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General Observations of the Book of Ezekiel

2/5/10 The book of Ezekiel is important to the dispensationalist position, which states, generally speaking, that the Jews are still the true chosen people of God. They rejected Christ so now we’re in the Christian dispensation. But Christians are kind of a stop-gap measure. However, eventually all of the prophecies in Ezekiel will come true for Israel. Christians will be raptured away, Israel will accept Christ, rebuild the temple, restart sacrifices (oddly enough), and will face much resistance from the world. The millennium will take place and then finally Christians will rejoin Israel on earth or in heaven.

This view fails to take into account a number of important things, though, which I won’t go into here. A full study of the book of Revelation presents an entirely different picture of how things will come down in the end. (See my book You Can Understand the Book of Revelation, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the iBookstore).

Perhaps one of the primary things to understand is that Ezekiel was in large part a conditional prophecy. It was a prophecy or a picture of what things would look like for Israel if they took on a particular course of either loyalty to God ro disloyalty to God. They chose the disloyalty course, therefore that is the part of the picture they received. God continues to offer the positive outcome, albeit with some differences, to his faithful people in the end times.

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This brings to a close this devotional study. Find devotional commentaries on other books of the Bible at www.scoggins.biz. Also find information about my book on Revelation.

 

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Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 46

2/3/10 The prince, who must be the civil leader of the people, is the worship leader. He has a special and prominent role in leading the people in the worship of the true God.

First of all, the people have been contributing tax-type gifts to him, and out of that he is to provide the sacrifices for the people, or at least much of them. The east gate of the inner court is opened for the prince and he enters and worships and then exits through this gate, while the people enter through the north or south gate and then exit through the opposite one they used to enter.

So the prince enters by the east gate, the people use another, and then the people join the prince before the east gate to worship. Then they feast by eating the sacrifices. The priests, to protect the people from contact with holiness, eat theirs separately, using their kitchen in the inner court. The people cook and eat theirs using the four kitchens in the corners of the outer court. Worship times were obviously times of great joy and feasting.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 45

2/1/10 In the newly formed Israel things were to be done a little differently than before. God specified that some land surrounding the temple was to be set aside as holy. About seven or eight square miles was called holy and this was given as land for the Levites. The same amount was set aside as most holy and it was given for land for the priests. The city of Jerusalem received a specific portion also, and the prince as well.

Before, the priests and Levites had no land at all, and the prince, the civil ruler, took his land from the tribes as he needed it. This was no longer to be done. And beyond that God intended that weights and measures should be standardized as well so that the prince couldn’t fudge on taxing the people.

All of these intentions were created for faithful Israel on earth, but they won’t be realized until the new earth. So will all of these regulations look the same? Probably not exactly, but real life will go on. The prince would obviously have less than the kings of Israel had gotten used to taking from the people. He was to provide burn offerings and such from tax money, but that wouldn’t cover all. He had only to rely on donations from the people.

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Posted by on April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 39

1/26/10 This chapter continues the prophecy against Gog and Magog, with lots of gruesome descriptions of the carnage. However, the concentration seems to be God’s hand in it all rather than the gore. God brings Gog down from the far north to attack his people, just as he did before with Nebuchadnezzar. But rather than allowing Gog success as he did with Babylon, he will use the opportunity to defend his people and wipe out the hordes of Magog by sending fire upon them (v. 6).

His purpose is to defend his reputation and make himself known to  everyone. Israel then will use the weapons of their enemies for firewood, enough of it for seven years. “In that day,” says v. 11, which means that these are eschatological scenes. It will take seven months to bury the dead in the valley, which will be done with the utmost care. Much of this is symbolic rather than literal, which is clear because the destruction is by fire, which wouldn’t leave the wood of the weapons or bodies to bury.

In vs. 17-22 the imagery is apocalyptic. John’s allusions in Rev 20:17 are obvious even to casual readers. The attack of Gog is in reality a massive sacrifice but in a reversal, this time the victims are men and the feasters are animals and birds.

In OT times the times of sacrifice were times of abundant food and celebration with others. To use up all of the meat from a sacrifice in the prescribed time required eating plenty and including a group. Sacrifice involved great blessing.

At the time of this final sacrifice all will finally understand God and will know why he has acted as he has. Once God is understood he will restore all things, bring his people back into the relationship intended for them and they will forget the past things: their shame, their unfaithfulness, etc. And God will dwell with his people, as the following chapters will show.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 37

1/24/10 In days of battle and field warfare the sight of a valley filled with bones would not have been too fantastical. It was a reality of war.

God asked Ezekiel if the bones could live, and Ezekiel, not knowing God’s plans, replies that only God knew. God then proceeded to tell Ezekiel to prophesy that the bones would live, which he did. God was creating a memorable picture with this illustration. The bones rattled and moved and came together. Then tendons, flesh, and finally skin covered the bones, but they still did not have life.

Ezekiel was then told to prophesy to the breath, which he did, and the bodies became living souls. Body + breath = living soul just as it was at creation.

This was not an illustration of the resurrection at the Second Coming, it illustrated the resurrection of a nation. God would restore Israel but they wouldn’t have in them the breath of life, the Spirit of God, in and of themselves. They would be given this spirit as a gift of grace.

This is a prominent theme in Ezekiel that his people would be filled with God’s Spirit, receive a heart of flesh, obey God’s laws. God’s people would become the people he desired them to be.

This hasn’t reached its full fulfillment, but when Jesus came it began the process. The joining of the two kingdoms never happened in a literal sense, but happened after Jesus when the gospel began to include the Gentiles. It will reach its full fulfillment when the New Jerusalem arrives at the end of the millennium.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 36:16-38

1/23/10 In vs. 1-15 God promised beautiful promises to his people; promises of restoration and glory. Now he clarifies why he will do this. And that reason is for his own reputation’s sake. His people had rejected him and the nations had seen and noticed. They knew Israel’s God was powerful and they feared him and learned of him though Israel. But Israel had not been faithful to God and were punished for it.

God had a different intention for his people. God’s design was that his people would draw the rest of the world to God and be a hand in reconciling the entire world to him. But not only was Israel not doing this, they were leaving God themselves. Therefore, the nations had no reason to better themselves. So God, for the sake of himself, which is to say, out of his great love for humanity, he punished Israel. But this was completely misunderstood by the nations, and frankly even by Israel to some degree. The nations thought that God simply wasn’t enough of a God to protect his people and that their own gods were more powerful than Israel’s God. Therefore, says God, so that everyone will understand who I am, I’m going to restore my people.

Then God makes it very clear that his people deserving this restoration is far from being the reason he is doing it. His people have absolutely no claim to any merit whatsoever. God will do what he does simply because he is God, sovereign. In his grace he would restore his people and accept them regardless of themselves. And they would be keenly aware of this grace shown to them, keenly aware of their own guilt. God also makes clear that he would transform his people also. They would not continue in their evil ways. They would have new hearts and minds. And his people would finally be obedient.

The end result of this incredible grace would be that the nations around would know and understand God in his true nature. They would acknowledge his power.

All of this demonstrates God’s great love for us. If God held us in contempt he would not care what we think of him, would not care if his name be glorified among us.  He would simply annihilate us and be finished with it. Instead, his love is so great that the defense of his name, in the end, is for our sake.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 36:1-15

1/22/10 This passage is a direct contrast to the proceeding prophecy against Edom and the entire situation of Israel. Edom at this time was prospering and Israel was devastated. The Lord speaks to the mountain of Israel as a literary device of speaking to his people. God does not like the fact that the surrounding nations mock and rejoice over the fate of Israel. True, it is his judgment upon Israel, but it is judgment of discipline with the end result being that his people return to him.

Therefore, God promises this restoration by promising the hill country, that soon his people will inhabit it again. It’s like the country was kind of missing Israel. Edom was a stranger and the countryside could look forward to Israel returning. In fact, God tells the land to begin preparing to receive them by growing branches and fruit. God also loves the land and is interested that it be cared for, plowed, and planted (v. 9).

So even while this is a commentary on the restoration of hims people, this is also a commentary on God’s desired restoration and care of his creation of the earth. He designs that not only will his people return to the land but that the land will return to a state before the curse of Adam. The land will be restored into a condition in which it will not be harsh to its inhabitants.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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