Ezekiel 39:25-29 (ESV) 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. 26 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, 27 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. 28 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. 29 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.”
When the LORD calls Israel his “Firstborn son” in Exodus 4:22, this is no insignificant moment.
The fact that Jacob is renamed “Israel” as the one who strives with God face to face in a covenant relationship is not insignificant. The fact that we find Jacob and Israel used throughout the Bible synonymously is also not insignificant word usage.
At the Advent of Jesus, when he is continually referred to as the “son of God”, we must take note. The good news is at stake.
Jesus is the faithful and obedient Israel. Jesus is the true and faithful Jacob. As such, he makes a way for all those of the faith of Abraham.
All of the Old Testament either predicts or prepares for or reflects or results from Jesus’ person and work. That’s the only framework for reading the Old Testament that works in light of Jesus’ instructive lens he gave after the resurrection in Luke 24.
Luke 24:44-47 (ESV) Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
So, what about Ezekiel 39:25-29?
Israel has the wrathful consequence of sin executed at the hand of the LORD who is absolutely holy. When God’s wrath is fully spent righteously on Israel’s sin, he then restores their life, his fame/reputation/name, and pours his Spirit out on his people.
Can you sniff it out? Jesus, the faithful Israel, comes and lives the perfect sinless life unlike national and genetic Israel could never do. He, however, goes innocently to the active punishment of God on the cross in our place for our sin, is buried in exile from life for three days. On the third day, he rises to victory and returns to life having defeated death for all who would follow him in faith. He then ascends to God’s right hand and pours out the Holy Spirit on all the households of the real and faithful Israel of his people of whom he is now the head.
In Jesus’ coming, living, dying, rising, and ascending, he pulled off the real and historical and supernatural intent of Ezekiel 39:25-29.
Advent. He came. He conquered. He reigns! Jesus.