Ezekiel Chapter 7: The Horrors of the Coming Siege by BabylonMar 3rd, 2010 | By admin | Category: Ezekiel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)
Ezekiel Chapter 7: The Horrors of the Coming Siege by Babylon
Ezek. 7:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Ezek. 7:2 Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land.
This chapter was directed primarily to Judah, to those not in captivity (although of course those in captivity shared in the guilt). “An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land.”
An end was to come upon the homeland. The repetition suggested a complete end, a final judgment. The term “four corners of the land” meant the judgment would embrace the whole land. This message, which was given about 612 BC, approximately six years before the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, would have been uttered with expression. “Israel” was really Judah at this time, and the coming judgment included the “[whole] land” in the sense of the 70 years of desolation because of the failure of the people over the years to properly observe the Jubilees. The “four corners of the land” are a reminder of the four winds in Revelation 7:1. There is a relationship between the impending doom of natural Israel back there and the impending doom of nominal spiritual Israel in the near future. The words “an end, the end” indicate final judgment.
Ezek. 7:3 Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations.
Ezek. 7:4 And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Though there would be suffering and agonizing, God would not spare them. God would have no pity, for guilt had reached the point of no return where judgment must come. The sins of Manasseh were especially “abominable” to the Lord (2 Chron. 33:1–9).
Ezek. 7:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD; An evil, an only evil, behold, is come.
Ezek. 7:6 An end is come, the end is come: it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come.
Verses 5–9 are explicit and emphatic. Notice that the words “end” and “evil” are repeated in verses 5 and 6: “An evil, an only evil … is come…. An end is come, the end is come.” “An only evil” means the final evil.
“It watcheth for thee”; that is, the judgment awakeneth. The evil forces were going to receive a judgment.
Ezek. 7:7 The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains.
“The morning is come”; that is, the sun rises—but in an unfavorable or evil sense that indicated judgment. As the sun comes over the horizon, so the judgment would come for the evil.
“Not the sounding again [the echo] of the mountains.” Ezekiel’s words were not empty and hollow—God was warning them that real trouble was coming. In fact, the king of Babylon was probably already beginning to muster his forces. Jeremiah was also prophesying at this time but in the homeland. Thus the same message was being given in both places. However, the people did not really listen, for Ezekiel’s words seemed like a repetitious sounding. People today react similarly to our message that the end of the age is imminent. Just as in the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” the people ignored the cry that was authentic, so the Israelites considered the prophet’s message to be empty. But the warning was “not the sounding again of the mountains.”
Ezek. 7:8 Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations.
Ezek. 7:9 And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth.
When, a few short years later, the people saw the armies approaching, they realized that Jeremiah and Ezekiel were true prophets and that those who had spoken “peace” were false prophets. The people also realized they would lose the war.
Ezek. 7:10 Behold the day, behold, it is come: the morning is gone forth; the rod hath blossomed, pride hath budded.
Ezek. 7:11 Violence is risen up into a rod of wickedness: none of them shall remain, nor of their multitude, nor of any of theirs: neither shall there be wailing for them.
The rod was a symbolic scepter of rulership or authority, but what was Ezekiel alluding to with the terms the “rod [that] hath blossomed” and the “rod of wickedness”? When Korah felt that Moses and Aaron should share their authority, 12 rods were laid up in the Most Holy. The one that budded would indicate who was in charge. Of course Aaron’s rod budded, justifying Moses in civil matters and Aaron in religious affairs. In that incident, the budding rod was one of selection and election; here the blossoming rod was one of rejection. Because of corruption from top to bottom, with evil especially entrenched in government, Israel’s authority was rejected. The nation having passed the point of no return, judgment was ripe and irrevocable; the conflict was irrepressible. Today, too, there is a blossoming of the rod of iniquity in Christendom and this country.
Ezek. 7:12 The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn: for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.
Ezek. 7:13 For the seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they were yet alive: for the vision is touching the whole multitude thereof, which shall not return; neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life.
“Let not the buyer rejoice.” Buyers could not take advantage financially of the troublous times, for they would not be able to hold on to possessions long enough to profit. For example, some might sell their land in panic over the prophecy of the coming trouble. However, the buyers would not have time to enjoy their purchases.
“Let not … the seller mourn.” The seller would suffer as well. Buyers and sellers will be similarly affected in the coming great Time of Trouble.
How extensive would the trouble be? “For [God’s] wrath is upon all the multitude thereof … for the vision is touching the whole multitude thereof.” The buyer, the seller, the pauper, the prince—the whole nation would be affected. They would not be able to lead the same pattern of life. Self-preservation and the storing of food would be to no avail.
“Neither shall any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life.” This statement was a jibe at the accumulation of wealth, a caution against having false confidence in money. The people would not be able to protect their ill-gotten goods.
“The seller shall not return to that which is sold, although they were yet alive” at the time of the next Jubilee, for the judgment and Babylonian captivity would be long-range.
Ezek. 7:14 They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.
Verse 14 is presented in the negative. In Ezekiel’s day, none prepared for the battle. Although some were crying for military preparedness, few listened and false prophets spoke peace. Even today some are so concerned about the future that they make noise and voice dangers; however, the majority do not listen. The governments of our day will desire to put down the rebellion and trouble, but the time is coming when the soldiers will refuse to obey orders.
Weapons will be used for personal gain and self-preservation, adding to the anarchy. Police forces and fire departments will cease.
From a spiritual perspective, the feet members will have a crucial period of testing and trial. They must prepare for the impending conflict. They will be praying in advance to know when to fight the spiritual battle against the ecumenical forces, who will try to pressure them to join in fighting the forces of evil.
Ezek. 7:15 The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him.
Outside Jerusalem were fighters, who would die of the sword. Those inside Jerusalem would die of pestilence and famine.
Ezek. 7:16 But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.
Those who would escape and live through the trouble (both back there and in the future) would be greatly humbled. Instead of opposing the Lord’s necessary judgment, these mourners stayed out of the conflict and prayed and repented. A minority had the proper attitude, being “on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.” “Mountains” signify a place to commune with God alone. These repentant ones properly mourned in regard to their relationship with God.
In Ezekie l’s day, those who escaped were displaced and taken captive to Babylon. Even though some of the Israelites prospered in Babylon, those who had the right heart condition mourned like doves and were homesick for their homeland. (Doves make a doleful cry, especially when unhappy.) They mourned primarily for their iniquity and secondarily for the loss of their land.
We are reminded of the remnant of Gentiles who will live through the coming Time of Trouble. The advice to the world is to “seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger” (Zeph. 2:3).
Ezek. 7:17 All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall be weak as water.
Fear paralyzes in time of great trouble. Accordingly, when the people would see the magnitude of the enemy, their knees would knock together and become like water. The psychological advantage lay with the intruder.
Ezek. 7:18 They shall also gird themselves with sackcloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads.
The custom was to shave the head and dress in sackcloth as a sign of mourning. By humbling themselves in this manner, the people thought the Lord would be more willing to hear them.
Ezek. 7:19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.
Silver and gold would be useless, for there would be nothing to buy or sell. Some would try to bargain with their wealth to pacify the enemy but to no avail. This reaction would be an improper “mourning” for self-preservation.
Although Ezekiel was addressing the captives in Babylon, the message got back to Judah. Jeremiah addressed those in the homeland, but his words reached the captives in exile. Thus anyone with a hearing ear had opportunity to hear.
Ezek. 7:20 As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.
God’s beautiful “ornament,” Solomon’s Temple, was set in majesty and purity, but corrupt practices defiled it.
Ezek. 7:21 And I will give it into the hands of the strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil; and they shall pollute it.
Ezek. 7:22 My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it.
Notice the contrast here. First, God said, “They will pollute my secret (true) place.” Then He added, “I will make their pomp to cease, and their holy places will be defiled.” King Nebuchadnezzar would loot the Temple and Jerusalem and take the spoils back to Babylon.
In the spiritual counterpart, or antitype, the Church was set in beauty in the Ephesus period with the apostles (Ephesus means “desirable”). Subsequently the “secret place,” the Church, became corrupt, and the corruption occurred more and more as time went on, first in the nominal Church and then even among the true Church. “Robbers shall enter into it, and defile it.” Robbers would dishonor “dignities,” rob principles, etc. (2 Pet. 2:10; Jude 8,10). God will turn His face away from those who are merely professedly His.
In the antitype, the “strangers” who loot the spiritual Temple will be those not under religious restraint, a radical element not identified with the nominal system, as shown by the Jehu picture and the eunuchs who threw Jezebel out the window. The “strangers” will be an outside nonreligious force right in the land (in Christendom).
Back to the literal account. Ezekiel uttered this prophecy about six years before Israel’s desolation and used future tense to show a further pollution back there. He used future tense (amidst the mention of past sins) to show that pollution would occur just before the judgment. In other words, in addition to past defilement, there would be a further future defilement.
Ezek. 7:23 Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.
Ezek. 7:24 Wherefore I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses: I will also make the pomp of the strong to cease; and their holy places shall be defiled.
The land, especially Jerusalem, was full of violence. Therefore, as a judgment, “the worst of the heathen” came in and humiliated the people.
“Make a chain.” Ezekiel used sarcasm: “Go ahead and make a chain to stave off destruction! It will be ineffectual in stopping the judgment.” “Make a chain of fortresses” is the thought. In other words, “Try to organize yourselves into a tight-knit body to repel the foe, and cordon off the enemy, but your efforts will be to no avail.”
Similarly in antitype, the confederacy at the end of the Gospel Age will not restrain the trouble. Christendom’s cry will be, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us,” but the “confederacy” will be fruitless (Psa. 2:3; Isa. 8:12).
How will the “worst of the heathen” defile or spoil the “holy places” of Christendom? In the natural application, this will be done in several ways. For example, in World War III, forces outside the normal pale of Christendom will invade Italy and destroy the Vatican before they go down to the Holy Land. The “worst of the heathen” within Christendom would be a criminal element with no inhibitions or moral compunctions. The “holy places” (plural) refer to not only the Vatican but also large cathedrals, images, relics, etc., for the buildings themselves will be torn down. In the spiritual application, we have seen a lowering of standards in both the nominal Church and the true Church.
Ezek. 7:25 Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.
“They shall seek peace, and there shall be none.” The peace through their confederacy will be short-lived and of no lasting benefit. Hear the assessment of the Prophet Isaiah: “Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; … Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us” (Isa. 8:9,10). We must stand separate from the coming Church-State union.
Ezek. 7:26 Mischief shall come upon mischief, and rumour shall be upon rumour; then shall they seek a vision of the prophet; but the law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients.
When the destruction of society is threatened, the people will desire an explanation of the events that are taking place. So great will the extremity of the future be that unless those days are shortened, no flesh will be saved (Matt. 24:22). However, before the great trouble comes, the people will seek advice from their priests and ministers; they will seek answers and get none.
In the First Volume, the Pastor said that the practical advice given by John the Baptist in his day is to be given to the world in the near future as the great Time of Trouble draws near; namely, (1) repent, (2) be satisfied with your wages, and (3) live peaceably with all men.
Ezek. 7:27 The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled: I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
When the people are experiencing the trouble, they will sense that the judgment is from God.
Generally speaking, people know their lives are out of harmony with the Bible and holy precepts, and they know they have not given much thought to the Lord. Worldwide trouble will awaken them and cause them to reflect seriously on the wasted time of the past. They will then realize this is a divine judgment (Isa. 8:21). Of course they will more fully understand after the Kingdom is established, but first will come this consciousness of the evil they have done.
(1987–1989 and 1973–1976 Studies)