Ezekiel

When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
“Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”
Ezekiel 3:18-21 NKJV

The responsibility of the calling is a lesson for ALL of us not just those of us who move in gifts, like teachers and evangelists.  When God gives us a prompting to do something or say something to others – we need to obey. If we do not obey – we are in trouble for disobedience AND we are also held responsible for what happens to the person(s) we were supposed to interact with.  If we obey – that little bit of Grace God was going to use us for may have saved their soul even if we never knew here on earth. God knows. Because God is all about relationships – God holds us responsible for how we relate and the outcomes of those interactions. This is His preferred method of working on earth. He would rather use a man – then make a donkey speak or send an angel.  We are here to do His will and glorify Him!

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

I still have no words, and mourn for the events that happened yesterday.
I used to enjoy playing strategy games and rarely ever lost. With the world’s attention span being what it is there is a short time frame for a news cycle. It is rumored that there has been a breakthrough in the USA election front – but they cannot release it now or it will get lost in the Afghanistan news cycle. There are now a great number to children dead from Australia rounding up the kids and forcing the vax on them without their parent’s consent – but that too got lost in the middle east crisis news cycle. While watching it – all evil is breaking loose elsewhere and we are held captive by one story…. but that cycle was about to end. If this was a strategy board game, I would have waited until today to blow something up. It would have been last minute and the masses would have just started to harden their hearts and leave them helpless and in turmoil for the weekend and keep it in the news cycle. Hitting yesterday was not on my radar (good strategy to strike earlier). But you do not have to be a prophet to see what’s coming next, until the Lord himself intervenes!
Meanwhile – many souls have been lost – the count continues to rise. Are these men, women and children hearing: “well done my good and faithful servant”? Are they entering into rest. Or did they go from the worst possible violence man can create into one, a billion times worse, which was created for the devil and the fallen angels. We were not meant to go there. It isn’t for us – you lying old devil! Oh Lord, save these souls!!! Save these souls!!

Let us move into today’s study:

Today’s reading is from the book of Ezekiel, chapters 1-4 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). We will be spending the next 2 weeks (and a few days) in the book of Ezekiel.  Since our readings have been rather Jumanji-style lately, I will recommend fastening your seatbelts, keeping your hands and feet inside the ride and holding on tight!
(NOTE I: Jumanji was a Hollywood movie, where a board game came to life. For example, if they ran into a swarm of bees in the board game, the same would happen in real life. So saying the reading is Jumanji-style means that what we read in prophecy is being fulfilled as we read it – in real life.  Surprisingly literal. )
(NOTE II: ‘fastening seatbelts / carnival ride’ metaphor = I used symbolic language to compare living prophesy to an implied rollercoaster ride.  Obviously there are no literal seatbelts for daily living and there is no ride to keep your hands and feet in. )

I explained these symbols for a reason – I easily (within 1 sentence) mixed 2 metaphor-like descriptions. I did not mean we are literally playing Jumanji (a fictions game from a movie) nor did I mean we were literally on a carnival ride. What I meant is that if prophesy continued to come true as we read – and it comes from the book of Ezekiel – then things are going to get wild, weird, and well – more surreal then they already feel!

When someone speaks/writes in symbolic images suddenly we need ‘notes’ to explain – without the notes, some of you may have thought we were going to a carnival while other may have understood it as a metaphor. And the more you read into, and study, sentences which have multiple unrelated symbols that somehow relate (as they are in the same sentence) the more confusing it could be.  For example – I implied the word of God came to life literal, so do I mean a literal carnival ride will also come? (no).  The reasoning is logical, though. So – put away logic because we are now in the book of Ezekiel and symbols rule, and symbols are mixed, and symbolic meanings are fluid.  Things change. AND Ezekiel acts out many prophecies with bizarre behaviors. Like, he lays on his side in the busy street for a year eating food cooked on dung and warns of cannibalism!!! Oh Lord, I pray these are not LITERAL symbols!

Ezekiel is also blessed with seeing images of heavenly beings! And that is how chapter 1 begins.  Again, remember, we do not know what he saw literally, figuratively or poetically. (Ezekiel was obviously an artist – poetic, dramatic and creative. – God does love the creative type, but He is also The Creator.) So, let God open your eyes and understanding.  A lot of the details described, of these beings, are symbols used throughout the Hebrew community and are understood differently than gentiles understand things. So asking a search engine (on the internet) for the meanings of different symbols in the Hebrew culture is highly recommended – especially since I cannot do this for you, for every symbol. We would be here all year and we only have 2 weeks to unpack a brief gem or two of what God has for us!

There are people who try to interpret this book literal. My thought is that not everything is literal – BUT during the last year many prophesies have come to pass literally – when I was waiting for something to happen that would be symbolically represented by it. So it could be literal. And we have seen the symbolic representation of other prophesies being fulfilled.  So it could be symbolic.

Historic timeframe: Ezekiel begins after Judah was already under attack by Babylon, as this happened over many years.  Ezekiel and the people around him were in a refugee camp in Babylonian territory. BUT Jerusalem has not fallen yet and Jeremiah is still in the Holy City doing all the things we have read. The tribe of Judah did not fall overnight. It fell little by little – almost like backsliding – right into captivity. Ezekiel was in captivity – God also transported Him in and out of Jerusalem and back to the refugee camp – literally? Figuratively?

Ezekiel is an incredible example of walking in the spirit. It is the only explanation of all of this.  Let us also strive to walk in the spirit so we can understand these things which are outside of time and space as we understand it. Also, since (like other prophets) he is outside of time – many of the prophecies pertain to the future and some apply today.  

Chapter 1 begins with images of heavenly beings and chapter 2 is God’s call. Chapter 3 describes the weight and responsibility of the calling. And chapter 4 – well, Ezekiel is told to get to work. And warn of the final fall of Jerusalem.

Whenever something bad is happening – God is talking. He wants us to draw close, get into the prayer closet (literal or figuratively) and spend time with Him. He may not tell you directly, but He may use someone else. If this is the case (as is most common) your alone time with God will teach you to be in the spirit so your spirit can bear witness to truth verses lies. Deception runs ramped – false teachers, false prophets and even (in fulfillment of prophesy) false christs are giving lies.  Get into the word of God and spend time with him so that you are not deceived. Grow your relationship with God.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: As I promised, this year is full of memory verses that when the enemy comes up against us we can quote: It is written! Just as Jesus did when the devil tempted him. I know I have the victory and I must just stand fast and continue to submit to God… so let us memorize and quote this with authority! So as we submit, we can remind the old devil where he can go!

Matthew 18:18-19

NKJV – “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”
NAS – “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.”
ESV – “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
AMP – “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whatever you bind [forbid, declare to be improper and unlawful] on earth shall have [already] been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose [permit, declare lawful] on earth shall have [already] been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”
NIV – “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will beloosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Ezekiel 1-4 NKJV

Ezekiel’s Vision of God

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions[a] of God. On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the [b]Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was upon him there.

Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their [c]legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. 18 As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them. 19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the [d]living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the [e]living creatures was in the wheels.

22 The likeness of the [f]firmament above the heads of the [g]living creatures was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. 23 And under the firmament their wings spread out straight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.

Ezekiel Sent to Rebellious Israel

So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.

Ezekiel Called to Be a Prophet

And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me. And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. For they are [h]impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.

“And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.

The Responsibility of the Prophet

Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.

And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.

Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are [i]impudent and hard-hearted. Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”

10 Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. 11 And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.”

12 Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a great thunderous voice: “Blessed is the glory of the Lord from His place!” 13 I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, and a great thunderous noise. 14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the [j]heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. 15 Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.

Ezekiel Is a Watchman

16 Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

22 Then the hand of the Lord was upon me there, and He said to me, “Arise, go out into the plain, and there I shall talk with you.”

23 So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. 24 Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25 And you, O son of man, surely they will put ropes on you and bind you with them, so that you cannot go out among them. 26 I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be [k]one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

The Siege of Jerusalem Portrayed

“You also, son of man, take a clay tablet and lay it before you, and portray on it a city, Jerusalem. Lay siege against it, build a siege wall against it, and heap up a mound against it; set camps against it also, and place battering rams against it all around. Moreover take for yourself an iron plate, and set it as an iron wall between you and the city. Set your face against it, and it shall be besieged, and you shall lay siege against it. This will be a sign to the house of Israel.

“Lie also on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity. For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.

“Therefore you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem; your arm shall be uncovered, and you shall prophesy against it. And surely I will [l]restrain you so that you cannot turn from one side to another till you have ended the days of your siege.

“Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it. 10 And your food which you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time to time you shall eat it. 11 You shall also drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; from time to time you shall drink. 12 And you shall eat it as barley cakes; and bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight.”

13 Then the Lord said, “So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.”

14 So I said, “Ah, Lord God! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable[m] flesh ever come into my mouth.”

15 Then He said to me, “See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your bread over it.”

16 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, surely I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread, 17 that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity.

Footnotes
a. Ezekiel 1:1 So with MT, LXX, Vg.; Syr., Tg. a vision
b. Ezekiel 1:3 Or Babylonians, and so elsewhere in the book
c. Ezekiel 1:7 Lit. feet
d. Ezekiel 1:20 Lit. living creature; LXX, Vg. spirit of life; Tg. Creatures
e. Ezekiel 1:21 See note at v. 20
f. Ezekiel 1:22 Or expanse
g. Ezekiel 1:22 So with LXX, Tg., Vg.; MT living creature
h. Ezekiel 2:4 Lit. stiff-faced and hard-hearted sons
i. Ezekiel 3:7 Lit. strong of forehead
j. Ezekiel 3:14 Or anger
k. Ezekiel 3:26 Lit. one who rebukes
l. Ezekiel 4:8 Lit. put ropes on
m. Ezekiel 4:14 Ritually unclean flesh, Lev. 7:18

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