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

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