Chapter 36:33-38 (ESV) - “Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.
“Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Question to consider: What is the day that God cleanses us from all our iniquities?
In yesterday’s study I pointed out that the sprinkling of clean water for those receiving God’s Spirit and a new heart was typified by the giving of the Law in which Moses sprinkled the people with a mix of blood and water for the forgiveness of their sins. All of this pointed to another day in which blood and water flowed from the side of God’s holy One, a day in which God cleansed us from all our iniquities.
This day was also depicted in the vision God gave to Zechariah, “On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's winepresses. And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security.” (Zechariah 14:8-11)
Jesus spoke of this day to His disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) We often hear this passage read at funerals to reassure the people left behind that their loved ones had graduated to a better place, but Jesus is talking about the very same place that was being rebuilt from the moment He paid for our sin. I also think God’s promise to “increase their people like a flock” was a reference to the Samaritans and Gentiles who would also be welcomed into this kingdom.
Finally, I wish to point out that Christ reigning from the heavenly mountain and building a place for us is not figurative language. Jesus rose and ascended bodily to heaven and will return bodily to judge the living and the dead. It is hard for us to comprehend how that could be, but our comprehension is not necessary. Christ came; Christ died, and Christ rose so we can trust Him when He said He will come again.
Dear Lord, thank You for fulfilling Your promise to rebuild the ruined places and fill the earth with those who wish to dwell as Your people. We look forward to the day when our hope is fully realized. Amen.