Ezekiel – Chapter 8

Vision of the Glory of God

Verse 1 – And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord God fell upon me there.

Verse 2 – Then I looked, and there was a likeness, like the appearance of fire – from appearance of His waist and downward, fire; and from His waist and upward, like the appearance of brightness, like the color of amber.

Verse 3 – He stretched out the form of a hand and took me by a lock of my hair; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which provokes to jealousy.

First, I wonder if the elders had fallen asleep while the Spirit lifted Ezekiel up, or did they see him being lifted, or did Ezekiel simply close his eyes?

This seat of the image of jealousy no doubt is an idol. Baal, which Manasseh had set up. King Josiah had destroyed it when he was king, but the succeeding king had set it up again. Our God is a jealous God and we will have no other gods before Him.

Verse 4 – And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the plain.

Verse 5 – Then He said to me, “Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north. “So I lifted my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, was the image of jealousy in the entrance.

Ahaz had removed it from the middle of the court and set it near the north gate.

Verse 6 – Furthermore He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations.”

How brazen and bold, without fear, to have set idols up in God’s temple, and exchange it for what? These people had absolutely no fear of the True God at all. They had convinced themselves that these idols would give them everything their heart desired. Some are no different today; they have convinced themselves there is no God or they simply don’t need Him.

Verse 7 – So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall.

Verse 8 – Then He said to me, “Son of man, dig into the wall” and when I dug into the wall, there was a door.

This was a private door, by which the priests entered into the chamber of their imagery, to perform idolatrous worship to their images.

Verse 9 – And He said to me, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.”

Verse 10 – So I went in and saw, and there – every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls.

Look at Romans 1:23 – and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. God has never changed in what He says is an abomination.

Verse 11 – And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up.

These seventy elders were the heads of the tribes or families, who should have been examples of leading the people to the True God of Israel. Instead they were having their secret ceremony to their foreign gods. God let Ezekiel see them as they were doing it.

Verse 12 – Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ”

Verse 13 – And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.”

Verse 14 – So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the Lord’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.

Tammuz was the Babylonian god of spring. He was the husband or lover of the goddess Ishtar. The followers of this cult believed that the green vegetation shriveled and died in the hot summer because Tammuz had died and descended into the underworld. So these women were mourning his death. In the spring when the vegetation would begin to grow again, they would celebrate because Tammuz had come back to life. Nimrod started this false mess and was also the one who started the kingdom of Babel. Remember the tower of Babel?

Verse 15 – Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.”

Verse 16 – So He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.

Verse 17 – Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose.

This branch to the nose could mean that Judah’s sins had become a stench to God.

Verse 18 – “Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”

Ezekiel – Chapter 7

The Description of the Babylonian Conquest

Verse 1 – Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

Verse 2 – “And you, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel: ‘An end! The end has come to the four corners of the land.

Verse 3 – Now the end has come upon you, and I will send My anger against you, and I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations.

Verse 4 – My eyes will not spare you, nor will I have pity; but I will repay your works, and your abominations shall be in your midst; then you shall know that I am the Lord!’

Verse 5 – “Thus says the Lord God: ‘A disaster, a singular disaster; behold, it has come!

Verse 6 – An end has come, the end has come; it has dawned for you; behold, it has come!

Verse 7 – Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; the time has come, a day of trouble is near. And not of rejoicing in the mountain.

Verse 8 – Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, and spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations.

I know it seems God keeps repeating Himself in these verses, but God wants them to understand doom is upon them; they were warned over and over; and they will know why it happened.

When someone has a hardness of heart, it takes a hard-line of repetition to break through. There would be no mistake or misunderstanding of what God was punishing them for. Rebellion and stubbornness is a form of blindness to the truth. When the people wouldn’t turn back to God because of His goodness, judgment came with destruction.

Verse 9 – ‘My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, and your abominations will be in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord who strikes.

Verse 10 – ‘Behold, the day! Behold, it has come! Doom has gone out; the rod has blossomed, pride has budded.

Verse 11 – Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness; none of them shall remain, none of heir multitude, none of them; nor shall there be wailing for them.

Judah will be completely destroyed. Their wickedness had blossomed to a head. They deserved to be judged and judged they would be. God had waited patiently, sent prophets to warn, but yet they had ignored them all. What you decide now will determine your fate when judgment comes.

Verse 12 – The time has come, the days draw near. ‘Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is on their whole multitude.

Verse 13 – For the seller shall not return to what has been sold, that he may still be alive; for the vision concerns the whole multitude, and it shall not turn back; no one will strengthen himself who lives in iniquity.

Israel had trusted in their prosperity and possessions instead of trusting in God. So God planned to destroy the bases of its prosperity. Our trust can’t be placed in anyone or anything, but God Himself! It is the Lord who gives power to get wealth… (Deuteronomy 8:18). The Lord is the one who gives wisdom, strength , health and knowledge, to acquire everything we have. Judah had forgotten that.

Verse 14 – ‘They have blown the trumpet and made everyone ready, but no one goes to battle; for My wrath is on all their multitude.

Verse 15 – The sword is outside, and the pestilence and famine within. Whoever is in the field will die by the sword; and whoever is in the city, famine and pestilence will devour him.

Verse 16 – Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, each for his iniquity.

Only then, will those who escape realize their sin. Why does disaster have to strike before people realize their sin? Why is it so hard for some to acknowledge there is a loving God that only wants to give an abundant life? Why is it so hard for some to worship the One True God? Because, when the spirit of “Pride” takes over, it will consume all moral thinking and behavior and they lavish in it! They convince themselves they know better than God and will do as they please to get what they want. This is exactly what God’s people in Israel and Judah did.

Verse 17 – Every hand will be feeble, and every knee will be as weak as water.

Verse 18 – They will also be girded with sackcloth; horror will cover them; shame will be on every face, baldness on all their heads.

Verse 19 – ‘They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be like refuse; their silver and gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord; they will not satisfy their souls, nor fill their stomachs, because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.

God’s people had allowed their love for money to become the very thing that would be their stumbling block. Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:10 that , “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” The love of money can separate us from the love of God; it can cause envy, strife, division, and jealousy. Do you spend the majority of your time seeking money, or seeking God?

Verse 20 – ‘As for the beauty of His ornaments, He set it in majesty; but they made from it the images of their abominations and their detestable things; therefore I have made it like refuse to them.

The beauty-the temple, and all that pertained to it, which was the beauty and glory of the nation. God gave them the silver and gold and they made idols. They had acquired all this and had used it for their own selfish desires and exchanged God for idols that meant nothing.

Verse 21 – I will give it as plunder into the hands of strangers, and to the wicked of the earth as spoil; and they shall defile it.

Verse 22 – I will turn My face from them and they will defile My secret place; for robbers shall enter it and defile it.

The secret place – the inner sanctuary, hidden from the multitude, protected by the Most High. This was the Holy of Holies that only the high priest could enter, but now would be defiled by the Chaldeans.

Verse 23 – ‘Make a chain, for the land is filled with crimes of blood, and the city is full of violence.

Verse 24 – Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles, and they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, and their holy places shall be defiled.

The temple in Jerusalem was their pride. The Babylonians had no fear of God when they went in the temple and removed all the artifacts and destroyed its surroundings. Sometimes we will be humiliated in a situation in order for that spirit of pride to be rooted out.

Verse 25 – Destruction comes; they will seek peace, but there shall be none.

Verse 26 – Disaster will come upon disaster, and rumor will be upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; but the law will perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders.

The priests and the elders were supposed to be able to give counsel and guidance, but this time it won’t come. They will have no words to comfort.

Verse 27 – ‘The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the common people will tremble. I will do to them according to their way, and according to what they deserve I will judge them; then they will know that I am the Lord!’ ”

James tells us in James chapter 4, to draw near to God and He will draw near to you. How close to God do you want to be in these last days? Can we ever get too much of God? God wants us to know His word, because He wants us to know Him! He wants us to imitate His ways with a heart to please Him. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

Ezekiel – Chapter 6

Verse 1 – Now the word of the Lord came to me saying:

Verse 2 – “Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,

Verse 3 – “and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains, to the hills, to the ravines, and to the valleys: “Indeed I, even I, will bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places.

Could you image only being able to speak if God gave you the words to speak? That’s what happened to Ezekiel. The message in chapter six is that Judah’s idolatry would surely bring God’s judgment. The mountain’s high places, is where they would set these idols up and hold large congregations of worship. I also think its amazing that God told him to speak to the mountains, ravines, and to the valleys. We too are to speak to our mountains.

Verse 4 – “Then your altars shall be desolate, your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.

Verse 5 – “And I will lay the corps of the children of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones all around your altars.

Verse 6 – “In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate, so that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, your idols may be broken and made to cease, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.

Verse 7 – “The slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.

Over and over again throughout Israel’s history, God proved Himself to them. From generation to generation, they knew what God was capable of, and yet they provoked Him. Why? for the same reasons people reject Him today. They simply want to do what they want to do without anyone telling them any different.

Some people will live their entire lives never knowing this loving God, we call Jesus, and they will pay dearly throughout eternity for that choice. Sound harsh? It’s the truth. If someone leaves this world without accepting Jesus, they are lost forever. How many times did God send His prophets and other godly men to warn Israel to turn back to Him? We today, have an entire Bible to tell of God’s love, and forgiveness and devotion to His creation, but yet some will still reject it, and that’s what Judah did.

Verse 8 – “Yet I will leave a remnant, so that you may have some who escape the sword among the nations, when you are scattered through the countries.

Verse 9 – “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations.

Sometimes people have to be broken to see what they have done. They become grieved over how they  have been living. When true repentance comes, it is so much more than just being sorry. A determination to turn around and go in the way that the Holy Spirit directs will be a total transformation taking place in the spirit, and soon the life-style changes because of the renewing of the mind – their conscious.

Verse 10 – “And they shall know that I am the Lord, and that I have not said in vain that I would bring this calamity upon them.”

The people needed a new attitude towards God, and this wouldn’t happen until they were brought to brokenness, humiliation, pain, suffering, and defeat. Sin was the cause of all their suffering.

Verse 11 – “Thus says the Lord God: “Pound your fists and stamp your feet, and say, ‘Alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! For they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and pestilence.

Prophecies often use this threefold description of judgment upon Jerusalem, sword, famine, and pestilence, as a way of saying the destitution would be complete. The sword meant death in battle; famine meant food supplies cut off because of sieges from the enemies; and plague was always a danger during a famine because of dead bodies piling up. Rest assured, judgment will come for all those who reject the God of all creation.

Verse 12 – ‘He who is far off shall die by pestilence, he who is near shall fall by the sword, and he who remains and is besieged shall die by famine. Thus will I spend My fury upon them.

Verse 13 – ‘Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when their slain men are among their idols all around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountaintops, under every green tree, and under every thick oak, whether they offered sweet incense to all their idols.

In the pagan belief system, people would seek assistance of gods and goddesses of nature to bless themselves and make themselves prosperous. People today worship “World Pantheism. Nature is at the heart of their spirituality. This is the Greek Earth goddess, Gaia.

Look at Romans 1:25 – who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Yes, we are to take care of the things God created, including the earth and the creatures in it; no we are not to worship “Mother nature,” that is paganism!

Verse 14 – ‘So I will stretch out My hand against them and make the land desolate, yes, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblah, in all their habitation. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’ ” ‘ ”

The purpose of all God’s punishment was to impress upon the people the truth that the Lord is the only living God. God may use any circumstance He chooses in our lives to prove that He alone is God!

Ezekiel – Chapter 5

Verse 1 – “And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber’s razor, and pass it over your head and your beard; then take balances to weigh and divide the hair.

Verse 2 – “You shall burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are finished; then you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword, and one-third you shall scatter in the wind: I will draw out a sword after them.

Verse 3 – “You shall also take a small number of them and bind them in the edge of your garment.

These strands of hair in his garments represented the remnant of faithful people whom God would preserve.

Verse 4 – “Then take some of them again and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for from there a fire will go out into all the house of Israel.

And of the few that are left, was their faithfulness to God genuine? Believe it or not, there are some who only pretend to have a genuine relationship with Christ. They act and say one thing while surrounded by “Christian folk” and live an entirely different life-style in reality. God knows who are His.

Verse 5 – “Thus says the Lord God: ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the midst of the nations and the countries all around her.

The entire nation of Israel was to be an example to other nations that there was only One True God. They were chosen, by God, to represent Him in all His standards and all His ways. This, they had not done. We too are to represent our King’s principles and standards when we call ourselves by His name – Christian!

Verse 6 – ‘She has rebelled against My judgments by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against My statutes more than the countries that are around her; for they have refused My judgments, and they have not walked in My Statutes.’

According to Deuteronomy 4:7-8, Israel’s covenant obligation to the Lord gained admiration of the nations of the world. If Israel had obeyed these laws, she would have been the light of the world. Instead, she followed the other nations into idol worship of other gods.

Verse 7 – “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have multiplied disobedience more than the nations that are around you, and have not walked in My statutes, nor kept My judgments, nor even done according to the judgments of the nations that are all around you,’

Verse 8 – “therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations.

Verse 9 – ‘And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations.

Verse 10 – ‘Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments among you, and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds.

Jeremiah had warned them that this was going to happen, and it did. Tragically, the Israelites resorted to cannibalism in Jerusalem during the siege. And afterwards, could they live with what they had done? I can’t imagine, being so rebellious and stubborn to God. They would rather eat their own children than turn to God in their hearts, no wonder He called them wicked.

Verse 11 – ‘Therefore, as I live,’ says the Lord God ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will also diminish you; My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity.

Verse 12 – ‘One-third of you shall die of pestilence, and be consumed with famine in your midst; and one-third shall fall by the sword all around you; and I will scatter another third to all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

Verse 13 – ‘Thus shall My anger be spent, and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be aggrieved; and they shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken in it My zeal, when I have spent My fury upon them.

The people learned the hard away that God followed through with His Word. Too many people ignore God’s warnings, treating them as empty threats. We should never make the mistake of thinking God doesn’t mean what He says.

Verse 14 – ‘Moreover I will make you a waste and a reproach among nations that are all around you, in the sight of all who pass by.

Verse 15 – ‘So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the Lord, have spoken.

Verse 16 – ‘When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread.

Verse 17 – ‘So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the Lord have spoken.’ “

Ezekiel – Chapter 4

Verse 1 – “You also, son of man, take a clay tablet and lay it before you, and portray on it a city, Jerusalem.

Sketching on a clay tablet the siege that was about to come, was no easy task. Following God’s instructions weren’t easy either. When God gives an assignment, pay close attention to the details, they do matter.

Verse 2 – “Lay siege against it, build a siege wall against it, and heap up a mound against it; set camps against it also, and place battering rams against it all around.

Verse 3 – “Moreover take for yourself an iron plate, and set it as an iron wall between you and the city. Set your face against it, and it shall besiege, and you shall lay siege against it. This will be a sign to Israel.

Verse 4 – “Lie also on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity.

By Ezekiel laying on his side in front of the people, he was representing the condition and suffering of the inhabitants of those who are bound and in prison or oppressed by sickness. He could not turn from the left side to the right.

Verse 5 – “For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

Verse 6 – “And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.

Ezekiel lay on his left side 390 days to show that Israel would be punished 390 years, then he lay on his right side 40 days to show that Judah would be punished 40 years. Jerusalem was imprisoned within its walls of the city while they were under siege by the enemy.

Verse 7 – “Therefore you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem; your arm shall be uncovered, and you shall prophesy against it.

Verse 8 – “And surely I will constrain you so that you cannot turn from side to another till you have ended the days of your siege.

The siege that Ezekiel was predicting lasted 2 years (2 Kings 25:1-8).

Verse 9 – “Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet (cereal), and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it.

Verse 10 – “And your food which you shall eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time to time you shall eat it.

Verse 11 – “You shall also drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; from time to time you shall drink.

Verse 12 – “And you shall eat it as barley cakes; and bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight.”

The small amount of food and water he was allowed to eat represented the ration provided to those living under siege. Cooking his food on human waste represented Judah’s spiritual uncleanness.

Verse 13 – Then the Lord said, “So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.”

Verse 14 – So I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.”

Verse 15 – Then He said to me, “See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your bread over it.”

Verse 16 – Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, surely I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread,

Verse 17 – “that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity.

Their entire food supply would be devastating because they couldn’t go outside the city walls.

What can we learn from what God told Ezekiel to do? First, I think about how totally useless everything is that we do in this life without God to guide us. Without Christ, everything smells to high heavens as self-centerdness. Even our small jesters of random kindness can’t cover up or make up for our sins. Only Christ can cover us with His precious blood, that was shed on our behalf, to make us clean before God!

Ezekiel – Chapter 3

Verse 1 – Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.”

Verse 2 – So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.

Verse 3 – And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate it, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.

If we digest God’s Word, we will find that not only does it make us stronger in our faith, but its wisdom sweetens our lives. Reading God’s word feeds our spirit, just as food is for the body.

Verse 4 – And He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.

Verse 5 – “For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel,

Verse 6 – “not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you.

In other words: I’m sending you to your own people who understand you perfectly. However, if I had sent you to the Chaldeans, whose language you don’t understand they would have listened to you.

Verse 7 – “But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted.

Jesus commented that a prophet receives honor everywhere but his hometown (Matthew 13:57). Even though there was little hope of bringing about repentance, God had still sent prophets so the people would realize that His Word had been among them.

Verse 8 – “Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads.

God made Ezekiel’s strength superior to theirs – a metaphor taken from horned animals.

Verse 9 – “Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”

Verse 10 – Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.

Verse 11 – “And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.”

Ezekiel needed to take God’s words to heart before preaching them to others. We too must take God’s words and allow them to sink deep in our hearts before we can affect others with the Gospel. Our lie-style and actions have to line up with God’s Word.

Verse 12 – Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a great thunderous voice: “Blessed is the glory of the Lord from His place!”

Verse 13 – I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, and a great thunderous noise.

Verse 14 – So the spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.

In the bitterness and heat of Ezekiel’s spirit was the righteous indignation at the wickedness of his own people. He knew before hand, the message he was about to give would be rejected.

The spirit of God, lifted him up and carried him to where the Jews were captive.

Verse 15 – Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by  the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.

Ezekiel sat quietly among the people for seven days. This was the customary period of mourning for the dead (Genesis 50:10). Ezekiel was mourning for those who were spiritually dead. I’m sure Ezekiel was in awe of what he had just seen and heard also. That would take seven days for anyone to get heir bearings again.

Verse 16 – Now it came to pass at the end of the seven days that the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

Verse 17 – “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:

Verse 18 – “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.

Simply put: God had assigned Ezekiel as the watchman, to warn the people of coming judgement. If Ezekiel chose not to warn them, then God would hold him responsible.

Verse 19 – “Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

Verse 20 – “Again, when a righteous man turns from righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand.

All believers have the responsibility of telling others the consequences of rejecting God. It is the responsibility of every believer to show in action and deed, that there is a better life with Jesus Christ. This responsibility keeps us from becoming callous or unconcerned in our attitude towards the lost!

Verse 21 – “Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

Verse 22 – Then the hand of the Lord was upon me there, and He said to me, “Arise, go out into the plain, and there I shall talk with you.”

Go forth – away from the people, to a place remote and without distraction, where the glory of the Lord might have sufficient room to manifest.

Verse 23 – So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar, and I fell on my face.

Sometimes, others aren’t invited to where God wants to take you. In these quiet secluded times, maybe God wants only you to hear what He has to say.

Verse 24 – Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me: “Go, shut yourself inside your house.

Verse 25 – “And you, O son of man, surely they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them.

Verse 26 – “I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be a reprover to them, for they are a rebellious house.

Verse 27 – “But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God.’ He who hears, let him hear, and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

Don’t you wish at times, that God would have just shut us up from talking? We can be so hurtful at times. By shutting Ezekiel’s mouth until God told him to speak, the people would realized that what Ezekiel said had only come from God.

Self-control of what we speak to others can have a tremendous effect on how others feel about themselves. We should never, ever, forget whom we represent as believers!

Ezekiel – Chapter 2

Verse 1 – And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.”

Verse 2 – Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me.

This verse proves that we are not strong enough to stand on our own without the Spirit of God. I’m sure there was much that Ezekiel didn’t understand, but he was willing to be obedient to God. By filling Ezekiel with His spirit, Ezekiel would be able to accomplish all that the Lord had for him to do. We too don’t have to understand everything perfectly before we act on what the Lord tells us to do, we just need to be obedient and faithful to His will.

Verse 3 – And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.

Verse 4 – “For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’

Verse 5 – “As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse – for they are a rebellious house – yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.

The measure of Ezekiel’s success would not be how dependent on how well the people responded, but how well he obeyed God and thus fulfilling God’s purpose. Isaiah and Jeremiah also prophesied with little positive response. God’s truth does not depend on whether we respond or not, it’s still truth. Whether we believe there is a God or not, does not change the truth that there is a God.

Verse 6 – “And you son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismay by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. (The word thorns was a standard figure of speech for hostility.)

Verse 7 – “You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious.

Verse 8 – “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

God gave Ezekiel a difficult responsibility. He had to deliver God’s message to a people who didn’t want to hear it. This is how we are to be also: telling the good News of the Gospel whether its convenient or not (2 Timothy 4:2). We are not responsible for how or if they receive it.

Verse 9 – Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it.

Verse 10 – Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.

To devour and eat God’s Words, means to be totally possessed with its content. Ever since I began years ago with reading God’s Word, I could never get enough. It’s always drawing and ever enticing me to act on His ways. His words will literally transform us form the inside out! And that’s why it is called “The Living Word of God!”

Ezekiel – Introduction and Chapter 1

Ezekiel, a priest and a prophet, ministers during the darkest days of Judah’s history; the seventy-year period of Babylon captivity. Carried to Babylon before the final assault on Jerusalem. Ezekiel uses prophecies, parables, signs, and symbols to dramatize God’s message to His exiled people.

Author: Ezekiel, the son of Buzi (1:3), had a wife who died as a sign to Judah when Nebuchadnezzar began his final siege on Jerusalem. Ezekiel was privileged to receive a number of visions of the power and plan of God, and he was careful and artistic in his written presentation of it.

Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 3 stages. First in 605 B.C., he overcame Jehoiakim and carried off hostages including Daniel and his friends. Second, in 597 B.C., the rebellion of Jehoiakim and Jehoiahin brought further punishment. Then Nebuchadnezzar made Jerusalem submit a second time where he carried off ten thousand hostages including Jehoiachin and Ezekiel. The third time was in 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city after a long siege.

Ezekiel was twenty-five years old when he was taken to Babylon and thirty years old when he received his prophetic commission. Ezekiel was about seventeen when Daniel was deported in 605 B.C., so Ezekiel and Daniel were about the same age. Both men were about 20 years younger than Jeremiah who was ministering in Jerusalem.

The Book of Ezekiel is an awesome book, so don’t miss any of it!

Chapter 1

Verse 1 – Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.

Ezekiel, born and raised in Judah, was preparing to become a priest when the Babylonians attacked and carried him away. Four or five years later, when Ezekiel had turned 30, God called him to be a prophet.

Verse 2 – On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiahin’s captivity,

Verse 3 – the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.

Verse 4 – Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

Verse 5 – Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. (These living creatures are also seen in Revelation 4:6, 7.)

Verse 6 – Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings.

Verse 7 – Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze.

Verse 8 – They had the hands of man under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings.

Verse 9 – Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

Verse 10 – As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man, each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle.

Verse 11 – Thus were their faces. Their wings were stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies.

Each of the four living creatures had four faces, symbolizing God’s perfect nature. The lion – strength; the ox – diligent service; the man – intelligence; the eagle – divinity. They also represent the four Gospels; the lion, Matthew – presenting Christ as the Lion of Judah; the ox with Mark – portraying Christ as the Servant; the human with Luke – portraying Christ as the perfect human; the eagle with John, portraying Christ as the son of God, exalted and divine. The vision of John in Revelation 4, parallels Ezekiel’s vision.

Verse 12 – And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the Spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

Verse 13 – As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of torches. Fire was going back and forth among the living creatures; the fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning.

Verse 14 – And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

Verse 15 – Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces.

Verse 16 – The appearance of the wheels and their works was like the color of beryl (a precious bright yellow stone), and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their works was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of the wheel.

Verse 17 – When they went, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went.

Verse 18 – As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them.

These rims with eyes, symbolize God’s divine omniscience and watchfulness. God is everywhere and sees all at all times.

Verse 19 – When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.

Verse 20 – Wherever the Spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the Spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the Spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

Wow! This is amazing! All four creatures together with their wheels are here called “the living creature,” because they formed a whole, one in motion, and one in will, for one Spirit was in them.

Verse 21 – When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the Spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

The same wisdom, power, and holiness of God, the same will and counsel of His, that guides and governs the angels, does by them, order and dispose all the motions of the creatures in this lower world.

Verse 22 – The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads.

Verse 23 – And under the firmament their wings spread out straight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered the other side of the body.

Verse 24 – When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings.

Verse 25 – A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.

Verse 26 – And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a Sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it.

“A man” – Christ, God, man, who appears here as King and Judge. We recognize in this vision the prophetic annunciation of the Holy Incarnation.

Verse 27 – Also from the appearance of His waist upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around.

Verse 28 – Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.

Being in the presence of the Magnificent, all Powerful God, brought Ezekiel to his face! One day every person that stands before God will bend down in His presence.

Just as God sent a rainbow to Noah to symbolize His promise of never again to destroy the earth by a flood, so this rainbow around the throne symbolizes God’s promise to preserve those who remain faithful to Him.

We only see a half of a rainbow here on earth. Surrounding the Throne, it is full and complete!!!!!

Lamentations – Chapter 5

Verse 1 – Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us; look, and behold our reproach!

Verse 2 – Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens, and our houses to foreigners.

Verse 3 – We have become orphans and waifs, our mothers are like widows.

Verse 4 – We pay for the water we drink, and our wood comes at a price.

Verse 5 – They pursue at our heels; we labor and have no rest.

Verse 6 – We have given our hand to the Egyptians and the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.

The inheritance, the gift from God, no longer belonged to God’s people. They had to pay for the water and the wood they used. They had made alliances with the Assyrians and the Egyptians instead of God. How foolish and futile to rely on anything or anybody but God.

Verse 7 – Our fathers sinned and are no more, but we bear their inequities.

Verse 8 – Servants rule over us; there is none to deliver us from their hand.

Verse 9 – We get our bread at the risk of our lives, because of the sword in the wilderness.

Verse 10 – Our skin is hot as an oven, because of the fever of famine.

Verse 11 – They ravished the women in Zion, the maidens in the cities of Judah.

Verse 12 – Princes were hung up by their hands, and elders were not respected.

Verse 13 – Young men ground at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.

Verse 14 – The elders have ceased gathering at the gate, and the young men from their music.

Hardly anyone was left in Jerusalem. The elders who used to sit at the city gates, were no longer their; princes were hung by their hands; and the young boys labored under enormous loads.

Verse 15 –  The joy of our heart has ceased; our dance has turned into mourning.

Verse 16 – The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!

Verse 17 – Because of this our heart is faint; because of these things our eyes grow dim;

Verse 18 – Because of Mount Zion which is desolate, with foxes walking about on it.

the fallen crown symbolized Israel’s loss of honor and glory.

Verse 19 – You, O Lord, remain forever; Your throne from generation to generation.

Verse 20 – Why do You forget us forever, and forsake us for so long a time?

Verse 21 – Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored; renew our days  of old,

Verse 22 – Unless You have utterly rejected us, and are very angry with us!

A high calling flouted by low living results in deep suffering. Lamentations shows us that Judah’s sin caught up with them and God turned His back on them. How sad! Every material goal that they lived for had collapsed. Although God turned His back on them for a time, He did not abandon them. Our grief should turn us toward Him, not away.

 

Lamentations – Chapter 4

The Conditions During the Siege

Verse 1 – How the gold has become dim! How changed the fine gold! The stones of the sanctuary are scattered at the head of every street.

Verse 2 – The precious sons of Zion, valuable as fine gold, how they are regarded as clay pots, the work of the hands of the potter.

The nation was supposed to be as fine gold before God, but was now smeared with sin and were regarded as clay jars, like pieces of broken pottery.

Verse 3 – Even the jackals present their beasts to nurse their young; but the daughter of my people has become cruel, like ostriches in the wilderness.

Verse 4 – The tongue of the infant clings to the roof of its mouth for thirst; the young children ask for bread, but no one breaks it for them.

Verse 5 – Those  who ate delicacies are desolate in the streets; those who were brought up in scarlet embrace ash heaps.

Those who had been raised on delicacies and clothed in purple now had to go hungry and huddle in garbage heaps. You talk about stubborn! They would rather watch their children starve to death than repent and turn back to God.

Verse 6 – The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, with no hand to help her!

Greater revelation from God brought greater responsibility and a greater sense of guilt of wrongdoing. Sodom was destroyed because of its great wickedness (Genesis 18:20-19:29). God said Judah’s sin was greater than Sodom.

Verse 7 – Her Nazirites were brighter than snow and whiter than milk; they were more ruddy in body than rubies, like sapphire in their appearance.

Nazirites, signify separated ones, who either in respect of birth, education, estate, or place of magistracy, were distinguished from the rest of the people.

Verse 8 – Now their appearance is blacker that soot; they go unrecognized in the streets; their skin clings to their bones, it has become dry as wood.

Verse 9 – Those slain by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger; for these pine away, stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.

Starvation is a slow and agonizing death.

Verse 10 – The hands of the compassionate woman have cooked their own children; they became food for them in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

What these people did when they began to starve, is too horrible to even imagine.

Verse 11 – The Lord has fulfilled His fury, He has poured out His fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion, and it has devoured its foundations.

Verse 12 – The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem –

Verse 13 – Because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed in her midst the blood of the just.

Verse 14 – They wandered blind in the streets; they have defiled themselves with blood, so that no one would touch their garments.

Verse 15 – They cried out to them, “Go away, unclean! Go away, go away, do not touch us!” When they fled and wandered, those among the nations said, “They shall no longer dwell here.”

To be unclean meant to be defiled, not fit to enter the temple or to worship before God. The priests and the prophets did evil and led the nation into sin and caused their ultimate downfall.

Verse 16 – The face of the Lord scattered them; He no longer regards them. The people do not respect the priests nor show favor to the elders.

Verse 17 – Still our eyes failed us, watching vainly for our help; in our watching we watched for a nation that could not save us.

Judah had asked Egypt to help them fight the Babylonian army, but Egypt gave them false hope. They had started to help, but then retreated. Jeremiah had warned Judah not to ask Egypt for help, but rely on God.

Verse 18 – They tracked our steps so that we could not walk in our streets. Our end was near; our days was over, for our end had come.

Verse 19 – Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the heavens. They pursued us on the mountains and lay in wait for us in the wilderness.

Verse 20 – The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord, was caught in their pits, of whom we said, “Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.”

Although King Zedekiah was called “The Lord’s anointed,” he had little spiritual depth and leadership power. Instead of listening to Jeremiah and putting his faith in God, his trust was in the false prophets. The people followed the king’s example.

Verse 21 – Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you who dwell in the land of Uz! The cup shall also pass over to you and you shall become drunk and make yourself naked.

Verse 22 – The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; He will no longer send you into captivity. He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will uncover your sins!

Edom had actively aided Babylon in the siege of Jerusalem. As a reward, Nebuchadnezzar gave the outlying lands of Judah to Edom. Edom would be judged for the treachery against her brothers.