Monday, August 31, 2015

BIBLE STUDY: DANIEL, EZEKIEL, and REVELATION WEEK # 4

Part II        Continue:            

 

Ezekiel:       Outstanding Events:

 

This prophecy, like Daniel and Revelation, might be termed a mystery book It contains much imagery which is difficult of interpretation Nevertheless, many of its teachings are clear and of the highest value.

 

Key Note: "I am Jehovah."

 

Section I, The preparation of the call of the prophet (chapters 1-3)

(a.)       Son of a priest (chapters 1-3)

(b.)       Carried away captive to Babylon (chapter 1:1, 2 Kings 24:11-16)

(c.)       His vision of God (chapter 1)

(d.)       His call (1:3)

(e.)       His commission and enduement,  (chapters 2, 3)

(f.)        Spiritual Food (3:1-3, Revelation 10:10)

(g.)       His Task, a spiritual watchman, (3:4  -11, 17-21)

(h.)       Ezekiel claims the highest degree of Inspiration. The words "Thus said Jehovah" are reiterated over and over again throughout the entire book.

 

Section II, A portrayal of the Apostate condition of Judah before the captivity:

(a).       Largely visions, warning, and predictions concerning the guilt of the people, and the coming destruction of Jerusalem, (chapters 4-24).

(d).       Divine judgement upon the Seven Surrounding Nations, (chapter 25-32).

 

Section III, Chiefly Predictions and Promises concerning the means by which the glory of the nation is to be restored, (chapters 33-48).

(a).       By heeding the warning of the spiritual watchman, and repenting of sin (chapter 33).

(b).       By displacing the False Shepherd, and the coming of the Good Shepherd, who will feed the flock (chapter 34).

(c.)       By a National Revival, and a Spiritual Resurrection in the Valley of Dry Bones, (chapters 36-37).

(d).       By the Overthrow of the Enemies of the Nation, (chapters 38, 39).

(e).       By the Building of a New Sanctuary, (chapter 40-42).

(f).        By the returning of the Glory of the Lord, (chapters 43:4,5; 44:4).

(g).       By the Ministry of the Loyal Priesthood, (chapter 44:9-31).

(h).       By Life-giving Waters issuing from the Sanctuary, (chapter 47, see also Revelation 22:1, 2).

 

Outstanding Events in this book:

1.      The Departure of the Glory of the Lord from the Temple (chapters 10:16-18; 11:23)

2.      The Fall of Jerusalem (chapter 33:21).

3.      The Return of the Shekinah Prophesied (chapter 44:4).

Choice Selections:

1.      The New Heart (chapter 11:19; 36:25-28)

2.      Personal Responsibility (chapter 18:20-32).

3.      Un-tempered Mortar (chapter 13:10-15).

4.      The Search for a man of Integrity (chapter 22:30), see also Jeremiah 5:1.

5.      Sentimental Hearers, (chapter 33:30-32).

6.      Chapters for Ministers, (chapter 13, 33, 34).

7.      Revival Chapter, (chapter 37).

 

For the first-time reader of the Bible, the book of Ezekiel is mostly a perplexing maze of incoherent visions, a kaleidoscope of whirling wheels (chapter 1) and dry bones (chapter 37) that defy interpretation. This impression often causes readers to shy away from studying the book and miss one of the great literary and spiritual portions of the Old Testament. The book is named after the author, Ezekiel, whose name means "strengthened by God." As you read and study this amazing book, draw strength as Ezekiel did from the One who is Himself strength.

Ezekiel grew up in Jerusalem, served as a priest in the temple and was among the second group of captives taken to Babylon along with King Jehoiachin. While in Babylon he became a prophet of God, and his ministry began with condemnation and judgment of the nation Judah. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Ezekiel's perspective changed to a glimmer of hope shining through for the future. Ezekiel wanted to help the people learn from their failures and announced impending judgment upon the nations that surrounded Judah and reestablished hope for the restoration of Israel. His vision of the valley of dry bones pictures new life being breathed into the nation which will occur in the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth.

Ezekiel continues to have detailed visions of the New Temple (chapters 40-43), the New Jerusalem (
Ezekiel 48:30-35), the Millennium (chapter 44) and the new land in which the people will reside (Ezekiel 47:13-23). Israel and Judah will once again be restored to unity from the ends of the earth as God's glory also returns and God dwells among His people. These beautiful and unusual visions of Ezekiel concern both the immediate and the long-term plans of God. They help to establish Ezekiel as watchman (chapter 33), not only to warn the people but to be an encouragement. He minces no words and he delivers God's messages with straightforward language that everyone could understand, whether they listened or not (Ezekiel 2:7). Ezekiel himself received a warning from God that if he did not tell everyone he was sent to about the punishment for not following God, he would be held accountable for the blood of those who died in their sins (Ezekiel 33:8-9). He did not hesitate in his mission and is the one man in the Bible in whom we can find no fault as he steadfastly followed God's instructions. He had a passionate view of judgment and hope and displayed his closeness to God's own sorrow over the people's sins.

The prophet experienced considerable opposition during his own lifetime, yet he doggedly expressed God's desire that the wicked not die but turn from their wicked ways and live. His periodic speechlessness during his early years was broken when God empowered him to speak, and his tongue was loosened to speak the longest passage of sustained hope in the Bible. The burning, chopping and scattering of his hair represented the fall of Jerusalem and the bringing back of God's remnant (chapter 5). The hopeful words climax in the promise of everlasting possession of the land, an everlasting Davidic prince, an everlasting covenant, and an everlasting sanctuary in Israel (
Ezekiel 11:16-21). He leaps ahead to a time after Israel has been restored to the mysterious invasion from the north which will be brought by Yahweh against Israel, but then will be utterly defeated. This demonstrates that no enemy nation will ever invade the Holy Land again with success, and the glory of the God of Israel returns, entering through the east gate of the temple Ezekiel envisions.

Ezekiel has shown all Christians that we are to be watchmen on this earth, speaking the truth of the gospel to everyone we meet. We cannot possibly turn our backs on the perishing and go our own righteous way without being held accountable for those who die in sin that we could have reached. God told Ezekiel to groan with a broken heart and bitter grief for the coming judgment, and through his dramatic book, Ezekiel is telling us the very same thing. This judgment is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord!

Ezekiel's vision of the four wheels dramatically illustrates the
omnipresence and omniscience of God. These wheels were associated with the "four living creatures" (Ezekiel 1:4), who were later described (Ezekiel 10:5, 20) as cherubim, angelic beings appointed as guardians of the holiness of God.

Each wheel was actually two in one, with one apparently set inside the other at right angles which enabled the "living creatures" to move in any direction instantly without having to turn, like a flash of lightning. These wheels had the appearance of chrysolite, which may have been a topaz or other semiprecious stone. The outer rim of the wheels was described as high and awesome with the outer edge of the rims inset with "eyes" (
Ezekiel 1:14-18).

The Spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels (
Ezekiel 1:20-21). As a result, the creatures were able to move any direction the wheels moved. Most biblical scholars hold to the idea that the Spirit of God gave direction to the wheels through direct knowledge of and access to the will of God. The mobility of the wheels suggests the omnipresence of God; the eyes, His omniscience; and the elevated position, His omnipotence.

This vision appeared to Ezekiel as a powerful imagery of movement and action demonstrating the characteristics of God's divine nature. It presented God as being on a chariot-like throne, His glory both supreme and immanent, existing in and extending into all the created universe. As such, the whole revelation by God in this vision to Ezekiel, i.e., the cherubim, the chariot, the Spirit, and the wheels, emphasized their unity and coordination.

As terrifying as this vision was, it vividly displayed the majesty and glory of God (
Ezekiel 1:28), who came to Ezekiel and the children of Israel in the midst of their Babylonian exile. It reminded them of His holiness and power as the Lord of all creation. The message was clear: though His people were in exile and their nation was about to be destroyed, God was still on the throne and able to handle every situation. The lesson for us today is that, through His marvelous providence, God moves in the affairs of all nations to work out His own unseen plan, always at work, intricately designed, never wrong, and never late (Romans 8:28).

 

At first glance, the prophecy in Ezekiel 28:11–19 seems to refer to a human king. The city of Tyre was the recipient of some of the strongest prophetic condemnations in the Bible (Isaiah 23:1–18;Jeremiah 25:22;27:1–11; Ezekiel 26:1– 28:19;Joel 3:4–8; Amos 1:9,10). Tyre was known for building its wealth by exploiting its neighbors. Ancient writers referred to Tyre as a city filled with unscrupulous merchants. Tyre was a center of religious idolatry and sexual immorality. The biblical prophets rebuked Tyre for its pride brought on by its great wealth and strategic location. Ezekiel 28:11–19 seems to be a particularly strong indictment against the king of Tyre in the prophet Ezekiel's day, rebuking the king for his insatiable pride and greed.

However, some of the descriptions in
Ezekiel 28:11–19 go beyond any mere human king. In no sense could an earthly king claim to be "in Eden" or to be "the anointed cherub who covers" or to be "on the holy mountain of God." Therefore, most Bible interpreters believe that Ezekiel 28:11–19 is a dual prophecy, comparing the pride of the king of Tyre to the pride of Satan. Some propose that the king of Tyre was actually possessed by Satan, making the link between the two even more powerful and applicable.

Before his fall, Satan was indeed a beautiful creature (
Ezekiel 28:12–13). He was perhaps the most beautiful and powerful of all the angels. The phrase "guardian cherub" possibly indicates that Satan was the angel who "guarded" God's presence. Pride led to Satan's fall. Rather than give God the glory for creating him so beautifully, Satan took pride in himself, thinking that he himself was responsible for his exalted status. Satan's rebellion resulted in God casting Satan from His presence and will, eventually, result in God condemning Satan to the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:10).

Like Satan, the human king of Tyre was prideful. Rather than recognize God's sovereignty, the king of Tyre attributed Tyre's riches to his own wisdom and strength. Not satisfied with his extravagant position, the king of Tyre sought more and more, resulting in Tyre taking advantage of other nations, expanding its own wealth at the expense of others. But just as Satan's pride led to his fall and will eventually lead to his eternal destruction, so will the city of Tyre lose its wealth, power, and status. Ezekiel's prophecy of Tyre's total destruction was fulfilled partially by
Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 29:17–21) and ultimately by Alexander the Great.


DID YOU KNOW?

The prophet Ezekiel identifies a coalition of nations that will invade Israel. This invasion is usually referred to as the "prophecy of Gog and Magog" since they are the first proper names mentioned in 38:2. The challenge today is to identify the modern descendants of Gog, Magog, and the other nations Ezekiel lists. Gog is mentioned 11 Times in Ezekiel 38-29. Gog was not a nation but the ruler of a land called Magog. Magog is the region on a world map where the "stan" countries exist today-the states of the former Soviet Empire: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and perhaps Afghanistan. These nations, while independent today, were once satellite states of the former Soviet Empire.  Next mentioned is "the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal" (38:2). The people of Rosh in Ezekiel's day lived beyond the modern Black Sea-in the realm of modern of Russia, Meshech and Tubal refer to regions that are part of modern Turkey.  Ezekiel lists "Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya" (38:5); the latter two still exist today under their ancient names. Persia is the ancient name for the modern nation of Iran, the name change occurring in March 1935. Four decades later, Iran changed its name again to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Finally, Ezekiel mentions Gomer (38:6), which is also known to have been in the region of Turkey, as is "the house of Togarmath."  The tiny nation of Israel is surrounded by these much larger nations. Any of them alone would constitute a major threat-but combined?  There would be little hope on a purely human basis for Israel surviving an attack from such a coalition. Israel, against overwhelming odds, won wars against enemies who attacked in 1967 (the Six Days War) and in 1973 (the Yom Kippur War)-but the coalition described in Ezekiel 38 would be like nothing she has faced before.

 

 

QUESTION:       WEEK # 4

1).        What is the key note in this book of Ezekiel?

2).        What was his commission?

3).        What is the spiritual food in (Ezekiel 3:1-3; Revelation 10:10)?

4).        What was the apostate condition of Judah before the captivity?

5).        What were the predictions and promises concerning the means by which the glory of the nation is to be restored? (Chapters 4-24)

6).        What are the outstanding events in this book?

7).        What are the choice selections in this book?

8).        The book of Ezekiel is name after its author, which mean what?

9).        Give a brief summary of who Ezekiel was.

10).      Did Ezekiel talk about the millennial reign of Christ?

11).      What other visions did Ezekiel have?

12).      Why do you suppose Ezekiel ministered with steadfastness as he did?

13).      As being a watchman on the wall what are we responsible for?

14).      Ezekiel's vision of the four wheels dramatically illustrates what?

15).      The city of Tyre is known for what?

16).      Explain how and by who was the city of Tyre was destroyed.

 

 

SALVATION PRAYER:

 

Heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned against You and need Your salvation. Please forgive me. I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead.  I receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, fully trusting in the work He accomplished on the cross on my behalf.  Thank You for saving me, accepting me, and adopting me into Your family. Guide my life and help me to do your will, and walk in close step with You, amen.

 

In your name, Amen:

 

Reading Assignment:            Week # 4        Daniel 10-12   Monday-Wednesday-Friday

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