53 “I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in the midst of them, 54 that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all that you have done, becoming a consolation to them. 55 As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate; and you and your daughters shall return to your former estate. 56 Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth in the day of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you have become like her an object of reproach for the daughters of Edom and all her neighbors, and for the daughters of the Philistines, those round about who despise you. 58 You bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, says the LORD.
59 “Yea, thus says the Lord GOD: I will deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, 60 yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant. 61 Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed when I take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. 62 I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, 63 that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord GOD.” “Ezek. 16:53-63
Abruptly and unexpectedly, the rebuke takes a turn. The tone of condemnation is subjugated to one of forgiveness and restoration. As a Historicist I do not like to speculate on an unfulfilled passage. Historicist’s prefer to wait until the event is in the history books before commenting. So we shall look at some ideas that have been proposed.
The covenant theologians have a simple solution. All the prophecies concerning Israel and Judah are transferred to the church. Because they teach that Israel and Judah are cut off forever. So this is just about the church repenting as they are saved.
For the dispensationalist, there is a real problem here, for those who are incline to believe and teach that Judah’s fortunes began being restored in 1948. Where is Samaria i.e. the Northern Kingdom of Israel? Sodom was gone before Ezekiel wrote this prophecy. Because dispensationalist take everything woodenly literal they need Sodom to be restored. However Sodom was so utterly eliminated, that the archeologist still don’t agree where it was. There simply are no people to restore. Also the present country of Israel is unrepentant, and still refusing to accept that a first century Rabbi from the backwaters of Nazareth is their Messiah. Some of them teach that Sodom stands for the Moabites and Ammonites, the descendants of Lot who were the only survivors of the judgment [Gen 19]. However, today there are no Moabite or Ammonites left. Neither is there a Philistia or Edom.
Yes! we see the little hopeful Messianic in the back of the room, chirping, “but nothing in impossible with God”. Yes! but a lot of things are improbable. Scripture interprets Scripture, not our hopes and ideas.
It is also possible that Ezekiel means something else when he says Sodom. In the Book of the Revelation, Sodom and Egypt are an allegory for “the great city” which we know to be Papal Rome. [Rev 11:8]
And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, Heb. 9:27 There are no second chances. We don’t see how all these people can literally come back and be restored. But then it doesn’t have anything that would make one think that it is symbolic either.
Time will tell. Somehow the Northern Tribes and Sodom must be repentant and restored back from their captivity, at the same time as Judah, and since Judah is due to be exiled once more, maybe this is farther in the future then we think. (See Also: Zech. 14:1-5]