Exact Ezekiel; Chapters 29-32
December 1, 2017

C. R. Oliver

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December 1, 2017

Exact Ezekiel
Chapters 29-32


     To understand these chapters will require some knowledge of ancient history; this will help in seeing the analogies used by the Lord in describing the character of the targeted kingdoms: Assyria and Egypt. Since the primary target is Egypt, the action centers there. Assyria comes into play as the example to compare their destruction to the kind of devastation awaiting Egypt. Babylon is brought into view as the conquering mechanism the Lord will use to judge Pharaoh and his people. Assyria is pictured as a magnificent and tall tree. Egypt is pictured as a crocodile in a river (Crocodiles submerge with their eyes above the water level.). Assyria is shown as a fallen tree and Egypt as a creature netted and left ashore to rot.

The prophecy is unique when viewed as a whole, so, it will require reading all four of the chapters before seeing the beauty of their presentation. One should note the various time frames involved in the unfolded prophecy because Ezekiel does not present them in chronological order.

Ezekiel is careful to give the date in which each Word came to him. The earliest is in the tenth year of Jehoiachin's captivity, followed by the twenty-seventh year, and jumping back to the eleventh year and twelfth year.

By using this format, Ezekiel makes his reader aware of the plan of God, first to warn Pharaoh of His intent and then to give his audience a bold summary of the result of Pharaoh not repenting.

The composite picture of God's dealings with Pharaoh also encapsulates various principles and rules God requires of nations and their populations.

Chapter 29

Ezekiel 29:1-2:
On January 7, during the tenth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, this message came to me from the LORD: 2 "Son of man, turn toward Egypt and prophesy against Pharaoh the king and all the people of Egypt."

First, how could someone on the river Chebar, in captivity and living among the enslaved, be able to go and confront Pharaoh and address his people. However, this is never the case with the Word of the Lord. It always goes to the ones to whom it is sent. Speculatively, there might have been Babylonian officials present who would have been very interested in this prophecy. Perhaps there were others who traveled to Egypt and would carry the message. Better still, once it was verbalized by the prophet, that word went to Pharaoh and his people by the Spirit!

Ezekiel gets to repeat this message several times throughout these four chapters, which precedes the actual event by several years-thus, giving time for repentance. The repetition of this message serves as a statement of intent and fact. Over and again, the Lord declared, "He is the enemy for which no army can defeat." When a nation is repeatedly told a judgment is coming, there comes a time for the execution of the intent,

Ezekiel 29:2-5:
3 "Give them this message from the Sovereign LORD: I am your enemy, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt - you great monster, lurking in the streams of the Nile. For you have said, 'The Nile River is mine; I made it for myself!' 4 I will put hooks in your jaws and drag you out on the land with fish sticking to your scales. 5 I will leave you and all your fish stranded in the desert to die. You will lie unburied on the open ground, for I have given you as food to the wild animals and birds."

Once before, God destroyed the army of Pharaoh-so they knew He could. The exodus slowed the growth and power of Egypt for a time, but they flourished again. Now, they will not be restored as a world power. When the people of the land see their "god" in disarray, there will be no more worship and support.

Ezekiel 29:6-9:
6 "All the people of Egypt will discover that I am the LORD, for you collapsed like a reed when Israel looked to you for help. 7 Israel leaned on you, but like a cracked staff, you splintered and stabbed her in the armpit. When she put her weight on you, you gave way, and her back was thrown out of joint. 8 So now the Sovereign LORD says: I will bring an army against you, O Egypt, and destroy both people and animals. 9 The land of Egypt will become a desolate wasteland, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD."

In this passage, a single reason is given: "Israel looked to you for help. Israel leaned on you…(and you failed them)."

Egypt did not keep their word to God's people. To forsake God's people is to forsake Him-- God's people are His family.

Ezekiel 29:9-12:
"Because you said, 'The Nile River is mine; I made it,' 10 I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will utterly destroy the land of Egypt, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia. 11 For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited. 12 I will make Egypt desolate, and it will be surrounded by other desolate nations. Its cities will be empty and desolate for forty years, surrounded by other desolate cities. I will scatter the Egyptians to distant lands."

I believe their forty year term was payback for the evil influence of "golden calves" and the price paid by Israel in the forty year wilderness wandering. Nonetheless, it basically means "a generation" passes by in that length.
Notice: "The land will be completely uninhabited," "desolate," "surrounded by other desolate nations." Egypt is to be scattered just like the ten tribes were scattered to other nations

It is significant that the true creator of the Nile (Egypt's central economic attribute) refused to share His glory. Ezekiel pinpoints the areas of Migdol and Aswan. Migdol housed a central military fortress; its lookout tower was famous. From their position, at the head of the Nile, if they traveled all the way to Aswan, they would encompass the whole nation.

Ezekiel 29:13-16:
13 "But the Sovereign LORD also says: At the end of the forty years I will bring the Egyptians home again from the nations to which they have been scattered. 14 I will restore the prosperity of Egypt and bring its people back to the land of Pathros in southern Egypt from which they came. But Egypt will remain an unimportant, minor kingdom. 15 It will be the lowliest of all the nations, never again great enough to rise above its neighbors."

16 "Then Israel will no longer be tempted to trust in Egypt for help. Egypt's shattered condition will remind Israel of how sinful she was to trust Egypt in earlier days. Then Israel will know that I alone am the Sovereign LORD."

Egypt, to this day, suffers under the curse of God. When the Lord uses "never again," then there is no recourse. Israel would never again put their trust in Egypt.

Ezekiel introduces now a prophecy given seventeen years later. This word is highly definitive and explains why God is allowing Nebuchadnezzar to conquer Egypt. Not only does He bring judgment on Egypt, but God pays the King of Babylon for being His instrument against Tyre. Yes, God uses pagan, unredeemed sources to accomplish His will.

Ezekiel 29:17-20:
17 On April 26, during the twenty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, this message came to me from the LORD: 18 "Son of man, the army of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought so hard against Tyre that the warriors' heads were rubbed bare and their shoulders were raw and blistered. Yet Nebuchadnezzar and his army won no plunder to compensate them for all their work. 19 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will carry off their wealth, plundering everything they have to pay his army. 20 Yes, I have given him the land of Egypt as a reward for his work, says the Sovereign LORD, because he was working for Me when he destroyed Tyre."

Encouragement came into Israel's captive camp when the Lord added this promise:

Ezekiel 29:21:
21 "And the day will come when I will cause the ancient glory of Israel to revive, and then at last your words will be respected. Then they will know that I am the LORD."

At this very moment Ezekiel 29:21 is fulfilled.

Chapter 30

The following passages act as addendums to the former prophecy. They refine some areas and include all the "friends of Egypt." Noteworthy is the reference to Ethiopia. Each of the nations which rejoiced in Israel's plight are now brought into the suffering.

A principle is set in order: "It matters with whom one associates."

Whether alignment with a church, a political party, a social cause or a friendship fellowship, it can lead one into judgment with those sources if they enter into judgment. It pays for the Christian to scrutinize his or her associations, for the early disciples paid attention to theirs. The following passage indicates those who were aligned with Egypt shared their dismay!

Ezekiel 30:1-9:
This is another message that came to me from the LORD: 2 "Son of man, prophesy and give this message from the Sovereign LORD: Weep, 3 for the terrible day is almost here - the day of the LORD! It is a day of clouds and gloom, a day of despair for the nations! 4 A sword will come against Egypt, and those who are slaughtered will cover the ground. Their wealth will be carried away and their foundations destroyed. The land of Ethiopia will be ravished. 5 Ethiopia, Libya, Lydia, and Arabia, with all their other allies, will be destroyed in that war. "

6 "For this is what the LORD says: All of Egypt's allies will fall, and the pride of their power will end. From Migdol to Aswan they will be slaughtered by the sword, says the Sovereign LORD. 7 Egypt will be desolate, surrounded by desolate nations, and its cities will be in ruins, surrounded by other ruined cities. 8 And the people of Egypt will know that I am the LORD when I have set Egypt on fire and destroyed all their allies. 9 At that time I will send swift messengers in ships to terrify the complacent Ethiopians. Great panic will come upon them on that day of Egypt's certain destruction."

Economy and trade took place because of the Nile. Crops were watered because of its overflow and proximity. The major cities of the Pharaoh were planted and developed along the banks of the Nile. Rich soil was replenished because of the Nile. Transportation between cities and major points of industry traveled the Nile. Huge residences and beautiful settings were along the banks of the Nile. Wealth was garnered because of taxation for those using its resources.

One command: "Nile River, dry up" and God had the attention of a nation. The Nile obeyed the command of its creator! Egypt's economy dried up.

Ezekiel 30:10-12:
10 "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Through King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, I will destroy the hordes of Egypt. 11 He and his armies - ruthless among the nations - have been sent to demolish the land. They will make war against Egypt until slaughtered Egyptians cover the ground. 12 I will dry up the Nile River and hand the land over to wicked men. I will destroy the land of Egypt and everything in it, using foreigners to do it. I, the LORD, have spoken!"

When Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh, her paganism came with her, for he built shrines to her gods outside Jerusalem. By now, the gods of Egypt were engrained in the Hebrew children's culture (they cast into a golden calf the wealth they took from Egypt centuries earlier). Judgment came upon Egypt because of their idols.

Ezekiel 30:13-19:
13 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will smash the idols of Egypt and the images at Memphis. There will be no rulers left in Egypt; anarchy will prevail throughout the land! 14 I will destroy Pathros, Zoan, and Thebes, and they will lie in ruins, burned up by my anger. 15 I will pour out my fury on Pelusium, the strongest fortress of Egypt, and I will stamp out the people of Thebes. 16 Yes, I will set fire to all Egypt! Pelusium will be racked with pain; Thebes will be torn apart; Memphis will live in constant terror. 17 The young men of Heliopolis and Bubastis will die in battle, and the women will be taken away as slaves. 18 When I come to break the proud strength of Egypt, it will be a dark day for Tahpanhes, too. A dark cloud will cover Tahpanhes, and its daughters will be led away as captives. 19 And so I will greatly punish Egypt, and they will know that I am the LORD."

Tahpanhes was a royal city and a resort of Pharaoh. It was also the destination of the renegades who had escaped the ravages of Jerusalem under Babylon's siege. The illiterate, poor "trash of society" voted to leave Israel, against the protest of the prophet Jeremiah, and head to Egypt. They over-ruled Jeremiah and lied to him. Jeremiah actually gave his final prophetic word in Tahpanhes where those unbelievers eventually built a substitute temple. Really, they escaped nothing. Babylon was given Egypt as reparation by the living Lord. Also, Egypt and Tahpanhes was ravished again by Alexander the Great.

Turning back in time from the twenty-seventh year, and returning to the eleventh year, Ezekiel sews together the earlier prophecies with this latter detailed judgment.

Ezekiel 30:20-26:
20 On April 29, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, this message came to me from the LORD: 21 "Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. His arm has not been put in a cast so that it may heal. Neither has it been bound up with a splint to make it strong enough to hold a sword. 22 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am the enemy of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt! I will break both of his arms - the good arm along with the broken one - and I will make his sword clatter to the ground. 23 I will scatter the Egyptians to many lands throughout the world. 24 I will strengthen the arms of Babylon's king and put My sword in his hand. But I will break the arms of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he will lie there mortally wounded, groaning in pain. 25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, while the arms of Pharaoh fall useless to his sides. And when I put my sword in the hand of Babylon's king and he brings it against the land of Egypt, Egypt will know that I am the LORD. 26 I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD."

To become the enemy of God is an awesome thing. Nation after nation, today, joins the ranks of those who are squeezing out Christians, or slaughtering them. Those nations will rue the day that is coming upon them. There was no "balm in Gilead" for Pharaoh, for not only will the foundations of his dynasty be destroyed, his military will be annihilated. The Lord is thorough in judgment and perfect in all His ways.

Chapter 31

As Assyria was, so Egypt will be.

The impact of this example was well understood for God felled Assyria like a magnificent tree cut down. Once filled with glory, in a time preceding Ezekiel, they flourished under Sennacharib's mighty power. The kingdom of Asshur once was a glowing empire, built upon prosperity and pride. The world knew when it fell, and took note of the example God made of it. Likened to the mightiest of trees in the Garden of God (Eden), this prophecy noted that even the most favored nations are still subject to the hand of the Lord.

To compare their fall to Egypt should have sent chills down Pharaoh's spine; however, sixteen years later--nothing had changed.

Again, the Lord instructed Ezekiel to address the nation of Egypt and single out Pharaoh and include his citizen supporters. Geographically and politically, the command would seem like an impossible task, but not to believing Ezekiel. His intonation traveled like an echo in the canyon of time, and Egypt got the message. Notice, this message was less than two months since the last prophecy.

Ezekiel 31:1-9:
On June 21, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, this message came to me from the LORD: 2 "Son of man, give this message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all his people: To whom would you compare your greatness? 3 You are as Assyria was - a great and mighty nation. Assyria, too, was once like a cedar of Lebanon, full of thick branches that cast deep forest shade with its top high among the clouds. 4 Deep springs watered it and helped it to grow tall and luxuriant. The water was so abundant that there was enough for all the trees nearby. 5 This great tree towered above all the other trees around it. It prospered and grew long thick branches because of all the water at its roots. 6 The birds nested in its branches, and in its shade all the wild animals gave birth to their young. All the great nations of the world lived in its shadow. 7 It was strong and beautiful, for its roots went deep into abundant water. 8 This tree became taller than any of the other cedars in the garden of God. No cypress had branches equal to it; no plane tree had boughs to compare. No tree in the garden of God came close to it in beauty. 9 Because of the magnificence I gave this tree, it was the envy of all the other trees of Eden, the garden of God."

Whenever Scripture begins with "therefore" what follows is based on every passage preceding it. (Those things which cause God's judgment constitute a study within itself.)
"Because it became proud" is a significant phrase, as it indicates a "pride" saturated the society. Pride dilutes sound judgment and pollutes rationality.
Verse fourteen (below) establishes a warning for all nations who disregard God!

Ezekiel 31:10-14:
10 "Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because it became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, reaching to the clouds, 11 I handed it over to a mighty nation that destroyed it as its wickedness deserved. I Myself discarded it. 12 A foreign army - the terror of the nations - cut it down and left it fallen on the ground. Its branches were scattered across the mountains and valleys and ravines of the land. All those who lived beneath its shadow went away and left it lying there. 13 The birds roosted on its fallen trunk, and the wild animals lay among its branches. 14 Let no other nation proudly exult in its own prosperity, though it be higher than the clouds, for all are doomed. They will land in the pit along with all the proud people of the world. "

Those already in the pit welcome those coming into it. Misery loves company, and each nation and people assigned to the pit were glad that Assyria joined them and they will rejoice when Pharaoh arrives with his hordes. (Egyptologists revel in gold sarcophagi with their treasures to assist the dead with their afterlife. Sadly, such artifacts are of no use in the pit.)

Ezekiel 31:15-18:
15 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When Assyria went down into the grave, I made the deep places mourn, and I restrained the mighty waters. I clothed Lebanon in black and caused the trees of the field to wilt. 16 I made the nations shake with fear at the sound of its fall, for I sent it down to the grave with all the others like it. And all the other proud trees of Eden, the most beautiful and the best of Lebanon, the ones whose roots went deep into the water, were relieved to find it there with them in the pit. 17 Its allies, too, were all destroyed and had passed away. They had gone down to the grave - all those nations that had lived in its shade."

18 "O Egypt, to which of the trees of Eden will you compare your strength and glory? You, too, will be brought down to the pit with all these other nations. You will lie there among the outcasts who have died by the sword. This will be the fate of Pharaoh and all his teeming hordes. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!"

Chapter 32

     About nine months after the former word, Ezekiel receives another message for Pharaoh. The proud king of one of the mightiest empires views himself as a lion. God sees him as a worn out crocodile laying in the Nile stirring up mud with his feet (quite a contrast).

Ezekiel 32:1-2:
On March 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity, this message came to me from the LORD: 2 "Son of man, mourn for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and give him this message: You think of yourself as a strong young lion among the nations, but you are really just a sea monster, heaving around in your own rivers, stirring up mud with your feet."

Beginning with "therefore (our signal to heed what follows)," the Lord reveals the breadth of this disarray. The heavens will answer His call for Pharaoh's judgment. The nations will heed His call. The animals will answer His beckon. The earth will respond in kind. The extent of the foreign invasion will go beyond the capability of man to fathom it. Nothing has been like this judgment in all historical recordings. So brutal will be the offing that to write of it would be futile. The horror of it will break the mind and will of all who witness it.

Ezekiel 32:3-8:
3 "Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will send many people to catch you in My net and haul you out of the water. 4 I will leave you stranded on the land to die. All the birds of the heavens will land on you, and the wild animals of the whole earth will gorge themselves on you. 5 I will cover the hills with your flesh and fill the valleys with your bones. 6 I will drench the earth with your gushing blood all the way to the mountains, filling the ravines to the brim. 7 When I blot you out, I will veil the heavens and darken the stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give you its light. 8 Yes, I will bring darkness everywhere across your land. Even the brightest stars will become dark above you. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!"

The surrounding nations will cower in the wake of the devastation they behold. Terror will come upon them among waves of gore. So great will they fear, they will disavow they were Egypt's friend and they will leave you all alone.

Ezekiel 32:9-10:
9 "And when I bring your shattered remains to distant nations that you have never seen, I will disturb many hearts. 10 Yes, I will bring terror to many lands, and their kings will be terrified because of all I do to you. They will shudder in fear for their lives as I brandish My sword before them on the day of your fall."

Deeper judgment called for more drastic events and unconscionable acts. Nothing was outside the scope of the imagination as devastation channeled itself into every aspect of society.

Ezekiel 32:11-16:
11 "For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: The sword of the king of Babylon will come against you. 12 I will destroy you with the swords of mighty warriors - the terror of the nations. They will shatter the pride of Egypt, and all its hordes will be destroyed. 13 I will destroy all your flocks and herds that graze beside the streams. Never again will people or animals disturb those waters with their feet. 14 Then I will let the waters of Egypt become calm again, and they will flow as smoothly as olive oil, says the Sovereign LORD. 15 And when I destroy Egypt and wipe out everything you have and strike down all your people, then you will know that I am the LORD. 16 Yes, this is the funeral song they will sing for Egypt. Let all the nations mourn for Egypt and its hordes. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!"

If someone consoles themselves in the Twenty-first Century with, "this or that could never happen here," then stop. We are witnessing the first quaking of a breaking society.

Two weeks after the March 3rd Word, God breaks the silence again.

Ezekiel 32:17-21:
7 On March 17, during the twelfth year, another message came to me from the LORD: 18 "Son of man, weep for the hordes of Egypt and for the other mighty nations. For I will send them down to the world below in company with those who descend to the pit. 19 Say to them, 'O Egypt, are you lovelier than the other nations? No! So go down to the pit and lie there among the outcasts.' 20 The Egyptians will fall with the many who have died by the sword, for the sword is drawn against them. Egypt will be dragged away to its judgment. 21 Down in the grave mighty leaders will mockingly welcome Egypt and its allies, saying, 'They have come down; they lie among the outcasts, all victims of the sword.'"

The question is asked, "Is Egypt special?" The rhetorical question is answered, "No." They are not better than Assyria who went to the pit. They are not better than the fighting masses who drew the sword in battle as a conquering army. They are not better than the nations who have been judged and thrown in the pit. "NO," they are not better than the other residents of hell; they are like them.

The Lord reviewed those who have gone to the pit before Egypt. Their litany is like a roll call of the prophets who have warned them in the past. Isaiah and Jeremiah are joined to Ezekiel and Daniel in listing those nations addressed by them.

Ezekiel 32:22-32:
22 "Assyria lies there surrounded by the graves of all its people, those who were slaughtered by the sword. 23 Their graves are in the depths of the pit, and they are surrounded by their allies. These mighty men who once struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere are now dead at the hands of their enemies.

24 "Elam lies there buried with its hordes who descended as outcasts to the world below. They terrorized the nations while they lived, but now they lie in the pit and share the humiliation of those who have gone to the world of the dead. 25 They have a resting place among the slaughtered, surrounded by the graves of all their people. Yes, they terrorized the nations while they lived, but now they lie in shame in the pit, all of them outcasts, slaughtered by the sword.

26 "Meshach and Tubal are there, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. They once struck terror into the hearts of all people. But now they are outcasts, all victims of the sword. 27 They are not buried in honor like the fallen heroes of the outcasts, who went down to the grave with their weapons - their shields covering their bodies, and their swords beneath their heads. They brought terror to everyone while they were still alive."

28 "You too, Egypt, will lie crushed and broken among the outcasts, all victims of the sword."

29 "Edom is there with its kings and princes. Mighty as they were, they also lie among those killed by the sword, with the outcasts who have gone down to the pit. 30 All the princes of the north and the Sidonians are there, all victims of the sword. Once a terror, they now lie there in shame. They lie there as outcasts with all the other dead who have descended to the pit."

31 "When Pharaoh arrives, he will be relieved to find that he is not alone in having his entire army killed, says the Sovereign LORD. 32 For I have caused My terror to fall upon all the living. And Pharaoh and his hordes will lie there among the outcasts who have died by the sword. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!" NLT

The heathen nations that are showing their disdain for Christians and the human race in general, will be in for many a surprise in the coming year.

Addendum: Because of where we are in the study of Ezekiel, the Christmas edition probably sounds a bit dark, but remember, our savior was born into such a world and died to redeem those who were headed for the pit.

From all of us at Zadok Publications and Oliver Evangelistic Association, International, we say:

     "Have a very merry Christmas."

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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