Ezekiel Chapter 6: God Destroys the False Worship

Mar 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: Ezekiel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Ezekiel Chapter 6: God Destroys the False Worship

Ezek. 6:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Ezek. 6:2 Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,

Ezek. 6:3 And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.

Ezek. 6:4 And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols.

Ezek. 6:5 And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars.

Ezek. 6:6 In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.

Ezek. 6:7 And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Chapter 5 told of the experiences of the people inside the city of Jerusalem. Now Ezekiel was telling of the coming utter destruction of the high places of false worship outside the city and throughout Judah. A thorough housecleaning of the nation was coming. All cities, not just Jerusalem, would be laid waste. At the end of the age, in our day, there will be a similar judgment and destruction of everything outward to do with false religion. Prominent religious edifices, both Catholic and Protestant, will be looted and despoiled. Mystic Babylon will fall with violence.

In review, the time setting is about 612 BC, that is, shortly before the desolation of 606 BC. From captivity in Babylon, Ezekiel was told to prophesy about the coming destruction. When God said, “Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,” Ezekiel literally turned and pointed his face toward Israel and Jerusalem and then foretold the coming doom. Since he had been providentially struck with dumbness, the Lord now loosened his tongue so that the people could hear these important utterances.

Ezek. 6:8 Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries.

Back in Ezekiel’s day as well as in the near future, there is a remnant. Since even the remnant back there was not 100 percent faithful, they needed disciplinary experiences, and there is a general correspondency to the Great Company at the end of this age. They will be searched out to see if they really do love righteousness.

A little review will be helpful. In the fifth chapter, Ezekiel had to cut his hair, divide it into three parts, and treat each part differently to demonstrate the various ways those in Jerusalem would be killed. The hair was weighed to show judgment; that is, the people were found wanting and God’s wrath was upon them. Moreover, Ezekiel’s food and water were rationed to picture the food situation in the coming siege. Of the cut-off hair, Ezekiel tucked a very small portion into the fold of his garment to show that a remnant would be spared and/or protected.

However, Ezekiel 5:4 tells that even of this little remnant some would be destroyed. Thus, in the final analysis, a very small remnant was spared.

There were three captivities of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar, as follows. (1) In the captivity of 617 BC (11 years prior to 606 BC), Ezekiel, Daniel, and King Jehoiachin were taken to Babylon. Although 2 Kings 24:12–14,16 describes this captivity and states the number of captives to be 10,000, Jeremiah 52:27–30 shows that only 3,023 actually arrived in Babylon, for the usual practice was to slay many of the enemy after the battled ended. (2) A remnant of only 832 captives were taken to Babylon in the second captivity. (3) In the third captivity, Nebuchadnezzar carried off even fewer captives to Babylon: 745. Therefore, out of the millions of inhabitants in Judah, the two-tribe kingdom, a total of only 4,600 were taken captive to Babylon.

3,023

832

745

4,600

Ezek. 6:9 And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a-whoring after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.

Ezek. 6:10 And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.

Those in captivity—and later, by implication, those in the Diaspora—would realize the hand of the Lord was upon them in judgment. In fact, the “seven times” of Israel’s punishment began in 606 BC (Leviticus 26).

The prophecy was that the remnant “shall loathe themselves.” The faithful few, such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Baruch, are not treated here. “They that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives.” In their captivity, the people would remember God. In the spiritual picture, the Great Company will “loathe themselves” for a while after the Church is complete and also “remember” God.

Ezek. 6:11 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.

Ezek. 6:12 He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.

Verses 11 and 12 give a summary of the three types of destruction: pestilence, sword, and famine. “He that is far off shall die of the pestilence.” Those who tried to escape the Lord’s judgment died by disease. “He that is near shall fall by the sword.” Those who tried to fight in the city died by the sword. “He that remaineth [in the city] and is besieged shall die by the famine.”

When Ezekiel gave the message, he dramatized it with emphasis. For example, he might have smashed one fist into his other hand. Thus he showed his conviction that the prophecy was true and that it would be fulfilled.

In this sixth chapter, Ezekiel was talking about the judgments and experiences that would come on the cities and land outside of Jerusalem, that is, in the rest of the nation. Pestilence would stalk them.

Ezek. 6:13 Then shall ye know that I am the LORD, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savour to all their idols.

There are two lessons. (1) As the various peoples come forth from the tomb in the Kingdom, they will hear of their past history from eyewitnesses. Eyewitness accounts will be given of important events in history. (2) The spared remnant back there, who had a measure of guilt but were repentant, were led captive to Babylon, walking on foot in shame. As they walked along and saw the multitude of slain corpses and broken-down high places, they realized that Ezekiel was a true prophet and that they should have listened to him. In other words, as the few survivors left Israel, they saw how far-reaching the destruction was and thus were impressed with their own salvation as being by God’s grace. They carried these memories with them to Babylon, where they could attest to the veracity of Ezekiel’s prophecies.

Ezek. 6:14 So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath, in all their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Diblath was near Saudi Arabia. For the land of Judah to be “more desolate than the wilderness toward Diblath” meant it would be more desolate than a desert—and hence without inhabitants. In fulfillment of prophecy, the land had to lie desolate for 70 years (2 Chron. 36:21; Jer. 25:11,12; 29:10).

(1987–1989 and 1973–1976 Studies)

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