by Ken Cayce

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Ezekiel Explained

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Book of Ezekiel Explained

Title: The book has always been named for its author, Ezekiel (1:3; 24:24), who is nowhere else mentioned in Scripture. His name means "strengthened by God", which, indeed, he was for the prophetic ministry to which God called him (3:8-9). Ezekiel uses visions, prophecies, parables, signs and symbols to proclaim and dramatize the message of God to His exiled people.

Author - Date: If the "thirtieth year" (of 1:1), refers to Ezekiel's age, he was 25 when taken captive and 30 when called into ministry. Thirty was the age when priests commenced their office, so it was a notable year for Ezekiel. His ministry began (in 593/592 B.C.), and extended at least 22 years until (571/570 B.C.; compare 25:17). He was a contemporary of both Jeremiah (who was about 20 years older), and Daniel (who was the same age), whom he names (in 14:14, 20; 28:3), as an already well known prophet. Like Jeremiah (Jer. 1:1), and Zechariah (compare Zech. 1:1 with Neh. 12:16), Ezekiel was both a prophet and a priest (1:3). Because of his priestly background, he was particularly interested in and familiar with the temple details; so God used him to write much about them (8:1-11:25; 40:1-47:12).

Ezekiel and his wife (who is mentioned in 24:15-27), were among 10,000 Jews taken captive to Babylon (in 597 B.C.; 2 Kings 24:11-18). They lived in Tel-abib (3:15), on the bank of the Chebar River, probably southeast of Babylon. Ezekiel writes of his wife's death in exile (Ezek. 24:18), but the book does not mention Ezekiel's death, which rabbinical tradition suggests occurred at the hands of an Israelite prince whose idolatry he rebuked (around 560 B.C.).

The author received his call to prophesy (in 593 B.C.; 1:2), in Babylon ("the land of the Chaldeans"), during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, which began (in 597 B.C.). Frequently, Ezekiel dates his prophecies (from 597 B.C.; 8:1; 20:1; 24:1; 26:1; 29:1; 30:20; 31:1; 32:1, 17; 33:21; 40:1). He also dates the message (in 40:1 as 573/572, the 14 th year after 586 B.C.), i.e., Jerusalem's final fall. The last dated utterance of Ezekiel (was in 571/570 B.C.; 29:17).

Almost all of Ezekiel's prophecies are in chronological order and are precisely dated (1:2; 8:1; 20:1; 24:1). The commencement of his ministry is said to be "in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity" (1:1-2; or 593 B.C.). The expression "in the thirtieth year" (1:1), probably refers to Ezekiel's age when he began to prophesy, which, in this case, was the same age at which priests became qualified to serve (Num. 4:3). The latest dated prophecy in the book was given "in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month" (29:17). The twenty-seventh year should be dated to Jehoiachin's exile (as in 1:2), which would terminate Ezekiel's ministry (in 571 B.C., at age 52), or a total of 22 years.

Background - Setting: From the historical perspective, Israel's united kingdom lasted more than 110 years (ca. 1043-931 B.C.), through the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon. Then the divided kingdom, Israel (north), and Judah (south), extended from (931 B.C. to 722/721 B.C.). Israel fell to Assyria (in 722/721 B.C.), leaving Judah, the surviving kingdom for 135 years, which fell to Babylon (in 605-586 B.C.).

From the more immediate setting, several features were strategic. Politically, Assyria's vaunted military might crumbled after 626 B.C., and the capital, Nineveh, was destroyed (in 612 B.C.), by the Babylonians and Medes (compare Nahum). The neo-Babylonian empire had flexed its muscles since Nabopolassar took the throne (in 625 B.C.), and Egypt, under Pharaoh Necho II, was determined to conquer what he could. Babylon smashed Assyria (in 612-605 B.C.), and registered a decisive victory against Egypt (in 605 B.C.), at Carchemish, leaving, according to the Babylonian Chronicle, no survivors. Also in 605 B.C., Babylon, led by Nebuchadnezzar, began the conquest of Jerusalem and the deportation of captives, among them Daniel (Dan. 1:2). In (Dec. 598 B.C.), he again besieged Jerusalem (and on Mar. 16, 597 B.C.), took possession. This time, he took captive Jehoiachin and a group of 10,000, including Ezekiel (2 Kings 24:11-18). The final destruction of Jerusalem and the conquest of Judah, including the third deportation (came in 586 B.C.).

Religiously, King Josiah (ca. 640/609 B.C.), had instituted reforms in Judah (compare 2 Chron. chapter 34). Tragically, despite his effort, idolatry had so dulled the Judeans that their awakening was only "skin deep" overall. The Egyptian army killed Josiah as it crossed Palestine (in 609 B.C.), and the Jews plunged on in sin toward judgment under Jehoahaz (609 B.C.), Jehoiakim [Eliakim] (609-598 B.C.), Jehoiachin (598-597 B.C.), and Zedekiah (597-586 B.C.).

Domestically, Ezekiel and the 10,000 lived in exile in Babylonia (2 Kings 24:14), more as colonists than captives, being permitted to farm tracts of land under somewhat favorable conditions (Jeremiah chapter 29). Ezekiel even had his own house (3:24; 20:1).

Prophetically, false prophets deceived the exiles with assurances of a speedy return to Judah (13:3, 16; Jer. 29:1). From (593-585 B.C.), Ezekiel warned that their beloved Jerusalem would be destroyed and their exile prolonged, so there was no hope of immediate return. (In 585 B.C.), an escapee from Jerusalem, who had evaded the Babylonians, reached Ezekiel with the first news that the city had fallen (in 586 B.C.), about 6 months earlier (33:21). That dashed the false hopes of any immediate deliverance for the exiles, so the remainder of Ezekiel's prophies related to Israel's future restoration to its homeland and the final blessings of the messianic kingdom.

Historical - Theological Themes: The "glory of the Lord" is central to Ezekiel, appearing in 1:28; 3:12, 23; 10:4, 18; 11:23; 43:4-5; 44:4). The book includes graphic descriptions of the disobedience of Israel and Judah, despite God's kindness (chapter 23, compare chapter 16). It shows God's desire for Israel to bear fruit which He can bless, however, selfish indulgence had left Judah ready for judgment, like a torched vine (chapter 15). References are plentiful to Israel's idolatry and its consequences, such as Pelatiah dropping dead (11:13), a symbolic illustration of overall disaster for the people.

Many picturesque scenes illustrate spiritual principles. Among these are Ezekiel eating a scroll (chapter 2); the faces on 4 angels representing aspects of creation over which God rules (1:10); a "barbershop" scene (5:1-4); graffiti on temple walls reminding readers of what God really wants in His dwelling place, namely holiness and not ugliness (8:10); and sprinkled hot coals depicting judgment (10:2, 7).

Chief among the theological themes are God's holiness and sovereignty. These are conveyed by frequent contrast of His bright glory against the despicable backdrop of Judah's sins (1:26-28; often in chapters 8-11; and 43:1-7). Closely related is God's purpose of glorious triumph so that all may "know that I am the LORD". This divine monogram, God's signature authenticating His acts, is mentioned more than 60 times, usually with a judgment (6:7; 7:4), but occasionally after the promised restoration (34:27; 36:11, 38; 39:28).

Another feature involves God's angels carrying out His program behind the scenes (1:5-25; 10:1-22). A further important theme is God's holding each individual accountable for pursuing righteousness (18:3-32).

Ezekiel also stresses sinfulness in Israel (2:3-7; 8:9-10), and other nations (throughout chapters 25-32). He deals with the necessity of God's wrath to deal with sin (7:1-8; 15:8); God's frustration of man's devices to escape from besieged Jerusalem (12:1-13; compare Jer. 39:4-7); and God's grace pledged in the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3), being fulfilled by restoring Abraham's people to the land of the covenant (chapters 34, 36 to 48; compare Gen. 12:7). God promises to preserve a remnant of Israelites through whom He will fulfill His restoration promises and keep His inviolate rod.

Interpretation - Purpose: The backgrounds of the books of Daniel and Ezekiel are quite similar. Daniel was taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (in 605 B.C.), during the reign of Jehoiakim (Dan. 1:1), At first, Jehoiakim supported Nebuchadnezzar, but (in 601 B.C.), he changed allegiance to Egypt (2 Kings 24:1). As a result, Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem and captured it (in March 597 B.C.). Jehoiakim had already died in disgrace and been succeeded by his son Jehoiachin. The latter, feeling that matters were quite hopeless, surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar and was taken captive to Babylon along with Ezekiel and a total of 10,000 of the leaders and skilled craftsmen (2 Kings. 24:8-17; Jer. 22:24-30; Ezek. 19:5-9). Thus, all of Ezekiel's ministry, except for visionary glimpses of life in Jerusalem, took place in Babylon Since Ezekiel prophesied both before and after the destruction of Jerusalem during Nebuchadnezzar's third campaign (586 B.C.). His early prophecies emphasize the impending disaster; his later prophecies stress Israel's future restoration, especially their glorious new temple.

The purpose of the book is essentially threefold:

(1) To explain that Judah must be judged for disobedience;

(2) To encourage the remnant of Judah through prophecies of her glorious future restoration;

(3) To emphasize the preeminence of God's glory and character.

The Glory of God may well be viewed as the theme of the book, because Ezekiel's ministry begins with a vision of God's glory and emphasizes it throughout the book (1:28; 3:12, 23; 8:4). Upwards of 75 times God expresses His own concerns in the book as "for my name's sake" or that "ye shall know that I am the Lord". All of God's actions, either in judgment or blessing, emanate equally from His holiness and for His glory.


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Chapter Selection


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Ezekiel 1 Ezekiel 17 Ezekiel 33
Ezekiel 2 Ezekiel 18 Ezekiel 34
Ezekiel 3 Ezekiel 19 Ezekiel 35
Ezekiel 4 Ezekiel 20 Ezekiel 36
Ezekiel 5 Ezekiel 21 Ezekiel 37
Ezekiel 6 Ezekiel 22 Ezekiel 38
Ezekiel 7 Ezekiel 23 Ezekiel 39
Ezekiel 8 Ezekiel 24 Ezekiel 40
Ezekiel 9 Ezekiel 25 Ezekiel 41
Ezekiel 10 Ezekiel 26 Ezekiel 42
Ezekiel 11 Ezekiel 27 Ezekiel 43
Ezekiel 12 Ezekiel 28 Ezekiel 44
Ezekiel 13 Ezekiel 29 Ezekiel 45
Ezekiel 14 Ezekiel 30 Ezekiel 46
Ezekiel 15 Ezekiel 31 Ezekiel 47
Ezekiel 16 Ezekiel 32 Ezekiel 48

Ezekiel 1

Ezekiel Chapter 1

Ezekiel 1:1 "Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, as I [was] among the captives by the river of Chebar, [that] the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God."

Ezekiel, son of Buzi, a priest, was carried into captivity by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar in the second deportation from Jerusalem with Judah's king Jehoiachin (597 B.C.; see 2 Kings:11-16), and settled by the River Chebar, a great canal southeast of Babylon. He began his prophetic ministry at the age of thirty (see Numbers 4:3), in the fifth year of his captivity (in 592 B.C.). Two major visions appear in the first eleven chapters, the first in Babylon (chapters 1-3), and the second a visionary spiritual revelation of what was happening in Jerusalem (chapters 8-11).

"Thirtieth Year": Most likely this was Ezekiel's age since the date relative to the king's reign (is given in 1:2). Thirty was the age when a priest began his priestly duties. "River of Chebar". A major canal off of the Euphrates River south of Babylon.

"Visions of God": This scene has similarities to the visions of God's throne (in Rev. 4 verse 5), where the emphasis is also on a glimpse of that throne just before judgment is released (in Rev. 6-19).

The setting is in captivity. It is strange to begin the book with the word "now". I believe that he is saying, there was a separation of his life up until this time. Now, he has accepted the role God intended for him all along. "The heavens were opened" is an expression stating that this was not Ezekiel's doing. This was a miraculous act of God.

In the following Scripture, we see the heavens opened at the baptism of Jesus.

Matthew 3:16 "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:"

One other time, that is mentioned specifically, is at the stoning of Stephen.

Acts 7:56 "And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."

We can easily see from these Scriptures; this type of thing seldom happens. When they do happen, God is revealing something to man. The visions of God were not night dreams, but something that happened while he was fully awake. These visions were to reveal something from God to Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 1:2 "In the fifth [day] of the month, which [was] the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,"

"Fifth Year": (This is 593 B.C.). The King, Ezekiel and 10,000 others had been deported to Babylon (in 597 B.C.). Ezekiel is the age of 25.

We will notice in Ezekiel that he did not recognize Zedekiah's reign. Zedekiah had been put into power by Nebuchadnezzar, and Ezekiel did not consider him, truly king. There had been many false prophets who said that Judah would not stay in captivity. They prophesied the fall of Babylon within 2 years. The true prophets, like Ezekiel and Jeremiah, were prophesying no such thing.

Ezekiel 1:3 "The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him."

"Word of the Lord...hand of the Lord". As God prepared Isaiah and Jeremiah, so the Lord prepares Ezekiel to receive revelation and strengthens him for his high and arduous task to speak as His Prophet. "Ezekiel the priest" (as noted in this verse).

The word "expressly" shows us, that even if others were there, they did not hear the word God sent to Ezekiel. This Scripture shows us that Ezekiel was not only a prophet, but priest, as well. This is the only mention of Buzi in the Bible.

The "hand of the LORD" speaks of the power that came into Ezekiel from the touch of the LORD. The hand also symbolizes work. If the work is connected with God, then it is a holy work. The priests were anointed on the thumb of their right hand, showing that their work was to be holy.

The land of the Chaldeans is Babylon. Ezekiel was a priest in exile. He was with his people. He did not prophesy in the palace, as Daniel did. He prophesied in the country in exile. Remember, Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem with the people who were left. All three prophesied the same thing, but to different people in different places.

Verses 4 -14: The opening vision focuses on angels surrounding God's presence.

Verses 4-6: Behold a whirlwind. Out of the whirlwind and cloud (see 2 Kings 2:11; Job 38:1), emerge "four living creatures." These are the cherubim, exalted angelic beings who constantly attend the throne of God. (Verse 6 says), that each angel had four wings. They appear in similar form (in Rev. 4-5), but there they are seen with six wings, which means their shape and form may vary.

Some think the seraphim of (Isaiah 6:1-3), are the same celestial beings assuming a slightly different appearance.

In his vision Ezekiel saw four living creatures, the first of four key elements in the revelation. These are identified later as cherubim, an angelic order (Ezek. 10:15, 20). The faces of the beasts were the faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (verse 10).

Some have suggested that these animals represent four aspects of God's creative work: man is the only creature made in the image of God; the lion is the sovereign of the animal kingdom; the ox is the strongest domesticated animal; and the eagle is considered by many to be the greatest bird.

The fact that the creatures covered their bodies, point to their reverence in God's presence.

Ezekiel 1:4 "And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness [was] about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire."

"Whirlwind...fire". Judgment on Judah in a further and totally devastating phase is come out of the North and did come from Babylon (in 588-586). Its terror is depicted by a fiery whirlwind emblematic of God's judgments and the golden brightness signifying dazzling glory.

Many times, the presence of God is spoken of as being in the north. The Hebrews had always feared the power coming from the north. We see in the following Scripture, that God speaks from the whirlwind.

Job 40:6 "Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,"

We see in the following Scripture, the movement of the power of God in the whirlwind, as well.

2 Kings 2:11 "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

God revealed Himself in a fire by night and a smoke by day to the Israelites. There is no question in my mind that this is speaking of a presence of Almighty God.

Hebrews 12:29: "For our God [is] a consuming fire." The word translated amber, here, means bronze. "Bronze" symbolizes judgment. The Lord is the Judge of the entire world. This is speaking of God.

Ezekiel 1:5 "Also out of the midst thereof [came] the likeness of four living creatures. And this [was] their appearance; they had the likeness of a man."

"Four living creatures": Four angles, most likely the cherubs (in 10:1-22), appearing in the erect posture and figure of man (note face, legs, feet, and hands in verses 6-8), emerge to serve God who judges. The number 4 may have respect to the 4 corners of the earth, implying that God's angels execute His commands everywhere.

We have studied in some of our other books, that these 4 living creatures are symbolic of the 4 gospels, and more specifically Jesus in the 4 gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

This likeness of a man is speaking of Jesus in the book of Luke, which shows the manhood of Jesus. Notice, this likeness came from the middle. We will find that the middle of the wheel is Jesus in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The focal point of the entire Bible is Jesus in the 4 gospels.

We must, also, look at the word "appearance". This reveals there is a symbolic meaning here.


Verses 6-14: "Four faces ... four wings": The four faces may prefigure the revelation of Christ in the four gospels (lion - Matthew; ox - Mark; man - Luke; eagle - John), an idea advanced by early Christian writers. They are, however, real. Their actual wings were outstretched, one pair being linked to those of the next creature, apparently forming a close knit square. Since they were thus connected, they could fly forward without turning.

Ezekiel 1:6 "And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings."

"Four faces": These symbols identify the angels as intelligent (man), powerful (lion), servile (ox), and swift (eagle).

"Four wings": Four wings instead of two symbolize speed in performing God's will.

"Four" means universal. This message is for those in captivity everywhere and not just for those of Judah captive here. The wings symbolize the rising above the earthly to the heavenly.

"Isaiah 40:31: "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint."

Everyone has a time in his life, when he would like to fly away from his troubles. This would be especially true of those in captivity.

Ezekiel 1:7 "And their feet [were] straight feet; and the sole of their feet [was] like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass."

They were not bent like an animal's, but straight like pillars showing strength.

"Calves feet": This points to their stability and firm stance.

"Burnished brass" symbolizes judgment. The straight feet could be speaking of their walk before God on the straight and narrow path. The calf mentioned here, is speaking of the book of Mark, which shows the miracles of Jesus. The calf symbolizes work.

Ezekiel 1:8 "And [they had] the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings."

"Hands of a man": This is a symbol of their skillful service.

The book of Luke is symbolized by the face of man. These 4 faces mean they were looking to all mankind, and not just the Hebrews. This shows the strength of the Lord to hold all of humanity up. It is Jesus in these 4 gospels, who lift them up to the heavenlies.

Each of the four gospels reaches out to the 4 corners of the earth. These 4 faces in each appearance reach to the north, south, east, and the west. This just shows the universality of the gospel.

Ezekiel 1:9 "Their wings [were] joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward."

"Did not Turn": They were able to move in any direction without needing to turn, giving swift access to do God's will. Apparently, all were in harmony as to the way they moved. Their faces being connected in a square, they could fly straight forward without turning.

God's power to lift them up is not separated. All of God's children are united in their belief of God. They moved forward and not backwards. They were on the path which leads to God.

Ezekiel 1:10 "As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle."

"Faces": These symbols identify the angels as intelligent (man), powerful (lion), servile (ox), and swift (eagle), as noted (in verse 6).

Now we see the four faces. The "eagle" symbolizes God and therefore the book of John, which shows Jesus as God the Word.

The "lion" symbolizes the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Matthew.

The "ox" and the calf are the same. They both symbolize work in the book of Mark.

The "face of the man" is seen in Luke, which shows the manhood of Jesus.

These four books show the fullness of Jesus. Each of these had four faces, and each had a message for the entire world.

Ezekiel 1:11 "Thus [were] their faces: and their wings [were] stretched upward; two [wings] of every one [were] joined one to another, and two covered their bodies."

Notice, these wings and faces were lifted to heaven. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are all lifting Jesus heavenward. These are not earthly messages in these books, they are looking to heaven.

They are not like the Old Testament, which is caught up in the law. They are reaching into heaven to God. Flesh and blood bodies cannot rise to heaven. The body that rises to heaven is the spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."

1 Corinthians 15:44 "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."

The natural body, in Ezekiel here, cannot rise to heaven. It is covered with the wings, because it is not the heavenly body. The wings, which lift up, are speaking of the spiritual body which rises to heaven.

Ezekiel 1:12 "And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; [and] they turned not when they went."

"The spirit": This refers to the divine impulse by which God moved them to do His Will (compare 1:20).

God does not change His ways. He is straightforward.

James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

God does not turn from side to side. His approach is the Truth. The path is narrow that leads to righteousness. There is no looking back, or turning back, for the believer, any more than there is for God. The Spirit is the movement of the Word in the Gospels. The Word is alive, it is not stagnant.

Ezekiel 1:13 "As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance [was] like burning coals of fire, [and] like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning."

"Like...fire...torches": Their appearance conveyed God's glory and pure, burning justice which they assisted in carrying out even on Israel, who had for so long hardened themselves against His patience.

Jesus is the Light of the world. He is the Baptizer in fire. This constant fire, or Light, is speaking of the brightness of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels. It is Jesus who shines forth from these 4 books. It is His fire that purges our sins away.

The same appearance was in the burning bush and in the fire by night that led the Hebrews. He is the Lamp, which brings Light to the whole world.

Hebrews 9:2 "For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein [was] the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary."

The candlestick symbolized the Light of Jesus in the church. He was the table and the bread on the table, as well. In the 2nd chapter of Revelation, the candlesticks are the seven churches. The Light in the candlestick is Jesus. His Light goes forth through His church. This is what the lightning is speaking of. We, Christians, should show forth His Light.

These visions seem to have been sent to possess the prophet's mind with great and high thoughts of God. To strike terror upon sinners. To speak comfort to those that feared God, and humbled themselves. In (verses 4-14), is the first part of the vision, which represents God as attended and served by a vast company of angels, who are all his messengers, his ministers, doing his commandments. This vision would impress the mind with solemn awe and fear of the Divine displeasure, yet raise expectations of blessings. The fire is surrounded with a glory. Though we cannot by searching, find out God to perfection, yet we see the brightness round about it. The likeness of the living creatures came out of the midst of the fire; angels derive their being and power from God.

Ezekiel 1:14 "And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning."

Intense, relentless motion signifies God's constant work of judgment.

They have the understanding of a man, and far more. A lion excels in strength and boldness. An ox excels in diligence and patience, and unwearied discharge of the work he has to do. An eagle excels in quickness and piercing sight, and in soaring high; and the angels, who excel man in all these respects, put on these appearances. The angels have wings; and whatever business God sends them upon, they lose no time. They stood straight, and firm, and steady. They had not only wings for motion, but hands for action. Many persons are quick, who are not active; they hurry about, but do nothing to purpose; they have wings, but no hands. But wherever the angels' wings carried them, they carried hands with them, to be doing what duty required.

Whatever service they went about, they went every one straight forward. When we go straight, we go forward; when we serve God with one heart, we perform work. They turned not when they went. They made no mistakes; and their work needed not to be gone over again. They turned not from their business to trifle with any thing. They went whithersoever the Spirit of God would have them go.

The prophet saw these living creatures by their own light, for their appearance was like burning coals of fire; they are seraphim, or burners; denoting the ardor of their love to God, and fervent zeal in his service. We may learn profitable lessons from subjects we cannot fully enter into or understand. But let us attend to the things which relate to our peace and duty, and leave secret things to the Lord, to whom alone they belong.

This is speaking of the message that goes forth to the whole world from the Gospels. The appearance shown is Jesus, the Light of the world.

From (verses 15-25), this section looks at the glory of God's throne in heaven.

Verses 15-21. "Appearance of the wheels ... wheel in the middle of a wheel". Each of them had a connected wheel, possibly with two intersecting at right angles. Thus, they could roll in all directions without turning. Much spiritualized speculation has not solved this mystery of design. What is evident is that supernatural energy, likely angelic (Heb. 1:7), at the center of each wheel caused them to rotate. Their rims, adorned by eyes (see Rev. 4:6), speak of heavenly observation form God's celestial throne.

The wheels could move in any direction; the wheels seem to symbolize God's working on the earth. Nothing stopped them, just as nothing stops the sovereign God who controls all events on earth. This truth would have been very encouraging to the weary exiles to whom Ezekiel was called to minister.

Ezekiel 1:15 "Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces."

"One wheel": This depicts God's judgment as a war machine like a massive chariot moving where He is to judge. The cherubim above the Ark are call chariots (in 1 chron. 28.18).

The wheel is near the living creatures; the angels are employed as ministers of God's providence. The spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels; the same wisdom, power, and holiness of God, that guide and govern the angels, by them order all events in this lower world.

The wheel had four faces, denoting that the providence of God exerts itself in all parts. Look every way upon the wheel of providence, it has a face toward you. Their appearance and work were as a wheel in the middle of a wheel. The disposals of Providence seem to us dark, perplexed, and unaccountable, yet are all wisely ordered for the best.

This wheel shows the movement of the Gospels in the earth.

Ezekiel 1:16 "The appearance of the wheels and their work [was] like unto the color of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work [was] as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel."

"Wheel in the middle of a wheel". This depicted the gigantic energy of the complicated revolutions of God's massive judgment machinery bringing about His purposes with unerring certainly.

This "wheel in the middle of the wheel" is like the hub of the wheel, which the outer wheel circles around, controlled by the hub of the wheel. Jesus, in the 4 Gospels, is the hub of the wheel. He is the focal point of the Bible; from Genesis to Malachi points to Jesus; from Acts to Revelation points back to Jesus in the Gospels.

The outside of the wheel is the entire Bible. The inside wheel, or hub, is Jesus in the 4 gospels. Jesus is in the entire Bible. We do not always see Him spoken of by the name Jesus. Sometimes He is Lord, sometimes He is the Word, and sometimes He is Light. All are speaking of the personage we call Jesus.

His name always describes what He is doing at the time. Jesus means Savior. That was His name when He came to the earth as our Savior. He is also, Emmanuel (God with us). There are about 98 names that Jesus was called by in the Bible.

All the work on this earth is caught up in the Bible (wheel). The power in the wheel is the Spirit of God. The beryl is, probably, the color of fire or blood. The one likeness in all four Gospels is Jesus.

Ezekiel 1:17 "When they went, they went upon their four sides: [and] they turned not when they went."

Since the two wheels intersected at right angles, they could roll in all directions without turning.

"Did not turn aside". The judgment machine moved where the angels went.

This just speaks of the unchanging message of the Gospels.

Ezekiel 1:18 "As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings [were] full of eyes round about them four."

"Rings": Better, rims. "Full of eyes", Indicates God's ability to see all.

"Eyes": These may picture God's omniscience, or perfect knowledge, given to these angelic servants so that they can act in judgment unerringly. God does nothing by blind impulse. The fact that they were full of eyes shows the great wisdom they contain. The rings are, probably, speaking of the wheels being in a circle. They were so high they reached to heaven.

The consideration of the height and depth of God's counsel should awe us. They were full of eyes round about. The motions of Providence are all directed by infinite Wisdom. All events are determined by the eyes of the Lord, which are in every place beholding the evil and the good; for there is no such thing as chance or fortune.

Ezekiel 1:19 "And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up."

This shows that the 4 living creatures (Gospels) are part of a greater whole. They all work together. When the Gospels are lifted up, the entire Bible is elevated, as well. They all are in harmony of movement.

Ezekiel 1:20 "Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither [was their] spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature [was] in the wheels."

"The spirit". This refers to the divine impulse by which God moved them to do His Will.

The law of the Old Testament, and the grace of the New Testament, are all bound up together in Jesus. The types and shadows of the Lord Jesus are throughout the Old Testament. You just cannot separate the Bible. It all compliments each other.

Each book of the Bible is a piece of the whole. They are separate books with one message. To truly understand the Spirit in the Word of God, one must study it all. We understand better who Jesus is, if we study the tabernacle in the wilderness and the sacrifices made therein. Each item tells us something else about the greatness of Jesus.

Colossians 2:9 "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

The spirit of life was in the living creatures. Jesus is Life.

Ezekiel 1:21 "When those went, [these] went; and when those stood, [these] stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature [was] in the wheels."

Nothing stopped them, just as nothing stops the sovereign God who controls all events on earth. This truth would have been very encouraging to the weary exiles to whom Ezekiel was called to minister.

This, again, speaks of the harmony of the Gospels with the rest of the Bible. The Spirit of God is in His Word, the Bible.

Verses 22-24. The third part of the vision was the firmament. The Hebrew word used here is the same on used (in Genesis 1:6-7), for the expanse created by God on the second day. Its dazzling brilliance was an appropriate reminder of God's holiness and transcendent majesty (the description in Rev. 4:6).

These four living creatures seem to be conveying, with wings outstretched, a crystalline firmament above their heads, which glitters like transparent ice. This is similar to the "sea of glass like unto crystal" before the throne of God (in Revelation 4:6).

In that passage, the four living creatures are not conveying, but standing upon the sparkling pavilion. Moses and more that seventy others also saw the manifestation of the God of Israel on a sapphire-like pavement; transparently clear as the heavens (Exodus 24:10).

Ezekiel 1:22 "And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature [was] as the color of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above."

The wisdom of the Gospels is the wisdom from above. It is the wisdom of God Himself. Terrible, can mean beyond finding out. Terrible is translated in the bible also as "Awesome".

Romans 11:33 "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

The crystal over their heads speaks of the great peace they bring.

The firmament above was a crystal, glorious, but terribly so. That which we take to be a dark cloud, is to God clear as crystal, through which he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth. When the angels had roused a careless world, they let down their wings, that God's voice might be plainly heard.

Ezekiel 1:23 "And under the firmament [were] their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies."

Firmament, in the verse above, is the visible arc of the sky. The body of man wants to be hidden from the view of God. This is the meaning of the wings covering. The physical body of man will be changed, before it can enter the heavenlies. Its corruption must be changed to incorruption.

Ezekiel 1:24 "And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of a host: when they stood, they let down their wings."

"Noise of many waters". This imagery could have in mind a thunderous rush of heavy rain or the washing of surf on rocks.

The great waters, many times, speaks of large amounts of people. We have been speaking of the written Word in the wheel. Now, it has extended to the spoken Word (the voice of speech). This Word is what brings people to God.

Romans 10:8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;"

Jesus is the Word of God. That Word is the written Word throughout the pages of the Bible. He preached on the earth. The message He brought, and that His followers bring, is the spoken Word. This is what creates the host (large number of believers), clothed in white robes around the throne of God in heaven.

The spoken and written Word of God is what saves people.

Verses 25-28. Finally, there was a throne and the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. The important reality was that the throne was occupied, signifying that God was in control and judgment proceeded from His throne. Ezekiel did not see God, but the likeness and appearance of God.

The mention of the glory of the Lord (verse 28), is one of 16 such references in the book and doubtless sets forth the favorite theme of Ezekiel (verses 28; 3:12, 23; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18, 19; 11:22, 23; 39:21; 43:12 (twice), 4, 5; 44:4).

Ezekiel saw God's glory in his vision; he saw it depart from the temple (in chapters 10 and 11); and he saw it return in the future temple (in chapters 43 and 44).

Above this expanse, sparkling like ice crystals, Ezekiel then saw a sapphire like throne upon which was seated the semblance of a man, a manifestation of God. This vision depicts God coming to earth in His moveable throne (suggested in Psalm 18:9-12), to reveal Himself to His chosen prophet, thus summoning this prophet into His special ministry.

This vision, of course, is only a semblance, a likeness, because no one (John 1:18), has ever seen God in His pure essence. Only Jesus, God incarnate, could say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:8-9; John 1:14; 4:24; Col. 2:9; 1 Tim. 3:16).

Ezekiel 1:25 "And there was a voice from the firmament that [was] over their heads, when they stood, [and] had let down their wings."

"Voice": No doubt this is the voice of the Almighty (verse 24), since God's throne was over their heads.

God speaks from the heavens to the people on earth through the Gospels. They cannot raise themselves to heaven. God will raise them up in Jesus.

Ezekiel 1:26 "And above the firmament that [was] over their heads [was] the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne [was] the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it."

A Throne: A Man: The Godhead appears in the likeness of humanity, through God is a spirit. The Messiah, God incarnate, is the representative of the "fullness of the Godhead", so this can be a prelude to the incarnation of Messiah in His character as Savior and Judge.

Just as there was a Holy of Holies in the tabernacle in the wilderness, there is a throne in heaven. Jesus is the likeness of man that is seated on the right of the Father. He took on the likeness of fleshly man, when He was on earth. God is a Spirit. Man was made in the image of God.

Man is a spirit housed in flesh. Man's likeness to God is in the spirit. Mankind saw the image of God in Jesus. He was the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He (Jesus), told the disciples the following.

John 14:9 "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Show us the Father?"

Jesus opened the way to the throne of God for all believers.

Ezekiel 1:27 "And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about."

This Fire and Light are both speaking of the presence of God. Most times, when people see the presence of God, they see fire, as Moses did in the burning bush.

Ezekiel 1:28 "As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so [was] the appearance of the brightness round about. This [was] the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw [it], I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake."

"The glory of the Lord." This phrase and similar expressions occur seventeen times in the book. The work "glory" (Hebrew Kabod), carries the idea of weight or magnitude or worthiness. When used of God, it speaks of His presence, power, splendor, and radiance, that manifestation of His divine holiness, beauty, and effulgence that revels Him worthy of worshipful praise.

Ancient rabbis also use the word shechinah (meaning residence) to denote the radiance, glory, or presence of God, "dwelling in the midst of His people," as in the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34), and the temple (2 Chr. 7:1-3).

The rabbinical term shechinah was reserved for occasions when God's glory was physically manifested. The removal and ultimate return of this "glory of the Lord" is a major theme of this prophecy.

That glory shines fully in the person of Jesus Christ which is a constant theme in Ezekiel. "Fell on my face". John (in Rev. 1:17), had the same reaction to seeing the glory of the Lord.

The bow in the cloud is speaking of the rainbow. The rainbow reminds us of the covenant God made with mankind. It will not rain enough again to flood the entire earth. God said it, it is so. The rainbow shows God's faithfulness.

The fire of judgment is overcome by God's love for mankind. His new covenant is in Jesus. The complete reverence of God by Ezekiel will not let him stand. He falls face down and worships Him. While Ezekiel is lying on his face, God speaks.

Ezekiel Chapter 1 Questions

1. Who is the penman of this book?

2. Ezekiel was from an upper _____________ family.

3. How many years had the northern kingdom been in captivity, when Ezekiel began prophesying?

4. Who is the first of the prophecy directed to?

5. Where was Ezekiel, when he prophesied?

6. How old was he, when he began to prophesy?

7. How old was Jesus, when He began His formal ministry?

8. What must we do, for the book of Ezekiel to be meaningful to us today?

9. What does the name "Ezekiel" mean?

10. What are three words Ezekiel speaks often in this book?

11. What happened in verse 1?

12. Why does the author believe this book was started with the word "now"?

13. Name two other times when the heavens were opened?

14. What is God doing, when the heavens open?

15. Why is Jehoiachin mentioned, instead of Zedekiah?

16. What does the word "expressly" show us?

17. What was Ezekiel, besides a prophet?

18. What was his father's name?

19. What does the "hand of the LORD" speak of?

20. Why were the priests anointed on the thumb of their right hand?

21. Ezekiel was a priest in ________.

22. Where did Daniel prophesy?

23. Where did Jeremiah prophesy?

24. What message do we receive from Job chapter 40 verse 6?

25. Who was carried to heaven in a whirlwind accompanied by a chariot of fire?

26. How had God revealed Himself to the Israelites in the wilderness wanderings?

27. What does "bronze" symbolize?

28. Also out of the midst thereof came the ____ of ____ ____ _____.

29. Who is the focal point of the Bible?

30. What did the 4 living creatures symbolize?

31. What does the number "4" mean?

32. What does "burnished brass" symbolize?

33. Each of the four Gospels reach out where?

34. What does the face of the "eagle" symbolize?

35. What does the face of the "calf or ox" symbolize?

36. What does the face of the "lion" symbolize?

37. What does the face of man symbolize?

38. What items in the tabernacle in the wilderness symbolize Jesus or His church?

39. What is the wheel in the middle of the wheel?

40. Where was the spirit of the living creatures?

41. What did the abundance of eyes symbolize?

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Ezekiel 2

Ezekiel Chapter 2

Ezekiel 2:1 "And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee."

In the last lesson, we saw Ezekiel lying face down in total adoration of God. Now, we see that God speaks to Ezekiel, and tells him to stand up. In the presence of God, the only time you would be permitted to stand, would be at God's request.

"Son of man": A term used to refer to Ezekiel over 93 times in the book. The use of the title seems to emphasize the humanity of the prophet and all of mankind, who are separated by a great gulf from the Holy God. It suggests that in contrast to the glorious and mighty Lord and the angelic beings who convey His throne, he is a human being. Yet Ezekiel is a special "son of man," the man of the hour, chosen, spiritually endowed, and delegated by God.

God speaks to mankind through the mouth of prophets many times. Jesus called Himself, Son of man on several occasions. Jesus represented God the Father to mankind. God calls Ezekiel, Son of man, here, because He will speak to mankind through Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 2:2 "And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me."

The Spirit, which we saw in the living creatures, is now in Ezekiel. We remember that this was speaking of the Spirit in the Word of God. This Spirit brings understanding to Ezekiel. This Spirit gave Ezekiel the power to stand and listen to the Word God speaks. He listens, not only with his ears, but with his understanding, as well.

The Spirit empowers Ezekiel to perform His ministry, as He speaks to him. Other occasions of such special empowerment are found (in Numbers 24:2; Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 1 Sam. 10:10; 16:13-14; 19:20; 2 Chron. 15:1; Zechariah 4:6). Before Christ's first coming, the Spirit did not indwell all believers as now, but He "moved" and "came upon them" (see 2 Peter 1:21).

What God commands a servant to do; He gives power to fulfill by His Spirit. This pictures the selective empowering by the Holy Spirit to enable an individual for special service to the Lord, which occurred frequently in the Old Testament.

Ezekiel 2:3 "And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, [even] unto this very day."

The fact that they are spoken of as Israel here, could possibly be speaking to all of God's family. This message is not just to Judah. This is to those who rebelled against God.

Nation is singular here. Their punishment was not because their fathers sinned, but because they sinned.

Ezekiel's mission was to a rebellious nation. The sobering reality of the Babylonian exile had not yet had its intended effect.

Ezekiel 2:4 "For [they are] impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD."

"Impudent", in this particular case means cruel or hard hearted. "Stiffhearted" is a strange word, which means strong, or violent. The condition of our hearts is what we really are. We see then, that these people had a heart far away from God. Because of their evil hearts God tells Ezekiel to say, "Thus saith the Lord GOD".

The Lord God is a title of God used some 217 times in the book, while used elsewhere in the Old Testament only 103 times. The Hebrew expression is Adonai Yahweh. The first word emphasizes God's sovereignty; the second emphasizes His eternal existence and character as the God of covenant, history and ethics.

Ezekiel 2:5 "And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they [are] a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them."

These people are so hard hearted; they probably will not accept the message that Ezekiel is bringing them. When the prophesy becomes reality, they will know, beyond doubt, they had been warned by a prophet of God. He tells Ezekiel, perhaps they will listen, and perhaps they will not.

In any case the people cannot plead ignorance.

Ezekiel is sent with a message to the children of Israel. Many might treat his message with contempt, yet they should know by the event that a prophet had been sent to them. God will be glorified, and his word made honorable.

Ezekiel 2:6 "And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns [be] with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house."

Be not afraid is spoken three times to Ezekiel to encourage him to fulfill God's mission.

Briars, thorns, scorpions are figures of speech God used to describe the people of Judah whose obstinate rejection of His Word was like the barbs of thorns and stings of scorpions to Ezekiel. The wicked were often so called (in 2 Samuel 23:6; Song of Solomon 2:2; and Isaiah 9:18).

Many times, prophets of God are in the midst of people who do not believe. This was exactly the way it was with Ezekiel. They will say ugly things to Ezekiel, but he is not to fear them. They may threaten him, but God has a hedge around him, and they cannot harm him. It appears that even their looks were filled with hate.

Those who will do anything to purpose in the service of God, must not fear men. Wicked men are as briers and thorns; but they are nigh unto cursing, and their end is to be burned.

Verses 7-8: "Thou shall speak my words" is an introduction to the content of Ezekiel's message (presented in 2:8-3:11).

Ezekiel 2:7 "And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they [are] most rebellious."

All of their angry words and evil looks are not to stop Ezekiel from bringing them the prophecy that God has given him for them. Ezekiel is to speak every word, just as God has given it to him. It really does not matter whether they listen, or not.

The prophet must be faithful to the souls of those to whom he was sent. All who speak from God to others, must obey his voice.

This reminds me so much of Noah, who preached the whole time he was building the ark, and no one listened to his message. They heard it with their physical ears, but did not take heed to the message.

Rebellion was the very next thing to witchcraft in God's sight. Ministers today may bring the truth to their people, and still not be accepted. Just because these people do not listen, does not take the burden of prophesying away from Ezekiel. It is his obligation to bring God's message. It is not his obligation to make them accept the message.

Ezekiel 2:8 "But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee."

The eating of the Word of God was important to Ezekiel. It was to be deep within him. God is telling Ezekiel to receive this message into his innermost being. He must not be like these rebellious children of Israel, who will not accept God's message. We must also (eat), the Word of God everyday. We must take God's Word into our innermost being, and do what that Word says.

Ezekiel was to obey the command, not literally eating a scroll, but in a spiritual sense by receiving God's message so that it became an inward passion.

We will see in the next Scripture, that Jeremiah ate the Word of God also.

Jeremiah 15:16 "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

Ezekiel is to be strong in the Word of God in a land where God's people have turned against the truth.

Ezekiel 2:9 "And when I looked, behold, a hand [was] sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book [was] therein;"

This roll of a book is actually a scroll used in those days. The hand of God has sent this roll to Ezekiel.

Actually, the Bible is sent to each of us as well. God is the Author of the Bible.

2 Peter 1:21 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost."

Ezekiel 2:10 "And he spread it before me; and it [was] written within and without: and [there was] written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe."

This roll written on the front and back lets us know of the fullness of the message from God that it contained. There was not room enough on one side to write it all. This was similar to the message of prophecy that Baruch wrote of the Words God had put in Jeremiah's mouth. Both rolls contained sorrows of the prophecy, the two messengers were to bring to the rebellious house of Israel. The lamentations, (audible expression of sorrow) mourning, and woe would come, because they would refuse the message that Ezekiel brought them from God.

Ezekiel Chapter 2 Questions

1. What did God call Ezekiel in verse 1?

2. What did He tell Ezekiel to do?

3. When is the only time to stand in the presence of God?

4. How does God generally speak to mankind?

5. What entered Ezekiel, when God spoke?

6. What does this do for Ezekiel?

7. What is different about Ezekiel's hearing?

8. Who did God send him to?

9. Why were they punished?

10. What kind of children are the Israelites called in verse 4?

11. How is Ezekiel to begin his message to them?

12. What does "impudent" in verse 4 mean?

13. What does "stiffhearted" mean?

14. How will the people receive Ezekiel's message from God to them?

15. When will they know for sure that Ezekiel was a prophet?

16. What were the people called in verse 6?

17. Why should he not fear them?

18. Their angry words and looks were like _________.

19. What does the rejection of Ezekiel's message remind the author of?

20. What is the obligation of Ezekiel?

21. What unusual thing does God tell Ezekiel to do in verse 8?

22. What is He really telling him to do?

23. What was in the hand God sent to Ezekiel?

24. What is it very much like today?

25. Who is the author of the Bible?

26. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by what?

27. What was written on the roll?

28. What other message was this similar to?

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Ezekiel 3

Ezekiel Chapter 3

Ezekiel 3:1 " Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. "

Ezekiel was commanded to eat this roll (or scroll). This depicted the fact that he was first to receive the Word of God. He who would communicate God's Word must first assimilate it (Rev. 10:9-11). The fact that it was "written within and without" (meaning on both sides), is a picture of the extensive content of what God intended to communicate through him.

This is not physical food for his body but for the mind and the spirit of man. This is the Word of God that Ezekiel is to eat. For a person to be able to bring the Word of God to the people, he must first consume that Word for himself. The Word of God is a gift to man from God.

Ezekiel must fill himself to overflowing with that Word, and then when he opens his mouth, he will speak the Word accurately. Notice, one more time, Ezekiel must consume the roll, and then go speak the Word to the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 3:2 " So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. "

This is just explaining that Ezekiel is obedient to God. He opens his mouth and God fills his mouth with the Word. God's messenger must first internalize God's truth for himself, then preach it.

Ezekiel 3:3 " And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat [it]; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. "

The words of God were "sweet as honey" to the young prophet, as John also initially experienced when he "ate" the roll the mighty angel gave him (Rev. 10:8-11). The bittersweet message of God's grace and judgment brought bitterness to John's belly. Similarly, Ezekiel became "bitter," as he began his ministry to this "rebellious nation" (see verse 14). This scroll (as in Zechariah 5:1-4 and Revelation 5-6), is symbolic of the Word itself, with the message of judgment and tribulation written therein.

To just hear the Word is not enough. This is explaining the importance of the Word being down deep inside of us. Jesus explained it by saying, they have ears to hear, and they do not hear. They heard the Word that was spoken, but did not receive it within their selves. It had not become part of them.

The 24th chapter of Proverbs speaks of wisdom from God as being sweet as honey in the mouth. Wisdom is like the Word of God, they are both gifts from God. The Word of God is spoken of as food in the following verse.

Jeremiah 15:16 "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

Revelation 10:10 "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter."

Ezekiel 3:4 " And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. "

Notice whose Words are to be spoken. The Word he speaks must be God's Word. Just as God put His Words in Jeremiah's mouth, He puts His Words into the innermost being of Ezekiel. When Ezekiel opens his mouth, God's Words will pour out.

This sets forth the second aspect of Ezekiel's calling. Not only was he to receive God's Word, but he was also to deliver it faithfully to Israel.

Ezekiel 3:5 " For thou [art] not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, [but] to the house of Israel; "

Ezekiel will not need an interpreter. He is Hebrew, the same as they are. They will be able to understand what Ezekiel brings to them from God, if they will accept it.

Ezekiel 3:6 " Not to many people of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. "

We see from the following Scripture, that a prophet is more acceptable to strangers, than by his own.

Matthew 13:57 "And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house."

Ezekiel 3:7 " But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel [are] impudent and hardhearted."

We know this is true. The very reason they are in captivity, is because they had turned against the teachings of the law that God had given them. They had worshipped false gods, which is breaking the very first commandment.

Ezekiel was warned at the outset of his ministry that the people would not listen to him.

They will not listen, because they are proud, arrogant people. They have hardened their hearts to the teachings of God.

Verses 8-9: "I have made thy face strong" What God commands (Do not be afraid), He gives sufficiency to do (I have made), so God will enable the prophet to live up to his name ("which means strengthened by God").

Ezekiel 3:8 " Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. "

"Their foreheads" symbolizes their minds. Their minds are so closed off; they will not accept the things Ezekiel brings them from God. They are like goats that butt heads, neither one wanting to yield.

Ezekiel 3:9 " As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house."

"Adamant", in the verse above, is speaking of a stone. God has girded Ezekiel's mind, so that it is harder than a stone. God keeps reminding Ezekiel that He is his protection. Ezekiel must not let their threats, or angry looks, stop him from bringing the message that God sent to them. Fear is the opposite of faith. Ezekiel must place his faith in God.

It is sad to observe that the exile and affliction did not make the Jews more responsive to God; rather, they were hardened by their sufferings. God gave Ezekiel a "hardness" to surpass the people and sustain his ministry as prophet to the exiles.

Ezekiel 3:10 " Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. "

The fact that God calls Ezekiel, "son of man", is reminding Ezekiel that he is a man, and not God. Ezekiel's strength comes from God. This is the same as eating the Words of God. The Words of God must be received into the innermost being of Ezekiel.

This is the same message in the following Scripture.

Mark 13:11 'But when they shall lead [you], and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost."

The Words God wants him to speak will come in his ear and in his mouth.

Ezekiel 3:11 " And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. "

Just as Noah was to tell the people before the flood, Ezekiel was to go to the people here. They did not listen to Noah in his time, and they will not listen to Ezekiel in his time. He is to tell them anyhow. Maybe, someone will listen and repent.

Verses 12, 14 "Spirit lifted me up": This is a phrase used to describe the prophet being elevated to a heavenly vision (as in the experiences of 8:3 and 11:1).

Ezekiel 3:12 " Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, [saying], Blessed [be] the glory of the LORD from his place."

It is time now for Ezekiel to go and do the things God has told him to do. The Words of God are deep within him. He is ready. Sometimes it takes a little nudge from God to get going. The Spirit of God lifts him up, and gets him going.

This voice behind him could have been like the angels who constantly worship and adore God. Ezekiel's only reluctance is the fact that he might be rejected by his countryman. He is helped along by the Spirit which has lifted him.

Ezekiel 3:13 " [I heard] also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing. "

This is the same rushing wind that was heard on day of Pentecost. The Spirit in the Word of God is what he hears. The wings, you remember, lift heavenward.

Ezekiel 3:14 " So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me."

The bitterness that he felt was the bitterness of knowing the rejection of his people. He is like many ministers, who feel they can do no good, but go anyhow.

Remember, the hand of God upon him, is bringing power to him to minister and gives enablement to Ezekiel to sustain him during his difficult ministry.

His pain came from the fact that his own people he knew would not accept the message he brought (which was told him in 3:7).

Ezekiel 3:15 " Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. "

Tel-abib was located in Babylonia and is not to be confused with the modern city of Tel Aviv in Israel. This was the main city for the Jewish captives, who may have included some of the 10 tribes taken long before in the conquering of the northern kingdom of Israel.

We see that God sent Ezekiel back to his home to minister to the people. Just as the priests were to wait 7 days before they went into the temple to minister, Ezekiel waited 7 days before bringing the message of God. You may read about this (in Leviticus chapter 8).

This was also the usual period for manifesting deep grief. He identified with them in their suffering (see Job 2 verse 13)

Ezekiel's astonishment was at the people for their lifestyle which was so far away from God. He was also astonished that God would have him bring this message to these rebellious people. There are several other times of waiting 7 days, such as the time Job's friends waited, and also the time when Noah was in the ark waiting for the rain to come.

Genesis 7:4 "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth."

Verses 16-21: "The word of the Lord Came". Further confirming Ezekiel's call, God designates him as a watchman, like a sentinel on a city wall to alert the populace of danger. His responsibility is to warn the wicked of impending judgment, calling for spiritual change, but each hearer would experience the result of believing the message or the consequences for rejecting God's Word.

So it has always been among hearers of divine truth. Each sinner is responsible to God for his own reaction to the proclamation of the Word. Even now, the preacher must share the gospel, or be held accountable himself for failing to warn the wicked.

Ezekiel 3:16 " And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, "

It is interesting to me, that Ezekiel waited patiently until the LORD gives him instructions to proceed.

Seven, in the Bible, symbolizes spiritual completeness. This perhaps, is why he sat for 7 days waiting.

Ezekiel 3:17 " Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. "

Further confirming Ezekiel's call, God designates him as a watchman, like a sentinel on a city wall to alert the populace of danger.

The "watchman" was a familiar figure in the ancient Near East. It was his duty to watch for approaching enemies and to warn the city of danger. In the same way Ezekiel was God's watchman who was called to warn both the "wicked" (verses 18 & 19), and the "righteous" (verses 20 and 21).

His responsibility is to warn the wicked of impending judgment, calling for spiritual change, but each hearer would experience the result of believing the massage or the consequences for rejecting God's Word.

So it has always been among hearers of divine truth. Each sinner is responsible to God for his own reaction to the proclamation of the Word.

Even now, the preacher must share the gospel, or be held accountable himself for failing to warn the wicked.

Part of the 7 days of waiting by Ezekiel, was to allow him to see the sins of the people. A watchman, such as Ezekiel here, is to watch over the spiritual growth, or neglect of the people. Not only will he warn them, but will be able to give them specifics of what they are doing wrong. The warning is not from Ezekiel, but from God through Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 3:18 " When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. "

This is a solemn warning to Ezekiel of how serious it would be to know of the sins of the people, and not warn them of God's anger about this. It goes so far as to say, if Ezekiel does not tell them, he will be guilty of their sins. We will deal with this same thing again in the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel. Ezekiel must bring the warning to the people exactly as God gives it to him.

Men are not to assume that ignorance, even owing to the negligence of preachers, will be any excuse to save them from divine punishment.

"To save his life" refers to physical death, not eternal damnation, though that would be a consequence for many. In the Pentateuch, God had commanded death for many violations of His law and warned that it could be a consequence of any kind of consistent sin.

Ezekiel 3:19 " Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. "

It is the obligation of Ezekiel to bring the warning. It is not his obligation for them to heed that warning. They are guilty themselves; if they do not heed the warning God has sent them through Ezekiel. He cannot force them to repent. They will have to do that on their own.

Though each sinner is responsible for his own sin, the prophet who is negligent in his duty to proclaim the warning message becomes, in God's sight, a manslayer when God takes that person's life.

The responsibility of the prophet is serious and he is responsible for the person's death (in the sense of Gen. 9:5).

The Apostle Paul had this passage, in view (in Acts 18:6 and 20:26; also Ezek. 33:6, 8).

Even for preachers today (there is such a warning in Heb. 13:17). Certainly, the consequence for such unfaithfulness on the preacher's part includes divine chastening and loss of eternal reward. (1 Cor. 4:1-5).

Ezekiel 3:20 " Again, When a righteous [man] doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. "

This is a very serious thing. This man has sinned with full knowledge. He has been walking with God in righteousness and then fallen away. The stumbling block is like a chastisement from God to cause him to repent and turn to God.

Here is a person who was obeying God by doing what was right, but fell into sin and God took his life in chastisement. The "stumbling block" was a stone of judgment that kills.

Psalms 119:165: "Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble."

The crushing stone always falls on the disobedient. (Hebrews 12:9 says), it is better to obey and "live".

The sad thing in the verse here in Ezekiel, is the seriousness of the watchman not telling them of their sins. He is guilty of their sins, if he does not warn them.

Now during the church age, aren't we as Christians obligated as well to do the same thing?

Ezekiel 3:21 " Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous [man], that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. "

The warning, if it is received, benefits the righteous man and the watchman. Ezekiel will save the life of the one he warned, and save his own life as well. The prophet had done his duty.

Ezekiel 3:22 " And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. "

One of the most important things for Ezekiel, or any other minister of God, is to go only where God sends him. The quickest way to fail is to go on his own, without God sending him. The hand of the LORD brings him power to do what he is to do. In this case, God is sending him to a private place, where He can speak with him.

Ezekiel 3:23 " Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. "

The presence that Ezekiel sees is the same that he saw in the wheel (in chapter 1). The Spirit of God in the wheel is what Ezekiel saw.

Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord a second time. It was too much for Ezekiel. He fell on his face in total adoration and worship.

Ezekiel 3:24 " Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house. "

Ezekiel was to fulfill much of his ministry at home, thereby limiting it to those who came to hear him there. This refers to limited fellowship with the people in order to maintain his role as leader.

Ezekiel 3:25 " But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: "

These bands are not literal but spiritual.

On one hand, they could be the inner bands or ropes of depressing influence which the rebellious Jews exerted on his spirit. Their perversity, like ropes, would repress his freedom in preaching.

More likely they imply the restraint that God placed on him by supernatural power so that he could only go and speak where and when God chose.

Ezekiel 3:26 " And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they [are] a rebellious house. "

"Thou shalt be dumb" was a prophecy that Ezekiel would be unable to speak except by divine permission. This would be a sign to Israel that when Ezekiel did speak his words, they were certainly from God.

3:27 " But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they [are] a rebellious house. "

Ezekiel was not to speak primarily, but to act out God's message. The prohibition was only partial, for on any occasion (verse 27), when God did open his mouth (as He often did in chapters 5 - 7), he was to speak.

The end of such intermittent dumbness with regard to his own people closely synchronized with Ezekiel's receiving a refuge's report of Jerusalem's fall. He also spoke with regard to judgments on other nations (in chapters 25 - 32).

The Words that come from Ezekiel's mouth will be the Words that God placed in his inner-most being, when Ezekiel ate the roll. It is God speaking to the people through the heart of the prophet. Ezekiel will be speaking as an oracle of God. It is God's message in the mouth of Ezekiel. Ezekiel must speak the Words. The people will either receive the message, or reject it. Their sins will be their own, because Ezekiel warned them. They are rebellious and may not receive the message, but that is not Ezekiel's responsibility. Their sins will be their own responsibility.

Ezekiel Chapter 3 Questions

1. What did God instruct Ezekiel to eat in verse 1?

2. What is this for?

3. For a person to bring the Word of God, he must first do what?

4. Did Ezekiel obey God?

5. What did God call Ezekiel in verse 3?

6. In the 24th chapter of Proverbs, how is wisdom spoken of?

7. Whose Words are to be spoken by Ezekiel?

8. What will happen, when Ezekiel opens his mouth?

9. Why will Ezekiel not need an interpreter?

10. Why will they not hear what Ezekiel says?

11. What does the forehead symbolize?

12. They are like _______ that butt heads?

13. What does adamant mean?

14. ________ is the opposite of faith.

15. Why is God calling Ezekiel "son of man"?

16. Is Ezekiel to speak to them, even if he knows they will not listen?

17. What is verse 12 telling Ezekiel?

18. What lifts Ezekiel up?

19. Ezekiel's only reluctance is because of what?

20. What is the rushing in verse 13 like?

21. Ezekiel went in ____________.

22. What brings him the power to minister?

23. What city was he taken to?

24. How long did he sit in astonishment?

25. Name some others that waited this same length of time?

26. What was his astonishment of?

27. Ezekiel was made a ___________.

28. What will happen to Ezekiel, if he does not warn the people?

29. It is the obligation of Ezekiel to bring the __________.

30. When a righteous man turns from his righteousness, what happens?

31. Who does the warning benefit if it is heeded?

32. What was the presence of God that Ezekiel sees this time?

33. When the Spirit entered Ezekiel, what did He tell him to do?

34. How is Ezekiel's tongue spoken of in verse 26?

35. Who opens Ezekiel's mouth?

36. What will Ezekiel say to the people?

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Ezekiel 4

Ezekiel Chapter 4

Ezekiel 4:1 " Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it the city, [even] Jerusalem: "

Beginning with this verse and continuing through (chapter 24), Ezekiel fulfills his divinely appointed task, given (in chapter 3), of being a watchman to the house of Israel.

Israel's destruction is predicted in these chapters, and the reasons for it are given. Remember that Ezekiel had been taken into captivity (in 597 B.C.), and prophesied these chapters in Babylon before the destruction of Jerusalem took place (in 586 B.C.). Four key signs of the certainty of judgment are used (in chapters 4 and 5). The first is the sign of the tile, or brick. Ezekiel was instructed to draw an outline of the city of Jerusalem on the brick, and then build ramps around it as a picture of its inevitable capture. It amounted to a model of Nebuchadnezzar's later destruction of the city.

We see from this a similar object lesson as when Isaiah walked naked and barefoot 3 years. And again (in chapter 27 of Jeremiah), the lesson about the wooden yokes that Jeremiah wore around his neck, as a sign to these people.

Sometimes when words fail, a picture will help the people see, as well as hear. All of the things mentioned were showing, in the physical, the condition of the people in the spiritual. This tile was like a drawing pad. The picture drawn on the tile was to be Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 4:2 " And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set [battering] rams against it round about. "

We see the picture was to depict Jerusalem under siege by Nebuchadnezzar. The tile is a sizable brick, used in construction.

We saw in the book of Jeremiah, where this very thing really happened. This picture was to shock them into believing and repenting.

Ezekiel 4:3 " Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it [for] a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This [shall be] a sign to the house of Israel. "

This "iron pan" that was set up between Ezekiel and the city, is to symbolize the impossibility of these people reaching God after the siege has begun. This is judgment that separates them from God. In this particular instance, Ezekiel is representing God to them. Ezekiel was to look at the pan, and not to the city. This meant that, at that point, they could not reach the face of God. The sign they should see in this, is that they have put a barrier between themselves and God. Their sins had put the barrier there.

Ezekiel 4:4 " Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: [according] to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. "

Lying on his side and likely facing north illustrated God's applying judgment to Israel, the northern 10 tribes.

This is saying that the 10 tribes were even worldlier than Judah's 2 tribes. The left side represented the 10 northern tribes. The fact that Ezekiel lay on his side this lengthy time, shows them a physical picture of what will happen to them in captivity.

Ezekiel's action was not to represent the time of Israel's sinning, but the time of their punishment.

It is not necessary to assume that Ezekiel was in the prone position all the time. It was doubtless part of each day, as his need for preparing food (in verse 9 indicates).

Ezekiel 4:5 " For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. "

This act of Ezekiel represented the previous centuries of Israel and Judah's spiritual failure. One day for each year.

As a consequence of His people's idolatry and immorality, divine judgment resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem was at hand.

During the 430 year period (between 1036 and 606 B.C.), when the first of the three groups of Jews were led away into captivity, the nation's history was marred by many evils, which the prophets denounced.

Ezekiel 4:6 " And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. "

The forty year period, especially for Judah, may indicate the worst times under Manasseh's reign, prior to his repentance.

Ezekiel performed this symbolic act (around the year 593 B.C.), nearly 5 years after the second deportation of Jews to Babylon, in which he was taken along with King Jehoiachin (in 597 B.C.).

Ezekiel 4:7 " Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm [shall be] uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. "

"The extended arm that was uncovered" represents the fact that God will reach out His arm against Jerusalem. This is also a symbol for being ready for action, as a soldier would do.

Ezekiel 4:8 " And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege."

This symbolizes the impossibility of the Jews being able to shake off their impending judgment. They will have no relief from the siege.

Ezekiel 4:9 " Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, [according] to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof. "

This is showing the famine that happens during this terrible 18 month siege of Jerusalem which begins in 587 and ends in 586 BC. He would have to have something to eat, but it would be a very meager allotment. This would be enough to survive on, but nothing else.

The famine will be great during the siege and the scarcity of food during the 18 months made necessary the mixing of all kinds of grain for bread.

Ezekiel 4:10 " And thy meat which thou shalt eat [shall be] by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it. "

The 20 shekels would weigh about 8 ounces. Eight ounces of food is very little for a whole day, but you could survive on it. Meat is speaking of food, not flesh of an animal in the verse above.

Ezekiel 4:11 " Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink. "

This is to show that there will be a shortage of water during the siege, as well. The water supply will be so short; each drop drunk will be measured.

A hin would be a little less than a quart. This seems to indicate that Ezekiel is to drink about 4 to 5 ounces of water 6 times a day.

Ezekiel 4:12 " And thou shalt eat it [as] barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. "

Generally, they would cook their food with wood chips, but there would be no wood to cook with. This again, shows the severity of the siege. Sometimes on cattle drives men use dried dung of cattle (chips), to cook with. This is not what is spoken of here, but human chips.

Dried animal dung is still used for fuel in the Middle East, but the use of human excrement would be both repulsive and polluting.

Ezekiel 4:13 " And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them. "

Bread was baked on hot stones heated by human waste because no other fuel was available. This was repulsive and polluting and the Lord calls it "defiled bread".

The problem is, in war there is no choice. They were captives. They would have no choice, but to cook with whatever was available.

This is such a change from the bread that fell from heaven to feed them on their way to the Promised Land. They have angered God to the extent, that He will not even provide bread for them.

They will have to get it the best way they can. They will be driven out of their land of milk and honey.

Ezekiel 4:14 " Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth."

This is Ezekiel speaking. He knows the law about unclean food very well, since he is a priest. He had kept God's laws, and he did not want to ruin it here with this abominable food.

Ezekiel 4:15 " Then he said unto me, Lo, I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith. "

Ezekiel, like Daniel, had convictions to be undefiled even in his food. God permitted fuel or dried cow chips for cooking his food in gracious deference to His spokesman's sensitivity.

This is to keep Ezekiel from feeling personal guilt from eating defiled food.

Ezekiel 4:16 " Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment: "

This is an explanation that the same thing that happened to the 10 tribes, will happen to Jerusalem, as well. There will be a shortage of food and water here, the same as with the 10 tribes. The astonishment will be in the fact that God will not provide food and water for them.

Ezekiel 4:17 " That they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and consume away for their iniquity. "

They were soon to have neither bread nor water in any amount, and they were to grieve over the famine and their iniquity.

The reason for the famine and the shortage of water, is because of the sins they have committed. It will get so severe, that they will do anything to get the food and water they want.

This is punishment that comes upon them for the worship of false gods. Many of them will starve to death.

Ezekiel Chapter 4 Questions

1. What does God call Ezekiel in verse 1?

2. What was the tile like?

3. What was he to write on it?

4. How long had Isaiah walked naked and barefoot?

5. What had Jeremiah done, as a sign to the people?

6. What is verse 2 describing?

7. What did the "iron pan" symbolize?

8. What did lying on the left side symbolize?

9. How long was Ezekiel to lie on his left side?

10. What did the days he laid on his side symbolize?

11. The time was more __________ than __________.

12. What did the right side symbolize?

13. Who were represented in this?

14. "Forty" is a symbolic time of __________.

15. How long was Judah actually in captivity?

16. What did the "extended uncovered arm" show us?

17. Why can Ezekiel not take relief by moving?

18. What is verse 9 speaking of?

19. How much is 20 shekels of food?

20. How much is the sixth part of an hin?

21. What was he to bake his food with?

22. What one request did Ezekiel make of God?

23. How did God answer him?

24. What was the reason for the famine?

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Ezekiel 5

Ezekiel Chapter 5

Ezekiel 5:1 " And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause [it] to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the [hair]. "

God calls Ezekiel son of man. Ezekiel is the instrument God uses to show what he will do to His people. This sharp knife and razor are both representative of the judgment of God.

This fourth sign, in which Ezekiel shaves his head and beard, demonstrated the severe humiliation to come and represented, by the separate clumps of hair, the four groups among the Jerusalem populace who would experience its fall.

Ezekiel was a priest and was not generally to cut his hair, or his beard.

Each one of the hairs represents individuals who make up the nation of Judah. The judgment is against all. The dividing of the hair shows that not all will fall under the exact same punishment. Each hair (individual), suffers, but not all of them in the same way.

A woman's head was shaved when she was found guilty of adultery. These strands of hair represent the wife of God (Israel). They have committed spiritual adultery by worshipping false gods.

Ezekiel 5:2 " Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, [and] smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. "

This is illustrating the calamities to three segments of Jerusalem due to the Babylonian conquest. Some were punished by fire meaning pestilence and famine (starvation), others died by the enemy's sword (battle), and some were scattered and pursued by death.

Ezekiel 5:3 " Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. "

The remaining few hairs symbolized a believing remnant. Even some of these would suffer oppression, since some of these hairs were also tossed into the fire, meaning they would experience trails.

The best example of that is in the following Scripture.

Psalms 91:7 "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee."

This binding in the skirt shows their supernatural protection.

Ezekiel 5:4 " Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; [for] thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel. "

This is showing that some, who were spared at first, would be destroyed later, because they were not repentant.

Ezekiel 5:5 " Thus saith the Lord GOD; This [is] Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries [that are] round about her. "

All eyes had been on Jerusalem. It had been the center of the nations around them. Many came to Jerusalem to worship in the temple there. In the days of Solomon, people had come from far away countries to see the glories of Jerusalem and her God.

Ezekiel 5:6 " And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that [are] round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them."

Judgment begins at the house of God. Jerusalem was God's. God will judge Jerusalem and her people more severely, because they sinned in full knowledge. They had the law of God. They were not a heathen nation. For them to worship false gods was to turn their backs on their Creator. The countries around her had never had the law of God. It was more serious for Jerusalem to be involved in spiritual adultery than the other countries, because of Jerusalem's position with God.

Ezekiel 5:7 " Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that [are] round about you, [and] have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that [are] round about you; "

They were to be a separated people. They represented God to all the people of the earth. This is very similar to what the Christians are today to the world. We are Christ's representatives upon the earth. It is important for believers, then and now, to live above the sins of society. The wrath God felt was, because those He had trusted with His law had gone bad.

"Because ye multiplied more" to me have 2 separate meanings. One was the fact they were greatly blessed as God had poured out His blessings on them which they had begun to take for granted. (The same as a lot of people in this country today).

Second, they multiplied quickly as a nation in the sheer number of people. Remember the Pharaoh in Egypt was afraid of them because there were so many? Perhaps 2 to 3 million strong when they left Egypt which continued to increase as the years went by.

The ironic thing is the Muslims far outnumber them at present. All they have to do is to change their current law and give the right of return for Palestinians and before long they will be history as the Palestinians can take over the government by vote and force the Jews to leave without ever firing a shot. And they are considering this today thanks to our government.

Ezekiel 5:8 " Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, [am] against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations."

"Therefore", connects this Scripture with the Scripture before.

God is very disappointed in their unfaithfulness. He has given them every opportunity to repent, and they had not. They have been unfaithful to Him in the presence of the nations. Now, He will bring judgment on them in the presence of those same nations.

Ezekiel 5:9 " And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations. "

This is when the fury of God has come up in His face. The destruction will be great, because their abominations were so great.

Now read this (in conjunction with verse 10).

Ezekiel 5:10 " Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds. "

This speaks of the cannibalism that goes on, when the famine becomes so great in Jerusalem. This is so unusual, because the Hebrews thought children were one of the greatest blessings from God. Those who do not die from the siege will suffer great trials.

The book of Lamentations reveals how literally these promises were realized when parents ate their children and sons ate their fathers in the times of starvation.

Down through the centuries had come the threats (of Lev. 26:29 and Deut. 28:53), taken up by Jeremiah and sealed in the life of the disobedient nation. Even the remnant would be scattered and suffer.

Ezekiel 5:11 " Wherefore, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish [thee]; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity. "

God thinks of them as an adulterous wife. They have embarrassed Him in front of the nations. They have even carried idols into His sanctuary.

God will not show them any pity, because they chose to leave Him for false gods. This is worse than the world sinning. They have polluted their worship services by listening to false prophets.

Here was a solemn oath pledging the very existence of God for the fulfillment of the prophecy. It is found 14 times in this book. Their greatest sin was defiling the sanctuary, showing the height of their wickedness.

You will see this in a couple of chapters from now.

Ezekiel 5:12 " A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. "

This is the same message (as in verse 2 of this lesson). It is spoken of in the separation of the hair. They will all be punished. Some will die from the sword, some will die from the famine, and some will be taken captive.

They had no place to offer atoning blood, thus bearing their sins without relief.

Ezekiel 5:13 " Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken [it] in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them."

God will always save a remnant of His people. The punishment will finally stop, after it has caused some of them to repent and turn back to Him. The fury will be great, but it will cease. When the punishment is fulfilled, it will satisfy the righteousness of God. God is righteous, and He expects His people to be righteous too.

Ezekiel's purpose was to impress on Israel's conscience God's intense hatred of idolatry and apostasy. "Fury" and "anger" are repeated 6 times.

Ezekiel 5:14 " Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that [are] round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. "

We studied about this in Jeremiah. God will allow His holy city, Jerusalem, to be destroyed, because of the sins of the people. The temple had been His special place to be present with them. He has no desire to be with them, because of their sins.

He even destroys the temple. This beautiful city, which all admired, will be destroyed and become nothing but ruins.

Ezekiel 5:15 " So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that [are] round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken [it]. "

The word "taunt" means revilement. God has punished His own. This is partly for the instruction of those looking on. Even the Babylonians made the statement that Israel's God had caused this great calamity to come upon them.

God had spoken the destruction on them. The Babylonians were the instrument God used, but the punishment was from God. "I the LORD have spoken it" leaves no doubt that the judgment was from God.

Ezekiel 5:16 " When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for [their] destruction, [and] which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread: "

"Arrows of famine". The evil arrows included hail, rain, mice, locusts and mildew. These are the things that destroy crops.

Famine is a punishment that is associated with the worship of false gods. God will not share our love with false gods. Famine comes when God shuts off the rain.

Wars sometimes cause famine, because it is impossible to grow a garden in the midst of war.

All of this comes from an angry God. Famine is the cruelest of all deaths, because it takes so long to die.

Ezekiel 5:17 " So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken [it]. "

This is the third time "I the Lord, have spoken" was used (in verses 13, 15 and now verse 17). This was God's personal signature on their doom and there is no way to turn back this punishment.

As if the famine is not bad enough, the beasts are hungry, too, and they attack the people. This is horror beyond our wildest imagination. Only hell will be worse.

Ezekiel Chapter 5 Questions

1. What does God call Ezekiel in verse 1?

2. What does God tell him to do?

3. What does the razor represent?

4. Why is the hair divided and weighed?

5. Who do each of the hairs represent?

6. What happens to each third of them?

7. Who do those bound in the skirt represent?

8. Why will some of them, that are not destroyed at first, be destroyed later?

9. What had the surrounding world thought of Jerusalem?

10. Where does judgment begin?

11. When they worshipped false gods, they had turned their backs on _____.

12. Who had the Israelites represented God to?

13. Why was it important for the nations to see God's judgment against them?

14. What does "therefore" in verse 8 show us?

15. Why was the destruction so great?

16. What is verse 10 describing?

17. What had the Hebrews thought were one of the greatest blessings from God?

18. What had they done to the sanctuary, that angered God so greatly?

19. Verse 12 is the same judgment as what other verse?

20. When will the punishment from God stop?

21. The temple and the city, Jerusalem will be __________.

22. What does "taunt" mean?

23. What statement leaves no doubt where the destruction comes from?

24. What is the cruelest of all the deaths mentioned here?

25. Why is it the cruelest?

26. What is the only horror worse than this destruction?

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Ezekiel 6

Ezekiel Chapter 6

Ezekiel 6:1 " And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, "

This is Ezekiel speaking. This introduces a scathing sermon against the sin of idolatry because the people went "a whoring after their idols" (in verse 9).

Ezekiel 6:2 " Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, "

This prophecy is against the whole land, and not just Jerusalem. Israel is used for all the land and its entire people.

"Set thy face" indicates that Ezekiel is not to fear giving this prophecy, just because this is his homeland and his people. It is harder to prophesy against your friends and neighbors, than it is to strangers.

Ezekiel 6:3 " And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, [even] I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. "

God had the prophet do this because the people worshiped at idol altars in the "high places". The high places had been the places of false worship of Baal, as the sun god.

This prophecy against the mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys is not actually against them, but the people living there.

Ezekiel 6:4 " And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain [men] before your idols. "

These slain men before the idols were, probably, seeking help from these false gods. God will have them killed before the idols, partly to show the world just how helpless the idols are. Just as He defamed the false gods of Egypt, He will defame these idols. The figures of the false gods will be broken, and left with those who worshipped them.

Ezekiel 6:5 " And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. "

God's wrath is against His own people who had the law, and knew not to worship false gods. Scattering their bones on the altars of the false gods is a mockery to show the false gods had no power to resurrect the dead.

Ezekiel 6:6 " In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished. "

This speaks of total destruction from the very angry God. To destroy the idols and the high places is an attack against the false gods themselves, but the destruction of their homes, and even their own physical bodies, is an attack upon the people themselves. It is as if God is saying, "I will fix it to where you will never be able to worship false gods again".

Ezekiel 6:7 " And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD. "

This statement: "ye shall know that I am the Lord" appears in this chapter in verses 10, 13, 14 and 60 times elsewhere in the book. It shows that the essential reason for judgment is the violation of the character of God.

This is repeatedly acknowledged (in Lev. 18-26), where the motive for all obedience to God's law is the fact that He is the Lord God.

Those who live through all of this will know beyond a doubt, that the LORD is God. Death will be on every side, but it will be apparent that God spoke judgment, and brought this death and destruction.

Ezekiel 6:8 " Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have [some] that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries."

The mass of people was rejected, but grace and mercy were given to a godly group in the nation. There never has been nor ever will be a complete end to Israel. God always keeps a remnant of His people, so they can multiply again. This remnant will be scattered in captivity to foreign countries, mostly Babylon.

Ezekiel 6:9 " And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations. "

Suddenly this remnant that is taken captive and taken to foreign lands will repent of their sins and remember God. It is their hearts that God has judged and found unfaithful. We have spoken before; that we are what is in our heart.

The sin came as most other sin. They looked with their eyes and lusted. Then they acted upon the sin after the desire had entered their hearts. Notice, the word "whoring". We remember they were thought of as God's wife. They have committed spiritual adultery by worshipping false gods. After they are captured, they hate themselves for the sins they have committed.

Abominations" are sins that are revolting in the sight of God.

Ezekiel 6:10 " And they shall know that I [am] the LORD, [and that] I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them. "

This had not been an idle threat that God had made. What God says, He does. They sinned, after being warned. They deserve whatever punishment God sees fit to render.

Ezekiel 6:11 " Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. "

The smiting the hand and the stamping of the feet, would put an emphasis on how bad the woe is. People usually wring their hands when they are in terrible trouble. This is comparative to that.

The sword, famine, and pestilence come, because of their sins.

Ezekiel 6:12 " He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them. "

In another lesson in Ezekiel, and also in Jeremiah, we saw that the famine was no ordinary famine. It was so bad they ate their own children. The famine was so great that the food was weighed, giving each just enough to survive, and of course, some of them did not survive.

Since this punishment came from God, it did not matter whether they were far away, or near. God sent them their punishment for their sins. The sword was the quickest way to die.

Ezekiel 6:13 " Then shall ye know that I [am] the LORD, when their slain [men] shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savor to all their idols. "

The high places and grove worship were all worship of false gods. Much of the false worship was under trees, as well. The sweet smelling savor was reserved for God alone. To offer sweet savor to their idols, was to denounce God.

Ezekiel 6:14 " So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I [am] the LORD. "

The stretching out of God's hand brought judgment. So long as He did not reach out with His hand, they could have repented. Once the hand was extended, the judgment had begun.

This is the only mention of Diblath in the Bible. Diblath means a cake of figs. Israel is spoken of as the figs, or fig tree. This could have been used here to indicate the figs that had gone bad (Israel).

The 24th chapter of Jeremiah speaks of those figs, meaning all of Israel. This desert is very much like Sodom, where there was total devastation. The reason for all of this is so they will know this judgment is from the One True God. He states in the last verse, I Am the LORD. There is no other.

Ezekiel Chapter 6 Questions

1. What did God call Ezekiel in verse 2?

2. What did God tell Ezekiel to do?

3. Who is "me" in verse 1?

4. How do we know this is a continuation of chapter 5?

5. What message can we take from the statement "set thy face"?

6. What is this prophecy spoken against?

7. What was worshipped in the high places?

8. What happened to the altars and the images?

9. What had God done to the false gods of Egypt?

10. God lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their _________.

11. What will He do with their bones?

12. What will happen to their dwelling places?

13. What is verse 6 speaking of?

14. What message will those who survive receive strongly?

15. God always leaves a __________ of His people.

16. God describes their evil hearts as ___________ hearts.

17. Where will the remnant live?

18. They have been committing _________ ________ by worshipping false gods.

19. What are "abominations"?

20. Will God follow through on His threat to destroy them?

21. What did God tell them to do, that put an emphasis on the woe?

22. Why do the sword, famine, and pestilence come?

23. What death shall come to those who are far off?

24. How severe was the famine?

25. Which was the quickest way to die?

26. What is all of this for?

27. What are the groves and the high places speaking of?

28. The stretching out of God's hand brought ____________.

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Ezekiel 7

Ezekiel Chapter 7

Ezekiel 7:1 " Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, "

This is an extension (of chapter 5 and 6). The word "moreover" indicates the connection. We do see however, a new Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel. This indicates that God stopped, and started up again speaking to Ezekiel. This is the same prophecy, with an interval in between.

Ezekiel 7:2 " Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land. "

This is speaking of the "end" of God's patience. The punishment will begin now. The land from border to border will be destroyed in the judgment of God.

This lament declared that the entire land of Israel was ripe for judgment. God's patience had ended. The final destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was in view (586 B.C.).

Ezekiel 7:3 " Now [is] the end [come] upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations. "

God's judgment is just. He is patient, but there comes a time, when He will wait no longer. Each person will be judged of God. We cry out for mercy, and not justice.

The ways of the people were evil to the utmost. The judgment will be to the utmost, as well.

Remember, "Abominations" are revolting sins in the sight of God.

Ezekiel 7:4 " And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD. "

The terribleness of the judgment will not be for just some. It will come upon all. Just because they are God's family, will not cause God to spare them. Their sin is too great. There will be no doubt of who is God, when this is over.

Ezekiel 7:5 " Thus saith the Lord GOD; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come."

The evil against them will be so great the rest of the world will be in awe of it.

Ezekiel 7:6 " An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come."

They had been warned over and over, but now, that terrible day has come.

Ezekiel 7:7 " The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble [is] near, and not the sounding again of the mountains. "

"The morning is come unto thee" means this is a new day that God's people had never experienced before. They have never experienced the wrath of God before. This is not an earthquake, but the terrible sound of war, which brings God's judgment upon these sinful people.

Ezekiel 7:8 " Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations. "

The word that was translated "recompense" here, has many meanings. I believe in this particular instance, it means to repay to the fullest. The wages of sin is death. They will collect their wages for their abominations.

Hosea 8:7 "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up."

God's anger is not unjustified. They deserve the punishment they receive. Many of us deserve death, because of our sins. Our justification is in Jesus, who was our Substitute for our sin.

Ezekiel 7:9 " And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations [that] are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD that smiteth. "

LORD here, is Jehovah. This is a repeat of an earlier verse (verse 4, above, is very similar). This is just judgment on a sinful people. God will not spare His own, if they are living in sin.

Ezekiel 7:10 " Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded. "

This is the beginning of that great and terrible day God had warned of. The "rod" here, is speaking of God's vengeance. Their pride has caused them not to repent.

Ezekiel 7:11 " Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness: none of them [shall remain], nor of their multitude, nor of any of theirs: neither [shall there be] wailing for them. "

Violence had grown up into a rod of wickedness, which likely refers to Nebuchadnezzar, the instrument of God's vengeance.

The usual burial ceremony will not be held for them. They will be killed, and left where they fall for the vultures and the wild beasts. Their pride against God has brought this total humiliation upon them. They will die violent deaths, when the rod of God is extended over them.

Ezekiel 7:12 " The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn: for wrath [is] upon all the multitude thereof. "

"Buyer rejoice ... seller mourn". Such matters of business were meaningless because the Chaldeans took all the land and killed those they didn't take captive and the rest escaped. Their wealth was useless to them at this point.

Ezekiel 7:13 " For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they were yet alive: for the vision [is] touching the whole multitude thereof, [which] shall not return; neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life. "

This has to do with the selling of something until jubilee. At jubilee, all property and land go back to its original owner. The purchaser and the seller will be in captivity when jubilee arrives, so there will be no restoration. They may be alive, but they will be in captivity.

Ezekiel 7:14 " They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath [is] upon all the multitude thereof."

The Hebrews would blow the silver trumpet for the gathering of the people to worship. The only other time the trumpet was blown, was a call to war.

The trumpet blew for war, but no one came. There was really no need to fight. I believe at this point they knew the Babylonians were at their gates and that it would be useless to fight. They would have been fighting against God. This battle is a judgment of God upon them and they knew it.

Ezekiel 7:15 " The sword [is] without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that [is] in the field shall die with the sword; and he that [is] in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him. "

The judgment was spoken of God, and it will come. Those who were outside the gates of the city to fight would die with the sword. Those inside the city wall would die from pestilence and famine.

Ezekiel 7:16 " But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity."

A few will escape, but they have lost all of their earthly possessions. They have also, lost their relationship with God. They will be hiding out, and fleeing from place to place to keep from being caught. The mourning is a type of repentance. They have suddenly realized their sins, after it is too late.

Ezekiel 7:17 " All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak [as] water."

They seem to be feeble, because they are unable to help themselves. There is nothing they can do at this point. Their knees were weak and trembled with fear.

This section (from 17-22), described the mourning of the helpless and frightened people. In distress, they recognized the uselessness of the things in which they trusted.

Their wealth provided nothing. Their silver and gold and their ornaments were as useless as the idols they made with them.

Ezekiel 7:18 " They shall also gird [themselves] with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame [shall be] upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads. "

Baldness upon a woman's head indicated adultery. They have committed spiritual adultery by worshipping false gods. This could be the reason for the bald head.

"Sackcloth" is an outward symbol of repenting with great mourning. This all indicates repentance. Are they repenting for the fear of death, or are they truly repentant of their sins?

The Hebrews had always been proud people. The shame has come, because God has turned against them.

Ezekiel 7:19 " They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumbling block of their iniquity."

Gold and silver were God's money. They were thought of as blessings from God. They had misused the gold and silver God had given them to bless them. They had blasphemed God with their idols made of silver and gold. That which had been given them to bless them, had become a curse, because of their misuse of it.

Gold and silver are nothing, when you are starving to death. They are nothing when you are struggling to stay alive. They cast their silver and gold in the streets, because it is of no help in turning the wrath of God away. God cannot be bribed.

All the silver and gold in the world belongs to Him. It is a stumbling block to them, because of their evil use of it.

Ezekiel 7:20 " As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations [and] of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them. "

Gold had been the metal used in the Holy of Holies in the temple. The silver was used in the holy place. The ornaments made from them were beautiful. They had turned all of this beauty into revolting sin, by making false gods with the silver and gold.

The best example of something like this is in the Exodus from Egypt. God had told the children of Israel to bring silver and gold with them, to build the beautiful things in the temple with. While Moses was on the mountain meeting with God, they made a golden calf. God, in His wrath, killed many of the Israelites. This is the same message here. Gold and silver are good. It is the misuse of them that is evil.

Ezekiel 7:21 " And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it. "

This is now speaking of the beautiful gold and silver things in the temple. When the Babylonians invaded, they took all of this back to Babylon and then polluted it.

Remember what Belshazzar did? He defiled the Gold and Silver cups taken from the temple and that night his life was taken after seeing the hand writing on the wall.

Ezekiel 7:22 " My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret [place]: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it. "

The Holy of Holies in the temple will be desecrated by pagans, that place where only once a year the High Priest could enter to make atonement in God's presence.

Ordinarily, anyone touching the holy things (made of gold), would have died the minute they touched it. God was so angry with Israel, He turned His face away, and let the heathen take the things of the temple. These things that had been dedicated to God are now defiled.

Ezekiel 7:23 " Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence. "

This "chain" was probably used to couple or yoke the captives together to lead them into captivity. This was an emblematic act or sign of captivity.

God allowed them to take His people into captivity, because of the bloody crimes they had committed.

Ezekiel 7:24 " Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled. "

It is God who causes Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians to destroy Judah and Jerusalem, and that is what is meant by the worst of the heathen.

It would not matter what position of importance those in Israel had, they would be killed, or carried away in chains. Even the priests of the temple will be carried away. The temple and everything in it are defiled by these heathens.

Ezekiel 7:25 " Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and [there shall be] none. "

There is no peace during the wrath of God. They may seek it, but they will not find it, until God has thoroughly punished them.

Ezekiel 7:26 " Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumor shall be upon rumor; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients. "

The people would not listen to the true prophet. They listened to the false prophets, who spoke of better times. Some of these prophets and ancients had accurately prophesied in the past. God had taken their ability to prophesy away from them, because they were involved in the worship of false gods. Not only is the war bad, but the rumors of it being worse than it was grew each day. Fear overwhelmed them.

Almost sounds like the end times doesn't it? There will be wars and rumors of wars...

Ezekiel 7:27 " The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD. "

God will not spare those in high authority. The king and his sons will suffer the same as the common people. They are judged by the things they did upon the earth. All of this happens to them, so there will be no doubt at all that God is the only True God.

At long last the nations of Israel and Judah would receive what they deserved because of their rebellious, heinous history of sin, particularly the sin of worshipping other gods.

God is proving to them that these false gods, they had given their loyalty to, are nothing. Their false gods cannot help them.

Ezekiel Chapter 7 Questions

1. What word indicates this is furthering chapters 5 and 6?

2. Who is this prophecy to?

3. What is the "end" in verse 2, speaking of?

4. How far-reaching is this judgment of God?

5. How will they be judged?

6. We cry out for mercy, and not _________.

7. What are "abominations"?

8. What will there be no doubt of, after the judgment?

9. What does "the morning is come unto thee" mean?

10. This is not an earthquake, but the terrible sound of ______.

11. What does the author believe "recompense" in verse 8, is saying?

12. The wages of sin is ________.

13. What is the "rod" of verse 10, speaking of?

14. What will happen to the bodies of the dead?

15. What has brought such great humiliation upon them?

16. Verse 13 speaks of selling what?

17. What happens at jubilee?

18. Why did the Hebrews blow the trumpet?

19. Why was there no need to fight?

20. How would those outside the city die?

21. Those that escape would be like ________.

22. All hands shall be _________.

23. All knees shall be weak as ________.

24. What did baldness on a woman's head indicate?

25. What is "sackcloth" an outward symbol of?

26. Why are they repenting?

27. _______ and ________ were God's money.

28. Why would they throw their gold and silver in the street?

29. Why is it a stumbling block to them?

30. What gold is verse 20 speaking of?

31. What did Babylon do to it?

32. What, ordinarily, would have happened to anyone touching things in the Holy of Holies?

33. Why did that not happen to Babylon?

34. What is the "chain" of verse 23?

35. How bad was Nebuchadnezzar?

36. They shall seek _______, and there shall be none.

37. Who were the people listening to, instead of the true prophet?

38. What are all judged by?

39. What is God proving to them in this destruction?

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Ezekiel 8

Ezekiel Chapter 8

Ezekiel 8:1 " And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, [as] I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me. "

The sixth month is about the same time as our September. This begins a new vision. Notice, that the hand of God touches Ezekiel. This is a year and one month after the first vision that Ezekiel had at Chebar. Ezekiel is in his home when this latest vision comes. The elders of Judah, possibly, were some of the few who still believed Ezekiel. The war had worsened, and so had the idolatry. The false prophets were promising the fall of Babylon soon. The people would rather hear their news, than to listen to Ezekiel, and realize this is to cause them to repent.

Chapters 8-11 are a unit, though the subject matter may be divided. These chapters constitute a vision that the prophet had while transported by the Spirit of God from Babylon to Jerusalem (verse 3). The first thing Ezekiel witnessed was the presence of loathsome, idolatrous figures and detestable pagan practices within the temple confines itself, "the wicked abominations" (verse 9).

Ezekiel 8:2 " Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the color of amber."

The color of "amber" is the color of bronze, and symbolizes judgment. The fire indicates the presence of God.

Thus, Daniel saw the Glory of God (as he did in chapter 1 verses 26-28).

Ezekiel 8:3 " And he put forth the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where [was] the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. "

This powerful hand of God has reached down and miraculously snatched Ezekiel (perhaps in the spirit), into the heavens, directly above the earth. This vision causes Ezekiel to see inside the inner gate that looks to the north. The word that "seat" was translated from indicates numbers of people.

God's presence was in the temple in the smoke and fire. "Image", here, is speaking of likeness. God is looking here at this false god sitting on His throne. This stirred up the jealousy of Almighty God. God's name is Jealous.

Exodus 34:14 "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God:"

The north, many times, is speaking of the direction of God. This is showing Ezekiel the reason for God bringing judgment against the people and on the temple.

The visions are not a description of deeds done in the past in Israel, but a survey of Israel's current condition, as they existed at that very time.

Ezekiel 8:4 " And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel [was] there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain. "

"The Glory of the God": God was also there in glory, but was ignored while the people worshipped the idol (verse 6).

This vision is of the presence of God in the temple, before its destruction. God is showing Ezekiel the reason for His departure from the temple, and the destruction of the temple. He had every reason to destroy these people. They were His wife, and they had played the harlot, by worshipping false gods.

Ezekiel 8:5 " Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry."

God had not abandoned the people. His presence had been in the temple. They had abandoned God, as we will see in the next few verses.

Ezekiel 8:6 " He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? [even] the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, [and] thou shalt see greater abominations. "

"That I should go far off from my sanctuary": Sin would expel the people from their land and God from His sanctuary.

They had made idols of silver, and gold, and wood. Some of them had been in the sanctuary itself, in the very presence of God. They were constantly a reminder to God of their unfaithfulness. This lack of faith in God has driven God away from His sanctuary, where He met with His people. His anger has risen up in His face.

Ezekiel 8:7 " And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. "

This was a gate that led to the outer court and to the rooms of the priests and their families. The 70 members of the Sanhedrin lived here, also.

Ezekiel 8:8 " Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. "

It appears that this was a hidden area in the wall of the rooms. There seemed to be a secret door.

This indicates the clandestine secrecy of these idolaters, practicing their cult in hiding.

Ezekiel 8:9 " And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. "

This was not in the main part of the temple, but was in the places where they stayed near the temple. This screams out warnings to all who minister the Word of God, to make sure their private lives are holy, as well as their public lives.

In the private lives of the priests and the high priest, they were worshipping false gods. "Abominations" are revolting sins in the sight of God.

Ezekiel 8:10 " So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about. "

The temple's walls are ugly with graffiti featuring creatures linked with Egyptian animal cults and other idols. Leaders of Israel, who should be worshipping the God of the temple, are offering incense to them.

The people of God have undoubtedly picked up the culture of the heathen nations around them.

Ezekiel 8:11 " And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up."

The ancient men, who had been so dedicated to God in the past, are now seen burning incense to these false gods.

Obviously, these elders are not the Sanhedrin, since it was not formed until after the restoration from Babylon, though the pattern had been suggested much earlier. These men were appointed to guard against idolatry!

Jaazaniah was the leader of the 70. If he was the son of the Shaphan who read God's Word to Josiah (2 kings 22:8-11), we have some idea of the depth of sin to which the leaders had fallen. He is not to be confused with the man (in chapter 11:1), who had a different father.

Ezekiel 8:12 " Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth."

These 70 thought because they were doing this in the privacy of their own quarters, that God would not know what they were doing. They are blaming God with forsaking the earth, when they have forsaken God. They have been unfaithful to God.

Ezekiel 8:13 " He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, [and] thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. "

This is bad enough to cause the wrath of God to descend upon them, but now God says there are even worse things going on.

Ezekiel 8:14 " Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which [was] toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz."

Yet a greater abomination than the secret cult was Israel's engaging in the Babylonian worship of Tummuz or Dumuzi, beloved of Ishtar, the god of spring vegetation. Vegetation burned in the summer, died in the winter, and came to life in the spring.

The women mourned over the god's demise in July and longed for his revival. The fourth month of the Hebrew calendar still bears the name Tammuz. With the worship of this idol were connected the basest immoralities.

Weeping for Tammuz was an act of worship intended to bring him back from the netherworld. Thus, these women were worshipping this Assyrian deity.

Ezekiel 8:15 " Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen [this], O son of man? turn thee yet again, [and] thou shalt see greater abominations than these. "

It is almost impossible to believe there could be anything worse than this, but there is. God is bringing Ezekiel's attention to all the sins, to show why He destroyed them. God was justified in His judgment, but He wants Ezekiel to understand that He was justified.

Ezekiel 8:16 " And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, [were] about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east."

The 25 were worshipping the false sun god which is as old as history itself. The Son of God, Jesus, is the Light of the world. The worship of the sun is counterfeit of worship to the true God. The sun is nothing in and of itself. It is just a container for the light. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world.

These twenty-five were representative of the 24 priests and the High Priest, which would make up the 25. One thing that makes this believable is because they were in the most sacred inner court where only priests could go. This was the crowning insult to God.

Ezekiel 8:17 " Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen [this], O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. "

The "putting of the branch to their nose" was part of the ritualistic worship of the false sun god. It's exact meaning is uncertain, but it seems to have been some act of contempt toward God.

The worst part of all of this is the fact that God had trusted them with His law. He had actually dwelt with His people. His presence had been in the Holy of Holies in the temple. Violence and the worship of a false god go together. It appears they have deliberately tried to anger God. God wants Ezekiel to understand why He has judged these people harshly.

Ezekiel 8:18 " Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, [yet] will I not hear them. "

They had brazenly denounced their love for God with their worship of these false gods. Israel was His loving wife. She had gone away to the love of false gods. She had committed spiritual adultery. She had not only done this terrible thing, but had brazenly done it in full view of God. God will now punish her in full view of the world around her.

He will take justifiable vengeance upon her, with no pity. They may cry out to God, but He will not listen. It is too late.

Ezekiel Chapter 8 Questions

1. Where was Ezekiel, when this Word of the LORD came to him?

2. Who was with him?

3. The sixth month is about the same as our ____________.

4. What does God's hand do for Ezekiel?

5. How much later is this vision than the vision in Chebar?

6. What was the likeness that Ezekiel saw?

7. What does the color of "amber" symbolize?

8. The "fire" indicates what?

9. What did this powerful hand of God do to Ezekiel?

10. This vision causes Ezekiel to look into where?

11. What does "seat", in verse 3, indicate?

12. "Image" is speaking of _________.

13. What stirred up the jealousy of Almighty God.

14. What is this vision showing Ezekiel?

15. The vision, in verse 4, is of what?

16. Why would God go far off from His sanctuary?

17. They had made idols of what?

18. Where were these idols?

19. They constantly reminded God of their ______________.

20. Where is verse 7 speaking of?

21. What warning should modern ministers receive from this?

22. When Ezekiel went in this hidden door, what did he see?

23. Who were these 70 men?

24. Who led them?

25. What terrible thing are they doing?

26. Who were the women weeping for?

27. Who was he?

28. What kind of worship was this?

29. Why is God bringing Ezekiel's attention to their sins?

30. Who were the twenty-five men, probably?

31. Who were they worshipping?

32. Why does the author believe these are priests?

33. Who is the Light of the world?

34. What is the sun?

35. What did the "putting the branch to their nose" show?

36. What was the worst thing of all about these priests worshipping this false god?

37. How had they brazenly denounced their love for God?

38. God will take ___________ vengeance upon her.

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Ezekiel 9

Ezekiel Chapter 9

Ezekiel 9:1 " He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man [with] his destroying weapon in his hand. "

In the last lesson, God had gone into detail with Ezekiel, to make him fully understand why He judged Jerusalem and Judah. He gave over-abundant proof that they were guilty of the worst kind of sin. This cry is against Israel, and specifically, Judah and Jerusalem.

A slaughter weapon suggests the massive destruction of human life that was impending.

It appears, these that have charge over the city are superhuman beings under the direct orders of God. These angelic executioners came equipped with weapons of destruction (see Daniel 4:13, 17 and 23 for a comparison, a watcher, a holy one who did God's bidding).

These could be angels that God had stationed to protect His holy city. Now, they are set to destroy. These are similar to the angels in Revelation, which bring woe upon the sinful earth at the direction of God.

Ezekiel 9:2 " And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them [was] clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar. "

There are many symbols in this verse. The number 6 is the number of man, or mankind. This judgment then is against man. The way of the higher gate to the north has to do with God. "Linen" symbolizes the righteousness of Christ. The "brazen altar" is the altar of judgment. This writer's inkhorn has the power (horn), to mark and save the repentant.

"Horn": Can anyone hear this horn? Just what is an inkhorn?

The Hebrew word so rendered means simply a round vessel or cup for containing ink, which was generally worn by writers in the girdle. The word "inkhorn" was used by the translators, because in former times in this country horns were used for containing ink.

Ezekiel 9:3 " And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which [had] the writer's inkhorn by his side; "

The glory of God departs before the destruction of the city and temple. The gradual departure of God from His temple is depicted in stages: the glory resides in the temple's Most Holy Place, between the wings of the cherubs on each side of the Ark of the covenant over the mercy seat, then leaves to the front door, later to the East gate by the outer wall, and finally to the Mount of Olives to the East, having fully departed. The glory will return in the future kingdom of Messiah.

It is God who knows who is to be marked, and who is not. God knows the heart of man. He, also, knows whose names are written in the book of life. Just as the Hebrews in Egypt, whose doors were covered with the blood of the lamb, were saved, God will separate the judgment here. This is last minute instructions from God.

Ezekiel 9:4 " And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof."

God will mark His remnant here. These are that remnant who has not bowed their knee to these false gods. They are saddened by the things going on. They love God and Him alone. They have not been involved in this sensuous worship of false gods. They are very similar to the 144,000 that are sealed in Revelation.

Revelation 7:2-4 "And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea," "Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." "And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed a hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."

God always has a remnant, who has not worshipped false gods. God protects those who worship Him in Truth.

Ezekiel 9:5 " And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: "

All of those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads were to be utterly destroyed. The others, with their weapon drawn, were to follow the one with the seal. They destroyed all who were not sealed.

Ezekiel 9:6 " Slay utterly old [and] young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom [is] the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which [were] before the house."

True worshippers of God, who despised idolatry, would be protected. The rest would be destroyed. This seems cruel, but it is really God wiping out those unfaithful. The children were killed also, so the next generation would not worship false gods. This was a beginning again, as God did with Noah and his family.

The ancient men before the houses had been involved in this worship of false gods also. Judgment begins at the house of God. This was no exception.

1 Peter 4:17 "For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?"

Ezekiel 9:7 " And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city."

The house means "the temple".

Remember, this is a vision. This really does occur, when the temple and the people in it are destroyed. Their dead bodies were left lying everywhere. They were not even buried. Their bones were scattered on the altars of their false gods. The house was defiled by the worship of the false gods. Now, God does not even regard this house as holy. He wants it destroyed along with the worshippers of the false gods.

The city here, is Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 9:8 " And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?"

Ezekiel is fearfully aroused in prayer because the judgment on Jerusalem and Israel is so vast.

God replies that pervasive sin demands thorough judgment, yet comforts him by the report that the faithful had been marked to be spared.

Ezekiel 9:9 " Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah [is] exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not."

God answers Ezekiel, by telling him why He is destroying them. "Perverseness", here, is iniquity of the worst sort. They are evil and the hearts within them are evil. They kill, lie, and cheat. They are even unfaithful to the God who created them. This iniquity is so great, that God must judge them. There comes a time when God will wait no longer for them to repent. This is that time for them.

Ezekiel 9:10 " And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, [but] I will recompense their way upon their head. "

What you sow, you will reap. They have sinned so greatly, that God will have no pity on them. Judgment day is here. The wrath of God is poured out upon them. He will not stop, until everyone has paid their wages for their sin.

Romans 3:23: "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is life eternal through Jesus Christ the Lord."

Ezekiel 9:11 " And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which [had] the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me."

This man clothed in linen is like all other beings upon the earth, and in heaven, and under the earth in that he is subject to God.

He reports back, that he has done as God requested him to do. If the six were angels, then this being seems to be the one in charge.

Ezekiel Chapter 9 Questions

1. What does God do to Ezekiel in verse 1.

2. Who are these that have charge over the city?

3. Who are these that have charge over the city like, in Revelation?

4. How many came from the way of the higher gate?

5. What did they have in their hands?

6. What does "linen" symbolize?

7. The "brazen altar" is the altar of __________.

8. What does the writer's inkhorn have power to do?

9. Where had the glory of the God of Israel been?

10. Who is directing the one dressed in linen?

11. What was this one with the inkhorn to do?

12. What made them different from the other Israelites?

13. Who are these that are to be marked in their foreheads similar to in the book of Revelation?

14. What were the others to do?

15. Who were they to slay?

16. Where did they begin with their destruction?

17. This beginning again was similar to ________.

18. Where were the dead bodies left?

19. What did Ezekiel do, when he found he was left?

20. What question does he ask God?

21. What is "perverseness" in verse 9?

22. What you sow, you will _______.

23. When will He stop?

24. When the man in linen finished marking, what did he do?

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Ezekiel 10

Ezekiel Chapter 10

Ezekiel 10:1 " Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. "

This is Ezekiel speaking. This chapter is a continuation of the vision that Ezekiel had in the last chapter. It is as if one stage is coming into his view at a time. God shows him one setting, and then another. The sapphire, here, is a blue stone, speaking of the heavenlies. Then, this is a vision of the throne in heaven.

The throne is like a sapphire shining forth representing God's Glory and Holiness.

Ezekiel 10:2 " And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, [even] under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter [them] over the city. And he went in in my sight. "

"Fill with coals": John MacArthur calls this vision with the cherubim and wheels God's war machine.

God specifies that the marking angel reach into the war machine and fill his hands with fiery coals in the presence of the angels (of chapter 1). These coals picture the fires of judgment which God's angels are to "scatter" on Jerusalem. (In Isaiah 6), coals were used for the purification of the prophet; here they were for the destruction of the wicked. Fire did destroy Jerusalem (in 586 B.C.).

Ezekiel 10:3 " Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court. "

"The cloud filled the inner court" is speaking of the Shekinah glory of God which filled the court. The cherubims in this position indicate the presence of God is prepared to leave this place. This right hand would be the south and would make the cherubim face east.

These were different from the cherubim (of chapter one and here in verse 4).

Ezekiel 10:4 " Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, [and stood] over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory. "

The cherubs or cherubims have to do with the holiness of God. They are in total worship to God over the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. The cherubim had been on either side of the glory of God. Now, the glory of God has moved to the exit of the house. This verse explains how the "cloud" (of verse 3), "filled the inner court". It repeats what is first described (in chapter 9:3).

The brightness of the LORD's glory is speaking of a presence of the Light of God. This Light does away with all darkness.

Ezekiel 10:5 " And the sound of the cherubims' wings was heard [even] to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh. "

The wings of the cherubim were very wide. The ones in the holy place were 7 and one-half feet across, on each wing. The movement of these wings would make a very loud sound. The voice of Almighty God had been likened to thunder. This is a very loud sound then.

Ezekiel 10:6 " And it came to pass, [that] when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels. "

When the man clothed with linen was commanded of God to go and get the fire, He obeyed. He first stood beside the wheels.

Ezekiel 10:7 " And [one] cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that [was] between the cherubims, and took [thereof], and put [it] into the hands of [him that was] clothed with linen: who took [it], and went out."

One of the four cherubim puts the fiery coals into the marking angel's hand.

This is similar to the seraphim that took the fire and put it on the mouth of Isaiah.

Isaiah 6:6-7 "Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, [which] he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:" "And he laid [it] upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."

Ezekiel 10:8 " And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings. "

We dealt with this in an earlier lesson.

Ezekiel 1:8 "And [they had] the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings".

Verses 9 to 17: This section is similar to (1:4-21). Four wheels on God's chariot mingled with the 4 angels coordinated with each other in precision, and each with a different one of the cherubim.

Ezekiel 10:9 " And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels [was] as the color of a beryl stone. "

All looked so much alike that it was as if one wheel blended entirely with another (verse 10). As their appearance was so unified, their action was in unison and instant (verse 11). The cherubim had bodies like men and their chariot wheels were full of eyes denoting full perception both to see the sinners and their fitting judgment.

Beryl is speaking of deep green like an emerald. Green symbolizes the earth. The presence of God reaches to the earth.

Ezekiel 10:10 " And [as for] their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel. "

The hub of the wheel was a wheel itself (as we studied in chapter 1).

Ezekiel 10:11 " When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went. "

This was explained by scripture.

Ezekiel 1:12 "And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; [and] they turned not when they went".

This refers to the divine impulse by which God moved them to do His Will.

Ezekiel 10:12 " And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, [were] full of eyes round about, [even] the wheels that they four had. "

The "eyes" symbolize wisdom. The many eyes coming from the wheel represent the wisdom that is throughout all the books of the Bible. These eyes may picture God's omniscience, i.e. perfect knowledge, given to these angelic servants so that they can act in judgment unerringly.

Ezekiel 10:13 " As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel."

This cry, "O wheel", is in awe of the Word of God which the wheel symbolizes.

Ezekiel 10:14 " And every one had four faces: the first face [was] the face of a cherub, and the second face [was] the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. "

This cherub symbolizes the same as the work of the calf.

Faces as described in chapter one. These symbols identify the angels as intelligent (man), powerful (lion), servile (ox or calf), and swift (eagle).

Ezekiel 10:15 " And the cherubims were lifted up. This [is] the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar. "

This is just explaining that the vision here, and the vision in chapter one of the presence of God in the wheels are the same.

They were ready to move in unison as the Shekinah glory of God got ready to depart.

Ezekiel 10:16 " And when the cherubims went, the wheels went by them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them. "

You cannot separate the Spirit of God and His Word. The spoken and the written Word of God is the manifestation of His power. The 4 Gospels are the focal point of the Bible. The entire Bible focuses on these 4 books. More accurately, the entire Bible focuses on Jesus in these 4 books. These cherubims show the importance of keeping God's Word holy. Holiness and the Bible teachings go together.

Ezekiel 10:17 " When they stood, [these] stood; and when they were lifted up, [these] lifted up themselves [also]: for the spirit of the living creature [was] in them."

The Spirit of the Gospels is in the Word of God throughout the Bible.

Ezekiel 10:18 " Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. "

This is the beginning of the departure of the presence of God from the temple. The presence of God is in His Word.

The progressive departure of the glory of the Lord continues with a move from above the threshold to a position above the four cherubim, no longer in contact with the temple structure.

Ezekiel 10:19 " And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also [were] beside them, and [every one] stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house; and the glory of the God of Israel [was] over them above. "

This vision is showing Ezekiel, that no longer will these people be the only ones with the Word of God. God has left the temple. They left Him and His teachings in the Word first. Now, He has totally removed His presence from the temple.

There was thus written over the entire structure, as well as Israel's spiritual life, "Ichabod" (the glory has departed).

He goes out the east gate but He is coming back the same way He went out. Jesus will enter this eastern gate, when He enters Jerusalem as King of kings and Lord of lords.

It is interesting that, that particular gate is blocked up today with stones. When the Lord comes back to the earth and puts His feet on mount Olives, the mountain will cleave in two.

Ezekiel 10:20 " This [is] the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they [were] the cherubims. "

Somehow the cherubims and the Word of God in the Scriptures are intertwined. The cherubims symbolize the holiness of the Word of God.

Ezekiel 10:21 " Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man [was] under their wings. "

Being "under their wings" denotes secrecy and privacy: and the whole being applied to the ministers of the word is expressive of their activity and diligence in the work of the Lord, both in private and in public. And that they make no boast nor show of their works and labors, and ascribe nothing to themselves, but all to the grace of God that is with them (1 Cor. 15:10).

10:22 "And the likeness of their faces [was] the same faces which I saw by the river of Chebar, their appearances and themselves: they went every one straight forward."

This is the same as what Ezekiel saw (in chapter 1).

Ezekiel Chapter 10 Questions

1. The sapphire is blue, which symbolizes the __________.

2. Verse 1 is a vision of what?

3. The ______ ______ ______ is in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

4. They are the ________ of the wheel.

5. What was the man in linen to do with the coals of fire?

6. Who was the only one who could go into the near presence of God in the temple?

7. _________ is the High Priest.

8. What does John chapter 1 tell us about Jesus?

9. What does the "scattering of the fire over the city" symbolize?

10. What is "the cloud filled the inner court"?

11. What do the cherubim have to do with?

12. The brightness of the glory is speaking of what?

13. How large was each wing of the cherubim in the temple?

14. The voice of Almighty God sounds like _________.

15. Judgment is in the hands of the ________ ________ ________.

16. The appearance of the wheels was the color of _________.

17. What was the hub of the wheel?

18. The outer wheel is controlled by the _____.

19. What do the "eyes" symbolize?

20. How did the four faces in verse 14 differ from the four faces in chapter 1 of Ezekiel?

21. What is verse 15 explaining?

22. What is the focal point of the Bible?

23. The spirit of the living creatures was in what?

24. What is verse 19 showing?

25. What gate will Jesus enter, when He comes to the earth as King of kings?

26. If it is blocked today, what will happen to open it?

27. The cherubim symbolize what?

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Ezekiel 11

Ezekiel Chapter 11

Ezekiel 11:1 " Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD'S house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. "

These 25 men were similar to the 25 priests and High Priest worshipping the sun god in chapter 8. They were actually supposed to be leaders of the people. They had led their people into the worship of a false god. Jaazaniah and Pelatiah were both princes, or leaders, in Jerusalem. They were probably, some of the ones that caused Jeremiah's problems.

Ezekiel, though at the temple only in the vision, saw because God, who was everywhere present and all-knowing, impressed specific details on him in the vision.

The wicked leaders were part of God's reason for the judgment. Ezekiel was taken in spirit to the very place which the glory of God had left (in 10:19), and was given a vision of "twenty five men," who represented, not priests, but influential leaders among the people, who gave fatal advice to the people (in verse 2).

Ezekiel 11:2 " Then said he unto me, Son of man, these [are] the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city: "

There is nothing eviller than a wicked ruler, who leads others into their sin. Their counsel was evil. They were the blind leading the blind, and they will both fall.

Ezekiel 11:3 " Which say, [It is] not near; let us build houses: this [city is] the caldron, and we [be] the flesh. "

These false predictions were things these fleshly people wanted to hear. These were false predictions of good times. They were told to go ahead and build houses here. They would not follow God's advice and surrender to the Babylonians. Jeremiah had told them to build houses in captivity as they would be in Babylon for a long time. Time proved Jeremiah right and these false prophets wrong.

These false leaders, like the prophets and priests who Jeremiah confronted for telling the people not to submit, scorned Jeremiah's words from God and would pay for it.

"Caldron" meant a boiling pot, or pan. This meant they thought they were protected, because they were in this walled city.

Ezekiel 11:4 " Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man. "

Ezekiel is to denounce their prophecy by giving the true prophecy from God.

Ezekiel 11:5 " And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, [every one of] them. "

One great advantage that God has is that He knows our every thought, as well as our deeds. We do not even have to speak, He knows what we are thinking. He looks into the heart of man and knows whether he is evil, or good.

Notice what empowered Ezekiel to speak this truth; the Spirit of the LORD fell upon him.

Ezekiel 11:6 " Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain. "

Their disobedience to God will cause many more to die than has been necessary. God has given them every opportunity to repent, and they have not. Their unfaithfulness and disobedience has caused their number of slain to be multiplied.

The leaders, who misled Israel by inciting false expectations of a victorious defense rather than peaceful surrender, were responsible for the deadly results. Many people died in resisting Babylon.

Ezekiel 11:7 " Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they [are] the flesh, and this [city is] the caldron: but I will bring you forth out of the midst of it. "

The dead bodies would be the flesh in this walled city. God will let Babylon take them captive. Many will die by the sword, but many more will die by famine and pestilence.

The false leaders thought that unless they fought, they would all be in a caldron, i.e., the city. But here the Lord promised that some would be delivered from the city, only to die on Israel's border in the wilderness (in verses 8-11). This was literally fulfilled at Riblah.

Ezekiel 11:8 " Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord GOD. "

These are those who thought they had escaped, but are hunted down and die of their greatest fear; the sword.

Ezekiel 11:9 " And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you. "

This is speaking of those who are taken into Babylon in chains. They, and their children, will remain there 70 years. God has judged them, and each of them are punished accordingly.

Ezekiel 11:10 " Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD. "

We know that so many died by the sword, they did not even bury them. They just left their bodies for the vultures and the wild beasts. The easiest death of all was the death by the sword, because it was swift.

Border of Israel: Again, speaking of Riblah (see 2 Kings 25 18-21 and Jeremiah 52:24-27).

Ezekiel 11:11 " This [city] shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; [but] I will judge you in the border of Israel:"

Jerusalem, with its wall, had always been a place of protection. Now, it will not be. God has judged them, and in so doing, took His hedge of protection away from them.

Ezekiel 11:12 " And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that [are] round about you. "

The sad thing is, these are God's chosen people. They had not walked daily in the protection He had provided. We have said before, that those who keep God's commandments are the children He protects.

They had picked up worship of false gods from their heathen neighbors. They did not stop going through the motion of worshipping God, but their hearts were far from God. They had worshipped false gods, along with doing the rituals of service to God. They had committed spiritual adultery.

Ezekiel 11:13 " And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel? "

The death of this evil leader brought such shock to Ezekiel, that he feared God would kill all of the Jews, and not leave a remnant. The death of one leader from verse 1 was a sign that God would indeed carry out His word. Apparently, this leader did die suddenly at the time Ezekiel was shown the vision, so that the prophet feared that this death meant death for all Israelites.

We saw in a previous lesson, how those who had not bowed their knee to the false gods were marked upon their foreheads, and not destroyed. The destruction in this vision was so great it overwhelmed Ezekiel, and he fell on his face pleading for the remnant to be spared.

Ezekiel 11:14 " Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, "

There was a break from the other prophecy here. Ezekiel hears the Word of God again. He gives answer to Ezekiel's question.

Ezekiel 11:15 " Son of man, thy brethren, [even] thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, [are] they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession. "

Some of Ezekiel's own people were involved in this revolt against God. Remember, he had been a priest, so many of the people who came to worship God were classified as Ezekiel's brothers. They were not obedient to God. They wanted to stay and claim the land God had given them by inheritance.

"Get far away". The contemptuous words of those still left in Jerusalem at the carrying away of Jeconiah and the exiles indicated that they felt smugly secure and believed the land was their possession. They had forgotten that the land was one of the blessings, if they obeyed God.

Ezekiel was told he had a new family, not the priests at Jerusalem to whom he was tied by blood, but his fellow exiles in Babylon, identified as those who were treated as outcasts. The priesthood was about to be ended and he was to have a new family.

Ezekiel 11:16 " Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. "

"Little sanctuary" is better rendered "for a little while," i.e. however long the captivity lasted. God was to be the protection and provision for those who had been scattered through all the 70 years until they were restored. The exiles may have cast off the Jews, but God had not. This holds true for the future restoration of the Jews.

God is not just in Israel. He will be with them in their captivity, wherever they are. They had put much emphasis on the temple in Jerusalem. They knew the presence of God had been there. They thought of the temple and God as being inseparable. They had forgotten that God was in the wilderness with His people 40 years on their way to the Promised Land. If they will be faithful to Him and be obedient, He will be with them and protect them, even in a foreign land. God is omnipresent. He can be everywhere all at the same time.

Ezekiel 11:17 " Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. "

God will bring His children home after their captivity. He will be with them in Babylon, but even better is the promise that He will bring them back into their own land. The remnant, which does not die, will go back into the land promised to them through Abraham.

This speaks also of the ultimate, full restoration of Israel in the future Millennium, when the people will have a new heart.

Ezekiel 11:18 " And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence."

There must be a spiritual cleansing in the land. Most of the detestable things would have been burned up in the fire, but anything left, must be destroyed. They must completely cleanse their land from idolatry and false prophets.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 " And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: " "That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."

God will change them from the inside. He will give them hearts with feelings to replace the stony hearts they had before. The heart is the center of what we are. God will begin with that, and make them new creatures in Him. The one heart is speaking of their being spiritual unity among them. God will write His laws upon their hearts.

Salvation is a daily walk. Their new lives will be one of obedience, love and respect for their God. God is not so interested in the formality of sacrifices, as He is in His people loving Him and obeying Him. It will be their desire to keep His ordinances. They will not do it from obligation, but because they love Him.

God pledged not only to restore Ezekiel's people to their ancient land, but to bring the New Covenant with its blessings. This passage goes beyond the return from Babylonian captivity experienced by the Jews under the Persians and speaks of the ultimate, full restoration of Israel in the future Millennium, when the people will have a new heart.

Ezekiel 11:21 " But [as for them] whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD. "

Each person has a free will to worship whom they will. God will not force them to worship Him. If they choose the nothings of this world, like false gods and idols, they will fall into their own traps. God will not help them. God will repay them for their evil, if they are stubborn and will not give up their false gods.

Ezekiel 11:22 " Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel [was] over them above. "

This beautiful presence of God that is almost unexplainable, lifts up above them. This departure of the divine glory in Ezekiel's vision is a signal that this vision is over.

Ezekiel 11:23 " And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which [is] on the east side of the city. "

God has removed Himself from His city, Jerusalem. His protection is gone. It is as if He is saying, I have spoken, now, let it be. His presence is on the mountain overlooking the city.

As the chariot throne ascends into heaven, the glory of the Lord also rises finally from the city and stands on the Mount of Olives east of the city, then ascends and evidently disappears. Only in the Millennial Temple will this effulgence and beauty, this special presence of God, return to fill the house of God.

Ezekiel 11:24 " Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me. "

You remember, in the early part of this vision, that God had taken Ezekiel by the hair and raised him up to receive this vision. This is just saying, that he was returned to Chaldea where he had been captive at the beginning of this vision. The vision of the wheels and the presence of God went away from Ezekiel, and he remained in Chaldea.

Ezekiel 11:25 " Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had showed me. "

Once this vision was completed, Ezekiel was able to tell his exiled countrymen what God had shown him.

This is a short sentence that means so much. Ezekiel, who was captive with many from Israel, spoke to his fellow captives.

This prophecy has a promise of restoration to their homeland, to those who truly believe in God. Some of this is an explanation of why they had these troubles. Some of this is showing the terribleness of the decision those made, who stayed in Jerusalem.

The hope is in the remnant that God will be with, even in their captivity.

Ezekiel Chapter 11 Questions

1. What lifted Ezekiel up?

2. Where did He take Ezekiel?

3. How many men did he see there?

4. Who were the 2 princes in verse 1?

5. Who did these men remind us of?

6. What did God tell Ezekiel about these men?

7. Their counsel was _______.

8. What terrible advice did they give the people?

9. What is a "caldron"?

10. Verse 5 says God empowered Ezekiel, how?

11. Who was to blame for the people being slain in the city?

12. What are the various ways the people will be killed?

13. He would deliver them to ___________.

14. Verse 10 says the judgment came for what purpose?

15. What is the sad thing about all of this?

16. Where had they picked up worship of false gods?

17. What effect did it have on Ezekiel, when Pelatiah died?

18. What question did Ezekiel ask God?

19. What had they forgotten about the land?

20. Where is God?

21. What is verse 17 speaking of?

22. What kind of cleansing is verse 18 speaking of?

23. How will God change them?

24. Salvation is a __________ walk.

25. What will happen to the people, who choose the false gods over God?

26. What does the lifting of the glory of the God of Israel signal?

27. How did Ezekiel get back to Chaldea?

28. What did Ezekiel do, when he got back?

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Ezekiel 12

Ezekiel Chapter 12

Ezekiel 12:1 "The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying,"

The vision of Ezekiel ended in the last lesson. Now this Word of God was spoken to Ezekiel, and not in a vision.

Ezekiel 12:2 "Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they [are] a rebellious house."

The message of Ezekiel was addressed to his fellow exiles who were as hardened as those still in Jerusalem. They were so intent on a quick return to Jerusalem, that they would not accept his message of Jerusalem's destruction.

Their rebellion was against God. They were not obedient. They were stiff-necked and rebelled against all authority over them. They hear the message Ezekiel brings them with their outer ears, but they do not take it into their beings. They can actually see the captivity around them, but they still do not believe it to be punishment from God for their sins. Rebellion is a serious sin.

1 Samuel 15:23: "For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king."

Ezekiel 12:3 "Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they [be] a rebellious house."

Prepare thee stuff for removing means "prepare your baggage". Later, Ezekiel is commanded to carry the baggage through a hole in the wall. The significance of these strange actions is clearly explained: preparing the baggage represents the inhabitants of Jerusalem who must pack their bags and go into captivity. The exit through the hole in the wall pictured the vain attempt of king Zedekiah to escape from Nebuchadnezzar. Both of these prophetic actions were literally fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed (in 586 B.C.). The people were taken captive and Zedekiah's attempted escape was foiled. He was compelled to watch his sons slain before his eyes. His eyes were then blinded, and he was taken to Babylon.

God has not been able to reach them with Words He has spoken through Ezekiel, now He is telling Ezekiel to do something that they can see with physical eyes.

The thing God has Ezekiel to do is to show them, in the physical, what will happen. It is an example for them. He says pack all your things, and stack them outside your house, in the daylight, so they can see. It appears, that Ezekiel would just carry with him the things he could move quickly with. Perhaps, just the things he could carry on his back. He will move to another dwelling.

Ezekiel 12:4 "Then shalt thou bring forth thy stuff by day in their sight, as stuff for removing: and thou shalt go forth at even in their sight, as they that go forth into captivity."

This is a visual message of God to them, about going into a strange land of captivity.

Ezekiel 12:5 "Dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby."

Ezekiel was not to go out the door. His digging through the wall indicates an escape.

This also depicts those in desperation trying to escape from the sun dried brick homes.

Ezekiel 12:6 "In their sight shalt thou bear [it] upon [thy] shoulders, [and] carry [it] forth in the twilight: thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground: for I have set thee [for] a sign unto the house of Israel."

"Cover thy face": This was to avoid recognition.

Ezekiel 12:7 "And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought [it] forth in the twilight, [and] I bare [it] upon [my] shoulder in their sight."

"Dig through the wall ... in the twilight": This indicates escape by night. This prophetic sign anticipates king Zedekiah's nighttime attempted escape. Blinded by his captors, Zedekiah did not see the ground when brought to Babylon where he later died.

This shows the obedience of Ezekiel. He did everything, just as God had commanded him to do.

Ezekiel 12:8 "And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me, saying,"

He moved during the night, and this is, perhaps, the very next morning.

Ezekiel 12:9 "Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said unto thee, What doest thou?"

God asks Ezekiel if this sight lesson had caused the house of Israel to take notice and ask why this is done.

At this point, God has sent them message after message, in all sorts of ways. They are so rebellious, they might not have even taken heed of this. Obviously, the answer was no as nothing has been recorded about this. Seems no one is listening or paying any attention to Ezekiel now.

Ezekiel 12:10 "Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; This burden [concerneth] the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that [are] among them."

This is a reference to king Zedekiah, who was always referred to by Ezekiel as prince, never king. Jehoiachin was regarded as the true king because the Babylonians never deposed him formally. All the house of Israel however, shared the calamity to fall on Zedekiah.

How literally these prophecies were fulfilled can be seen from the account (in 2 Kings 25:1-7).

Ezekiel 12:11 "Say, I [am] your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove [and] go into captivity."

The things that had happened to Ezekiel, in front of them, was a sign of what would happen to Zedekiah and the Israelites with him. They would be led away captive.

Ezekiel 12:12 "And the prince that [is] among them shall bear upon [his] shoulder in the twilight, and shall go forth: they shall dig through the wall to carry out thereby: he shall cover his face, that he see not the ground with [his] eyes."

He definitely cannot see the ground with his eyes, because they blinded him, before they left for captivity with him. He will be shown no special privileges, even though he was Nebuchadnezzar's uncle. His sons had been killed before him, and then, his eyes had been put out. He will even carry his own belongings on his own shoulders. They had tried to escape by a hole in the wall.

Ezekiel 12:13 "My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon [to] the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there."

The net and snare were the Babylonian army. He was taken captive to Babylon, but he never saw it because his eyes had been put out at Riblah.

We see his attempt at escape did not work. He, with his men were caught. Zedekiah dies during his captivity in Babylon. He was caught up in the captivity, just like those Israelites under him. In the captivity, no special favors were shown to those who had a high rank.

Ezekiel 12:14 "And I will scatter toward every wind all that [are] about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them."

The capture of Zedekiah would cause his followers to scatter. They would be afraid and run, when their ruler is taken.

Ezekiel 12:15 "And they shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries."

God's hand was to be with the enemy as His rod of correction, with only a few left.

Now we see the purpose in this. God will prove to them that He is God. Their false gods will not be able to help them against God. It is God that scatters them, even though, the physical enemy is Babylon. God is using Nebuchadnezzar to carry out His punishment on them.

Ezekiel 12:16 "But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and from the pestilence; that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen whither they come; and they shall know that I [am] the LORD."

The few who are spared, will admit the abominations they had been involved in. The heathen will even know why this terrible siege has come upon God's people. There will be no doubt left, who is God.

Ezekiel 12:17 "Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,"

There seemed to be a passage of time between the other statement and the one beginning here. Moreover, shows it to be a continuation of the last statement though.

Ezekiel 12:18 "Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and with carefulness;"

This introduces the second sign in the chapter. Ezekiel was to tremble as he ate and drank, as a sign of the terror that would grip the nation back in Judah.

Bread will be extremely short and the quaking would be from weakness as well as fear. Even good clean water will be extremely short during this time. We know that the famine will be so great, that many will starve to death. Not only had the war kept them from producing food, but the natural elements did not cooperate with them either.

God has spoken this terror, and it is so. The carefulness spoken of would be to make sure there was enough food left for another day. Remember, Ezekiel is giving them an example of what will come on them. They had not heeded the warnings. Now this, along with the warnings, was to make them listen and take heed.

Ezekiel 12:19 "And say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord GOD of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, [and] of the land of Israel; They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein."

When the people ask Ezekiel, why is he doing this? He is to answer them in this way. They had brought this on themselves by their evil lifestyle. The word "all" lets us know that the sin was widespread, not to just a few.

Ezekiel 12:20 "And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD."

They surely cannot say that God did not warn them. He has told them over and over. Not only did He speak to them in words, but He showed them an example through Ezekiel. It seems so strange for the man of God to have to go through all of this. He must experience this, so he can truly understand what they are going through.

Ezekiel 12:21 "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,"

Again, there is another break here to show that God is speaking to Ezekiel another time.

Ezekiel 12:22 "Son of man, what [is] that proverb [that] ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?"

The visions that fail are the visions of the false prophets. It seems a great deal of time took place, even after the immediate attack on Judah, before Jerusalem was destroyed. The people in captivity, as well as those in Judah, did not believe God would destroy Jerusalem. "The days are prolonged": The sad thing is, about 70 years will pass before they will go back into the land. The people did not want to trust Ezekiel's vision, because it was bringing bad news. They wanted to believe the false prophets with their failed visions who said they would be back in Jerusalem within 2 years.

Ezekiel 12:23 "Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision."

Ezekiel must tell them that the time for waiting is up. The taking of the land is now. There will be no need for any more warnings.

Delay had given the people the false impression that the stroke of judgment would never come. In fact, a saying had become popular, no doubt developed by false prophets who caused the people to reject Ezekiel's visions and prophecies and gave false divinations.

The true prophet of God will generally see the fulfillment of his prophecy. In this case, it is very near (speaking of Ezekiel's)

Ezekiel 12:24 "For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel."

This divination is like fortune telling. It is speaking of the false prophecy that was given. God will stop the mouths of these false prophets. Generally, the way He stops them, is with death.

Ezekiel 12:25 "For I [am] the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD."

He not only stops the mouth of the false prophet, but He speaks the truth to them through Ezekiel. His prophecies come true, because the prophecy is from God. Now, He has set a definite time. This will take place in the lifetime of those He is speaking to. He again, reminds them of their rebellion toward Him. When God says it, it happens.

Ezekiel 12:26 "Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,"

This means there was an interval of time between the last statement and this to Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 12:27 "Son of man, behold, [they of] the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth [is] for many days [to come], and he prophesieth of the times [that are] far off."

God stresses to Ezekiel the error in them thinking this prophecy is for sometime far in the future. They thought this would happen to some future generation, surely not to theirs.

One can not help but think of the words written in the book of Revelation about the time which is coming at this point. How many treat that book and those prophecies written there as something which is still a long way off or may never happen?

Ezekiel 12:28 "Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD."

Because they have believed this way, God says the time is now.

At least in the last few verses, they have realized that Ezekiel is a true prophet. They just believed his prophecy was for the far distant future. God sets them straight. The time is now. The reason God had waited as long as He did is in the next Scripture.

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

There comes a time when He will wait no longer. That time is here, for them. God is not a man that He should lie. Whatever He says, will be.

Ezekiel Chapter 12 Questions

1. What is different about this Word from the Word in the previous chapter?

2. What does God call Ezekiel in verse 2?

3. Who does he dwell in the midst of?

4. Who was the rebellion against?

5. Why was it necessary to give them this message again?

6. What did the Lord tell Ezekiel to do in verse 3?

7. Why is he doing this?

8. What would Ezekiel move?

9. The digging in the wall indicates an __________.

10. Why was his face covered when he moved?

11. What is the house of Israel called in verse 9?

12. Who is the prince in verse 10?

13. In what condition is Zedekiah carried to Babylon?

14. What is "burden" in verse 10, speaking of?

15. Why did Ezekiel speak of Zedekiah as a prince?

16. Who was Zedekiah related to?

17. Zedekiah dies in ____________.

18. Where does God scatter them?

19. What do the few who are left do?

20. Ezekiel was to eat the bread with ___________.

21. He was to drink water with ____________ and with ___________.

22. Which visions fail?

23. What is the divination in verse 24?

24. What will God do to the false prophets?

25. What does God stress in verse 27?

26. What is one thing they finally decided about Ezekiel's prophecies?

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Ezekiel 13

Ezekiel Chapter 13

Ezekiel 13:1 "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,"

This Word of the LORD is to a special group of people, and not to the entire nation. This is a totally different prophecy from the last lesson.

Ezekiel 13:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;"

This prophesy is directed to the false prophets, themselves. These prophets should not be ministering to anyone, because they do not even know the truth themselves.

False prophets had long flourished in Judah and had been transported to Babylon as well. Here God directs Ezekiel to indict those false prophets for futile assurances of peace. Then His attention turns to lying prophetesses (in verses 17-23).

Those who would be teachers then, or now, must first learn themselves. Many feel called to the ministry, but they do not prepare. The greatest preparation a man can make is to thoroughly study the Word of God. The Truth is in the Word of God. A person should never go into the ministry as a vocation. The ministry must be a call.

In the case of the true prophets, their mouths are not their own. God speaks to the people through them. The words are not from the prophets' hearts, but from the heart of God. The false prophets in Israel were not innocently in error. They had made up these prophecies themselves, pretending the message came from God.

Ezekiel 13:3 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!"

Woe introduces a curse on false prophets. They were like workmen who tried to cover a severely cracked wall with whitewash.

It is a very dangerous thing for a person to pretend he is hearing from God, when in fact, he is not. Only a very foolish person would do this. The punishment for this would come from God, and not from man. Sometimes a person would claim to be a prophet to be recognized. A true prophet does not have an easy life. We can look at Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, and even Ezekiel and see they are not showered with good times. They generally, have a very hard time. Sometimes their own families do not even believe them.

Ezekiel 13:4 "O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts."

Foxes are clever and tricky. These false prophets are tricky too. They were not telling the truth. They were telling things to make them look good and be respected in the community. They appeal to the flesh of man.

Generally speaking, a prophet of God brings warnings to the people. Seldom are they proclaiming wonderful times for the present. The ultimate way to tell who is a false or a true prophet, is did their prophecy come true?

Ezekiel 13:5 "Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD."

They should have been calling their people to repentance. Instead, they were betraying their people with these false prophecies. They were not standing in the gap. They were trying to benefit themselves, not the people.

Ezekiel 13:6 "They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made [others] to hope that they would confirm the word."

True prophets used the statement "The LORD saith", or "Thus saith the LORD". They were using this statement without being sent of the LORD. It appears, they were not only deceiving others, but themselves as well.

The vanity speaks of them serving their own egos. Divination, in this particular instance, is speaking of witchcraft. Their messages were coming from Satan.

Ezekiel 13:7 "Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith [it]; albeit I have not spoken?"

These false prophets have deliberately tried to injure the good name of the LORD. The people may not realize that this message is not from God, but God and the false prophets know. God tells them through Ezekiel here, that they are not deceiving Him.

Ezekiel 13:8 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I [am] against you, saith the Lord GOD."

This is a strong statement that fits the false prophets of old, and the false prophets of our day, as well. God never changes. He is against the false prophets today also. We must be very careful in our prophecy not to prophesy things for our own benefit. God loves Truth.

Ezekiel 13:9 "And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I [am] the Lord GOD."

A 3-fold judgment is given to the false prophets:

(1) They would not be in the council of God's people;

(2) Their names would be wiped from the register of Israel; and

(3) They would never return to the land.

This is saying that God will stop them from prophesying, and their name will be taken off the role. Israel was well known for their record keeping, but they will not be included in those records. They will not be included when Israel is restored. This is speaking of a curse that comes upon them, and they will not be remembered in any way. They will not even be citizens anymore. They are made outcasts by God, Himself.

Ezekiel 13:10 "Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and [there was] no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered [mortar]:"

Their work had been in vain. They had built with things that would not withstand in time of trouble. They had been speaking of peace, and there was no peace. They were leading others to destruction, while all the time, they were pretending they were building them up.

False prophets had lulled the people into false security. Phony "peace" promises, while sin continued on the brink of God's judgment, was a way, so to speak, of erecting a defective "wall" and whitewashing it to make it look good. Such an unsafe "wall" was doomed to collapse when God would bring His storm, picturing the invader's assault.

Ezekiel 13:11 "Say unto them which daub [it] with untempered [mortar], that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend [it]."

This is like the house built upon the sand that could not stand when the rains of life came. This wall, the same as the house of sand, had no solid foundation. The wind, or the rain, or the hailstones could destroy this faulty building. Their prophecies could not withstand in time of trouble either.

Of course, all of these descriptions are images belonging to the illustration of the wall, not meant to convey real wind, flood, and hail. The Babylonians were the actual destroyers of Israel's hypocritical false spirituality.

Ezekiel 13:12 "Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where [is] the daubing wherewith ye have daubed [it]?"

This is speaking of their prophecy which was supposed to happen right away. When the time comes, and it does not happen, then they will be declared false prophets. All of their prophecies were wasted. Their prophecies did not help anyone, not even themselves.

Ezekiel 13:13 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend [it] with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in [my] fury to consume [it]."

God is speaking through Ezekiel to these false prophets. The effect of God's fury will be destruction and the false prophets will be consumed.

Ezekiel 13:14 "So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered [mortar], and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD."

This wall of false prophecy daubed to try to make it stand, will not stand. The fury of God will bring it down, and will also destroy these false prophets. There will be no question that this is God's fury on the false prophets. The only wall that will stand in time of trouble, is the wall that is built on the solid foundation. The Lord must be the Cornerstone. We build with truth, any other wall will fall.

Ezekiel 13:15 "Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered [mortar], and will say unto you, The wall [is] no [more], neither they that daubed it;"

The physical wall around Jerusalem will come down. All the prophecies of better times, which are not from God, will not keep the wall from coming down. Those who gave these prophecies of peace, when there was no peace, gave people false hope. The false prophet will be destroyed along with the prophecy he gave.

Ezekiel 13:16 " [To wit], the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and [there is] no peace, saith the Lord GOD."

This is an exacting statement, telling exactly who these false prophets are and what they're teaching the people.

Ezekiel 13:17 "Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them,"

Women have had great influence in the religion of their country from the very beginning. Some of them have been to honor, and some to dishonor. This quickly brings to mind the women who were crying over the false god in:

Ezekiel 8:14 "Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD'S house which [was] toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz."

The particular women, in the verse above, are false prophetesses. They are like the false prophets, and will suffer the same condemnation.

Ezekiel 13:18 "And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the [women] that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive [that come] unto you?"

The pillows sewn to the armholes have been interpreted to refer to either amulets placed upon the wrists that supposedly conveyed magical powers to the enchanter, or bonds tied around the wrists of the inquirer that symbolized magically that the accompanying spell or incantation was a binding one.

Apparently, these sorceresses employed all these things in their divinations, hunting down souls for their advantage (verse 20).

Ezekiel 13:19 "And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear [your] lies?"

Whatever they were doing, they charged for it. It was similar to fortune telling perhaps. We do know that there was very sensual worship going on at this time, so it could have been connected with that.

Ezekiel 13:20 "Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make [them] fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, [even] the souls that ye hunt to make [them] fly."

These pillows, probably had some type of writing upon them. They were more likely used in fortune telling. They probably had amulets with writing upon them. This pillow has something to do with snaring the people as you would a bird in a net. Really, it is unimportant what the evil was. It is enough to know, they are stealing souls away from God to false gods. This is extremely evil.

Ezekiel 13:21 "Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD."

It seems they have some sort of spell over the people, as if they were bond. God will free the people from these evil women.

Ezekiel 13:22 "Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:"

They have not offered hope to the righteous. They have saddened them. They were definitely on the side of the wicked. Ezekiel and Jeremiah had preached repentance and hope for the righteous. These false prophetesses have taught the opposite.

Predators had saddened the righteous by a false message leading to calamity which involved great loss even for them. They had encouraged the wicked to expect a bright future, and saw no need to repent to avoid death.

Ezekiel 13:23 "Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD."

Divination had to do with witchcraft. God is the only One who can free a person from the grip of witchcraft. God would have to deliver them. There is no power on this earth that is not subject to God. When God speaks, every knee bows.

I will deliver my people: Certainly, this was true in the restoration after the 70 years in Babylon, but will be fully true in Messiah's coming kingdom. God's true promise will bring an end to sorcery and false prophecy.

Ezekiel Chapter 13 Questions

1. What is different about this Word from God?

2. Verse 2 is a prophecy against whom?

3. Why should they not be teachers?

4. The Truth is in the _______ of God.

5. A person should never go into the ministry as a __________.

6. Where did the false prophets' messages come from?

7. Why would a person pretend to hear from God when he did not?

8. How are the foxes like the false prophets?

9. Generally speaking, what type of message does a true prophet bring?

10. What does verse 5 say they had not done?

11. What should they have been doing?

12. True prophets use what statement?

13. Who were they deceiving?

14. Why was God against them?

15. What things will God do to these false prophets?

16. They were saying _______, and there was no ________.

17. What is verse 11 like?

18. It rains on the _______, and the _____________.

19. What effect does the rain have on the false prophets?

20. What will bring the wall that is daubed with untempered mortar down?

21. Verse 17 is a prophecy against whom?

22. What does the author relate this type of false worship to?

23. Divination had to do with _________.

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Ezekiel 14

Ezekiel Chapter 14

Ezekiel 14:1 "Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me."

This is the beginning of a new prophecy. These elders were those who had been trained in the Word of God. It appears, they have heard the other prophecies, and are inquiring of Ezekiel about themselves.

These leaders came insincerely seeking God's counsel, as God reveals to the prophet, who thus saw through their facade and indicted them for determining to pursue their evil way and defy God's will. They had set up their idols in their hearts. Their idolatry, unlike that back in Jerusalem, was internal.

Ezekiel 14:2 "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,"

One thing that we could take advice from, is the fact that Ezekiel speaks just what God puts in His mouth.

Ezekiel 14:3 "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?"

The heart reveals what we really are. It is the center of our being. Man is either lost, or saved by what is in his heart. Even though the idols have been burned, they still think of them with fond memories. God is saying, if they still have these idols in their hearts, why do not they consult them, and not Me? An idol does not have to be one you can see with your eyes. Anything, or anyone, that you put above God in your heart, is an idol. Their hearts are not stayed upon God.

Ezekiel 14:4 "Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;"

Sin does not have to be physically carried out, for it to be sin. The heart of man will be judged. Jesus said in Matthew:

Matthew 5:28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

These elders have committed sin in their hearts, because in their hearts, they still worshipped idols. True worship takes place in the heart. To replace worship of God with idols, is to separate oneself from God. To even think of worshipping God, while we still have thoughts of idols in our hearts, is impossible as well. God will not share His people with anyone, or anything else. You cannot worship God and idols at the same time.

They received no verbal answer, but an answer directly from the Lord in the action of judgment.

Ezekiel 14:5 "That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols."

Their idolatry had brought this captivity upon them. "Estranged", in this verse, means to be a foreigner, or to turn aside. They have turned away from God in their hearts. The double-minded person is not acceptable to God.

Ezekiel 14:6 "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn [yourselves] from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations."

This is speaking to all of the people, including these elders. Notice, this is to the entire house of Israel, not just these elders. Look, at the word "[yourselves]".

The Lord answered the two-faced inquiry in only one way, by a call to repent. The seekers were turned away from Him to idols, and He must be turned away from them.

We see that the decision to worship, or not worship God is an individual thing. Each person decides in his own heart to turn away from his abominations to the Living God. Just as John the Baptist, preached repent, that is the message here also. God will forgive. The individual must repent, and then God will come and dwell with him again.

Ezekiel 14:7 "For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:"

"Every one" leaves no doubt that this is an individual thing. Notice also, that this is not just the Hebrews, but the strangers as well. Another word for stranger would be Gentile. "Sojourneth", means temporarily dwells. Those who deliberately turn from God to idols, will someday stand before the Judge of all the world and be found guilty. God deals with this Himself. This does not have to be an open act of idolatry. The heart is judged.

In the following Scripture, we see Jesus speaking of this very thing on judgment day.

Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

You see, their outward action was alright, but God judges the heart. Their hearts were not acceptable.

Ezekiel 14:8 "And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD."

God is not interested in our outward show of faith. He judges the heart. God will turn His face from one who does not retain Him in his heart. That man will be judged of God, and used to show others the error of this. Only God knows the heart of man. There will be no question, this judgment is of God.

Ezekiel 14:9 "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel."

There were false prophets in the land. God had judged their hearts and found them guilty of worshipping idols in their hearts. God causes them to believe a lie, because they are not faithful to Him. God builds up whoever He will, and He destroys whoever He will. His judgment is just. It is God who removes prophets, as it is God who builds up prophets.

God will deceive a false prophet only in a qualified sense. When one willfully rejects His Word, He places a resulting cloud of darkness, or permits it to continue, hiding the truth so that the person is deceived by his own obstinate self will.

This fits with the same principle as when God gives up Israel to evil statutes, counsel that they insist on as they spurn His Word. When people refuse the truth, He lets them seek after their own inclinations and gives them over to falsehood. This is the wrath of abandonment (noted in Romans 1:18).

Ezekiel 14:10 "And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh [unto him];"

There is a responsibility for those listening to prophets, to determine whether they be of God, or not. To follow a false prophet, brings the follower the same punishment as the false prophet.

1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."

Ezekiel 14:11 "That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD."

This is a continuation (of verse 10).

Every punishment that God brings on this earth, is to cause those who are living in sin to repent. The desire of God is to be their God. He will not force Himself upon them. They must choose to be His people, and then He will be their God.

Ezekiel 14:12 "The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,"

This shows another break in the prophecy here.

Ezekiel 14:13 "Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:"

God is speaking to Ezekiel here. Son of man, is a name by which God calls Ezekiel. We see that famine is one way that God brings punishment on an unrepentant society. Much of the famine in our society today is in areas where they worship false gods, or no God at all.

Ezekiel 14:14 "Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver [but] their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD."

The three mentioned above, were spoken of by God as being righteous in His sight. They lived in a society that was far away from God. The situation in Judah is so desperate that even if three of the most righteous men in the history of God's people were to intercede, they would be able to save only themselves.

Noah preached to the people around him, the many years he was building the ark, but no one listened and repented.

God saved Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their three wives. Noah was not saved from the flood, he was saved in the flood.

Daniel was saved in the lion's den, not from it.

Job was saved in the presence of his friends who did not believe. God may not remove you from your problem, but He will protect you in the problem, if you stay in right standing with Him.

This scripture illustrates that even the presence and prayers of the godly could not stop the coming judgment. (Genesis 18:22-32 and Jer. 5:1-4), provides rare exceptions to the principle that one man's righteousness is no protection for others.

Ezekiel 14:15 "If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:"

The noisome beasts would be for punishment of those living in sin. The problem will be there, but God will protect His own in the midst of the problem. Remember the one who held the inkhorn and the other 5 who were to mark certain ones we studied previously.

Ezekiel 14:16 " [Though] these three men [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate."

This is explaining the individuality of salvation. Just because you are righteous in God's sight, does not mean your children are. God judges on an individual basis. You repent and live for God to save your own soul. The land is desolate in punishment for sin. God will protect His own, even in a famine.

Ezekiel 14:17 "Or [if] I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:"

This is another form of punishment that God brings upon those who have turned against Him. Those who truly love God may be in the land when these problems come, but they will not be killed by the sword. A thousand may fall at their side, but they will be protected by God.

Ezekiel 14:18 "Though these three men [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves."

This is just saying that God does not have grandchildren, just children. These, sons and daughters, must decide for themselves to follow God. Each generation is judged on its own merits.

Ezekiel 14:19 "Or [if] I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:"

Again, this is speaking of a different type of judgment that might come into the land, because of the sin. I cannot say enough, this is not from Satan. This is from God, against a rebellious family.

Ezekiel 14:20 "Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall [but] deliver their own souls by their righteousness."

Noah, Daniel, and Job were three righteous men who lived in the same land with very evil people. This just explains, again, that their righteousness would not save their children. Only the children's righteousness could save them. Each person is responsible for his own sin.

3 people come to mind here, Seth, Ham and Japheth.

Genesis 9:18 "And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham [is] the father of Canaan."

Genesis 10:6 "And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan."

Both Cush and Phut are mentioned as major players in the end time prophecies as those who will come against Israel.

Ezekiel 14:21 "For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?"

God sends these four judgments upon all the people who have committed spiritual adultery in their hearts, by worshipping false gods. The chastisement of God is great in these 4 judgments, but the sin was just as great. God fits the punishment to the sin.

Ezekiel 14:22 "Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, [both] sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, [even] concerning all that I have brought upon it."

God always saved a remnant of His people. These are they who have not bowed their knees to false gods. The beautiful thing in all of this is the fact that God does not group everyone together. Those who live for Him will be saved, even though everyone around them is lost. God never overlooks a single person who loves Him.

1 Corinthians 8:3 "But if any man love God, the same is known of him."

God's judgment on Jerusalem was just. His saving of the remnant was just, as well.

Ezekiel 14:23 "And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD."

The comfort is in the knowledge of the remnant saved, who will return to Jerusalem later. There has been a separation of the evil from the good in the judgments of God. God is loving and kind, but He is also just. His cause was holy, and therefore we do not always understand.

An ungodly Jerusalem remnant, brought as captives to join exiled Jews in Babylon, was to be very wicked. Exiles already there, repulsed by this evil, were to realize God's justness in His severe judgment on Jerusalem.

Ezekiel Chapter 14 Questions

1. Who were the elders of verse 1?

2. The heart reveals what we ________ ______.

3. Where had these men set up their idols?

4. What can be an idol to you?

5. What does the word "estranged" mean?

6. Their __________ had brought this captivity upon them.

7. What did God tell them to do in verse 6?

8. The decision to follow God, or not, is an ____________ thing.

9. What does the words "every one" leave no doubt about?

10. The strangers were ________.

11. What does "sojourneth" mean?

12. The man God sets His face against will be a _______ and a _____.

13. Who deceives the false prophet?

14. Why did God cause them to believe a lie?

15. What responsibility does the one listening to a prophet have?

16. What is every punishment that God brings on the earth for?

17. God desires to be their ______.

18. What punishment does God bring, mentioned in verse 13?

19. What 3 men, righteous in God's sight, were mentioned in verse 14?

20. Noah was not saved from the flood, he was saved _____ it.

21. Daniel was saved ____ _____ _______ ___.

22. Job was saved in the presence of his friends, who ______ ____ ________.

23. Who can a person save by believing in God?

24. What is verse 18 saying?

25. Who brings the punishment for their sins?

26. How many judgments did God send on Jerusalem?

27. These judgments came on the people who had committed ________ __________.

28. God will save a ___________.

29. What is their comfort in?

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Ezekiel 15

Ezekiel Chapter 15

Ezekiel 15:1-2 "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, [or than] a branch which is among the trees of the forest?"

This is a new vision. The "vine tree" here, is speaking of Israel. Israel, often symbolized by a vine had become useful for nothing. Failing to do the very thing God set her apart to do, bear fruit, she no longer served any purpose and was useless. Other trees can be used for construction of certain things, but a fruitless vine is useless. It has no value. In every age, the people of God have their value in their fruitfulness.

Israel had been thought of as being the vine, and God was the Branch.

Jesus is spoken of as "the BRANCH" in Zechariah:

Zechariah 6:12 "And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name [is] The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:"

The trees in the forest here, are spoken of the unsaved world. The "vine tree" is more than the worldly tree, only when they are attached to the BRANCH. Their attachment to God made Israel different.

Ezekiel 15:3 "Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will [men] take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon?"

Trees that were cut down for wood to burn, were not trees for God's use. The vine would not make wood for burning, or even wood to make a peg (a pin). The vine was to produce fruit. In the case of Israel here, they were not doing God's work. They had lost connection with the BRANCH. They had broken relationship with God.

Ezekiel 15:4 "Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for [any] work?"

The vine (Israel), had been good for nothing, but to burn in the fire. God allowed this vine to be burned severely. God sent fire into Jerusalem, and into all the land. Only a remnant had been saved. This is asking the question, can this severely burned vine, come back and produce for God?

"Is it meet for [any] work" means: "useful".

Ezekiel 15:5 "Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for [any] work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned?"

Before it was burned, the vine had not produced, because it had detached itself from the BRANCH. The vine is of no use to anyone, not even itself, when it does not draw its strength from the BRANCH (God). God had not cut them off and abandoned them. They had detached themselves from Him. If they were not living for God when they were all together whole, how could the remaining vine, live for God and accomplish His desire for them?

The burning of the fruitless vine symbolized judgment in the deportations (of 605 BC and 597 B.C.), leading up to the final conquest (in 586 B.C.). Isaiah made the same analogy in his prophecy saying Israel produced only useless sour berries.

Ezekiel 15:6 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem."

This vine detached, was no more than a piece of wood to burn. God has no more respect for them than He does for the heathen world. God sends fire upon His people and Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the home of the temple, where God's presence was with the people. They separated themselves from God. He would no longer dwell with them.

Ezekiel 15:7 "And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from [one] fire, and [another] fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I set my face against them."

This destructive fire comes from God. He will turn from them, as they have turned from Him. God is a consuming Fire. His fire destroys all sin that He looks upon. This time, the sin is in His own people. God's chastisement was upon them. He would not spare. They may run, but there is no hiding from God. God's chastisement leaves no doubt with anyone that He is the LORD.

Ezekiel 15:8 "And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD."

The prophet applies the symbol to Israel and predicts the desolation of the city and the land. In the time of the Great Tribulation, it will be so again (see Revelation 14:18).

Their trespass is not just a single sin. They have chosen the false gods of the world over the One True God. God makes them desolate, because of their total rejection of Him. The message in this is so important for us to understand.

A simple way of saying this would be to say, that without God, I can do nothing. With God as my strength, I can do all things.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Look with me, at some Scriptures in the very Words of Jesus, which explain how important it is for us to draw our strength from Him.

John 15:4: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."

John 15:6-7: "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned." "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

John 15:10: "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."

The most important thing in our lives, other than our initial salvation, is to walk every day, drawing our strength from God.

John 8:12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

Ezekiel Chapter 15 Questions

1. Who is the "vine tree" in verse 2?

2. Who is the "BRANCH"?

3. When is the "vine tree" more than the worldly tree?

4. Who are the trees in the forest in verse 2 speaking of?

5. How was the vine different from the world tree?

6. Israel had lost relationship with the ___________.

7. When the vine loses contact with the Branch, what is it good for?

8. Who had been saved in the burning?

9. Can the severely burned vine come back and produce for God?

10. Why had the whole vine not produced for God?

11. What will God do to the inhabitants of Jerusalem?

12. What had been special about Jerusalem?

13. What does God's chastisement of fire accomplish?

14. What was the trespass?

15. The author believes what is a simple way of stating the lesson we can receive from is?

16. What wonderful promise does Jesus make to believers in John 15:7?

17. What is the most important thing in our lives other than receiving salvation?

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Ezekiel 16

Ezekiel Chapter 16

Verses 1-7: Covers the period from Abraham entering Canaan.

The longest chapter in Ezekiel (is similar to chapter 23), in that both indict Judah as spiritually immoral. The story of Israel's sin and unfaithfulness to the love of God is told in all its sordid, vile character. The chapter is so sad and indicting that some of the ancient rabbis did not allow it to be read in public.

In this chapter, the nation is compared to a foundling, an infant that has been deserted by its parents. The statement (in verse 3), "thy father was an Amorite and thy mother a Hittite" is of course, not to be taken literally. It is like the statement that Sodom was a sister of Jerusalem. Rather, it pictures the idolatrous character of the people in Jerusalem.

Though the Lord had compassion on her as one would have compassion on a foundling, Jerusalem still loved her idols (verses 23-29), and became like a brazen prostitute (verses 30-34), Therefore, the Lord says, "I will judge thee" (verse 38).

A striking contrast occurs here. Rather than reproaching the character of God who had reclaimed her as an unwanted infant that had been exposed to death (verses 4-6), Israel had degenerated so far in its pagan practices that it participated in the abominable rites of infant sacrifice (verse 20).

Ezekiel 16:1-3 "Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations," "And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity [is] of the land of Canaan; thy father [was] an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite."

This begins a totally different Word from the LORD.

Jerusalem, as well as the physical house of Israel, are thought of symbolically as the wife of God. This is in the same thinking as the Christians being the bride of Christ. Notice her abominations. We know that abominations means revolting sins. There is no worse sin than for a wife to be a harlot.

Canaan was the name of the land that later became the Promised Land. It was named for the forth son of Ham, Canaan. The Canaanites and Amorites many times speak of the same people. The Hittites were also, dwellers in Canaan. Jerusalem was not established with just Hebrews, but had been established with those who intermarried with the Hebrews. Jerusalem was a city born of Canaan.

These names identify the residents of Canaan who occupied the land when Abraham migrated there. Jerusalem had the same moral character as the rest of Canaan.

Israel was like an abandoned child. (In 16:4-14), we see the history of Israel from her conception to her glory under Solomon.

Ezekiel 16:4-5 "And [as for] thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple [thee]; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all." "None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born."

Israel, in the day of its birth, was unwanted and uncared for. Actually, this is probably speaking of the Israelite nation being born in captivity. This speaks of a baby, whose birth mother has abandoned it and it was not even cared for by others. They were not a clean nation. They were not even washed with salt (preserved). They were naked, not wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Ezekiel 16:6 "And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live."

God looked on this wretched family, and told them to live. They were polluted, because they were not living the way God had intended. They were in the land of Egypt (symbolic of the world). This was an evil land of many false gods. God looked down upon them, and told them to live.

The time intended here is probably the patriarchal period of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, when God formed His people.

Ezekiel 16:7 "I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: [thy] breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou [wast] naked and bare."

A baby comes into the world naked and bare. This is speaking of a time beyond that, when they have begun to mature. Just a handful of Jacob's family went into Egypt, and approximately 2 to 3 million came out of Egypt. God saw them, and sent them a deliverer, Moses. We see that they are spoken of here, as a maiden who is taking shape as a woman.

Verses 8-14: Is best taken as the time from the Exodus through David's reign.

Ezekiel 16:8 "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time [was] the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine."

"The time of love": This refers to the marriageable state. Spreading his "wing" was a custom of espousal and indicates that God entered into a covenant with the young nation at Mr. Sinai. Making a covenant signifies marriage, the figure of God's relationship to Israel.

God, through the ten plagues on Egypt, got them released. They became His own. The skirt thrown over them, covering their nakedness, was a sign of marriage. They had become His wife. The covenant made between God and Israel, made Him their God and them His people.

Chapter 24 of Exodus speaks of this covenant sealed with blood. The children of Israel agreed to that covenant. I will give just a little of that here.

Exodus 24:3: "And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do." From that moment on, they were His.

From verses 9-14: These gifts were marriage gifts customarily presented to a queen. The crowning may refer to the reigns of David and Solomon, when Jerusalem became the royal city. Israel was actually a small kingdom but with a great reputation. This refers to the time for Joshua's conquest of Canaan through David's reign and into Solomon's time.

Ezekiel 16:9 "Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil."

"Washing" and "anointing" were both symbols of the marriage. This is similar to the washing (baptizing), and anointing with oil (Holy Spirit), that Christians participate in, when they accept Jesus as their bridegroom.

Ezekiel 16:10 "I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk."

These items mentioned are things in the tabernacle in the wilderness. They, also, speak of the beautiful garments God clothes His bride with. The fine linen symbolizes righteousness. Broidered work speaks of the beauty, and the silk speaks of the softness. Badgers skin shows that their feet are protected with leather.

Ezekiel 16:11 "I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck."

The children of Israel spoiled the Egyptians, and wore necklaces, earrings, and bracelets made with gold into the wilderness.

Exodus 12:35-36 "And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:" "And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them [such things as they required]. And they spoiled the Egyptians."

Ezekiel 16:12 "And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head."

We know that Egyptian women wore jewels in the center of their foreheads. All of this is speaking of the vast wealth the Israelites brought out of Egypt.

Ezekiel 16:13 "Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment [was of] fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom."

This is speaking of the magnificence of Jerusalem when the Israelites reached their height in the reign of David and Solomon. They were favored above all the nations around them. All of the things mentioned were part of their everyday fare.

Ezekiel 16:14 "And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it [was] perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD."

This is speaking of the time of Solomon, when the temple was a thing to behold. People from other countries came to see the beauty in Jerusalem. Even the queen of Sheba came to see the beauty. God had blessed them beyond their wildest dreams.

Verses 15-19: We see a general summary of the nation's idolatry as she gave herself to the religious practices of the Canaanites. Every gracious gift from God was devoted to idols.

Ezekiel 16:15 "But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was."

The spiritual adultery began in the time of Solomon, when he made places of worship to please his foreign wives. Many of them were idolaters. Not only did Solomon build the temple for God, but built for the false gods of his wives, as well.

Ezekiel 16:16 "And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colors, and playedst the harlot thereupon: [the like things] shall not come, neither shall it be [so]."

These high places were places of idolatrous worship. They had decorated them with beautiful tapestry. They committed spiritual adultery by worshipping these false gods.

Ezekiel 16:17 "Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,"

At one time, they had been the richest country in the world. God had blessed them with silver and gold. They had taken the gifts of gold and silver God had given them, and formed gold and silver idols with them. This is the worst kind of spiritual adultery. We have talked, in previous lessons, about idols made with men's hands. An idol is a nothing.

Ezekiel 16:18 "And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them."

The oil and the burning of incense symbolize prayers rising from man to God. This is especially evil to involve false gods in their prayers.

Ezekiel 16:19 "My meat also which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, [wherewith] I fed thee, thou hast even set it before them for a sweet savor: and [thus] it was, saith the Lord GOD."

These gifts of God being offered in sacrifice to false gods, is the very height of idolatry. The sweet savor offering was for God alone.

Ezekiel 16:20-21 "Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. [Is this] of thy whoredoms a small matter," "that thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through [the fire] for them?"

Children were a gift from God. The Hebrews had thought it a curse from God to be barren. This sacrificing of their most precious gift from God is horrible. The worship of Molech was involved in the sacrifice of children. The True God brings life, not death. These children, not only belonged to the parents, but were God's, as well. This is one of the worst forms of worshipping false gods.

To say that God had expressly forbidden this is an understatement. Still the children were burned until Josiah's abolition of it. It had been reinstated in Ezekiel's day.

Let's see this as its stated in Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 19:5-6. "They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire [for] burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake [it], neither came [it] into my mind:" "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter."

Tophet. Hebrew uses the word toph for "drum." This was another name for the Valley of Hinnom, an East West valley at the south end of Jerusalem where, when children were burned in sacrifice to idols, drums were beaten to drown their cries. Rubbish from Jerusalem was dumped there and continually burned. The place became a symbol for the burning fires of hell, called Gehenna. It was to become a place of massacre.

Ezekiel 16:22 "And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, [and] wast polluted in thy blood."

None of these false gods came to their rescue, when they were slaves in Egypt. It was not one of these nothings that came and got them out of Egypt. God saw them in their worst estate, and loved them enough, to send them a deliverer.

Verses 23-30: This section, partly woe and partly lament, spoke to Judah's obsession with idolatry and her being influenced by Egypt, the Philistines, Assyria and Babylon.

Ezekiel 16:23 "And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord GOD;)"

God cannot overlook their unfaithfulness. These woes are for the punishment, which is coming for their unfaithfulness.

Consider what the 3 woes meant in the book of Revelation. One (in chapter 9 and two in chapter 11).

Ezekiel 16:24-25 "[That] thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee a high place in every street." "Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms."

These high places, which seemed to be everywhere, were places of whoredom. In this particular case, this is spiritual whoredom.

From this, we see they were not guilty of worshipping one false god, but every one they were offered. They had picked up the ways of the evil ones around them. They were worshipping many false gods. Just as any beautiful girl, who becomes a harlot, they were now ugly and filled with sin.

Ezekiel 16:26 "Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbors, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger."

We have mentioned several times, that Egypt symbolized the world. This means they have become very worldly. They have taken up the ways of the Egyptians, who worshipped many false gods. All of this causes God to be very angry. He is like a jealous husband.

Ezekiel 16:27 "Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary [food], and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way."

The stretched out hand of God speaks of judgment. Their food supply has dwindled severely. Suddenly, God has cut the provisions for His adulterous wife (Israel).

The Philistines had always been the enemy of Israel. Even they knew that God's chastisement was upon the Jews because of their unfaithfulness.

Ezekiel 16:28 "Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied."

Each one of the nations, like Assyria that they had made political agreements with, was as if they were saying God was not powerful enough to help them. They were depending on the arm, of man instead of the arm of God. They picked up the worship of everyone's false gods in all the countries they made agreements with.

Ezekiel 16:29 "Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith."

They even prostituted themselves with the Babylonians.

We are quickly brought back to the fact that Ezekiel is in captivity, when this is given. He is shaming them, because they still do not realize why they are in captivity. They are now worshipping the false gods of Chaldea.

Ezekiel 16:30 "How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these [things], the work of an imperious whorish woman;"

Their hearts are not stayed upon God. They have two-faced hearts. They are making deals with the devil. A whore is someone who is for hire. This is what is meant here. Their worship can be bought, for special favors. They are no longer a faithful wife. They are a whore.

Verses 31-34: Shows that it is wicked to solicit and then be paid for immorality. Israel engaged in far worst behavior, she solicited and even paid her idol consorts. This refers to the heavy tribute (taxes), Israel had to pay to the godless nations.

Ezekiel 16:31 "In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as a harlot, in that thou scornest hire;"

They are so deep into their sins, they no longer even have to be paid. They sin for free. They are freely running after all the false gods.

Ezekiel 16:32 "[But as] a wife that committeth adultery, [which] taketh strangers instead of her husband!"

The sad thing is, she is now giving herself to strangers, instead of to her own husband, God.

Ezekiel Chapter 16 Questions

1. Cause Jerusalem to know her ________________.

2. Who was Jerusalem, symbolically?

3. Who is the bride of Christ?

4. Thy birth and thy nativity is of ____________.

5. Thy father was an ___________.

6. Thy mother was an ____________.

7. What did Canaan later become?

8. Verse 4 is speaking of what?

9. The years Jacob's family was in Egypt, seemed as if they were _________ and _______.

10. When did Israel become a nation?

11. When God passed by them in Egypt, what did He say to them?

12. Egypt is symbolic of the ________.

13. The handful of Jacob's family that went into Egypt grew to approximately how many?

14. What was the skirt being thrown over their nakedness a sign of?

15. What had they become to God?

16. "Washing" and "anointing" were symbols of the _________.

17. What do these symbolize in the Christian?

18. The children of Israel spoiled Egypt, and took what with them into the wilderness?

19. What is verse 13 describing?

20. In what king's reign did Jerusalem attract the queen of Sheba?

21. When did the spiritual adultery begin?

22. What had they made their idols of?

23. What does the oil and the burning of incense symbolize?

24. What was the name of the false god they sacrificed their children to?

25. Who do these children really belong to?

26. What does "eminent" in verse 24 mean?

27. What ways of the Egyptians had they taken up?

28. They had played the _______ with the Assyrians?

29. Where was Ezekiel, when he brought this prophecy?

30. What is the sad thing they have done to God?

Ezekiel Chapter 16 Continued

Ezekiel 16:33 "They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom."

Generally speaking, a whore is paid for their whoredom. It appears, the sins of Israel had become so terrible, they were actually paying for the affairs themselves. This really is saying that Israel is seeking out the false gods herself even though they had nothing to offer her.

Ezekiel 16:34 "And the contrary is in thee from [other] women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, therefore thou art contrary."

In the following Scripture, we see the very thing this is speaking of.

2 Kings 16:8 "And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent [it for] a present to the king of Assyria." Ahaz was an evil king. He was not faithful to God, and caused the people to fall away from God, as well.

Ezekiel 16:35 "Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD:"

This is a harsh name to call all of Israel, but they deserve the name. They are an unfaithful wife.

Ezekiel 16:36 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them;"

These are specific things they have done that show their unfaithfulness to God. The lovers, in this sense, are the evil nations they signed treaties with. They were supposed to be a separate people.

God did not want them signing treaties with these heathen nations. Even worse than the treaties they signed, was the fact they started worshipping their false gods. Then they even sacrificed their children to their false gods.

Ezekiel 16:37 "Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all [them] that thou hast loved, with all [them] that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness."

These very nations they had turned to, will be the very nations God will turn against them. They will all joy in her overthrow.

Ezekiel 16:38 "And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy."

The women who broke wedlock were stoned to death. Those who shed blood were killed themselves. Their punishment would fit their crime. God will take vengeance on them, as a jealous husband would do.

Ezekiel 16:39 "And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare."

They will be back to the condition God had found them in, in the first place. All of the gifts God had given them, will be taken away. They will be naked, bare, and even unclothed, as they were when God first found them. The only difference, they are not innocent now.

Ezekiel 16:40 "They shall also bring up a company against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords."

This is the very thing that does happen to them, when they are invaded. They are killed by the sword. The killing of these people is symbolic of the punishment for a harlot wife by stoning to death.

Ezekiel 16:41 "And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more."

This fire is symbolic of burning away their sins of harlotry. When God is through with this fire, the ones left will be faithful to Him. They are the remnant He saves.

Ezekiel 16:42 "So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry."

God's forgiveness outweighs his anger. His anger lasts for just a while. When the stoning is over, or by exacting the full penalty on Israel's sins in the destruction by Babylon, God's wrath was to be satisfied.

Ezekiel 16:43 "Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these [things]; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon [thine] head, saith the Lord GOD: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations."

The word "lewdness" means heinous crime. This is not just a sin, but one that brings revulsion. God wants her to remember her first love, and turn back to Him with all her heart. The punishment is just, for such behavior. The following Scripture Jesus spoke describes how God feels about this.

Revelation 2:4-5 "Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

Ezekiel 16:44 "Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use [this] proverb against thee, saying, As [is] the mother, [so is] her daughter."

This is just saying, this will not be soon forgotten. This punishment reaches to the second generation. Judah has followed in the pagan footsteps of her beginnings.

Ezekiel 16:45 "Thou [art] thy mother's daughter, that loatheth her husband and her children; and thou [art] the sister of thy sisters, which loathed their husbands and their children: your mother [was] an Hittite, and your father an Amorite."

It appears from this, that the unfaithfulness had gone on for at least two generations. They had taken up the ways of their mothers.

There were many evil kings who led the people into spiritual adultery in Israel, before God finally brought captivity and death to them in punishment for their unfaithfulness.

Verses 46-59: Judah is compared to Samaria and Sodom, whose judgment for sin was great. Judah was more corrupt (verse 47), multiplied Samaria's and Sodom's sin (verse 51), and committed more abominable sin. (verse 52).

Ezekiel 16:46 "And thine elder sister [is] Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, [is] Sodom and her daughters."

This is just speaking of the evil the neighbors had been involved in, as well as what Israel had been involved in. Sodom was a symbol of evil, because of the total destruction God had brought on them for their homosexual activities. This could also, be speaking of the exiled Jews who lived in these areas.

Ezekiel 16:47 "Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as [if that were] a very little [thing], thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways."

Israel was not guilty of the very same sins as her neighbors, but Israel had been unfaithful to God.

Ezekiel 16:48 "[As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters."

Sodom had not committed the same sins as Israel. They were sisters in sin, however.

Ezekiel 16:49 "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

Sin, many times, springs from having too much free time (idleness). They did not have to work hard to provide for their necessities. They had plenty of bread. The idle mind comes up with new ways to sin.

Ezekiel 16:50 "And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw [good]."

This haughty attitude means they did not do things God's way. They thought their own ideas superior to God. They left the natural, and pleased their own flesh. The following two Scriptures describe what they had done.

Romans 1:26-27 "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:" "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

God rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah and destroyed them all except Lot and his 2 daughters.

Ezekiel 16:51 "Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done."

The reason for Samaria not being as guilty of sin, is because they had less knowledge of the law. The temple was in Israel. The Samarians were idolaters, as well. Those to whom much knowledge is given, much is required.

Ezekiel 16:52 "Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters."

Sodom and Samaria were justified only by comparison. They were sinful too, but had not been as sinful as Israel. Israel was quick to point a finger at them and judge them, but never realized they had more sin than Samaria or Sodom. They should have repented of their own sin, before they pointed fingers at others.

Ezekiel 16:53 "When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then [will I bring again] the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them:"

God is saying, that after He has forgiven Sodom and Samaria, then He will forgive Israel and restore her. This is really a promise that God will restore them in the future. This, again, may not be speaking specifically of the city of Sodom, but of Jews who are living the life style of Sodom. It would be unlikely that they deserved to be brought back from captivity, but God will bring them back.

Ezekiel 16:54 "That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them."

Israel must bear her own shame. They are a comfort unto Sodom and Samaria, because God had not spared them. God is no respecter of persons, when it comes to punishment. He did not overlook Israel's sin, just because she was His wife.

Ezekiel 16:55 "When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate."

In the natural, it would have been highly unlikely that God would have forgiven such great sin as that Israel had committed. God's great love and forgiveness go far beyond the natural. Israel does not deserve to be forgiven, any more than Samaria, or Sodom. Possibly, Sodom and Samaria, here, could have been not literal, but a way of life that exiled Jews had been involved in.

Ezekiel 16:56 "For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride,"

Israel had shown no compassion at all for Sodom. The only time they mentioned Sodom, was to tell how evil she was. They felt they were better than Sodom. The Israelites thought they were better than everyone else. They, especially, did not want to be thought of as Sodom, or Samaria.

Ezekiel 16:57 "Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of [thy] reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all [that are] round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about."

Israel was quick to judge their neighbors as being heathen people. At that time, God had not exposed the wickedness of Israel. It is so much easier to see other's sins than it is our own. We must be extremely careful about pointing accusing fingers at others. God will judge us as we judge others. This is what has happened to Israel here.

This is probably, speaking of disasters that fell on the Philistines and the Syrians.

Ezekiel 16:58 "Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the LORD."

Israel cannot pass their sins to others. Each one bears their own sin. Many times, when we are criticizing others, we are trying to cover up problems in our own lives. Israel must bear their own sins.

Ezekiel 16:59 "For thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant."

When Israel made covenant with God, they promised to keep His commandments. They have not kept His commandments, and therefore, they broke covenant with God. There were blessings abundant to come to them, when they kept God's commandments. The other side was, if they did not keep the commandments of God, there would be curses. They brought all of this on themselves, when they broke covenant with God. They made an oath to God, and did not keep it.

Ezekiel 16:60 "Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant."

God is gracious and He always finds a covenant basis on which He can exercise His grace. The Lord will remember the Abrahamic Covenant made with Israel in her youth. Restoration will be by grace, not merit.

"An everlasting covenant": This is the New Covenant, which is unconditional, saving, and everlasting. The basis of God's grace will not be the Mosaic Covenant, which the Jews could never fulfill, even with the best intentions. When God establishes His eternal covenant, Israel will know that God is the Lord because of His grace.

God had never broken covenant with His people. They had broken covenant with Him. This is that extension of the covenant God had made with Abraham. The covenant of grace gives forgiveness, while they are yet in sin. The covenant of grace is not like the law, in that it is a covenant of obligation. The covenant of grace is not by obligation, but by love. The covenant of grace could also, be called a covenant of love so great man cannot comprehend that love.

According to (Jeremiah 31 verses 31-34), that will be ratified for Israel at the time when they will "know that I am the lord", which can take place only during the Millennium.

Ezekiel 16:61 "Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant."

The shame that Israel feels, is because they do not deserve God's forgiveness. They are suddenly aware of their sins. The first thing Israel must do, to receive their forgiveness, is to forgive their sisters. This covenant of grace extends to all who are willing to receive it.

Ezekiel 16:62 "And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD:"

This covenant is different, in that it is a free gift to man from God. This is amazing grace that God bestows on mankind. God loves, not because we are worthy, but in spite of our sins.

John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Ezekiel 16:63 "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD."

This looks to the cross of Christ, by which God's just wrath on sin was satisfied so that He could grant grace to all who believe.

The wife of God (Israel), has nothing more to say. She is pardoned. Her husband has taken her back. He is not angry with her any more. She feels humbled by His forgiveness. "Pacified" means that He feels no more desire to punish her for unfaithfulness.

The message for Christians in this is that we do not deserve to be forgiven. God, through His great mercy and love, has forgiven us. He has put our sins in the sea of forgetfulness, and He will remember them no more. We must love Him enough to live faithful before Him. Jesus is coming back for His bride.

2 Corinthians 11:2 "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ."

Ezekiel Chapter 16 Continued Questions

1. In these lessons Israel is shown as the ______ wife of God.

2. How terrible had Israel's sins gotten at this point?

3. What harsh name is Israel called in verse 35?

4. Who are the lovers in verse 36?

5. What was even worse than their signing treaties with the heathen?

6. How would God judge Israel?

7. What was the punishment for a woman who was unfaithful?

8. What happened to all the gifts God had given them?

9. They shall _______ thy houses.

10. God's ___________ outweighs His anger.

11. What does "lewdness" mean?

12. Describe the mother's feelings toward her husband.

13. Thy eldest sister is __________.

14. Thy younger sister is _________.

15. Israel was sisters with Sodom in _______.

16. What were some of the sins of Sodom?

17. How was the way Sodom and Samaria were justified?

18. What is verse 53 really?

19. Israel had shown no compassion for __________.

20. Why must we be extremely careful about how we judge others?

21. What had Israel promised, when they made covenant with God?

22. Who broke the covenant?

23. What is the new covenant God makes?

24. What message is in this lesson for Christians?

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Ezekiel 17

Ezekiel Chapter 17

Verses 1-21: This is the allegory of the two eagles and the vine used to show the futility of the nation's dependence on foreign powers. The first eagle, Nebuchadnezzar, had gone to Lebanon, which represented Jerusalem. Though he took the highest branch of the cedar (verse 3, meaning that he took the king and nobles into captivity (597 B.C.), yet he left the seed of the land (verse 5), or a remnant.

They in turn appealed to another great eagle (in verse 7), which was Egypt. This description refers to Zedekiah's vain attempt to get military assistance from Egypt. This alliance forced Nebuchadnezzar to return later to Jerusalem and destroy it.

Ezekiel 17:1-2 "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel;"

We see a break from the last prophecy in this.

"Riddle", in the verse above, means puzzle. We know that Jesus spoke in parables, so that the unbelieving world would not understand.

Matthew 13:13 "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."

This parable to the house of Israel is similar to the parables Jesus told. He would relate a story to them that contained a deep spiritual message. The world would not understand, because parables must be understood by the spirit. God must reveal to us what they are saying, or we will not know. They would hear with their ears, but might not understand in their hearts.

Ezekiel 17:3 "And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colors, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar:"

The great eagle in this parable, is speaking of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. This highest branch of the cedar is speaking of the king of Judah. We know that Jehoiachin was captured and taken back to Babylon. The "eagle" symbolizes God, but in this particular instance, Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument God used to bring judgment on His people. The many colors show that they were not all under one flag. Many countries were fighting with Babylon.

Ezekiel 17:4 "He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffic; he set it in a city of merchants."

The land of traffic was Babylon. The twigs cropped off could have been the princes that he took with Jehoiachin (in 597 B.C.). The city of merchants is Babylon.

Ezekiel 17:5-6 "He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed [it] by great waters, [and] set it [as] a willow tree." "And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs."

"Seed": Those whom Babylon left in Judah (in 597 B.C.), who could prosper as a tributary to the conqueror, turned toward him.

"A spreading vine": Refers to Zedekiah, the youngest son of Josiah whom Nebuchadnezzar appointed king in Judah. The benevolent attitude of Nebuchadnezzar helped Zedekiah to prosper, and if he had remained faithful to his pledge to Nebuchadnezzar, Judah would have continued as a tributary kingdom. Instead, he began courting help from Egypt, which Jeremiah protested.

Ezekiel 17:7 "There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation."

This "other great eagle", here, is speaking of the Pharaoh of Egypt, Hophra. We see in this, that Zedekiah turned their loyalty toward Egypt. He forgot who had put him in power. He had betrayed Nebuchadnezzar. This just means that Zedekiah did not want to be ruled by Nebuchadnezzar, and he sought help from Egypt.

Ezekiel 17:8 "It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine."

Judah was a fruitful prosperous land. They could have brought forth many branches. They could have produced greatly, had the judgment of God not been upon them.

Ezekiel 17:9 "Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof."

The downfall of Zedekiah and his sons would be soon. God is opposed to his people making a treaty with the world (Egypt). You remember, this kingdom headed by Zedekiah had not been very strong. It had first reached to Nebuchadnezzar, and then to Pharaoh for help. It will be no great task for Nebuchadnezzar to destroy them. Zedekiah will be uprooted as king. He was so weak, it was an easy overthrow. In fact, his sons are killed before him, and his eyes put out, before he is carried captive to Babylon.

Ezekiel 17:10 "Yea, behold, [being] planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew."

The east wind is a wind of great power. It is usually spoken of as an ill wind. When this wind comes, the crops are destroyed.

The dependence on Egypt would fail and Judah would wither as the East wind, (a picture of Babylon), blasted her.

Verses 11-21: "Taken an oath of him". The parable is explained in detail. Babylon made Zedekiah a vassal subject to her, took captives, and left Judah weak. Zedekiah broke the agreement in which he swore by the Lord to submit to Babylon (2 Chron. 36:13), and sought Egypt's help, thus he was taken to Babylon to live out his life. Egypt was to be no help to him or any protector of his army.

Ezekiel 17:11-12 "Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these [things mean]? tell [them], Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon;"

There is a break in the parable here.

Just as Jesus explained some of the parables he gave to His disciples, God will explain the parable here, to the rebellious house of Israel. We see Nebuchadnezzar; king of Babylon has captured Jehoiachin, and the princes with him, and taken them to Babylon.

Ezekiel 17:13 "And hath taken of the king's seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty of the land:"

The kings seed is speaking of Zedekiah. Nebuchadnezzar put his uncle Mattaniah in power instead of Jehoiachin (Jeconiah). He put him in power and changed his name to Zedekiah. The covenant was between Zedekiah and Nebuchadnezzar. The king of Babylon had captured the mighty in the land, and carried them captive to Babylon.

Ezekiel 17:14 "That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, [but] that by keeping of his covenant it might stand."

This is saying, the king of Babylon captured the strong, who might have opposed Zedekiah, and took them to Babylon. This kingdom would be subject to Babylon. It would not be an independent country. It would be allowed to stand, as long as it was subject to Babylon. Zedekiah had made an agreement with Nebuchadnezzar to be subject to him.

Ezekiel 17:15 "But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such [things]? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered?"

Zedekiah rebels against Nebuchadnezzar. He breaks the covenant and seeks help from Egypt. Of course, he will not prosper in this. He will not escape. He will lose his sons and his eyesight, because of this betrayal.

Ezekiel 17:16 "[As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely in the place [where] the king [dwelleth] that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, [even] with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die."

Zedekiah will be carried to Babylon blind, and will die in Babylon.

Ezekiel 17:17 "Neither shall Pharaoh with [his] mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:"

Pharaoh had a mighty army, but nothing to compare to Nebuchadnezzar. Pharaoh will not fight Nebuchadnezzar at this time for Zedekiah.

Ezekiel 17:18 "Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these [things], he shall not escape."

God has no respect for those who shake hands on a matter, and then break the covenant. He will not overlook this sin of Zedekiah. Zedekiah was just power crazy, when he decided not to keep this covenant. The worst part of all is that Nebuchadnezzar was acting as an agent of God in all of this. Zedekiah then, would be disobeying God in this.

Ezekiel 17:19 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; [As] I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head."

We see in this, that God regards this covenant as His covenant. He had sworn this before God, and it is very dangerous to break it. God will greatly punish Zedekiah for this.

Ezekiel 17:20 "And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me."

This is just saying Zedekiah will be captured, and taken to Babylon.

Ezekiel 17:21 "And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the LORD have spoken [it]."

This is speaking of the large numbers, who will be killed by the sword. Those scattered are those who are taken captives. There will be no question left that this is a judgment of the LORD upon these people.

Verses 22-23: One of the highest branches. This is messianic prophecy stating that God will provide the Messiah from the royal line of David (the highest cedar), and establish Him in His kingdom like a mountain. He will be "a high branch" reigning in the height of success. "Branch" is a name for Messiah. Messiah will be "a tender one" growing into a "majestic cedar". Under His kingdom rule, all nations will be blessed and Israel restored.

Ezekiel 17:22 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set [it]; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant [it] upon a high mountain and eminent:"

This is a prophecy of the coming of Messiah. He is truly the highest Branch. He is the true heir of David to the throne. The Branch that God plants is of the tribe of Judah. The high mountain is the holy hill of God. "Eminent" means elevate. He is exalted above all. The tender twig mentioned is Jesus.

Ezekiel 17:23 "In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell."

This is speaking of Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus was born in a manger in obscurity, but grew to be King of the Jews at His crucifixion, and King of all at His second coming. The "boughs" and the fruit speak of His followers. We are safe in the shadow of His Branch. He is our protector and very present help. Christianity began with Jesus, then His apostles, and now has spread into the millions. He is a very fruitful Tree.

Ezekiel 17:24 "And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done [it]."

In this, the "high tree" is the physical house of Israel. The "low tree" represents the Spiritual house of Israel, who was known as Gentiles. The green tree was physical Israel in their prosperous times. The dry tree again, is the world which knew not God, until Jesus brought salvation to them. It is God who brings down the lofty, and elevates the lowly. This prophecy which began by pronouncing the disaster in Judah, and the captivity, and death of its people, now springs forth with hope for all mankind. Salvation in Jesus Christ is offered to all mankind. In fact, it is offered to whosoever will. Jesus is the Tree of Life. He is the Branch, and we are the vine. Our power lies in the strength of Jesus.

Ezekiel Chapter 17 Questions

1. What does verse 2 say this chapter is?

2. What does the word "riddle" mean?

3. Who is this parable spoken to?

4. Why would the world not understand?

5. The "great eagle" in this parable is speaking of whom?

6. Who is the highest branch of the cedar speaking of?

7. Who does the "eagle" generally speak of?

8. What do the "many colors" tell us?

9. Where was the "land of traffic"?

10. Who did Nebuchadnezzar set up as king over Judah?

11. What did it mean about the branches turning toward him?

12. Who did the "other great eagle" symbolize?

13. Who did Zedekiah betray?

14. God is opposed to His people making a treaty with the ______.

15. What happens to Zedekiah and his sons?

16. Where does the interpretation of the parable begin?

17. Who does He explain the parable to?

18. Who is the king's seed in verse 13?

19. What is another name for Jehoiachin?

20. Why were the mighty men carried to Babylon captive?

21. Where will Zedekiah die?

22. How does God feel about those who shake hands on an agreement and then do not keep it?

23. Whose covenant does God regard this covenant as?

24. Which verse begins a prophecy of Messiah?

25. What does "eminent" mean?

26. Who are the "boughs" in verse 23?

27. Who is the "high tree"?

28. Who does the "low tree" represent?

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Ezekiel 18

Ezekiel Chapter 18

One of the foundational principles of Scripture is presented in this chapter. (Also taught in Deut. 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6). Judgment is according to individual faith and conduct. He had foretold national punishment, but the reason was individual sin.

Ezekiel 18:1-2 "The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying," "What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?"

Again, we have a totally new prophecy beginning here.

It seems, some of the younger men had been complaining that they had not sinned, and yet, they were suffering for the sins of their fathers.

Though they were themselves wicked and idolatrous, they blamed their forefathers for their state. The rationalizing is expressed in a current proverb (Jer. 31:29), which means in effect, "They sinned "eaten ate sour grapes"; and thereby inherit the bitterness" (teeth set on edge).

This evidently was a well known proverb. The point of it is that children suffer for their parents' sins. However, this proverb was not true in the case of Israel, and the Lord tells them that they may not use the proverb anymore. Evidently the people thought they were suffering unjustly for their ancestors' sins.

Though there is an element of truth in the statement that the children suffer as a consequence of the parents sins, it could not be applied here. The proverb was being used as a lame excuse for their own sinful condition. Rather, the Lord says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father (v.20). Ezekiel thus preserves in proper balance the tragic consequences of sin and the principle of individual accountability.

Ezekiel 18:3 "[As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have [occasion] any more to use this proverb in Israel."

This statement they had been making about God visiting the sins of the father on the son was misunderstood. God would no longer let them make this statement. God rejected their blame shifting and evasion of responsibility.

From now on, each person would be judged separately. Even today, in a sense, the bad reputation of the father will bring hardships on his children. This cannot be helped. In God's sight, however, each person is responsible for his own sin.

Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."

The penalty for sin is death. That is why it was necessary for the body of Jesus to die on the cross. He paid our penalty of death for us. He became our substitute. Our bill for our sin is marked paid in full (if we are Christians). Each person is responsible for his own sin.

God played no favorites, but was fair in holding each individual accountable for his own sin. The death is physical death which, for many, results in eternal death.

We all belong to God, in the fact that He created us. We are saved, or condemned, one at a time, not in a group. God may save the multitude, but He saves them one at a time.

Verses 5-18: Two scenarios are proposed to clarify the matter of personal guilt:

(1) A just father of an unjust son (verses 14-18); and

(2) An unjust father of a just son (verses 14-18).

Ezekiel 18:5 "But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,"

This is the beginning of the explanation of the character of a just man. The definition of "just" or righteous is given in specifics (in verses 6-9). Such behavior could only characterize a genuine believer who was "faithful" from the heart.

Ezekiel 18:6 "[And] hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbor's wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,"

These were all forbidden in the law of God. "Eating on the mountain" is speaking of breaking bread in the presence of a false god. The remnant of Jews that God saved, were made up of those who had not bowed their knees to a false god. We see also, that there must be great respect shown for the neighbor and his wife. Adultery is spoken of in all instances here. The man spoken of had not committed physical adultery, or spiritual adultery.

Ezekiel 18:7 "And hath not oppressed any, [but] hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;"

Jesus covered this, when He said (in Luke):

Luke 6:31 "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."

This person is good to his fellow man, knowing that it was as if he had done these things unto the Lord.

Ezekiel 18:8 "He [that] hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, [that] hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,"

This man does not take advantage of his brother in trouble. He tells the truth at all times, and is no respecter of persons.

Usury refers to interest on loans.

Ezekiel 18:9 "Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he [is] just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD."

He is obedient to God. He is fair with God and man. He has kept the two commandments Jesus would speak of as covering them all.

The righteous do die physically for many reasons that do not contradict this principle, such as old age, martyrdom, or death in battle. While there are exceptions to "surely live" as to temporal life and sometimes the ungodly survive, unlike (18:13), there can be absolutely no exceptions in God's ultimate spiritual reckoning. In every case, the just die to live eternally and the unjust, which never possessed spiritual life, shall perish physically and eternally. The just will live no matter what the character of his parents or children.

Ezekiel 18:10 "If he beget a son [that is] a robber, a shedder of blood, and [that] doeth the like to [any] one of these [things],"

It would be hard to believe that such a righteous man would have a son who was a robber, or a shedder of blood, but sometimes it happens.

Could such a sinful son claim the merits of his father's righteousness and live? No! Each person is responsible for his own personal sin.

Ezekiel 18:11 "And that doeth not any of those [duties], but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbor's wife,"

Here we see an evil son who worships false gods in the high places, and commits adultery with the neighbor's wife.

Ezekiel 18:12 "Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,"

This evil son has no regard for the needs of others, and takes advantage of them every time he can.

Ezekiel 18:13 "Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him."

When those in need come to him to borrow money, he gets them in even more trouble by charging them double on the interest. "Abominations" are revolting sins in the sight of God.

All of the sins mentioned of the son, are from someone who is living in death. He will not live. He has sinned unto death. His blood is not upon his father, but on himself.

Verses 14-18 This part features an unjust father and a just son to make the same point. The righteous son shall "surely live" (verse 17).

Ezekiel 18:14 "Now, lo, [if] he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,"

Now, we see the reverse. The father is a sinful man in this parable. In this case, the son sees the sins of the father, and decides not to live like the father. He decides to do what is right in the sight of God.

Ezekiel 18:15 "[That] hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbor's wife,"

This son has not committed spiritual or physical adultery.

Ezekiel 18:16 "Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, [but] hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,"

Jesus would be able to say unto him, "Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these, ye have done it unto me" (see Matt. 25:40).

Ezekiel 18:17 "[That] hath taken off his hand from the poor, [that] hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live."

This person is not worthy of death. He shall live.

Ezekiel 18:18 "[As for] his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did [that] which [is] not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity."

The father, who had committed these sins, had been judged of God and found guilty. He will die.

Ezekiel 18:19 "Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, [and] hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live."

Again, this is showing that judgment from God is individual. Each person will stand before God to be judged. Each will pay for his own sin, not for someone else's sin.

Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

A person is responsible for his own sins, and no one else's. A person who is righteous cannot pass that on to his children any more than he could pass on his sins.

Ezekiel 18:21 "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die."

This is just saying that even someone, who has sinned, can repent of those sins, and be saved. To "repent" means to turn completely away from your sin, and begin again a clean new life.

Ezekiel 18:22 "All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live."

This is speaking of the fact, that sins that are forgiven are not remembered anymore by God. They are as if they had never happened. This speaks strongly of the righteousness we receive, when we receive Jesus as our Savior. We actually give Him our sin, and receive His righteousness in exchange.

Ezekiel 18:23 "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: [and] not that he should return from his ways, and live?"

From Genesis to Revelation in the Bible, God wants man to repent of his sins, and be saved. In Jesus, God has given mankind a perfect plan, whereby he can be saved. Every time God poured His wrath out on the people, it was to cause them to repent and turn to God. God is not willing that even one would be lost and He takes no pleasure in the death of the unrighteous.

Ezekiel 18:24 "But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, [and] doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked [man] doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die."

We find a similar Scripture in Hebrews:

Hebrews 6:4-6 "For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost," "And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come," "If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame."

This is not speaking of a person falling and committing one sin. This is a person who began living for God, but then changed his lifestyle back to the sinful way.

We find in the following Scripture just how bad this is.

2 Peter 2:21 "For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."

We see then, it is a very serious thing to turn away from God back into the world.

But before you say this is saying one can lose their salvation, this is not what is being said. In the case of the Jews in the book of Hebrew, this is where they were given the gospel and began to live in the Word, only to turn back to the ways of the Judaizers after listening to the false prophets and teachers. Their former, apparent righteousness was not genuine and God did not remember it as a valid expression of faith.

I'm going to visit this again (in verse 26), with a slightly different view on this as it applied to Old Testament people.

In verses 25-29 God applied the principle in summary to Israel's sin problem. They, not He, must acknowledge their lack of equity.

Ezekiel 18:25 "Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?"

What a terrible thing it is to question whether God is fair, or not. How could they say this? God is just in all His dealings with mankind. We all want His mercy, but few of us want His justice.

Ezekiel 18:26-27 "When a righteous [man] turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die." "Again, when the wicked [man] turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive."

In the Old Testament, everyone was under the law. The law was their schoolmaster to guide men as to how to live and serve God. These Jews were under the Abrahamic Covenant and once a year the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and offer a sacrifice on their behalf for cleansing.

However, that could not remove the sins as only Jesus could do that with His shed blood. Their sins were only covered and remember this was only done once a year.

At this time, they were not under a once saved always saved covenant as we are today. Therefore, where the righteous turned to unrighteousness, they were judged harshly as the scripture above states.

(Verse 24 description given previously), would apply to the new covenant which is the covenant of Grace.

Ezekiel 18:28 "Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die."

True repentance brings forgiveness and life to the sinner.

Notice in this, a person must walk in the saved condition to inherit eternal life. Salvation is a day to day walk.

Ezekiel 18:29 "Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?"

Their guilty conscience of their sins has caused them to think God unequal. They wanted to go ahead, and sin, and still be saved. That is not the way to get to heaven.

Ezekiel 18:30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn [yourselves] from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin."

All of the chastisement that came upon Israel was for the purpose of causing them to repent. God will not force a person to be saved. He wants everyone to be saved. He loves each of us. We are His creation. God is love and peace, but He is also Judge. God does not cause their ruin. He gives them every chance to repent. Their unrepentant sins are what bring their ruin.

Ezekiel 18:31 "Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

The key to life eternal and triumph over death is conversion. This involves repentance from sin and receiving the new heart which God gives with a new spirit wrought by the Holy Spirit. God is trying to say something that will cause them to repent, and start all over again with Him.

This verse above is speaking strongly of the brand new life we receive from Jesus, when we repent and are washed in His blood. Some people call it being born again of the Spirit.

John 3:5-6 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

This brand new heart is washed in the blood of the Lamb. We are what our heart is. When our heart is pure, we are pure. It is each person's choice. We live with God, or we die in sin.

Ezekiel 18:32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn [yourselves], and live ye."

God created us for eternal life. We are His creation. We can be His sons. Ezekiel has preached a beautiful message of repentance and salvation. Each person must decide for himself. We must choose. We can have life, or death. It is our choice.

The death of His saints is precious to God. By contrast, He has no such pleasure when a person dies without repentance. While God is sovereign in salvation, man is responsible for his own sin. "Turn and live: This was a call to repent and avoid physical and eternal death. Ezekiel was a preacher of repentance and of God's offer of mercy to the penitent.

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

Ezekiel Chapter 18 Questions

1. What Question does Ezekiel ask them in verse 2?

2. What did the "eaten the sour grapes" symbolize?

3. What did their teeth "were set on edge" symbolize?

4. What would be different about their sins from now on?

5. The penalty for sin is _________.

6. Jesus became our ___________ on the cross.

7. Whose bill for their sins is marked paid in full?

8. God may save the multitude, but he saves them ______ __ __ _____.

9. What is verse 5 the beginning of an explanation of?

10. Verse 6 is speaking of what sins?

11. How did Jesus express the same thing as in verse 7?

12. Verse 9 says, the man is __________ to God.

13. What two commandments cover everything?

14. Describe the evil son.

15. What happens to the evil son, if he does not repent?

16. Describe the son who lives righteous before God.

17. The father, who is judged of God and found guilty, will _____.

18. Whose sins are you responsible for?

19. What does "repent" mean?

20. What happens to sins that are repented of?

21. Which books of the Bible call for repentance?

22. Why did God pour out His wrath upon them?

23. Where do we find another Scripture similar to Ezekiel 18:24?

24. We all want God's mercy, and not His __________.

25. What are the key words in verse 26?

26. True repentance brings what?

27. What caused them to believe God's ways were not equal?

28. What brings their ruin?

29. God created us for _______ ____.

30. What has Ezekiel done in this chapter?

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Ezekiel 19

Ezekiel Chapter 19

This lamentation (in verse 1), is the first of five laments found in the book. The lament was well known in the ancient Near East as a complimentary song on behalf of a deceased person. Often it is used in the Old Testament in a sarcastic sense. The imagery in the particular lament, is a vivid summary of Israel's history relative to Ezekiel's day. The lioness is the nation and her whelps are her kings. One of her whelps who became a young lion was Jehoahaz who succeeded the ill fated Josiah.

Jehoahaz reigned only three months when they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt, a reference to his deportation to Egypt by Pharaoh-nechoh II, where Jehoahaz died in humiliation. Another of her whelps who became a young lion is a reference to Jehoiachin, who reigned between Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin, is not mentioned. Like Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin ruled only three months before he was deported, this time to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. The statement that he laid waste their cities refers to the terrifying reign of Jehoiachin.

Ezekiel 19:1 "Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,"

"Lamentation" is a dirge, or the beating of one's breast in sorrow. This is saying then, be sorrowful for the princes of Israel. The king was the true downfall of the country. They had really evil men serving as king. As the king goes, so goes the nation. These kings were idolaters. They led their people into idolatry.

The second book of Kings tells of the downfall of the leaders of this country. Most of the kings and the princes were self-centered men who would not worship God. They were vicious killers in some cases. They treated Jeremiah and the other true prophets with very little respect. A king should be a leader of his people. An evil king leads them to destruction.

Ezekiel 19:2 "And say, What [is] thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions."

They were so evil; they were even thought to be the offspring of a lioness. The lions she lay with were the heathen kings around her. It is very true, that we become like those we associate with. She had taken up the evil false worship of these heathen kingdoms around her. The "her" here, is Israel. God had warned them over and over, to stay separate. They were not to intermarry with the heathens. They did not listen.

This scripture is referring to Judah as the "lioness" (just as in verse 10), she is the vine. Her cubs or whelps symbolize kings who were descendants of David exposed to the corrupting influences of heathen kings or young lions.

Ezekiel 19:3 "And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men."

This refers to Jehoahaz who ruled in 609 B.C. and was deposed by Egypt's Pharaoh Necho after reigning only 3 months.

2 Kings 23:31-32 "Jehoahaz [was] twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah." "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done."

He was not the only one who was evil, but is probably, the one intended here. Zedekiah was evil also, but he was put into office by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian.

Ezekiel 19:4 "The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt."

2 Kings 23:33-34 "And Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of a hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold." "And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there."

Ezekiel 19:5 "Now when she saw that she had waited, [and] her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, [and] made him a young lion."

We read in 2nd Kings, above, that Jehoiachin took the place of Jehoahaz, so this is the second whelp, spoken of here.

Jehoiachin (who in 597 B.C.), was carried to Babylon in a cage (as in verse 9). Though he reigned only 3 months, he was oppressive and unjust. God used the pagan nations of Egypt and Babylon to judge these wicked kings. The Babylonians kept Jehoiachin imprisoned for 37 years, releasing him at the age of 55.

Ezekiel 19:6 "And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, [and] devoured men."

Jehoiachin did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He was very evil. Jehoiakim reigned just before Jehoiachin. He was not the whelp, however.

Ezekiel 19:7 "And he knew their desolate palaces, and he laid waste their cities; and the land was desolate, and the fulness thereof, by the noise of his roaring."

He was a very destructive king. He stripped the people of what little they had. He had no sympathy for even the widows. He was a selfish, greedy man. He was made king over the people to help them, and instead, he took everything they had. Perhaps some of the evil he did was because he was so young when he began to reign at the age of 18. The king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.

Ezekiel 19:8 "Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit."

The Babylonians were not alone in their siege. This is possibly speaking of them. He actually gave himself up to the king of Babylon.

2 Kings 24:12 "And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign."

Ezekiel 19:9 "And they put him in ward in chains, and brought him to the king of Babylon: they brought him into holds, that his voice should no more be heard upon the mountains of Israel."

This speaks of the 36 years he was in captivity in Babylon. He never returned to Israel. The "holds" are speaking of the prison where he was kept.

Ezekiel 19:10 "Thy mother [is] like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters."

The mother here, is speaking of the mother of all Israel. This is possibly, speaking more specifically to Judah.

They had multiplied to great numbers. They were always spoken of as the vine, or vineyard with strong power and eminence. They were like a vine near the water which grew profusely and produced much fruit. God had blessed them with a land of milk and honey. They had prospered and multiplied.

Ezekiel 19:11 "And she had strong rods for the scepters of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches."

Israel, in the past, had very strong kings, such as David and Solomon. Now, the kings had been drastically degraded. Israel, and more specifically Jerusalem, had risen to the very heights of heaven, and now have fallen. The wonderful heritage they had, did not stop God from pouring out His wrath upon them for their worship of false gods.

Ezekiel 19:12 "But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them."

This is speaking of the terrible siege on Jerusalem and Judah. The land, that had been so great, had now fallen. The fury of God's jealousy was what really brought the fall. God used Babylon to bring the fall, but it was God who really did it. They were killed with the sword, pestilence, and famine. Those who did not die were taken captive to Babylon. Their fall was great, because their sins were great. She no longer had the strong rod. The city was burned.

Ezekiel 19:13 "And now she [is] planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground."

The banishment is what is spoken of here. They were driven out. Most were taken captive in a spiritually barren land.

Ezekiel 19:14 "And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, [which] hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod [to be] a scepter to rule. This [is] a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation."

We see from this verse that the "rod" is the king or ruler. The blame for the catastrophe that came to Judah is laid on one ruler, King Zedekiah who was responsible for the burning of Jerusalem because of his treachery. The house of David ended in shame and, for nearly 2600 years since, Israel has had no king of David's line. When Messiah came, they rejected Him and preferred Caesar. Messiah still became their Savior and will return as their King.

This is very much like a funeral service. Jerusalem is gone. Their strength is gone. Their God has left. They are hungry and thirsty in the physical, as well as the spiritual. They can no more rule, they are ruled over. This is speaking of the ruin of the nation, the city of God, and the people. What had been so proud is gone.

Ezekiel Chapter 19 Questions

1. Take thou up a _______________ for the princes of Israel.

2. What is a "lamentation"?

3. Who was the true downfall of the country?

4. Where do we read of this downfall?

5. How had they treated the prophets?

6. What is the mother called in verse 2?

7. What caused them to be called the offspring of a lioness?

8. Who is this lioness?

9. Who is the whelp of verse 3?

10. How old was he, when he began to reign?

11. What was his mother's name

12. What kind of a king was he?

13. Where did Jehoahaz die?

14. Who was the second whelp?

15. How many years did he spend in captivity?

16. Jehoiachin did what was _______ in the sight of the Lord.

17. How old was he, when he began to reign?

18. What year of his reign was he captured?

19. Who surrendered with Jehoiachin?

20. Who was the vine, or vineyard?

21. Who were two of Israel's very strong kings of the past?

22. Why did God pour His wrath out on them?

23. How were some of the ways they were killed?

24. What is spoken of in verse 13?

25. Verse 14 is very much like a __________ service.

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Ezekiel 20

Ezekiel Chapter 20

In this chapter Ezekiel gives a panoramic view of the history of Israel. It is in two parts: her rebellious past (in verses 1-31), then her glorious future (in verses 32-44).

The first part surveys all that the Lord had done for the nation, and the nation's sorely inadequate response. So wicked had the Israelites become, that God gave them over to their own evil practices in the hope that a sense of horror at their own deeds would shock them into repentance.

The mood changes dramatically (at verse 33 where), in a series of the words "I will", the Lord promises what He will accomplish on behalf of His people. The final verse summarizes the spiritual changes that will transpire: "Ye shall know that I am the Lord" (verse 44). This can be fulfilled only in the Millennium, when such spiritual transformations are wrought.

Ezekiel 20:1 "And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth [month], the tenth [day] of the month, [that] certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me."

We can see from this that Ezekiel's prophecy has gone several years now. The elders have come to inquire of him, how soon the siege on Judah and Jerusalem would be over, and when they could go back to their homeland? It appears this is about the time that many of the false prophets are saying the siege and captivity is to be over very soon. This is exactly what they want to hear from Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 20:2-3 "Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying," "Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye come to enquire of me? [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you."

It appears from this, that God promptly answered Ezekiel, when the elders inquired of Him.

God is angered with these elders. He does not even like them inquiring of Him. They had, probably, been listening to all the prophets, false and true. They had not been eager in the past to take instruction from God on their conduct. He will not help them figure out the time, or the seasons. They had been a stiff-necked people. God refuses to tell them the time, or season.

Ezekiel 20:4 "Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge [them]? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers:"

Son of man is speaking of Ezekiel. God tells Ezekiel to judge them. God wants Ezekiel to remember their sins, and their father's sins that had gotten them in this place. Their sins had caused the captivity. God will not answer their inquiry.

God answers the request of those who are righteous, not those who have committed so many abominations. "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much".

Ezekiel 20:5 "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I [am] the LORD your God;"

God reminds them of the bondage in Egypt of about 400 years. He had finally heard their prayers, and brought them out of bondage with the 10 plagues on Egypt. This is the moment that Israel had become a nation. God took the 12 sons of Jacob, and made the nation Israel from them and their families.

Ezekiel 20:6 "In the day [that] I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which [is] the glory of all lands:"

God reminds them here, that the Promised Land was a land of milk and honey. It was a very desirable land. They did nothing to earn it. God gave it to them and their families.

Ezekiel 20:7 "Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God."

God had promised them, during their wilderness wanderings, if they would worship Him alone and keep His commandments, the Promised Land would be theirs forever. They were not to be like the other countries of the earth, worshipping false gods. They were to be a separate people, who worshipped only the One True God. They were to be an example for the rest of the world. They had been warned from the beginning, that to worship idols would bring a curse upon them.

Ezekiel 20:8 "But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt."

The idols of Egypt, here, could be speaking of the type of idols the Egyptians worshipped. We do know, they built a golden calf while Moses was on the mountain receiving the 10 commandments. This is the very thing they had been doing just prior to this capture by the Babylonians. They were making idols of silver and gold, which were abominations in the sight of God.

Sometimes, Egypt speaks of the world, instead of the literal nation of Egypt. It matters not, where this was.

They disobeyed God. Perhaps during the 400 years of captivity, they had taken up the Egyptian false gods. We do know that the 10 plagues showed the world that false gods of all kinds have no power in the face of Almighty God. God defamed them all.

Ezekiel 20:9 "But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they [were], in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt."

As much as for the Israelites sake, God brought them out of Egypt for the world to know He is God. All of the nations around were amazed at the 10 plagues. Even the Egyptian's believed that Almighty God was God, after the plagues. They knew their idols had no power against God. Many nations knew of the Red Sea parting, and the death of the Egyptians in the Red Sea.

Ezekiel 20:10 "Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness."

The wilderness wanderings should have taken just a very short time. It was extended, because God was trying to prepare His people. During their wanderings, He gave them His law. Their lack of faith had to be dealt with, before He could allow them to take over the Promised Land. He taught them of His special care of them, when He rained Manna from heaven for them to eat. The wilderness wanderings were necessary to get the ways of Egypt out of them.

Ezekiel 20:11 "And I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them."

This is speaking, not only of the Ten Commandments, but of the ordinances that would help them live productive lives. They did not have to have civil laws. They were covered in the ordinances God had given them while they were in the wilderness.

Ezekiel 20:12 "Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them."

The Sabbath was a special sign for them from God. This was a witness to them, and the rest of the world, of their special relationship with God. "Sanctify" means to set apart or set aside for God's purpose.

Ezekiel 20:13 "But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them."

They were a rebellious house. They polluted the Sabbath, but this probably, includes other sins like the making of the golden calf. They did not like the ordinances. They thought of the sacrifices as obligation, and did not do them for love of God, but because of obligation. Their hearts were far from God. They went through the motion of worship, but did not really love and reverence God.

Ezekiel 20:14 "But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out."

When Moses begged for their lives on the mountain, one of the reasons he gave God for not destroying them, was that the heathen would see it. God saved them for Him a family, but He, also, saved them as a sign to the heathen.

Ezekiel 20:15 "Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given [them], flowing with milk and honey, which [is] the glory of all lands;"

God delayed their entering the Promised Land, because of their unfaithfulness.

Ezekiel 20:16 "Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols."

Outwardly, they had given up their idols, but in their hearts, they were far away from God. At every little problem that arose, they would express desire to be back in Egypt. The Sabbath was partially made for them to have a day of rest, but they did not see that. They thought of God as a taskmaster.

Ezekiel 20:17 "Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness."

God let them wander, until the disobedient died off and gave the Promised Land to their children. He kept them alive in their children.

Ezekiel 20:18 "But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols:"

God started with this group, because they did not have the memories of Egypt. They learned the ways of God in the wilderness, and lived by His ordinances.

Ezekiel 20:19 "I [am] the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them;"

The best reason of all for keeping the statutes and judgments is right here. He is the LORD your God.

Ezekiel 20:20 "And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I [am] the LORD your God."

The Sabbath was a sign that set them aside as the people of God's law.

Christians observing the First day of the week, instead of the seventh, shows the new covenant of grace. We are practicing firstfruits when we worship on Sunday.

Ezekiel 20:21 "Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness."

It seems that each generation of these Israelites rebel against God, and follow after the idols of Egypt. Some of this happens, because they intermarried with the world. They pick up the ways of the world from these marriages.

From this we see also, that their fathers had worshipped false gods in front of them, and they had picked up the false gods of their fathers.

Ezekiel 20:22 "Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth."

God will not destroy them, because they are an example to the heathen.

In this particular instance, God saves them for the benefit of the heathen who had been watching.

Ezekiel 20:23 "I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries;"

One of the punishments God does is to disperse them from time to time, as He did these into Babylon and the countries around them.

Ezekiel 20:24 "Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols."

The sins, from the beginning, were the same as they were in Ezekiel's time. They were a rebellious house from the beginning. They did not have respect for God, or His Sabbaths. The worst thing of all was their worship of idols. The very first Commandment forbids the worship of false gods.

Ezekiel 20:25-26 "Wherefore I gave them also statutes [that were] not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;" "And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through [the fire] all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I [am] the LORD."

God allowed the Jews to live in sin. Like all human beings, the story of the Jews is one long history of rebellion.

Ezekiel believed the law of God to be holy and just, as it really was. Perhaps this is saying, because of their idolatry, they could not live under God's law. They had broken covenant with God, when they went to false gods. The penalty for this is death.

Ezekiel Chapter 20 Questions

1. When was this prophecy given?

2. Who had inquired of God in front of Ezekiel?

3. What were they wanting to know?

4. Who did God promptly answer?

5. What does God call Ezekiel in verse 3?

6. Why is God angry with the elders?

7. Who is to judge the elders?

8. What is Ezekiel to remember in his judgment?

9. The effectual fervent prayer of a __________ man availeth much.

10. How far back does this Word of God go?

11. How had God brought them out of Egypt?

12. What kind of land was the Promised Land?

13. How were they to be different from the rest of the world?

14. The worship of idols brings a ________.

15. What terrible false god did they make, while Moses was on the mountain receiving the 10 commandments?

16. What was the purpose of the 10 plagues on Egypt?

17. Even the _________ believed Almighty God is God, after the ten plagues.

18. What were many nations aware of on their journey to the Promised Land?

19. Why did God extend the time of the wilderness wanderings.

20. What one miracle, in the wilderness, should have shown them of His special care for them?

21. What, besides the 10 commandments, are covered in the statutes and judgments of verse 11?

22. What was the Sabbath a witness of, to the rest of the world?

23. They thought of the sacrifices as an ___________, and did not do them for love of God.

24. What was one of the reasons Moses gave to God for not destroying them?

25. Why had God delayed their entering the Promised Land?

26. What did God tell their children in the wilderness?

27. What is the best reason for keeping God's ordinances?

28. Why had God refused to accept their offerings and sacrifices that we read of in Jeremiah?

29. Why did God not destroy them in the wilderness?

30. What was the worst sin they committed?

31. What is the penalty for breaking covenant with God?

32. What had they caused their children to do in the worship of the false god Molech?

Ezekiel Chapter 20 Continued

Ezekiel 20:27 "Therefore, son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me."

Ezekiel had been relating to the elders about the sins of the children of Israel from the very beginning. Now this is directed, not to the elders specifically, but to all of Israel. This is as if God is saying, in all these years, you have not changed. The fathers, from the very beginning, had blasphemed God in their worship of false gods. They are still doing the very same thing.

Even in the captivity in Babylon, these elders were still seeking advice from the false prophets, while they sought advice from Ezekiel. They were not faithful to God.

Ezekiel 20:28 "[For] when I had brought them into the land, [for] the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering: there also they made their sweet savor, and poured out there their drink offerings."

In the beautiful Promised Land that God had given them, they did not rejoice in the beauty of the hills and the trees as being gifts from God. They began their false worship all over again. They worshipped false gods in the high places, and under the thick trees. It seemed everything they saw, caused them to seek the worship of false gods. The sweet savor and the drink offerings were to be for God alone. To burn incense to a false god, is blasphemy in the sight of God.

Ezekiel 20:29 "Then I said unto them, What [is] the high place whereunto ye go? And the name thereof is called Bamah unto this day."

"Bamah" means in ancient Israel or Canaan, a shrine built on an elevated site. For Canaanites, the shrines were devoted to fertility deities, to the Baals, or to the Semitic goddesses called the Asheroth. The shrines often included an altar and a sacred object such as a stone pillar or wooden pole. One of the oldest known high places (dating from ca. 2500 B.C.), is at Megiddo. And we all know what happens at Megiddo.

The high places, during the time of the temple, were places where they met and worshipped false gods. The worship in the high places was a very sensuous type of worship. Many times, it included physical adultery, as well as spiritual adultery.

Ezekiel 20:30 Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations?"

This is saying that they have never changed. They are still involved in this very same type of sensual worship their fathers were involved in. It seems all of the chastisements God has sent upon them, has not caused them to stop worshipping false gods.

Ezekiel 20:31 "For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you."

It seemed the worship of Molech was prominent on God's mind. He not only removed Himself from the temple and destroyed it, but He has removed Himself from the presence of these idolatrous people as well. God will not listen to them. He has turned His back to them.

Ezekiel 20:32 "And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone."

They had decided, since they were in exile, and since the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, they could go ahead and worship the false gods. They thought the law left, when the temple was destroyed. What they did not realize, was that to belong to God is a relationship, not a religion.

Ezekiel 20:33 "[As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:"

God wanted to rule them with His love as a husband to them. They were not faithful, so He will rule them with a rod of iron, in His fury. The "stretched out arm" shows God's judgment.

Ezekiel 20:34 "And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out."

Paul alludes to this (in 2 Cor.).

2 Cor. 6:17. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you," "And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

God will someday rule over Israel in the glorious kingdom of Messiah, after the people have repented and been saved.

Ezekiel 20:35 "And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face."

Other lands where the scattered people of Israel live are pictured as a wilderness in which the Jews will suffer.

This is analogous to God's bringing His people from Egypt through the wilderness long ago, before thrusting them in the Promised Land.

Ezekiel 20:36 "Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD."

The wilderness wanderings had been a series of problems. Every time they turned from God to false gods, the problems began. They would repent, and God would start them again. It was a series of lessons to be learned. This will be no different. The hardships will be great enough, to cause some to repent and seek God.

Ezekiel 20:37 "And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:"

God used a shepherd figure here, apt since He was their Great Shepherd. As a shepherd, God brings His sheep home to their fold, has them file in, separating sheep from goats, passing under His shepherd's rod to be noted and checked for injury.

He will bring them into the bond of the New Covenant by giving them His Spirit with life. This is Israel's final salvation (see Romans 11:26-33).

Ezekiel 20:38 "And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD."

The "purging" is a separation of the chaff from the wheat, or a separating of the sheep from the goats. God's remnant will be made up of those who do not bow their knees to a false god. Only this pure remnant will go back into the Promised Land. God is the one who separates them. He judges by what is in their hearts.

God will see that no rebel, no one without the renewing by His Spirit in salvation, will come back to Palestine to have a part in the messianic kingdom. All whom He permits to return will serve Him in contrast to those who serve idols. The purging takes place during the "time of Jacob's trouble" during the Great Tribulation.

Ezekiel 20:39 "As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD; Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, and hereafter [also], if ye will not hearken unto me: but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols."

God is saying, decide who you will serve, this day. If you are determined to worship idols and false gods, then go on and serve them. Do not come back to me. Do not pretend to worship me, if you are still worshipping false gods. God will only accept the worship of those who worship Him alone. He will not be one of many gods. He is the Almighty God. There is no other.

Verses 40-42: "all...in the land". The promised regathering in Messiah's earthly kingdom is to the very same land, literally Palestine, from which they were scattered, expressly the land given to their fathers.

They will "all" be there, repentant and saved, serving the Lord wholeheartedly, a united nation engaged in purified worship.

Ezekiel 20:40 "For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things."

In the Jerusalem that is restored, there will be no worship of false gods. The One True God will be worshipped. The temple will be restored. Their offerings and oblations will be acceptable unto Him, because they will worship Him with all their hearts.

Ezekiel 20:41 "I will accept you with your sweet savor, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen."

The sweet savor in that day, will not be of obligation, but because of their love for God. Their hearts will be in their sweet savor offerings. In fact, they will love so much, it will be difficult to separate them from their offerings. God will bring them home to their Promised Land from all the places they have been scattered. There will be a sign to the heathen everywhere, that they worship the One True God.

Ezekiel 20:42 "And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country [for] the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers."

This is a promise of the restoration of the Promised Land to them. Even more than that, it is a promise of God restoring covenant relationship with them. He will be their God, and they will be His people.

Those who believe that the church has replaced Israel for his special blessing should read this scripture carefully.

Ezekiel 20:43 "And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed."

This speaks of a deeply repentant people for the sorrow they had caused, by their worship of false gods. When they remember their sins, they will hate themselves for the sins.

Ezekiel 20:44 "And ye shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD."

Notice the culmination of this in the fact, that they will now know that He is the LORD. This restoration is for the sake of God, as well as man. This restoration is not because they are worthy, but because He is worthy. God has forgiven them, and restored them to fellowship with Him. Every promise that God made to Abraham, will be because of God's faith. God is Truth. He said it, He will do it.

Ezekiel 20:45-46 "Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop [thy word] toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field;"

This is a momentary break in the previous sermon of Ezekiel.

Verses 46-48 ... Preach against the South. The South is Palestine, particularly Judah, usually invaded from the North through Babylonia was to the East. Its army would swing West toward the Mediterranean Sea and then come South out of the North to invade Judah.

The invader, Nebuchadnezzar (in 586 B.C.), will overwhelm the land as a sweeping fire devouring trees indiscriminately, green or dry. Palestine had much more "forest" in biblical times.

Ezekiel 20:47 "And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein."

"I will kindle a fire". This parable of the forest that is consumed by fire metaphorically speaks of fires of judgment, sweeping through the land in the form of the Babylonian invaders, like a mighty forest fire which cannot be quenched. Compare the fiery future devastation yet to affect the Middle East and the world (as forecast in Rev. 9:14-18).

Ezekiel 20:48 "And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched."

There will be no doubt from anyone that the destruction that comes, is from a judgment of God. No one, except God, can stop fire that He starts.

Ezekiel 20:49 "Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?"

Certainly, all prophecy is somewhat of a parable. Each Scripture in the Bible is a parable, in the sense that there is a deeper message than the one we see with our physical eye. It does not mean that the message that we see with our physical eye is not true. It just means that, if we pray and ask God to reveal to us the meaning of the parable, He will reveal to us the spiritual meaning of the Scripture, as well as the literal.

Ezekiel spoke Truth that God put into His mouth.

This verse clearly demonstrates the elders' refusal to comprehend Ezekiel's clear message. To the unwilling heart, there was no understanding.

Ezekiel Chapter 20 Continued Questions

1. Who is the prophecy, beginning here, speaking to?

2. What is it as if God is saying?

3. Instead of seeing God's blessings when they looked at the Promised Land, what did they see?

4. The sweet savor and the drink offerings were for _______ alone.

5. What does "Bamah" mean?

6. What were the high places, at the time of the temple?

7. What kind of sin was going on in the high places?

8. What false god required the walking of the children through fire?

9. What had God done, besides remove Himself from the temple?

10. The families of the countries served _______ and ________.

11. When the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, they decided it was alright to do what?

12. To belong to God is a _____________, not a religion.

13. How had God preferred to rule them?

14. When they were unfaithful, how did He rule them?

15. What does His "stretched out arm" show?

16. What kind of wilderness is this speaking of?

17. The hardships will be just great enough to cause them to _________ and ________ God.

18. What is the "rod" of verse 37?

19. What is the "purging" of verse 38.

20. What does God tell them to go ahead and do, in verse 39?

21. What is different about the restored Jerusalem?

22. Where will He gather them from?

23. He will be their ______, and they will be His ________.

24. He restored them not because they were worthy, but why?

25. When they look back at their sins, what will they think of themselves?

26. What is the meaning of the three mentions of south in verse 46?

27. Who is the "forest" in verse 47?

28. What does the author think about the Bible and parables?

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Ezekiel 21

Ezekiel Chapter 21

Chapter 21: Since the people did not seem to understand the parable of the devouring fire, Ezekiel now explains the impending judgment in terms of a sword. First, the lord is pictured as a warrior who says, "I the Lord have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath" (verse 5). Then the sword is sharpened to make a sore slaughter (verse 10), and directed toward Judah (verse 20).

Finally, Ammon would likewise be slain by the sword (verses 28-32).

(Verse 21), gives interesting insight into the Babylonian practice of divination. Three distinct ways for determining the will of the gods are mentioned. Casting arrows (much like our "drawing straws"), consulting images (directly or as mediums to departed spirits), and hepatoscopy, or the examination of the liver.

In the last named practice, a sacrificial animal was slain, its liver was examined, and the particular shape and configuration was compared with a catalog of symptoms and predictions.

The point is that no matter how much the Babylonian king foolishly uses his divination, the will of the one true God will be accomplished.

In verses (21:1-7) The Word came. This is the sign of the sword against Jerusalem. God depicts His judgment in terms of a man unsheathing his polished sword for a deadly thrust. God is the swordsman (verses 3-4), but Babylon is His sword (verse 19).

Ezekiel 21:1-2 "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop [thy word] toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,"

This is the beginning of another prophecy.

The historical background for this prophecy is Nebuchadnezzar's (588 B.C. campaign), to quell revolts in Judah, as well as Tyre and Ammon.

Ezekiel 21:3 "And say to the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I [am] against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked."

In time of judgment and war, the just are sometimes cut off with the unjust. The "sword being drawn out of his sheath" shows just how quickly this might happen. The sword, also, shows the severity of the attack. We know that the conquest of Israel by Babylon was in several phases, and took several years to finish. This is speaking of that final phase.

Ezekiel 21:4 "Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:"

It seems such a shame for the righteous to suffer, but that is the fate of the world. We are in the world together. Natural phenomena affect both, and so does war.

In Babylon's indiscrimination as an invader, people in the army's path die, whether righteous or wicked. This occurs for North to South, through the whole span of Israel's land tying in with the judgment pictured by fire (in 20:45-49).

Trees green or dry probably depict people whether righteous or wicked.

Ezekiel 21:5 "That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more."

The reason the sword will not be returned to the sheath, is this is the final battle. There will be no question of where this judgment came from, because there had been so much prophecy given pertaining to it. Even Babylon is aware of the prophecies that have gone forth.

Ezekiel 21:6 "Sigh therefore, thou son of man, with the breaking of [thy] loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes."

We see from this, that Ezekiel is supposed to be so grieved by this, that his sigh will be so great, it appears that he has broken his loin. I am sure it does greatly grieve Ezekiel to bring this terrible news to his fellow countrymen. The bitterness of the eyes is speaking of the tears that flow, when he is bringing this prophecy.

Ezekiel 21:7 "And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt answer, For the tidings; because it cometh: and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak [as] water: behold, it cometh, and shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord GOD."

Those around Ezekiel will probably, not understand why he is crying and in such pain. What they do not realize, is that a prophet feels the pain of those he is prophesying against. The description of the people upon which this terror has come, is their hearts shall melt, their hands will tremble as a feeble person, they will faint from fear, and their knees will be weak as water.

This is a terrible sight. Of course, as Ezekiel is telling this, he sees it in his mind's eye, as well. His sorrow is great.

Ezekiel 21:8-9 "Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished:"

There was a break in the prophecy, perhaps for Ezekiel to strengthen.

The sword is sharpened and ready to go. This prophecy is not for the future. It is to happen then. "Furbished" means polished. Soldiers, many times, polish their weapons just before a battle begins.

Ezekiel 21:10 "It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, [as] every tree."

This sword is in the hands of the enemy. We must remember however, that God sent this sword in judgment. "Contemneth", in the verse above, means to spurn, or disappear.

The new King James Version describes the last sentence as: It despises the scepter of my son and it does all wood. Possibly this affirmed that God's sword, so overwhelming (in verse 10a), was to despise the Judean royal scepter, which was powerless to stop it and would soon pass away.

God's judgment was too strong for this object made of (or partly of) wood, as it holds in contempt all such items of wood. "My son" may refer to Judah, or to the king as God's "son," such as was Solomon.

Ezekiel 21:11 "And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer."

God is always the judge and executioner, no matter what He uses.

Ezekiel 21:12 "Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it [shall be] upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon [thy] thigh."

This is Ezekiel who is to howl and cry. Ezekiel could not possibly bring this type of message without it breaking his heart. The "smiting of the thigh" is another sign of the crying and howling of deep grief. The fact this destruction will be no respecter of persons, is another reason to mourn. Even the leaders will be killed by the sword.

Strike thy thigh can also be translated, "beat your breast". In either wording, it is an emphatic gesture of grief that the prophet acts out. This accompanies further symbols of grief in his "cry," "howl", smite or clapping of hands (verse 14).

Ezekiel 21:13 "Because [it is] a trial, and what if [the sword] contemn even the rod? it shall be no [more], saith the Lord GOD."

It will appear that the rod of God has been overcome. This is not the truth, however. The attacking sword is from God, as well as the rod. This is a chastisement from God upon His people to change their ways.

Ezekiel 21:14 "Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite [thine] hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it [is] the sword of the great [men that are] slain, which entereth into their privy chambers."

Those of great wealth have places which are very private. Even if they hide in these places, they will be found and run through with the sword. They cannot hide from God. The smiting of the hands shows the horror of it all.

Ezekiel 21:15 "I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that [their] heart may faint, and [their] ruins be multiplied: ah! [it is] made bright, [it is] wrapped up for the slaughter."

Those in Jerusalem thought that their walls and their strong gates would save them. God knows the weak points in the gate. This is what is meant by the point. The gates will fall and the walls with them. The people will faint in their hearts, when they see there is no hope. The sword is wrapped up until battle.

Ezekiel 21:16 "Go thee one way or other, [either] on the right hand, [or] on the left, whithersoever thy face [is] set."

Whichever way the soldiers went, there was destruction by the sword. It would not matter whether they were on the right or left, the destruction would come. This had to be terrible for Ezekiel to see in his thoughts, as he was prophesying. These were his people.

Ezekiel 21:17 "I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said [it]."

It appears, at the clapping of God's hand the fury would stop. When God speaks, it is so.

Ezekiel 21:18-19 "The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying," "Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose [it] at the head of the way to the city."

Now, we begin with a new part of the prophecy.

This imagery sees Babylon's army on the march coming to a crossroads.

One road leads to Jerusalem, and the other probably to Rabbath. (The capital of Ammon). There will be signs posting the direction.

The sword is the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, who is faced with a decision. One sign points to Jerusalem and Judah, the other to Rabbah.

Ezekiel 21:20 "Appoint a way, that the sword may come to Rabbath of the Ammonites, and to Judah in Jerusalem the defensed."

At this point in the road, the invader could choose one way, or the other.

(In 593 B.C.), Ammon had conspired with Judah against Babylon. The king had to decide which place to attack, so he sought his gods through divination (verse 21).

Ezekiel 21:21 "For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made [his] arrows bright, he consulted with images, he looked in the liver."

The head of the two ways means to either go to Jerusalem and Judah or Rabbah.

All of the things mentioned in the verse above, are things connected with the occult. This king of Babylon was not a godly man. He took his directions from witchcraft.

Three methods are available to Babylon's leader. He shook arrows and let them fall, then read a conclusion from the pattern. He looked at the Teraphim (idols), examined an animal liver to gain help from his gods.

Actually, the true God controlled this superstition to achieve His will, the attack on Jerusalem and Judah. Later, Nebuchadnezzar attacked Rabbah in Ammon East of the Jordan (verses 28-32).

Ezekiel 21:22 "At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint [battering] rams against the gates, to cast a mount, [and] to build a fort."

When the quiver was shaken, the arrow that was for Jerusalem came forth. The rest of this is telling how they battered the gates down. We must remember in all of this, some false god had no control over this situation. God controls even Satan.

Ezekiel 21:23 "And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity, that they may be taken."

When the people in Jerusalem heard of the divination that went on at the separation of the roads, they still did not believe that the Babylonians would be able to take Jerusalem. They did not want to believe that the protection of God had been removed from His holy city. They were wrong.

Ezekiel 21:24 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, [I say], that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand."

We see again here, why God is letting this happen. They have sinned by worshipping other gods, and God has not forgotten it. He is totally aware of the sins they thought they had cleverly hidden. God reminds them here, of the curses that would come upon them, if they sinned in this manner.

They were so used to God protecting them, that they could not believe He would allow them to be destroyed. It is the Hand of God that is against them. He is using the king of Babylon to carry out His wishes. God is still in control. It is just not in the way they expect.

Ezekiel 21:25 "And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity [shall have] an end,"

The prince will be punished along with the people. This is speaking of Zedekiah.

Ezekiel 21:26 "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."

No longer will Zedekiah reign. He is toppled. The diadem is not only a crown for a king, but many times speaks of the mitre of the High Priest. It appears from this, that the High Priest is punished the same as Zedekiah.

Neither office was fully restored after the captivity. This marked the commencement of "The Times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24).

Ezekiel 21:27 "I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no [more], until he come whose right it is; and I will give it [him]."

The meaning of overturn is overthrow (repeat scripture with the word overthrown and see how it makes more sense, literally).

This 3-fold statement expresses the severest degree of unsettled and chaotic conditions. Israel was to experience severe instability and even the kingly privilege will not be Israel's again until the Messiah comes, "to whom it rightly belongs," or "whose right it is".

God will give the kingship to Him (Jer. 23:5-8), the greater "David" (Ezek. 37:24).

His "right" is that perfect combination of priestly and royal offices (Hebrew chapters 5 to 7).

Ezekiel 21:28 "And thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites, and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword [is] drawn: for the slaughter [it is] furbished, to consume because of the glittering:"

In the separation of the roads, when the king of Babylon practiced divination, the Ammonites thought they were safe. Now, we see that God will deal with them also. They will be killed by the sword, the same as those in Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 21:29 "Whiles they see vanity unto thee, whiles they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of [them that are] slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity [shall have] an end."

It appears from this Scripture that the Ammonites divined, as well as Nebuchadnezzar. They had put their faith in a false god. They rejoiced at the destruction of Jerusalem, and God will now destroy them. Their iniquity had not been overlooked by God.

Their reproach was the gleeful disdain they heaped on Jerusalem when the city fell, the temple was profaned, and Judeans were taken captive.

Ezekiel 21:30 "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 Ammonites were natives of this land, it appears. They were nomads who were descended from Lot's youngest daughter.

For the Ammonites to resist Babylon would be useless, for they would be slaughtered in their own land.

Ezekiel 21:31 "And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, [and] skillful to destroy."

It would not help them at all to fight against these Babylonians, because it is actually God who has sent the Babylonians. The blowing just makes the fire burn more brightly. They are evil, and God will use an evil king to destroy them.

Ezekiel 21:32 "Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no [more] remembered: for I the LORD have spoken [it]."

This is the final end of the Ammonites. They will not be restored, as Jerusalem will be. Their destruction is final. They will not only be destroyed, but forgotten, as well. This prophecy came true in detail. It was never rebuilt.

Ezekiel Chapter 21 Questions

1. Son of man, set thy face toward ___________.

2. Who, besides Jerusalem, was this prophecy for?

3. What is shown by the "sword being out of his sheath"?

4. In time of judgment and war, the _______ are sometimes cut off with the _________.

5. The conquest of Israel by Babylon was in several __________.

6. Why is there no question where this judgment came from?

7. How greatly is Ezekiel grieved by this prophecy?

8. Describe the people at this terror of war.

9. What does "furbished" mean?

10. The sword is in the hands of the ________.

11. What must we remember, however?

12. What is Ezekiel told to do in verse 12?

13. What does the "smiting of the thigh" show?

14. Why can the wealthy not hide in their private place and be safe?

15. What had been thought about the walls of Jerusalem and their gates?

16. When the people see there is no hope, what will they do?

17. In verse 17, God smites His hands together and does what?

18. What are the two ways in verse 19?

19. Where do the two roads lead?

20. Who stood at the dividing of the roads?

21. What was he doing there?

22. All of the things he did were connected to the ________.

23. What is the "looking in the liver" similar to in our day?

24. Which arrow came forth, when the quiver was shaken?

25. What effect did the divination at the parting of the roads have on the people of Jerusalem?

26. Why is God allowing this to happen?

27. Who is the prince of Israel in verse 25?

28. What did the removing of the diadem tell us?

29. Who is the great High Priest?

30. In verse 28, a judgment is made on whom?

31. Who, besides Nebuchadnezzar, divined?

32. Who were the Ammonites descended from?

33. What eventually happens to the Ammonites?

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Ezekiel 22

Ezekiel Chapter 22

Ezekiel 22:1-2 "Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," " Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations."

This is the beginning of another prophecy.

The bloody city is speaking of Jerusalem. Ezekiel is to speak the judgment upon her. This is saying that Ezekiel is to specifically mention her revolting sins to her such as her judicial murders, her sacrifice of children, and her rebellion against Babylon.

Why, because of her rebellion against Babylon? The answer was because God told them through Ezekiel that they should go into captivity, but they would not listen but preferred to listen to their false prophets and leaders.

Ezekiel 22:3 "Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself."

Isaiah and Jeremiah had said similar things about Jerusalem. The uppermost sin is the making of these idols, and worshipping false gods.

Verses 4-13: We see that at least 17 kinds of sin appear in the indictment of Jerusalem's blood guiltiness (and more in verses 25-29).

The only restraint on their evil was their ability. They did all the evil they could, and shedding blood seemed to be the most popular.

Ezekiel 22:4 "Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come [even] unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries."

Their terrible sins have brought the destruction about, even sooner than it would have come. The more they worshiped false gods, the angrier God became. The angrier He got, the sooner the punishment came. They have come to the end of God's patience. He has judged them guilty and deserving death.

The heathen around them that had such great awe of them and their God are now thinking of them in a degrading way. They have no respect for them. This lack of respect is because they are so evil. Their God has turned against them.

Ezekiel 22:5 "[Those that be] near, and [those that be] far from thee, shall mock thee, [which art] infamous [and] much vexed."

This is speaking of the cities that began to speak badly about Jerusalem. They were famous, now they are infamous. They would not be so brave to say these things, if it had not become apparent to everyone that God had left them.

Romans 2:24 tells us "For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, as it is written."

Ezekiel 22:6 "Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood."

The princes that were so well known for the blood they had shed were Jehoiakim and Manasseh. Of course, all of those who were evil were included in this. There were very few recent kings who had pleased God.

Ezekiel 22:7 "In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow."

We now see some of the things that God had against them, other than the fact that they worshipped false gods, and caused the people to do the same. God had always protected the fatherless and the widow. This was a sin He would not overlook.

Ezekiel 22:8 "Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths."

This speaks of their disrespect for the temple, and things in the temple. They had not felt a need to keep the Sabbath holy, as well.

Ezekiel 22:9 "In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness."

We see the widespread sins they have committed. This mountain worship, many times, included promiscuous sex. That is what is meant by the "lewdness". It seems, they were talebearers, and not necessarily carrying the truth.

This meant idol worship which the passage clarifies (in verse 4), i.e., eating meals at idol shrines, accompanied by sexual sins, such as those described (in verses 10-11).

Ezekiel 22:10 "In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution."

This is speaking of incest, and even homosexuality; Members of a family committing sexual sin among themselves. They generally shaved the head of an adulterous woman, if they did not stone her to death.

This is speaking of many committing this sinful act with an adulterous woman. These very same sins are very prevalent in our society today. God will not always overlook such sin.

Ezekiel 22:11 "And one hath committed abomination with his neighbor's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter."

This type of sexual act (incest), is strictly forbidden in God's law. To sleep with all these people, was strictly forbidden.

Ezekiel 22:12 "In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD."

The first mention here, is of a hired killer. Taken gifts could mean bribes which are mentioned in other scriptures. The other sins are taking great advantage of those less fortunate than themselves. This is like they have gone through the ordinances in Leviticus against these sins, and then, have committed every one of them. This is total rebellion against God and His teachings.

Ezekiel 22:13 "Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee."

God will not bless a people who are committing these sins. God has struck out at (smitten), those who gain in these ways.

Verses 14-16: Ezekiel saw not only the punishment in the immediate future, but the worldwide dispersion of the Jews still going on today, which continues for the purging of Israel's sins.

Ezekiel 22:14 "Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken [it], and will do [it]."

God will pour out His fire of chastisement on them to cleanse them from this filthiness. He will leave a remnant, however. We see that God never totally destroys Israel, as He did the Ammonites.

Ezekiel 22:15 "And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee."

This entire captivity of the Israelites was to cleanse them from their sins. As we read in a previous lesson, was that the majority of the Jews were marked for death and were killed as we read (in chapter 9), of the five with the slaughter weapons and of the one who carried the inkhorn for those who would be saved from death.

The only time when some seemed to repent and turn to God, was when they were in dire circumstances.

Ezekiel 22:16 "And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD."

The land and the wealth in that land are gone. The only thing they will have is their flesh. All of this is to show His people that there is no other god. He is the LORD, He is God. The only help they have, or for that matter, any of us have, is in the LORD.

After the defiling dispersion, when the sin has been purged, Israel will come to know the Lord. Many Jews do know Him now, but the nation will be saved in the future (Zech. 12-14; Rom. 11: 25-27).

Verses 17-22, this is picturing God's judgment of Jerusalem as a smelting furnace which burns away dross and impurities, resulting in purified metal.

His wrath was the fire (verse 21); an apt term for Babylon's fiery destruction of the city. And His people were to be refined (verse 20), with the sinful ones removed. Even in the ultimate day, God will follow this principle in purging His creation of sin.

Ezekiel 22:17-18 "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they [are] brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are [even] the dross of silver."

There is a break in the prophecy here, for a new thought.

When you heat gold or silver, the dross comes to the top and is skimmed off and thrown away. Sometimes, the alloy in silver, or gold, is brass, tin, iron, or lead. This is saying then that these Israelites are no longer "silver" (redeemed). They are the cast away "brass" (judgment). God has judged them, and found them not to be pure.

"Silver" means redemption. It is a beautiful, white metal. They have tarnished that silver, and are now baser metal, of not much value. Most of the base metals mentioned above are hardeners. They certainly have become hard, and in effect, of no use to God. They had pretended to be right with God, because they looked like silver. When the heat was applied, it was apparent they were of a base metal, or dross.

Ezekiel 22:19 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem."

Dross is generally skimmed off the silver and thrown away. In a sense, that is what God has done here. He has cast them away. God will deal with the dross (Israel), in His own way.

The science of metallurgy was well developed in the days of Ezekiel, and the imagery used here was clear to his listeners. Israel had become like dross, the worthless residue left over when metals have been purified. Yet the Lord would melt even this dross, a symbol of the completeness and finality of His judgment.

Ezekiel 22:20 "[As] they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt [it]; so will I gather [you] in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave [you there], and melt you."

This is the same thing that Jesus speaks of about separating the wheat from the chaff. They are mixed up together, and sometimes it is hard to tell which is which. The heat will separate them. God is saying, He will separate the evil from those that are to be saved.

Ezekiel 22:21 "Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof."

It takes 2200 degrees of heat to melt silver. We see then, the heat will be very intense. This judgment God brings is a severe judgment. He must separate those of pure silver from the dross.

Ezekiel 22:22 "As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you."

We must look back to another lesson, where we learned that the problems from the judgment came on the just and the unjust. The heat is applied on all. The silver just becomes purer with the heat. The dross is destroyed. This is what happens to people. When the troubles come, those of God become more pure with the testing.

Those not of God are exposed and done away with. This is the LORD who poured out His fury. It is the LORD who separates.

The rest of this chapter is a veritable catalog of the nation's sins and every guilty party is singled out for judgment. The false prophets who have devoured souls (verse 25); the priests who have violated my law (verse 26); the princes who are like wolves ravening the prey (verse 27); and the people who have used oppression and exercised robbery (verse 29).

No one will be left out of the judgment. In one of the saddest verses in the book, the Lord Himself confesses that He found no one who could stand in the gap, to stem the tide that would inevitably bring destruction (verse 30).

Ezekiel 22:23-24 "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying," "Son of man, say unto her, Thou [art] the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation."

We see another momentary break with this new statement.

Here, in this particular instance, is the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel. Now we see one of the reasons for the famine. It has not rained to cause a crop to grow, during the duration of God's indignation.

Verses 25-29: Here is the word "conspiracy". The whole nation was wicked. First, all leaders are indicted for their vicious sin: prophets, priest, princes, and then the people in general.

Ezekiel 22:25 "[There is] a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof."

The false prophets were prophets for money. They had no regard for God, His temple, His ways, or His people. They were self-made prophets, because it was profitable to them. The roaring of the lion is sometimes associated with Satan. He goes through the earth, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may destroy.

These false prophets are doing the same thing. They prophesy lies and do it loudly, so everyone can hear.

Ezekiel 22:26 "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed [difference] between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them."

In an earlier lesson, we remember the priests and elders had idols in their private quarters in the temple area. They had turned from the worship of the one true God, to idols and worship of false gods. The terrible thing is that they are leaders, and they lead others into this worship of false gods.

There is one 2 word phrase that covers this perfectly, "Spiritual Compromise". They had spiritually compromised God, and thought of the false gods on an equal basis with God. They had done exactly what many of our churches of today have done. They have brought the world into the church. The temple was to be holy, and set aside for the purposes of God alone.

Ezekiel 22:27 "Her princes in the midst thereof [are] like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, [and] to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain."

The society, all of this describes, is far too similar to our society for me. I am very uncomfortable, when I read of the leaders compromising for selfish gain. The princes were their leaders in government. They destroy the people to get what they want.

Ezekiel 22:28 "And her prophets have daubed them with untempered [mortar], seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken."

The prophets are not building a solid wall of separation from this worldliness. They are just daubing at fixing the problems. They are really looking to the world and false gods for answers. The only real Truth is in God and in His Word. These prophets, getting their messages from the world, are pretending their messages are from God. God will not compromise with the world. These messages of compromise are not from Him.

Ezekiel 22:29 "The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully."

This states that not only have the political leaders and the religious leaders been caught up in greed, but the common people as well. They cheat each other to satisfy their greed. They have no compassion on those in need. They think only of themselves.

Ezekiel 22:30 "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none."

We see something, here, similar to Sodom and Gomorrah. God could not find 10 righteous there, so He destroyed them. We see that in Israel, there was not even one who was righteous enough to intercede before God for them. There was no one holy enough to stand in the gap for them. The only possible result of this is that God will destroy the land.

Perhaps, this is why a few years later God sent Jesus to the earth to be our substitute. The depravity of man is an on-going thing. We all deserve to die for our sins. Praise God! Jesus paid our penalty of death for us.

Ezekiel and Jeremiah were faithful, but apart from them God sought a man capable of advocacy for Israel when its sin had gone so far. But no one could lead the people to repentance and draw the nation back from the brink of the judgment that came in 586 B.C.

Only God's Messiah, God Himself, will have the character and the credentials sufficient to do what no man can do, intercede for Israel.

He was rejected by them in His earthly ministry, so the effects of this judgment continue today, until they turn to Him in faith (Zech. 12:10 - 13:1).

Ezekiel 22:31 "Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD."

God had no choice. He had to punish them. They brought this terrible judgment on themselves. To be just, God had to destroy them. His mercy kept a remnant alive to begin again. All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). God's grace saved some.

Ezekiel Chapter 22 Questions

1. What is the bloody city in verse 2?

2. What is Ezekiel to specifically mention to her?

3. What other prophets had said similar things about Jerusalem?

4. What had their terrible sins done?

5. They have come to the end of God's ___________.

6. The heathen had lost __________ for them.

7. Who were the princes in verse 6 speaking of probably.

8. What was mentioned as a sin they committed in verse 7?

9. What is verse 8 speaking of?

10. What was part of the very sinful mountain worship?

11. Verse 10 is speaking of ________ and ____________.

12. What generally happened to an adulterous woman?

13. What were the sins mentioned in verse 11 that God strictly forbids?

14. What is the very first thing in verse 12 speaking of?

15. How had they greedily gained from their neighbors?

16. God will pour out His fire on them in way of ____________.

17. Will He destroy them all?

18. Their land and wealth is gone, the only thing they have left is ________________.

19. What should the chastisement show them, and in fact, everyone?

20. What is dross?

21. What metals are classified as dross?

22. What happens to the dross, when extreme heat is put on silver?

23. What does "silver" mean?

24. What does "brass" symbolize?

25. They looked like silver, which meant what?

26. What happened to them, that was similar to what happens to dross?

27. What verse is speaking of the same thing as Jesus separating the wheat from the chaff?

28. How many degrees does it take to melt silver?

29. The problems come on the _______ and the ___________.

30. What was the reason for the famine?

31. The false prophets were prophets for __________.

32. Who is associated with the roaring of the lion?

33. What sin had the priests and elders committed?

34. This society then, reminds the author of whom?

35. How many men could God find to stand in the gap for them?

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Ezekiel 23

Ezekiel Chapter 23

Ezekiel 23:1-2 "The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying," "Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother:"

This is the beginning of a new prophecy.

This chapter describes the spiritual infidelity of Israel and Judah, pictured as two sisters, to convey the gravity of sin in Judah. "One mother" refers to the united kingdom, while "two women" refers to the divided kingdom.

Ezekiel 23:3 "And they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed, and there they bruised the teats of their virginity."

Israel had not become the wife of God, when she was in Egypt. She was even thought of as the family of Jacob, at that time. She would have been the two virgins then. They were in Egypt over 400 years where they picked up idol worship it appears, when they were there. This was the time they were "in their youth" and the time they became unfaithful to God because of their idol worship.

They became the wife of God, when they made covenant with God on the way to the Promised Land. They promised to keep God's laws and commandments. They actually went into covenant relationship with God. They became His wife. All of this is in a spiritual sense, and not in the literal.

Ezekiel 23:4 "And the names of them [were] Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus [were] their names; Samaria [is] Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah."

We know from the Scripture above, that, the two sisters meant Samaria, the capital of the Northern tribes, and Jerusalem, the capital of the Southern tribes.

In the Hebrew Bible, Oholah and Oholibah (or: Aholah and Aholibah) are pejorative names given by the prophet Ezekiel to the kingdom of Israel and Judah respectively.

There is a pun in these names in the Hebrew. Oholah means "her tent", and Oholibah means "my tent is in her". Ezekiel's rhetoric portrays Oholah and Oholibah, or Samaria and Jerusalem, as the daughters of one mother. Both are said to be "brides of God", and both are guilty of idolatry and of religious and political alliances with Gentile nations.

These kingdoms are described as prostitutes and adulteresses, given up to the abominations and idolatries of the Egyptians and Assyrians. Because of Oholah's crimes, she was carried away captive, and ceased to be a kingdom.

Aholah had her separate dwelling place apart from the temple, represents Samaria and is the Northern kingdom. Here Jeroboam had set up worship, which God rejected.

Aholibah, "My tabernacle is in her," represents Jerusalem or the Southern kingdom, where God did establish worship.

Ezekiel 23:5 "And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians [her] neighbors,"

Samaria's lovers were nations she had signed treaties with. Assyria, one of Samaria's lovers, is the very country that God uses to chastise the 10 tribes, when they go into captivity. Samaria had belonged to God in the beginning. She made peace treaties with the world, which Assyria symbolizes here.

The national god of Assyria was Ashur. Their religious worship was patterned after Babylonia. They worshipped many false gods such as Ishtar, Anu, Bel, and Ea. Samaria picked up some of their idol worship from them.

Aholah or the Northern kingdom of Israel was a harlot, in a spiritual sense, by seeking union for fulfillment and security with idolatrous, young, wealthy, attractive Assyria. Assyria turned on her, conquered her, and deported Israel (in 722 B.C.).

Ezekiel 23:6 "[Which were] clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses."

The Assyrians appealed to the flesh of the Samarians. Israel (Samaria), thought highly of the military of Assyria. They made quite an impression on them, and they sought their protection.

Ezekiel 23:7 "Thus she committed her whoredoms with them, with all them [that were] the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself."

They turned from the worship of the One True God to the worship of these Assyrian idols. The whoredoms, spoken of here, are speaking of committing spiritual adultery. To worship false gods, was spiritual adultery.

Ezekiel 23:8 "Neither left she her whoredoms [brought] from Egypt: for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her."

The sin of idol worship with them had never stopped, since Egypt. They had never truly given up their worship of false gods. God was displeased with her idol worship in Egypt. The 40 years of wandering in the wilderness was partially to get the ways of Egypt out of her.

Ezekiel 23:9 "Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted."

Now, we see that God had allowed the Assyrians to capture the 10 tribes, and carry them into captivity in Assyria. They were in Captivity in Assyria 136 years, before the capture of Judah by the Babylonians. The very ones she had put her confidence in, captured her and put her in captivity.

Ezekiel 23:10 "These discovered her nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword: and she became famous among women; for they had executed judgment upon her."

It was her punishment that became famous. Assyria realized her weakness, and came in and took her. Of course, this could not have happened, had it not been the will of God. God allowed this to happen, as a chastisement upon her.

Ezekiel 23:11 "And when her sister Aholibah saw [this], she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her sister in [her] whoredoms."

Aholibah symbolized Jerusalem, or Judah. Remember, that the temple of God was in Jerusalem. One of the things that caused the 10 tribes to be captured for a longer period of time, than Jerusalem and Judah, was the fact that all of their kings were evil, where Judah had a few that were not evil. Actually out of the 19 kings they had, 8 of them were good kings.

It does look like the capture by the Assyrians, would have caused the tribe of Judah to have learned from their error and repented, but it did not. In fact, instead of repenting and turning back to God, they began worshipping more false gods and making more idols than they had before.

Earlier we discovered that the rulers, priests and elders were doing this in God's house. But that wasn't all as they were involved in physical adultery as well. Plus they had sacrificed children to Moloch.

Ezekiel 23:12 "She doted upon the Assyrians [her] neighbors, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men."

Ahaz placed Judah under the protection of Assyria, a political move denounced by Isaiah (Isa. 7:13-17).

"Doted" means to breathe sensually. This speaks of adultery. God does not want His wife (Israel), finding help from others. This is speaking of spiritual adultery. They were taken of them, because it appeared they were so strong militarily.

Ezekiel 23:13 "Then I saw that she was defiled, [that] they [took] both one way,"

This, of course, is speaking of Judah. They have defiled themselves with Assyria.

Ezekiel 23:14 "And [that] she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men portrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion,"

They went even further with their unfaithfulness to God than did Samaria. It appears, they were so taken by the statues of men who were great military men that they began to worship them. "Vermillion" means red ochre.

Judah was drawn to portraits of Babylonian men, done in brilliant colors, lusting for the Chaldean lifestyle. Social and political alliance led to spiritual defection.

Ezekiel 23:15 "Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads, all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity:"

These images were of princes with beautiful brightly colored turbans upon their heads, as some of the monuments of Nimrod have.

Ezekiel 23:16 "And as soon as she saw them with her eyes, she doted upon them, and sent messengers unto them into Chaldea."

Notice, this was appealing to the eye. This is one of the temptations that Eve faced. The lust of the eyes, many times, is what causes the lust to become a reality.

Ezekiel 23:17 "And the Babylonians came to her into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their whoredom, and she was polluted with them, and her mind was alienated from them."

The description here portrays spiritual unfaithfulness graphically.

This lust of the eyes was for the great military power and the great wealth they possessed. This was a political defilement here. God had always protected Israel, and He did not plan for them to seek help from the world. This is showing a lack of confidence in God, when they place their confidence in Babylon.

Even Josiah had been a king pleasing unto God, but Jehoiakim and Zedekiah were not pleasing unto Him. Zedekiah was actually put into power by Nebuchadnezzar.

Ezekiel 23:18 "So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister."

God had not liked the ten tribes seeking help from Assyria, and He did not like Judah accepting help from Babylon. Both, in His sight, had committed spiritual adultery. They had made an alliance with the world.

Ezekiel 23:19 "Yet she multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her youth, wherein she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt."

The false gods of Babylon were not enough; she actually still worshipped the false gods of Egypt. Both, Babylon and Egypt were symbols of the evil world.

Judah renewed her old sins from the days of Egypt, returning to her first degradation.

Ezekiel 23:20 "For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh [is as] the flesh of asses, and whose issue [is like] the issue of horses."

Judah had courted the favors of these Egyptian princes. She remembered the Egyptians with fondness. In the spiritual sense, they committed adultery with Egypt.

Ezekiel 23:21 "Thus thou calledst to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, in bruising thy teats by the Egyptians for the paps of thy youth."

Even before they had gone into covenant relationship with God, they had worshipped the false gods of Egypt. They were promised to God, but had not become His wife at that stage.

Ezekiel 23:22 "Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side;"

God's anger at Judah's sin prompted His bringing Babylonians and others to deal severely with her.

The lovers, which turned against Judah, were the Chaldeans. God will use the very ones they had put their confidence in, to destroy them.

The passage sets forth how Judah's companion nations were the instruments of her judgment.

Ezekiel 23:23 "The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, [and] all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young men, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses."

Pekod, Shoa, and Koa are three different Aramean tribes.

Ezekiel 23:24 "And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, [which] shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments."

This is describing a great army that will come against them. The Babylonians, and the Egyptians, had such an army. God will place them into the hands of those they had put their trust in. God had always fought Israel's battles for them. This time the battle will be theirs alone. They are much smaller, and not as well equipped as the mighty army, spoken of here.

Ezekiel 23:25 "And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire."

Atrocities by Babylonians would include facial dismemberment, ancient punishment for an adulteress practiced in Egypt, Chaldea and elsewhere so we do know that severe things like this were done.

They poked out the eyes of Zedekiah. The other things are really what did happen in the conquest.

Ezekiel 23:26 "They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels."

The siege came, and they took everything they had. They took everything of an