It Is Finished Audio

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Ezekiel Series: Chapter 12 (Written Version)


Ezekiel 12

The Exile Symbolized

“The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people’” (Ezekiel 12:1-2).

            In the previous chapter, Ezekiel had been in a vision taken to the temple, where he saw all of the atrocities that the people were doing to dishonor the Lord, especially the leaders. Now, the Lord was giving Ezekiel a straight Word from His mouth regarding the rebellion of His people in exile. The exiles’ hearts had not returned to the Lord even though they were in captivity. They had not learned their lesson and had idolized the idea of returning to Judah despite the Lord telling them that they would serve out their entire sentence of seventy years of captivity. They had not accepted the prophecy that Judah would be destroyed and there would be no return to life as normal until after the appropriate time had passed. The Bible says: “Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: ‘Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years’ ” (Jeremiah 25:8-11). It was time for the exiles to accept God's judgment over Judah. Even then, and after they had fulfilled their designated time, God was not having them return to their norm of rebellion, idolatry, debauchery, and participating in all things against Him. They had to serve out their judgment to learn their lesson and appreciate the Lord for His goodness, but not a minute or day ahead of schedule would be cut short of their judgment. The Bible says: “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever” (Jeremiah 25:12).

            The leaders and people had sinned against the Lord. They had rebelled against His authority and rejected His true prophets’ messages of warning. Even though the exiles heard the Word Ezekiel brought them from the Lord, their ears were not intuned with God’s voice because they did not want to receive the rebuke and correction, which would result in humility and acknowledgment of their sins. The Prophet Isaiah had prophesied years ago about such people. The Bible says: “He said, “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10). The exiles could see their situation of being taken from their land, and still, they failed to realize that it was a punishment from God due to their rebellion. Their hearts and minds had become so reprobate that even during God’s judgments, they refused to acknowledge Him as being a Rewarder for both good and evil. The Prophet Samuel had this to say about rebellion towards God: “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king” (1 Samuel 15:23). This was the Word given to King Saul after he had defied the Lord.

Pack Up

“Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious people. During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile. While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it. Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the Israelites” (Ezekiel 12:3-6).

            The Lord does everything He can to restore the lost back to Himself. Therefore, the Lord instructed Ezekiel to do an enactment of Judah’s present and future. Babylon had already taken the exiles that Ezekiel was around into captivity, but the day was near for a second siege to begin of Judah. Therefore, Ezekiel was told to prepare baggage to symbolize Judah’s inhabitants leaving the city and going into exile. He was then to carry the baggage through a hole in a wall. However, the baggage going through the hole signified King Zedekiah’s unsuccessful attempt to escape from Babylon through Jerusalem’s walls. Nevertheless, there would be no escape for Him, as the Word of the Lord that came through the Prophet Jeremiah would be fulfilled. The Bible says: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon” (Jeremiah 34:2-3). The Lord had given a Word of warning through Jeremiah that Zedekiah’s escape attempt would be unsuccessful. Nevertheless, if he would submit to the king of Babylon, the Lord would allow him to stay in the land. Unfortunately, Zedekiah’s pride got in the way, and the Word of the Lord regarding his demise was fulfilled. His sons were killed before him, and then his sight was taken as Nebuchadnezzar had his eyes gouged out and imprisoned him until his death (Jeremiah 52). In 586 B.C. the Word of the Lord came to pass.

            Words from the Lord seemed unsuccessful with the people, so He had Ezekiel do a motion picture in front of their eyes at dawn and dusk. They would see themselves going into captivity and their desperate desire to escape through Jerusalem’s city walls. Ezekiel had to cover his face, symbolizing the people trying to escape where no one would see them, which was also a sign of shame. Isn’t it amazing how Satan will have you parade your sin in front of others to see, but when judgment comes, he will have you fleeing like roaches in disgrace and shame?

“So I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched” (Ezekiel 12:7).

            Ezekiel obediently did as the Lord commanded. Once again, the attempted escape at night was King Zedekiah’s attempt to flee from the city but was blinded by utter darkness. Unfortunately, Zedekiah had been blind long before King Nebuchadnezzar made it official because he had refused to obey the Word from the Lord that came through the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord’s servant.

*It’s important to remember that Israel and Judah were not foreign to the Lord’s warnings. Isaiah had warned Israel concerning her wicked ways long before Judah’s demise, but the people ignored the true prophets of God and continued in sin.

The Question

In the morning the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, did not the Israelites, that rebellious people, ask you, ‘What are you doing?’ ” (Ezekiel 12:8-9).

            Nothing, including the most minor or insignificant details, escapes the Lord’s notice. The Lord had seen everything that pertained to His people, so when He posed the question of the people’s inquiry to Ezekiel, He was not asking a question He did not already have the answer to. The Lord had seen His people’s even deeds, their conversations, their secret plans, and took notice of their disregard for Him and His decrees and messengers. Therefore, His label for them was often preceded by or detailed a description of their characteristics, such as rebellious or stiffnecked. Even so, the Lord posed a question to Ezekiel, after he completed the enactment as directed to see if the people actually paid attention to what Ezekiel was doing and the message his actions relayed. Unfortunately, despite seeing and hearing what the Lord had to say through the prophet, the exiles were still in a state of rebellion.


Ezekiel Video Series: Chapter 12 pt 2

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Ezekiel Video Series: Chapter11 pt 2

Ezekiel Series: Chapter 11 (Written Version)


Ezekiel 11

Certain Judgment on Jerusalem

Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the Lord that faces east. There at the entrance of the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say, ‘Haven’t our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the meat in it.’ Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man” (Ezekiel 11:1-4).

            Once again, Ezekiel describes what he sees in a vision as the Lord’s Spirit took him to the temple’s eastern gate. He saw twenty-five men standing there, including Jaazaniah, whose name means whom the Lord hears, and Pelatiah, whose name means Yahweh delivers. These two men mentioned by name were princes and among Judah’s other leaders, whom the Lord accused of giving wicked advice to the people during the Babylonian siege. Instead of urging the people to return to the Lord, they delivered words of pride that nothing would happen to them due to their recent real estate developments and false beliefs that the Lord would not destroy the very foundation on which they stood. They somehow figured that the Lord needed them to care for His city and not the other way around. Therefore, the Lord had Ezekiel to prophesy against them. So, what does prophecy include? The Bible says: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

When we read about Ezekiel’s role as a prophet and priest, we see that he had to speak the words the Lord had given him regardless of who came up against him. Here are a few things the prophets and priests were responsible for doing:

1.     Teaching

The prophet was responsible for relaying the words of the Lord to the people, and the priest spoke on behalf of the people to the Lord. The priest was also to instruct the people in the ways of the Lord. The Bible says: “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth” (Malachi 2:7).

2.     Rebuking

The prophet and priest were responsible for rebuking the people when they turned away from the Lord. An example of this was when Samuel, who was the Lord’s prophet and priest, rebuked King Saul when he defied the Lord. The Bible says: ’You have done a foolish thing,’ Samuel said. ‘You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time’ ”  (1 Samuel 13:13).

3.     Correcting

When a person is corrected regarding something they have said, done, or thought, the one bringing about the correction or reproof is delivering a teaching moment. This teaching moment is to make the guilty aware of their error and/or sin and to help them realign themselves with the will of the Father. Moses, a prophet of the Lord, corrected the Children of Israel when he melted down their golden calf and made them drink it because of their sin. The Bible says: And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it” (Exodus 32:20). The leaders should have prevented the people from entertaining idolatry. Yet, even Aaron did not rebuke the Israelites and encourage them to maintain the honor of the Lord. Therefore, Moses brought correction by liquifying their powerless god and making them drink it.

Let’s take a look at Eli, the high priest. God cursed him and his sons because they failed to reverence the things of God and handled their roles as priests recklessly. Therefore, a man of God, also a term given God used for His prophets, gave Eli the Lord's Word regarding he and his sons' behavior. The Bible says: “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age…” (1 Samuel 2:30-31). The Bible does not name the man or prophet that was sent to Eli, but we know that the Lord gave the same message to the young boy Samuel, which meant that what the Lord had declared was firmly established. At this point, even if Eli and his sons had changed, which they didn’t, their correction and/or punishment was set in stone.

4.     Training

Priests had many duties, such as taking care of the sacrifices and offerings of the people and being their spiritual and moral compass. They served as a mediator between God and the people in the temple, but one of their most important duties was teaching God’s laws and ordinances. The Bible says: Then the Lord said to Aaron, ‘You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses’ ” (Leviticus 10:8-11). The Lord had commanded Aaron and his sons to live a life consecrated to the Lord and to teach the Israelites His laws and decrees.

The Bible also mentions a company of prophets, otherwise understood as a school of prophets, several times, with one being led by the Prophet Samuel. The Bible says: “ Word came to Saul: ‘David is in Naioth at Ramah’; so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied” (1 Samuel 19:19-20).


“Then the Spirit of the Lord came on me, and he told me to say: ‘This is what the Lord says: That is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. You have killed many people in this city and filled its streets with the dead’ ” (Ezekiel 11:5-6).

            The Spirit of God came upon Ezekiel to empower him to speak the Word given to him. It is never easy to speak words of correction, rebuke, or warnings that come from the Lord, especially to people who are defiant against Him. Nevertheless, a Word from the Lord is not based on our feelings but has to be spoken with due humility and boldness to deter the sinner from sin. The Bible says: Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). Ezekiel could not afford not to tell the people the error of their ways because the false prophets and teachers had already done that successfully, which caused the people to be in a spiritual deficit with God, thus resulting in a physical judgment.

            The leaders of Israel and Judah mistakenly thought the Lord would not see the wicked things they did behind the scenes. They encouraged the people to rebel against God by telling them to fight against Babylon when the Lord had told Jeremiah to say to them to submit to Babylon. The Bible says: Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die. But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 27:9-11). Therefore, due to Judah’s desire for patriotism over the Lord’s command, the leaders caused many deaths amongst the people, for they were no match against the Lord’s instrument of judgment, otherwise known as Babylon. The leaders caused the people to believe that they were God’s special remnant because they had not been taken into captivity, unlike the ones already in exile. Nevertheless, this was foolish thinking because the ones who were already in captivity were actually better off than what was coming to those who remained in Judah and continued in their defiance against the Lord.

“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: The bodies you have thrown there are the meat and this city is the pot, but I will drive you out of it. You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will drive you out of the city and deliver you into the hands of foreigners and inflict punishment on you. You will fall by the sword, and I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 11:7-10).

            The false teachers were about to see that their lies would catch up with them and there would be nowhere for the people to hide from God. They would be responsible for the many bodies who would die as a result of listening to their fallacies as well as those who entertained their lies. Those within the city and those who managed to flee would be hunted down and killed. They would then know that the Lord was God, for this would be a judgment they would not forget.

“This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you” (Ezekiel 11:11-12).

            Judah thought they were secure because they lived near the temple and were God’s chosen people. Yet, they were to find out that the Lord did not place His holy name on them for them to act as if He did not exist. They were to be ambassadors for Him and model their lives in accordance with the decrees and ordinances He had established through His prophets and priests. They were to judge fairly, worship only God, not kill their children, protect the orphan and widow, honor the 7th year sabbatical land rest, be sexually undefiled, not intermarry with foreign nations, prevent the shedding of innocent blood, honor the Lord’s holy days, provide for the priests and Levites, and much more. Yet, they failed in all areas, thus brought about the Lord’s wrath upon themselves. The Bible says: “At any time I might announce that a nation or kingdom will be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed. But if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I will relent of the disaster I had planned to bring” (Jeremiah 18:8).

“Now as I was prophesying, Pelatiah son of Benaiah died. Then I fell facedown and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Alas, Sovereign Lord! Will you completely destroy the remnant of Israel?’ ” (Ezekiel 11:13).

            So that Judah could see that the Lord was not playing with them, the Lord struck down Pelatiah, one of their leaders. Ezekiel was so disturbed by this that he immediately fell on his face before the Lord, begging for mercy, for He feared the Lord’s wrath would strike all of Judah. Yet, Ezekiel must have briefly forgotten about the Man in linen who sealed God’s chosen and would not be touched by the Lord’s wrath.

 Lesson to be continued in print version...will be available on Amazon and other outlets TBA.