Ezekiel — Lesson 7
Ezekiel 10 & 11
1. The doomed city. Chapter 10.
1. The appearance of God’s chariot throne (10:1).
1. This is the fourth time Ezekiel has mentioned the throne of God.
1. It is an important thing to him as it was to John in the book of Revelation.
2. He speaks of the likeness of the throne which lets us know that he is aware of the visionary nature of what he is seeing.
1. Ex. 24:10 -- And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the very heaven for clearness.
2. Blue has often been used for royalty and heavenly purity; perhaps that is the thrust here.
2. The man in linen and his second commission (10:2).
1. This is the servant who faithfully carried out God's work of mercy in the last chapter.
2. He is now chosen to get coals from under the cherub and cast them on the city that it might be burnt.
3. His obedience is evidenced from the fact that "he went in my sight."
1. From his choosing to carry out this act of justice we learn that justice is not despised by mercy.
2. He who was faithful in administering mercy has no reluctance when he is asked to administer chastisement.
1. Learn: It's much easier to be the "good guy" and leave all the unpleasant duties to someone else.
2. Mercy mustn't despise the demands of justice or else it has ceased to be mercy.
3. The commission in execution (10:2-8).
1. The cherubim again (10:2-3).
1. Coals of fire are not always punitive (See Isa. 6:6), but here they are clearly a sign of coming judgment.
1. Jerusalem is to suffer as Sodom suffered (Gen. 19:24).
2. The cherubim are standing by watching because they are keenly interested in vindication of the holiness of God.
2. The glory of Jehovah and the cloud (10:4).
1. The whole inner court and the temple are filled with dense clouds due to the presence of the glory of the Lord.
2. God often appears in a cloud; run a concordance and you will be surprised.
3. The awesome sound of the cherubim (10:5).
1. The awesomeness of the cherubim is emphasized by the sound of their wings that could be heard from a great distance.
2. It was a booming sound, deep and resonant, in keeping with the power of God which is stressed in the use of the term "Almighty."
4. The man in linen receives the coals and leaves to execute his commission (10:6-8).
1. He wasn't presumptuous -- he waited by one of the wheels until the coals were given to him.
2. Mercy and judgment agree together that Jerusalem must go under.
3. Again the obedience of the man in linen is emphasized -- he took it and went out.
5. Two lessons to be learned from this scene in the vision.
1. The judgment of God cannot be distinguished from the glory of God.
1. The same burning coals that threaten such destruction upon Jerusalem are the same burning coals that are a part of the glory and purity of God's throne.
2. God's burning purity may hold either threat or promise.
2. The judgment of God marked the departure of God.
1. There is clearly a movement of the chariot-throne of God which accelerates as the vision continues.
2. The movement of God is a part of the ominous judgment, for the judgment of a God who is present is surely preferable to the absence of God.
1. The absence of God is the ultimate horror.
2. This first step in God's evacuation of his temple is forced upon him.
3. He does not want to leave; he is evicted by an evil people.
4. The cherubim described again (10:9-22).
1. There is little new in this description (vv. 9-12 are almost identical with 1:15-18).
1. The creatures described in ch. 1 are said to be cherubim.
2. Repetition is for the sake of emphasis -- Ezekiel is being told of the terror that is to come (and is thus emboldened to speak), and we are being told that the judgment is being carried out rationally and with forethought.
3. The repetition delays the climax of the vision as a whole and builds up the tension.
4. v. 14 substitutes the face of a cherub for that of an ox.
1. The reason for the substitution is not clear.
2. Rabbinic interpreters explained that the ox face was removed at Ezekiel's request because he associated it with the golden calf of Exod. 32.
3. Whatever the reason he made the substitution, he tells us that the faces he saw were the same that he saw in chapter 1 (v. 22).
2. The Lord, who has been standing at the threshold of the temple, now returns to his "seat" above the cherubim.
1. He is ready to leave.
2. The cherubim rise from the earth and take off.
1. This is one of the passages that says that the cherubim are the chariot of God.
2. 1 Chronicles 28:18 -- and for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot, even the cherubim, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of Jehovah.
3. Psalm 18:10 -- And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; Yea, he soared upon the wings of the wind.
3. This move to the east gate anticipated the departure from the temple complex and from the city that follows in 11:22-23.
1. God withdraws from unholy worship.
2. We cannot come before the Lord at any time and in any manner that we choose.
2. Political and moral corruption -- the vision of the pollution of the temple that began in chapter 8 concludes with a final view of judgment, a glimmer of hope, and the departure of God from his sanctuary, the city, and the land. Chapter 11.
1. Treason against God taught by the leaders (11:1-4).
1. The leaders in rebellion (11:1).
1. The cherubim carried Jehovah to the east gate (10:19).
2. The Spirit now carries Ezekiel there, where he saw twenty-five leaders of the nation, two of whom were sufficiently prominent to name -- Jaazaniah and Pelatiah. We know nothing of them, apart from their existence, other than what is revealed by Ezekiel.
1. One commentator reported that archeological discoveries in the city of David have yielded over 250 clay seals used on official documents from the period just prior to the fall of Jerusalem.
2. They were preserved because they were burned when the building in which they were housed was destroyed, probably in the destruction of 586 BC.
3. The names of both Jaazaniah and Pelatiah appeared in this archive of seals of royal officials.
4. In addition to these, the name Jeremiah and the seal of Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch, the son of Neriah, were found.
2. Their rebellion pointed out (11:2).
1. They have gone down in God's eternal record as men who plotted treason against God.
2. They are leaders in Israel, but their leading is away from and in opposition to God.
3. God will not hold such leaders guiltless.
1. They were devisers of iniquity.
2. They took pains to plan it all out.
3. Their rebellion defined (11:3).
1. Possible meanings of their advice.
1. They are asking the people to pay no attention to people like Jeremiah who urged submission to the Babylonians.
1. Jeremiah taught the people at home and in captivity that submission to Babylon was not only the way to salvation -- it was the will of God (see, e.g., Jer. 29:4ff.
2. In ch. 17 God condemns Zedekiah for not remaining submissive to Nebuchadnezzar.
3. In essence, they were saying this is not a time to build houses, the city is cooking and we are the meal, fortify against the Babylonians. (Compare vv. 7, 11, and ch. 21:21.)
2. ASV footnote -- the time is near to build houses -- the false leaders are urging the people to despise the words of a Babylonian invasion, but it is difficult to harmonize this view with the city as a caldron.
4. Their rebellion to be denounced (11:4).
2. Moral wickedness outlined and punishment announced (11:5-13).
1. Murder and oppression denounced (11:5-7).
1. Not only have they said it, God knows what they have been thinking.
2. The leaders are murderers; the city is a caldron, but flesh in it is the people whom they have slain.
3. They will not be permitted to die in the city; they cannot point to their assessment of things as being even partly correct.
2. The threat and the irony (11:8-11).
1. What they had feared and sought to fortify against, God would bring upon them.
2. They would not die peacefully with loved ones around them; strangers will stand around and enjoy the torture before the dying.
3. It is bad enough to die in torture, it is even worse when one dies without God and faces the future torment of judgment.
3. The justice of the punishment proclaimed (11:12).
1. Their wickedness consisted in doing the things of the nations round about.
2. Ch. 5:7 says that they didn't do the things of the nations round about.
3. Ezek. 16:47 resolves the apparent conflict -- Yet hast thou not walked in their ways, nor done after their abominations; but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast more corrupt than they in all thy ways.
4. The death of Pelatiah and another protest from the prophet (11:13).
1. As the vision proceeded, Pelatiah drops dead.
2. Ezekiel protests to the Lord as he has done before (9:8); his love for his people shines through once more.
3. The self righteous denounced and the remnant assured (11:14-21).
1. The self-righteousness of the Judeans (11:14-15).
1. The only thing that the false prophets (in Judea and Babylon) all agreed on was that Ezekiel and Jeremiah were both liars.
2. They each had their own school of thought and rejected that of the other.
1. Those in Jerusalem espoused the position that those already taken into captivity got what they deserved.
2. Another, set forth here, is their self-righteousness.
1. This corruption is often more destructive than any other.
2. It is not easy to tear people away from their self-righteousness.
3. Often it is not a man's acknowledged weaknesses that draw him away from the Lord.
4. Often it is his strengths that lead him to feel independent and self-sufficient.
2. The righteous remnant assured (11:16-20).
1. It is true that God has sent the present captives away from Jerusalem and the sanctuary, but here he assures them that he will be a sanctuary to them.
1. What a swap -- a temple in the middle of perversion for the living God himself; the Judeans had the bricks and mortar, but the captives had the Lord himself.
2. We are not to conclude that there will be no wicked ones when the promises are fulfilled; v. 21 makes it clear that there will be.
3. V. 18 does not speak of all the people, but of those who have the heart to put away detestable things.
2. V. 19 makes clear that it is God who gives the new heart and the new spirit.
1. Jer. 31:33-34 -- 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: 34and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.
2. Jer. 24:7 -- 7And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Jehovah: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
3. Jer. 29:13-14 -- 13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14And I will be found of you, saith Jehovah, and I will turn again your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places wither I have driven you, saith Jehovah; and I will bring you again unto the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
4. Here the stress is on the divine initiative.
5. Ch. 18:30-32 makes it clear that human cooperation is involved -- 30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord Jehovah. Return ye, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all your transgressions, wherein ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord Jehovah: wherefore turn yourselves, and live.
6. The fact that God makes the first move toward his sinful creatures is taught throughout the scripture -- 2 Cor. 5:17ff; Rom. 5:6ff; 1 Jo. 4:19.
7. God is the one who initiates moral reformation.
1. Phillipians 2:12-13 -- 12So then, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.
2. Hebrews 13:20-21 -- 20Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, 21make you perfect in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
3. Will God give the fish water and the bird air, and not equip his children to wage war against the destroyer of the soul?
8. Perhaps the new spirit and the new heart are different, but it may be two ways of looking at the same thing.
1. In any event, God will take the stony heart from them and make them reachable.
2. John 6:44-45 -- 44No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me.
3. God still does the drawing, but through the teaching of the word.
1. The scripture knows nothing of Calvinism's limited atonement and irresistible grace.
2. The scripture knows of God's calling all men, but it knows nothing of his calling some with a calling that will not enable them to come, while calling others with a calling that they cannot resist. Matt. 23:37; John 5:40.
4. Because of the hardness of the hearts of God's creatures, the wonder is not that so few are saved, but that so many are.
3. The impenitent threatened (11:21).
3. The Lord leaves the city and the vision ends (11:22-25).
1. Away from the temple and away from the city the Lord moves out.
2. God endures so much for so long but finally, because justice demands it, brings judgment to those whom he loves.
3. Ezekiel is “brought back” to Babylon (11:24).
1. He has seen all there is to see of Judea -- the land he loves and misses.
2. He is taken back to Babylon and tells us that the vision ended.
4. Ezekiel tells what he saw and heard (11:25).
1. He spoke and did not hold his peace.
2. He spoke only what the Lord told him to speak.
3. He told all that the Lord had told him and not just some of the favorable things, e.g., the marking or sealing of the righteous.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)