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Shall we turn in our Bibles to Ezekiel the sixth chapter.
Ezekiel here addresses himself to the mountains of Israel. The people of Israel had built places of worship on the tops of the mountains, but not worship to Jehovah God, but to Baal, to Molech, Mammon. And because the mountains were the places for these altars and groves and places of pagan worship, he addresses the prophesy against the mountain telling of the desolation that is going to come. How that they are going to be wasted without inhabitant.
Now, as we get to the thirty-fourth chapter, thirty-fifth chapter, he again addresses himself to the mountains of Israel which have been desolate for so long. And he tells them that they are going to be inhabited again. So, it is interesting to make a contrast between this prophesy against the mountains of Israel where so much false worship had gone on, and later on, after the period that God has brought His judgment against the people and they are brought back into the land, how again he speaks to the mountains and how the blessing of the Lord will be there as the nation is inhabited again.
So, it is the word of the LORD that came unto me, saying, Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them, 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 will destroy your high places ( Ezekiel 6:1-3 ).
That is, the places of worship which were called the high places, the groves and all.
And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. And I will lay the dead carcasses of the children of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. In all your dwelling places 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. And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and ye shall know that I am the LORD ( Ezekiel 6:4-7 ).
So, he predicts this slaughter that is going to come and the places where they have worshipped these false gods to be destroyed, the idols to be broken, and the pieces of the idols scattered with the bones of the people who had been turning away from God in this sacrilege and the worshipping of these idols in these high places.
Now, we get this interesting phrase in verse Ezekiel 6:7 , and it is used some sixty-two times in Ezekiel, where the Lord declares, "And ye shall know that I am the Lord." You see, they had been worshipping these false gods and God is declaring, "I am going to destroy them and they that worship them, and you will know that I am the Lord."
It is interesting when we get to the thirty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel and God there tells us of the destruction that He is going to bring against that massive Russian invasion, with all of the various allies that they will be bringing. And when God utterly destroys them He said, "And then the nations of the world will know that I am the Lord." He is now seeking to teach them this fact. They've been turning from Him; they've been worshipping these other gods. So over and over He said, "I'm going to bring these judgments, and when I do, when this happens, you will know that I am the Lord."
You've been worshipping false gods.
Yet [the Lord said] I will leave a remnant, that ye may have some that will escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries ( Ezekiel 6:8 ).
Now, though God has brought His judgment against Israel and an extremely severe judgment, and people might question, "Why was God so fierce in His judgment against His people?" But the Bible says, "Unto whom much is given, much is required" ( Luke 12:48 ). So, these people were extremely blessed of God. In fact, they were the most blessed people on the face of the earth.
"What advantage," Paul said, "does the Jew have?" And he answered his question by saying, "Much, and in every way, for unto them were committed the oracles of God, the commandments, the statutes the ordinances" ( Romans 3:1-2 ). God had given them so very, very much, and because He had given them so much, He in turn requires much from them.
Now that should be a warning to us, for God has given us so much. The knowledge and the understanding of His Word, and thus God requires much from us.
So, God brought His judgment against them. It was fierce and it has been a continuing judgment, but always, always though many of them became apostate, turned from God, yet God always had His faithful remnant among them. And this has always been the case. There have always been those who were true to God and faithful to God.
Now, at the time of national apostasy when Israel had been led to worship Baal by Jezebel and her husband Ahab, and Elijah had had this contest with the prophets of Baal there on Mount Carmel. And after God sent the fire and he had the popular movement of the people going with him for a moment, he took advantage of it and he took the prophets of Baal, four hundred of them, down to the river and killed them all. Jezebel was out of town at the time. When she came back, heard what Elijah had done to her four hundred priests, she said, "God do so to me if by tomorrow night I don't have that fellow's head." And Elijah took it on the run, and he ran all the way down to the area of Mount Sinai. And there he hid in a cave. And the Lord said, " Come on out to the entrance of the cave." And he came out and the Lord said, "Elijah, what are you doing here?" And Elijah said, "I have been jealous for God, for all of Israel has turned against God and I, I only am left. I am the only true servant You've got in the land, Lord, and they are trying to kill me. They are looking for me to kill me. Lord, You're going to be without anybody pretty soon. As soon as they catch me, Lord, You're not going to have anyone on Your side." And the Lord answered Elijah and said, "Elijah, I have seven thousand among them who have not bowed their knee to Baal."
God had His faithful remnant. Though it is true the majority of the nation had become apostate, yet God still had His faithful remnant among them who He knew. "Always I will leave a remnant; they will never be utterly destroyed." God always keeps that remnant and from that remnant God will bring forth yet a people to praise Him and to bring glory unto Him.
Now, though Israel has seen among the people of the world some of the greatest tribulation, some of the hardest experiences, yet they have not seen the worst, for the worst is yet to come. Even worse than the holocaust. That period that is coming described in the Bible, especially in the book of Revelation, a great tribulation when they will be deceived by this leader that is going to arise in Europe. And many of them will hail him as their savior, because he is going to make a covenant and help them rebuild their temple. Yet, when he turns upon them and he comes to the temple that they have built and stands in the holy place and declares that he is God and demands that he be worshipped as God. When they at that point turn against him, he is going to turn upon them with all of his wrath and fury.
But God is going to save a remnant who will flee down to the area of the rock city of Petra, where God will preserve them for three and a half years. But this man will then seek to exterminate the Jews. And because he will have worldwide power, especially through economics, the Jews around the world will suffer once more heavy persecution.
It is interesting, tragically, the anti-Semitism that does exist in the hearts of sinful men. I know people who absolutely hate the Jews, bitter against them without any real reason to be. It's just something that is in the heart of sinful man. And the Jews, unfortunately, have suffered from the hands of man for so long. But, yet, God will have His faithful remnant. And in the Kingdom Age, when Jesus comes again and establishes the kingdom, then shall they flourish and be blessed once more above all the nations of the earth, as the Lord sets up His millennial reign.
So, it's a very sad and tragic thing, the judgment that has come, the judgment that shall come. But through it all, even in the whole thing, God always has His faithful remnant. As Paul speaks to the Romans, in his epistle to the Romans, eleventh chapter, of God's faithful remnant. "So, I will leave a remnant that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations when you'll be scattered through all the countries." He's not going to destroy them completely. And it is interesting that the Jew today maintains his national identity wherever he is.
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 ( Ezekiel 6:9 ),
Literally, "I will break their whorish hearts." That is, the heart that turned from God, from the love of God, and sought false lovers, these false gods.
which have departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall loath themselves for the evils which they have committed in all of their abominations. And they shall know that I am the LORD ( Ezekiel 6:9-10 ).
Again, He repeats that.
and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them ( Ezekiel 6:10 ).
They'll know that I wasn't just kidding, that I wasn't just talking vanity when I said I was going to do these things.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with your hand and stamp with your foot ( Ezekiel 6:11 ),
Ezekiel was a very colorful man in his prophecies. As you'll remember last week lying on his left side for three hundred and ninety days, drawing on tiles, and now he's stomping with his foot and clapping his hands in front of the people, stomping his foot and he's saying unto them,
Alas for all of the evil abominations of the house of Israel! for they shall fall by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. 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. Then shall you know that I am the LORD ( Ezekiel 6:11-13 ),
Third time in this one chapter.
when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, and in the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer their sweet savor to all of their idols. So will I stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate, yea, more desolate than the wilderness towards Diblath, in all of their habitations: and they shall know that I am the LORD ( Ezekiel 6:13-14 ).
In all of this God is seeking, really, to establish in their hearts the fact that He is God.
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 6". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany