|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:25-38 Water is an emblem of the cleansing our polluted souls from sin. But no water can do more than take away the filth of the flesh. Water seems in general the sacramental sign of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost; yet this is always connected with the atoning blood of Christ. When the latter is applied by faith to the conscience, to cleanse it from evil works, the former is always applied to the powers of the soul, to purify it from the pollution of sin. All that have an interest in the new covenant, have a new heart and a new spirit, in order to their walking in newness of life. God would give a heart of flesh, a soft and tender heart, complying with his holy will. Renewing grace works as great a change in the soul, as the turning a dead stone into living flesh. God will put his Spirit within, as a Teacher, Guide, and Sanctifier. The promise of God's grace to fit us for our duty, should quicken our constant care and endeavour to do our duty. These are promises to be pleaded by, and will be fulfilled to, all true believers in every age.
Verses 28-31 describe the results which should follow in Israel's experience when God should have thus gathered, cleansed, and renewed them. They should then have
(1) permanent occupation of the land (ver. 28);
(2) covenant relationship with God as his people (ver. 28);
(3) protection against future lapsing into idolatry and immorality (ver. 29);
(4) abundant supply for every want (vers. 29, 30); and
(5) a deepening sense of self-humiliation on account of and repentance for past sin (ver. 31). Ver. 28. - Ye shall dwell in the land. As the Jews who returned from Babylon did not permanently dwell in the land, but were again ejected from it, the promise contained in these words must be viewed as having been conditional on the realization of the moral and spiritual purity above described. If, therefore, it be aroused that inasmuch as this promise must be fulfilled (2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 10:23), the Jews must yet be restored to Palestine, the reply is that their return can only take place when they have been converted to Christianity; so that the whole promise must be regarded as receiving its highest fulfillment in the experiences of the Church of Christ. That this view is correct is vouched for by the fact that the words, Ye shall be my people and I will be your God (comp. Ezekiel 11:20: Jeremiah 7:23; Jeremiah 11:4; Jeremiah 30:22), descriptive of the covenant relationship in which Jehovah stood towards Israel (Exodus 19:5; Leviticus 26:12; Deuteronomy 26:17, 18), have been chosen by New Testament writers to set forth the relationship of God towards the Christian Church, first here on earth (2 Corinthians 6:16-18), and afterwards in the heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21:3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And ye shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers,.... Not only shall be brought into it, but shall inhabit it, and continue there, and that in great safety and plenty; and which will be the more valued and esteemed, and reckoned a great blessing to enjoy; because this land is the gift of God, and what he gave to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by promise so long ago, and to their seed; of which promise it appears he is not unmindful:
and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God; which is the sum and substance of the covenant of grace; which will now be renewed, and the blessings of it applied. The Jews will appear to be the people of God by their effectual calling and conversion; and God will show himself to be their God, by his presence with them, his protection of them, and that communion with himself he will admit them to: see Jeremiah 31:1, "the loammi" will be taken off, and they will be again declared to be the covenant people of God, Hosea 1:9.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
28. ye … my people, … I … your God—(Eze 11:20; Jer 30:22).
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