scripture where the land devoured the blood of man?

After letting Ezekiel know that the Edomites would be destroyed instead of taking over the land that God had made desolate, God told Ezekiel to give a promise to the mountains of Israel that they would never again be a reproach to the nations, and that one day soon it would again be fruitful for the whole house of Israel. It is interesting that God would make this promise to the land rather than the people who once occupied the land.

It is as if the land was grieved by the way the it was previously used to endure bloodshed and idolatry, the worst of which was to bereave the nation of children. Addressing the land in this way is reminiscent of the account of the murder of Abel by his brother, Cain. God told Cain that the blood of Abel cried out from the ground, and that the ground would no longer yield crops to him since it had opened its mouth to devour Abel’s blood. (Genesis 4:10-11)

We don’t think much about the effects of the curse on the rest of creation. When God promised Israel they would inherit the land, it was to be a blessing that resulted in the holy line producing the seed of the woman who would crush the seed of the serpent and reconcile a world that had been cursed by sin. I’m sure when Israel was sent into exile, they never considered that the promise of God to the land was interrupted as well. So this word given to the mountains through Ezekiel was giving reassurance that it would not remain desolate forever, and when the people returned, God would bless them and make them fruitful and multiply both man and beast on them.

After Israel returned to the land and rebuilt the city and temple, it remained intact until the coming of Christ although it was profaned by the Selucids during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. One quandary this raises is that Israel didn’t get to entirely possess the land and be fruitful like God’s promise said it would. There are those who think this means that there is some future fulfillment of this promise to the land, and that it began with the reestablishment of Israel in 1948. However, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, the new covenant promised to Israel was established in Christ’s blood and is an everlasting one.

I appeal once again to Hebrews 12:18-22 which makes it clear that Christ is ruling from the heavenly Mount Zion in the New Jerusalem. Luke recorded Jesus’ ascension to the throne in the first chapter of Acts, and Luke offered several proofs of His reign: the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; Stephen seeing Jesus at the right hand of God; the apostles healing in His name; Paul encountering King Jesus on the road to Damascus, etc. In light of this, it would seem that the mountains experience the fruits of this promise as the church expands the heavenly kingdom throughout the earth. Jesus even promised the disciples that He would ascend into heaven to make a place for us, and Peter wrote of our inheritance which is being kept for us in heaven in his first epistle. We have the promise that Christ will bring it all with Him when He puts an end to sin and death.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for fulfilling Your promise of redemption and renewal to all parts of Your creation. May it encourage us to continue on in holiness. Amen.