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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 21

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-32

Shall we turn now in our Bibles to Ezekiel 21 , the twenty-first chapter of Ezekiel.

Now the prophets of God were often very colorful persons. And because people would not always listen to the Word of God, they would often do things to draw the people's attention to create a question in their mind, curiosity, "What in the world is he doing now?" And when these questions would arise or when they would draw the people's attention, then they would preach the message of God to them. And so, oftentimes their ministry was extremely colorful, as they were attracting attention, creating the questions in order that they might deliver their message to the people. And as we come in to chapter 21, Ezekiel is getting a lot of attention grabbers here from the Lord and his ministry to the people.

The word of the LORD came unto me saying, Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel ( Ezekiel 21:1-2 ),

So we see what the background is. The prophecies are to be against Jerusalem the land of Israel.

Say unto the land of Israel, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of his sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked. Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: That all flesh may know that I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more. Now sigh, thou son of man, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes ( Ezekiel 21:2-6 ).

So, at this point having uttered these words, "God has stretched out His sword against Jerusalem," he would have said, "Just hold his loins, bend over and start just sighing." And just really wailing in a sense, just sighing and all.

And it shall be, when they say unto you, Why are you sighing? that you shall answer, For the tidings, because it is coming: every heart shall melt, and all of the hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all of the knees shall be weak as water: behold, it is coming, it shall be brought to pass, saith the Lord ( Ezekiel 21:7 ).

So he is to go into this little scene of this heavy sighing as he holds his loins and bends. Until they say, "What are you sighing about?" He said, "I'm sighing because of the tidings that are going to be coming. And, of course, when they come, all of you will be sighing and mourning when you hear that Jerusalem has been destroyed, the cities have been murdered." Many of them had families back in Jerusalem still. They are soon to be receiving word that their families had been wiped out.

And again the word of the LORD came unto me saying, Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith the LORD; Say, A sword, a sword is sharpened, and also furbished [or polished]: It is sharpened to make a sore slaughter; it is furbished that it may glitter: should we then make mirth? ( Ezekiel 21:8-10 )

Is it time for joy? Is it time for a hilarity?

it contemneth the rod of my son, as every tree. And he hath given it to be furbished, that it may be handled: this sword is sharpened, and it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer. Cry and howl, son of man; for it shall be upon my people ( Ezekiel 21:10-12 ),

Now from sighing he goes to crying and howling. And as he cries and howls and draws the attention of the people, then he speaks to them about this sword of the Lord that is to be stretched out against Jerusalem. How God is coming with His sword to judge the people. And, of course, it will be wielded at the hand of the Babylonians.

Verse Ezekiel 21:14 :

Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite your hands together ( Ezekiel 21:14 ),

So he's doing a lot of things to get attention. So now he's just clapping his hands.

and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which enter into their private chambers. For I have set the point of the sword against all their gates, that their heart may faint, and their ruins be multiplied: ah! it is made bright, it is wrapped up for the slaughter. Go thee one way or the other, either on the right hand, or on the left, whithersoever thy face is set. I will also smite mine hands together, and I will cause my fury to rest: I the LORD have said it. The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, Also, thou son of man, appoint thee two ways, that the sword of the king of Babylon may come: both twain shall come forth out of one land: and choose thou a place, choose it at the head of the way to the city. Now appoint a way, that the sword [literally, the arrow] may come to Rabbath ( Ezekiel 21:14-20 )

Which was the capitol of the Ammonites.

and to Judah in Jerusalem the defensed. For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: and he shook his arrows [literally], and consulted with images, and looked in the liver ( Ezekiel 21:20-21 ).

Now these were methods by which they sought to divine the purposes of their god. And when Nebuchadnezzar came to the parting of the ways, one road led to the capitol of the Ammonites, to the city of Rabbath, the other road led to Jerusalem. He has his troops; they are going to march. "Against whom shall we march? Let's consult the gods." And so they would take these arrows, and on one arrow they would write the name Rabbath; on the other arrow they would write the name Jerusalem. They would put the arrows into a sack and shake them up and then they reach in and pull out an arrow and whatever name is on the arrow they have discerned as the purpose of god that that is what we will smite.

And then they would cut a lamb and lay out its liver and then they would watch these lines on the liver. Again, to determine the direction that they were to go. And so they would divine by liver or by this shaking of the arrows. And so he is to speak to the people about how that Nebuchadnezzar was standing at the fork of the road. One road leading to Rabbath, the other to Jerusalem to divine, to seek, to get guidance from his god as to where he was to strike.

At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering rams against the gates, to cast a mount, and to build a fort. And it shall be unto them as a false divination in their sight, to them that have sworn oaths: but he will call to remembrance the iniquity that they may be taken. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because you have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins to appear; because, I say, that you are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand. And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it to him ( Ezekiel 21:22-27 ).

Here is a marvelous prophecy in Ezekiel that actually comes out to our present day and into the future. As the Lord said, "And thou profane and wicked prince of Israel." Now the direct prophecy is against Zedekiah, who was to be the last of the kings of Israel until the king whose right it is shall come to reign. But this prophecy also has a double interpretation in that the profane king referred to here, "Thou profane wicked prince of Israel," is actually the antichrist in the last days. The words, "when iniquity shall have an end," literally is, "at the end of the days of iniquity." So it is in the last days when the antichrist arises and is accepted by the Jews as their Messiah, worshipped by them in a sense, acclaimed by them as their deliverer.

Now, Jesus said to the Jews, "I came in My Father's name but you did not receive Me. Another is going to come in his own name and him you will receive" ( John 5:43 ). Daniel tells us that the prince of the people that shall come, the antichrist, will make a covenant with the nation Israel and in the midst of the final seven-year period he'll break that covenant as he sets up the abomination that causes desolation. Now this world ruler that will arise soon upon the scene, known in the scripture as the son of perdition, the beast, commonly called the antichrist, is going to arise with great power, blasphemies and all, going to take over this European confederation of nations. Going to make a covenant with the nation Israel, going to be hailed by them in the beginning as their Messiah.

If you go to Israel today, you will hear that there is much talk about the Messiah. They are really expecting the Messiah to come very soon. In fact, a couple of respected rabbis have been making some predictions that the Messiah is coming very soon and the people are all excited about it. Incidentally, there is some fellow here in the United States going around declaring that the man who has the answers for all of the world's problems is going to appear in the first part of 1982. And he is featured on so many of the television talk shows and all, and he is lecturing all over the United States on this man that the world is waiting for and has been looking for. The man who has the solutions and the answers and is gonna bring peace and all. And he's sort of a forerunner, he declares, of this man who will make himself known in the early part of 1982, will take over the governments, and will bring peace to mankind. The answers to your prayers are about upon us, he is telling people. And he's going around lecturing. Interesting, only inasmuch as people are looking for some kind of a leader to lead us into sanity from the insanity that seems to prevail in the world diplomacy.

But if you go to Israel today, they'll tell you they're expecting Messiah very soon. They will tell you that they do not look for the Son of God. They do not believe the Messiah will be the Son of God, that he will be a man just like Moses was a man. Moses said, "And there shall come another prophet like unto myself. Unto him shall ye give heed." He was prophesying concerning the Messiah. So they say he'll be a man just like Moses. He'll not be the Son of God. So then you must question them, well then how will you know he's your Messiah? And immediately their answer will come back, "Because he will help us to rebuild our temple." Just, that's where it is. And so in Israel today, they are looking for some man who will come and help them to rebuild their temple. Of course, Daniel tells us he'll make a covenant with them. Surely this covenant is to rebuild their temple. He will make the covenant whereby they will be able to rebuild their temple.

We will get in a couple of weeks, three or four weeks, to a fascinating prophecy here in Ezekiel. In fact, Ezekiel starts getting more exciting all the while now as we move on into this latter portion. You see, it sort of starts with Israel's history, but then it keeps coming chronologically and it goes right on out to what's happening today, yesterday, last year, the last few years. And it goes right in to what is going to happen next year, and the next few years in Israel. And it goes into the rebuilding of the temple which is coming very soon. And he gives you dimensions of the temple. And then he makes one very interesting comment concerning the temple, which I think is an extremely significant prophecy, and we will point that out to you when we get to... stay tuned.

Now, here he is predicting this profane wicked person who will arise in the end of the days of iniquity. "Thus saith the Lord God, 'Remove the diadem.'" And the word diadem there is miter. It is the little head thing that priest wore, not the crown of the king. But also the crown. Now Satan gives unto this man his authority and his power. He comes as a spiritual leader to Israel. That is, in the making of the covenant which is related and associated to the rebuilding of the temple. People are excited. They acclaim him as their Messiah. He has the answers; he has the solutions. He has the most simple solution for the rebuilding of the temple, one that doesn't upset the Muslims, the great Moslem world. They're not upset by his solution. He's just a genius and the whole world wonders after the genius of this man, as he comes up with this solution that is so simple yet so practical and so easy to fulfill and everybody is happy.

Now, take from him this miter, for he is a false Messiah; he is not the true Messiah. He is not the true priest that shall come. He's not the true king.

take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. [For God said,] I will overturn, I will overturn, will overturn: and it shall be no more, until he comes [that is Jesus Christ] whose right it is; and I will give it to him ( Ezekiel 21:26-27 ).

So when Jesus Christ returns, He will destroy this man of sin with the brightness of His coming, with a sharp sword that goes forth out of His mouth. And He shall sit upon the throne of David and will be acclaimed King of kings and Lord of lords. And He will bring in the glorious Kingdom Age.

So there is this false hope that they will hold on to at the beginning. In the scriptures we read, "Because they would not believe the truth of God, God gave them over to a strong delusion that they would believe a lie" ( 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 ). He will come with such power, such exciting miracles, such charisma that the whole world, except for the elect, will be deceived and were if possible even deceive the elect. Now, that word elect there does not refer to the church, but to Israel. Those elect of Israel who have been elected of God, the 144,000 elected of God to be sealed and preserved in the Great Tribulation period. Coming with lying wonders, but God is going to overturn, and he who is exalted himself will be abased, and he who was abased will be exalted and will come and sit upon the throne whose right it is.

When we get into the book of Revelation chapter 5 we see a scroll in the right hand of Him who was sitting upon the throne, God. The scroll is sealed with seven seals; it has writing both within and without. And an angel proclaims with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals thereof?" The scroll is the title deed to the earth. Who is worthy to redeem the earth back to God? is the whole idea.

The earth originally was God's. God gave it to man; man turned it over to Satan. Satan governs and rules the world today. Jesus came to redeem the world back to God, not by force, but by the price of His blood. The just for the unjust. "For by one man's sin entered the world, and death by sin so that death passed unto all men because all sin. Even so, by one man's righteousness shall many be made righteous." And so in heaven, the day is come, the transaction, the time of redemption.

There is the scroll, the instrument that was drawn up. "'Who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals?' John began to sob convulsively because no man was found worthy in heaven and earth or under the sea to take the scroll or even to look upon it. But the elder said, 'Don't weep, John. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to take the scroll and loose the seals.' And I turned and I saw Him as He stepped forth and He took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat upon the throne. And when He did, the twenty-four elders came forward with their vials, golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints and they offered them before God. And they sang a new song, saying, 'Thou art worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals. For Thou was slain and hath redeemed us by Thy blood'" ( Revelation 5:2-5 , Revelation 5:7-9 ).

Now, "whose right it is." You see, He is going to come and reign. Satan's kingdom is going to be overthrown. Satan will no longer rule over the earth. In fact, Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss. And He will rule whose right it is, and then we will see the world that God intended when He made Adam and placed him upon the earth. You'll see the earth renewed and restored to the beauty and glory of the Garden of Eden. You'll see and earth in which righteousness will reign. You will see an earth in which there is no sickness, no blindness, no lameness, no deformities. You'll see an earth that is covered with righteousness, even as the waters do cover the sea. An earth without deserts, an earth without hurricanes, an earth that is lush and beautiful and glorious and doesn't have polluted skies. You'll see the earth that God intended. And you'll live and dwell with Him upon this earth for a thousand years. Glorious day, and we look forward to it.

But it's interesting. Here is the prophecy, "There will be no king in Israel until He comes whose right it is." There's not going to be any diadem, not going to be any royal crown until Jesus comes. It's interesting that when the Jews return from their Babylonian captivity, they didn't reestablish monarchy. They didn't anoint a king to rule over them. The monarchy ended with Zedekiah. It is interesting that when the Jews returned to Israel again in 1948 they did not establish a monarchy which was their traditional form of government. And there will not be a monarchy or a king until He comes whose right it is. And Jesus Christ will be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. So beautiful prophecy here concerning Jesus Christ in this twenty-first chapter.

Now thou, son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning the Ammonites ( Ezekiel 21:28 ).

Now you remember one of the arrows was marked with the Ammonites on it.

and concerning their reproach; even say thou, The sword, the sword is drawn: for the slaughter it is furbished, to consume because of the glittering: While they see vanity unto thee, while they divine a lie unto thee, to bring thee upon the necks of them that are slain, of the wicked, whose day is come, when their iniquity shall have an end. Shall I cause it to return into his sheath? I will judge thee in the place where thou wast created, in the land of thy nativity ( Ezekiel 21:28-30 ).

So the Ammonites will not escape, but then God said, "Don't think that you're going to be delivered. I will judge thee, the nation Israel, in the place where you were created. Right in the land. And the land of your nativity."

And I will pour out my indignation upon thee; I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, those who are skilful to destroy. Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the LORD have spoken it ( Ezekiel 21:31-32 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 21". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/ezekiel-21.html. 2014.
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