THE PROPHECY LETTER
Studies In Ezekiel
A Survey of Ezekiel’s Prophecy
Eze 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 (El).
Ezekiel lived beside the Chebar, a great river (actually a large canal) connecting the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Chebar is about 45 miles north of Babylon. The waters of the artificial canal were doubtless used for crop irrigation in the rich, level, fertile and alluvial valley.
Eze 1:2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,
Jehoiachin is also called Coniah and Jeconiah. The date is prior to BC606.
Eze 1:3 The word of the LORD came expressly (specifically, specially) 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.
This stated action – that the hand of the LORD was … upon him – was also said of Elijah in 1Kings 18:46; of Elisha in 2Kings 3:15; of Daniel in Daniel 10:10, 18; and of John the apostle in Revelation 1:17. This assurance is given that readers and hearers may know assuredly the Divine source of these prophecies.
Eze 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind (a Ruach Sa’ar) 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 colour of amber (glowing metal), out of the midst of the fire.
The vivid reference to “a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself …” and subsequent features remind every student of the “Cloud by day, and the Pillar of Fire by night” (Exodus 14:19-24) which separated the congregation of Israel, trapped upon the shore of the Red Sea, from the host of pursuing Egyptians. In it was the distinct Presence of the LORD, as the elohistic Protector and Guide to the People.
Its remarkable persistence throughout their transit through the wilderness, assured the fearful Israelites of His continuing presence, protection, provision, and guidance.
What is the significance of the north here?
Two references come to mind: Psalm 75:6 informs that … promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. The word translated promotion is Room, or Rum, meaning to elevate, lift up or exalt.
So, if advancement does NOT come from the east, the west, or the south – from whence is it? It is from the NORTH. Isaiah’s words in 14:12-14 where direct reference is made to His “sitting … upon the Mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north,” and seems to indicate that the LORD is considered to live in a designated location in the north.
But north of what point?
We believe a reasonable explanation is that, given the fact that the Throne of the Kingdom was located in the City of David (which is south of Temple Mount), that the reference to the north indicates the physical fact that the Mercy Seat (the very Throne of God Himself among His People), of the Holy of Holies in the great Temple, was located directly to the north of the kingly Throne, upon Temple Mount.
We read there also of the greatest and most conspiratorial aspiration of the King of Babylon (see Isaiah 14:4), referred to here as Lucifer (bright one) son of the morning (sunrise) – for so he was considered among the kings of men – which so many mistake for a hidden reference to their concept of a literal angel fallen from heaven – a personal devil.
Here is that series of verses: Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven (his exalted, mundane position – from which he fell after the conquest of Babylon by the Medes), O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God (Nebuchadnezzar had openly boasted, Is not this great Babylon which I have built?): I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
This reference seems to refer precisely to Temple Mount, site of Solomon’s Temple and site of worship for all the people, which, as already stated, is located north of the residence and throne of the kings of Judah in Jerusalem.
The king of Babylon would feign assert his authority above that of the God of Israel, Whose place was above the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies.
Ezekiel sees coming from the NORTH, three manifestations of the intense power of the LORD – a whirlwind, a cloud, and fire – all of which are under the control of YHVH and express His will.
The fire is said to be infolding itself – seething, writhing, convulsing in a fearsome manner. It is a depiction of the whirlwind of its description. Think of this essential feature of that entity: a natural pillar of cloud will not remain intact and recognizable for very long – for clouds drift apart and dissipate. But if held intact by a violent whirlwind, the “pillar” retains its character and appearance.
The same term (fire, mingled with the hail – infolding itself) is used of the Seventh Plague laid upon Egypt in Exodus 9:24. It means burning spontaneously, not requiring the initial application of fire. Imagine the roar of a jet engine, up-throttled! It was fearsome, majestic, and demanded attention! It was visible and as obtrusive as the Pillar of Fire and the Cloud which protected Israel during the Exodus, itself reminiscent of the two latter elements of the vision: cloud and fire.
Eze 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.
Ezekiel sees four living creatures emerge from the amber brightness of the turmoil; their overall appearance was as a man. Most students take these to be Cherubim, although the Hebrew word is Chay, having several meanings, including strong, living creature.
In Revelation 4:6, we read of similar creatures termed Beasts, from the Greek, Zo’on.
But there was a feature of each of the four creatures which was unique: each had four faces and four wings as well as other humanoid features as we shall discover …
Eze 1:6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
The four faces looked in the four cardinal directions, as we shall see; and their visages were each gazing in the same direction as all the others of the like kind.
Eze 1:7 And their feet were straight feet (the word means not jointed; these did not move by walking, but instead, apparently by hovering or floating); and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot (i.e., cloven, as an ox): and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
Eze 1:8 And they had the hands (this should be “hand” – see 10:7) of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
Eze 1:9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
This description probably means that they moved as one organic entity. Later we learn (verse 11) that each two adjacent wings were joined, whereas the others of the four were free.
Eze 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.
As the prophet faced this compound being, he noted that the faces on the right side (toward the creature’s west side), the faces were human and leonine (the lion); on the east side the faces were bovine (the ox) and avian (the eagle).
Since we are told no different, we must assume that all four faces of these creatures faced the same directions as its similar faces.
Eze 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.
Eze 1:12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
First, we note that the driving force behind the Being was the Spirit of God; that was its motivating force. Therefore, it carried out the will of YHVH in all its functions. It represented divinity in every way.
The meaning of their “turning not” here seems to be that they did not look about as if seeking a prey, or surveying their territory; indeed, since their faces were oriented directionally they would not need to do so – which in a distinct sense gives the feeling of their intense concentration upon a mission without possibility of deflection from it.
Eze 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.
The appearance of burning embers (coals) may possibly be significant of a purging action. We note this function of coals later in the prophet’s message: Ezekiel 6: 6, 7.
The embers were bright, giving their bright light in every direction. And the fire bred flashes of lightning (signifying power, or insuperable might) from its midst. The impression we get is that brilliant points of light danced about in the midst of the four creatures – freely moving in all directions with great speed. Its appearance would command the attention of all in any milieu or venue!
Eze 1:14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. Its movement was stroboscopic, as stabbing, heart-stopping flashes of energy, occurring in an instant. It is activity that is decidedly supernatural – full of energy and fury such as mankind cannot produce nor emulate!
Then the prophet notes that each creature was accompanied by a “wheel” colored as beryl. And there was a wheel within each wheel as to their accomplishments (work).
Eze 1:15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
Eze 1:16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl (Hebrew H8658, tarshyish, perhaps a topaz – Strong): and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
Topaz is a mineral which in its purest form is transparent; if colored, it may be tinted yellow, green, pale grey, blue brown, light blue or reddish-orange. These colors are due to mineral inclusions, or contaminants. We cannot determine what color is indicated for these particular “wheels.”
Eze 1:17 When they (the wheels) went, they went upon their four sides (we presume here he means the four quadrants of the entire entity and not of each individual wheel): and they turned not when they went.
The literal meaning here is difficult to visualize. It seems that the prophet means that not only were the wheels extremely impressive, and located at the four extremities of the living creature, but that their rims were equipped with eyes round about! They did not rotate when in motion.
In addition, there were wheels within the wheels, located concentrically; we are not told the direction of their orientation (whether the same as the outer wheels, or at ninety degrees to them).
Eze 1:18 As for their rings (rims), they were so high (the meaning here is sublimity, not physical height) that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four.
Eze 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.
The entire Being functions as one integrated unit, and seems to soar off the ground as well as to hover and to move over the ground; but the wheels do not rotate! And it is permeated with eyes round about …
Indeed, rotation of the wheels in order to see in every direction is obviated by there being eyes in every sector of the circumference of the wheels. In clearer terms, the view of the wheels is 360 degrees both horizontally and vertically, at all times.
The ultimate meaning of this feature is therefore, that it exhibits in its own right, the omnipotence, the omniscience, and the omnipresence of the Almighty.
Eze 1:20 Whithersoever the spirit (Hebrew, Ruach) was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit (Ruach) of the living creature was in the wheels.
Eze 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.
We perhaps should glean some special meaning from this repeated fact that the Ruach (spirit) of the Creature was IN THE WHEELS, but have been unable to make any determination of its meaning beyond that it was the motivating force for them.
Some additional feedback from a fellow student is, we believe, enlightening: his emphasized words are as follows …
Eze 1:22 And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
The “firmament” here is the visible arch of the sky (Hebrew, Raqiya) above the heads of the complex Being. We are not told what color the terrible crystal exhibits.
Eze 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.
Eze 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 (of El Shaddai), the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
This overpowering Being utters speech understandable by men; the speech is emanating from a great company of beings. But there was a separate, more distinct Voice then heard – from the firmament on high:
Eze 1:25 And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
When the Voice from the firmament was uttered, the compound Creature ceases its activities, showing respect to its Source, keeping silence before Him.
Eze 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.
Here is depicted the Leader and Commander of the great Organism, brilliant in its manifestation, having the form of a Man.
Eze 1:27 And I saw as the colour 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.e., the entire being), I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
The color of amber is that of brass, which symbolizes the flesh of mankind. The significance of this fact’s being included is that the Being depicted had its origin in the flesh of mankind, as we are assured that He did, by the writer to the Hebrews: Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17
The conclusion is surely that ONLY can One Being, created in the natural course of humankind, make an effectual atonement for those of that race of men.
The Being thus represented depicts, in our view YHVH Tzv’aoth – the LORD of Hosts – as embodied in the One Man, the LORD Jesus Christ along with the “many voices” of the Immortalized Saints of the future age! Indeed, the prophet’s next words relate to the Rainbowed Angel (the LORD Jesus Christ in His returned glory) of Revelation 4, as noted below.
At the outset of this writing, the “Man” – the Angel of the Bow (verse 1:26) – seated on the throne above the Cherubim speaks for the first time: we perceive the Omnipotence of His authority and power in these forceful words.
Eze 2:1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
Immediately, we hear an unusual form of address, “Son of man.” The Hebrew word for “son of man” here is ben Adam, and is used of Ezekiel exactly 100 times in his writings, always without the article, i.e., A son of man, but not THE Son of man.
An extensive footnote in the Companion Bible (CB) is helpful.
The title son of man relates to a natural descendant of Adam, and to dominion in the earth as given Adam in the beginning. This title of Ezekiel is used to contrast the prophet with the celestial living creatures of the vision of chapter one.
The latter title, the Son of man, is reserved for the Lord Jesus Christ as used of Himself, always with the article, eighty six times in the N.T. This title denotes “the second Man,” “the second Adam,” taking the place dispensationally of “the first man,” who had forfeited his appointed status, and succeeding therefore to universal dominion over the earth which had been committed to Adam (Genesis 1:26).
The terms therefore speak not only to reality but to destiny of both men – Ezekiel and Christ, in a divinely structured, deeply significant relationship of servant to Master.
So the Spirit instructed Ezekiel to stand upon thy feet.
This action indicated that the prophet was worthy to “stand” before the LORD and to speak His words, and that he therefore was not a false prophet, all of whom spoke out of their own hearts – and thus falsely.
The words of the LORD to Jeremiah earlier confirm this principle: Jeremiah 23:16 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
Therefore, whether the people believed them or not, the words which Ezekiel would utter were the sure words of YHVH.
Eze 2:2 And the spirit (Ruach) entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
This operation illustrates the means by which the Spirit comes into operation within every receptacle (person) instructed by it, and every place addressed by it: it enters WITH THE WORD. The initial working of the Spirit of God in the Creation itself was recorded in Genesis 1, in which God said … (spoke) and it was accomplished!
Its infusion within, or possession by, a person is not the result of a swoon or a trance, or being “possessed” by an external force; its resultant instruction does not come forth from such a vessel as phony, monotonous, nonsensical gibberish, but as rational, comprehensible instructions as to the Father’s will and teaching in language that can be directly understood by someone present.
It may come forth in a language foreign to most of those present, but is always translatable by a native speaker of that language to the profit of those who hear – witness the pouring out of the Spirit word on Pentecost, where every man heard the message in his own tongue! They heard it in their own tongue because it was miraculously spoken IN that tongue.
The living word’s entrance gives life and vitality – confers and demands faithfulness and utter fealty to God, the giver of Truth. In turn, the vessel (person) so occupied sends forth the Water of Life from his lips to those about him.
This was the sole means to be employed by the Almighty to His errant people of that day through Ezekiel. Ezekiel was specially instructed and energized by the words spoken to him, responding precisely as such a recipient must!
Note carefully that the prophet tells his hearers I heard Him that spake unto me; this is of course the necessary requisite to a valid reception of the Spirit word, and gives the hearer certification of Divine qualification in turn to offer that word to others. It certifies his words to be from the LORD.
The Mission of Ezekiel
Eze 2:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation (the Hebrew word , nation, here, is Goy, and means a people, usually Gentile in character; it is therefore a collective plural in that sense and in this instance, indicates Judah and Israel – the entire rebellious People of God. His People were deporting themselves as the Gentiles round about them, so He takes that cue to designate them as Goy, exactly like those alien peoples – those who were in no way related to Him, and did not deserve His salvation; He now particularly describes them and their behaviour) that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.
We believe the unusual word “goy,” which is usually reserved for heathen (Gentile) nations, is here employed to indicate to Israel that it was now deporting itself AS a Gentile, unbelieving nation. This belief is borne out in the text that follows.
The droning, repetitive message of Israel’s transgression is fully as monotonous as their transgression itself; its incessant warnings always furnishing a rampart against their unbroken iniquity, and always offering them the reprieve afforded by repentance.
The collective Nations here – the very People of God – is representative of the great rebellious (heathen) nations, the resistance of which is universal! He so perfectly then describes their conduct before Him …
Eze 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.
The scathing accusation of their being impudent and stiffhearted is historical, having already been used against them eight times in Exodus and Deuteronomy.
The appellative the LORD GOD is Adonai YHVH, and is used in Ezekiel 214 times, but rarely anywhere else! As Ezekiel is in exile, its usage may be to remind Ezekiel that YHVH is still the sovereign LORD over ALL the earth, though Israel at the time be Lo-Ammi – not My people – Hosea 2:23.
Eze 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.
They shall not be able to escape the pervasive and persistent warnings of Ezekiel, whose words they are obligated to receive as from the LORD. Being rebellious, they will not. Although they were exiled to a land far away, Adonai had sent with them a resident messenger through which He should constantly make His wishes known to them! They could not escape His oversight!
They shall therefore be without excuse. Ezekiel 3: 17-21, q.v., is an extensive situational analysis of the responsibility of the message-bearer (the prophet) to speak God’s warnings to them, and their responsibility to respond to his warning.
In the same vein, stating that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, the LORD again summarizes this same principle early in Ezekiel 33, q.v.
So it is imperative not only that Ezekiel speak His warnings to them, but also that they heed His warning of impending punishments.
Eze 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.
The terms briers and thorns … scorpions are the figure Hypocatastasis, meaning Implication: an implied similarity or representation, for special emphasis.
Briers and thorns are nettlesome evils causing hurt and pain to Ezekiel; and the sting of some scorpions can even be fatal. Ezekiel shall suffer some of these insults, but he is encouraged as was Jeremiah, to remain firmly in the Almighty’s service, and to be neither afraid nor dismayed.
It shall be a formidable task for him to resist such brow-beating and insufferable superiority!
Eze 2:7 And thou shalt speak my words (nothing less, nothing more) unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. His “speaking” did not depend upon their “hearing.”
Eze 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.
Is even Ezekiel subject to being swayed by his opposers’ words as the remainder of the two nations had been? This warning addresses that possibility, and warns him sternly against it.
So the prophet is instructed to open his mouth and eat that which is given him …
Eze 2:9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll (scroll) of a book was therein;
This scroll is unusual in that it contained a profusion of words – written both on its inside and its outside surfaces, representing the abundance, the comprehensive character, and the conclusiveness of His prophecy to them.
Jeremiah was also instructed to write a warning in a scroll and send it to the elders of Judah. And the Apostle John beheld the Lamb of God in Revelation 5 and 6 as He opened the sealed scroll (handwriting) that no man could open but Him. And Belshazzar the Babylonian king was warned by a detached hand which wrote a fatal message upon a wall of the banquet hall of Babylon!
Eze 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.
The doleful message of the scroll seems to have contained the woeful complaints that His people should utter, which should reflect the dire circumstances into which they would immediately be led.
But He makes it entirely clear that they have brought these lamentations upon themselves in their disobedience of His instructive and edifying words to them.
But the encounter with the Angel of the Bow is not finished; graphic instructions are coming for the prophet – and many exciting encounters with the people! <HEL 5N> ~1550 words.
Mission of Ezekiel - Continued
The prophet had just been instructed to open his mouth, and eat that (which) I give thee – 2:8. Now he is instructed to consume the scroll which he has been shown!
Eze 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.
Note that now the title “Israel” is given to Judah; it is the remnant with which Ezekiel is to be concerned.
Eze 3:2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.
Eze 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.
Such is always the sweet and compassionate and righteous will of the Almighty!
The psalmist proclaims the immense benefits of His blessings: Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
These words were the Judgments of the LORD without doubt, being sent as they were to an extremely rebellious people. But they were sweet as honey in the prophet’s mouth – because they were words of justice and mercy as could only be purveyed by their loving Father.
The Apostle John, in Revelation 10:10, was similarly given a scroll to eat, and it, too, was sweet as honey in his mouth, but in his belly it was bitter.
Eze 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.
The figure here is that, having eaten the scroll, it and its contents have become an integral part of him; it has become incorporated into his will and volition; it is now a part of his makeup, and is ready to be imparted to whomever will hear.
So, having now received the profuse warnings of the Almighty, the prophet is now commanded to regurgitate them, or impart them, to his prime audience, the people of Israel (Judah). The task will not be complex, because the target audience understands his language well; no translation of words is needed (of explanation of concepts, there is some doubt).
Eze 3:5 For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel;
Eze 3:6 Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee.
This comment is filled with pathos – even bitterness – in that His own people will not hear the prophet, as should complete foreigners have done!
Eze 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.
Eze 3:8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.
Eze 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.
The adamant is a mineral, either: 1) the diamond, or more likely 2) carborundum, which is nearly as hard as the diamond! This is a measure of the extreme hardness of their foreheads, which is put for their understanding and assimilation of His instructions! Today, we should describe them as “hard-headed!”
Note: There is an extremely interesting correlation of the Hebrew word for “hardness” (harder than flint) with Ezekiel’s name in Hebrew: in the phrase harder than flint, the word “harder” is Hebrew, Hazak, meaning strong for endurance. Now, note that we earlier stated the name of the prophet as being, in Hebrew, Yehezek’el = El strengthens, or alternately El is durable or hard –the same word as “harder” than flint! So the prophet was protected from his foes with unsurpassed hardness (endurance) – even extending to his name!
But the Almighty’s words were not to be received as “hard” words; they were instead words of compassion and justice, and were thus commended to the prophet’s HEART in the Almighty’s next words.
Eze 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 (i.e., with deep understanding, so that they would emanate from him with authority and clear meaning).
Eze 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 (Adonai YHVH) whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.
Eze 3:12 Then the spirit (Ruach) took me up (i.e., laid hold of me), and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, ‘Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place.’
The rushing noise came from behind the prophet who therefore was facing south at this point; the vision was coming to him from the north (or from behind him).
The cluttering, confused, unintelligible noise of movement and progress only is apparent – but there are heard no audible, understandable words as yet.
Eze 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.
Thus the prophet is physically propelled from his original location to another, much in the manner as Elijah was taken up by the fiery horses and the chariot to another location. [We can be assured that Elijah did not ascend to heaven as it might seem, as a letter was received from him some months later – a letter to King Jehoram, which surely originated from his new location – 2Chronicles 21:12.]
Eze 3:14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness (Strong’s H4751 – in Maraw, or discontent, chafed, heavy in spirit), in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.
Even in his discontent and decided un-ease, Ezekiel was comforted by the strong hand of the LORD upon him!
Eze 3:15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib (meaning, a mound of green growth), that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
Analysts have determined that this Chebar was not that at which Ezekiel lived, but another place – a tributary of the Euphrates north of metropolitan Babylon.
Eze 3:16 And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Being “astonished” among them must mean that the prophet sat in the midst of the people for seven entire days without speaking!
What a strange occurrence.
It was designed to get their rapt attention, no doubt, and there can be little doubt that Ezekiel was discussed for miles about that place!
Finally, he was given words to say to the people by the Almighty.
Eze 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee (i.e., given thee, as a gift) a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
A watchman is Hebrew Zaphah – one who looks out or views from an height, with the object of warning. His duty was not to speak his own words, but the words of his Commander and King YHVH, Who told him to give them warning from ME.
The Spirit now reveals a concise set of conditions placed upon the watchman – outlining his duties and obligations. If he does not warn the wicked, the wicked shall be punished and the blood of the wicked shall be on the prophet’s account (head).
There are also three other contingencies, which are reviewed in detail:
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 3:20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock 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.
Eze 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.
Ezekiel doubtless perceived the gravity of his responsibilities as a watchman. From the subsequent record, we shall see that he dispatched them thoroughly and responsibly!
Eze 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.
The prophet travels some unspecified distance and in the plain encounters the original Vision of the Cherubim; he is awe-struck and falls on his face in the presence of God.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Now that the prophet’s enigmatic appearance among the Israelites has been made and well established, he is told to disappear – to shut himself within his house!
Eze 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:
The sense of this phrase seems to be that the people will come into his house and put binders upon him – perhaps even a yoke, for the word’s meaning allows that – that he not circulate among the population. He is apparently to be deprived of fluids and become dehydrated, and also struck dumb, that he shalt not be to them a reprover – not yet – for they are adamantly resistant to God’s word!
Eze 3:26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth (dehydration), that thou shalt be dumb (mute), and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.
The prophet, in his temporary misery and discomfort, must await the time as determined by the Almighty – the time when He will relate His words to the people: it is a time which inevitably shall come …
Eze 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.
One easily imagines the dread incurred in Ezekiel by this instruction – a protocol of conduct which will be a living example to his people – which will illustrate a certain destiny for them in their rebellious actions! The utter pragmatism of the Almighty shows through strongly, in that He well knows in advance the reaction Ezekiel shall receive from them – rejection, taunting, and extreme disdain.
But the prophet has been warned, and is ready for their rejection.
The ensuing details, and the future historical course of His nation, shall be instructive to them (and to US) as we move forward in the prophecies of Ezekiel. <HEL 5N> ~2000 words.
The City: The Siege
The words recorded here follow immediately upon the suspension of the prophet’s mute (dumb) period of the last chapter.
But the “words” which he is designated to speak turn out to be not spoken words but a complex “sign” to the people concerning Jerusalem.
Eze 4:1 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile (this would be a Babylonian tile, which is uniformly about 12 x 14 inches, and glazed), and lay it before thee, and pourtray (engrave a representation) upon it the city, even Jerusalem:
The ensuing details involve an enacted or gamed parable – which vividly illustrated the coming siege of the City, which had not yet occurred.
The game is a war game, and portrayed the overthrow of God’s holy City, Jerusalem, which should come in BC587.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
The prophet is directed to become one of whom today we refer to as “enactors” of battles.
[In our local community in Western Maryland, there are hundreds of persons who on special occasions dress and behave as American Civil War veterans of the Union Army (the North). On special anniversaries such as the Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), they enact or portray days of bloody combat between the North and the South each year. Ezekiel became such an “enactor!” The prophet enacts Nebuchadnezzar, the besieger of Jerusalem in BC587.]
At this point, the prophecy becomes quite complex. Bullinger offers a (contrived) solution of sorts in his notes, but we believe there is a far more valid solution – one with a longer-ranging goal, pointing well into the future, to the “consummation of all things.”
The author composed an exhortation on this subject some months before this writing which seems to fit the case better.
Those notes are appended at the end of this chapter as Appendix A, which please see. The author hopes you find them helpful to your understanding of this long-term prophesy.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Thus, like Ezekiel’s present physical posture, Nebuchadnezzar was “bound” literally to fulfill all the days of his siege and to accomplish its intended end; we often use the term today in exactly the same way!
But as shown above, the long-term implications were far more grave, but would lead to the eventual exoneration of His people at the time of their repentance in the end time.
During this time of lying on his left and right sides, the prophet will require nourishment. So the LORD makes provision for him to have bread to eat, and water to drink!
It is not sumptuous fare, but will maintain him alive to finish his stint of duty.
Eze 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.
Although not specified here, he was to do the same while lying on his other side for 40 days. His ration would be meager – and exactly measured as to weight of bread and quantity of water.
Eze 4:10 And thy meat (bread) which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.
Eze 4:11 Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.
Eze 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.
The visible, protracted, and public action of Ezekiel would represent to the people a prophecy of the times of their demise – their eating of defiled bread among the nations.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
The prophet begs the LORD to defer to his sensibilities in the matter of the fuel for baking the bread. So the LORD makes a substitution …
Eze 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.
This visible action would indubitably grasp the attention of all the men of Judah; all would enquire as to its meaning – and the prophet would inform them of God’s words.
The action forecasted an extended period of famine and thirst of physical elements for the people, just as they had refused the nourishment of the LORD’s words to them.
Eze 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:
Eze 4:17 That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.
This dire prophecy was simply that the people would be malnourished, and starve slowly; they should also lack water, and be required to subsist on only a small ration per day. No diet can be more basic and sparse than bread and water! <HEL 5N>
The following article is inserted here to consider more details of the prophecy. Some of it will be redundant; on these sections, please exercise Selah!
In the fourth chapter of Ezekiel there is a remarkable revelation for Jerusalem’s – and God’s People’s – future. The portion we shall first consider is verses 4 – 6. The word “also” indicates that important information came before the actions commanded by this verse, but we shall consider that preamble later.
This prophecy is both profound and beautiful in mathematical accuracy! We have personally been intrigued by it for decades, only lately gaining some better understanding deduced from several sources of information.
This presentation discusses this prophecy in some (lengthy!) detail.
The Almighty commanded Ezekiel to lie on his left side for a long period of time, then on his right side for a much longer period of time.
There were reasons given for this somewhat odd arrangement – odd, and certainly unusual enough that they should have caused Israel to examine itself and consider its ways; it did not.
One needs to concentrate upon these actions … and upon
The times required for their performance … and upon
God’s given reasons for their performance. His words are …
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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Ezekiel 37:21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen (nations), whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
Only a few sentences prior to this, the prophet had explained to them: Ezekiel 36:21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
Further credence for this explanation is adduced from consideration to the preamble to this revelation. The words are Ezekiel 4:1 - Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: 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. 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 5:3 Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts (these represent the few who were left behind with Gedaliah who then made the decision to disobey God and go down into Egypt for protection. Their subsequent burning in the fire is representative of their immediate disobedience of going into Egypt for protection, and their judgment therefor).
Eze 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 would come to pass in Egypt).
E-Sword has this excellent footnote on verse one:
Eze 5:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is (this hair, represents) Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.
Eze 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.
Even after the Restoration of BC537, the nation did not obey the Almighty.
The condemnation here is so severe as to include their second dispersal to all nations, which we know took place in 70AD under Rome’s aggression. At that time, the people were deported to all nations of the earth, creating the Diaspora, with all its persecution and oppression of God’s people throughout the earth for ages to come!
Eze 5:7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied (multiplied evil) 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;
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
The terrible words that follow reflect not only (are not limited to) the crisis of their then-present disobedience, and their imminent deportation to Babylon. These acts are fulfillment of the ultimate degradation of Judah in 70AD in the siege of Rome’s armies. Josephus records precisely, heinous acts of cannibalism among those being besieged in the City at that time – horrible, repugnant atrocities which had been foretold as far back as Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 (as penalties for future disobedience).
Some expositors of today believe and adamantly teach, that this terrible overthrow and persecution of God’s people must occur yet again, and that the nation of six million Jewish citizens now settled in Israel must be overthrown before the coming of Christ, exiled into Egypt, literally, and recovered later by Him.
We must reject this outrageous theory as being outrightly unscriptural.
Here is our reasoning:
Isaiah 11:11 proclaims that the Almighty will set His hand a second time to recover His people from certain nations which He names in that prophecy, to an Ensign (Hebrew, Nec, a flag, or signal – i.e., the State of Israel) which He should establish for them.
This prophecy is being, and has been partially fulfilled.
No THIRD recovery is even hinted at in the prophets – a necessary procedure should Israel be scattered once again. This point cannot be ignored nor gainsaid; it must be admitted as God’s Plan for His people. There is NO ‘third’ recovery even hinted at!
This present State of Israel clearly represents the FINAL recovery of His people.
As a note of interest, nearly ALL the Jews have today been recovered from those nations mentioned in Isaiah 11. A scattered few Jews remain in some areas, but most of them have been removed to Israel or other nations.
Now, in Zechariah 13:7-9 this 70AD destruction of Jerusalem is well described.
That account integrates with these revelations by Ezekiel. The Almighty’s action upon His people is a once-and-done action – unique in every way.
Our reason for believing that, are:
Note carefully the specific words of verse nine above, that … I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like.
Read that promise again; commit it to memory, for it is the key to understanding this prophecy!
… I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like.
His children MUST believe His clearly given testimonies; they are never allowed to make up their own rules. They are entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own FACTS!
The events spanning the time period from AD70 until 1948AD were permeated with His people being punished incessantly for their sins; they climaxed in the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, which we now recognize as the Shoah, or Holocaust, of Nazi Germany, conducted from 1933 to 1945, resulting in the deaths of over six million of God’s Chosen People.
No persecution of any people has ever been seen of like magnitude.
But the promise, in Jeremiah 30:7, is: Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.
He shall be saved out of it!
Within four years of Independence, the population of Israel doubled, and then doubled again shortly thereafter, and has doubled again as His people have been progressively recovered from the Diaspora.
And the greatest recovery is yet to be – at the hand of the Christ of the Second Advent, when He gathers ALL the Hebrew people of all the tribes into their Land, leaving none of them dispersed in the nations!
The Almighty has clearly repudiated and foreclosed any future dispersion and persecution of His people by these words.
Has the Almighty given the Land to His people, i.e. caused them to return to it?
Has He caused them to return under miraculous circumstances, and to survive there against incredibly impossible odds from an human standpoint?
We surely cannot deny that He has established them there by His human agency of Zionism (Micah 5:3), and caused them to survive and to thrive mightily by His angelic assistance through Michael the Archangel, Israel’s special envoy from Him as designated in Daniel: 12:1-3.
Our studied conclusion must be that Israel is back in its land forever; its development into the kingdom age is moving forward apace, and in its perfect order of fulfillment.
Soon we shall see the Second Coming of Messiah, and their humble and utterly subservient recognition and acclamation of Him in the words of Luke 13:35 – Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the LORD!
The prophet details many of the horrendous insults to His people during the time of His disfavor – His abandonment of them (His “giving them up” as Micah 5:3).
But … “he shall be saved out of it!”
And Israel HAS BEEN so saved! And the greatest proportion of the “remnant” of Nazi Europe went directly and immediately to “Palestine,” soon to become “Israel” for the first time in over 2,500 years!
We return to the awful description given to Ezekiel of the horrors to come upon them: the cannibalism of the next verse occurred and is documented by Josephus (Israel: Wars) in 70 AD during the siege of Jerusalem. Starvation permeated the entire population of the City, although water was plentiful.
Eze 5:10 Therefore the fathers shall eat (cannibalize) 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.
These final words always refer to their second dispersion by Rome, in 70AD.
The people would never practice idolatry as blatantly again after their return from Babylon; but their refusal to recognize and accept their Messiah was an even greater affront to the holy name of God. In repudiating His First Advent among them, they failed to understand or ignored over fifty pinpointed prophecies of His first coming, and determined that He should be crucified. In so doing, they sealed their fate for another 2,000 years into the grim future …
Eze 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.
Here is the Father’s definitive summary of “the thirds” of the divided hair: this dolorous prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD, when about a third starved to death or died of disease, a third part were slain in the battle, and a third part were peddled away as slaves into all nations of the earth.
Eze 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.
Eze 5:13 Thus shall mine anger be accomplished (the implication here is that once His anger is accomplished, it shall be finished! At that point, His indignation toward them is “overpast” as in Isaiah 26:20), 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.
These words were so pregnant with condemnation even their sages and rabbis could not fathom the destruction they would bring – nor would they be able to avoid these curses.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
His people, and those nations round about, were about to learn the dreadful, core meaning of the words of the writer to the Hebrews: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31.
Unfortunately, the message would be lost on all those pagan peoples too, for they followed not the God of Jacob and Abraham. Their spiritual ignorance would never allow them to acknowledge or heed the word of an invisible God!
The principle holds true even until today in the “religion” of Islam, because for over 1400 years those people have worshipped a small stone moon god of Arabia, known as “Allah.” In these preceding words, their fate is clearly outlined …
Eze 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:
Eze 5:17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts (by this phrase, he indicates HUMAN beasts, not animal ones), 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.
Eze 6:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 6:2 Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,
Eze 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 (these abominations of the mountains, or ‘high places,’ usually, were the cause of their curse!).
In the end time, these actions are being abruptly reversed, as recorded in Ezekiel 36, q.v.
Eze 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.
Eze 6:5 And I will lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars.
The figure illustrated in this language seems to be that of His symbolically offering their carcasses before their idols as sacrifice to them! This action, when it had been accomplished, seems effectively and finally to have brought home to the people the extreme futility of idolatry in Judah; after the Restoration of BC537 and subsequently, they were not prone to practice idolatry to any great extent any more.
Eze 6:6 In all your dwellingplaces 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.
Eze 6:7 And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
This condition was to be a long time in coming, however, as over 2500 years of “desolation” lay ahead of the people before they would be restored the second time (see Isaiah 11:11). Their last “desolator” was the Ottoman Empire, from which they were liberated in 1917; but the highly symbolic remnant of Islamic “desolation” still sits prominently and squarely upon the site of the Most Holy place, the accuracy of that determination having been made by the exhaustive investigations by the renowned archeologist/architect, Dr. Leen Ritmeyer of Nottingham, UK.
But, as every harvest is reaped, some seed is left in the ground. That was to be true here.
Eze 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.
Eze 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 lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.
This feature of their condemnation presented a facet which has been most remarkable. Never in the history of the world has there been a people dispersed so completely as was Judah in 70AD, scattered into all the countries of the world, but in that condition of exile having maintained its language (as liturgical language, although not common language) and their basic beliefs as to their God for all those years. This is one key reason why the Jews were not assimilable among the nations; their liturgy, their monotheism, and their clannishness was unacceptable and always under suspicion. But that characteristic should stand them in good stead …
Eze 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 prophecy may have seemed to them to have been an immediate one to be wrought upon them, working its effects swiftly, and then offering redemption.
Instead, it was for the long-term, for after more than 2,600 years, the people still do not recognize YHVH as their God in totality; indeed, a large number today claim to be Atheists! And hardly any of them understand that Jesus’ first Advent was according to their own prophets, fulfilling about fifty discernible, comprehensible prophecies about that first coming, but were denied by them and their rabbis.
A dark curtain descended upon their understanding; their hearts were hardened.
But many Israelis today do confess that they have returned to the Land for one purpose – for redemption – for many of them recognize that the present is the time for redemption of the nation, when they are again regathered into their Land.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Wherever they were, the pestilence and the sword would overtake them!
Eze 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 savour to all their idols.
Eze 6:14 So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, (the uncorrupted name is Diblah, in Syria – a deserted wasteland today) in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
These words could not have come to pass more graphically than stated!
We recall the extensive, dolorous account of Samuel F. Clements (Mark Twain) in his work, The Innocents Abroad, in which he fully documents the desolate solemnity of the land of Palestine of his day. He describes it on all sides as hot, dry, forsaken, rocky, dusty, and forlorn – unable even to sustain the cactus (sabra) and other species which usually are able to tolerate aridity, and nearly empty of persons – having almost no human occupants. He tells of one journey from Jerusalem to Galilee in which he saw not one person!
Note well the reference to the sabra above. Sabra is the term used for an extremely resilient native cactus species that grows on the arid wastelands of the deserts of the Jewish state. Its ability to sustain itself and to grow (and even flourish) under extremely dry and adverse conditions is so notable that the name has been appropriated by native born Israelis as being reflective of their own determination to survive the rigors of economic, civil and social aggression, and to grow even in such circumstances. We remember well our first Israeli Tour guide – Dr. Avashai Pesech – who he told us was a seventh-generation Sabra. His sixth great-grandfather had made aliyah many years ago during the Ottoman occupation, from Prussia. <HEL 5N> ~800 words.
The Mountains; Lands, Continued
This entire chapter is straightforwardly understandable, and thus needs little extraneous commentary. Here are the prophet’s continuing words: they effectively reiterate the earlier excoriating words of YHVH upon them.
Eze 7:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Historical accounts of the Holocaust, for example, show clearly that even the infants and smallest children were not spared the gas chamber and firing squads of the Nazi overlords. Between 1933 and 1945, over one and one half million Jewish children were murdered in cold blood. They are fittingly memorialized today in the Israeli Peace Forest on the highway leading from Jerusalem down to Tel Aviv, by a million and an half evergreen trees. Arabs desecrate their memory just the same as did the Nazis of Germany, as they have several times in the past set fire to this specific forest, trying to destroy even the memorial to these little ones. Such depth of hatred will be poured out upon these vile enemies in due time; we marvel at the forbearance and longsuffering of our Father in such matters.
Eze 7:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD; An evil, an only evil (the Hebrew is Echad, meaning unique, or singular evil – so notably apropos), behold, is come.
Eze 7:6 An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.
Eze 7:7 The morning (this word means a turn of affairs – a worsening, in this case) 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 7:10 Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
His prophets have long sounded the Shofar of alarm and warning, as they were appointed; but their “obedience” to Him was non-existent, their “repentance” futile; none goeth forth to change his ways, or the ways of the people!
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 7:17 All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water.
Eze 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.
Eze 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 stumblingblock of their iniquity.
Detailed accounts of the Shoah reveal these precise facts as operative during that time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30: 7). No amount of money or gold was sufficient to redeem or give quarter to the condemned Jews of Germany, France, Austria and Poland. Even extremely valuable collections of art and other costly treasures were confiscated and sent by the Gestapo and S.S. hunters (cf., Jeremiah 16: 16) to their secure underground storage vaults and to the Reichsbank for safe keeping as the Jewish owners were forced into cattle carriages and transported by rail to one of over 600 death camps which were operating at the end of the conflict. Note how precisely the wordage of the next two verses fit this historical account …
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 7:23 Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.
Eze 7:24 Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their (Judah’s) houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong (of Judah) to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.
Eze 7:25 Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.
Eze 7:26 Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet (but paid no heed to the prophets of the Lord who had warned them for decades about their abominations!); but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.
Eze 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.
The drastic, deepening spiral of the Almighty’s wrath is thus about to descend upon them. The punishing, wildly violent, brutally evil fugue of increasing and repetitive violence upon them will prevail against them for thousands of years in this pervasive, complete purging of His people for their sins. But mercifully, in the finality, they shall know that I am the LORD!
<HEL 5N> ~975 words.
The Beginning of the Vision
Eze 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 (recall, please, that Ezekiel is in exile with his people in Babylon), and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me.
Eze 8:2 Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire (this word should have been translated “a man” – see succeeding words. The LXX uses the word Ish = man; not Esh = fire): from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.
The reason for this peculiar description of the Man’s color is not understood – i.e., from the loins upward … from the loins downward. But His image is bright orange, like amber.
Eze 8:3 And he put forth the form of an 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 (an idol dedicated to envy!) of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.
Eze 8:4 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, according to the vision that I saw in the plain.
The word translated “glory” here is Hebrew kabod (Strong’s H8179) meaning weight, but only figuratively in a good sense; splendor or copiousness. It is significant that the word is not Shekinah, the Hebrew for the glory that dwelt above the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place of the Temple, for it should eminently depart from its place there, leaving the Temple and the City (see Ezekiel 10: 4, 18, 19). The terrible glory of their Deity has now personally come to prove their abominable behavior, and to avenge Himself upon them!
Sins and Punishments (through 9:11)
The transgressions shown to the prophet in the following phrases was equivalent to the worst idolatry of the heathen round about – and Israel had fallen for their subterfuge and lies hook, line and sinker! They were intransigent in their pursuit of these adopted evil ways, and thus WOULD suffer for that insufferable conduct!
As with the last chapter, this one requires little extraneous commentary as its bizarre and terrible depictions are easy to understand, with few exceptions. The picture we see is depressing, deeply disturbing that God’s uniquely chosen and preferred people could have sunk so low, and had their understanding sullied to this extreme depth of vanity and pride.
Eze 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.
We believe these words contain double entendre. Not only does the abomination of idolatry come from “the way toward the north,” which is Babylon in the finality, but those ways had been inculcated into the Temple worship – in the area just north of the place of the King’s throne in the City of David.
Eze 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.
Eze 8:7 And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.
Eze 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.
Eze 8:9 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.
Eze 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, pourtrayed upon the wall round about.
Eze 8:11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel (representing the formerly venerable Sanhedrin!), 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.
Why is Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan especially named here? It is because Shaphan had been one of the scribes who had read the words of the newly discovered books of the laws to King Josiah, resulting in great repentance and a turning about toward the ways of the LORD only a few years prior. What a contrast for his own son to have turned against God to such an extent!
Eze 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.
Eze 8:13 He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
Eze 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.
Tammuz is a deity of the Phoenicians. It portrayed animal and vegetable life, and was also worshipped in Babylon. Its prevalence was so great that an Hebrew calendar month is named Tammuz!
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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 (turned themselves about) to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose.
Without assistance there is no possible way to understand these words. But E-Sword has a footnote on this verse which explains:
What appalling ignorance and confusion!
Eze 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.
The Punishments Commanded
Command to Slay (the Agents)
Eze 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.
Eze 9:2 And, behold, six men (Hebrew, iysh, a mighty man; these are doubtless, angels, most of whom are referred to as “men;” they are certainly not men of the City of Jerusalem! They are the mighty angels which have charge over the city, as verse one, who) 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 brasen altar.
This angel was aware of those of Judah who decried the evil and violence of the people; his ability to select the proper recipients of the saving mark was assured.
But note carefully in the next words, a sub-set of another, related event is beginning to happen: the glory of the LORD – the kabod – is preparing to depart the Temple, indicating the withdrawal of the Almighty’s support and protection of His people. The Glory had moved from its otherwise permanent position above the mercy seat where it dwelt (Shekinah) between the cherubim, to the threshold, or door of the Temple. It was thoroughly ready to depart!
Eze 9:3 And the glory of the God of Israel (Hebrew, kabod YHVH)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;
Eze 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 (that is, cry in regret for) all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
This “mark” – this tav, in Hebrew – is by implication a signature, desire, mark; it is the signature of YHVH’s approval, inked upon their foreheads. This practice is illustrated by and contains overtones of another “mark” (one of repugnance) – the Mark of the Beast of Revelation 13 to 19, q.v. – which designated those who belonged to the Beast.
By these words we are informed that there were still some followers of God in the City – and that they regretted the ungodliness of their brethren. Compare this experience with that of Elijah, in 1Kings 19:18 where he is assured by the LORD, Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
A faithful remnant seems always to be present and remain, even in the midst of the worst evils. The Master, in Luke 18:8, asked the rhetorical question, When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith in the earth?
We confidently and eagerly answer that question with the assurance bred by deeply-held and hopefully rock-solid faith: Yes, thankfully, dear Abba – You shall! A Remnant of Your people will still be standing watch for the coming of the Bridegroom, with brightly lighted lamps and in eager anticipation of the midnight call!
Eze 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:
Now the (virtual) destruction begins. There is no evidence at all that this massive slaughter actually took place. But the recipients of it were marked – by this specific action – for near-future destruction by the armies of Babylon – and for being taken into captivity.
Eze 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 (the elders of Sanhedrin, whose duty it had been to lead the people in God’s ways, but who had failed to do so) which were before the house.
Eze 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 ultimate defilement of the House (the Temple) was its complete destruction by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar in BC587; at his first invasion he looted the Temple, but did not destroy it. But the insult was destined to occur a second time in response to the People’s rejection of Jesus and Messiah; in 70 AD their house was again wrecked and burned to cinders – both insults occurring on the 9th of Av, a day of remembrance in Israel today, usually in August.
Eze 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?
The prophet here acts as mediator for his brethren who are being slain, much in the manner of Moses, Samuel, and others before him.
But his mediation is not accepted by the Almighty. He shall not be swayed from His decision. He enumerates the extremely dire reasons …
Eze 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.
Eze 9:10 And as for me also, mine eye (His organ of sight, which they thought blind to their evil deeds!) shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.
Eze 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.
The stage is now set for the complete departure of the glory of Shekinah from the Temple. It will be transported from that place by the Creature from the north quarters. That will be the subject of the next two chapters. The Shekinah will not return to the House of God until the Millennial Temple of Ezekiel chapters 40-48 is built – but that is a matter for later consideration.
One note of interest here is that the term “Shekinah” is never used in scripture. It is a word that began to be utilized by Jewish scholars after the destruction of the temple in 70AD, and it means “abiding, dwelling, or habitation” of the physical manifestations of God as in, for example, Exodus 24:16 And the glory (kabod) of the LORD abode (shakan YHVH) upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud: kabod shakan YHVY being “the glory of the LORD” which is described as Shekinah.
The Hebrew root “shknh” is the source of many other words with similar connotations, such as mishkan (tabernacle, or dwelling). The use of the word Shekinah brings more indelibly to our attention the generalized intent of other terms, and conveys to our minds the brightness of God’s presence – His dwelling with His people. Other uses may be seen in …
Exodus 40:35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode (shakan) thereon, and the glory of the LORD (kabod YHVH) filled the tabernacle.
The same language and intent is easily seen in another description of the cloud/pillar of fire which guided and protected Israel, in Numbers 9:16 - So it was alway: the cloud covered it (the mishkan, or tabernacle) by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 17 And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode (shakan), there the children of Israel pitched their tents. 18 At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode (shakan) upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.
The brilliant Presence which was suspended in midair above the Mercy Seat, between the bookend Cherbim, will continue to be referred to by our narrative as Shekinah (glory) rather than by the Hebrew kabod, because we feel that it connotes in one singular word the indwelling or presence of the Father.
This signally apparent removal of the Light of God is visual testimony to the people of Judah that they have now been abandoned by the Almighty, and that His protection has been withdrawn from their community for a great while to come. They can have no possible appreciation of the interminable tribulations that lie ahead of them because of their extremely sinful behavior, their proud self-elevation, their pride, their arrogance. <HEL 5N, 1P> ~1025 words.
The wonderful Cherubim continue closely to interact with Ezekiel. Much of the detail of this chapter seems to be repetition of earlier descriptions.
Eze 10:1 Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.
At Sinai earlier, in Exodus 24, Moses, Aaron and the elders of Israel saw a representation of the Almighty also associated with sapphire; at that time He stood upon a pavement made of it. We believe it was transparent as the heavens are, but tinted with some unknown color. Thus the supreme Being stood in the midst of apparent nothingness – of utter transparency both above and below – suspended in a sense as is the earth in space, an indication of His omnipotence …
In this vision, the Man continues to address Ezekiel from above the Cherubim which are vaulted over with an expanse of the same material. He speaks to the man clothed in linen, bidding him perform yet another service to Him.
This man, so clothed, is a consecrated individual – fine linen is the righteousness of the saints, as revealed in Revelation 19:8; He is such as those referred to in Apocalypse 1:13 and Daniel 10:5,6 – who in both cases are clothed much the same and are surrounded by many of the same miraculous colors and objects.
Eze 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.
Fire is utilized by the priests for purification of anything that can withstand fire. Numbers 31: 23, q.v. Otherwise, the Waters of Separation – the water created with the ashes of the red heifer – were utilized.
Eze 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.
We must be in no doubt as to the source of the Voice which spoke to Ezekiel. Exodus 19:9 tells every student of God’s word the identity concealed by the Cloud: And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. This is an effective means of preventing His people from looking on the mighty God, and suffering the consequences of death – see Judges 13:22 – the fear of Manoah, and the precaution taken by Moses in Exodus 3:6 (who hid his face).
Now an unique event occurs …
Eze 10:4 Then the glory of the LORD (the kabod YHVH, or Shekinah, which dwelt between the cherubim atop the Mercy Seat) 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.
This spectacular displacement of the Shekinah would have made a fearful impression upon the people, as it had never moved since its installation above the Mercy Seat. They must have been struck by the gravity of this visible withdrawal of God’s favor from them and their nation. It must not be mistaken that this manifestation of YHVH “dwelling above the mercy seat,” or Shekinah was ever viewed by anyone save the high priest, for only he was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place once a year, on the Day of Atonement. This manifestation of the dwelling, or presence (Shekinah) of YHVH to all eyes should have been a remarkable event.
The booming, rustling sounds of the wings came forth as the overpowering voice of the LORD, much as when, at Jesus’ baptism, the Voice spoke: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased! – and some thought it had thundered.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 10:8 And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings.
Now the prophet focuses on the appearance of the wheels and their peculiar movements …
Eze 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 colour of a beryl stone.
Eze 10:10 And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.
Eze 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.
But now the entire Being seems to have become equipped with eyes in many locations:
Eze 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 of the Cherubim are so prominently featured we believe they deserve some extra attention. What were these eyes? What is their symbolism? Surely they are not to be understood as literal eyes, festooned throughout the Cherubim as depicted in this verse.
The eyes of the Cherubim, then, indicate the Almighty’s universal surveillance of all His creation – caring for its maintenance, its respectful treatment by men, and the forward movement of His Plan!
Eze 10:13 As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.
Eze 10:14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub (THE Cherub, referring to that of verse 7), 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.
The faces as listed originally in chapter one, were: an ox, a man, a lion, and an eagle. The implication of these four beings goes back to the ensigns of the orderly, tribal encampment of Israel in the wilderness.
They also reflect the four distinct literary perspectives, or life-aspects of Christ as portrayed in the gospels – the records of these authors as to the “slant” of their dissertations being in accord with these: the Gospel of Matthew (the lion), Mark (the ox), Luke (the man), and John (the eagle).
The mighty Mechanism of the Spirit of God continues its flashing, roaring, extremely public commotion in Ezekiel’s vision!
Eze 10:15 And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.
Eze 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.
Eze 10:17 When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also: for the spirit (the ruach, the life) of the living creature was in them.
Now the Shekinah levitates to its next location, making manifest its steadily withdrawal from the Temple’s Holy of Holies, moving though its Holy Place, and its Outer Court to the threshold.
Eze 10:18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.
Eze 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 (kabod YHVH, Shekinah) was over them above.
The entire Being now has emerged fully from the Temple and has moved perhaps 200 meters toward the East Gate, and stood over it.
Its exit from Temple Mount (Moriah) is imminent.
But its further movement will not be clear until we come to chapter 11:22,23.
And now, for the first time, Ezekiel makes plainly clear the identity of the Man above the Cherubim, identifying Him as the God of Israel. We must consider that the figure was an angel in whom the Father had placed His name, therefore his prime representative at the time, and a Being Who stood for YHVH in this vision.
The wonderful manifestation is replete with regal and sovereign symbolism, with the Almighty’s authority and magnificent power, and manifests His Omniscience, His Omnipotence, and His Omnipresence to all who observe Him in this glorious manifestation!
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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 statement verifies our assumption as made above in verse 14, where “cherub” is substituted for “ox.” The faces were therefore identical to those of chapter one. <HEL 5N> ~1600 words.
Sins and Punishments
Eze 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.
Eze 11:2 Then said he (the LORD) unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:
Eze 11:3 Which say, It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh.
Eze 11:4 Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.
Eze 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.
Eze 11:6 Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain.
Eze 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 terrible figure being drawn here is that of a pot of stew, charged with meats – their dead bodies – and coming to a boil. As with any stew, its utility, or use, is to be consumed. Judah was thus consumed by Babylon!
Eze 11:8 Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord GOD.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 11:11 This city shall not be your caldron (i.e. not the cauldron of those who are killed elsewhere), neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel:
Eze 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 effect of the curse was immediate for one man:
Eze 11:13 And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. (This drastic event brought great concern to Ezekiel, who again renders his voice as mediator for his people.) 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 (i.e., even of the small group remaining) of Israel?
Eze 11:14 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 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 (i.e., as if God had nothing to do with it!).
Eze 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.
The Jewish people in exile in every nation on earth have always sequestered themselves to a large degree, or been sequestered – relegated to ghettos by the people living around them, and among whom they have been scattered in Diaspora. By so doing, and maintaining their intense interest in Torah, and by intermarrying within their own people for the most part, they have effectively maintained their identity as a separate and distinct people throughout the two millennia of their Diaspora.
Even when they attempted to assimilate with the nations among which they were dispersed, He caused those people to reject them, to persecute them, and to deny them generally equal privileges with the overall populace. They were denied membership in the guilds of many societies, and were relegated to the cursed profession of money-lenders.
But the hand of the LORD is seen in that affair as well, for as money-lenders they often increased their wealth to near that of their sovereigns. A literary example of such success is the venerable Jewish father of Rebecca, heroine of Sir Walter Scott’s fascinating novel Ivanhoe, whose coffers seem bottomless, and funds from which are often used to redeem both himself and his daughter from the clutches of oppressors.
We believe it is in this sense that He has been to them as a little sanctuary in the countries to which they should come, the source of strength to which they resorted.
But true to the time-honored formula of His cursing and blessing, He closes this chapter by revealing to Ezekiel that at the end of the road – in the far distant future – there lies a final Restoration, and Redemption – and His eternal Favor!
The “gathering” of which He speaks is the ultimate gathering – that gathering back to their Land such as is now occurring! They are now returning from all the countries where ye have been scattered. So we understand that the prophecy is a long-term one – to be fulfilled millennia into the future – when their punishment has been completed in the Grand Finale of the Shoah of Nazi Germany!
Eze 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.
Isaiah the prophet addressed this second recovery of God’s people from all nations – not just from Babylon as in this earlier case: cf., Isaiah 11: 11.
We see ourselves in the midst of that second recovery at this moment in history!
Today His people do possess the Land of their fathers; they have named it “Israel,” in honor of their ancient heritage – the heritage which we suspect many of them soberly realize that they squandered in favor of self-interest, in pursuit of mammon, in establishing power and prestige among their peers, as Ezekiel’s present generation had done.
Their final status, of their oneness of heart, and their possession of a new spirit, has not come yet; but it is surely in the near future for them as the prophetic events connected with their Return to their Land are quickly coalescing, coming together, and being steadily fulfilled!
Eze 11:18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
Micah 5: 10-14 gives a remarkable summary of the objects of Israel’s desire that He intends to remove from them in these end times, transforming their entire society into a condition of “Holiness unto the LORD,” so thoroughly that this logo of dedication to him shall even adorn the lowliest cooking pot and the bridles of horses: Zechariah 14: 20, 21.
Their transformation shall be pervasive – and most exceptional … and their repentance and conversion utterly and wholly complete …
Eze 11:19 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 an heart of flesh:
Eze 11:20 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.
Those fortunate ones are those who see His glory and righteousness, and genuinely repent of their sins. But there are others … others who have no such capacity.
Their treatment is decidedly contrary to the former group! The words of JHVH inform the reader that even at the personal return of Jesus Christ to His people, there is still much work to be done among them!
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
The gracious, redemptive promise concludes, and the Cherubim begins to move away from Moriah and its future mission …
The Glory of the LORD Departs the City:
Moves to Mt. of Olives
Eze 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.
In this depiction, God’s connection with David’s kingdom is symbolized as having been severed. The Shekinah (dwelling, or presence of YHVH) had abandoned its place above the Mercy Seat. Even though at the time of the first restoration (from Babylon/Persia) the People were offered repatriation by Cyrus, few took up the challenge among the largely young generation of that time, as few remembered their life and Land of old.
Only a Remnant returned, and sought God’s ways, rebuilt the Temple and the City, and attempted to worship Him in spirit and in truth for a time. The Shekinah did not reestablish itself above the Mercy Seat as formerly.
In addition, the Commonwealth was never re-established. It awaits the appearance of the One Whose right it is … and He will give it Him (the Father will give it to Christ).
Ezekiel Returns to Chaldea: His Message to Them
Eze 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.
Eze 11:25 Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had shewed me. <HEL 9P> ~1400 words.
In this chapter, Ezekiel again becomes a “sign” to the house of Judah. He is directed to perform certain tasks which will profoundly illustrate to them the appalling oppression which is coming. But their Father is STILL offering them an opportunity for repentance!
They will not seize the opportunity
Eze 12:1 The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying,
Eze 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.
Matthew 13:17 and Luke 10:24 record the words of the Lord Jesus, who, in confronting the Jews of His day, told them, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Ezekiel would become a living illustration of their coming captivity in the actions he is now instructed to undertake in their sight:
Eze 12:3 Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff (i.e., his vessels, or baggage) 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.
Eze 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.
If the prophet’s actions were not clear enough to his fellows, he would additionally interpret his actions for them in clear words; they shall have no excuse for their wicked continuance in their transgressions!
Eze 12:5 Dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby.
Digging through a wall – not using the doorway to the apartment – shows the clandestine nature of the escape being portrayed, and as being contrary to the will of the Father.
Eze 12:6 In their sight shalt thou bear it upon thy shoulders, and carry it forth in the twilight (this action portended the fact that Zedekiah would disguise himself and try to escape from the Chaldeans at night): thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground: for I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel.
Eze 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.
Eze 12:8 And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me, saying,
Eze 12:9 Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said unto thee, What doest thou?
They are inquisitive as to the meaning of Ezekiel’s actions, and the implication of it, hence their query; his actions were strange and unusual; what was he doing?
By now they were aware that whatever Ezekiel did or said was important in some way, whether they heeded his advice or not.
So the prophet would now verbally interpret his actions to them.
Eze 12:10 Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; This burden concerneth the prince (Zedekiah) in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them.
The actions which Ezekiel had enacted before them – “in their sight” is repeatedly emphasized – indicated what should be done to “the prince” Zedekiah.
And if done to him, how much more so should the people be oppressed? The prophet now clearly enunciates to them that he is engaged in an enacted prophecy …
Eze 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.
Eze 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 (be in disguise), that he see not the ground with his eyes.
Eze 12:13 My net (i.e., God’s net, or snare; insuring that they understand that it is from the LORD, making it entirely clear that this conquest is not some random act of intrigue which has no causal preamble – no attributable reason for it. This net is the Chaldean army which overtook Zedekiah at Jericho as he tried to flee the country!) also will I spread (this net) 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.
This extremely short-term prophecy should have been all the proof that the people and the elders needed in order to verify Ezekiel’s credentials – that he did profoundly express the will of their Father and their God, and was indeed the prophet which they should heed.
But their hard-heartedness prevailed, to their own extreme hurt.
The summary record of Zedekiah’s capture and treatment is found in 2Kings 25: 5 - And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. 6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah (this was where Nebuchadnezzar had established his military outpost for the invasion of Judah; it is a short distance north of Damascus. It was here that Zedekiah’s sons were slain, and here that Zedekiah’s eyes were “put out.” We can only imagine the surgical procedure in that day for this barbaric “operation.”); and they gave judgment upon him. 7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.
The whole prophecy was fulfilled in a matter of weeks.
All the people beheld this clear outworking of Ezekiel’s utterance from the LORD.
Zedekiah, having been blinded, never SAW the land of Babylon, but experienced the loneliness and desolation of a sightless captive in the land of his captors until the day of his death.
Eze 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.
Although the people would not realize this fact, here is that encoded message again – condemnation which leapt forward to their SECOND captivity (“I will scatter toward every wind”), which is namely, that exile imposed by Rome, which effectively lasted until the State of Israel began to re-emerge from the Valley of the Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37) as a recognizable people and nation in 1947-48!
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
These words describe the sparse remnant who actually believed the words of Ezekiel, and so ordered their lives to the service of God even in the midst of the pervasive evil of Judah.
Historically there is ever a “seed” left after every seemingly capricious and random harvest of His people – a seed who carry on with their lives of humble service to their God, maintain their separation from the rotten contamination of the Gentiles, and continue to hope in His promises.
Eze 12:17 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Eze 12:18 Son of man, eat thy bread with quaking, and drink thy water with trembling and with carefulness;
The prophet was instructed visibly to exhibit to his beholders that he was under great stress and anxiety; that his rations were sparse and must be conserved carefully. These conditions would consist when the City came under siege by Babylon; it was another short-term prophecy which should have spoken plainly to the people for their profit!
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
We have previously commented upon the pervasive and invidious desolation of the Land; the full impact of this severe degradation of the Land is seen after the second exile – that of Rome in 70AD – when the most drastic scattering of the People was to take place.
From the first century to the nineteenth century the Land was devastated by drought, neglect, disuse, abandonment, malaria, famine, poverty, and disregard of its people – even of its few inhabitants, as testified by the extremely sympathetic but flabbergasted account of Mark Twain in his journal, The Innocents Abroad, in the mid-19th century.
If students can obtain access to this journal, we recommend it as vital information on the subject of these divine curses upon the mountains of Israel. In it, Mark Twain, the sublime master of the American language, draws vivid word pictures which the reader shall never forget.
Eze 12:21 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 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?
These words succinctly define the obvious unbelief of the elders and leaders of Judah.
Their blunt opinion was, “Ezekiel speaks dire words continuously, but nothing that he says ever actually happens; he’s a bag of wind!”
Well, all that proclivity for prolonged delay and hesitance is a feature of the LORD’s infinite patience with His people – not indecision … not denial of those warnings.
Eze 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.
His warnings have reached their final end; the promise of ruin is near upon them!
Eze 12:24 For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel.
The Destroyer (Babylon) should almost immediately dispel any myth of their security or longevity in the Land, and prove all the false prophets so to be!
Eze 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 (no longer delayed or forestalled): for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.
In retrospect, His people should have remembered the details given them by the prophet. There is little evidence that they did so, as their subsequent actions proved.
Eze 12:26 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Eze 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.
In other words, ‘We won’t see all this mayhem in our day; those words are for the distant future. Therefore we don’t have to worry ourselves with such trivialities as obedience to God!’
To this concept, the Almighty immediately gives the lie!
Eze 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.
These sober words of the imminence of the disaster that was coming upon them fell on deaf ears as evidenced by their continued failure to heed the words of Ezekiel.
This is a stunningly substantial illustration of the historical dullness of heart and lack of faith among the privileged and unique people who have been given the precious words of Life and Eternity – of their almost inevitable disregard of righteous instruction, of their kicking them aside as so much inane drivel, and going their own way of self-indulgence, of hedonism, of narcissism, and of headstrong self-will.
Dear Father, please keep us from this subtle, fleshly gin – this snare of our inherently sinful flesh. Help us to listen raptly and intently to Thy loving words of guidance, and to keep in mind that incredible reward that He shall bring with Him when Jesus comes the second time – the wonderful position to be awarded His Saints, of ascendancy over the nations as kings and priests of Thy name, as a light unto the benighted Gentiles, as Saviors of the world to come! Even so, Lord, come quickly! <HEL 5N, 1P> ~2150 words.
Prophets and Prophetesses
Eze 13:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 13:2 Son of man, prophesy against the (the FALSE) prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD;
Eze 13:3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit (not the Holy Spirit), and have seen nothing!
Eze 13:4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes (jackals) in the deserts.
Eze 13:5 Ye have not gone up into the gaps (to close the security breaches), neither made up the hedge (the fence or wall of a vineyard. Israel is God’s vineyard. Therefore, a barrier, spiritual) for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
Eze 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.
Eze 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?
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
These latter words may basically speak of the end time when His people are re-gathered. The false prophets and false shepherds shall have no place in the permanence of that institution, unlike the prominent place which they occupy here in Ezekiel’s day.
Indeed, there is evidence that the “rebels” will be purged prior to their being re-gathered, for thus it was in the original Exodus from Egypt. Hear these words of the LORD in 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.
However, as we view Israel today, this prohibition seems not to have been placed in effect as prerequisite for their physical return to the Land. We say that due to the prominent presence in Israel today of those who practice homosexuality (a practice which is summarily condemned by God’s word in numerous passages) and hold prideful public displays proclaiming their “liberty” to so live in Jewish society. In addition, many Israelis proudly claim atheism rather than admitting the Fatherhood of YHVH.
Therefore, it more likely means the obvious and terminal meaning of the literal words … that none such will be admitted to the Kingdom nation of Israel under Christ. The picture of Israel’s repentive, redemptive posture in Zechariah 12 and 13 seems to be inclusive of the entire population who witness His Second Coming.
Their humble acceptance of His majesty and obvious power is there depicted as being universal among those Jews who are there to witness the stupendous victories which He shall accomplish, and the immense power that they shall then realize!
The principle transgression of the lying prophets – those who disclose their own thoughts as the word of God – is that they continue to tell the people that peace shall prevail, even with the imminent prospect of invasion by Babylon!
The “wall” that they have erected is a wall of false words and false promises; there is no substance to them. Their mortar – the “facts” which should hold together their predictions – is untempered by the authenticity of God’s revelations.
Eze 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 morter (that is, mortar which would crumble and fail at the first challenge, symbolized by the great “shower” and the “hailstones” and the “stormy wind” which is coming; the overall message being that their “wall” shall fail abysmally when tested):
Eze 13:11 Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.
Eze 13:12 Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?
Eze 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 (i.e., a great flood of rain) in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.
Eze 13:14 So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered morter, 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.
Here is depicted the unfettered fury of the armies of Babylon – their unstoppable aggression against the People of Ezekiel’s day. The wall that the false prophets have constructed shall not only fall … it shall fall upon them!
Eze 13:15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;
Eze 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.
These sobering words apply even today!
For the last 100 years we have heard little discussion of anything from the entire Middle East except the need and the desire for peace!
But peace has been elusive. Even when Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered nearly everything that the “Palestinians” were demanding, including East Jerusalem for a “capital of Palestine,” our Father turned the immediate decision of Yasser Arafat against even that proposal (Arafat flatly refused the proposal!), and prevented further division of His land – an act of which He does not approve (see Joel 3:2), but an act which has already been done twice (by Britain in the formation of Trans-Jordan; and by the UNO by the Partition of Palestine in 1947, by Security Council action).
Although we cannot know whether his intentions are genuine or mere subterfuge, the present administration of PM Benyamin Netanyahu is still discussing (in 2017) “land for peace,” a concession which has never actually brought peace when activated – witness the evacuation of ALL the Jews from the Gaza Strip some years ago, and the immediate evolution in Gaza of a terrorist state in the virtual heartland of Israel!
Our studied conclusion is that the Land must NOT be divided.
Instead, it is imminently due for consolidation to its stated borders of the Abrahamic Land Grant of Genesis 12, et seq.
Yet the humanistic yearning for PEACE persists – and the expectations of humanistic methods of obtaining it grind on and on in a boring, futile, blasphemous course of strife between the Jews of Israel and their impressively huge and menacing tide of opposition: Islam.
The various nations of the world periodically engage in its fabrication, to their hurt.
President Bill Clinton once remarked that, “Whom the gods will destroy, they place him in charge of the Arab-Israeli peace process!”
This view agrees with the succinct words of Zechariah, that, Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. Zechariah 12: 2, 3.
The nations of the earth are on notice: Don’t Mess with Israel!
But the message, even if it is detected, falls inevitably upon deaf ears.
Eze 13:17 Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people (the self-proclaimed prophetesses), which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them,
The following account is difficult for moderns to comprehend, so we consider the footnotes of the CB which help us understand these obscure references to armholes and pillows …
Eze 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 (nephesh, or lives) of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?
Explanatory notes from the CB
“Sewing pillows to all armholes” means, “sew together coverings upon all the joints of Mine hands, i.e., hide from the people the hands of YHVH lifted up and stretched forth in ,judgment (Isaiah 26:11; 52:10, q.v.).
“Pillows:” (Hebrew, keseth, is from the Hebrew root, kesah, to conceal or hide). Thus pillows were contrivances for concealment in a physical context, but were being used as symbols for their hiding God’s truth from the people.
“Armholes,” = Mine hands, referring to the judgments His hands were to execute upon Judah.
“Make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature” means “make mantles to cover the heads, and therefore the EYES, of those upon whom the judgments of God’s hands were about to fall, lest they should see (and be warned).”
“Kerchiefs” were wraps that cleave close round the head …. The object being to cover the head so that God’s hand may not be seen.
“Stature” (Hebrew, komah, or height) is a tall figure. It is put for every man of high or lofty station: i.e. for the princes and rulers in Jerusalem, whose eyes were blinded by these false prophets’ words.
Eze 13:19 And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls (viz., to prophesy – falsely – that they should be slain) that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?
Eze 13:20 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly (that is, to make their lives to expect a good prospect, even temporarily), and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go (that is, let their lives be destroyed), even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly.
The sense of these phrases is that the false prophetesses were speaking lying words to their companions in order to mollify their fears, and to liberate their lives from the dread that Ezekiel was proclaiming as the word of the LORD.
The next words of the LORD contain His final solution to the transgressions of the false prophets; only He can correct their deviance from His will. In that day, those who are compliant with His will, shall know that He is the LORD; those who are not compliant will suffer the consequences of rejection by Him.
Eze 13:21 Your kerchiefs also will I tear (meaning that He will rip off their ‘blinders’), 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.
A time was soon coming when the stark truth of God’s will would be perceived by them …
Eze 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: (“life” here means continuance of life, or their temporal escape from the judgments already announced by YHVH.)
Eze 13:23 Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine (false) divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
This conclusive redemption from the oppression and deceit of the false prophets would seem to them almost an eternity in coming. His deliverance of them from their hand will eventuate only in the final redemption of Israel, which is yet in the future for His people.
We believe that it will come first to those who have “returned to the children of Israel” (Micah 5:3) in returning to His Land in the end time, as they are commanded to do and as millions have done!
<HEL 5N, 2P> ~2150 words.
Eze 14:1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
Eze 14:2 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face (iniquity rather than the Law of the Lord as commanded in Deuteronomy 6:8): should I be enquired of at all by them?
Eze 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 stumblingblock 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 (a clearer statement of this last phrase is, “he hath answered My claims by classing his idols as being equal with Me!);
Eze 14:5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
Eze 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.
Eze 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 stumblingblock 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:
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
We must recognize that the action described here – I the LORD (shall) have deceived that prophet – cannot mean that the Almighty led His prophets astray from the beginning; it probably indicates that He acted to perpetuate their errancy once it was established in the hardness of their hearts – their “iniquity.”
Eze 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 (“every tub gotta sit on its own bottom,” in the words of an old acquaintance!);
Eze 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.
As previously noted, this utopian day would come after much tribulation and persecution of His people for their iniquities.
The Land and City (Judgments)
Eze 14:12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying,
Eze 14:13 Son of man, when the land (put by metonymy for its people) 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:
This is the first example of their approaching trial: famine.
Eze 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.
All these three men were notable intercessors; but even they would be powerless here to deliver any, save themselves, by their righteousness! Notable examples of these are Noah – 1Peter 3:20; Daniel – Daniel 2:5, 48, 49; and Job – Job 42: 8-10.
Eze 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:
This is the second example of their approaching trial: ravenous beasts. We stress the fact that these indicated “beasts” are not beasts of the field and forest; instead, they are the evil beast-like people who have continuously assaulted and aggressed them, and have taken over their lands as squatters and interlopers – insurgent enemies whose demand for their Land continues even to this day. Ezekiel 5: 17; 14: 15; 34: 5; Zephaniah 2: 14.
Eze 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.
Eze 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 the third example of His persecution of their wickedness: the sword.
Eze 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.
Eze 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:
And this is the fourth judgment upon them: pestilence.
Eze 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.
Eze 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?
But for some, there will be hope, and a good prospect. As usual, the remnant of Israel emerges from the judgments in a final state of righteousness!
Eze 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 (righteous) 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.
By these righteous examples, the people shall comprehend that their fellows have brought such destruction and mayhem upon themselves, after being repeatedly warned and enjoying the patience of the Almighty for a season.
Eze 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. <HEL5N> ~1050 words.
In this prophecy, Israel is the subject – the vine – which is worthless for any productive manufacture (such as furniture), unlike other ‘wood’ from the forest.
This is another dark prophecy as to their demise.
Eze 15:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 15:2 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?
Eze 15:3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin (a peg) of it to hang any vessel thereon? No … A vine is fit for neither utility.
Eze 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?
Eze 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?
Eze 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 (note that this was recorded as having been fulfilled in 2Kings 25:9).
In the natural sense, his errant People of Judah are as useless to Him as are the vines of a vineyard in employment toward any profitable work or utility.
Eze 15:7 And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them (that is, there shall be NO escape!); and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them.
Eze 15:8 And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD. <HEL 5N>~300 words.
Jerusalem, the Deserted Infant
Birth and Education
Eze 16:1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 16:2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,
Eze 16:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD (Adonai YHVH) unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity (kinship) is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.
The “father” is the founder; so this refers to the first settlers of Jebus – not to Abraham and his seed. Jebus was a Canaanite city. Adversaries occupied the land and the site of the City (which became the eternal capital of Israel, once it had been captured by David) as soon as the promises were known! They have occupied it wholly or partially in every subsequent age.
That occupation by the insurgents shall end only with the Second Advent of the Lord from heaven, the end result shall be that “there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of Hosts” – Zechariah 14:21.
Eze 16:4 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 (i.e., the cleanse thee); thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
The newborn Jebus (Jerusalem) was not cared for in a loving, godly manner. This verse is a reference to the ancient tradition of rubbing the cleansed infant with salt, then wrapping it in swaddling bands – long strips of cloth – as its first clothing. But none of these niceties where done to Jebus; her heritage was not cultured or refined in any way. She was not high-born, but brought forth of the pagan mores of the Jebusites!
Eze 16:5 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 lothing of thy person (nephesh, or soul, or life – herself), in the day that thou wast born.
Eze 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.
The word “Live!” is repeated twice for emphasis as to Jerusalem’s redemption by the Almighty. Canaanite cities or villages were founded in blood as proven by archaeology; human bones of their sacrifices have been discovered on their foundations.
Only the Almighty’s intervention brought life and respect to Jebus, later named Salem, then Jerusalem after being taken by David in the seventh year of his kingdom. She has become His adopted place of residence above all others in all the earth! His blessing only, has redeemed her and elevated her to respectability – and given infinite honor to it as His beloved seat of affection.
Eze 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.
These attributions of human qualities to the city’s history assisted the inhabitants to realize the progress that had been made in that place. In the time of the construction of Solomon’s Temple, it was considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
Eze 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.
This spreading of the skirt over an eligible kinswoman was the time-honored manner of the Kinsman-Redeemer, who by so doing, was claiming union with her, and husbandly ownership. In this similitude He had adopted Jerusalem. His tenderness toward her is readily observed in the loving phrases that follow:
Eze 16:9 Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.
Eze 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. All these accomplishments are honorable, illustrating His love for the city, and elevating Jerusalem in the eyes of her own people and in the eyes of the neighboring nations.
Behold, then, the difference in her treatment by her adoptive Husband! His care and adornment of His City is exceptional, indicating, of course, His deep affection for her and her people.
Eze 16:11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.
Eze 16:12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.
Eze 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.
Eze 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 operation of “putting my comeliness – or loveliness – upon thee” is similar to the righteousness of the Saints’ being placed by Him upon them, and NOT being a result of their own righteousness, but being that of the impeccable righteousness of Christ, their Savior. Like Jerusalem at her birth, neither are we high-born, nor heritors of any good thing, but mere earthborns brought forth to death, given that we were not chosen and blessed by the Almighty as was Jebus, which was also not so treated in her nativity!
But Jerusalem Devalues and Denies Her High Status
Our similar obligation, however, is NOT to follow the course which was pursued by Jerusalem – meaning her people and governors and kings:
Eze 16:15 But thou didst trust in thine own beauty (recall: her comeliness was from her God, and was not natively hers at all), and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications (spiritual betrayal of her Spouse with her manufactured idols!) on every one that passed by; his it was.
All these descriptions of her fornication refer to idol worship – not physical activity between the sexes – but their vivid language well conveys the heinousness of these acts!
Eze 16:16 And of thy garments thou didst take, and deckedst thy high places with divers colours, and playedst the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.
Eze 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 (i.e., the Ashera – upright poles set in “groves” which represent the male genitalia, designating those “religions” as purely vehicles of sexual license, appealing only to the flesh. In this vein, consider Islam of today: what is the “reward” to the faithful that is most prominently promised by her clerics? Is it not the famous 72 Virgins, of which we so often hear? Islam, like the more ancient idolatries, is a system of sexual license almost purely, and therefore a determined prolongation of fleshly transgression before the LORD), and didst commit whoredom with them,
Eze 16:18 And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them.
Eze 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 savour: and thus it was, saith the Lord GOD.
Note the misappropriation of the possessions of the Almighty which He has showered upon them – “Mine oil … Mine incense … My meat … wherewith I fed thee.”
Eze 16:20 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, (Even the precious offspring which He had given them, they squandered upon their abominations!)
This repulsive, hideous practice was that parents would sacrifice their firstborn sons to Molech by placing them upon the broad, hot platform which the seated idol held, in back of which was a blazing furnace in his belly. They actually placed the screaming infant on that hot plate and rolled him down its slope into the fires as sacrifice to Molech!
Such was the curse of Canaan that they brought upon themselves and their nation.
We feel compelled to mention a similar practice today: that of the legalized and sanctioned abortion of infants by the millions in many of the countries of the “civilized” world. In the US alone, it is estimated that over 55 million babies have been aborted since the practice was widely legalized. The harm done to these tiny, defenseless infants has been irreparable, not to mention the trauma and guilt which it has heaped upon the mothers who have chosen to have their babies slain by this method – as surely an offering to lust and the flesh as were the offerings to Molech!
Eze 16:21 That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?
Eze 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.
In noting this failing, the Almighty is shaming His City and His People by recalling their humble beginnings, and his redemption from that heathen status.
Eze 16:23 And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord GOD;)
Eze 16:24 That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place (a brothel, in a sense – the idol’s house, to which they resorted in droves to practice this spiritual fornication), and hast made thee an high place (for “worship”) in every street.
Eze 16:25 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 (i.e., your legs, figuratively engaging in fornication) to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms.
Eze 16:26 Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh (lustful, referring to their rampant and pervasive idolatries); and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.
Eze 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, (to) the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way. How could Judah continue to practice evils which, even in the eyes of the pagan Philistines, were abominable?
Eze 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.
Eze 16:29 Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith.
This is the Spirit’s way of revealing that Judah’s “gods” were from all these nearby societies as such, they were lifeless, speechless, and powerless; their worship deprived Him of His own people’s interest and veneration, giving His “glory” (glorification) to “others” – thus their devotions were an abomination to Him. Cf., Isaiah 42:8.
Eze 16:30 How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious (headstrong, irrecoverable, and without shame) whorish woman;
Eze 16:31 In that thou buildest thine eminent place (their idolatrous shrines) in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire;
In this accusation, the Almighty is amazed that they engage in their spiritual transgressions not for hire (for money, as an harlot) but generously, and freely … and incessantly.
Eze 16:32 But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband! The motivation for these transgressions was pure lust, and not the avarice of whoredom!
Eze 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.
The concession, or giving up of Jerusalem’s favors, is of her own volition – freely and copiously handed out to every idol in every high place! Incredibly, they hired their own lovers in a sense! The contrast makes no sense – is completely illogical in the face of the facts of His great blessing upon them.
Eze 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.
Eze 16:35 Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD:
Eze 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;
Eze 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.
The accelerated conclusion of this punishment is before the eyes of every beholder in the oppression of the Jews by their captors for over 2000 years! For this practice, they were decimated by those enemies for all those years, with only a “remnant” escaping the burden of their hatred, and their escape in the end time to a land of their own, the nation of Israel.
Eze 16:38 And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock (under the Law, such adulterous women were stoned to death along with their paramours – Deuteronomy 22:22) and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy.
As her Redeemer and Lawgiver, this is completely within His right to treat her thus, even to do so by the laws of men; her betrayal of her husband shall have severe and lasting consequences – resulting in oppression and hurt spread out over the coming centuries!
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Their punishment was destined to be heinous in every way – unbearable to behold by men and women of decency.
But again, after His storm of fury has been exhausted, He promises them final redemption! His mercy is infinite, His grace unending. Even this fiery destruction of His people should come to a more satisfactory conclusion ... it is an end which shall be reached only after the exhaustion of its nearly interminable condemnation of their ways.
Eze 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.
Indeed, His indignation is destined to depart from them as seen in the metaphor of His Cup of Fury, which He gave them for interminable years because of their iniquity.
It now can easily be seen to have been removed from His People (Isaiah 51: 17, 22), and given into the hands of those who had persecuted and oppressed them for these grueling, tormenting years – this gracious act being performed in His foreknowledge, in anticipation of their future abject humility by seeing His Son arrive in their midst, acting without hesitation against them, with fury against those enemies, and exoneration of His Way with Israel, His people.
Eze 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 (meaning I will not endure this greatest evil by allowing it to go unpunished), saith the Lord GOD: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations.
Birth and Sisterhood
Eze 16:44 Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.
Eze 16:45 Thou art thy mother's daughter, (a mother) that lotheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which lothed their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite.
In drawing the maximum contrast between His will and their errant ways, He returns to the nativity of His City, reminding her of her lowly beginnings, equating her founders’ deportment with that of the “parents” of Jerusalem.
The comparison is pervasive, and extremely graphic. Her siblings and other relatives also come into the picture – Samaria (the Ten Tribes) and Sodom (the kinsmen of Lot).
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
Even if considered on their own merit, and not even compared to those of her heathen cohort, Jerusalem’s abominations should yet be heinous.
Eze 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.
Eze 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
Eze 16:50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
Eze 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.
She “justified” them by contrast with her own conduct, comparing themselves with each other and not by God’s standard of righteousness (cf., 2 Corinthians 10: 12); her transgressions were so heinous, they made those of the subject peoples seem tame by comparison!
By this bizarre comparison among themselves, Jerusalem caused her “sisters” to appear as righteous.
Eze 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.
What is the Almighty’s rationale for stating that “they are more righteous than thou” in light of Judah’s extreme wickedness? It would appear that the accusation was relative to Judah’s degree of instruction against such practices as compared to her neighbors. Judah was supposedly “enlightened” in God’s eyes; their neighbors had not been so informed of the ways of righteousness … and when the subject nations return in the end time, they shall return to their ancient homelands in the same state of alienation from Him. Islam has no honorable standing before the God of Israel!
Eze 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:
These populations, along with their similar abominations, have returned in huge numbers to re-populate those lands just as have the Israelites who have re-established their nation in the former Palestine. Behold, the fig tree and ALL the trees (i.e., Israel, and all her Arab neighbors) in the prophetic words of Jesus in Luke 21:29.
Eze 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.
Eze 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.
This statement could almost qualify as an “undesigned coincidence” of the conterminous return of all these peoples, appearing in the end time for the final showdown with the God to which they still deny fealty, but Who shall instead, show Himself to BE the God of Israel, regaining their loyalty and devotion!
Eze 16:56 For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride,
Eze 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.
Note the stark and undersigned “coincidence” of Israel’s dogged exposure to these peoples today. This is notably fulfillment of the first order!
Eze 16:58 Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the LORD.
Eze 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.
The coming events of her desolation by the rapidly approaching Babylonians, are certainly deserved. But again, the Almighty’s final promise is of Restoration and Redemption in their final end!
Eze 16:60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant (which HE made) with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.
Eze 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.
Eze 16:62 And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: (cf., Jeremiah 33: 20-26)
Eze 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.
To “be pacified toward thee,” carries the meaning of “when I have accepted a propitiatory covering for thee,” or an atoning and redemptive covering!
That Covering can be brought by none other than the Christ of the Second Advent, resulting, as it shall, in their unhesitant and wholly repentant recognition of Him at some near-future time, as one who “cometh in the name of the Lord!” Luke 13: 35.
How infinite is His mercy! How loyal to His ancient covenant! How loving and forgiving of His favored People! All these favors will come abundantly to Israel immediately upon their deep repentance, and the profound humility that they shall exhibit to their coming Savior when they behold Him in the might and power which they have always expected! Cf., Zechariah 12 and 13.
<HEL 5N> ~3450 words.
Babylonian War. Parable.
Eze 17:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 17:2 Son of man, put forth a riddle (Hebrew, chidah, or an enigma – a difficult or perplexing problem put forth to be solved), and speak a parable (an illustrative story – a simile) unto the house of Israel;
Eze 17:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle (the King of Babylon) with great wings, longwinged (long-pinioned, as verse 7), full of feathers, which had divers colours (elegant in plumage, or clothed in sumptuous garments), came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar (that highest branch was Jehoiachin, i.e., Jeconiah, or Coniah – see verse 12):
Eze 17:4 He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick (in Babylon); he set it in a city of merchants.
Eze 17:5 He took also of the seed of the land (Zedekiah, who he placed on the throne), and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree.
Eze 17:6 And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him (Zedekiah favored Nebuchadnezzar because he was dependent on that king to maintain his position; but this is about to change!), and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs.
Eze 17:7 There was also another great eagle (this great eagle was Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt) with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him (responding to the king’s having resorted to Egypt for assistance), and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation.
Eze 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.
Eze 17:9 Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? (this rhetorical question is addressed to Zedekiah, who had broken his oath to God of accepting Nebuchadnezzar’s hegemony, as had been demanded by the Almighty) 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.
Eze 17:10 Yea, behold, being planted, shall it (the vine) prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind (the ruach from the east – the desiccating, withering east wind called Khamsin which, in Israel, blows in from the east, off the Saudi desert, bearing fine sand, blotting out one’s vision, blocking the sun’s light, and ruining the vineyards) toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.
Eze 17:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 17:12 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;
Eze 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:
Eze 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.
Shall He Prosper?
Eze 17:15 But he (Zedekiah) rebelled against him (Nebuchadnezzar) 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?
You see … a covenant is a covenant – even though it may have been made to one’s perceived hurt (cf., Psalm 15:4). Zedekiah broke his covenant to Nebuchadnezzar – and to God Himself, honestly sworn; now he would suffer the consequences.
Eze 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.
Eze 17:17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him (i.e., help him) in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:
Eze 17:18 Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand (had made a covenant), and hath done all these things, he shall not escape.
See 2Chronicles 32: 11-13. It is evident from these words that Zedekiah had not played the game fairly with Nebuchadnezzar; the Almighty expected more of Zedekiah, and would punish him and the City greatly for his breaking his oath. Zedekiah had sworn an oath before God that he would serve Babylon, and he should have done so! You see, the oath was considered to have been made solemnly – to God Himself … it was an oath that the king made on behalf of his God.
Eze 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.
Eze 17:20 And I will spread my net (the Babylonian armies – cf., Ezekiel 12: 13 et seq) upon him, and he shall be taken in