Week #104; Wed, Dec 25: Ezekiel 1:1-8:18
M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S !
I. A personal Biblical yardstick helps study the Bible and God’s master plan.
A. Here’s one of mine for under your tree:
1. The Lamb’s Book of Life was compiled with our names before the foundation of the world.
2. Isaiah 14 addresses the war in heaven and Satans fall along with his not so angelic followers.
3. Lucifer’s pride escaped his internal controls and he and his followers exercised their free-will to contend with God over ruling God’s kingdom, a big mistake although God knew the outcome before hand.
4. The split resulted in a ratio of 2/3 of the angels opting for God’s side and 1/3 of the angels opting for Lucifer’s side.
5. When humans were created, God gave them free-will just like the angels.
6. Our free-will to exercise our choice to follow God or not has similar consequences as the angels.
7. Yes, Jesus died for all; however, God will only accept believers back into His pure kingdom.
8. God already knows who will become a believer and He sealed their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world; blasphemy results in a name being deleted from the Lamb’s Book of Life.
9. God does condemn some and does not want them back in His kingdom.
10. God wants a restored pure kingdom where He will know that believers want to be on His side and not Satan’s side.
11. So, our earthly environment is a temporary testing or proving ground.
12. Yet, God knows the eternal outcome of our free-will choices that we make now here on earth.
13. He is testing us now with His free-grace to make a free-will choice to believe in Jesus.
14. God sent Jesus to die for all, but we have to believe in Him and more than that, we must develop our relationship with Him from that point on.
15. Interlocking fingers depicts how tight our relationship with Jesus should be.
B. Inference: All Scripture (old and new) gets richer and richer, particularly if it is read as one voice of God from beginning to end.
C. Further, Colossians 3 isolates three important words: above, earth, and below. When directional labels are applied to these words, they render a vertical, horizontal, and transverse context for God, earth, and evil respectively.
D. So, the current Scripture topic can be analyzed in an X, Y, and Z three-dimensional Cartesian context as good, bad, or ugly, and mentally plotted by pinpointing coordinates for the following elements (see: www.jwaministries.net at paragraph 4.B):
1. FINDINGS: Abnormality(ies)?
2. CRITERIA: Basis for good results?
3. CONDITION: What’s happening?
4. CAUSE: How or why did the condition happen?
5. EFFECT: Impact?
6. RECOMMENDATION: Resolution for the condition(s)/cause(s)?
E. Assess and remember the slope of the topic’s curve; use as needed.
Ezekiel’s name translates to “God strengthens” and he was called to prophesy to the exiles for more than 20 years. He was exiled to Babylon with the people taken by the Chaldeans that defeated Jerusalem. He stressed the universal reign of God and his judgment and grace. Ezekiel wrote of God’s ability to restore his people and to dwell among them forever. He used visions and symbolic acts to describe God’s Spirit and the coming Messiah. (See illustration in this Blog on Page 7; Para. I. Books; Item F. Larkin for “Ezekiel’s Cherubim,” p. 2)
Ezekiel 1, Ezekiel in Babylon
I. “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.” (1:1-3)
A. Inference: “As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot. And they sparked like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of a flash of lighting. Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Whenever the spirit wanted to go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads. And under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight one toward another. And each creature had two wings covering its body. And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army. When they stood still, they let down their wings. And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads. When they stood still, they let down their wings. And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance (Jesus can be seen here). And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness all around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.” (1:4-28)
1. FINDINGS: The Spirit of the Lord coming on a cloud appeared to Ezekiel.
2. CRITERIA: God’s eternal master plan is becoming more apparent; His sovereignty is displayed.
3. CONDITION: The Glory of the Lord appeared out of a stormy wind
4. CAUSE: Time is near for the restoration of His exiled children and to prepare for greater things.
5. EFFECT: Repentance and restored relationship with his people are coming.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Welcome the Spirit of the Lord visualized by Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 2, Ezekiel’s Call
I. As Ezekiel saw the vision, he fell on his face and heard the voice of one speaking: “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.’ And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. And he said to me, ‘Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.” And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.” (2:1-7)
A. Inference: “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.” (2:8-10)
1. FINDINGS: God spoke to Ezekiel.
2. CRITERIA: Ezekiel got a “call” from God.
3. CONDITION: God needed Ezekiel to give his people, a stubborn people, a message of lamentation, mourning, and woe.
4. CAUSE: God was ready to move on the hearts of his people.
5. EFFECT: The Spirit entered into Ezekiel and he was given a book (scroll).
6. RECOMMENDATION: Ezekiel found a need to not be like the rebellious house of Israel and do what the Lord commanded.
Ezekiel 3, Ezekiel’s Call (cont.)
I. “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.’ Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.” (3:1-3)
A. Inference: “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel–not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart.” . . . “Moreover, he said to me, ‘Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, whether they hear or refuse to hear.'” (3:4-7; 10-11)
1. FINDINGS: God sent Ezekiel to the exiles to speak to them his word regardless if they were willing to hear or not.
2. CRITERIA: God needed a connection to his people; Ezekiel was it.
3. CONDITION: Ezekiel went to the exiles being lifted up by the Spirit.
4. CAUSE: God had a message for his people, the exiles.
5. EFFECT: Ezekiel went and dwelt with the exiles for seven days.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Ezekiel needs to accept the strong arm of the Lord.
II. “Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great earthquake: ‘Blessed be the glory of the Lord from its place!’ It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the sound of the wheels bedside them, and the sound of a great earthquake. The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon me. And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling. And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.” (3:12-15)
A. Inference: “And 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. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die, and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.” (3:16-21)
1. FINDINGS: Delivery of God’s word carries a heavy price that must be exacted by Ezekiel himself upon the wicked for not turning from his wickedness
2. CRITERIA: The wicked must turn from their wickedness.
3. CONDITION: Ezekiel was appointed as a watchman over his people.
4. CAUSE: God needed to execute justice on his people.
5. EFFECT: The righteous shall live if they do not sin.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Ezekiel must tell his people that they are under the watch of God and he will require the blood of the unrighteous.
B. Inference: “And the hand of the Lord was upon me there. And he said to me, ‘Arise, go out into the valley, and there I will speak with you.’ So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face. But the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and he spoke with me and said to me, ‘Go, shut yourself within your house. And you, O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people. And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God. He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.'” (3:22-27)
1. FINDINGS: The Spirit of the Lord restrained Ezekiel from reproving the people.
2. CRITERIA: The Spirit of the Lord led Ezekiel to act at his own timing.
3. CONDITION: Ezekiel was secured in his house and his tongue was mute until the Spirit of the Lord set him free and he was made to talk.
4. CAUSE: Some of the people were willing to hear the Lord, but others were not.
5. EFFECT: The Spirit of the Lord controlled when Ezekiel was intended to speak to his people.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be patient and wait on the Spirit of the Lord.
Ezekiel 4, The Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized
I. Food was in limited supply during the siege of Jerusalem because of their punishment. Ezekiel had to bear their punishment by lying on his sides for 430 days (a day for each year of their punishment; 390 for Israel and 40 days for Judah) eating only what the Lord commanded. “And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer, and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them. During the number of days that you lie on your side, 390 days, you shall eat it. And your food that you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from day to day you shall eat it. And water you shall drink by measure, the sixth part of a hin; from day to day you shall drink. And you shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it in their sight on human dung.” (4:9-12)
A. Inference: “Then he said to me, ‘See I assign to you cow’s dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.’ Moreover, he said to me, ‘Son of man, behold, I will break the supply of bread in Jerusalem. They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. I will do this that they may lack bread and water, and look at one another in dismay, and rot away because of their punishment.” (4:15-17)
1. FINDINGS: Conditions in Jerusalem were gruesome during the siege by the Chaldeans.
2. CRITERIA: Exile of the inhabitants was needed as punishment of the people for their sins.
3. CONDITION: The Spirit of the Lord leads Ezekiel to symbolize through reminder to the exiles what failed.
4. CAUSE: Sins of the people.
5. EFFECT: Exile.
6. RECOMMENDATION: The wicked must turn from their wickedness.
Ezekiel 5, Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed
I. More symbolism portrays the siege and destruction of Jerusalem using locks of hair to illustrate that done by fire, sword, scattering, pestilence, and wild beasts. “Thus says the Lord God: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes.” (5:1-6)
A. Inference: “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again.” (5:7-9)
1. FINDINGS: Jerusalem has not walked in God’s statutes or obeyed his rules, and has not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are around them.
2. CRITERIA: God will execute judgments for all of their abominations.
3. CONDITION: God will do with them what he has never yet done.
4. CAUSE: The people committed abominations against God, rebelling against his rules and doing wickedness.
5. EFFECT: God is against them; he will destroy them in true fashion without symbology.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Turn back to the Lord or burn, suffer the sword, or be scattered.
Ezekiel 6, Judgment Against Idolatry
I. “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before the idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars. Wherever you dwell, the cities shall be waste and the high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down and your works wiped out. And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” (6:1-7)
A. Inference: “Yet I will leave some of you alive (some must be preserved so God’s master plan can be fulfilled). When you have among the nations some who escape the sword, and when you are scattered through the countries, then those of you who escape the sword, will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols.” (6:8-14)
1. FINDINGS: His people conducted idol worship on the mountains of Israel.
2. CRITERIA: Worship the one true God in his temple in Jerusalem according to his rules and procedures.
3. CONDITION: His people turned to the gods of the people in the land versus the one and only God.
4. CAUSE: Failure to obey God’s commands when they entered the Holy Land after escaping Egypt.
5. EFFECT: God’s judgment against idolatry in Jerusalem and in the mountains of Israel.
6. RECOMMENDATION: All hearts need to be softened to permit God’s Spirit to enter and take control so they will know that he is the Lord.
Ezekiel 7, The Days of the Wrath of the Lord
I. “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘And you, O son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel: An end! The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. Now the end is upon you, and I will send my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all you abominations. And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” (7:1-4)
A. Inference: “Thus says the Lord God: Disaster after disaster! Behold, it comes. An end has come; the end has come; it has awakened against you. Behold, it comes. Your doom has come to you, O inhabitant of the land. The time has come; the day is near, a day of tumult, and not of joyful shouting on the mountains. Now I will soon pour out my wrath upon you, and spend my anger against you, and judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord who strikes.” (7:5-9)
1. FINDINGS: Wrath is coming on the people of the Lord.
2. CRITERIA: Wrath is dispensed on those who do abominations.
3. CONDITION: Abominations of the people of the Lord.
4. CAUSE: The people turned to false gods and abandoned the one true God.
5. EFFECT: Wrath on those who do abominations against the Lord; then they will know that he is the Lord, who strikes.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Turn or burn.
Ezekiel 8, Abominations in the Temple
I. Ezekiel felt the hand of the Lord with the elders of Judah sitting before him and he saw the same vision of the glory of the God of Israel there, like the vision he saw in the valley. ” (8:4)
A. Inference: “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, dig in the wall.’ So I dug in the wall, and behold, there was an entrance. And he said to me, ‘Go in, and see the vile abominations that they are committing here.’ So I went in and saw. And there, engraved on the wall all around, was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ He said also to me, ‘You will see still greater abominations that they commit.'” (8:8:13)
1. FINDINGS: Blasphemy by the people.
2. CRITERIA: Worship the one and true God of Israel only.
3. CONDITION: The people turned away to worship other gods.
4. CAUSE: Stubbornness and hardness of heart by the people of Israel.
5. EFFECT: God’s wrath is immanent.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Turn or burn.
II. “And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord. And behold, at the entrance of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty five men, with their backs to the temple of the Lord, and their face toward the east, worshiping the sun toward the east. Then he said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it to light a thing for the house of Judah to commit the abominations that they commit here, that they should fill the land with violence and provoke me still further to anger? Behold, they put the branch to their nose.” (8:16-17)
A. Inference: “Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.” (8:18)
1. FINDINGS: Abominations by the people of God.
2. CRITERIA: Worship the one and true God of Israel only.
3. CONDITION: God’s people turned away to worship other gods.
4. CAUSE: Stubbornness and hardness of heart by the people of Israel.
5. EFFECT: God’s wrath is immanent.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Turn or burn.
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