New Defender's Study Bible Notes
36:5 residue of the heathen. Read here “the rest of the nations,” in addition to Idumea, or Edom, that would desire to take over Israel’s lands after the Chaldeans had devastated it. Instead they also will “bear their shame” (Ezekiel 36:7), and Israel’s lands will eventually be restored to her.
36:17 uncleanness. This mention of “the uncleanness of a removed woman” has reference to the legalistic regulations of Leviticus 15:19-33, designed especially to mark out Israel as God’s chosen people, clean in both body and spirit.
36:21 profaned among the heathen. God thus prophesied through Ezekiel that the Israelites would continue to reject Him during the time they were dispersed among the Gentiles (Ezekiel 36:19-20) just as they had in their own land. Nevertheless, He would finally bring them back, not because they had repented while among the heathen, but “for mine holy name’s sake” (Ezekiel 36:22), so that “the heathen shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 36:23). Their return—especially while still in unbelief—would be a great testimony to the world that God’s Word is true and that He will surely fulfill all His prophecies—both of promise and of judgment. And it is exactly that, today!
36:24 gather you out of all countries. Anticipating Israel’s future worldwide dispersion, as well as their current Babylonian exile, God promises to remember the ancient covenant and bring them finally back to the promised land.
36:25 sprinkle clean water. This is not a reference to New Testament baptism, of course, as some have taken it. It is a symbolic cleansing applied by God Himself to the nation of Israel in that future day when “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). The figure is probably taken either from the cleansing ritual of Numbers 8:5-7, or that of Numbers 19:9,13,21, which are the only other Old Testament references to sprinkling with water.
36:26 A new heart. This is probably the clearest Old Testament reference to the new birth. Note also Jeremiah 31:33 and 33:8.
36:27 my spirit within you. This regeneration of Israel is to be accomplished by God sometime after their return to Israel in unbelief. This has not yet been fulfilled, but God will do it in such a striking way that “the heathen shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezekiel 36:23), and even “the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward” (Ezekiel 39:22). Chapters 37, 38 and 39 tell how all this will be accomplished.
36:35 garden of Eden. This is an incidental testimony to the historicity of Eden’s garden. This prophecy is being precursively fulfilled at present, but its complete accomplishment awaits the future spiritual restoration of Israel.