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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. 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. 21

1/6/10 Several different prophecies are contained in this chapter, but they have a common thread. Ezekiel was to groan and grieve until people asked why. Then he would tell them of the destruction decreed on God’s people by Babylon.

The next prophecy (v. 8 ff) has some obscure language that is difficult to interpret but the general idea is that Judah is going to be punished. Ezekiel was to move in action to this prophecy, slapping his thigh and clapping his hands. It’s even possible he was doing some sort of a sword dance.

The next prophecy (v. 18 ff) Ezekiel was to mark two ways with a signpost representing that Babylon would arrive at that point and make a decision which way to go, to Ammon or to Jerusalem. They would consult their gods in their obviously random ways and God would ensure they went to Jerusalem. The city would be attacked and Jerusalem would no longer have its royal status.

V. 27 makes clear that until Messiah came the royal status would not return to Jerusalem. When that happened Jerusalem would receive royal status again, but it would be spiritually speaking, not politically as the Jews supposed.

Finally, Ammon (modern Amman) would also meet its doom (v. 28 ff).

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 19

1/4/10 A lament is poetry with accents in a pattern of syllables, which, of course, is lost in translation to English. This is an allegory that we and Ezekiel’s listeners would have had to work out.

Israel was like a lioness, a symbol of royalty. And the house of David of the tribe of Judah in particular was symbolized by the lion. So this lion raised up young lions as princes.

The first prince in this lament was Jehoahaz, who ruled when Babylon came and conquered. Jehoiachin ruled after for about three months, but was taken away. However, he was treated relatively kindly, and the imagery here is violent. So more likely the second prince would symbolize Zedekiah rather than Jehoiachin. Zedekiah prospered in his rule. Even if the second prince referred to Jehoiachin, the symbol of the vine was definitely Zedekiah.

He became strong, was planted by the waters, and was exalted. But he rebelled against the yoke of Babylon and was ruthlessly put down, blinded, and carried away to Babylon. This was the end of the house of David for a long time.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 15

12/31/09 The wood of a vine is so soft it is almost a plant rather than wood. The prophecy is a parable. Jerusalem is a vine and a vine is only good for one thing: growing grapes. But God’s people were not producing good fruit. They were not trying to accomplish the task God designed them for, which was to be an example to the surrounding nations in order to lead them to God. So what value is there in them continuing to exist? As wood? Obviously not. Then God points out that he was going to destroy them, and charred vine is even more useless than useless. “Those who have not, even what they have will be taken from them.”

God has a special purpose for his called and chosen. It’s not the same purpose that he has for others. Thus, in spite of the value we may see in ourselves as wood, we are not doing God any service except as we do as he has designed for us to do. And as the new spiritual Israel, Christianity’s purpose is to draw people to Jesus, to make disciples. This is the fruit we must bear.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 12

12/28/09 Ezekiel seemed to always have an audience, not because the people were interested in hearing the word of the Lord but because Ezekiel was entertainment, with his strange acts. This time he was told to pack for exile, something which those watching would be familiar with since they had done it. But the prophecy wasn’t about them, it was about those still in Jerusalem with king Zedekiah.

Ezekiel carefully chose and packed what an exile would take. Then he was to dig a hole through the mud brick wall of his house showing how Zedekiah would escape through a hole in the wall. Ezekiel also wore a blindfold showing how Zedekiah would be blinded when caught.

The next morning, after the audience would have had time to discuss what they had seen Ezekiel doing, he explained the prophecy to them. He told how the “prince in Jerusalem” would be caught and the people scattered and killed. But God would preserve a few for the purpose of delivering their story to the people wherever they were scattered, that they might know that God is God.

Next Ezekiel was told to eat as though in fear, showing the condition of his people in Jerusalem when the land had been devastated.

Next God pointed out two saying that were being commonly circulated among the people. The first one was, “These prophets have been talking an awfully long time and nothing ever happens. They must not be telling the truth.” Obviously God’s long suffering and patience was completely misunderstood or outright rejected.

The other common saying was that the prophecies concerned a long time in the future. The idea being that there was no cause for concern right now. Both of those God said would change quickly.

This must also be the case with the predictions still in the future for us. Their fulfillment is drawing near. There isn’t that much left to be accomplish before all will be ready for the final events to draw to a close.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 11

12/27/09 The leaders of the people in Jerusalem gave them a positive message. The Hebrew is difficult to translate. It could read, “This is not the time to build…” (NASB) or it could read, “Is this not the time to build…” (NIV). The context seems to give more credence to the latter because the leaders are in the process of encouraging the people even as the presence of God is leaving them.

When the leaders say, “We are the meat and the city is the pot,” they seem to be saying, “We are the good meat, the bad has been taken into exile and this pot will protect us.” So God told Ezekiel to tell them that they are indeed meat in a pot, but not in a positive sense. The dead among them are this meat, but they themselves God will remove from the city and will execute judgment on them. Why? Because they have not obeyed God (v. 12).

Suddenly, as if in omen, Pelatiah, one of the leaders died, (Ezekiel was seeing a vision). And Ezekiel cried out to God concerning the remnant, but God ominously did not answer him on this matter. However, he did tell Ezekiel that he had not abandoned the exiles, and that he remained their protection. They would eventually become his remnant and be returned to their land. And when they did they would go about the business of purifying the land and in their obedience and loyalty to God they would receive new hearts that desired to obey.

Then the glory of God left Jerusalem and moved out over the mountain east of the city. And Ezekiel told the exiles his vision.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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