November 16, 2019
WHEN A PEOPLE ACCUSE THE LORD OF WRONG When a people lose their fear of the Lord and begin to lift their own judgments above His, that nation will not long survive. The prophet Ezekiel warned the people of Judah to repent. Yet they responded by accusing God of injustice rather than repenting themselves. Today,
November 12, 2019
DO YOU LOVE THE LORD MORE THAN THESE? The Lord gave the prophet Ezekiel, whom He often referred to as the “Son of man,” a prophecy concerning the coming death of his wife. He further instructed him not to mourn for his wife because he was to be a sign to those who would see
November 10, 2019
WILL THE LORD FIND SOMEONE TO STAND IN THE GAP? The Lord told the prophet Ezekiel that He had looked for someone to “stand in the gap” of the wall surrounding Israel, but found no one. The physical walls surrounding Jerusalem were still standing at this time, but the spiritual walls were already breached. It
November 9, 2019
WHEN GOD GIVES A PEOPLE OVER TO WORTHLESS LAWS Many have struggled with the meaning of this verse. Some have wondered whether God was saying that He had given some bad laws to His people. Yet, the Bible says that God’s law is “perfect” (Psalms 19:7). Others have suggested that God was referring to the
November 5, 2019
IDOLATRY OF THE HEART HINDERS PRAYER There is a type of idol that is unseen, but is just as surely built and worshiped in the human heart. This idol of the heart comes between us and God. Those elevated to leadership must recognize their particular vulnerability to this type of idolatry. These idols are not
November 2, 2019
WHO ARE THE WATCHMEN FOR OUR TIME? God called Ezekiel to be a prophet and a “watchman” for Israel. A “watchman” was to keep watch over the camp during the night to sound a warning should danger appear. Ezekiel’s “watchman” duties however, were to keep watch to warn his people of sin and judgment, and
November 21, 2018
God revealed His purpose for describing a future temple to Ezekiel (referred to here as “Son of man”). Ezekiel’s temple has never been built. Solomon built the first, which was destroyed by the Babylonians, as Ezekiel’s prophecy predicted. Zerubbabel built the second, which was super-sized by Herod the Great, but destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Ezekiel’s temple is sometimes called the “Third Temple,” or the “Millennial Temple.” Depending on one’s eschatology, some would see it as describing a spiritual temple fulfilled by the church. Others would see a literal fulfillment in the last days or during the Millennial kingdom. Regardless, Ezekiel was to describe it, so that the people of Israel would be “ashamed of all their sins.”
Shame is an appropriate response to sin. Yet, there is a hardening of the heart which reduces shame to a dull tickling and then a complete denial. Ezekiel was to describe God’s future temple and returning glory, so that their hearts would feel shame, turning to God in repentance for forgiveness and salvation.
Christ is God’s provision for our sin and shame. He came to take the sin and shame of those would believe in Him.
November 14, 2018
PREACHING FOR GOD’S APPROVAL ALONE
Ezekiel, like many of God’s prophets, was not respected by his contemporaries. He was tasked with making known God’s future plans for men and nations that would soon come to pass. Yet, no generation wants its comfort disturbed. They would rather risk the warnings of an approaching hurricane than leave their beach vacation early. Today, Ezekiel is respected. His prophecies have been borne out. But people have not changed. God’s Word is still warning us to get ready, while much of humanity continues in its deafness to His voice. This does not excuse us from being like Ezekiel and warning them anyway. We do this for God’s approval, not theirs.
November 13, 2018
A FUNERAL DIRGE FOR A FALLEN KING
The Lord gave the prophet Ezekiel the words for a dirge to be sung for the king of Tyre. Yet, the words to the funeral song seem to at times describe the state of Satan before he was cast down. The lyrics might be seen as portraying Satan assigning divine attributes and honors to himself through his influence over the earthly king of Tyre. In some ways, this description of the king of Tyre foreshadows the beast spoken of in Daniel and Revelation.
So, who is this lament for? As the Scripture says, it is for the king of Tyre. Yet, it pulls back the curtain on the spiritual world, revealing both the influences and dark forces at work behind the scenes and the sovereign power of God over such realms.
November 10, 2018
UNTIL THE ONE APPEARS
The Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy destruction over the kingdom of Judah because of their sin. This prophecy in the Hebrew repeats the word “avah” three times (עַוָּה עַוָּה עַוָּה), which adds to both the finality and the certainty of it. “Avah! Avah! Avah!” (“Destruction! Destruction! Destruction!”) says the Lord. Some suggest that the three-time repetition points to the three conquests of Jerusalem, in which the last Davidic kings, Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah, were overthrown.
Yet, more significant than the certainty of Judah’s destruction, is the prophecy concerning its future restoration by “the one” who is to appear. This “one” is identified by four features. (1) He will restore David’s kingdom. (2) By implication this means that he is from the line of David. (3) He has the “right to judge.” And (4) the Lord Himself will “hand it over to him.”
Who is this “one?” Was it Zerubbabel? No, although Zerubbabel was in the line of David and led the returning exiles to rebuild the Temple, he was never king. Was it one of the Herods? No, although the Herods carried the title of king, they were just political puppets under Rome and certainly not from the line of David.
So, who is this “one?” When John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus this question: “Are you the one?” (Matt. 11:3). Jesus told them to go back to John and tell him what they had seen and heard, that the “the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor” (Matt. 11:5). Jesus is “the One!”
Someday Christ will return to completely fulfill Ezekiel’s prophecy. And so we wait “until the One appears.”