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Book of Ezekiel
EZEKIEL'S COMMISSION FROM GOD TO ISRAEL
The prophet had been overwhelmed with the glorious vision in Chapter 1, and is here being strengthened and comforted (vs.1-2). He was then commissioned to declare to the rebellious house of Israel the terrible judgments that would very shortly come upon the whole land, if they did not repent, with a gracious assurance to Ezekiel that God would be constantly with him while executing the duties of his office (vs.3-5). The prophet is also commanded to be fearless, resolute and faithful in the discharge of it (vs.6-8), for he must be the messenger of some very unpleasing tidings, which would expose him to great persecution (vs.9-10).
The thought here and into chapter three continues with that of the Chapter 1, all of these things are directly connected with God's call of this great prophet as a witness to Israel.
In this short chapter, God describes the mission He gave to Ezekiel . . . to a stiff-necked, hard-hearted, rebellious people. Following the captivity of the northern kingdom, the southern remnant in Judea, including a few defections from the northern group, had become in fact the united Israel. At this point in time, Israel was no longer a mighty nation but a discouraged remnant of captives in Babylon.
The whole house of Israel is in this chapter (verse 3) is called a rebellious nation, this shows the total alienation of the nation from their God. We may therefore take the word rebellious as the key to Israel's attitude throughout the prophecy of Ezekiel.
It was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Hosea (Hos.1:9) in which the third child of Gomer was named Loammi, the same being a prophetic declaration concerning Israel that, They are not God's people, and that he, Jehovah, will no longer be their God.
One commentator gives the following summary of God's commission to Ezekiel. It came in three stages and upon three different occasions. The main one of these is the 1st, which came immediately after the amazing vision of Ezekiel 1 and which occupies all of Ezekiel 2 and Ezekiel 3:1-13. The second came seven days later, among the exiles at Telabib (Eze.3:14-21); and the third was connected with a repetition of this vision, apparently in the neighborhood of Telabib (Eze.3:22-27).
Theme: Ezekiel's call, preparation, and office as a watchman.
Ezekiel 1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. (KJV) See Chapter 1.
Ezekiel 2:1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. (KJV)
And he said unto me . . . in the last verse of Chapter 1, we find that the prophet was so penetrated with awe at the sight of the glory of God in the mystical chariot, that he fell upon his face; and, while he was in this posture of fear and respect, he heard the voice mentioned here. It seems to me that the division of these chapters is wrong. Either the first Chapter should end with the words, This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD, (Eze.1:28), or the first verse of this chapter should be added to Chapter 1, and this begin with verse 2. Just my opinion, to me, it would not be so confusing.
Son of man . . . a phrase very familiar with Ezekiel, used 94 times in this Book, used for distinction, being now among angels, possibly to keep him humble, who had such great revelations, which might make him think of himself above what was fit and proper.
Stand upon thy feet . . . arise, resume the strength of soul and body, which seemed gone when he fell upon his face (Eze.1:28) to the ground, and with this command to stand, God sent forth a power enabling him to arise and stand.
And I will speak unto thee . . . get thyself into a fit posture and readiness, and I will speak . . . what that was appears in verse 3.
Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (KJV)
Daniel 8:17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. (KJV)
Son of man . . . the term's usage in Daniel came to be recognized as a Messianic Title, the very one, in fact, that was especially preferred by Christ Jesus, because it was intended as both a concealment and a revelation of the Saviour's true deity.
*****Apparently after the vision Ezekiel had seen in Chapter 1, he was not standing up, but was flat on his face on the ground. It will now be that he will now receive a call and commission and be given power for the office to which God has called him.
Son of man . . . Christ addresses him as son of man. This title is found 94 times in the Book of Ezekiel. Daniel, also, is called the son of man (Dan.8:17, above). Only these two men in the Old Testament were ever called by this title. This is also the title that the LORD Jesus adopted to Himself; 86 times in the New Testament He used this title for Himself. It speaks of Him in His rejection, His humiliation and His exaltation; He is the Son of Man.
Ezekiel did go through much suffering. Without doubt Daniel was in danger in the court of Babylon . . . if God had not stepped in, Daniel would have been supper for the lions. Jeremiah had been in serious danger all during his active ministry until the deportation of the people into captivity. But, Ezekiel was sent to do a very difficult job. He had the job of speaking to an apostate people. He was sent to people who thought they were God's people, but actually they were in total rebellion against God. The Spirit of God now comes upon Ezekiel and prepares him for his job.
Ezekiel is: (1) commissioned to go as a prophet to the house of Israel, now captives in Babylon, and to deliver God's messages to them from time to time (vs.1-5). (2) He is cautioned not to be afraid of them (vs.6). (3) He is told what to say to them, and has words put into his mouth, signified by the vision of a roll, which he was ordered to eat (vs.7-10), and which, in the next chapter, we find he did eat.
Ezekiel 2:2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. (KJV)
And the spirit . . . as soon as the encouraging command went forth, meaning immediately. The same Spirit which activated the living creatures and wheels enters the heart of the prophet.
Entered into me . . . gave the prophet special qualifications for his office. The Spirit entered that He might be with the prophet Ezekiel as a constant Helper and Guide.
When he spake unto me . . . as soon as the words were spoken, the ability of the Spirit was effective. He . . . it could mean Christ, who spoke from the throne to the prophet . . . or the Holy Spirit, Whom had just entered into the prophet. And set me upon my feet . . . as soon as Ezekiel heard Him; he arose from the ground. It is the Holy Spirit which is the Fountain of all our abilities, and which also activates them; without Him there is neither life, strength nor motion.
And the spirit entered into me . . . I agree with those who say that the spirit mentioned is none other than the Blessed Holy Spirit Himself.
*****The Spirit of Christ (Rom.8:9), gave Ezekiel the power to do the job He had given him to do. I truly believe that when God calls someone to do a job, He will equip you to do that job. This humble and unworthy servant is proof of that. God's work can be done ONLY with the power of God. If God has called you to do a certain thing, He will absolutely give you the power to do it. God called Moses to deliver the people, and he was able to do it . . . NOT because there was anything in Moses, but because God equipped him to do it!
We need to know that, IF we are called of God, He shall equip us to do the job. The important thing then is to make sure that we are really called by God to do a certain thing.
Ezekiel was called to do a very special job. God is going to tell him about his job. I wonder what we would think if God had told you or me something like this. I greatly admire this man Ezekiel. See what God tells him about his job.
Ezekiel 2:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. (KJV)
And he . . . see verse 2. Said unto me . . . either vocally, or by impressing upon his mind.
Son of man . . . this title, mentioned 94 times in this Book, seems to have been given first to this prophet; then to Daniel, and then to the Man, Christ Jesus Himself. Possibly it was given to Ezekiel and Daniel to remind them of their frailty, and that they should NOT be exalted in their own minds by the extraordinary revelations given to them; and that they should consider that they were of the same nature as those to whom they were sent. To the LORD Jesus, it might have been taken merely to show that although all His actions revealed Him to be Almighty God, yet that He was also really a Man (Jn.1:14); and that in the Man Jesus Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9). When all the acts of Christ are considered, it is easier to believe His eternal Godhead, than to be convinced that the Person we hear speaking, and see working, is also a Man (human) like ourselves.
Ezekiel had seen (Eze.1:26), a most Glorious Person on a throne above the firmament, and now the prophet is called son of man, maybe as the Jews guess, to encourage the prophet in his prophetic work, and to assure him that he would be owned by that Glorious One, who appeared as a Man, and calls Ezekiel son of man. It is certain Ezekiel would never forget what he had seen, and it is likely this title, son of man, as often as it was spoken, would remind the prophet what relation it would have to the vision.
I send thee . . . I am sending, or He that is sending you is Whom you saw on the throne above the angels, the same One who directs the angels in their ministry, performing the will of God, and Who will give them charge of you in your way.
To the children of Israel . . . now being captives: God tells the prophet they were the children of Israel, that prince who wrestled with God, and prevailed (Gen.32:24-25). It is very likely there were some that feared and sought the God of Jacob, and did wrestle as he had done before them: it implied some hope, that God would redeem them (Ps.25:22), He would be good unto them (Ps.73:1); His dominion was over them (Ps.114:2), and that they were His peculiar people (Ps.135:4, 12).
To a rebellious nation . . . very disobedient, for rebellion is the highest crime against the supreme magistrate, so too were Israel's sins against God. That hath rebelled against me . . . this was implied before, but here expressly added to establish the charge, and to aggravate the crime of this people, who were from their fathers' days to this very day rebelling against God. They and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day . . . their fathers before them, and they with their fathers, and all continually transgressing; God was provoked at once with two generations of rebels, fathers who gave example, and the children that followed.
Ezekiel 2:4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD GOD. (KJV)
Impudent children . . . shameless, who do not blush, or else they could never have transgressed so highly, constantly and stubbornly. Sodom in her day did not hide her sin, nor blush; so did the Jews in Isaiah's times, so they did to the days of their captivity, and while under captivity.
Stiffhearted . . . hard-hearted, determined and strongly bent to do whatever they liked. Of a disposition that did NOT yield, but rather more definitely going on in evil. I, who appeared in so much glory, and on the throne, send thee unto them; give you authority that you may go to them, and say unto them what I shall say unto thee. They will scoff and persecute you . . . but I command you to say what I shall say to you. Remember Whom thou hast seen, and Who it is with you! Thou shalt say unto them . . . thus saith the LORD GOD; be sure to tell them WHO it is that sends you.
The LORD GOD . . . all through the Book of Ezekiel the double Name of God appears 219 times. This Biblical usage of two different Names for God, is a dramatic contradiction of the radical critics' idea that several Names of God indicate many sources, a stupid claim upon which is built by dangerous Biblical enemies. Ezekiel is not the only inspired writer who denies that whole evil theory by his using a double Name for God throughout his prophecy; for the patriarch Jacob himself used FOUR different names for God in the blessing of his sons.
Genesis 49:24-25 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: (KJV) . . . Emphasis mine.
*****Ezekiel 2:3-4 is a tremendous statement by God: "I am going to send you to these people . . . a rebellious nation; impudent children and stiffhearted.'" The word rebellious occurs 15 times in the Book of Ezekiel. Israel is a people in rebellion against God.
The word that is translated nation is not the word that God generally used for His chosen people. The word in the Hebrew is goi, and it is the word that Israel used to speak of the Gentiles, the pagans, the heathen. What this means is that Israel had sunk to the level of the heathens who lived around them. God calls Israel a rebellious nation . . . they have rebelled against Him . . . they are impudent children.
The hardest people to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ today are church members. They think that being a Christian means to be good little boys and girls. They want to live a life on the surface which is very calm and comfortable. They do NOT want anyone to tell them they are lost sinners who need to be saved and that they must obey God or they will go where the devil is going . . . Hell! Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV) . . . Matthew Chapter 25. . . . BEWARE!!!
Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV) http://www.godcannotlie.org/matthew_ch7.html . . . BEWARE!!!
Ezekiel 2:5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. (KJV)
Although the omniscient God knows which one they will do, He does not let the prophet know, but instructs him in his duty, giving these sinners the mercy of warnings and pleas, expecting that they act like men, hear and obey. Hear . . . they HEAR only what they want to hear . . . as for God's counsel, they hearing . . . do NOT hear.
Forbear . . . either abstain or refrain their ways of sinning, and stop doing evil, or forbear (refuse) to hear. The greater part of Israel will show themselves to be a rebellious house.
Shall know that there hath been a prophet among them . . . ALL of them shall know; they that hear and obey shall know by the good that I will do for them, I will bless them and bring them back; those that will neither hear what they should do, nor refuse doing what they should not do, shall know by the evil which I will bring upon them. The truth and name of Ezekiel, God will justify, and prove that he is indeed a prophet, to the comfort of himself and others who are obedient, but to the shame and confusion of the evil and wicked.
*****God tells Ezekiel, I am calling you to go to these people, and whether they hear you or not, they are going to know that there was a prophet of God among them. After Ezekiel was gone, the people would finally admit that Ezekiel certainly was a prophet of God, even though they disagreed with him.
Ezekiel 2:6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. (KJV)
Thou, son of man . . . are a prophet, sent by Him whose throne is on high, Whom you saw as the likeness of a Man in glory, and Who provided you with power to protect you.
Though briers and thorns be with thee . . . briers, thorns, scorpions describe Ezekiel's extreme and uncomfortable position as he prophesied to a people who really did not want to hear him.
Be not afraid of them . . . cast out fear, be not discouraged by their rulers, priests and pretended prophets who will oppose you . . . deliver your message . . . do NOT fear any of them.
Neither be afraid of their words . . . stand up firmly to their accusations, threats, scorns or whatever else their envious and malicious heart can suggest.
*****Thorns and briers are the fruit of sin and the curse, and of the enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Wicked men are the persecutors of God's prophets and people, and are as briers and thorns, which are hurtful to the ground, choke the good seed, hinder God's work and are irritating to His servants; but they are very close to their end, which is to be burned (meaning Hell). Yet God does make use of them sometimes for the correction and instruction of His people, as Gideon taught the men of Succoth with thorns and briers (Judg. 8:16). Yet this is not the worst of Israel’s character: they are scorpions, venomous and malignant. The sting of a scorpion is a thousand times more hurtful than the scratch of a brier. Persecutors are a generation of vipers, and are of the serpent's seed, and the poison of asps is under their tongue; and they are more subtle than any beast of the field. And too, which makes the prophet's case all the more grievous, he dwells among these scorpions; they are continually around Ezekiel, so that he cannot be safe nor quiet in his own house; these evil men are his neighbors, who have so many opportunities to do him wrong, and will not let even one thing slip by to cause him trouble. The LORD really lays it on the line to Ezekiel just what his job was going to be like.
Ezekiel 2:7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. (KJV)
Thou shalt speak my words unto them . . . the LORD states that the words which I will put into your mouth, you are to speak! Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear . . . (see verse 5). Whether they receive the message, or persecute you for it, tell it to them, so that they are without excuse.
For they are most rebellious . . . Heb. rebellion in the abstract, by which the Hebrew (as some other languages do) expresses the outstanding degree, as it is rightly translated. It is very clear, that Ezekiel's mission was certain to be a very unpopular and difficult one; but warnings such as this were intended to alert the prophet to expect evil and ungrateful responses from the people. It would be easier for him to bear all this IF he knew that such evil reactions by the Israelites were coming. Anything else would have been out of character for them. Such was the shameful status of God's Chosen People at that point in their history.
*****It was required that Ezekiel be faithful. He must be faithful to: (1) Christ who sent him. He must speak the words of Christ to the people, as it is the honor of prophets that they are entrusted to speak God's Words, so it is their duty to cleave closely to them and to speak nothing except what agrees to the Words of God. And (2) He must be faithful to the souls of those to whom he was sent, whether they will hear of whether they will forbear, he must deliver his message to them as he received it.
Just because the people do not profit by the message, is NO good reason why preachers or teachers should not bring the FULL Truth of God’s Word to them. We shall be held accountable! James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (KJV) . . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.godcannotlie.org/james_commentary_ch3.htm
Ezekiel 2:8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. (KJV)
Hear what I say unto thee . . . obey when you hear. Do not harden yourself like that rebellious house. Open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee . . . this Passage where the prophet is ordered to eat the roll of the book has its counterpart in the New Testament, in Revelation, where the apostle John is also commanded to eat the roll of the book.
Revelation 10:8-11 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (KJV) http://www.godcannotlie.org/rev_ch10.htm
*****In the New Testament, John's eating the book became a symbol of the Word-filled Church, one of God's Two Witnesses, the other being the Holy Word itself, held open forever in the hands of the mighty angel, these Two Witnesses being in fact the only witnesses God has during the current dispensation.
The command to eat the roll meant that Ezekiel was to read and digest its contents, that he was to make the words actually and persistently a part of his very person, that the prophet was appointed to speak God's Word, not his own, and that all of the messages that he would communicate to the people would be those from God Himself. When you read the Word of God, do YOU digest its contents?
Ezekiel 2:9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; (KJV)
The prophet, so recently had come out of that bewildering trance wherein he lay, and gotten upon his feet, hearing what was spoken, and possibly looking to see if he might see Who spoke, he discovers a hand; either of one of those angels which ministered before the LORD, or the Hand of God, or of Christ. This might fortify the prophet; when he saw a hand so soon with him as he was ready to hear and obey . . . the hand would be a symbol to him, for the power and skill to defend and guide him.
Behold, an hand was sent unto me . . . here the hand signifies not only the instrument of conveyance, but a symbol of the Divine power, which the Hand of God always signifies.
A roll of a book . . . their books were not as ours now are, but written on parchment, and in the length of it, and so one piece fastened to other, till the whole would contain what was to be written, and then was it wrapped or rolled about a round piece of wood, fashioned for that purpose.
Ezekiel 2:10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. (KJV)
He . . . in verse 9 it was the hand, here it is the Person, He who held out His Hand.
Spread it before me . . . unrolled it so the prophet might read what was written in it.
Written within and without . . . on both sides, a long roll and full of writing on both sides; so would the sorrows of the Jews be.
Lamentations, and mourning, and woe . . . things that would make the stoutest heart cry and inwardly grieve and mourn, expressing it in visible tokens. So too, this prophet's message would be a most heavy burden to the Jews and other nations against which he prophesied.
*****The son of man was to pay diligent attention to what was happening before him. He was to HEAR what this Glorious Person was saying to him. Be not thou rebellious (vs.8); do not refuse to go on this errand, do not fail to deliver the words I give you; do not run off, as Jonah did (Jon.1:3), for fear of his countrymen being unfriendly. Israel was a rebellious house, among whom Ezekiel lived; but he was NOT to be like them. Ezekiel was not to go along with them in anything that is evil.
In today’s world, pastors and teachers are reprovers by their office, they are NOT to plan sin and coddle sinners . . . they are to reveal to the people their wickedness and tell straight out what the fatal penalty of it is. They are NOT to fear displeasing them and getting on their bad side. They are NOT to make themselves partakers of their guilt and be rebellious like them. Even when people refuse to do their duty to obey God in repenting of their evils, the preachers and teachers of God’s Holy Word must do their job in reproving and condemning the evil they see before them. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_an_apostate_world.1.htm
Book of Ezekiel
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