Then - At the time of this great restoration - will I sprinkle clean water upon you - the truly cleansing water; the influences of the Holy Spirit typified by water, whose property it is to cleanse, whiten, purify, refresh, render healthy and fruitful.
From all your filthiness - From every sort of external and internal abomination and pollution.
And from all your idols - False gods, false worship, false opinions, and false hopes.
Will I cleanse you - Entirely separate you.
Ezekiel the priest has in view the purifying rites prescribed by the Law, the symbolic purport of which is exhibited in Hebrews 9:13-14; Hebrews 10:22. As the Levites were consecrated with sprinkling of water, so should the approved rite “sprinkling of water” thus prescribed by the Law and explained by the prophets, give occasion to the use of water at the admission of proselytes in later days, and so to its adoption by John in his baptism unto repentance. It was hallowed by our Lord when in His discourse with Nicodemus, referring, no doubt, to such passages as these, He showed their application to the Church of which He was about to be the Founder; and when He appointed Baptism as the sacrament of admission into that Church. In this sacrament the spiritual import of the legal ordinance is displayed - the second birth by water and the Spirit. As Israel throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel prefigures the visible Church of Christ, needing from time to time trim or purification - so does the renovated Israel represent Christ‘s mystical Church Ephesians 5:26. The spiritual character of the renovation presumes a personal application of the prophet‘s words, which is more thoroughly brought out under the new covenant (e. g., Hebrews 11:16). Thus the prophecy of Ezekiel furnishes a medium through which we pass from the congregation to the individual, from the letter to the spirit, from the Law to the Gospel, from Moses to Christ.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Lord says, “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God.” “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you.” 1 John 1:9; Jeremiah 3:13; Ezekiel 36:25. COL 158.1
But we must have a knowledge of ourselves, a knowledge that will result in contrition, before we can find pardon and peace. The Pharisee felt no conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit could not work with him. His soul was encased in a self-righteous armor which the arrows of God, barbed and true-aimed by angel hands, failed to penetrate. It is only he who knows himself to be a sinner that Christ can save. He came “to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18. But “they that are whole need not a physician.” Luke 5:31. We must know our real condition, or we shall not feel our need of Christ's help. We must understand our danger, or we shall not flee to the refuge. We must feel the pain of our wounds, or we should not desire healing. COL 158.2
The Lord says, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:17, 18. The gold tried in the fire is faith that works by love. Only this can bring us into harmony with God. We may be active, we may do much work; but without love, such love as dwelt in the heart of Christ, we can never be numbered with the family of heaven. COL 158.3Read in context »