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Book of Ezekiel
Hearing the Word and prayer, are two great decrees of God, in which we are to give honor to Him and hope to find favor and acceptance with Him; yet in this chapter, we find some waiting upon God in the one and some in the other . . . yet not meeting with success as they expected. The elders of Israel came to hear the Word, and enquire of the prophet, but because their hearts are not rightly qualified, they meet with a rebuke instead of acceptance (verses 1-5), and are called upon to repent of their sins and change their lives, or else it is at their peril to enquire of God (verses 6-11).
Noah, Daniel and Job, seemingly are are supposed to pray for this people, and yet, because the decree has gone forth, and the destruction of them is determined by a variety of judgments, their prayers shall not be answered (verses 12-21). And yet it is promised, at the end, that a remnant shall escape (verses 22-23).
Ezekiel's range of work was one happier and less hindered by his countrymen than that of Jeremiah at home. He was contemporary with Jeremiah and Daniel. Jeremiah had prophesied for 34 years before Ezekiel, and continued to do so for six or seven years after him. God’s call of Ezekiel came the very next year after the communication of Jeremiah's predictions to Babylon (Jer.51:59), predictions that are mostly later than Ezekiel's but his piety and wisdom had become proverbial in the early part of Ezekiel's ministry (Eze.14:14, 16; 28:3), the visions and strange images. It is a remarkable proof of authenticity that in Ezekiel no prophecies against Babylon happened among those directed against the enemies of the covenant-people.
The result of his work is to be seen in the improved character of the people towards the close of the captivity, and their general ending idolatry and a return to the law. It was little more than 30 years after the close of his work when the decree of the Jews' restoration was issued.
He abounds in repetitions, not for improvement, but for force and weight. It seems that his great ambition was to stimulate the dormant minds of the Jews; and to achieve this, nothing was better than to use the mysterious symbols expressed in the plain words. The insincere, unstable and willful unbelievers would thereby be left to judicial blindness (Isa.6:10; Mat.13:15), awakened to a deeper search into the things of God by the very obscurity and vagueness of the symbols. I read somewhere that inattention or negligence to this divine purpose has led the modern Jews to amplify this obscurity as to order that no one shall read the Book of Ezekiel until he was over 30.
Theme: Prophecy against the elders’ idolatry; vision of the vine; Jerusalem likened to an abandoned baby adopted by God.
Chapter 14 is divided into two major sections: (1) the prophecy against the idolatry of the elders and (2) the certainty of the destruction of Jerusalem. Both these sections open with, The word of the Lord came unto me (14:2, 12). The LORD continues Chapter 14 to tell us why He judged the city of Jerusalem as He did. The principles that are put down here are still in operation today as well. Dear one, the Lord GOD still judges nations and people, whether they believe it or not.
Prophecy against the Elders' Idolatry (14:1-5)
Ezekiel will call the elders of Israel to repent. If we pay attention, we see that throughout both the Old and New Testaments . . . REPENTANCE is God's message to His people . . . those who profess to belong to Him. Repent and turn to God . . . is Ezekiel's message in these 5 verses, and there is a lesson here for us as well.
Ezekiel 14:1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. (KJV)
Then came certain, of the elders of Israel unto me . . . one version adds to consult the Lord; by the prophet. These seem to be the elders of the captivity, the heads of the captives that were now in Babylon with Ezekiel; but there are others that think they were some that came from Jerusalem to Babylon on some kind of business; and having heard much of the prophet, came to visit him, and to hear his prophecies, and inquire of the LORD by him. Elders were persons holding that of self-respect among the exiles at the Chebar. One commentator refers this to Seraiah and those sent with him from Judea (Jer.51:59).
And sat before me. . . silent and thoughtful, as persons in anxiety and distress; or as hearers of him, for sitting is a hearing posture; they sat and heard with great attention, gravity and seriousness, with seeming affection and reverence; and all this was not in a visionary way, but was in fact real (33:31).
***** It is possible that the elders were not of those who were now his fellow-captives, and constantly attended his ministry, such as those we read of Eze.8:1, but were some infrequent hearers, some of the dignitaries of Jerusalem who had come upon business to Babylon. Having heard much of the prophet and being eager to know if he had any message from God, which might be some guide to them.
By the severe answer given to them, we might think they had a plan to trap the prophet, or maybe try to see if they could see if anything might contradict Jeremiah's prophecies, and so they might have reason to criticize them both. But, they complimented the prophet, and sat before him solemnly enough, as God's people used to sit. It is no new thing for bad men to be found employed in the external performances of religion.
Ezekiel 14:2 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, (KJV)
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying . . . lest the prophet, seeing these seniors thus coming to him, should favor them too much, God un-cased them, as He often does with gross hypocrites in this present life on Earth; Jeroboam (1 Ki.14:10), Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), Simon Magus (Acts 8:18-24), and others.
Ezekiel 14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? (KJV)
Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart . . . although these elders look serious and thoughtful, and seemed so pious and religious, and listened carefully with seeming reverence, and express a great desire of asking about Me from you, they are nothing but idolaters . . . and even though they are far from their native place, and do not have not their idols with them, those idols are set firm in their minds and in their hearts. They are firmly set on these idols which occupy their affections, for they have caused their idols to take place in their heart, rather than the Lord GOD. The hearts of idolaters are the altars on which they worship them, and the throne on which they have placed them. Son of man is found 94 times in the Book of Ezekiel.
And put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face . . . not only were their hearts inwardly affected to idols, but they outwardly worshipped them. The set these abominable idols before them, bowed the knee to them, prayed to them . . . thus these idols are called the stumbling block of their iniquity, because when they worshipped these abominations instead of the Lord GOD, they fell deep into sin and into utter ruin.
Should I be inquired of at all by them? . . . or, WHY should I allow these hypocrites ask anything of Me?
Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (KJV)
Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. (KJV)
Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. (KJV)
*****Some elders of Israel came seeking Ezekiel. They wanted him to inquire for them of God concerning some matter of serious public importance. At first sight, all looks well. They came to the right place, because the prophet was right medium of communication in that day between God and His people. So far, it seems that they came reverently, and sat patiently to hear what the Lord GOD would say to them. But . . . God searches the hearts, and tries the reins of the sons of men (Ps.7:9; Rev.2:23), and these elders cannot stand up to it!
There are certain general principles to which we must give heed to when we come to worship God.
<><><>We must empty ourselves of ourselves. We must come begging for His will and His wisdom.
<><><>The one thing that will cause our worship to fail every time, is secret sin. As long as sin, in any one of its countless forms, lurks in the heart or in the conscience, the worship of God will be unsuccessful and a hopeless thing, because our seeking Truth is a lie.
<><><>When we do not confess sin and cast it away from us; we practice dishonesty, which violates all our worship and reduces our worship of GOD to a lie.
Ezekiel 14:4 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; (KJV)
Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD . . . meaning to speak to them as a prophet, and as from the LORD, and say what follows; so the Targum, prophesy unto them and say unto them;
Every man of the house of Israel, that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face . . . every person, one in public office, an elder of Israel or a private person . . . no respect will be had, no distinction will be made, no favor shown . . . to anyone who is an idolater in heart and practice, secretly and/or openly . . . that person shall bear the punishment of his sin!
And cometh to the prophet . . . coming to the prophet Ezekiel, as the elders of Israel now did, or any other prophet of the LORD: one version adds inquiring of me by him; expecting to have an answer, and one according to their wishes. TRUE prophets and TRUE teachers of GOD give RIGHT answers, false prophets and false teachers give only answers the people want to hear (Isa.30:10; Jer.23:26-29).
I the LORD will answer him that cometh . . . that come to the prophet; or, as the Targum, that cometh to ask instruction of me. The LORD will answer by the prophet, but NOT with smooth things (Isa.30:10), as they expect, but with terrible things in righteousness (Ps.65:5); NOT in a way of grace and mercy, but in a way of the wrath of judgment; NOT as they desire, but as they deserve!
According to the multitude of his idols . . . in proportion to the number of his gods, and his idolatrous activities . . . that seems to be the punishment they shall receive. A heart and head full of idols, is an example of hypocrisy, and is clearly seen and identified by the LORD. An idolater in his boldness, who dares come to the Lord GOD in such a manner is a fool. They could NOT expect a gracious answer from the LORD. The Lord GOD would give him an answer as vain as the idols which he serves; He would answer a fool according to his folly, and make the sinner’s sin his punishment (Pro.1:31; 26:5). Judged according to works: (Ps.62:12; Pro.24:12, 29; Isa.59:18; Jer.21:14; 25:14; 32:19; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:8-9; 18:30; Hos.12:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Rom.2:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Rev.2:23; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).
*****It is good to see the ordinances of religion well attended . . . but it is painful to see how few there are who receive any saving benefit from them. People come to Churches today, just as the Elders of Israel came before the prophet Ezekiel, with idols in their hearts; and they are NOT willing to part with them! They literally incite God to withhold His blessing from them.
In the case of Ezekiel’s hearers, we would think the elders would either have renounced the Lord GOD altogether, or put away the idols which alienated their hearts from Him. But they wanted to keep up an appearance of godliness in the midst of all their wickedness; and so came to the prophet for instruction, at the very time that they were addicted to the worship of their idols. When a person sets up idols in their heart, the cares and pleasures of this world are as dominant in their hearts as in the heathens.
Today, people suppose themselves to be Christians, although they do NOT have one real mark of Christianity about them. Dear one, a mere attendance on public ordinances is NOT sufficient. See TRUE Children of God: http://www.godcannotlie.org/true_children_of_god.htm
Ezekiel 14:5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. (KJV)
That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart . . . they are ensnared by false prophets, and drawn aside to their ruin. The rebellious people (2:3-8), had believed the strong delusions, believed a lie, and worshipped idols. God threatens to answer them by righteous judgments (Ps.119:137), and thereby takes the wickedness, the hypocrisy and idolatry that was in their hearts, and expose and make it clear to others. He would punish them, to draw out the corruption and sin that was in them, that it might be seen what a wicked people they were. The Targum interprets the text in another way; that I may bring near the house of Israel, and put repentance into their hearts. That I may take . . . means to unveil and overtake with punishment the dissimulation and impiety of Israel hid in their own hearts. 2 Thes. 2:11-12 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (KJV)
Because they are all estranged from me through their idols . . . they steadily grew away from God and His worship when they fell into idolatry. Alienation from God, from His love, from His laws, from His worship and from His friendship, is owed to some kind of idol being set up in the heart or mind. Whatever is worshipped, OTHER than the One and Only TRUE God, gains control of the heart, dominates the heart and alienates the idolater from the Lord GOD! The Almighty LORD will NOT compete with ANY rival . . . He cannot and will not put up with idolatry! It is for this reason that He inflicts righteous judgment (Ps.119:137), or answers in a terrible way ((Ps.65:5). Israel’s Idolatry: http://judgmentcoming.org/j_c_israel_idolatry.htm
*****Ezekiel shows God’s reason in His being unwilling to dismiss without an answer the hypocrites who still sinfully toyed with Him. He tells them that the LORD would take the house of Israel and lay them open to the world, that they may be ashamed; and worse, lay them open to the curse, that they would be ruined. The sin and shame, and pain and ruin of sinners, all come from themselves, for their own hearts are the traps in which they are taken. Their hearts lure and seduce them, then betray them; with their own consciences as witness against them, condemning them, and are a dreaded terror to them. O Israel! You have destroyed yourself. The house of Israel is ruined by its own hands, because they all are estranged from the Lord GOD through their ridiculous idols. Dear one, please consider:
<><><>The ruin of sinners is owed to their estrangement from God.
<><><>It is through some kind of idol that the hearts of men are estranged from God.
<><><>Some creature, or greed, has gained the place and control of the heart that God should have.
They Are Called Upon to Repent of Their Sins (14:6-11)
Ezekiel 14:6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. (KJV)
Therefore say unto the house of Israel . . . the Lord GOD is still telling Ezekiel what to say to the elders.
Thus saith the Lord GOD, repent, and turn yourselves from your idols . . . Ezekiel was to deliver the following warning of repentance unto them . . . for God's purpose in all His threats, urgings and judgments, is to bring men to repentance. Turn yourselves away from the worship of idols, as the Targum, and do all that in you lies to turn others from the same. Repent is to be sorry and state your sorrow for such sins, and NOT do it again. And turn yourselves is to reject them, STOP being idolaters, and let the change be seen by all.
I have said many times in this commentary, that I believe we are to be watchmen, like Ezekiel was (3:17; 33:2, 6-7). We are to WARN people of spiritual danger when we see it lurking, or WE shall be held accountable! I have been highly criticized for naming false doctrines and names of people bringing those damnable heresies (2 Pet.2:1). I do NOT apologize to anyone who thinks I have offended them! I will stand before Judge Jesus on Judgment Day with no fear, because I know I am right in revealing false prophets and false teachers. Judge, Jesus: (Isa.11:4; Mat.21:40; 25:32; Jn.5:22, 27; 8:16,26; 9:39; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Rom.2:16; 14:10; 1 Cor.4:4-5; 2 Tim.4:1,8; Jam.5:9; 1 Pet.4:5; Rev.19:11). http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_judgment_day_IS_coming.htm
And turn away your faces from all your abominations . . . their abominable idols, hated by God, and should have been hated by them. The Lord GOD wanted them to turn their faces away from these detestable idols. He did NOT want them to even look in their direction, much less worship them. He did NOT want them ensnared by them . . . this is said, in opposition to their setting of them before their face (verse 3).
*****The Lord GOD now shows WHY He had threatened the false prophets and the entire people so severely, that being, that they should repent; for the object of God’s precision is, that, when terrified by His judgments, we depart from what we know is wrong. There certainly is a valuable lesson here for us! Any time that the Lord GOD rouses us with fear, what He really wants is to humble us, and when He rebukes and threatens us by His Word or His preachers and teachers, He really is angry with us, and wants us to repent that He may spare us. There is no doubt that Ezekiel here urges the Israelites that they should really DESIRE to reconcile themselves to the Lord GOD, and also bring others with them. Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (KJV) . . . We need to humble ourselves and repent of our sin to be right with GOD!
Ezekiel 14:7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself: (KJV)
For everyone of the house of Israel . . . from the King and subjects, princes and people, high and low, rich and poor, of every rank, sex and age.
Or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel . . . ALL who dwelt in Israel, even though they were not of Israel, were bound to abstain from idol worship (Lev.17:8-10; 20:2).
Which separateth himself from me . . . from the worship of God, and from fellowship with Him; turns his back on Him, and becoming a deserter from Him, by joining himself with abominable idols. No double minded person is right in God's eyes. Anyone who secretly loves and adores idols shall have their guilty soul totally cut off from God. Idolatry, whether committed by the Israelites, or by sojourners living in Israel under God's protection, was fatal to any right relationship with God.
And setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face . . . these things are repeated, partly to show how terrible the sin they were guilty of; and partly to show the folly of this rebellious people, which required things to be said over and over, before they could be convinced of their evil.
And cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me . . . this explains what such persons would come to a prophet for (verse 4), and exposes their hypocrisy.
I the Lord will answer him by myself . . . not by the prophet to whom he comes, but by himself: or, in my word, as the Targum; yet it would not be by words, but by judgments of His righteous wrath. It means that the Lord GOD would answer by executing terrible penalties on the idolater.
*****Ezekiel again returns to threats, because urging and warnings was not successful with these hardened, rebellious ones, who were unyielding in their vices and almost like untamed beasts (13:4). Unless God’s judgment had been often set before them, there would have been but small fruit of teaching and incitement. This is why God here sets before them His vengeance: a man, says he, or a stranger who sojourns among Israel. The law was the same for the stranger and the Israelites, wherever the Promise is concerned (Num. 15:15), this is repeated in many places. Since the elders were born sons of God, it was much more disgraceful to depart from His worship, and so when Ezekiel gravely rebukes the strangers, he shows how much more dreadful the crime was in the case of those who were bound by a more sacred bond to the worship of God.
So it is by obedience we follow God or walk after Him . . . and we retreat from Him when we reject His Law, and openly and willingly disobey Him.
The Israelites certainly wanted God to always remain united to them, but it is they who were unfaithful, disloyal and adulterous, although they denied it!
Being unfaithful to GOD, encourages the wicked to follow his own feelings to be his guide. The unfaithful are described as those that follow their own spirit. And so it is with the spirit of unfaithfulness in all ages of the world. The depraved heart is its standard (Rev.16:14). BEWARE!
Being unfaithful to GOD, encourages the wicked to continue in sin . . . by bolstering their ego and strength and urging them onward in their greed for prosperity and wealth. BEWARE!
Being unfaithful to GOD, encourages the wicked to dismiss from his mind all thought of the future. BEWARE!
Ezekiel 14:8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. (KJV)
And I will set my face against that man . . . (Lev.17:10), here is shown the horrible penalty: (1) spiritual death, (2) being cut off from God's people, and (3) experiencing some terrible earthly calamities, the kind that would get everyone’s attention and make the victim an astonishment and a proverb. Two examples of this in the New Testament are the sudden death of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:5-11) and the stroke that took away Herod Agrippa II at Caesarea (Acts 12). Nothing could be more terrible for any mortal than the fact that God had set His Face against that man. Dreadful is anyone’s case, when the Lord GOD sets Himself against them!
And will make him a sign and a proverb . . . (Deut.28:37; 1 Sam.10:12; 1 Ki.9:7; 2 Chron.7:20); a spectacle of horror to look at, because of his misery; and a proverb, to be taken up, and spoke of, as Zedekiah and Ahab were (Jer.29:22). Will make him a sign . . . how very different from the way in which Ezekiel was made a sign to them (4:3; 12:6, 11; 24:24). The unrepentant idolater shall be set as a public sign of warning to men NOT to travel in his steps, literally I will destroy him so as to become a sign . . . it will be no ordinary destruction, but such as will make him be an object pointed at with wonder by all, such as Korah (Num.26:9-11).
And I will cut him off from the midst of my people . . . by a sudden death, which the Jews call death from heaven, or by the instant Hand of God; and which He answers by Himself, as in verse 7.
And ye shall know that I am the LORD . . . meaning those that remain, that are not cut off, but are reclaimed by these examples from idolatry, and are brought to repentance, the remnant among them that should be saved; these should know and acknowledge the LORD was omniscient (all-knowing), and knew the hypocrisy of those men above described; and was omnipotent (all-powerful), and could very easily make good His threats, and inflict the punishment they deserved; for He was holy, just and true in all His ways. And they shall know that I am the Lord: (Eze.5:13; 6:7, 14; 7:4; 11:10; 12:15-16, 20; 24:27; 25:11; 26:6; 28:26; 39:28; Ps.9:16-17).
*****The name of Jew has long been a well-known mark of hatred and contempt among all the nations where they have been dispersed, and is so to this day, whether they are among Christians, Mohmammedans or Pagans.
The Jew has become a proverb: (Deut.28:28-46; 29:22-28; 1 Ki.9:7-8; 2 Chron.7:20; Ps.44:13-13; Jer.2:9; 25:9; Joel 2:17; Zec.8:13).
Ezekiel 14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. (KJV)
And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing . . . IF a false prophet is deceived and speaks what is pleasing to men, even though not true . . . in hope of reward and praise, it shall not come to pass, and his hopes are not answered.
I the LORD have deceived that prophet . . . the LORD Himself deceives the false prophet, through Satan and his ministers work; not only generously, but by overruling their evil to serve the purposes of God’s righteous judgment, which would separate the precious from the vile, and to verify His people (Deut.13:3; 1 Ki.22:23; Jer. 4:10; 2 Thes.2:11-12). Evil NEVER comes from God, although God DOES intervene in it to serve His purpose (Job 12:16). This statement of the LORD is intended to answer their objection. Jeremiah and Ezekiel are just two true prophets of God, who warned of the many false prophets who would announce peace to the people, when there was NO peace, nor could be any peace (Jer.6:14; 8:11; 14:19; Eze.13:16).
And I will stretch out my hand upon them . . . the LORD’S Hand will take vengeance on them; as the Targum; a heavy one, and that for giving heed to a lying spirit; for uttering falsehood, and that with a wicked design, to gain the praise of the people, or for filthy lucre's sake (Tit.1:11).
And I will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel . . . by some sore judgment or sudden death, and so would be made a public example of.
*****Those false prophets whom the people loved, deluded them, and the LORD allowed them to do it, as a righteous judgment on their rebellious, willful blindness. The Almighty Lord GOD can and does send lying spirits to false prophets IF He so desires! He did it to Ahab's prophets and others (1 Ki.22:22-23; 2 Chron. 18:21-22), and the LORD can also give them up to strong delusions to believe a lie, and publish it (2 Thes.2:11-12), if and when He chooses to do so! False prophets are alwaysready, willing and able to prophesy smooth things (Isa.30:10).
Woe to any prophet who foretells peace to anyone with whom God is at war. False prophets of the past, and false teachers in today’s world, who try to ease the conscience and quiet the fears in the hearts of the wicked, oppose the Almighty Lord GOD . . . and that is a terrible sin. True prophets of GOD and true teachers of God’s Word should be warning people to repent and cast off any sin. But instead, false teachers bring only smooth, comforting words that give people hope, when there is absolutely NO hope whatsoever in their message! BEWARE of false teachers! They will lead you only to the lake of fire (Rev.20:15).
Ezekiel 14:10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him; (KJV)
And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity . . . both the false prophet, and all those that lustfully tried to find out what they had to say, were deceived by him. Neither will have an excuse, because they have sinned together, they all went astray willfully. They all shall without fail perish.
The punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seekest unto him . . . they both are guilty . . . the prophet and those who loved what he said. Each separate one, pursuing the desires of their own wicked hearts (Jer.17:9); each one seeking for smooth things to be spoken to him (Isa.30:10); each wanting only what would gratify him, and for the sake of gain. The one being a false prophet . . . the other seeking and being deceived, inquiring of him, while all the time he was abusing and rejecting the TRUE prophets of the LORD . . . both being deceived, and both totally blind . . . thus, both would fall into the same ditch (Lk.6:39), being under the same judicial blindness and hardness of heart. The Targum is, according to the sin of him that comes to learn and learns not; according to the sin of the false prophet shall it be.
*****Just as they dealt so deceitfully with God by seeking answers of peace without repentance, so the Lord GOD would allow them be dealt with deceitfully by the prophets whom they consulted. God would chastise their sin with a matching judgment; because they rejected the safety of the true prophets, He would send the wicked delusions of a false one . . . prophets would be given to them who would repeat the deceitfulness that was already formed in their own heart, and would end in their total ruin. The people had only themselves to blame, for they had long ago been forewarned how to discern and to deal with a false prophet (Deut.13:3). The very existence of such deceivers among them was a sign of God’s judicial displeasure, as in Saul’s case (1 Sam.16:14; 28:6-7). The deceivers and the deceived are suckers of a common delusion, and would be involved in a common ruin.
Ezekiel 14:11 That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD. (KJV)
That the house of Israel may go no more astray . . . not go astray from His worship, as the Targum; from the law of God, and obedience to it. Any time we go astray from the Lord GOD . . . it is SIN, it is a disobedience of His commandments; it leads us out of the right way onto wrong paths, which always result in ruin. Sometimes the ways which God uses to restore His people, and bring them back to Himself, are the same punishments that He inflicts on the wicked; and which is His purpose in so doing, as it was here; that the false prophets, and those that followed them, would when made examples of, would be a warning to others, and caution them not to fall into the same sins, that so they would not have to bear the same punishment. God’s elect: (Isa.42:1; 45:4; 65:9, 22; Mat.24:24, 31; Mk.13:22, 27; Lk.18:7; Rom.8:33; Col.3:12; Tit.1:1; 1 Pet.1:2).
Neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions . . . every transgression is a disobedience of the Law of God, so sin in reality, defiles nature; defiles the heart, mind and conscience . . . defiles the whole man, from which there is absolutely NO cleansing except by the precious Blood of Christ (1 Pet.1:18-19).
Only the only begotten Son of God can redeem us from our sin (Eph.1:7). http://www.godcannotlie.org/eph_ch1.htm
Dear one, any sin is hateful in itself, but worse, it completely opposes the pure and holy nature of God, and is utterly abominable to His gracious Mind, and therefore must be avoided, IF we want to stay on God’s good side!
But that they may be my people and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD . . . that is, that they may behave as such, and that it may appear that God is their God, and they are His people. Love was the spring (fountain or source) of God's very judgments on His people, who were incurable by any other process (11:20; 37:27).
*****It is sad indeed that God’s Truth should be corrupted and dirtied by lies, and that the people, with those who imposed it upon them, should utterly perish. But we now know that the children of Israel were not to be tamed, unless they were completely broken down. We shall not be in danger of wandering IF we follow God . . . BUT, if our hearts and minds turn to one side or the other, and we do not maintain our obedience to the Lord GOD alone, the prophet teaches that we wander in error, and that this will in the end bring misery.
Both the false prophets and those who consulted them would be destroyed and would be blotted from the midst of God’s people. We know that there was always some seed left (remnant), that the covenant which had been made with Abraham might be firm and sacred. This sentence then properly refers to the elect, who are called by Paul the remnant of grace (Rom.11:5.) But God says that the example would be useful to the survivors, since the punishment of others would instruct them: and when they would see the false prophets perish, and would acknowledge God’s remarkable judgment in their destruction, then they would profit by it.
We should understand what the prophet means by the destruction of the false prophets and of those hypocrites who despised the true prophets, and prostituted themselves to be deceived by these impostors. When God makes them an example of His wrath, the prophet says that the house of Israel would receive advantage from their perishing, and profit by their utter ruin.
Dear one, only when God’s judgments are in the Earth, will the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isa.26:9). The elect that were wicked (Eph.2:1-2) will become good, and they that were good will be made better. When a few are punished, all fear. God’s elect: (Isa.42:1; 45:4; 65:9, 22; Mat.24:24, 31; Mk.13:22, 27; Lk.18:7; Rom.8:33; Col.3:12; Tit.1:1; 1 Pet.1:2).
Certain Destruction of Jerusalem (14:12-20)
The false prophets were still running around saying, "God will spare Jerusalem. It is His city. He loves it." They could quote an abundance of Scripture about it. Dear one, BEWARE, it is very possible to quote an isolated Scripture or two to support ANY false doctrine today. But, please remember . . . you cannot just pick a verse here and there; you must look at the whole picture presented in the Holy Word of God. The false prophets, then and now, were wrong, and God is saying very explicitly that Jerusalem is to be judged.
Ezekiel 14:12 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, (KJV)
The word of the Lord came again unto saying . . . at the same time as before, continuing the prophecy and a condemnation of judgments. This does not begin a new prophecy, it simply continues with the one before. The Targum renders it, the word of prophecy from the Lord.
*****When the land sins against the LORD, when vice and wickedness become an epidemic, when the land sins by trespassing grievously against the Almighty LORD, when sinners have become so abundant and their sins so monstrous, when gross impieties and immoralities prevail everywhere, then will the LORD stretch forth His Hand upon it and punish it. The divine power of the Almighty Creator shall be vigorously and openly exerted, then and now! Grievous sins bring grievous plagues. Dear one, sin worsens with each passing day in the world today! I simply cannot believe the utter stupidity of people today. They act as if there is no GOD! They act as if He will NOT condemn people to Hell (Rev.20:15). Dear one, there IS a God! And sin incites His righteous wrath and judgment! I think everyone knows deep within themselves that God DOES exist! All they have to do is look around, in any direction! Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (KJV)
The presence of a few righteous persons does have an effect on the purposes of God, such as Noah (Gen. 7); and Abraham (Gen.18:22-32). God told Jeremiah that the guilt of Judah was too great to be pardoned even for the intercession of Moses and Samuel (Ps.99:6; Jer.15:1), which had prevailed formerly (Ex.32:11-14; Num.14:13-20; 1 Sam.7:8-12), indicating the wickedness of their guilt to be extraordinary, because in ordinary cases the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (for others) availeth much (James 5:16). Ezekiel complements Jeremiah by adding that not only those two once successful intercessors, but not even the three pre-eminently righteous men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, could stay God’s judgments by their righteousness (verse 14).
Ezekiel 14:13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: (KJV)
Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously . . . Son of man (2:1), the inhabitants of the land, NOT the land. When any nation becomes a sinner against God and His Law; they are not just sinners, as all men are, but grievous and notorious sinners, guilty of very gross horrors, of great disloyalty and treachery; and God’s holy and righteous wrath shall bring judgment against them. God is a longsuffering God, and has great patience with a people; and does not usually take His judgments against a nation, UNTIL sin has universally prevailed among them . . . it is then that they are guilty of grievous abominations, in which those sins are continued in . . . and when this happens . . .
Then will I stretch out mine hand upon it. . . His mighty Hand of righteous wrath and justice, shall fall heavily, and men shall feel it.
And will break the staff of the bread thereof . . . take away bread from the nation, which is the support of human life and the stay of it. Bread is as a staff to an old man that cannot walk without one. It also takes away the virtue of life, and even he might have eaten, yet it would not be nourishing (Eze.4:16; Lev.26:26). Staff of bread is that which man's existence is supported on (Eze.4:16; 5:16; Lev.26:26; Ps.104:15; Isa. 3:1).
And will send famine upon it . . . the LORD will send a famine, by causing a drought, restraining rain, sending mildew, locusts, caterpillars, etc. to eat up the fruits of the earth (Isa.28:2; Joel 1:17; Amos 4:6-9; Hag.2:17).
And will cut off man and beast from it . . . cut off beast because of man . . . and both through want of food. Extreme famine is a heavy judgment, as has been shown even to resort to cannibalism (Lev.26:29; Deut.28:53; 2 Ki.6:28; Isa.9:20; Jer.19:9).
There is an extreme famine yet to come in the future: Revelation 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (KJV)
*****The denying and withholding of common mercies is itself a terrible judgment . . . for when the needs of people are removed, people will be miserable. God does not need to bring the staff of oppression, for just His breaking the staff of bread is enough. He cuts off man and beast by cutting off the provisions which nature makes for both in the annual products of the Earth. God can also break the staff of bread when, even though we have bread, yet we are not nourished and strengthened by it (Hag.1:6, 9; 2:16). They would eat, but they would not have enough.
God is a kind, loving and longsuffering God, Who has great patience with a sinful people; and does not usually take His judgments against a nation, UNTIL sin has completely overcome them . . . it is then that they are guilty of grievous abominations, in which those sins are continued in . . . and when this happens . . . . . .
Then will I stretch out mine hand upon it. . . THEN His mighty Hand of righteous wrath and justice, shall fall heavily, and the people shall indeed feel it.
I believe that the once wonderful, God-fearing nation of America, has slipped so far back away from the Almighty Lord GOD in their continuing sin, that if they do not repent, and soon, they shall feel the mighty Hand of righteous wrath and justice. I beg you dear one, if you are one of His elect, and you are deep in sin, repent, turn around and go the other way, into the Arms of the Saviour, Jesus Christ! He waits patiently for you, otherwise, you shall stand before Judge Jesus at the Great White Throne and hear a verdict you do NOT want to hear. Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV) Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV)
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD. (KJV)
Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it . . . Noah, Daniel and Job, named specifically as having been saved from overwhelming calamities for their personal righteousness. Noah had only the members of his family saved in the Flood (Gen.7:23). Daniel saved from the fury of the king of Babylon with the three youths (Dan.2:17-18, 48-49). Although Daniel’s prophecies were later than those of Ezekiel, his fame for piety and wisdom was already firmly established, and the events recorded (Dan.1:1 - 2:49), had become known. The Jews would naturally, in their fallen condition, pride themselves on one who reflected such glory on his nation at the heathen capital, and would build vain hopes on his influence in averting ruin from them. Job forms the climax and is therefore put out of chronological order, having not even been left a son or a daughter, and having had himself to pass through an ordeal of suffering before his final deliverance, and therefore forming the most simple instance of the righteousness of God. These three men here mentioned were well-known for piety, which they maintained in the midst of prevailing corruption. They were delivered, as individuals, from the ruin by which many were overtaken. BUT Noah did not save the world from drowning, Daniel did NOT save the Jews from captivity, NOR did Job save his ungodly family from destruction. We are here reminded that God’s rule is righteous, that He deals with individuals, One on one . . . and that He will NOT credit the merits of the virtuous to the sinful.
They should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD . . . just as Noah was saved at the time of the Flood; Daniel in the captivity; and Job midst his great afflictions . . . this is NOT to be understood of the eternal salvation of the souls of these men, which is not, nor can it be by works of righteousness done by even the most Godly of men. These 3 men were saved, of temporal salvation, of the salvation of their lives from temporal calamities. And too, these men had knowledge of a better righteousness than their own, and believed in it, and trusted to it, even the righteousness of faith, the righteousness of Christ received by faith (1 Cor.1:30; Rom.5:1). Noah was both an heir and a preacher of the righteousness which is by faith (2 Pet.2:5); Daniel knew (Dan.8:16-17) that it was one branch of the Messiah's work to bring in everlasting righteousness; and Job was fully persuaded that his Redeemer lived, by Whom he would be justified (Heb.11:7).
*****The object of all the previous, severe judgments, is that Israel may be brought to a TRUE repentance and be reunited in fellowship with God. The prophet now tells them that Jerusalem would yet be spared for the sake of the righteous dwelling therein, as had been promised to Abraham in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:23-32). The idea of this is: If any land would sin as terribly as Israel had done, and God would send a judgment, it would not be spared, even though Noah, Daniel and Job were in it. This is repeated in connection with each one of four successively mentioned judgments; and then the climax is reached, that much less can Jerusalem be spared when all these judgments are combined together. In the end, the justice of the Divine dealings shall be acknowledged.
A few years earlier, Jeremiah (Jer. 14 & 15) had uttered a very similar prophecy in connection with the condemnation of false prophets (Jer.14:13-15) in which not only he himself is forbidden to intercede for the people (Jer.14:11), but it is said that the presence of Moses and Samuel would be unavailing (Jer.15:1). The meaning of this is, that God cuts off all hope of mercy from the people who abandon Him.
Ezekiel 14:15 If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts: (KJV)
If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land . . . the LORD will cause evil, foul, hurtful and offensive beasts; not so much those that are poisonous; but such as lions, tigers, foxes, wolves, and bears, those that are very ravenous and devouring, and especially in a time of famine before threatened; although sometimes God makes use of lesser creatures to do damage to a land, and the fruits of it, as locusts, caterpillars, etc., but the former seem to be intended here, which sometimes God threatens and sends to a people disobedient and rebellious (Lev.26:22). Noisome beasts . . . serpents, according to Scripture, were included among these hurtful beasts (Gen.3:14). In Syria, where the serpent was reverenced as possessing superhuman powers, its ability to bereave (orphan)the land would be great.
And they spoil it . . . or, the LORD will bereave the inhabitants of it of their children; or bereave it the cattle, sheep and oxen, as well as of men and women also, and destroy the fruits of the earth.
So that it be desolate . . . having neither men nor cattle, corn or tillage, or any other fruit; all being destroyed by the evil, noisome beasts, who have commission to pass through it, and lay it waste wherever they come, without control.
That no man may pass through because of the beasts . . . for fear of them: not only the inhabitants of the land should be destroyed by them, but even travelers, such as come from other countries, would not choose to pass through it because of the beasts; so that it would on this account be destitute both of inhabitants and of travelers; and must be a most desolate place, where only wild beasts were to be seen, ranging about at pleasure. Noisome beasts are one of the great plagues or armies that the Lord GOD always has at His command.
*****Now the prophet mentions the second kind of punishment; for there are God’s four scourges: hunger, wild beasts, war and pestilence. The prophet has spoken of famine; he now comes to wild beasts. This kind of scourge is rarely used in Scripture; for God more often mentions the sword, pestilence and famine; BUT when His wrath is specifically aroused, He adds also savage beasts. He expresses a little more clearly what He had before spoken briefly and obscurely when He mentioned famine. So God fills out His judgments no less by means of lions, bears and tigers, than by rain and drought, the sword and the pestilence. If we consider the great savageness of these beasts; first, when hunger arouses them they are carried along by a ravenous impulse; and too, they are naturally hostile to the human race, and without doubt they would tear to pieces all whom they met, unless restrained by God’s secret instinct. So, if God can restrain wild beasts (1 Sam.17:37; Ps.91:11-13; Dan.6:22; 2 Tim.4:17; Heb.11:33), He is also well able to send them forth as often, and where it pleases Him.
Ezekiel 14:16 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate. (KJV)
Though these three men were in it . . . even if Noah, Daniel and Job, had been in a land so threatened, and used all the reputation they had with God, by fervent prayer and supplication, to have called in the wild beasts, and chained them up, and to preserve the people from being destroyed by them, it would all have been in vain, because the Lord GOD was determined to destroy them, and by means of these noisome beasts, which was just one of His four sore judgments (verse 21).
As I live, saith the Lord GOD . . . as I live is a form of speech in which God by an oath confirms what He has spoken, and it is such an oath as becomes Him and He alone, for He alone is Life (Jn.1:14; 14:6), and cannot die because He is eternal (Deut.33:27; Rom.1:20, 2 Cor.5:1; Eph.3:11; 1 Tim.1:17; 2 Tim.2:10; Heb.5:9; 1 Pet. 5:10). Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: (KJV)
They shall deliver neither sons nor daughters . . . meaning not adult persons, but little ones, infant sons and daughters . . . those who had not been guilty of the actual sins and transgressions their parents were charged with . . . even these three Godly men would not be able to deliver by their prayers and petitions from being destroyed by noisome beasts. The holy and righteous wrath of God had been pushed to the limit, and punishing the iniquities of the fathers upon the children (Lev.26:39; Isa.65:7; Jer.11:10; Dan.9:16).
They only shall be delivered . . . as Noah with his family were safe in the ark, when amidst wild beasts; and Daniel was safe in the lions’ den (Dan.6:22); and Job, with whom the beasts of the field were at peace, Job 5:23.
But the land shall be desolate . . . (Eze.12:20; Isa.1:7; 64:10).
*****As I live is an oath by the Lord GOD which confirms what He has spoken. The LORD swears by Himself, because there is NONE greater anywhere by whom He can swear. Hebrews 6:13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, (KJV)
Let us therefore carefully consider, when our speech needs confirmation, that we should NEVER use His Holy Name hastily and falsely. I truly believe that a TRUE Christian does not need an oath, because a simple yes or no should do. . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.godcannotlie.org/true_children_of_god.htm
Our life should be proof of our faithfulness to the LORD.
Ezekiel 14:17 Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it: (KJV)
Or if I bring a sword upon that land . . . the land which had grievously sinned (verse 13) . . . it was not the land that sinned, it was the inhabitants of the land . . . it will be the same land into which a famine would come, and through which evil beasts would pass; and to which, the LORD would add a third judgment, the sword; it would be that a foreign enemy that would come in their midst and destroy them. So the Targum, or if those that slay with the sword I should bring upon that land. The Chaldean army did come; the sword having its command from the Lord GOD. War is not by chance; the invasion of a foreign enemy is from the LORD; and all the mischiefs and ravages of a tumultuous army are all by divine order.
And say, Sword, go through the land . . . not only did the sword enter the borders of the land, but proceeded far in it, even all the way through it. One thing is sure, IF the LORD bids it go, it must go, and does! The sword and all the other judgments, are His servants, and quickly obeys His commands.
So that I cut off man and beast from it . . . although wars mainly destroy men, yet many beasts are also destroyed as well. The beasts that serve in wars are wasted, as horses and beasts of burden. The Eastern nations have brought many camels and elephants into the wars; beside the slaughter of these in fighting, the spoiler wasting his enemy often destroyed whole herds and flocks.
*****Ezekiel now comes to the third kind of punishment. God says, if he sends a sword upon a land, he cannot be pleaded with so as not to consume it utterly. He will not accept any man’s intercession, even though the most holy such as Noah, Job and Daniel dwell there. Dear one, the Lord GOD governs even wars by His infinite wisdom, and He also governs men and their swords. God here announces that He allows swords to pass through a land, and to destroy both men and beasts.
Ezekiel 14:18 Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves. (KJV)
Though these three men were in it . . . Noah, Job and Daniel are before mentioned in verse 14.
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters. . . in the same manner as it is expressed in verse 16,
But they only shall be delivered themselves . . . Noah, Job and Daniel saved their own souls or lives, and by their righteousness . . . but Noah did not save the world from drowning, Daniel did NOT save the Jews from captivity, NOR did Job save his ungodly family from destruction.
*****Each one of us, are responsible for our own soul. We can and must intercede for others, but there are times when the sin of the wicked is so bad, even the prayers and pleading of the best, most pious and most faithful of God’s people will NOT change His mind about the judgment He has given.
Ezekiel 14:19 Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast: (KJV)
Or if I send a pestilence into that land . . . pestilence or plague, is the destruction that wastes at noon day; this is from the Lord, and a sore judgment it is: pestilence is an arrow that flies from the Lord GOD’S bow.
And pour out my fury upon it in blood . . . pour out, not drop by drop on a people in small measures, but in great measures, and quickly, as water is poured out of a pitcher all at once. The Targum renders it, with slaughter; by slaying a great number of persons by that disease, as a token of fury and wrath, because of their transgressions. In blood . . . sometimes blood means war, but here, and in many other places, it means death and destruction of men, but not by the sword.
To cut off from it man and beast . . . man by the pestilence, and beast by some contagious distemper or another.
Man and beast . . . not that beasts die of the same pestilential disease which kills man, but either death of men by pestilence emptied the nation, that there are not men to take care and provide for the beasts; or rather, because when pestilence killed men, murrains and plague of cattle, from the same infected air, and from the Hand of God, killed the beasts also.
*****The Lord GOD now confirms of the fourth kind of punishment, adding to what He has already pronounced. What the LORD is saying is that IF He sends a pestilence, and has devoted a land to devastation, that Noah, Job and Daniel, would be safe if they dwelt there . . . but that their righteousness would NOT profit anyone else, not even their own sons and their daughters.
Pestilence is a dreadful disease that has sometimes depopulated cities; by it God pours out His fury in blood (meaning death). Pestilence kills just as effectually as if the blood were shed by the sword, for the blood is poisoned by the disease.
We must remember that God does not always act in the same: for He has many different ways of carrying out His judgments. I think here He only means, that when He has determined to destroy a land, there is no hope of pardon, not even when the most holy ask Him to stop His wrath and vengeance.
Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness. (KJV)
Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it . . . these three are again mentioned by name, as in verse 14, and are the three men referred to in verse 16.
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter . . . not even so much as an only son, or an only daughter, but not even a single child, for the plural number is used in verse 16 . . . here it is singular, to show how determined the Lord GOD was upon the destruction of the land . . . that even the prayers of the best of men (the elect) among them should not change His mind to save a single person, not even one single infant. Dear one, for a kind, loving, good, gracious GOD to get this angry with the people’s sin, is terrifying! BEWARE!!! Again I tell you, each one of us, are responsible for our own soul. God’s TRUE people can and must intercede for others, but there are times when the sin of the wicked is SO bad, even the prayers and pleading of the best, most pious and most faithful of God’s people will not change His mind about the judgment He has given (1 Jn.5:16).
Shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness . . . see verse 14. By their righteousness; not deserving the deliverance, but yet the justice and mercy of God shall surely keep them from falling into the punishment who were kept from the sin. All people are sinners, even the best of them (Ecc.7:20; Rom.3:10, 23; Gal.3:22), but all can be saved by faith in the righteousness of Christ (Rom.3:22, 26-28; 4:5, 24-25; 5:1, 9).
*****Had Noah been in Jerusalem at this time, he could not have helped them at all. That is the reason that God got Daniel out of Jerusalem; the Jews would not hear him, but an old pagan king in Babylon listened to Daniel and made him prime minister. Had Job been there, he could not have helped. When the Lord GOD has made up His Mind to bring destruction to a land or a nation . . . destruction shall come! I have great concern for the United States of America. People keep on keeping on with their sin, and adding new more hateful ones day by day. How long do you think the Almighty Lord GOD is going to put up with this?
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV) . . . All these and many more are taking place right now! Abortion is rampant! Women say it is their body and they have a right to do with it as they please. Drugs and drunkenness invite evil spirits which cause theft, murder and violence. Homosexuality is an utter abomination to the Almighty Lord GOD (Lev.18:22; 20:13), but it is common place worldwide in today’s world (Rom.1:26; 1 Cor.6:9-11; Jude 1:7), and even supposed ‘Christian’ churches have ‘gay pastors’ in their pulpits. Almighty God NEVER ever, said it was OK for two men or two women to marry . . . NOT once, in any place in His Holy Book! It is a sin against Him to do so!
Genesis 2:23-25 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (KJV) . . . A man and a woman makes up a marriage!
Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (KJV) . . . HOW can two married men OR two married women obey God’s command to replenish the Earth? Homosexuality is a SIN! And God shall indeed punish ALL those who go this route, just like He punished Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen.19:28; 2 Pet.2:7; Jude 1:7; Rev.14:10-11).
Dear one, how many churches are there today where the people really want to hear the Truth told to them? When I think of this, I immediately think of Jesus’ Words!
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV) . . . It has been a L-O-N-G time ago that our precious Saviour spoke those words . . . but they ring clear and true in today’s wicked world! How many WANT to hear the Truth? “FEW”!
Ezekiel 14:21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? (KJV)
For thus saith the Lord GOD, how much more . . . if the LORD could not be persuaded by such Godly men as those mentioned above, for a land that had sinned so greatly against Him, to whom He only sends one of the above judgments: famine, noisome beasts, the sword or the pestilence, how much more unstoppable and deaf to all pleas He must be; and how much greater that wickedness of the people must be, when those three men, along with their best interest, would not be able to prevent even one of the four judgments, let alone keep off all four, when the LORD commanded them all to go at once. How much more . . . if a transgression which has brought upon itself one of these penalties cannot be forgiven, even upon the petition of these great saints, how much more is this impossible when the wickedness has been so outreaching that God has sent all four of His most severe judgments upon the land (Eze.5:17; 33:27). When we consider that Ezekiel wrote in Babylon, it is an interesting fact that wild beasts, famine and pestilence were united as a trinity of death in Chaldean folk lore.
When I send my four sore judgments on Jerusalem . . . four often conveys the idea of completeness with an allusion to the four quarters of the Earth. If there would be no sparing of one judgment, think how much more certain would the universal judgment be in the case of four devastating judgments (Rev.6:1-8). Four is the number of those outside the covenant . . . so Jerusalem is numbered among them as an outcast. All these judgments were a regular part of an invasion. The sword to slay, the famine resulting from the burning of the crops or from siege, the wild beasts taking over because of the destroying of the land and the removal of the inhabitants, and the pestilence following from the conditions under which men had to survive. My four sore judgments . . . every one of these four, plus three more, such as earthquakes, floods and great winds are sore judgments indeed. Each and every one of the judgments of the Lord GOD is most deadly when He commands them to be performed on an individual person, a people or an entire nation.
The sword, and the famine, and the, noisome beast, and the pestilence . . . the sword (Gen.27:40; Deut.32:21; Ps.17:13; Hos.11:6; Zec.13:7). Famine (Deut.28:53; 2 Ki.6:28; Ps.105:16; Isa.3:1-8; 14:30; Jer.14:15-22; 19:9; 29:17, 19; Eze.4:16-17; 5:16-17; 14:13; Joel 1:15-16; Amos 4:6-9; 5:16-17; Hag.1:10-11). Future famine yet to come (Mat. 24:7; Lk.21:11; Rev.6:5-8). Noisome beasts (Lev.26:22; Num.21:6-7; Deur.8:15; 28:26; Eze.5:17; 14:15; 32:4; Rev.6:8). Pestilence (Lev.26:16, 25; Num.14:12; 16:49; Deut.28:21; 2 Sam.24:15; Jer.14:12; 24:10; 29:17-18; Amos 4:10).
To cut off from it man and beast . . . it is clear, three of the above judgments, were sent upon Jerusalem at the time of its siege by Nebuchadnezzar, the sword, famine, and pestilence; and no doubt the other, even the noisome beasts; and if not literally, yet symbolically, because Nebuchadnezzar himself is compared to a lion (Jer.4:7).
*****The Lord GOD’S four sore judgments are the teaching of the preceding eight verses, and is here brought to its climax. In the event of any one of the four punishments mentioned, the presence of the holiest of men would be of no advantage to prevent it; and certainly NOT when all four judgments would be combined in the judgment upon Jerusalem. It would be IMPOSSIBLE for any mere man, no matter how pious he was, to stop the disaster commanded by the Lord GOD!
A severe and somber lesson here for all of us! When God's professing people revolt from Him, and rebel against Him, they may rightly expect a combination of judgments to fall upon them. God has many different ways of dealing with a sinful nation; but when Jerusalem, the Holy City, become a harlot, God would send all four of his sore judgments upon her. WHY? Because the nearer any are to God in name and profession, the more severely He will judge them . . . for they reproach the worthy Name by which they are called and make their profession to be a lie! They shall be punished seven times more (Lev.26:18,21,24,28). Do YOU want that? I do NOT!
It Is Promised, That a Remnant Shall Escape (14:22-23)
Ezekiel 14:22 Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. (KJV)
Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant . . . therein; in Jerusalem itself, and in the land. A remnant is some that escape, a remnant, not of righteous persons, but some of the guilty who would escape the destruction of Jerusalem and go to Babylon, to lead a life of hopeless exile there. The reference here is to judgment, not mercy, as verse 23 shows, for although none could have success with God to stop the emptying the city and the land, and the cutting off was for the most, yet this was not to extend to the utter cutting off and destruction of all.
That shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters . . . those which would be brought forth out of Jerusalem when taken, and would not be destroyed either by famine, or by noisome beasts, or by the sword, or by the pestilence; and these, many of them, both sons and daughters; would be the means of continuing a posterity, that would return again, and re-populate the land, and continue for many ages, as they have done. This seems to be said with respect to verse 16. Brought forth by the proud, cruel and barbarous conqueror bringing them in nakedness, chains and in contempt worse than death itself.
Behold, they shall come forth unto you . . . this remnant shall come out of Jerusalem, out of their own land into Babylon, to where other captives already were, with whom Ezekiel now was, and to whom he is speaking. Unto you, those naked, starving, ridiculed captives, brought through heat and cold, through sand and deadly travel, shall come, although with great regret to you, to Babylon, whose condition they will either envy, or wish it as their own. Captives naked: (2 Sam.10:4; Isa.3:17; 20:4; Jer.13:22, 26; Eze.16:36-37; 23:25-29; Mic.1:11; Nah.3:5).
And ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it . . . that is, they would be satisfied with the justice of God, and be reconciled to the providence of God, in bringing destruction upon Jerusalem; which quite possibly before, they murmured at, or had bad thoughts of God about it; but now hearing the confessions of those that were brought from there to them, or seeing their wicked lives . . . they would now be fully satisfied that God was righteous in all that He had done; and that instead of being hard and severe, He had been kind and merciful. Ye shall be comforted . . . and not rejoice in their brethren’s misery, but be comforted in remembering the good when they decided to obey God, by yielding to the Chaldeans; comforted in knowing that their state was much better than theirs. God will be as true in His mercies as He hath been in His judgments.
*****Even when the Lord GOD brings the greatest sadness by His judgments, He always reserves some of His lovingkindness and mercy. Jerusalem itself, although marked for utter ruin, yet there shall be left a remnant, who shall not be cut off by any of those sore judgments before mentioned, but shall be carried into captivity, both sons and daughters, who shall be the seed of a new generation. The young ones, who had not yet grown up to such a stubbornness in sin as their fathers had, seemed to be the remnant that would be brought forth out of the ruins of Jerusalem. These shall come more willingly to Babylon because so many of their friends had gone there before them. Their narrow escape shall have a good effect on them; it shall change their temper and lifestyle, and make them new men.
Ezekiel 14:23 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD. (KJV)
And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings . . . they (the remnant) that survive the siege, famine and ruin of Jerusalem, and are brought to Babylon, shall comfort you. When ye see their ways . . . you will understand the effects of it upon the ruined Jews. Ye . . . you (those) of the first captivity, you that obeyed the LORD’S voice, and submitted to the Babylonian yoke, shall know, shall be fully satisfied, that the Lord GOD had more than abundant cause, and just reason, for all that He had done against Jerusalem and its land, and inhabitants there. They would know His Hand, and as they feel the weight, they shall also see the justice of it against them, and the mercy of it towards you, for they had stupidity hardened themselves against the Lord GOD, His judgments and His prophets. They would recognize their guilt and be comforted in the knowledge that God's punishment was just and not without cause. Even here, there is a hint of God's amazing grace.
And ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD . . . that there was right reason for it; that He was more than sufficiently provoked to do what He did; and that it was necessary that it should be done, for His own honor, and the good of others.
*****We should sorrow for the afflictions of others, and it is a comfort to us in our sorrow to see others improving in their afflictions. When the remnant captives told their friends how bad they had been, and how righteous God was in bringing these judgments upon them, it made them very easy, and helped to reconcile them to the calamities of Jerusalem, to the righteousness of God in punishing His own people the way that He did, and to the goodness of God, which now seemed to have had kind, caring intentions in all. Any time we better understand a thing, we do not have such awful anxieties concerning it as we had before. If we have gotten any good by our afflictions, it is a debt we owe to our brethren, to comfort them by letting them know it, because it will bring honor to God, and they shall know that what the Lord GOD does is not without cause and not done without a severe provocation. We have a very longsuffering, patient God (Ex.34:6; Num.14:18; Ps.86:15; 1 Pet.3:20; 2 Pet.3:9). When afflictions have done their work, and have accomplished that for which they were sent, then the wisdom and goodness of God in sending them will appear, and God will be not only justified, but glorified in them.
*****Let us consider:
<><><>Certain elders of Israel waiting for the prophet with apparent concern about their souls, and anxious to hear and receive his warnings. Whether they were of the captivity, or some who had come on business from Jerusalem to Babylon, is uncertain. Devotion (piety) is often put on by those who have NO godliness.
<><><>God made it clear to the prophet Ezekiel, to know what kind of men these were, for their hearts did NOT agree or match their outward appearance. They had set up idols in their heart, which greatly stimulated their affections. Their hearts were the throne of idolatry; and they were slaves to these vanities. Heart-idols are just as abominable as those that are the work of men's hands, covetousness, riches, self-love, etc., etc. and are just as much idolatry as the bowing down to gods of gold or silver. Anyone who puts a stumbling-block of their iniquity before them, can expect only to fall into the pit of destruction.
<><><>The LORD gives Ezekiel an answer for them. With God there is absolutely NO respect of persons; whosoever draws near to the Lord GOD in hypocrisy, shall bear his own burden, and receive a just answer according to the multitude of his idols . . . the Lord GOD will give them up to the delusions which they have chosen, and punish them according to their crimes. He would expose Israel’s sin and folly, and bring them to their deserved shame and punishment; because they all are estranged from the LORD because of their idols, alienated from the service and worship of God by their attachment to these abominations. Our own hearts are naturally deceitful and wicked (Jer.17:9), and are our great trap for us, because they seduce and lure us away from God by treating us to some favorite lust, to our utter ruin.
<><><>An intense warning is given them to repent, or be in danger of an eternal Hell . . . be they natives of Israel or travelers among them . . . they both must turn from their idols, and from all their abominations . . . but if they continue to separate themselves from God in this way and walk in these iniquities, God will bring upon them His terrible wrath, which is ALWAYS righteous! ALL who dwelt in Israel, although they were not of Israel, were bound to abstain from idol worship (Lev.17:8-10; 20:2). The hypocrite shall be discovered and confused, often in this world, but for certain on judgment day. It seems that of all sinners, the hypocrite's doom will be the most terrible (Mat.24:51).
<><><>The doom of the false prophets is read. The deceiver and the deceived shall perish together. Since the people choose their own delusions, God will give up the prophets whom they consulted by a lying spirit (1 Ki. 22:22-23), and in righteous judgment (Rom.2:5; 2 Thes.1:5), allow them to be deceived by the devil. He will stretch out His avenging Arm, and utterly destroy them from the midst of the people; and both the false prophet, and they who pursue him, shall bear the punishment of their iniquity. Mysterious are the ways of God; and even though we are often confused as to why He allows the evil that we see, the day will come when all He has ever done shall be proven beyond contradiction, to be completely just, righteous and true.
<><><>The judgments executed on the wicked will be a warning to many of the house of Israel, that they stop going astray, seeing the terrible effects which arise from such departures from God, and made wise by the sufferings of others. The punishments of others should make us stop our iniquities. We must consider that God hates sin and that He shall punish sin, and we must also consider that sin injures the soul, and makes it detestable in the eyes of a Holy God. BEWARE! God does NOT lie (Tit.1:2; Heb.6:18).
<><><>Idolators are always found out, and the secrets of their hearts are revealed (Ps.44:21; Rom.2:16; 1 Cor.14:25). It is made quite clear, that it is they themselves, who put obstacles in the way of their own prayers being accepted by the Lord GOD.
<><><>We all must agree that open and/or continued sin makes prayer unacceptable. But, do we honestly consider the fact that cherished heart-sin is even a worse hindrance to prayer? When we set up idols in our hearts (7:19; 14:3-4,7), these idols are called the stumbling block of their iniquity, because when we worship these abominations instead of the Lord GOD, we fall deep into sin and into utter ruin. The Psalmist clearly saw this, for he said, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. (Ps.66:18). I believe this is one of the great secrets of our unanswered prayers. Some of us pray with our idols in our hearts.
<><><>Do we love pleasure, fortune or fame more than Christ? IF we set ANYTHING before Christ, it is an idol to us! We must read our hearts, and see if there is some subtle form of evil, some heart or soul idol hidden, and if there is, it is a stumbling-block to our prayer! We must take account of unsuitable desires and/or habits, to which we have become so accustomed to that their evil influence is not recognized.
<><><>What about troubling sins, that we have confessed for so long and yet have failed to overcome? Has the confession of these irritating sins now become a mere formality to us? Dear one, SIN eats into the soul, just like a cancer! We must overcome, we must have victory, we must confess and repent.
<><><>What about our infirmities? Infirmities are failures to keep the law of perfect obedience given to Adam in the Garden of Eden, which no one can keep. Infirmities are involuntary outflows from our imperfect body. Infirmities involve regret and humiliation where sin always produces guilt. Infirmities in God-fearing souls never interrupt fellowship with God, while sin cuts our communication with Heaven. There are some who think that infirmities of temper and relationship are the marks of our personality, but it seems to me that they are instead weaknesses: for instance, secret non-trust in God is simply unbelief; secret self-will is wrong because it encourages us that God’s way is exactly the way in which we want to go, and secret self-righteousness will lead you to Hell. Our worst infirmity is sin.
<><><>Anyone who sets up idols, ALWAYS separates himself from God. So often, those who seemingly are the most religious, are really deep under the spell of idolatry. We all should ask that God would search us, as David did. David did wrong and repented. Let us do the same. Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (KJV)
There are certain general principles to which we must give heed to when we come to worship God.
<><><>We must empty ourselves of ourselves. We must come begging for His will and His wisdom.
<><><>The one thing that will cause our worship to fail every time, is secret sin. As long as sin, in any one of its countless forms, lurks in the heart, mind or conscience, the worship of God will be unsuccessful and a hopeless thing, because our seeking Truth is a lie.
<><><>When we do not confess sin and cast it away from us; we are deceitful and dishonest, which violates all our worship and reduces our worship of the Lord GOD to a lie.
Book of Ezekiel
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