Ezekiel — Lesson 9
Ezekiel 13 & 14
1. False Prophets Denounced (Ch. 13). (In chapter 12 Ezekiel spoke against the false security that led them to think that judgment was not imminent. They had received encouragement in this position by the visions and divinations of false prophets. Now Ezekiel delivers God's denunciations against these prophets.)
1. The Men (13:1-16).
1. The indictment and the description (13:1-7).
1. Ezekiel was instructed to charge the prophets to listen to the Lord's word, not to their own hearts, because judgment ("woe") was about to fall upon them because of their foolish ways. (13:2-3.)
2. He doesn't deny them their title, but he denounces them for the deleterious effect their empty-headed pronouncements have on the hearers.
3. Ezekiel delineates the characteristics of the false prophets that brought this judgment upon them (13:4-7), before delivering the judgment itself. (13:8-16.)
1. They are foolish.
1. Ezekiel uses a strong term to describe their folly.
2. "Foolish" covers more than stupidity.
1. The fool was morally and spiritually insensitive.
2. He was inclined to blasphemy. Psalm 74:18.
3. He was inclined to atheism. Psalm 14:1.
4. He was churlish and arrogant, like his namesake Nabal of Carmel. 1 Samuel 25.
5. He was capable of gross immorality. 2 Sam. 13:13.
3. Ezekiel described the basic cause of their foolishness as their reliance on their own hearts and failure to seek God's revelation. Read Jeremiah 23:16-22 and Jer. 29 in connection with this.
2. These prophets had misled those who relied on them.
1. The prophets followed their own hearts and saw their own perversions as God's revelation.
2. Their visions were false and full of lies (vv. 6, 8; cf. 10, 16), because the prophets had really not seen anything at all. (13:3.)
3. They used the prophetic formula, "the Lord declares," but the Lord had neither spoken nor sent them (13:6-7).
1. They hoped for a confirmation that never came.
2. God emphatically denied that he had spoken through these men (13:7b).
3. The false prophets were prophesying out of their own hearts, while Ezekiel provides a true message from God.
4. Self-made religion is vain (Mt. 15:9), in conflict with God (Mt. 15:3, 6), and will be rooted up (Mt. 7:24-27; 15:13).
5. The religion of these prophets is man-made religion; it is God made in the image of man.
4. All who speak something other than the word of God are false speakers but they are not necessarily insincere.
1. Even sincerity does not guarantee truth.
2. Sincerity is not a substitute for truth.
1. Hal Lindsey, of the Late Great Planet Earth, predicted that the end of the world would come around 1988; he has since backed off of that prediction.
2. To follow one's own spirit is to follow the wrong spirit. Eph. 4:4.
3. False prophets are like jackals (Heb. word is same for fox and jackal) in the wilderness -- they dig holes that create points of stumbling for people.
1. False teaching undermines morality and security.
2. The only safe path is to follow a thus saith the Lord.
3. We are not being helped when people tell us that doctrine doesn't matter.
1. There is certainly abroad a real feeling against insisting on doctrinal purity in fundamental issues, but such a feeling is not of God.
2. If doctrine is irrelevant, then sections such as the one we are now studying are hard to fathom. 2 John 9ff.
3. To suggest that it applies only to the "core gospel" is subjectivism run amuck since the scripture does not identify a "core gospel."
4. Who, then, is to determine it? What standard shall be applied? Where shall it end?
4. The basic crime of the false prophets was that they offered hope where these was no hope. (13:10.)
1. They made promises in the name of God that God did not make.
1. We are going home in two years.
2. God won't permit anyone to destroy the temple.
3. If Babylon does come, Egypt will help us destroy them.
4. The people's futile hopes are encouraged by the prophet's lullabies of peace.
1. It is a common failing for preachers to want to speak pleasing and appeasing things to their hearers, but if they are to be faithful to God they must proclaim his whole counsel. Acts 20:26-27.
2. The strongest condemnation goes not to the people, but to those who led them into error. Matt. 18:7.
5. God asks (accuses) them -- haven't you spoken lies when you said that I said these things.
1. See the hanging heads, the shuffling feet.
2. We are deafened by silence (It's really quiet now, isn't it?).
6. But think of the judgment day when teachers of basic error who keep people from obeying the Lord must stand before the God of heaven.
1. What answer will they give for having made his commands optional?
2. What answer will they give for making his commands something that you can take or leave.
3. If all the tears shed over unfulfilled hope could be gathered, we would need another ark; how much worse will it be when there is no room for repentance.
2. The coming exposè and punishment (13:8-16).
1. Once again we hear the familiar formula, the word of the Lord came unto me saying, but it takes on special significance at this point (v. 8).
2. To those false prophets, the voice of God, like the crack of doom, says, "I am against you" (v. 8).
1. What an adversary.
2. Usama ben Laden cannot start to begin to commence to compare.
3. The false prophets would be exposed, seen for what they were (v. 9).
1. The would not be asked into the councils of the people in the future.
2. They wouldn't be listed in the "Who's Who" of Israel -- the lists of the worthy.
3. No monuments would be built to them.
4. The reason -- they seduced the people and failed as watchmen, crying peace when there was no peace.
1. The only peace is that which God gives. Rom. 5:1.
2. The world offers various kinds.
1. The peace of unbelief -- no convictions so no nagging conscience to bother him.
2. The peace of self-righteousness -- he has such a view of himself that he cannot but belive that God is fortunate to have him as a servant.
3. The peace of presumption -- presumes on God's mercy and believes that God is too kind to punish evil.
4. The politicians would build their walls behind which the people would find shelter. (13:10.)
1. They would make alliances and pay tribute to keep the people safe.
2. The false prophets would then come in and whitewash these schemes with a "thus saith the Lord" which they got from between their ears.
3. We don't expect much of politicians, but when a man claims that he has a revelation from the Lord, more is expected.
5. The alliance has been made and its defects are hidden by "holy whitewash" (hogwash), the people are hiding behind it for protection.
1. The wind comes, the weaknesses are exposed, the wall collapses, and the people perish. Mt. 7:24-27.
2. While they are dragging their dead out from under the debris, they ask where is the mortar that you used on that wall.
1. The politicians thought out the scheme; the prophets claimed that God approved.
2. The wall should have stood in the storm.
3. The work of the prophets is examined carefully; they are shown to be cheats.
2. The Women (13:17-23).
1. The description and the indictment (13:17-19).
1. The human harangue.
1. There are only a few passage in the Old Testament that are critical of a class of women. Isa. 3:16 - 4:1; 32:9-13; Amos 4:1-3.
2. Out of the hidden back room comes the great one wearing her veils and ribbons, fluttering in the breeze as she walks.
1. She mutters her words and sells that client what is needed to ward off the evil of the day.
2. Charms, amulets, beads, astrology charts, rabbit's feet, and the like are crutches for those who have lost their faith in God, or never had any.
3. But we have nothing to learn from this today; this is an enlightened society.
1. Does anyone today tell fortunes from tea leaves or tarot cards?
2. Does anyone today sell holy oil or healing cloths?
1. Whatever happened to "freely you have received, freely give"?
2. One wonders how these hustlers can sleep at night.
4. These women were hunters of people, not just their bodies, but their souls.
1. They stalked their prey with influence.
2. They could speak so as to have those killed who should have lived (because of their righteousness) and those who should die (because of their wickedness) to live.
2. The profanation of God.
1. They sold God for a handful of barley and a crust of bread.
1. Actually they sold themselves, like Joseph's brothers and Judas.
2. While we would not sell God for barley and bread, do we have our price?
1. Are there preachers and elders who will sell principles for a successful ministry, a bigger church, a greater reputation?
2. Are we not tempted to be silent when we ought to speak so that we do not rock the boat?
3. Are there not those who castigate the weak and sinful in the name of "standing for the truth"?
4. They make a name for themselves as "lovers of the truth" while they leave the mangled bodies of brothers and sisters as though they were set upon on the Jericho road.
2. How often do we trade off truth, kindness, justice, mercy, and uprightness for trivia?
2. The coming rescue of God's people (13:20-23).
1. God would rescue his people from the spell of such ungodly women.
1. These women who ensnare people as a boy ensnares a bird will pay the price.
2. God will expose them and the people will see them for what they are.
2. There is the earthquake, the tornado, the hurricane that devastate and destroy, and then there are words.
3. Ten characteristics of false teachers from this passage.
1. They spoke of their own will, not God's will. vv 1-3, 17.
2. They made the people a prey instead of performing a ministry for them. v. 4.
3. They had no crisis ministry. v. 5.
4. They claimed their revelations were divine to deceive their followers (vv. 6-7) and easily deceived others because they were deceived themselves.
5. They failed to stand against sin (vv. 6-9) and declared an empty message without truth.
6. They preached a message of peace, prosperity, and safety in the face of imminent judgment (vv. 10-12) because they failed to relate the consequences of sin.
7. Their ministry provoked the wrath of God and invited his judgment. vv. 13-16.
8. They often used false methods and occult practices to legitimize their work and control their victims. vv. 17-21.
9. They encouraged iniquity by word and personal example. vv. 22-23.
10. They set up the worst idols, their own self-will. 14:1-7.
2. Inner Idolatry (Ch. 14).
1. Idolaters indicted and threatened (14:1-11).
1. The denunciation of idolatrous elders (11:1-5).
1. The visit of the pious looking elders.
1. Here they come again -- the pious looking elders.
1. Their tongues spoke well but their souls were deformed.
2. How wise and holy they looked; their faces looked good but their hearts were warped.
2. Idolatry goes further than merely stooping before a dumb stick or stone; it is not the body that idolizes, it's the spirit within.
2. The description of the pious looking elders.
1. No one could have looked at these men and told that they were idolaters, because the idols were inside.
2. Nothing had changed outwardly in their allegiance to the Lord, but they had taken idols into their hearts.
3. These judges needed judging.
4. They had their idols before their face; they loved them; their every thought was of them.
5. They were their constant companion, and yet they came to inquire of the Lord.
6. They desired to serve two masters (Mt. 6:24); they were guilty of breaking the first commandment, but they still wanted to hedge their bets.
3. The word to the pious looking elders.
1. God will give them answer.
2. When men of divided heart inquire of the Lord they will receive an answer, but it will not be one they will like.
3. This language has a sinister meaning, and v. 8 enlarges on the meaning.
4. It will be an answer in deed, not just in word.
5. The ultimate end is put positively in vv. 5 and 11.
2. The denunciation of idolaters and their sympathetic prophets (11:6-11).
1. Idolatry denounced.
1. The way to this right relationship is through repentance (v. 6).
2. There follows a denunciation of of idolaters and those prophets who would be sympathetic with them.
3. There were many false prophets to whom the elders would go who would assure them that everything would be all right.
4. Obviously their word did not completely satisfy; thus they came to Ezekiel.
5. How like the words of Ahab after he had heard all of his prophets; "Is there not here a prophet of Jehovah besides that we may enquire of him. 1 Kings 22.
2. False prophesy "explained" and assessed.
1. Will God permit men to get what they want? 2 Thess. 2:10; Rom. 1.
2. The blind both fall into the ditch.
1. If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Mt. 15.
2. Each has a fundamental responsibility to God.
3. We have the obligation to stand before God and to obey him in the light of clear Biblical instruction no matter who is saying something different.
3. God will answer the idolaters by himself (v. 7).
1. He will give the prophet a word which is not the prophets.
2. God also speaks in deeds as well as in words. Isa. 26:9.
3. God is instructing his people in order that they might turn to him; the judgment is intended to be remedial.
1. But judgment there will be because Judah has gone too far.
2. They are so wicked that not even three O.T. heroes could save them.
3. Their spiritual life is so low that they cannot be saved except through judgment; they are more wicked then Sodom (see chapter 16).
2. Prevailing sin makes judgment inevitable (14:12-23).
1. The sore judgment of famine (14:12-14).
1. When God sends a famine it is out of absolute necessity.
2. The people had committed a trespass.
1. This is a strong term, the root meaning is of "acting treacherously."
2. It is used of breaking a solemn contract (Achan in relation to the devoted thing, Joshua 7:1, and a wife's adulterous act, Numbers 5:12, both of which were punishable by death.
3. The people are so wicked, their spiritual life is so low, that not even Noah, Job, and Daniel can save them.
2. The sore judgment of evil beasts (14:15-16).
1. Desolation would cause the wild beasts to wander into the land and infest it.
2. It was not rare for wild beasts to infest lands. See, 2 Kings 17:24-26; Jer. 12:5.
3. When the wild beasts came it was evidence that the people had in fact gone too far and the land was not only desolate, but beyond being influenced by the presence of Godly people.
3. The sore judgment of military invasion (14:17-18).
1. Would God have foreign armies marching over his land and taking his people captive if they had not provoked him in a radical manner?
2. The very presence of troops is evidence of the wickedness of the land.
3. The land isn't being run over because of God's weakness -- sin is the problem.
4. God does not judge without reason.
4. The sore judgment of pestilence (14:19-20).
1. God permits diseases to multiply and this results in death.
2. In all of these judgments it comes through that God does not judge without sufficient reason.
3. A land desolated by God is a land that has asked for it.
5. The four sore judgments and Jerusalem (14:21-23).
1. All of this is applied to Jerusalem.
2. All four judgments leaves no conclusion other than that the land is so evil that it is beyond redemption without radical purging.
3. This was exactly the position that Jerusalem was in.
4. However God assures him that there will be some left (v.22), and some day this group will arrive where Ezekiel is.
1. When they arrive he will see for himself what manner of people they are.
2. God tells them that when he sees them he will know that God did not do to them what he did without cause.
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)