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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. 44

1/31/10 Ezekiel’s guide leads him to the east gate of the temple court where he sees that the gate is shut. He is informed that it is to remain shut. This is the gate that God’s glory entered through, so it became particularly holy. People should enter through the gates on the north and the south.

This chapter really makes clear God’s insistence on the separation between holy and common things. The east gate would be the place where the prince would eat before the Lord. This prince seems to be a a civil ruler not Messiah, because Messiah wouldn’t offer sin offerings or have sons.

Ezekiel, since he can’t go in by the east gate, is brought around to the north and led into the temple court where he saw the glory of God filling the sanctuary. Then God spoke to him about his laws and regulations concerning the holiness of his house. Most of these are repeats of the laws in Leviticus, with the exception of the prohibition for priests against wearing wool.

One of these regulations was that foreigners were not be to taking care of the temple. Some Midianites and Gibeonites had been given to the Levites in Israel’s conquering of the land, and they had begun to serve the temple Levites and then even became active in serving in the temple itself. This was not to happen in the new temple. Then Levites were to keep charge themselves. They had not been entirely faithful to God when Israel apostatized, so they would be relegated to certain duties. Only the descendants of Zadok could serve as priests because they had remained faithful.

The rules for working with holy things became more marked the closer the Levites came to God’s presence, so the priests had even more to consider in preparing to serve near the Lord. The separation of the holy from the common was paramount, including the dress and grooming of the priests, and the situation of their marriage.

The authority of judges was given to the priests, so what the function of the prince was to be is left to speculation. Perhaps it was purely administrative. More over, one of the functions of the priesthood is to teach the people to respect the difference between the holy and the common. And they would continue to live upon the tithes of the people.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 43

1/30/10 Ezekiel had witnessed God leaving the temple in chapters 8-10. Now he watched the reverse happen. After all the calamity that befell his people, and after God’s vengeance upon the nations around, the people of God would be restored, the temple rebuilt, and God’s presence would again fill the temple. He comes in from the east. I don’t know if the verbal parallels may be insufficient to tie this verse to Rev 16:12, which refers to the kings from the east, but they do tie in with other parts of Revelation. And thematically it does work.

When all has finally been destroyed in Babylon, Jesus returns from the east. So in Ezekiel this is ultimately an end-time scenario, although it was predicted as a possible reality for Israel as a nation. At any rate, God’s people will not resist him any longer and the relationship will be restored.

After Solomon had completed the temple he built his own palace attached to the temple. When Solomon left God his activities defiled the temple. Not only is the house of God holy, but the things associated with it are holy too. The entire idea of restoring the temple is the end result of keeping God’s law (v. 11, 12). So even in the new creation we will still be bound by the law.

In v. 13 Ezekiel describes the dedication of the altar. It was so high that stairs led up to the “hearth” on the east side so that the priest would be facing the temple sanctuary. They were to go through a specific procedure for seven days to purify the altar. What that will look like in a new creation context I’m not quite sure. Or perhaps this was only the situation if this was fulfilled for the nation of Israel, since according to Revelation, there won’t be a temple in the New Jerusalem.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 40

1/27/10 Fourteen years to the day after the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel receives this vision. According to McIver’s Ezekiel Amplifier (p. 206) the date of the tenth day of the first month may be very significant. They may have been operating under the civil calendar, which on the religious calendar would be the tenth day of the seventh month. If that is true the vision as well as the fall of Jerusalem came on the Day of Atonement, judgment day. That, of course, has all sort of eschatological implications.

Ezekiel was taken in vision to a high mountain near Jerusalem and was shown a new temple are that looked like a city in itself. Jerusalem was and still is built on low hills, not high mountains. Zech 14, which has many parallels to Eze 38-39 describes how God, in conquering Gog, will change the geography of the area. So what Ezekiel is seeing is definitely in the context of the New Jerusalem.

The wall, with the approximate length of the measuring rod, was about ten feet thick, but only ten feet high. So it’s not a wall of defense. It seems to have enclosed an area 285 yards long and wide.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 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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