The Doctrine of the Trinity in the Book of Ezekiel

Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’”

– Ezekiel 37:12-14

The Sovereignty of the Triune God in Salvation

While wrapping up my reading of the book of Ezekiel, I found it harder and harder to stick to writing notes on the gospel of John and not begin an entirely new adventure in this major prophet. Why? Because so many of themes that occur in John are also present in Ezekiel’s book. In particular what stood out to me was the Sovereignty of the Triune God in salvation. John’s Gospel, probably more than the Synoptic gospels (although I can’t say with certainty now), explicitly shows us the Sovereignty of the Triune God in salvation as (i.)the Father elects a people for Himself and sends (ii.)the Lord Jesus Christ who dies for the sins of His people, and with the Father sends (iii.)the Holy Spirit, who regenerates His people, and indwells them in order to lead and guide them, sanctify and keep them.

John 3 presents us with a very clear picture of the Trinity as it shows us (i.)the Sovereign regenerating work of the Holy Spirit who brings dead sinners to life in vv. 1-8, (ii.)the Father sending Christ to die for those who would place their faith in Him (i.e. the elect) in vv. 9-17, and (iii.)the Son who dies for the sins of God’s elect people and is the only proper object of saving faith, the only Savior who can redeem men from the curse and penalty of sin in vv. 14-18. That salvation is of the Lord alone is evident from the fact that the Holy Spirit regenerates sinners by His own will (v. 8), the Father Sovereignly has decided to save a people unto Himself (i.e. all the believing ones, cf. 3:16), and the Son voluntarily chooses to save whom He has chosen (cf. 6:66-70; 15:16; 17:). Salvation is wholly God’s action, man is the undeserving recipient of grace not by his own willing and choosing but by God’s.

Similarly, in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones, we see the sovereignty of our Triune God in (i.)the Spirit bringing dead men to life in vv. 1-14, (ii.)the Father’s elective decree to make a people for Himself by the working of His Spirit and the kingship of His Son, the great David, Jesus Christ in vv. 15-23, and (iii.)the Son’s divine kingship over the people of God under the New Covenant in vv. 24-28. In this passage, it is the Father who elects a people to Himself, the Son who rules over them, and the Spirit who brings the dead men to life who will inhabit the Lord’s kingdom once they are regenerated.

Perhaps this is why the Lord chastised Nicodemus for being the teacher of Israel and not knowing these things? The parallel in structure and the precise co-incidence of these two passages (i.e. Ezekiel 37 and John 3) only further underscore how inextricably bound together each portion of the Bible is with its other portions. It further shows us that the doctrine of the Trinity was not completely unknown to the Old Testament saints, who seemed to have at least a veiled and rudimentary grasp of the Triunity of YHWH, Jehovah God – Father and Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

-h.

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