Ezekiel 37:27, the Logos (Part III of V)

My dwelling place will be with them: I will be their God, and they will be my people.

//We continue our theme about the Logos, as described in the prologue to John’s Gospel. John has just made a profound claim, that the Logos has finally arrived as promised, and that it came in the form of a flesh-and-blood person! The wording of John’s Gospel is not coincidental; it refers back to the book of Ezekiel—a favorite of the Johannine writings, in particular Revelation—including today’s verse.

Devout Jews looked forward to a future age, an era of righteous reign, when God himself would come back to earth, set up his messianic kingdom, and “tabernacle” among his people. The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, which is an integral part of John’s theology in his Gospel, anticipates this great day. And now, it has finally arrived! In the opening verses of John’s Gospel, he is telling us about the very day God came down to earth.

Ezekiel and the prophets spoke truly! The promise is fulfilled! God did come back down from heaven, as promised! How can this be?

More tomorrow.

Matthew 27:52-53, A Physical Resurrection?

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 

//I don’t want to talk about Matthew … I really want to talk about Ezekiel. Particularly, dem dry bones. Ezekiel had a vision where he watched a valley of bones assemble itself into a great, living army. The vision concludes with this promise from God:

Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.

Scholars of Ezekiel, however, know that this promise is presented as a parable of God restoring His nation of Israel. It’s not about dead people coming to life again, it’s about going home from captivity in Babylon. Ezekiel makes this quite clear; it’s impossible that any ancient reader of scripture could misunderstand this, and think Ezekiel was writing about real graves being opened.

However, in the years after Ezekiel prophesied, many Jews did appear to believe in a physical resurrection. The book of Revelation promises just such a physical resurrection, and as I’ve pointed out, Revelation is essentially a rewrite and reinterpretation of Ezekiel. Another Johannine writing that draws heavily upon Ezekiel—John’s Gospel—tells of a coming hour when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth. Today’s verse in Matthew describes such a resurrection, which surely was meant to symbolically indicate that the new age had begun.

Question: Could these New Testament writers, who surely knew precisely what Ezekiel meant, have also meant their “resurrection” from the grave to be in a non-literal manner?

Ezekiel 18:20, Who Is Guilty?

The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son.

Ezekiel is a favorite of few Bible readers. It certainly wasn’t mine; imagine my surprise when, researching for my book about Revelation, I discovered Revelation to be an update and rewrite of Ezekiel.

Just as we, today, routinely update and rewrite Revelation to match the beliefs of today’s Christians, so did Revelation update and rewrite Ezekiel. Our eschatological beliefs differ from John’s Revelation as severely as John’s differ from Ezekiel’s. And now, in this verse, we see how radically Ezekiel has rewritten the scriptures of his day. We read in exodus:

for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

So, which is it? Does God punish the offspring of the sinner, or is “the one who sins the one who will die?” Clearly, we prefer Ezekiel’s understanding.

What will tomorrow’s Christians believe about God’s punishment? If Christianity is going to continue evolving on its humanitarian journey, then it’s up to us to continue to grow in our understanding of God.