The Prophesy of EZEKIEL        
While exiled in Babylon   593-573 BC

A Bible Study

Contents
Chronological Summary  
Introduction  
Ezekiel Ached  
Commissioned 23 - 311
Overwhelmed by the Spirit of God 314-27
The Clay Model and God's Message   41 - 727
The Glory Departs 8-11
False Hope 13
Sin Revealed 16
Yet I will remember the covenant  
Two Eagles and a Vine 17
Personal Responsibility for Sin 18
An Unlearned History Lesson    20 - 2414
Ezekiel's Wife Dies 2415-27
God Always Keeps his Word 3321-33
Judgement of the Nations  25-32, 35
The Watchman 331-20
The 'Good' Shepherd 34, 36
Prophesy to the Dry Bones 371-14
The Lord will make Israel Holy 3715-28
Gog and Magog 38, 39
The New Temple 40-46
The River 471-12
Relevance of Ezekiel Today  

 
Chronological Summary         [Contents]

Year
BC
Ezek
Ch.
Event
597   Ezekiel led captive to Babylon with King Jehoiachin and 10,000 Jews.
593
1-7
The first vision by the river Chebar.
God strikes his prophet dumb.
Makes model of Jerusalem showing Nebuchadnezzar's siege
      and God's judgement for their wickedness and refusal to repent.
390 days + 40 days, then the finale.
The meaning of the drama is written (5-7)
592 8-11 Idolatry in the Temple. God's Glory departs
591 12-23 Prophesies Zedekiah's continued rebellion, and consequences.
Sees 'real' situation in Jerusalem -
      the open and hidden wickedness.
The elders of Judah in Babylon are charged with hypocrisy
      when they came to consult him.  20-23
588 24 The siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.
This was a sabbatic year, Jer 248, etc.
The siege did not begin till mid-winter. 2 Kgs 251.
The prophet's wife dies on the same day of the siege,
      and he is forbidden to mourn for her.
He will speak again when a fugitive arrives
      telling of Jerusalem's destruction.  2415-27
587 25-32 Predictions against Ammon, Moab, Edom (also 35), Philistia, Tyre, Sidon and Egypt.
586 33,34 Jerusalem is taken.
Zedekiah was taken prisoner, blinded and led to Babylon.
      Ezekiel told Jerusalem taken. God loosens his tongue.
Woe to greedy shepherds.
The Lord will be Shepherd to Israel.
  36,37 Restoration of Israel revealed.
  38,39 The Lord will fight Gog and Magog when they attack Jerusalem.
583   The commencement of the thirteen year siege of Tyre.
Sidon, Amalek, Moab, and Idumea also suffer. Jer 27, 48, 49 Ezek 25.
572 40-48 The vision of the rebuilding of the city and the temple.
The Glory of God returns. The river of life flows.
570   Taking of the city of Tyre, by Nebuchadnezzar, to whom God promises the spoils of Egypt,
      as a compensation for the trouble and loss he sustained before Tyre.  2917-20
      Nebuchadnezzar enters Egypt.
Amasis had been made king by the Cyrenians, who had rebelled against Pharaoh Hophra.
569   The king of Babylon overruns and subdues the whole of Egypt;
commits the greatest outrages; and carries off captive the inhabitants,
      the Jews, and others whom he found there.  Jer 43, 44, 46  Ezekiel 29, 30, 31.
Nebuchadnezzar leaves Amasis king of Lower Egypt;
      Pharaoh Hophra (Apries) escaped to the Thebais.
560   Death of Nebuchadnezzar.
Evil-merodach succeeds him; and sets Jeconiah at liberty,
      and makes him his companion.  2 Kgs 1527  Jer 5231

 
Introduction       [Contents]

By 605 BC Babylon was the rising power.
They had defeated Assyria in 609, having destroyed Nineveh 3 years earlier.
They had thrashed Egypt at Carchemish in 605.
Nebuchadnezzar had become king on the death of his father.
Jehoiakim was king of Judah and he capitulated to him without battle.
      He remained king, paid an annual tribute and built himself a new palace.
In 602 there was another battle with Egypt,
      but this time both suffered very heavy losses.
      Jehoiakim foolishly shifted alliance to Egypt and rebelled against Babylon.
      (in spite of Jeremiah's repeated warnings)
In 597 Nebuchadnezzar marched on Jerusalem.
The 18 year old Jehoiachin who had just succeeded his father, surrendered.
Ezekiel, a young priest, and about 10,000 Jews were taken to Babylon.
God sent the right man of his choice at just the right moment.

For more than four long years he had grieved and sought God.
No doubt he asked why he had been sent: What use is a Jewish priest there?
      And why had God allowed so many Jews to be exiled?
But he already knew the answer to that;
      Jeremiah had been making it plain for the last 30 years back in Jerusalem.
      If only Jehoiakim had not been so foolish, so wicked, so rebellious.
"Lord, you are just and right - but what good can I do here
      in a Babylonian slave camp, making endless bricks, day after day?"
The exiles were not in a riverside holiday camp.
      The Nebuchadnezzars of this world don't waste good labour.
      His huge building programme had been at full steam ahead for over 10 years.
      The glory of the new Babylon was rising out of the desert.
      It made Jerusalem, dear Jerusalem, look so insignificant.
Babylon was 15 miles square, with enormous walls, plentiful water everywhere,
      palaces, temples and beautiful gardens ...

But God had a plan.
He was determined that it should be known in Babylon as well as Jerusalem.
So he raised up the exiled Ezekiel to be his prophet;
      and told him his plan and how to proclaim it.
50 times in the 48 chapters we read the phrase, "The Word of the Lord came ..."
      (Jeremiah uses the same phrase 25 times.)

 
Ezekiel Ached       [Contents]

And into his aching heart God revealed himself.
He saw the Glory of God, and the Living Creatures -
      wheels with all-seeing eyes everywhere,
      wings that sounded like an army marching,
      dynamic, purposeful, precision movement,
He saw a sapphire throne and brilliant rainbow colours -
      that reminded him of the promise of God. 12-28
Yes, God revealed himself.
      It made the glory of Babylon look very drab.
      It made Ezekiel ashamed that he had ever thought it was so good.
He fell on his face before the Sovereign Lord, the King of Glory.

What happened next really surprised Ezekiel.
      God wanted to speak to him!
            All the wheels moved towards him. The Living Creatures faced him.
            And God said, "Stand up!"  21,2
      But Ezekiel couldn't move; the Spirit had to lift him up.
      He would never be the same.
      He would never ask again what use it was making bricks for idol temples,
            in a foreign city, for a heathen king.
Once before they had been making bricks when God rescued them.
      Like Moses, he had met with the Sovereign Lord!

 
Commissioned   23 - 311       [Contents]

"I am sending you to a rebellious nation (Judah in exile) ...
      Do not be afraid of what they say ...
      You must speak my words to them - whether they listen or not ..."
 23-8
      (Very similar to when God called Jeremiah)

"Son of man, eat this scroll that I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted sweet as honey in my mouth.  33

To him the Word of God tasted good.  Rev 109-11 Jer 1516
      But soon the tragedy of the message would become apparent.
      There would not be any quick release and a return.
      And worse, God was going to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple.

God was here, even in Babylon!
Perhaps the kingdom would be restored! Will it be soon?
      The excited disciples asked the risen Jesus the same question.  Act 16
First, and arguably the only task of the prophet is, he must hear the Master.
What God says will often surprise us.
'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.'  Is 558,9
His ways are always just and true; his rejected warnings are always fulfilled.

What was God's plan in Babylon?
      Clearly he wanted the exiles to know.
            And he wants us to know too; even when it is not 'as sweet as honey'.

But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. ... Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.  37-9

Can there be any greater tragedy than that a man or a nation
      is unwilling to hear the Word of the Lord?  Is 69,10  Lu 810

Ezekiel would be as unyielding as the rebellious people,
      he would never deviate from proclaiming all that God revealed to him.

Like Jeremiah, his task would not be popular, but he must not be afraid.
      Friendship with God is worth a hundred times more than
            all the world's fleeting pleasures.  James 44  Lu 1829,30  Jn 1519

And he said to me, "Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says,' whether they listen or fail to listen."  310,11

Why is Ezekiel told to listen carefully?
      No man can preach to another what he has not first learnt himself.
      What God was to say would surprise him - like Habakkuk.
There is no room for any argument when 'The Sovereign Lord' says it.
      Men always hate the idea of judgement;
            that sin deserves punishment;
            that we all justly live in 'death row' until the Redeemer saves us.
Listen carefully and acknowledge that God is right.

Lord, make me sensitive, willing, mouldable, courageous.
      Take all the rebellion from my spirit. Please help me.
            Lord, my desire is to listen carefully and respond quickly.

 
Overwhelmed by the Spirit of God   314-27       [Contents]

The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord upon me. I came to the exiles ... and sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed.  314,15

When the Spirit comes upon us we see
      'Heaven above is softer blue, earth around is sweeter green,
      Something lives in every hue, Christless eyes have never seen.' [RH 380]
We also begin to see the world as God sees it:
      and we are in good company. Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel ...
Do not be surprised at the anguish, the distress, the tears, even anger.
      (Perhaps his young heart also needed taming - God was willing to do it)
The 'strong hand of the Lord was upon him' not to heal or work miracles,
      he needed all the strength and grace of God to become and be a true prophet.
The truth, the reality that the Lord had revealed was no quick, passing emotion.
      It did not pass away with the next joke or TV programme.
For 7 days Ezekiel was 'overwhelmed'.  Like Daniel.  Dan 728 827
      Overwhelmed by the Spirit of God,
            who had revealed the stubborness of men; and the consequences.

At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die', and you do not warn him ... that he will die for his sin, I will hold you accountable for his blood."  316-18 also 331-20

As a watchman, the Lord made Ezekiel accountable.
      If he did not warn the wicked, he would suffer the same punishment.
We are also held responsible for warning others.  Lu 926
      This is not an excuse for being critical -
            we must be equally willing to receive warnings too.
      We are God's messengers. Be sensitive as to when and how is best.
            But don't use this as an excuse and put it off for ever.

The hand of the Lord was upon me there, and he said to me, "Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you." So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell face down. Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet.  322-24a

Sometimes God needs to speak with us alone, without distractions;
      only an awareness of our immense need and of his greatness and glory.
What a privilege it is for the Spirit to come into any man.
      Only he can change our unruly nature and enable us to bear good fruit.

Ezekiel stands waiting, expectant ...

And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people. I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, though they are a rebellious house. But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says.' Whoever will listen let him listen, and whoever will refuse let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.  326,27

What God tells him seems crazy.
      How can a prophet minister when bound and dumb?
      How can he warn the exiles about the consequences of their sin?
But God had a better and clearer way to tell them.
      Even the rebellious would be without excuse.
            All would hear God's message; even if they chose not to act upon it.
The method God selected is unique in all Scripture.
      And it would be the longest sermon ever preached (except Methuselah).

 
The Clay Model and God's Message   41 - 727       [Contents]

Now, son of man, take a clay tablet, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Then lay siege to it: erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the house of Israel.  41-3

Ezekiel and his wife lived a lonely life.
      A man with his concern and grief is never popular.
      But do not feel sorry for them. God is their refuge and strength, their delight.
Slaves are always made to work long hours but even the Babylonian taskmasters
      had to allow their slaves to stop for a lunch break.
So while they all ate their sandwiches, the silent Ezekiel sets up his clay brick.
      They all gather round as he carefully sculpts a model of Jerusalem.
      Then he makes the camps, the siege works, and battering rams.
The excitement changes as the message becomes clear.
      Jerusalem will be besieged. Their own beloved city.
            But surely God will defend it.
No doubt there was some joker who broke the ice. There always is.

Next day there was a repeat performance.
      He even weighed out his food from special storage jars.
      God had given him specific instructions (like he gave for Noah's Ark).  44-17
Many were disgusted for Ezekiel had to cook his food using dried dung.
But every day it was the same old show.
      I expect the exiles were soon taking bets on how long it would go on for.
      After a couple of months there probably weren't too many watchers.
            (they had all lost their bets weeks ago!)
For God had told him to repeat it every day for 390 days!
One day for each year of Israel's sin.
      Northern tribes of Israel were exiled in 722 BC.
      Ezekiel prophesied this in 593 to exiled tribe of Judah, not to Israel.
      What happened in 983? (=593+390)
            In 983 David was king of the united country. Solomon reigned 971-931 BC.

One day there was a stir at lunchtime.
Look, Ezekiel is facing the other way!
      More bets.
      This time the sermon only lasted 40 days! (Total 14½ months)

But then quite unexpectedly came the final show.  51-4
Ezekiel somehow appeared with a razor-sharp Babylonian sword.
      He sat there alone and shaved all the hair off his head and then his beard.
The exiles were all watching now.
      They didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the comic sight.
He set up some scales and carefully weighed the hair into 3 equal piles.
      Then quickly he set fire to the first pile.
      The second he threw in the air and repeatedly lunged at it with his sword.
            The crowd drew back a little. He was like a wild thing now.
      The third pile he threw up into the wind and it was blown away.
      He searched for any hairs that remained and threw them on the fire.
And that was it. A truly 'Oscar' performance.
Ezekiel was exhausted.

But what was the message?
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: "This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the centre of the nations, with countries all around her. Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. ... I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. ... I will inflict punishment on you. ... 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. Then my anger will cease and ... they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal."  55-17

Jerusalem would be besieged for well over a year and then be totally destroyed.
God would do this. He would not spare even his own Temple.
      Their fragile hope was only make-believe.
      The God of Love will punish sin. His justice demands it.
      How long would it take the exiles to learn this awful truth?
      Is the Church any more willing to see this today?
Ezekiel had been 4 years in exile (others had been 12 years - from 605)
      Many were still hoping that God would deliver them from exile and slavery.
      God's prophet in Babylon (as well as Jeremiah in Jerusalem),
            had to tell them it would not happen. Quite the reverse!
      God himself would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple
      The people had all refused to hear correction from God's prophet;
            they chose to continue in their open sin and blatant rebellion against God.

Many exiles tried to keep up morale with false hope.
      So God spoke the truth to them.

Son of man, set your face against the mountains of Israel; prophesy against them and say: ... "This is what the Sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: I am about to bring a sword against you, ... wherever you live, the towns will be laid waste and the high places demolished, so that your altars will be laid waste and devastated, your idols smashed and ruined, your incense altars broken down, and what you have made wiped out. Your people will fall slain among you, and you will know that I am the Lord."  62-7

The phrase "The Sovereign Lord says ..." is repeated 210 times in Ezekiel,
      and you "will know that I am the Lord" x 53.
They needed to know above all things that there is only One God and he is Lord.
      Even the great king Nebuchadnezzar was 'his servant'.
      And how could a block of wood, of whatever shape or beauty, be God?

The world today needs to hear this clear Christian truth; there is only one God,
      and Jesus Christ is the only means of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Jn 146
      All the altars and idols of men will shortly be destroyed.
      All sin carries a high and inescapable price tag - either we or Jesus must pay!

This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
"Disaster! ... The end has come! ... Doom!
 75-7
I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you;
      I will judge you according to your conduct ...
 78, 4, 9, 27
The vision concerning the whole crowd will not be reversed ...  713
Outside is the sword, inside are plague and famine ...  715
Every hand will go limp, and every knee will become as weak as water ...  717
Their silver and gold will not be able to save them ...  719
I will put an end to the pride of the mighty ...  724
When terror comes they will seek peace, but there will be none ...  725

No wonder Ezekiel was grieved.

A year later:

 
The Glory Departs  8-11       [Contents]

The Spirit lifted me up ... and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem ...
And there before me was the glory of the God of Israel ...
Then he said to me, "Son of man, look toward the north." So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol of jealousy. And he said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing - the utterly detestable things the house of Israel is doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable." ...
He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, 'The Lord does not see us; the Lord has forsaken the land." ...
Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. ...
He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there ... 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. ... Must they also fill the land with violence. ...
Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them."
 81-18

God showed Jeremiah, 'I am watching' some years earlier in Jerusalem.  Jer 112
      Many in Babylon thought God was blind. But he wasn't. And he isn't!
      They had even put idols in the Temple and worshipped them in God's house!
      Now, as then, there can only be one verdict.
      God did not spare them, and he will not spare us.
      Our multi-faith services seem so tolerant, so good to some;
            But the Lord Almighty is angry! Our destruction is imminent.
The day will surely come
      Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly and put an end to all wickedness.

Yet God is merciful. There were some who cared and grieved.
      Sadly there were not many. Amos saw the same tragedy.
      In the days of Amos few grieved at the ruin of Joseph.  Amos 66
            The northern tribes of Israel were very soon destroyed by Assyria,
                  and never to be heard of again!

Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." ...
As I listened, he said to the others, "Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion, ...but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary. The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great." Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, "I have done as you commanded."
 91-11

The glory of the Lord departed from above the cherubim in the Temple.
The Cherubim ( the 'Living Creatures') also departed.  101-22
But why could no one else see or hear this sad departure?
      Why did no one care?
      Blind, hardened, arrogant,
            they refused the mercy which our gracious God offered.
The grieving Ezekiel, like the weeping Jeremiah, cried to the Lord in his agony.
      God 'marked' them (and others). None of their tears were wasted.;  Ps 1265 568
The leaders in Jerusalem refused to acknowledge the inevitable destruction.
      Quite the reverse, they planned prosperity and success without God!
They didn't even notice that the glory of the Lord had departed.  104,18 1123
      Like Samson. Judg 1620 also Saul 1 Sam 1614 Ichabod 1 Sam 417-22
We glory in St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
      But do we glory in the Lord God who should be worshipped there?

Ezekiel cries before the Lord:
"Ah, Sovereign Lord! Will you completely destroy the remnant of Israel?"  1113

And God graciously reveals his plan.
      The exile is not the end, but the means of bringing the remnant to repentance.

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: "Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone. ... I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again. They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God."  1116-20

This was fulfilled when they returned in 538 under Joshua and Zerubbabel,
      and in 458 / 445 under Ezra and Nehemiah
One day there will be a far greater fulfilment when all Israel will be saved.  1227

But the return would not be in their day.
Jerusalem would be destroyed and there would be an exile of all who remained.
God instructs Ezekiel to act this exile by digging under the wall of his house.
Zedekiah will be caught escaping and be taken to Babylon.  121-25
      And of course he was.  Jer 527-11

 
False Hope  13       [Contents]

The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the prophets ... My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions ... they lead my people astray, saying, 'Peace,' when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash. ...  131-10

Leaders often try to give false hope rather than advise 'turn to the Lord'.
They pretend that the impending disaster (God's judgement)
            is not as bad as it is (or as bad as we deserve).
There have been some notable exceptions. Noah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Churchill.
In Ezekiel's day the destruction of Jerusalem was inescapable.
      This was the awful word the Lord Almighty gave to both Jeremiah in Jerusalem and Ezekiel in Babylon.
      God would destroy Jerusalem even if Noah, Daniel and Job were there. 1414,21

Yet there will be some survivors who will be brought out of it ...
      you will know that I have done nothing in it without cause,
      declares the Sovereign Lord.
 1422,23

In the worst times the only true hope is in the amazing grace of God.
      There will be a remnant that survive.
      And they will know that God was entirely just in his judgement.
It will take extreme disaster for men to admit this;
      and the number who do will be small.
In the last days men will refuse to repent,
      but they will curse God for their deserved misfortune.  Rev 169,11,21

 
Sin Revealed  16       [Contents]

Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices. ...
Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanite; ...
On the day you were born your cord was not cut,
      nor were you washed with water to make you clean. ...
I said to you, "Live!" I made you grow like a plant of the field.
You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels.
I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you. ...
Your fame spread among the nations. ...
But you trusted in your beauty and used your fame to become a prostitute. ...
You took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me
      and sacrificed them as food to the idols. ...
In all your detestable practices ...
You did not remember the days of your youth. ...
You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbours. ...
I gave you over to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines,
      who were shocked by your lewd conduct.
You engaged in prostitution with the Assyrians too, because you were insatiable;
and even after that, you still were not satisfied.
Then you increased your promiscuity to include Babylonia, a land of merchants,
      but even with this you were not satisfied. ...
You adulterous wife! ...
 161-32

Their prostitution and adultery was literal and allegorical.
      They were unfaithful to their spouse and to the Lord their God.

Prosperity was the top priority.
      They even thought that sacrificing their children to Molech would enable this.
      God detested such inhuman selfish greed.
      In 2007 UK murdered over 200,000 babies in their mother's womb.
      God alone hears their cry and will not ignore.

They rejected trusting the Lord Almighty; by-passed him as irrelevant.
      Thought real practical help could only come from international agreements.

Your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom:
      she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned;
      they did not help the poor and needy.
      They were haughty and did detestable things before me.
Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. ...
 1648-50

Sodom and Gomorrah were sinful and God justly destroyed them.
In their pride Israel didn't see themselves as sinful and in need of forgiveness.
But God saw their hearts and their deeds - and they were worse than Sodom!

Today the UK has little conception of sin or its consequence.
We don't even think Sodom was sinful.
Our national leaders promote disgusting homosexuality as good and natural.
      And our schools teach vulnerable children this lie.
In Judea they were morally careless,
      prosperous, without any compassion for those less fortunate than themselves;
      they strutted about - proud as peacocks.
They worshipped detestable foreign idols.
Worst of all they were CONTENT WITHOUT GOD.
They had no concern about the eternal destiny of their souls.
They only cared for their present life.

What was Sodom's sin?
      Not only homosexuality.
      They were arrogant, overfed, unconcerned about the needy,
            and did detestable things.
O how great is the need of our country to repent.
      How careless we are in the UK.
      How forgetful of our history and privilege.
      And how blind to the impending, just and inevitable consequences of sin.
Sodom deserved destruction - we deserve it even more.
Sodom needed to repent - our need to repent is even greater.
      One day it would be too late - the day of opportunity will have passed.

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.
 1659

We often remember the promises of God that are undeservedly kind;
      all his words of grace and hope for the future.
But what about this promise?
Is this promise also remembered?
      The promise that God will deal with us as we deserve.

Nationally we are arrogant, careless, deluded and greedy.
      We are morally and economically corrupt.
      We have turned our backs on the Lord Almighty and rejected his truth.
      Even the Church leaders support homosexuality and interfaith activity.

God is just. He will deal with us as we deserve.
No one can claim that we have not been warned.
We have chosen to reject God's clear, repeated warnings.

 
Yet I will Remember the Covenant         [Contents]

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. ... 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. 1660-63 (See also 68-10 and 2017,39,41)

"Yet". What a blessed word.
We may have spent all our lives without God: careless, foolish,
      yet the gracious Lord does not forget the covenant he made.
He promised a Saviour, a Messiah, a Redeemer would come.
      And he did.
      Jesus Christ came and made atonement for us at Calvary.
We are ashamed of our sin and no longer open our mouths with excuses.
      Humbled and with eternal gratitude we thank him for his forgiveness.
      He has put a new song in our hearts that will never be extinguished.
This is the oft repeated divine purpose declared by the Sovereign Lord.
What Amazing Grace!

This is not a general, national reprieve.
It is true for any individual who cries to God in shame;
      who pleads for forgiveness and earnestly seeks the Lord Almighty.
These closing verses of Ezek 16 are a treasure beyond measure.
God will establish his covenant with us.
This is the whole purpose of his glorious creation.

 
Two Eagles and a Vine  17       [Contents]

(this parable is similar to Nebuchadnezzar's statue dream of kingdoms)
Great eagle (Nebuchadnezzar) broke off the top branch (Jehoiachin in 597)
      and took him to land of merchants (Babylon)
Planted a seed (from line of David) and it grew (Zedekiah).
      But it put its roots towards another eagle (Egypt).
First eagle easily uproots it and transports it to Babylon.
God will exile Zedekiah and Judah because of their rebellion and unfaithfulness.
He did so in 586 BC. He also destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.

 
Personal Responsibility for Sin  18 (Also 318-21)       [Contents]

The soul that sins shall surely die.  184,20
The soul that is righteous will live.  189
The wicked son of the righteous will die.  1813
The righteous son of the wicked will live.  1820
The righteous man who becomes wicked will die. 1826
The wicked man who becomes righteous will live.  1827

This is one of Ezekiel's easier chapters to understand.
We are all personally responsible for our own sin.
We cannot blame God, our parents, what others may have done to us.
      "God forgives our sins, not our excuses."
How can a man become righteous and live?
      Repent!  1830-32
All are dead until redeemed.   Ro 512  Gen 217
Righteous deeds result from new birth, not from good resolve.  Ro 68,18
Our salvation rests on the finished work of Christ and is secure.  Ro 837-39
      Yet a righteous man can choose to become wicked and die.  1826
      This is a salutary warning to us all to be vigilant in battle against sin.
      Our gracious God promises strength and a way of victory.  1 Co 1013
While the hurt and result of sin may pass to the 3rd and 4th generation,
      (e.g. result of divorce, family breakdown, abuse, etc)
      the son of a wicked man can be saved by the blood of Christ.
No sin is too great and no family situation too wicked for God to save.
Why did God give these clear statements to Ezekiel?
      Hopelessness and fear of slavery in Babylon.
      Though none would return to Jerusalem,
            there was a way of escape to life and righteousness.
Almighty God takes no pleasure in punishing the wicked;
      Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?  1823

 
An Unlearned History Lesson  20 - 2414       [Contents]

The rebellion of Judah under king Jehoiakim and Zedekiah in Ezekiel's day
      was not without precedent.
Israel's history shows repeated rebellion against God.
      In Egypt,
          in the desert
              in the promised land under first Judges
                  and then under most of to 20 kings of Israel and Judah.
Stephen gives the Sanhedrin an excellent history lesson in  Act 72-50
      He concludes, "You stiff-necked people ... you always resist the Holy Spirit ...
            you who received the law ... have not obeyed it."
 Act 751-53

Ezekiel tells the elders in Babylon,
      This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
      On the day I chose Israel, I swore ... I would bring them out of Egypt ...
      to the most beautiful of all lands. ...
      Do not defile yourselves with idols ... I am the Lord your God.
      But you rebelled against me.
 205-8

God kept his word. He did bring them into the promised land.
Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me ...
For their hears were devoted to their idols.
 2013,16

Successive generations came to ignore the Lord Almighty.
Like in UK today, each generation thinks it knows better than their forbears.
It is quite safe to ignore history and the commands of our Creator.

In spite of this arrogance, God again tells them of his grace
      and of his plans for the future.
Yet I looked on them with pity and did not destroy them.  2017
Now you will be taken to the desert of nations for judgement.
      But afterwards you will surely listen to me ...
      I will accept you as fragrant. ...
 2035,39,41

We do not deserve such kindness.

Nevertheless, failing to learn from history has terrible consequences.
No one could say that God had not warned them.
Consistent rebellion and wickedness leads inevitably to Judgement.
"But ..." reveals the amazing grace of God.
      It remains his pleasure and purpose to forgive in spite of our stubborness.

Set your face against Jerusalem. (c.f. Lu 951)
      I am against you. ... Therefore groan.   212,3,6
O wicked prince ... whose time of punishment has reached its climax.   2125
The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.   2126 Math 2312

O profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come ...
This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low ...
I will make it a ruin!
It will not be restored until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs.
 2125-27
There will be no more kings of Israel until the Messiah comes ~600 years later.
Likewise, every man's life is a ruin until Jesus Christ enters and transforms it.

The sin of Judah is catalogued:
Worst is probably - You have forgotten me.  221-12

Yet at the end of this ghastly catalogue of sin the ever gracious God declares:
I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall
and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land
so that I would not have to destroy it,
but I found none.
 2335,49

In Jerusalem there was just Jeremiah and his faithful scribe, Barak.
But no one would listen to him,
      or to Almighty God whose message he had proclaimed for over 35 years.
And in Babylon Ezekiel was the lone unheeded voice.
In the last 60 years in UK, 1000's responded to Christ at Billy Graham crusades.
Today there remain a few who preach the Word of God faithfully,
      but most have sought popularity and compromised.
      The Lord Almighty is despised, rejected and blasphemed by the media.
It will not be long before God has to destroy this nation.

Ezekiel declares Israel and Judah as two promiscuous sisters.  23
They had become obsessed with sex and idol worship.
They even sacrificed their children to idols.
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
Since you have me and thrust me behind your back
you must to bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.  2335
God repeatedly makes it clear that rejecting him has a very high price tag.
But the people are described as being a carefree crowd.  2342
Careless, proud, pleasure-seeking, indulgent, unjust, ...
      but NOT Godless.
The Lord God is very concerned and longs to have compassion on them.
      But the only way is by destroying Jerusalem and their false hopes;
            by death and exile!
Yes, this is the Word of God - however much we may wish to avoid it.
 

Ezekiel's Wife Dies  2415-27       [Contents]

Record this date
      for the king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. ...
It is the 9th year of Zedekiah and the 10th day of the 10th month.

      (Jan 588 BC)  241
2Kgs 251 Jer 524
Almighty God determined that this date would be deeply etched in Jewish history.
He wanted to make sure all future generations
      would known what happened
      why it happened
      and that it was God himself who had planned this dreadful day.
Just as he also planned the day
      when one afternoon the sky would be darkened for 3 hours;
      while the Son of God hung crucified upon a Roman cross.
      Filled with compassion, it was the only way he could forgive our sin.

Woe to the city of bloodshed.  246,9
I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed. 2413

This tragic choice by the people of Judah introduces an allegory;
      one that will be all too real for Ezekiel.

Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. ...
In the evening my wife died.
The next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Then the people asked me, "Won't you tell us what these things have to do with us?" So I said to them, "The word of the Lord came to me: say to the house of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary - the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection.
 2415-21

The people knew well how much Ezekiel loved his wife;
      What did this symbolic act mean? (Not many secrets in a slave camp)
The people loved their Temple, but not their God.
      (as some today love St Pauls or Westminster Abbey, but are careless of God)
Matthew Henry writes: "Many that are destitute of the power of godliness
     are yet very fond of the form of it."
Many love the pageantry and tradition, the ceremonies of the Church,
     but have no practical love for God, no gratitude for forgiveness,
     no delight in his Word and no assurance of righteousness or heaven.
God would not weep to see the Temple destroyed.
     It was filled with idols! And his glory had already left.  Ezek 10
It should be remembered that the Temple was on a symbol of God's presence.
     The greater agony for the Lord was removing his glory;
          having to leave men he loved because they cluttered his house with idols.
Walter de la Mare's Traveller "smote on the door even louder, and lifted his head:
     Tell them that I came, and no one answer'd, that I kept my word, he said."
For 3 years Jesus taught and demonstrated who he was and why he came.
      But they just criticised him for breaking their laws, and finally crucified him.

That evening Ezekiel's wife died.
It was a stiff trial of obedience for Ezekiel; he fulfilled it by the grace of God.
His obedience was eloquent; it made its mark.
The people came and asked what his extraordinary behaviour meant.
He told them precisely what the Sovereign had said to him:
I am about to desecrate my sanctuary - the stronghold in which you take pride,
the delight of your eyes ... you will not mourn or weep but will waste away
because of your sins and groan among yourselves.
  2425-27

The people took pride in the Temple; they trusted it and not God.
They rejected God, the very life and purpose of the building.
The Jewish exiled slaves would never return to Jerusalem.
They would spend all their lives making bricks for Nebuchadnezzar - and groan.

 
God Always Keeps his Word   3321-33       [Contents]

Many die in the 18 month siege of Jerusalem.
The depth of suffering cannot be overestimated.
Eventually the city fell to God's servant Nebuchadnezzar.
The unbelievable had happened. Just as Jeremiah had warned for over 40 years.
      And as Ezekiel had warned the exiles already in Babylon against false hope.
The Temple was destroyed on the 9th Av (~15th Aug) 586 BC
      (In 70 AD the rebuilt Temple would be destroyed;  also on 9th Av)

Some while later one evening Ezekiel spoke again.
      Next morning the fugitive from Jerusalem arrived in Babylon with awful news -
            Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed.
      It was all exactly as the Lord Almighty had promised.  3321,22 326

What were Ezekiel's first words?

The Sovereign Lord says,
"I have made the land a desolate waste
      because of all the detestable things they have done. ...
My people come to you, as they usually do, ... to listen to your words
      but they do not put them into practice.
With their mouths they express devotion,
      but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. ...
When all this comes true - and it surely will -
      then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
  3328-33

 
Judgement of the Nations  25-32, 35         [Contents]

Ammon  251-7  (and Jer 491-6)
Descendants of Lot's younger daughter.
Naamah the Ammonitess was part of Solomon's harem and mother of Rehoboam.
They worshipped Milcom (Molech) and sacrificed their children to this vile god.
Ammon rejoiced with malice when Judah was exiled and Jerusalem destroyed.
Almighty God says, "therefore I will stretch out my hand against you and give you as plunder to the nations."
Defeated by Judas Maccabaeus in 1st century BC and ceased as a nation.
"Yet afterwards I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites," declares the Lord.
Ammon is now part of Jordan.

Moab and Seir  258-11
Moabites descended from Lot's elder daughter; Sier from Esau.
They said "Look, Judah has become like all other nations."
      It is true that Judah had rejected the Lord God and had done much evil;
            but they were still God's chosen people - and therefore different, special.
      God would punish them, but never give them up.
      He would one day bring them to repentance.
      They would soon see the Saviour of the world come into their midst.
Today the Jews remain God's chosen people - hated by all the wicked nations.
Soon the 'Lion of the Tribe of Judah' will return to Jerusalem.
      He will save his people, who at that time will be attacked by all nations,
            led by the satanic Beast.  Rev 1919  Zech 121-9 141-11  Ro 1125-32
The judgement upon Moab and Seir was because they said Judah was just like
      all other nations - they aren't, the Jews remain God's chosen people.
      Though Israel has not yet turned to the Lord and many remain wicked,
            God will never give up his promises to them.
Gentile believers have been ‘grafted in', we have not taken over God's covenant.
God's judgement of Moab and Seir show clearly that
      the Church and national governments need to be clear on this.

Edom  2512-14 35
Edom took revenge on the house of Judah and became very guilty by doing so.
Therefore the Sovereign Lord declares that Edom will know his vengeance.
Revenge in men is often the product of simmering hatred,
      and executed as soon as there is a perceived opportunity.
The Edomites descended from self-sufficient, materialistic Esau
      who cared nothing for Almighty God.
This Edomite characteristic is common today. Take care it does not infect us.

Philistia  2515-17
The ancient Philistines came from Phoenicia and were a thorn in the side of Israel.
Ezekiel reveals that they took revenge with malice in their hearts,
      and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah.
After the Jewish rebellion in 135 AD, Rome renamed Judea Palestine.
In 1964 Arafat began to call the Arabs in the Holy Land, Palestinians
      in a subtle effort to give his claim to all Israel some authenticity.
The Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hizbullah etc all hate Israel today,
      and like the ancient Philistines, seek to destroy Judah.
The Lord Almighty declares his judgement; he is king, not Allah.
The nations of the world that side with the modern Palestinians should beware.

Tyre and Sidon  261 - 2826
Ezekiel says much about Tyre and Sidon, whereas Jeremiah is silent
What had they done that caused God to say, "I am against you, O Tyre" ?  263
Tyre gloated over the destruction of Judah, no compassion for their plight;
      they rejoiced that it was an opportunity for them to flourish.
      Now that she (Judah) lies in ruins I will prosper.  262
They thought they were secure in their wealth, proud of their beauty.  2612 273
      World trade brought them amazing wealth.  274-24
But, and there is almost always a 'but' when men become wealthy and powerful,
      because of your wealth your heart has grown proud.  285,17
      And their trading became violent and dishonest.  2816,18
This what the Sovereign Lord says: "When I make you a desolate city ...
      I will bring you to a horrible end and you will be no more."
 2619,21
      I will make you a bare rock,
            and you will become a place to spread fishing nets.
 2614
      No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbours
            who are painful briers and sharp thorns.  2824
Like Tyre, Britain became a great trading nation, 'the workshop of the world'.
      And we also became arrogant - "Britannia rules the waves".
            But it is God who rules the sea, not mere men.
      We became violent and subdued nations by force of arms on land and sea.
      When we defeated the Turks in 1917 we published the Balfour Declaration,
            which promised to give back the Holy Land to the Jewish people.
            But we renegued on this promise, preferring to support the Arabs.
      As a result Britain lost her empire.
God will not be mocked by Tyre, or Britain.
Today in 2009 we are suffering a major 'economic downturn'. Why?
      Because we have rejected and blasphemed the Lord Almighty;
            homosexuality, abortion, greed, deceit, violence ... the list is endless.

Egypt  291 - 3232
Both Pharaoh and all Egypt said, "the Nile is mine, I made it for myself."  293,9
Therefore the Sovereign Lord was against them.
      Egypt will never again rule over other nations.  2915
They considered themselves like a tall, strong cedar.
      But it would be cut down; its majesty felled for ever.
God hates any proud, idol worshipping, presumptuous people.
Egypt was never again a world power.
      She was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, then Greece, followed shortly by Rome.

See also Jer 46-51
Ezekiel and Jeremiah clearly state that nations would suffer
      for their hatred of Israel and the God of Israel.
They did not learn the folly of their hatred in those days.
      And neither has any nation in the last 2,600 years.
Even in the church, these chapters are rarely, if ever, read or preached upon.

 
Ezekiel, The Watchman  331-20         [Contents]

Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel is called to be a watchman.  337 Jer 14-10
      A trumpet to warn the people.  see 316-27
      No one could then have any excuse.  335 Ro 120
As believers we are each responsible to be watchmen.  336
      We may not play as loud or as clearly as Ezekiel or Billy Graham,
            but we are called to be 'instant in season and out ...'  2 Tim 41-4
      When it costs to proclaim the cross of Christ as the only answer for sin,
            may God give us courage to be bold and not be ashamed.  Mk 838
      Let us be as Paul who declared, "I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes ..."  Ro 116

God's earnest desire is that all should repent; but most refuse.
Say to them, "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?"  3311
Some 'successful' preachers minimise or even bypass this essential message.
      It is not popular. They argue that their task is to build, to encourage.
      But without repentance there is no forgiveness.
      Without forgiveness there is no eternal life;
            the burden of sin remains,
            and enduring hope and trust in the Lord Almighty and his word is lacking.

Let not Christians become presumptuous.
Our righteousness is based solely upon the gift of Christ and his amazing grace.
If I tell the righteousness man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered, he will die for the evil he has done.  3313
As Charles Wesley wrote:
      Jesus thy blood and righteousness my beauty are, my glorious dress,
      Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed with joy shall I lift up my head.

Other foremost Watchmen include:
      Elijah, Amos, Jeremiah, Jonah, John Baptist, the 2 Witnesses in Rev 11
      All were unpopular with men, lonely, and faithful.

 
The 'Good' Shepherd  34, 36       [Contents]

Almighty God has some straight words for the priests in Jerusalem.
Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves!  342
They were like the sons of Eli who demanded the best bits of meat
      being sacrificed - roasted, not boiled.  1Sam 212-17
Years earlier Ezekiel was shown their idolatry, jealousy and violence.  Ezek 8

What did they do and not do?

You eat the curds, clothe yourselves
      but you do not take care of the flock.
You have ruled them harshly.
You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick.
You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.
 343,4

The result is:
They were scattered because there was no shepherd,
      and became food for all the wild animals.
 345
Math 936

No Law, no absolute standards, no godly leaders, kings or judges
      Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
      Idolatry, deceit and wickedness flourished.
      Justice and the Word of the Lord were abandoned.

Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:
      I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock.
      I will remove them from tending the flock.
 3410

What happens when God is against a ruler?
      He holds then accountable and often they are removed.
      God appoints kings, priests and leaders - and dis-appoints them.
      Though often we would want it to happen sooner than God's right moment!
Even the best leaders have 'feet of clay';
      so we wait and long with sure hope for the day revealed
      when the Lord himself will rule with complete truth, justice and righteousness.
      This is what our gracious God has promised.

Therefore
I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
I will rescue them.
I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries,
I will bring them into their own land.
I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel.
I will tend them in a good pasture,
      and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land.
I myself will tend my sheep.
I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak,
      but the sleek and the strong I will destroy.
I will shepherd the flock with justice.
 3411-16

No man can do what Jesus did and does.
      He searches and he rescues.
      "There were ninety and nine that safely lay ..."   Lu 154-7 Jn 101-18 Is 409-11

Character of this 'Good Shepherd' is here revealed:
      He lays down his life for the sheep - nothing is more important to him.
      He stands his ground whatever the cost when attacked.
      He speaks to his sheep, and they hear him.
      He speaks for his sheep as an Advocate.
      He defends them when any seek to destroy their lives.
      He leads them and they follow because they know him.
      He tends, feeds and heals.
      He maintains justice.
      He destroys oppressors.
All this Jesus Christ continually does for us. What a Saviour!

Today the Jews are giving away much of the 'mountains of Israel'
      Rabin gave 27% of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians.
    In July 2000 Barak tried to give away 98%, but Arafat rejected the offer.
      However much is given to the Arabs (e.g. Gaza), they will always want more.
      But one day it will all belong to the Jews again - for ever.

See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep ...
      I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered.
I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David.
I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them.
I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts
      so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety.
I will bless them.
I will send down showers in season, the ground will yield its crops;
      the people will be secure in their land.
They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke
      and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them,
      and no one will make them afraid.
They will no longer be victims of famine in the land
      or bear the scorn of the nations.
Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them.
 3420-30

To the Jews religion easily includes politics, agriculture and social structure.
      Indeed it must; else religion is just 'Synagogue on Sabbath'.
When their eyes are opened they will see what God has done for them;
      then they will know ... What a day!

In the next revelation there are two prophecies.
What is the context? What was happening on the world stage?
What was the Sovereign Lord revealing to his servant Ezekiel?

O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign Lord ... the deserted towns have been plundered and ridiculed by the rest of the nations around you ... In my burning zeal I have spoken against ... Edom, for with glee and malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession ... I swear with uplifted hand that the nations around you will also suffer scorn. But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.  364-8

Contrast this word to the mountains with that in 63-7
Why was God so against Edom?
It was with deep grief that God punished Israel;  69
      but Edom rejoiced to join in and plunder the land. (See "Two Brothers")
God's punishment of Israel, the nation, was not eternal.
      To both Jeremiah and to Ezekiel it was revealed that
            in the mercy and timing of God, Israel would return.

This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things,
      but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned ...
I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you ...
I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees ...
You will live in the land I gave your forefathers;
you will be my people, and I will be your God.
I will save you from all your uncleanness.
I will call for the grain and make it plentiful
you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.
Then you will ... loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.
I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake ...
On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, ...
the desolate land will be cultivated ... and has become like the garden of Eden;
Then the nations around you that remain will know

      that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed ...
I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.  3622-36

The day will come when Israel will not only return to the land,
      but they will walk humbly with the Lord their God,
      saved, cleansed from all sin, and living in peaceful prosperity.
This 2nd prophecy is comprehensive and much quoted.
      While it can clearly refer to the work of the Holy Spirit in new birth,
            we should always remember its context
            and thus its prime concern which is with the nation of Israel.
      If the church realised this, they would not have so persecuted the Jews.
      Lambeth '98 passed a resolution that Palestine should be a state
            with Jerusalem as its capital - governed by Muslim Arabs!

In the first return of 537 BC there was a repentance;
      and again 80 years later under Ezra.
      But the Oral Law became the Pharisaic law condemned by Jesus.
In this scripture God promises to change the heart. It is re-born,
      not by the will of man, but by the determination of the Spirit.  Jn 113
Though many in Israel today - after the 2nd return, rejoice in re-birth,
      it cannot yet be said that they are a holy nation.
      But one day they will be! God has said so.

 
Prophesy to the Dry Bones  371-14       [Contents]

Why were the bones so very dry?
      Judah had been dead to the life of God for a long time.  379b-12

He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"
      I said, "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know."
 373

God was about to bring faith for life where it seemed so utterly hopeless.
Praying for the nation is different from praying for individuals.
      Be honest with God - he knows! Don't pretend faith.
            If we don't know, say so; and seek God's answer.
God shows Ezekiel his long term plan for Israel.
Sometimes God reveals one step at a time, this is his overall plan for Israel.

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them,
'Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones:
I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.
I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin;
I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.
Then you will know that I am the Lord.'"
 374-6

See the importance God places on the prophecy.
      Ezekiel spoke what he had clearly heard. (Like Elijah in  1 Kg 171)
            What did he hear? "The word of the Lord."
            The same creative word that brought life in the beginning.
                  "And God said ..."  Gen 13,6,9 ...
      The miracle of new birth is by the same 'Word of God.'
This prophecy is about the life of God coming into the soul of man -
      Individually and for Israel as a nation (at the end.  Ro 1125,26)
      Then we will see the 'testimony of Jesus' fulfilled.  Rev 1910
            What was prophesied will have come to pass.
Ezekiel prophesied as commanded,
      but in his vision it didn't all happen at once.

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.  377,8

What does it mean for the bones to come together?

1.  See truth instead of confusion.  Gen 117 Is 3411
            "Once I was blind, now I can see ..."  Jn 925
            Once it was all questions and no answers (like much psychology)
                  But all who have drunk the living water never thirst again.  Jn 414
            It do esn't mean that there are no more questions,
                  nor that there is never an aching for God,
                  but we have the assurance of forgiveness and the sure hope of life.

2.  Gathering together of Israel, as yet mostly without life (no breath).
            They returned in 538BC and just over 500 years later the Messiah came.
            He spoke the word of God, gave his own life, rose and brought salvation.
                  Only a few Jews believed, not the nation.
            And these first Jewish believers brought that life of God to the world.
                  But it would not fulfill this prophecy.
            Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews exiled in 70 AD and 135 AD.
      The 20th Century saw a 2nd gathering - not yet complete.
            And Israel became a nation again.
            The bones are still coming together - about 60,000 immigrants /year.
      But only a few thousand Jews believe in Jesus their Messiah and Saviour.

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet - a vast army.  349,10

Breath is the same word as wind or spirit in Hebrew.
      It is more than mere physical life, it is the Spirit who enables new-birth,
            without which no man can even see the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
 (So Jesus told him how)
'The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.'  Jn 33,5-9,15

Here he is told to prophesy to the Breath, not to the bones.
      New birth is given by the power of the Spirit, not by the will of man.

Since Adam's disobedience, all men remain 'slain'.
      We are dead in trespasses and sin.  Eph 21)
      God fulfilled his promise: when you eat of it you will surely die.  Gen 217
Like dry bones, they are lifeless, having no relationship with God.

Ezekiel is shown how life (breath) may enter into a man again:
            by prophecy, by the word of God.

This prophecy may be applied to any individual, upon whom the Spirit of life
      comes and the salvation of Christ is revealed and believed.
      But it is primarily concerned with the nation of Israel.  3711
      The Spirit will convict men of sin, righteousness and judgement.  Jn 168
            Conviction of sin will lead men to repent.
            Such men will see God's righteous judgement - and weep.
            They will also the righteousness of Christ crucified for sinful men;
            How Jesus bore the just judgement on our behalf,
            And thereby we receive his forgiveness and his righteousness.
                  "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."  Ro 623

The salvation of Israel will be even greater
      than Lazarus being commanded to come out of the tomb.
      He was but one man, at the end there will be an army.
      And this refers to the raising to eternal life, not just to mortal life.
      Such is the power of the Spirit, the breath of the Sovereign Lord.
      And such is the effective, all sufficient sacrifice of Jesus for our sin.

At Pentecost, God poured out his Spirit upon the Apostles and 3000 believed.
      For nearly 2000 years God has continued to pour out his Spirit.
      Yet this prophecy concerning the breath of God is still only partially fulfilled.
In the light of such words (3713,14 and Math 2752) let us be patient;
      sure that one day it will be completed!  3627-30 Rev 204 Jn 524

Who is seen at the head of this vast army?
      Jesus Christ!  Rev 1911-16

In that day all the nations will honour the Jews instead of hating them.

 
The Lord will make Israel Holy  3715-28       [Contents]

What will happen in that great day when the gathered bones receive life?
How different will it be to Ezekiel's day, or today?
He is shown two sticks representing Judah and Ephraim;
      they are bound together and become one.
The Sovereign Lord says, "I will gather them and make them one nation."  3721,22
      There will continue to be variety and diversity, but no longer division.
      No longer jealousy, hatred or anger; instead they will seek each other's good.
They will live together on the mountains of Israel - Judea and Samaria today.
      This is instructive in today's pressure to give away this land to Arabs.
There will be one king over all of them.  3722
      And that king will be Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

They will no longer defile themselves with their idols ...
I will save them from their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them ...
They will follow my laws ...
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant ...
My dwelling place will be with them;
I will be their God and they will be my people ...
I the Lord will make Israel holy ... for ever.
 3723-28

How can such a transformation take place?
      Can this be 'for real'; or is it just a dream?
The Lord Almighty has emphatically and clearly promised this glorious day.
      He will fulfill it completely, and precisely on time.
What about the Gentiles who believe?
We will be granted the privilege of being grafted into this true Israel.  Ro 98 1012
When these days come the ongoing war against sin will end;
      no more will we be even tempted.
God's desire for a holy people to dwell with will finally be fully realised.
Meanwhile may this clear vision and sure promise
      encourage us to fight on and proclaim the truth by our lives and words,
      to love and trust and obey Jesus,
      he who redeemed, enables and protects us.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide with him always, and feed on his word,
Make friends of God's children; help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek.

 
Gog and Magog  38, 39       [Contents]

Only mentioned here and in Rev 208
      sandwiched between dry bones and new Temple. Why?
      Ezek 1-20 is chronological
      Ezek 21-33 is mixed,
      Ezek 34-48 concerns the Messiah - his first and second coming. (as Dan 9-12)

There remains much debate over 'who' and 'when'.

Who?
Gog and Magog, Meshech and Tubal - each a place or a people?
      Not known, though many try to identify with Germany and Russia.
      If we needed to know, God would have made it clear.
      They are from 'the far north'.  3815
And with them are 'many nations'  386,9
      People from Persia (Iran/Iraq), Cush (Egypt) and Put (Libya).
      People from East, South and West. i.e. all the nations of the world.

When?
'After many days'.  388
      So these events obviously occur at the end of time.
They attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people ... without walls.  3811
      who had been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate.  388

Today Israel, though gathered, are not peaceful or unsuspecting;
      they cannot afford to be.
They are rightly suspicious of the intentions of all other nations -
      Europe, Russia, the Arab nations and the Palestinians.
In the last 60 years they have been attacked in 3 major wars (1948,1967 and 1973).
      They have no friendly neighbours; near or far.
      They certainly have and need their 'walls' - i.e. a very effective IDF!
At the end of the Millennium during which the Lord reigns in Jerusalem,
      the world will be a very different place.
      They will have beaten their swords into ploughshares
            and will not need to learn war any more.  Is 24
We may well like this to be in our day, now,
      but scripture places it only at the end of time when the Lord returns to reign.
And this war is at the end of that Millennium reign.  Rev 207,8
The attack of Antiochus IV upon the Jews in 167 BC did not fulfill all this,
      nor has it been fulfilled at any time since.

What prompted the attack?
The hatred of man for the way of God is universal and unending.
Yet Almighty God has the right to choose, and to say what is right and wrong.
      Men today say it is wrong to discriminate using gender or nationality.
      Wicked men reject the created order of God and the Law of God.
      They ignore what God says is wrong,
      They experiment, find sin is pleasant - 'Pleasing to the eye'
            (Never mind the consequences - long or short term)
      They blame God, (and others) for the consequence of their sin.
      When Jesus was tempted, he said immediately and boldly,  Math 44,6,7
            'It is written'. It is true. 'the Word of God abides for ever.'  1 Pe 124,25
Be warned; when men turn away from God and rebel,
      there comes a day when God rejects them; and he removes his protection.
      The end is always disaster. Eternal disaster.  Ro 126,28

Here, Gog, Magog rebel against the rule of Christ.
      Satan, the great deceiver is released and leads men in their rebellion.
      Does he really think he can defeat the 'King of Kings'? Ridiculous!
Let none of us ever think he is immune from Satan's temptation.
      Learn to recognise it quickly.  2 Co 104,5
      Fight it with the right weapons.  Eph 610-18
      Repent, don't just feel sorry.  2 Co 710
When Jesus came he offered men peace and reconciliation.
      But it was not the sloppy peace that the world passes for reality.
      He said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.
            I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
 Math 1034
      His sword separates truth from deception, reality from a dream.
            It divides men into believers and unbelievers. The Living from the dead.
Gog brings the nations against King Jesus in Jerusalem;
      it reveals their true heart of rebellion and endless greed.  3812,13
      Also their continued idolatry.  Col 35
      Satan makes his final bid for the land of Israel and the chosen people.
One might have thought that with Jesus himself reigning, no man would rebel.
      They did at his first coming, and they will when he comes again.
      Never be surprised at the depth of inbred sin.

Note that Satan attacked when he thought that they were defenceless.
      He could not attack Jesus in heaven.
      He tried when Jesus first came to earth as a man.  Lu 413
      And now, having been released from the Abyss, he tries again.  Rev 207,8
The Good Shepherd NEVER leaves his people defenceless.  Lu 2136 1 Co 1013

What will be the result of this amazing onslaught by wicked men?
God declares that he is against them. 391
      And that his 'hot anger will be aroused.'  3818
Like Elijah and the 2 Witnesses, God brings down fire from heaven.
      Also a great earthquake, hail, flood and 'infighting'.
      On this occasion God's people did not have to fight.
For 7 months they had to collect and bury the dead to cleanse the land.
For 7 years they used their wooden(?) weapons for fuel.
All men will know that God is :
      mighty  3913,21
      holy  397,25,27
      punishes sin  3923,24
      faithful  3928
      compassionate  3925
      and he will pour out his Spirit  3929

At the end of the Great Tribulation when Jesus comes again
      he fights against the Beast, the False Prophet and the nations. Rev 1911-21
      And he uses a sword to defeat them, not fire.
      The two of them are thrown in to the eternal lake of fire.
At the end of the Millennium it is Satan who is released
      He is defeated by the fire of God,
      and is 'thrown into the lake of burning sulphur,
      where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.'
 Rev 2010
These two battles are different and separated by a 1000 years.
With Rev 19, 20 God makes it clear when these momentous events will happen.
      But not all Christians agree on this matter!

After Gog Magog, John is shown the new heaven and the new earth.  Rev 21,22
      Then time will be no more, neither will there be any sin or temptation.
      Only God living with his perfected saints for ever.

Some say this sure and certain hope is just 'pie in the sky, by and by'.
      We will see!

 
The New Temple  40-46         [Contents]

3 chapters of measurements and description.  40-42
Why included in scripture? Never built, and unlikely to be.
Ezekiel sees the glory of the Lord return and fill the temple.  434,5 444
      Exiled and with the temple and city destroyed 14 years earlier;
            God had not finished with his chosen people.
      God has compassion for them. His desire and plan is for their return.

Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple - its arrangement, its exits and entrances - its whole design.  4310,11

God's purpose for this detailed view of the temple was twofold:
      to make the people ashamed of their sins
      to remind them of the purpose of the temple - the forgiveness of sin
            by the full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God,
            and his presence with them for ever to guide and protect.

Only then does he continue with the description of the altar and the sacrifices.
To all who looked beyond the sacrifice of bulls and goats,
      and sought 'a better sacrifice'
            were given assurance of sins forgiven.  Heb 9

Ezekiel's temple vision was not a literal prophecy of a building
      that would replace Solomon's Temple,
      but a vision, 'a copy', 'a shadow' to help us see the real thing.  Heb 924 101
      It was to reveal man's need for a perfect Redeemer
            and to enliven for ever the desire of men for God himself.

God's declared purpose was to enable the people to be acceptable.  Eph 13-8

" ... Then I will accept you, declares the Sovereign Lord."  4327b and 2041

O how foolish is the man who rejects such an offer from the Living God.
      He can give no better gift to his creation, no greater privilege.

This is the final message of Ezekiel - almost the final message.

The Golden Gate.  441-3
The present Golden Gate is not the same gate that Jesus entered.
      It was built in 630 by Heraclius the Byzantine emperor
            for him to triumphantly enter.
      So these verses cannot refer to a literal gate in a literal E. wall of Jerusalem.
      But this should not surprise us as Ezekiel's Temple vision
            is not prophetic to a literal temple but to an effective sacrifice for sins.
      Golgotha is N. of the City;
            this is where the Saviour opened the gate of heaven to all believers.
            It was from there while nailed to a cross that he rent the Temple veil.
When Jesus comes again and stands on the Mt of Olives
      will he enter by the Golden Gate? Will the abomination, the Dome of the Rock
             and the El-Aksa mosque, still be standing?
[all the other Old City walls of Jerusalem were (re)built by the Turks in 1517]

The 'portico' the Lord left by is the same as that through which he will return.
      This is confirmed by the angels to the amazed Apostles.  Act 19-11

"No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary ..."  449

Only the born again can enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jn 33
      The circumcised Jew but uncircumcised in heart will not enter.  Ro 225-27 411  Col 311
            (They did in the literal Temple - and Jesus threw them out!)
      The uncircumcised Gentile but circumcised in heart is allowed to enter.
            'The first shall be last and the last first.'  Lu 1323-30
Ezekiel's prophetic vision is not literal but symbolic.
      Failure to understand this has caused much disagreement among Christians.

The function of priests in his vision was only until the time
      when Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for sin, came.  4410-31 Heb 711-28
      Some Christians think that the Temple must be rebuilt before Jesus comes.
            For 2000 years there has been no need for a Temple for sacrifices.
            There never will be a need for one now. Jesus is our great High Priest.
                  His sacrificial offering was full, perfect and complete.  Heb 97-15
            The first tabernacle was an illustration, through which the Holy Spirit
                  was showing us the way into the Most Holy Place.

Similarly for the division of land  451-8
fair trade  459-12
feasts  4513 - 4615
inheritance gifts  4616-18
and priest's kitchens  4619-24

 
The River  471-12       [Contents]

The Source of Water and its Use.

They have forsaken me, the spring of living water.  Jer 213 1713

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.  Zech 148

Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. ... Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."  Jn 410-14

For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  Rev 717

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  Ps 464

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  Rev 221

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  Is 123

In each of these quotes there is one Source, the Lord, the Giver of Life.
Even in Jn 738 the living water has it origin in Christ.
      The 'living water' can only flow from within those who believe in him.

Some unbelievers may have a form of happiness, be interesting
      and pleasant personalities, successful, effective leaders etc;
      and yet be utterly devoid of the life of God.
At the end, if not before, their real life value will be revealed.

The river of God is the only water that can give and sustain life for ever.
Men may try acupuncture, hypnotherapy, normal or alternative medicine,
      but at best each will only last for a season.
The life and healing of God is permanent and eternal.
It is true that Naaman found healing in the muddy Jordan river,
      Elisha made the water at Jericho whole with a bowl of salt,
      and a blind man was healed when he washed in the pool of Bethesda;
      but each was only a physical healing.
            Naaman and the blind man both died - so did Lazarus, he died twice!

Ezekiel sees the river of God that brings wholeness of body, soul and spirit.
      Jesus demonstrated the use of this river
            and his servants, by the Spirit of God, have continued to do so.
But all that we now experience is 'in part',
      'we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror'.  1 Co 1312

The vision is not literal, but it is real and will be totally fulfilled.
A young boy may be thrilled with his bit of wood and a few nails
      that is his space ship or battleship.
      For him it is real; he uses his imagination.
So with this vision of the city, the river and the land.
The final reality will be much bigger and better than Ezekiel is able to describe.
There may or may not be an actual river of water, but there will be healing.

It is unlikely that there will ever be a 3rd Temple,
      but there is now and always will be Jesus Christ,
            a once for all complete sacrifice for sin.  Heb 727 912,26 1010,12
      What need is there for any further sacrifices?

Let us open our eyes to see the sure hope of this total fulfilment.
      Do not be distracted by the details of the 'wood and nails'.

The river became deeper and could not be crossed.
      The power of God to heal is never too little or exhaustible.

The leaves of the trees do not wither, neither does their fruit ever fail.
      The power of God to heal is consistent and never refused.

And most important is the conscious reality that 'The Lord is there'.  4835
      He will be seen and heard and felt.
      He will teach and lead.
      He will guide, inspire and enable.
      He will protect and strengthen.
      'Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.'  Exd 258
      This was always God's intention

What will Jesus do when he comes again? Why will he come?
      To usher in the Kingdom of God on earth as never before seen.
            He will fulfill the oft repeated prayer, 'thy kingdom come ...'
      'To bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.'  Heb 928

Melchizedek, the King of Salem will be the King of Jerusalem.
      'The Prince of Peace' will be King and Priest.  Zech 6 11-13
      Then men will never again need swords or guns.  Is 24

The history of the city in the Millennium
      will be very different from the previous 3000 years!
      (During which it was fought over and changed hands >40 times!)
 

Relevance of Ezekiel Today         [Contents]

The righteous and zealous King Josiah reigned for 31 years (640-609 BC);
      he did much to bring the people back to the Lord God.
But he was followed by Jehoiakim (609-598) and then Zedekiah (597-586)
      who led the people in 23 years of unholy disaster.
      Not that the people needed much encouraging in that direction.
The reforms under Josiah did not greatly affect the hearts of the people.
In the late 19th and 20th Centuries many missionaries and ministers were called:
      Ryle, Studd, Hudson Taylor, Billy Graham, C.T.Studd, George Verwer, ...
Even today God has not left us without a faithful witness of Jesus Christ.
      But Great Britain has lost her empire and embraced secularism.
      Militant Islam and the New World Order threaten to rule the world.
            Just as Babylon did in Ezekiel's day.

Why is Ezekiel so relevant today?
He removes false hope in man’s ability to earn his salvation;
      no good done is enough to win a place in heaven.
      Neither will just church-going (or Jewish sacrifices in the Temple).
He reveals the false values of materialism.
He preaches against the same sins common to man then and now:
      money, sex, power, falsehood, greed, violence, blasphemy, humanism.
He reveals sin as sin, and its inevitable consequence;
      and the absolute necessity of salvation.
Exiled in Babylon he saw a disillusioned and despairing generation,
      a people who needed real hope for the future.
He saw God as being entirely just in his punishment of the wicked.

And Ezekiel also saw hope for the future.
      The dry bones would come to life.
      Gog and Magog would be destroyed.
      He saw a new temple that was incorruptible and would never be destroyed.
      He saw a new temple and river; new life that would be eternal.
Even in Babylon he saw the future in the hands of Almighty God.
      He knew it would not be fulfilled in his day.

And now, 2,600 years later, we still await the day when God will bring it to pass.

Jesus Christ remains the one and only hope of our salvation.
Only he can save.
Only he can be our effective Redeemer and Advocate.

The Sovereign Lord remains faithful and just.
He will make the dry bones live.
He will build his eternal kingdom.
His river and Temple will he heal and refresh.
Though it gets worse before it gets better,
      the 'better' is fantastic and certain.

The Lord God Almighty is faithful,
      his word is true,
      the future is secure with him.

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