Repent for Refreshing

I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
~Ezekiel 36:24-28

As we discussed yesterday, the Jewish people have been exiled twice and are returning to their homeland for the last time.  Through the prophet Ezekiel, God promised to gather the Jewish people from all the countries, sprinkle clean water on them, give them a new heart and a new spirit and cause them to walk in His statutes and obey His law.  Furthermore, He promised they will live in the land given to their fathers, and He will be their God.

Israel was re-born as a nation on May 14, 1948 and since then Jews from all over the world have returned to the homeland.  However, the Ezekiel 36 prophecy is not completely fulfilled.  Israel has yet to be sprinkled and cleansed, and God has yet to pour out His Spirit upon them.  But that time is coming!

Meanwhile, Acts 3:19-25 gives us an exciting perspective of the complete fulfillment of the Ezekiel 36 prophecy:

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’  [Emphasis mine]

Here, Peter is preaching about repentance, which brings about refreshing.  That is indicative of God drawing His people to repentance and obedience, a time of cleansing and pouring out His Spirit.  But notice that Peter referenced the prophets and the covenants God made through them.  Even here, in the New Testament, Peter points back to the Abrahamic Covenant, where God promises that all the families of the earth will be blessed!

Surely families of the earth are being blessed by redemption through Jesus Christ.  Yet, the Jewish people, for the most part, have not come to recognize Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah.  They have not partaken of that promise in the Abrahamic Covenant!

So, did God bring them back to their land to mock them or to save them?  I believe He loves them and wants to save them.  Through a history of suffering they will come to a place of repentance, then they will be refreshed.  The promises of Ezekiel 36 will be completely fulfilled, and then they will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  (Matthew 23:39)

They will bring the King home…and He will be their God!  One day, His foot will touch down on the Mount of Olives, and He will reign forevermore as the Lion of Judah!  The Jewish people must survive in order for the King to come home.  Count on it!

Blessings, my friends!

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