Friday, October 24, 2014


For the week beginning Sunday October 26, 2014

(Judgment on Israel’s leaders)
Ezekiel 10-11

In Ezekiel 10, after the righteous had received GOD’s “mark of protection”, and those who embraced evil had been slain by the executioners of the LORD, GOD now removes HIS glory from the defiled temple at Jerusalem. Each person’s destiny had been determined by his or her own character, and now, here this chapter, GOD is sending a clear message that HE will not share a temple with other gods.
The Israelites, who had polluted the sanctuary with idolatry, had left GOD no other choice but to depart from the midst of Jerusalem, as HE had done in symbolic fashion at Shiloh, when HE stripped HIS chosen people of the “Ark of the Covenant” that they trusted in so superstitiously, instead of trusting in HIM (1 Samuel 4 & Jeremiah 7:14-15).
In the opening verses of chapter 10, Ezekiel once again describes some of the same images that he saw in his vision in chapter 1, of the “Throne Chariot of GOD”, the crystal-like sky, the whirling wheels, and the angelic beings. Also here in this passage, the LORD gives the man in linen clothing another assignment, this time telling him to “Go between the “whirling wheels” beneath the cherubim, and take a handful of glowing coals and scatter them over the city” (v.2).
These burning coals had also been seen by Ezekiel in his earlier vision, and they symbolize GOD’s wrath. This time GOD was going to use the coals to purge HIS once-holy city of her sins. The cherubim were standing at the south end of the temple when the man in linen walked in, and the “cloud of glory” filled the inner courtyard, which signified GOD’s presence at the threshold of the sanctuary. At that time the glory of the LORD rose up from above the cherubim and went over to the door of the temple. The temple was then filled with the cloud of glory, and the temple courtyard glowed brightly also, with the brilliance of the glory of the LORD (Vs.3-4).
In verse 5, the moving wings of the cherubim made a loud and powerful sound, like the voice of GOD, and could be heard very clearly, even in the outer courtyard. The LORD now says to the man in linen, “Go between the cherubim and take some of the burning coals from between the wheels” (v.6). Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand and took some of the live coals and put them in the hands of the man in linen clothing. Then the man took the coals and left the temple (Vs. 7-8).
Thereafter, the glory of the LORD moved from the door of the temple, and then, left the temple completely and hovered over HIS cherubim. And as Ezekiel watched, the cherubim flew to the east gate of the temple. This signified that the LORD had now withdrawn HIS protection from the temple and left it to the mercy of the ruthless Babylonians, as it would later come to pass.
In Ezekiel chapter 11, once again we see GOD’s announcement of judgment on the community leaders of Israel. Here the HOLY SPIRIT brings Ezekiel to the east gateway of the temple, where he saw 25 prominent men of Jerusalem standing. These were not the same 25 men who were worshiping the sun in chapter 8. Among these men were Jaazaniah, son of Azzur, and Pelatiah, son of Benaiah, and it was this distinguished group of men, whom, GOD held primarily responsible for all of the wicked council that was being given to the people of Judah.
The east gate was commonly the place where the elders of the city sat to administer justice, give advice, and oversee various legal matters, not unlike in a courthouse. These men had counseled against the prophecies of Jeremiah, telling the people of Judah to forget about his predictions of a coming Babylonian invasion. They urged the people of Judah, instead, to build houses (a sign of security and peace), for they were absolutely as safe in Jerusalem, as “meat in a cooking pot”.
In the Old Testament times, meat was seldom included in the daily diets of the Israelites. It was a precious commodity that, when available, was protected in a “cooking pot”. The analogy of the “meat” and the “cooking pot” reflects the view that the Israelites (the meat) who were precious to GOD, and, the walled city of Jerusalem (the cooking pot), were guaranteed to be protected by GOD from the Babylonians.
In verses 6-12, these secure images are somewhat shattered by Ezekiel’s, now famous, “prophesy of the meat in the pot”. The city elders had caused many people to die by advising them to ignore the prophet Jeremiah, and now the blood of those people was on their hands.
In verse 7, Ezekiel tells them that, “this city may be an iron pot, but the meat within are the victims of your injustice”, only they, will be protected. Therefore, for them (the elders), the city would not be an iron pot of protection, and in fact, they themselves, would be far from being safe at all, in Jerusalem. GOD would drag them all out of the city and slaughter them all along the way to Babylon. And even while Ezekiel was still speaking, Peletiah suddenly fell dead.
In verses 14-21 we see that, instead of learning from what had just happened to Jaazaniah, Pelatiah and the others, those still left in Jerusalem, saw the fate of their fellow citizens as a boon for them (v.15). Therefore, the LORD sent a rather encouraging message to the surviving exiles, who, were already in Babylon. HE tells them that, despite what they had been hearing from the people left in Jerusalem, HE had not abandoned them, and would, to the contrary, be a sanctuary to them while they were in exile.
GOD promises also, that HE would one day return the exiles again to their homeland, and, at that time, a repentant Israel would remove every trace of the detestable idols that were being worshipped in Judah. GOD promised to put a new spirit, or attitude of worship, in them, so that they would, once again, be HIS people, and HE, would be their GOD (Vs.18-21).
However, as for now, the LORD was content just to withdraw HIS glory completely from the city and the nation that HE loved, so that their sins may its course, and humility, repentance, and truth of consequences, could be realized under GOD. And so the cherubim rose up beneath the glory of the LORD, and they all came to rest above a mountain east of Jerusalem. Afterwards, the HOLY SPIRIT carried Ezekiel back to Babylon, and so ended his vision and visit to Jerusalem. After arriving back in Babylon, he shared this divine experience with the other exiles (Vs.22-25).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website


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