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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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Ezekiel 17:1-24

 

Verses 1-10:  God gives the exiles a parable about two great eagles, a cedar tree ‘in Lebanon’ and a vine.  The exiles around Ezekiel can’t figure out the parable (verses 11-12). Where it says “to the house of Israel” in verse 2, this by context of the entire chapter, inclusive of verses 22-24, would be all Israel, composed of both houses, Judah and Israel, all 12 tribes.  Verses 11-21:  So God through Ezekiel explains the meaning in verses 11-21.  In Jeremiah 22 we see Jerusalem referred to as Lebanon.  Why?  Because many of the royal houses, David’s and Solomon’s houses were constructed out of the cedar brought from Phoenician Tyre and Sidon by king Hiram of Tyre.  J. Vernon McGee says, “This great eagle is none other than Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar, the present king of Babylon.  The eagle is a figure that is used as a symbol for Babylon elsewhere in Scripture.  Jeremiah used it in Jeremiah 48:40 as he wrote of Nebuchadnezzar: “For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.”  Then in Jeremiah 49:22 he wrote, “Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.”  Daniel saw the Babylonian Empire rising out of the sea, and it was in the form of a lion with eagle’s wings (Dan. 7:4).  Therefore, what we have here is a picture of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who is going to come and crop the top of the tree.  Who is the tree?  It is the nation of Israel [currently “the House of Judah”] and, specifically the royal house of David…”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 472.]  The “topmost highest twig” referred to the captivity where Jeconiah and his princes, along with multiple thousands of skilled workers and craftsmen were taken to Babylon---a “city of merchants” in a “land of trade.”  Ezekiel, Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and many of the exiles currently in Babylon had been taken during this taking of “the topmost highest twig” by the great eagle with colored feathers.  In verse 5, King James, “He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he place it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree…”  The willow tree planted by abundant waters (cf. Deuteronomy 8:7) to replace the “topmost highest twig” of the cedar tree was Zedekiah, installed in office by Nebuchadnezzar.  Again, J. Vernon McGee says, “The other eagle is Egypt which was still a great power at this time [Pharaoh Hophra].  Zedekiah had been put on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar, and they made a covenant together.  However, Zedekiah broke that covenant and turned to Egypt.  That is pictured here by the branches which lean toward Egypt.  The vine is planted in the soil of Egypt, seeking to draw strength from her, but there will not be any strength because Egypt will go down…”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 472]  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer11.html  for a complete treatment of how Pharaoh Hophra was dealt with.  Verses 22-24:  These last three verses reveal a prophecy whose meaning has eluded many theologians for centuries.  In verse 22 God himself now states that he, “I”, will take “of the highest branches of the high cedar.”  “I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high and prominent mountain.”  “A tender one” refers to a young female from Zedekiah’s royal line.  We know for a fact that Nebuchadnezzar had killed all of Zedekiah’s sons at Riblah just after the fall of Jerusalem. But Zedekiah’s daughters were entrusted to Jeremiah.  Jeremiah was the only man in all of Judah who could have requested that Nebuchadnezzar put these royal daughters of Zedekiah under his own care.  And without such a request, Nebuchadnezzar would never have left royal descendants of king Zedekiah in the land of Judah.  He would most certainly have taken them back to Babylon as insurance that no Jewish king would ever rise in Judea again.  Jeremiah was very highly respected and esteemed by Nebuchadnezzar.  As we saw in our commentary on the Book of Jeremiah, and these three verses indicate, this taking of either some or all of Zedekiah’s daughters represents the direct transfer of the royal throne of David from “the House of Judah” to some of the descendants of “the House of Israel” now living somewhere else in the world.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer11.html and

 http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer12.html for more details about this amazing transfer of the Davidic throne and to what nation and people.  Where did it go from there?  That is something for you to sleuth out in the history books.  I will not take this subject beyond 500BC on this website.

 

Verses 1-10, “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, pose a riddle, and speak a parable to the house of Israel, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD:  A great eagle with large wings and long pinions, full of feathers of various colors, came to Lebanon and took from the cedar the highest branch.  He cropped off its topmost young twig and carried it to a land of trade; he set it in a city of merchants.  Then he took some of the seed of the land [King James, “of the seed of the land” better rendering] and planted it in a fertile field; he placed it by abundant waters and set it like a willow tree.  And it grew and became a spreading vine of low stature; its branches turned toward him, but its roots were under it.  So it became a vine, brought forth branches, and put forth shoots.  But there was another great eagle with large wings and many feathers; and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him, and stretched its branches toward him, from the garden terrace where it had been planted, that he might water it.  It was planted in good soil by many waters, to bring forth fruit, and became a majestic vine.’  Say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:  Will it thrive?  Will he [“he”, the first eagle] not pull up its roots, cut off its fruit, and leave it to wither?  All of its spring leaves will wither, and no great power or many people will be needed to pluck it up by its roots.  Behold, it is planted, will it thrive?  Will it not utterly wither when the east wind touches it?  It will wither in the garden terrace where it grew.’”

 

God Explains the Parable’s Meaning Through Ezekiel

 

Verses 11-21, “Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Say now to the rebellious house:  Do you not know what these things mean?  Tell them, Indeed the king of Babylon went to Jerusalem and took its king and princes, and led them with him to Babylon [captivity of Jeconiah, 597BC].  And he took the king’s offspring, made a covenant with him, and put him under oath.  He also took away the mighty of the land, that the kingdom [of Judah] might be brought low and not lift itself up, but that by keeping his covenant it might stand.  But he rebelled against him [i.e. Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar] by sending his ambassadors to Egypt, that they might give him horses and many people.  Will he prosper?  Will he who does such things escape?  Can he break a covenant and still be delivered?  As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely in the place where the king dwells who made him king, whose oath he despised and whose covenant he broke---with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.  Nor will Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company do anything in the war, when they heap up a siege mound and build a wall to cut off many persons.  Since he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, and in fact gave his hand and still did all these things, he shall not escape.’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  As I live, surely my oath which he despised, and my covenant which he broke, I will recompense on his own head, I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare.  I will bring him to Babylon and try him there for the treason which he committed against me.  All his fugitives with all his troops shall fall by the sword, and those who remain shall be scattered to every wind; and you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken.”  When Nebuchadnezzar had taken king Jeconiah and all his sons and daughters, along with multiple thousands of skilled craftsmen and artisans, including Daniel and Ezekiel captive to Babylon, he installed in Jeconiah’s place Zedekiah, another son of Josiah, as king over Judah.  There was a covenant between Zedekiah and Nebuchadnezzar that Judah was now a vassal state of Babylon.  He wasn’t supposed to make any treaties with outside neighboring powers, such as Egypt.  But Zedekiah went right out and made a covenant with Egypt and broke off his covenant with Nebuchadnezzar.  So in 589BC Nebuchadnezzar marched on the cities of Judah and on Jerusalem.  He conquered and destroyed the cities of Judah, and laid siege to Jerusalem, building a siege mound around the outside walls of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was besieged for almost three years.  During that siege, Pharaoh Hophra came north into southern Judea with an army of chariots and horsemen to try to relieve Zedekiah and Judah.  Nebuchadnezzar broke off the siege and went south to defeat Pharaoh Hophra and his army.  He succeeded in driving the Pharaoh and his army south back into Egypt, and came back to Jerusalem and laid siege to it again.  When the walls were finally breached and Jerusalem fell, Zedekiah and his family sneaked out between the inner and outer wall of Jerusalem through a secret passage near the kings garden and tried to escape with a contingent of his army.  He was caught, as God says ‘in his snare’ on or near the plains of Jericho, and was brought with his sons north to Riblah, where his sons were killed before his eyes, and then he was blinded and brought in chains to Babylon.  Jeremiah was set free, being highly honored by king Nebuchadnezzar, and basically given a Carte Blanche cheque to go anywhere he wanted, and his requests to be honored and fulfilled, through Nebuzaradan, the king’s commanding general.  Jeremiah, as we have seen in the commentary on the Book of Jeremiah, requests that Zedekiah’s daughters remain with him.  There would be no reason why such important royalty would be left behind with the extremely poor of the land Nebuchadnezzar left behind in Judah to till and keep the land.  But he did.  They were obviously under the care and protection of Jeremiah.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer12.html]  There is where we pick up now in verses 22-24, with a riddle that theologians for centuries have not understood.

 

“I Will Crop Off From the Topmost of its Young Twigs a Tender One---And Will Plant It On a Prominent Mountain”

 

Verses 22-24, “Thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘I will take also one of the highest branches of the high cedar and set it out.  I will crop off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it on a high prominent mountain.  On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar.  Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell.  And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.’”  Jeremiah had charge over Zedekiah’s daughters.  I have inserted a tiny section from my Jeremiah commentary here, which shows the probable historic “cropping”, and where Zedekiah’s daughters went with Jeremiah.  Notice that the “tender one, twig” was to be planted “on a high prominent mountain---On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it.”  Well “the House of Judah” was just taken down by Nebuchadnezzar, so this must be a direct reference to “the House of Israel” or part of it, wherever they are now, and that it would now “be majestic”.  In Isaiah 2, we see the term “mountains” refers to large nations, and “hills” to smaller nations in Biblical symbolic language.  This twig is promised to become majestic over a large nation, in part of “the House of Israel.”  This is a direct prophecy about the transfer of the Davidic throne from the House of Judah to the House of Israel, wherever they are now.  Now for that Jeremiah insert:  “After the fall of Jerusalem Jeremiah is set free, along with Baruch his scribe.  He must have requested that Zedekiah’s daughters would be placed under his care, as they most certainly would have been taken to Babylon if he hadn’t made that request, they being royalty.  A small group of very poor farmers were left in Judea to till the land to prevent it from becoming overgrown and barren, since Nebuchadnezzar owned it now (Jeremiah 41).  This group of poor Jewish farmers were left under the care of a man named Gedaliah.  At first it looked like God was going to give these Jewish refugees mercy and allow them to stay in Judah under Gedaliah.  Then Gedaliah gets assassinated by Ishmael, Ishmael gets driven off by the forces who were under the deceased Gedaliah, but everyone at this point is afraid of retribution from Nebuchadnezzar, even though this assassination of Gedaliah wasn’t their fault, they were just ‘caught up in the middle of this nasty event’ (see Jeremiah 42-44).  But you can see by these past few verses in Jeremiah 44, that these Jews were still worshipping false gods.  God knew their hearts, they hadn’t repented of anything.  When they get to Egypt they started worshipping all these false gods again, now under Egyptian names.  Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to till the land in Judea, so it wouldn’t go wild on him, being now one of his outlying provinces.  But this wasn’t in God’s plan at all, because he knew all along this remnant Nebuchadnezzar was allowing to remain in Judah was just as bad as those who died in the siege of Jerusalem or were deported after its fall.  You see, God reads the hearts of men and women and knows what’s going on.  It was finally revealed openly when they arrived in Egypt and went right back into false idol worship. Jeremiah 44:14, For I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, so that none of the remnant of Judah who have gone into the land of Egypt to dwell there shall escape or survive, lest they return to the land of Judah, to which they desire to return and dwell.  For none shall return except those who escape.”  Take special note of that last part of verse 14 which I have underlined.  God allowed Jeremiah, Baruch and Zedekiah’s daughters under his care to “escape” during the ensuing civil war which erupted in Egypt, or perhaps even before that event took place.  We’ll see this same “escape” mentioned later in this chapter.  Jeremiah 44:15-26, “Then all the men who knew that their wives burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwell in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying:  ‘As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you!  But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.  For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble.  But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.  [Man, what circle logic of the brainless and mindless.  But can you begin to see the sickness that God saw within this group that Nebuchadnezzar had left behind in Judah?  From the outside appearance, no one would have known.  But when faced with a calamity, like Gedaliah being assassinated, their true selves came right to the surface.  And God knew it all along.  Just look at what the women said to Jeremiah.]  The women also said, ‘And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes to her, to worship her, and to pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands’ permission?’  [What a sassy attitude to show Jeremiah, coming from these women.  Considering all this, Yahweh’s judgment on them was perfectly justified.]  Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people---the men, the women, and all the people who had given him that answer---saying:  ‘The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and did it not come into his mind?  So the LORD could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed.  Therefore your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day.  Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD or walked in his law, in his statutes or in his judgments, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.’  Moreover Jeremiah said to all the people and to all the women, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt!  Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying:  ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, ‘We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour drink offerings to her.’  You will surely keep your vows and perform our vows!’  Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt:  ‘Behold, I have sworn by my great name,’ says the LORD, ‘that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD lives.  Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good.  And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them.  Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, mine or theirs.  And this shall be a sign to you,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that my words will surely stand against you for adversity.’  Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy who sought his life.”  Now God had promised protection to all who were under Jeremiah’s care.  Does God revoke his promises to his servants?  No.  So it is obvious Jeremiah must have escaped during or just before whatever calamities overtook this group of Jewish refugees.  A civil war ensued in Egypt, causing Pharaoh Hophra to flee.  Civil wars bring anarchy and disorder for awhile, and famine and sword.  Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hophra to view this period of time and see exactly what was going on in Egypt during this period of time. Jeremiah could have escaped northward and met Babylonian forces, which verse 28 could imply or allow for, and then the Babylonians could again have given him a Carte Blanche check to go anywhere again---or Jeremiah, Baruch and Zedekiah’s daughters, now under the royal care of Pharaoh Hophra himself could have already been placed on a ship bound for Carthage (Kirjath Hadeschath) and then another one bound for Tarshish.  Egypt now under Pharaoh’s of very recent Libyan descent had a strong navy and merchant marine tied in with the Libyans and Carthaginians (of Phoenician-Israelite stock).  So procuring Jeremiah’s group a ship to Carthage would have been easy for Pharaoh Hophra.  History indicates that is what happened, one way or another, in the end, secular historic evidence indicates that he secured passage with Zedekiah’s daughters and Baruch on a ship going west across the Mediterranean Sea.  Nebuchadnezzar hadn’t attacked the Phoenician city-states of Tyre and Sidon yet (he did that in 573BC), so Jeremiah and his entourage could have secured a ship at either Joppa or Tyre itself, or they could have secured an Egyptian ship headed for Carthage (which makes more sense).  From there it could have gone directly to Tarshish and then north.  It is right there that we lose sight of Jeremiah in the Bible record.  So where did they go?  Ancient Irish histories state:

 

 “About 585BC a ‘notable man’…’a patriarch’…came to…Ireland, accompanied by a princess, the daughter of an eastern king, and…Simon Brach…”  There is an exact match between the consonants of the Irish name “Brach” and the Biblical name “Baruch.” 

 

Jeremiah, as previously pointed out, knew the Israelite-Phoenician trade and naval alliance had colonies “beyond the sea”, ie the Mediterranean Sea (Jeremiah 25:14-28, esp. verse 22).  Hibernia, ancient Ireland was one of those colonies obviously, since in ancient Irish annals the founding tribe of Ireland was named Tuatha de Danaan, which is Gaelic for “tribe of Dan.”  This great patriarch was called in Irish annals “Ollam Fodhla.”  One author wrote this about Ollam Fodhla:

 

“…his influence caused a national reformation, and the establishment of a new code of law…The famous Four Courts of Dublin…were decorated with large medallions of the world’s greatest lawgivers.  They included Alfred, Solon, Confucius, Moses and Ollam Fodhla.”

 

Jeremiah, Baruch and Zedekiah’s daughters, after their forced withdrawal to Egypt, either escaped northward back into Judah as Jeremiah 44:28 could indicate, where again the Babylonians gave him the ability to travel anywhere he wanted, or they could just as easily been under Pharaoh Hophra’s royal protection and given passage to Carthage (no more than a day’s sail in good weather).  Historic accounts in ancient Irish history show he obviously asked for shipping transport to Kirjath-Hadeschath (Carthage).  From there, Jeremiah would have contracted for transportation on a Phoenician-Carthaginian ship to Hibernia (Ireland), which would have safely taken this tiny party to Ireland.  So we find the line of David, through one of Zedekiah’s daughters, was transplanted to the Irish line of kings, where they intermarried.  [for more about Ollam Fodhla, see http://www.cai.org/bible-studies/has-jeremiah-become-known-ollam-fodhla ] Below we see just how protected people under Jeremiah’s care were. 

 

Jeremiah 45:1-5

 

The LORD promises to protect Baruch, who during the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign, was worried about losing his life.  He said this protection would follow him wherever he went.

 

Verses 1-5, “The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the instruction of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah [that would be 604BC], king of Judah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch:  You said, ‘Woe is me now!  For the LORD has added grief to my sorrow.  I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest.’’  Thus says the LORD:  ‘Behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up, that is, this whole land.  And do you seek great things for yourself?  Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,’ says the LORD.  ‘But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go.’”  So we see wherever Baruch went, he would live and not die.  Baruch went wherever Jeremiah went.  God said everyone who stayed in Egypt would die.  But a small number would escape and go back to the land of Judah (Jeremiah 44:28).  So we have Jeremiah, Baruch and Zedekiah’s daughters in Jeremiah’s care.  It could have been this tiny group that escaped and successfully made it back “to the land of Judah”, or this tiny group could have gone directly from Egypt and Pharaoh’s care to Carthage.  From there, this tiny group becomes lost historically.  To read another interesting historic scenario on where Jeremiah, Baruch and Zedekiah’s daughters went, see http://www.wonderfulworldtomorrow.org/article_archive/jeremiah_mission.html “Jeremiah’s Mission.”  It ties together some interesting Scriptures and secular history.  Albeit this history is clouded by the fact that a lot of it came down via oral histories of Ireland, it’s still fascinating, and as they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  We’ll all find out for sure at Jesus’ 2nd coming, when we can ask Jeremiah in person.  Aren’t you looking forward to that?  I hope so.  I sure am.  I am not affiliated with these people at all, I just spotted the article while doing a web-search on an unrelated subject.  So we see the Davidic line of kings was transferred, and most probably to the shores of Ireland, which was settled by a group of people in the 700s BC named “Tuatha de Danaan,” which in Gaelic means “Tribe of Dan.”  Dan was one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.  Where this royal line of David ultimately ended up can be sleuthed by studying the histories of Ireland and the surrounding nations in the vicinity of Ireland.  Like I said, I won’t take this study past 500BC.

 

Ezekiel 18:1-32

 

Halley has, “Much is said in the prophets to the effect that Israel’s Captivity [Judah’s] was due to the cumulative sins of preceding generations.  The Captivity generation, overlooking the fact that they were ‘worse than their fathers,’ were now trying to lay the blame on their fathers.  The burden of this chapter is that God judges every man on his own individual and personal conduct.  It is an impassioned appeal to the wicked to repent (verses 30-32).”  [Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 329]  J. Vernon McGee says, “The children of Israel [i.e Judah, the Jews] had a proverb they used, and it is mentioned twice by Jeremiah.  In Jeremiah 31:29 we read, ‘In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’  And then in Lamentations 5:7 we find, ‘Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities.’  I believe the people had built this proverb upon a passage back in Exodus: “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them [idols], nor serve them:  for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” (Exodus 20:5)  The problem is that the proverb they drew from this verse is incorrect.  That is the danger in lifting out one verse of Scripture without considering its context.  This is a false proverb: The fathers ate the grapes, and the children paid the penalty.  That is true in a certain context, but God judges the individual, father or son, according to his conduct…God says here [vs. 4] that all souls belong to Him.  If the sins of the fathers come upon the children it is because the children have followed the wickedness of their fathers.  Every man shall be put to death for his own sin.  We read in Deuteronomy 24:16, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers:  every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”  “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”---God will judge each individual.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, pp. 473-474, emphasis mine]  God was showing in this principle laid out in Exodus 20:5 that children can be negatively effected and influenced by their parents’ sinning lifestyle, which tends to carry over as far as the 3rd and 4th generation.  God in this passage found in the midst of his Ten Commandment Law is merely pointing out a very powerful sociological law.  (Parents would be wise to take heed of this sociological law with their young impressionable children.  Godly homes are such a blessing.)  These Jews had twisted this passage to come up with this sour-grapes ‘proverb’ as their way of accusing God of punishing their generation with Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion and conquest of Judah and Jerusalem, all because of the sins of the previous generations.  God is saying, ‘No way, man, you, this generation is being judged for its own sins, which have grown intolerable to me!’  These exiled Jews with Ezekiel, remember, were the halfway decent Jews, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon in the earlier captivity of Jeconiah---in reality for their own protection---while the more evil Jews had been left in the cities of Judah and Jerusalem right up to the end.  Remember Jeremiah’s vision of the two baskets of figs, one good, one rotten [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer7.html and scroll to the section on Jeremiah 24].  So these Jews in exile were commiserating, feeling sorry for themselves, using this proverb they thought up to say God was being unfair.

 

 Verse 4:  The word “soul” is used a lot in this chapter.  For a good study on the meaning of this word log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm and scroll to the short article titled “soul vs. spirit.”  It merely means, in context here, a living person. 

Verses 5-9:  God lays out an overall standard for righteousness.  For the Israelite and Jew of that time under the old covenant, living a righteous life guaranteed a long physical life with physical blessings.  For a believer under the new covenant walking according to the standard laid out in verses 5-9 is something we should be accomplishing by walking in the Spirit, under the gentle guidance and lead of God’s Holy Spirit.  It’s not a works’ trip because our obedience is not accomplished entirely under our own power.  James 1:22-23 points out that for believers under the new covenant, the Law for us is a spiritual mirror, showing us where the spiritual dirt is.  Upon looking at verse 5-9 if you see spiritual dirt in your life, on yourself, then using God’s Holy Spirit you are to wash the “dirt” off.  Verses 5-9 should be a reality check for believers.  If they are consistently  falling down in those areas, Matthew 7:21-23 may apply to them. Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?---unless indeed you are disqualified.”

 

  Verses 10-18:  In each one of these instances God is showing he’s judging each person for his own sinning lifestyle---and it’s a lifestyle that’s being talked about here in this chapter, not a single slip-up that’s repented of.  It’s not just a set of do’s and don’t’s being talked about here, but the difference between living a righteous or sinning lifestyle.  If you have a sinning lifestyle but think you’re ‘born-again’, covered by the blood of Christ, if you keep it up, Jesus will say to you “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).  And then a good cross-reference to what Jesus said, Paul says in Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:  adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  This is where having a sinning lifestyle gets you, whether you’re a “believer” or not.  Those Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:21-23 “think” they’re Christians, believers in Jesus Christ.  They think they’re “born-again”, they’re talking the talk, but not walking the walk.  Ezekiel 18 is saying the exact same thing.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm for a full treatment of the subject of Law & Grace.]  Verses 19-32: God admonishes all to “Turn and live.”

 

Verses 1-4, “The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, ‘What do you mean when you use the proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying:  The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?  As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.”

 

God’s Overall Standard of Righteousness

 

Verses 5-9, “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sins shall die.  But if a man is just and does what is lawful and right; if he has not eaten on the mountains [i.e. Baal worship, practiced idolatry], nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel [remember in that study on Kings & Chronicles what the chief sin of the northern tribes of Israel, the House of Israel was?], nor defiled his neighbor’s wife, nor approached a woman during her impurity; if he has not oppressed anyone, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing; if he has not exacted usury nor taken increase, but has withdrawn his hand from iniquity and executed true judgment between man and man; if he has walked in my statutes and kept my judgments faithfully---he is just; he shall surely live!’ says the Lord GOD.”

 

In Each Instance, God is Showing Each Person is Judged by his own Lifestyle, Whether Righteous or Unrighteous

 

Verses 10-18, “If he begets a son who is a robber or a shedder of blood, who does any of these things and does none of those duties, but has eaten on the mountains or defiled his neighbor’s wife; if he has oppressed the poor and needy, robbed by violence, not restored the pledge, lifted his eyes to the idols, or committed abomination; if he has exacted usury or taken increase---shall he then live?  He shall not live!  If he has done any of these abominations, he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.  If, however, he begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and considers but does not do likewise; who has not eaten on the mountains, nor lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, nor defiled his neighbor’s wife; has not oppressed anyone, nor withheld a pledge, nor robbed by violence, but has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing; who has withdrawn his hand from the poor and not received usury or increase, but has executed my judgments and walked in my statutes---he shall not die for the iniquity of his father; he shall surely live!  As for  his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother by violence, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.”

 

God Admonishes All To Turn, Repent, and Live

 

Verses 19-32, “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’  Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes and observed them, he shall surely live.  The soul who sins shall die.  The son shall not bear the guilt of father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son.  The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.  But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps my statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness he has done, he shall live.  Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?’ says the Lord GOD, ‘and not that he should turn from his ways and live?  But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that wicked man does, shall he live?  All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.  Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not fair.  Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not my way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?  When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.  Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.  Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  Yet the house of Israel says, The way of the Lord is not fair.  O house of Israel, is it not my ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?  Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord GOD.  ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and spirit.  For why should you die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord GOD.  ‘Therefore turn and live!’”  You might cross-reference what I underlined in verse 31 with Jeremiah 31:31-34, where God promises to create a new covenant for both the House of Israel and the House of Judah at the return of the Messiah.  Paul states in Hebrews 8:6-13 that we who are called by God (cf. John 6:44) have already entered that new covenant by the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit, which results in God’s Laws being written in our hearts and minds.  The terms of that new covenant are that we do receive “a new heart and spirit”, the Holy Spirit.  The LORD is giving an essential clue to his audience here as to how it is possible to apply Ezekiel 18 to their benefit and live righteous lives---not on their own efforts, but by coming into a new covenant relationship with him, by receiving the Holy Spirit.  Very interesting, that clue that the pre-incarnate Christ inserted into Ezekiel 18 in verse 31.  But remember, Ezekiel 18 is about lifestyles, ingrained habits of sin and/or righteous living.  It is not about individual slip-ups we may have while walking on the path of righteousness.  But some who consider themselves believers, Christians or Messianic Jews, are really walking on the path of unrighteousness to their eventual destruction, as Jesus warns in Matthew 7:21-23.  Paul admonishes all believers in 2nd Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?---unless indeed you are disqualified.”  Again, for a full description on the subject of Law & Grace, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm.

 

Ezekiel 19:1-14

 

Verses 1-9: Halley has, “Under the imagery of a Lioness.  David’s Family, once great and powerful, now overthrown.  The first whelp (3), was Jehoahaz (Shallum), who was taken to Egypt (II Kings 23:31-34).  The second whelp (5), was either Jehoiachin [Jeconiah] or Zedekiah, both of whom were taken to Babylon (II Kings 24:-25:7).” [p. 329]  We find the Lioness identified in Scripture as the kingly line of David, in Genesis 49:8-10, “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you.  Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up.  He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him?  The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the people.” [King James, “shall the gathering of the people be.”]  These verses identify both what Judah’s descendants would become, first as a tribe, and then as a nation.  Also found in these verses is a description of the royal kingly line of David.  The LORD, in Ezekiel 19, obviously was making Scriptural reference to these verses in Genesis 49.  Verse one of the lamentation address this to the princes of Israel, saying their mother is this “lioness,”  so the lion here is specifically the royal line of David, starting out with David himself.  The cubs, then would be the princes, some of whom became kings over Israel and Judah.  At this time, these “cubs” are only over “the House of Judah.”  Verses 10-14: J. Vernon McGee properly interprets this second lamentation, “This is the lamentation over the land of Judah.  These people came into that land, and God blessed them.  They were like a vine planted in the land [we’ve seen the vine analogy for Israel and Judah used before in Ezekiel 15].  Now He has plucked up the vine, and they are carried away into captivity.  This is a sad song depicting the sordid history of the nation.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 475]  Verse 14 describes the coming destruction which Zedekiah would bring on Judah and Jerusalem (by the alliance he tried to form with Pharaoh Hophra and Egypt, breaking covenant with Nebuchadnezzar), that is described here as a “Fire..come out from a rod of her branches and devoured her fruit…”   See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/6.html for the actual historic fulfillment of these two lamentations, which by the way are lamentations of the LORD, not Ezekiel.

 

the Lioness: The Davidic Line’s Last Three Kings

 

Verses 1-9, “Moreover take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:  ‘What is your mother?  A lioness; she lay down among the lions; among the young lions she nourished her cubs.  She brought up one of her cubs, and he became a young lion; he learned to catch prey, and he devoured men.  The nations also heard of him; he was trapped in their pit, and they brought him with chains to Egypt.  [Jehoahaz ruled over Judah for three months, after the death of Josiah his father who was killed by Pharaoh Necho on his way with the Egyptian army to help out the dying Assyrian empire.  On his way back to Egypt with his army he took Jehoahaz captive and brought him in chains to Egypt, after installing his brother Jehoiakim on the throne of Judah, making him a king.  After 11 years of his reigned Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, captured it, and took Jehoiakim in fetters to carry him off to Babylon.  But it never says he made it to Babylon.  Jehoiachin, also called Jeconiah then reigned for three months (he was 8 years old).  Nebuchadnezzar summoned him to Babylon, and put Zedekiah in his place.  2nd Chronicles 36:1-10, 11-21.  So the two lion cubs that become young lions probably refer to Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim.]  When she saw that she waited, that her hope was lost, she took another of her cubs and made him a young lion.  He roved among the lions, and became a young lion; he learned to catch prey; he devoured men.  [I would say the second young lion is Jehoiakim, who did conquer and devour prey, mostly his own people, and rule 11 years.  His younger brother Jeconiah, was only 8 years old when he came on the throne, and only ruled 3 months.]  He knew their desolate places, and laid waste their cities; the land with its fullness was desolated by the noise of his roaring.  Then the nations set against him from the provinces of every side, and spread their net over him;  he was trapped in their pit, they put him in a cage with chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon; they brought him in nets, that his voice should no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel.”

 

The Vine: the Land and People of Judah

 

Verses 10-14, “Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline, planted by the waters, fruitful and full of branches for scepters of rulers.  She towered in stature above the thick branches, and was seen in her height amid the dense foliage.  But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried her fruit.  Her strong branches were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.  And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land [Babylon].  Fire has come out from a rod of her branches and devoured her fruit, so that she has not strong branch---a scepter for ruling.’”  This “fire coming from a rod of her branches” is probably a reference to Zedekiah, whose actions of breaking covenant with Nebuchadnezzar in making treaty with Pharaoh Hophra and his army brought fiery destruction down on the cities of Judah and Jerusalem.  Thus, as the verse before shows, the vine now lives in “dry and thirsty land.”  Babylon, except for the irrigation of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the region of modern-day Iraq, is a dry and thirsty land, just as any of our soldiers who have lived and fought in Iraq would tell you.  You get away from either of the two big rivers, and it’s dry, sandy desert, where deadly camel-spiders roam around. 

 

Section on Ezekiel 20 through 24

 

J. Vernon McGee has this to say in introducing this next section, “Chapters 20-24 contain the final predictions concerning the judgment of Jerusalem.  There are two things to which I would like to call your attention to in this section.  First, notice how long and drawn out is God’s message to these people.  Right down to the very day that Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city, God is willing to spare them.  God would have removed Nebuchadnezzar from the city as He had done previously to the Assyrians and would not have permitted him to destroy it.  However, the people did not turn to God, and the judgment came.  Right down to the last moment there was mercy extended to them.  Second, the very day that the siege of Jerusalem began, the wife of Ezekiel died, and God told him not to mourn or weep for her at all.  I consider this man Ezekiel a sharp contrast to the prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah had a woman’s heart, and he wept; the message he gave broke his own heart.  Because he wept, the Lord Jesus was compared to Jeremiah.  I’ll be honest with you though; Ezekiel is almost like an actor playing a part.  He goes through his part, but he is not moved by it.  He seems to be pretty hardboiled all the way through.  Ezekiel was simply a mouthpiece for God.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 476, col.1, par.1]

 

Ezekiel 20:1-49

 

Verse 1 gives the date, which equates to around August 591BC.  This date holds for all of Ezekiel chapters 20 through 23.  Ezekiel 24:1 provides a new date, which equates to January 588BC.  Verses 2-4: J. Vernon McGee has this to say, “These people are coming to complain and to criticize God.  They say He is unfair to judge them and unfair to destroy Jerusalem.  It is beginning to penetrate their thinking that it is really going to happen.  Ezekiel is going to go over this ground again with them, because God does not mind stating His charge and reviewing His reasons for the judgment He is going to bring.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 476, col.2, par.2] 

 

Israel’s History, A Long Series of Rebellions---Setting a Bad Example as a Believer Blasphemes God’s Name

 

Verses 5-32:  “God goes back to the very beginning when He called these people out of the land of Egypt, delivered them out of slavery there, and brought the into the wilderness.” [ibid. p.476]  Their history has been a long series of rebellions against God and his Ten Commandment Law.  In verses 9, 14, and 22 God uses the term “for my name’s sake.”  Whenever the Israelites sinned they in essence were giving God’s name a bad reputation in front of all the pagan nations surrounding Israel and Judah.  God in verse 27 calls this “blasphemy,” which in essence is breaking the 3rd Commandment.  They were actively idol worshipping, which amounts to breaking the 1st and 2nd Commandments.  Also mentioned is that they were breaking God’s Sabbath, the 4th Commandment.  Sabbath breaking and idolatry (which seem to go hand in hand) are also listed in Leviticus 26 (1-2) which is the chapter that lists God’s promise of national Blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.

 

Chilling Prophecy Concerning the 12 Tribes of Israel Just Before the 2nd Coming of Christ

 

  Verses 33-38:  These are 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ verses which prophecy a second exodus, this one in the future, an exodus out of captivity for the surviving descendants from all 12 tribes of Israel.  Verses 37-38 are very scary.  The term “passing under the rod” is a term found in Leviticus 27:32 which referred to how a shepherd would count his sheep in reference to tithing.  Every tenth sheep that passed under his rod would be God’s sheep, part of his tithe of the herd to God.  This prophecy actually shows that 9/10ths of all those who are of the 12 tribes of Israel---each tribe now having become a nation of its own---will die in the coming Tribulation, World War III. 

 

Looking Ahead to Just After the 2nd Coming

 

Verses 39-44:  In verse 39 God says, ‘Go your way, do your own thing, worship your idols for now.  But…’ and then in verses 40-44 the whole prophecy goes to the time just after World War III, when Israel, the one-tenth of all the 12 tribes, are safely dwelling in the Promised Land again. 

 

Prophecy About the Negev Forest

 

Verses 45-49:  I think J. Vernon McGee called this one correctly, right on the money.  He says, ““Prophesy against the forest of the south field”---some commentators feel this refers to Judah, and others think it means the Negeb.  At least, it is south.  If you were to see the Negeb [Negev], you would wonder, ‘What happened to the forest?’  Well, my friend, God judged it; He said He would remove it.  That land was once the land of milk and honey, but you cannot come to that conclusion when you look at it today.  Not only is it not the land of milk and honey, they do not even have enough water there.  This is a remarkable prophecy.  God is not through with these people or with that land.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p.477, col.2, last two paragraphs]

 

The People Come to Complain to God

 

Verses 1-4, “It came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month  [August, 591BC], that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me.  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Have you come to inquire of me?  As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I will not be inquired of by you.’  Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them?  Then make known to them the abominations of their fathers.”

 

God has Ezekiel recite Israel’s and Judah’s long list of rebellions against him

 

Verses 5-24, “Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:  On the day when I chose Israel and raised my hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I raised my hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God.’  On that day I raised my hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands.  Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt.  I am the LORD your God.’  But they rebelled against me and would not obey me.  They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.  Then I said, ‘I will pour out my fury on them and fulfill my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.’  But I acted for my name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.  Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.  And I gave them my statutes and showed them my judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them.  Moreover I also gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.  Yet the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness; they did not walk in my statutes; they despised my judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled my Sabbaths.  Then I said I would pour out my fury on them in the wilderness to consume them.  But I acted for my name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out.  So I also raised my hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands, because they despised my judgments and did not walk in my statutes, but profaned my Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols.  Nevertheless my eye spared them from destruction.  I did not make an end of them in the wilderness.  But I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols.  I am the LORD your God: Walk in my statutes, keep my judgments, and do them; hallow my Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.’  Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against me; they did not walk in my statutes, and were not careful to observe my judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them; but they profaned my Sabbaths.  Then I said I would pour out my fury on them and fulfill my anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew my hand and acted for my name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out.  Also I raised my hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries, because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.”  God next tells them all that they had done, essentially breaking the first four of the Ten Commandments, not worshipping the True God, but idols, and breaking of his Sabbaths, all amounted to blasphemy against his name, the 3rd Commandment, through their actions.  Do you realize that your example as a believer, if you are being disobedient to God, blasphemes his name, breaking the 3rd Commandment by your very actions, just as if you were cussing up a storm using his name as you did?  The old saying “Actions speak louder than words” definitely apply here.  Bet you never thought of that.  Well it’s true.  In the next verses God is not actually saying he gave them bad judgments now to keep in place of his good laws, judgments and statutes.  He is indicating he let them go their own way, keeping the bad pagan ways. Verses 25-32, “Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live; and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the LORD.’  Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:  In this too your fathers have blasphemed me, by being unfaithful to me.  When I brought them into the land concerning which I had raised my hand in an oath to give them, and they saw all the high hills and all the thick trees, there they offered their sacrifices and provoked me with their offerings.  There they also sent up their sweet aroma and poured out their drink offerings.  Then I said to them, What is this high place to which you go?  So it’s name is called Bamah [margin: High Place] to this day.’  [We saw what a high place was in our coverage of Ezekiel chapter 16, if you need to review this.  They were astronomical temples of Baal where these sacrifices would take place.]  Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations?  For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. [“pass through the fire” is a direct reference to Baal-worship where children, babies and toddlers were sacrificed to death, which we have covered before.  The modern counterpart of Baal-worship is abortion (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Carthage).  45 million American babies have been killed through abortion since the Supreme Court ruling in Roe vs. Wade in the 1960s, averaging a million unborn babies a year so far, from then to now.]  So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel?  As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I will not be inquired of you.  What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.’”  God is saying here, ‘You exiles have come to Ezekiel to seek me to tell me that you think I’m being unfair for my judgment against the cities of Judah and Jerusalem, to inquire of me.  Don’t do it again.  You don’t have a leg to stand on.  Who are you to question my coming judgments?  I just showed you who you are.

 

God shows how many of the descendants of Israel will survive the Tribulation, World War III

 

Verses 33-38, “‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.  I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out.  [Comment:  about 95 to 98 percent of the Jews still live in the Diaspora, or outside of Israel proper.  8 million Jews alone live in New York City, more than in the State of Israel!  Also the ten northern tribes of Israel making up what is called “the House of Israel” have never returned to their homeland in the Promised Land.  So this is obviously a 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ  prophecy.  Don’t forget, Jesus Christ was the pre-Incarnate Yahweh, the very One who was addressing these exiles through Ezekiel.]  And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead with you face to face.  Just as I pleaded my case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead my case with you,’ says the Lord GOD.  I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; [cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34] I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel.  [So, they’re brought out of the land where they dwell, but they don’t enter the land of Israel.  This would equate to the one-third taken captive, say 30 million, but only 10 million making it to the Promised Land of Israel.  What happens to the rest?  They die in captivity, probably like the Jews and many others died in concentration camps during World War II, not a pretty picture.  That is what may be so important about putting a prophetic warning aspect into our Gospel message to the northwestern and English speaking democracies.]  Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

 

All 12 Tribes of Israel Dwelling Safely in the Land of Israel

 

Verses 39-44, “As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Go, serve every one of you his idols---and hereafter---if you will not obey me; but profane my holy name no more with your gifts and your idols.  [God’s essentially saying here in verse 39, ‘OK, Israelites, go do your own thing, just don’t use my name in it.’  Israel since the 720s BC and Judah since the death of Jesus Christ have all gone and done their ‘own thing,’ going back in history from now, for about 27 hundred years for the House of Israel and almost 2,000 years for the House of Judah.]  For on my holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things.  I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles.  Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised my hand in an oath to give to your fathers.  And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled, and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed.  Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for my name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,’ says he Lord GOD.”

 

Fire in the Forest---Why the Negev is a Desert

 

Verses 45-49, “Furthermore the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face toward the south; preach against the south and prophesy against the forest land, the South [Hebrew: Negev], and say to the forest of the South, Hear the word of the LORD!  Thus says the Lord GOD:  Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you; the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it.  All flesh shall see that I, the LORD, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.’  Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord GOD!  They say to me, Does he not speak parables?’”

 

Ezekiel 21:1-32

 

Righteous and unrighteous to be slain

 

Verses 1-4:  In verse 2 this is said against the “land of Israel”, and in this case, it is referring to the land itself, which the Jews are the final occupants of.  So this is being addressed to the House of Judah, the Jews, just so there’s no confusion there.  These verses identify “the fire” (perhaps of even Ezekiel 20:45-49) of verse 1 here as “a sword of warfare against all flesh from the south to the north,” i.e. all of Judah and Jerusalem.  In verse 3 God says “I will draw my sword…and cut off both righteous and wicked from you.”  Are these really righteous folk?  I like J. Vernon McGee’s comment about this verse, ““And will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.”  This sounds strange, does it not?  Who are the righteous?  The ones who say they are righteous?  In our day they are the ones who are church members but are not saved at all, the ones who go through the ritual, those who are religious.  A great many people have the band-aid of religion over the sore of sin. They need to pull that old band-aid off and get that sore lanced, before it destroys them.  It’s a cancerous sore, and you simply do not cure cancer by putting a band-aid over it.  Neither do you cure sin by becoming religious.  God said, “I’m cutting it off now; I’m moving in with the sword, and I intend to destroy the city.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 478, col.2, par.4]  Remember, the LORD told Jeremiah those left in Judah and Jerusalem were “the basket of bad figs,” smelly and rotten to the core, good for nothing.  So J. Vernon McGee’s comment seems to fit.  And when our nations face the judgment of God, this verse will apply to all those “nominal Christians” J. Vernon McGee just described.

 

God Claims Ownership of the Sword—Cry & Sigh for the Sword is Coming

 

Verses 5-17:  There are five declarations made about the sword in this chapter, found in verses 3-7, 8-17, 18-24 and 25-27.  God claims ultimate ownership of this sword, but also says he has given it into “the hand of the slayer.”  i.e. the punishment is ultimately from God. 

 

One of Two Roads to Destruction

 

Verses 18-24:  God told Ezekiel to show the people that the Babylonian conquest could come by one of two routes.  Nebuchadnezzar had a quandary as to whom to attack and destroy first.  Why?  There was a combined conspiracy against Babylon in 589BC, with Judah and Ammon being a big part of it.  Damascus was where the major highway south divided into two highways, one highway going to Ammon, Moab and Edom, and the other leading into Judah and Jerusalem.  Nebuchadnezzar, upon performing some kind of Babylonian casting of lots, chose Judah and Jerusalem first, and then he would go and deal with the capital city of Ammon, Rabbath-Ammon afterward (which he did). 

 

A Riddle Most Theologians Don’t Understand

 

Verses 25-27:  These verses are written directly against king Zedekiah, where in the King James Version it says “Remove the diadem and toke off the crown” (verse 26).  By all appearance the Davidic crown is being destroyed.  But it is?  Notice verse 26.  There was some sort of change being alluded to here, where it states “Exalt him that is low and abase him that is high” (KJV).  The abasement of the high is easy to figure out, that would be the Davidic crown worn by Zedekiah as king over the House of Judah.  But what is ‘the exaltation of him that was low’ mean in context with this same verse?  Does it mean crowning someone else with the crown of David?  We have seen historically that the Davidic crown never returned to Judah or the House of Judah in any way after the Babylonian captivity or their restoration to the land under Ezra and Nehemiah.  Who is left?  Where could the Davidic crown go?  The descendants of the House of Israel were in two different locations at this time, as we learned in our commentary on Kings & Chronicles, Scythia (hundreds of miles north and northeast of Judah and Jerusalem), and then others were scattered all along the coast of northwest Europe and the British Isles (including Ireland).  The exalting of him who was low and abasing him who was high obviously refers to the transfer of the Davidic crown from the House of Judah to the House of Israel.  Verse 27 presents an interesting riddle in context with this abasement and exaltation of these two “Houses”.  The KJV for verse 27 says “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it:  and it shall be no more [overturned], until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”  We know Jeremiah was given a commission “to pull down” (concerning Judah), but few take note of the last part of these two verses “to plant and rebuild” (Jeremiah 1:9-10).  As we saw in our commentary on the Book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah was taken with  Zedekiah’s daughters with him down into Egypt and then historically disappeared from view.  I have already shown this evidence that he along with Baruch and Zedekiah’s daughters ended up in ancient Ireland.  As I said before, verse 27 presents a sort of riddle in reference to the crown of David, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it:  and it shall no more [be overturned].”  Jeremiah’s transference of the Davidic crown to Ireland via one of Zedekiah’s daughters would amount to being the first “overturn.”  I will go no further to show where the Davidic throne may have twice more moved to and where it ultimately ended up, for that goes beyond my 500BC baseline which this site will not cross.  It’s in the history books, look it up if you want to pursue this subject.  [cf. see http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer12.html to read about Jeremiah ending up in Egypt with Baruch and Zedekiah’s daughters.] 

 

Nebuchadnezzar takes the other road after Jerusalem destroyed

 

Verses 28-32:  A sword against the Ammonites.  When Nebuchadnezzar is done conquering the cities of Judah and Jerusalem, he turns his sword against the Ammonites, conquering Rabbath-Ammon.

 

The LORD claims ownership to the sword

 

Verses 1-5, “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, preach against the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the LORD:  Behold, I am against you, and I will draw my sword out of its sheath and cut off both righteous and wicked from you.  Because I will cut off both righteous and wicked from you, therefore my sword shall go out of its sheath against all flesh from south to north, that all flesh may know that I, the LORD, have drawn my sword out of its sheath; it shall not return anymore.’”

 

Cry and sigh, for the sword is coming

 

Verses 6-17, “Sigh therefore, son of man, with a breaking heart, and sigh with bitterness before their eyes.  And it shall be when they say to you, ‘Why are you sighing?’ that you shall answer, ‘Because of the news; when it comes, every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water.  Behold, it is coming and shall be brought to pass,’ says the Lord GOD.  Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the LORD!’  Say: ‘A sword, a sword is sharpened and also polished!  Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, polished to flash like lightning!  Should we then make mirth?  It despises the scepter of my son, as it does all wood.  And he has given it to be polished, that it may be handled; this sword is sharpened, and it is polished to be given into the hand of the slayer.’  Cry and wail, son of man; for it will be against my people, against all the princes of Israel.  Terrors including the sword will be against my people.  Therefore strike your thigh.  ‘Because it is a testing, and what if the sword despises even the scepter?  The scepter shall be no more,’ says the Lord GOD.  ‘You therefore, son of man, prophesy, and strike your hands together.  The third time let the sword do double damage.  It is the sword that slays, the sword that slays great men, that enters their private chambers.  I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that the heart may melt and many may stumble.  Ah!  It is made bright; it is grasped for slaughter:  Swords at the ready!  Thrust right!  Set your blade!  Thrust left---wherever your edge is ordered!  I also will beat my fists together, and I will cause my fury to rest; I, the LORD, have spoken.’”

 

Babylonian Conquest Coming in Your Direction

 

Verses 18-24, “The word of the LORD came to me again, saying:  ‘And son of man, appoint for yourself two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to go; both of them shall go from the same land.  Make a sign; put it at the head of the road to the city.  Appoint a road for the sword to go to Rabbah of the Ammonites, and to Judah, into fortified Jerusalem.  For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork between two roads to use divination: [Comment:  This fork in the highway south would have been at Damascus of Syria.  Nebuchadnezzar has stopped to use divination in order to choose which road to take and which people to slay first, for both Zedekiah king of Judah and the king of the Ammonites had conspired to make an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra against Babylon.  Seeking to guarantee your freedom as an independent nation through alliances, when you don’t have the power to guarantee that freedom by yourself is always a risky deal which historically has almost always failed.  God obviously influenced Nebuchadnezzar’s divination so Judah was chosen first for slaughter, as this prophecy will show.]  he shakes the arrows, he consults the images, he looks at the liver.  In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem:  to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to lift the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to heap up a siege mound, and to build a wall.  And it will be to them like a false divination in the eyes of those who have sworn oaths with them; but he will bring their iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken.’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all your doings your sins appear---because you have come to remembrance, you shall be taken in hand.”

 

The Davidic Crown, the Line of David, Does it Cease to Exist, or Is It Transferred Somewhere Else?

 

Verses 25-27, “Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Remove the turban, and take off the crown; nothing shall remain the same.  Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted.  Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown!  It shall be no longer, until he comes whose right it is, and I will give it to him.  Now that we have seen these two verses butchered, I will give the King James Version.  “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown:  this shall not be the same:  exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.  I will overturn, overturn, overturn it:  and it shall be no more [by context, the word “overturned” should be inserted here], until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.  As we have seen historically (hindsight is 20/20), these verses are written directly against king Zedekiah, where the King James Version says as we saw, “Remove the diadem and take off the crown.”  By all appearance the Davidic crown and royal line is being destroyed.  But is it?  Notice in verse 26 that there was some sort of change being alluded to here, where it states “Exalt him that is low and abase him who is high.”  The abasement of the high is easy to figure out, historically that happened when Zedekiah was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, had all his sons killed, and then had his eyes put out and was taken to Babylon and put in prison, where he died.  That would appear to end the royal line of David, the Davidic Throne and Crown.  But did it?  The verse says someone’s going to be “exalted” in this “overturn” of the royal line of David.  Where could the Davidic crown go?  The descendants of the House of Israel, as we have seen in our study of Kings & Chronicles, were located in two distinct and different locations at this point in time (586BC), Scythia some 600 miles to the north and northeast of the territory of Judea.  Then other descendants of the ten northern tribes, called the House of Israel, escaped by ship, going west through Gibraltar, settling in the Isro-Phoenician colonies along the coast of northwestern Europe, England and Ireland.  This was well documented in that Kings & Chronicles commentary (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html and  http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html).  The exalting of him who was low and abasing of him who was high was obviously referring to the transfer of the Davidic crown from the House of Judah to the House of Israel.  Verse 27 presents an interesting riddle in context with this abasement and exaltation of these two “Houses.”  The KJV for verse 27 says “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it:  and it shall be no more [overturned], until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”  We know God explained Jeremiah’s commission would involve the pulling down of great nations and empires, but most do not take note of the fact that included in that commission was “to plant and rebuild”  (read Jeremiah 1:9-10).  As we saw in our commentary on Jeremiah, Jeremiah and Zedekiah’s daughters were taken down into Egypt along with Baruch his scribe.  From there they historically disappeared.  Evidence shows up in the annals of ancient Irish history that Jeremiah, Baruch and some young princesses do show up in Ireland around 585BC (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer12.html).  As I said before, verse 27 presents a sort of riddle in reference to the crown of David, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it:  and it shall no more [be overturned].”  Jeremiah’s transference of the Davidic crown to Ireland via one of Zedekiah’s daughters, a princess, would amount to being the first “overturn.”  This is why, in context with this history, the word “overturned” can properly be inserted at the end of the words “no more” so it reads “no more overturned.  As I have stated before, I will go no further to show where the Davidic throne twice more moved to and where it ultimately ended up, for that goes beyond my 500BC baseline which this site will not cross.  It’s in the history books, look it up if you want to pursue this subject.

 

A Sword Against the Ammonites

 

Verses 28-32, “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach,’ and say:  ‘A sword, a sword is drawn, polished for slaughter, for consuming, for flashing---while they see false visions for you.  While they divine to lie to you, to bring you on the necks of the wicked, the slain whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end.  Return it to its sheath.  I will judge you in the place where you were created, in the land of your nativity.  [King James version for that verse is better, more accurate, it reads: “Shall I cause it to return into his sheath?  I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity.”  The New King James Version seems to indicate the sword of the Nebuchadnezzar is being sheath, when in fact, in the King James Version, it accurately shows it has more work to do, as history backs up, when Rabbath-Ammon was attacked after the Jerusalem campaign.  One has to be careful of the “modern” translations, always checking them against the King James Version.]  I will pour out my indignation on you; I will blow against you with the fire of my wrath, and deliver you into the hands of brutal men who are skillful to destroy.  You shall be fuel for the fire; your blood shall be in the midst of the land.  You shall not be remembered, for I the LORD have spoken.’”

 

Ezekiel 22:1-31

 

Chapter 22 of Ezekiel can be broken down into three sections, three distinct messages from the LORD to these exiles.  Remember the mindset of these exiles while Jerusalem was still standing.  J. Vernon McGee says, “they were holding onto the belief that God would never destroy the temple; it was His sanctuary, and His glory had been there.  They believed that God would not allow Nebuchadnezzar to touch it.  The false prophets encouraged the captives in their unbelief, making them think it was not necessary for them to come back to God, or give up their idolatry and other evil ways.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 481, parts of par. 1&2.] 

 

“The Bloody City”

 

Verses 1-16:  Jerusalem is called “the bloody city.”  Don’t forget, Baal-worship was going on full-bore in the Valley of Hinnon, where the sacrifice of innocents, babies and toddlers, continued to take place unabated.  We have our counterparts to that in our so-called “modern society” with abortion killing a million unborn babies a year in the United States alone, coupled to the abduction, rape and subsequent murders of countless little children by sexual predators.  Verse 6 shows it was a city were leaders had people murdered, verse 9 showing it was often done through false accusations, ie a real perversion of their legal system.  As a counterpart, look at the climbing average murder rates in our cities, all our cities, large and small.  And often through our “liberal” legal system unregenerate murderers and rapists are set free back into society where they go commit their heinous crimes again.  Our cities have become “bloody cities” as well.  Will not God judge us in the western democracies just as he judged Jerusalem back then?  God said “I change not…”  That’s your answer.

 

The Silver Smelting-Pot

 

  Verses 17-22:  The silver smelting-pot analogy:  Take note, this is addressed to “the House of Israel” in verses 17-18.  So this  has a direct “back then” and “future time of the Tribulation” application---Judah and Jerusalem back then just before the fall of Jerusalem, and now, looking forward into the period of time just before the Great Tribulation (World War III), which culminates in Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming.  So we can picture Jerusalem back then to show us how our society will look just before the Tribulation is unleashed on an unsuspecting world.  God says, the house of Israel is to me become dross:  all they are become brass, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver.”  God is using the analogy of the smelting of silver.  Dross is the undesirable slag that comes to the surface when silver is melted and brought to a high temperature.  Impurities, like the presence of other metals, would make it worthless if too much of them were in the silver.  God is saying here that the society both for Judah and Jerusalem back then and for whomever “the House of Israel” is today, have become worthless slag, dross, in a pot of smelted silver, where actually there is no silver left, just other metallic impurities (brass, iron and lead) and the slag of silver.  Verse 19 says “therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.”  Historically this happened as Nebuchadnezzar’s army entered the land of Judah and started conquering its cities, creating a flow of terrified people into supposed sanctuary and safety of Jerusalem’s walls, bottling up all these people God referred to as ‘dross, slag’ in the ‘silver smelting pot.’  The siege and conquest of Jerusalem from 588BC to 586BC was the fire melting all this dross, slag.  The fire of the Great Tribulation will melt all the dross and slag in the nations that the House of Israel has become, whomever and wherever they are today.

 

All of Society is Corrupt 

 

Verses 23-29, The whole society is corrupt:  Judah’s prophets, priests, and princes were all corrupt, three categories within the society, both then and now (verses 25-27).  Here we have three distinct parts of society which had become totally corrupt in Jerusalem.  We have modern counterparts in our society today in the here and now.  “the prophets”:  modern televangelists preying on the gullibility of people, taking their money and living “high off the hog” on it, especially preying on the meagre income of helpless widows and the elderly who are mistakenly looking to them for spiritual comfort in their old age.  “The priests”:  supposed ministers and pastors in the “liberal churches” preach a licentious gospel of grace which excludes any teaching of obedience to God’s Law as being an outgrowth of their walk with Christ.  Verse 26 describes these false ministers perfectly, “Her priests have violated my law and profaned my holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made know the difference between the clean and unclean; and they have hidden their eyes from my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.”  Then God mentions the fourth part of society, “the people of the land”:  they “have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy…”  “The princes”:  political rulers, verse 27 shows, “are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.” 

 

“Standing in the Gap”

 

Verses 30-31, “Standing in the Gap”:  God’s constant hope is that his wrath can be put aside.  The principle of “standing in the gap” takes two things.  One, a man of God, or God’s people.  And two, a people who are willing to heed the message of “the man of God.”  Back in Jerusalem of Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day God says he found no one “to stand in the gap.”  What does that mean?  We see both Jeremiah and Ezekiel standing in the gap for God.  No, this means God didn’t find anyone in Judah’s entire society who were willing to heed Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s message until it was too late.  We saw in Ezekiel chapter 20, verse 37 that out of the whole population of the House of Israel, only 10 percent of whoever makes up the House of Israel survive “the fires of this silver-smelting pot” and enter into the Promised Land after Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming.  So 10 percent do heed, in our day and age, but sadly, only after the fact.  So, in essence, we believers in Jesus Christ are “standing in the gap” for these people.  Both our message and our pure lifestyles are essential for their very survival.  What should our message be?  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm.  Note:  Fiery trials which come through God’s judgment [punishment] cause those that are the “dross, slag”, the wicked, to become more wicked and selfish.  Their true nature comes to the surface just like dross floats on hot melted silver.  The selfish become more selfish.  But the godly become more compassionate and caring.  Have you ever seen silver melted in a refiner’s pot once the dross is skimmed off?  It’s brilliantly silver, shining brightly.  How does the Body of Christ shine in this world during times of national judgment, tragedy and calamity?  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/samaritan_purse.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/ShortTerm-Missions.htm.  That’s how we all should be shining, individually and collectively.

 

“The Bloody City”

 

Verses 1-16, “Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Now, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city?  Yes, show her all her abominations!  Then say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD:  The city sheds blood in her own midst, that her time may come; and she makes idols within herself to defile herself.  You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made.  You have caused your days to draw near, and have come to the end of your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries.  Those near and those far from you will mock you as infamous and full of tumult.  [Comment:  following the pattern God gave in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 outlining the Blessings and Curses which would come upon any and all of the tribes of Israel which disobeyed God in this manner, when we see any of our nations in the western democracies become “a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries”---with “those near and far from you will mock you as infamous and full of tumult”, when we see that happening to us from the nations of the world, we can be sure we’re coming under the same judgment God brought down on Jerusalem, but this time, during the end-times, this judgment will be the Great Tribulation, World War III, followed by the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ.]  Look, the princes of Israel, each one has used his power to shed blood in you.  In you they have made light of father and mother; [that’s an interesting one, making light of father and mother, usurping the parental authority of father and mother over their children.  Would this tie into Baal worship and child sacrifice?  I don’t know, but it might.  Do we see our governmental leaders stripping parental authority of their children away from fathers and mothers in our screwed up court systems of today?  You tell me.  I think the answer is obvious.]  in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow.  You have despised my holy things and profaned my Sabbaths.  [God is always looking out for the fatherless and widows, he calls them his own.  “You have despised my holy things” God’s law, obviously, “and profaned my Sabbaths.”  Now that’s an interesting one.  Back then this would refer directly to the Sabbath day and God’s Holy Days listed in both Exodus 20:8-11 and Leviticus 23:1-44.  Today a debate rages, as it has for the entire Church Age from Pentecost 30AD to present, over which days of worship the Lord actually wants us to keep and observe.  I won’t get into that hotly debated issue here, as I have already covered it pretty thoroughly in my commentary-article on Romans 14.  Let your own Christian conscience guide you, as Paul said in Romans 14:22-23. (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/romans12-14_2.htm)]  In you are men who slander and cause bloodshed; in you are those who eat on the mountains; [i.e. Baal-worship, see Ezekiel chapter 16 in this commentary which gives a good explanation of how Baal worship was attached to “eating on the mountains.”] in your midst they commit lewdness.  In you men uncover their fathers’ nakedness; in you they violate women who are set apart during their impurity.  One commits abomination with his neighbor’s wife; another lewdly defiles his daughter-in-law; and another violates his sister, his father’s daughter. [Comment: uncovering your fathers’ nakedness is a Hebrew Old Testament reference to having sexual intercourse with either your father’s wife, or your own sisters (see and read Leviticus chapters 18 and 20 for a complete description of this part of God’s Law).]  In you they take bribes to shed blood; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten me,’ says the Lord GOD.  ‘Behold, therefore, I beat my fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst.  Can your heart endure, or can your hands remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you?  [That’s a good question for us as nations in the western democracies, especially in the English speaking countries, “can your hands (i.e. militarily) remain strong, in the days when I shall deal with you?”, as we loose the pride of our power, one of the national curses God listed in Leviticus 26:19.]  I, the LORD, have spoken, and will do it.  I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you.  You shall defile yourself in the sight of the nations; then you shall know that I am the LORD.’”

 

The Silver Smelting-Pot Analogy, Israel in the Furnace

 

Verses 17-22, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver.  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.  As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in my anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there and melt you.  Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst.  As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have poured out my fury on you.’”  As we saw, this has real historic fulfillment, as explained before, when Nebuchadnezzar’s armies came into the land of Judah and started conquering their cities, the population that could escape from them and the surrounding farmland took refuge behind the supposed safety of Jerusalem’s double-walls.  The almost three year siege was the fire of the smelter’s pot, from around 589BC to 586BC.  God specifically addressed this short piece through Ezekiel “to the house of Israel.”  By context of the whole chapter, this is about the coming siege of Jerusalem, but by addressing this passage to “the house of Israel” means it also has a future fulfillment to those who are from “the House of Israel”, whomever they are, wherever they are living as nations now.  In a modern warfare way, what happened to Judah and Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar is just a foretaste of what will happen nationally to whoever the House of Israel is.

 

The Whole Society is Corrupt

 

Verses 23-29, “And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, say to her:  You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.  The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst.  [In today’s day and age “the prophets” would equate to the money-grabbing televangelists that prey on the elderly and others for their money, and spend it lavishly on themselves, hiding in ministries that purport to be getting out the Gospel, but really these ministries are shams, helping to make the real Gospel of Salvation odious in the public eye.  In Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day, these were the false prophets who were linked with the corrupt priesthood, and prophecying falsely that Jerusalem would never fall, essentially calling God a liar and God’s real prophets false.  They fed the population left in Judea, and also the exiles with Ezekiel, false messages of security for Jerusalem.]  Her priests have violated my law and profaned my holy things; they have not distinguished between holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.”  [In Today’s day and age “the priests” would equate to the ministers and pastors within the “liberal churches,” who no longer make the proper distinction between holy and unholy, nor do they know the difference between the unclean and the clean.  They have falsely defined the Grace of God in a licentious way, leading astray any who would ordinarily be hearing the truth from their pulpits, pulpits which have become polluted.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm  for a whole section on this website dealing with the subject of Law & Grace.  This is what happened in Jeremiah and Ezekiel’s time too.  It had happened before with Eli’s sons, who also corrupted the priesthood.  The priests were no longer teaching God’s truth, nor were they obeying God’s Laws themselves.  They were tied in with the false prophets as well.]  Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy the people, and to get dishonest gain.  [It happened then, and oh boy, do we see it happening now with politicians and big government.  You could write enough books to fill whole libraries with the corruption of politicians and big government preying on the ordinary citizens in our western democracies, and it seems, the bigger the nation, and the more centralized it’s government, the more the corruption.  I don’t have to get specific, as anyone reading this could accurately fill in the details for themselves.]  Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.  [Here is an example of empty, useless preaching, it happened then, and it’s happening right now.  Preachers from the “liberal churches” do not preach anything useful that will result in the spiritual healing of the people.  As society gets more and more evil, their preaching does nothing to slow the decay of society down, it is as useless as untempered mortar, used in the wall that is meant to hold out moral decay.  God’s Laws are moral laws, designed to stop spiritual/moral decay and properly hold a society together, keeping it healthy and vibrant.  When preachers teach a licentious interpretation to God’s Word, they do nothing to inhibit the moral decay of the society around them, and in some cases, they actually encourage the moral decay.  Society today is breaking down under the stresses caused by serious crimes, like rape accompanied by murder, abortion, which is murder of innocent unborn babies, rampant stealing, both ‘white collar’ and ‘blue collar,’ all attributable to a serious erosion of the family and respect for parents.  Parents themselves no longer know how to raise children nor instill within them proper respect for God’s laws which teach the rights of others.  The licentious messages coming from the pulpits of the “liberal churches’ do nothing to help cure society of this moral decay and sickness, and often encourage it.  Take a look around you, open your eyes.  The next set of verses show what is happening in our societies, as a direct result of this “untempered mortar” the “liberal churches” preachers are “plastering” the wall of modern society with.  The next set of verses deal with the population strata of society, the ordinary citizens of our nations.]  The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.”  That short verse doesn’t tell the half of it, just gives you the flavor for the moral breakdown going on in the societies of our western democracies, as I mentioned just before. 

 

Standing in the Gap, Then and Now

 

Verses 30-31, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.  Therefore I have poured out my indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,’ says the Lord GOD.”  As I said before, you can have someone, say like Jeremiah or Ezekiel, holy prophets of God, standing in the gap.  But if no one’s listening, then it’s like no one’s standing in the gap.  It’s like having the best preacher preaching a great sermon to an empty church.  We in the Body of Christ in today’s world, in today’s society, have the same responsibility as Jeremiah and Ezekiel did back then (as we’ll see in Ezekiel chapter 33).  We are supposed to stand in the gap in these end-times.  But just as they did for Judah and Jerusalem, the people (for the most part) aren’t listening.  They don’t care, and even get angry about our message.  But if we don’t stand in the gap, maybe less than 10 percent will survive the Tribulation.  If we do a good job, maybe more than 10 percent will survive and enter the Promised Land.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  Our preaching and warning to the people in this world, to our neighbors around us, non-believer friends and acquaintances, may have no impact on them now, but may end up saving their lives later, as they’re calling out to God in some concentration camp.  And let me tell you, if prayed sincerely, God will be hearing and answering those prayers, guaranteeing their survival through it all.  We must stand in the gap for them now, so they know Who to turn to then.  That’s our job as we see the end of this Age of Man rushing to its final conclusion.  And that is why I feel it is absolutely necessary that those in the Body of Christ add a warning aspect to their preaching of the Gospel of Salvation, to the 5th point which make up the five points of the Gospel, the point dealing with Jesus Christ’s 2nd Coming (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm).

 

Ezekiel 23:1-49

 

Halley has, “Two sisters, insatiable in their lewdness.  A parable of Israel’s idolatry.  Oholah, Samaria; Oholibah, Jerusalem.  Both grown old in their adulteries.”  [p. 329]  J. Vernon McGee has, “Once again, in chapter 23, Ezekiel goes way out on a limb, he goes way out in left field, and he tells the people another strange parable.  It is the parable of two sisters:  one was named Oholah, and the other Oholibah.  I think that when he began to give this parable, the people actually smiled and said, ‘Where in the world is this fellow going with a story like that?’  Ezekiel didn’t make this story up---God gave him this message (verse 1).  Verses 2-3, the sisters were no longer virgins but had become harlots.  What in the world is Ezekiel talking about?...Verse 4, “Samaria is Oholah”---that is, the northern kingdom of Israel is Oholah.  “And Jerusalem is Oholibah”---Jerusalem and Judah in the south is Oholibah.  The meaning of Oholibah (Jerusalem and Judah) is, “My tent is in her.”  In Jerusalem, was the wonderful temple of Solomon.  It was patterned after the tabernacle in the wilderness, and it was the place where the people approached God.  That was wonderful.  Oholah means “her own tent.”  The northern kingdom rebelled [actually God separated the 10 northern tribes out from under the authority of Solomon’s son of the Davidic line because of the sins of Solomon] and separated from the southern part of Israel.  Old king Jeroboam put up two golden calves, one in Beth-el and one in Samaria, and tried to keep his people from going south to worship in Jerusalem.  It was very easy for the prophets and the people of the southern kingdom to say that God will judge those golden calves in the north---and he surely did.  However, he is going to judge the southern kingdom also, because they were going through the ritual of a dead religion; they thought they were right with God, but they actually were living in sin.” Verse 12, This [verse] refers to an historical event which took place when old king Ahaz was on the throne in the southern kingdom.  He went up to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, and he saw there an altar he thought was the prettiest altar he’d ever seen.  So he sent Urijah the priest to get the pattern of it in order to make one just like it (2 Kings 16:10-18).  He wanted to ‘improve the worship,’ you know---he went in for that type of thing.  Well, God took note of that, and he judged the northern kingdom for it.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 482, p. 483, par. 2.]  This is a long parable and one in which the LORD gets pretty graphic in his description.  God doesn’t pull any punches, as they say.

 

Two Harlot Sisters

 

Verses 1-4, “The word of the LORD came again to me, saying:  ‘Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother.  They committed harlotry in their youth; their breasts were embraced, their virgin bosom was there pressed.  Their names:  Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; they were mine, and they bore sons and daughters.  As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah. 

 

About the Older Sister, Samaria

 

Verses 5-10, “Oholah played the harlot even though she was mine; and she lusted for her lovers, the neighboring Assyrians, who were clothed in purple, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, all of them choice men of Assyria; and with all for whom she lusted, with all their idols, she defiled herself.  She has never given up her harlotry brought from Egypt, for in her youth they had lain with her, pressed her virgin bosom, and poured out their immorality upon her.  Therefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, for whom she lusted.  They uncovered her nakedness, took away her sons and daughters, and slew her with the sword; she became a byword among women, for they had executed judgment on her.”

 

About the Younger Sister, Jerusalem

 

Verses 11-21, “Now although her sister Oholibah saw this, she became more corrupt in her lust than she, and in her harlotry more corrupt than her sister’s harlotry.  She lusted for the neighboring Assyrians, captains and rulers, clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men.  Then I saw that she was defiled; both took the same way.  But she increased her harlotry; she looked at men portrayed in vermillion, girded with belts around their waists, flowing turbans on their heads, all of them looking like captains, in the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity.  As soon as her eyes saw them, she lusted for them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.  Then the Babylonians came to her, in the bed of love, and they defiled her with their immorality; so she was defiled by them, and alienated herself from them.  She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness.  Then I alienated myself from her, as I had alienated myself from her sister.  Yet she multiplied her harlotry in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, when she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.  For she lusted for her paramours [margin: illicit lovers], whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.  [If God is referring to things like the ‘dog and pony shows’ in Tijuana, he really isn’t afraid of calling a spade a spade or pulling any punches.]  Thus you called to remembrance the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians pressed your bosom because of your youthful breasts.”

 

The LORD’s Judgment on Jerusalem

 

Verses 22-35, “Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Behold, I will stir up your lovers against you, from whom you have alienated yourself, and I will bring them against you from every side: the Babylonians, all the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, Koa, all the Assyrians with them, all of them desirable young men, governors and rulers, captains and men of renown, all of them riding horses.  And they shall come against you with chariots, wagons, and war-horses, with a horde of people.  They shall array against you buckler, shield, and helmet all around. I will delegate judgment to them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments.  I will set my jealousy against you, and they shall deal furiously with you; they shall remove your nose and ears, and your remnant shall fall by the sword; they shall take your sons and your daughters, and your remnant shall be devoured by fire.  They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewelry.  Thus I will make you cease your lewdness and your harlotry brought from the land of Egypt, so that you will not lift your eyes to them, nor remember Egypt anymore.’  For thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself.  They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare.  The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry.  I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols.  You have walked in the way of your sister; therefore I will put her cup in your hand.’  Thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘You shall drink of your sister’s cup, the deep and wide one; you shall be laughed to scorn and held in derision; you will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow.  The cup of horror and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria.  You shall drink and drain it, you shall break its shards, and tear at your own breasts [King James Version: and pluck off thine own breasts]; for I have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD.  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, therefore you shall bear the penalty of your lewdness and your harlotry.’”

 

The LORD Judges Both Sisters

 

Verses 36-49, “The LORD also said to me:  ‘Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah?  Then declare to them their abominations.  For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands.  They have committed adultery with their idols.  [Comment: If you haven’t figured it out by now, spiritual adultery is idolatry, worship of false gods in place of the true God, or even worse, pretending to worship the true God while committing idolatry, while worshipping false gods.  God said he was married to Israel, and the love and obedience they showed him symbolized the love and obedience of a wife toward her husband.  Worshipping a false god in idolatry equated to adulterating their relationship with the true God, i.e. spiritual adultery.  They were also guilty of doing some pretty nasty stuff in their idol worship of Baal, which is again mentioned here.] They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore me, passing them through the fire, to devour them.  Moreover they have done this to me:  They have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my Sabbaths.  For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of my house.  [That’s pretty bad, going and sacrificing one of your children in the fires of Baal, and then going into the Temple to worship God.  In today’s day and age, going and getting an abortion, and then going to church that Sunday or Saturday would amount to the same thing.  How disgusting God must be at such hypocritical actions, both then and now.]  Furthermore you sent men to come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and there they came.  And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned yourself with ornaments.  You sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you had set my incense and my oil.  The sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and Sabeans were brought from the wilderness with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads.  Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?  Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women.  But righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.’  For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Bring up the assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder.  The assembly shall stone them with stones and execute them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire.  Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice you lewdness.  They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your idolatrous sins.  Then you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.’”

 

Ezekiel 24:1-27

 

Parable of the Boiling Cauldron

 

Verses 1-14:  J. Vernon McGee has this to say, “In chapter 24 we have the parable of the boiling pot and the death of Ezekiel’s wife.  God will use both of these to speak to the people.  This is the first time that Ezekiel has dated his message.  At this very moment Nebuchadnezzar was breaking through the wall of Jerusalem.  There was no television in that day to let Ezekiel know what was happening.  There was no satellite to convey this message from Jerusalem to Babylon.  The only way he could get this message was by God revealing it to him.  The liberal theologians have always had a problem with this verse; one of them has said: “This verse forces on us in the clearest fashion the dilemma either Ezekiel was a deliberate deceiver, or he was possessed of some kind of second sight.”  He certainly was possessed of second sight---God’s sight, by the way.  The liberal [Christian, minister] doesn’t recognize it as that, of course.  [J. Vernon McGee brings out a good point here.  Our liberal churches with their liberal ministers are as bad as the Sadducees in Jesus day, who didn’t believe in anything supernatural, like angels, the resurrections, God directly speaking with his prophets and servants.  Which means, in essence, the didn’t really believe in God, because he is a supernatural Being.  God was certainly speaking directly to Ezekiel, whether audibly or through the inaudible inspiration of the Holy Spirit we’re not told.  Liberal so-called Christian churches are something to get out of, if you’re in one.  Time is most definitely getting short, and your very future may depend on it.]  Verse 3, Again, Jerusalem is called “the bloody city.”  There is a pot, and there is scum in the pot.  The pot is the city of Jerusalem; the citizens are in that pot.  Their sin is the scum that’s in the pot.” [typ. THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 483, col.2, par.1-3]

 

The Death of Ezekiel’s Wife

 

  Verses 15-23:  “Apparently, the prophet had married a lovely, young Israelite girl, and they loved each other.  But down there in the captivity, she became sick and died.  I imagine it was a heart-break to Ezekiel, but again he must act a part” as verses 15-17 show.  “God told him, ‘Don’t act like you’re mourning at all.’  And the people didn’t understand it.  The people came to Ezekiel and said, ‘What in the world does this mean?  Your wife has died, and you are not mourning at all!  What kind of man are you?’  All of this Ezekiel is doing to get a message through to the people.” [typ. THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p.484, col.1 par.1-2].

 

Jerusalem, Representing All Israel, Was God’s Witness to the World in Old Testament Times---A Serious Warning to Christians

 

Verses 24-27:  Verse 24 is the key to this entire Book of Ezekiel: “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” (Ezek. 24:24).  At that very moment, Jerusalem was being destroyed, and later on word came to the captives about its destruction:  ‘And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten” (Ezek. 33:21).  Into the camp came these stragglers; they must have looked terrible.  They said, ‘We’ve escaped from the city. The false prophets were wrong.  The city is burned.  The temple has been leveled, and the city is debris and ashes.’  Ezekiel was right in not mourning.  The reason they were not to mourn is found in verse 27, “In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb : and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezek. 24:27).  “They shall know that I am the LORD.”  Jerusalem was God’s city, and the temple was His house.  They were God’s witness to the world.  And when the people of Israel failed [to be God’s proper witnesses to the world], God said, ‘I will destroy even my own witness on the earth.  I want you to know the city is destroyed.  The rest of your people are being brought into captivity.  But there’s no use weeping, there’s no use howling to me now, I have done this---I am responsible for it.  To each of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, the Lord Jesus said, “You had better be careful of your witness to the world, or I will come and remove your lampstand.”  The lampstand of all seven of those churches has been removed, my friend.”  [Now J. Vernon McGee is talking about the literal seven churches in Asia Minor, not the church era’s which they represented.  But 5 of the lampstands have gone out, Ephesus through Sardis.  We are now in the era of the last two churches, Philadelphia and Laodicia, so this is a huge warning to these two church era’s.  see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation2-1-11.html and read all the way through the part of this commentary going through Revelation chapters 2 through 3.  This information is a warning to you personally as a believer, it’s just that important.]…”This ought to be a message to us: If you are a Christian and are not going to stand for God today, He will remove your lampstand---there will be no light.  This is a strong message; it is not the lovey-dovey, sloppy stuff we hear so often.  This is Ezekiel, and he is speaking for God.  He has said again and again, “The word of the LORD came unto me, saying.”  If you want to argue with his message, take it to the Lord, but remember he’s right and we are the ones who are wrong.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p.484, col.1, par.3, col.2, par.1-5].  To read about one of the two final church era’s you could be in (you’re in one or the other), log onto and read http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation3-1-22.html.

 

The Boiling Cauldron 

 

Verses 1-14, “Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day---the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem this very day.  And utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD:  Put on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it, gather pieces of meat in it, every good piece, the thigh and the shoulder.  Fill it with choice cuts; take the choice of the flock.  Also pile fuel bones under it, make it boil well, and let the cuts simmer in it.’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is in it, and whose scum is not gone from it!  Bring it out piece by piece, on which no lot has fallen.  For her blood is in her midst; she set it on top of a rock; she did not pour it on the ground, to cover it with dust.  That it may raise up fury and take vengeance, I have set her blood on top of a rock, that it may not be covered.’  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Woe to the bloody city!  I too will make the pyre great.  Heap on the wood, kindle the fire; cook the meat well, mix in the spices, and let the cuts be burned up.  Then set the pot empty on the coals, that it may become hot and it’s bronze burn, that its filthiness may be melted in it, that its scum may be consumed.  [Comment: bronze, made up of copper and tin, would melt in a really hot fire.]  She has grown weary with lies, and her great scum has not gone from her.  Let her scum be in the fire!  In your filthiness is lewdness.  Because I have cleansed you, and you were not cleansed, you will not be cleansed of your filthiness anymore, till I  have caused my fury to rest upon you.  I, the LORD, have spoken it;  it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not hold back, nor will I spare, nor will I relent; according to your ways and according to your deeds they will judge you,’ says the Lord GOD.”

 

Death of Ezekiel’s Wife

 

Verses 15-23, “Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with one stroke; yet you shall neither mourn nor weep, nor shall your tears run down.  Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man’s bread of sorrow.’  So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died; and the next morning I did as I was commanded.  And the people said to me, ‘Will you not tell us what these things signify to us, that you behave so?’  Then I answered them, ‘The word of the LORD came to me, saying, Speak to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD:  Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, your arrogant boast [margin: the pride of your strength], the desire of your eyes, the delight of your soul; and your sons and daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.  And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips nor eat man’s bread of sorrow.  Your turbans shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you shall neither mourn nor weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and mourn with one another.”  The Temple of Solomon was always the desire of the Jew’s eyes.  Even the 12 apostles marvelled at the beauty of Herod’s Temple to Jesus in the beginning of Matthew 24.

 

Jerusalem, God’s Witness to the World, Is Removed, Falls

 

Verses 24-27, “Thus Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and when this comes, you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.’  And you, son of man---will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters:  that on that day one who escapes will come to you and let you hear it with your ears?  On that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute.”  Jerusalem was representative of all Israel as God’s Witness to the World in Old Testament times.  Thus this is addressed, in verse 20, to the “house of Israel.”  Both the House of Israel and the House of Judah had failed in their job of being witnesses to the world of their day, and God was removing their Lampstand, the very Temple, and city it dwelled in, God’s house.  Instead of being a witness to the Gentile nations around them, they became like the Gentiles.  Are you a witness to the world around you, or are you becoming like the world around you?  In Revelation chapters 2-3 the church era’s that have come from Ephesus to us now, each had a lampstand, each one has been a witness to the world of its day, right up to our time.  Will our Lampstand be removed, or will we be a faithful witness to the world in these end times?  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation3-1-22.html to see how Jesus defined the last two eras of his Church, which would exist side-by-side, parallel to each other right up to the beginning of the Great Tribulation.  One is protected for being a faithful witness, the other goes into the Tribulation.  In verse 27, God said that once this messenger reaches Ezekiel upon Jerusalem’s actual fall, on the Tish b’ Ab, he would no longer but mute, but would be able to speak.  This ends the first half of this commentary on the Book of Ezekiel.

 

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