Shall we turn now in our Bibles to Ezekiel 21, the twenty-first chapter of Ezekiel.
Now the prophets of God were often very colorful persons. And because people would not always listen to the Word of God, they would often do things to draw the people’s attention to create a question in their mind, curiosity, “What in the world is he doing now?” And when these questions would arise or when they would draw the people’s attention, then they would preach the message of God to them. And so, oftentimes their ministry was extremely colorful, as they were attracting attention, creating the questions in order that they might deliver their message to the people. And as we come in to chapter 21, Ezekiel is getting a lot of attention grabbers here from the Lord and his ministry to the people.
The word of the LORD came unto me saying, Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel (21:1-2),
So we see what the background is. The prophecies are to be against Jerusalem the land of Israel.
Say unto the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more. Now sigh, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes (21:2-6).
So, at this point having uttered these words, “God has stretched out His sword against Jerusalem,” he would have said, “Just hold his loins, bend over and start just sighing.” And just really wailing in a sense, just sighing and all.
And it shall be, when they say unto you, Why are you sighing? that you shall answer, For the tidings, because it is coming: every heart shall melt, and all of the hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all of the knees shall be weak as water: behold, it is coming, it shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord (21:7).
So he is to go into this little scene of this heavy sighing as he holds his loins and bends. Until they say, “What are you sighing about?” He said, “I’m sighing because of the tidings that are going to be coming. And, of course, when they come, all of you will be sighing and mourning when you hear that Jerusalem has been destroyed, the cities have been murdered.” Many of them had families back in Jerusalem still. They are soon to be receiving word that their families had been wiped out.
And again the word of the LORD came unto me saying, Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished [or polished]: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? (21:8-10)
Is it time for joy? Is it time for a hilarity?
it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree. And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man; for it shall be upon my people (21:10-12),
Now from sighing he goes to crying and howling. And as he cries and howls and draws the attention of the people, then he speaks to them about this sword of the Lord that is to be stretched out against Jerusalem. How God is coming with His sword to judge the people. And, of course, it will be wielded at the hand of the Babylonians.
Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite your hands together (21:14),
So he’s doing a lot of things to get attention. So now he’s just clapping his hands.
and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which enter into their private chambers. For I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter. Go thee one way or the other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set. I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it. The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city. Now appoint a way, that the sword [literally, the arrow] may come to Rabbath (21:14-20)
Which was the capitol of the Ammonites.
and to Judah in Jerusalem the defensed. For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: and he shook his arrows [literally], and consulted with images, and looked in the liver (21:20-21).
Now these were methods by which they sought to divine the purposes of their god. And when Nebuchadnezzar came to the parting of the ways, one road led to the capitol of the Ammonites, to the city of Rabbath, the other road led to Jerusalem. He has his troops; they are going to march. “Against whom shall we march? Let’s consult the gods.” And so they would take these arrows, and on one arrow they would write the name Rabbath; on the other arrow they would write the name Jerusalem. They would put the arrows into a sack and shake them up and then they reach in and pull out an arrow and whatever name is on the arrow they have discerned as the purpose of god that that is what we will smite.
And then they would cut a lamb and lay out its liver and then they would watch these lines on the liver. Again, to determine the direction that they were to go. And so they would divine by liver or by this shaking of the arrows. And so he is to speak to the people about how that Nebuchadnezzar was standing at the fork of the road. One road leading to Rabbath, the other to Jerusalem to divine, to seek, to get guidance from his god as to where he was to strike.
At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort. And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity that they may be taken. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins to appear; because, I say, that you are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand. And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it to him (21:22-27).
Here is a marvelous prophecy in Ezekiel that actually comes out to our present day and into the future. As the Lord said, “And thou profane and wicked prince of Israel.” Now the direct prophecy is against Zedekiah, who was to be the last of the kings of Israel until the king whose right it is shall come to reign. But this prophecy also has a double interpretation in that the profane king referred to here, “Thou profane wicked prince of Israel,” is actually the antichrist in the last days. The words, “when iniquity shall have an end,” literally is, “at the end of the days of iniquity.” So it is in the last days when the antichrist arises and is accepted by the Jews as their Messiah, worshipped by them in a sense, acclaimed by them as their deliverer.
Now, Jesus said to the Jews, “I came in My Father’s name but you did not receive Me. Another is going to come in his own name and him you will receive” (John 5:43). Daniel tells us that the prince of the people that shall come, the antichrist, will make a covenant with the nation Israel and in the midst of the final seven-year period he’ll break that covenant as he sets up the abomination that causes desolation. Now this world ruler that will arise soon upon the scene, known in the Scripture as the son of perdition, the beast, commonly called the antichrist, is going to arise with great power, blasphemies and all, going to take over this European confederation of nations. Going to make a covenant with the nation Israel, going to be hailed by them in the beginning as their Messiah.
If you go to Israel today, you will hear that there is much talk about the Messiah. They are really expecting the Messiah to come very soon. In fact, a couple of respected rabbis have been making some predictions that the Messiah is coming very soon and the people are all excited about it. Incidentally, there is some fellow here in the United States going around declaring that the man who has the answers for all of the world’s problems is going to appear in the first part of 1982. And he is featured on so many of the television talk shows and all, and he is lecturing all over the United States on this man that the world is waiting for and has been looking for. The man who has the solutions and the answers and is going to bring peace and all. And he’s sort of a forerunner, he declares, of this man who will make himself known in the early part of 1982, will take over the governments, and will bring peace to mankind. The answers to your prayers are about upon us, he is telling people. And he’s going around lecturing. Interesting, only inasmuch as people are looking for some kind of a leader to lead us into sanity from the insanity that seems to prevail in the world diplomacy.
But if you go to Israel today, they’ll tell you they’re expecting Messiah very soon. They will tell you that they do not look for the Son of God. They do not believe the Messiah will be the Son of God, that he will be a man just like Moses was a man. Moses said, “And there shall come another prophet like unto myself. Unto him shall ye give heed.” He was prophesying concerning the Messiah. So they say he’ll be a man just like Moses. He’ll not be the Son of God. So then you must question them, well then how will you know he’s your Messiah? And immediately their answer will come back, “Because he will help us to rebuild our temple.” Just, that’s where it is. And so in Israel today, they are looking for some man who will come and help them to rebuild their temple. Of course, Daniel tells us he’ll make a covenant with them. Surely this covenant is to rebuild their temple. He will make the covenant whereby they will be able to rebuild their temple.
We will get in a couple of weeks, three or four weeks, to a fascinating prophecy here in Ezekiel. In fact, Ezekiel starts getting more exciting all the while now as we move on into this latter portion. You see, it sort of starts with Israel’s history, but then it keeps coming chronologically and it goes right on out to what’s happening today, yesterday, last year, the last few years. And it goes right in to what is going to happen next year, and the next few years in Israel. And it goes into the rebuilding of the temple which is coming very soon. And he gives you dimensions of the temple. And then he makes one very interesting comment concerning the temple, which I think is an extremely significant prophecy, and we will point that out to you when we get to…stay tuned.
Now, here he is predicting this profane wicked person who will arise in the end of the days of iniquity. “Thus saith the Lord God, ‘Remove the diadem.’” And the word diadem there is miter. It is the little head thing that priest wore, not the crown of the king. But also the crown. Now Satan gives unto this man his authority and his power. He comes as a spiritual leader to Israel. That is, in the making of the covenant which is related and associated to the rebuilding of the temple. People are excited. They acclaim him as their Messiah. He has the answers; he has the solutions. He has the most simple solution for the rebuilding of the temple, one that doesn’t upset the Muslims, the great Moslem world. They’re not upset by his solution. He’s just a genius and the whole world wonders after the genius of this man, as he comes up with this solution that is so simple yet so practical and so easy to fulfill and everybody is happy.
Now, take from him this miter, for he is a false Messiah; he is not the true Messiah. He is not the true priest that shall come. He’s not the true king.
take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. [For God said,] I will overturn, I will overturn, will overturn: and it shall be no more, until he comes [that is Jesus Christ] whose right it is; and I will give it to him (21:26-27).
So when Jesus Christ returns, He will destroy this man of sin with the brightness of His coming, with a sharp sword that goes forth out of His mouth. And He shall sit upon the throne of David and will be acclaimed King of kings and Lord of lords. And He will bring in the glorious Kingdom Age.
So there is this false hope that they will hold on to at the beginning. In the Scriptures we read, “Because they would not believe the truth of God, God gave them over to a strong delusion that they would believe a lie” (II Thessalonians 2:10-11). He will come with such power, such exciting miracles, such charisma that the whole world, except for the elect, will be deceived and were if possible even deceive the elect. Now, that word elect there does not refer to the church, but to Israel. Those elect of Israel who have been elected of God, the 144,000 elected of God to be sealed and preserved in the Great Tribulation period. Coming with lying wonders, but God is going to overturn, and he who is exalted himself will be abased, and he who was abased will be exalted and will come and sit upon the throne whose right it is.
When we get into the book of Revelation chapter 5 we see a scroll in the right hand of Him who was sitting upon the throne, God. The scroll is sealed with seven seals; it has writing both within and without. And an angel proclaims with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals thereof?” The scroll is the title deed to the earth. Who is worthy to redeem the earth back to God? is the whole idea.
The earth originally was God’s. God gave it to man; man turned it over to Satan. Satan governs and rules the world today. Jesus came to redeem the world back to God, not by force, but by the price of His blood. The just for the unjust. “For by one man’s sin entered the world, and death by sin so that death passed unto all men because all sin. Even so, by one man’s righteousness shall many be made righteous.” And so in heaven, the day is come, the transaction, the time of redemption.
There is the scroll, the instrument that was drawn up. “’Who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals?’ John began to sob convulsively because no man was found worthy in heaven and earth or under the sea to take the scroll or even to look upon it. But the elder said, ‘Don’t weep, John. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to take the scroll and loose the seals.’ And I turned and I saw Him as He stepped forth and He took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat upon the throne. And when He did, the twenty-four elders came forward with their vials, golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints and they offered them before God. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Thou art worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals. For Thou was slain and hath redeemed us by Thy blood’” (Revelation 5:2-5,7-9).
Now, “whose right it is.” You see, He is going to come and reign. Satan’s kingdom is going to be overthrown. Satan will no longer rule over the earth. In fact, Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss. And He will rule whose right it is, and then we will see the world that God intended when He made Adam and placed him upon the earth. You’ll see the earth renewed and restored to the beauty and glory of the Garden of Eden. You’ll see and earth in which righteousness will reign. You will see an earth in which there is no sickness, no blindness, no lameness, no deformities. You’ll see an earth that is covered with righteousness, even as the waters do cover the sea. An earth without deserts, an earth without hurricanes, an earth that is lush and beautiful and glorious and doesn’t have polluted skies. You’ll see the earth that God intended. And you’ll live and dwell with Him upon this earth for a thousand years. Glorious day, and we look forward to it.
But it’s interesting. Here is the prophecy, “There will be no king in Israel until He comes whose right it is.” There’s not going to be any diadem, not going to be any royal crown until Jesus comes. It’s interesting that when the Jews return from their Babylonian captivity, they didn’t reestablish monarchy. They didn’t anoint a king to rule over them. The monarchy ended with Zedekiah. It is interesting that when the Jews returned to Israel again in 1948 they did not establish a monarchy which was their traditional form of government. And there will not be a monarchy or a king until He comes whose right it is. And Jesus Christ will be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. So beautiful prophecy here concerning Jesus Christ in this twenty-first chapter.
Now thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites (21:28).
Now you remember one of the arrows was marked with the Ammonites on it.
and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering: While they see vanity unto thee, while they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end. Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity (21:28-30).
So the Ammonites will not escape, but then God said, “Don’t think that you’re going to be delivered. I will judge thee, the nation Israel, in the place where you were created. Right in the land. And the land of your nativity.”
And I will pour out my indignation upon thee; I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, those who are skilful to destroy. Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it (21:31-32).
Now, why would God do this? Chapter 22 he now tells us the things that were happening and the sins for which God’s judgment was coming.
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations. Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; The city is filled with murders in the midst of it, the shedding of blood, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself. Thou art become guilty in thy blood which thou hast shed; and thou hast defiled thyself with your idols which you have made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries (22:1-4).
Because you have turned to idolatry and because the murders that are going on. And, of course, this was to their idols. They were sacrificing their own children as live sacrifices to these gods.
Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed. Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood (22:5-6).
So the princes were polluted.
In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow (22:7).
The princes here, rather than dealing righteously, were dealing by oppression: oppressing the stranger, oppressing the orphan, the widow, taking advantage of the weak.
Thou hast despised my holy things, and you have profaned my sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness. In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that were set apart for her pollution (22:8-10).
They were not to have intercourse with a menstruous woman, but they were doing it.
And one hath committed abomination with his neighbor’s wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father’s daughter (22:11).
So there was incest that was being practiced. Adultery, fornication, pornography, lewdness.
In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood (22:12);
So there was murder by hire.
thou hast taken usury and increase (22:12),
Interest rates went up to twenty percent, crime.
and you have greedily gained of your neighbors by extortion, and you have forgotten me, saith the Lord (22:12).
Of course, a person couldn’t do these things without forgetting God. You see, if you’re conscious of God you couldn’t be doing these things. You’ve got to put God out of your mind to be able to do these things.
Behold, therefore I have (22:13)
And that, of course, I might say, is the result of putting God out of the minds of people. Then what do you have as a guide? What do you have as a standard for morality? What do you have as a guide for right and wrong? If you put God out of the minds of the people, if you declare there is no God, or God is so removed from His creation that He has no concern, then the people are cut loose, there is nothing as a standard for morality. There are no codes to follow. If every man must just experience for himself life and the various aspects of life relating to them and interpreting them for himself and there is no God to answer to, then the door is open for all of these things, and who’s to say it is wrong? And so we have psychologists today written up in Time Magazine about three weeks ago who are advocating incest as a wholesome, healthy practice. Encouraging the parents to start sexual relations with their children when they are two or three years old so that they might understand a new dimension of love. But you see, if everything is relative, and if there is no God, then who is to say that is wrong? Who’s to say adultery is wrong, fornication is wrong? High interest rates are wrong. Contracting for someone’s murder is wrong, killing someone is wrong. Who says? What’s your standard? You’ve put God out of the picture. That opens the door for anything that a man wants to do.
And so the whole key is there: you have forgotten Me. And that is the danger of putting God aside, setting God aside out of our educational system, where you can’t talk about Jesus Christ. You can’t talk about a belief in God. You can’t advocate that they believe in God. So what are you doing? You’re just opening up this whole sordid mess that we see in the world around us. We have sown the wind, as the prophet Hosea said, and now we’re reaping the whirlwind. We are reaping the result of this whole secular humanism that was fostered upon our school systems by the Watsons and the Deweys and the Huxleys. And it’s probably too late to reverse it. The die has been cast. I don’t know how we can reverse it. Only God can reverse it, and that through the intercession of His people.
It is interesting as we read the things that were going on in Israel, they are the same things you read in your newspaper. Because they had forgotten God. If they had not forgotten God, if they had God in their minds and their hearts, in their consciousness, they couldn’t do these things.
Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at your dishonest gain which you have made, and at the blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and I will consume the filthiness out of thee. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD (22:13-16).
That oft repeated phrase, some sixty-one, sixty-two times in Ezekiel, “Thou shalt know that I am Jehovah.”
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, the house of Israel is become as dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you (22:17-22).
Now it is interesting that when Moses was predicting the apostasy of the people in Deuteronomy, “When you’ve come into the land and you begin to pollute yourself in the land, and you turn from God and you forget God,” and so forth, and this apostasy takes place, that Moses wrote in Deuteronomy that they would be burned with hunger and devour with burning heat. Here God says, “I’m going to melt you in this caldron as silver and tin and iron are melted.”
And the word of the LORD came unto me saying, Son of man, say unto her, You are in the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets (22:23-25)
So the prophets were polluted. They were lying to the people.
in the midst thereof, they are like a roaring lion ravening on the prey: they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof (22:25).
So these prophets were greedy. They were always emphasizing giving money. “Send in your money, your dollars, you know.” Greedy for gain. Representing to the people that God was always broke. His program was just out of funds, and you better rescue God this week, or next week it’s bankruptcy. God’s going out of business unless you come in and save Him from this terrible fate. The prophets were taking the treasure and the precious things from these little widows. Extorting their Social Security checks.
Her priests have violated my law, they have profaned my holy things: they don’t know the difference between that which is holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them (22:26).
Some recent survey showed that some eighty percent of the ministers in the United States do not believe in hell as a place of punishment for the wicked. Sixty percent don’t believe in heaven. Seventy-eight percent don’t believe in the virgin birth. And then you get to the resurrection and all and you find unbelievers among the ministry. Well no wonder the church is dead. If there’s nothing to be gained, why go? Nothing to be lost, why get involved?
The priests had violated the law of God; they’d turned against God. “I am profaned among them.”
Her princes [the rulers, the governors] in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain [bribery, Abscam]. Her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken (22:27-28).
Doing all of this in the name of God. All of this junky, fundraising stuff in the name of God. “The Lord hath spoken.” Oh, I get these letters all the time, computerized letters. “The Lord laid you on my heart today, and God gave me a special message for you. He wants you to sit down and write out a check and send it to me. Thus saith the Lord, you know. Support me so I can buy my new yacht.”
The people of the land have used oppression, they have exercised robbery, they have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. [And in all of this God said,] And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none (22:29-30).
The Lord is merciful. The Lord is plenteous in mercy, slow to wrath and slow to anger. But He will not always try, nor will He keep His judgment forever. In other words, there can come a day when God must judge. Though He is reluctant, yet His hand is forced. Now here, in the midst of this whole perversity, God was still seeking an excuse to show mercy and to forgive.
Now, God puts a hedge around His people. Job had a hedge around him according to Satan complaining to God. “Have you considered My servant Job? Perfect man, upright, one who loves good and hates evil.” “Oh, yes, I know that fellow. I’ve seen him. You’ve put a hedge around him; I can’t get to him. You take down that hedge, you let me get to him and he’ll curse you to your face. You see, you’ve blessed the guy, you’ve prospered him. Who wouldn’t love you if you blessed and prospered? Anybody would serve you for that. Job’s a hireling, God. Serving You because of prosperity. Take down the hedge.”
God has a hedge around His people. But sin breaks down that hedge. Now God is looking for someone to stand and to build up that hedge. Man had become alienated from God. God was looking for some man to stand in the gap. Of course, Jesus is the one who came and stood in the gap for us. And has reconciled us to God through the blood of His cross. God said, “I sought for a man among them who would build up the hedge who would stand in the gap, but I found none.” A man who would stand before the Lord for the land, an intercessor so that God would not destroy the land. But there was no one to intercede. There was no man there.
Therefore have I poured out my indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way (22:31)
In other words, retribution, judgment has come.
their own way have I recompensed on their heads, saith the Lord GOD (22:31).
No more mercy, but now judgment, retribution. Their own ways have been turned upon their heads.
Now as we see the conditions that brought upon the destruction of Israel, the things that were going on, we look around the land today we see the things that are happening here. History is repeating itself. The principles are still the same; God is still merciful, plenteous in mercy, and God is still looking for men to stand before God for the land. To build up the hedge, to stand in the gap lest He destroy. But God’s judgment, though it lingers of a long time, will surely come.
Now in chapter 23:
The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, Son of man there were two women, who were the daughters of one mother: Now they committed whoredoms in Egypt; they committed whoredoms in their youth: there were their breasts pressed (23:1-3),
And he goes on to speak of these two daughters. The one’s name is Aholah; she is the older one. And her younger sister is Aholibah. Now Aholah means her tent. Aholibah means her tent is in her. And in the interpreting of this little parable of these two sisters who were prostitutes, the one sister, the older sister is Samaria, the Northern Kingdom which first went into idolatry. Turned against God when Jeroboam became king over the Northern Kingdom. He set up the calf in Bethel and in Dan and he said, “Now these are the gods that brought you out of Egypt. These are the gods that you worship.” And he installed calf worship; later on Baal worship and Molech. And they introduced all of these gods of the Assyrians and the gods of the nations round about and they turned from the true and the living God and they began to worship idols. And thus, prostituted themselves, giving themselves unto idolatry in love and all for these false religions instead of giving themselves in their love for the Lord.
Now, as the result of Aholah and her lewd acts that is against God, God’s judgment, He used the Syrians, the Assyrians to destroy the Northern Kingdom. And thus, Samaria was destroyed by Assyria. Now, when Samaria was destroyed, you would think that that would have been a lesson to Judah, the younger sister. “Her tent is in her,” referring to the fact that the tabernacle, the place of worship was established in Jerusalem, in the Southern Kingdom, Aholibah. But rather than learning from the idolatry of the north that perpetrated its fall, they started doing the very same things. In fact, king Ahaz went up to Assyria, and he makes mention of this here, how they went to Assyria. And her sister Aholibah saw this and she was more corrupt in her inordinate love that she in her whoredoms more than her sister. She doted upon the Assyrians.
So king Ahaz in Second Kings about chapter 16 or so tells about this. He went up to Assyria and there he saw the altar of the gods of the Assyrians. And he sent a design and all back to the priest in Jerusalem and ordered that an altar be built in Jerusalem like this altar of the false gods in Assyria so that when he returned to Jerusalem the priest had made this altar that was fashioned after the altar of the Assyrian gods. And Ahaz, of course, began to worship at this altar fashioned like unto the altar of the Assyrian gods. And he speaks about that here. But not only did they embrace the gods of the Assyrians, but they saw pictures of the Babylonians and this vermilion color and all that was endemic to the Babylonians and they desired.
Also, they sent for some of the Babylonians, “Come and share with us.” And then they began to pollute themselves with the Babylonian religion. And so even became worse than her wicked sister Samaria in that she multiplied her whoredoms. And God said, “My mind was alienated from her like as My mind was alienated from her sister.” They had turned away from their love for God from their serving God, and they began to worship at these false idols, false altars, and God said, naturally, “My mind was alienated from them.” And so God then speaks of His jealousy that is against them and how the Babylonians will come and they will deal furiously with you and you’ll fall by the sword and the residue that remains will be devoured by the fire.
They will strip thee of thy clothes, they’ll take away your fair jewels. Thus will I make your lewdness to cease from thee, thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more. For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will deliver thee into the hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom thy mind is alienated: And they shall deal with thee hatefully, they shall take away all thy labor, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms. I will do these things unto thee, because you have gone a whoring after the heathen, and because you are polluted with their idols. And you have walked in the way of your sister; therefore will I give her cup into thine hand. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou shalt drink of thy sister’s cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much. Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria. Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD (23:26-34).
And God said, verse 36,
Moreover unto me; Son of man, wilt thou judge Aholah and Aholibah? yea, declare unto them their abominations; That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them (23:36-37).
They were destroying their own children in the fires to the god Molech and to the god Baal. Throwing them into the fire, their little baby boys.
Moreover this have they done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and they have profaned my sabbaths. For when they had slain their children to the idols, then (23:38-39)
They would go out and they would throw their children into these fires or place them into the arms of these little molten hot gods until they burned to death. And then they would go to the temple and worship God. And God said, “I can’t stand it. I can’t understand it. It’s too much. I don’t want it. I won’t have it.” And so God speaks of the judgment that must come upon Jerusalem for this.
Now again, chapter 24,
In the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month (24:1),
Now notice this. He’s in Babylon and on this, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month,
the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day (24:1-2):
Write this day down, this date. It’s the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month. Write this date down.
For on this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem (24:2).
This is the day that the siege against Jerusalem started. Now he’s over in Babylon and in front of the people he writes down this date. You go back to Second Kings, chapter 25, verse 1, “And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, and in the tenth day of the month that Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came, he and all of his host against Jerusalem and pitched against it. And they built the forts round about.” How did Ezekiel know that? Without telegraph, or telephones, or any means of communicating that truth over that distance. Woke up this morning, wrote this date down. Said to the people, “This is the day the siege is started.” Only by the knowledge of God could he have known these things. Only because God had revealed it to him. He’s really putting himself out on a limb. “This is the day. The siege has started today.” You know, it would take two weeks or so by fast express to get word back and forth in those days from Babylon to Israel. Another proof of the authorship, God, author of the book.
Now utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Set on a pot, and pour water into it: and then gather together the pieces of the animal, every good piece, the thigh, the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones. Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it, and make it boil well, and let them seethe the bones of it therein. Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it. For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust; That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance; I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city! (24:3-9)
And now here is another sign. He sets on this big ol’ pot and he sets all of this flesh and bones and burns the bones underneath and gets this thing boiling. Everybody comes around saying, “What in the world? You’re going to burn that. What are you doing boiling all that stuff away?” And he said, “This is what’s happening to the inhabitants in Jerusalem. They’re about to be devoured.”
Now, earlier in the sixteenth chapter they were saying, you know, “We are the caldron, or we are in the caldron and the fire is not going to touch us.” But boy, he keeps this fire going until the thing boils and they are devoured, they are consumed. And thus, he speaks to them of the judgment that is coming.
I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I change; according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD (24:14).
I mean, that’s pretty sure when God says, “Hey, I have spoken it. It shall come to pass. I will do it. I will not go back, neither will I change.” I mean, when God gets that emphatic, you can be sure that it indeed will happen and indeed it did.
Now the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, behold, I’m going to take away the desire of your eyes with a stroke (24:15-16):
I’m going to take your wife today. Your wife is going to die.
yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, nor cry when she dies. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, don’t take off your turban (24:16-17),
Now that’s what they would do when a person died, they remove their turban and they remove their shoes. They go around barefooted and their head bare.
but put on your shoes, and don’t cover your lips (24:17),
That is, don’t let your beard grow. Now that’s another thing they would do after a person, a relative had died. You’d let your beard grow for thirty days and then you’d shave the beard at the end of thirty days and you’d bring the hair and offer it in a burnt offering to God. But don’t let your beard grow, don’t cover your lips, that is, with your mustache and beard.
and eat not the bread of man (24:17).
That is the traditional bread of mourning. They would eat this particular kind of bread as a sign of mourning. But he is not to do any sign of the traditional mourning for the dead which the people did when his wife died.
So I spake to the people in the morning: and in the evening my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded. The people said unto me, Won’t you tell us what these things mean, and why you are doing this? Then I answered them, The word of the LORD came unto me saying, Speak to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will profane my sanctuary (24:18-21),
That is, the temple is going to be destroyed.
the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes (24:21),
Of course, every Jew, the temple was the thing that was…it was a thing of beauty. Solomon had built it and it was something of magnificent beauty, the desire of the eyes. But God said, “It’s going to go.”
that which your soul pities; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword. And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men (24:21-22).
In other words, you’re going to get news soon that the temple is destroyed and your children have been killed. But you’re not to enter into traditional mourning for them.
You’re not to remove your turbans or your shoes: you’re not to mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another (24:23).
Rather than pining for the dead or mourning for the dead, you’re to mourn for yourself and for your sins.
Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this comes, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD. Also, thou son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters, That he that escapeth in the day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thine ears? In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD (24:24-27).
So he was to be silent, really, until the time that news came confirming what he had said, and then he would speak again.
Now beginning with chapter 25, God begins to pronounce His judgment upon the surrounding nations of Israel. And the first, of course, that of the Ammonites. We have today the city of Ammon, which comes from Ammonites, and the city of Ammon is the capitol of Jordan. And so the Ammonites and the Moabites who are going to be reviewed here for judgment are modern-day Moab. When we get to Edom, you are moving down to the southern part--or modern-day Jordan—when you move down into Edom, you are getting into southern Jordan and into Dedan, which is Saudi Arabia. And so these are the judgments proclaimed of God against these nations at that time.
Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned (25:3);
Because they rejoiced, danced in the streets when they heard that the sanctuary was profaned and the people were slaughtered. They had a big celebration. Much like they did when they got news that Sadat was assassinated. Same thing. You see, people haven’t changed much. There’s still that certain amount of barbarity in man. “When you said, ‘Aha,’ against My sanctuary when it was profaned.”
and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity; Behold, therefore I will deliver you to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk. And I will make Rabbah [which was the capitol of Ammon] a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couching place for flocks: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. For thus saith the Lord GOD; Because you have clapped your hands, and stamped with your feet, and rejoiced in your heart with all of your hatred and animosity against the land of Israel (25:3-6);
When they heard of the destruction and desolation, they danced, they jumped, they clapped their hands and stamped their feet rejoicing in the destruction.
Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD (25:7).
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Moab and Seir [Mount Seir in Moab] do say, Behold, the house of Judah is like the heathen (25:8);
Again, exalting over their destruction.
Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Bethjeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim, Unto the men of the east with the Ammonites, and will give them in possession, that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations. And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the LORD (25:9-11).
So God is going to prove who He is to the surrounding nations.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance (25:12),
Now when the enemies came against Judah and it was obvious that they were going to fall, then the Edomites also attacked that they might take loot. And so they added insult to injury, actually.
taking vengeance, you have greatly offended, and you have revenged himself upon them; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out my hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman (25:12-13);
Where one of the counselors of Job had come, from the east there in Teman, the Temanite.
and they of Dedan (25:13)
Dedan is Saudi Arabia today, Sheba Dedan.
and they shall fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD. Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a [hateful] despiteful heart, to destroy it for their old hatred; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the seacoast. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them (25:13-17).
Now as we continue on, he goes to Tyre. And in the prophecy against Tyre, we find one of those fascinating, remarkable prophecies of the Old Testament which ranks to me one of the most remarkable of the prophecies of the Old Testament, as God prophesies the destruction of the city of Tyre. And as we read it, you’ll be absolutely astounded with what accuracy God made the record in advance. Again, that we may know that He is God.
And then as he gets into the king of Tyre, you have a very interesting description of Satan prior to his fall. And a description of his fall and the results thereof. And so we’re starting to get into the more interesting aspects. Of course, then we will finish next week the prophecies against Egypt, and that takes on a modern-day significance too.
So next week, next five chapters, twenty-six through thirty that we will be studying next Sunday night. The Scripture comes back into mind, “And the Lord sought for a man among them to fill up the hedge, to stand in the gap,” stand between the Lord and the land that He would not destroy it. But He found none. Therefore the wrath of His judgment came. His indignation, the fire of His wrath, and they were destroyed. I think of the conditions that perpetrated that judgment of God and I tremble as I read my daily newspaper. And I see the same things prevalent here as were prevalent there. How long will God forebear? How long before God’s judgment falls upon the United States? How long before His sword comes through the land? How long will God allow this iniquity to prevail? Only God knows. But in the meantime, God is searching for men and women who will stand before the Lord for the land and who will intercede. I pray that God will speak to your heart about the ministry of intercessory prayer and you’ll become involved. It’s a matter of life and death as far as our nation is concerned.
God bless you as His child. May His hand be upon your life. It is good to know that God has not appointed us unto wrath. We will not see the day of wrath and the judgment of God. For Jesus has delivered us by His love from that day of wrath that is to come. But oh, my heart goes out for those who know not Jesus Christ, those who will be left when He takes His church away. Those who must face the fiery indignation of His wrath by which He will devour His adversaries. It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. Let’s pray. As the Scripture said, let’s take them as plucking brands out of the fire. Seeking to deliver them from the judgment to come. By intercessory prayer, setting them free from the power of sin. God bless you and make you an intercessor and use you for His glory. In Jesus’ name.