GOOD Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Ezekiel 1-4
Read today’s verses on Bible Gateway by clicking here.
- Ezekiel’s Hebrew name means “The strength of YHWH” or “Strengthened by YHWH”.
- In Ezekiel 1:3 we read that Ezekiel is the author of this book. Bet you saw that coming.
- The book of Ezekiel gives us prophecies about two huge future events: The second coming (and all that entails) and the millennial kingdom. We are going to read about the second resurrection and also get a glimpse of what the millennium will look like. We will also read a detailed account of the third temple, how we will worship YHWH at that time, and the continuation of YHWH’s appointed times. Did you know that all of the appointed times will be observed when Messiah returns? We will get that from the Father’s mouth in this book, just as we have in others. All the more reason to practice them now.
- Ezekiel is sometimes divided into three parts:
-Prophesies against Israel Chapters 1-24
-Prophecies against the nations: Chapters 25-32
-Prophecies about Israel’s future Chapters 33-48
- AND Y’ALL! Some major prophecy concerning us in particular is going to be found in this book.
Major. Earth shaking and life changing.
- One phrase we will see a lot, so keep a look out for it, is “They shall know that I am YHWH.” This is found in passages where justice is brought about and punishment is being metted out, but also with regards to His people being restored and His blessings being manifested.
They shall know that I am YHWH.
The sooner we realize and acknowledge that in both thought and deed, the better that statement will sound to us.
About visions: We are going to see some strange language in some of Ezekiels descriptions of his visions, just as we see strange language and descriptions in other future predictions in the Bible such as Revelation.
Something to keep in mind is that these people were living in their time and seeing the future that is actually ahead of where we are now! Imagine, living in the time that Messiah physically walked the earth and seeing a helicopter, an atomic bomb, an airplane, a car. How on earth would you describe something like that with no frame of reference to compare it to? You would describe it the best way you can. Thus phrases “like a wheel within a wheel” come about.
As strange as these descriptions may sound to us, imagine trying to explain what the future, let’s say 2019, looked like to someone who lives in 300 B.C and now imagine you have no idea what you are actually looking at to begin with. This was Ezekiel’s lot.
It is interesting, then, to read how Ezekiel describes something in his vision, close your eyes, and try to imagine it as he described it, while mentally doing an inventory to see if there is anything in our modern times which might fit in that description. My sister, who takes some of the farthest reaching rabbit trails I have ever seen, specializes in comparing futuristic visions described in the Bible to events today. She has some mind blowing insights on this but I’m warning you, don’t ever get her started unless you have all day to do additional research and want to spend a few sleepless nights with your mind racing.
This is yet another example of the disadvantage we have when approaching Scripture with a modern western mindset. Culture and context are absolutely key when it comes to understanding the authors of the Bible and yet, here we are, outside of both.
We will see this especially come into play once we begin reading about Messiah because at that time we’re going to talk about the cultural practices of the Pharisees and other peoples of the time and how they conflicted with Messiah’s teachings. There are many key events which will make so much more sense once we put them back into context and step back to look at the culture in which they took place.
One quick example of the importance of culture in understanding a moment or gesture properly is that in some countries it is considered polite to burp after a meal while in some it is very rude. So imagine the disadvantage of someone coming from a country where it was polite, and they burped after your meal, without realizing that you might be offended rather than feel the compliment as it was intended. The difference in understanding culture is night and day – and in many cases with regards to the Bible, has eternal ramifications. So we are going to go there! We are going to walk in that room and turn on every light we possibly can.
Diving into the reading:
I’m not going to get into theories about what Ezekiel might be seeing in his visions of the future (possibly our time), but I figure some will do that in the comments and I look forward to reading those comments!
Remember, it is more important to know the prophecy than to know other people’s interpretation of the prophecy. Why is this? So you don’t miss it should the Father fulfill that prophecy in a way which you did not expect.
-Sidenote: If you aren’t coming back and reading the comments each day, you’re really missing out on some choice meat to chew on!
Ezekiel 2:2 I love the image of the Holy Spirit immediately causing him to do what the Father commands. Doesn’t this bring to mind the new covenant promise of the Holy Spirit causing us to obey the Father’s commandments? Isn’t it crazy that the world has convinced so many in the body of believers that to seek to obey YHWH is legalism? A great deception, and we’ve not only fallen for it, most of us have taken part in spreading it. I know I sure did. If you find yourself asking, “Why does Christy harp on this so much?” start looking out for references to this in YHWH’s word and ask yourself “Why does YHWH harp on this so much?”
In Ezekiel 2:3-7
And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.
The thing that keeps jumping out at me is the phrase (repeated more than once)
“And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.” Ezekiel 2:7
Man, that is a gut punch for me. We have such unprecedented access to the Word of YHWH, more than any other generation before us.
We have it, literally, in the palm of our hands. We have every translation, even access to the original Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek (depending on the book). We can have it read to us by a myriad of narrators based on our mood. We can have it emailed to us. Texted to us. We can carry it in our pocket, in our purse, and the old fashioned way – in our hands in book form.
When we have such access to His word, to not do as He says, to not know it, to not study it, to not obey it regardless of whether or not we have put in the time to study it – that is us refusing to hear.
The words are there. The Father has handed them to us just as surely as Ezekiel was handed that scroll in chapter 3 and told to eat it. But we have turned our face from it. We have shook our head, and refused to hear the words of the Father.
And once we get to a point where this sinks in and we realize it, the grieving sets in as we come to understand what we’ve done, what we’ve missed, and how we’ve grieved our Father. I will be forever grateful for the Father for leading me to repentance, loosening the scales from my eyes, and guiding me through His book so that I could have the relationship with Him that He intended. Even so, I know I’m still getting there so every day is another opportunity to get up, put my running shoes on, and chase after Him!
Regarding speaking His truth to others: We should be careful not to take this as a license to treat the word of YHWH as a hammer with which to beat someone upside the head with.
The Father is working on all of us and I can tell you that many a zealous believer has seen the light only to use it to knock the daylights out of someone else.
Remember the grace the Father has shown you. Remember the road you have been on and how long that journey has been. Each person you encounter is on a similar journey.
I liken it to a garden. The Father has planted the seeds but we have no way of knowing where someone is in their growth, only He does. They may be a newly sprouted seed, a tiny plant, a full bush about to bear fruit, etc. How, then, do we behave towards them without this knowledge? Simple. Treat everyone in line with the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23). If we do this, no matter what stage of growth they are at, we will leave them fertilized, nourished, and better off than when we found them. If we do not treat them in a manner in line with the fruits of the spirit, we risk poisoning the very soil the Father planted them in.
Ezekiel 3:16-21 we see that we bear a responsibility for the consequences that others meet when we, ourselves, do not obey the Father. So if the Father calls us to teach someone and we do not, and they are led astray due to lack of teaching, we are both responsible. Likewise if we end up leading them, unbeknownst to us, and by following our example they go astray. And truly, that scenario happens far more often than we realize. Matthew 5:19 comes to mind when I read things like this. It’s a little different but still relevant and related to this passage.
Another interesting passage is Ezekiel 3:20, where we read about a righteous man. Now, this is a man righteous in YHWH’s eyes so that tells us that YHWH counts him as righteous, but we see him turn away from the Father, commit injustice, and then his righteous deeds are erased in YHWH’s eyes. Remember this. This is just one of countless Bible passages that contradicts a popular errant doctrine today (remember, the errant doctrines are always the most beloved). There are other passages in the Bible like it and the Father Himself speaks to it on many occasions.
There is a difference between grace and mercy and when we willfully abuse our Heavenly Father’s kindness, we had better hope He is feeling merciful because we just threw His grace in the mud and danced on it.
This Ezekiel laying on his side thing. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past turning that over in my mind. I imagine the effect would be rather like that of Ghandi’s hunger strike. People would start talking about it, coming from near and far to see him, asking him the meaning and then talking about it even more once he told them.
However, he was also instructed to cook his bread and such, and he still had to go to the proverbial powder room from time to time, which most likely demonstrates that he wasn’t constantly on his side.
Still, we are flat out told that each day is symbolic of a year so that also tells us that each day is an actual day. They are already symbolic of longer timeframes so they in and of themselves are literal, not symbolic.
We end chapter four with the reference to the now famous Ezekiel bread. If you’d like to try the modern version of this it is usually available in the freezer section of most grocery stores or you can get a recipe online and hunt down all the ingredients (it may be quite the hunt).
We also see Ezekiel declaring that he will not defy the laws of YHWH regarding food as found in Leviticus 11. Note that while Ezekiel doesn’t mention not eating unclean animals in his response, that doesn’t mean that he ate them. For a commandment keeping Jew, the prospect of eating pork would be as far from their mind as the thought of us eating cats, dogs, or rats (which are also forbidden as food to us, whew!). So why did YHWH command Ezekiel to cook his food over human dung, thus making it unclean? This was to demonstrate how utterly disgusting Israel was in His eyes at this point, and it would surely have been a horror as Ezekiel demonstrated in his response. However, even though Israel was unclean through their own actions in YHWH’s eyes, He honored the desire to remain clean in Ezekiel and showed him grace in allowing Him to remain so. Remember, we are only clean through the grace of YHWH. Our faithfulness is an expected (and righteous) response to Him making us so.
I’m excited to be here with you today and looking forward to more time in the Word!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word, and may He bless you, too!