Exact Ezekiel; Chapters 21-22
September 1, 2017

C. R. Oliver

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September 1, 2017

Exact Ezekiel
Chapters 21-22

Introduction:      Actually, this chapter began in the preceding chapter when God introduced His intense anger in judgment by fire. His announcement, that fire would burn and consume even the righteous, caused double trembling among the "unrighteous" elders listening to the prophet's words. Verses 45-49 left no room for escape and that all-encompassing theme was continued in Chapter 21 and following.

Chapter 21
     In this chapter, the Lord again used Ezekiel in dramatic form. Methods of pronouncement were embellished with graphic design. He is told to groan with agony and slap his thighs to emphasize the awesome specter rising before him; he then is admonished to brandish a sword -swooping to the right, then left, then randomly slicing the air space between he and the elders in attendance. Exact Ezekiel carried off his assignment with perfect execution.

Ezekiel 21:1-5:
Then this message came to me from the LORD: 2 "Son of man, look toward Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries. 3 Give her this message from the LORD: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheathe My sword to destroy your people - the righteous and the wicked alike. 4 Yes, I will not spare even the righteous! I will make a clean sweep throughout the land from south to north. 5 All the world will know that I am the LORD. My sword is in My hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.

If Ezekiel's audience missed the implication of the "green and dry trees" of the fire in Chapter 21, they could not miss the meaning of these verses. This is to be an all inclusive judgment-no one is to be exempt. No one!

Let the drama begin:

Ezekiel is told to groan in bitter anguish and with a broken heart. It was said of Jesus that He groaned when He faced the task before Him. The Holy Spirit groans in making intercession. This groaning must be a gut wrenching cry from a breaking heart. Most of us have experienced hearing such cries from people receiving a sudden death notice or viewing some tragic scene involving their loved ones. Ezekiel knew some people he loved would be victims of the sword. His was not the play form of a non-involved actor. His was the voice of a participant.

Ezekiel 21:6-7:
6 "Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. 7 When they ask you why, tell them, 'I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will tremble and become as weak as water. And the Sovereign LORD says: It is coming! It's on its way!' "

How long has it been since your minister groaned in the agony of a broken heart while delivering a message from God? How long since the cathedral has heard the cry of a true saint, weeping as he sows? How long since someone oblivious to protocol has wrung his broken heart because of the sins of his people? Well, it has been too long, because the realm of the Spirit stands ready to display the heart of God over the circumstances of this day!

(Sadly, the congregations of the world bar such behavior and deem it as unacceptably "old school" delivery, while throngs leave the sanctuary dry eyed and lost!)

Ezekiel 21:8-11:
8 Then the LORD said to me, 9 "Son of man, give the people this message from the LORD: A sword is being sharpened and polished. 10 It is being prepared for terrible slaughter; it will flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! 11 Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner!

Mollycoddled Millennials, along with their parents and grandparents, have lost touch with the reality that God does send warriors to carry out His judgment. This rhetoric flies in the face of modern preachments.
Next, Ezekiel is told to further his demonstration by slapping his thighs, while crying out and wailing. This "beside himself" behavior deepens the gravity of the situation. This goes very deep spiritually, for in subsequent chapters, the prophecies about Gog and Magog will be of similar spiritual import.

Ezekiel 21:12-13:
12 "Son of man, cry out and wail; pound your thighs in anguish, for that sword will slaughter My people and their leaders - everyone will die! 13 It will put them all to the test! So now the Sovereign LORD asks: What chance do they have?

No one skips God's exam: "It will put them ALL to the test." What chance do they have of passing this examination? None!

(O' foolish nations of the earth, can you not see you are now being tested for the end of the ages? Mind numbing darkness overshadows the ignorance of a people who shun the very thought of judgment! Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel align in agreement for such a day.)

Next, Ezekiel is told to clap his hands vigorously (like a master of ceremonies would do to establish order and demand attention.). THEN, he is to brandish a sharp sword. The sword is given specific directions on how to slice the air: first right, then left, and then its choice---all the while, God is clapping His hands in support and agreement.

Ezekiel 21:14-17:
14 "Son of man, prophesy to them and clap your hands vigorously. Then take the sword and brandish it twice, even three times, to symbolize the great massacre they will face! 15 Let their hearts melt with terror, for the sword glitters at every gate. It flashes like lightning; it is polished for slaughter! 16 O sword, slash to the right, and slash to the left, wherever you will, wherever you want. 17 I, too, will clap My hands, and I will satisfy My fury. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

Ezekiel is then given the task of mapping the course of the sword's path. God tells him, basically, to draw a map starting at the crossroads outside Babylon. One direction goes to Ammon, the other road to Jerusalem. Soon, it will be apparent that both destinations are doomed, but for now, Jerusalem will be struck first. The choice is made by the "spirit world." Pagan divination, using scattered arrows and animal livers, will decide. (Sadly, Macumba fires still burn in Brazil as do other forms in nations worldwide. Witchcraft is very much alive in the Twenty-first Century.)

How pagan is the decision making processes of the modern church? To the Lord, it looks similar to the pagan processes of the ancient world, but in a modernized form.

Ezekiel 21:18-23:
18 Then this message came to me from the LORD: 19 "Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon's king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two - 20 one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21 The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He will call his magicians to use divination. They will cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They will inspect the livers of their animal sacrifices. 22 Then they will decide to turn toward Jerusalem! With battering rams they will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls to reach the top. 23 The people of Jerusalem will think it is a mistake, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them.

Battering rams, siege towers and elevated ramps were the methods of battle in ancient times. Modern archeological findings have proven this medium was used in several different places (Masada, Tyre and Sidon, Jerusalem).

Notice the reaction of the people of Jerusalem when the siege began. "The people of Jerusalem will think it is a mistake, because of their treaty." Treaties amount to worthless paper in the face of aggression (ask the UK and Poland). Israel was warned not to make treaties with any nation. George Washington warned against US involvement with other nations. Both admonitions fell on deaf ears.

Across the nations of the world, in their Congresses, Parliaments, Councils and Courts, the following Scripture hangs like Damocles' Sword.

Ezekiel 21:24:
24 "Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Again and again your guilt cries out against you, for you are not ashamed of your sin. You don't even try to hide it! Wherever you go, whatever you do, all your actions are filled with sin. So now the time of your punishment has come!

Universally, we stand in the midst of a great transition in history.

Everything prior to 2017 is old history, with little to do with what is transpiring. Every day reveals deeper and deeper transgression of God's word. We occupy a season as significant as when BC was turned to AD.

Examine this next verse:

Ezekiel 21:25-27:
25 "O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here! 26 Take off your jeweled crown, says the Sovereign LORD. The old order changes - now the lowly are exalted, and the mighty are brought low. 27 Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom. And it will not be restored until the One appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to Him.

Glory to God, this promise of restoration is about King Jesus who walked the streets of Jerusalem, carried on His ministry within Israel's territory, and declared a spiritual kingdom that included the world, not a territory of earth.

When God declared, "Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom," at that moment the kingdom was removed from Israel and it will not be restored until the coming of the Great King. Attempts have been made since the return of the captives, but the weeping elders of that day gave the proper perspective. What we see in modern Israel is not kingdom restoration, only another mile stone on the road to it.

Chapter 21 ends with a message to the Ammonites. Evidently, as Nebuchadnezzar's army chose to destroy Jerusalem at the crossroads, the pagan Ammonites mocked, by saying, "the God of Israel could not preserve them."

The Lord despises such behavior, including the laughter afforded Him by the Israelite fathers when their sons followed their lead. Mocking nations are rising today.

Ezekiel 21:28-32:
"And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: My sword is drawn for your slaughter; it is sharpened to destroy, flashing like lightning! 29 Your magicians and false prophets have given false visions and told lies about the sword. And now it will fall with even greater force on the wicked for whom the day of final reckoning has come. 30 Should I return My sword to its sheath before I deal with you? No, I will destroy you in your own country, the land of your birth. 31 I will pour out My fury on you and blow on you with the fire of My anger. I will hand you over to cruel men who are skilled in destruction. 32 You are fuel for the fire, and your blood will be spilled in your own land. You will be utterly wiped out, your memory lost to history. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

This should be a warning to those nations and religious entities which are currently persecuting and mocking Christianity. From a God who declared, "I change not" and who has no "shadow of turning," the destruction of the Ammonites should stand out like Sodom, as a picture of His wrath on those who mock Him.

(Being obliterated from history is a severe judgment.)


The council of the heavens was convened, sentence was passed down and now it is time to announce God's judgment on Jerusalem. (One is driven in these verses to see the Holy City as the Lord sees it.)

Irrespective of how the painters of platitudes would picture The City, claiming it to be the central city of religious piety, Jehovah painted a different scene. His indictments portrayed a picture of depravity and gross disregard for even the slightest moral decency. God ripped aside the religious banter of Jerusalem's Chamber of Commerce and silenced the pundits of its political machinery in just one paragraph of six verses.

Realistically, God's list of examples has the uncanny issue of describing most of the world's cities today. Heinous crimes against innocent victims, coupled with every kind of sexual deviancy, parade themselves in flagrant and open mockery in defiance of the Living Lord.

Ezekiel 22:2-5:
2 "Son of dust, indict Jerusalem as the City of Murder. Publicly denounce her terrible deeds. 3 City of Murder, doomed and damned-City of Idols, filthy and foul- 4 you are guilty both of murder and idolatry. Now comes your day of doom. You have reached the limit of your years. I will make you a laughingstock and a reproach to all the nations of the world. 5 Near and far they will mock you, a city of infamous rebels.

How does God characterize your city? All the great cities of the Western world are covered with the same blanket of gross sin, murder and injustice. Religious systems stand mute before atrocities in clear view. (Think, as the indictment of Jerusalem is read by the prophet, "Would God not owe Jerusalem an apology should He not punish the West?")

Note: Observe how God approaches this enigma of unrighteousness. It is important how He starts and with whom He cares.

Ezekiel 22:6-12: God's Theses Nailed to Jerusalem's Gate

6 "Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder. 7 Fathers and mothers are contemptuously ignored. Resident foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed. 8 Inside your walls you despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest. 9 People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who take part in lewd activities. 10 Men sleep with their fathers' wives and have intercourse with women who are menstruating. 11 Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors' wives, who defile their daughters-in-law or who rape their own sisters. 12 There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortionists everywhere! They never even think of Me and My commands, says the Sovereign LORD.

The final straw is the last sentence: "They never even think of Me and My commands." There is little need to review the list today. Turn on whatever media one owns and immediately there is a daily list of identical nature. If earth called to God for justice and the Lord sent Noah's flood, what is the earth's call today?

What was Jerusalem's punishment to be? Scattering, burning, dishonor.

Ezekiel 22:13-16:
13 "But now I snap my fingers and call a halt to your dishonest gain and bloodshed. 14 How strong and courageous will you be then, in my day of reckoning? For I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do all that I have said. 15 I will scatter you throughout the world and burn out the wickedness within you. 16 You will be dishonored among the nations, and you shall know I am the Lord." TLB

With the snap of a finger, "business as usual" was over. The KJV says "Clap," using the ancient King's method of "getting things hopping." Nonetheless, the declaration which is made many times in Ezekiel's book, "(Then) you shall know I am the Lord," punctured the rebel's balloon.

God was not through with His comments. He used three analogies to describe the national condition: silver slag and an uncleared wilderness or desert without rain. Jerusalem gets to choose between being a worthless by-product or a devalued piece of real estate; the Lord offers no other choices.

1. Silver Slag:

Ezekiel 22:18-22:
18 "Son of dust, the people of Israel are the worthless slag left when silver is smelted. They are the dross, compounded from the brass, the tin, the iron and the lead. Therefore the Lord God says: 'Because you are worthless dross, I will bring you to My crucible in Jerusalem, to smelt you with the heat of My wrath. 21 I will blow the fire of My wrath upon you, 22 and you will melt like silver in fierce heat, and you will know that I, the Lord, have poured My wrath upon you.'"

(This verse contributed to the scene on the front cover of The Road to Captivity, which depicts the inhabitants of Jerusalem being goaded as captives, while departing a city completely engulfed in flames. The pictorial is viewed through the haze and heat radiation surrounding the scene.)

"You are worthless" is heard ringing in the elders ears as they observe and listen to God's evaluation of their kin. Such a scene caused a retching of their souls commiserate to the agonizing groans of Ezekiel in the previous chapter. Jerusalem was the gem of their eye, and the false prophets speaking against Jeremiah were deceivers and liars.

Ezekiel 22:24-29:
24 "Son of dust, say to the people of Israel: 'In the day of My indignation you shall be like an uncleared wilderness or a desert without rain.' 25 Your 'prophets' have plotted against you like lions stalking prey. They devour many lives; they seize treasures and extort wealth; they multiply the widows in the land. 26 Your priests have violated My laws and defiled My Temple and My holiness. To them the things of God are no more important than any daily task. They have not taught My people the difference between right and wrong, and they disregard My Sabbaths, so My holy name is greatly defiled among them. 27 Your leaders are like wolves, who tear apart their victims, and they destroy lives for profit. 28 Your 'prophets' describe false visions and speak false messages they claim are from God, when He hasn't spoken one word to them at all. Thus they repair the walls with whitewash! 29 Even the common people oppress and rob the poor and needy and cruelly extort from aliens.

Each segment of these five verses attacks the sins of the citizenry. It is easy to spot modern counterparts in each of the indictments. Beginning with Israel's religious leaders and moving from top to bottom, ending with "the common" folks, God touches every rung on the social ladder.

The Lord's words, regarding the priests, are especially poignant. Here, is a theme heard in the 44th Chapter, where Ezekiel introduced the Sons of Zadok. God blamed the clergy for the national condition, and their modern counterparts, having done similarly, stand condemned by what they condone!

Catalogue each group and enumerate their deficiencies under each one; thereby, anyone can see why the wrath of God was summoned. Is it any surprise there could be found no one to fill the duties of the next verses? No one was untainted by the corruption of the day. No inhabitant of Jerusalem was qualified to build God's wall of righteousness or fill the gap of intercession. Like Abraham in the city of Sodom, the search for righteousness yielded no one but his kin.

Ezekiel 22:30-23:
30 "I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out My fury on them, consuming them in the fire of My anger. I will heap on them the full penalty for all their sins, says the Sovereign LORD."

Jesus asked, "When He returned would He find faith upon the earth?" Today, what would God's search reveal? Who rises to fill the gap or build the wall? Has the wall of righteousness guarding your nation vanished? When one views the list of sins in these chapters and applies them to the modern West, the answer is obvious. No one can mock the living God and live!

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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Called to be Saints Solomon's Secret En Punto A Study in Isaiah

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In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

Last modified: 02/04/2019