The Vision and the Word

Posted: July 25, 2016 in Ezekiel, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 11-12, “The Vision and the Word”

“Thus saith the Lord…”  Those ought to be some of the most sobering words that ever pass over our lips.  To claim to speak for God is to invoke His holy judgment upon us if we do so without His leading and clear guidance.  Yet that’s what some people do on a seemingly daily basis.  Turn on so-called “Christian” television or browse YouTube or Facebook for any amount of time, and it’s not difficult to find people claiming to speak on behalf of God.  They may not utter the phrase, “thus saith the Lord,” but that’s exactly what they imply.  The only question is: are they right?  Did God really say what they claim He said, or would God have a different word to say?

False prophets are nothing new.  They’ve been around since the days of ancient Israel, even in the days of the true prophet Ezekiel.  And like the false prophets of today, many of the ancients promised good things for God’s people, assuming that God would not allow anything terrible to befall those who lived in His blessed nation.  They were wrong.  God DID judge His people in His nation, just as He specifically said that He would.  His word (whether welcomed or not) never returns void.

Contextually, Chapter 11 continues with a vision that began back in Chapter 8.  Ezekiel, though already in captivity in the heart of Babylon, was sitting with the local Jewish elders when he was taken by the Spirit of God via a vision to Jerusalem.  There, God showed him the idolatry and abominations that had been allowed to take place within the temple.  God gave Ezekiel a preview of the judgment that would come & showed His glory visibly departing from the temple itself.  God had judged the nation, and they would now be treated virtually as Gentiles…exactly like whom they had acted.

Chapter 11 continues and concludes that vision, while Chapter 12 begins a new series of prophetic words given by God to Ezekiel.  God repeatedly makes His case against the nation, showing how He knew of all of their sins, and would not relent from His judgment toward them.  Despite the promises of self-appointed prophets, destruction would come.  Despite the protestations of princes and people, they would face the deserved wrath of God.  Yet even in the midst of all of this, God still had a future for Israel.  They may have been rebellious at the time, but God knew of a different day still to come.

What they had in the meantime was a choice.  They could continue in their rebellion, or they could humble themselves and believe.  Either way, there were tough days ahead – but they at least had the option of facing them with God rather than without Him.  All God wanted was for His people to know Him as God.  What would it take for them to believe?

Ezekiel 11

  • The pot & the meat (11:1-13)

1 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the East Gate of the LORD’s house, which faces eastward; and there at the door of the gate were twenty-five men, among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azzur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, princes of the people. 2 And He said to me: “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity and give wicked counsel in this city, 3 who say, ‘The time is not near to build houses; this city is the caldron, and we are the meat.’ 4 Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man!”

  • Remember that the Spirit of God already had Ezekiel in Jerusalem, where the prophet just witnessed the glory of God leaving the temple.  Now the Spirit lifts up Ezekiel once more and takes him slightly east, to the East Gate of the temple.  There, he witnessed 25 men doing business (which wasn’t itself unusual) – but the business in which they were engaged was evil.  Ezekiel knew at least some of the men involved.  Attempts have been made to link Jaazaniah and Pelatiah with other men and families known in the Bible, but there is no way to be certain of any real connection.  At the very least, these were known leaders among those who remained in Jerusalem – they were “princes of the people.”  Ezekiel recognized them immediately.  What he didn’t yet know was what the Lord already knew: they plotted evil and taught falsely – apparently using the authority of God.
  • What they taught is a bit difficult to translate, and various Bible translations do it differently.  NKJV, “The time is not near to build houses…”  NASB, “Is not the time near to build houses…”  Strictly speaking, there is no reference to “time” in the Hebrew – that’s something assumed by the translators in order to make sense of the passage.  A more literal translation might be something more like: “(It is) not near to build houses – this (is) the cauldron, we (are) the flesh.”  The general idea is that the 25 leaders believed that they were protected within the city walls of Jerusalem.  They were surrounded like meat within a pot, and nothing would break through to them – presumably because they thought they were sovereignly protected by God.  Thus they could build houses, if they wanted.  The time of their destruction wasn’t near; it was far off (in their eyes).  They could do what they wanted in the meantime.
  • How wrong they were!  By giving this counsel to the people, they were giving the people a false hope & false assurance.  They taught the Jews of Jerusalem that everything was going to be OK, simply because they were Jews & God would never allow anything to happen to them.  It’s not unlike the teaching of so many prosperity preachers who say, “You are kids of the King!  God won’t let any bad happen to you!”  Or like the teaching of those who elevate patriotism to a dangerous level: “The USA is blessed by God – surely He won’t let anything terrible happen to us!”  Those things are simply untrue – they give false assurance – they take our hope away from Jesus and place it onto ourselves, as if God saves us because of who WE are, rather than because of who JESUS is.  That sort of teaching is to be rejected, just as God told Ezekiel to reject the false teaching of his day.

5 Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said to me, “Speak! ‘Thus says the LORD: “Thus you have said, O house of Israel; for I know the things that come into your mind. 6 You have multiplied your slain in this city, and you have filled its streets with the slain.” 7 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Your slain whom you have laid in its midst, they are the meat, and this city is the caldron; but I shall bring you out of the midst of it.

  • This is what the Spirit of God truly taught.  Jerusalem was indeed a cauldron/pot, but it was not one of protection, but one of judgment.  The meat were those who were already slain from the previous onslaughts of the Babylonians.  The only thing the false teachers did was provide more opportunity for more Jews to be killed.  As Jeremiah had repeatedly implored the people, if they only submitted themselves to the hands of the Babylonians (and thus to the hand of God), they would live.  Their continued resistance only assured more destruction.
  • As for those who believed they were protected, God promised to bring them out of the city (the so-called protective pot), and deliver them into the hands of their enemy.  Vs. 8…

8 You have feared the sword; and I will bring a sword upon you,” says the Lord GOD. 9 “And I will bring you out of its midst, and deliver you into the hands of strangers, and execute judgments on you. 10 You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.

  • Everything they feared would be what they faced.  They feared the sword; God would bring it.  They feared the Gentiles; God assured they would come.  Those who continued to resist God’s judgment against them would die, and it was only when they actually faced God’s judgment that they would understand that God is the LORD.
  • The phrase “Then you shall know that I am the LORD,” has been often seen in Ezekiel’s prophecies, and will show up many more times as a recurring theme.  The people of God had forgotten their God.  They neglected to worship the God who had saved them and given them their land, so God would allow them to endure incredible hardship until they finally realized God for who He is.  Sometimes we learn lessons the easy way; other times it takes situations much more difficult.  Sometimes we have to be flat on our back before we look up.  Such was the case with Israel.  They were so stubborn and hard-hearted, that they had to be completely broken before they made the conscious decision to truly worship God.  (Hopefully we won’t have to be taken to the same place!)

11 This city shall not be your caldron, nor shall you be the meat in its midst. I will judge you at the border of Israel. 12 And you shall know that I am the LORD; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you.” ’ ”

  • What was the problem?  The people of God hadn’t acted as the people of God.  They had acted like the pagan Gentiles, so that’s how God would treat them.  They would learn what it meant to be opposed by the Creator God of the Universe.  He would take them out of the city He gave them – out of the land He gave them – and He would judge them according to all of their pagan sins.  And again, it would be at that point they would finally know God as the Lord.
  • Sometimes God has to give us over to our sin before we finally realize the consequences of our sin.  One of the main points of Romans 1 is to show how God gives people over to their sin time and time again when they continue to rejected God’s repeated self-revelation to them.  We can see that taking place within our own culture.  Biblical Christianity within the United States crested a long time ago, and as a whole our nation has steadily walked away from God.  Thus God gives us over to our sin.  He gives us political leaders we deserve – which sadly, are the ones many people truly want.  They don’t want revival, so they don’t get it.  Eventually judgment will come – the only question is when.
    • BTW – there is a way out of the cycle of being delivered over to sin, but it only comes through humble repentance and faith.  Cultures are not changed for the better through the political process; they are changed one heart at a time as people are transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ.  The best thing we can do for our nation is to proclaim the gospel, while being prayerful consistent followers of our Lord Jesus.

13 Now it happened, while I was prophesying, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then I fell on my face and cried with a loud voice, and said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Will You make a complete end of the remnant of Israel?”

  • Does God see the false teachers?  You bet.  As Ezekiel was prophesying the things the Lord gave him to prophesy (all within the context of this vision, interestingly enough), one of the leaders of the false teachers dropped dead.  In the New Testament, James makes it clear that teachers will be held to a stricter judgment (Jas 3:1); this is shown dramatically in Pelatiah.
  • As deserved as Pelatiah’s judgment was, it brought up a terrible question in the mind of Ezekiel: would ALL of Israel suffer the same fate?  They may not have all engaged in false teaching, but they certainly all sinned.  God had said specifically how the Jerusalem Jews would be brought out to destruction – would all of them die?  Would the remnant be destroyed?
  • It was an understandable fear for Ezekiel, but he was likely caught up in the moment.  After all, he himself was part of the remnant.  He was captive in Babylon, along with many others – taken out of the land, but still alive.  God had said nothing about destroying all of them.  Even so, Ezekiel still feared for his people – as would any of us if we were to truly understand the righteous indignation of God against our nation.  Thankfully, God had more for Ezekiel than just a message of judgment – He also had a promise…
  • Promise of restoration (11:14-21)

14 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 15 “Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get far away from the LORD; this land has been given to us as a possession.’ 16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” ’

  • The Jews had indeed sinned.  They had sinned greatly against God, having abandoned Him a long time ago in favor of pagan idols.  They knew that God had given them the land according to His covenant promise, but they wrongly believed that God would never take them out of the land.  Yet the same promise that granted them their inheritance also governed the conditions under which God would allow them to remain within their inheritance.  If they departed from their Lord, then God would force them to depart from His gift to them.  He would personally scatter them among the Gentiles, allowing them to be treated as the Gentiles.
  • But even in that, there would be mercy!  The Jews would be far from the physical sanctuary of the Jerusalem temple, but God would always be available to them as a “sanctuary” wherever they might be.  If they but humbled themselves in repentance, they could worship the Lord anywhere in the world.  They might still be under God’s discipline, but they could return to Him as His people.
    • It’s no different with us.  Addiction groups often talk about 12 steps away from alcohol or whatever, but true repentance only takes 1 step.  All we need to do is turn around.  When we are convinced and convicted of our sin, all we need to do is to stop, turn, and confess it to God.  Humble yourself, and receive Jesus’ forgiveness and cleansing. (1 Jn 1:9)  People often make the excuse of “I need to get my life cleaned up before I turn to Jesus,” when the reality is that we can’t get our life cleaned up until we come to Jesus.  Take the step of repentance first, and then depend on Jesus for the rest.
  • As for the Jews, they not only had the availability of God wherever they were, but they had a promise of God for the future.  Vs. 17…

17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” ’ 18 And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. 19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

  • Notice the work of God in all of this.  He had indeed been the one to personally scatter them, but He would also be the one to personally “gather” them again, and “assemble” them back in the land of Israel.  And historically, this did truly take place.  The Babylonian captivity lasted 70 years, after which point a portion of the Jewish nation chose to return to their inheritance and repopulate the land.
  • Even so, what God described to Ezekiel didn’t fully take place…at least, not yet.  When the Jews returned, they returned imperfectly.  Even today as the reconstituted nation of Israel dwells within their historical land and borders, it is an imperfect nation in that they still reject Jesus as Messiah.  They are the chosen people of God, but for now they are still a people under judgment.  They don’t yet have a unified heart and a new spirit…but they will.  One day they will see Jesus for who He is, come to faith in Him, and truly fulfill this word given to Ezekiel.  In fact, it’s the same promise God gave to Jeremiah when prophesying of the new covenant that awaited Israel.  Jeremiah 31:33–34, "(33) But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (34) No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”"
    • What awaits Israel in the future is something that is enjoyed by all Christians (Jew and Gentile) today.  We don’t yet see the physical promises of this covenant, but we certainly enjoy the spiritual promises of it!  We have a heart of flesh – the spirit of the Living God within us – and we truly are the people of God.  What blessing & privilege!  This new covenant is exactly what we celebrate every time we partake of communion.  It’s the new & everlasting relationship we have with God because of the work of Jesus Christ.  We know God because we know Jesus.  We have our sins forgiven, forever!  (And this is something available to all…even to you!) 

21 But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord GOD.

  • Of course not everyone would experience this new relationship with God.  Just because someone was born a Jew doesn’t mean that he/she will automatically be saved.  Faith still needs to be exercised.  Sin needs to be forsaken, and humility towards God needs to be expressed.  Salvation is freely available to all – but only those who humble themselves in faith towards God through Jesus will receive it.  Otherwise, the only thing that remains is God’s divine justice.  That was true for Israel, and it is true for us today.
  • End of the vision (11:22-25)

22 So the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was high above them. 23 And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is on the east side of the city. 24 Then the Spirit took me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to those in captivity. And the vision that I had seen went up from me. 25 So I spoke to those in captivity of all the things the LORD had shown me.

  • Ezekiel had already seen the glory of God depart from the temple – now he sees the holy chariot of God’s throne depart from the city itself.  Where does it go?  To the east.  Interestingly enough, that would take God’s chariot & glory right over the Mount of Olives. [MAP]  Where is it that the glory of God will return to Israel?  On the Mount of Olives, at the return of Jesus (Zech 14:4).  When the glory of God left, only the eyes of Ezekiel the prophet witnessed it.  When it returns, every eye in Jerusalem will see & will mourn.
  • The vision being concluded, the Holy Spirit took Ezekiel back home – at least to his temporary home in Babylon.  There, he related everything he heard and saw back to the Jews who were with him in captivity.  Whether or not they listened and believed would be up to them.
  • Though this particular vision was done, God wasn’t done speaking to Ezekiel.  He would go on to give a series of messages to His prophet, knowing the resistance of the Jews to receive what God had to say to them…

Ezekiel 12

  • The sign of captivity (12:1-16)

1 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.

  • Israel had always been rebellious.  Even in the days of Moses, God knew that this people were a stiff-necked people (Exo 32:9).  They had always resisted the word of the Lord – despite their many opportunities to receive it.  It’s not that they didn’t have eyes or ears; it’s that they chose not to use them.  The Jews didn’t have the excuse of the Gentiles, that they had no prophets.  Not that a lack of prophets is an excuse to reject God (i.e. general revelation) – but the Jews could not even claim that.  Israel refused to hear God, despite His many outreaches to them.
  • How many individuals find themselves in the same situation?  It’s not that they haven’t heard the gospel of Jesus – it’s not that they’ve never had the opportunity to be saved – it’s that they’ve simply rejected it.  They had eyes & ears, but chose not to use them.  Beloved, understand that when men and women stand before God on the Day of Judgment, there will not be a single person with a valid excuse of his/her rejection of God.  Those who have chosen to reject Jesus will be aware of their choice, and at that point it will be too late.  NOW is our chance to be saved – NOW is our opportunity.  We dare not waste it in foolish rebellion!
    • That’s not just true of the unbeliever, but of the Christian.  We can so often deafen our ears to the Holy Spirit that we no longer hear Him.  We can harden our heart to the Scripture so many times that we no longer feel its prick of conviction.  We’ve all rebelled at times…but be aware of it, and stop.  While you hear the voice of God, stop and humble yourself.  You don’t want to wait until it’s too late!
  • Because the Jews no longer saw or heard the outreaches of God, God wanted Ezekiel to try a different approach.  Ezekiel had performed signs in the past, and God had another one for him to dramatize.  Vs. 3…

3 “Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight. You shall go from your place into captivity to another place in their sight. It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house. 4 By day you shall bring out your belongings in their sight, as though going into captivity; and at evening you shall go in their sight, like those who go into captivity. 5 Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry your belongings out through it. 6 In their sight you shall bear them on your shoulders and carry them out at twilight; you shall cover your face, so that you cannot see the ground, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.”

  • If it sounds like God was commanding Ezekiel to act as a homeless man, that’s basically what was it was.  The Jews already in captivity with Ezekiel had been through exactly what Ezekiel was to act out: gather whatever belongings they could carry & walk to their new holding place.  They were truly homeless, having been forcibly removed from their land, and basically living as prisoners deep in the heart of Babylon.  Although two waves of captivity had taken place, the process was not yet complete, and Ezekiel was dramatizing the last wave to those who would witness it.  There was a bit of a twist on it all, as Ezekiel would dig a hole through the wall of his house, and walk blindfolded – something that will be explained by God in a bit.

7 So I did as I was commanded. I brought out my belongings by day, as though going into captivity, and at evening I dug through the wall with my hand. I brought them out at twilight, and I bore them on my shoulder in their sight.

  • The command may have sounded unusual, but Ezekiel was faithful to perform it.  He was obedient to the word of the Lord, following the command to the letter.  (A good example to the rest of us!  We may not understand everything the Lord tells us to do, but we don’t have to understand it – we just have to do it.  Be obedient!)

8 And in the morning the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 9 “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ 10 Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are among them.” ’

  • We can imagine that as Ezekiel acted these things out, he gained a lot of attention – and that’s exactly what the Lord had in mind.  He wanted people to witness Ezekiel & to ask the question.  That would give Ezekiel an open door to speak the word of God to them.  The very thing to which they had chosen their deafness would now be presented to them because they were the ones asking.
    • Sometimes we need to whet someone’s appetite before they’re ready to hear the gospel.  That’s not a bad thing, as long as it’s done biblically in a God-honoring way.  The goal is to share the gospel – if it takes a bit of advance work to make the opportunity possible, then be willing to do it.
  • As for Ezekiel, God told him that this particular sign was concerning those who remained in Jerusalem, particularly the prince (king) at the time: Zedekiah.  God gives the specifics starting in vs. 11…

11 Say, ‘I am a sign to you. As I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall be carried away into captivity.’ 12 And the prince who is among them shall bear his belongings on his shoulder at twilight and go out. They shall dig through the wall to carry them out through it. He shall cover his face, so that he cannot see the ground with his eyes. 13 I will also spread My net over him, and he shall be caught in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it, though he shall die there. 14 I will scatter to every wind all who are around him to help him, and all his troops; and I will draw out the sword after them.

  • What God had Ezekiel do was to portray the failed escape attempt by Zedekiah.  Once it was clear that the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem had succeeded, Zedekiah attempted to sneak past Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army through a gate in the Jerusalem walls located near the king’s garden.  He was pursued, soon caught, brought before Nebuchadnezzar who had his sons executed just before he had Zedekiah blinded.  At that point, he was taken to Babylon in chains (1 Kings 25:3-7).  All of this was previewed by Ezekiel in the sign – it was the word of the Lord, and it came true to the smallest detail (as does every prophecy of God).

15 “Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries. 16 But I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”

  • Notice again the declaration of how the Jews would know God as their Lord.  All of this suffering would be brought by God, as He scattered the Jews among the nations of the world.  But because God would be true to His word, the Jews would finally realize that what God had told them all along was true.  Those who survived would finally come to the knowledge of God.  (Don’t wait until God has to go to extremes!  He already has in Jesus – let that be enough!)
  • This wasn’t the only sign…
  • The sign of anxiety (12:17-20)

17 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and anxiety. 19 And say to the people of the land, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the land of Israel: “They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink their water with dread, so that her land may be emptied of all who are in it, because of the violence of all those who dwell in it. 20 Then the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall become desolate; and you shall know that I am the LORD.” ’ ”

  • Although the Scripture repeatedly tells God’s people not to fear, this particular sign was one of dread.  Ezekiel would act out the trembling fear and anxiety that the Jerusalem Jews would experience while waiting for the final Babylonian attack.  They knew destruction was imminent – they just didn’t know the day or the hour it would come.  And when it did, they would know God as the Lord.
  • Again, they didn’t have to dread the day.  They could have submitted themselves into the hand of God at any time – they chose not to do so.  How much worry could we avoid if we simply trusted God?  How much heartache do we need to experience before we learn to humble ourselves at His word and prompting?  We endure so much that is unnecessary simply because of our pride.
  • The false proverb of postponement (12:21-28)

21 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, ‘The days are prolonged, and every vision fails’? 23 Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.” But say to them, “The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision.

  • Along with the two signs, God gave a word against a particular proverb.  Basically, people said then what people so often say now: “It’ll never happen.”  The Jews had heard prophecies of God’s judgment for years, and they always put it off.  Even though God had always been proven right in the past, the fact that they didn’t see the fulfillment of prophecy according to their own timeline, they doubted any future fulfillment.  They basically said, “It hasn’t come by now, so it’ll never happen.” 
  • How similar it is to the attitude of today!  “It was 2000 years ago Jesus said He was coming back.  It hasn’t happened yet, so it’ll never happen.”  How wrong this is!  It wasn’t but a few decades after Jesus’ ascension that people were already doubting His return, and Peter addressed the skeptics in his 2nd epistle: 2 Peter 3:8–9, "(8) But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (9) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."  Has Jesus delayed His coming?  Yes.  Is this a sign of faithlessness?  Perish the thought!  It’s a sign of mercy!  The fact that Jesus had not yet returned only means that He is graciously giving people more opportunity to be saved.
    • So don’t waste it!  Whether it is the opportunity for you to respond to the gospel, or the opportunity for you to share the gospel, seize it for all it’s worth.  We have no idea how much time remains, but it is evident that whatever is left is short.  The nation of Israel is reconstituted – cultural attitudes reflect exactly what is to be expected in the end-times – world situations are perfectly situated for the fulfillment of end-time prophecies.  There are too many signs to ignore, and thus there is no time to waste.  Who have you (I) shared the gospel with this week?  Our conversations get consumed with the politics and other news of the day, but how much is dedicated to the good news of the gospel?  Beloved, we must do better.  Time is too short to do otherwise.

24 For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it,” says the Lord GOD.’ ”

  • Why will false visions and teachings eventually fade away?  Because when God’s true word is actually fulfilled, it cannot be denied.  Anyone can speak a teaching supposedly in the name of the Lord, but only the things that God truly wills are the things that will come to pass.  The true test of prophecy is time.  Whatever God says, God will do…bank on it.

26 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 27 “Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ 28 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “None of My words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak will be done,” says the Lord GOD.’ ”

  • God reiterates the point.  The judgment that He promised to Jerusalem wasn’t far off; it was at hand.  People may not like the prophecy, but it was a prophecy that would soon prove true.  Thus God’s word should not be ignored.  The time was now, and God’s word was about to be accomplished right before their eyes.
  • Likewise with us.  The time for Jesus’ return is now.  We do not know the day or the hour, but we know the certainty.  We dare not waste time.

Whether by vision or by oracle, Ezekiel received the word of God, and he knew it to be true.  Were there false teachers among the Jews?  Certainly – there have always been false teachers feeding half-truths and full-out lies to God’s people, and there always will be.  Jesus promised that there would be wolves among the sheep.  That’s simply a fact of which we need to be aware.  But just as sure as there is false teaching, there is true teaching, which we find today in the written word of God.  Read it, know it, trust it.  What God says, He will do…every single time.

For the Jews, God promised certain judgment that would not be delayed – but He also promised gracious restoration for all who had faith.  Those promises haven’t changed at all.  For those who reject God (Jew or Gentile), they have the promise of the certain judgment of God.  They will indeed see Jesus face-to-face, and they will be rightly judged for every single sin done in their lives.  Yet for those who today humble themselves before Jesus, having faith in Him & His goodness, we have the promise of gracious restoration and relationship with God.  We have been brought into His glorious fellowship, enjoying His wonderful promises.

What are you doing with what God has given you?  Are you, like Ezekiel, obedient to His commands, faithful to share His word?  Are you (am I) faithful to share His gospel?  Let us take the opportunity we have & glorify our God!

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