In Ezek 37:15-28, Ezekiel takes two sticks and joins them together to make one. This object lesson catches the attention of the people who inquire about its meaning. He explains that the joining of the two sticks symbolizes the reuniting of Israel with Judah to form one nation that will be under one king. Thus, the title of this lesson is One nation, one king.
Two Sticks Will Be Made One, 15-19
Upon one stick, Ezekiel writes, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions. This stick stands for the house of Judah, the two southern of Israel. Upon the other stick he writes, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions. This stick stands for Israel, the ten northern tribes of Israel.
The ten northern tribes are often referred to as Ephraim, as in Is 7:9, and particularly in Hosea. Ephraim is one of Joseph’s two sons, both of whom received Reuben’s birthright, 1 Chr 5:1, through Joseph, and both of whom had inheritance in Israel.
Samaria, the city of the kings of Israel from Omri on, 1 Ki 16:23-24, was located in Ephraim. And Bethel, where Jeroboam placed one of his golden calves, was also in Ephraim, Jud 4:5. Ephraim, then, is the principle tribe of the ten northern tribes, as Judah was the principle tribe of the two southern tribes. The trouble in Israel is that Ephraim was joined to idols, Hos 4:17.
Ezekiel, joins these two sticks together and they become one stick in his hand.
Two Nations Will Be Made One, 20-23
The children of Israel see this object lesson and inquire what it means. Ezekiel tells them that the Lord will gather the children of Israel from among the heathen and bring them into their own land.
This process began with the two world wars. England controlled Palestine after WWI and passed the Balfour declaration granting Israel their land. Then, following WWII, Israel was granted their statehood, and many Jews began returning to their land.
After the Tribulation, when the Jews finally return to Israel, God will make them one nation. And one king shall be their king. They will no longer be two nations, divided into two kingdoms.
Furthermore, they will no longer be defiled with idols, detestable things, or transgressions. Is 1:10-17, 21-23 describes the condition of Judah during the reigns of the kings from Uzziah to Hezekiah. It was Solomon’s idolatry that led the Lord to divide the kingdoms in the first place. And they remained divided, continuing in idolatry.
Thus, God will save them out of the places where they’ve sinned and cleanse them. Is 1:18, 25-28 with Ezek 36:25 gives you a good picture of how God saves and cleanses them. When this is done, they will be his people and he will be their God.
David Will Be Their King, 24-25
When the house of Judah is joined with the house of Israel, David will be the king of the reunited kingdom, Jer 30:7-10.
They will have one shepherd, who will be David, Ezek 34:22-23. As a note, during the Tribulation, they will descend into the worst of their idolatry by following the idol shepherd, Zech 11:15-17, who is the antichrist.
And they will walk in his statutes and judgments, Jer 31:31-34, according to the new covenant.
Furthermore, they will dwell in their own land. This is the land that was given to Jacob and where their fathers dwelt. They and their offspring will dwell there for ever, Ps 105:6-11. God’s servant, David, will be their prince. As prince, he is over the reunited kingdom of Israel, but he is under the authority of the Lord, Ezek 34:24.
God’s Sanctuary Will Be In The Midst of Them, 26-28
The Lord will make an everlasting covenant of peace with them, Ezek 34:25. He will place them, that is, in their inheritance, Ezek 47-48. And he will multiply them, that is, the remnant will be fruitful and multiply, Jer 23:3-6. And he will set his sanctuary, the millennial temple, in the midst of them, Ezek 40-42.
When the Lord’s tabernacle is in the midst of them, Ezek 48:35, he will be their God and they will be his people. And, by this, the heathen will know that the Lord sanctifies them, because he would not dwell with them unless they were cleansed.