Ezekiel 24-27

Chapter 24: Ezekiel has been giving a message after message about the coming of captivity.  Ezekiel gives us exact dates that will help us understand the historical timeline.  This read is exactly January 588 BC.  This is the very day Nebuchadnezzar will attack Jerusalem.   Remember several waves of attacks have taken people out of the Promised Land and those left have not repented.

timeline for ezekiel and daniel - Saferbrowser Yahoo Image Search Results | Life timeline, Hebrew bible, Daniel

Ezekiel is told to use a cooking pot, on fire…(think of the phrase “I am in hot water”.  Jerusalem is in hot water!.  Until now Jerusalem thinks of itself as the cooking pot when in reality they are the choice morsels.   (I like that word…morsels  😂)  Sorry, no time not to be funny.

13 “‘Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided


Verse 15: 15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. 

We get to relate the emotion of this event to losing a spouse.  Jerusalem is the wife of the Lord just as Ezekiel will lose his wife.  This helps us relate the emotion the Lord is feeling about what he has to do in this disciplinary action of His chosen city.


We have 27 days left of the OT so what may seem redundant we need to read to make sure we understand it, so that when someone says: Can you explain this….you can!  We move to the destruction of the enemy nations.  I do not expect you to remember every incident as to why they were enemies, but just a general idea. We began in Genesis 12 with:

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.[a]
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

Enemies to God’s people will be an enemy to the Lord.  Today, this should give us Peace and Self-Control over the big and little issues we have that God will handle if you are a Christian.  Anyway….before we chase that rabbit, let’s get back to our assignment. Test yourself: Do you know who they are and why they will be judged:

  • Ammon
  • Moab
  • Edom
  • Philistia
  • Tyre
  • Sidon (tomorrow)
  • Egypt (tomorrow)

Ammon and Moab:  you know you know this one!  Abraham’s nephew: Lot, retreated to the mountain after Sodom was destroyed.  He was deceived by his daughters to become drunk so that they would make a family with him.  There were many cultural reasons why not having a family in those days would cause such a horrible plan, but in the meantime, I just wanted to recall where their ancestry started.

Ez. 25: For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet, rejoicing with all the malice of your heart against the land of Israel, therefore I will stretch out my hand against you and give you as plunder to the nations. I will wipe you out from among the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Proverbs 24:17

Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,

Uggg, “God are you talking to me today??  Can you talk to someone else just ONE day!    What Lord…I can’t hear you with all these thoughts in my head about how much I hate her…you want me to pray for her…like to be Blessed??”

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


Edom:   You are going to have to remember who an Edomite is because it’s going to come up in the Gospels with Herod the Great.  Edom was a descendant of Esau.  Oh, we have not done genealogy in a long time….let’s break one out!

Judgement Against The Nations & Who Is Edom? – I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel Of Christ!

Edom took revenge often and made it very difficult for the Hebrews as they tried to pass through their land,  to the Land God Promised them.  There has been strife between these nations since they shared their mother’s womb!

Genesis 25:21

21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

23 The Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”


Philistia: Before this reading, you may have thought of them as merely the nation that brought for Goliath when David was a servant to Saul.  They controlled the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza.Who knew ?? Palestinians are NOT Philistines.

15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Tyre: Will not the coastlands tremble at the sound of your fall, when the wounded groan and the slaughter takes place in you? 16 Then all the princes of the coast will step down from their thrones and lay aside their robes and take off their embroidered garments. Clothed with terror, they will sit on the ground, trembling every moment, appalled at you.  

 


Chapter 26-Tyre (really made up of 2 cities)

Every time Israel was attacked, Tyre would rise up and take an opportunity to become a stronger nation and control the trade routes.  Babylon will attack them in a 15-year battle.  However, the complete destruction to them WILL come as the prophecy states at a later date.  Alexander the Great will conquer them in 322 BC.  Today, the island Tyre controlled still lies in rubble.


A Lament for Tyre.  Ezekiel is basically giving a funeral speech for this unrepentant city.  Tyre was beautiful and wealthy.  Which of course brings pride.  IF we think we have seen the worst of God’s people we haven’t.  When we get to the New Testament he compares the Jewish people to Tyre.  Yikes!!

Jesus speaks of them in a comparison in Matthew 11

Woe on Unrepentant Towns

20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 

Ezekiel 22-23

Chapter 22-Sometimes I get done reading and think to myself what do I write about because you know all of this. You know judgment is coming, you know how it will come and you know why it will come.  However, these chapters are directed towards the leaders (you and me).  Then I go back and a section is often “highlighted” to me from the Lord.  Today it began with verse 17:

17 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, the people of Israel have become dross to me; all of them are the copper, tin, iron and lead left inside a furnace. They are but the dross of silver.

Whoever said sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me is a liar.   When silver is refined by fire, the scum that forms at the top that is useless and worthless is the dross.

DROSS FROM SILVER – RioSpeaks

We all have spiritual dross in our lives—unhealthy and unwelcome practices and ideas that need to be removed. What comes out of my mouth, my thoughts, things I think and do…t’s crippling at times to think about.  So when a trial comes I need to take a step back and not see it necessarily as a bad thing, but how I might shine when it is over.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.- 1 Peter 6


Chapter 23 is one of the most graphic chapters in the Bible.  I do not recommend it on audio if the kids are in the car when you listen.

This chapter is the final one in Ezekiel’s messages that condemns Israel’s leaders (chs. 20—23). If you have time, go back and read to chapters 16 and then 23.  Both chapters 16 and 23 personify Israel as a prostitute, but there are significant differences in these chapters.

  • In chapter 16, Canaan is the mother of Israel who corrupted her daughter by teaching her spiritual adultery, namely, idolatry or trust in other gods.
  • In chapter 23, Israel herself is responsible for pursuing adultery, by her trust in other nations, through alliances with foreign powers.
  • In chapter 16, the attention is on Jerusalem, but in 23 it focuses on both Israel and Judah.

Historically and literally we know this to be true: The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser, an important archaeological find dating to about 840 B.C., shows King Jehu of Israel bowing in submission before King Shalmaneser III of Assyria and giving him tribute money.

Biblical Archaeology 8: The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser | Theo-sophical Ruminations

You have been reading long enough to know that this is not just physical prostitution but spiritual prostitution.

Four messages announce God’s judgment on Jerusalem for her unfaithfulness

  1. v 22-27-The Lord would express His jealousy over Jerusalem and deal with her in His wrath. Her enemies would cut off her nose and her ears (figuratively). This was an ancient Near Eastern punishment for adulteresses, which was understandable since these women typically adorned themselves with nose-rings and earrings.
  2. v 28-31-The Lord also announced that He would turn Jerusalem over to those whom she had come to hate- the Babylonians. They would hate her, rob her of her property, and leave her naked and ashamed (in 586 B.C.)   What was 586 BC?
  3. v 32-34- Go back and read the details of the cup of wrath…WOW!
  4. 35-Jerusalem would bear the Lord’s punishment for her lewd and immoral behavior because she had abandoned Him. This short message identifies the root problem in Israel’s apostasy: she had forsaken her God.

Ezekiel 20-21

I want to tell anyone who got behind in Genesis and gave up to jump in at Ezekiel 20 and you won’t be behind anymore!  The recap is told in mini-chapters.  Ezekiel gives us the date of this speech to the elders.  It is EXACTLY 5 years before the captivity.  So it is August 591.

1. It begins in verse 5–This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I chose Israel….they rebelled,  BUT…

But for the sake of my name, I brought them out of Egypt. I did it to keep my name from being profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they lived and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites. 

Oh that threw me for a moment!  It said from “keeping my name from being profaned?”

2.  Next, verse 10they move to the wilderness (the Exodus)-  10 Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness…..they rebelled,  BUT…14 But for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out.

3. Next verse 18– references the 40 years of wandering…But something cool caught my eye…

23 Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the wilderness that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my laws but had rejected my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths, and their eyes lusted after their parents’ idols. 25 So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live; 26 I defiled them through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the Lord.’

Is this saying that while they were in the Wilderness before even entering the Promise Land that God told them about the Babylonian captivity?  Anyone else read it that way?

4.  Next verse 27–  we are caught up to present day (Ezekiel’s day)- He said that after the captivity He will:

34 I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered—

42 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your ancestors. 43 There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. 44 You will know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, you people of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

OK…so rather than my thoughts after reading that…what are your thoughts on “Keeping my name from being profaned”.    (Of course the geek in my made like a Venn Diagram over it) BUT, there is no wrong thought on this…so raise your hand and tell me your thoughts because everyone’s answers are correct.  Why does it say…for My name’s sake?

and if I don’t hear from someone on this I will get in my car and find you!!  I really want to hear what God said to you!


Chapter 21- Judgement will come upon Jerusalem.  First, by a sword, then by an even sharper sword, then by the sword of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar).  Nebuchadnezzar will be faced with a choice of which road to take-which city to destroy.  He uses pagan rituals to choose his path (magic)- basically, he drew straws (using arrows), he consulted his idols, and last he examined a liver from a sacrificed animal (think of it like palm reading…but on an organ-the shape of it directed his path).  Clearly, God was in control of the answer so he used all three ways to choose the path for him.

24 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you do—because you have done this, you will be taken captive.

He will then punish the nations around them…but then…an amazing scripture in the midst of this chaos..

25 “‘You profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of punishment has reached its climax, 26 this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. 27 A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! The crown will not be restored until he to whom it rightfully belongs shall come; to him I will give it.’

Ezekiel 18-19

Ezekiel 18:
The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’

Ezekiel addresses this proverb with a generational example that is AMAZING! Honestly, I don’t think you need me on this one.  I had actually written a very long post this morning but deleted it.  But can I share my favorite part:

21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

It’s called the Amazing Grace for Szymanski.


Ezekiel 19- Ummmm did Baruch’s pen run out of ink on this one?  I was left with….well what about the restoration??  This was an analogy played off the prior reading.  One commentary I read on it called it “How the Mighty have Fallen!”.

Keeping it short…not sure anyone is reading Ezekiel. 🤷‍♀️

Ezekiel 16-17

Well, this is the last of the “long” chapters.  The top 10 longest chapters in the Bible are officially behind us.

  • Leviticus 14 – 1713 words
  • 1 Samuel 17 – 1719 words
  • Genesis 24 – 1816 words
  • Ezekiel 16 – 1820 words
  • Jeremiah 51 – 1853 words
  • Leviticus 13 – 1857 words
  • Numbers 7 – 1939 words
  • Deuteronomy 28 – 2075 words
  • 1 Kings 8 – 2139 words
  • Psalm 119 – 2445 words

Both chapters are not easy reads and I needed multiple commentaries to get through them.  Here are some notes:

  • The child represents Israel before the Exodus.  He rescues, raises, and eventually marries her.
  • Then he spoils her with abundance.
  • Instead of loving him back, she makes allies with foreign nations.  The word “prostitute” (in various forms) is used 29 times!  The description of how the nation looks from God’s perspective is eye-opening.  His view of our sins and idolatry should not be taken lightly (talking to myself here).  He found her naked and will return her naked.  This was also a customary act to embarrass and humiliate someone.  The reading was graphic!!
  • However, one part stood out to me:  I live in a world where I know some self-righteous people who LOVE  to pick one or two sins out of the Bible that they don’t struggle with and throw stones at it.  I guess in their eyes, they are “better” since their sins are not “these” sins??  (By the way, if you notice I do it too…remember me throwing a stone at the woman who left her husband for no reason-just to check out what the world has to offer…see throwing a stone at something I don’t struggle with.  Should we put me under a microscope??)
  • Well, let’s look at how God might view some of us….me

 46 Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. 47 You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. 48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.

52 Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

Stop and think about that for a minute.  The sisters: Samaria the idol-worshiping capital that brought nothing but 20 horrible Kings and Sodom combined appeared to be righteous compared to the prostitution of the Hebrews. I am sure you have heard “The lost act lost for a reason”.  What is our excuse?

HOWEVER, once again I am reminded of God’s love for us.

59 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant. 60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. ❤️


62 So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 63 Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”


Chapter 17  Here we are told an allegory and a parable.  Unless you are an English teacher that might not mean anything to you.  Lucky for you I teach it (you wouldn’t know by my typos and poor use of commas).   Most of you don’t know me and I should have probably told you a long time ago what I do for a living: I am a Therapeutic Crisis Intervention teacher for self-contained students that lost their privilege of being mainstreamed in a Gen Ed class due to behaviors.  In short, you can say I am a Behavior Teacher for teens.  😉  OK, a parable is like a fable but without the animals.  Think of the parables coming up soon in the NT, a parable can then be summed up “and the moral of the story is….”  An Allegory is very similar: every character represents a different moral or political concept or viewpoint, and the true meaning of the story is left for the reader to interpret, and different readers interpret the true meaning differently.  I really think we need to start seeing the world as an allegory so that we can “walk in other people’s shoes” at times.  Every see the movie Breakfast Club or The Outsiders?   Anyway, as if the Bible wasn’t hard enough to read at times, God throws us a parable allegory combo meal.  Arg!!  Yes I said it:  Arg!!

  • Eagle #1: Babylon/Nebuchadnezzar who planted king Zedekiah in Jerusalem
  • Eagle #2:  Egypt- Zedekiah rebelled against Nebu and allied with them.
  • The East wind: Babylonian armies

Episode 3: Babylonians and Medes – The History of Persia

This is a difficult read and it is clear as mud (to me) when it is explained in verse 11 forward BUT jump to verse 22 for the moral of the story…The Tender Sprig is Jesus the Messiah:

22 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23 On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. 24 All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.

“‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’”

I know we sat and thought about how we look compared to Sodom at times. Now take a moment in a prayer of thankfulness that regardless of our sin He promised us a Tender Sprig that will shelter us and make even the dry tree flourish.

Ezekiel 13-15

Every time I read lately I look at the subtitles in my Bible and think “this is going to be boring” (I know, I know…I am a sinner in need of a Savior) BUT then I read it and think…”That was awesome”.  This is a good one!

False Prophets:   This is an interesting one for me because the more I read the Bible the easier it is to spot false teaching.  What scares me is I used to think of it as the people on TV preaching for donations or tara card readers at the beach, but now I can spot it at churches or just listening to my friends talk about the Lord’s will.  It’s like saying “According to the book of Szymanski,  God will…He wants…”    I am talking about when we represent the character of God wrong or water down His view on sin.  In chapter 13 it talks about people that “speak on behalf of the Lord” without hearing from God on a topic.  In verse 18 historically they are talking about the women that would “fortune” tell and use “magic charms”.  My mother is an old-school Italian Catholic: I grew up never seeing a Bible BUT my house was filled with superstition.  Elephant trunks had to face the door or bad luck would fall upon us, rosary beads hanging from the car mirror so we were protected from a crash, saint charms on our necklaces for good luck, and of course when we can’t find the keys to the car we had to turn around 3 times and pray to St. Anthony.  Sounds silly now,  but I didn’t know any other way.  I often imagine how different my choices would have been growing up had I seen a Bible in my house.

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6


Chapter 14– Idolatry- I know you are thinking we have read this before…they worshiped idols.  NOPE, this is a new chapter!  Quickly look at the beginning of chapter 14 again.  Where are the idols?  IN THEIR HEARTS!  It says it THREE times in this short section.

Faith-in-God-Free-of-Idolatry.jpg - Discover Islam Kuwait Portal

Judgment is inescapable:

Oh my stars!  I want to study the next 4 paragraphs one day in great detail.  (one day, not today 😉)  They are 4 methods the Lord can use on a NATION.

12 The word of the Lord came to me: 13 “Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it…

  1.  cut off it’s food supply (v. 13)
  2. send wild beasts through the country (v.15)   (I would love to ask God if He was referring to leaders?)
  3. bring a sword against the country (v. 17)
  4. send a plague into the land (v.19)

I know…we are all thinking the same thing!  Have you turned on the News??

BUT then it says:

22 Yet there will be some survivors—sons and daughters who will be brought out of it. They will come to you, and when you see their conduct and their actions, you will be consoled regarding the disaster I have brought on Jerusalem—every disaster I have brought on it.


Chapter 15:The vine!    We have talked about it several times but as we are 32 days away from the New Testament (but who’s counting), we will read much more about vines.  Jerusalem should have been bearing fruit but instead, they were useless and used for firewood.  Let’s get a little movie trailer of the NT and how the OT and NT really cannot be read without each other.  If this is your first Old Testament  FULL read-through…Buckle up.  You are going to read the NT like you have never read it before (exciting isn’t it)

John Chapter 15

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Ezekiel 9-12

7 total men come (7=perfect).  There is a man in linen, this represents the Priest. (I think it might represent someone else ❤)  These chapters are a chronological process of God leaving first the Temple, then Jerusalem.

Without God, it is just a building and just a city.  The Priest puts a mark on their forehead for those who have been faithful.  The mark is said to be the Hebrew letter “taw”.  The letter is written as an “X”.

Put a Mark on the Foreheads”—Ezekiel 9:4

We will seal this concept also in Revelation as a seal.

Revelation 7:2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

The idolaters are killed and so far Ezekiel was unharmed.  The man in linen was then told to scatter the burning coals over the city.  Only a priest in the temple can come near God’s presence.  He takes the coal from the wheel and scatters it over the city.  Just like in the day of Isaiah, burning coal purifies. (I also thought of the purification of Sodom and Gomorrah).

Wheels Within Wheels: The First Vision of Ezekiel | Eclectic Orthodoxy

The Cherubim continue to transport God on His throne (this is so cool!).  They begin at the south gate since the idol worship was located at the north gate.  Eventually, they make their way to THE GATE-the east side. (Trivia, why is the East Gate so important?)

18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. 19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.

Reaching Higher With Meyer: What Ezekiel Teaches About the Glory of the Lord, Including Both Past and Future Manifestations

 

The Temple has been in existence for 400 years!  Now it is just like any other building. (for now)


Chapter 11: The throne is now at the East gate.  Standing at the entrance are 25 leaders, two are named Jaazaniah and Pelatiah.   Not only are these men wicked but their message is corrupt and they are leading people astray.

 The Lord said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say, ‘Haven’t our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the meat in it.’ Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man.”

Basically, the men are saying “This land was rebuilt for US…it is ours from the Lord”.  On the contrary, the ones actually taken into exile in the first wave were the “redeemed” and they did not see it that way.  What many of us hold on to as important and permanent God is letting us know it is temporary.  We saw the Glory leave the Temple, NOW we see the Glory leave the city.

22 Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. 23 The glory of the Lord went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it. 24 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the exiles in Babylonia in the vision given by the Spirit of God.

Bethphage - Mount of Olives - Jerusalem - Israel and You

Why am I showing you this map??  Read 11:23 above it again.  God paused on the east mountain.  The Mount of Olives.  The very place Jesus will pray for this cup to be taken from Him and arrested and be brought to give up His life, The Garden of Gethsemane!


Chapter 12  The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.

AGAIN, God is so kind and loving that these rebellious people are not responding: obviously they are not audible or visual learners in His Classroom!  Maybe they will respond to kinesthetic learning!  So God instructs Ezekiel to perform 2 acts.  First, he has him turn from the sin of the people.  Like a captain leaving a sinking ship, they he shows them how they won’t even eat the little food they have without stress and anxiety.  However, they still did not repent.

28 “Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”


Anyone who has never read the whole Old Testament in Chronological order may have a view of God’s character that is wrong.  I think many people see the OT as a time of Judgement or punishment.  Seriously?  How many times has he chased HIS people to turn towards Him?  The Old Testament is the Key to showing God’s patience and Love for people.

Ezekiel 5-8

I thought about these “skits” that Ezekiel had to obey since they were symbolic of the Word of God.  We often talk about “what if people don’t have a Bible, how will they know the Word?  God can use anything from nature to dramas to speak a message to anyone.  The last gesture of shaving his head symbolizes mourning, disgrace, and humiliation.

Ezekiel shaves his head – those that refuse to heed God's directives will be judged accordingly (Ezekiel 5:1 – 5:17) | Bible Blender

  • 1/3 of the hair is burned
  • 1/3 if the hair is struck with a sword
  • 1/3 of the hair is  scattered

A picture of what will happen to Jerusalem. (Symbolism)

12 A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.


In chapter 6 Ezekiel is told to speak towards the mountain.  Do you remember when we were talking about the kings…most of them had 1 thing in common: they did not destroy the high places.  The high places were pagan worship altars.  Most pagan worships were sexual “sacrifices”.  (or sacrificing their children to Molech)  They would partake in crude sexual acts with each other or with animals to please their gods. In chapter 6,  God says He will destroy such altars BUT He will spare a remnant. ❤

“‘But I will spare some, for some of you will escape the sword when you are scattered among the lands and nations.

Why will all of this take place?  Because of their unrepented sin.  BUT also for another reason….SO they will know He is THE Lord. 


Chapter 7-

Lesson 5 Captivity, Return & Years of Silence - ppt download

Without a date given, in chapter 7 you can see the event Ezekiel is talking about.  This is interesting because we spent months hearing about the Assyrians, Egyptians, and the Babylonians during the captivity however, God does not mince words with Ezekiel.  God speaks in the first person-“I will”. The sword will attack those outside the city, plague and famine will fall inside the city, and even those that flee to the mountain will be so scared they will lose their bodily functions.

17 Every hand will go limp;
    every leg will be wet with urine.

These phrases “the end has come”, “the day comes”, “the time has come” pulls all the Prophet books together for fulfillment.  My mind went to the “Eschatology” view when I read this.  What will the End Times really look like?  I know we have a “picture” in our head (or at least I do), but if you have time re-read chapter 7- If God brought Judgement today who do you know that would be swept into this scene?  Begin with praying for them that their hearts to soften.  AFTER I became a Christ-follower I started hearing stories about all the “women bible groups” that knew my story was praying for me.  Not gossiping about me (I think).  Not judging me (I think).  Praying for me my heart to soften.   I had NO IDEA they were doing this until after I believed.  I read chapter 17 and I know it is Jesus that that saved me from ever experiencing a “Jerusalem destruction”  BUT God was also hearing the prayers of these women and acted on it!

Chapter 8 

 Have you ever seen Ebeneezer Scrooge from the Christmas Carol?  Picture that when you read this: It is September 592 BC- 

In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, the hand of the Sovereign Lord came on me there. I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man.From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal. He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. And there before me was the glory of the God of Israel, as in the vision I had seen in the plain. 

Ezekiel is lifted up between heaven and earth and given a vision.  A friend of mine said “It is like a Drive-in Movie theater” and I love that!  He is shown a history of abominations that take place in the temple.

  •  So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol of jealousy. 

He is seeing a vision of King Manessah: 2 Kings 17, the only king to actually put an idol IN the Temple!

2 KIngs 17:7 He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.

  • 7 Then he brought me to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall. 8 He said to me, “Son of man, now dig into the wall.” So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there.9 And he said to me, “Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here.” 10 So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and unclean animals and all the idols of Israel. 11 In front of them stood seventy elders of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them.  

Pagan worship that included animal worship is called zoomorphic religion.  Shapan was king Josiah’s secretary.

God is showing Ezekiel that religious corruption began with the leaders of the nation. 

  • 14 Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning the god Tammuz. 15 He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.”

Tamuz was once a human that became a “god” and was sent to the underworld.  Women would mourn over his death in a ceremony.

The fourth vision was:

  • 16 He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east. 

Ezekiel 1-4

Ezekiel tells us the setting of his vision from the beginning.  He is 30 years old and he is in Babylon.  We know this is significant because it means he was in captivity and he would have been a priest by now…but he sadly is not.  He is a captive.

Sensational Sumer - Home

 

There are three Apocalyptic books in the Bible: Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation.  Apocalyptic means “lifting of the veil” or ”revelation”.  God will show His Glory to Ezekiel and give us a glimpse. Ezekiel means “God is strong” or “God Strengthens”.   Why did God use Ezekiel if they were already in captivity? (He was also using Jeremiah and Daniel at the same time), He used him to help the Jewish people in exile to understand:

  • why they were there
  • to let them know this was going to take a long time
  •  bring a message of hope
  •  and to point people toward God.

OK, let’s jump right into the visions.  God is visualized in a huge lightning storm (love that!) With 4 Cherubim standing in a hollow square with backs to each other wing to wing.  The cherubim have 4 faces.  The best I could research was that each face represents a character of God.

  • The lion is Strength
  • The ox as Servant
  • The man as Intelligent
  • The eagle as Divinity

(Let’s review an old topic- The Tabernacle)

The 12 tribes of Israel were arranged around the tabernacle before the Temple was built.  The Gate was Judah.  We talked about this a long time ago and if you look back on it,  does it make more sense now?  Why was Judah placed at the gate to enter God’s sanctuary?  As we look at the captivity we see that the Remnant of the tribes, the ones that will return, the tribe that is left to bring the Messiah is JUDAH.  Through Judah’s tribe, we will enter the presence of the Lord.

What were the four standards around which the tribes of Israel were camped (Numbers 2:1-34)? - Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange

 

The Tabernacle had the tribes of Judah, Reuben Ephraim, and Dan on each side (like the faces).  The family flag was erected at each (I assume so they can find their way back from the bathroom to their tent) .  Look at the next picture.  Pretty cool view from above.

Jesus: The Way, The Truth, & The Life: Numbers 2 - The Camp of Israel and the Cross

Sorry…I ran with the faces on the Angels.  Let’s get back to the vision:

 

A rainbow over it all representing COVENANT.  There were intersecting wheels, and everything moved when the Lord did.  He is in complete control of it all.

Ezekiel is looking at the Throne of God!!


Chapter 2 was my favorite.  “You must speak my words to them , whether they listen or fail to listen”.  Ezekiel’s success was not on the outcome of his message but on his obedience in fulfilling his purpose. (reread it)  Side note: God does not judge our witnessing by how people respond to it but by what we DO IT.


Chapters 3 and 4 : How Sweet are the Words of the Lord!  As sweet as Honey! We can’t go out to do the work of the Lord without His Word in us, and not just in us but in verse 10 Taken to Heart.  God made sure that Ezekiel not only had the Word of the Lord in him but that it was IN HIS HEART.

When Being Hard-Headed Is A Good Thing – 海外华人福音网

So after the proper 7 day mourning period, representing the spiritually dead, Ezekiel begins his mission for the Lord.  And what a job he has in front of him!  Ezekiel will represent the judgment on Judah.  He will be uncomfortable for each day representing each year.  Ezekiel being a priest knew that eating near or with human poop was against God’s Law, so God allowed him to cook it over manure instead (can I get a Praise the Lord! for that one, I think)  The dung representing the spiritual uncleanliness of the people.

Using symbolisms, God shows Ezekiel how to launch a siege against a rebellious Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4:1 – 4:17) | Bible Blender

The next time you are complaining about something at church (talking to myself)…can you think of your small inconveniences compared to Ezekiel’s.


Feel free to research more and share…there is so much more to look at each time you decide to re-read the Bible.

Ezekiel Overview

Ezekiel.  Have you ever read it?   We will read Ezekiel for over 2 weeks so I think it is pretty important for me to set the scene. I think you will find it fascinating (of course, God wrote it).  Many of you know I have waited anxiously for this book.

We read about the 3 sieges (is that the word I am looking for?) on the Jewish people that bring Judah into Babylonian captivity.  There were 3 distinct moments where they were invaded and taken into captivity.  We read about them from the perspective of Jeremiah, who was in Jerusalem to see all 3 events over the course of 40 years.  Now read about it from the inside, from a first-person perspective.

King Josiah, remember him? He was a good king.  He found the Book of the Law in the temple when he was repairing it.  He read it and wept when he saw how far his country had gotten from the Lord.  He began a reformation and yes, people began to walk in the ways of the Lord; celebrating Passover, worshiping in the temple, following the Commandments.  Well, Josiah was killed by the Egyptian Pharaoh, Neco at Megiddo.  Four years later Neco was then defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, leaving Babylon as the world power.

 

Lesson 5 Captivity, Return & Years of Silence - ppt downloadJeremiah was preaching during all this for 40 years and surely had contemporaries ready to follow in his footsteps.  Ezekiel was about 18 yrs old when Nebuchadnezzar took the first group of captives.  Among that group was a familiar name, Daniel.  Daniel was exiled at the age of 15 (with his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah), while his friend Ezekiel was left behind.  During this time Jeremiah was bringing the message to the people to repent…but they did not.😢

For 10 years, life continued the same, Judah continued to sin.  Then King Jehoiakim, king of Judah,  rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and he dies.  Jehoiachin became king and once again Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem this time taking 10,000 captives, and this time Ezekiel was included.  Ezekiel was a few years away from becoming a priest (age 30 eligibility).  When he did turn 30, Ezekiel has a vision.

SO we have 3 men all living at the same time:

  • Jeremiah was at Jerusalem with the Jews during all three stages of the exile, preaching and warning them to repent
  • Ezekiel, who lived with the exiles in Babylon, bringing them a message of hope
  • Daniel, who God put him to live with the Rulers in the court.

timeline for ezekiel and daniel - Saferbrowser Yahoo Image Search Results | Life timeline, Hebrew bible, Daniel

One thing I want you to keep in mind.  Other evil nations were wiped out by the Lord.  Judah however was not, they were in captivity.  The difference is significant, God loves His people  He punished them in captivity as a form of CORRECTION, through their punishment they would come to know the Lord.  And they did. ❤️