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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 33

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-20

Ezekiel’s Charge as a Watchman Over Israel In Ezekiel 3:16-21 we have the Lord’s charge to Ezekiel as a watchman over His people Israel. His duty was to tell the people what he saw and heard from the Lord. Immediately after this charge God is going to give Ezekiel prophecies of the impending judgment upon Judah (Ezekiel 3:22 to Ezekiel 24:27) as well as seven nations (Ezekiel 25:1 to Ezekiel 32:32). These are the words of warning that Ezekiel is to deliver to Israel. At the end of these prophecies the Lord restates His divine charge to Ezekiel as a watchman over Israel (Ezekiel 33:7).

Ezekiel 3:17, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.”

Ezekiel 33:7, “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.”

Ezekiel 33:7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.

Ezekiel 33:7 Comments - There were three watchmen of the Old Testament:

1. Enoch:

Jude 1:14-15, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

2. Noah:

2 Peter 2:5, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness , bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

3. David:

Psalms 40:9-10, “ I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.”

Ezekiel 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Ezekiel 33:9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ezekiel 33:6-9 Comments The Watchman’s Duty - Kenneth Hagin tells the story of the time he sensed danger when driving in a car, but he did not take the time to pray through. His niece died in an automobile accident at this time, simply because there was no one to intercede in the spiritual realm. [26] He later tells of a vision the Lord gave him in 1970 of three spirits coming up out of the sea and moving across the United States. The Lord came to him in 1979 and rebuked him for not praying properly in order to prevent certain troublesome situations from taking place in America. The Lord told him that He would hold Hagin and the church responsible. [27]

[26] Kenneth Hagin, The Art of Intercession (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1980, 1984), 102-4.

[27] Kenneth Hagin, The Art of Intercession (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1980, 1984), 131-3.

Ezekiel 33:10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

Ezekiel 33:10 Comments - How often we have heard the despairing cry of the lost man with no hope of being able to come out of his sins. As we tell him of Jesus, it is his only hope to see deliverance.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 33:12-16 Repentance Offered - Ezekiel 33:12-16 is similar to Romans 11:22-23, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.”

Ezekiel 33:21-29 Justification In Ezekiel 33:21-29 the Lord tells the prophet that the people were seeking their justification by their birthright as Jews. In addition, they were hearing God’s Word, but not obeying it (Ezekiel 33:30-33). True justification before God comes when the people hear and obey His Word.

Ezekiel 33:28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.

Ezekiel 33:28 “and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through” Comments - Two major highways that passed through the land of Palestine in ancient times and served as trading routes were the “King’s Highway” and the “Way of the Sea.” [28] The Lord says in Ezekiel 33:28 that this land will become so desolate that no one will pass through it. A desolate land becomes a dangerous place for travelers. It becomes a place where thieves to hid and await those passing by. It is a place where there is no sense of security.

[28] Avraham Negev, The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, 3rd ed. (New York: Prentice Hall Press, c1990, 1996), comments on “Roads.”

Verses 1-33

Justification The book of Ezekiel reveals God’s plan to redeem His people Israel back unto Himself. The theme of Ezekiel 33:1-20 is God’s plan to justify Israel through repentance and obedience to Him. Ezekiel has prophesied of judgments upon Judah and other nations in the preceding chapters. Now God is telling this prophet how the Jewish people are to respond to such prophecies of future judgments. These destructions are intended to bring repentance and righteousness to Judah and the nations; for God takes no pleasure in their destruction (Ezekiel 33:11), but rather in their repentance, in the way the Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah. The phrase, “When I bring the sword upon a land” (Ezekiel 33:2) refers to the time when these prophecies of judgment come to pass. God’s statement that He has placed Ezekiel as a watchman over the house of Israel (Ezekiel 33:7) means that God will divinely place His watchmen amongst the people in a position where they will be heard as proclaim the truth to the people. The people should recognize them as a fulfillment of God’s prophecies and repent; for this is God’s plan to redeem His people Israel. In this passage of Scripture God makes a provision for escape from divine judgment and forgiveness of sins. Thus, God’s judgment serves a redemptive purpose.

In the case of Ezekiel, God divinely placed him in the office of a priest over the Jews in Captivity so that he would be heard, because it was the Jewish tradition to assembly together on the Sabbath and to hear the Scriptures being taught by the priests. They justified themselves as God’s people because their father was Abraham (Ezekiel 33:21-29). When they did assemble to hear the local priest exhort them from the Law, they did not obey what they had heard (Ezekiel 33:30-33).

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Ezekiel 33". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/ezekiel-33.html. 2013.
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