Ezekiel in Brief

Prophecy

And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.—Ezekiel 3:4

By James Parkinson

The first half of the Book of Ezekiel tells Jerusalem’s people of their sins and explains why the city of the LORD‘s people is about to be destroyed. Once Jerusalem is under siege, the next quarter of Ezekiel’e message recounts the sins of the other nations and foretells their fate. The last quarter promises the regathering of all of Israel, the LORD‘s final defense of them, and then the Ezekiel’s Temple foregleam of the thousand-year Kingdom of Christ and beyond.

There are messages for fleshly Israel of old to repent, and similarly for Christians today to repent. Punishment is decreed. Toward the end there are promises: of heavenly work for the church with Christ, and bringing back Israel to their land, and ultimately of the resurrection and restoration to perfection of the whole world.

Jerusalem’s Sin and Imminent Fate

When King Jehoiachin was captured and taken to Babylon, Ezekiel was among the captives of Judah exiled to the River Chebar (modern Khabur River in Northeast Syria, between Harran and the Tigris River). It appears that when Ezekiel turned thirty years of age he became eligible for the priesthood, and the LORD promptly used him to deliver his message to Jerusalem (Ezek. 1:1-3; Num. 4:2, 46). Judah;s capitol had been filled with corruption and innocent blood—utter destruction is now on the way [spoken a mere four a half years before the siege and six years before the fall of the city].

The character of the LORD had once been described as four attributes upholding his throne: Power and Justice behind hjm, with Love and Truth (Wisdom) leading the way (Psa. 89:14). We see these attributes twice more in Ezekiel and once again in Revelation. In sequence, leading the way first was love [Ezek. 1:10, the face of a man], manifest in God’s creation of the human family; then is Justice [Ezek. 10:14, a cherub], manifest in his sending Jesus Christ. who died once for all; and ultimately will be Power [Rev. 4:7, a lion], to be manifest in the resurrection and reformation of “all the families of the earth.”

Those mysterious wheels within wheels likely refer to the hubs of the wheels. Earthly impediments, suggested by bumps and hills, or potholes and streams, are no barriers to the spirit of God, which lifts the LORD‘s chariot above them all (1:15-21).

When God addresses Ezekiel as Son of man (2:1, 8; 3:1, etc.), we are to understand that Ezekiel represents our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 9:6; 16:27, etc.). This expression is equivalent to the finest among men (cf. “the daughter of women in Dan. 11:17). Only Jesus Christ fully qualifies for this role. (The church may be included by implication, as in Ezek. 37:3-9).

The lesson of the scroll is that we must appropriate the Word of God to ourselves before teaching it to others (2:8-3:3; Rev. 5:1, 10:8-11). The outside of the scroll can be read right away, although the message on the inside can be read only after all seven seals are loosed. The inside divides the Gospel Age into seven parts of lamentation or mourning or woe.

Each day symbolizes one year as Ezekiel symbolically bears the iniquity of Israel and then of Judah (4:4-9). Dating from the fall of Samaria, capitol of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, reckoning back 390 years would reach to at least the eighth year of Saul, the first king of all Israel (possibly beginning with Saul’s disobedience regarding Amalek, and the LORD‘s rejection of him); reckoning forwards would reach nearly to the end of Persian dominion.

The fearfulness of Jerusalem, All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water, sounds like people today in the age of nuclear weapons. Casting silver in the streets might almost call to mind the modern cost of automobiles and highway programs. But silver and gold could not save Jerusalem any more than it can save this present evil world today (7:17-19).

About four hundred days late the LORD speaks again concerning religious sins. First, an image in the gate (north of the altar before the Temple) provoking the LORD to jealousy. Should an organization control who shall have access to the way of sacrifice, saying, you must join us to be saved. Second, pictures of idols and unclean things, and the straying son of a faithful scribe leading seventy elders in praising these things with their incense. Would we be ashamed for everybody to know what we do when we think nobody is watching? Third, the women weeping for Tammuz. Do we year for tranquility, even if it were imposed by the peace of Rome? Fourth, men worshiping the sun, who have turned their backs to the Temple of the LORD. Does knowledge of the truth sometimes seem more important than practicing the truth? Truth, apart from the love of the truth, may itself become an idol (8:5-18).

The man with the writer’s inkhorn (9:2-4) sounds similar to the angel ascending from the sun-rising, having the seal of the living God (Rev. 7:2-8). We should be sealed in our foreheads with the holy Spirit of God . . . unto the day of redemption by heavenly resurrection (Eph. 4:30), so much so that we should be grieved at anything done to our advantage if it should hurt someone else. King Zedekiah will be captured, blinded, and taken away to Babylon to die, and the people will be dispersed among the nations (12:2-16). Only three years were left for anyone to repent. It is the false prophets who say, “Not in our day.” Even in 1994 this world’s wise say, “Peace,” and there is no peace (13:10-16). Whitewash is no protection against hailstones. Noah, Daniel, and Job each saved three men, but they could save no one today (14:13-20). Jerusalem’s destruction was certain (15:1-8), typifying a destruction of this present evil world.

Jerusalem’s history is unlovely. It was founded by the Canaanites and later destroyed. It was rebuilt by the Hittite subtribe and again suffered destruction. It was then rebuilt by the Amorite sub-tribe (Josh. 10:5), and by the Jebusites likewise (Josh. 15:63). When wretched Sodom and Samaria are resurrected in the thousand-year kingdom of Christ, they will put Jerusalem [and Rome] to shame (16:46-56; Matt. 10:15, 11:24). But the LORD will establish an everlasting covenant to reform Jerusalem.

The king of Babylon is as a great eagle who planted Zedekiah as King of Judah and made swear allegiance. But Zedekiah looked to Egypt to help him rebel (in spite of his oath); so the LORD let Nebuchadnezzar take him and all his mighty men. Jerusalem would be destroyed, but Israel in captivity will afterwards flourish (17:2-24). The sinner who reforms himself will be spared, while the righteous turning to corruption will not be spared: the soul that sinneth, it shall die (18:1-4, 20-28).

Judah is like a lioness who raised tyrants. King Jehoahaz was taken and brought bount to Egypt. King Jehoiachin was taken and brought bound to Babylon. Zedekiah is about to be taken, and there will be no successor, and Jerusalem will be destroyed (19:1-14).

With only two and a half years to go, the LORD refuses to speak to the elders of Israel. His goal is their repentance, not their destruction (20:1-4). The Law should help them want life and point them to their need for the promised Redeemer (20:11; Gal. 3:23, 24). In the thousand-year kingdom of Christ the children of the resurrection will be humbled as sheep in order to be brought to perfection and everlasting life on earth, while the wilfully-wicked will in time be destroyed (20:37, 38; Matt. 25:31-45; Rev. 20:11-15).

Zedekiah was the last king of Judah/Israel, and the kingship will not be restored until Jesus the Messiah comes in the throne of his glory (21:25-27). All the mighty men of Judah have robbed the poor, slain the righteous to the extent of their ability, etc. (22:6-12). The penalty will be dispersion, or a Diaspora, among the nations worldwide (22:15). As the dross of silver they are unfit for heavenly resurrection and work (22:17). Forsaking the LORD, Samaria curried favor with Egypt and Assyria, while Jerusalem curried favor with Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon (Chaldean rulers, Semites, descended from Arphaxhad, as was Abraham) (23:1-49).

It is now the ninth year of captivity, month ten, day ten. Too late! The nineteen-month siege began today. Blood they shed, their blood will be shed (24:1-14).

Sins and Punishments of the Other Nations

However the other nations will receive the rewards of their misdeeds too. Ammon exulted when the LORD was profaned against and when the LORD‘s people were taken captive. They will be humbled and given to the Arabs. Moab said the LORD‘s people are no different from anybody else. They, too, will be given up to Ammon’s captors. Edom took revenge against the LORD‘s people. It will be made desolate. [Ammon, Moab, and Edom are now the three parts of modern Jordan, which were all once related to Jacob.] (25:2-14). The Philistines took vengeance against the LORD‘s people with mortal hatred; greater vengeance will be upon them, and the Cherethites (Crete) will be taken away from them (25:15-17). But these nations will thereby learn that the LORD is God.

Tyre originated as Tiras, or Thrace (Gen. 10:2), as a breakaway nation of Japheth, on the west side of the Black Sea, including Troas (Troy, the Trojans). From their colonizations we find Tyre north of Israel; Iter-Tiras (“the way of Tiras”), or the Etruscans (first inhabitants of Italy), and the Tyrrhenian Sea (“Tyr waters”) on the west coast of Italy. Hence Tyre is commonly used as a symbol of Rome. Tyre exulted at the pending destruction of the LORD‘s people and at the chance to take their place. Therefore Tyre (including Rome) will be made eternally desolate (26:1-5).

Tyre profited by many nations: Tarshish (the Celts in westernmost Europe, including Celitberians, Britons, Welsh, Irish, Scots, Belgae, but also Galicia in southern Poland and even Galatia in central Turkey) brought in silver, iron, and lead from the Spanish peninsula and tin from Cornwall in England (still the major European source.) Meshech (Armenia) mined the copper ore. Tubal (Kartavelian people with their capitol Tbilisi; In English, Georgia, at the south of the Caucasus mountains) refined it, and Javan (Ionians, or Greeks who colonized the Black Sea coasts, including those of Georgia and Armenia) fabricated the copper wares. Togarmah originated as a breakaway nation of Kimmer (Gen. 10:3), probably originating when the Scythians (a tribe of Gog) conquered and destroyhed the Kingdom of Kimmer/Gomer). (Tocharian is an East European language that lasted as late as the ninth century in Sinkiang, Northwest China. The Septuagint calls the people Thergama, from which comes the name Turk. The Phrygians, Finns, and Estonians are also from this tribe.) Turkestan was famous for raising and breeding horses, primarily for war (as was Magog also) (27:12-14). Among the many others contributing to Tyre’s wealth were Judah and Israel.

The prince of Tyre speaks the words of Antichrist (28:1-10; Dan. 7:8, 25; 2 Thess. 2:3-4). But the real power behind Tyre is Lucifer/Satan himself (28:12-19). The LORD had appointed Lucifer the anointed cherub that covereth to protect Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. He had been perfect until pride arose to cause the sin in Eden, but extinction will be his end.

Sidon also did despite to the LORD‘s people; but from pestilence and blood they will learn a lesson (28:20-24). After the LORD has regathered Israel, after the Day of Wrath they will dwell securely in his kingdom (28:25, 26).

The great nation of Egypt will also be destroyed for its selfishness (29:1-32:21).

Asshur (Assyria, 32:22, 23) was a terrorist nation. They will die by the sword. Elam (like the Hebrew olam, to a vanishing point; that is, the easternmost peoples—the Chinese, but including Southwestern Iran; 32:24, 25) were also terrorists. They too will die by the sword. Similarly for Meshech (Armenia), Tubal (Caucasian Georgia), Edom (Southwest Jordan) and Sidon (North of Israel) (32:26-30).

Speak the Word of the LORD, whether people hear it or reject it. Their blood will be upon your head if you faill to tell it out (33:1-16).

Pastors, take care that ye care for the flock, and not for yourselves at the expense of the flock (34:1-24).

Mt. Seir (originally Hurrians/Horite, a Caucasian people) in Edom, hated and slew the LORD‘s people and sought ton take over their Promised Sand. Slaughter will pursue them to extinction (35:1-15).

The scattered remnant of the LORD‘s people can take comfort. Those nations will bear the consequences of their shameful deeds. The LORD will restore the land of Israel, not because the LORD‘s people have been so honorable (they were not), but for his own sake. He will then cleanse his people from their abundant iniquities (36:1-38).

The Valley of Dry Bones

The LORD draws us to see the apparent hopelessness of fleshly Israel for the 1845 years of disfavor during the Gospel Age, typified apparently by the location in the Kidron River valley with its tombs. Dry bones symbolizedd the lifelessness of Israel as a nation in Diaspora (dispersion). The church since the nineteenth century has been commanded to prophesy the restoration of Israel. Enabled by the French Revolution and the Turko-Russian war, the new town of Petah Tikvah (“Door of Hope”) in 1878 began the return of the Jews to their land, as the bones began to come together. The sinews, and then the flesh suggest the Jews in their land beginning to work together and beginning to function as an independent society. The skin came symbolically over them when they became a nation in 1948 (with definable boundaries). The LORD‘s people are to prophesy again that the Ancient Worthies and the rest of Israel will be resurrected, so that the Spirit of God will lead and empower the nation of Israel, while bringing the people back to the perfection lost in Eden (Rom. 11:26, 27). (37:1-14).

As the two sticks of Judah (head of the Southern kingdom) and Joseph (head of the ten-tribe kingdom) were to be united, no such division is known any more in fleshly Israel today. David’s Lord, Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, will be their prince/governor in his kingdom forever (37:15-28; Hos. 3:4, 5; Rev. 5:5; cf: 1 Chron. 28:4, 5).

From Blitzing Gog to Burial in Hamon-Gog

Finally Gog as the capitol of the eastern bloc, will rule over Great Russia, Armenia (Meshech) and Tubal (Caucasian Georgia, with its capitol Tbilisi), and will assemble alliances with Iran (Persia), Black Africa (Cush, not just Ethiopia), and North Africa (Phut: Libya to Mauritania), plus North Europe (Gomer, at the Black Sea and its northern tributaries, includian Germans {Ashkenaz} and Slavs {Riphath} from Gen. 10:3) and the Turkic tribes (Togarmah). The pipeline for the western bloc will continue to be Israel—a prize too tempting for a resurgent Gog to resist (38:1-12).

Arabia will become head of the western block—Western Europe and its former colonies (see above, under chapter 27). These will protest/fight the threat to their economic existence (38:13).

Israel will be the initial battleground and will be badly shaken. But the LORD will stir up others to send bombs of destruction against Gog and stir up confusion among his invading armies (38:14-23). The LORD will see an exchange of thermonuclear fire between Russia and the West (39:6), which will suddenly leave their seemingly-invincible armies in Israel unsupported and ready prey for destruction.

Afterwards the lightweight composite structures of 21st-century weaponry will make good fuel for seven years. The mass of foreign soldiers’ corpses will take seven months for burial (in the wasteland on the east side of the Dead Sea) (39:9-16). Armies will have as field day with deadly weaponry (39:17-20). The whole world will then finally learn that it was the LORD who expelled Israel from their land because of their sins, but now it is he who has restored Israel again (39:21-29).

Ezekiel’s Temple

Ezekiel’s Temple, which was never built, is a vision of Christ and the faithful church (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 3:16), and the blessing of fleshly Israel and the whole world in the thousand-year kingdom of Christ and beyond. (This vision was given in Ezekiel’s last year as priest, when he was age fifty.) (Num. 4:3, 47).

The dimensions of this symbolic Temple are the same as those of Solomon’s Temple, although Ezekiel’s outer court may appear somewhat larger. Comparing Ezekiel’s prophetic Temple with Isaac Newton’s model of Solomon’s Temple, the former has added a western building and ovens behind the Temple house (41:12 and 46:19, 20); the latter has cloisters on either side of the three inner gates, with pillars to support the building for the priests, on the north, east, and south side of the Court of the Priests.

The main features of each temple are identical: the Holy of Holies (Most Holy) is 20 cubits square; before the veil, adjoining on its east side, is the Holy, 20 cubits wide by 40 cubits long; together they comprise the Temple house. In front of the door to the Holy is a porch 20 cubits wide by 10 or 11 cubits long, with steps leading up to it from the Court of the Priests, which contained the brazen (copper) altar. The periphery of this court had several rooms for the priests, and gates on the north, east, and south leading up from a second court, the Inner Court of the People. The inner court was surrounded by a wall on the west, and ten roms for the people on each of the other three sides, each with a gate leading up from the Outer Court of the Gentiles. (The angel appeared to Zacharias in the Holy (Luke 1:11); the widow’s mite would have been contributed in the Court of the People (Mark 12:42), while the parable of the Pharisee and the publican would be more appropriate to the Court of the Gentiles (Luke 18:10-14; cf. Rev. 11:2).

If the holy area around the temple is 500 reeds on a side (=3000 cubits, per 40:5), then the perimeter would be 12,000 cubits (45:2). In the grand symbolic vision of Revelation 21:9-16 the New Jerusalem, or government of Christ’s kingdom, the twelve edges add up to 144,000 stadions, translated furlongs. Of similar character in Rev. 22:2, twelve kinds of fruit for each of twelve months over a thousand years is 144,000 fruits: By their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:15-20; Rev. 7:4-8).

A goat was offered for a sin offering one each of seven days to show that the Great Atonement Day of the Gospel Age is divided into seven parts. (The priesthood was consecrated for seven days; Joshua {Greek, Jesus} marched seven days around Jericho, with seven priests and seven trumpets; again, there were seven messengers and seven trumpets in Revelation.) (Lev. 8:33; Josh. 6:2-21; Rev. 2:1-3:22; 8:6-11:19). After the sacrificing of Christ and his church is completed, in the thousand-year kingdom of Christ the people and their offerings will be acceptable to the LORD (43:25-27).

The priests who had been faithful, those who had followed in the way of David’s and Solomon’s faithful priest, Zadok, are contrasted with the Levites, who had compromised and strayed badly. (Even Moses’ own grandson had greedily ministered before idols, first to one man’s house, and then to the tribe of Dan {Judg. 17:7-18:30); Amos 8:14}). The Levites were to be teachers, but they led Israel astray. Therefore they shall bear the iniquities which they caused Israel to commit, just as the scape goat bore the iniquities of the children of Israel (Lev. 16:21). In the terms of the Gospel Age, do we teach people to worship prominent Christians: Martin Luther or C. T., Russell; John Calvin or Jim Jones; or organizations, such as Rome, Salt Lake or Brooklyn? The issue is not whether the idol is a good idol or a bad idol, because every idol is forbidden! Those who do so will throw away their hoped-for part in the priesthood (44:13), but by the LORD‘s mercy they shall receive life and shall minister in the kingdom of Christ (44:11-14). As characteristic of the typical Levites, they will symbolically wash their clothes and will have no inheritance in the land (Num. 8:7, 21; 18:20-24), even as in reality the Great Multitude will the have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, and they, too, will be in heaven—I heart as it were a great voice of a great multitude in heaven (Rev. 7:14; 19:1). But those who remain faithful when everyone else is going astray will, under Jesus Christ, become the priesthood of the coming age, and they shall offer unto [the LORD] the fat and the blood [of Christ’s sacrifice, on behalf of the world]. That will be their part in the offering for sin, or sin offering (44:10-14, 15, 16).

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