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Jul 8, 2013

Insidious to Sacriligious to Religious

Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel 1

Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel

Ezekiel

Ezekiel (ih ZEEK e uhl) (God will strengthen), the Man

A prophet of a priestly family carried captive to Babylon in 597 B.C.

when he was about 27 years old.  Other sources state the prophet Ezekiel

lived in exile in Babylon during the period before and after the fall fo

Jericho in 586 B.C. His call to the prophetic ministry came four years

later.  Ezekiel prophesied to the captives who dwelt by the river Chebar

at Tel Abib. His message was addressed both to the exiles in Babylonia and

to the people of Jerusalem.

As prophet Ezekiel condemned hilltop shrines after Josiah's death. Yet

Ezekiel upheld the law stated in Deut. 12-26 on which Josiah's reform was

based as safeguard against religious syncretism. (Ez. 11:12)

He is the author of the book of Ezekiel. The book of Ezekiel has six

principal parts:

(1) God's call to Ezekiel to be a prophet

(2) Warnings to the people about God's judgement and then about the coming

 fall and destruction of Jerusalem

(3) Message from the Lord regarding his judgement upon the various nations

that oppressed ad misled his people

(4) Comf. for Israel after the fall of Jericho annd the promise of a

brighter future

(5) The prophecy against Gog

(6) Ezekiel's picture of a restored temple and nation.

In his book, Ezekiel identifies himself as a priest, the son of Buzi

(1:3).  He was married to a woman who was "the desire of his eyes"

(24:16).  One of the saddest events in his life was the death of his wife.

The prophet was told that on the very day he received this revelation, his

wife would die as the armies of Babylon laid siege against the Holy City

of Jerusalem. Ezekiel was commanded not to grieve her death; he was to

steel himself for this tragedy even as God's people were to prepare

themselves for the death of this beloved city (24:15-22).  Perhaps no

other event in the lives of the Old Testament prophets is as touching as

this.

As priest (Ez. 1:3) "I heard the Lord spaek to me. I felt his power."

revered the temple and was concerned for holy things and the sanctuary

(Ez. 22:8).  He insisted that offers should be presented to Yahweh alone

(Ez. 16:18-19). Confer verse 19: "I gave you food - the best flour, olive

oil and honey - but you offered it as a sacrifice to win the favour of

idols.' This is what the sovereign Lord says.

Ezekiel shows us just how ugly and serious our sin is.  Perhaps this is

why God acted so dramatically in dealing with the human condition - by

sending His Son Jesus to die in our place and set us free from the bondage

of sin.

Ezekiel was a man of great faith and imagination.  Many of his insights

came in the form of visions, and many of his messages were expressed in

vivid symbolic actions.  Ezekiel emphasized the need for renewal in the

heart and spirit and the responsibilty for each individual for his own

sins.  He also proclaimed his hope for the renewal of the life of the

nations.  As a priest, as well as a prophet, he had special interest in

the temple and in the need for holiness.

Like all just poets Ezekiel excelled in a vivid and colourful imagination,

characteristic in ch. 15-17 & symbolic in chapter 19.

Outline of contents of the book of Ezekiel:

Ezekiel's call 1.1-3.27

Message of doom on Jerusalem 4.1-24.27

God's judgement of the nation 25.1-32.32

God's promise to his people 33.1-37.28

Prophecy against Gog 38.1-39.29

A vision of the future temple and land 40.1-48.35

Far from being a recluse living in a remote world, Ezekiel as man mingled

freely with people and felt their moods.  He is rightfully addressed as

"son of man" and as "mortal man" in earlier translations, a man among men,

yet an ordinary man despite his priestly duties. In fact "Son of man", or

as given in other translations, "mortal man", is a term used regularly by

God for the prophet.

The tomb of Ezekiel is presumably at Kefil, on the route to which Bins

Numrud lies.

Ezekiel 4-5

Herewith follows an exegesis (interpretation) of the following passage:

Ezekiel 4

With reference to representation of the siege of Jerusalem in Ezekiel 4:

verses 1 to 3, the prophet Isaiah also indicates that Jerusalem stumbled

and Judah has fallen and city has become ruins in time of disaster. (Refer

Isaiah 3: 1-15: Gods' judgement).

The siege of Jerusalem is mimicked in a symbolic pantomine.  In verse 2

battering rams are referred to as around instead of against it.  These

verses also portray poetic rhythm, an indication of God's great plan or

the universe.

In verse 3 further details are provided regarding the siege. With

reference to, "Take an iron pot and set it up between you and the city",

the iron wall is not the wall of Jerusalem, but probably represents

barrier of exile seperating prophet from Jerusalem.

In reference to Ezekiel 4:4-8 exile is symbolized where house of Israel

referred to in verse 4 and house of Judah referred to in verse 6,

distiguish former N and existing S kingdoms of Israel.

There is a similarity in verse 4-6 between no. 390+40=430 with duration of

Egyptian sojourn (Exod. 12:40).

Ezekiel 4:9-17, food scarcity and defilement represent two concerns, being

scarce food under siege and impure food in exile, with symbolic

interpretation in vss. 13-15 & 16-17.

Although God intends for people to suffer, he does not destroy them

altogether, as the time frame referred to in verse 4-6 are not forever,

but in reality limited to 390 days to represent one day for each year for

Israel's punishemnt and thereafter in verse 6 Israel's punishment is

considerably less with Ezekiel having to suffer 40 days for guilt of Judah

-one day for every year of their punishment, yet considerably less than

that of Jersusalem.

With regards to Ezekiel 4:9; "Now take some wheat, barley, beans, peas,

millet and spelt.  Mix them all together and make bread.

Of this Ezekiel is allowed to eat 230 grammes of bread per day during 390

days lying on his left side with water limited to 2 day to represent way

Israelites will have to eat food which the Lord forbids, when scattered in

foreign countries.  Thereafter God consented for fire to be built on cow

dung instead of dried human excrement, also referred to in earlier

translation as dung, indicative of how these people have been reduced to

animalistic beahviour in the course of their unfaithfulness, as He

respects Ezekiel's wishes not to defile himself, thus although God could

impose His will being almighty, he still takes pity and considers lesser

human beings.

The food associated with the passage is likened to planting and

harvesting, not just eating, thus sowing of grain pertains to

religious/spiritual significance and bears relation in the fate of Israel

and Judah when they face the consequences of their actions, caused by sin,

wirh reference to "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsover a man

soweth, that shall he also reap."

              Galatians 6:7, KJV

Also, bread is considered as sustaining life.  Mixture of grains (vs. 9)

signifies impure food (cf. Deut. 22:9-11), as does human excrement (13.12)

as fuel for cooking.

God orders Ezekiel to use the waste water, as Israel and Judah had wasted

God's blessings.  Water is of such tremendous importance, not only in

purifying and sustaining life, that usage thereof is  bound to have

profound effect and mention thereof is especially significant in verse 11.

Also reference to food indirectly denotes spiritual sustenance as opposed

to spiritual emptiness where people feel vaguely empty without the

presence of God.

Sadly Adam abd Eve starved to death spiritually, because they preferred

physical wants at the expense of spiritual needs.  Although spiritual

starvation may not appear to be as traumatic or identifiable as physical

starvation, in reality, it is even more devastating than physical

starvation.

Reverence is give with prayer among trininy that maintains life: air,

water and food reflected in life-supporting grains.

Ezekiel is instrucuted to bake his own bread.  Today many no longer cook

over fire, but as each responsibility is reliquished, wisdom and skills

are lost that go with it.  Similarly, Israel and Judah relinquished their

rights and blessings in their reluctance to practice faith.

The fallen nature of Jerusalem has relation to those fallen and portrays

Israel's misconception with their plight.

Owing to translation the word play, such as alliteration, may go

unnoticed, although symbolism is evident in referral to hair and

comparison to Jerusalem.

In spite of all God could do, man has failed, beinmg unprepared or the

judgement that ensues.

The prophet motivated for according calls of repentance.

The three-fold fate referred to in Ezekiel 5:1-17 has correlation with

contents Isaiah 7:20, where shaving symbolizes devastation.  Confer vs. 1

where God instructed Ezekiel to shave off his beard and all his hair.

Vs.2:  "Burn a third in the city when the siege is over." : The third of

hair to be burned in the city is intended as death by pestilence and

famine (vs.12): "a third will be cut down by swords outside the city".

Also verse 12:  "and I will scatter the last hairs to the winds and pursue

them with a sword." suggests doom of city's defenders and scatterred as

symbol of dispersement.

However, Ez. 5:3: "Keep back a few hairs and wrap them in the hem of your

clothes." indicates preservation. Although it would be difficult for

humans to recover hair thrown to the winds it is possible for God to

recover His scattered people.  The fire spreading from these hairs to the

nation of Israel in vs.4 from this preserved/retained hair, (reminiscent

of reference to remnant), may reflect events after the fall of Jericho

described in Jer. 40:11-41:10.

Ez. 5:5-10: Jerusalem being placed "at the centre of the world" being in

the midst of nations, conveys a passage induced/included from preceding

pantoms.

Location of Jerusalem in verse 5 refers to place where Ezekiel is

standing. Although Jerusalem is the city at the centre of the nations, it

is still unfit to be their spiritual capital (Isa. 2:2-4).

Because Jerusalem has not kept God's ordained laws (vs. 8-10), she must

now be subjected to God's punitive judgement.  Ez.5:7:  "By not obeying my

laws or keeping my commands, you have caused more trouble than the nations

around you."  Verses 13-17 expand on judgements of vss. 8-10 in conclusion

of chapters 4-5.

Here is a poem I compiled in relation to above ideas and thoughts

pertaining to prophecies of Ezekiel and own interpretations therof, which

bears similarity to above thoughts, but slightly rearranged.

May God's justice prevail

where we see mankind fail.

Too many will wither in the storm yet to come.

God will severely deal with those ensuring harm to some.

Tears will become rain, pouring into buckets and pouring into torrents

sweeping up those who have caused the terror in their path ends.

God will severely deal with any of those responsible for demise,

although this may come as a surprise.

The winds will howl; the storms will break.

As God decides who next to take.

Then suffer the innocent no longer.

Peace be upon him and her.

As calm descends and peace restored.

The injustices of those will go on record.

I am fighting for peace, justice and mercy.

Protected by God. May God have mercy.

Those guilty of trespassing and transgressing,

for those will be severely dealt with.

I pray that God will punish these wicked people profane

who foolishly use God's name.

The  premises of the law is

to control and curtail any injustices and atrocities.

May God's justice and His voice be heard.

Even by the smallest bird.

May God proclaim with a voice like thunder

for all these demons to go away and go assunder.

As the church bell rings,

my heart sings.

God will not be tempted by any.

I will not indefinitely endure this agony.

God will send a whole legion of angels to protect His children.

This is possible as God is almighty and in charge of the universe.

The bad will fall,

the wicked will no longer have all.

God's will shall prevail.

Even where humans may fail.

These are passing things and quieting bands,

but the Lord still stands.

God will send angels to fight against these demons unclean

for one of the largest battles the universe has ever seen.

Those that have done wrong will be recognized for their greed.

For I am God's creation and He will not forsake me in my hour of need.

Oh, the glory of God is so great indeed.

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Monday July 8, 2013, 2:30 am
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