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Judgment Pronounced On Israel
After long patience and many warnings God at last had come to the place where He could not, in righteousness, any longer recognize Israel as His own. They were to be henceforth, and until the time of their future restoration, as Hosea declared, “Lo-ammi”-that is, “Not My people.” Such has been their condition during the past twenty-five hundred years, and such it will be until that great day when they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, and mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn (Zechariah 12:10).
In the first seven verses we get Jehovah’s message of repudiation because of Israel’s persistence in sin.
“And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy unto them, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: Thus saith the Lord Jehovah to the mountains and to the hills, to the water-courses and to the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. And your altars shall become desolate, and your sun-images shall be broken; and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. And I will lay the dead bodies 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 sun-images may be hewn down, and your works may be abolished. And the slain shall fall in the midst of you. and ye shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 1-7.
When the twelve tribes first entered the land of Canaan God promised temporal blessings of every kind so long as they walked in obedience to His Word. The land itself was to give every evidence of His good pleasure. It would be fruitful, abundantly so, and as a result their flocks and herds would multiply; and they, themselves, would be preserved in health. They would be strong so that no enemy would be able to stand against them. But now all was changed. They had sinned until there was no remedy, and so God commanded Ezekiel to set his face toward the mountains of Israel and prophesy unto or against them. He addresses Himself directly to the mountains and the hills, the water-courses, and the valleys. The land itself was to be the object of Jehovah’s displeasure; it has been down through the centuries since. The people were to be scattered, and the country left desolate. God declared He would Himself bring a sword upon them-in this case the sword of Nebuchadnezzar and his Chaldean army. He declared He would destroy the places where they worshipped their idols, and would overthrow their altars and images; and those who had served them would be cast down, slain before these representations of their false gods. For many there would not be even burial, but their bones would be scattered roundabout the altars on which they had sacrificed to demons. Their cities would be laid waste; their sanctuaries given up to desolation, and the idols in which they trusted would be utterly demolished and thus proven to be powerless to help. No arm would be outstretched to save Israel from their cruel foes, but the slain should fall everywhere in the land.
Though judgment was thus to be meted out. God could not forget His covenant with Abraham no mat- ter how wicked the people had become or how utterly degenerate and ungrateful. He had promised that Abraham’s seed should inherit the land, and His Word must stand; therefore, He speaks next of a remnant which would eventually be brought back from the sword.
“Yet will I leave a remnant, in that ye shall have some that escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. And those of you that escape shall remember Me among the nations whither they shall be carried captive, how that I have been broken with their lewd heart, which hath departed from Me, and with their eyes, which play the harlot after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations. And they shall know that I am Jehovah: I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them”-vers. 8-10.
This remnant appears in many places in the prophetic Scriptures. Even at the present time, Paul tells us, “There is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5)-that is, all down through the Christian dispensation there have been many Jews who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ and borne witness to their faith by godly and devoted lives. It is true that so far as the great mass is concerned, blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.. But when God’s present work of grace among the nations is consummated, and the Church has finished its testimony in this scene then God will turn again to Israel, and out of them will save a remnant who shall become the nucleus of the new regenerated Israel in the kingdom days.
The remnant referred to here, however, has to do with those in Israel who, during the years between the dispersion and the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, turned to God in repentance and sought to honor and glorify Him, even during the time that His judgment was being meted out to the nation. Of such God said, “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.” These hidden ones-“the quiet in the land,” as David calls them-would still maintain a testimony for God. This remnant would be among the nations where they should be carried captive, and they would realize that judgment had fallen upon Israel because of their departure from God and because of their idolatry. They would loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which had been committed, taking the place of repentance toward God on behalf of themselves and their people. Of such we read, “They shall know that I am Jehovah.” And they shall know that He had not said in vain that He would bring evil upon the nation.
Conditions were such that no one taught of God could look on supinely or with careless indifference. Ezekiel himself was called to take an active stand in opposition to the evil.
“Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Smite with thy hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, Alas because of all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, For they shall fall by the sword, 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 wrath upon them. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the places where they offered sweet savor to all their idols. And I will stretch out My hand upon them, and make the land desolate and waste, from the wilderness toward Diblah, throughout all their habitations; and they shall know that I am Jehovah”-vers. 11-14.
Notice the striking way in which the Lord speaks to His servant, commanding him to smite with his hand and stamp with his foot, as he cried aloud against the abominations of the house of Israel. The conditions of the times demanded vigorous denunciations with a view to awakening sleeping consciences. Because of their sin and their refusal to repent God declared they should fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. Whether far or near there would be no escape from the avenging hand of the God whose commands they had spurned, and whose loving-kindness they had trampled under foot. No matter what they did they could not escape the providential judgments which were decreed. When all these dire prophecies were fulfilled they would recognize that He whose testimonies they had refused to heed was indeed the One true and living God. They had turned from Him to idols that could neither see, nor hear, nor speak, nor yet help them in any way when desolation came upon the land. They who had enjoyed so many evidences of divine favor should see their land become as a wilderness. They should know indeed that He who dwelt with them was Jehovah, the self-existing, Eternal One.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Ezekiel 6". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19