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©Michael Player

Chapter 39:21-29 (ESV)

Posted on April 07, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 39:21-29 (ESV) - And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.

Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies' lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.

Question to consider: By this promise to Ezekiel, do you think God has a different salvation plan for the Jews than the Gentiles? Why or why not?

There have been a couple of different times in history in which the Lord has called the descendants of Israel out from the nations. The first was after the Babylonian exile in which Nehemiah was given permission to come back to the land and begin rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. Those from both the northern and southern kingdoms came back to Jerusalem and were cut to the heart when the Law was discovered in the temple ruins and read aloud by Ezra. For the entire month, the people heard the Law and confessed their sins and were restored in their covenant with God.

The second time was at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, and the people heard the good news of Christ in their own language. They also were cut to the heart when they realized that they had killed their Messiah, and that He had risen from the dead and was reigning at the right hand of God. Peter proclaimed that they need not despair but be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. For a few months after that, they stayed in Jerusalem to learn from the Apostles all about Christ in the scriptures and the New Covenant established in His blood. At the stoning of Stephen, this group was again scattered to the nations to preach in their synagogues. This time, instead of being scattered in judgment, they saw the Day of judgment on Jerusalem coming soon so they preached in synagogues all over the Roman world.

At the appointed time in which God’s promise to Daniel through the angel, Gabriel, was completed, the church began to also preach to the Samaritans and Gentiles and thus fulfilled Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations. This also fits with the idea that God had set His glory among the nations in today’s passage. Those among the Jews persecuted the saints out of jealousy to the response of the Gentiles to the gospel. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Romans, “So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!” (Romans 11:11-12) 

At first glance, the “full inclusion” seems to be the same as the whole house of Israel in today’s passage. However, Paul went on to write, “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’” (Romans 11:25-27)

What does this mean? Is the Lord giving a special means of salvation for those in the line of Israel? I don’t think so. There is only one faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. I think the mystery that Paul is talking about is how God continues to bring in the remnant of Israel through their jealousy of the Gentiles. The very Gentiles who have been grafted into the faith because Israel had rejected her Messiah are the ones that preach the Gospel and open the eyes of the Jews to their Messiah today.

As I have written previously, the “whole house of Israel” mentioned by Ezekiel referred to both the native vines and the vines grafted in— the entire church. At the end of the current age, when the one the Lord calls Gog and his armies are defeated, God will restore us to Himself for eternity.


Dear heavenly Father, please give us a heart to make disciples of all who You bring into our path. For those who have grown up to reject Jesus as the Messiah, please open their eyes and hearts to the truth of Your word so that they may once again be in the line of Jacob through the blessed name of Christ. Amen.