Highlights from Ezekiel

March 5, 2012 at 11:08 am | Posted in Ezekiel | 1 Comment
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One of the key themes of Ezekiel is reverence for God’s name. He wants His people to be identified by His name (Ezekiel 20:44). He wants His great name to be sanctified (Ezekiel 36:23). He will make His holy name KNOWN and everyone will know that He is THE LORD (Ezekiel 39:7).

Here are links to the previous lessons on Ezekiel:

1. Acting Out Against Acting Up
2. Satisfied Patients
3. Objections To the Doctrine of Everlasting Security Answered (Objection 2)
4. Beware the Full Focus
5. Are You a “Stuff”y Christian?
6. Son of Man
7. R.S.V.P. Before You R.I.P.
8. The Days Are at Hand
9. The Prophet “Paddles” His Audience
10. Spiritual Cheating
11. Face to Face
12. Salt or Scum?
13. The Difference Between a Brave Face and a Bold Face
14. Pining Away
15. The Water-Spirit Birth
(Ezekiel 36-37)
16. Touring the Temple
17. The Thousand Year Reign of King Jesus
18. God’s Plan for Water Pollution
19. The Grace of Running Water
20. The Grace To Swim
21. Swimming for Spiritual Fitness
22. Getting Your Feet Wet
23. Seeking the Source
24. Waters of Grace

(*) most-read post in series

The Days Are at Hand

September 8, 2011 at 11:35 am | Posted in Ezekiel | 7 Comments
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God had the prophet Ezekiel act out some of his prophecies. In one of them he portrayed a man sneaking out of a city under siege. II Kings 25 tells us that this prophecy came to pass when King Zedekiah tried to escape Jerusalem from the invading Babylonians, but was captured.

My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.

Ezekiel 12:13

This must have been a difficult prophecy for Ezekiel’s audience to credit. How would the King go to Babylon to die, yet not see it? The prophecy was fulfilled when King Zedekiah’s captors first killed his sons in front of his own eyes, then put his eyes out before they led him away in captivity.

The next morning Ezekiel performed another “action sermon,” when he ate his meal and drank his water while shaking and trembling. This portrayed the way the people in Jerusalem would feel while the city was under siege.

Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?

Ezekiel 12:22

God let Ezekiel know that the people had a proverb or a common expression about the prophecies. The fall of Jerusalem came about six years after this prophecy. Their saying was a little like our saying, “Tomorrow never comes.” God gave them a new proverb:

Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.

Ezekiel 12:23 (emphasis added)

In response to the people saying, “We’ve heard that one before,” God said, “The future is now.”

Ezekiel Chapter 13 goes into more detail about the false prophets. They substituted the concrete promises of God for the untempered mortar of empty lies.

Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter: Say unto them which daub it with untempered morter, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.

Ezekiel 13:10-11

“Untempered morter” reminds us of the New Testament reference to “whitewashed walls.” Jesus likened the Pharisees to “whited sepulchres.” The false prophets really come out of the woodwork when there’s a chance to make money. They are more interested in making “profits,” than in being true “prophets.” As an aside, do you know who the first capitalist in the Bible was? It was Miriam, Moses’s sister – she went down to the “bank” and “drew out” a “little prophet.” (Sorry, that’s joke #5 in the Official Preacher’s Joke Book, but I couldn’t resist.)

The sign of the false prophecies really getting bad was when even women prophets began to come to prominence.

Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?

Ezekiel 13:17-19

There are very few female prophets in Scripture, and there are restrictions on the roles of women in church (see I Timothy 2:8-15). The proliferation of women calling themselves prophets when they are really practicing cons or scams at best, and sorcery at worst, is one of the features of the so-called “prosperity gospel” or “word of faith movement.” There are ministries today which base their beliefs and practices on charlatans and false prophets like Aimee Semple MacPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman and Mary Baker Eddy and Ellen G. White.

Some of the Jewish leaders among the exiles came to visit Ezekiel in his home in Chapter 14. Ezekiel was not supposed to leave his home unless God told him to do so. When the leaders came to his house, God told him that these were some of the ones He had shown him in his earlier visions worshiping idols. God told him to confront them with the truth – even if it sounded like a word of condemnation.

Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;

Ezekiel 14:4

However, Ezekiel didn’t just tell them, “You’re busted. God knows what’s in your hearts. Now get out.” No, he tried to get them to repent.

That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.

Ezekiel 14:5

In Chapter 15 Ezekiel continued preaching to the Jewish leaders in his home. He had been “manhandled” by God in one his visions, so he had a healthy fear and reverence for God. The leaders came to be entertained, but Ezekiel compared them to an unfit vine – a non-fruit-bearing vine – fit to be burned.

Son of Man

September 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Ezekiel | 8 Comments
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In Ezekiel Chapter 12 the prophet Ezekiel begins to “act out” one of the prophecies the Lord had given him. At times Ezekiel was called to perform these dramatic “silent sermons.” On this occasion he played the part of someone sneaking out of a city under siege.

First, he sneaked out with a small amount of “stuff:” things that someone escaping would need for traveling. Then, greedily, instead of just escaping, he came back after dark, dug a hole in the wall of the house, and got more “stuff:” more material possessions. This time, when he came out again, he made a point to do it in a way so that everyone could see he had his face covered and his eyes fixed on the ground. God gave him a message to go along with this little dramatic skit.

There are times when God may call us to do something that will look strange to the people who are watching us. When He does, it is important for us to obey, but we also need to be prepared and give an answer or an explanation if some asks what we’re doing. Why do you dress the way you dress? Why do you carry that Bible around with you?

And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, Son of man, hath not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said unto thee, What doest thou? Say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them. Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity.

Ezekiel 12:8-11 (emphasis added)

God allowed Ezekiel to preach about the scene he had been performing. There are different views among Bible scholars about why God referred to Ezekiel by the title, “Son of man.” One view is that “son of man” was a way of contrasting Ezekiel’s humanity with God’s deity. Daniel was also called “Son of Man,” and it was Jesus’s Own favorite title for Himself. (See Luke 19:10; Matthew 8:20.) Some scholars think it is an eschatological title (that it has end times significance). Many times the title “Son of God” is contrasted with “Son of Man” in reference to Jesus’s role in the Kingdom of God, or as a physical manifestation of the Word. The Gospel of John starts off by saying that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, and goes on to tell us that the Word was made flesh. John Chapter 5 talks about Jesus as the Son of God coming to give life, and the Son of man having the authority – as the Word made manifest – to execute judgment.

Here is what I believe the primary meaning of the title “Son of Man” is in Ezekiel: It is a title that shows that “men” (human beings) are creatures made to be used by One greater than them. In the Bible, a “son” is “of the father.” So Ezekiel, while he is merely the son of a human man, is actually being used by God the Father. It is a title that reminds us that Jesus was the ultimate example of a Man allowing God to use Him. Remember, Jesus laid down His glory, not His Deity, in His incarnation. But it also reminds us that, as sons and daughters of men ourselves, we can also be used by One greater than us. As human beings, we can be used by our own flesh. We can be used by Satan. Or we can be used by God. We are not called “Sons of man” by God as our official title, but, even as children of mortal men, we can be representatives of God to men, and God can use us to influence other men.

The Grace of Running Water

September 18, 2009 at 8:25 am | Posted in BiblicalSwimming, Ezekiel | 7 Comments
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When Ezekiel was given the vision of God’s healing waters, he noticed that some of the waters were running out from the “right” side of the altar.

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.

Ezekiel 47:1-2

This meant that some of the waters were flowing on the right hand, as opposed to the left hand, side, from Ezekiel’s point of view. However, we also use the word “right” to refer to something that is “correct” or “proper.” Therefore, we may take these verses as reminders that God’s grace, like running water, if not impeded by some barrier, will naturally go where it needs to go. In fact, water will seek the lowest level. The place where people are at their lowest, where they are most in need of help, and often where they are most desperate, is when they realize they are mired in sin. A person’s “lowest place” is the place where he is most in need of God’s grace, and, like the waters in Ezekiel’s vision, God’s grace always goes to the “right” place.

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