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Ezekiel 1-12
Ezekiel 13-16
Ezekiel 17-24
Ezekiel 25-27
Ezekiel 28-29
Ezekiel 30-33
Ezekiel 34
Ezekiel 35-39
Ezekiel 40-48
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Book of Ezekiel

 

“Ezekiel was a priest (Ezek. 1:3), but he never served in that office because he was taken captive to Babylon during the reign of Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, 2 Kings 24:10-16), who was the king of Judah who followed Jehoiakim.  It was during the eleven-year reign of Jehoiakim that the first deportation took place [605BC] when Daniel was taken captive.  Jehoiachin [Jeconiah] then came to the throne and reigned only three months.  In 597BC the second deportation took place, and Ezekiel was taken captive.  Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah and Daniel.  Jeremiah was an old man at this time.  He had begun his ministry as a young man during the reign of King Josiah. [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer1.html, as a matter of fact, Josiah, born around 647BC, was the same age as Jeremiah, so Jeremiah was 42 when Daniel was taken captive in 605BC, and was about 50 years old when Ezekiel was taken captive in 597BC.]  He [Jeremiah] had remained with the remnant in the land and then was taken by them down into Egypt [he didn’t have any choice in the matter]  Therefore his [Jeremiah’s] ministry at that time was confined to the remnant in Egypt [and that ministry to those in Egypt probably didn’t last long, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer12.html to see what really happened to Jeremiah in Egypt.]  Daniel had been taken into the court of the king of Babylon and had become his prime minister.  Ezekiel, then, was with the captives who had been brought down to the rivers of Babylon.  The captives had been placed by the great canal that came off the River Euphrates, which was several miles from Babylon itself.  Ezekiel’s ministry was among those people.  Psalm 137 is the psalm of the remnant in Babylon:  “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.  We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof” (Ps. 137:1-2).  But at the same time Ezekiel writes:  “The heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God” (Ezek. 1:1).  What a contrast!  While these people had already put their harps on a willow trees and sat down to weep, this man Ezekiel was seeing visions of God!…During the first years of the captivity the false prophets were still saying that the people were going to return to Jerusalem and that the city would not be destroyed.  The city was not destroyed even at the time of this second deportation [597BC].  It was not until about 586BC, when Nebuchadnezzar came against the city the third time, that he burned and destroyed Jerusalem.  Therefore for a period of about ten years, these false prophets were saying that the people would return and the city would not be destroyed.  Jeremiah had sent a message to Babylon saying the city would be destroyed, and Ezekiel confirmed his message.  He warned the people that they must turn to God before they could return to Jerusalem.”…Ezekiel began his ministry five years after he was taken captive at about the age of thirty.  In many ways, he spoke in the darkest days of the nation.  He stood at the bottom of a valley in the darkest corner.  [But you remember, God through Jeremiah called these Jews who had been in the first two deportations “the good basket of figs”, the ones he wanted to work with.  Two major prophets had been placed by God in their midst for their own good and spiritual edification, one was Daniel, and the other was Ezekiel. See the Jeremiah commentary for the chapter about the two baskets of figs.]  He had to meet the false hope given by the false prophets and the indifference and despondency begotten in the days of sin and disaster.  The people would not listen to his message.  Therefore, he resorted to a new method [God, Yahweh had him resort to this, he didn’t think this up all on his own, Yahweh told him to do these things].  Instead of speaking in parables, as the Lord Jesus did, he acted out the parables.  He actually did some very interesting stunts.  We read in Ezekiel 24:24, “Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign:  according to all that he hath done shall ye do:  and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”  The people would not listen to his words, so he would act them out, and he attracted a great deal of attention that way.  We have folks who use this very same method today.  We have placard carriers, flag-pole sitters, and walkathons [like the guy who carried a large wooden cross on wheels across the United States a while ago].  People do these things to attract and gain publicity.  This, too, was Ezekiel’s method [given to him by Yahweh].  One time he walked into a house, locked himself in, and then started digging himself out.  When he came out, he came out in the middle of the street!...But in Ezekiel’s time, when a man came up out of the middle of the street one day, people naturally gathered around and said, ‘What’s the big idea?’  Ezekiel had a message for them, and he gave it to them (see Ezek. 12:8-16).  Ezekiel is the prophet of the glory of the LORD. 

 

Ezekiel, one of the three major apocalyptic prophets

 

There were three prophets of Israel who spoke when they were out of the land.  They were Ezekiel, Daniel, and John (who wrote from the island of Patmos).  All three of these men wrote what is called an apocalypse.  They all used highly symbolic language; yet they saw the brightest light and held the highest hope of all the prophets.  Ezekiel saw the Shekinah glory of the LORD leave Solomon’s Temple, but he also saw the return of the glory of the LORD which was projected into the future and will come to pass during the Kingdom Age, or the Millennium.  The meaning of Ezekiel is seen in this coming of the glory during the Kingdom Age. Ezekiel looked beyond the sufferings of Christ to the glory that should follow.  As Peter said of the prophets, they saw the sufferings and they saw the glory that would follow (1 Pet. 1:11). I think Ezekiel saw it better than any of the other prophets.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, selected portions taken from pp. 436-437.]  From Halley we get, “Ezekiel and Daniel, Daniel had been in Babylon 9 years when Ezekiel arrived; and had already attained to great fame (14:14, 20).  Daniel was in the palace; Ezekiel in the country.  They may have met often.  Ezekiel and Jeremiah, Jeremiah was the older.  Ezekiel may have been his pupil.  Ezekiel preached among the exiles the same things Jeremiah was preaching in Jerusalem: certainty of Judah’s punishment for her sins.  Ezekiel and John, Some of Ezekiel’s visions seem to be extended into the book of Revelation:  Cherubim (Ezekiel 1, Revelation 4); Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38, Revelation 20); Eating the book (Ezekiel 3, Revelation 10); New Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48, Revelation 21); River of Water of Life (Ezekiel 47, Revelation 22). [p.323 Halley’s Bible Handbook]  There is a dominant theme running through Ezekiel which Halley mentions, “They Shall Know that I am God”, mentioned in 62 places through the book of Ezekiel.  Halley says, “Ezekiel’s mission seems to have been to explain the action of God in causing or permitting Israel’s [Judah’s] captivity.  It was because of the unspeakable abominations of which they were guilty [which had caused the driving out and deportation of the ten northern tribes of Israel, the House of Israel 130 years prior to their deportation]; abominations for which other nations had been blotted out [i.e. eventually, the complete blotting out of the Phoenicians both as a maritime empire and then as a distinct people].  But for Judah is was punitive.  By their punishment they would come to KNOW THAT GOD IS GOD.  They did.  The Babylonian Captivity CURED the Jews of Idolatry [whereas the driving out and deportation of some of the ten tribes of Israel did no such thing.  The eastern Scythians had remained sun-worshippers, as did the Israelites that escaped Assyrian captivity by sailing west to Carthage and Iberia [Spain], and into the Phoenician-Israelite trading colonies along the coast of northwest Europe, including the British Isles and Ireland.  They continued to remain as pagan as the Phoenicians they were allied to, as Celtic history and archeological records plainly show.]  Up to that time [the time of the Babylonian Captivity] they just would be idolaters.  From that day to this, whatever other sins the Jews have been guilty of, they have not been Idolaters. [ibid. p. 324]  Ezekiel’s Abode and Date, “He was carried captive with king Jehoiachin [Jeconiah] (597BC), “our” captivity (33:21; 40:1).  He had a wife (24:15-18); a home (8:1).  He lived by the river Chebar, the great ship canal branching off from the Euphrates above Babylon and running through Nippur to the Tigris.  Nippur, about 50 miles Southeast of Babylon, was Calneh, one of the cities  Nimrod had built (Genesis 10:10).  Telabib seems to have been Ezekiel’s home town (3:15, 24).  It is thought to have been near Nippur.  There is in the region a village called “Kilfil,” the Arabian for “Ezekiel,” which, tradition says, was his residence…” [ibid. p. 325].

 

 

Again I am going to use the three bolded color-code system, along with bolded black.  Historic, already fulfilled prophecy will be in bold dark red, second coming of Christ, Tribulation prophecies will be in  bold red, and Millennial Kingdom of God and beyond prophecies will be in bold green.  Timeless descriptions of God, or of Satan from antiquity through time will be in bold black. 

 

 

Ezekiel 1:1-28

 

Verse 1 indicated Ezekiel was about thirty years old when the LORD revealed himself to Ezekiel and his ministry as a Prophet of the LORD began.  In the Book of the Law a Levitical priest couldn’t enter his priestly duties until he was thirty years old.  Ezekiel was in the family line of Levitical priests, and God put him to work when he was thirty years old.  It gives the year this took place, when this revelation came to Ezekiel, in verse 2, it was the 5th year of Jehoiachin or Jeconiah’s captivity, which was 592BC.  He ministered from 592 to 571BC.  Ezekiel’s prophecies not only depict immediate events, which are now historic, but point to the first and second comings of Jesus Christ, as well as to the time of the Millennial Kingdom of God and just beyond it.  His priestly lineage is revealed in verse 3.  What is revealed in verses 4-28 is the portable throne of Yahweh, who was the pre-incarnate Christ.  There is a miniature version of the Sea of Glass, the color of a crystal, similar to its counterpart in Revelation 4, which Yahweh’s throne sits on.  This portable throne is carried by four angels, which Ezekiel indicates were cherubim, cross referencing to the cherubim in Revelation 4 which surround God’s throne (if you want to know what Satan looks like, he is a cherub and looks like what Ezekiel describes here).  If people were to see this today, it would be considered a genuine UFO, with flight capabilities beyond our wildest imagination.  All we have is Ezekiel’s physical description of this portable throne of the LORD, and the four angels who “power” it.  Beyond that, everything else is mere speculation.  So let’s just read Ezekiel 1:1-28 with that in mind.  It is a type, but movable, of the throne of God in the third heaven.  God’s throne in the third heaven, it has been indicated in other Scriptures, although we’re not totally sure, may be the New Jerusalem, pictured as coming to earth in Revelation 21.  If this is true, then the throne of God, in the heavenly City of God, being the New Jerusalem, is movable as well, but in a much grander scale.  So what we may be looking at in Ezekiel chapter 1 is a literal type of the New Jerusalem, in a tiny way, a portable throne for the LORD.  But unlike the New Jerusalem, it is not a city, it is merely a portable throne we’re looking at through Ezekiel’s description.  Let’s enjoy what we see through Ezekiel eyes, and realize that the power of man, which can cause the fear of man to come even upon believers, is totally unnecessary, and actually amounts to a lack of faith in the LORD.  The LORD has the overwhelming power to protect us in each and every single situation we find ourselves in, right where we are, if it is his will and desire to do so (and a lot of times, he has to protect us from ourselves, not others).  And we have a promise from God that he will never try us beyond what we are able to take.  So remember all this as you read through these verses. God is so very powerful, the resurrected Jesus, as he appears now in Revelation 1, and as he appeared in his pre-incarnate state here as Yahweh, is powerful beyond measure.  One holy angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers (half the Assyrian army ‘on the field’) outside of Jerusalem in one night during the reign of Hezekiah.  So if you are worried about man, and what he might do to you, stop worrying.  Don’t you think the angel the LORD has assigned to you is able to handle the job?  Bottom-line of what this chapter tells us:  All the conspiracies of man and all the devastation of World War III when it comes upon man can’t touch you, if it is in God’s will to protect you.  If that is God’s will, it won’t touch you, though you walk past thousands of dead on your right and on your left, as a Scripture says.  Get a feel for God’s power here, and forget the puny power of man.  Rejoice and be in awe of God the Father’s and his Son’s immense  power.

 

Scary Sight Approaching!

 (also, what a cherub looks like)

 

Verses 1-14, “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.  On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s [Jeconiah’s] captivity [592BC], the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.  Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of the midst of the fire.  Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures.  And this was their appearance:  they had the likeness of a man.  Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings.  Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet.  They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze.  The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings.  Their wings touched one another.  The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.  As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle.  Thus were their faces.  Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies.  And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.  As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures.  The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning.  And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.” 

 

The Portable Throne of Yahweh

 

Verses 15-21, “Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces.  [four cherubs, four wheels, one beside each cherub]  The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness.  The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel.  When they moved, they went toward any one of the four directions; they did not turn aside when they went.  As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them.  When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.  Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted  together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.  When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.”

 

Crystal Firmament or Floor Above the Cherubs and Wheels

 

Verses 22-25, “The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads.  And under the firmament their wings spread out straight, one toward another.  Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body.  When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings.  A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.”

 

Throne of the LORD above the crystal floor,

Description of the LORD on the throne

 

Verses 26-28, “And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.  Also from the appearance of his waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of his waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around.  Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness around it.  This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.”

 

Ezekiel 2:1-10

 

“Ezekiel is warned at the outset that he is being called to a life of hardship and persecution.  His message is delivered to him from God in the form of a book, which he is commanded to eat, as was John (Revelation 10:9).  In his mouth the book was sweet, which seems to mean that he found joy in being God’s messenger, though the message was a message of woe.  Eating the book, whether literally, or only in vision, signified thoroughly digesting its contents, so that its message would become a part of himself.”  [Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 326]  We see in verses 1-2, that throughout this glorious appearance the LORD had just made in his fiery portable throne, that poor Ezekiel was flat on his face, looking up at this spectacular sight. Chapter 2 is a continuation of that Divine encounter Ezekiel was having with the LORD. When God commands him to speak “to the children of Israel” in verse 3, as we will come to see throughout the book of Ezekiel, this includes both the House of Israel, the ten northern tribes who are no longer in captivity, but living a good distance northwest and northeast of Babylon, and it also includes the Jewish captives, what remains of the House of Judah.  God will distinguish, in many cases, which warning is specifically meant for which house, whether the House of Israel, or the House of Judah.  Verse 3 is telling Ezekiel God’s warnings he is to give will be to both “houses”. 

 

 

Verses 1-10, “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.’  Then the Spirit entered me when he spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard him who spoke to me.  And he said to me:  ‘Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day.  For they are  impudent and stubborn children.  I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’  As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse---for they are a rebellious house---yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.  And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briars and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house.  You shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious.  But you, son of man, hear what I say to you.  Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.’  Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it.  Then he spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.”

 

Ezekiel 3:1-27

 

Verses 1-15:  When Ezekiel is commanded in verse 1 “Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them” this of course also means the Jews in captivity he was with for the immediate context, because they were the only ones he was actually physically able to speak these things to.  But as we will see as we go through the entire book, some of the prophecies God gave Ezekiel were for all of Israel, which would include the 10 northern tribes who had gone into captivity (and now were out of captivity, but living to the north in the regions between the Black Sea and the Aral and Caspian Seas).  And some of the prophecies were specifically for the House of Israel, the ten northern tribes who were no longer anywhere near.  So “go” to the rest of the house of Israel must be taken in what one commentary says “in a metaphoric sense.”  This would be done by having the messages for “the House of Israel”, wherever given by God to Ezekiel, written in a book, which could later be given to those it was addressed to (i.e. some time later other servants of God would deliver God’s prophecies for “the house of Israel” to them).  So whenever God through Ezekiel addresses either “the house of Israel” or “the house of Judah”, I will underline those terms for clarity, showing to whom the message is ultimately to be addressed to.  For most of whom I call Gentile Christians, this is not a popular interpretation, but clearly, when the term House of Israel is put through God’s Biblical filter of the historic chapters of the Bible in Kings & Chronicles, this interpretation holds water as they say, and it’s probably very accurate [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.hrtml and read through that series for proof].  As we’ll see, many of these prophecies for “the House of Israel” are end-time, meant for whoever the ten tribes, and particularly the two “birthright” and leadership tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh are.  This website will continue to adhere to the policy of not speculating who those two birthright tribes are, or what nations they have become, or who the other of the ten tribes may be (but due to where we saw some of Israel migrate to in Phoenician ships during the fall of the ten tribes of Israel, we do know descendents of those ten tribes ended up along the coastal regions of Western Europe and the British Isles, and especially Ireland, “the land of the Celts.”  So if modern Christianity merely delivers God’s prophecies which were given to Ezekiel to the peoples of these nations, which would most definitely include the English speaking peoples, they more than likely are addressing “the House of Israel”, and thus being “good watchmen.” Doing so would entail including perhaps a severe warning aspect into the Gospel of Salvation, which most modern Christians are not used to doing (i.e., adding a ‘flee from the wrath to come’ element into the Gospel message).  So just understand, that when God addresses “the House of Israel” through Ezekiel, it means the ten northern tribes, whoever they are now, wherever they are now, and especially to the two leadership-birthright tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh.  In most if not all cases, the prophecies addressed to the House of Israel are for the end-times, so they will be color-coded in bold red.  In verses 11-13, Ezekiel is specifically instructed to preach God’s message to those Jewish captives he’s living with in the region of Babylon.  All the time God is giving him this commission, remember, the blazing glorious portable throne of Yahweh is present there before Ezekiel, with the sound of it’s great “rushing wind.”  Then Ezekiel is lifted up himself, and transported.  Whether this is a “vision” or happened literally is up for debate among Bible scholars.  I personally lean to the interpretation that this was literal, it really happened.  But as we have seen with Elisha and his servant, God can make objects and beings that are composed of spirit visible and invisible at will.  If Ezekiel had people around him when this was occurring, as some think he did, all this could have been and probably was “cloaked” from their being able to see and hear what Ezekiel was seeing and hearing.  This type of cloaking is something military powers have been working on for some time, and some day may be possible.  But God can “cloak” things made of spirit at will, as other Bible passages have already shown us.  Ezekiel remains with the captives around him for seven days, stunned by what he has just seen and heard.  Interestingly enough, when a Levitical priest was to be ordained in the Old Testament, he went through a seven day period of consecration (cf. Leviticus 8:33).

 

Ezekiel Assigned by God as a Watchman to Israel

 

 Verses 16-21:  It is at the end of this seven day period that the LORD assigned Ezekiel the position of a watchman over all of Israel, to both the House of Judah and the House of Israel (verses 16-21).  A watchmen in ancient Israel and Judah would stand on the city wall, probably in a high tower.  They were on sentry duty, and watched for any military threat.  If he saw an invading army, or say a fire within the city, or some domestic disturbance, he was to sound a warning to the people in the city.  The LORD instructed Ezekiel that in order to escape the guilt “of having blood on his hands” he was to faithfully warn the people of what God would tell him.  In the case of “the House of Israel”, this was not physically possible to do, so the warning and responsibility for giving that warning in any one specific prophecy that applies the “the House of Israel” now applies to the servants of God who are alive now in today’s day and age.  What did God prophecy about Israel’s watchmen in Isaiah 56 (which is a chapter where portions apply to the Millennial Kingdom of God, and portions apply to just before it)?  Let’s read it.  Isaiah 56:10-12, “His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.  Yes, they are greedy dogs which never have enough.  And they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory.  ‘Come,’ one says, ‘I will bring wine.  And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; tomorrow will be as today, and much more abundant.’”  That’s a pretty severe condemnation of “the shepherds” who live in Israel, whoever Israel is, those that are supposed to be “the watchmen” guarding their nations.  The word “shepherds” identifies these “watchmen” as priests back then, or pastors and ministers of churches today.  That’s the connotation.  This is a severe condemnation of what has infected much of modern Christianity, and as we’ll see in Ezekiel, the fate of these corrupt watchmen will to be to die along with the rest in the horrible plagues and wars prophecied in the Book of Ezekiel.  A watchman who didn’t do his job was held accountable for those who died because of his failed warning (and he was probably killed, just like a sentry who falls asleep on guard duty in times of war is punishable by death, and was especially at all times in the Roman Empire).  But God tells Ezekiel, if he is faithful to give the warning, the blood of their deaths will not be on his hands, but on their own hands for failing to heed the warning.  This is a very important principle God is giving Ezekiel right at the beginning of his ministry.  Too bad each and every person desiring to be a pastor is not given this type of warning in person by Yahweh himself.  It might make a huge difference in what we hear from the pulpit, don’t you think?  But the warning, for those pastors wise enough to heed it, is right here in Ezekiel chapter 3, for all to read and apply to their lives, if they’re smart enough to “read the handwriting on the wall.” 

 

The Pantomimes of Ezekiel

 

Verses 22-27:  Ezekiel is now told to go into his house where he is to remain silent, God is actually going to make him “mute,” unless he is told to give a specific message or prophecy from the LORD to them.  He remained publicly “mute” for seven years, the first seven years of his ministry.  There were 25 “pantomimes” the LORD had Ezekiel act out during the span of his ministry, some of them very uncomfortable.  This being publicly “mute” was the first one.  It was God’s ingenious way of advertising his prophecies through Ezekiel.  Sometimes modern evangelists will use similar advertising techniques to “get the Gospel out.”  Some are good, and some not so good.  This “mute” condition of Ezekiel lasted up until the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC, except when Ezekiel was told to give a prophecy.  Imagine Ezekiel’s poor wife, who had to support him in all this.  Now for seven years he probably has to write things down to communicate with her.  Special woman, that gal.  It says he loved her very much.  It’s been said that the real success of a man’s ministry is often attributable to his godly wife.  Just something to think about, gals.  In essence she was a ministry-partner with him.

 

Verses 1-15, “Moreover he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.’  So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that scroll.  And he said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I will give you.’  So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.  Then he said to me: ‘Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them.  For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand.  Surely, had I sent your to them, they would have listened to you.  [i.e., surely had I sent you to those Gentiles who speak a hard to understand language, they would have listened.]  But the house of Israel will not listen to me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted.  Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads.  Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.’  Moreover he said to me:  ‘Son of man, receive into your heart all my words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.  And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.’”  That’s an important concept that should be a part of our evangelism to the public, tell it all, regardless of whether they’re paying attention or not.  Our job is to preach the Gospel, in season, out of season.  Don’t think it was easy for Ezekiel, he had to deliver all these prophecies to Jews that were already being preached to by false prophets who were telling them Jerusalem would not fall and that they’d go back to Judah and Jerusalem very soon.  This made Ezekiel’s (as well as Jeremiah’s) prophecies very unpopular.  Sort of like if God told you to go into a Gay bar and preach the Gospel, or a modern high school and preach abstinence and Biblical purity before marriage.  Until Jerusalem actually fell, Ezekiel’s messages were very unpopular due to all the false prophets.  Aren’t we living in a similar time?  I think so, for sure.  “Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a great thunderous voice:  ‘Blessed is the glory of the LORD from his place!’  I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, and a great thunderous noise.  So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.”  This incredible encounter with God and his portable throne, with the four fiery cherubim ends now, and Ezekiel is left in a town called Tel Abib [what translates out in modern Hebrew as Tel Aviv, but this is not the Tel Aviv in the land of Israel].  “Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat there astonished among them seven days.”   

 

Ezekiel Is Given the Responsibility of Being Israel’s Watchman

 

It is now at the end of this seven-day period of time that the LORD assigns Ezekiel the position of being a watchman over all Israel.  This Watchman responsibility, as we’ll see, is for both the House of Judah, which is now in captivity, or about to go into captivity, and for the House of Israel, at a much later date, long after Ezekiel has died.  But God passes on responsibilities from age to age, to whomever his servants are.  I honestly don’t think we can in good conscience duck out of this responsibility, especially as the Biblical Tribulation approaches all mankind, what we in the military would term as World War III.  Verses 16-21, “Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel [I believe “the house of Israel” is all-inclusive, meaning all 12 tribes here, as this is the overall commission being given to Ezekiel]; therefore hear a word from my mouth, and give them warning from me:  When I say to the wicked, You shall surely die, and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.  Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul [“soul”, Strongs #5315, nephesh:…breathing creature].  Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.  Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.’”

 

Ezekiel’s first assignment---pantomime---being mute, designed to get the people’s attention

 

Verses 22-27, “Then the hand of the LORD was upon me there, and he said to me, ‘Arise, go out into the plain, and there I shall talk with you.’  So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.  Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me:  ‘Go, shut yourself inside your house.  And you, O son of man, surely they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them.  I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house.  But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD.  He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.’”

 

Ezekiel 4:1-17

 

The Siege of Jerusalem Portrayed

 

Halley gives us, “Ezekiel’s opening message to the exiles, who were hoping for a speedy return to Jerusalem, was this graphic warning that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed, and that they would soon by joined by other captives, and that their captivity would last at least 40 years.”  Counting from 586BC to 546BC takes us to the year Cyrus the Great militarily secured the western Persian Empire by the conquest of Lydia, thus making them more powerful than the Babylonians.  During the next seven years Cyrus would move east onto Babylonian territory, invading Babylon itself in 539BC.  As for the 390 years for Israel’s iniquity, Ezekiel 4:5, this would be from the time of David’s death in 970BC (when the 12 united tribes of Israel under Solomon was considered to be in iniquity because of taking his 700 pagan wives and allowing their pagan religions into Israel) to 580BC, that roughly calculates out to when both the lands of Israel to the north and Judah to the south were completely devoid of their populations and the land rested.  As to how the 390 years of punishment played out, there are all kinds of interpretations for what the 390 days stand for, and we’ll find out for sure later.  “As a sign of famine, Ezekiel lived on loathsome bread.  Throughout the siege he was acting out he lay on one side, either continuously or for the greater part of each day, which with famine diet, meant great discomfort.”  Ezekiel is instructed to start a second “pantomime”, combined with the first of being mute, and this one would be to act out the siege against Jerusalem by Babylon.  Ezekiel’s weird actions would definitely attract attention, thus conveying God’s message, as word of what he was doing probably spread like wildfire throughout the Jewish community.  The mock siege here is given as a “sign to the house of Israel” in verse 3.  Now we know the House of Israel has been driven out of the land, and except for a brief span in Josiah’s reign, has not returned or taken up permanent residence again there.  The house of Judah, with their capital of Jerusalem is used here to depict all 12 tribes, so it would appear  that the sins of both are responsible for bringing about this siege of what used to be the capital city of all 12 tribes in the united kingdom of Israel.  For in the time of David and Solomon ‘the house of Israel” was composed of all 12 tribes. As for Ezekiel’s diet, it is meant to portray the starvation conditions of those living in Jerusalem under the siege, as Eerdmans Handbook of the Bible says: “The people watched and got the message.  They watched with growing horror as Ezekiel weighed his meagre measure of mixed grain and eked out his water ration.  They saw the prophet wasting away, as the population of Jerusalem would do under siege.”  Remember, because this prophecy was addressed to both Israel and Judah, it also takes on a duel meaning, applying to a future time for both Judah and Israel, when Judah and whoever Israel has become fall at the hands of the end-time Babylon of Revelation.  Many prophecies about Israel and Judah have prior fulfillments and end-time fulfillments, often referred to as type and anti-type.

 

Verses 1-17, “You also, son of man, take a clay tablet and lay it before you, and portray on it a city, Jerusalem.  Lay siege against it, build a siege wall against it, and heap up a mound against it, and camps against it also, [This portrayed exactly what we read about in the later parts of Jeremiah during the end of the reign of king Zedekiah, when Jeremiah was kept in prison and Zedekiah was secretly coming to Jeremiah for advice because he was frightened out of his wits.] and place battering rams against it all around.  Moreover make for yourself an iron plate, and set it as an iron wall between you and the city.  Set your face against it, and it shall be besieged, and you shall lay siege against it.  This will be a sign to the house of Israel.  [Again, house of Israel makes this prophecy all-inclusive, Jerusalem is paying for the combined sins of all 12 tribes of Israel.]  Lie also on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it.  According to the number of days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity.  For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity [a day for a year principle here], according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.  When you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days.  I have laid on you a day for each year.  Therefore you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem; your arm shall be uncovered, and you shall prophesy against it.  And surely I will restrain you so that you cannot turn from one side to another till you have ended the days of your siege.  Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself.  During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it.  And your food which you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from to time you shall eat it.  You shall also drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; from time to time you shall drink.  And you shall eat it as barley cakes; and bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight.’  Then the LORD said, ‘So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.’  [Obviously Ezekiel was required to be restrained lying on his side for 24 hours a day, as he was also commanded to bake bread in the people’s sight.  The strange mixture of different flours points to a limited and strange mixture of flours that would be available for food in Jerusalem during the siege, sort of like when food is scarce for the poor between paydays, and they pull everything out of the pantry to mix together for a meal.  Some folk, mistakenly, think this was some kind of health-bread mixture God was giving Ezekiel the recipe for, and use it to make a bread called and sold as “Ezekiel Bread.”  Try it sometime to see what it tasted like for poor Ezekiel.]  So I said, ‘Ah, Lord GOD!  Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh  ever come into my mouth.’ [i.e. the unclean animals mentioned in Leviticus 11 which God commanded the Israelites not to eat for both health and defilement reasons.]  Then he said to me, ‘See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your food over it.’  [Comment:  dried cow dung is a common cooking fuel in many poor African nations as well as throughout India where there is a plentiful supply.  Can only imagine what it smells like.]  Moreover he said to me, ‘Son of man, surely I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread, that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity.”  You can imagine, Ezekiel must have lost a lot of weight on this diet for 390 days and 40 days, a little over one year two months, well over a year he spent on this diet lying in front of this mock siege.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and advertisers know this.  God knew it long before Madison Avenue did, and it can be used by God’s children as an effective evangelism tool as well.

 

Ezekiel 5:1-17

 

Halley has, “When the siege is finished he is commanded, as a further symbol of the fate of Jerusalem’s inhabitants, to shave off his hair, burn part of it and scatter the rest to the winds.” Now this is where this prophecy gets very interesting, and scary, for it is duel, applying to the siege of Jerusalem under the hands of Nebuchadnezzar in 586BC, and applying to the time of the Great Tribulation just prior to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  We will thoroughly go over this so that it is perfectly clear.  The nation of Israel under kings David and Solomon was originally intended to be a holy priestly nation as a showcase nation for the whole world, and the instruction God gave Ezekiel to shave his head and beard were highly symbolic for that time, and represented a sign of humiliation and defilement, especially for a priest.  (In the Millennial Kingdom of God, God’s ultimate plan for Israel being that priestly nation will finally be realized.)  God, Jesus is in the process of discipling and ‘shaping them up’ right now.  God’s overall Plan is much, much larger than most believers in Jesus realize.  Ezekiel in his pantomime was representing the priestly nation of Israel, the whole 12 tribes (Ezekiel 5:4), the house of Judah of which being the last remaining 3 tribes (Judah, Levi and Benjamin) of the twelve.  The clear message of this was: “God’s priestly nation is going into a period of humiliation and defilement.”  It happened then, and it is about to happen again, to both Judah and whomever the other 10 tribes are nationally.  The hair, as we see in Ezekiel 5:1-2, was to be divided into three parts.  One pile of hair was to be placed within the clay diagram representing Jerusalem, and another third was to be placed outside of Jerusalem.  At the end of the siege pantomime the one third outside of Jerusalem would be struck with a sword, symbolizing violent military death to one third.  The one third in the city would be burned, symbolizing agonizing death by famine and pestilence, and the last one third was to be scattered in the wind, symbolizing captivity and being scattered among the nations.  Ezekiel 5:10 cross references to Leviticus 26:29.  Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are the Blessings & Cursings chapters of the Law.  They lay out a format, template of national blessings and curses for the 12 tribed nation of Israel.  The format or template applies to historic Israel, because we can plainly see that it has been followed to a “T”. The format or template of Ezekiel also applies to Israel, all 12 tribes, whomever they are, in the future, just before the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, as we’ll see.  Remember, this template, represented by the shaved hair of Ezekiel, was fulfilled to a “T”, 100 percent, in Nebuchadnezzar’s siege and conquest of Jerusalem and the land of Judah. It is a common mistake to assume this template only applied to Jerusalem’s fall to the Babylonians in 586BC.  That was merely a prior fulfillment of a far greater fulfillment yet to come.  We see in Ezekiel 5:4 that this prophecy is for “all Israel,” all 12 tribes.  But the northern 10 tribes are nowhere around the land of Israel right now, as we’ve seen in the commentary on Kings & Chronicles (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html).  So how does this apply to all of Israel?  Well as we’ll see, this prophecy has duel fulfillments.  Let’s turn to Zechariah 13:8-9, “…And is shall come to pass in all the land,’ says the LORD, ‘that two-thirds in it [Jerusalem] shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it; I will bring one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested.”  This prophecy of Zechariah was given around 520BC, 66 years after the fall of Jerusalem, as a matter of fact it was given as Jerusalem was being restored under Zerubbabel and Joshua and the 50,000 Jews who had returned under their leadership.  When coupled to Zechariah 14, which everybody knows is a 2nd Coming of the Messiah prophecy, Zechariah 13 shows this template of one-third dying by famine, one third die by the sword, and one third taken captive is also meant to apply to Ezekiel 5, making it a type of universal template of judgment God has used in the past and will yet again use in the future.  It’s a template of “last resorts.”  Plugging it into estimated population figures for the nations which must make up the 10 northern tribes of Israel, who migrated into regions of coastal northwestern Europe, the British Isles (and by extrapolation the other English speaking nations such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc.) gives us let’s say 500 million people. Imagine in World War III 166 million of them dying in famine and related pestilences, 166 million dying directly by ‘the sword’, modern warfare, and 166 million being taken into captivity.  Even worse, when coupled to Isaiah 6:11-13 and Amos 5:3, that only about 10 percent of the Israelites who go into this modern-day captivity will end up surviving, or 16 million.  God always gives his people a warning, hoping they will repent (see Jeremiah 18:5-8; Jonah 4:2, and Joel 2:12-14).  God does not take pleasure in punishing the wicked (see Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11).  This is serious stuff, folks, when we realize the duality of Ezekiel’s prophecies, something Gentile Christians have ignored for millennia.  When coupled to the proper historic/prophetic context of Bible history (Kings & Chronicles) and other prophecies pertaining to the 2nd coming, Ezekiel 4, 5 and 6 becomes very clear as to it’s fuller meaning.  For the historic fulfillment of the conquest of Judah and Jerusalem part of these prophecies, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/6.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer11.html.

 

““And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber’s razor, and pass it over your head and your beard; then take scales and weigh and divide the hair.  You shall burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are finished; then you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword, and one-third you shall scatter in the wind:  I will draw out a sword after them.  You shall take a small number of them and bind them in the edge of your garment.  Then take some of them [the ones he just put in his garment] again and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire.  From there a fire will go out into the house of Israel.”  As you can see, Jerusalem has been made representative of all Israel.  This had a devastating former fulfillment, and it has a future fulfillment, which will come against Jerusalem and “go out into the house of Israel” as it says in the end of verse 4.  This later end-time fulfillment would cross-reference directly to Zechariah 13:8-9, as we just read.  “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her.  She has rebelled against my judgments by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries that are  all around her; for they have refused my judgments, and they have not walked in my statutes.’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are all around you, have not walked in my statutes nor kept my judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you’---therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I, even I, am against you will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations.  And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations.  Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments among you, and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds.” 

 

The one-third, one-third, one-third scenario re-stated

 

Verses 11-17, “‘Therefore, as I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you; my eye will not spare, nor will I have any pity.  One-third of you shall die of the pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.  Thus shall my anger be spent and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be avenged; and they shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it in my zeal, when I have spent my fury upon them.  Moreover I will make you a waste and a reproach among the nations that are all around you, in the sight of all who pass by.  So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes.  I, the LORD, have spoken.  When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine, which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread.  [Comment:  Don’t think that can happen now, here in the United States of America?  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/E-Mails/2010/Coming%20World%20Famine.htm]  So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you.  Pestilence and blood shall pass through you.  I, the LORD, have spoken.’” 

 

Ezekiel 6:1-14

 

Halley says Ezekiel chapters 6 and 7 are sort of a Dirge over the destruction of the land of Judah.  Knowing this one-third, one-third, one-third scenario is first directed toward Judah and Jerusalem, but is also directed against the house of Israel in the future, these chapters, written as a Dirge, apply to them as well.  He makes the point that the Jews [and yes, all Israel later] would by this terrible punishment, come to know that God is God.  God temporarily lifts Ezekiel’s muteness during this mock siege he’s enacting out against Jerusalem, and all Israel for later times.  Interestingly, we see this prophecy in chapter 6 is given to Ezekiel during the 390 days symbolizing the punishment on the northern tribes of Israel, called the house of Israel.  Ezekiel’s face is set, as we see in verses 2-3 “towards the mountains of Israel.”  From the late 900s BC to the 700s BC the mountains and hills of Israel would have been the region of Samaria where the ten tribes of the northern House of Israel dwelt.  But we have a problem here, or an apparent problem.  The House of Israel had been either driven away and/or taken captive by the Assyrian Empire which the Babylonians and Scythians had just destroyed 20 to 25 years previously.  Assyria had driven away and/or captured and deported the inhabitants of the House of Israel at least 130 years before this prophecy was given.  They were over 600 miles to the northwest and northeast, in two basic groups, the Black Sea Scythians and the eastern Scythians, as we learned in our study of Kings & Chronicles [see http://unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html and read through the following sections].  So this message intended for the House of Israel was not able to be delivered during Ezekiel’s lifetime, and never was.  By the time of Christ, they may actually have lost sight of who they really were, but God knew who they were, and would preserve them as a people because of his promises to Abraham, which are ironclad.  While Judah’s destruction was imminent, these prophecies entailing the 390 days for the House of Israel applied to an Israel which at this point was in no imminent danger, and actually had been blessed with some real military power.  In this day and age, Gentile Christianity tries to solve this problem in the reading of “mountains of Israel” by saying this applies only and exclusively to Judah, the southern House of Judah.  This teaching has led to a very erroneous changing and misunderstanding of the actual real history of the House of Israel and the House of Judah as taught in the Bible in Kings & Chronicles.  That is why the study of Kings & Chronicles at http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html and going through that entire section is foundational for the proper understanding of the prophecies given in the Book of Ezekiel.  So if you haven’t read through that section, I recommend doing that and then coming back to this commentary on Ezekiel.  It will prove to be a real eye-opener for those of you who do that.  Recent archeological finds around the world have made this history fascinating and backs up the Biblical record in appropriate sections.  Now for the use of the term “mountains and hills” in Bible prophecy.  Mountains and hills are often used in prophecy to symbolize nations (see Isaiah 2:2-4), hills being smaller nations and mountains being larger nations. So we see the whole context of this mock siege for the 390 days is directed to the “house of Israel”, while the mock siege for the 40 days is directed against Judah and Jerusalem, which is clearly delineated between the two in Ezekiel 4:4-6.  In Ezekiel 6 the prophet is facing toward the “mountains of Israel,” so this makes it perfectly clear that this prophecy is about the

future destruction of the northern ten tribes of Israel in the end-times.  Idolatry is the main sin listed.  In context with the end times, it could mean actual false worship, in what I call the dead and dying Christian revivals which make up the older denominations (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm) or exalting other pursuits in place of God, as Jesus clearly brought out, you cannot worship God and mammon (cf. Matthew 6).  But as we learned in our study in Kings & Chronicles, the modern counter-part of child-sacrificing Baal-worship is the despicable sin of abortion, as well as the production of millions of sexual predators who prey on young children, raping them and then killing them to hide their sin.  As we saw in that study going through Kings & Chronicles, the House of Israel was conquered and driven out of the land and/or deported to Assyria for the sin of Baal worship, which is the counterpart for what we are doing in our “enlightened” societies throughout the western democracies.  The House of Judah was badly infected with this sin shortly before and then after the fall of the House of Israel to the Assyrians, and this is why Judah and Jerusalem are being destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/5.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/6.html)  God loves little children, as Jesus clearly demonstrated repeatedly throughout his ministry (see Matthew 18).  This wholesale slaughter of little innocents will not go unjudged.  It didn’t last time in the 700s BC and 600s BC, and it will not now.  God says he changes not.  In Ezekiel 6:6 it tells us “In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste.”  Now cities have been termed as having been “laid waste” in Old Testament times, but the true reality of a city being laid waste was not realized until World War II, first when we firebombed German and Japanese cities.  But then in August of 1945, for the very first time, the Biblical term of “cities laid waste” took on its full meaning and intent, when we dropped the first two atomic bombs ever used in warfare against an enemy.  We dropped them on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  With the appearance of two short blinding flashes of light, two cities were “laid waste” in the true end-time Biblical sense.  In a very real sense, the period of time which could be termed as “the end times” came on the world during those two days when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed with nuclear weapons.  Now with the little talked about advent of the neutron bomb, which interestingly enough France and Communist China refused to sign the test-ban treaty for, a city can be bombed with it, killing all living things within range of that city, with little or no destruction of buildings or other physical objects.  The half-life of the material used in a neutron bomb is so short that an invading army can march over “ground zero” within two weeks with no danger of being irradiated.  France is now part of what is fast becoming a formidable United Europe, and China is starting to really flex her military muscles in the Far East.  So that gives you two major fast-developing military powers in the world not only holding but developing neutron bomb technology and capabilities.  With the neutron bomb, there is no massive upwelling of dust and debris in a huge fireball, which could cause a “nuclear winter” and endanger the world with radioactivity.  The danger of the neutron bomb is that is makes nuclear war feasible and winnable without annihilating the world in the process.  But it takes a major nuclear superpower to manufacture a sufficient amount of the isotope used in these bombs, a superpower or nation with many nuclear reactors.  France is one of those nations, and China is becoming that too.  I grew up in the 1950s during the big atomic scare.  We as kids were all pre-occupied with building bomb-shelters so we could survive “the Big One” when it was dropped on Boston.  Now in America, we’ve all but forgotten the real danger and deadliness of these weapons, and the scary new generation of them nobody’s talking about.  We’re like a bunch of dumb sheep being led to the slaughter.  The big thing, is God is going to allow it because of our national sins.  Now this website is not primarily aimed at the general public, its target audience is mainly believers in Jesus Christ, Christians and Messianic Jews alike.  I do believe a time is coming when Christianity and Messianic Judaism is going to have to incorporate a warning element into the proclamation of the Gospel of Salvation, particularly when it is being preached in the western democracies and English speaking nations of the world where the various nations of Israel reside, descendants of the 10 northern tribes of Israel, now having grown into individual nations, wherever they are, whomever they are.  That’s a long sentence, read it again, let it sink in if you are a pastor or church leader.  Why?  Because the Lord GOD has entrusted this message and warning contained in the Book of Ezekiel to you to deliver to the people residing in your nation.  The simple Gospel of Salvation, what we sometimes term as the Gospel of Christ, is made up of 5 simple points.  The fifth point of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ is coming again.  That 5th point encompasses all the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ prophecies, which Ezekiel is definitely a part of [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm].   So it is not unBiblical to include a warning aspect in your Gospel presentation if you so choose to do (God my hold you responsible to do so as time grows short).  Ezekiel was made a watchman to Israel, to the House of Israel and the House of Judah, in Ezekiel 3 by the LORD.  Those in the end times who carry the Gospel to these nations have a God-given responsibility to carry some if not all of Ezekiel’s message to their nations before it’s too late.  What will be the result of doing this?  Verses 7, 10, 13 and 14 tell us.  The people who survive World War III will come to realize that they have not been following the true God, as they will finally come to recognize him for who he is.  That is, for those who are left, those who have been led into captivity, those who are part of those one-third who survive the national famines and blitzkrieg attacks which will be leveled on our respective Israelite nations, whomever they are.  Right now the vast majority of these millions of people have no clue, no idea that they are the intended recipients of Ezekiel’s dire message.  That’s your job now, if you’re a pastor or church leader.  We’ll get more into that responsibility when we cover Ezekiel chapter 33.  But you can turn there in your Bibles and read that chapter now, if you find this message is impacting you.  If it is, that is probably God’s Holy Spirit speaking to you, so you’d better heed.

 

Verses 1-14, “Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying:  ‘Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD!  Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, to the hills, to the ravines, and to the valleys:  Indeed I, even I, will bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places.  Then your altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain men before your idols, and I will scatter your bones all around your altars.  In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate, so that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, your idols may be broken and made to cease, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.  The slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the LORD.  Yet I will leave a remnant, so that you may have some who escape the sword among the nations, when you are scattered through the countries.  Then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.  And they shall know that I am the LORD; I have not said in vain that I would bring this calamity upon them.  Thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Pound your fists and stamp your feet, and say, Alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel!  [As you can see, in this verse 11, this prophecy in chapter 6 is addressed to the House of Israel, not the House of Judah and Jerusalem.]  For they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.  He who is far off shall die by the pestilence, he who is near shall fall by the sword, and he who remains and is besieged shall die by famine.  Thus I will spend my fury upon them.  Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when their slain are among their idols all around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every thick oak, wherever they offered sweet incense to all their idols.  So I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land desolate, yes, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblah, in all their dwelling places.  Then they shall know that I am the LORD.’”

 

Ezekiel 7:1-27

 

Verse 2 conveys a total destruction and devastation.  Ezekiel thundered this prophecy to his local captive Jewish audience in Babylon, but as we’ve already seen, this warning is meant for whomever makes up the 10 northern tribes of Israel, “to the land of Israel.”  Verse 9 shows us that the LORD takes on a frightening new name which applies to this prophecied punishment to come, “YHVH makkeh”, which translates to “the Eternal [Yahweh, the great I AM] who strikes the blow.”  The word “end” is mentioned five times in the first six verses, all pointing to final judgment.  The New Living Translation puts verses 2-12 in plain language, “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to Israel:  The end is here!  Wherever you look---east, west, north, south---your land is finished.  No hope remains, for I will unleash my anger against you.  I will call you to account for all your disgusting behavior.  I will turn my eyes away and show no pity, repaying you in full for all your evil…With one blow after another I will bring total disaster!  The end has come!  It has finally arrived!  Your final doom is waiting!  O people of Israel, the day of your destruction is dawning…Soon I will pour out my fury to complete your punishment for all your disgusting behavior.  I will neither spare nor pity you.  I will repay you for all your detestable practices…None of these proud and wicked people will survive.  All their wealth will be swept away.  Yes, the time has come; the day is here!” (verses 2-12).  Verses 12-13 show a severely depressed housing market as one of the signs of hard economic times when the major nations making up whoever Israel is are losing their grip in the world economy.  Again, the New Living Translation makes is painfully clear, because it really looks like the economic condition we are in right now. Freaky, isn’t it?  “There is no reason for buyers to rejoice over the bargains they find or the sellers to grieve over their losses, for all of them will fall under my terrible anger.  And if any merchants should survive, they will never return to their business.  For what God has said applies to everyone---it will not be changed!  Not one person whose life is twisted by sin will recover.”  The economic condition of the housing market, at least in the US, is such that there is plenty of inexpensive land and houses for sale, but due to the bad economy caused by the long-term flight of manufacturing in the US to China, the market shows absolutely no signs of recovery as US business and jobs goes primarily to a service oriented economy which doesn’t bring much money into the country and economy.  So what you buy in real estate at a depressed cost, will remain at that depressed cost.  Land and houses are no longer a stable investment.  So there is no reason for buyers to rejoice.  And people who are forced to sell their property are grieving over their losses.  And I do not see any immediate cure for our economic malaise.  So apparently verses 12-13 apply to us right now.  That’s kind of scary.  But that’s only the beginning, according to what God gave Ezekiel to prophesy here.  Then in verses 15-17 the three-fold punishment is mentioned again, national famine, pestilence (famine induced disease epidemics), and the military sword.  Verse 19, sort of tying in with the conditions mentioned in verses 12-13, say that the money which many people worship, will become worthless.  How does the government get all this bail-out money?  It prints more, not backed up by any gold or silver. What kind of money is that?  Worthless money!  Obviously, these economic conditions mentioned in verses 12-13 and 19 occur before the three-fold punishment of national famine, pestilence and military sword.  Finally, after the famine, pestilence and military sword have taken their toll (two-thirds of the population in any one of the Israelite nations, whomever they are), captivity comes.  Verse 23 shows this, mentioning the surviving Israelites being bound in chains and led away into slavery.  Chains were used on enemy prisoners during the Assyrian and Babylonians captivities.  But since Israel has already been through the Assyrian captivity and is now out of that captivity and living safely to the north in Scythia at the time Ezekiel wrote this, this is all prophetic.  And right in our own modern history of WWII in the 20th century we have the example of how Nazi Germany took captive multiple millions of Jews and people of other nationalities, like the Poles and Russians, working many to death in slave-labor/concentration camps, and ultimately exterminating 6 million Jews, as well as comparable numbers of Russians and Poles.  Whole populations of Jews were deported out of all the conquered European nations and western Russia and put into these concentration camps.  Could it happen again?  Check out http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_2.htm for some enlightening answers.  A repeat of that horrible time is approaching fast, which will engulf all who are Israelites in the western democracies.  Of their estimated 166 million that die in famine and pestilence, and 166 million that die by the military sword and 166 million that go into captivity, those who die in this captivity will amount to about 150 million.  10 percent will survive, or about 16 million.  That’s the gruesome statistics coming from God’s format given in the Ezekiel’s prophecies contained in the first seven chapters.  Now you remember the prophecy about the hair that Ezekiel had do shave off, and that he was to tuck a small amount of that hair in his shirt under his belt, and then remove some?  Some interpret that small amount of hair “that initially escapes”, and then some few numbers who do finally end up escaping, some view those as believers in Jesus Christ who are allowed to escape the great Tribulation.  If that is true, what is scary is that the vast majority of those “few hairs” that were initially tucked into Ezekiel’s belt were retrieved by the Prophet and thrown into the fire, whilst a very few were missed by him, and escaped.  Let the lesson sink in.  God hates licentious Christianity which has palmed itself off as True Christianity.  Well, again we see this prophecy is mainly aimed at the disobeying “Israelites”, whomever they are today.  But what about believers, which I was just speculating on myself?  How should we apply these verses.  For that answer I go to J. Vernon McGee:  “We need to ask ourselves:  How serious is it to be a professed witness of God and yet really be a phony?  How serious is it to be a church member and not be saved?  That brings the issue right down to where the rubber meets the road for us in this day.  I have said many times that I would rather be a Hottentot in the darkest corner of Africa, bowing down to an idol, than to be a church member sitting in a pew, professing to be a Christian, yet not knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior!  I will not argue with you about what God will do with the Hottentot---the Lord has His plan for him.  I will talk about church members who are not truly saved.  That is the issue in our day which corresponds to what Ezekiel is talking about.  Ezekiel says that such a man’s responsibility is great, because he has heard the Word of God, and he has turned his back upon it.  The more he hears, the greater his responsibility grows, I can assure you of that.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 453, col. 2, par. 2].  All I can say to that is, if the shoe fits, wear it.  The apostle Paul told us to take stock of our spiritual condition in 2nd Corinthians 13:5.  Turn there and read it for yourself.  This is serious stuff, folks.

 

Verses 1-11, “Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel:  ‘And end!  The end has come upon the four corners of the land.  Now the end has come upon you, and I will send my anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways.  And I will repay you for all your abominations.  My eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity; but I will repay your ways, and your abominations will be in your midst; then you shall know that I am the LORD!’  Thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘A disaster, a singular disaster; behold, it has come!  An end has come; it has dawned for you; behold, it has come!  Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; the time has come, a day of trouble is near, and not of rejoicing in the mountains.  Now upon you I will soon pour out my fury, and spend my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations.  My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, and your abominations will be in your midst.  Then you shall know that I am the LORD who strikes [you].  [YHVH makkeh]  Behold, the day!  Behold, it has come!  Doom has gone out; the rod  has blossomed [i.e, the rod of punishment], pride has budded.  Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness; none of them shall remain, none of the multitude, none of them; nor shall there be wailing for them.”

 

“Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn”; then famine, pestilence and sword

 

Now the prophecy shifts temporarily back to just before what we just read (verses 12-13), and then goes right up to the point of where it starts to be fulfilled, and marches into its fulfillment (verses 14-15).  Verses 12-13, “The time has come, the day draws near.  Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is on their whole multitude. For the seller shall not return to what has been sold, though he may still be alive; for the vision concerns the whole multitude, and it shall not turn back; no one will strengthen himself who lives in iniquity.”  Now we see a point in time where the enemy whose about to invade is recognized, and Israel, whomever that may be, is now suffering from famine and pestilence within their borders.  Apparently “modern” farming has failed, along with the water sources.  Verses 14-15, “They have blown the trumpet and made everybody ready, but no one goes to battle; for my wrath is on all their multitude.  [The alarm for war is sounded, but for some reason, whomever Israel is, she’s not able to defend herself.  Possibly it’s real hard to defend yourself with no food, when you’re starving. Napoleon Bonaparte once said “An army marches on its stomach.”]  The sword is outside, and the pestilence and famine within.  Whoever is in the field will die by the sword; and whoever is in the city, famine and pestilence will devour him.”  

 

The survivors and conditions after the fall and invasion

 

Verses 16-24, “Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains like doves of the valleys.  All of them mourning, each for his iniquity.  Every hand will be feeble, and every knee will be as weak as water.  They will also be girded with sackcloth; horror will cover them; shame will be on every face, baldness on all their heads.  [during modern nuclear and/or neutron-bomb warfare, baldness would be the direct result of radiation sickness.]  They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be like refuse; their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD; [“day of the wrath of the LORD,” just a slight variation of the term “Day of the LORD” which is a term used exclusively for the Tribulation prophecies in both Old and New Testaments] they will not satisfy their souls, nor fill their stomachs, because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.  As for the beauty of his ornaments, he [he, speaking of God] set it in majesty; but they made from it the images of their abominations---their detestable things; therefore I have made it like refuse to them.  I will give it as plunder into the hands of strangers, and to the wicked of the earth, as spoil; and they shall defile it.  I will turn my face from them, and they will defile my secret place; for robbers shall enter it and defile it.  Make a chain, for the land is filled with crimes of blood, and the city is full of violence.  Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles, and they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, and their holy places shall be defiled.”

 

Looking briefly back before the famine and sword strike

 

Verses 25-27, “Destruction comes; they will seek peace, but there shall be none.  Disaster will come upon disaster, and rumor will be upon rumor.  They will seek a vision from a prophet; but the law will perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders.  The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the common people will tremble.  I will do to them according to their way, and according to what they deserve I will judge them; then they shall know that I am the LORD!’”

 

Ezekiel 8:1-18

 

Ezekiel chapters 8 through 11 make up a unified series covering Ezekiel’s journey to Jerusalem, whether in reality or vision it’s hard to say, and what he saw.  Halley has, “September (591BC), a year and two months after his call.  He was transported, in rapture, to Jerusalem, where God showed him the abhorrent idolatries being practiced in the Temple.  The “image of jealousy” (8:3), probably was Astarte (Syrian Venus).  Secret animal worship (8:10), probably an Egyptian cult.  It was led by Jaazaniah, whose father Shaphan had been leader in Josiah’s reformation (II Kings 22:8); and whose brothers Ahikam and Gemariah were Jeremiah’s close friends (Jeremiah 26:24; 36:10, 25), even while Jeremiah himself was crying out in horror at the sacrilege.  Tammuz worship was celebrated in wild orgies of immoral indulgence.  Thus, in spite of warning after warning, and punishment after punishment, the once powerful kingdom of Judah, reduced now almost to the point of extinction, was still sinking lower and lower in the depths of idolatrous infamy---a stench no longer to be endured in the nostrils of God” [Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 327].  Thus Halley covers Ezekiel chapter 8.  As Jeremiah chapter 32 brings out, Baal worship and its abhorable child sacrifice was still going strong in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer9.html].  Our so-called ‘modern western nations’ are practicing something just as evil as this Baal-worship.  Be sure to click on that link and read through the section on Jeremiah chapter 32 to see what that was.  And the timing of Jeremiah 32 was during the last year of king Zedekiah, before the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Nebuchadnezzar.  J. Vernon McGee thinks that “Ezekiel was actually ‘caught up’ as John and Paul were, but I do not think that the people at Jerusalem and of the surrounding area were aware that he was there.  We are not dealing with the natural…”   I think Ezekiel’s transport back from Jerusalem at the end of these four chapters ‘on a cherub chariot’ was literal, whether he could be seen by those in Jerusalem or not.  In chapters 9 through 11, although Ezekiel is still there in Jerusalem, he sees in vision, the coming slaughter of people in Jerusalem, and then later, their restoration, “humbled, purified,” as Halley says.  J. Vernon McGee says, “In chapters 8-10 of Ezekiel we are going to see the gradual withdrawal of the glory of the Lord from the temple and from Israel [Judah].  I feel that the glory actually departed back during the reign of Manasseh and that Ezekiel is given a vision of that here.  I know that most expositors of Scripture feel that the glory left at the time of the Captivity, but I do not feel that is accurate.  If the glory did not leave during the exceedingly evil reign of Manasseh, I cannot see why any other period in Israel’s history which would cause the glory, the presence of God, to leave.  In this chapter we do not have the complete vision of the departure of the glory.  Here we see the glory, and then, because the people did not turn back to God, the glory lifted up from the temple and went out over the city to the east and waited there.  It will not be until chapter 10 that we will see the final departure of the glory.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 457]  Whether the glory of the Lord left during the reign of Manasseh or actually here as Ezekiel is watching is a mute question.  It happened, as Ezekiel was allowed to see it happen.  The “when” issue we’ll find out later “when” we’re in the Kingdom at Jesus’ return.

 

Lesson:  God’s Holy Spirit Leaves When People Turn Away From Him

 

 The whole point for us as believers who have the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, as seen in Ezekiel chapters 8 through 11 is that God’s Holy Spirit leaves when people turn away from him.  There is a New Testament verse which says, almost as a warning, “Quench not the Spirit.”  Be sure to look it up.  He remains only where He is welcome and is obeyed.  This is true of nations, church organizations and individuals.  And when the Holy Spirit leaves, judgment eventually follows.  Another spiritual analogy that fits is that in the apostle Paul’s writings, he likens a believer to being a temple of God, wherein dwells the Holy Spirit.  1st Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.  For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”   We also read in 1st Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own?”  Also see 2nd Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the Living God…”  Can you see the spiritual counterpart and very serious warning to Christians contained in these verses?  Here in these three chapters of Ezekiel we see “the glory of God”, Yahweh’s very presence leaving the Temple in Jerusalem because of idolatry and serious sin being done in the Temple and in Jerusalem.  If we as believers are temples of God, where the Holy Spirit dwells, what does this tell us?  Jesus told us in John 14 that both he and God the Father dwell within believers, Christians and Messianic Jews, by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.  This would appear to shoot a big hole in the ‘once saved, always saved’ doctrine so many evangelicals like to proclaim to the world.  Paul mentioned in one of his Epistles two people, and he called them by name, who had turned their backs on Christ.  This defiling of the Temple, whether the one in Jerusalem or the temple of our bodies wherein the Holy Spirit dwells, is very serious business, as the Word of God brings out here.  Be forewarned.

 

Verses 1-4, “And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there.  Then I looked, and there was a likeness, like the appearance of his waist downward, fire; and from his waist and upward, like the appearance of brightness, like the color of amber.  [cf. Revelation 1:13-16]  He stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my hair; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which provokes to jealousy [margin: Arouses the LORD’s jealousy].  And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision I saw in the plain.”  Whether Ezekiel was actually there, or this was a holy ‘out of body experience’ is inconsequential, we’ll find out later, no use debating.  But what Ezekiel was seeing was real enough.  It was really happening, and it was making the LORD really angry.  If we defile God’s temple for the Holy Spirit, don’t think for a moment he can’t get really angry too.  Make the connections, Christians, before it’s too late.  We’re coming into times such as the world has never seen before.

 

What Was Going On In The Temple of God?

 

Verses 5-18, “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north.’  So I lifted my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the gate, was this image of jealousy in the entrance.  Furthermore he said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make me go far away from my sanctuary?  Now turn again, you will see greater abominations.’  So he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall.  Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, dig into the wall’; and when I dug into the wall, there was a door.  And he said to me, ‘Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.’  So I went in and saw, and there---every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around the walls.  And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan.  Each man had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up.  [Comment: mention of Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan puts ‘the house of Judah’ context on this verse 11 for the present time when Ezekiel was seeing this.  But the mention of the name “house of Israel” typifies a larger context pointing to the religious leadership in the nations making up “the house of Israel” in future end-time context, as we have previously seen in Ezekiel (particularly as we will later see in other indications that the vision of chapters 8 through 11 applies to both Israel and Judah in the end-time as well, cf. Ezekiel 9:9; 11:15, 17-21).]  Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols?  For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land’ (verse 12)  [Comment:  The reasoning of the people here is this.  Judah had experienced a serious drought, and several invasions already, where many skilled citizens were taken to Babylon.  Their reasoning in Jerusalem now was ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die, it doesn’t matter what we do now, the LORD’s not here anymore watching what we’re doing, so party on, dude.’  So they indulged in every pagan practice and religion, probably in the vain hope that these pagan gods would bail them out.  The fact that “the house of Israel” is mentioned again, gives this a dual meaning, pointing us to an end-time fulfillment in the nations which now make up the house of Israel in the western democracies, whoever they are.  But the LORD is still there in the land, both then when Ezekiel was seeing this, and now in our lands today, and he doesn’t like what he’s seeing.  In today’s day and age, the Lord is here via the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, seeing all that is going on around us, as well as him and the Father seeing all that is going on from heaven, on their thrones.  They know what’s going down here all the time.  What would be the equivalent of this in our day?  Who does this point to?  What I call CINO, Christians In Name Only, a take-off of the oft heard word RINO (Republican In Name Only).  I would far rather be a RINO than a CINO, let me tell you.  Also the word elders here refers more to the political leaders as well as religious leaders, it’s both, then and pointing to now as well in our day.]  And he said to me, ‘Turn again, you will see greater abominations that they are doing.’  So he brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.  [Comment:  Tammuz was the Akkadian vegetation god, symbol of the death and rebirth in nature, corresponding to winter and spring.  Alexander Hislop in his Two Babylons says that the practice of “weeping for Tammuz” was the actual origin of Lent, the Roman Catholic 40-day period of abstinence prior to Easter.  see http://www.biblebelievers.com/babylon/ ,see chapter III, section 2 on Easter.]  Then he said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man?  Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.’  So he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, and they were worshipping the sun toward the east.  [Comment:  Baal was the sun-god of the Phoenicians, while Bel was the equivalent for the Celts.  Remember Jeremiah 32 if you read that link, and the link going to Religion in Carthage?  Yeah, this is going on big-time.]  And he said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man?  Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here?  For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke me to anger.  Indeed they put the branch to the nose.  Therefore I also will act in fury.  My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.’”  

 

Ezekiel 9:1-11

 

Ezekiel 9 is a vision of the coming slaughter of Jerusalem’s idolaters, except for the faithful who bore the mark of the angelic scribe.  In verses 1-2, the men “who have charge over the city” are six of God’s angels, and they are destroying angels, angels of vengeance.  Verse 9 identifies the timing application of this prophecy.  Verse 9 shows the destruction is to come on both Israel and Judah.  But because the northern ‘House of Israel’ had been driven out of their land, with the remaining remnant (in the city of Samaria) deported to Assyria 130 years previously, this prophecy is about the future of whoever Israel is nationally right now, plus Judah, the Israeli nation.  Jerusalem, as seen also in chapters 4 through 7, represents the capital city for all 12 tribes of Israel.  The six men with battle axes (6 angels) have appeared, verses 1-2, and now in verses 3-4 an angelic scribe appears clothed with white linen.  He is told to mark the foreheads of all those who are mourning, crying and sighing over the sins being done in the city.  The city, remember, is representative of all 12 tribes of Israel.  Matthew 5:4 says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  These are believers.  They mourn not only over their own sins but over the sinful state of the world around them.  They’re the one’s who are constantly crying out for God to intervene.  God says he is going to spare those of his servants who are “crying and sighing” over the sins of Israel (cf. Zephaniah 2:3; Luke 21:36; Rev. 3:10; 7:3; 9:3-4; 12:14).  Verses 5-6, the judgment and slaughter starts with those at the Temple, the elders within the Temple.  Correction always starts with those who should know better.  In 1st Peter 4:17 it says “Judgment must begin at the house of God.”  This has both physical and spiritual applications.  We’ll consider the physical application first.  Don’t forget, a temple of some sorts will be built in Jerusalem in the end times.  Since this prophecy has both then and now (end-time) fulfillments, this indicates the temple in Jerusalem, which will be built sometime soon in our day, will be the starting point for World War III, the Great Tribulation.  Also don’t forget there is a spiritual Temple, and God will judge that temple too.  We saw previously, the Church is the spiritual Temple of God, all it’s members collectively, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:19-22.  Also we saw that each one of us is an individual temple for the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (1st Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 2nd Corinthians 6:16).  This judgment is shown in Revelation chapter 3, with the last two church eras, which interestingly enough exist side by side, parallel to each other.  All the other church eras have existed consecutively, one after the other, going from the Ephesus era to the Sardis era.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation3-1-22.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation4-10.html to read about how this judgment at the “house of God” takes place.  Verses 9-10 shows us the sanctuary, the temple, is merely the beginning, the opening shots of World War III, the slaughter becomes so intense that Ezekiel asks the LORD if everyone is going to die.  At that moment the angel clothed in white linen returns giving his report, that all those who were “crying and sighing” over the sins of Israel have been spared.  Thus Ezekiel had his question answered.  Remember, this prophecy had a prior fulfillment when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 586BC, but is going to have a far greater fulfillment in the future just before us.  Also in chapter 9 we see as J. Vernon McGee says: “the Shekinah glory [the presence of the LORD, Yahweh] prepares to leave the temple in Jerusalem.  I believe that from the days of Manasseh there was the coming and going of the Shekinah glory [literally, Yahweh].  God is merciful; He doesn’t in a petulant mood, give up on his people.  God is longsuffering and not willing that any should perish.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 459.]  This event, of the LORD leaving his Temple in Jerusalem takes place between chapters 9 and 10.  Right now the Shekinah glory of the LORD has left from being over the carved cherubim on the Mercy Seat to being over the entryway of the Temple, the threshold.  In Ezekiel 10:3 we see that the literal transporting cherubim were waiting with the portable throne on the south side of the Temple.  The idea portrayed here is that the LORD rises from his earthly throne in the Holy of Holies, and ascends to his portable throne which is above the four cherubim, which then flies away.  This is the same portable throne we saw depicted so vividly in Ezekiel chapter 1.  Again, due to the duality, and major end-time fulfillment of this prophecy, it is color-coded in bold red.

 

Verses 1-4, “Then he called me out in my hearing with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each with a deadly weapon in his hand.’  And suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his battle-ax in his hand.  One man among them was clothed with linen and a writer’s inkhorn at his side.  They went in and stood beside the bronze altar.  Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub [this would be the carved cherub, one of two, on the Mercy seat], where it had been, to the threshold of the temple.  And he called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the LORD said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’”

 

Destruction Starts at the House of God

 

Verses 5-8, “To the others he said in my hearing, ‘Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity.  Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.’  So they began with the elders who were before the temple.  Then he said to them, ‘Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain.  Go out!’  And they went out and killed in the city.  So it was, that while they were killing them, I was left alone; and said, ‘Ah, Lord GOD!  Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in pouring out your fury on Jerusalem?’” 

 

Then and now application

 

Verses 9-11, “Then he said to me, ‘The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!  And as for me also, my eye neither will spare, nor will I have pity, but I will recompense their deeds on their own head.’  Just then, the man clothed with linen, who had the inkhorn at his side, reported back and said, ‘I have done as you commanded me.’”

 

Ezekiel 10:1-22

 

The Departure of God’s Glory (called the Shekinah Glory) from the Temple

 

Verses 1-3:   Ezekiel 10 starts out with the four living cherubim who are transporting the LORD’s portable throne which Ezekiel described for us in Ezekiel chapter 1.  God then orders “the man in linen” to gather fiery coals of fire from the cherubim and scatter them over Jerusalem (verses 1-3).  Remember this entire set of prophecies contained in Ezekiel 8 through 11 are duel, for then during the 490s and 580s BC, and for what will end up being the end-times, falling on all 12 tribes of Israel (i.e. the House of Israel and the House of Judah, cf. Ezekiel 9:9-10).  Verses 5-17:  The man in linen is described as gathering the coals of fire, then from verse 5 through 17 occurs a similar description of this incredible chariot-portable-throne, along with the very loud noise it makes (verse 5).  Verses 18-19: the LORD ascends to the portable throne and later it, as Ezekiel 11:23 shows us, proceeds to hover over the mountain on the east side of Jerusalem, which interestingly enough is the Mount of Olives.  From there it ascends to heaven or out of sight.  The LORD would be with Judas Maccabee and his brothers as they threw off the evil rule of Antiochus Epiphanes, but he would never actually come to dwell in the Temple constructed by the returning Jews under Zerubbabel, Joshua, Ezra and Nehemiah.  He would return to this Temple (whom Herod had fixed up) as Yeshua haMeshiach, Jesus Christ.  Then 40 days after his resurrection, he would ascend to the third heaven, to God the Father, from this very same Mount of Olives.  He will yet return to this same Mount of Olives at his second coming (cf. Zechariah 14:1-15).

 

  What message does Ezekiel 10 and 11 convey for believers in Jesus Christ?

 

  A very serious one, I’d say.  Paul taught “Christ in you, the hope of glory” in Colossians 1:27, and John taught that Jesus and God the Father dwell within believers through the indwelling Holy Spirit (cf. John 14 & 16).  But one of the BIG lessons of Ezekiel here is that God only stays where he is desired and obeyed.  This spiritual truth applies to whole nations (as we plainly see in Ezekiel), and it also applies to church denominations, and it applies to individual church congregations, as well as applying, obviously, to individual believers.  Paul says to the Thessalonians, almost as a warning “Quench not the Spirit” (1st Thessalonians 5:19).  He remains only where he is welcome and obeyed.  When the Holy Spirit leaves, whether a nation, church denomination, church or individual, judgment usually follows.  Right now the Holy Spirit dwells in those nations by and through the believers who live in that particular nation---any nation with a number of believers in it.  The same holds true of church denominations, and individual congregations, as well as for individuals.  When a nation drives believers out of it, heaven help it.  England drove the Separatists and Puritans out, many of whom were Holy Spirit indwelt believers. England immediately went into a very bloody civil war, which interestingly enough did not reach over into the colonies on the American coast, where many of these believers had fled prior to that, due to religious persecution and intolerance.  Jesus repeatedly warns the various Church eras in Revelation 2-3 that if they don’t heed him and repent, he will remove their “candlestick” from among them.  A candle stick sheds light, symbolic of the Holy Spirit who sheds spiritual light within us.  These “candle sticks” conveyed the spiritual light of Christ to whole church eras.  Again remember, Paul said we as individuals are each a temple for the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.  You might say the great candelabra or menorah in the Temple was symbolic of the Holy Spirit dwelling in believers, who are temples of the Holy Spirit.  1st Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.  For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”  1st Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” and 2nd Corinthians 6:16, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the Living God.  As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’”  He also says that all believers combined make up a holy temple where the Holy Spirit dwells, the Body of Christ (see and read Ephesians 2:19-22).  In order for the Father and Jesus to continue to dwell within a person through the Holy Spirit, that person must be obeying Christ’s words. Let’s read John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  Paul essentially repeated this important spiritual principle in 2nd Corinthians 6:16.  The entire theme of Genesis through Deuteronomy as well as that found in Isaiah, and all the prophecies throughout the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation is that God desires, and will end up dwelling with his people on earth.  And this will ultimately happen when the New Jerusalem comes to earth and lands on the area known as the Middle East, centering on Jerusalem (see and read Revelation 21:1-23 and log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm).  From Genesis to Revelation, this is the overall theme of the Bible which most Messianic Jews know and teach, just as the Bible teaches.  But here we see the glory of the LORD about to leave his physical Temple in Jerusalem.  Judgment immediately follows.

 

Verses 1-17, “And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim [cherubim, plural of cherub, so these are the four cherubim which support and transport the portable throne], there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance and likeness of a throne.  Then he spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, ‘Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, fill your hands with hot coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.’  And he went in as I watched.  Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court.  Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and passed over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’s glory.  And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even in the outer court, like the voice of Almighty God when he speaks.  [The voice of the LORD, Revelation 1:15 is “as the sound of many waters…”, like what you would hear if you were standing next to Niagara Falls, a massive thundering sound.]  Then it happened, when he commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, ‘Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,’ that he went in and stood beside the wheels.  And the cherub stretched out his hand from among the cherubim to the fire that was among the cherubim, and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed with linen, who took it and went out.  The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings.  And when I looked, there were four wheels by the cherubim, one wheel by one cherub and another wheel by each other cherub; the wheels appeared to have the color of beryl stone [i.e. amethyst (clear blue-purple)].  As for their appearance, all four looked alike---as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel.  When they went toward any of their four directions; they did not turn aside when they went, but followed in the direction the head was facing.  They did not turn aside as they went.  And their whole body, with their back, their hands, their wings, and the wheels that the four had, were full of eyes all around.  As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing, ‘Wheel.’  Each one [i.e cherub] had four faces:  the first face was the face of a cherub [by deduction with Ezekiel 1, the face of an ox, which is a servant animal], the second face the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.  And the cherubim were lifted up.  This was the living creature I saw by the River Chebar.  When the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also did not turn from beside them.  When the cherubim stood still, the wheels stood still, and when one was lifted up, the other lifted itself up, for the spirit of the living creature was in them.    

 

The LORD mounts up on the portable throne at the entrance of the Temple, getting ready to depart the Temple

 

Verses 18-22, “Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.  And the cherubim lifted up their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight.  When they went out, the wheels were beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.  This is the living creature I saw under the God of Israel by the River Chebar, and I knew they were cherubim.  Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.  And the likeness of their faces was the same as the faces which I had seen by the River Chebar, their appearance and their persons.  They each went straight forward.”

 

 

Ezekiel 11:1-25

 

In verses 1-3, God is directly pointing out to Ezekiel, naming names the chief ones in Jerusalem who were plotting evil and giving wicked advice running counter to God’s warnings through Jeremiah.  They thought Jerusalem’s walls would protect them similar to how a cast iron kettle protects the meat in it.  Verse 5 puts this prophecy (as we have seen throughout Ezekiel chapters 8-11) in duel context, then and end-time, with God addressing this directly to “the house of Israel.”  Verse 6, the LORD places the blame on the large number of deaths within the city on the leaders, both religious and civil.  Verse 7, God agrees they are in a cooking kettle analogy to a point, but tells them this caldron is one they will die in, not be protected within.  But in verses 8-11: God says the evil leaders---60 of them---will die outside the city and land of Israel, as they actually did right after the fall of Jerusalem (see 2nd Kings 25:18-21).  Verses 14-20: are prophetic and apply to all 12 tribes of Israel, whom the LORD says he will restore to the Promised Land.  All Israel that is talked about here are repentant and spiritually converted individuals, certainly a condition you didn’t really see in Ezra’s time or during the time of Christ, or even in today’s Israeli nation of Jews.  No this points to the Millennial Kingdom of God when all 12 tribes will be regathered back into and dwell peacefully in the Promised Land.  Verse 21 is a warning to those in this future restoration, for those who still refuse to obey God.  In verses 22-23: Ezekiel witnesses the Shekinah Glory of the LORD depart from the Temple area of Jerusalem on his portable throne and travel over to just above the Mount of Olives.  The LORD is no more dwelling in the Temple, nor will he ever dwell in the Temple constructed by Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah, not until Jesus Christ enters that Temple, which had been fixed up by Herod.  Ezekiel is then transported back to Chaldea.  He then reports all he has seen and heard to those elders who were seated with him in his house.

 

Verses 1-4, “Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the East Gate of the LORD’s house, which faces eastward; and there at the door of the gate were twenty-five men, among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, prince of the people.  And he said to me:  ‘Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and give wicked counsel in this city, who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses; this city is the caldron, and we are the meat.’  Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man!’  Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said to me, ‘Speak!  Thus says the LORD:  Thus you have said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind.  [Remember, verses 5-6 right here make this dual, for then and the end-time.  Remember, in this sense, Jerusalem is representative of the populations of all 12 tribes wherever they may reside today, and whomever they may be (again, not going to speculate on the national identities of the 12 tribes).]  You have multiplied your slain in this city, and you have filled its streets with the slain.  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  Your slain whom you have laid in its midst, they are the meat, and this city is the caldron; but I shall bring you out of the midst of it.  You have feared the sword, and I will bring a sword upon you,’ says the Lord GOD. And I will bring you out of the midst, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and execute judgments on you.  You shall fall by the sword.  I will judge you at the border of Israel.  Then you shall know that I am the LORD.  This city shall not be your caldron, nor shall you be meat in its midst.  I will judge you at the border of Israel.  And you shall know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in my statutes nor executed my judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are around you.’”  Comment:  This happened to them, when these 60 religious leaders were caught in the Temple ground after the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Nebuchadnezzar.  They were then taken up to Riblah in Hamath, just north of the territory of Samaria, and slain by Nebuchadnezzar himself with a sword.  Riblah in Hamath was at the northern border of what was the whole land of Israel which had been given to the 12 tribes of Israel, a bit beyond the actual land of Judah.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/6.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer11.html to read about the historic fulfillment of this prophecy.  “Now it happened, while I was prophesying that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died.  Then I fell on my face and cried with a loud voice, and said, ‘Ah, Lord GOD!  Will you make a complete end of the remnant of Israel?’”

 

God Will Restore Israel

 

Verses 14-20, “Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get away from the LORD; this land has been given to us as a possession.’  [Comment:  The image given here by God seems to be that the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Jews, are saying to all of the tribes of Israel who are in exile, i.e. the northern 10 tribes, now way up in the region of Scythia and the Russian steppes, that ‘Aha, the Promised Land is ours now!’.  God is saying in the following verses, ‘Whoa, not so fast guys!  Look at what’s ultimately going to happen.’  And in fact, the Jewish captives were allowed back in 70 years later under Cyrus’ proclamation.  But these verses show that ultimately, all of Israel, all 12 tribes, would return to the land, and that 99.99 percent would be repentant and obedient to the LORD, who we know at that time will be the returned Jesus Christ, ruling the world from Jerusalem (cf. Zechariah 14:9)]  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html], yet shall I be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’  Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’  And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there” (verses 14-18).  Now for the clincher that this points to the Millennial Kingdom of God, verses 19-20.  Neither the House of Israel nor the House of Judah have fit this scenario or have been able as a nation to walk in all of God’s statutes and judgments, God’s Law, nor have they had a “new spirit with them” or “a new heart” within them.  This folks is the Millennium, right after the return of Jesus Christ.  “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my judgments and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (verses 19-20).  Comment:  This verse directly cross-references to Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is most definitely Millennial Kingdom of God context here.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer8.html for a full treatment of the meaning of these two verses.

 

A Warning to Those in this Future Restoration of Israel

 

Verse 21, “But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,’ says the Lord GOD.”  We find Zechariah 13:1-6 sheds real light on this verse, which points to false worship going on within the land of Judah, which will include the actual physical land of Israel God is about to restore to the whole 12 tribes of Israel.  This false worship could be a form of false Christianity extant in the end times during the Tribulation or some other form of false worship and prophesying going on.  We won’t really know until it happens.  But these practices and false worship will come to a speedy end, as Zechariah 13:1-6 clearly indicate.  Look it up and read it for yourself.  Zechariah chapters 12 through 14 are all one event, the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ to this earth and shortly thereafter.

 

The LORD Departs from the Temple Area, Ezekiel Returns to Babylon

 

Verses 22-25, “So the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was high above them.  And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is on the east side of the city.”  So, Yahweh, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, is standing for a short time on the Mount of Olives.  In acts 1:4-12 Jesus is with the disciples (probably the 120) giving them a repeat of the 1st Commission to the Church, and he then is taken up out of their sight, rising into a cloud.  Verse 12 shows they were on the Mount of Olives when this occurred.  Then in Zechariah 14:1-15, the prophecy of the literal 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ is given, and as we see in verse 4 “And in that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east.  And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.”  BOOM!!!  Now I call that a grand entrance, a grand return to earth by our Messiah.  He was also at the foot of the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his betrayal by Judas [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gethsemane].  Then the Spirit took me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to those in captivity.  And the vision that I had seen went up from me.  So I spoke to those in captivity of all the things the LORD had shown me.”   

 

Ezekiel 12:1-28

 

Ezekiel 12 starts a new series, chapters 12-19

 

Verses 3-7:  God through the prophet is telling the Jews, ‘Don’t expect a quick return to Judah and Jerusalem  Just like most ordinary people, these exiles living in Babylon are not comprehending the seriousness of God’s prophecies given through Ezekiel.  After his first pantomime lasting 430 days, shaving all his hair off, burning one third in the fire (which must have smelled awful), and then hacking up one third of it with a sword, and cooking a starvation ration of bread each day over a fire of cow-dung, Ezekiel was probably becoming quite an amusing side-show for the exiles, drawing larger crowds.  They may not have been taking God’s message through him to heart, but they were at least hearing them.  Ezekiel’s next pantomime was no less an attention-getter than his last one.  He was told to pack his belongings (probably a bedroll, canteen of water and a few clothes).  Next he was told to dig a hole in the wall (presumably one of the walls of his house).  As he acted these various messages out, quite naturally the people would want an explanation.  Verse 6 again shows the duality of all these prophecies, as God states to Ezekiel “for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.”  In verses 8 through 16 it starts out saying “Son of man, has not the house of Israel…said to you, ‘What are you doing?’.  This obviously directly applies to the Jewish exiles of his day witnessing this pantomime.  In verses 10-13 God explains the pantomime of crawling through the hole in the wall represents the acting king of Judah (which was Zedekiah) and how he will attempt to escape from the hands of Nebuchadnezzar during the fall of Jerusalem by escaping through a hidden gate in the wall of Jerusalem near the king’s garden (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/6.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer11.html and scroll to Jeremiah chapter 39, verses 1-10).  This actually happened, so we know it’s historic.  But it could also indicate that similar occurrences will take place at the various falls of Israelite nations during the Tribulation.  It’s just human nature for leaders of this type to want to save their skins, that they value their hides, somehow as being more valuable than the poor people they’re ruling over.  Generally, this is not the kind of leader one wants over him.  Verses 17-18 starts a second pantomime.  Ezekiel was told to tremble and shake as he ate his bread and drank his water, and then to give the people God’s explanation, which he gives in verses 19-20: ‘They shall eat their bread with anxiety and drink their water with dread, so that their land may be emptied of all who are in it’---Why?---‘because of the violence of all those who dwell in it.  Then the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste…’  These reasons for God’s judgments, verse 20, also exist now in our “enlightened”  western democracies, especially amongst the English speaking peoples---duality of this prophecy exists for sure.  Just read one of the credible online news websites for a week or a month, and see how many deplorable and wicked crimes of violence are being committed almost daily, abductions, rapes, murders, murder-suicides, you name it.  Verses 21-25, show then and now applications, when Jerusalem fell, the false prophets among the exiles and in Jerusalem “failed.”  They either shut up and went into hiding or were killed by Nebuchadnezzar.  Ezekiel and Jeremiah were left alone and God’s prophecies through them stood. Such a time will come in our days too, as the apostle Peter wrote in 2nd Peter 3:3-4, “knowing this first:  that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’”   Verses 26-28, applies directly to “the house of Israel.”  So it points to 2nd Peter 3:3-4 and whoever Israel is today.  The duality of these prophecies, for then and now, is plainly seen.

 

Verses 1-7, “Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying:  ‘Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.  Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight.  You shall go from your place into captivity to another place in their sight.  It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house.  By day you shall bring out your belongings in their sight, as though going into captivity; and at evening you shall go in their sight, like those who go into captivity.  Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry your belongings out through it.  In their sight you shall bear them on your shoulders and carry them out at twilight; you shall cover your face, so that you cannot see the ground, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.’  So I did as I was commanded.  I brought out my belongings by day, as though going into captivity, and at evening I dug through the wall with my hand.  I brought them out at twilight, and I bore them on my shoulder in their sight.” 

 

Explanation of the pantomime, it had a historic fulfillment

 

Verses 8-16, “And in the morning the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’  Say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD:  This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are among them.  Say, I am a sign to you.  As I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall be carried away into captivity.  And the prince who is among them shall bear his belongings on his shoulder at twilight and go out.  They shall dig through the wall to carry them out through it.  He shall cover his face, so that he cannot see the ground with his eyes.  I will also spread my net over him, and he shall be caught in my snare.  I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it, though he shall die there. I will scatter to every wind all who are around him to help him, and all his troops; and I will draw out the sword after them.   [Comment:  This is exactly what Zedekiah did, he escaped through a hidden passage between the inner and outer walls of Jerusalem (and there may have been some digging involved to open the passage at the outside part of the wall).  He was caught by Babylonian troops as he attempted to flee out in the plains east of Jerusalem, and he was blinded, and carried to Babylon, fitting this prophecy perfectly.  The troops protecting Zedekiah scattered when he was captured, fleeing in all directions.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/6.html  and http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer11.html.  This prophecy was given about six years before the fall of Jerusalem.]  Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries.  But I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go.  Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”

 

Second Pantomime of Ezekiel

 

Verses 17-20, “Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and anxiety.  And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord GOD to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the land of Israel:  They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink their water with dread, so that her land may be emptied of all who are in it, because of the violence of all those who dwell in it.  Then the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall become desolate; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”  As said before, this has a then and now application.  Just look around you at the violence in our western democracies, especially our English speaking nations.  Log onto an internet news website for a month, Yahoo News, Foxnews, whatever, and just make note of all the violent crimes being reported.  Then realize less than 1 percent or less ever gets reported.  You get the picture, or you will.  Read http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html  and http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html and see why Israel was driven from their lands.  Similar things are being committed in our lands today, under a different name (ie, Baal worship equates to abortion).  When God leaves, when Christians are forced to leave a nation, then judgment will follow almost immediately.  The next verses deal when false prophets fail from the land.  This is dual, it happened in Ezekiel and Jeremiah’s time, and it will yet happen again, thus I paint these verses in bold red.  It is a warning to all false prophets, for most of those in Judah’s time lost their lives, some thrown into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace.

 

When False Prophets Disappear

 

Verses 21-25, “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, The days are prolonged, and every vision fails?  Tell them therefore, Thus says the Lord GOD:  I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.  But say to them, The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision.  For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel.  For I am the LORD, I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it.’ says the Lord GOD.”  Notice “the house of Israel” is mentioned.  This applied directly to the false prophets that were plaguing Ezekiel and Jeremiah, but it also applies to our future, and the time we live in right now too.  2nd Peter 3:3-4, “…knowing this first:  that scoffers will come in the last days, walking in their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” As in the time of Ezekiel, when the prophecies were suddenly fulfilled and Jerusalem was destroyed, and all the false prophets that Nebuchadnezzar had not killed, had their mouths stopped because all their false prophecies had failed in spades, royally failed, so will a time come in the not too distant future when this chaff of false teachers who are tares in the midst of the Body of Christ fail.  Pastor Chuck Smith, senior pastor of the Calvary Chapels, has this to say about them:  “PHONY PROPHETS:  A woe was pronounced on those false prophets who were prophesying ‘out of their own heart’ and who ‘[followed] their own spirit and [had] seen nothing.’
It is a serious thing to claim to be speaking for God when you haven’t really heard from God.  These people were saying, ‘Hear the word of the L
ORD,’  but then just making things up.  I have had many people come up to tell me what the Lord has told them to tell me, and most of the time it is definitely not the Lord.  We should be careful of this.  There are some of those TV evangelists who pretend to speak from God.  There was one who was claiming to hear messages from God about the people in the audience when really his wife was talking to him through a radio transmitter, and he had a hidden earphone in his ear.  His wife had people get information from the audience before the service started, and he “revealed” the information as God supposedly spoke to him.  People are so desperate to hear from God that they were gullible enough to believe this guy, until a man came into the service with a radio scanner and exposed the scam on national television.  It is so sad that so-called “ministers” would take advantage of the spiritual hunger of the people by tricking them into thinking that God was speaking, just to cash in on the money these poor, ignorant people are willing to give to hear the voice of God.  The sad thing is, God is wanting to speak to these people, and He has spoken through his Word.  If these evangelists would teach the Word, the needs of the people would be met legitimately.  But it is easier to just scam them and tell them what they want to hear, and that is just what false prophets always do, whether today or in the time of Ezekiel.”  [“THE WORD FOR TODAY BIBLE” (NKJV), p. 1057]  Those false prophets, most of them, died a violent death at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and his soldiers, in both Jerusalem, and Riblah, as well as some who were pestering Ezekiel whom Nebuchadnezzar threw into his fiery furnace after getting a letter sent to Ezekiel through him from the prophet Jeremiah.  It just doesn’t pay to be a false prophet or evangelist in the end, for God has these guys targeted and singled out for a nasty end.  Again, in verses 26-28, we see this is addressed to “the house of Israel.”  So it points to 2nd Peter 3:3-4 and whoever Israel is today.  The duality of these prophecies, for then and now, can plainly be seen.  Verses 26-28, “Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophecies of times far off.  Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:  None of my words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak will be done,’ says the Lord GOD.”

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