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Book of Ezekiel
Chapter 11 . . . The prophet now finds himself transported to the east gate of the Temple, where he saw twenty-five men, and among them Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes (leaders) of the people, against whom the LORD commands him to prophesy, and to threaten them with the utmost calamities, because of their crimes. After this GOD Himself speaks, and shows that the Jews who would be left in the land, would be driven out because of their iniquities, and that those who had been led captive, and who acknowledged their sins and repented of them, would be restored to their own land. Then the glory of the LORD arose out of the city, and rested for a time on one of the mountains on the east of Jerusalem, and the prophet being carried in vision by the Spirit to Chaldea, lost sight of the chariot of the Divine glory, and began to show to the captivity what the LORD GOD had shown to him. This is the substance of the eleventh chapter.
We may see from all this was what prompted the LORD to abandon His people, His city and His Temple; were the abominations of the people in public and in private. But because those carried away captives with Jeconiah acknowledged their sins, and their hearts turned to the LORD, GOD informs them that they shall be brought back and restored to a happy state both in temporal and spiritual matters, while the others, who had filled up the measure of their iniquities, would be quickly brought into a state of desolation and ruin. This is the sum and intent of the vision in these four chapters.
Chapter 11 concludes the section of Ezekiel 8-11 with the departure of God's glory. That significant event is recorded in the last paragraph of the chapter; but before that, there are two extremely important messages recorded for us by the prophet: (1) for those remaining in Jerusalem (11:1-3), and (2) for the exiles in Babylon (11:14-25).
There are those who say that this is not a continuation of the vision that began in Chapter 8, but is another vision, because of its content. I disagree because: (1) there is no record so far in these chapters of Ezekiel's having been transported back to the Chebar; (2) when he was transported back to the Chebar, the elders were still waiting there for his vision to end and for him to explain it; and (3) the intense double message of the first 21 verses was extremely relevant to Ezekiel's ability to answer the questions of the elders that had brought them to Ezekiel in the first place.
These reasons, which to us seem to not have an answer, should allow us to receive this whole chapter as the final section of these four chapters describing Ezekiel's vision-journey to Jerusalem.
The practical divisions of the chapter are:
<><><>God's Spirit takes Ezekiel to the outer eastern gate of the Temple where he sees twenty five men, who seem to be government leaders of the nation, two of whom are named (11:1-2);
<><><>Their light hearted parable reflects their false sense of security is turned in the opposite direction, and becomes a prophecy of their doom (11:3-12);
<><><>Ezekiel's vision is confirmed by the sudden death of Pelatiah (11:13);
<><><>God comforts the exiles with a message of blessing and protection, identifying them as the righteous remnant (6:8; 11:13), and in reality, the true Israel of God, as a result completely opposing the claims of the crooked leaders in Jerusalem (11:14-21);
<><><>The Glory of God is forever separated from the secular Temple of Israel (11:22-23);
<><><>The Spirit of God transports Ezekiel back to his residence on the Chebar in Babylon where the elders are still there waiting to hear his message.
Theme: Prophecy against Jerusalem's rulers; Ezekiel's endorsing Jerusalem's destruction; prophecy against false prophets.
God's Spirit takes Ezekiel to the outer eastern gate of the Temple
Ezekiel 11:1 Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD'S house, which looketh eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. (KJV)
Moreover, the spirit lifted me up . . . from the inner court of the Temple, where the prophet was, according to the last account of him (8:16); it was the SAME Spirit that took him by the lock of his head, and lifted him up (8:3), and possibly in the same way.
And brought me unto the east gate of the LORD'S house, which looketh eastward . . . where the cherubim and the wheels were, with the glory of God above them (10:19).
And behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men . . . not the same door as in Ezekiel 8:16; for they were in a different place, between the porch and the altar; and were there for a different reason, they were worshipping the sun there. These seemed to be men of a different order, priests; while these were at the door of the eastern gate, sitting as a court of judicature, and were civil magistrates. Some say Jerusalem was divided into twenty four districts or wards, and every district had its own head, ruler and governor; and that there was one who was the president over them all, like the mayor and aldermen of a city.
Among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur. . . this not the same man mentioned in Ezekiel 8:11; he was the son of Shaphan . . . this man was the son of Azur, who was one of the 70 of the ancients of Israel, and one of the twenty five heads or rulers of the people.
*****The prophet was brought, in a vision, to the gate of the Temple where these princes sat in council because of the present difficult matters of the city. The Spirit lifted Ezekiel up, and took him to the east gate of the LORD'S House, where he saw twenty five men. We see how totally submissive the prophet was to the Spirit's orders and how alert and wide-awake he was on all that was shown to him, so that he could pass on what he saw. It was clear that these twenty five men were not the same as the twenty five whom he saw at the door of the Temple, who were worshipping towards the east (8:16); for those seem to have been priests or Levites, for they were between the porch and the altar, but these were princes sitting in the gate of the LORD'S House, to try causes (Jer.26:10), and they are here charged, not with corruptions in worship, but with wrong doing in the government. The two named were the most active leaders, and maybe because the prophet knew them.
Ezekiel 11:2 Then said he unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city: (KJV)
Then said he unto me, Son of man . . . He is either the LORD JESUS Himself, or, the Spirit of the Lord, that had lifted the prophet up.
These are the men that devise mischief . . . that sharpen their wits and search their brains about it. This is to be understood of NOT only the two that are named, although it may mainly be them; but is meant of all the twenty five, who thought they made schemes for the holding out of the siege, and for the security of the city, and of themselves in it, which was all stupidity and pride.
And give wicked counsel in this city . . . either in religious affairs, such as forsaking the worship of the TRUE God, and clinging to the idols of the nations; or in civil things, which follows . . .
*****These men met together as counsellors to advise the city. But in the LORD GOD’S Eyes, what they dreamed up was evil, immoral and wicked, so . . . their counsel was SIN. Their counsel was possibly similar to that prohibited in: Micah 2:1-2 Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand. 2 And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage. (KJV) . . .
They oppressed the people and even their heritage. Jer. 22:13 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; (KJV)
These leading men were using their position to enrich themselves. They oozed of sinful pride and self-confidence, while they disobeyed the commands of the LORD through His prophets (Eze.11:12; Jer.21:8-10; 44:11, 27). They were being disrespectful and rude and relied in spite of their own sinfulness and idolatry, on the unshakable idea that the LORD GOD would NOT allow their city and Temple to be destroyed. They were wrong!
Ezekiel 11:3 Which say, It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh. (KJV)
Which say, It is not near; let us build houses . . . meaning that the destruction of the city was not near, as the prophet had foretold (7:3); so the leaders encourage the people to build houses, and rest assured that they were safe from all danger, and had nothing to fear from the Chaldean army. Let us build houses . . . to build houses suggests a sense of security. Jeremiah told the exiles to build houses in a foreign land because they would be there for 70 years (Eze.28:26; Jer.29:5, 10, 28). These FALSE counselors (Isa.30:10; Jer.6:13-14; 8:10-11; 23:17, 26-29), promised their countrymen a sure and permanent home in the city which God had already condemned to total destruction.
This city is the cauldron, and we be the flesh . . . these false leaders are referring to and laughing at what the prophet Jeremiah had said, comparing them to a boiling pot. See the vision of the seething (boiling) pot in Chapter 1 of Jeremiah. These ungodly ones seem to say: We will take the chance, we will stay in the city. They scoff and ridicule the prophets, yet surely they secretly dread the thing. Jerusalem is the pot, the rebellious people (2:3-8) were the flesh that are to be boiled in the pot.
*****These false leaders are accused and charged for words they spoke at their council meeting. They basically said that the destruction of their city, which has been so often threatened by the prophets, is not anywhere near, so they refuse to talk about it. Maybe they really are aware that the wrath of God does exists (22:31; Ps.78:31; Rom.1:18; Eph.5:6; Col.3:6; Rev.14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 19:15), but they do NOT think it will come because they are God’s chosen people (Deut.7:6; 14:2), and He would not do that to them! They had so long abused God's patience (longsuffering, Ex.34:6; Num.14:18; Ps.86:15; Gal.5:22. Col.3:12)
that they hope His wrath will not come, but that His mercy continue forever.
Dear one, one of Satan’s best tricks is to persuade people to consider the wrath of God’s judgement to come as doubtful, uncertain and far away . . . and since it is not near, the false leaders encourage the people to build houses. It is sad indeed that so many people in today’s world, do NOT believe GOD, starting with our wicked leaders on down to the millions of people too lazy to work . . . that are hypocrites on food stamps! NO person who is well able to work, and professes to be a Christian, should NOT insist that the government support them. NO work . . . NO eat! (2 Thes.3:8-12).
Ezekiel 11:4 Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man. (KJV)
Therefore prophesy against them . . . verse 2; He is either the LORD JESUS Himself, or, the Spirit of the Lord, that had lifted the prophet up. The LORD is still speaking to Ezekiel, telling him to prophesy (speak Truth), against these false leaders; keep telling them Truth that was so disagreeable to them; because they flatter themselves with good things, and cry peace and safety (13:10, 16; Jer.6:14; 8:11), when there shall be none . . . Ezekiel was to keep on telling them that destruction is coming . . . and what will happen when it does!
Prophesy, O son of man . . . this is repeated, not only to stir up the prophet to the keep on in his work, and NOT to fear their angry faces, nor their insults and sarcasm . . . but to know that the anger of the LORD was directed at their scoffs and jeers, and that there would be sure success of what had been predicted.
*****For Ezekiel to prophesy was to awaken them out of their security. One would think that the providences of God which related to them would be enough to startle them to reality. He was to prophesy against them, and try to straighten them out . . . prophesy, O son of man . . . upon these dead and dry bones (Ch.37).
The greatest kindness ministers can do (but do NOT do) to protect sinners is to preach against them, and to show them their sin and the danger of it, although they are never willing to see it. But the prophet, being at a loss of what to say to these people that were so hardened in sin, and that spoke against to the judgments of God, the Spirit of the LORD fell upon him, to make him full of power and courage. When sinners flatter themselves to their own ruin, it is time to speak and to tell them that they shall have no peace if they go on. Some ministers (and people) are bashful and fearful, and are at a loss, of what to say, and how to say it when they see something wrong, but they must trust the LORD and to speak boldly. We are to be a watchman, like Ezekiel, and prophesy.
Ezekiel 11:5 And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them. (KJV)
And the spirit of the LORD fell upon me . . . in an amazing and unexpected way, which freshened and enlightened his mind, showing him things that would come to pass; and filled him with boldness and courage to say to them publicly. The Targum says the spirit of prophecy.
And said unto me, Speak . . . what the LORD shall show him and put into his mouth, that is what Ezekiel was to speak out to those around him . . . he was NOT to be afraid, but boldly speak all that the LORD gives him to say.
Thus saith the LORD, thus have ye said, O house of Israel . . . see verse 3; which maybe was said in secret, and spoken privately, but known by the LORD; and it was not only the princes (leaders) that said it, but the whole body of the people joined in with it, and agreed with it; although it is very likely the people were greatly influenced by their leaders.
For I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them . . . not only their mocking words, but the very thoughts of their hearts; not one of them escaped the knowledge of God . . . this should make all people guard their thoughts, words and actions, because the LORD does indeed know the things that come into your mind, everyone of them (Ps.139:2-3; Jer.16:17; 17:10; Mk.2:8; Jn.2:24-25; 21:17; Heb.4:13; Rev.2:23). BEWARE!!!
*****There is much wickedness in the heart of man. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (KJV) . . . So many people think God is dead, or that He cannot see what they do. They are wrong!
Psalm 94:7-9 Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.
8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? 9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? (KJV) . . . The prophet Ezekiel was well aware of this, and to respond to it, he told them, from God, to all the rulers of the Jewish people, “I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.”
Here the prophet turns the sinful slander of the people into another sense, for they had corrupted what Jeremiah had said. They knew what he meant by the pot and the flesh (Jer.1:13), but they thought they could avoid or prevent God’s wrath by their cleverness. In Chapter 24, Ezekiel will again denounce them as like flesh, since God will cast them into a pot to be cooked, so that even their bones should be consumed.
Even though Ezekiel had been previously endued with the gift of prophecy, yet as often as he exercised it, this grace was renewed; because it is not enough for us to be filled only once with the Holy Spirit. We should ask for a refreshing of the Holy Spirit in our lives each new day.
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (KJV) . . . And be not drunk with wine . . . drunkenness is a danger to which many are exposed. But be filled with the Spirit . . . the Holy Spirit, at times compared to water (Jn.4:14; 7:37-39), or the joy of the Spirit (Gal.5:22), in opposition to being filled with wine (Acts 2:13), and the carnal entertainment which is caused by it. We should NOT be satisfied with just a little of the Spirit, but seek for a greater measure of Him, so as to be filled with the Spirit (Ps.36:8; Jn.3:34; 4:14; 6:35; 7:37-39).
Ezekiel 11:6 Ye have multiplied your slain in this city, and ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain. (KJV)
Ye have multiplied your slain in this city . . . they had killed many of the prophets of the LORD that had been sent to them, and had shed much innocent blood; and not only had they unfairly condemned many to die, and had put them to death without a cause (1 Sam.19:5; Job 2:3; 9:17; Ps.35:7, 19; 69:4; 109:3; 119:78, 161; Pro.3:30; 24:28; Lam.3:52; Mat.5:22; Jn.15:25). They were guilty also of the death of all those that were slain while the city was besieged, and when it was taken, which owed to their advice and counsel, in encouraging them to hold out, and not deliver up the city; thinking they would be able to defend it, which opposed the statements of the LORD by the prophet; so the death of these is laid to the advisers, and the dead are called their slain. Your slain . . . those on whom you have brought ruin by your wicked counsels. The bloody crimes within the city brought on it a bloody foe from without (7:23-25). They had made it a caldron (pot) in which to boil the flesh of God’s people (Micah 3:1-3), and they ate it by unrighteous oppression; and for that reason, God will make it a caldron in a different sense, one where they would not be safe from their guilt.
And ye have filled the streets thereof with the slain . . . such numbers of innocent persons being put to death, as in the times of Manasseh (2 Ki.21:16); for so many died of the famine, pestilence and sword, during the siege and at the taking of Jerusalem.
*****Ezekiel now attacks the fools who trifled with God by their wisecracks, and brings forward the prophecy of Jeremiah in a different way than they imagined. Ye have slain many; the city was full of many murders: therefore the pot was full of flesh, and this flesh was cooked. There is no more room in the pot. The prophet here treats them amusingly, while he strikes a deadly wound when he shows that they joked so forcefully to their own destruction, and boasted that Jeremiah was their opponent. Therefore Ezekiel confirms the prophecy of Jeremiah, and yet he does not interpret it, because Jeremiah had spoken properly and clearly, when he said that they were flesh. The meaning was the same as if God were to pronounce that He would consume them in the midst of the city. The LORD GOD scattered some of the people, slew some with the sword and some died of hunger and pestilence. The prophecy of Jeremiah was true, because God had cooked the Jews with the fire of the Chaldees (Jer.1:13). But since the Jews had twisted that prophecy, Ezekiel shows that they never profited while they turned their backs on God. Ye shall not be flesh, but your slain were flesh: ye have refilled the caldron (the city) with the slain; now there is no room for you.
God sees all violence as slaughter, so He rightly states, that the city was filled with the slain. The Jews might object, but their wickedness was so terrible among themselves, that they did not spare the poor and wretched, but cruelly afflicted them, He says that the city was filled with the slain. He now adds, that a greater vengeance from God awaits them, since they continue to provoke His anger more and more.
Ezekiel 11:7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh, and this city is the caldron: but I will bring you forth out of the midst of it. (KJV)
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD . . . Ezekiel applies the parabolic expression they had ridiculed.
Your slain whom ye have laid in the midst of it, they are the flesh . . . the prophets they had killed, all the people who had died for crimes they did not do, and those who had fallen by one judgment or another since the siege . . . these all were the persons intended by the flesh, and not those that were alive; and so could promise themselves nothing from this proverb they had scoffed at.
And this city is the cauldron . . . the pot that holds the slain, and in which they will lie and continue, and not the living. So their own words, spoken in ridicule, are cleverly shot back upon them, and forced down their throats.
But I will bring you forth out of the midst of it . . . as rotten flesh, to be cast out; or as filthy scum, to boil over. Where they promised themselves safety and a long stay . . . yet they would not abide there, but be carried away captive.
*****All that shall remain in the city are the buried dead. Bloodshed and murder were at this time widespread in Jerusalem, and these were among the main crimes that were bringing down judgment upon the city. All the inhabitants that would survive were destined to be carried away into exile.
Ezekiel 11:8 Ye have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord GOD. (KJV)
Ye have feared the sword . . . of the Chaldeans; and therefore they sent to Egypt for help. The Targum is, ye have been afraid of them that kill with the sword; and were not afraid of the LORD. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (KJV)
And I will bring a sword upon you, saith the Lord GOD . . . or bring those that kill with the sword, as the Targum; meaning the Chaldeans, who were sent by the LORD, and, when they took the city, put many to death by the sword, and carried captive others.
*****Even with all their boldness there is a note of despair seen in: Ezekiel 11:3 Which say, It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh. (KJV) . . . The very fact that they felt the need of Egyptian help shows that they did indeed fear the avenging sword of Babylon. But God says that it will not be Nebuchadnezzar’s sword, but His own, that will cut them down. It is not rebellion against the king of Babylon, but against the King of Heaven that brings these calamities and delivers the people into Babylon’s hands (11:9).
Ezekiel 11:9 And I will bring you out of the midst thereof, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and will execute judgments among you. (KJV)
And I will bring you out of the midst thereof. . . Jerusalem, the cauldron, as they said it was, and where they thought they would be safe; this is repeated, to express the certainty of it, and to motivate them to pay attention to it, and remove their vain self-assurance.
And deliver you into the hands of strangers . . . the Chaldeans.
And will execute judgments among you . . . punishments for their many sins, such as famine, pestilence, sword and captivity.
*****Dear one, our Almighty LORD GOD never says anything that He does not mean. He kept telling the Jews to STOP their abominable sins or He would lower the boom on them. And since GOD cannot lie (Tit.1:2), He did exactly as He warned these people, through His prophets. We too should pay attention to this, because God does NOT change! Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (KJV)
Ezekiel 11:10 Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. (KJV)
Ye shall fall by the sword . . . of the Chaldeans; not in the city of Jerusalem, but out of it, when it was destroyed and they fled.
I will judge you in the border of Israel . . . inflict punishment on them, for the most part by the sword; which was done at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where the sons of Zedekiah were slain, and all the princes of Judah (Jer.52:9-11); and this was on the border of the land of Israel (Num.34:8).
And ye shall know that I am the LORD . . . the awesome LORD GOD knows things, and foretells them before they happen; and is completely able to accomplish all that He threatens; and He is just and righteous in all His ways and works; and Who is known by the judgments executed by Him.
*****Nebuchadnezzar pronounced his cruel judgments upon them, slaying the king’s sons before his eyes, and executing many others, and then, put out Zedekiah’s eyes, carried him and the rest of them captive to Babylon. By all this, not in repentance, but through the experiencing of the Divine judgments, they would be at last forced to recognize the LORD GOD as the Almighty Ruler and Controller of events. This place of the judgment, and the result of it, are forcefully repeated in verses 11-12.
Ezekiel 11:11 This city shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel: (KJV)
This city shall not be your cauldron . . . this city, Jerusalem, although it suffered unparalleled hardships, shall not be your caldron . . . shall not be the place of your sufferings; greater is reserved for you, you shall be tortured in a strange land; it was one, as in 11:7; but not theirs; that the cauldron was for the slain, for the dead, but not the living.
Neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst of it . . the Targum renders it without it, but ye shall be in the midst of it, as flesh that is boiled in the midst of a pot.
But I will judge you in the border of Israel . . . this is repeated, that they might take special notice of it, and to assure them that so it would be. I will judge you . . . do more against you, as at Riblah (2 Ki.25:6-7), where the captive king had his children and others with them first murdered before his eyes, and then his own eyes put out.
Ezekiel 11:12 And ye shall know that I am the LORD: for ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you. (KJV)
And ye shall know that I am the LORD . . . see verse 10.
For ye have not walked in my statutes, neither executed my judgments . . . which is the reason why the LORD would judge them on the border of Israel, and deliver them into the hands of strangers; nor can He be thought to act too severe or too cruel to them, because immense rebellion and disobedience is observed by the LORD. Because they had His statutes and His judgments made known to them, which were NOT known to other nations, yet they did NOT respect them; so it was only right that He inflict His judgments upon them . . . and which is all the more aggravated by what follows. Walked is a Scripture phrase which expresses the path of man’s life.
But have done after the manners of the Heathens that are round about you . . . or the judgments of the Heathens, regarded them, and acted according to them, when they slighted and disobeyed the judgments of the LORD; instead of worshipping Him according to His revealed will, they served the idols of the heathen nations around them, and accepting all their superstitious rites and ceremonies in their worship of these idols.
*****From the time they entered the Promised Land, the Israelites were warned NOT to copy the customs and religious practices of other nations. Disobeying this command and following pagan customs instead of God's Laws always got them into trouble. In today’s world, believers are still tempted to conform to the ways of the world. We must get our standards of right and wrong from the LORD GOD . . . NOT from the popular trends of society. Just because everybody is doing it, does NOT make it right! BEWARE!!
Consider the following:
We today, need to realize the FACT that God indeed does judge! It is one of the proofs we have that there is a Living God, Who knows exactly what is taking place in this wicked world. As I sit here writing, I hear the rain coming down. It is coming from Hurricane Harvey that touched down on the coast last night. Could it be a warning of worse to come? I do not know, but I do know that the LORD is getting fed up with the increasing sin: abortion, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, same sex marriage, people living in sin without being married, etc., etc., etc. People today are not sacrificing their children to Baal, as they did in Ezekiel’s time (Chapter 7) . . . but they ARE killing their children by abortion! Do you really think there is a difference to the Almighty LORD? Murder is murder when you take a life of another, no matter how you do it! And what about the violence? It is not brought on today for exactly the same reason as it was in Ezekiel’s time . . . but in today’s world, violence is everywhere! Today it is Muslim extremists, racial bigotry, drug addiction which leads to violence and murder to support their habit, arguments about abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage, etc., etc.
Isaiah 48:22 There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked. (KJV) . . . How true this is!
Dear one, we CANNOT get by with our sin, and the very fact that we do not get by with it is proof that God exists.
Vision confirmed by the sudden death of Pelatiah
Ezekiel 11:13 And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel? (KJV)
And it came to pass when I prophesied . . . while Ezekiel was declaring the above things from the mouth of the LORD, concerning the slaughter of the Jews by the sword, and the captivity of the rest,
That Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died . . . one of the princes of the people, and was among the five and twenty men the prophet saw at the door of the east gate of the Temple (11:1). It seems that this man dropped dead, all of a sudden, just as Ananias and Sapphira did at the feet of Peter (Acts 5:5-10). It was in a vision that Ezekiel saw this, and in the Temple; but there is little doubt at the same time, this prince (leader) died at his own house, whose death was told to the prophet in this way.
Then fell I down upon my face . . . so greatly surprised at this event, and so concerned at what would be the matter of this providence; looking at it as an earnest, a token and indication of the utter destruction of the people.
And cried with a loud voice . . . expressing the passion of his affection, and the earnestness of his prayer,
And said, Ah, Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel? . . . the prophet feared that the LORD was going to make an utter end of them all at once.
*****The sudden death of one of the princes of the nation, while Ezekiel was prophesying, was intended to convince these people of the certain fulfilment of this Word of God. So far, as the fact itself is concerned, we must remember, that as it was only in spirit that Ezekiel was at Jerusalem, and prophesied to the men whom he saw in spirit there, so the death of Pelatiah was only a part of Ezekiel’s vision, and most likely was actually realized by the sudden death of this prince during or immediately after he wrote about the vision. But even when the prophet saw this man’s death it in the vision, it made such an impression upon his mind, that with trembling and despair he once more made an persistent appeal to God, as in Ezekiel 9:8, and asked whether the LORD meant to destroy the whole of the remnant of Israel, to put an end to it (Nah.1:8; Zep.1:18). The LORD then gives him the comforting assurance in Ezekiel 11:14-21, that He will preserve a remnant among the exiles, and make them His people once more.
God comforts the exiles (11:14-21)
Ezekiel 11:14 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (KJV)
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying . . . in answer to his prayer. The Targum, says, the word of prophecy from the Lord . . . this was by way of comfort to the captives in Babylon, as the former was by way of threat to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
*****God promised the exiles in Babylon that He would continue to be with them even though they were not in Jerusalem. This was a major concern to the Jews because they believed that God was present mainly in the Temple. But God assured them that He would continue to be their God no matter where they were. In the midst of Ezekiel's burning message of judgment, there comes a cool refuge. God's Promise is to restore the faithful few to their homeland. God's arms are now wide open to receive any those who will repent of their sins . . . both Jews and Gentiles!
Ezekiel 11:15 Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession. (KJV)
Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred . . . thy brethren the repetition suggests, thy real brethren are no longer the priests at Jerusalem with whom Ezekiel was connected, but by the natural ties of blood and common Temple service, but his fellow exiles on the Chebar (1:1-3), and the house of Israel whosoever of them belong to the remnant to be spared. The men of thy kindred is literally the nearest relatives, whose duty it was to do the part of vindicator and redeemer of a forfeited inheritance (Lev.25:25). Ezekiel, sees the priesthood doomed to destruction, and as a priest, felt uneasy to defend their cause, as if they were his nearest kinsmen. But he is told to look for his true kinsmen in those, his fellow exiles, whom his natural kinsmen at Jerusalem despised, and he is to be their vindicator. Spiritual ties, as in the case of Levi (Deut.33:9), the type of Messiah (Mat.12:47-50) are to surpass natural ones where the two clash. The Gospel principle is observed here, that the despised of men are often the chosen of God and the highly esteemed among men are often an abomination before Him (Lk.16:15; 1 Cor.1:26-28). There is no door of hope but in the valley of Achor (Hos.2:15).
And all the house of Israel wholly are they . . . all the house of Israel, all of them, as the Targum; meaning the whole house of Israel. Since these words are not a threat to the ten tribes, or those of the Jews in captivity, for all that follows is in favor of them; but point only to the persons the prophet is turned to, and who are the subject of the following speech.
Unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, get ye far from the LORD . . . one interprets it, from the land of the LORD, the Holy Land; they being carried captive into a foreign country. The Targum is, from the fear of the Lord; . . . the worship of the LORD; they being at a distance from the Temple, and the service of it. Get ye far from the LORD . . . these are scornful words of those left still in the city at the carrying away of Jeconiah to the exiles (Jer.27:20).
Unto us is this land given in possession . . . they had forfeited their right to it, and are disinherited; we are sole heirs, and in the possession of it, and shall ever continue in it. One version makes them to be the words of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
*****The mention of Ezekiel's brethren is clarified so as to leave no doubt that the exiles are meant. The true Israel are identified in Ezekiel 11:15 as different from the dwellers in Jerusalem. They are the despised exiles. What an arrogant, cruel, selfish people were those in Jerusalem. They were willing to write off as lost forever the deported thousands who had already been removed from Jerusalem. They had preempted for themselves the lands and houses and wealth of the exiles, and are here symbolized as saying to the exiles, God is through with you! How wrong they were.
Those in Jerusalem were wealthier; they had tradition on their side; they still had the impressive Temple . . . and people today, no less than then, are tempted to seek the truth in the same way, where the external is most impressive, where wealth and tradition flourish. That is NOT how the LORD looks at things! He looks at a person’s heart! Pure in heart: (Mat.5:8; 6:21; 12:35; Lk.12:34).
Ezekiel 11:16 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. (KJV)
Therefore say, thus saith the Lord GOD . . . since they were so insulted and treated so badly by their brethren the Jews.
Although I have cast them afar off among the Heathen . . . meaning the ten tribes, and all the house of Israel, who were carried into Assyria, and placed in the cities of the Medes, in Halath and Habor, by the river Gozan (2 Ki.17:6); and those of the Jews in Jeconiah's captivity, among whom were Ezekiel, and his brethren, and his kindred (Jer.27:20).
And although I have scattered them among the countries . . . what with the distance of the place where they were, and the dispersion of them among the people where they resided, their case might seem to be desperate; and that there was scarcely any possibility, of their being preserved as a people, and of their restoration to their own land.
Yet will I be to them a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come . . . the LORD would be their dwelling place, as He has been to His people in all generations their protection from all their enemies. It is the LORD Who would be their Sanctuary, and in whom, and by His power, they would be safe; and in Whose Presence they would enjoy, even though they would be deprived of public ordinances of Temple worship and service; and even though they were at a great distance from the Temple, the inhabitants of Jerusalem boasted of, yet the LORD would make up the lack of that to them with Himself.
*****God was a Sanctuary for the righteous remnant. Idolatrous people, even though they worshiped in the Jerusalem Temple, they would find NO true sanctuary; but the faithful exiles, although they were far from home, would be protected by the LORD. So it will be with our external (outward) circumstances, for they do NOT show our true standing with God. Those who seem to be safe and secure may be far, far from him, while those going through difficult times may be safe under the LORD’S protection. We can always depend on the LORD to keep us safe . . . IF . . . if we faithfully trust ourselves to His care.
Ezekiel 11:17 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. (KJV)
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people . . . gather the Jews from the Babylonians, Medes and Persians, where they had been carried captive (Eze.28:25; 34:13; 36:24). I will even gather you from the people . . . however impossible or unlikely they may think, and those of Jerusalem say it. The prophet Isaiah in many chapters of his Book, sets himself up to cheer these poor captives with hopes of a return and better times, after a little while. Ezekiel Chapters 40-48 match this.
And assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered . . . out of Chaldea and Media, out of which they would come in a body, not singly or in small numbers, as they did when Cyrus issued out his proclamation (2 Chron.36:22; Ezra 1:1). :
And I will give you the land of Israel . . . not only the Jews of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, but many of the ten tribes came out of Babylon with Zerubbabel, and settled in the land of Israel; and there they came also in later times, even those that settled in other countries.
*****God expresses the effect of His grace (undeserved favor). He had told them that He would be a Sanctuary to them (verse 17). These words should not be understood of a VISIBLE place where God was to be worshipped . . . but instead that of an unseen, spiritual influence by which the LORD cherishes His people. But if the exile had been perpetual, that promise might seem vain.
SO, WHY did God protect His people in exile, IF He wanted them to be consumed there? Only one answer: because if He did not protect them, His Covenant (Promise) would have been in vain. For that reason, in case anyone should say that God deceives His faithful ones, when He pronounced that He would be their Sanctuary, He now points out its result . . . that being that He would restore them to their country.
So, since a return to their country was a sure Promise of God’s love, He tells them that they would in time return. For the most part, the restoration of the Gospel Church is promised, which should confirm God’s Covenant. In the Covenant, the LORD had said to Abraham, I will give this land to thee and to thy seed for ever (Gen 13:15; 17:8). So, God is showing that His Covenant still remains intact and secure. Although He had interrupted it for a short time, He now speaks concerning the restoration.
Ezekiel 11:18 And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. (KJV)
And they shall come thither . . . that those of the captivity shall come to the land of Israel, they or their later generations.
And they shall take away all the detestable things thereof . . . the abominable idols of the heathen nations, that had been there in Israel presented, so utterly detestable and despicable to TRUE God and all godly men. Thereof of the land and city . . . anyone who reads Ezra, Nehemiah, and the prophets Zechariah and Haggai, will clearly see this reformation was carried out with success.
And all the abominations thereof from thence . . . abominable, repulsive idols, as before, all of them, so that idolatry would be completely rooted out; this had its accomplishment under Zerubbabel, Ezra, Haggai, etc., when the worship of God was restored, and will have a greater fulfilment at the time of the conversion of the Jews in the last days; when everything that is detestable and abominable among those people will be removed, and of which conversion the following words are a prophecy.
And they shall take away all the detestable things . . . God called their idols and monuments idolatry, not stooping to call them by their usual names. After the captivity the Jews would never endure idols. They chose rather to die than to suffer Caligula’s statue to be set up in their Temple. http://www.jewishhistory.org/caligula/
*****The Jews have avoided every trace of idolatry ever since their return from Babylon. But the Shekinah glory still had departed, the ark was not restored, nor was the Second Temple strictly occupied by God until He came Who made it more glorious than the First Temple (Hag. 2:9); even then His stay was short, and ended in His being rejected; so that the full vision of the Promise still lies in the future.
In this verse, the prophet adds something more important . . . that being that when the Israelites returned to their country, they would be sincere worshippers of God, NOT only offering sacrifices in the Temple, but purging the land of ALL its pollutions. He also warns them just how great and detestable was the immoral wickedness of the ten tribes, because they had so polluted the land with repulsive idols. Ezekiel does not refer here to the idols of the Gentiles, but instead rebukes the Jews because they had dirtied the land with their defilements.
Ezekiel urged his countrymen to repent, when he shows them that they had not been cast out of the land, BEFORE it was polluted . . . and therefore, they were rightly punished for their disrespect and irreverence.
Dear one, we have been redeemed by the LORD GOD, that we may celebrate His awesome Glory; and that the Gospel Church was planted that in it He, JESUS CHRIST may be glorified, and that we may make known His wondrous attributes (Gal.5:22-23). See the biography of Christ (Phil.4:8). Let us remember that God’s blessings play a big part in our safety, and are proof of His Fatherly favor when we worship Him in Spirit and Truth (Jn.4:23-24).
Dear one, we do not rightly do our duty to God if we do not give Him our total loyalty, and unless we remove from His worship ALL disrespect and stain of sin.
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: (KJV)
And I will give them one heart . . . a whole system of renewed affections; one heart in opposition to a divided heart (Hos.10:2); divided between the TRUE God and idols, wavering and halting between two opinions, sometimes serving God, and sometimes Baal; a heart to pursue ONE way of worship, and to serve the LORD with one consent (Jer.32:40). One heart TRUE to God and man, opposing a double or hypocritical one (Ps.12:2). One heart separate to the honor and glory of God, and firmly attached to His Holy Word and His worship: also agreement, harmony and unity of affections to one another, so as to be of one heart and one soul, as the first Christians were, who were Jews (Acts 4:32); and oneness of principle and practice, as there should be (1 Cor.1:10), and all of this being the gift of God flowing from His grace, kindness and love.
And I will put a new spirit within you . . . meaning the Holy Spirit of God, the Author of regeneration and renovation . . . this is the same Spirit of God that moved upon the face of the waters (Gen.1:2), it is the same Spirit of God that does the renewing work of making a new man or new creature (Eph.4:24; 2 Cor.5:17; Gal.6:15). It is the same Spirit of God that works in the lives of TRUE believers daily (Jn.3:5; 14:16; Rom.8:9, 14; 1 Cor.3:16; 6:11; 1 Jn.4:2-3), and directs and empowers the new affections of the heart.
And I will take the stony heart out of their flesh . . . a stony heart is one that will not receive the goodness of God’s Spirit. It is a heart hardened by sin, which continues in it; wanting no part of
a Godly life, being stubborn and inflexible, on which no changes are made by corrections, warnings or instructions by superiors. This stony heart only God can remove.
And will give them a heart of flesh . . . a heart that is capable of receiving and retaining these renewed affections; a soft, tender heart, that is flexible and submits to the will of God; on which impressions are made by the Spirit of God, and on which God’s laws are written; and into which the Gospel is written, the Truth of Christ is formed, and the fear (reverence) of God is implanted, along with every other grace, all which are the gifts of God, our loving Father (1 Jn.3:1).
*****God will plant good values in them; He will make the tree good. This is a Gospel Promise, and is made good to ALL those whom God plans for the Heavenly Canaan. Consider: God prepares all for Heaven whom He has prepared Heaven for (Jn.14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:4). He promises:
<><><>He will give them one heart, a heart entirely for the TRUE God and not divided among many gods, a heart firmly fixed and set on God, not wavering but steady and unchanging.
<><><>He will put a new spirit within them, with a mind agreeable to the new circumstances into which God in His providence would bring them. All that are sanctified have a new spirit.
<><><>He will take away the stony heart out of their flesh, out of their corrupt nature. Their hearts shall no longer be hard and heavy as a stone, no longer incapable of bearing good fruit.
<><><>He will give them a heart of flesh, He will make their hearts feel spiritual pains and spiritual pleasures, He will make them tender, and ready to receive impressions from the Spirit of God.
This is promised to those whom God would bring back to their own land; for then such a change of the condition is for the better indeed when it is accompanied with such a change of the heart; and such a change must be wrought in all those that shall be brought to the better country, that is, the heavenly.
No longer will God's people seek many gods; they will be content with the One TRUE God. Their stony, stubborn hearts of stone will be totally transplanted with tender, responsive hearts (Jer.32:29; Eze.18:31; 36:26). This new life can only be the work of the awesome Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. It is God's work, but WE must be aware of our sin and turn away from it; and when we do, God will give us new intentions, new guidelines, and new purpose.
Ezekiel 11:20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (KJV)
That they may walk in my statutes . . . have their lifestyle ordered according to the will and Word of God; to which there is neither will nor power, until God gives a new heart and spirit, and works in them to do what is right. Walk in my statutes . . . regeneration reveals itself by its fruits (Gal.5:22-23, 25).
And keep mine ordinances, and do them . . . all things concerning religion and worship, both in public and private.
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God . . . it will be shown by walking in the statutes of the LORD, and by keeping His ordinances, that they are His people (14:11; 36:28; 37:27; Jer.24:7). In its fullest sense, this is still future (Zec.13:9).
*****Their practices shall be in agreement with those principles: I will give them a new spirit, not that they may be able to speak well of religion and to dispute for it, but that they may walk in My statues in their whole conversation and keep my ordinances in all acts of religious worship. These two must go together; and those to whom God has given a new heart and a new spirit will make the sense of right and wrong of both; and then they shall be My people and I will be their God. The ancient covenant, which seemed to be broken and forgotten, shall be renewed. By their idolatry, it would seem, that they had cast God off; and by their captivity, it would seem, that God had cast them off. But when they gave up their idolatry, and were delivered out of their captivity, God and His people were one again. God, by His good work in them, will make them His people, and He will show that He is their God, and has always been their God.
Ezekiel 11:21 But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD. (KJV)
But as for them . . . who remained in Jerusalem, and were not carried captive, but continued in their, own land, and worshipped idols (verse 15).
Whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations . . . not images of gold and silver, which cannot be said to have a heart; but devils and evil spirits worshipped in them, who are well pleased and delighted with the worship given them; so that the hearts of the devils worshipped, and the hearts of the idolatrous worshippers were alike.
The Targum is, and after the worship of their idols, and of their abominations, their heart wanders. Walketh after . . . either secretly sticking to or providing for the service of idols, called here detestable things (5:11; 11:18), and to express the stubbornness of idolatry, it is called a heart walking after a heart . . . idolatry is a demonic, spellbinding sin that steals away a person’s heart. The repetition of the word heart is powerful, suggesting that the heart of those who so stubbornly clung to idols, inflamed itself to fresh superstitions each day. Maybe it is implied that they and their idols are much alike in character (Ps.115:8). The heart goes astray first, and the feet foolishly follow.
I will recompense their ways upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD . . . punish them according to their deserts (7:27), by the sword, famine, pestilence and captivity. They have abandoned Me, so will I abandon them; they profaned My Temple, so I will also profane it by the Chaldeans (9:10).
*****God's messages, all through the Book of Ezekiel are full of sarcasm. Here God says that the Jews in captivity are the faithful ones, and those in Jerusalem are the sinful and wicked ones. This was the exact opposite of the people's way of seeing it. Appearances can be very deceiving. Dear one, the LORD GOD will appraise or judge your life here on this Earth by your faith and obedience to Him, NOT by your seemingly earthly success. In addition, we should NEVER judge others by outward appearances, because we cannot see their heart! Any judging that we do, should start with ourselves! 1 Cor. 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (KJV)
The Glory of God forever separated from the secular Temple of Israel (11:22-23)
Ezekiel 11:22 Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. (KJV)
Glory of God gone: (9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:22-23)
Ezekiel 11:23 And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city. (KJV)
And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city . . . the glory of the LORD left Jerusalem, where it was removed from the door of the east gate of the Temple (10:19); although no mention is made of such removal; and now, having left the Temple, it leaves the city.
And stood upon the mountain, which is on the east side of the city . . . either waiting for the inhabitants of it repent, leaving them with great reluctance; or in reluctance to bring down His judgments on it, and see its destruction and ruin. The mountain was surely the Mount of Olives, as the Targum interprets it: and so do others (Zec.14:4). Christ stood on this mountain and wept over Jerusalem (Mat.24:3), and from there that He ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:9-12), and it is there where He shall return (Zec.14:1-5).
It is not stated here that the Glory of God went to Babylon, but that it stood over the Mount of Olives. The Jews believe that it remained there three years, pleading with Israel to repent, which they did not do, and then it departed. Anyway, the symbol of God's Presence left the city, leaving it to its fate. God had abandoned His Sanctuary and His city.
The elders who had been waiting all this time, during Ezekiel's vision-journey to Jerusalem, now had a lot to listen to. They had the privilege of hearing part of Ezekiel's message directly.
*****The Shekinah glory now moves from the east gate (10:4, 19) to the Mount of Olives, altogether abandoning the Temple. God's glory left Jerusalem and stopped above a mountain on the east side of the city, almost certainly the Mount of Olives. The following implies that God will return the same way He left, when He comes back to earth to set up His perfect Kingdom.
Ezekiel 43:1-4 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:
2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. 3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. 4 And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. (KJV)
Ezekiel 11:24 Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me. (KJV)
Afterwards the spirit took me up . . . from the east gate of the Temple, where the Spirit had brought him; where he had been shown so much, and where everything had been told to him, necessary for the rebuke of the Jews in Jerusalem, and for the comfort of the captives.
And brought me in vision by the spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity . . . all this was done in a vision; and the prophet, under the influence of the Spirit of God, as if he were carried to Jerusalem, and there saw and heard all that he did, and then was brought back again to Chaldea; and even though this was only in his mind, not physical; for he was all the while, still in Chaldea, even though things were so represented to his mind as if he had been removed from place to place.
So the vision that I had seen went up from me . . . the vision ended, and he returned to himself, and became as he was before; and found himself in his own house (3:24; 8:1), and among the elders of Judah. This shows that the vision was from Heaven, and therefore it is said to go up from him; and the prophecy was NOT of the will of men, but of God; and that the prophets were not always under the influence of a prophetic spirit; but these visions came and then go away, and was only with them at certain times.
*****This whole vision consisted of all that took place in Chapters 8, 9, 10 and 11. After this vision was completed, the same Spirit of God which carried the prophet to Jerusalem, and to the Temple, now brings him back in the same way, to his captive brethren in Chaldea; not bodily, but in a dream, trance or rapture of his spirit, by the power of the Spirit of God. It was a vision from the LORD in Heaven, and all that was shown to Ezekiel, was given by the LORD in Heaven, and after he had fully watched, heard and taken in what he had seen in the vision, it is taken up again into Heaven.
Ezekiel’s vision now ending, he was transported (taken back) by the Spirit, to his fellow captives in Babylon. After the vision ceased, he reported all that he had seen and heard to his fellow captives. So the vision that I had seen went up from me, is a colorful way of illustrating the fact that the vision was not just in his mind. It had come from God and returned to God.
Ezekiel 11:25 Then I spake unto them of the captivity all the things that the LORD had shewed me. (KJV)
Then I spake unto them of the captivity . . . the elders of Judah, and others with them, at Telabib (3:15), where the prophet had a house.
All the things the LORD had showed me . . . all the visions contained in Chapters 8, 9, 10 and 11 . . . and really, from the beginning of Chapter 4 to the end of Chapter 11; as the portraying Jerusalem on a tile, and lying on his side for a long time, as a symbol of the siege of that city; the barley cakes, denoting a famine; the sharp knife with which he cut off his hair, indicating the destruction of its inhabitants; how he was brought to Jerusalem, what repulsive idolatries he had seen in the Temple; the vision of the six men with slaughter weapons, and of another with a writer's inkhorn by his side; and also the vision of the cherubim and wheels, and the glory of the God of Israel, and their departure from the city and Temple, together with all that was threatened to the Jews in Jerusalem, and was promised to them in Chaldea; all which the prophet faithfully related to his fellow captives. The Godly prophet kept back nothing that the LORD had made known to him by words or signs.
CONSIDER: It would be wise to pause over this Chapter, and look at the prophet in his faithfulness to the LORD, and the people in their total foolishness. With great intensity the events which were brought before the prophet in vision, did appear! Can you imagine how was his heart melted as he evaluated what it all meant? It seems certain that it was with great indifference, and most likely contempt and disrespect that Pelatiah received the Prophet's order . . . and what a serious judgment by the LORD that followed (11:13)!
Oh! That the LORD would give grace to those in the public ministry the Holy Word of God, that those who hear it, may willingly receive the Truth, and the love of it, and that it may be a sweet taste into their heart and soul. Oh! Precious Jesus, may Your Spirit subdue the hearts of sinners, causing every knee to bend and every tongue to confess, that You are LORD, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
EZEKIEL'S JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM (Ezekiel Chapters 8-11)
Ezekiel's prophecy in these four chapters form ONE connected whole prophecy.
<><><>Chapter 8 gives in detail the horrible defilement of God's Holy Temple by apostate Israel, which God forewarns will cause Him to remove His Presence from it (8:6).
<><><>The supernatural ministers of instruments of Israel's punishment appear in Ezekiel 9. <><><>The cherubim make preliminary movements to depart the Temple in Ezekiel 10.
<><><>The definite departure of God's Holy Presence from the Temple occurs in Ezekiel 11:22-25. The one topic here is the defilement of the Temple and God's removal from it.
Chapter 9 . . . About the same time as the departure of GOD’S Presence from the Temple, Ezekiel saw six men come from the higher gate with swords in their hands; and one among them had an inkhorn. It was then the Divine Presence left the cherubim, and took position at the entrance of the Temple, and gave orders to the man with the inkhorn to put a mark on the foreheads of those who sighed and prayed because of the abominations of the land; and then commanded the men with the swords to go forward, and slay every person who did not have this mark (Rev.14:9-11). The prophet, while they were slaying them, fell up his face, and made intercession for the people. The LORD gives him the reason of his conduct; that being that the iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness; and the man with the inkhorn returns, and reports to the LORD what was done. These are the general contents of the ninth chapter.
Chapter 10 . . . The LORD commands the same person to go in between the wheels of the cherubim, and take his hand full of live coals, and scatter them over the city. He went as commanded, and one of the cherubim gave him the coals; at the same time the glory of the LORD, that had removed to the threshold of the house, now returned, and stood over the cherubim. The cherubim, wheels, wings, etc., are here described as in Chapter 1. This is the bulk of the tenth chapter.
Chapter 11 . . . The prophet then finds himself transported to the east gate of the Temple, where he saw twenty-five men, and among them Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people, against whom the LORD commands him to prophesy, and to threaten them with the utmost calamities, because of their crimes. After this GOD Himself speaks, and shows that the Jews who would be left in the land, whould be driven out because of their iniquities, and that those who had been led captive, and who acknowledged their sins and repented of them, would be restored to their own land. Then the glory of the LORD arose out of the city, and rested for a time on one of the mountains on the east of Jerusalem, and the prophet being carried in vision by the Spirit to Chaldea, lost sight of the chariot of the Divine glory, and began to show to the captivity what the LORD GOD had shown to him. This is the substance of the eleventh chapter.
We may see from all this was what prompted the LORD to abandon His people, His city and His Temple; were the abominations of the people in public and in private. But because those carried away captives with Jeconiah acknowledged their sins, and their hearts turned to the LORD, GOD informs them that they shall be brought back and restored to a happy state both in temporal and spiritual matters, while the others, who had filled up the measure of their iniquities, would be quickly brought into a state of desolation and ruin. This is the sum and intent of the vision in these four chapters.
What is the Shekinah Glory?
What is Shekinah Glory? Is This In The Bible?
Glory of God, Shekinah: (Eze.1:28; 3:12, 23; 8:4; 9:3; 10:19; 11:22-23; 39:21; 43:2, 4-5; 44:4)
Jesus’s glory as God was veiled in human flesh but at times His glory, the so-called Shekinah glory, was revealed. What is the Shekinah glory of God?
What does the word “Shekinah” mean? It is not in the Bible, so why do we need to know what this word means regarding God’s Glory? The word Shekinah is from the Hebrew word “shekinot” and actually is in the Bible where God is said to “settle in” or “dwell with.” This word means where God is dwelling, settling or where His Divine Presence is. This Glory is seen when God’s glory filled the Temple and even in the wilderness where He was a light during the night and the Shekinah cloud of His Glory shaded Israel in the scorching sun of the desert. His Presence was revealed by the intense light that filled the Tabernacle, the Temple in Jerusalem and even in the Transfiguration on the Mount (Mat. 17), where Jesus shone as bright as the sun when He spoke with Moses and Elijah.
Jesus’ Glory of the Transfiguration
Jesus partially revealed His Shekinah Glory on a mountain and allowed Peter, James and John to see this awesome Glory. This is why the Apostle John said that Jesus “dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (Jn.1:14); and that Jesus is “the light of men.” John 1:4-7 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. (KJV) . . . Christ Jesus is the very essence and nature of God as light and that is part of His Shekinah Glory which was why John said “we have seen his glory.”
The Transfiguration is where Jesus allowed Peter, James and John to see His Glory in Matthew 17:1-8. It is where Jesus for a very short time, peeled back His humanity to allow the disciples to see the very Shekinah Glory of God. It overwhelmed them just as it does to anyone where God reveals His Glory. Humans become like dead men when they see this awesome Glory of God!
Genesis 17:3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, (KJV)
Leviticus 9:24 And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. (KJV)
Ezekiel 1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. (KJV)
Ezekiel 3:23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. (KJV)
Daniel 8:18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. (KJV)
Daniel 10:8-9 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.
9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. (KJV)
Daniel 10:17-19 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. 18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, 19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. (KJV)
Habakkuk 3:16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (KJV)
Matthew 17:2-6 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. (KJV)
Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (KJV)
Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: (KJV)
Everyone will see the LORD someday in all His splendor, majesty and Shekinah Glory and ALL will fall down before Him on bended knees.
Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (KJV)
Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (KJV)
Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (KJV) . . . Some (a few Mat.7:14), will do so willingly as He is their Saviour, LORD and King but for others, they will wait until He becomes their Judge ( Jn.5:22, 27; 2 Tim.4:1, 8; 1 Pet.4:5; Rev.19:11), when He shall send them off into eternal torment (Rev 20:11-15). God CANNOT dwell where there is unconfessed sin or where someone has not repented and trusted in Christ. It is YOUR decision which of two places you will spend eternity: Heaven or Hell! That day to decide should NOT be put off because today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2), for tomorrow you may not be here . . . and it will be your day of condemnation (Jn.3:18, 36; 8:24).
The LORD GOD’S Shekinah Glory
Most people have little, or NO understanding of what the Shekinah Glory of the LORD GOD is, let alone realize the prophetic importance of this awesome Appearance of Almighty God. The Jewish rabbis invented this extra-biblical expression, and it is form of a Hebrew word that literally means "he caused to dwell" suggesting that it was/is a Divine Visitation of the awesome Presence or Dwelling of the LORD GOD on this Earth. In order to fully understand the prophetic Passages in the Book of Revelation, we need to carefully understand the idea of the physical appearances or displays of our Creator God.
Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (KJV) http://www.godcannotlie.org/rev_ch21.htm
The city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine in it, because God’s Shekinah gives it light, and its Lamp is the Lamb. This is very important. The word Shekinah (Sh'khinah) was devised from related words in the Bible which describe the PRESENCE of Jehovah. The word Shekinah is not found in the Bible, but the idea clearly is. Shekinah is also used to describe the spiritual Shekinah Presence in the Tabernacle and later in the first and second Temples.
The word Shekinah is defined in the Encyclopedia Judaica as the Divine Presence, the numinous (spiritual) immanence of God in the world . . . a revelation of the holy in the midst of the profane. The Encyclopedia goes on to say: One of the more prominent images associated with the Shekhinah is that of light.
Throughout the Bible the LORD GOD speaks of His desire to have a close relationship with His people. During the time of Moses the added PHYSICAL Shekinah Presence was evidence of the REAL Presence which is omnipresent and unseen. During the Mosaic dispensation the Shekinah was physically disturbing. The Presence then was NOT spiritual . . . it was a PHYSICAL APPEARANCE of the actual Presence of the LORD GOD among His people.
We are to know that there is a difference from the Shekinah and the angel of the LORD. The Shekinah was first apparent when the Israelites set out from Succoth in their escape from Egypt. There it appeared as a cloudy pillar in the day and a fiery pillar by night.
Exodus 13:21-22 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. (KJV)
The physical Shekinah was also evident at the crossing of the Red Sea.
Exodus 14:24-25 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. (KJV)
The Israelites were led by the physical Shekinah for 40 years, after which the Holy Presence of the omniscient God inhabited the Tabernacle and the land of Israel. The Shekinah was not always afterwards physically manifested.
Numbers 35:34 Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel. (KJV)
Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (KJV)
When Moses and the Israelites finished erecting the Tabernacle, the Shekinah of JEHOVAH filled it (Ex.6:3; Ps.83:18; Isa.12:2; 26:4).
Exodus 40:33-38 And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. 34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: 37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. (KJV)
Whenever that Presence was physically manifested, it terrified those who experienced it.
Exodus 24:15-17 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. (KJV)
When Moses went to the mountain to get the Ten Commandments, the appearance of the physical Presence of the LORD GOD on Mount Sinai is described as fire and cloud and thick darkness.
Exodus 24:15-18 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. (KJV)
Earlier, the seventy elders had gone up into the cloud and actually saw the Shekinah Glory, and they were so afraid they could not eat or drink (Ex.24:10-11).
The Psalms contain a description of the Shekinah Presence:
Psalm 68:16-18 Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever. 17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. 18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. (KJV) . . . God’s chariots (angels): (Deut.33:2; 2 Ki.2:11; 6:1617; Ps.18:10; Eze.1:15-28; Dan.7:10; Mat.26:53; Rev.9:16).
There are many other times when the direct intervention of the LORD GOD was manifest in a Shekinah Presence to Moses.
After Israel entered the Promised Land, the LORD GOD’S Presence was revealed spiritually in the Tabernacle, but not often in a physical manner. GOD’S actual Presence was always accepted by the Israelites as being in the Tabernacle (and later in the Temple), but was not always physically confirmed by the visible Shekinah.
Whenever the LORD GOD makes a forever Promise in the Bible, there are always conditions connected to it, and the Shekinah is no different. When He said He would dwell in the Temple forever, there were conditions to this Promise. Therefore, at the destruction of the First Temple, He did NOT allow His Shekinah Presence to stay in the Holy of Holies (inner sanctuary of the Temple) because so much abominable corruption had taken place. It is very surprising that the LORD stayed in the Temple as long as He did! Clearly, His love for His people is such that He endures far more than any human judge would think possible. Even with all the abominations that occurred during the last days of Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin (and most of the reign of Zedekiah); Ezekiel's vision of the departure of the LORD’S Shekinah from the Temple and city did not take place until after the beginning of the final siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and his army.
Ezekiel's description of the LORD GOD’S "Shekinah" is more detailed but very similar to what the 70 elders saw on Mount Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 24. Ezekiel's description of the Shekinah in EZEKIEL Chapter one of his prophecy is described as fire enfolding itself borne by cherubim whose appearance pulsated with surging light, themselves borne by seemingly gyroscopic wheels within wheels. Ezekiel 1:5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. (KJV)
There are other descriptions of the nature of the LORD GOD’S Shekinah that Ezekiel saw LEAVING a then desolate Temple. The building was still standing but no longer had the LORD’S Glory before it was destroyed.
Book of Ezekiel
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