It Is Finished Audio

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ezekiel Series: Chapter 21 (Written Version)


Babylon, The Sword of Judgment

Ezekiel 21

“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, set your face against Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuary. Prophesy against the land of Israel and say to her: ‘This is what the Lord says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked” (Ezekiel 21:1-3).

            The Lord used various parallels and metaphors to help His people understand the nature of their ways and the judgments they were facing. In the previous chapter, the Lord instructed Ezekiel to prophesy against the south of Israel, for fire would destroy it. Now, the Lord had another Word for Ezekiel. This time, the Lord used a metaphoric and literal tool that would be used to destroy them—the sword. Unlike today, Israel was quite familiar with swords being used in battle with their enemies. Their sword would equate to today’s gun or rifle. The sword was a destructive tool used to fight or defend one’s self against their enemies. Unfortunately, unlike other battles in Israel’s past, the Lord would be the One swinging the sword, and Babylon would be used as His sharpest weapon of choice.

            No building or person would go unscathed, including the Lord’s temple. Judah had made the mistake in thinking that they were protected because of the Lord’s temple being in their midst. Sadly, they failed to realize that the Lord wanted to live in their hearts and not just a building made of stone. The Lord gave this to say through the prophet Jeremiah:  Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!  If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless” (Jeremiah 7:4-8). The people did not want to transform their ways. Instead, they listened to the false prophets who gave them words of peace and prosperity instead of fire, famine, and the sword due to their lack of repentance. Therefore, the righteous and unrighteous would feel the effects of God’s wrath.

            Remember that Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, Abednego, and Ezekiel were righteous but were still taken captive. The righteous do not always escape being in the fire, but the Lord is there with them. This is something to remember as this nation and the world grows increasingly wicked. Some of God’s faithful may lose their lives in the judgments that will happen to this nation and abroad. Nevertheless, one can rest assured that all who are saved will not die a second death, but those who are lost will spend an eternity without Christ in hell. The Bible says: Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). We definitely want to be in the first resurrection should we die before Jesus returns. 


To Be print on AmazonTBA

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Ezekiel Series: Chapter 20 (Written Version)


Israel Expelled for Rebellion

Ezekiel 20

“In the seventh year, in the fifth month on the tenth day, some of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and they sat down in front of me” (Ezekiel 20:1).

            Once again, the elders who had been taken into exile with Ezekiel went to his house to get a Word from the Lord. If you recall in chapter 14, the elders had gone to the home of Ezekiel to get a Word from the Lord, but the Word that came was one of rebuke and disgust regarding their wicked ways. They had not honored the Lord in their dealings nor taught the people what was right in the eyes of God. They did not want to hear a Word of change and repentance but were only concerned with receiving a positive Word. They may have hoped that the Lord would relent on their seventy-year judgment and allow them to return to their homeland. However, this was not the Word they would receive, for the Lord had decided that He would deal with Judah just as He had with Israel. They would be expelled from the land just as He had told their ancestors during Moses’ day. The Bible says: Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you” (Leviticus 18:24-28). The Lord was true to His word because Israel and Judah had defiled the land and disregarded His warnings, just as Israel, Judah was going to be vomited out from the land.

“Then the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them,’ ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Have you come to inquire of me? As surely as I live, I will not let you inquire of me, declares the Sovereign Lord’” (Ezekiel 20:2-3).

            The Lord had a message for Israel’s elders that, once again, they were not going to like. It was not a warm fuzzy message of prosperity and fun. It was a message of rebuke for them even to think they could come to the Lord when they did not have the heart to truly listen to what He had to say. They only wanted a positive word but did not want to hear about their sins, confession, repentance, or the need to change. Therefore, they would have no choice but to be confronted with the truth.

“Will you judge them? Will you judge them, son of man?” (Ezekiel 20:4a).

            The Lord knew that Ezekiel would do whatever He told him to do, so when the Lord posed this question to Him, it was not as if He did not already know the answer. Yet, this question was more of a directive for Ezekiel to follow. In other words, the Lord was instructing Ezekiel once again to lay out charges against the elders of Israel. He was to tell them the allegations God had determined they were guilty of committing against Him. Ezekiel was not to be fearful nor afraid of what the people would say. He was to give the Word precisely as the Lord had given it. It did not matter about their age, class, former position, or educational background. The Word of the Lord had to be given without partiality, discrimination, or thoughts of self-preservation. Ezekiel had been charged with the task of judging the elders of Israel.

            Many people today only know of one verse…judge not. Yet, let’s take a look at the verse to see what it actually says in the Word. The Bible says: Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2). Jesus told the people they should not judge others while thinking they would not be held to the same standard. In other words, this verse was dealing with hypocrisy because when one reads beyond the first two verses, it elaborates further regarding Jesus’ statement. Jesus went on to say: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5). One must not condemn others when they are guilty of the same or similar sins. However, this does not mean that a believer cannot address sin. Only ensure that your own life is right with God first, and then, you can see to confront another’s indiscretion with all due humility.

            Now, some people make the mistake of thinking that leaders are never to rebuke anyone of higher ranking than themselves, but that is not biblical. Moses confronted Pharaoh (Exodus 5-12). Nathan rebuked David (2 Samuel 12). Jeremiah rebuked Shemaiah the Nehelamite (Jeremiah 29:24-32). John the Baptist rebuked King Herod (Luke 3:19). The Apostle Paul rebuked Peter (Galatians 2:11-21). Much more could be listed regarding this topic, but the Lord does not go by rank or status with whom He uses. He only requires willing vessels who are not afraid to speak His truth to kings, princes, or whomever He determines. People have to be careful about man’s traditions over God’s warnings.

“Then confront them with the detestable practices of their ancestors and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt. With uplifted hand I said to them, ‘I am the Lord your God.’ On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands” (Ezekiel 20:4b-6).

            Ezekiel had been told to confront the elders regarding their abominations against the Lord. The Lord intended to make the guilt of their sinful nation clear. In a vision, during the time of Isaiah the prophet, which was over a hundred years before Ezekiel came to the scene, the Lord had this to say: Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: ‘I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.’ Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him’” (Isaiah 1:2-4). The same warning and indictments the Lord had given to the Prophet Isaiah for Israel were the same for Judah. Israel failed to see, acknowledge, and repent of the sins she committed against God and suffered greatly because of it. Likewise, her sister nation, Judah, followed Israel’s wicked path with an even greater depravity.

“And I said to them, ‘Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’ ‘But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt’” (Ezekiel 20:7-8).

            The Lord was angry with Judah because she did not turn away from her idolatry but persisted in doing what was evil before the Lord. Even in Egypt, Israel had not remained faithful to the Lord. They had conformed to the Egyptians' idolatrous ways, which is why they were comfortable asking Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship. They had not committed to the Lord in their hearts but only with their lips. Similarly, Judah sacrificed to idols instead of God. They had male prostitutes at their shrines and murdered their children in the fires of Molech. They did not care for the widows nor take care of the orphans.

They perverted justice with bribes due to their greed. Similar to today’s corrupt leaders’ pay-to-play, where one can receive unfair favors if the price is right. The men intermarried with foreign women, allowing their hearts to be turned from the Lord, thus raising a generation that did not know the Lord. The elders, priests, and false prophets did not teach God’s law nor encourage the people to transform their ways. Yet, they dared stand before the Lord in the presence of His prophet as if they were guiltless. So, there was a price to pay for what they had done, which the Lord warned them about during Moses’ day. The Bible says: “The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. They will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, but you will be the tail. All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you” (Deuteronomy 28:43-48).


To Be Continued in Print: TBA

Ezekiel Series: Chapter 19 (Written Version)


A Lament Over Israel’s Princes

Ezekiel 19

“Take up a lament concerning the princes of Israel and say: ‘What a lioness was your mother among the lions! She lay down among them and reared her cubs. She brought up one of her cubs, and he became a strong lion. He learned to tear the prey and he became a man-eater. The nations heard about him, and he was trapped in their pit. They led him with hooks to the land of Egypt’” (Ezekiel 19:1-4).

            A lament was a type of prayer or song written or sung in response to a sorrowful experience, grief, judgment or death. David wrote a lament after the deaths of King Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:19-27). Jewish and Christian traditions credit Jeremiah with writing the laments found within the Book of Lamentations due to the sorrow he felt with the fall of Jerusalem and Judah. Laments were also common in the ancient Near East as a sendoff for a deceased person. Therefore, when the Lord told Ezekiel to take up a lament over the leaders of Israel, this was not a celebratory experience.

            The lioness is the nation of Judah, and her cubs are the nation’s various kings. After the death of King Josiah, one of his sons, Jehoahaz, succeeded him as king for a bried three months but was dethroned and carried off to Egypt by Pharaoh Neco (2 Kings 23:33-34). Jehoiakim was the next king and reigned for eleven years. However, he was also dethroned and killed during King Nebuchadnezzar’s first seige.

Continued in Print Version...TBA