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ZADOK PUBLICATIONS MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
January 1, 2018
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
These chapters start a different sphere of influence for Ezekiel. Up to this time, he has mostly been a prophet to his fellow captives and working within a contemporary time frame. The majority of his cited dates have been based on Jehoiachin's captivity, with no mention of Zedekiah, the reigning monarch.
On March 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity…
An important signal event of this change would be a "runner" from the ruins of Jerusalem.
The runner, spoken about in Chapter 33 (who opined the burning of the Temple and the city walls), did not signal the end of revelation about Jerusalem and its populace-only a change of time and direction. God opened the prophet's eyes to Israel's future-even down to the present and beyond. (After his wife's death and his obedience to God's command, the Lord advanced him in status to one trusted with high revelation.)
Ezekiel was commissioned a watchman to the "House of Israel," rather than just to the "nation of Israel." The scope of his ministry was broadened and deepened as he ministers now to those who comprise the "Israel of God."
The whole "House of Israel" is greater than the nation. The "House of Israel" has a greater covenant (bought through God's Son). Tribal bloodlines and earthly Temples fade in comparison to those who have been cleansed and purged through the sacred blood offered in the Temple of the Most High. The "House of Israel" is the one spoken plainly of in the New Testament book of Hebrews.
13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (NKJV)
Ezekiel's message was not based on the re-construction of an earthly Temple, nor for the time of Ezra's return-those things were clearly prophesied in Isaiah. Ezekiel's words incorporate a city and Temple whose builder and maker is God.
In the chapters which are forthcoming, "My People" and "My House" and "My flock" are distinguishing aspects which separate those so designated from the nation Israel and its religious community. The New Testament calls the "MY people" a "peculiar" people. Ezekiel is careful to use these terms and soon discovers his job as "watchman" more inclusive than just announcing dangerous behavior.
I. The Watchman
Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.'
7 "So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you shall surely die!' and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
10 "Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: 'Thus you say, "If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?"' 11 Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD,'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'
Early in my life, I was greatly affected by this passage. I realized that a calling to ministry carried a "watchman" status. This is why "Watchman Nee" of China was so illuminating to me, as were his works. He, too, realized the awesome responsibility to "warn the people of their wicked ways." He, too, saw the judgment upon the man of God who shrank from this task. He, too, addressed those of like mind he found in many churches and fellowships, thus separating them from casual Christians.
(O' God, many are the clergy of today who carry no sense of this mandate. Woe to them!)
Are all shepherds, pastors and clergy under this "watchman" status? YES! Ezekiel says as much in subsequent chapters. (Had the preachers of this day preached the message calling for deep conviction and repentance, the world would not be in the shape it is in today.)
The bold print (in the above Scripture) emphasizing "the House of Israel" is purposed. It is to show the past, present and future aspects of the household of faith. When one refers to the "House of Windsor," for example, it includes the ancestors of the Queen, the Queen and all those who follow after her in her bloodline.
Verse 6 constitutes a powerful demand upon church leadership (Chapter 34 will quickly indict them and offer no reprieve for dereliction of duty).
A brief study of the passages in Micah7:4ff and Jeremiah 6:17 are similar messages, both in tone and revelation. They even sound like modern reportage---but the question is, "Where are the watchmen in each case?" The same question that can be asked today!
2 The faithful man has perished from the earth,
And there is no one upright among men.
They all lie in wait for blood;
Every man hunts his brother with a net.
3 That they may successfully do evil with both hands -
The prince asks for gifts,
The judge seeks a bribe,
And the great man utters his evil desire;
So they scheme together.
4 The best of them is like a brier;
The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge;
The day of your watchman and your punishment comes;
Now shall be their perplexity.
17 Also, I set watchmen over you, saying,
'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!'
But they said, 'We will not listen.'
18 Therefore hear, you nations,
And know, O congregation, what is among them.
19 Hear, O earth!
Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people -
The fruit of their thoughts,
Because they have not heeded My words
Nor My law, but rejected it.
Note: Jeremiah 6: 17 reveals the source of the Watchman's message. Who does the watchman represent? God!
Direct from the throne there comes insight into the sins of people and the call to repentance.
God's message always demands a response. Both Micah and Jeremiah concur that the watchmen's message is the same as God's message-it must be heeded.
Ezekiel 33:9 says:
9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
Notice the word "wicked," which means "twisted." Truth, stretched and twisted in the hands of
twisted men, requires repentance, not an apology. "Wicked" represents an intentional act and it seeks to change Scripture and redefine terms to accommodate one's culture or sin.
(Thousands must hear the following word, yet in whose pulpit is this preached? Un-repented Israel must hear it or languish in judgment!)
11 Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'
It is the "House of Israel" who must turn, those who claim themselves to be "believers." Choices are herein defined as only two: those who listen, hearken and do something about their condition (turn and repent and live) and those who listen and do nothing. Those two choices are still operative when confronted with the word.
In the next verses, a principle is established which also still applies.
II. The Principle Thing
"Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: 'The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.' 13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. 14 Again, when I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
17 "Yet the children of your people say, 'The way of the LORD is not fair.' But it is their way which is not fair! 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. 19 But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. 20 Yet you say, "The way of the LORD is not fair.' O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways."
(What does this do to your theology? In whose pulpit will this be the text? O' the Watchmen need to rise up and tell this generation these truths, but alas-in what congregation would such preachment find a place?)
III. Ezekiel's change
In Chapter 3, God made Ezekiel mute, except when he spoke for the Lord.
In chapter 24, the Lord told Ezekiel when his mute condition would end.
25'And you, son of man - will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters: 26 on that day one who escapes will come to you to let you hear it with your ears; 27 on that day your mouth will be opened to him who has escaped; you shall speak and no longer be mute. Thus you will be a sign to them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.'"
Now that day did come, for the following verse relates the event, just as the Lord said.
And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, "The city has been captured!"
22 Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And He had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.
Ezekiel's tongue was loosed just in time to refute the arrogance of those "left behind." Some, who were fortunate enough to escape and hide, rose up and declared it was the "will of God, like in Abraham's day," for them to inherit the whole territory of Israel-all of the land should be theirs.
It was a "land grabbing" greed which caused them to utter this.
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 24 "Son of man, they who inhabit those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, 'Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.'
25 "Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD:"You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you commit abominations, and you defile one another's wives. Should you then possess the land?"'
27 "Say thus to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "As I live, surely those who are in the ruins shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and caves shall die of the pestilence.
28 For I will make the land most desolate, her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. 29 Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed."'
NKJV (Note: the mountains of Israel will be addressed in Chapter 36.)
The modern church needs to hear this message, for with arrogance it displays a similar pride!
Note the difference between "Your people" and "My People." One is an inherited bloodline and the other is chosen. God knows those who are His.
"As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, 'Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' 31 So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. 33 And when this comes to pass - surely it will come - then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
Examine those gossipers who appear holy and religious, but were far from the Lord. Remember, these words now have both present, past and future implications. Jesus encountered a similar situation among the Temple folk, both in leadership and congregant. (Could today there be found those who hear and do not, who feign love, while in their hearts they pursue personal advantage?)
(As long as there is a perpetuation of such attitude, the poisonous effect of it will taint reality. So, like the forty year wilderness wandering, there had to be a cleansing before there could be a holy people occupying a promised land. O' church, repent while it is day.)
Note: This, and the next two chapters, relate features found in the nation of Israel which
correspond to factors affecting the "house of Israel" and the modern church. Together, these chapters, more or less, demand the actions of Chapters 37-38.
Chapter thirty-four minces no words in blaming official religious leadership for the fall of the nation.
The Road to Captivity (commentary on Jeremiah), explains in detail the role of a derelict clergy, their contribution to the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of Israel. Chapter 34 again poses the question of: "How in the world did we wind up here?"
(No doubt this question was often asked by Israel as they labored by the river Chebar in captivity.)
And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds:"Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them."
Clearly, the Lord is addressing more than the Babylonian captives. Pastors and religious leaders are now grouped as one. They have failed in their duty to care for God's people.
Emphasis is given to "MY" flock and "MY sheep." Later, it becomes obvious there are some sheep which are not His.
Underlined portions, above, list the duties which were shirked by those commissioned to
minister. These duties formed "universal" requirements for ministry throughout all generations. The "House of Israel" must inventory itself to determine just how much ministry is really going on. God is not bringing His sheep into a derelict church.
"My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them."
Continuing in the same vein, God reveals more infractions:
7 'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock" - 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! 10 Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them."
Like the watchmen who would have blood on his hands if he did not do his duty, these shepherds (small case) will also be responsible ("require at their hand") for dereliction of duty.
Few ministers of the gospel today should miss this point. Sunday after Sunday, they survey their congregations and know their flock is divided between those who are HIS Sheep and the general
population of worshippers. God's sheep are starving for their spiritual food, while the multitudes wallow in shallow, meager fare.
The Lord steps in to deliver His sheep, both from the shepherds and the other sheep.
'For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD. 16 "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."
Jesus, at the beginning of His ministry, spoke in the Temple and Luke 4:18 records it.
18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."
Most of the points found in Ezekiel were covered in the Luke oration. Afterwards, Jesus told about the one lost sheep and the ninety-nine. He said, "I came for the lost sheep of ISRAEL (HOUSE OF ISRAEL)." He commissioned His disciples to "Feed MY sheep." "MY sheep" now stand separated from the rest.
Look at the highlighted places (in the Scriptures above); observe the wonderful interventions God will bring. Strangely, He also said, "I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment." One would think He would rejoice over those who were what the emerging church would deem, "the cream of the crop."
No, these are the sheep that supported and followed the false shepherds and thereby were treated better than the others who suffered loss. (Does this speak to anyone?)
17'And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD:"Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture - and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet."
20 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD to them:"Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
Why does the Lord discriminate between sheep, rams and goats? Because, all those who constitute the "body politic" of the congregation are not HIS FLOCK is why. Pharisees and Sadducees were not like Simeon and Anna! "The church within the church" still exists, so do virgins with oil in their lamps.
Observe the criteria used to separate them. The fat ones ate up the good pasture and drank the unspoiled water. They bumped and shoved the weaker flock and caused them to be deprived of nourishment and even a place among them. How easy it is to purvey the obese from the starved.
(There are some clergy who should be convicted by these parallels and so also their favored
"One shepherd" over "My sheep" points to Jesus alone. This is a promise to the House of Israel. This is a promise which leads to a greater work as well. "Feed My sheep" commissioned a call to Simon Peter, Matthew, Luke, Mark, John, James, Jude and Paul. They produced solid food. Nourishment flows down to the present day and the diet of their words still gives energy to do the will and work of the Lord.
23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them - My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.
25 "I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. 30 Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people," says the Lord GOD.'"
31 "You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God," says the Lord GOD.
Notice: "I will make a covenant of peace with them." According to Hebrews, this covenant is to those who are born again and covers all covenants before it. That means Jew or Gentile qualified for admission into the House of Israel. This is not confined to the territory of national Israel, but speaks of a time yet to come.
(From chapter 33 to the end of the book of Ezekiel, God trusted Ezekiel with glimpses of the distant future. He raised Ezekiel to the Watchman status for "the House of Israel.")
God, in verse 31, makes sure later generations are not confused; He is talking about humans, not sheep.
Zechariah 14:10 comes into play at this point and the reader is encouraged to read the whole passage. Why? The little phrase "My hill" in verse 25 refers to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin, adjacent to (and to the North of) Jerusalem.
This chapter, about the Edomite city of Petra, includes items and curses beyond those of the earlier prophet Obadiah. Edom's treatment of Israel stirred the Lord's anger to such a degree as to place an unfolding curse on the land and its people. God pronounced perpetual judgment on the "city of the rose red rock." Many references in the Old Testament attest their sin, mainly, the mistreatment of Israel.
…and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it;
Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir and prophesy against it, 3 and say to it, 'Thus says the Lord GOD:
"Behold, O Mount Seir, I am against you; I will stretch out My hand against you, And make you most desolate; 4 I shall lay your cities waste, And you shall be desolate. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.
5 "Because you have had an ancient hatred, and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, when their iniquity came to an end, 6 therefore, as I live," says the Lord GOD, "I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you. 7 Thus I will make Mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it the one who leaves and the one who returns. 8 And I will fill its mountains with the slain; on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines those who are slain by the sword shall fall. 9 I will make you perpetually desolate, and your cities shall be uninhabited; then you shall know that I am the LORD.
"Perpetual" is an interesting word:
OT:5769 perpetually (world without end)
`owlam (o-lawm'); or `olam (o-lawm'); from OT:5956; properly, concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity; frequentatively, adverbial (especially with prepositional prefix) always:
KJV - alway (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever (- lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+without end)
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Look further as the curse deepens-- for "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews10:31)."
10 "Because you have said, 'These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess them,' although the LORD was there, 11 therefore, as I live," says the Lord GOD, "I will do according to your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them; and I will make Myself known among them when I judge you. 12 Then you shall know that I am the LORD. I have heard all your blasphemies which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, 'They are desolate; they are given to us to consume.' 13 Thus with your mouth you have boasted against Me and multiplied your words against Me; I have heard them."
14'Thus says the Lord GOD:"The whole earth will rejoice when I make you desolate. 15 As you rejoiced because the inheritance of the house of Israel was desolate, so I will do to you; you shall be desolate, O Mount Seir, as well as all of Edom - all of it! Then they shall know that I am the LORD."'
Think of it. Think of the evil words bandied about these days from every conceivable mouth, how it appears as daily blasphemy and God hears and records it. Every idle word will be accounted for in the day of judgment.
(O' how the church needs to repent. Words mean something, for the language barriers placed upon Babel were because of their words.)
In the previous chapter, Ezekiel addressed the mountains of Edom, now the focus turns to the mountains of Israel. Unlike His addresses to the foreign nations, who had besmirched Israel and were viewed as "just deserts" for them, His prophecy to Israel's mountains is both tender and understanding.
The reader may face a bit of confusion as he/she reads this chapter, for it addresses three restorations of the house of Israel. The first is national Israel, which promises an end to their captivity in Babylon and assurance of rebuilding even "better than before." Second is a long term promise for a return to the land before the end times, which incorporates being drawn from their scattered condition throughout the nations. Third is a "kingdom" restoration in which Jesus reigns and new hearts and minds are given the inhabitants.
Obviously, there are other details which one should be aware of. For instance, The Lord reveals his knowledge of the thought patterns of both Israel and their enemies. As He addresses either side, it may be necessary to remind oneself "who is speaking?"
Look now at the first five verses:
"And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, 'O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD! 2 Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because the enemy has said of you, 'Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession,'"' 3 therefore prophesy, and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because they made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you are taken up by the lips of talkers and slandered by the people" - 4 therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around - 5 therefore thus says the Lord GOD:"Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and spiteful minds, in to plunder its open country."'
Addressing the "Mountains of Israel" is of prime importance, for on them were built shrines; idols were set up and adored and child sacrifices took place. Israel's mountains were polluted and God judged them, but the surrounding territories took advantage of their desolation. Edom, and others, took the land and boasted that "Israel's God forsook them and wanted us to take over
in their stead."
Note now, the next set of Scriptures and discover God's plan to hold pagan nations, which spoke evil and practiced evil toward Israel, responsible. The reward for denigrating Israel is to be denigrated-shame for shame.
Note also the word, "Therefore," begins verse 6 and means "based on what was said before this will happen."
Ezekiel, in the next set of verses, tells the mountains of Israel to yield themselves to those returning from Babylon (v.8) and cease their desolation. These same mountains will witness, not only those returning from Babylon, but a time of total restoration (v. 15). These mountains will
not have to bear up under curses and rages of the heathen anymore (after the final restoration [v.
6 "Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, and the valleys, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations." 7 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "I have raised My hand in an oath that surely the nations that are around you shall bear their own shame. 8 But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. 9 For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. 10 I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. 11 I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. 12 Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children."
13'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because they say to you, 'You devour men and bereave your nation of children,' 14 therefore you shall devour men no more, nor bereave your nation anymore," says the Lord GOD. 15 Nor will I let you hear the taunts of the
nations anymore, nor bear the reproach of the peoples anymore, nor shall you cause your nation to stumble anymore," says the Lord GOD.'"
Since the nation Israel is still bearing the brunt of slurs from their neighbors, there is yet a day to come. The House of Israel is not complete.
Once again, there is significance in the words "moreover" and "therefore." "Moreover" is a transition word meaning "on top of all that has been said;" there are more issues God wished to address. He switched from the mountains to the total house of Israel (up to Ezekiel's time). He pointed out their sin and compared it to a cloth worn by a menstruating woman.
By addressing the House of Israel, God incorporated the ten tribes to the North (Samaria), who were captured by the Assyrians and eventually scattered all over the world. The fact of being captured and carried to Babylon and to other nations should have been enough, but to continue to "profane" the Holy Name of the Lord was unconscionable.
Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity.
18Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it. 19 So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. 20 When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name - when they said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD, and yet they have gone out of His land.' 21 But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went.
The underlined "they" refers to the pagan nations and their estimation of why Israel fell.
Is profanation of His Holy name still occurring? Yes! Review the liberal views spouted by the Jews of today (in entertainment, governmental, judicial, political and media arenas). Joined with them are Christians who compromise kingdom truths.
(O' Church, inclusion, at the price of exclusivity, is profane! It is time to search the heart of the matter in order to determine just what does it mean to "profane His Holy Name." The very fact of declaring, "We are Christian," and living apart from Him, may well qualify.)
21 But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went.
22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I do this," says the Lord GOD, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!"
A small part of this scripture is for today-the part about being "ashamed and confounded." Some of this prophecy is being fulfilled like a "down payment" for that ultimate time ahead. For those who take Christ as their savior, their part starts in verses 25-30. The Lord says when the House of Israel realizes this homecoming is not because of their efforts, but God "un-profaning" His Holy Name, then it will usher in the final restoration. This has not happened yet!
33 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. 35 So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.' 36 Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it."
Who are the "they" of verse 35? They are the surrounding nations who occupied the land while
Israel was being punished.
37 'Thus says the Lord GOD:"I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. 38 Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the LORD."'"
Finally, the Lord declares when all this will take place in verse 33. The question arises, "When will the House of Israel" realize the fact? Verse 37 says in essence: "If they will inquire of Him,
He will show them." It is similar to redemption-already paid for, but dependant on the individual appropriating it to his life through faith. The Household of Israel ultimately are the redeemed of the Lord; they know He is Lord.
Until Next month,
Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.
From the Mailbag:
From Roni, H., Minnesota (Commenting on the book: The Regal Pair):
The book on Holiness and Righteousness took quite awhile to read and process.
I always thought about Urim and Thummim (Light and Perfection) and now see the fire which we need for NOW and His Presence. Those two names Urim and Thummim have stuck with me since I was first saved in l961, July 4th.
Thank you so much for all your writings-only eternity will know the many who received them.
Age doesn't matter in the kingdom, I am so glad I can still receive.
Ex 28:30 And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron's heart when he goes in before the LORD. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.
From Carolyn S., Texas:
I thank God for the revealed Jesus in your ministry. You are a strength to me.
From Nalley O., Georgia:
I am absorbing or the Word is Consumed by His Fire. I have been living this book for many years. Eight years ago, I experienced a vision which was only a goblet with stem suspended over my head. The material was pewter, without embellishment, very plain! All I could think was "my sins were in that cup…" I prayed and studied for about 3 days, coming up with what you wrote. There's much more (no room to tell) except I prophesy to this effect: time and urgency is upon us in our praying. This book has helped us in this journey…Heavy, hard, painful, Blessed, Glorious, maturing, Deep, your book is so thorough, it is so personal to me. So helpful now!
From Brian Mason:
"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
Acts of the Apostles 1:11.
All scriptures from the Authorized King James Version
There is absolute certainty in the words of the two men who came and stood by the disciples. "Two men stood by them in white apparel." Acts 1:10. The words are to be received and believed. There are to be no denials and no compromise through doubts which make out that God does not have a plan which He is working to. The doctrine of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ is vital to an understanding of the Christian faith. It is not an option to choose or reject. Jesus had died as the Son of man. At His Ascension Jesus was returning to heaven and taking the evidence of His death on the cross at Calvary. He had to return to heaven as the assurance that all who have been born again shall also go to be with Him in heaven. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." St. John 3:3.
The neglect of the doctrine of the Ascension shows a lack of understanding of the wholeness of the Bible. To neglect any doctrine will leave an imbalance in the life of a Christian. No wonder Peter spoke of the need to grow through knowing the Word of God. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." 1 Peter 2:2. What is seen today, especially in to so-called "enlightened" countries? It is immaturity even among Bible-believing Christians. Immaturity is a result of the failure of the shepherds of the sheep not feeding the sheep on the whole counsel of God. "He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." St. John 21:17. It is out of an overwhelming love for the dear Lord Jesus, of those who have immersed their lives into Him, that comes the desire to feed the sheep; the sheep who are the body of Christ, with the whole Word of God. To do so involves leaders accepting and living out in their lives a life which shows the life of the Lord Jesus. The leaders are also to be certain that those parts of the Bible yet to be fulfilled, like the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, are included in their balanced teaching.
Jesus, Himself, was the great teacher. He used the scriptures in bringing an understanding of God's plan contained in the scriptures of the time. He also gave new teaching which is now contained in the New Testament. Included in this new teaching is a time speaking of Himself coming again to earth. "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." St. Matthew 16:27.
There is no coincidence that the last book of the Bible emphasizes the second coming of Jesus. The plan of God is seamless just like Jesus wore a seamless garment on His way to be crucified. Here is wholeness, completeness, for should there not have been a second coming, Jesus' own words would be shown to have been untrue. "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:21. This next to the last verse of the Bible gives not just a great hope, it gives a great certainty. Jesus dispensed His own will through the covenant He made through His own blood. Everyone else who makes a will is dependent upon someone else dispensing the contents of their will after their death. Jesus' will contains the promise of His return to earth to come for His bride, that is, those alone who are His on earth at that time, and take them to present to God the Father in heaven.
Are you ready for His coming? The Ascension is vital teaching to ensure that each Christian should not be solely concerned with the things of this life. When the Lord Jesus is our life then we shall be always living in the expectation of His second coming. You are invited to join me in praying for restoration of the teaching of the second coming throughout Christianity and to ask for His return. Furthermore at a time of increasing evil which in itself is a warning that Jesus' return may not be far off, for God in His mercy to send a mighty revival of repentance so that Jesus "Shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." Isaiah 53:11.
Reverend Brian Mason
Bible College Wales
Rhos on Sea
Strategic Prayer and Declarative Intercessions
Nov 12-16 (Activities 13-15), the Rev. Lindsey Griffiths and the Rev. Brian Mason, from
the Bible College of Wales, UK.,worked with OEA engaging in strategic Prayer and Declarative Intercessions, meeting with Pastors and church leaders, and a session on Instruction on Intercession. The latter was hosted by Generations Church (Spring, Texas).
Intercessions done by Rev. Mason:
Old Town, Spring, Texas: This area is the nation's leading place for human trafficking.
Powerful words were given Bro. Mason by the Spirit. One evidence of their
effectiveness was a return of a kidnapped girl to her parents within days of
Lakeside, Houston Intercession:
Declarations by the Spirit covering the moral decline of the metro area.
Galveston by the monument commemorating the 1900 storm and 6000 deaths:
Intercession included pronouncements related to the witchcraft of the
early Indians (Cannibals), influence of early piracy and mafia. Also,
a blessing was pronounced on those who landed from Europe in this port and settled
in the West.
Meetings with pastors and church leaders: Private and by Invitation Only
(From left to right)
Front Row: Brian Mason from Wales, UK; Portia Sharp from Woodlands, Texas; Rev. Larry Smith from Tyler, Texas
Back Row: Lindsey Griffiths from Wales, UK; Rev. Donnie West,Dr. C. R. Oliver, Bob Altemus from San Antonio
(From left to right)
Front Row: Betty Oliver; Brian Mason from Wales, UK.; Rev. Larry Smith from Tyler, Texas
Back Row: Lindsey Griffiths from Wales, UK; Rev. Donnie West, Dr. C. R. Oliver, Bob Altemus from San Antonio
In Dr. and Mrs. Oliver's home from 10-4 for an open forum and luncheon.
An open discussion with the group over lunch.
Rev. Portia Sharp preparing for laying on of hands.
In addition, Rev. Brian Mason and Pastor Lindsey Griffiths led an Instruction on Intercession at Generations Church in Spring, Texas, Wednesday Nov. 15, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
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