Ezekiel Chapter 24 Parable Against Jerusalem, Ezekiel’s Wife dies in Type and Antitype

Jun 25th, 2009 | By | Category: Ezekiel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ezekiel Chapter 24 Parable Against Jerusalem, Ezekiel’s Wife dies in Type and Antitype

Ezek. 24:1 Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD come unto me, saying,

The time setting was the ninth year, tenth month, tenth day—close to the destruction of Jerusalem in 606 BC.

Ezek. 24:2 Son of man, write thee the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.

Ezekiel was told to mark the day and record it in writing. Why? because that was the very day Nebuchadnezzar set the siege against Jerusalem. Since Ezekiel was a captive in Babylon, he would have no way of knowing about the event without the Lord’s informing him. Hence this was miraculous information. By writing it down, Ezekiel would be recognized as a true prophet eventually. Verification of the date is given in 2 Kings 25:1 and Jeremiah 39:1; 52:4.

Ezek. 24:3 And utter a parable unto the rebellious house, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Set on a pot, set it on, and also pour water into it:

Ezek. 24:4 Gather the pieces thereof into it, even every good piece, the thigh, and the shoulder; fill it with the choice bones.

Ezek. 24:5 Take the choice of the flock, and burn also the bones under it, and make it boil well, and let them seethe the bones of it therein.

Ezekiel was told to utter a parable, and in doing so, he had to ceremoniously set a pot over the fire. Water was poured into the pot and animals pieces were added to make a stew, as it were. Choice pieces such as the thigh and the shoulder were used: “every good piece,” “choice bones,” the “choice of the flock.” The contents were to “boil well” (furiously) so that the bones would “seethe.” Ezekiel actually enacted the parable but did not explain what he was doing. Meanwhile the people watched. At the climax he uttered the words the Lord had given him, and a moral lesson was obtained. The “pieces” and “bones” represented the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the “choice” ones being the principals or leaders of the city, so that all, down to the common people, were included in the symbolism.

Ezek. 24:6 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it.

Ezek. 24:7 For her blood is in the midst of her; she set it upon the top of a rock; she poured it not upon the ground, to cover it with dust;

Ezek. 24:8 That it might cause fury to come up to take vengeance; I have set her blood upon the top of a rock, that it should not be covered.

Ezek. 24:9 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city! I will even make the pile for fire great.

Ezek. 24:10 Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned.

Ezek. 24:11 Then set it empty upon the coals thereof, that the brass of it may be hot, and may burn, and that the filthiness of it may be molten in it, that the scum of it may be consumed.

The blood of Jerusalem was set upon the top of a rock instead of being poured upon the ground and covered with dust. In fury and vengeance, the Lord would now do the same to Jerusalem (and Judah). What was the significance? Blood guilt was piling up and the Lord, in retribution, would return death and slaughter upon the city (upon its inhabitants and leaders). The “bloody city” was responsible for the death of innocent ones. Jesus expressed the same principle when he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets” (Matt. 23:37).

Blood on the rock suggests not only that blood was spilled but that the violence was brazenly committed and that iniquities were done with great effrontery and with no shame attached.

Verse 7 is a reference to the Law, which required that spilled blood be poured on the ground and covered over with dirt for sanitary reasons such as keeping away flies (Lev. 17:13). The “rock” suggests an altar. Hence the blood of the holy prophets was spilled as sacrificial lambs, as it were, because the people thought they were doing God a favor by executing the prophets who had condemned them. The false city viewed the true prophets as false prophets and executed them brazenly and openly with no shame. Whereas the blood guilt piled up cumulatively, the retribution would occur in a much shorter time.

Verses 9 and 10 pertain to the siege of Jerusalem. “Scum” (verses 6 and 11) would be the scum of society, those who conformed to animal or baser instincts, the criminal element. Just as a dead body figuratively pollutes those in contact with it, so this element contaminated those they associated with.

“Bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it.” Water was put in the pot, and choice meat and bones were added. After the water boiled furiously, the pieces were extracted one by one. How would the casting of lots be out of place here? None of the inhabitants were to be spared—this was a picture of general extermination. The pieces were slaughtered indiscriminately with no favoritism being shown. Those who were taken out of the pot and/or managed to escape (Zedekiah, for example) were captured outside the city walls and dealt with.

Ezekiel 11:3,7,11 provides a little review. “I [God] will judge you in the border of Israel.” At Riblah lots were cast to see whether Nebuchadnezzar should have his army go to Ammon or to Jerusalem. The king desired the former, but the signs indicated Jerusalem. Therefore, he stayed behind with the princes and the notables while his general went to Jerusalem and captured it. The captives were brought to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, where he executed them. In addition, the escapees were caught near Jericho and taken to Riblah for judgment by the king. It was there that Zedekiah’s sons were slain (plus others who tried to escape) and the king’s eyes were put out. As far as we know, Zedekiah was the only one spared and taken to Babylon—he went to Babylon but did not see it (he was blind). Meanwhile, King Jehoiachin, already in Babylon, was honored in the 37th year of the captivity.

Ezek. 24:12 She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the fire.

Combining verses 6, 11, and 12, we see that water remained in the pot when the pieces were extracted. Subsequently the water was emptied and the pot was put on the fire again to steam and get molten hot to vaporize any possible impurities left by the choice flesh. The Ammonites and the Edomites and other peoples on the surrounding hills viewed the destruction of Jerusalem. From that vantage point, they could see over the city walls. It was as if God had put Jerusalem’s blood on a rock to be seen by her enemies. The Jews had brazenly slain innocent blood, and now the retribution was done openly to be an “eye for an eye” (Exod. 21:24).

Under the Law, if a container came in contact with death or leprosy, the following had to be done. Wood vessels were burned, consumed; clay containers were broken; metal ones were scoured. Here the pot was scoured in an extreme fashion—with white-hot heat.

Ezek. 24:13 In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.

Ezek. 24:14 I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.

In past punishments Israel was not purged, so now God would bring a great punishment that would accomplish the purging. Israel had not learned lessons, and the die was now cast. In past punishments God, in His mercy, did not go to the utmost extreme. The Israelites were given opportunity to repent and reform, but they continued in disobedience. Now God’s fury would “rest” (stay) on them until they perished.

Those who later returned from the 70 years’ Babylonian captivity did not worship false gods. Hence the punishment was effective along certain lines. They were a people prepared for Messiah at his coming.

Ezek. 24:15 Also the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ezek. 24:16 Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.

Ezek. 24:17 Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.

Ezek. 24:18 So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.

God told Ezekiel that his wife (“the desire of thine eyes”) would die suddenly (“with a stroke”) and that he was not to mourn or weep. Ezekiel was a priest, and he was to wear his priest’s turban as if everything were normal. He was not to mourn or rub ashes into his hair. Neither was he to go barefoot or wear the traditional sackcloth of mourning. In other words, as the desire of Ezekiel’s eyes would die, so would the desire of Judah die.

“Cover not thy lips.” Lepers were required to put a cloth over the lip and cry “Unclean, unclean” to anyone approaching. In a period of mourning, the handling of a dead body made one unclean. Shortly after the burial, the individual was clean again.

“Eat not the bread of men.” The Revised Standard has “eat not the bread of mourners.” When the Israelites left Egypt, the unleavened bread they ate in haste was called “the bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:3). The point is that there was to be no pubic display of mourning by Ezekiel for his wife. (His mourning had to be done privately at night in his home.)

Notice the emphasis on morning, evening, morning. Ezekiel spoke to the people in the morning, his wife died in the evening, and he displayed no emotion the following morning. Instead of being distracted and postponing the parable about the pot when he was informed that his wife would die, he uttered the parable and enacted it. That night his wife died. In other words, he obeyed God and went ahead with his work instead of spending the last day with his wife. What strength of character! Ezekiel was faithful like Abraham. A mature Christian gets such a test—a crucial Abrahamic test, a supreme test. Ezekiel displayed no visible grief.

In a similar incident but with a character difference, Aaron and his two sons Eleazar and Ithamar were  forbidden to mourn the death of the other two sons Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1–7). Aaron and his two surviving sons were not to mourn because Nadab and Abihu had been disobedient to God. Lesson: If we love righteousness and hate iniquity, we will not mourn the death of those who willfully disobey God. No matter how dear the person was to us, if he or she sins the sin unto death or even commits a grievous sin, we are not to let down the standards of the faith by commiserating with such a one in connection with that deed. Of course if the sinner repents and follows Scriptural procedures, that is another matter. When Nadab and Abihu were suddenly consumed, half of Aaron’s family was instantly gone. Aaron’s not mourning showed his complete reverence for God. Since God saw fit to execute such a judgment, Aaron was, as an example to others, not to mourn. The punishment upon the two iniquitous sons was just. Under the Law, if a son’s disobedience required stoning to death, the parents were not to mourn. Moreover, a high priest whose wife died during the Day of Atonement had to continue the service and not mourn.

In Ezekiel’s case, there was no indication that his wife was unfaithful. Hence his not mourning was for a different reason; that is, it was to be a typical lesson or sign to the nation. The people knew that Ezekiel’s wife had died, so when he did not mourn but behaved normally the next morning, they were rather shocked and asked why. Their question afforded Ezekiel an opportunity to present the lesson God had instructed him to give. Ezekiel’s not mourning indicated the seriousness of the coming calamity. His actions signified that many people would be slain—so many that the dead would not be mourned. Death would become so common and rampant that the people would lose their sensitivity.

In other words, a person’s own suffering can numb him to the suffering of others. Although God had married the nation of Israel and loved the people dearly, He had to punish them, and He showed no emotion.

Ezek. 24:19 And the people said unto me, Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so?

Ezek. 24:20 Then I answered them, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ezek. 24:21 Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword.

Ezek. 24:22 And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.

Ezek. 24:23 And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another.

Ezek. 24:24 Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel could grieve inwardly but not outwardly. In neither his clothing nor his behavior was he to display grief. “Tires” (verse 23) were very decorative turbans or bandannas that the men took pride in wearing.

As regards the people, Ezekiel’s not mourning was a “sign.” He was saying that a time would come when they would be inured to emotion because of frequent and widespread death. They would be drained and like zombies when the city was besieged. The “desire of your eyes” (their sons and daughters) would be killed. Some even ate their own children. In other words, Ezekiel’s experience would be the people’s experience in the 606 BC destruction.

Notice that in verse 24 Ezekiel was called by name instead of “son of man.” Except for the third verse of the book (1:3), which was not a direct address, this is the only time in the entire book that his name was used.

Ezek. 24:25 Also, thou son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters,

Ezek. 24:26 That he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thine ears?

Ezek. 24:27 In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Some Israelites were already in captivity with Ezekiel, for the ten tribes had been taken captive about 150 years earlier and subsequently others were taken from the two tribes in the Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin captivities. Among the captives were Daniel, the three Hebrews, Ezekiel, and Jehoiachin. When captives of the two tribes were taken, many family members were left behind.

An escapee from Judah got to Babylon with the news that Jerusalem had been captured. The siege began in the tenth month of the ninth year and lasted until the 11th year; that is, it was more than a year before Jerusalem was destroyed. When the destruction occurred, one individual escaped and ran to Babylon with the news. The journey took some time, but when the escapee got to Babylon and gave the message, Ezekiel’s dumbness was removed.

In antitype what is the significance of the death of Ezekiel’s wife? What is the significance of the removal of Ezekiel’s dumbness? These are two separate pictures.

Antitype of Wife’s Death

Ezekiel’s wife (picturing the Church) died prior to the destruction of Jerusalem (Christendom). In fact, her death occurred when the siege of the city began. In other words, the type shows that the Church (the feet members) will be taken away before the fall of mystic Babylon. The hour of power will occur because of the threatening condition seen to be developing, and the feet members will go off the earthly scene at the midpoint (at the half hour) of the hour of power. In this picture Ezekiel represents the risen Lord.

Antitype of Ezekiel’s Dumbness Being Removed

In the John the Baptist picture, which is a parallel type, the dumbness of Zacharias was removed when John was born. The sequence represents that when the Church is complete, Israel’s blindness will be removed. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery … that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). Here, too, the removal of Ezekiel’s dumbness represents Israel’s blindness being taken away.

When Babylon falls, the Great Company class will be rescued, as Lot was, to receive enlightenment and give a message to Israel. This experience of the Great Company will take place between the fall of Babylon and the removal of Israel’s blindness. Initially, after Babylon falls, the Great Company will be sorrowful that they failed to win the prize. Later they will be strengthened and get Elijah’s mantle to give a message to Israel. The Great Company will be enlightened that the door to the high calling is shut, that the Elijah class is gone, that Babylon has fallen, and that they are to give a message to Israel, which will enlighten the Holy Remnant. All of these events will happen in a relatively short period of time—a little over a year in the type (compare Ezekiel 24:1 and 26:1).

The instruction given to Ezekiel to utter the parable about the boiling pot, his being told he would lose his wife, his wife’s dying, and his not mourning for her death all occurred in a 48-hour period. However, his dumbness was not removed until Jerusalem had actually been destroyed and a runner got all the way to Babylon with the news—a distance that required at least a month’s travel. “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten” (Ezek. 33:21).

9th year, 10th month, 10th day = siege of Jerusalem began

12th year, 10th month, 5th day = escapee reached Ezekiel with news of Jerusalem’s fall

Difference: 3 years minus 5 days

In antitype the escapee represents the Great Company, who will declare a message that results in the awakening of the Holy Remnant. No unclean Jews will survive Jacob’s Trouble. All of the survivors will be handpicked.

The Great Company have to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb before they give a message to Israel. When they are forced out of Babylon, they will ask, “Where do we stand?  Are we even Christians?” They will have to review their life and their thinking. Various Scriptures will encourage them that even though they lost out on the chief prize, they will be blessed to come to the marriage supper (Rev. 19:7–9). They will yet rejoice and give a witness to Israel (Hab. 3:18).

Ezekiel’s wife (the Church) died in the evening, the time of day that pertains to the marriage and ties in with the updated interpretation of the Wise and Foolish Virgin Parable. “Behold the bridegroom” is the cry at midnight (the evening), and those who are ready (the feet members) will go in to the marriage. The five wise virgins hear the cry at the very end of the age—a future event. In another picture, Isaac saw Rebekah coming at “eventide,” at which time she alighted off her camel (Gen. 24:63–67).

Note: The following additional information was presented a week later. Again it should be stated that in the antitype there are two separate pictures, and they must be kept separate.

Antitype of Wife’s Death and the Destruction of Jerusalem

Verses 1–14: Ezekiel was told to prophesy that Jerusalem was like a pot with scum that the Lord would have to deal with drastically. The fire would be very hot.

Verses 15–18: Ezekiel was also told that his wife would die and that he was not to mourn or display his feelings. Hence, as instructed, he prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem during the day, knowing his wife would die that evening. The next day he had to explain to the people why he was not mourning outwardly.

In antitype Jerusalem is to be destroyed and the filth burned out of it. Natural and spiritual applications follow.

1. Natural picture: Literal Jerusalem will be captured by Gog and Magog at the end of the age, and half of the people will be taken into exile before God fights for them. In the experience the Jews will be purged, and only a small handpicked remnant will survive.

2. Spiritual picture: Jerusalem represents Christendom, the professed people of God.

Ezekiel’s wife, picturing the Church, will die before Christendom’s fall—and before Jacob’s Trouble. The escapee from the destruction of Jerusalem went to Ezekiel in exile and declared that the city had been destroyed (a little time would have elapsed). When the escapee got to Ezekiel, the prophet’s dumbness was removed.

Antitype of Ezekiel’s Silence (Dumbness) Being Broken

1. Spiritual picture: During the half hour of silence (Rev. 8:1), all the host of heaven will be present at the marriage ceremony. Hence the Great Company class remaining down here will be temporarily cut off from communication through prayer. The end of the marriage ceremony will coincide with the end of the half hour of silence, that is, the end of the hour of power. The Christ will then deal with the Great Company and finally with Israel. “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer [The Christ], and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Rom. 11:26).

There are four “actors”: Ezekiel, his wife, the fall of Jerusalem, and the escapee. When the nominal religious systems are destroyed, the Great Company will escape; that is, they will be providentially rescued so that they can wash their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. Hence the escapee represents the Great Company. That portion of the Great Company who escape out of Babylon will experience confusion, terror, disappointment, and anxiety for a time, but then communication will come to them from The Christ. A message from heaven will inform them that even to attend the marriage supper is a blessing. Accordingly, they will rejoice and be glad following their disappointment. The revealment, the communication, will come to the escaped class, breaking the silence of The Christ, pictured by Ezekiel. The death of Ezekiel’s wife (a woman) represents the completion (dying) of the Church. Ezekiel (a man) pictures The Christ.

2. Natural picture: The escapee of literal Jerusalem represents the Holy Remnant. Ezekiel’s mouth being opened to the Holy Remnant suggests that after they survive Jacob’s Trouble, they will understand the message given previously by Ezekiel (the feet members). The blindness will then be removed.

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  1. I thought you might be interested in learning about OUR Jewish traditions which embrace the real Christ. We are the Frankist Association of America.

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    Beth El Jacob Frank

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