Ezekiel Chapters 27, 28, and 29

These next few chapters will finish up all of the prophecies against the Phoenician nations (Tyre) and then we will move to another meat of prophecies that will be against Egypt! Egypt has a lot of prophecies going against them, and the details are inquisitive.

Remember Tyre is on the Northern coast, and is one of the areas you probably learned about in world history growing up – they made boats, and as a result held onto trade in that area! They were a wealthy nation to say the least…and they were also abundant in false gods (Baal). Chapter 27 is a lament for Tyre. There is a great description of a luxurious boat, “Of oaks of Bashan they made your oars; they made your deck of pines from the coasts of Cyprus, inlaid with ivory,” Ezekiel 27:6. God is portraying Tyre as this boat because of their strength in boats, and to show that this region held the most power and luxury out of all of the other nations. Outside nations worked with Tyre by providing them military aid and giving them trades and sales, making the people of Tyre so wealthy and powerful. All nations were willing to work with Tyre out of fear, and all considered Tyre to be unbreakable. We all know however, that we are breakable within God’s Will. This luxurious boat in the lament (Tyre) will be taken out to the heart of the sea by the east wind (whenever you read the “east wind” it means God). All of the power and strength of the boat, from the ornaments to the experienced sailors, fell into the heart of the seas too. The wrecking of this powerhouse (Tyre) will bring such fear to the other nations, because the unbreakable Tyre was broken. The lament shows the fear of the kings of the other nations as, “the hair of their kings bristles with horror; their faces are convulsed. The merchants among the peoples hiss at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more,” Ezekiel 27:35-36. The writings of Ezekiel are truly beautiful to read, in spite of the destruction enlisted within.

Chapter 28 focuses on the prince of Tyre and the king of Tyre, as well as there is a prophecy against Sidon. Sidon is the city north of Tyre, and is also part of the Phoenician area. God addresses the prince of Tyre, for he acts as if he is a god, and God makes it known that the prince by no means a god. God even says that the prince is even wiser than Daniel and his wisdom has allowed him to gain so much power and strength, but he is still no god. God will bring nations against the prince of Tyre and he will die an unclean death by foreigners (his blood will be shed). When he is killed by foreigners, there is no way he can admit to being a god at that point. There is also a lament to the king of Tyre. God had been favoring the king  (Ethbaal) until he began to live a very wicked life. God had provided Ethbaal with everything that he could ever need, but he turned away from a righteous life, and then there is an analogy to Eden and Adam, and how Adam turned away from God when he had the whole garden of Eden to live off of. Overtime, the king made himself into a godly image for his people, in spite of God being the ONLY God. The king became so corrupt, and God will make sure that he fails and recognizes that he is not a god, only God is! The prophecy against Sidon is short and to the point. They will come to an end by pestilence and blood throughout the streets, which had all been directly sent from God.

God throws in some hope at the end of chapter 28. God said, “And for the House of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. They they will know that I am the Lord GOD,” Ezekiel 28:24. All of the prophecies that God has given against all of these nations will allow it so that no nation can bring down Israel anymore. There will be no pressure to worship false gods from the other nations and nothing can harm them negatively as a result of these other nations. The bad influencers were gone. Israel will come together one day and they’ll flourish while all of the neighboring nations will be in destruction because of God. Israel will return to power once again!

Chapter 29 begins the four chapters of prophecies that will go against the nation of Egypt. There are 7 prophecies throughout these four chapters and I will break them down for you. The first prophecy came in 587 BC, a year after Nebuchadnezzar laid siege on Jerusalem. He will take down Egypt easily, as if he was fishing with hooks versus His hands. They never tried to help Israel when they were in distress from Babylon, Assyria, and so on, so as a result they will be taken down righteously by God. Egypt had been walking around boasting about all of their strength and power that they had accumulated, and God would take all of this power away. The day that Egypt returns from the destruction which will consist of 40 years in exile (sounds similar to the Israelites fleeing Egypt in the wilderness for 40 years doesn’t it?). The second prophecy in this chapter occurred in April 571 BC, which means that this was 16 years after the first prophecy. Egypt will be given to Nebuchadnezzar, for Tyre had not gone through all of their destruction just yet. Babylon had been working for God, without realizing it. God used them to bring down the sword on the unrighteous, and fulfill His prophecies. Egypt is like a gift given to Babylon for all of their hard work of completing God’s prophecies. Without Egypt there is even more hope for Israel. We will continue with the downfall of Egypt next post!

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Phoenician boat. Source: http://www.oocities.org

Ezekiel Chapters 24, 25, and 26

I hope everyone has been doing well! These next few chapters will provide multiple prophecies against the nations surrounding the House of Israel. I highly recommend looking at my last post, for all of the nations/kingdoms are laid out well, and in more detail than the original map I posted at the beginning of writing about the book of Ezekiel. The maps will come into handy once we get to chapter 25 and through chapter 28!

But first, chapter 24 shares a parable of the siege of Jerusalem. The main symbol used is that of a cooking pot. All of the “good” pieces of meat are within that pot, and they are cooking away. The whole city is slowly but surely coming to ruin. Even as items are removed from the pot (symbolic of the exiles) there is still a buildup of rust or corrosion at the bottom of the pot. This rust is the guilt and injustice of the city – so when all of the people are taken out there is still justice that must be taken out on the city. God promises to avenge all of the blood that flooded the city because of His people. The imagery of blood returns once again, for blood running at the hands of humans is unclean and unjust, and God will bring righteousness. Once this pot (Jerusalem) is empty, the city will still not be clean. Even when there are strong cleaning processes, it is not good enough. God says He will not allow their actions to be cleaned until, “I have satisfied my fury upon you,” Ezekiel 24:13. After this parable comes a sadder story. Ezekiel’s wife died and there is even symbolism about her death. Ezekiel was told by God not to mourn her death, just like He cannot mourn the death of His wife (Jerusalem). Once God gave this prophecy to Ezekiel, Ezekiel woke up to the death of his wife. God also promises that those that question Ezekiel’s lack of mourning would lost their loved ones during the siege, just like how those that did not accept God’s justice would face destruction as well. God then brings back the covenant He made with Ezekiel previously at the beginning of the book, which was that Ezekiel would be mute unless God was speaking through him. God promised that a messenger would be arriving with the news, and as soon as that news is given Ezekiel would be able to speak once again. This would be even more proof to the people of Israel that God was speaking through Ezekiel, for Ezekiel share this news of the messenger and being mute with the people, for God was speaking through him so he was sharing the message from God.

Now begins all of the prophecies against the nations surrounding Israel. The first nation up is Ammon, which is east of Jericho. God will hand Ammon over to the people of the east. Ammon was excited and happy to hear of the destruction of the House of Israel, and provided no help, so they will be put to an end from God. Next is Moab and Seir which ware south of Ammon. They will face the same fate as Ammon – a nation from the east will take them down. Edom which is south of Judah, was going against Judah and Israel for so long, even when Jerusalem was being sacked. Edom continued to hurt Judah during that sacking, and made the destruction even worse. This anger Edom had for Judah goes all the way back to the time of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:23, 30). God promises that the Israelites will eventually come back and bring them down, and avenge for themselves through God’s help of course. Philistia was west of Judah and south of Israel and was one of the prominent enemies from the time of Saul, David, and Solomon. God promises that the sea coast that Philistia had control over would be brought to an end, and God will ensure it.

Chapter 26 is a prophecy against Tyre, which is on the northern coast and is what we would label a Phoenician society – think back to world history in junior high or high school, because they are the ones that were well-known for their boats and trade. Not only were they known for their boats, but also for their pagan gods. They were the head nation of the supporters of Baal (think back to 1 and 2 Kings, these were the false gods that existed throughout – especially think of Jezebel and Ahab). God promises that they will be destroyed from the North, which would be Babylon. They’ll be like a “bare rock,” Ezekiel 26:14. Meaning that they will have nothing to build upon again, for all vegetation and forms of prosperity would be gone. They will waste away in ruin, which is supposed to depict that they will be judged harshly against and reside in hell, for they will face the most dreadful end. In the next chapter (my next post), God will have more to say against Tyre!

Map for Ezekiel Chapters 25 through 28

Ezekiel has prophecies from God against various nations surrounding Israel and Judah. I am including a  map that shows their various kingdoms, so you all will know specifically where each kingdom is located…their location explains their wicked actions against God’s people primarily. Location is always key! There will be prophecies against Ammon, Moab and Seir, Edom, Philistine, and Tyre and Sidon (Phoenician States). This map shows all of the various locations and I will write in my next blog post details.

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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edom

Ezekiel Chapters 22 and 23

We are coming toward the end of the portion of the book of Ezekiel that focuses on the abominations of the people of Israel and Judah. Chapter 23 will give an interesting analogy… Ezekiel seems to be filled with some great analogies from God and they are interesting to study! First we have to focus on chapter 22 that will focus on the blood spilt in the city!

Like I mentioned in the previous post, blood is an important image within the book of Ezekiel and any time there is really a focus on blood and uncleanliness. Having blood on items can make things labeled unclean, especially if it is of blood of a murdered person, like was happening in Jerusalem. Blood was used in sacrifices to God, but it was always of the best lamb, or other animal being sacrificed. In Numbers there is a lot of detail on what is considered clean or unclean, but trust me when I say that Jerusalem during the time of Ezekiel was as unclean as possible. There were moral and ritual crimes that were a result of these false sacrifices, and as a result all of the transgressions went against Jerusalem as a whole. There was abuse to the weakest (think widows and children) and too many sexual abominations, and the people of Jerusalem take part in these unrighteous activities, when they could turn to God completely. They outwardly reject Him. God tells Ezekiel, “’Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you,’” Ezekiel 22:14. The people of Israel act brave, as if they could take on the Almighty God, but we all know that this is not possible and idiotic to believe so! Once again, we use ourselves as gods sometimes, altering God’s Word to be how we want it to approve of our lives, or thinking one rule from God is not important. Who are we to think that we know more than God?! How idiotic! Yet we have all done it. God points out that even the leaders of Jerusalem have turned away from Him (priests, princes, and prophets).

Chapter 23 revolves around God addressing both Samaria and Jerusalem. The eldest daughter mentioned represents Samaria and her name is Oholah, and the younger sister represents Jerusalem and her name is Oholibah. Both were loved and cared for by their mothers, yet they chose to whore in their youth with Egypt, and they bore children from God (Israelites). They had a covenant with God. Oholah was the first one to give herself to the Assyrians and decorated herself with idols. So God allowed the Assyrians to take control of her. She was stripped and humiliated by the Assyrians, yet Oholah had chosen to take part with the Assyrians. The Assyrians eventually brought horror to her and had her killed by the sword, and this can be read about in 2 Kings 17 – I blogged about it months ago when I was blogging about 2 Kings, if you want a quick recap. (https://nystime.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/2-kings-chapters-17-and-18/ )

Oholibah saw what happened to her eldest sister, but still chose to whore around with Assyria. Oholibah was more corrupt and full of lust than her sister Oholah. Oholibah chose to not just whore around with Assyria, but also with Babylon and Egypt (23:14). She did not hide her indecency and abominations, but rather showed them off with pride for all to see. It reminds of the stories of the concubines that resided in a home together within the Ottoman Empire, but they held themselves with honor and were open about their role as the emperor’s sexual partners. Oholibah felt no shame in her actions, even if the nations she slept with disgusted her. She was proud. God has all of Oholibah’s lovers come against her (Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt). The cup of wrath that the eldest sister, Oholah, experiences will be returned to Oholibah. Oholibah will die by the sword, for God is putting an end to her lewdness and abominations. God is making them pay for their idolatry.

The close-knit relationship of Israel and Judah cannot be denied, and they seemed to work together to be made into the worse nations as possible in God’s eyes. Just a great analogy!

Ezekiel Chapters 20 and 21

I hope that everyone’s weeks have been going well so far! Onward with the book of Ezekiel! We are almost to that second section, where it will be more hopeful and tell of resurrection!

The first prophecy for this post was given by Ezekiel five years before the end of Jerusalem. It is so interesting how historians and those that study theology can look at how the day is described, and can figure out what year and month, and sometimes day it was specifically. Anyway, the elders came to Ezekiel for advice on what to do. God out rightly says that He will not help the elders, and He breaks down all that He has done for His people. He constantly says, “I swore,” for He has a covenant with these people, and He has always done His part to keep it. God even tells the elders how all of these statutes and laws that He gave the people were grace, for they were how to be labeled as righteous. God did not have to give them laws that they needed to follow. They chose to rebel against His statutes and as a result, they are facing judgment. This rebellion has existed since the Israelites in the wilderness, after Egypt, and it continues and it won’t stop. God lists all of the bad things that the Israelites have done in rebellion against Him, and it shows how His mercy for the Israelites was truly incredible. An outside reader would be shocked after reading what they did in rebellion, and how they had yet to receive justice for their actions. For the longest time it was hard for me to understand how I could do bad things and I would still be saved because of Jesus. My guilt for my actions kept me back from a relationship with God, but God is truly merciful and we are blessed to have His Son to take all of our sins away. Grace and mercy are wonderful gifts!

God promises starting in verse 33, that He will in fact restore Israel. In spite of Israel and Judah trying to live lives like the other nations around them, God would still restore them. God is going to reenact Numbers 14:30 again, which was that the people would be in the wilderness (exile) and this generation would not be allowed to reenter the nation of Israel. God will not allow them to continue on profaning His name, so there will be threats against Israel and Judah from the North and the South and even within Israel and Judah. God’s power and authority will be shown by His actions, for only He can bring order back from the chaos!

Chapter 21 tells of the power of God’s sword. Previously He had been using the sword to fend off other nations from Israel and Judah, but now He will be turning the sword against His own people. What has protected them before, has now been taken away. Remember how in previous chapters, Israel has been depicted as a wooden scepter? Well this symbolism is back, and it shows how the people of Israel will be nothing compared to the steel sword of God! God makes it known that He will fulfill His fury, for He is LORD and can do so! He wants justice and He will receive it! God will give a pathway to Nebuchadnezzar, where he could either go toward Jerusalem or not at all. God will ensure that Nebuchadnezzar and the rest of Babylon will head toward Jerusalem, and the LORD’s sword will not prevent them from going toward Jerusalem. If anything, God will make it easier for them to conquer Jerusalem. God will allow His people to go into the hands of the Babylonians and they will be punished for their actions as exiles. Whenever I read these prophecies throughout the Old Testament, I feel like well yeah no duh these things will happen. It is easier for us to understand however than those living in Israel at the time. The reason that Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Amos, etc. are always repeating themselves, is because they give so many prophecies and warnings to the people of Israel, but they just don’t fathom God turning away from them, for God has always protected them. It would be like being an American citizen in this modern day, and never believing that another nation could come in and take over the nation. That is the power and strength that the people of Israel/Judah felt.

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Source: http://www.growingchristianresources.com/2015/03/the-meaning-and-significance-of-sword.html

Ezekiel Chapters 18 and 19

As we progress through the book of Ezekiel, there are a few things I want to point out. There are three main sections to the book of Ezekiel. These include: the first four chapters of Ezekiel encountering God face to face. The section section is up to chapter 24 and focuses on the judgment of Judah and chapters 25 through 35 focus on the judgment on His people’s enemies. So I just want to give encouragement that if it seems repetitive at this point, the subject will be changing shortly! I hope you are still finding it interesting at this point, which I am!

God points out in His message to Ezekiel that what is occurring to Israel and Judah is not the result of only one generation, but of all of the generations. It is like how the elderly always say, “This generation is falling apart…” when in fact they were the ones to raise us. It is all a cycle of generations. It is not like this generation within Israel at the time of the 500 BC are the reason that God is exiling all of them…. they are part of the reason, but the Israelites from the time of the Judges, to the Israelites in the wilderness, are all part of why God is punishing His people. God wants the people to know that they are guilty, in spite of a popular proverb at the time that said only the most recent generations are to blame. God explicitly tells Ezekiel what are considered righteous actions, while the actions of the wicked are listed as well. After he lists out all abominations that people can do against Him, He shares how they will be laying in their own blood by the end. Blood is a very common theme throughout the book of Ezekiel, and it represents all of the destruction that the people of Israel experience with the downfall of Jerusalem (many died by the sword, famine, or pestilence) and the others experienced pain in exile. God lets it be known as well that each person is responsible for their own actions, so if someone’s father was unrighteous, and they are righteous. God will not hold their father’s actions against him. This was obviously something that they were all concerned about at the time, because it is just really driven home in this book how the people cannot only blame one generation, and how His justice is in fact just!

God also reiterates something that is such a problem and acknowledged by many to be true, but it is not. God tells Ezekiel how the people that have lived righteous lifestyles and are good, but then turns away from God, all of their good actions mean nothing. All that matters is there intention and relationship with God…works righteousness is not a thing. Being a “good person,” means nothing to being a Christian and following Christ, unless you give your all to Christ. It bothers me when people constantly speak of how someone is so good, there is no way they would end up in hell. My thing is, the Word says that it is all about your relationship with Christ and God…not based on how much money you have donated. If you have no relationship then what you are doing is probably for yourself, not Him. Sorry, rant is over. God just wants us to acknowledge our need for Him, and how we must repent. He knows we are not perfect, but He still wants us to acknowledge His glory and amazingness!

In chapter 19, Ezekiel shares a lamenting poem. This poem had a common structure and style that was known amongst the Israelites at the time. There is a lot of symbolism so let me breakdown some of it. The lioness mentioned represents the nation of Israel or the city of Jerusalem. The cubs are the kings. The lioness raised cubs, and the cubs grew into lions that were aggressive. Verse 4 mentions the now grown cub being taken to Egypt, which represents Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31-34). The following verses discuss with symbolism Jehoiachin becoming king and then being taken into captivity. This lion (Jehoiachin) lived wickedly and caused havoc amongst the kingdom and then all went up against him. Verse 9 tells, “With hooks they put him in a cage and brought him to the king of Babylon,” Ezekiel 19:9. The city was once so powerful, but God (His Will) took away their power because of their exploitation of power. The city has now become like a vine with no power at all. It has no one to help, nor can it help anyone. All power is completely gone. Jerusalem is nothing now because of God’s Will just like they use to be so powerful because of His Will.

Ezekiel Chapters 16 and 17

Are you ready for some more analogies and imagery? There sure is a lot in the book of Ezekiel and we aren’t even half way through yet! J I hope y’all have been enjoying it much as I have been!

This is probably one of my favorite analogies so far and one that you have probably heard from the New Testament. Paul writes (Ephesians 5:22-33) on our relationships with our spouses should be with the faith and love that we give God, as well as the love God gives to us. As a spouse, you should do anything for your spouse in order to protect and love them, and Paul shows how the greatest example we can strive to be like is the love God has for us. The common scripture of the woman being submissive to the man comes from this passage, for the faith and love one has for their spouse is what we should have in Christ Jesus!  In this analogy, Jerusalem or the people of Israel are the girl and the husband is God. The little girl (Jerusalem) was abandoned in a field, without even being washed after birth. God wanted the little girl to live so she did, and as a result of God taking care of her, she flourished throughout her life. I like to think of how God saved the Israelites from Egypt where they were cast aside as slaves and useless, yet God found value in them, and rescued them to the point of Jerusalem becoming one of the most powerful cities in all the nations. God then made a marriage with the grown up, loveable, and flourishing girl, where He continued to adorn her with jewels and she was being treated like a queen. Although God, her husband, had provided everything for her, she chose to go to other men and whore herself out essentially. The people of Israel had God but they chose to give their focus and love to false gods. Reading this story, it seems utterly irrational. Why would a woman choose to turn away from a man that treats her like a queen and loves her beyond our understanding? So many do this, I know I have at some point. My desire for success and pride have been like me cheating on God. We all do it unfortunately, but luckily we have Jesus’ record, so we must try to keep our attention on God. Sin is irrational, just like this woman cheating on her adoring husband. This girl was willing to sacrifice her own children and ignore her husband (God), so that she can give her attention to her other men (idols, false gods). Eventually her lovers will humiliate and punish her, just like when we put our faith in our idols, it will backlash on us, for we can find no meaning unless it is from God our Almighty Creator! God still promises after this parable or analogy of the faithless wife, by saying God remembers His covenant with us all! He would eventually create a new covenant however, which will be, “an everlasting covenant…. I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD,” Ezekiel 16:60-63. What is new covenant God is speaking of? Jesus. Christ’s blood is our new covenant that atones for all that we have done, and shows the ultimate love and sacrifice of God for us! This analogy shows so much about sin and the love that God has for us, and as a result trust me when I say that my Bible is highlighted and starred all over this chapter in the book of Ezekiel.

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Image source: http://carbonfiberweddingbands.org/wedding-bands-2/

Are you ready for another parable? I am sure you are! The last one, was not enough for you… so here is one more for this post! God told Ezekiel to share this “riddle,” and it is once again intriguing. Let me just label out all of the players, because there are a lot of them and it was more confusing than the previous analogy. The eagle is Babylon or its’ leader Nebuchadnezzar. The cedar is Judah or the dynasty of David. An eagle comes down and removes the top two twigs, which symbolized the first step against Judah, which was to exile Jehoiachin. The eagle then replaces these top twigs with a vine, representing the low power of this person, for it was not a leader chosen by God but rather a man (Zedekiah) chosen by Nebuchadnezzar. All of a sudden, after this vine has been placed by the first eagle, another eagle arrives. This second eagle represents Egypt. The vine wanted this second eagle to help it, and provide it with sanctuary, just like how Zedekiah went to Egypt for support against Babylon. The irony is that the people of Judah were looking to Egypt, like God had told them to never do, yet they still chose to do so. They are going to wither away by the hands of Judah or Israel. God shares with Ezekiel how Jehoiachin would die in Babylon and Zedekiah would be killed in Babylon, just like 2 Kings 25:4-7 showed us. Remember, Ezekiel was giving this prophecy when Zedekiah was still in power and Jehoiachin was still alive. God does promise however to restore the cedar with a new high branch (a new king)! Who is this king? Jesus. This new cedar with its’ new high branch will act as the haven for all, and we all know that Jesus is the ultimate haven.

These two chapters have so much to say, and it is truly amazing!

Ezekiel Chapters 14 and 15

I hope if you have been reading along, that you have been enjoying the book of Ezekiel! Every time I think that I won’t enjoy a book, or get bored of it easily…. I am proved wrong. Ezekiel has some great symbolism that I have really grown to appreciate – without the help of a commentary Bible might make me feel otherwise, but overall I have really enjoyed studying this book so far, and there is a lot more to go!

Chapter 14 is going to continue the discussion of idolatry and the punishment for the elders that have taken part in said idolatry. God acknowledges in His message through Ezekiel that he understands that some people worship idols but in a private setting versus some who publicly worship in high places or honor the pagan gods. We all worship an idol in our private lives…. whether it be money, relationships, or respect. Our actions might make this worshipping of these idols evident, but not always. If a husband and wife constantly worry about money and want to make as much money as possible, I would say they most likely don’t exclaim it to all around them. What happens at home, can be different than what is in the public eye, and perhaps they spend most of their time together worshipping the idea of having multiple savings accounts or spending less money on items to save more money. The problem is their discussions should not revolve around money solely but around the glory of God! Anything coming before your relationship with God, and that you honor above God is an idol. God is telling Ezekiel that if the worshippers of idols come to him for advice and guidance from God, that he should turn them away. They are not genuine in the asking of their questions, so if Ezekiel helps them out then he would be a false prophet, for God has nothing for these people that have turned away from Him. God just wants these people to repent, so He can help, but they just will not.

An interesting point of view God gives in the end of chapter 14 about how Jerusalem will not be spared, is that He mentions how even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were present in Jerusalem, Jerusalem would not be saved. God is pretty much saying that the few righteous people within the city cannot save the whole city, in spite of what the Israelites continued to believe. Noah, Daniel, and Job were not even able to protect those around them…so how would the righteous be able to save the whole city? I love when the history of the people are used for God to support and explain His actions. It shows how history is all God’s will. The remnant that survives (remember Ezekiel focuses on the remnant often) will be glad to no longer be in Jerusalem, for that is what destruction the city of Jerusalem will be in. The remnant will understand God’s justice, for they will be able to acknowledge and view the wickedness of those that were in Jerusalem.

Chapter 15 is an analogy once again of Jerusalem being a useless vine. God depicts Jerusalem like the wood of a vine that is so useless, that not even a peg could be created from it. This represents how the Israelites have no intrinsic worth, but God gave them worth through His gift of grace. Now the people of Israel and Judah are exiled and the city of Jerusalem is half burnt, so they are even worth less than before intrinsically. God is allowing this useless vine to be burned and charred, knowing that once the people step back they will see how they are useless without God in their lives, for God has turned His back upon them. God has turned away from them because of their lack of faith in Him, and their faith in their “power” that in reality only exists because of God. We do this a lot in our lives without realizing it. We make our wants as priorities and believe that our bad actions are justified according to us, even though we are worthless in comparison to God… He holds all of the power. We would be nothing without Him, yet we act like idiots believing that our way of life is better than what God has for us. For instance, when you do something bad but you tell yourself “well I mean that was wrong but at least I didn’t do ______, and this other person did that so they are worse than me.” That is an example of how we make gods of ourselves in spite of us being powerless without God! This is what the people of Jerusalem had been doing, and we still continue to do to this day.

Ezekiel Chapters 11, 12, and 13

Details, details, details! More to remember and more to come! Details from chapter 8 will be reappearing, and I am sure more details enlisted in these chapters will show up again in later chapters. Ezekiel likes to bring more and more details up! Thank goodness for the Reformation Study Bible through biblegateway.com is all I can say! I will put the link on the bottom of the post!

Chapter 11 begins with a vision of God taking Ezekiel to the east entrance of the house of the LORD in Jerusalem and looking at the 25 men. These men were the ones in chapter 8, verse 16 that were admiring and worshipping the sun, one of the four idols that God tells Ezekiel of. At this point, only the poorest people of Jerusalem were left in the city, so these 25 men were the top of the poorest in Jerusalem, so they would be considered low class if it were not for the exile of all of the noble like figures and top figures overall. So these people that were once considered so low on the totem pole, so to speak, are now cocky and feel a sense of grandeur that they had never experienced before. God fills Ezekiel and makes it known that these new leaders of the city are by no means the “meat of the cauldron,” but rather the slain and exiled ones already were. God is going to make sure that these new leaders will fall to the sword or be exiled. Ezekiel was giving the prophecy to the 25 men, and Ezekiel knew many of them, having been a priest in Jerusalem beforehand. While he was giving this prophecy to the 25 men, one of them actually died while Ezekiel was speaking with the Spirit. Ezekiel brings up his fear of not having a remnant once again…I mentioned in the previous post how Ezekiel was always fearful that the people that were left of the tribes would die off…. God won’t allow that to happen though. Remember the covenant with Abraham. God ensures the people that He has already made sanctuary in the nations that the Israelites have been exiled to, and we all ultimately know that God will send Christ as the ultimate sanctuary for all of us! Ezekiel after being told this by God, for it was hopeful information, the cloud of the glory of God from the previous post officially leaves the city of Jerusalem and Ezekiel arrives back in reality in Chaldea surrounded by exiles, where he shares the news from God with them all.

God gives specific directions to Ezekiel in chapter 12! God wants Ezekiel to pack up baggage as if he was going into exile, and then leave his home in the evening for all to see. He must then dig into the wall and get out. God is wanting the people to watch Ezekiel and do the same – go into exile. They know Ezekiel is a priest and a prophet, and as a result they should follow him, but God knows that they are a rebellious house! God makes sure to tell Ezekiel to cover his face and not look at the land as he flees, for it represents how the people of Israel will not see this land again in their lifetime. Ezekiel even explicitly tells the people to leave Jerusalem, yet many rebel. God wants the people to know that when they disperse amongst the nation, that they will then realize that God is the ultimate authority! Ezekiel shakes as he continues his rations that God has told him to consume in chapter 4, for Ezekiel is now so weak. Ezekiel’s shaking and anxiety and fear represents how the people of Israel will face such famine that they will have anxiety over having the simple items like bread. To end off this chapter there is one more message…the version of the Bible I read is ESV but I like to read NIV and NLT to compare scripture because sometimes translations can be confusing, and others make more sense! ESV doesn’t have a separate section for this last bit of information but the other two versions I read did. This new section of the chapter discusses how God’s Word will be delivered and none of what He says can be changed! All of the prophecies that God will say, may not come to terms in these peoples’ lifetimes, but they will come into fruition!

Chapter 13 focuses on condemning the false prophets, for they are following their own spirit, not the Spirit of God. God sees these false prophets as separate from society and how they are useless, and God will treat them as so. God uses a great analogy to depict the worthlessness and untrustworthiness of these false prophets, by saying that the false prophets are like ones that repair walls with whitewash, but say they have fully repaired the walls with stones. They represent shoddy workmanship essentially. They give a sense of fake protection, but when struggles and disasters come, the sense of security is completely depleted. If a wall is repaired with whitewash and hail and storms come, the walls will fall apart almost immediately and as a result those in the shelter will not have protection. God promises to protect His people from these false prophets. All false prophets, from those in the temples giving false prophecies, to the women handing out charms, they will all be taken down by God.

Here is the link to the commentary that has helped so much with the book of Ezekiel: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/reformation-study-bible/Ezekiel

Ezekiel Chapters 8, 9, and 10

I hope y’all are hanging on to all of these details! As we will see in the upcoming chapters, all of these details will come full circle. So make sure to pay attention to the specifics, especially in chapter 8. They won’t really show up until my next post, but you will see…. Hope y’all are having a great week so far!

In chapter 8, God comes to Ezekiel again and this time it was when Ezekiel was in his house with elders of Judah. “The hand of the LORD GOD fell upon me there,” Ezekiel 1:1. God always touches or goes into a person that is prophesizing – it is the Holy Spirit. A man figure with fire below his waist and a bright glow above his waist, and he took Ezekiel to Jerusalem to the entrance of the inner court that faced north, and the glory of God was there, like from the previous chapters when Ezekiel saw it in the valley. Now throughout the rest of the chapter, the glory of God shows Ezekiel the four main idols throughout Jerusalem.

  1. The first idol is the image of jealousy (verses 5-6) and this image of jealousy represents everything that we put before God. These things that we worship above God, gives God a sense of jealousy because He deserves all of the honor and glory, not these other items or relationships. God’s glory should be in place of these images of jealousy, but He wasn’t. His own people were taking His glory out of His own temple!
  2. The second idol is the worship of beasts (verses 7 through 13). This is once again representation of the people of Israel worshipping everything but God. Within this image given to Ezekiel, God shows specifically the elders and leaders of the church taking part in this worship of the beast. Imagine the contamination of the church that can exist if its’ own leaders are worshipping beasts and not God. No wonder why God felt pushed out by His own people.
  3. The cult of Tammuz is the third idol listed in verses 14-15. Tammuz was a god of fertility and lord of the underworld to pagans, and many of the Israelites were worshipping false gods like Tammuz, and many others. They were putting their trust in false gods rather than the almighty, all powerful GOD!
  4. The final idol is an image of a group of 25 men worshipping the sun (verse 16). The group of men were completely turn toward the east away from the temple. They were in the temple, yet they were turn completely away from God, both literally and figuratively. The worldly things were more important to these men than God! God’s creation is being examined in this image, but it is the fact that the men are viewing the sun as a worldly item to worship versus worshipping it as a creation of God.

God makes it clear following these images that He will turn His eyes away from His people and show no pity for them. All of the people are represented throughout these four images (elders, leaders, men, and women) showing how all of society were taking part in these idols.

Chapter 9 focuses on what is to come to these idolaters that are throughout all of Jerusalem. An executioner is sent for by God and then six men came from the upper gate along with a man in linen carrying a writing case, and they waited next to the bronze altar to speak with God. The writing case contained all of the records or those throughout the city, and whether or not they were righteous or not. The man with the briefcase put a mark on all of the people throughout Jerusalem that were labeled as righteous so that when the six angels went around killing idolaters, the righteous will not be touched. It is like how as Christians that when we choose to given our lives to Christ, we are marked with Christ’s record and are seen as having no blemishes in God’s eyes. Jesus took our record and did not have the mark of righteousness. The six angels were told by God to follow the man with the writing case and kill all that are not marked, and show no pity. All men, women, and children not marked are to be killed. Ezekiel cries out in lament and fear, that God will get rid of everyone and there will no longer be a “remnant of Israel,” aka Israelites to continue on the population. Throughout the rest of the book of Ezekiel, he will mention “remnant” and his fear that it will disappear…this is what he is talking about. Chapter 9 ends with the man with the writing case returning saying that he had completed what had been commanded of him to do – all that were righteous had been marked.

One of the major details from chapter 1 reappears in this chapter. Remember the six angels with faces of different creatures that had the wheels underneath them? Well they return and are referred to as cherubim for the rest of the book of Ezekiel. If you need a reminder look at my post on chapters 1 and 2 – there is even a picture that depicts the descriptions Ezekiel gives. So God tells the man in linen with the writing case to grab coal from under one of the wheels of the cherubim and scatter the coals throughout the city. God’s glory then filled the room as a bright cloud, and the cherub gives the fire over that will consume the city of Jerusalem. There are a lot of great details about these wheels under the cherubim in chapter 10, but I won’t go into too many details. One of the most interesting aspects was however that the wheels had eyes all over them and spread throughout the city, because God is always watching (Proverbs 15:3).  The glory of God surrounded these angels and the Spirit was throughout them.

Here is another picture of Ezekiel with the cherubim, but within the valley from a previous chapter. I just like how the wheels are depicted…it is a sci-fi artistic drawing but it shows the surrealness Ezekiel must have felt. Source: https://sewayoleme.wordpress.com/2007/01/24/ezekiels-wheels/

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