Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 33

Ezekiel 33


-The word comes again to Ezekiel to speak to the sons of his people to speak of the importance of warning and accountability. Those who heed the warning are the wise ones, and those who refuse to listen are without excuse. However, there is a duty for the watchman. If he does his job he will deliver his life, but if he is negligent or fearful he will be taken away in his iniquity and the blood of his people will be his responsibility (Ezekiel 33:1-6). The LORD tells Ezekiel that he has been appointed a watchman for the house of Israel to reveal the message of Him to speak the truth that will hold the people accountable for their actions (Ezekiel 33:7-10). As the LORD lives He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but instead that they turn from their evil way and turn in repentance to the Father for forgiveness and restoration. The phrase, “Turn back, turn back,” is reiterated for emphasis begging the question, “Why then will you die, O house of Israel (Ezekiel 33:11)?” Ezekiel is commanded by God to relate to Israel that their sins can be eliminated, but transgression is certainly going to keep them from the LORD if they continue in it. If there is a turning to God in justice and righteousness, that person shall surely live. God’s way is right, the people’s own way is totally wrong and will lead to death. So, when a man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, then he will die in it. When a man turns from his wickedness back to God, he will live. God will be the judge and jury for each according to their ways (Ezekiel 33:12-20). In other words, He always has the final say on matters of redemption. He looks at the heart and knows the inner man. *Application* It is not what a man thinks or says that determine his direction. It is what he does that truly reveals what he believes. You can’t fake out God. He knows your end from the beginning, and He demands steadfast love and devotion to Him. This particular word was given in a dispensation before the new covenant and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the One who can seal us and secure us for Heaven. Look to Him and Christ’s justification at the cross for eternal salvation and no one else. Without Him you are toast.

-The second part of this chapter reveals the word of the LORD to Ezekiel in the twelfth year of exile (585 B.C.) on the fifth day of the tenth month. It is at this time that the refugees came from Jerusalem to deliver the news that the city had been taken by the Babylonians. Even before the refugees came, the Hand of the LORD had been upon Ezekiel in the evening. Now at the time that they came his mouth was opened and he spoke from God telling them basically that they are ridiculous if they think they deserve any portion of the desolated land after the abominations they had continually committed against their God. God reveals that the pride of her (Israel’s) power will cease. Then they will KNOW that He is the LORD when He makes a desolation and a waste of the land with no one passing through. The people are charged with hearing the word of the LORD but not doing it. Instead, they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouths and their hearts go after their own gain. The message is summed up in this analogy, “Behold, you (Ezekiel) are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. So when it comes to pass—as surely it will—then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst (Ezekiel 33:21-33).

-*Application* Be effectual doers of the Word, not just forgetful hearers (James 1:22-25).


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 33:5, 11

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 32

Ezekiel 32


-In the twelfth year of captivity, in the twelfth month, and on the first day of the month the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel further saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him, ‘You compared yourself to a young lion of the nations, yet you are like the monster in the seas; and you burst forth in your rivers and muddied the waters with your feet and fouled their rivers (Ezekiel 32:1-2).’” God goes further in telling His prophet to proclaim that He will spread His net over the Pharaoh with a company of many peoples, and they will lift him up in the LORD’s net (Ezekiel 32:3). God will leave his people on the land, and cast them upon the open field. The birds will feast on their carcasses. The land will drink their blood which has been spilt out, and the ravines will be full of the Egyptians. They will be extinguished as the heavens are covered and the stars are darkened in their land (Ezekiel 32:4-8). The nations will be troubled around them when the LORD brings His destruction and dispersion upon them. Many will be appalled at them and the nation’s kings will be “horribly afraid” when God’s sword of wrath is brandished before them. Trembling and the saying “every man for his life” will be the norm on the day of Egypt’s fall (Ezekiel 32:9-11). All this will be done that they will KNOW that the LORD is God. All the daughters of the nations will chant lamentation over Egypt and her hordes (supporters, Ezekiel 32:12-15).

-Now on the fifteenth of the month (apparently two weeks later), the word of God came again telling Ezekiel more distressing news for the nation of Egypt and her allies. Their beauty was being destroyed and they would make their bed with the uncircumcised. They would fall by the sword. Assyria too would fall in the same manner with Elam, Meshech, Tubal, Edom, the chiefs of the north (probably princes of the Phoenician city-states), the Sidonians along with all their hordes (Ezekiel 32:16-32). Babylon was the destroyer and these nations were the destroyed.

-*Application* God works in the course of human events to accomplish His purposes. At the time He was preserving His people in Babylon through their might and vitality. He was raising up men like Daniel and women like Esther to refine His own people and reach out to the Babylonians with the truth, yet the Babylonians would never really accept Him fully. Do we see the same things happening in our lives? Sometimes our captivity moments are where God is developing and shaping us. Always trust that He is good and working things for the believers’ benefit as we conform to His image (Romans 8:28-29).


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 32:32

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 31

Ezekiel 31


-On the first day of the third month in the eleventh year of Babylonian captivity for Ezekiel (586 B.C.), he received another prophetic word from the LORD pertaining to Pharaoh of Egypt and his multitude of supporting hordes to devalue their lofty position of arrogance and defiance. The LORD uses Assyria in His analogy for what was to come in Egypt. Assyria too was high and lifted up in her beauty with the trees of Lebanon and the plentiful supply of water producing abundance and prosperity to the point that the poetry even states “all the trees of Eden, which were in the garden of God, were jealous of it (Ezekiel 31:1-9).” But then, God states, “Because it is high in stature and has set its top among the clouds, and its heart is haughty in its loftiness, therefore I will give it into the hand of a despot of the nations (see Daniel 2:37-38, this is Nebuchadnezar); he will thoroughly deal with it. According to its wickedness I have driven it away. Alien tyrants of the nations have cut it down and left it; on the mountains and in all the valleys its branches have fallen and its boughs have been broken in all the ravines of the land. And all the peoples of the earth have gone down from its shade and left it. On its ruin all the birds of the heavens will dwell, and all the beasts of the field will be on its fallen branches so that all the trees by the waters may not be exalted in their stature, nor set their top among the clouds, nor their well-watered mighty ones stand erect in their height. For they have all been given over to death, to the earth beneath, among the sons of men, with those who go down to the pit (Ezekiel 31:10-14)." The LORD further declares that He was the One who caused lamentations closing the deep over this once prestigious land. It is He that held back her rivers and water sources making Lebanon mourn over it and causing the wilting away. The earth quaked at the sound of its fall, which would landed them in Sheol, or the pit (Ezekiel 31:15-17). The last verse of the passage brings the reader back to the nation being addressed, which is Egypt and their allies. God tells them not to get conceited in their own glory and greatness. He has all power and will bring them down to Sheol, just like He did with Assyria and the trees of Eden that were cursed from sin along with the uncircumcised and those slain by the sword (Ezekiel 31:18).

-*Application* We see sports teams and nations fall under this type of delusion all the time through the course of history don’t we? When conceit and swagger become your M/O you’d better watch out. Compare this to humble-confident reliance and faith in the Almighty, which raises people, nations, and even sports teams up to do the impossible. All credit, glory, and honor goes to God. The battle is His under His dominion (1 Samuel 17:47).


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 31:10-11

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 30

Ezekiel 30


-The lament over Egypt is taken up by the prophet in this explicative chapter of Scripture. The LORD says, “Wail, 'Alas for the day!' for the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. A sword will come upon Egypt, and anguish will be in Ethiopia; when the slain fall in Egypt, they take away her wealth, and her foundations are torn down (Ezekiel 30:2-4).” Her allies will fall with by the sword and be broken too (Ezekiel 30:5, 8). “The pride of her power will come down” with violence being reigned upon them making the place desolate, incapacitated, and devastated (Ezekiel 30:6-7). This, like all the other occurrences prophesied in Ezekiel, will make KNOWN that the LORD is God when He sets a fire in Egypt (Ezekiel 30:8). It is by the hand of none other than Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and those with him who exact the vengeance of the LORD in fulfillment of His decrees (Ezekiel 30:10-12). God will also destroy the wretched idols, images, and princes of Egypt in His fury putting fear, fire, desolation, judgments, wrath, anguish, breaches, distresses daily, violence, captivity, darkness, clouds, and weakness upon them and their hosts. “Thus I (the LORD) will execute judgments on Egypt, and they will KNOW that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 30:13-19).”

-In the eleventh year of Ezekiel’s captivity in the first month on the seventh day, the word of the LORD came to the prophet again telling him that the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt has been broken and “it is not bound up for healing or wrapped in a bandage.” In other words, the strength of this once mighty position of power has been sapped and the enemy will now come in to destroy negating any opposition. God is against Pharaoh and will break him to the point of his people scattering among the nations in a dispersion. The king of Babylon will be strong at this time that “they will KNOW that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 30:20-26).”

-*Application* This message came to the prophet while Jerusalem was under siege from the Babylonian forces. Their reliance upon a defeated ally in the spiritual and soon physical realm was unwise and furthered their demise. Who do we rely on when desperate times come? Look to God to provide and supply. He is the sole Source of our sufficiency. Count only on Him, not people, power, riches, or your government.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 30:25

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 29

Ezekiel 29


-The front end of this chapter predates the material in chapter 28 by a little bit as Ezekiel gets a word from the LORD to speak over the coming doom and destruction of Egypt and its Pharaoh, which would occur during the time of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Egypt had trusted in her position of power, wealth, and natural resources. Egypt thought that the Nile was her’s and not God’s, made by her own power (Ezekiel 29:3, 9). Therefore, the LORD will lay them waste as a kingdom putting hooks in their jaws (cultural term for conquest), bringing them out of their country, abandoning them to the desert wilderness, and making them fall in the open field with a violent scattering (Ezekiel 29:4-5). This will be done for the purpose of God becoming KNOWN as LORD by the inhabitants of Egypt (Ezekiel 29:6, 9). God was upset with them for not keeping their commitments to His people in Israel and running away in expediency when times got tough from their neighbor to the north (Ezekiel 29:6-7). Therefore, the LORD will cause the sword of the enemy come upon them leaving them weak, desolated, and wasted. For 40 years they would languish among the nations in a dispersion, and then they were prophesied over that they would never again rise to prominence among the nations. They would be a lowly kingdom, and never again would they be the confidence of Israel so that all would KNOW that the LORD is God (Ezekiel 29:8-16).

-Further, and a very distant time into the future of some 17 years, God speaks again concerning Egypt through Ezekiel in Babylon. This word had to do with the Father’s blessing upon Nebuchadnezzar to gain wealth and wages for his army in Egypt. Whereas he not become rich by his conquest of Tyre by this time, he would profit greatly from his invasion and conquest of Egypt. Babylon would “carry off wealth, capture her spoil, and seize her plunder.” This army had acted for God in their domination and fulfilled His prophetic word (Ezekiel 29:17-20).

-The final sentence gives us important prophecy, “On that day I will make a Horn sprout for the house of Israel, and I will open your mouth (literally- nathan pithchown peh “give you an opening of the mouth,” i.e. astonishment) in their midst. Then they will KNOW (emphasis mine) that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 29:21).” This is more than likely a Messianic note of future hope for Israel and a call to receive His redemption for the people of Egypt.

-*Application* Pride is again a real problem in our coming to the LORD. We must admit that He is the ruler of all, He is the one who gives us our abilities and resources, and He is the one who ordains the opportunities for greatness. Instead of claiming our own prominence like the Egyptians had done, we need to acknowledge where the true credit belongs in our accomplishments, which is God’s grace and power. All glory goes to Him. There is also a hint of steadfastness in this passage to which we should pay attention. Egypt had run out on their commitments when things went south. We need to stick to our allies through thick and thin being faithful all the way.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 29:16

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 28

Ezekiel 28


-Ezekiel takes his message from the city of Tyre to the king of Tyre in his next word from the LORD (Ezekiel 28:2, 12). This king was the cause of the fall because he lifted his heart up to be like God, which introduces us to the concept of original sin and the activities of Satan in the beginning of creation. There is a comparison and running theme of this pride issue intertwined throughout the passage between the king of Tyre and his influencer, Satan. We see the beauty, perfection, and wisdom that is bequeathed upon each, which lead to their haughty spirit and the deception that they were like God as a god themselves (Ezekiel 28:2-6, 9, 12, 15, 17-18). This lie lead to their destruction since none is like the LORD God. One more interesting note is the reference to the wisdom of Daniel, who was a contemporary of Ezekiel in Babylon and had apparently already received incredible accolades in the foreign land (Ezekiel 28:3).

-The phrases “You were in Eden, the garden of God,” “You were the anointed cherub who covers,” and “You were on the holy mountain of God” could only refer to the spiritual person of Satan, which takes the message from the mere physical reality of this king from Tyre to the power behind him (Ezekiel 28:13-14). From this text we can learn some important characteristics of the one who is called Satan, Lucifer, the enemy, the accuser, the adversary, the star of the morning, the son of dawn, the devil, the dragon, the serpent, or Beelzebub in Scripture. He was created (Ezekiel 28:13, 15), he was blameless in his ways at the creation (Ezekiel 28:15), he had a free will to choose right or wrong (Ezekiel 28:15-16), violence is his internal filling (Ezekiel 28:16), he is the father of sin and unrighteousness (Ezekiel 28:15-16), he was cast from the mountain of God as profane to the ground before human kings to be seen (Ezekiel 28:16-17), his beauty made his heart be lifted up in conceit (Ezekiel 28:17), and his wisdom corrupted him by reason of his splendor (Ezekiel 28:17). So, within the context of this judgment on the king of Tyre, deeper spiritual implications are taught.

-God’s word is declared for recompense upon this evil and prideful king. Strangers were prophesied to come upon the nation of Tyre, the most ruthless of the nations who will draw swords and cut them down from their beauty defiling their splendor (Ezekiel 28:7). They will be brought down to the pit dying the death of those who are slain in the heart of the seas and the uncircumcised (Ezekiel 28:8, 10). Fire will consume them because of the multitude of their iniquities and the unrighteousness of their trade which profaned sanctuaries (Ezekiel 28:18). Those that know them from previous ventures will be appalled and terrified as Tyre ceases to be forever (Ezekiel 28:19).

-Then, a new word is given for Sidon, which was just north of Tyre along the Mediterranean coast. God spoke against this city too with a coming pestilence and violence for being a nuisance with contempt to Israel (Ezekiel 28:20-24). This is done again for the purpose that “they will KNOW that I am the LORD God (Ezekiel 28:22-24).” Sidon’s economy was so closely tied to Tyre that when they fell to Nebuchadnezzar, Sidon was doomed as well.

-In the last two verses of the chapter we get the hope of regathering for Israel once again prophesied. It will be at this time that the LORD’s holiness will be manifested in the sight of the nations, the Israelites will again live in their land, they will live securely planting vineyards and building houses, and they will KNOW that the LORD is God as they see the Sovereign execute judgments upon all who disdain them round about (Ezekiel 28:25-26).

-*Application* We must destroy pride at its source. Recognize the enemy within and kill him with the blood of Christ shed at Calvary accepted by us through faith. Then walk humbly with your King (Micah 6:8).


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 28:17

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 27

Ezekiel 27


-The lament over Tyre, the merchant of the peoples to many coastlands who dwells at the entrance to the sea, is resumed in this continued prophetic word by Ezekiel from the LORD. Her perfect beauty became her downfall because of pride (Ezekiel 27:3; 28:2). Many nations, along with their items, are listed, including Judah, who have done exceeding trade and mercantile with this savvy and skilled enterprising culture bringing profit, glory, and advancement in the region (Ezekiel 27:4-25). This would all change when Nebuchadnezzar’s army would come to dismantle. “The east wind has broken you,” and they “will fall into heart of the seas.” “The pasture lands will shake” and the sailors and all the pilots of the sea “will come down from their ships.” A bitter cry will go forth from Trye’s previous partners with men casting dust on their heads and wallowing in ashes. They will make themselves bald with grief and gird themselves with sackcloth with anguish and soulful mourning. They will take up a lamentation over Tyre, who will be silent in the seas, broken and fallen. “All the inhabitants of the coastlands are appalled at you (Tyre), and their kings are horribly afraid; they are troubled in countenance. The merchants among the peoples his at you; you have become terrified and you will cease to be forever (Ezekiel 27:26-36).”

-*Application* A nation that exalts itself without giving credit to the Sovereign LORD will soon enough perish. This is a similar fate expressed for Babylon in the book of Revelation (Revelation 18). The earth’s desire is for material success and prosperity to indulge the flesh. The Kingdom of God operates on a different standard than that.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 27:34

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 26

Ezekiel 26


-In the eleventh year, which would have been 586 B.C. the same year that Jerusalem fell to Babylon, on the first of the month the word of the LORD came again upon Ezekiel concerning the fall of Tyre. Tyre was the capital of the Phoenician people’s empire just north of Israel along the Mediterranean Sea coast. Part of this city was on the mainland and part of it was on a beautiful island off of the coast a little ways. As the text states, Tyre audaciously thought that her nation would benefit from the collapse of Judah, who held the inland trade routes to Egypt (Ezekiel 26:2). Tyre was the dominator of the water trade routes with Egypt and now saw a potential for more money as the primary trading proprietor of this region once Judah was in chaos as a defeated foe with the European and Western Asian land trade routes interrupted from the eastern power of Babylon.

-God revealed, however, that Nebuchadnezzar was coming to take control of Tyre as well and that she would be utterly destroyed forever more. Tyre too would KNOW that Jehovah was LORD as He would be against them in the form of many nation’s invasions and crippling blows, which would eventually leave her desolate forever (Ezekiel 26:6, 19). She would not gloat over Judah’s misfortune, but be a spoil for the nations and devastated by the violence of the sword with a wounded groan of lamentation. God Almighty was bringing terrors on Tyre to the point that she would be no more and never found again (Ezekiel 26:3-21). Tyre proved to be a difficult capture for the Babylonian army over the period of 15 years from the time that Ezekiel gave this prophesy in Babylon. Because of her trade and fresh supplies from the sea routes, siege was a long and drawn out endeavor. However, by 571 B.C. Tyre was captured and overthrown in part. The completion of the prophesy was not realized until 332 B.C. when Alexander the Great marched in and threw the rubble from the mainland of Tyre into the sea until it made a bridge to the island portion. Once the land bridge was created, his armies marched across and completely destroyed the island, and today this original island is still a pile of rubble, a testimony to God’s enduring judgment on a city that gloated over Judah’s demise (Ezekiel 26:12, 14).

-*Application* The old saying is true, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Tyre was prosperous and affluent with what was considered an impenetrable fortress, but God always has the last say in these matters. Stay humble before Him if you really want to thrive long term.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 26:2

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 25

Ezekiel 25


-Now that the word had been given for the judgment of Judah and in particular Jerusalem, the message then turns to God’s prophecies against Gentile nations that surrounded the Holy Land. This section extends from chapters 25 through 32 and includes seven nations. The Ammonites were judged because of their joy over the desecration of the Temple. They would be possessed by the sons of the east, and the land of Rabbah in Ammon east of the Jordan River would become a desolation and pasture for camels and flocks (I saw wild camels running around those parts when I was in Israel a short while back, a very strange sight). God stretched out His hand against them to give them as spoil to the barbaric nations and cut them off to the point of perishing so that they would KNOW that He is the LORD (Ezekiel 25:1-7).

-The Moabites, who were just south of Ammon, would be judged because of their scorn for Judah and their pleasure in Judah’s wickedness. The sons of the east would take possession of this group as well. They would be remembered no more among the nations as their flank was deprived and their glory faded away. God executed His judgment on them again for the purpose that they would KNOW that He is forever the LORD (Ezekiel 25:8-11).

-The Edomites were blood brothers of the Jews and shared its northern border with Israel through the line of Esau. They were continuously in conflict with their distant kinsmen and grew in disdain for God’s chosen people. Because of this hatred and an avenging spirit that they took out upon the Jews, the LORD would stretch out His Hand against them to cut off man and beast from their land. He would lay it waste from Teman even to Dedan (east of the Dead Sea area) by means of the sword by the hand of God’s people Israel. “When Ezekiel delivered this prophecy, he and many other Jews were living as captives in Babylon. They didn't have control of their own country, let alone anyone else's. But, about 400 years later, Jews regained independence for Jerusalem and the surrounding area during the ‘Hasmonaean Era or Period.’ During this time, the Jewish priest-king John Hyrcanus I defeated the Edomites (see” God proclaims that this will make them KNOW His vengeance for hating His people instead of loving and helping them (Ezekiel 25:12-14).

-The Philistines were judged for acting in revenge against Judah “with scorn of soul to destroy with everlasting enmity.” God vowed to cut them off along with the Cherethites, who were originated in Crete and intermarried with the Philistines, and all the rest of the remnant along the seacoast of the Mediterranean west of Judah. They, like the Edomites, let hate get the best of them. They too, the prophet says, will KNOW that God is the only true LORD when He comes upon them with wrathful rebukes of vengeance (Ezekiel 25:15-17).

-*Application* This is a solemn reminder that God’s promises in Genesis 12:3 from the very beginning of the Jewish nation still hold sway in our times. Recent political or social developments toward God’s chosen people should never entice us to drift in our support for His chosen people. He has lasting and faithful promises with Israel, and those who support them will be blessed. The nations that distance themselves from Israel will pay the price of His curses and vengeance. That’s just the way it is; it’s the truth of the matter. Support of Israel will bring the favor of the Sovereign God.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 25:18

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 24

Ezekiel 24


-In the year 588 B.C. in the tenth month and on the tenth day of that month the word of the LORD came upon Ezekiel again. This word coincided with the exact day that Nebuchadnezzar’s forces from Babylon laid siege on Jerusalem, which would bring the city and nation to its knees and a complete overthrow in less than two short years (Ezekiel 24:1-2). God told His prophet to speak in another parable to the rebellious house of Israel, which was in Babylonian captivity. The parable revolved around a pot that was put on the fire with water, all the pieces of the meat, and choice bones. It was brought to a vigorous boil and the bones were seethed in it (Ezekiel 24:3-5). The LORD then pronounced a double woe upon the “bloody city” that was under His judgment. The first woe consisted of a denouncement of sin (the encrusted rust that would be boiled within) and the wrath of a fiercely jealous God. There would be no covering for the abominations at this point of destruction. The second woe consisted of a great pile that was made of flesh mixed with spices and burned bones. The heat was intensified so that all the filth could be melted away in the pot. This consumed the rust. Judah had wearied their God with making Him toil for their unbelieving hearts. They would not turn to Him and continued to sin more and more with no shame. The LORD would have cleansed them, but they would have none of it. They remained proud in their uncleanness, so God took His just wrath on them through the Babylonian invasion and siege that quickly would conquer. “I, the LORD, have spoken; it is coming and I will act. I will not relent, and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you,” the LORD God declared (Ezekiel 24:6-14).

-As a sign, Ezekiel’s wife, the desire of his eyes, would pass away as the LORD took her from the prophet in that evening of the prophesy (Ezekiel 24:16, 18, 24, 27). Ezekiel was commanded not to mourn, weep, or cry. His groans could only be silent in his sorrow for the dead loved one. He was further commanded to defy typical grieving rituals in the Jewish tradition by binding his turban, wearing his shoes, leaving his mustache uncovered, and not eating the bread of men (probably condolence food given to the ones in mourning). When the people asked for an explanation unto the meaning of these things, Ezekiel spoke the words of the LORD, “Behold, I am about to profane My sanctuary, the pride of your power, the desire of your eyes and the delight of your soul; and your sons and daughters whom you have left behind will fall by the sword (Ezekiel 24:15-21).” The people were then told by God not to mourn, just like Ezekiel had done for the time had come for Jerusalem’s destruction and for His people to KNOW Him as their LORD above everything and anyone. God urges His prophet not to be mute any longer, but to speak as His messenger and signpost so that all will KNOW who He is (Ezekiel 24:22-27).

-*Application* Jesus made a similar assertion in Luke 14:26-27 when He stated, "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” God’s point is that He must come first in our priority list. Does everything in our lives fall behind our obedience to Him? This is the point of this sign unto Ezekiel. God doesn’t desire death and hate, but in comparison to our love for Him we must give everything else up or we have idols in our heart. That is the very thing He detests. Sometimes He has to go to extreme measures and language to get us to realize this fact. He wants to pity on us and relent of His anger, but we must come to Him on His terms (For the grace side see Jonah and Hosea).

Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 24:14

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 23

Ezekiel 23


-Two women, who are metaphorical, and daughters of the same woman (Israel), have played the harlot in Egypt with foreign gods abasing the ways of the one-true LORD God (Ezekiel 23:1-3). With explicit language God downloads a graphic representation of how awful these whores have treated Him, their Jealous and Eternal Lover. Their names are Oholah, who represents Samaria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and Oholibah, who represents Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Oholah played the harlot with not only Egypt, but was enthralled with the Assyrians, who eventually conquered her and defamed her forever. Oholibah played the whore with not only Egypt, but also with Assyria and Babylon as she multiplied her sins far beyond that of her embarrassed and judged sister. Oholibah did not learn from observation, but exceeded the sin in her midst with profane things and corrupt practices. From sexual immorality, to pagan worship rituals, to prostituting herself, to flagrant opulence she became an adulteress deserving of God’s full and sincere discipline (Ezekiel 23:4-21).

-His wrath would be poured out from those she had previously loved, Assyria and Babylon, with precession and ruthlessness in evil conquest. Her (Judah’s) lewdness will be exposed, and she will be stripped of all her beauty, which she had possessed. She will be given into the hand of those whom she hates, the ones that alienated her with reckless abandon and vile scorn. Her property will be taken, and she will be left naked and bare before the nations of the world. Her harlotries are the reason; she has defiled herself with idols to the point of hypocrisy (sacrificing their own children in paganistic ritual and then going unconcerned to the House of God, Ezekiel 23:39). Derision, drunkenness, sorrow, horror, plunder, terror, stonings, slayings, desolation, and burnings are the descriptive terms God uses to portray the aftermath of this forgetting of the LORD and His ways in His land. Judah will bear the punishment and penalty of the Almighty, and she will have blood on her hands. God will vindicate His just cause and make lewdness and unfaithfulness cease from the land, which will reveal His glory make all KNOW that He alone is the LORD God (Ezekiel 23:22-49).

-*Application* God’s cause will not fail. We reap exactly what we sow (Galatians 6:7-9). Therefore, sow in the Holy Spirit.


Verses to Memorize: Ezekiel 23:30, 35

Friday, November 7, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 22

Ezekiel 22


-The LORD calls on Ezekiel, not to judge the bloody city (Jerusalem), but to “cause her to know all her abominations (Ezekiel 22:1-2).” The theme of this chapter and section can be found in verse 30, “I (the LORD) searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” Their idols had defiled the righteous land that God had given to them. The people of Judah had become guilty by the blood which they had shed and their false religious practices. Their year and day of judgment was now very near to make them a reproach and a mocking before all the nations of the world. From near and far the nations of the earth would scoff at and scorn the country of ill repute and full of turmoil (Ezekiel 22:3-5).

-The ruling powers in Judah were then chastised by the prophetic word. Their purposes were exposed as those who shed innocent blood with their schemes and programs. They had treated fathers and mothers lightly (without respect, Exodus 20:12). The alien had been oppressed in the land. The orphans and widows had also been wronged in this unjust society (Exodus 22:21-22, Deuteronomy 10:17-19, Isaiah 1:17). They had despised the holy things of the LORD and profaned His Sabbaths (Exodus 20:8-11). Slander had been accepted leading to violent outcomes, and idol worship had been permitted with acts of lewdness (Jeremiah 13:27, Ephesians 4:31). Sexual misconduct and impurity had been blatant along with the taking of bribes to shed blood, taking interest for profits, and injuring neighbors for gain by oppression (Exodus 22:25;23:8, Leviticus 25:36-37; Deuteronomy 16:19, 2 Chronicles 19:17, Amos 5:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:3). In all this God rightly concludes that they have “forgotten Me (Ezekiel 22:6-12).”

-Because of all these atrocities in obvious rebellion against a holy God and towards their fellow men, God declares that He will smite their dishonest gain which they have acquired and bring retribution for the violence they have perpetrated. His Hand will be strong against them and they will be scattered among the nations, dispersed because of their uncleanness. They will profane themselves in the sight of the nations, and they will “know that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 22:13-16).”

-Israel, the LORD now declares, has become “dross to Me (Ezekiel 22:17-22).” These precious metals that are delineated here are refined by intense heat into a molten state to remove the impurities. The dross (rubbish, scum, waste, garbage) will be thrown away in disgust and wrath. While there would be a glimmer of hope in the Father’s future restoration, at this time He was consumed with melting the trash that had developed in His Promised Land.

-In the final thoughts for this chapter, God lists again the sins of specific leaders in the land of Judah. The prophets are guilty of conspiracy in acting in cohort to devise ruinous false tales to devour lives and take treasure and precious things. They are compared to a roaring lion as they have made many widows in the midst of their land (Ezekiel 22:25, 28). The priests have done violence to God’s Law and have profaned His holy things. They made no distinction between the holy and the profane and did not teach the difference between the clean and the unclean. They hide themselves from the LORD’s Sabbaths causing God to be profaned in the land (Ezekiel 22:26). Judah’s princes are compared to wolves tearing apart their prey by shedding blood and destroying lives in order to get dishonest gain and wealth (Ezekiel 22:27).  And finally, the people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery wronging the poor, the needy, and the sojourner without justice (Ezekiel 22:29). God’s final analysis of the situation where no one would stand up for righteousness is this, “Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads (Ezekiel 22:31).”

-*Application* The LORD is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29). While He reaches down to help us and pull us out of our depravity through the suffering and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, we must accept the free gift or His wrath remains upon us. Forgiveness and restoration only comes through the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Believe in His Name to be delivered! Also, remember that God is always looking for that one good and righteous person to stand in the gap for a wayward and crooked society. Be the change in your culture. It could very well halt the anger of a Mighty God.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 22:30

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 21

Ezekiel 21


-God continues to speak through His prophet Ezekiel telling him to turn his face towards Jerusalem once again to speak against the sanctuaries and to prophecy against the land of Israel (Ezekiel 21:1-2). God is against the land and will draw out His sword from its sheath to cut off the righteous and the wicked from the south to north in a bloody display of wrath so that all flesh will KNOW that the LORD was infuriated with what had gone on in His place of promise (Ezekiel 21:3-5). Ezekiel was commanded to “groan with breaking heart and bitter grief” in the sight of the Jewish captives in Babylon for the purpose of revealing to them the certain news that was coming when every heart of the house of Israel would melt, all hands would be feeble, every spirit would be faint, and all knees would be as weak as water (Ezekiel 21:6-7). The word of the LORD came over again to His servant concerning the sword of His judgment upon the Promised Land. A polished and ready gleaming sword that would flash like lightening as the rod of God’s vengeance would despise every tree where idolatry had occurred. God told Ezekiel to “cry out and wail” over God’s anger exacted over His people and all the officials of Israel. “They are delivered over to the sword with My people, therefore,” God declared to His prophet, “strike your thigh (a cultural symbol and gesture of great grief). For there is testing; and what if even the rod which despises will be no more?” Further, the prophet is told to clap his hands together, “and let the sword be doubled the third time” for the slain (Doubled is metaphorical for a complete and total destruction). “The great one slain, which surrounds them” at the end of verse fourteen could have reference to the kingdom of Judah’s destruction, but this is a difficult matter of interpretation according to most scholars, and there is conjecture (Ezekiel 21:8-14). Nevertheless, it is obvious that hearts are melting and many have fallen at the gate of the holy city by the glittering sword of the enemy at God’s allowance. The slaughter is brutal and uncompromising, a blitzkrieg of fury, which appeases the wrath of a Holy God at His Word (Ezekiel 21:15-17).

-Again the word of the LORD comes to Ezekiel with a message that the king of Babylon will have come two ways made for him to squelch any uprising against their authority in the land of Israel. The two Babylonian advances will both go from one land and then fork out. One way will go through Rabbah of the sons of Ammon (to the northeast of the Dead Sea in the Jordan Valley region, Jeremiah 27:3), and the other will go to Judah into fortified Jerusalem. The king of Babylon will use divination (he shakes arrows much like drawing straws, he consults the household idols, and looks at the liver that pagan priests would take from a sacrificed animal to gain a decision) to come into Jerusalem “to set up battering rams, to open the mouth for slaughter, to lift up the voice with a battle cry, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up ramps, to build a siege wall (Ezekiel 21:18-22).” The nation of Israel was relying on a false hope from fake prophets and alliances with unworthy kings to which they had sworn. The “he” in verse 23 is probably referring to the Babylonian king, who is bringing Israel’s iniquity to remembrance that they may be seized in their transgressions before the LORD. God condemns the iniquity, sins, and transgressions proclaiming that their “day has come, in the time of the punishment of the end.” The LORD further announces, “Remove the turban and take off the crown (a reference undoubtedly to Zedekiah); this will no longer be the same. Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I will make it. This also will be no more until He (Messiah) comes whose right it is, and I will give it (the Kingdom) to Him (Ezekiel 21:23-27).”

-Ammon is prophesied against concerning their reproach in the remaining verses. The sword will come like lightening upon them as well to consume them and put an end to them. They had apparently prophesied false visions and divined lies deserving of severe punishment along with Judah. God’s indignation and fiery judgment would abolish them at the hands of brutal men skilled in destruction spilling their blood on the land until there was no remembrance of them by the Word of the LORD (Ezekiel 21:28-32).

-*Application* One thing that we must realize from this passage is how serious a thing it is to anger the God of creation. His way is the only way that will lead to peace in our lives, society, and world. When we go against Him, His wrath will inevitably descend upon us. This is His disciplinary correction to promote His sovereignty and majesty. Conform and be blessed. Resist and be destroyed. God’s way is wholly good if we would just submit to it and follow His Messiah, Jesus Christ.



Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 21:26-27

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 20

Ezekiel 20


-For the third time in this book, the elders come to Ezekiel to hear a word from the LORD given through His prophet. This comes in the seventh year of the captivity, which would date it right around the year 590 B.C.. The word came in the fifth month on the tenth day (Ezekiel 20:1). This word concerned God’s displeasure with the elders of the house of Israel, and their audacity to inquire of Him when they really should have known in their hearts why the LORD was angry enough to bring incredible judgment upon them. The text goes through a historical synopsis of their rejection and rebellion against their covenant keeping God. In Egypt, coming out of Egypt, and in the wilderness, God speaks of His frustration in terms of their disobedience, His sworn vengeance, and His mercy to overlook their transgressions with repetitional phrasing for emphasis. His emphasis was on their failures to walk in His ordinances, follow His statutes, and keep His Sabbaths. His mercy and continued blessing was exhibited solely for His good Name among the nations, not for Israel’s merits (Ezekiel 20:2-27).

-When God finally did bring them into the land of promise, the children of Israel continued in their defiance by worshipping idols on “every high hill and every leafy tree,” plus they desecrated their covenant position by making their firstborn “sons to pass through the fire (paganistic child sacrifice).” They offered unholy sacrifices, presented provocation in their offering, made soothing aroma, and poured out drink offerings to foreign and false gods. God necessarily took His stand with them to make them unable to carry on in this manner. They had no right to inquire of Him as He developed and carried on His ultimate Kingdom plan. In other words, God was saying that Israel would not be allowed to act like the barbarian nations of the world serving wood and stone (Ezekiel 20:28-32).

-Now God’s word turns to hope and expectation for His preferred future as He plainly lays out the return to the Holy Land in days to come (Ezekiel 20:33-44). Because He is alive and unstoppable, with a mighty Hand and an outstretched Arm with wrath poured out, He alone will be King over His people. He, Himself, in His unalterable providence will bring Israel back into the land from among the nations after He has again dealt with them severely in the wilderness and in judgment face to face. They will be made to pass under the rod, and then He will bring them back into the bond of the covenant. He will purge all the rebellious at this point and those who transgress against Him. This all is done so that all will KNOW that He is the LORD God (Ezekiel 20:9, 12, 20, 26, 38, 42, 44). They will then be accepted back on His holy mountain as they listen, no longer profaning with their gifts and idols. The whole house of Israel will serve the LORD, and He will receive them, their contributions, their choicest gifts, and their holy things as a soothing aroma that is completely righteous. He will prove Himself holy among them in the sight of all the nations. The people will at that time loathe themselves for their past sins and remember their evil ways and deeds unto repentance and restoration.

-Ezekiel at the end of the chapter has a few words of prophecy towards the areas of the south in Israel toward the Negev. A fire will be kindled in them that will consume every green tree and dry tree. The blazing flame will not be quenched and the whole surface from the south to the north will be burned by it. “All flesh will see that I, the LORD, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched (Ezekiel 20:45-48).” Ezekiel’s expression in the last verse of the passage exposes his exasperation and discouragement with those who refused to listen well to what the LORD was saying. He foreshadowed Jesus Christ as he spoke in parables that were not discerned by the unbelieving (Ezekiel 20:49). At this time, God did not respond to the prophet’s disappointment, but as we will see in the chapter, He goes right into further prophecy.

-*Application* A couple of thoughts here that pertain to us relevantly. Our Christian day of rest, which is typically on a Sunday should be set aside in careful rest, refocus, and remembrance of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Further, God will get His way every time. Our job is to come into conformity with His plan and purpose for ensured eternal blessing. Lastly, have a believing-discerning heart when the Word of God is being spoken. Open up your heart, soul, and mind to the things of God and let His Spirit give you the understanding you will need to keep His messengers encouraged.


Verses to Memorize: Ezekiel 20:33, 42

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bible Study Notes in Ezekiel- Chapter 19

Ezekiel 19


-Ezekiel uses the illustration of the lioness among lions as a metaphor for the Kingdom of Judah and her princes as he raised the interest level of his audience. There is former splendor as the nation rose from mediocrity to a very powerful status because of the blessing of the LORD. But, her splendor eroded with the infiltration of foreign cultures and decisive blows to her prestige and pride. The first prince to be captured in their pit and taken to Egypt with hooks was King Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31-33, Ezekiel 19:4). The second could refer to either King Jehoiachin, who at the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy would have already been in Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:8-16), or it could refer to King Zedekiah, who would soon be dragged with hooks to Babylonian as a captive (2 Kings 25:7, Ezekiel 19:9). The vine (Judah) had been plucked after a time of fruitbearing. She had been planted by the waters full of braches strong enough to support her rulers with heights above the clouds. But the LORD’s fury for her abominations cast her down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit. The strong branch was torn off so that it withered, and fire consumed it. Now the exiles would be planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land. This is the reason for Ezekiel’s lamentation (Ezekiel 19:10-14). This illustration portrayed to the captives the fact that this exile would be long in duration with no hope of a quick return to the land and no escape from their Babylonian captors. Woe upon woe was decreed at the discretion of the LORD.

-*Application* What we should take from this incident in history is that complacency and lethargy are to be vigilantly scrutinized and remedied in our Christian walk. Don’t grow weary of well doing (Joshua 1:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:13). Continue steadfastly in the energy and passion of the Lord in your calling. Don’t make the mistake of compromise and let things spiral downward in your efforts. Grow, don’t stagnate. Death and rot will occur in a plant soon after it ripens.


Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 19:9