Week #105; Wed, Jan 01: Ezekiel 9:1-15:8
H A P P Y N E W Y E A R !
I. A personal Biblical yardstick helps study the Bible and God’s master plan.
A. Here’s mine:
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 9, Idolaters Killed
I. “Then he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, ‘Bring near the executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.’ And behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with his weapon for slaughter in his hand, and with them was a man clothed in linen, with a writing case at his waist. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. (9:1-2)
A. Inference: “Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his waist. And the Lord said to him, ‘Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.’ And to the others he said in my hearing, ‘Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.’ So they began with the elders who were before the house. Then he said to them, ‘Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out.’ So they went out and struck in the city. And while they were striking, and I was left alone, I fell upon my face, and cried, ‘Ah, Lord God! Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in the outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?'” (9:3-8)
1. FINDINGS: Abominations are being committed in the temple of the Lord and throughout Israel.
2. CRITERIA: The Lord has called up his executioners to kill those who have defiled the house, the city and the nearby mountains except for those marked on the forehead that detest the abominations that are being committed.
3. CONDITION: Ezekiel is concerned that the Lord’s punishment is too harsh and may result in the killing of the remnant of Israel that is essential for carrying out God’s master plan beyond the period of exile and all of eternity.
4. CAUSE: The vengeance of the Lord on those that do abominations.
5. EFFECT: No pity on those guilty of abominations.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Stand clear while the “man clothed in linen” does his work. [Jesus can be seen here]
Ezekiel 10, The Glory of the Lord Leaves the Temple
I. “Then I looked, and behold, on the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim there appeared above them something like a sapphire, in appearance like a throne. And he said to the man clothed in linen, ‘Go in among the whirling wheels underneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.'” (10:1-2)
A. Inference: “And he went in before my eyes. Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the house, when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. And the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord.” (10:2-4)
1. FINDINGS: Burning coals are spread over the city by the glory of the Lord.
2. CRITERIA: The sovereign God’s omnipresence, omnidirectional, omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-righteous power are on display.
3. CONDITION: The brightness of the glory of the Lord is an overwhelming presence and unstoppable power of righteousness.
4. CAUSE: The unrighteousness and abominations of the people.
5. EFFECT: The Lord is about to whet his sword.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Yield to the righteousness of God with repentance.
II. “And when he commanded the man clothed in linen, ‘Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim,’ he went in and stood beside a wheel. And a cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire that was between the cherubim, and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed in linen, who took it and went out. The cherubim appeared to have the form of a human hand under their wings.” (10:6-8) [See page 7.I.F. for Larkin’s graphic depiction of the four angels on page 2.]
A. Inference: The “likeness, as if a wheel were within a wheel” presents the omnidirectional context of the cherubim. (10:10) [A gyroscope comes to mind.]
1. FINDINGS: The cherubim go where the cherubim and the Spirit want to do God’s will.
2. CRITERIA: The sovereign God’s omnipresence, omnidirectional, omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-righteousness power are on display.
3. CONDITION: The glory of the Lord is out and about restoring righteousness.
4. CAUSE: The Lord is seeking to right all abominations with the power of fire and sword.
5. EFFECT: The Lord’s desire to restore righteousness is unstoppable.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Yield to the righteousness of God with repentance.
Ezekiel 11, Judgment on Wicked Counselors
I. “The Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the Lord, which faces east. And behold, at the entrance of the gateway there were twenty-five men. And I saw among them Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. And he said to me, ‘Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and who give wicked counsel in this city; who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses. This city is the cauldron, and we are the meat.’ Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.” (11:1-4)
A. Inference: “And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and he said to me, ‘Say, Thus says the Lord: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind. You have multiplied your slain in this city and have filled its streets with the slain. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Your slain whom you have laid in the midst of it, they are the meat, and this city is the cauldron, but you shall be brought out of the midst of it. You have feared the sword, and I will bring the sword upon you, declares the Lord God. And I will bring you out of the midst of it, and give you into the hands of foreigners, and execute judgments upon you. You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel, and you shall know that I am the Lord. This city shall not be your caldron, nor shall you be the meat in the midst of it. I will judge you at the border of Israel [Exodus 23:31 pertains], and you shall know that I am the Lord. For you have not walked in my statutes, nor obeyed my rules, but have acted according to the rules of the nations that are around you.” (11:5-12)
1. FINDINGS: Wicked counselors prophesied against the Lord.
2. CRITERIA: The Lord will judge the wicked that have not walked in his statutes.
3. CONDITION: Distrust is planted by wicked counselors against the Lord.
4. CAUSE: Wickedness and not walking in the Lord’s statutes.
5. EFFECT: Death on those counselors.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Ezekiel falls on his face and pleads with the Lord not to make full end of the remnant of Israel. He is fearful that the remnant will be snuffed out bringing an end to the people of the Lord and his plan.
II. “And the word of the Lord came to me: . . . Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (11:14, 17-21)
A. Inference: “But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.” (11:21)
1. FINDINGS: Hearts of stone that go after detestable things and abominations to the Lord.
2. CRITERIA: Hearts of flesh to be able to walk in the statutes and keep the rules of the Lord.
3. CONDITION: Hearts of flesh needed.
4. CAUSE: Hearts of stone.
5. EFFECT: Their deeds will be brought upon their own heads.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh.
B. Inference: “And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me in the vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to the exiles. Then the vision that I had seen went up from me. And I told the exiles all the things that the Lord had shown me.” (11:24-25)
1. FINDINGS: The Spirit lifted up Ezekiel and brought him into Chaldea, to the exiles for him to proclaim to them all the things that the Lord had shown him.
2. CRITERIA: Do what the statutes and rules of the Lord require.
3. CONDITION: Exiles need Ezekiel’s prophesy to initiate change and return to the Lord.
4. CAUSE: Those in exile and elsewhere did not follow the statutes and rules of the Lord.
5. EFFECT: Exile to Babylon (and other surrounding nations).
6. RECOMMENDATION: Welcome a heart of flesh and follow the statutes and rules of the Lord.
Ezekiel 12, Judah’s Captivity Symbolized
I. “The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.” (12:1-2)
A. Inference: “As for you, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile’s baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight. You shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile, and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who must go into exile. In their sight dig through the wall, and bring your baggage out through it. In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk. You shall cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.” (12:3-6)
1. FINDINGS: The Lord used Ezekiel as a symbol to the exiles that they must do likewise.
2. CRITERIA: Keep your baggage packed, eat food quickly, and drink quickly.
3. CONDITION: This vision is a future image prior to exile to warn the people that they will soon be taken to a new land as a conquered people of Babylon or spread among other nations.
4. CAUSE: The people are a stubborn people not listening, seeing, or obeying the word, statutes, or rules of the Lord bringing abominations and detestable things into their culture including false prophets.
5. EFFECT: Defeat and exile to Babylon soon; the cities shall be laid waste.
6. RECOMMENDATION: The time soon approaches for exile for all the violence and false practices in the land.
Ezekiel 13, False Prophets Condemned
I. “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel. You have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the Lord. They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares the Lord,’ when the Lord has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word.” (13:1-6)
A. Inference: “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord God. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God.’ . . . The prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her, when there was no peace (are no more), declares the Lord.” (13:8-9; 16)
1. FINDINGS: False visions and lying divinations are leaning on their own heart and desires rather than the Lord God.
2. CRITERIA: Lean on the real prophets of the Lord God.
3. CONDITION: The false prophets are using their own desires to mislead the people.
4. CAUSE: The false prophets used their own hearts to prophesy when they have seen nothing; the Lord has not sent them.
5. EFFECT: The Lord will not fulfill the words of the false prophets and he is against them.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Do not enroll the false prophets in the register of the house of Israel; do not permit them to enter the land of Israel.
II. “And you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own minds. Prophesy against them and say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew magic bands upon all wrists, and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature, in the hunt for souls! Will you hunt down souls belonging to my people and keep your own souls alive?” (13:17-18)
A. Inference: “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against your magic bands with which you hunt the souls like birds, and I will tear them from your arms, and I will let the souls whom you hunt go free, the souls like birds. Your veils also I will tear off and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand as prey, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” (13:20-21)
1. FINDINGS: False visions and divination were practiced by the wicked prophets.
2. CRITERIA: The Lord God rejects false prophets.
3. CONDITION: The Lord God turned his face from the false prophets that prophesy out of their own minds.
4. CAUSE: False prophets encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways.
5. EFFECT: The wrath of the Lord God was against the false prophets.
6. RECOMMENDATION: No longer see false visions or practice divination.
Ezekiel 14, Idolatrous Elders Condemned
I. “Then certain of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?” (14:1-3)
A. Inference: “Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Any one of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him as he comes with the multitude of his idols, that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols.” (14:4-5)
1. FINDINGS: Elders of Israel took their idols into their hearts.
2. CRITERIA: No idols (per 2nd commandment in Exodus 20).
3. CONDITION: The idols of the elders estrange them from the Lord.
4. CAUSE: The elders used their idols that turned into stumbling blocks and separation from the Lord.
5. EFFECT: The Lord will cut off such men from the midst of his people.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Repent, dump the idols and abominations.
II. Jerusalem will not be spared. “And the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.” (14:12-14)
A. Inference: “For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast! But behold, some survivors will be left in it, sons and daughters who will be brought out; behold, when they come out to you, and you see their ways and their deeds, you will be consoled for the disaster that I have brought upon Jerusalem, for all that I have brought upon it.” (14:21-22)
1. FINDINGS: Jerusalem will receive the Lord God’s disastrous acts of judgment: sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence.
2. CRITERIA: Noah, Daniel, and Job could not deliver Jerusalem from disaster.
3. CONDITION: The Lord God will deliver disaster on Jerusalem.
4. CAUSE: Faithlessly sinning against the Lord God with their ways and deeds.
5. EFFECT: Disaster for Jerusalem cannot be prevented; but some survivors will be left in it.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Repent, change the ways and deeds of the people.
Ezekiel 15, Jerusalem, a Useless Vine
I. “And the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest? Is wood taken from it to make anything?” (15:1-3)
A. Inference: “Behold, when it was whole, it was used for nothing. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it ever be used for anything! Therefore thus says the Lord God: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (15:5-6)
1. FINDINGS: The people of Jerusalem are faithless.
2. CRITERIA: The Lord God wants his people to be faithful.
3. CONDITION: The inhabitants of Jerusalem are no longer useful for anything says the Lord God.
4. CAUSE: They have acted faithlessly, says the Lord God.
5. EFFECT: I will make the land desolate.
6. RECOMMENDATION: Repent, return to faithfulness in the Lord God.
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