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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. 20

1/5/10 This chapter is pretty packed with lessons. The elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord through Ezekiel, but God said he won’t allow it. He will not speak to people who have no intention of listening and obeying. What God did do was give his own view on what had brought his people to this point.

The primary problem was their idolatry, which had led them to serve idols instead of God. They had given up obedience and service to God for obedience and service to man-made rules and gods. This started in Egypt, continued in the wilderness, continued in the promised land, continued in exile, and would continue in the second exodus. And each time God didn’t destroy his people as they deserved. Why not? Because he has sworn an oath that the will sanctify his people and present them to himself as pure. So he labors long, and he will succeed.

One of the primary ways his people disobey is in profaning the Sabbath. Several times in this chapter God points to this as a big problem. He has designed the Sabbath as a primary means toward the sanctification of his people. But if we ignore it we lose that time of transformation.

To keep the Sabbath properly is to enter into a closer relationship with God. So God continues to discipline his people, harshly sometimes, since that’s the only to get our attention. But it’s all because God desires us to be with him. And we will be, he makes clear in the final part of this message. In the end, God will succeed and we will be obedient to him and we will joyfully live in this relationship throughout eternity.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 16

1/1/10 God calls his people to remember their origin and understand the true situation. God had created a nation from one doomed to death and nothingness. They grew as a nation in Egypt until they had reached a kind of maturity. At least they were ready for the next stage. At that point God miraculously brought them out of slavery and finally into the promised land.

This all parallels the Christian’s life and the life of the Christian church in general. When we are ready God delivers us from our bondage to sin and brings us to the promised land, albeit through the wilderness. He bathes us (baptism) and clothes us in beauty and marries us into covenant as with Israel.

And everyone is stunned by the change in us and by God’s transforming power. But Israel and we came to trust in the blessings instead of the blessor. And we turned the blessings into gods and worshipped them. We degraded ourselves to the point that the Gentiles around us were not as depraved as we. We continued to multiply the gods we worshipped, seeking after pleasure for pleasure’s sake, so much that even the Gentiles were disgusted with our conduct. We even brought our gods into the spiritual realm of God.

Because of all these things God will pour out the wrath of a jealous husband upon us. They very ones whom we sought pleasure from will be our downfall. We will be destroyed by them.

But then everything will change. God will be appeased and will restore not only the Gentiles, but us, his people who were worse than the Gentiles. If God is able to restore Sodom and Samaria and his people who were worse than they, then he is indeed a loving and mighty God.

Sodom’s major sin was not misplaced sexuality, it was pride and indifference to the poor. The greater sin of God’s people is we know better and act as Sodom anyway, plus we worship what we know to be false.

But from this lowest of states God will redeem and atone for his people and shall re-establish us as kings and priests, having purified us through his punishments. We shall never again speak down to others because we will be painfully aware of our origins and our past.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 13

12/29/09 Ezekiel was then told to attack the false prophets who were claiming visions from God and were preaching that there would be peace, though there would be no peace.

At that time false prophets were many and true prophets were a minority among them. If the parallel holds this will also be the case again one day. God always sends prophets as the time for a big event nears. These prophets were building false security like a wall that looked good but was easily destroyed. And God himself takes the credit for discrediting them.

Then Ezekiel is told to attack the women who were involved in magic and communication with the dead. The word KJV translates “pillows” is a mistranslation. These women were sewing a kind of magic charm. They were making a living through these false things and their actions were even responsible for some dying who should not have died and some living who should not have lived.

God makes it clear in the last verse of the chapter that in all the misery going on, he was working to deliver his people. Not everyone in Israel was counted among his people but only those in Israel whom he considered to be his.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 9

12/24/09 The vision of chapter 8 continues. God told Ezekiel why he would bring judgment. Now he begins judgment. A voice cries out from the temple as in Revelation the seven angels are called out to a work of destruction.

In this vision there are six executioners and one dressed as a priest or angel carrying a writing kit. They came to the temple where Ezekiel was in vision seeing the abominations going on there. They stood at the bronze altar and the glory of the Lord, which was notably still in the most holy place in spite of the desecration of the temple, came to the entrance to the holy place.

He instructed the man dressed in linen to mark on the foreheads of those who “sigh and groan over the abominations which are being committed,” among God’s people. Any who are not marked have judgment executed upon them. Then God specifically instructs them to begin with the temple itself, the elders, the religious leaders.

The devastation was so great that Ezekiel was afraid no one would be left and he began to intercede for them. But God answers that the spiritual condition of his people is in a terrible state. They were living as though God no longer existed. It’s no longer right for God to protect them from the consequences of their course.

Finally the man marking foreheads returns having completed his task.

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Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ezek. 6

12/21/09 Ezekiel prophesied against Judah, specifically against the high places so often used to worship idols. When the destroying armies came, likely the people fled for protection to these places where Ezekiel said they would be killed and their precious holy places would be destroyed–an act of a jealous God over the brazen adultery of his bride. But God wasn’t out for revenge. He was out for purification. He would spare a remnant through whom he would eventually rebuilt his people. But that would only be after they had suffered enough to finally recognize their destructive course and return to God. V. 10 makes it clear that God had a redemptive goal in allowing what happened.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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