Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream - Daniel 2

Daniel 2:1 "And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him." See the last chapter of II Chronicles for a time prospective.

The problem with this dream is that the king does not remember it, only that it was very troubling. The king wants someone to tell him the dream and what it means. Of course, it is an impossible task for mere humans. Yet, the king demanded that his wise men tell him the dream and the meaning or he is going to put them all to death. That would have included Daniel.

v2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king."

I suppose these people had it pretty good so long as they could make up a convincing meaning for the king's dreams. But they are on the spot now, they have no way to fake this one. So they tell the king that he is asking something that no other king would ask of anyone. Well, Nebuchadnezzar is not just another king. He is the big boss and tells them that they will not have time to make up something.

v9 "But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you; for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed, therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof."

We find that they failed the test that the king put forth and so the decree went out to kill the lot of them. Daniel heard the news and asked to see the king.

v16 "Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation."

It would appear that Daniel has put himself on the spot but we must remember that Daniel is a man of faith and the first thing he did was gather his praying friends together to help him seek the Lord's help.

v18 "That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon."

We now know that Daniel did get help and that the dream was revealed to him. He did not go immediately off to tell the king but rather stayed long enough to give the Lord thanks.

v20 "Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are his;"

Daniel did not take credit for the wisdom he received but rather remembered where his help came from.

Daniel told the king that the wise men could not reveal the dream but

v28 "But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these:

Friday, October 22, 2010

King's Meat Daniel 1

Daniel 1:8 "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself."

I don't think it was that they could not have had better food from the market but rather that the meat and drink from the king's table was eaten in the name of their false gods and that is what Daniel objected to. He did not want to eat in the name of the false gods.

The key to this verse in that Daniel "purposed in his heart" . He had his mind made up before he had to confront the decision. But, he still had an attitude of humility with his keepers.

We should note strongly that the Lord had prepared the way for Daniel.

v9 "Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs."

Still the prince of the eunuchs was reluctant to agree with Daniel's request. Upon reading closely we discover that there was another eunuch put over Daniel by the name of Melzar. He did give Daniel and his three friends three days to prove themselves.

v12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days, and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink."

(pulse is vegetable type food, in some cases it talks of peas and such but here probably vegetables in general)

So after ten days Daniel and his friends were examined and found to look better than those who ate the king's meat.

v15 "And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat."

Again the Lord prepared their way and gave them the wisdom they would need to give meaning to the dreams of the king later.

v17 "As for these four children God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom, and Daniel and understanding in all visions and dreams."

It was finally time for the children to appear before the king where he talked with them. These four passed with flying colors. It says that Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus. It is now the second year of Nebuchadnezzar."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I have a tag at the bottom of each post which makes it easy to tell a friend about this Bible study. It is not an in depth study but if you are in a hurry and need a subject to think about during the day. It is quick and easy to read over a study. Please tell someone once in a while. Thank you.

The Names - Daniel 1

Daniel 1:6-7 "Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah of Abednego."

I feel sure that there were more Hebrew children who did well and remained true to God but we are given these as examples. They stirred up quite a fuss in the Chaldean kingdom.

The meanings:

Daniel - God is judge. Belteshazzar - the lord's leader. (Don't confuse this name with the son of Nebuchadnezzar whose name is very similiar and was Belshazzar, notice the 'te' in Daniel's name.

Hananiah - Jehovah is gracious. (Nice name) . Shadrach - Royal (?) the meaning is a perhaps.

Mishael - who is what God is? Meshach - can't find a meaning for that name

Azariah - Jehovah is keeper Abednego - servant of Nego

These are wonderful names, that is the original names. It is no wonder they wanted to change them, otherwise every time they called the boys, they would be calling out an attribute of the one true God. However, Daniel kept his original name most of the time. God is judge.

v8 "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself."

Daniel did not wait 'for the right time' to do what he felt was right. He started right off and it seems to me, in a quiet manner. He made friends or rather God gave him favor which allowed him to prove that serving God was a good way.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Daniel - Child, Leader and Prophet

Daniel 1:1 "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it."

We have studied the story how Nebuchadnezzar came and took Jerusalem under the will of God as punishment for their sin. It is the beginning of the captivity.

The king took back treasures to Babylon from the Lord's house. I'm sure he meant them as bounty but it turned out to be for safe keeping of the items.

The king also took some of the most promising children back with him to teach and to be in his company. Daniel was one of these children.

v2 "And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God; which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god, v3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;"

So not only are the treasures of the Lord's house preserved but also the king's seed is preserved. The bloodline is preserved.

Daniel came to Babylon as a child full of wisdom. The first part of the book is about the challenges he faced along with his friends. Then, we see him in his adult life as a leader after interrupting some very important dreams or visions of the king. He had his fair share of trials but is finally established. Then we see the visions Daniel saw and the explanation of them.

The book of Daniel should be studied along with the book of Revelation to help with an understanding of the end times.

v4 "Children in whom was no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongues of the Chaldeans."

Daniel had a good resume to start with but he improved on it. He also had the blessing of his Heavenly Father who answered the prayers he prayed. Daniel was a man of faith as illustrated by his statement to the king that God would show the vision.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oblation - Ezekiel 48

Ezekiel 48:21 "And the residue shall be for the prince, on the one side and on the other of the holy oblation, and of the possession of the city, over against the five and twenty thousand of the oblation toward the east border, and westward over against the five and twenty thousand toward the west border, over against the portions for the prince: and it shall be the holy oblation; and the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst thereof. See Revelation 21:3 and Joshua 18:1

It is, of course, appropriate that the book of Ezekiel end with an offering (oblation) for the prince. We know him and the coming king, Jesus Christ. This chapter should be read in conjunction with Revelation 22.

It tells of the dividing of the land of Canaan. I expect for the kingdom age but I am not sure. The words of this chapter are beautiful but there is still a bit of a cloud that is taken off in Revelation. It is amazing to me that our unworthy generation is able to see things that were kept from the old prophets. We are blessed.

Zadok, the priest, is given special mention because he did not go astray as the other Levites did. He is therefore allowed to approach the Lord.

v11 "It shall be for the priests that are sanctified of the sons of Zadok; which have kept my charge, which went not astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray."

Although Zadok was of the priesthood, we see here a distinction between him and the Levites. It is like when the kingdom was divided and it became Israel and Judah. It is now Zadok and the Levites.

It is noted that Joseph gets two portions in the names of his sons.

v5 "And by the border of Manaseh, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Ephraim."

And so we end Ezekiel with a very appropriate verse. In the beginning of Ezekiel we saw the glory of the Lord depart the temple, then in the end we saw the glory of the Lord return. Oh happy day. Now we find another name for the city and it ought to be a joyous name.

v35 "It was round about eighteen thousand measures; and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there."

And that makes all the difference, to know that the LORD is there.

The book of Daniel is next.

Friday, September 10, 2010

River Too Wide & Lots of Fish - Ezekiel 47

Ezekiel 47 : 5 "Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over; for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over."

I saw the Mississippi at the mouth where it runs into the gulf. The waters are wide and move with the force of hundreds of miles of water behind it. It was frightening and magnificent at the same time. If it had not been muddy, it might have been a good comparison to this river.

v2 "Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side."

I'm thinking this is a clouded picture of the New Jerusalem we read about in Revelation. I should back up and get the first verse.

v1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward; for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar."

We are often pointed eastward in these passages. Ever looking toward the place where the prince is to stand.

Revelation 22:1 "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."

In Ezekiel, a man is showing Ezekiel these things, in Revelation, a man is showing John. I don't think he was an ordinary man though.

The rest of the chapter deals with dividing the land for the twelve tribes.

I did like one passage especially. It was about the fish in the river. My son, in heaven, would like this.

v10 "And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many."

From Engedi to Eneglaim, I might could catch a fish there.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Prince at the Post - Ezekiel 46

Ezekiel 46:2 "And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate; then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening."

v3 "Likewise, the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons."

What some have called superstition may have come about from this very chapter of Ezekiel. I have heard during my life that if you go in a door you should leave by the same door. In this chapter, it is commanded to leave by a different door than where they came in. It is a good example of how things get turned around.

v9 "But when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate; and he that entereth by way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate; he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.

I think this has to do with organization. If you can picture two lines going and coming from the temple. It would be difficult for everyone to get through if they turned against the traffic and there would be a log jam at the gates.

Remember, all Israel was to go to Jerusalem at certain times of the year.

The prince was different, he was to enter and leave by the same way.

v8 "And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the porch of the gate, and he shall go forth by the way thereof."

Now look at the following verse. As sons, Christians have a great inheritance. We join Christ as children of the Father.

v16 "Thus saith the LORD GOD; If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons'; it shall be their possession by inheritance."

Ephesians 3:6 "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel;"

But, of course, our passage is concerning the temple activities when it is restored. I do believe that there are parallels with our spiritual worship.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Prince and Priests - Ezekiel 45

Ezekiel 45:17 "And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnitles of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel."

Upon my first reading, I did not notice that it is now the prince that is preparing the offerings. We can go on down to verse 19 and the priests come in.

v19 "And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court."

My reference Bible takes me to I Peter 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed."

When Jesus was being accused and Pilate reasoned with the priests the priests made a profound statement: Matthew 27:25 "Then answered all the people and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."

I know they meant that they would take the blame but the statement was prophetic in a way. Jesus blood is the way to eternal life and those who come to him are cleansed by the blood.

Jesus has become prince and priest to us.

When Jesus was condemned for sins he did not commit, he was being condemned for the sins we did commit. The priest, unknowingly, prepared a sin offering, a peace offering and those other offerings, when they beat and crucified Jesus. He was the lamb of God, offered for our sins. Can you see as they beat Him and his blood was sprinkled round about.

Chapter 45 tells us many details of how the land was to be divided with a portion set aside for the priest and the holy place. It also sets the measurement, just measurements, as well as the offerings.

One final note: v18 "Thus saith the Lord God; In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary."

v21 "In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten."

Luke 22:7-8 "Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed, And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat."

So, as we study through the Bible, the Old Old Story, can you see that the blood of the lamb on the door posts to save the first born, the sacrifices in the tabernacle and temple were all pointing to the cross of Calvary where redemption was purchased for mankind by the blood of the Lamb of God. There can be no other explanation.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Levites - Ezekiel 44

Ezekiel 44:4 "Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house; and I looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD; and I fell upon my face."

We leave the eastern gate where the prince shall enter and go toward the north where Ezekiel saw the reverse of earlier scripture. In the beginning of Ezekiel, the glory of the Lord departed the temple but now we see the vision of the return. I suspect this event is still to take place.

Then we see the office of priesthood narrowed to one family of the house of the Levites.

v15 "But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the LORD GOD:"

So the entire tribe of Levites can no longer enter into the most holy place, that is left for the children of Zadok who was faithful.

The Levites who went after idols and offered sacrifice to them will remain in service but are not to approach to the Lord.

v11 "Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them."

The balance of the chapter concerns the rules for the priests. It is good to know the rules before hand so there will be no mistakes.

v30 And the first of all the firstfruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest's, ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Eastern Gate

Ezekiel 43:4 "And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east."

C10v19 "And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight; when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and everyone stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD's house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above."

So, initially, we see the glory of the Lord departing from the temple. In chapter 43, Ezekiel sees a vision of the glory returning. I believe this to be at a future time. Although, Jesus is said to have entered at the eastern gate because of the route he would have taken from the Mount of Olives.

The eastern gate is also called: Golden Gate, Gate of Mercy, Gate of Eternal Life, Beautiful Gate. As well as, names in other languages.

In the pictures I saw, the gate leads directly into the temple.

v10 "Thou son of man, show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern."

The chapter tells further measurements for the altar and the ordinances. Then comes the sanctification of the altar.

V20 "And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about; thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it."

Another generation is learning what has already been taught in previous times. It is no less important.

v27 "And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings, and I will accept you, saith the LORD GOD." See Lev. 9:1

In studying this subject, we would be going into the time lines of prophecy. More learned men are better at that. I think they were going through these procedures during the time of Christ but it had again become a matter of profit.

Jesus offered himself but was rejected by the nation Israel. He did, however, offer Himself as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. The crucifixion of Christ did not stop his mission. His kingdom is, nevertheless, established on a spiritual level which should also be manifest on a physical level as well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chambers & the four sides - Ezekiel 42

Ezekiel 42:1 "Then he brought me forth into the utter court, the way toward the north; and he brought me into the chamber that was over against the separate place, and which was before the building toward the north."

I believe I am correct in saying that all things in the temple point toward the most holy place. The chambers were where the priests could change clothes and prepare the offerings. They had to wear holy garments to enter the most holy and other garments to go out to the people.

v14 "When the priests enter therein, then shall they not go out of the holy place into the utter court, but there they shall lay their garments wherein they minister; for they are holy; and shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which are for the people."

There is no foolishness here. A precise pattern is laid out for priests to make the transition from the sinful world and the holy place. We must remember that the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23) A sinful person cannot appear before God without the blood being applied to atone for sin.

Under the law, which is what we are studying, it was the blood of animals offered often. IN the New Testament it is the blood of Christ offered once and for all.

Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

So upon accepting Christ as our atonement for sin, the only chamber we have to open up is the chamber of our heart.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Temple Chambers - Ezekiel 41

Ezekiel 41:1 "Afterward he brought me to the temple, and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, which was the breadth of the tabernacle."

Ah, the patience of the Lord. We have seen these details given before but this is a new generation. I believe history tells us that the second temple was modified to be 1/3 larger as the first was twice the size of the tabernacle. I do not know the significance of these changes. I believe the addition of the court for the gentiles has great importance and may point to the inclusion of the gentiles in the salvation plan.

v7 "And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers: for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house: therefore the breadth of the house was still upward, and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst."

These details may seem unnecessary but they are not. I suppose we could think of meeting an important person. We would perhaps notice the lawn upkeep, the color of the walls in the first room we visited, the long hall we walked down, the place we waited for our appointment. Then finally, the doors are opened, we enter through a doorway and there he is.

So it must be to enter the temple, knowing that beyond the trappings in the holiest place, the Lord is waiting to greet us. We'd remember the details.

v26 "And there were narrow windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch, and upon the side chambers of the house, and thick planks."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Measuring the City - Ezekiel 40

Ezekiel 40:1 "In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither."

Now Ezekiel is brought to the city of Jerusalem in the 25th year of their captivity. He is given very precise measurements for the rebuilding. It goes on for the next couple of chapters. Scofield advises that this is the kingdom age. I do not doubt that the measurements will be used when the temple is rebuilt for the kingdom age.

My notion is that this was a result of Nehemiah's prayer in the 20th year.

Nehemiah 1:1 "The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace."

In the next chapter it mentions the 20th year of king Artaxerxes so which 20th is Nehemiah referring to. I think it was the 20th year of captivity but I'm not sure.

To answer Nehemiah's prayer, he would need to have the building specifications when he went to Jerusalem. I think it is wonderful how it was all worked out.

v5 "And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an handbreadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed."

See also Revelation 11 "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein."

So in studying this, we should know that earthly things of God, hence, the tabernacle, the temple, are made on the pattern of heavenly things. Even in the measurements of chapter 11, the court is not measured:

v2 "But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."

Well, just about any subject can challenge the mind if we set out to learn all the details. I suggest picking a subject and ponder it for long hours. You may gain insight that will be used later.

This chapter goes on for 49 verses with details and measurements. It may not mean much to the average reader but to a builder, the details are what makes the building stand.

v49 "The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the breadth eleven cubits, and he brought me by the steps whereby they went up to it; and there were pillars by the post, one on this side, and another on that side."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gog & Magog - Ezekiel 38

Ezekiel 38:2 "Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meschech and Tubal, and prophesy against him."

In the next two chapters we deal with a subject that is too large for the format of this study. There are many scripture references that should be looked at to attempt to understand the subject.

First of all, it should be noted that these passages speak to the future, the end of time and the last attempt to wipe out Israel. It can be studied in conjunction with Armageddon, Rev. 16, the real end not the movie.

Meschech and Tubal are Moscow and Tobolsk according to my reference Bible notes.

References for further study: Revelation 20:8,14:14-20,19:17-21, Matthew 24: 14-30, Zechariah 12:1-4

v8 "After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste; but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them."

It will a time of the judging of the nations. A time of terrible fear upon the earth. I believe and hope that this takes place after the rapture of the church which no doubt will cause great confusion among the unsaved left behind.

v19 "For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be great shaking in the land of Israel;"

I believe we would all have to agree that God has shown great patience with the world and its disrespect for Him and each other. When the final days start there will be no end until all is accomplished that God has said. There will be no intermission until he says so. It shall be a dreadful day for many.

Matthew 24:21 "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."

v29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: v30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven;..."

In a previous chapter we saw where the Lord told Israel that 'he was for them', but here concerning Gog, we hear the Lord say 'I am against thee'.

So, a large subject has opened up before us. It is a subject that should sober the most carefree among us. There is to be an end to it all. We should, with all our efforts to prepare for things of this life, give serious attention to the affairs of eternity.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dry Bones - Ezekiel 37

Ezekiel 37:1 "The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones."

People often seek a sign in spiritual things but I doubt we could take such a sign as Ezekiel got.

To be picked up and put down in a valley full of bones would be shocking to me.

I like this chapter because it shows that what is impossible with men, is very possible with the Lord. He can take what seems completely used up and revive it.

v4 "Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD."

I don't find it strange, but some might, that in a previous chapter we heard the Lord telling Ezekiel to prophesy to the mountains that they would be filled with people again and now that these bones would live again.

v7 "So, I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone."

I see a glimpse of resurrection day for the saints. Our loved ones who have gone to the grave will some day be pulled together to rise from the grave in an instant. Nothing is too hard for God.

v9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live."

Nothing is too hard for God.

v13 "And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves."

The balance of the chapter talks about the reunion of Judah and Israel into one nation again under one king. A grand day it shall be.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Israel - The Land - Ezekiel 36

Ezekiel 36:8 "But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel for they are at hand to come."

I'm not sure if this refers to the end of the captivity or a future time when the glory of Israel is restored at the coming of Christ as their king.

It, nevertheless, tells of a time after the cleansing when the land will again yield in abundance. The people will have a heart for God and the heathen will no longer abuse the land or claim it as their own.

v11 "And I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall increase and bring fruit, and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD."

The Lord has attached his name to Israel. Israel turned to idols and thus shamed themselves and almost the name of the Lord. That will all change.

v18 "Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they hand polluted it:"

v22 "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD, I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen whither ye went."

Up until now they are going by the law of Moses which is outward toward inward. It relies on the person making the law their life. It was imperfect as the New Testament tells us. There is to be a new way. Christians know it as the plan of salvation where the Spirit of God works from the inside toward the outward.

It changes a person from the inside out.

v26 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."

The book of Hebrews explains it well.

Hebrews 7:19 "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."

So in the place of the blood of animals, we have the perfect sacrifice of the Son of God, The Lamb of God who offered himself one time for all time for our sins.

Hebrews 9:12 "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."

Once the New Testament is accepted as truth, it is impossible not to see that many of the Old Testament scriptures refer to Jesus Christ and a new and better way. He came as a lamb and not as a warrior. His purpose was not to deliver us from a government but to deliver us from the wages of sin.

v38 "As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am the LORD."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seir - Ezekiel 35

Ezekiel 35:5 "Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:"

Seir is an area extending from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea and was occupied by the descendants of Esau. Seir also sometimes means Edom.

So the old hatred is still alive here. While Israel is weak from the chastisement of God, Esau takes advantage. But they are called on their transgression.

v15 "As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD. "

It is a saying that I have heard often, 'I may discipline my own but they are mine, so hands off.'

Israel had a special place in the heart of God but he still cares what goes on in other nations.

v13 "Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good Shepherd - Ezekiel 34

Ezekiel 34:11 "For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out."

The flock has been taken away from those who used it for gain for themselves.

The Lord has taken on the role of the shepherd for his people. He has always looked after them but with the use of under shepherds. Now, he is taking the direct role of shepherd.

It was still a mystery, somewhat, when he wrote the next verse I will give. I believe when he says David, he is referring to the descendant of David after the flesh, the Christ.

v23 "And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd."

Refer here to John chapter 10.

John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth is life for the sheep."

Hosea 3:5 "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days."

Also in this chapter we have the covenant of peace mentioned. Who would not want peace in a land that has always know war.

v25 "And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods."

Then the verse that brought on a song that I have often heard sung in church.

v26 "And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing."

It is a wonderful chapter. It speaks of when Christ shall reign and there will be no more danger of being attacked or carried away into captivity.

No doubt, the mighty warriors of Israel and Judah were feeling pretty low about this time. They had been stripped and dragged away in chains and made to serve. The last verse tells them that they are still men and things will change.

v31 "And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Bad Shepherd - Eekiel 34

Ezekiel 34:2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"

For the priests, the resources that came in were taken as their income. I suppose they became wealthy, for a time, yet, they cared not for the people. It says later in the chapter that, not only did they eat the good grass but they tread down what was left.

v18 "Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?"

They took what they wanted and spoiled what was left.

A shepherd has a responsibility to care for the sheep. Not just the healthy sheep but those who have become injured or are sick.

v4 "The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them."

I am glad that some pastors and preachers are realizing that injured Christians are like injured soldiers in the battle field. If they are cared for, they will recover to fight another day. Christians get injured, lost on their way. It is not right to just write them off as lost causes. They should be sought for and restored.

v6 "My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill; yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them."

So, the flock is taken away from the shepherds and we will learn in the next lesson about the Good Shepherd who took the flock and cared for it.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Watchman - Ezekiel 33

Ezekiel 33:31 "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness."

v32 And , lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

v33 "And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them."

Ezekiel 33 is a very solemn chapter. It tells of the responsibility of the prophet to say what the Lord told him to. It points out that the people may not believe but that the prophet has delivered his own soul. Thus the phrase often used by preachers that 'I delivered my soul.'

v4 "Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head."

Before Israel went into Canaan to possess the land, there was preparation for battle. The trumpet was used. There were signals set up to assemble and others which meant different things. It was a very effective way for all the people to act in unison. But if someone were in a dangerous place and the trumpet sounded for everyone to move to another place and that person was not paying attention, they could be there alone when the danger came.

So here, the watchman and the trumpet are used to describe the state of iniquity and whether or not a person would turn from that iniquity when they heard the warning. IN this case, the trumpet was the voice of the prophet.

v14 "Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; ... he shall surely live, he shall not die. v16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live."

The chapter also deals with the righteous turning the other way or trusting in their own righteousness. These words point to Christ and our dependence on his righteousness alone.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Pharaoh - Ezekiel 32

Ezekiel 32:2 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou are like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas; and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy fee, and fouledst their rivers."

After that some of Judah fled to Egypt, the king of Babylon invaded. It was the final chapter in the greatness of Egypt. Egypt is still there but the majesty of the Pharaoh's is gone.

Also, in studying this chapter I was drawn back to Tyre where the king set himself up to be God and was judged. There we studied the doings of Satan. Here we see also the presence of Satan as a beast in the river whose carcass was to be dragged on land for the fowls to feed on. It is symbolic of the end of the dragon.

Job 41:24 "His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. v31 "He maketh the deep to boil like a pot; he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment." v23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together; they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved."

Ezekiel 29:4 "But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of the rivers shall stick unto thy scales."

So before God, there is a weakness in all things created.

Pharaoh is going to be defeated although I suppose he believed otherwise until the end.

Other nations will notice with trembling the fall of Egypt:

v24 "There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain,... v26 There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude; her graves are round about him; v29 There is Edom, her kings, and all her princes, which with their might are laid by them that were slain...

The pronouncement to Pharaoh is a terrible statement in that it was so tragic for him - that he would join these other nations who did not acknowledge God as their only God.

v31 "Pharaoh shall see them, and shall be comforted over all his multitude, even Pharaoh and all his army slain by the sword, saith the Lord GOD."

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Assyria - Ezekiel 31

Ezekiel 31:3 "Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs."

In speaking to Egypt, the Lord told Ezekiel to tell Egypt about Assyria and their majesty. Upon doing so, it should have been clear to Egypt that even the greatest can be brought down.

Assyria was one of four great kingdoms (monarchies) of the time. It sat where Kurdisten now stands but spread far and wide. It is also related to Nineveh where tablets with a strange form of writing has been dug up in recent years.

v5 "Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth."

Assyria is compared to the garden of God, Eden.

v8 "The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty."

But even this greatness came to nought under the judgment of God. So, Egypt would be no exception.

v16 "I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth."

It is God who raises up nations and who has the power to cast them down.

v18 "To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the neither parts of the earth; thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord GOD."

Monday, August 02, 2010

Egypt - scattered - Ezekiel 30

Ezekiel 30:26 "And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I am the LORD."

We often see these words in Ezekiel 'and they shall know that I am the LORD'. Oh how much trouble we would avoid if only we would acknowledge the Creator of the universe and all that is in it. Man is proud and we'd like to think that we were the makers of our own destiny, the captain of our own ship. We should never forget that the Lord made the sea we sail on and the wood that the ship is made from.

v3 "For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen."

As it was in the day of Noah, so it was with Egypt, so it is in our time. A day of judgment comes, like the clock ticking toward midnight. We are powerless to stop it.

v4 "And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down."

I think every great nation that has stood on earth must have thought that they could not be brought down. Babylon seemed indestructible. Egypt seemed indestructible. There are strong nations on earth today. Those that do not forget God and those who honor God will stand the test of time.

Egypt was Israel's crutch, their go to nation until God took away that crutch so Israel would turn to him alone.

v19 "Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Egypt's allies were also taken away so that Egypt had no one to call to support them.

v6 "Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down; from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD."

Well it was a terrible time in the whole area. It went back to Israel turning to idols instead of honoring God. The land paid a great price.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Egypt - desolation - Ezekiel 29

Ezekiel 29:3 "Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself."

There is that boosting again. Of course, we are talking about Egypt in the times of Ezekiel.

There were two basic reasons why Egypt came under judgment here. One is that they did not give God the glory for their good fortune. The river/rivers were the source of the riches of Egypt. We all know about the Nile. I believe there was at one time a river system that made the land rich. I don't know much about what Egypt is like now.

Another reason is that Israel was bad about turning to Egypt when they were in distress instead of turning to God as they should have. But Egypt took advantage in those times and hurt Israel.

Therefore, Egypt was given to Nebuchadrezzar as his wages for the work in Tyre.

Once Egypt was made a base nation, Israel would no longer turn to them as they did when Egypt was full of power and splendor.

II Kings 18:21 "Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him."

So, we can see, in these studies, that during this time the face of the whole region changed tremendously. There was greatness all around but it went to Babylon under the judgment of God.

v13 "Yet, thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered; v14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom."

v19 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army."

I would like to have seen these nations in their glory days. It must have been a sight to behold. But they rejected or turned from the Lord GOD and it cost them their kingdoms.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tyre - Judgment - Ezekiel 28

Ezekiel 28:13 "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold; the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created."

While this is the judgment of the port city Tyre, it also talks of the judgment of Satan. What better place to set himself up than at the crossroads of the world (of that day).

We see a glimpse into the spiritual part of things. Behind every evil work is Satan.

v2 "Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God."

People can think great things about themselves. Sometimes people who are close to a person of authority get to thinking that they are the one of power. Satan was a cherub in the mountain of God but he was a created being and not God. He had the power that God gave him.

v17 "Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness; I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee."

We might say that he became very proud of himself and just did not think correctly because he had his eyes on his own beauty (which God made) and not on God.

So, it was with Tyre. The nations came to trade and I expect the prince took a share of all the trades. He became very rich but failed to remember that the little island/city of Tyre made little compared to what was traded. Without the traffic from the nations, they would be selling purple to the occasional traveler.

But perhaps the prince sat in his penthouse and watched as people of all journeyed there to trade. Perhaps, he thought to himself, I am doing all this, these people are coming to me. He was wrong of course.

v15 "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tyre - Trading Partners - Ezekiel 27

Ezekiel 27:3 "And say unto Tyre, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord God, O Tyre, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty."

Tyre was a great city. They traded with about everybody. There trade extended inland and across the sea. They were famous for their purple die which was often reserved for kings and nobles.

This chapter tells us many of the nations they traded with and the particular products they sold or traded. I think the purpose is to show the greatness of the fall that they had because they had grown so arrogant that the prince felt he was a god.

It tells of the fine wood used in their ships:

v5-6 "They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir; they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee, Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory brought out of the isles of Chittim."

Then it tells of the specialist who did the work.

v8 "The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were thy mariners; thy wise men, O Tyre, that were in thee, were thy pilots."

From Egypt came fine linen. v7
From Togarmah came the horses and horsemen and mules. v14
Syria came with emeralds, purple, embroidered work and fine linen, coral and agate.

It goes on to cover, it seems to me, everything. As for food, the land of Canaan was its source.

v17 "Judah and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants; they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil and balm."

So Tyre was like the center of a wheel with nations all around coming and going. It was a great city and probably very beautiful but they tried to lift themselves up a to high and great was their fall.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tyre - Ezekiel 26

Ezekiel 26:2 "Son of man, because that Tyre hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people; she is turned unto me; I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:"

The next three chapters deal with Tyre. First the judgment, then the greatness, then the leader of the city and his great sin.

Tyre was a port city of great riches. David had good relations with king Hiram and traded with him for the buildings he built.

First we find that they were speaking boastfully about the fall of Jerusalem. Later we will find that the prince thought of himself as God.

Ezekiel 28:2 "Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:"

Tyre was a center of trade, perhaps the greatest of the day. Nations traded there from far and wide. But because of their boasting and pride they are judged.

v7 "For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring upon Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people."

This was the beginning of their great fall. They were finally totally defeated by Alexander the Great and are not a small insignificant city under Turk rule.

v21 "I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more; though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord God."

Even though there is a small city there, the majesty and the city that it was, has vanished.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Those Who Rejoiced Over Israel's Problems - Ezekiel 25

Ezekiel 25:6 "For thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel: v7 Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, ..."

It was the Lord's decision to punish Israel and Judah. It was not the business of the surrounding nations which rejoiced at the fall of the kingdom. So, because of the arrogance they too were punished.

We should take note in regard to our own lives and the lives of others. Sometimes a fellow Christian might be going through something either as chastening or as a test. We should be careful not to make comments like 'I knew that was going to happen' or 'They had that coming.' We may sometimes have thoughts but they need to be rebuked and prayed about before they bud.

Here we start a list of those who were punished for glorying over Israel's problems:

v3 "And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God: Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned, and against the land of Israel when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity, v4 Behold therefore, I will deliver thee to the men of the east..."

v8 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Moab and Seir do say, Behold, the house of Judah is like unto all the heathen;..."

v12 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah..."

v15 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred;"

I think some of these nations saw Israel and Judah in a weakened state and decided to get back at them for all the times when they were defeated by a strong nation. That was taken up by the Lord himself.

I think we in this part of the country might sometimes think that some other countries have had no dealings with the one true God. But they have.

v17 "And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ezekiel's Wife - Ezekiel 24

Ezekiel 24:16 "Son of man, behold, I take away from thee thee desire of thine eyes with a stroke, yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down."

I find this a tough chapter. A prophet is indeed worthy of our respect.

The illustration is of Israel and Judah who are lost to the Lord as they turn to idols and are punished with captivity and the loss of their homeland. Ezekiel looses his wife in this chapter but is not allowed to mourn just as the Lord will not mourn for the punishment that Israel is receiving. At least, there is to be no outward show of grief.

v2 "Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day; the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day."

We are referred back to II Kings 25:1 and Jeremiah 39:1

II Kings 25:1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about."

Jeremiah 39:1 reads basically the same. It was a specific date to be remembered.

Then we have the parable of a pot. It is filled with meat and cooked but not drained leaving the scum in the pot. Then that which is left is cooked until it is gone.

v6 "Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it."

Throughout these various accounts of the fall of Jerusalem there is one statement that I see a lot and it is all about Israel remembering who their God is. 'They shall know that I am the LORD."

v27 "In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD."

v18 "So I spake unto the people in the morning; and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aholah and Aholibah - Ezekiel 23

Ezekiel 23:4 "And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names, Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah."

My helps dictionary uses Aholibah as the nation Judah also. At this time of the captivity, most of the people of Judah were drawn into Jerusalem. Aholah means 'her own tent' while Aholibah means 'my tent in her'. The latter perhaps referring to Jerusalem being the tent within Judah but I'm not sure.

The comparison is two sisters Samaria (Israel after the division) and Judah. First Samaria was unfaithful to God then upon seeing the sins of Samaria, Judah followed as well with unfaithfulness.

It is a stinging story of how the two sisters followed after the sins of the nations which surrounding them instead of following the teachings they had received in the wilderness and after.

v22 "Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side: v23 The Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa and all the Assyrians with them: all of them desirable young en, captains and rulers, great lords and renowned, all of them riding upon horses."

The sins of Israel did not start in Canaan, as we have learned, they started in Egypt. We can remember when Moses brought them out and the times were hard. They looked and longed for Egypt again. While Moses was on the mountain receiving the commandments, they built the calf. In all this, the Lord did not destroy them so that the heathen would not see their punishment. But still, they could not keep from looking back to Egypt.

The punishment, now, was for a purpose.

v27 "Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more."

The application for Christians is that we should do as Paul did 'forgetting those things which are behind'. It is not possible to hang onto the desire to be part of the world system and be totally devoted to the will of God.

Think about it. Can a person go in two directions at the same time?

I John 1:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Princes and Prophets - Ezekiel 22

Ezekiel 22:27 "Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain."

v26 "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things;...

v6 "Behold, the princes of Israel, everyone were in thee to their power to shed blood."

The structure of leadership has dissolved into a quest for personal gain. The fault for the attitude of the people is laid on the leadership while making no excuse for the sin of the people.

The sins are many and are listed one by one. The Lord has said that he would not correct Israel while in Egypt or the wilderness because he had claimed them as his own and did not want to shame them in the presence of the enemy. That's what I got from previous chapters.

Now Israel took advantage and turned from God and worshipped idols. It was not just innocent mischief. Children were burned to please false gods, the laws of God were broken one by one. The strangers were mistreated. Even the house of God and the precious things were used for personal gain.

v8 "Thou hast despised mine holy things... v9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood...v12 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood..." And many more. These comments were directed at the princes of Israel.

Further it tells how the priests participated with them. It also tells of the prophets who told the leaders that they were doing just fine and every thing would be just fine.

v28 "And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying Thus saith the Lord God, when the LORD hath not spoken."

The Apostle Paul told us to 'study to be quiet'. It would have behooved the prophets to say nothing rather than lie about God telling them something.

It became so bad that the Lord gave us this verse to summarize the situation in Israel.

v30 "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it but I found none."

There was no Moses to plead for the people or a David to stand at the threshing floor and say that he was the man who should be punished instead of the people.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sword & Diadem - Ezekiel 21

Ezekiel 21:25-27 "And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.

"I will overturn, overturn, over turn, it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him."

In this chapter, we see again the end of the kingship of Israel but with some added information. The crown is removed until someone comes to whom it belongs. It refers to the coming king, the Lord himself who shall descend with a shout.

It also tells of the Lord taking out his sword and shining it up.

v9 "Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished: v10 It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; should we then make mirth? it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree."

furbish: to give a new look to, renovate, to make lustrous.

So a new kingship is announced the old is taken away.

contemn: despise.

In the book of Revelation, we see Him come.

Revelation 11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

His Name's Sake - Ezekiel 20

Ezekiel 20:1 "And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me."

Remember the Lord told Ezekiel that to tell the elders that He would not speak to them because they had idols still in their heart. So here, the Lord tells Ezekiel to deal with them.

v3 "Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Are ye come to inquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you."

This chapter takes Ezekiel back through the history of Israel so that he can tell them the reason they are where they are. It begins in Egypt where they were told to cast off their idols but they did not. It tells of the wilderness where they were given the commandments and to cast off idols but they did not. It tells of Canaan where they were blessed but still they returned to their idols.

The Lord told them that it was because of His own name's sake that he spared them all those times. Also, because the Lord had claimed them as His own, he did not want to punish them in the sight of the heathen.

v9 "But I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt."

Like sheep who must learn discipline for their own good. The Lord here promises Israel that they will learn and that they will turn from their wickedness.

v37 "And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;"

These words are spread through other verses: v38 "And I will purge..." v35 "I will bring..." v41 "I will accept..."

The Lord is not bringing all this about because Israel has been so good, no, but for His own name's sake. We often refer to our children as our name's sake. So, too, could this be that Jesus as God's son is also His name's sake. I've heard the prayer often, 'for Jesus' sake, Amen'.

I'm glad for Jesus and His righteousness, for I certainly could not get to heaven on my own merits.

v44 "And ye shall know that I am the LORD when I have wrought with you for my name's sake, not according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord God."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lamentation for the Princes of Israel - Ezekiel 19

Ezekiel 19:2 "And say, what is thy mother? A lioness; she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions. v3 And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men."

This lamentation is concerning two kings who reigned in the latter years of the kingdom. They were both sons of Josiah (who was a good king). The first Johahaz reigned but for a short time and was taken away by the Pharaoh of Egypt. Eliakim was put in his place and his name changed to Jehoiakim by Pharaoh.

v4 "The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt."

Eliakim became king and did as other kings and fought wars, etc.

v8 "Then the nations set against him on every side from the provinces, and spread their net over him: he was taken in their pit."

The scepter is the symbol of power. It tells us here that the 'mother' had many who could hold the scepter and that there were strong rods for the scepters. But then even the mother was destroyed.

v12 "But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit; her strong rods were broken and withered, the fire consumed them."

The first verse tells us who the mother was: Israel. In one place, when the enemy was confronting Israel (when they were coming into the kingdom), someone said they all have the face of a king.

v1 "Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,"

Read also II kings 23:34 and surrounding verses.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Sour Grapes - Ezekiel 18

Ezekiel 18:2 "What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?"

There were some bad expressions on the faces in the land. No doubt, anyone going through could see the attitude of the people by their expression and the proverb used to describe them.

The Lord goes on to explain that if the people do right, they will not be punished and will have no reason for long faces.

v4 "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

v5 But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, ... he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God."

The chapter reviews the elements of the law that was given to the people. The final word is that every person bears his own sin and it is not passed up or down in the family.

v20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shalt the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

It tells us that we shall stand before God individually. I think it also tells us that our family ties are not the issue but rather how we conduct ourselves.

The plea is for Israel to turn from their wickedness. It has not changed that the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23.

It is so obvious that we need a Savior. Man is of sinful nature and cannot pull himself up. Much of what we learn in the Old Testament shows us the need for the New. We need someone who was pure enough to take our place. It was and is Jesus.

v32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Eagles & Twigs - Ezekiel 17

Ezekiel 17:3 "And say, Thus saith the Lord God; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colors, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar;

v4 "He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffic; he set it in a city of merchants."

These stories are beautiful to me. I do not understand the exact meaning but I can see Jesus here. He is telling a truth with a story just as he did in the New Testament.

Telling of two eagles, I believe this first one is Israel and the second one is Babylon. I cannot be sure.

v12 "Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell the, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon;"

It seems that the purpose for the invasion of Judah was to bring down the mighty nation so that it would again learn to trust the Lord. They rebelled again by going to Egypt for help.

v14 "That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand."

v17 "Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons."

So Judah was suppose to yield to the captivity but they went to Egypt for help. This caused judgment on Egypt as well and the destruction of many.

There is hope in the chapter.

v24 "And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish; I the LORD have spoken and have done it."

God's chosen people are to learn that they serve the true God who is able to tear down the mighty and do the impossible with that which seems useless. "...have made the dry tree to flourish..."

Isaiah 53:4 Isaiah 53:2 "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: ...."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Nativity - Ezekiel 16

Ezekiel 16:6 "And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live."

Chapter 16 is a chapter that should be read in it's entirety. It is a picture of Jerusalem as a newborn baby, neglected until the Lord came by, then raised up and decked out in fine linen and jewels.

v9 "Then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil."

It is a picture of a child cast out and unwanted. Then the Lord passed by.

v5 "None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee, but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born."

I think of the song "When Jesus passed by my way." I don't know if that is the title. But the Lord does care for the outcast. He does have time to stop and take note of our needs. Just think of the blind man who sat by the roadside begging. Jesus stopped to fill his need. So did the Lord with Jerusalem. He cared for them.

Jerusalem turned from the Lord after all this loving care and worshipped things instead of the One who was taking care of them. The chapter goes on to compare Jerusalem to a wife who turned to another but found not fulfillment for her desires.

v15 "But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on everyone that passed by; his it was."

Besides being unfaithful, Jerusalem took the children and sacrificed them to idols.

v21 "That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?"

These are the sins of Jerusalem, recounted to the people so that the might remember and know why they were uprooted from their homeland and taken into captivity.

v38 "And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy."

After all this, Jerusalem will be remembered and there is hope in this chapter as well.

v60 "Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. See Exodus 2:24 and Hosea 2:15

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Vine - Ezekiel 15

Ezekiel 15:6 "Therefore thus saith the Lord God; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem."

In this chapter, we understand the vine. It was made to be burned int he fire for fuel. It seems there was no other good use for the vine. Jerusalem is now described as being like the vine, good only to be used for fuel in the fire.

For those who have studied only the New Testament, this statement must seem strange. I, myself, have been trying to reconcile the chapter with New Testament scripture. For in the New Testament, the vine is all important.

John 15:1- "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman."

We know that grapes grow on vines and that wine was / is made from grapes. So it was used for fuel when pulled from the forest and for other purposes when tended. I believe the mystery is that even the vine is can be purposeful in the Father's hands. On the one hand, if the Father decrees, it is used for fuel. On the other hand, if the Father decrees, the vine is used for productive purposes.

Jesus adopted the role of the vine. Perhaps because as the vine in the forest had little respect, so he had little respect on earth, at least from the powers of this world.

v2 "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

So, we see that bearing good fruit determines the purpose of the vine. One that bears good fruit is nourished and cared for. The branches that do not bear are cut away and burned so that they do not draw nourishment from the good branches that are producing fruit.

In our chapter, Jerusalem has become a branch that bears only bad fruit. What would we do with a fruit tree that never produced anything but rotten fruit or no fruit at all. God owns the trees and so can make these decisions concerning the trees or vines. (A vine is considered a tree in the Bible.)

John 5:5 "I am the vine, (Jesus) , ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing."

Jerusalem, the capitol of Israel was part of that great nation that the Lord choose as his own. He built the nation and brought into Canaan. It seems much like a man moving from one area to another and taking along a cutting of a prized apple tree or grape vine. He places it in good soil and waits for good fruit.

Jerusalem brought forth bad fruit. Not at first, but the fruit went bad and so, we have this chapter where the vine is cast into the fire.

v8 "And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord God."

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Three Men - Ezekiel 14

Ezekiel 14:16 "Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God."

One thing struck me in this verse. Ezekiel is receiving this prophesy during the captivity and that is when Daniel was living his life in captivity. (We will study about Daniel later.) But the Lord put him in this group of three righteous men. Two from the olden days. Daniel must have had great favor with the Lord and indeed he did.

I believe the point here is that when God starts his judgment on a people, it is bound to be carried out regardless of who prays. Although he has great respect for someone, His will must be carried out. So even Noah, Daniel or Job could not stop this judgment.

Now in the first part of the chapter some elders have come to Ezekiel, it seems they were wanting to find out what God had in mind for the future. The problem with them was that they had not turned lose of their idol worship even though there may have been no images, they still held idols in their heart.

v1 "Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me."

v3 "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face; should I be inquired of at all by them?"

People cannot come to God for a new life when they hold on to their old life. The first step is repentance which means to 'turn from'.

v6 "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God, Repent and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations."

The same is true for this generation. As I've said, people cannot make a deal with God. We must come under His conditions. It starts with recognizing that we are sinners and then a willingness to turn from that sin.

Because these men held sin in their heart, the Lord answered thus:

v8 "And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD."

There will be a few that remain who will encourage the hearts of the captives. It is called the remnant. These are such people as Daniel and others who stayed true to God.

v23 "And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings; and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God."

I am encouraged by some young families coming up who honor the Lord. It seems at times that there is nothing but Hollywood and meanness in the world. Then, I find there are those who have taught their children properly and those children are raising families to fear the Lord. It is an encouragement to me.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Like Foxes - Ezekiel 13

Ezekiel 13:4 "O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts."

We have established that Jerusalem is to fall at this time. The false prophets are saying that everything will be just fine, so go ahead and build houses and go on with your life. We know that Jeremiah was in the kings house telling them that captivity was coming and to prepare. Not so with the false prophets who deceived the people and they did not prepare.

v3 "Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!"

It shows that leaders are held responsible for what they tell the people. Leaders have a greater responsibility because they have the care and safety of those under them in their hands.

v6 "They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith; and the LORD hath not sent them; and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word."

A person with a strong personality can bend the truth and add a lot of stuff that was not there. You know, some people you just want to believe because you like them so much. Truth is, if it does not match up with the Bible, it is wrong. The Bible says that without charity the words mean nothing. (I Corinthians 13) So, if a person speaks with venom in their heart and voice, they are obviously wrong according to the Bible.

Jeremiah was not the polished person that the false prophets were, at least, he did not have the popular message. He did not just sit around and figure out what to tell the people so it would please them. On the other hand the false prophets told the people that everything would be fine and that is what they wanted to hear. Wouldn't we all?

v8 "Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord God."

So then they are compared to a wall in this chapter where the wall is daub with every falsehood they could think up.

v10 "Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar; v11 Say unto them which daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall; there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it."

It goes on to talk about the women who are busy sowing pillows and kerchiefs for evil purpose. That practice is denounced as well. So, not only those who are outspoken with deceit but also those who support them are held accountable.

It seems that the most important enemy was within the walls of Jerusalem and was not the army outside. This verse tells of deliverance, not from Babylon but from the false prophets.

v23 "Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations; for I will deliver my people out of your hand; and ye shall know that I am the LORD."

Isn't it a shame that God had to take Israel out of the promise land to get them out of the idol worship business?

v5 "Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in teh battle in the day of the LORD."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Days are at Hand - Ezekiel 12

Ezekiel 12:1 "The word of the LORD also came unto me saying v2 Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not; for they are a rebellious house."

In this chapter we see two issues covered. One the day Zedekiah left the castle and was captured. Second, dealing with the immediate fulfilment of the true prophesy.

Ezekiel was to pack his stuff and dig a hole under the wall and leave with his head covered to illustrate how Zedekiah left Jerusalem. Jeremiah 39.

v5 "Dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby. v6 In their sight shalt thou bear it upon thy shoulders, and carry it forth in the twilight; thou shalt cover thy face, that thou see not the ground: for I have set thee for a sign unto the house of Israel."

There was a saying in Jerusalem that the things prophesied were 'far off' and therefore not to be worried over. The Lord said that was not to be anymore.

v22 "Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?"

v23 "Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision."

We often wait for a day, perhaps dread a day that is coming. Maybe it is the dentist we dread or a holiday we look forward to. They seem so far away. Then the days pass and before you know it, the day is here and we have to deal with it for good or bad.

So, it was for Israel, they had heard the prophets but felt that the day would come much later. As with Hezekiah, he was okay with the fact that destruction would come after he was gone. But in our studies, the day came for fulfilment and Israel was not ready.

v28 "Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of my words be prolonged anymore, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God."

Could today be the day?