One God, Over All

Posted: September 29, 2016 in Ezekiel, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 28, “One God, Over All”

The Pledge of Allegiance, among other things, says about our national republic that it is “one nation, under God.”  It affirms a unity that is sadly rarely experienced today, but also affirms a reality that as a nation, we reside on planet earth under the true leadership of the Creator God.  Of course we are not the only nation under God – all nations all over the world are under God, whether they recognize Him & worship Him as such.  This is something that is emphasized throughout the Bible.  God may be the national God of Israel, but He is also the Almighty God over all the earth.  There is no place where He does not assert His power.

That fact is true in every arena.  God is sovereign over all time – God is sovereign over all cultures – God is sovereign over every universe – God is sovereign over every reality, whether physical or spiritual.  Our God is the sovereign God, period!  When we proclaim God to be King, we proclaim Him King over everyone: humans, creation, angels, and even demons.  Every knee eventually has to bow to our God, for He is the ONE God with all authority.

This is something that comes across in Ch. 28 of Ezekiel, which is comprised of 4 basic messages.  Most of it applies to Gentile nations, but not all of it.  There is a bit that deals with Israel, but there’s something perhaps even more.

It’s the 2nd oracle in Ch. 28 that receives the majority of attention, but that’s not all God has to say.  Among the four total oracles, there is a warning, a lamentation, a promise of judgment, and a promise of blessing.  In all of it, we see the sovereignty of God: over times both past & future, over realms both physical & spiritual.  Our God is sovereign over all!

Ezekiel 28

  • Warning the leader of Tyre (1-10)

1 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, 2 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,’ Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god

  • Remember our context: the two previous chapters have dealt with the city/state of Tyre.  Ezekiel had proclaimed the judgment of God against several of the nations surrounding Israel, but specific attention was concentrated upon Tyre. A city-state basically built on an island (later a peninsula) off of modern-day Lebanon, Tyre is not typically remembered among the empires of the world, but they were truly powerful in terms of their influence.  From a commercial perspective, they were a financial powerhouse.  Every nation in the known world traded with them, and wielded quite a bit of power as a result.  Although at one point they had friendly relations with Israel, eventually things soured & they even rejoiced at Jerusalem’s fall to Babylon.  They gloated over the Jews, which didn’t escape the attention of God.  He knew their sins, and proclaimed their judgment.  Like a once-glorious ship, they would be sunk, and drug down to the pit of history.  To this day, ruins sit upon the ancient site of Tyre, showing the literal fulfillment of God’s promise to them that they would never again be rebuilt (26:14).
  • Previously, God called out the nation of Tyre.  This time, God calls out a person: “the prince of Tyre.”  The word for “prince” is rather loose – it could be translated “ruler, chief, leader.”  Most scholars believe it to be a man named Ethbaal (either II or III, depending on your source), who would have been actively ruling Tyre during the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy.  If this wasn’t precisely directed at him, certainly it was directed at the general office of leadership over the nation of Tyre.  The point is that this is personal & historical.  Although there is debate as to the identity of the king of Tyre later in the passage, there’s none here.  God was calling out a human, and God directly affirms him to be human (“Yet you are a man”).  We need to be careful not to jump ahead too quickly in our interpretations.  Some would say that because Satan is perhaps referenced later in Ch. 28 that all of the references to Tyre’s leader are to Satan.  The actual text of the passage directly tells us differently. 
    • Be careful to always read Scripture within its appropriate context, looking for the natural meaning of the passage before any attempt to look at potential symbolism.
  • That God was involved in warning this particular human leader reaffirms an important point about God’s sovereignty: He is involved in the affairs of men.  There is not a nation in the world of which God is not intimately familiar.  He knows every president, king, dictator, senator, mayor, and more…even the sanitation workers!  He knows you & me.  A common misconception among many people is that of impersonal deism.  Perhaps they believe in a God who created the universe, but like a supernatural watchmaker, He wound the watch, set everything in motion, and then set back merely to observe.  That is not the truth contained in the Bible.  The Bible shows us a God who is intimately involved.  He knows us, loves us, having created us in His own image & knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs.  Our God is involved!
  • He was involved with this prince, knowing the deepest secrets of the heart & every improper motive.  What was the problem?  His pride.  The prince was puffed up, believing himself to be a god. (Not uncommon among the ancient kings.)  God calls him out on it – vs. 3…

3 (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! 4 With your wisdom and your understanding You have gained riches for yourself, And gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; 5 By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches),”

  • What exactly is going on here?  Is God proclaiming a fact about the chief ruler of Tyre? (Surely not.)  Is this the ruler’s self-assessment? (No, because the ruler is addressed in 2nd person.)  What other option is there?  Sarcasm.  We sometimes forget that God is capable of sarcasm, thinking it somehow beneath the Lord.  Yet we use sarcasm to great effect – why not God?  Paul certainly used it (particularly with the Corinthian church – 2 Cor 11:19) – he got it from somewhere: the Lord God.  God obviously doesn’t believe the ruler of Tyre is “wiser than Daniel.”  After all, Daniel acknowledged that all of his wisdom came from the Lord (Dan 2:28).  But that’s the point.  If someone as well-known in wisdom as Daniel thought that he needed the Lord, whereas the ruler in Tyre (Ethbaal) did not, then Ethbaal must be wiser than even Daniel.  Right?  Wrong.  But that’s the point that God makes here.  Ethbaal’s pride blinded him to his own blindness.  The ruler of Tyre thought he knew everything, when in reality, he knew nothing.
    • Pride is indeed blinding!
  • One cause of Ethbaal’s pride: his wealth.  He was shrewd in business dealings (as demonstrated through his many trading partners all over the known world – Ch 27), and made a lot of money in the process.  But wealth isn’t everything.  Wealth can lift up our hearts in arrogance. Why?  Because if we can provide for ourselves, we believe we no longer have need of God as our provision. …
  • What’s the solution to pride?  Humility – a right sense of self in comparison with the Lord.  It’s not thinking of ourselves more than we ought (either out of arrogance, or out of self-pity).  Simple humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us: as sinners in need of a Savior.
  • There are two paths to humility: be humble, or be humbled.  We can humble ourselves out of our own volition, or we can be humbled by the hand of God upon us.  Ethbaal chose the latter.  Vs. 6…

6 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, 7 Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor. 8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.

  • The ruler of Tyre thought himself big; God would have him cut down to size.  Ethbaal thought himself & his empire beautiful; God would take it away.  Everything that served as the source of pride would be removed, and Ethbaal himself (or whoever ruled at the time) would be destroyed in the fierceness of God’s judgment.  No protection would be found – not even on the island fortress of Tyre.  The ruler would be killed, even “in the midst of the seas.
    • Where’s your trust?  If it is in anything but God, it can be taken away.

9 “Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man, and not a god, In the hand of him who slays you. 10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised By the hand of aliens; For I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD.’ ”

  • The ruler of Tyre exalted himself in pride today – what would he say in the day of his destruction?  Would he still believe himself to be invincible in the face of his executioner?  As proud as he was in life, Ethbaal would be disgraced in death.  And what would have to say for himself then?
  • Death is a fact for us all.  The sooner we come to grips with our mortality, the better.  Every single one of us will one day have to give an answer to God.  What is it we will say?  What answer will we give God when He asks the question: “Why should I let you into My heaven?”  If we claim our good deeds, are we not claiming our pride?  After all, nothing we do is truly good.  We’re all helplessly stained by sin.  Even if we imagine good deeds for ourselves, those things do nothing to erase all of the bad deeds we have done.  For a serial thief to stand before a judge & claim, “Sure, I stole on 300 separate occasions…but I was a law-abiding citizen the rest of the time, even volunteering on a regular basis at the soup kitchen.  I should go free.”  That’s the height of arrogance!  How good do we imagine our good deeds to be?  They cannot erase our bad.  We have to have an answer for our sin, and the only answer is the one that God provides: Jesus.  Without Him, we have no hope.  Without Christ, we “die the death of the uncircumcised” as we face a disgraceful eternity in hell.  That may be harsh, but it is the truth.  And we must come to grips with that if we are ever to turn to Jesus in humble faith!
  • Lamenting the king of Tyre (11-19)

11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, …

  • It’s another prophecy, but the question is whether or not there is another person involved.  In vss. 1-10, there’s little doubt that God had Ezekiel speak against a human being: the “prince (ruler/chief) of Tyre.”  The question now is if that address continues on with the “king of Tyre.”  The Hebrew clearly uses two different words, but the meaning potentially overlaps quite a bit.
  • Out of all of the controversy in the book of Ezekiel, these next several verses contain some of the most.  There are three main thoughts: (1) This refers to an extra-biblical account of what happened to Adam after his fall in the Garden of Eden.  This seems to be the weakest of possibilities in that there is no other Scripture to support it.  (2) This continues to refer to the human ruler of Tyre, with much symbolism used to describe the extent of his unholy pride.  This is certainly possible, but has weaknesses of its own, particularly in how this person is described.  (3) This refers to Satan, the devil.  This view has weaknesses of its own (as we’ll see), but it seems to be the overall best explanation for the events described.
  • BTW, the fact of a change of language from “prince/ruler” to “king” is a strong piece of evidence in favor of the interpretation regarding Satan.  There is an increase in authority between the two.  One might physically rule the people, but the other would be the true power behind the throne.  The things done by the prince of Tyre (Ethbaal) parallel the things done by the king of Tyre (Satan).  Thus it is the fall of Satan that God uses to warn Ethbaal.  Basically saying, “If you want to end up like the devil, keep doing the things he did.  He was profoundly defeated, and so shall you be.”
    • The end of the book is already written in regards to Satan, but not necessarily so for any of us.  We know where groups of people will go: either heaven or hell, depending on our faith in Christ.  But we are not given a specific list of names of everyone who will indeed put their faith in Christ.  That means everyone has the same opportunity to believe.  Like the ancient prince of Tyre, we’ve been warned.  Now we need to act upon that warning.  Either we humble ourselves before the Sovereign God, or He will humble us just like He did with Satan.

…and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.

  • It all begins with a description of the king’s beauty.  When God made him, God made him beautiful!  In sight, in sound, everything.  The gemstones remind us of the ephod of the temple priest (though different in number).  Though only nine gems (along with gold) are mentioned, they apparently covered the whole body of this king.  Drums/tamborines and pipes/flutes were associated with him, no doubt sounded by him all the time.  Like the seraphim surrounding God’s throne continuously cry out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts!” (Isa 6:3), so did this king sound the glory of God.  How so?  Perhaps just by moving.  His very existence was glorifying to God, being personally created by God to do exactly that.
  • Could this still refer to a human king?  Perhaps, if taken in a highly symbolic way.  After all, every single person on earth is created with the purpose of glorifying God.  But the way this particular person is described sets him apart.  Even the timeframe goes back to days of ages past.  The place referred to as “Eden, the garden of God” is claimed by some to refer to pagan temple grounds, but that goes against the entire picture of the holy place ordained by God as the first garden.  Far better to understand this literally as the same garden of Eden mentioned in the pages of Genesis.
  • It also brings out a dramatic contrast.  If the ruler of Tyre believed himself to be beautiful in wisdom, he was nothing in comparison with the king!  The king of Tyre was physically beautiful, splendid by any account.  This is what God desired of him, and how God created him.  Yet he didn’t stay that way.  Vs. 14…

14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.

  • Could this still speak of a man?  Possibly.  If Ethbaal equated himself with his own false god, seated in the temple in Tyre, perhaps this is a picture of Ethbaal as a guardian sphinx.  Although the Bible describes cherubim differently than the mythical sphinx, it’s not difficult to see where a parallel could be made (part animal, part man, winged, etc.).
  • Is it possible?  Yes.  Is it probable?  Not likely.  After all, Ezekiel has already described cherubim in depth, and they are truly heavenly creatures.  Even Ezekiel’s best attempt at description seemed to run out of words.  Certainly if God wanted to call Ethbaal a sphinx, he could have painted that picture easily.  Yet He called the king of Tyre a “cherub” – and more: “the anointed cherub who covers.”  What exactly this cherub covered is unknown.  The Hebrew word could mean “block, or screen off,” which is why the NASB & ESV take this to refer to a role of guardianship.  The cherubs in the Garden of Eden were specifically put there to guard against fallen Adam & Eve from re-entering it & eating of the Tree of Life (Gen 3:24), though that is not necessarily the specific guard-duty referred to here.  Perhaps it was a general guardianship of God’s throne.  Apparently this cherub was in the very presence of God, on God’s “holy mountain,” put there in that role specifically by the Lord, given that privilege from God Himself.  This sounds far less like a man, and much more like an angelic creature of some kind. 
    • Again, the picture seems to fit Satan in many ways.  Even the New Testament affirms that the devil can appear as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14), which might easily refer to his previous image before experiencing the wrath of God.  The argument against this is that cherubim seem to be a different order from other angels.  Neither Michael nor Gabriel are described as cherubim, and Satan would seem to be on their level.  But again, this could simply be human language falling short.  The plain reading of Ezekiel’s text points to a heavenly creature of some kind – the exact sort is somewhat ambiguous.  After all, Ezekiel has already described some cherubim in Ch 1 & Ch 10, and neither account matches this description where the same word is used. (Be careful not to miss the forest for the trees!)
  • The bottom line?  This creature was complete, lacking nothing.  NKJV says that he was “perfect,” but this word doesn’t necessarily speak of moral perfection.  More often than not, it speaks of wholeness – something being sound.  This cherub-king had everything he needed in the presence of God.  God had fully equipped him for the task.  Yet this creature was not satisfied, and he added something to himself that God did not originally place within him: “iniquity.”  As will be made clear in vs. 17, this cherub became proud & that placed the seed of sin within his heart.  That day became a day that would profoundly affect the rest of history as Satan became corrupt, rebelling against God.  God knew it, and acted immediately.  Jesus recalled the day that He “saw Satan fall like lightning,” (Lk 10:18) – the first of other falls that will occur yet again in the Great Tribulation (Rev 12:8-9).  God goes on to describe it to Ezekiel…

16 “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.

  • The human ruler of Tyre, Ethbaal became rich through much trading & commerce (which is one reason why some scholars believe this to be a continued reference to him).  But that seems to simply reflect that which Satan had already done.  Obviously the devil does not engage in worldly commerce (at least, not in a physical way as might a human-run corporation), but he does engage in traffic all over the world (which is another potential translation of this Hebrew word).  He goes to & fro, looking for people whom he may devour.  He involves himself in the affairs of nations, seeking to influence and interfere.  Apparently, he also did it in some fashion in the days prior to known history, and he became hopelessly corrupt.  This cherub may have been beautiful on the outside, but he became defiled within.  Ultimately, it was his pride in which he exalted himself, and he was cast out of heaven in response.  Pride goes before a fall (Prov 16:18) – something learned by Satan in the most personal of ways.
  • Question: “This might sound like reasonable theory, but what is there to back it up?  Could this still not refer to the human ruler?” Certainly it’s possible; it’s just likely.  Additionally, Ezekiel is not the only prophet to whom God revealed some history in regards to Satan.  Isaiah 14:12–15, "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! (13) For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit."  We do not know much about the history of Satan, but we do get some glimpses from Scripture.  The key is balance: neither go beyond what is written, nor ignore the things that are.
  • Keep in mind that the common thread in all of this has nothing to do with spiritual warfare between humans and the devil.  None of this speaks of any authority we may or may not wield in the name of Jesus.  What it does speak of is the common danger humans share with the devil: pride.  In regards to what to look for in appointing elders, Paul warned Timothy about those who might be baby-Christians, for the fact that they could succumb to pride, and thus “fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” (1 Tim 3:6)  The devil fell to the temptation of pride, and he presents that same temptation before us on a regular basis.  Why did Adam & Eve fall in the Garden?  Because they saw a potential of being like God.  Like Satan, they had been given everything they needed – but the devil made them believe they needed a little bit more.  He offered the chance of knowledge, and they fell into exactly the same trap he fell into, however long ago it was.
    • Beware pride!  Pride corrupts our thinking – it clouds our emotions.  Pride becomes a stumbling block between us and the Lord Jesus, and (again) there is only one way to deal with it: humility.
  • God goes on to describe the judgment He poured out on the cherub-king…

18 “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.” ’ ”

  • This cherub had been created to glorify God – instead, he had become defiled.  And notice where the blame is placed: on the cherub himself.  “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading…”  God cannot be blamed for the existence of sin and rebellion.  Satan cannot point his finger at God & claim that it was God’s fault that all of this happened.  Satan did this to himself.
    • In the same way, our sin is our fault.  We can’t say “God put this desire in me!  If God had only given me ____…”  Not so!  We coveted those things in our own hearts – we lifted ourselves up in pride – we desired our own will over the will of God, etc.  These are things that we have done, and God cannot be blamed.  What God has done is make His Son a sacrifice for our sins, so that we can be forgiven!
  • In regards to Satan, God judged him thoroughly.  The cherub-king once walked on fiery stones – now the holy fire of the all-consuming God “devoured” him & turned him to “ashes.”  The beauty & glory once possessed by this cherub was now gone, and he since became a warning to all of creation of what happens to those who exalt themselves against God.
  • Question: Is all of this complete?  No.  Most everything of what God said through Ezekiel has already taken place – seemingly before Adam and Eve ever ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good & evil.  But the Bible affirms (and experience confirms) that Satan still exists.  He is still alive & active within the world.  We battle against him & his minions on a daily basis.  He deceives multitudes, and actively seeks to bring them down to death.  As Jesus stated, he does not come except to steal, to kill, and to destroy (Jn 10:10).  So what does God mean when He says that Satan “shall be no more forever”?  God is speaking of the future.  Satan does exist now, but one day he will come to his everlasting death.  People often think of Satan ruling over Hell – the Bible tells us something quite different: Satan will actually suffer his future eternity as a prisoner within Hell.  Revelation 20:10, "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."  What glorious news!  Though the devil runs rampant today, and though his evil will get exponentially worse during the Great Tribulation, there will come a day when the devil will finally get his due!  Upon Jesus’ glorious Second Coming, the devil will be imprisoned for a thousand years, be briefly released, and then be forever conquered & incarcerated in the lake of fire.
    • The end of the book has been written, and Satan loses.  Praise the Lord!

The past 2½ chapters have been dedicated to God’s judgment of, and warning against the city-state of Tyre: the nation, its ruler, and its spiritual king behind the curtains.  That’s a lot said to one city!  But they weren’t the only ones facing the judgment of God.  Tyre’s influence extended to neighboring areas as well, thus so would God’s judgment do the same…

  • Judging Sidon (20-24)

20 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 21 “Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her,

  • Sidon and Tyre were so closely related that 10 out of 12 references in the New Testament list them both together.  Sidon was a city barely 20 miles north of Tyre, and apparently they shared in the same sins against God & Israel.

22 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst; And they shall know that I am the LORD, When I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her. 23 For I will send pestilence upon her, And blood in her streets; The wounded shall be judged in her midst By the sword against her on every side; Then they shall know that I am the LORD.

  • Like Tyre, Sidon would receive the violent wrath of God.  Between plague and warfare, the city’s population would be decimated.  And as was the case with other Gentile cities, it is the wrath of God that brings people to a proper knowledge of Him.  God does not necessarily prophesy that the Sidonians will come to saving faith, but He does say that they will know Who it was that acted.  No one would be able to deny the work of the true God when they saw it with their own eyes.
  • Just as we have a choice in regards to pride, we have a choice in how we know the Lord God.  We can know Him through His love and grace, or we will not be able to deny Him in His wrath and vengeance.  It is both amazing and sad to me how people can recognize the work of God & still choose to rebel against Him.  The beginnings of the Great Tribulation specifically speak of a day where people recognize the wrath of the Lamb of God, yet still continue in rebellion against Him (Rev 6:16-17).  Yet we don’t have to wait until then to see the same thing today.  How many people go to their knees when in a hospital waiting room & make promises to God they have no intention to keep when they leave?  Even as believers, how many of us recognize God’s work in our lives, know His forgiveness, and then choose to go ahead and engage in sin knowing that we can ask for forgiveness?  That’s no less sinful (and perhaps is worse!).  Yet we can choose to recognize God as God for who He is.  We don’t have to wait until the day of His wrath.  We can come to Him in the day of His mercy through Christ Jesus.

24 “And there shall no longer be a pricking brier or a painful thorn for the house of Israel from among all who are around them, who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”

  • We’re not told the specific crime of Sidon against God, but somehow they were an annoyance to Israel, even despising Israel as they purposefully provoked them.  Perhaps this is a reference to the same gloating done by Tyre (26:2), but it’s possible this is something different.  Whatever it was, they were painful towards the people of God.  A small goathead thorn can cause immense pain in the wrong place.  What God speaks of here may not have risen to the level of a Babylonian attack, but it still caused His people pain.  And as a loving God & Father to Israel, He rose up in her defense.
    • Our God knows all of our pains & troubles.  Both the ones that seem insurmountable, and those that are a constant drip that wear away at our patience.  We can take all of those issues to Him, and know that He hears us and cares for us.

God will have more to say to other Gentile nations (particularly Egypt), but at this, the oracles of judgment break, and an oracle of blessing is proclaimed upon Israel.  This makes sense – after all, God has just spoken of how He will rise in defense of His beloved people.  Other nations gloated over Israel’s fall, but they spoke of Jewish destruction far too soon.  God has future plans for His people, and He laid it out in several promises…

  • Blessing Israel (25-26)

25 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. 26 And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God.” ’ ”

  • Promise #1: Israel will be regathered.  They were abroad, but they would not remain abroad.  They may have been scattered through the Babylonian empire, but God would eventually gather His people.  They would never lose their identity as a nation, and God would keep them unified.
  • Promise #2: Israel will worship God.  One of the main reasons for Israel’s dispersion was their repeated descent into idolatry.  They consistently broke the covenant God had given them, and this was their just punishment.  But one day this would change.  The Jews would come back to faith in the God of their fathers, and they would reverence Him as they should have done all along.
  • Promise #3: Israel will dwell in the land.  Their land.  Not only would the nation be gathered, but they would be brought home.  God had given them an everlasting inheritance in the physical land of Israel, and that is where they would dwell.
  • Promise #4: Israel will dwell safely.  Once in the land, they would be safe from their enemies.  This is something that cannot yet be said of Israel even today.  Israeli Jews live in constant danger of missile attacks or other forms of terrorism.  But they have the promise of God that this will one day change, and they will live in safety.
  • Promise #5: Israel will dwell personally protected by God.  From whence would their help come?  From the Lord!  He is the One who will “execute judgments on all those around them.”  In that day, they will not have to rely upon Iron Domes or other missile defense systems – they will have the personal protection of Almighty God.
  • Question: When?  Certainly this did not happen after the Jews were released from Babylonian captivity. Yes, they were partially regathered & allowed to dwell in their land, but there were many Jews who remained abroad.  Even then, they did not dwell in safety, as they suffered repeated invasions by the Romans & others.  Of course eventually, most of the Jews were once more dispersed among the nations, only to finally begin regathering after the reformation of the modern State of Israel.  But again, there is much that is not yet fulfilled – included that of proper worship, in that they reject Jesus as Messiah.  Thus this is a future promise, to be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom.  In that day, everything written by Ezekiel will be true to the letter, exactly as God fulfills every single other prophecy!
  • Reiteration: Israel will know God as their God.  Whereas other nations might recognize the Lord as the true God as they experience the outpouring of His wrath, the nation of Israel will recognize God as their God.  They will worship Him in spirit & truth, as during the Millennial Kingdom they worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ!

Whether chief ruler or chief demon – whether pagan nation or people of God – our God is sovereign!  He is not helpless over the happenings of men – He is not lazy when it comes to the workings of the world.  He is sovereign over all!

He works, and He sees – and not even Satan himself can stand in His way.

Our enemy is not to be pitied, but he is to be paid attention to – especially as an example.  Any one of us can fall into the same trap.  Just as Satan fell to pride, so can we.  Thankfully, as born-again believers, we do not face the same fate of forever falling away into hell – but we can open ourselves up to all kinds of sin, rebellion, and the resulting discipline of God.  Beware – and be humble.  Be mindful of any of us might become, given the opportunity.  Keep your eyes upon the Lord Jesus, and be sure to give Him the glory for all things, keeping none for yourself.

Let’s take the time to humble ourselves tonight, asking God to reveal to us our own hearts.  Maybe there is a stronghold of pride we have allowed to be built.  Maybe we’ve taken the credit for the things God alone has done.  Let’s humble ourselves & repent…

Let us also be thankful for His great love for us!  God knew the temptations and sins into which we would fall.  He knew the enemy that we would face.  And He had a plan put in motion before we were ever born!  We have much for which we can be grateful.  Just as God loved Israel, He loves us.  Just as God has a future for Israel, He has a future for you & me.


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